Exploring: Kindle Free Downloads – Lots of free books, why not?

Mt. Rainier reflected in Lake TappsSince I’ve been pushing my free kindle download all week, I decided to go explore the free kindle download offerings. I was pleasantly surprised.I now have an eclectic library on my Kindle Cloud Reader. I found children’s picture books. I found books on social media marketing. I found cookbooks. I found an exercise motivation book (which I needed). I found books on speed reading (so I can read all these books really quickly) and of course Gator McBumpypants Hears a Scary Noise. Last day, folks. Don’t miss your chance to download it for free!

So with all these fabulous free kindle offerings out there, why aren’t people’s libraries exploding? I have to admit, the kindle cloud reader and library weren’t exactly straight forward to use at first.

When you download a kindle book, it opens in kindle cloud reader while you’re at amazon.com, but when you go back to amazon.com, your kindle cloud reader isn’t on the menu. It is at https://read.amazon.com/. Also, when you search free kindle ebooks in the amazon.com search box, you don’t get the nice selection of kindle ebooks. I finally found them here.

Have fun exploring all the fabulous free books!

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Revision: Adding Videos to Your Blog

You can see why I put this under the revision topic, I’m revising my post of Gator McBumpypants’ first movie. Why didn’t I think of this yesterday? So, how did I do it? It was much easier than I thought.

When I clicked on Add Media above my draft’s text box, like I usually do to add pictures, I looked around and in the column on the left I clicked on Insert from URL. In a new tab, I went to the Youtube page for Gator’s video and copied the URL. When I pasted it into the box, TADA!, the video is now playable on my blog. So fun.

Now that Gator McBumpypants and his friend Herman have a youtube page, they wanted to find some fun videos to share. First they subscribed to other children’s books about alligators. Hear are a couple fun book videos:

I tried to change the video sizes so they were about half as big in this post, but assigning height and width in the html didn’t work (I turned off mobile in theme settings as per instructions) Any one know how to change the video size?

This morning I had an idea for other content to add to Gator and Herman’s YouTube page: Alligator crafts! First I thought of origami, but to Herman’s happy surprise, the Pterodactyl origami video was WAY cooler.

The best video for alligator crafts (Gator forgives the artist for saying he drew a crocodile) so far was this one:

One thing I have yet to figure out is how to get the videos I’m following to come up in the right hand column of my video. Does anyone have any advice? I’ve made a favorite videos playlist, I’ve picked out kids book channels to follow, but none of these things are showing up when I play my video. If you’d like to see Gator McBumpypants and friends favorite videos playlist, it is a tab on their YouTube channel here. I’ll keep working on this and update when I figure it out.

While I was searching for fun Pterodactyl kids books, I happened upon this great video and learned something I think I don’t want to know– Pterodactyls Aren’t Dinosaurs!

Of course, I had to immediately do some research and if you wanna listen to Science then hears a link

However, if you wanna keep believin’ hears some info here

I’m not facing facts yet, and I’m not ready to share this with Gator and Herman, so sadly the great video did not get in their favorites, yet.

Another thought on revision– Learn from my mistake. Make sure to pay attention to current events before launching your marketing campaign. Planning my big push the same week as the Ferguson decision, could have been avoided if I was paying attention to current events. I had no idea this could be a factor, but it is what people are talking about and paying attention to (as they should). The story of a cute bumpy stuffed alligator is a bit out of place in that discussion, except for the theme of not being afraid of people different from you. Perhaps that could be part of the discussion with children. That said, when planning a marketing campaign, give yourself enough time to see what else is  happening during your time frame that could eclipse your efforts (again, as it should in my case).

Anyone have other video suggestions for Gator and Herman to add to their YouTube Favorites?

Exploring: A beautiful and inspiring blog

In side the earth

Inside the earth

For today’s blog on exploring, I typed the work Exploring into the wordpress tag search (daring, I know) with fabulous results! I discovered a beautiful blog called HARRYBIPEDHIKING, specifically a post about exploring an abandoned mine called Bergeson Prospect.

The post starts by recommending a book Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines series by Northwest Underground Explorations volume #1 which I hope to get my hands on soon. The amazon listing has a strange range of pricing from $30 to $340 which I find strange. I’ll ask my friends at Turn the Page Books about it.

I love to hike around Western Washington, but I have to admit, I hadn’t heard about exploring abandoned mines in Western Washington until today. The photographs on the site are beautiful, and though my experience exploring Ape Cave makes me less than enthusiastic about tromping around inside the earth, the pictures of Bergeson Prospect may be changing my mind.

Thank you to HARRYBIPEDHIKING for creating a lovely post and inspiring me with some local exploring. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Have any of you explored abandoned mines?

Exploring: Collective Nouns

A Cover of Coots

A Cover of Coots

Yesterday’s writing group was incredibly fun, thanks to Ralph Cornish presenting an exploration of collective nouns. We’re all familiar with at least a few collective nouns that we use in regular speech: a hill of beans, a mountain of debt, a litter of pups. But there are so many more fun and interesting collective nouns. The earliest list dates from around 1450.

For our group writing exercise, Ralph wrote out a selection of collective nouns and let us pick one from a bowl. We then wrote about our selection for 15 minutes. I grabbed A Transparency of Toupees. That made me so happy.

Ralph picked his selections from a fun, beautifully illustrated book, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition by James Lipton. an Exaltation of Larks cover

Mr. Lipton sorts the terms of venery (term for hunting game) into six families:

1. Onomatopoeia – a gaggle of geese, a murmuration of starlings

2. Characteristic – a leap of leopards, a skulk of foxes

3. Appearance – a knot of toads, a parliament of owls

4. Habitat – a shoal of bass, a nest of rabbits

5. Comment – richness of martens, a cowardice of curs

6. Error (resulting from an incorrect transcription by a scribe or printer, faithfully preserved in the corrupted form by consequent compilers) – a school of fish, originally shoal

The book contains more than a thousand terms. Here are some of my favorite:

An ingratitude of children

An untruth of summoners

A rhapsody of blues

A wince of dentists

A business of flies

A smack of jellyfish

A labor of moles

An illusion of painters

A worship of writers

A conjunction of grammarians

A browse of readers

Here’s hoping we all find instance to use colorful terms of venery in our writing.

What’s your favorite collective noun?

Changing my approach to posting

Jack-o-lanterns in the wild.

Jack-o-lanterns in the wild.

Hi everyone,

I think I’ve figured out a better way to share everything I’m learning in my writing life. So far, I’ve had trouble keeping up with a weekly blog because I’ll have ideas during the week, but when I finally sit down to write, I’m overwhelmed by how many things are happening in my writing life that I want to share with you. So, I’m going to try short daily posts Monday thru Friday with each day dedicated to a different aspect of my writing life. I’ll try this new idea through the end of the year. We can review the decision in the new year. Okay?

The three main aspects of my writing life are: Marketing my self published children’s picture book Gator McBumpypants Hears and Scary Noise and its sequels to come, finding an agent for my middle grade fiction story, and rewriting/finishing my novel, so I’ll separate those three topics into Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I also want to focus on the importance of reading and improving  writing through reading so I’ll talk about that on Thursdays and Writing exercises and exploration on Fridays. I hope all of my followers don’t mind this change. I think it will help me be more efficient and informative and hopefully make this part of my writing experience more fun for me as well.

That said, as this is Thursday, I want to talk about the importance of reading. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been on a mission to find books similar to my work in progress and I have finally had some success. I’m writing a psychological, character driven thriller, so I tried Paranoia–Fiction in the library Keyword search, I also tried Agoraphobia–Fiction because one of my main characters, though not agoraphobic, is a self-proclaimed hermit, and looking up hermit didn’t get me anywhere. So, it took a couple weeks, but now I have three books I’m reading that I think relate to my novel in different ways.

One of the main focuses of my rewrite is to bring depth to my characters’ motivations. I want the reader to feel that the actions of my characters are justified and I think in my rough draft I kept a lot of those motivations to myself out of fear of writing them down and also because I may not have delved far enough into my characters’ histories. Finding similar characters in these novels is a tool I hope to use to compare their motivations to those of my characters. I also want to find creative ways to make my characters’ motivations apparent.

Any tips on how you make your characters’ motivations clear?

Any thoughts on my new approach to this blog?

Happy reading.

AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! I’m off to carve my pumpkin. My trick or treaters will be met by a Luchador (Mexican Wrestler) playing the theremin. What are you doing for Halloween?

Exploring the senses – Hearing

Auditory stimuli have the ability to trigger physical reactions. The calming sound of rolling waves, or the alarming jolt caused by a popped balloon can influence how we act and feel. Sounds, especially music, can also trigger memories.

Exercise: To explore hearing, each member of writing group brought a song to listen to. As we listened, we jotted down all of the thoughts that came to mind for the duration of the length of the song. I found that each song triggered personal memories and vivid imagery.

As with all of the sensory writing exercises I’ll describe, the results are twofold:

1. Sound triggers memories and writing ideas.

2. The exercise brings attention to how one’s fictional characters may react to sounds and music based on their histories and circumstances (perceptions).

Describing sounds, how they are perceived and their physical and emotional effects on the characters will add realism and depth to your writing.

Examples of my responses:

St. James Infirmary by Alan Toussaint

Railroad tracks

Otis playing piano in N.O. w/Kathleen on stand-up

I expect to hear Tom Waits start singing at any moment

The piano in that horrible apartment which I almost never played

La Belle Dame Sans Regrets by Sting

Ballroom classes at that weird dance studio in Metairie where I first met Bridget

The black and white checkerboard floor and the floor to ceiling mirrors in the middle of an empty club

Helping teach ballroom at Ruby Fruit Jungle

Drinking a tiny strong coffee at a café in Paris

The drawing Spencer did of his cousin Marie

The program from a Sting concert I thumbtacked to my wall over my desk

Like a Virgin by Madonna

Going to the record store with my gift certificate for winning the talent show and Mom making the clerk play every song on the Air Supply album, then saying it was too suggestive and making me get M.J.’s Thriller instead.

Buying Madonna’s tape from a friend at church because Mom wouldn’t let me get it

I hope this exercise triggers all sorts of ideas for you. I’d love to hear some of them. Also, if you have other sensory exercises you have found useful, please send them along. I love trying new things.