Maya Angelou's Thoughts

Maya Angelou’s Thoughts on Creativity

I have to agree with Ms.  Angelou. You can’t use up your creativity.

It seems the more I imagine, the more I scoop from the creativity pool. It is never ending.

Are you a person who has to make yourself sit down to create?  Sometimes I am the way.  In fact, I can easily distract myself.  Of course, I can always blame it on the ease of using the internet and “researching” for my next book. Usually, I end up on social media sites reading about kittens being saved from flood waters or something like that….

Honestly, I think my procrastination has to do with fear or failure.

I can’t really measure the value of something I’ve created.  I’m too close to it, or from my standpoint my work isn’t as good as someone else’s.

Nothing will stifle your creativity faster than comparing yourself to someone else.

I’ve been reading “The Big Magic” and let me tell you, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book is helping me in ways I didn’t expect.  It is very comforting to read a popular author admitting they don’t think they have much talent and are in a quandary why someone would want to read her books.

These are things I know about myself if I want to create:

  1. I have to have brain space.  If there are too many variables in my day (being grandma to our darling granddaughter, teaching and lesson plans, creating Teacherpayteachers products, daily goings on like the laundry needs to be done or we need to run errands,) I simply can’t create.
  2. I have to be rested.  If I’m tired or stressed, forget it. I simply             can’t imagine.
  3. I need classical music or sound tracks playing in the              background.
  4. My ideas arrive most fluidly between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. and           4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
  5. I do my best creating on a rainy day.
  6. I have to have some plan before I begin whether it’s synopsis or an outline.
  7. I like my life to be balanced.  If I spend too much time creating lesson plan products or grading papers, then I need to do something such as cook a new recipe, or color in a coloring book or maybe write.

I used to think I was an “emotional perfectionist”.  That’s a person who needs to feel emotionally balanced in order to function well in life.  In some respects, I am one.  It is difficult for me to create anything of quality if I am stressed or worried.  (I can write really good poetry then, though. Ha!)

I think I will always have problems with self confidence and I have to be on guard to the little voices in my brain which like to distract me.  Those little boogers never seem to go away.

What do you do when you want to create?  Do you have certain steps you take to nurture your creativity?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

If you’d like to read more about my journey as an author, read here:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2014/08/07/a-writers-journey-a-really-really-long-one-but-worth-it/

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Three Times a Charm: An Author Interview 

Here is my author Interview from Three Times a Charm

Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love to introduce readers to the people involved in children’s publishing.

 Today we welcome middle grade author, Deborah Baldwin. Deborah, we’d love for you to tell us a little about you.

I am an award winning drama teacher and director, professional actress and youth theatre administrator. I graduated from Stephens College with a BFA in theatre performance and a MED from Lesley College certified to teach drama, speech and English/language arts in Colorado and Missouri. I  created seven youth theatre programs and have served as a consultant to several theatre companies in the mid-west.

Many years ago I co-developed a national playwriting contest for youth theatre plays which is still in existence today. I have directed over 250 full length productions, plays and musicals alike and have inspired many of my students to become professional actors, dancers, directors, playwrights and teachers. My husband and I recently retired from our teaching positions and reside in Kansas to be nearer to our family. I have two daughters who are the best of friends, a wonderful step son and two quirky cats, Spats and Lala.

Let’s hear more about Bumbling Bea.  

Purple Dragonfly Award Winner for Excellence in Writing and Publishing:

Beatrice thinks she has no acting talent but that doesn’t stop her from auditioning for the annual middle school play. Easy! Except Michiko, a new girl from Japan, shows up and ruins everything. So begins Beatrice’s diabolical plan to scare away Michiko. But Michiko has goals of her own with no plans to leave soon. And then there’s that “other” girl—what a blabbermouth. What’s a girl to do? Plenty.

“Hilarious! Entertaining! Extremely true! A great read for anyone who enjoys theater!” RM Amazon reviewer

“In addition to being a fun read, this book does what so much fine literature does— helps us to see we are not alone.” MM Amazon reviewer

“Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin cannot fail to become a favorite with pre-teen readers, and very likely teenagers too, because the mixture of pathos and humor is so realistic.” SS Readers Favorite reviewer

I recommend my book to readers who like:

5,6,7, Nate by Tim Federle

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Now let’s move on to the threes. Give us your top 3 responses to the following to help us get to know you better.

· Top 3 books you recommend reading and why you recommend them.  



To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I have beloved this book for many years as have many other readers. The plot is terrific and I enjoy that the story is told from a girl’s point of view.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman I picked up Backman’s book earlier this year and appreciated every part of it. If you haven’t read any of Backman’s books, I’d suggest you do so. I enjoy stories that are heavy on characterization, because my background is in theatre and when I direct plays, I help actors create characters all the time.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Hmmm. I’m seeing a trend here—I’ve chosen all books about girls told from their point of view. Ha! This book writing is poetic and it’s a wonderful story. It’s an interesting perspective to read a story about the average German citizen living through WWII.

· Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.  

I think indie publishing is a fabulous tool for any writer and it suits me perfectly. It isn’t necessary to have a publisher in order to be successful in this business. One can publish her book herself! I’ve always been a trail blazer—the kind of person that takes matters in her own hands when she sees a need or problem.

I noticed that we have a dearth of books on whatever subject is popular the time, but stories about the arts (especially theatre) are very few in number. When I share my story’s plot with readers of various ages, they were so appreciative. “Oh good. Not another book about Zombies or wizards. Bumbling Bea is something unique!” they say.

There are countless sources writers can utilize to attract readers. I particularly like Litpick.com which is a student book review website. They give student readers an opportunity to learn how to review under the tutelage of an adult. And the books are free to any student who would like to learn to review. What a deal!
Bookworks.com is an excellent, and very useful website for indie publishers. They have a monthly newsletter with many helpful articles concerning self publishing, lists of book reviewers who are seeking books to peruse, etc. If you complete your personal page and profile with Bookworks, you have the opportunity to be featured by them which is great exposure for you and your book.

·Top 3 professions you wanted to be when you grew up.

My aunts, mother and sister were teachers so becoming a teacher was a natural choice for me as well. It’s one of my greatest gifts. Kids energize me and fulfill my need to share my knowledge of the dramatic arts. Even after thirty-eight years of teaching, my students continue to teach me something about myself that I didn’t know. It’s very humbling.
Early on in my life, I wanted to become a professional actress. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time. When I graduated from college in the seventies, there weren’t as many opportunities for young actors to be employed as there are now. My choices were pretty much limited to moving to New York or Los Angeles. I wasn’t ready for that jump. Over time, I found that I wasn’t willing to struggle as much as the occupation required. I was just as happy acting or directing in community theatre, occasionally working as a voice over actress, etc.

I’m a doer—I like to “do” and not sit around waiting for life to happen to me. Because of this particular gift, I have had opportunities to create many projects I don’t think I would have been able to otherwise. I’ve formed youth theatre programs, co-developed a national playwriting contest, presided over the construction of a theater, written winning grants, introduced companies to radio theatre, directed just about any play or musical I wanted and guided two programs concerning diversity for Martin Luther King celebrations. And, I’m not even finished yet!

I was created to be a theatre artist, period. I knew it as a young girl when I’d play dress up on our east front porch of our home. It took about ten years for me to admit my interest to my parents. My father understood immediately. Although he chose to be a physician, he acted in plays in college and loved it. I think my mother and siblings thought I was crazy or at least “unusual”, but they tried their best to understand or merely tolerated me. However, my immediate family is heavily involved in the arts and appreciate my creativity.

 Top 3 personal mantras or inspirational phrases.   

“People of integrity expect to be believed. When they are not, time proves them right.” –Unknown

“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” ― Winston Churchill

“Eighty percent of all choices are based on fear. Most people don’t choose what they want; they choose what they think is safe.” –Phil McGraw

Wow – that last one! Finally, please share with us where our tech savvy readers can find out more about you and your book.    

Dramamommaspeaks.com

https://www.facebook.com/BumblingBea

https://twitter.com/dhcbaldwin  and/or Deborah@DeborahHBaldwin

https://www.instagram.com/bumblingbeabook

Thanks for joining us today, Deborah. It was great to get to know more about you and Bumbling Bea.
Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmal.com  or DeborahBaldwin.net


Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Bumblingbea.com

I’d love to help and hear from you!

Full Circle Moments

What No One Tells You About Full Circle Moments–Part One

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I am excited!  This weekend I’m going to enjoy a full circle moment. I should call it a full circle moments, because I’ have experienced several in my life. 

Have you ever experienced one?  You know, a “pay it forward” kind  of thing? They’re deeply fulfilling.

As a teacher and director, I’ve had many.  It seems to go with the territory. I would imagine everyone experiences full circle moments several times in their lifetime. If they are happy ones, we are joyful. If they are sad, I’m not certain we recognize them as full circle moments, but some sort of lesson we still need to learn.

Has anyone advised you how to handle them? Me neither.

No one tells you the brevity of them– they are magical and surprising.

Full circle moments, in general, are random.

An example:  My Ukrainian pen pal ended up on a  train  in Romania with a professor from my small midwestern hometown who knew my family.  That’s one chance in at least a million chances of occurring.

Another:  My daughter grows up to perform in a show with one of her babysitters who grew up and became an actress at my encouraging. They perform together in a different city one hundred miles away. Ten years later.

You have to admit full circle moments make you take a pause. Sometimes they are baffling. You are afraid to share them with anyone for fear they’ll think you are crazy–you are fantasizing and dillusional.

We can’t prophesy when full circle moments will occur or even if we’ll have one. That’s what makes them special.

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This particular full circle moment began very innocently.

Forty years ago next month, in 1977 I  student taught drama at West Junior High School in Columbia, MO. Some of the students were the best students I’ve taught, even if I was still in the learning phase of my career.  I am still friends with many of them today.

A young man, Randall Kenneth Jones, is a student of mine during that semester.  He is smart, witty and clever.

In 1978, we work together in an outdoor community theater.  Randy performs Dauntless in Once Upon a Mattress while I serve as the stage properties mistress.  We perform as brother and sister in 110 in the Shade.  He is in the chorus while I portray Mrs. Bumble in Oliver!

Two years later, my former husband and I create a community theater– Columbia Entertainment Company.  Randy performs in several of the shows–Two by Two and Damn Yankees.  I perform with him in Damn Yankees.

Get this: My cooperating teacher when I student taught, Jackie Petit White, performs in the production as well!

Randy attends the University of Missouri-Columbia in journalism.  Afgter graduating, he moves to Washington, DC. He works in marketing, advertising and public relations with a focus on creative development. He develops a terrific resume which includes PR and marketing for Walgreens, JCPenney, The Washingon Post and more.

I stay in Missouri, divorce, remarry, have children, preside over CEC for several years, run a theatre school, teach drama to middle schoolers and create several youth theater programs.  I direct several hundreds plays and musicals with adults and children alike. My resume is different from Randy’s, but equally successful.

In essence, we are equally busy.

Bumbling Bea

Time passes….

Thirty-nine years later in 2016, we meet again. I read on Facebook Randy has authored a really cool book, Show Me.  Show Me is filled with over one hundred interviews Randy collected with very successful people–Pat Benatar, Barbara Cochran, Jent Evanovich, Tyler Mathiesen, Suze Orman, just to name a few.

He’s about to release Show Me.  I write him, congratulating him.  We rekindle our friendship.  We promise to do a better job of keeping up with each other.

It’s fun to know again this great student, now a grown man. He’s just as witty, clever and smart.

Now the full circle moment–

Two months go by and Randy contacts me.  He’s traveling to  Columbia to do a fundraiser for CEC which was built twenty-nine years ago. (Isn’t that crazy?) For the fundraiser,  he’ll be performing a stand up routine, selling and autographing his book, too.

His routine includes memories of the teachers who inspired him, one of which was my cooperating teacher, Jackie Petit White.   He wants to speak about me as well, because I was very instrumental in keeping the community theatre afloat for years.

Would I be interested in participating as well?

Heck, yes!

I’m not taking center stage.  This event isn’t about me, but I will benefit from it.  I’ll be signing and selling Bumbling Bea (2.0) books before and after the show.

A portion of the proceeds go to Columbia Entertainment Company.  Tickets may be reserved in advance at cectheatre.org

In some respects, full circle moments are snippets of time in our lives. 

They prove, “I am here on earth.  I matter.  I helped someone to find themselves.”  My inner self and actual self meet in congruence. Wow!

We have amazing lives whether we notice them occurring or not. Could I have foreseen this upcoming moment? Never.

What full circle moments have you experienced?

Read part two of this full circle moment here: https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/28/what-no-one-tells-you-about-full-circle-moments-part-two/

Randy and I would love to see you and say hello.  You’ll find our books on Amazon.com

See you soon!

full circle moments

I’d love to hear about your full circle moments.  Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

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Three Things A Writer Needs According to Faulkner

Here are three things a writer needs according to Faulkner.

This is a terrific thought and so very true.  Thanks Mr. Faulkner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was sixteen years old, I decided I wanted to put to pen my story of a girl who wants to be a Kabuki actor, but couldn’t because she was female.

For over twenty-five years I never got further than the first chapter of the book which was then titled, Two For the Kabuki for as many years.

Experience:

Thank goodness I waited to write it.  I need experience both as a human being on this earth and teacher.  Without the experiences, my book would have been very superficial and not what it became.

I used to blame myself for waiting so long to write it.  As if I didn’t write it, someone else might do so first.  Maybe so.

Observation:

I needed all those years to observe people.  A great place to do so was in my drama classroom. For twenty years, I taught middle school students.  Middle school is the most complex of all the years for a child.  They arrive to you as an eleven year old and leave as nearly a fourteen year old.  Wow.  Think about that!

The middle school years are the ones of the body changing, hormones a moaning, pimples, facial hair, squeaky voices and lack of poise.  Even the greatest athlete of the group can trip over himself on the way to the cafeteria.

I noticed the girl give up their long locks of hair and trying something more daring right around seventh grade.  As if the approaching high school years beckon them to mature in to the young adult they will become.

I listen to people’s conversations a lot, or rather I eaves drop on conversations.  Who needs to write original dialogue? People sometimes express themselves far better than I can.   I keep my ears peaked at all times.

Imagination:

I have quite an imagination.  I’m still afraid of the dark and think strange noises are some alien trying to get me. I won’t put my foot outside the sheets and when I do, it stays on top of the mattress.  No dangling my vulnerable foot over the edge of the bed.

Because of my experience as an actress and director, I rarely have trouble getting the juices to flow once I open the door to them.  Frankly, I have more trouble prioritizing which creative activity I should do first.  I always seem to have several irons in the fire–teacherspayteachers products, this blog, social sites to keep up, a play version of Bumbling Bea and a book or two rolling around in my mind.

I wish I could put one first over the rest, but I simply can’t.

But Mr. Faulkner obviously knows what he’s talking about.  If I could write what he did, maybe I’d be quoted instead of him.

Nah, I doubt it.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net or here.  I’d love to here from you.

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National Haiku Day Bumbling Bea Style

April 15 is National Haiku Day. I’m going to honor national haiku day Bumbling Bea style.

You gotta wonder who thinks up these national days….

CHERRY BLOSSOMS

When I think of Haiku, I think of gorgeous flowering trees in Japan.

I’m sure there are poets who write them without thinking like I do.

I did a little researching and found Creative.Writing.Now. com.  It’s a website founded by writing teachers about writing.  One of their pages is about haiku poetry.  

The following are typical of haiku:

  • A focus on nature.

  • A “season word” such as “snow” which tells the reader what time of year it is.

  • A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.

  • Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.

In honor of National Haiku Day, April 15 I created a few haiku about the characters of my award winning book, Bumbling Bea. There are several acknowledgements to the Japanese culture in the story so it only seemed fitting.

 My haiku aren’t about trees, flowers and clouds, but they are about the nature of human beings.  (Get it, get it?)

Bumbling Bea

Beatrice about Michiko:

Laughing and bowing

Her voice strong and dramatic

I wish I was her.

Bumbling Bea

Michiko thoughts about her mother:

You loudly scold me

Stretching, growing up I cry

This life’s mine not yours.

Bumbling Bea

Peter’s reflection about the  Michiko sabotage:

Devil leaves of three

Softly touch innocent skin

Oozing mounds erupt.

Bumbling Bea

Bumbling Bea would say:

I take over you

blurting outrageous things

Always regretting them.

Mr. Brace quips:

As father I’m bound

To family duties

Begrudging all.

Mrs. Brace to Mr. Brace:

Can’t you see I’m sad?

It’s hard to forget

Happy days, sweet nights.

BB chapter 16

The Cast’s thoughts:

Performance is super

Michiko adds spice and flare

But what’s with the freeze?

Lost?  You won’t be once you read my book.  Check it out here:

http://tinyurl.cpm/n5at3o

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

 

Student Survival: The Importance of Pleasure Reading for a Kid

So, let’s talk about pleasure reading for a kid.

Recently, I was looking for a  pleasure reading book to purchase for my upcoming trip over seas. I was having a difficult time finding one. I saw a child who was nearly eating a book while he read it–in the time I looked over one aisle of books, he read three (all right, they were short, but still…)

 

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Some people are selective about the genres they read.  I usually gravitate toward books with quirky characters in ordinary appearing plots. I say “ordinary appearing” because it is always intriguing to find the characters going somewhere else than you expected.

However, I am known to cheat and read the last chapter of a book if a. the story is moving too slowly for me or b. I’m dying to know what happens. When I was a child, my mother would scold me for doing so–still haven’t kicked the habit.  Sorry, Mom.

I worry about kids’ reading preferences. It seems many writers write for whatever trend is popular the time. A few years ago, it was zombies and time travelers. Not every child wants to read fantasy or graphic novels.  That’s why I penned Bumbling Bea.  If you haven’t picked up my book, you might want to try it.  I promise you, it isn’t your run of the mill plot! Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

I ran on to an article concerning this concern and I thought you’d be interested, too.

Indie Book

Promoting the Pleasures of Reading: Why It Matters to Kids and to Country

June 10, 2017

Advocacy, Inquiry, Literacy, Reading, Teachingpleasure reading

by Lu Ann McNabb

This post is written by member Jeffrey Wilhelm.

Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want and Why We Should Let Them was this past year’s winner of the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in English Education.

The research findings that we report in Reading Unbound have profound implications for us as teachers, for our students, and for democracy.

In our book, we argue that pleasure reading is a civil rights issue. Why? Because fine-grained longitudinal studies (e.g., the British Cohort study: Sullivan & Brown, 2013; and John Guthrie’s analysis of PISA data, 2004, among many others) demonstrate that pleasure reading in youth is the most explanatory factor in both cognitive progress and social mobility over time.

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Pleasure reading is more powerful than parents’ educational attainment or socioeconomic status.

This means that pleasure reading is THE way to address social inequalities in terms of actualizing our students’ full potential and overcoming barriers to satisfying and successful lives.

We think that our data explain why pleasure reading leads to cognitive growth and social mobility.

The major takeaway for teachers is to focus on pleasure in our teaching. Pleasure has many forms: play pleasure/immersive pleasure, when you get lost in a book—this is a prerequisite pleasure and we can foster it in various ways, such as teaching with an inquiry approach, using drama and visualization strategies, etc.; work pleasure, where you get a functional and immediately applicable tool for doing something in your life; inner work pleasure, where you imaginatively rehearse for your life and consider what kind of person you want to be; intellectual pleasure, where you figure out what things mean and how texts were constructed to convey meanings and effects; and social pleasure, in which you relate to authors, characters, other readers, and yourself by staking your own identity.

Kids (like all other human beings!) do what they find pleasurable. You get good at what you do and then outgrow yourself by developing new related interests and capacities.

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Play pleasure develops the capacity to engage and immerse oneself, to visualize meanings and relate to characters. It is the desire to love and be loved. Work pleasure is the love of getting something functional done. Work pleasure is about the love of application and visible signs of accomplishment. Readers engaging in this pleasure cultivate transfer of strategies and insights to life.

Inner work pleasure involves imaginatively rehearsing what kind of person one wants to be. As our informant Helen asserted: “It’s not really learning about yourself, it’s learning about what you could be . . . .” and “Characters are ways of thinking really . . . They are ways of being you can try on.”

Inner work is the love of transformation—of connecting to something greater, of striving to become something more. When our informants engaged in this pleasure, they expressed and developed a growth mindset and a sense of personal and social possibility.

 pleasure reading

Intellectual pleasure is pursued for the joy of figuring things out; it develops the capacity to see connections and solve problems. Our informants developed resilience, grit, and proactivity through the exercise of this pleasure. Erik Erikson argued that staking one’s identity is the primary task of early to late adolescence and that this is achieved through evolving interests and competence.

Social pleasure involves this human developmental project because it involves relating to authors, characters, other readers, and the self in ways that stake identity. Social pleasure is the love of connection—to the self, others, community, and to doing significant work together.

This pleasure develops social imagination: the capacity to experience the world from other perspectives; to learn from and appreciate others distant from us in time, space, and experience; and the willingness to relate, reciprocate, attend to, and help others different from ourselves.

In other words, it promotes cognitive progress, wisdom, wholeness, and the democratic project. In fact, all of the pleasures were found to do this.

Our data clearly establish that students gravitate to the kinds of books they need to navigate their current life challenges, and that many ancillary benefits accrue in the realms of cognition, psychology, emotional development, and socialness. So much so that we developed the mantra: Kids read what they need!

 

This finding led us to be more trusting of kids’ choices and to ask them about why they chose to read what they did, and eventually to championing these choices. We likewise found that each of the marginalized genres we studied (romance, horror, vampire, fantasy, and dystopia) provided specific benefits and helped students navigate different individual developmental challenges.

Our data also establish that young people are doing sophisticated intellectual work in their pleasure reading, much of it just the kind of work that the Common Core and other next generation standards call for. So making pleasure more central to our practice is not in conflict with working to achieve standards.

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Standards and all the other significant goals described here can be achieved if teachers value interpretive complexity as much as they do textual complexity, if they create inquiry contexts that reward entering a story world and doing psychological and social work in addition to more traditional academic goals, and if they provide opportunities for choice and meaningful conversation.

Given the benefits of each pleasure, we are convinced that pleasure reading is not only a civil right, it is a social necessity of democracy.

That is why we urge you to promote pleasure reading in your classroom and school, and it is why our book is filled with practical ideas for how to do so while promoting each of the five pleasures. It is monumental work—and it is work we must undertake with the greatest urgency—particularly at this moment in history.

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What are some of your favorite genres to read? Perhaps you have a child who might enjoy reading my book, Bumbling Bea simply for the fun of it.  I think they’ll enjoy it!

Check it out here:  https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516988757&sr=8-1&keywords=Bumbling+Bea

I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Indie Author Podcasts

Being an Indie Author Has Its Perks

Bumbling Bea podcast

Let’s talk about podcasts. I find being an indie author has its perks.

In truth, I wasn’t much of a pod cast listener until I was interviewed for one. Ha!

One of the best things about indie publishing is we indies help one another. I don’t know if traditional authors support each other, but we do. In a very short time, I have made some great friendships because of Bumbling Bea.  This wasn’t anything I expected either.

A very nice author, Jed Lie (Jedlife.com) posted through a Facebook indie author group which I am a part of that he was accepting children book authors for his podcast, Reading with Your Kids.

He would interview us for free!

I jumped at the chance to be included and was lucky enough to be interviewed.  Here it is:

Isn’t that nice?

This isn’t a sort interview either.  Who does that?

Indie authors do.

Every time I am interviewed either for a website, a book talk, a video or now a podcast the interviewer asks wonderful questions which seem to originate from the person’s connection to Bumbling Bea.  In other words, their personal experiences are the jumping off point for the interview.

Here is another interview you might enjoy:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/20/authorblogspot-another-author-interview-of-me/

or this one:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/06/28/three-times-a-charm-an-author-interview/

or this one:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/12/author-interview-typewriterstories/

Gosh, I didn’t realize I had so many!

Deborah Baldwin book talk
I GIVE BOOK TALKS

Book talks are awesome, too!  I am amazed by the astute questions which students ask of me and of course, Bumbling Bea. Sometimes the questions are so insightful and some ideas I hadn’t thought of for the story.

One of my favorite is, “Do Michiko and Beatrice stay friends?  What about their parents?  Do they stay together?”

Hmmmm.

Well, you’ll just have to read Bumbling Bea to find out.

If you are interested in Bumbling Bea, you can find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523044536&sr=8-1&keywords=Bumbling+bea

 

Bumbling Bea podcast

 

 

Again, I’d like to thank the interviewers for their generous time and support of me and Bumbling Bea.

I never expected anyone to enjoy Bumbling Bea and I’m thrilled when someone reads it.

As always, contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Bumbling Bea

Exclusive Interview of My Main Character

http://www.tabislick.com/2017/09/bumblinginterview.html

Recently, my main character Beatrice Brace was selected for an exclusive interview with the Slick Writing Corner blog.  Thank you so much to Tabi and the Slick writing Corner.   Here is the interview:

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*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*

Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?

*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*

Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!

*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*

*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*

Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?

Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.

Tabi: And why is that?

Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.

Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?

Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight.  Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioningmy two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.

Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?

Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.

Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.

Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.

Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?

Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter egosarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.

Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?

Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.

Tabi: That’s a good kind of friends to have. And what about Peter?

Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.

*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*

Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!

*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*

Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?

Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.

Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?

Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?

Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?

Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song.  One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it.  Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time.  I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.  

Tabi: What about your favorite movie?

Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman.  She’s awesome!

Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?

*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*

Bumbling Bea: Heck no.

*The Audience laughs*

Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.

*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*

Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?

Beatrice:  I doubt it.  His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know?  I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.  

Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?

Beatrice: Yes.

Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?

Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.

Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?

Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.

Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?

Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!

*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*

Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.

*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*

Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.

Michiko: What are you doing?

Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.

Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.

*Michiko turns to Tabi*

Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?

Tabi: Why, no actually.

Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.

Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.

*Beatrice looks confused by this*

Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.

Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.

Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.

Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!

*Outro music begins*

Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll  be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586

If you’d like more information about the Slick Writing Corner, check it out here:

*Intro music begins to play as lights hit front stage*

Tabi: Welcome back! How’s everyone feeling tonight?

*Audience goes wild, clapping their hands and whistling enthusiastically*

crowd cheering

Tabi: Awesome, well thank you all for joining us. Tonight we have a very special guest all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia put your hands together for Beatrice Brace!

*Beatrice enters the stage as the audience applaud*

*The two take a seat and the audience follows their lead*

Tabi: So, Beatrice, I hear you’re trying out for the lead role in your 8th grade school play. Could you tell us a little bit about the part you’ll be auditioning for?

Beatrice: I want to play the leading role of Pocahontas in our annual school play about Pocahontas and John Smith. Even though the script isn’t very factual and sort of dumb, I still want to play the lead role.

Tabi: And why is that?

Beatrice: This is my last time to audition for the school play. My Grandpa Percy passed away during the play rehearsal time when I was in sixth grade and in seventh grade I had to have my tonsils taken out and missed the show. So if I’m going to perform Pocahontas, this is my last time. Plus, if I get the leading part, I’m guaranteed to make friends with the popular kids before we move to high school next year. High school really scares me.

Tabi: High school can seem pretty scary, but once you’re there it usually gets less scary. You mentioned being guaranteed friends with the popular crowd, could you explain this a little bit?

Beatrice: Popular kids like other kids who are in the limelight.  Somehow they think that will rub off on them, so they stick close to them to survive. I think I’m stupid, pudgy and not very talented. If I am cast as Pocahontas at least for a Nano second, I’ll be popular with those kids. There are only three other eighth grade students auditioningmy two friends Jerri and Peter and this Japanese girl, Michiko. The three of us are shoe-ins. I don’t know about Michiko.

Tabi: Could you tell us a little bit about Michiko?

Beatrice: Ugh. Okay, if I have to… Michiko Tannabe is a girl who is visiting from Japan for the school year. She is the same age as I, but a complete opposite of me. She is petite, slender, delicate, very talented and super smart. She wears cat ears and dramatizes everything in her life.

Tabi: I guess auditioning for the school play makes sense then.

Beatrice: I think she’s kinda pushy and a know-it-all. My alter ego, Bumbling Bea, takes care of her for me. Well, I should say Bumbling Bea tries to take care of Michiko for me, but it backfires big time thanks to Peter’s failed sabotage attempt with poison ivy.

Tabi *Look of shock*: Poison ivy? Yikes! Unless you’re like me and are in the 15% who aren’t allergic. And what is or who is Bumbling Bea?

Beatrice: As I mentioned, she’s my alter egosarcastic, rude and a know it all. She says too much and needs to think before she speaks. Ha! If she did, she’d vanish. She shows up out of nowhere and takes over. Whenever I am awkward or unsure, Bumbling Bea blurts something to make me feel better about myself.

Tabi: I see. And what about your friends, what are Jerri and Peter like?

Beatrice: I think everyone should have a Jerri in their life. She’s the kind of friend who can speak honestly to me about myself.

Tabi: That’s a good kind of friend to have. And what about Peter?

Beatrice: I think everyone probably has a friend like Peter in their life, too. He’s kind of nerdy and awkward, but hysterically funny at the same time. Sometimes I just call him “P” to get his attention.

*Beatrice’s alter ego takes over*

Bumbling Bea: There’s a reason, but I’m not gonna share that, too. Jeez!

*Beatrice returns. Tabi glances with concern to the audience before returning her attention to Beatrice*

Tabi: Uh-uh… I see. And how did you meet these two?

Beatrice: We met in kindergarten and have been pals ever since. We live in the same neighborhood and together we ride our bikes to school every day.

Tabi: How nice! It’s good to have friends nearby. On a different note, let’s get to know you a little bit more. What’s your favorite song on the radio?

Beatrice: I like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift’s “I’m only Me When I’m With You”?

Tabi: Really? What do you like about these songs?

Beatrice: When I first heard “Lights” I looked up the meaning of the song.  One opinion is that it is about depression and how she beats it.  Sometimes I’m depressed, but I always remember whatever is bothering me will pass in time.  I just like Taylor’s song because I can dance to it.  

Tabi: What about your favorite movie?

Beatrice: I like all the Stars Wars movies and Marvel Comics, especially Wonder Woman.  She’s awesome!

Tabi: I agree! Wonder Woman is my absolute favorite. Good choice! And do you play a sport?

*Bumbling Bea takes over, giving Tabi a look like she’s a crazy person*

Bumbling Bea: Heck no.

*The Audience laughs*

Tabi: Haha, okay moving on. So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Bumbling Bea: Anywhere but here.

*The audience watches as Beatrice returns*

Beatrice: I’d like to visit England and see Stonehenge and Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Tabi: Ahh, now the auditioning for the play makes more sense. Do you dream of acting in one of Shakespeare’s plays?

Beatrice:  I doubt it.  His plays are in iambic pentameter, you know?  I’m afraid I’d forget the lines and mess up the rhythm of them while doing so.  

Tabi: Well, I wish you the best of luck in auditioning for Pocahontas. Now, you said Michiko is also auditioning for the part, correct?

Beatrice: Yes.

Tabi: What would you say is her best quality?

Beatrice: Michiko is fearless and driven. She doesn’t care if other students like her. She knows what she wants and goes for it.

Tabi: Those are great qualities. What do your friends think of Michiko?

Beatrice: Jerri becomes fast friends with Michiko. It takes Peter longer, because he’s more interested in making money to buy a scooter than anything else. At first, he doesn’t even notice her.

Tabi: and what do you think Michiko thinks of you?

Beatrice: I think Michiko doesn’t even notice me until she is forced to work with me on the play. She probably thinks I’m stupid and boring. Maybe she’s right, but I’m not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking so. I’ll show her!

*Michiko enters the stage unexpectedly*

Michiko: Oh, Beatrice. I brought you some of my mother’s almond cookies which you like so much.

*Awww sounds ensue from the crowd at the touching gesture*

Beatrice: Thank you, I guess.

Michiko: What are you doing?

Beatrice: I’m being interviewed about my Bumbling Bea story.

Michiko: Oh that story. I’m glad we’re past that, aren’t you? It was a crazy time for both of us.

*Michiko turns to Tabi*

Michiko: Tabi, has Beatrice shared how it ends?

Tabi: Why, no actually.

Beatrice: No, duh. And I’m not gonna. She’ll have to read it.

Michiko: Exactly! I agree with you, Beatrice. It wouldn’t be any fun to know the ending before you read the book. Then you’d have to call the book a different name.

*Beatrice looks confused by this*

Beatrice: What? I don’t get it, Michiko.

Michiko: Beatrice, you’d have to call the book a different name because the story would be backwards. You could give it a title like Fable of Bea Bumbling. That would be a good name for a play. I can see it now, a group of sound effects men are lined up on the stage with their gongs reads to announce your entrance. A narrator, me, promenades to the center of the stage and strikes a dramatic pose. A Kabuki pose would be best, I think.

Beatrice: Oh brother. Here we go again.

Tabi: Okay, well that’s all the time we have this evening. Don’t forget to go and grab your copy of Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin!

*Outro music begins*

Tabi: Next Friday we’ll be joined by a real, live private investigator who solves murders around Absentia and he’ll  be here to show us how it’s done. Come on, you know you don’t want to miss the exclusive interview with Felix the Fox!

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/events/120288238627586

An exclusive interview of my main character, Beatrice.  This is such a clever idea.  Thanks to Tabi Slick for inviting us.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Reading Groups: An Indie Writer’s Dream

Reading Groups:  An Indie Writer’s Dream

There are good teachers and there are outstanding teachers.  Some teachers are willing to support a new writer and others are not, although I haven’t met any yet.

There’s a exemplary school in Columbia, Missouri–Ridgeway Elementary School.

Have you heard of it?

If not, you need to check it out here: https://www.cpsk12.org/Domain/30

Ridgeway Elementary School teaches using individual guided education program. Both of our daughters were educated at Ridgeway.  Ridgeway students understand how to learn, study and learn.

Although it is not a magnet or charter school, it works much like one.

There is a wonderful 4/5th grade teacher there, Maria Cox, who asked to use my book with her reading groups.

What?

Emphatically, I said yes!

I was invited to Ridgeway and spoke to these great students about my book as well.  You gotta give these kids some credit.  It was a very warm room and nearing lunch time.  They sat quietly and asked terrific questions.

I could tell Mrs. Cox had prepared the students for the occasion.

Deborah Baldwin book talk
I GIVE BOOK TALKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ridgeway Elementary book group

Mrs. Cox sent to me photos of the kids reading the second printing of Bumbling Bea.  I updated and tweaked the story a bit and I wanted these kids to be the first to read the new version.

It was thrilling for me to see the students’ faces as they picked out sections they enjoyed.

That’s an author’s dream.

Would your class like a set of Bumbling Bea books?  This can be arranged for you, too. Mrs. Cox used the copies in her reading groups.

I have a play adaptation of Bumbling Bea, too.  I’m looking for a drama class to workshop the show with me.  I’d be willing to come to your school and present a book talk at the same time as the workshop occurs.  Is this something you’d be interested in?

Write me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com and we can chat about it.

Kabuki Theatre for Girls

Kabuki Theatre for Girls

Kabuki theatre for girls

Kabuki Theatre for Girls? Readers ask me why I created a story which included Kabuki theatre. Here is the book:

http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

When I was sixteen years old, my parents and I traveled to Japan for a vacation.  My grandparents were missionaries in Japan prior to WWII and my mother wanted to visit the country again.  She hadn’t visited her birthplace since attending college in the US in the early 1940’s.

Mr. Tannabe (yes, I used his name in the book to honor him) served as a tour guide showing us around Japan. Mr. Tannabe owed his faith in Christ to my grandfather who baptized him in the ocean.  He felt indebted to my family because of this. He wined and dined us and showered us with many gifts.  Nearing the end of the trip,  Mr. Tannabe treated us to seats at the National Kabuki Theatre in Tokyo to attend a play.

Mr. Tannabe knew I loved theatre.  I will be forever grateful to him for this experience, because the impetus for Bumbling Bea came from this performance. I was struck by its pageantry, spectacle, story, movement and style.  Then I found out that women originally portrayed all the characters.

kabuki theatre for girls

You are kidding me, right?  Why aren’t women performing Kabuki Theatre today?

Here’s a quick history lesson for you:

It’s possible Kabuki Theatre was first created by a woman named  Okuni of Izumo in the 1590’s (around the time of Shakespeare). She was thought to be an iron worker’s daughter in service to a shrine of Izumo.

From   An Outline Drama of Japanese Theatre written in 1928 (I’m paraphrasing here) the supposed Okuni may have been on a tour seeking contributions for the shrine.
Okuni’s dance was one of worship in praise of a Shinto god.   Her dance met with such welcome in Kyoto that she remained, to be identified with a new dramatic movement rising from the midst of the common people. Okuni was beautiful and graceful which appealed to the people regardless of the religious reasons.

Kabuki theatre for girls

Now, the plot thickens….

A young man was sent by his parents to become trained as a priest. He saw Okuni dance and admired her beauty and poise. He came from a military family and wasn’t interested in the priesthood, but more focused on social aspects.  He found her dances too restricting.  Over time, he convinced Okuni to adapt her dance movements to the music of the day (some of which he wrote). Later, this form became known as Kabuki–the art of song and dance.

More time goes by…

Okuni becomes the Beyoncé of the time. Her dances were quite sensual.

She was invited at least once to perform for the royalty of Japan.   As in many circumstances in the entertainment business,  imitators sprang up.  Both women and men were performing some form of Kabuki. These were men who were otherwise unemployed or women of ill repute (prostitutes) and considered lower class citizens. Plus, those sexy dances, you know?  Kabuki gained a poor reputation.

More time goes by….

Well gosh.  Now, the women weren’t allowed on the stage (you know, because they are females and acting all sexy like).  There were lots of young unemployed men willing to take their places. The stories involved male and female characters, so the men took up playing the female characters as well.

To this day, men portray both the female and male roles in Kabuki Theatre.

There is lots more to the history of Kabuki Theatre, but this gives you a very quick story explaining why a woman from the Midwest would craft such a story.

Kabuki theatre for girls
Kabuki Theatre has a style all its own.

I think one of most unusual aspects of it is a character could be passed from one generation of actors to the next.  Sort of like your grandfather was a Kabuki actor who played John Smith.  Then, your dad becomes a Kabuki actor and he inherits your grandfather’s role of John Smith PLUS whatever celebrated movement your grandfather created in the part.

Now it’s your turn.  Not only are you portraying the role your grandfather and father portrayed, you are sharing your family’s legacy.

Except you are a girl named Michiko.  You want to honor your grandfather, and in your case, your uncle. But heck.  You are a girl and the only family member interested or willing to train in the Kabuki Theatre.

Kabuki theatre for girls–that’s Michiko’s challenge and it was mine, too.

After attending only one Kabuki Theatre performance when I was a sixteen year old,  forty-four years later, I give you Bumbling Bea.

If you are interested in reading Bumbling Bea, check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/n5at3oh

kabuki-actor

Write me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net