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

I'm glad I'm an Indie Author

The 10 Reasons I’m Glad I am an Indie Author

The 10 Reasons I’m Glad I am an Indie Author is popular with my followers.

I’m listening to our grand daughter as she giggles with her grandpa. They are playing a rowdy game of  Peek-a-boo.   She’ll whimper a little like she’s unhappy and he’ll think of something else to do with her to make her happy.

That’s when I think of how glad I am to be an Indie author.

indie-book

I think if I had an agent and publisher, I might be spending time communicating with them and not enjoying our little bundle of energy.

Working for myself  as an indie author gives me some  great advantages:

I answer to myself. I don’t have to make phone calls and negotiate with anyone.  Negotiating is tiring, although usually good comes out of those kind of meetings.  I like to compromise.

I have no time constraints or deadlines. If I don’t want to work on the adaptation of Bumbling Bea into a play, I don’t have to do so.  Trust me, there are so many facets of indie publishing.  I can use my time wisely just about anywhere my cursor lands.  I accept the reality of this, however.  I know if I don’t finish a scene then I might not make my self imposed deadline, but that’s something for me to deal with.

I have no budget limits except those in my own pocketbook. I have to be careful with my budget now that I am retired.  Currently, I’m not directing any project or doing any extra teaching.  I think I’m in a transition period. It’s easy to overspend on advertising and marketing which is of course the crux of the work.

I set the price of both the paperback and ebook version. Because it’s mine, I can change the price any time I choose with the trust help of Amazon.  Usually, I can change the price in a matter of hours.

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 I receive a higher royalty for each copy than through traditional publishing. If you think I’m getting rich here you are sorely mistaken.  That wasn’t my goal, although the extra money is always welcome, you know?

I have complete creative control. I decide on everything pertaining to my book–its color, font style, size, synopsis, description, retailers, giveaways, etc.  This aspect reminds me of directing plays.  It was very fun to work with my illustrator, H. Russ Brown.  If I had gone the traditional publishing route, I wouldn’t have the team creativity we enjoy.

I have editorial control. Generally, this is a great asset.  It can be challenging some times because if I see an error (and I do see errors), I decide whether the error should be fixed and the book reprinted.

 In turn, I can also do a second printing.  That’s why Bumbling Bea received a new exterior in February of 2016.  I thought she needed some updating on both the outside and the story as well.  You ask what did I do?  You’ll have to read Bumbling Bea to find out!

I retain all the rights in a global market. If Bumbling Bea ever goes big and I mean IF, I reap the fruits of my labor, not someone elsewhere.

girl reading .jpg

Bumbling Bea is a book of a particular niche market. For readers who are interested in theatre and are young teens, Bumbling Bea is for you.   However,  we discovered readers of many ages and students of various grade levels enjoy the story, because it is relatable.

I’ve received reviews from grandmothers, teenagers, college students, actors, singers, dancers and even athletes.  That’s quite a broad appeal.

I will admit, I have good days and not so good days.  I like working by myself but at times I crave conversation with a friend or two to help me work out whatever my writing challenge I’m having.

Whenever that occurs, I chat with my  Indie Writers Cooperative Facebook group to gain perspective again.  They are a wonderful resource to me as unbiased listeners and peers.  The group was created in the fall of 2016 and to date we have more than 500 members. I think that speaks volumes about the importance of having a place to sound off with a group that understands you.

“But Deborah, what if an agent contacts you and wants to represent your book.  What will you do?”  I’ve spoken with two agents in the past. One wanted me to completely revamp the story turning it into a YA one and the other was overworked. So, if someone calls, I’ll call them back that’s for sure!From there, we’ll see…

So, there’s the ten reasons I’m glad I am an indie author.

Independent publishing is here to stay. Please enjoy a read on my behalf.

book

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

New Book reviews on Bumbling Bea

Bumbling Bea

Here are some new book reviews for Bumbling Bea.

Book reviews are the life blood of an indie author.  No joke.  We depend upon reviews to encourage other readers to check out our books.  Only today, I sent off a copy of Bumbling Bea to someone.  Apparently, she’s a voracious reader.  I contacted her through another indie author and she agreed to read Bumbling Bea.

Here are several book reviews of Bumbling Bea.  Ever so often, I will add to this page in the hopes one of the reviews will pique your interest in reading my story.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ “Cute”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ “A fun book to read aloud together.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️  “I highly recommend Bumbling Bea for anyone with ‘tween avid readers.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  “Realistic and funny”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  “When a career arts educator decides to pen a book promoting the arts to children, it’s sure to be a winner! And Bumbling Bea is all that AND MORE! Bravo! Take a bow. Deborah Baldwin!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  “Fun and intensely close capturing of middle school angst.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️”Funny, well-plotted and populated with memorable characters.”The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️” You really capture the spirit of those awkward early teen years. And I love the dinners described in flags of the world terms! Great job!” Amazon reviewer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “This type of book is not my usual genre, but I have to admit it was a painfully good read.” Amazon reviewer

A fifth grade class in Missouri has used Bumbling Bea for a group read twice.  The first time they read the original Bumbling Bea, but we had a second printing (where I did some updating and clarifying in the story.) The teacher mentioned to me how much she liked the changes.

I’m working on my second book.  If all goes well, it should be out in the summer of 2019.  This is quite a statement for me.  Usually, I don’t make such a daring statement as give a date of completion.

I’m becoming bolder since my first writing experience of Bumbling Bea.  Honestly, having readers write book reviews has given me the courage to begin again on another story.

Who knows?  Maybe you’ll be one of the first people to read my second book.  Interested?

Contact me at dhcbaldwin.com

 


Where I am From

I’m a member of a writing group who suggested the subject of the beginnings of my life as a prompt, “Where I am from”

Where I am from

 

Where I am From

 

I am from sweet forsythia blooms

Strawberry Nestle Quick and cicadas sirening

From the three story house on Twelfth Street,

   Bricked, lacey ivy covered and hedged encircled

From window seats with clanking steam registers

     warming  frozen feet on February days.

I am from the towering maple tree who teased me to climb it

Who coveted its crimson and yellow leaves collected

     in the short Indian summer.

I’m from singing grace at supper and high cheek bones,

From the Britts, Scots, Irish and Welch.

I’m from  Me First and  My joke is better

From  Baby Sister and You’re so dramatic.

From a neighborhood church with clear windows

       encouraging me to see the natural beauty of God.

Deborah Baldwin

I’m from an old fashioned cow town reluctant to admit it

Salty potato salad and the sourest of lemon pie

    sporting bouffant-like meringue swirled high

From the missionary’s daughter raised in Japan

    speaking nasty slang learned from the maid.

From the red headed boy coddled by his anxious widowed mother

     saving the family farm becoming a doctor simultaneously.

I’m the queen and the orphan girl living under the ping pong table

     on the east porch

Who cried fake tears sitting on a street curb

     when the funeral processions rode by

I am who traded Lifesaver candies for safe passage

       by the alley boys

Who pushed one to the ground demanding apologies

     for her best and forever friend.

 

 I’m the girl whose life vision she couldn’t see

     until it was upon her.

It all makes sense now.

Though the reasons are mysterious, the outcome is grand.

Wrinkles, scars and stretch marks depict a life

I’m unwilling to lose.

They tattoo me wondrously.

Deborah Baldwin, author

 Where I am From….

Have you written any poems about your childhood?  I’d love to hear them.

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

I have written some stories about a few of my childhood memories which you might enjoy.  You’ll find them here:  https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/04/14/five-happy-stories-of-childhood-national-tell-a-story-day/

Also, here is my post about my favorite Robert Frost poem.

Check it out here:  https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/05/26/my-pocket-poem-for-poem-in-your-pocket-day%ef%bb%bf/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Resource to Help Your Student Become a Better Reader

A Resource to Help Your Student Become a Better Reader

Today’s post is about an amazing resource to help your student become a better reader. You probably haven’t heard of yet, but you will love me once you’ve read about it–Litpick.com. 

When I was a kid we didn’t have many of the modern day conveniences. Of course, cell phones, tablets, microwaves or even auto control on our cars were created later.  I remember the day our color television arrived.  My brother and I watched cartoons for hours.

 We didn’t have electric pencil sharpeners–just the grey metal ones that were screwed to the classroom wall.  Then mechnical pencils came along  which made pencil sharpeners pretty much obsolete.  Not for me.

A Resource to Help Your Student Become a Better Reader

Call me crazy, but I think Ticonderoga pencils are the best made pencils to this day.  Yes, I need a pencil sharpener for a Ticonderoga and I prefer the old metal ones.

I’m sorry, I’m not going to change.

A Resource to Help Your Student Become a Better Reader

We didn’t have the internet either–just the good old library with the card catalog system.  If you don’t even know what a card catalog system is, you have no idea how laborious a process it was to do research for a paper much less find a good book to read.

Thankfully, not anymore…..

I remember reading groups and book reports. Oh my. Sometimes the books were unbelievably boring, but I loved the activities I would do after reading the book.  One time I recall a friend scolding me because I drew a picture of one of the book’s scenes when I hadn’t even read the book yet.  Oops.

A Resource for Your Student to Become a Better Reader

From about fifth grade on, book reports were a tiresome activity.  Generally, we would have to stand in front of the class and explain our reasons for liking or disliking the book we read. Remember?

I bet there isn’t a person in this country who hasn’t experienced the perils of reporting on a book. Ugh.

A Resource for Your Student to Become a Better Reader

I always felt uncomfortable giving my opinion about a particular book.  My worries surrounded my self esteem–what if I was wrong about the book and everyone else knew so and disagreed with me? (I imagine this anxiety spawned from my less than stellar comprehension of a plot.)

I had no mentor to guide me in critiqueing a book. Our teachers left it all up to us. We were given a slew of questions from which to write our report, but none of those evaluators stuck with me.

I don’t have much patience for certain genre of books. That’s probably the reason I leapt over the reading of certain books and went straight to the enrichment activities.  To this day, I am known (on occasion) to throw a book (paper back) across the room if it’s not keeping my attention.

Specific experiences from one’s schooling stay with us all our lives.  One of mine is book reports. If today someone asks me to review her book, I still have a difficult time doing so.

However…

You young whipper snappers are saved from the perils of  book reporting.

A Resource for Your Student to Become a Better Reader

You have Litpick.com. You lucky ducks!

Litpick.com is an international website for preteens through college to read and review books. Becoming a member is free and that’s only the beginning.

There are several ways you, your child or student will benefit from Litpick.com:

  • read FREE books of his choice from a large selection

  • learn to critique and compose a review with an adult mentor

  • strengthen reading, critical thinking and comprehension skills

  • publish the review and use a scoring system

  • receive several perks by continuing to review for Litpick (how cool!)

  • given the opportunity to be paid for their reviews

Like the old Ronco t.v. commercials—That’s not all

An educator can create a book club for his students through Litpick, too. There is no limit to the number of readers in a book club.  Check out the website for more details.  http://Litpick.com

What a wonderful tool for your reader.

I discovered Litpick.com because I am an indie author. Since then, I have been featured on the Litpick Facebook page and written several blog posts for the monthly newsletter.   I’m always on the hunt seeking reviewers for my award winning middle grade book, Bumbling Bea. Litpick.com and I are a great fit!

Authors have several options for receiving book reviews–free, medium pace or the fast track.  This is a terrific service which gives the author choices in how quickly they require a review.

For a low cost,  one’s book is displayed on the landing page, in the monthly newsletter, through Facebook and other social media. The review is posted to all major book stores–Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. If an author wants more than one review this is possible, too.

Bumbling Bea

I’m about to ask for another review of Bumbling Bea.  Since it’s first printing in 2014, I’d made several edits to the story.  I’d like an honest review from a student reader. Litpick.com is the best place to receive one.

I had no idea how valuable Litpick.com was when I first submitted Bumbling Bea three years ago.  Boy, I do now.

Litpick has been recognized by the American Association of Librarians, Moms Choice Award Honoring Excellence and the Best Website for Independent Authors. Not too shabby, do you think?

Whether you are an indie author, a parent, a student or a teacher you owe it to yourself to check out Litpick.com

You won’t be disappointed.

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Get to Know Indie Author Deborah Baldwin

Get to Know Indie Author Deborah Baldwin

Get to Know Indie Author Deborah Baldwin is today’s post.

Find my award winning book at: https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518132285&sr=8-1&keywords=bumbling+bea

Get to Know Indie Author Deborah Baldwin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you interested in my post, Get to Know Indie Author Deborah Baldwin?Hello!
Who is this Dramamomma?

I live in Kansas in the vibrant university town of Lawrence. I am a happily married wife of thirty-four years and a mother to our two grown daughters and wonderful step son.
We moved to Kansas last summer to be near our family and our new grandchild. I was born and raised in Kansas, although I have never lived in the state as an adult until now. In some respects, I feel very at home here but that’s the midwest for you. 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m an award winning veteran drama teacher and very experienced and successful youth theatre and community theatre director doing both for over thirty-five years.
Dramamommaspeaks is about teaching drama at all levels, directing, the arts and drawing wisdom from my experiences. Every so often I will blog about other subjects such as parenting, my life, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am an indie author of Bumbling Bea, an award winning middle grade book concerning an unusual friendship between two girls. Lastly, I am a featured writer for Litpick.com an international award winning website for student book reviewers, parents and librarians. Check out my articles here the Facebook page for Litpick.com.

Get to KNow Indie Author Deborah Baldwin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my firsts– a “fan” of Bumbling Bea–she made TWO book reports on it!

Please take your time and peruse the blog and follow me!  It would mean a great deal to me to know  you read my posts.
This blog, like teaching, performing and directing, makes me feel connected to the world. In these times, don’t we all need that?

Talk with you soon.

Having fun in Colorado, one of my favorite places!

One of my better outfits, I must say…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first grandchild loves books, too!

Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net. You can follow me on Facebook at BumblingBea. Or follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DeborahHBaldwin

Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email: dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

Wishing Shelf

Surprising Bumbling Bea Reviews

Wishing Shelf

Surprising Bumbling Bea Reviews–I never thought I’d be writing that!

When Bumbling Bea was first published, I was very surprised by the reviews. I hoped middle school students would enjoy the story, but I never considered readers of all ages (some as young as seven and one a sixty-five year old grandma) would appreciate it, too.  I’m  flattered.

So, if you are seeking reviews of Bumbling Bea check out Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/lk5db54

There are nearly 50.

If you are wanting to read a few snippets, here are some:

  • Quirky, fun and intensely close capturing of middle school angst.”

******Emily Bassinger

  •  “In Bumbling Bea, author Deborah Baldwin creates an enjoyable look into growing up. Hilarity, missteps, and bungling follow as Bea and Michiko come to terms. The plot line is written skillfully.”

****Verabookreviews

  • “Deborah ensures that her story constantly generates mental images and tugs at heartstrings. The choice of words used reflect the effort that she must have put in to make this story both child-friendly and adult-friendly.”

*****Rajalakshmi Prithviraj\

  • “This book is utterly charming, with many fun and surprising twists that equally offer loads of entertainment as well as a variety of opportunities to feel validated!! Thank you, ‘Bumbling Bea’ for teaching me that these awkward moments we experience during our most awkward years are forgivable and not defining, and more importantly, that they are ALWAYS opportunities to LEARN ******Becca Ayers
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  • “Baldwin reached out to an audience that is often overlooked in writing (the middle school theater crowd) but does it in a fun and humorous way.”****Amy Dawn Kostecki
  • “Bumbling Bea is a wonderful example of what is like to be a middle school student trying to figure just who you really are and how the world really works. Baldwin does an excellent job sharing Bears inner turmoil, thoughts, emotions……. As a theater lover and teacher myself I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who works with children, has children, is a child at heart, or who enjoys the stage!
           *****Blair McCotter 
Wishing Shelf
Bumbling Bea is a finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Book Award Contest

 

 

Bumbling Bea fan

Author Blog Spot: Another Author Interview of Me

I’m very flattered.  A great blog, Author Blog Spot asked to interview me about independent publishing and my book, Bumbling Bea.  Here it is:

Hello everyone!  Today I am speaking with Debbie Baldwin.  Hi Deborah.  Thank you for being here.

 Can you tell us what made you decide to become a writer?

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a very little girl.  I penned my first story about a pig when I was around five years old.

That’s interesting and so young.

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My father was a radiologist and he would bring home to me the recycled orange colored papers that divided the x-ray films.  I LOVED them and wrote many a story on them.  I didn’t take my writing seriously until about five years ago, however.

How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?

I published my book independently.  I am a self-starter.  I didn’t want to wait around for a publisher who may or may not look at my book.  My story is somewhat unique in subject and although it is a good story, I knew it wasn’t mainstream.

Mainstream.  That’s the catch, isn’t it?  Would you do anything differently the next time?

Next time, I’d like to pay someone to edit for me.  Several qualified people edited it for me but I think it would be useful and more beneficial to have someone who’s an editing professional focus upon it.

Yes, and finding the right one is hard.  What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read, read, read.  There are many free resources now that will help you with your writing.  Keep your first draft to yourself.  If you expect your family to support your aspirations, you need to disengage from that hope.  Look for unbiased people to read your manuscript when you are ready.  Everyone’s opinion should be heard, but not acted upon.  Trust your instinct.  It won’t fail you if you are truly honest with yourself.

Lastly, a man whose opinion I wholeheartedly trust told me if I wait until my book is perfect, I’ll never publish it.  He reminded me that software is updated all the time, because if a company waits until it is completely perfect, they will never get the product out there.  Finish the project.  Just that action puts you way ahead of most people who only talk about their dreams, but never even take one step toward them.

book-talk

That’s good advice.  Thank you.  What or who influences your writing?

Because of my background in theatre, in particular, acting and directing, I appreciate stories with solid characterization.  In my thirty-nine years of directing, I have guided thousands of actors to create characters.  I am also a newly retired teacher having taught drama classes to students of all ages for as many years as directing.  Consequently, I am a good judge of one’s character.

I like many authors, but in particular, most recently, I have enjoyed Fredrick Backman’s books.  He weaves an unusual story with interesting characters.  My favorite novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” because again, it is an unusual story.  Jodi Picoult comes to mind because she writes about modern day issues from an unusual slant.

What are your latest releases?

Bumbling Bea is my debut novel. I am pleased to share that I am doing a second printing of my book, with a new cover and back and a few tweaks to the story which give it a punch!Bumbling Bea book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell me, Debbie, how long have you been writing professionally?  And do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time.  I keep up a blog, in particular-Dramamommaspeaks.com.  I am about to publish an audio CD of drama class lesson plans.  There will be a series of them beginning with a storytelling unit.  They will be helpful to any teacher.

Oh, yes!  Making lesson plans is hard enough.  So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing, Debbie?

I love to see a good movie and try to see one each week.  I read quite a bit, enjoy the outdoors and traveling with my husband.

And where do you reside?

We moved to Lawrence, Kansas about three months ago to retire near our family and FIRST grandchild. It’s wonderful to be with our daughters, their husband and our wonderfully precious granddaughter.

I know exactly what you mean.  Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled?

My book signings are very sporadic, as are book talks, but I do announce them on the various social  sites.  I am willing to travel to surrounding states for book talks.

That’s great!  Thank you so much for spending time with me.  Debbie’s website is: www.DeborahBaldwin.net and her blog is:  http://Dramamommaspeaks.com.  You can “friend her” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BumblingBea/  Or follow her on Twitter at BumblingBea@dhcbaldwin

To purchase Bumbling Bea, go to:  https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356#customerReviews

A Super Review of Bumbling Bea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

STORY LINE BUMBLING BEA:In Bumbling Bea, author Deborah Baldwin creates an enjoyable look into growing up. Beatrice has one more chance to play the lead in the school play before she leaves middle school. After all, playing the lead will ensure she will be in with popular girls. She has planned all year towards this goal, she and her alter ego Bumbling Bea. However, things do not go as planned. A new girl has enrolled from Japan. Michiko talented, opinionated, and pretty, gets the lead roll. Beatrice and alter ego Bea refuse to be denied and devise plans to get rid of Michiko. Let the games begin.

Hilarity, missteps, and bungling follow as Bea and Michiko come to terms. My children’s contemporary novel review follows.

CHARACTERS, PLOTTING, AND DEVELOPMENT:

To begin with, I must tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Although classified as a children/preteen book, I found as a mature senior I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Filled with laughter, missteps, and trials of the young trying to grow up, I laughed out loud at Bea’s antics. As I read, I found myself remembering my preteen years and the emotions that ran riot. Author Deborah Baldwin captured the pain and confusion of transitioning from a child to preteen and the situations the immature mind can create.

Baldwin’s pacing of the story was inline with the length of the story. The pace did not lag or bog down, but was steady and smooth. Furthermore, I found the plotting skillful as Ms. Baldwin brought all the threads together to create a solid book.

Lastly, in concluding my contemporary children’s novel review, I found the book well written with well-developed main characters and secondary characters which added to the tension and story-line.

BUMBLING BEA RECOMMENDATION: STARS 4

In addition, I gave Bumbling Bea 4 well-deserved stars. Subsequently, I found Bumbling Bea suitable for children and preteens as well as adults. As a senior I enjoyed this funny look back at the preteen years.

To purchase a copy of Bumbling  Bea, go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/product-reviews/1500390356/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#R1O9MYUNK49KNA

Bumbling Bea: The First Chapter

BB chapter 16

There has been a lot of traffic on the blog lately and I can’t help but wonder if folks are wondering about my book, Bumbling Bea. So, here is chapter one:

Chapter One

It was Peter’s fault.

“P!” I yelled to get his attention, “do I look like old Macdonald on the farm to you?”

I was splattered all over with the gross stuff. I swear it was already curdling and the entire cafeteria of students could see it. I smelled putrid–like yucky old, blackened, moldy cheese long forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. It made me wretch a little but I still managed to get in his face.

“Why don’t you drink juice or water? Now I smell like I’ve been working in a cheese factory. You’re such a dweeb, P.”

When I was mad at Peter, I called him “P.” He’d been P. ever since we were in kindergarten when he stuck a couple of peas up his nose and had to go to the hospital to get them out. And like those peas, the name stuck. And he was clumsy, BUT only with me. He defended himself like he always did which irritated me.

“Jeez, sorry Beatrice. I didn’t mean to nearly flip over your backpack and spill two miniscule drops of lactose on your precious jacket. It was blocking the aisle between the tables like always. You are so mean these days.” Peter huffed, stomping away from the lunch room.

It wasn’t me speaking to Peter. It was Bumbling Bea. I’ve discovered I have an alter ego who I call Bumbling Bea. Strange and mean thoughts come flying out of my mouth. They didn’t even sound like something I’d think or say! Bumbling Bea hadn’t been around for long, but when she did rear her scary head, it was at the worst times.

One of the most memorable of times Bumbling Bea showed up was when we gave our choir director a tennis racket as a going away present. He was getting married and leaving our school. He was obsessed with tennis and was a pretty decent player. I thought it was neat, even though he had knobby knees and skinny, hairy, Minnie Mouse legs which looked kinda’ weird in his way too short tennis shorts.

I thought of the present when I saw him hitting tennis balls on the tennis court after school one day. He was mumbling something and from seeing his temper in class, I figured it was about his students.

            It was the first time Bumbling Bea arrived. I was class secretary for him (which made me feel super important even though he had a class secretary for every other class, too.) I thought I had power and the other kids listened to me. Bumbling Bea liked that a lot! At lunch one day I was sitting by myself, as usual. I turned to the table with the popular kids sitting behind me. “I think we should buy our music teacher a going away present since he’s getting married and leaving us. How about we give him a tennis racket since he loves the game so much?”

Everyone agreed with me (which was a first) and those who didn’t, gave me a dollar per student donation anyway. If giving money for a teacher’s going away present kept you in or near the popular kids, you gave it. And they did!

I was so excited. I checked out tennis racket prices on the internet, Dave’s Discount and the hardware supply store. Dave’s had the best price. Most everything was less expensive at Dave’s Discount. My Dad told me it was because Dave bought up all the things other businesses couldn’t sell. Dad thought Dave’s had good deals even though sometimes their stuff fell apart after one use. Their price for the tennis racket was awesome and one my class could afford.

Since I found the tennis racket right away, I had a little bit of time left over before Dad picked me up so I looked around at the girls’ clothes. Normally, I didn’t look at your typical girls’ clothes because they were always way too pink and way too fluffy. Not at Dave’s, though! I found a black and white polka dotted bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and a package of panties—things were so cheap.

“You want me to put them in a Dave’s Discount box, honey?” wondered the clerk lady who smelled like cigarettes and chewing gum.

I heard about the Dave’s Discount boxes before. People used them to store about anything in them after they got them home: extra cat litter, broken toys, a bed for a puppy and so forth. They were sturdy, kind of a brownish tan color with black stripes printed on one side of them and the words “Dave’s Discount” plastered over the stripes.

Being so proud of myself for a. finding the tennis racket and b. buying the bikini, flip flops and panties all by myself, I accepted two boxes instead of one. I mean, they were free, you know? Dad said not to turn away free stuff if anyone at a store ever offered you anything free. I thought Dave’s Discount box was one of those free things he was talking about.

“Mom, we got a deal. The racket only cost thirty-six dollars.” I announced as I arrived home.

“Don’t forget to take off the price tag before you wrap it, Beatrice,” my mom reminded me as she whisked off to teach her art classes.

Mom! Sheesh. Sometimes she thinks I’m a baby…

My brother, Edmund, helped me wrap the box rolling it two or three times in wrapping paper and tying it with gobs of ribbons and a bunch of bows on it. We put the box in another box which went in another box. We thought it was so fun to unwrap when you received one of those sort of presents. Edmund laughed and laughed each time we played the trick on him.

This is so awesome. I said to myself. And when I tell him I chose the present, he will think I’m one of his coolest students for doing this for him.

That was Bumbling Bea talking. You see? Why would it matter whether my teacher thought I was the coolest student he had ever taught during his teaching career? He had thousands of kids he’d taught already and I was a lousy singer.

It was finally time to give the present. On the last day of classes before summer vacation, we usually sang through the year’s music one more time. The whole choir was singing happily, but they kept turning and looking at me. I was singing loud the way I never do because I was so excited about our present. Well, Bumbling Bea was singing exceedingly loud because she thought I was a better singer since I thought up the present.

It was the second time Bumbling Bea appeared.

Finally, the end of the hour came and it was time for the present. I stood lifting my head proudly, “We are sad you are leaving Oak Grove Middle School. We wanted to give you something to remember us when you are off in your new life.” I gave him the big box saying, “So, here is a little something to use to take out your frustrations on your new wife.”

Huh? What was that I said?

I was kinda’ nervous which was unusual for me and it freaked me out. So I tried again. “I meant, here’s a little something to use to take out your frustrations in your new life.”

Oh man. That wasn’t right either.

I tried one more time, “Oh, you know when you have a bad day at your new school and want to strangle your students, you can use this instead.” I cringed.

My teacher stared at me. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Beatrice. I’m never frustrated with my students.” He smiled at the rest of the class and ignored me.

I felt different on the inside of myself. Kinda’ smart aleck-y, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I was way too excited or nervous or awkward? When I am, I do dumb things to cover. It was how I felt that day. I wanted to sound grown up and cool and in charge, but I said three super dumb things to my teacher.

But I did more than say three dumb things.

Way more.

When Edmund and I were wrapping the tennis racket, Edmund’s pet ferret, Bernie, got loose from Edmund’s clutches and darted around my room. We were so busy screaming at Bernie that while trying to catch him, I guess my big fat foot accidentally pushed the box with the tennis racket under my bed. I picked up the other identical box with my new swimming suit, matching flip flops and the package of new panties and wrapped it instead.

Yes, you read it right: it was the box containing my new bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and the new panties.

NEW PANTIES! NEW PANTIES!

But see, I didn’t know it was the wrong box because I wasn’t looking at my teacher when he finally opened the last box. I was busy picking up the left over wrapping paper.

Somebody whispered, “Beatrice, you left the price tag on the box.”

“Embarrassing,” another snickered.

THE PRICE TAG WAS SHOWING. THE STUPID PRICE TAG WAS STILL ON THE PRESENT.

I looked up and before I knew it, Bumbling Bea quipped, “There’s the price tag. It shows you how much we like you and I wanted you to know all us chipped in for it.”

Again with the dumb statements!

My teacher opened the box and there was no tennis racket.

BUT, there they were: the panties. Oh, the swimming suit and flip flops were there too, but all I saw were the PANTIES. It was as if they grew from a regular size to the size of a goal post on a football field. HUGE.

I stammered, “What? How did those get in there?”

My confused teacher said something to me, but the whole class was laughing so loudly I couldn’t hear him. I grabbed back the box and ran out of class and hid in the girls’ bathroom.

People called me “Panties” for days afterward until my mother heard them one too many times and threatened to call their parents.

Later I got the right present to my teacher but by then every kind of damage had already been done and I still forgot to take the price tag off the stupid present. I gave up.

Peter said later in the summer he saw my teacher hitting balls with our present tennis racket out on the court. He was back in town visiting his mother or something. I guess he hit one ball a little too hard, because the tennis racket’s webbing unraveled and when it fell to the ground, the handle fell apart, too.

Yup. Bumbling Bea steps into my skin right at the wrong time. Lately, there are more times she appears than I have until a crazy girl who wore cat ears visited from Japan. She made me see what I was doing by taking on my bumble-bea-ness herself. It’s all a little scary when you think about it.