Boston Here I Come

I have the fortune to be going to the historic city of Boston on social studies business.  I’m extending my stay since I have never been there, and live in CA, so I’ll be there from April 1-8 then on to Philadelphia and Delaware from April 8-15.  Thanks to Google Images for all the pictures.

Boston at night2

I’ll be arriving at 11:00 p.m., so I’m sure the city will look beautiful. For me it will just be 8:00.  I’ll be raring to go!  However, I’m alone, so I’ll  get settled in my hotel, and maybe write a post or two with Manny.  The good news is that I’m going to get to visit blogger friend, Eunice at NutsForTreasure while I’m there.

I investigated a couple of blogs.  Free choices of interesting sights to see abound.  Many friends told me to walk the Freedom Trail which starts at the Visitor Information Center in the Common.

Boston Common

I must see the Mapparium, a walk-in, three-story-high, stained glass globe.


I’ll enjoy visiting the Museum of Fine Arts free on Wednesday after 4:00 p.m.  If I tour the Samuel Adams Brewery from 10:00-3:00 beforehand, will I have more fun, or fall asleep on the floor? zzz

Museum of Fine Arts

Maybe I should explore the Massachusetts State House the war ship, USS Constitution, and the Old North Church instead.  Most of them open at 10:00 also. I’ll have plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast while I get used to the three hour time difference.


If you have been to Boston, or lived here, what would you suggest for me to see, or are you a blogger friend who lives there?

Mom better not forget me this time!
Mom better not forget me this time!




WP Photo Challenge: Reflections

These birds lined up on the log and posed for this picture so beautifully.  Were they preening for the morning, admiring their own reflection?  As I watched them, others pulled out their own cell phones and admired them as they reflected into the water along Bob Jones Trail on the way to Avila Beach.


If I were a painter, I would paint this picture.  Have a beautiful day.  🙂

Visiting Cal’s Used Bookstore in Redding, CA

Market Research 11RT

Blue sky and 75 degrees made today a  tourist-magazine perfect day to look for Cal’s Used Bookstore, located with great difficulty at 5240 Westside Road in Redding, CA back behind rows of what looked like Storage Wars.  Market Research 10RT

While it isn’t Powell’s Used Books in Portland, Oregon, owner, Carl, filled several rooms with many genres of used books, and seemed knowledgeable about them all.  He walked me through the romance section, saving me hours of tedious looking.

It was hard to compare the numbers of books in both the new and the used bookstores.  What is interesting about a used bookstore is which books come back to be resold, and how long they stay on the shelf.  Carl arranged his books in alphabetical order, but highlighted more authors, by setting the books on a little shelf (or book) and piling them up, spine showing.

Market Research12RT
Popular paranormal author

He pointed out authors that sold well, so I bought four books at $3.50 each.  He told me that books by J.R. Ward flew off the shelf faster than any others, and so he only had a few of her books.  I bought her book, Envy, published in 2001.  She is a #1 NY Best Selling Author.  Paranormal romance currently sells well.

Market Research RT

Traditional romance books by Debbie Macomber, author of Back on Blossom Street published in 2007, come back into the store by droves.

Market Research 13RTRobyn Carr sets her stories in local venues, which draws readers in this area to her books.

Market Research14RT

Carl showed me where to find children’s books, then left me to enjoy them by myself.  I found VERY few fiction picture books.  Early readers and early teen books prevailed.  Cal’s stocked mostly non-fiction science and social science children’s picture books.  Of the fiction books available, one earned the Caldecott Honor, John Henry by Julius Lester, pictures by Jerry Pinkney, published in 1994. -mint condition.  I’m guessing that it is around 2,000 words, which makes it almost 4 times as long as The Australian Writer’s Centre suggested length for picture books.  This book cost me $4.50, and is $14.36 at Amazon.  However, I might never have bought it at Amazon because there are so many choices, whereas, it was the only Caldecott Award winning book at Cal’s.


The other book I purchased, Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, who also wrote Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type which is a Caldecott Award winner, and one of my favorite books. It still had it’s $0.98 price tag on the spine and I paid $3.50 for it.  🙂

Duck for President

My analysis of the situation is that once people purchase picture books, they either wear them out, hand them down, or keep them until they have grandchildren.  Most do not come back for resale unless they are not very good.  On the other hand, people reuse paperback books.  These sold for $3.50, about the same price as the hardback copies of the children’s books, almost half of their retail value, $7.19 paperback or $5.38 Kindle.  I learned that authors do not get any more than name recognition from the sale of used books.

So where do you get your books?

Market Analysis for the Neophyte Author

When I went to Barnes and Noble in Fresno to check out the competition in romance novels and children’s books, I looked through the new lens of market research instead of Common Core Standards.

Romance Research 1rt

Most of the romance books lined one aisle filed alphabetically by author’s last name.  Commonly the bookstore displays the titles spine out.  Occasionally an author earned the right to face cover out.

market research 2RTBarnes and Noble displayed more Nora Roberts books than any  other author.  Since I had never read one of her books, I found one in another display of bargain books, a hardback book selling for $6.98, originally $27.85.  What’s interesting for the neophyte author is how many books there are, and how few of them are actually spotlighted.

Market research 3RT

It was easier to read in the children’s section, so I spent the most time in that section.  It intrigued me how few of even the spotlighted books were what I would consider “great reading.”

Market Research 4RT

I stayed three hours in the bookstore until I got hungry, and in that time read, took pictures and made notes on about 20 picture books as well as the romance books.  In that time probably three or four children came with their parents to read. A clerk stayed close by to help them find books, and she talked to me about the children’s birthday bonus I could sign up to receive.

Market research 5RTOut of the many, many children’s picture books available, only a very small percentage of authors made it to their own shelves. Many of these are books that are common household words, like Dr. Seuss, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.  One can find some classics in several different places around the bookstore. Packed into the back corner, one bookshelf housed prized picture books by age level.

Market Research 6RT

You can see Eric Carle’s books on the bottom for the very young. Next are the oldest pre-school aged books.  I read two of them, one I liked and one I didn’t.  Days later I saw a wordless cartoon telling the story of Flying Books by William Joyce.  I thought it needed words, but I had read the book.  At the very top, out of reach sat books for two year olds. My favorites were in the younger stories.  I especially enjoyed The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen.  This story began, “The dark lived in the same house as Laslo.”  What a catching first line, then the story unfolded from “dark’s” point of view. “Sometimes the dark hid in the closet…”  These were among the best I read.

Market Research6R

I read books from the less advertised sections.  I chose a book by Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Welton Hamilton because they offered an online class on writing children’s literature.  The Fairy Princess Sprinkles in the Snow had all the glitz a little girl would want.  It seemed long, but I didn’t count words.  The book centers around a spoiled little girl who wants to be in the concert but was not chosen.  It seems contrived and didactic in places to me, but Julie Andrews wrote it, so how awful could it be?

Market Research 8RC

I also noted publishers, and published dates, award-winning books.  I photographed book jacket marketing statements, and purchased my favorite books.  When I came home, I looked for my favorite authors online, and friended them on Twitter and Facebook if they were available.  Now I am a veritable expert on the market for romance and picture books.  Onward to getting ready to publish and hit the shelves.

Market Research 9RT

Oops, where’s that book by what’s her name, Marsha somebody?

Local California Artist, Linda Hengst

I enjoy meeting people.  I even like to meet people who do things well.  Then I can brag that I know them.  That makes me a better, more capable person, doesn’t it?  So today I’m going to brag about a neighbor of mine, Linda Hengst.

The Hengsts farm in the Woodlake area. Citrus and stone fruits grow well in this area. These are the views I drive by every day.
The Hengsts farm in the Woodlake area. Citrus and stone fruits grow well in this area. These are the views I drive by every day.

My friend, neighbor, and fellow Kiwanian, Linda Hengst, paints and photographs this beautiful area in which we live with passion and perfection.  She has given me permission to share some of her work.  It is on display at the Exeter Courthouse Gallery.  She works primarily in oil pallet knife paintings as well as water colors, pen and ink.  Her works will be up until March 30.

Linda's Kaweah3
This looks like the drive my husband and I took up the Kaweah River. It looks calm here, but with a little snow and rain…

Linda's mountain

Linda's Kaweah

This is my personal favorite.  I love the colors of the boats dancing on the water.
This is my personal favorite. I love the colors of the boats dancing on the water.

Which ones did you like best?