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New Word: Geckolet by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Geckolet image courtesy of Wikipedia

As a sixty-something year old biologist, I am excited to learn new things. I believe in learning new things every day. Recently, while listening to a conference, I heard a word I wasn’t familiar with: Geckolet. I’m familiar with geckos, after all, I have two species (Native Western Banded Gecko and invasive Mediterranean House Gecko) that live around my house, but what is a geckolet?

Not only is the geckolet (Sphaerodactylus) smaller than other geckos, but they have round, instead of vertical, eye pupils. Some geckolets are tiny, less than an inch long from their snout to their vent. These are the smallest reptiles in the world, which means they’re interesting to me. You might be able to tell around here that I do love my reptile family!

They are the focus of a good number of my fun (rhyming and adventure tales) children’s science books. I hope you’ll take a look at books such as Tabby and Cleo: Unexpected Friends on my Books Page.

A bright green children's book cover, showing a Five-Fingered Fairy riding a Bahamian Boa

A Magical Chapter Book about
Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy and Her
Adventures with Cleo, a Bahamian Boa

Reading Level: Ages 8+

52 Pages

Tabby Comes Alive in
Illustrations by Nick Thorpe

Tabby, the Five-Finger Fairy, who comes from the Five-Finger Tree, Tabebuia bahamensis, loves the native plants, animals and people of The Bahamas. She makes friends wherever she goes!

When Tabby is attacked and almost eaten by a rat, a Bahamian Boa comes to her rescue. But she has seen so much fear of  the boas, Tabby is afraid. The boa, Cleo, gently introduces herself and she and Tabby become friends.

After witnessing many attacks on Cleo, Tabby decides to help her find a new home. They go to Mama Hope’s Garden, and Mama Hope teaches her grandson, Scottie, and her neighbors about boas. They are not venomous and they are responsible for killing rats that would otherwise overrun the islands.

Along the way, Tabby helps animals they meet to realize their foolish animosity toward each other and she helps them to, instead, become friends–like she and Cleo did.

Mama Hope realizes the only safe place for Cleo is at Retreat Gardens. They take Cleo there and Mama Hope’s grandson can finally see the Tabby, the fairy.

“Science is important and needs to be studied,” Tabby tells Scottie, “but there are some things you need to believe in your heart to see.”

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May I Have Some Privacy Please? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

roadrunner in sonoran desert wings spread

GREATER ROADRUNNER

I’m always trying to get an interesting view of the animals and plants I write about in my books and blog post. Roadrunners move very quickly, so I was having trouble getting a good photo. Then I came across this roadie at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center near Tucson, Az. The roadie was hurrying along the sidewalk when I joined the bird.  Roadie tucked behind some rocks and an agave cactus, but I was still in sight.

Finally, the roadie decided it was safe behind a grouping of boulders and a large prickly pear cactus. Conveniently, the cactus left a window where I could observe the roadie as it spread its wings to expose its dark back to bask in the sun. I was honored by this opportunity to observe and share the bird’s behavior. I think the roadie got nice and warm.

You can read about this behavior and many others in the rhyming book I wrote, Don’t Make Me Fly!

A copper colored book cover featuring an illustration of a Roadrunner bird
“With vibrant illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe, this picture book is jam-packed with scientific facts about roadrunners, delivered in verse form to keep the narrative lively. Roadrunners “…grab their victim/behind its head/And bash it on/the ground until it is dead.” Want to know how to swallow a horned lizard? Keep reading!” AZ Daily Star
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Lyric Power Publishing is Proud to Announce a New Book: Time and the Garden By Jo Busha

a book cover with a photo of a lush, Vermont garden

Jo Busha, author of Time and the Garden: A Book of Essays,  starting gardening in 1975, when she met and married her husband and they moved to the Randolph, Vermont, the property where they still live. She was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, and grew up in Indiana. After earning a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University, she returned to Vermont to teach high school social studies. After their twin sons were born, she went back to school to get her MS in Human Nutrition and Foods from the University of Vermont. Busha worked for the Child Nutrition Programs at the Vermont Department of Education for 23 years. Since retiring, she spends most of her time working in her garden or planning her next steps in the garden, and writing about gardening and country living in Vermont.

photo of author Jo Busha in a chair in front of a window
Author Jo Busha at home in Vermont

Lyric Power Publishing, LLC is proud to announce the publication of a new book, a collection of essays by author Jo Busha, on life, gardening and the natural world, called Time and the Garden.  Jo’s collection of essays (written over a ten-year period about gardening, life in Vermont, and her observations of the natural world) is not a how-to book, but gardeners may find the essays instructive. It is arranged by season, but not all the essays have a specific seasonal connection. In addition to gardeners, Time and the Garden will appeal to readers seeking a strong sense of place and people interested in rural living, even if they aren’t able to live it. This place, where Busha has lived for 45 years, has played a huge role in her life. Book lovers are likely to feel this a cozy read, warmth for a snowy day.

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January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day by Elaine A. Powers, Author

a gray and brown squireel sitting on a tree branch
An Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis in Corkscrew Swamp

I think squirrels are often maligned unjustly. People spend a lot of time and money trying to thwart them, but have you ever stopped to consider their ingenuity at overcoming the obstacles we put in their way? After all, they are just doing what they need to do to survive.

Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents. They are native to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa. They live in almost every habitat, from tropical rain forests to semiarid deserts. They are predominantly herbivores, eating seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects and even small vertebrates, as well.

Many of us interact with local tree squirrels, trying to prevent them from getting into our bird feeders. It’s amazing how much effort we put into attempting to out think these rodents—and then failing. The industry producing supposedly squirrel-proof bird feeders in quite sizable.

Here in the Sonoran Desert, I enjoy my ground squirrels, as well as tree squirrels. I think of their extensive digging as aerating my soil. I often head into my yard when I take breaks from writing. The little ones sitting up on their hind legs to greet me always makes me smile. I don’t discourage them from sharing in the feeders’ contents. I simply add a bit more for them.

I’ve written books about turtles and fish and tortoises and lizards and snakes and birds and plants—and even a fairy!—but not any mammals. No, wait! There is a mammal, a hutia, in Curtis Curly-tail Hears a Hutia, but I can’t think of any others. (A hutia is an endangered rodent native to the Bahamas that has endangered the local ecosystem. Readers of this Curtis-tale tag along on his adventure and then must decide how to solve this conundrum.)

Tomorrow, please join me in appreciating squirrels, those adorable, ingenious rodents. And consider picking up a copy of Curtis Curly-tail Hears a Hutia for the budding scientist in your family.

A book cover with a Curly-tail lizard riding on the back of a Hutia, a rodent
Curtis Curly-tail and Horace Hutia become friends after declining hutia are brought to Warderick Wells. But when the hutia damage the cay’s ecosystem, what will the scientists do? You, the reader, help them decide.
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Lots of New Science Fun with Four New Books at Lyric Power Publishing!

Lyric Power Publishing LLC is proud to announce the arrival of four new books! Here at LPP we love weaving science into adventure tales and rhyming books. We love colorful, exciting illustrations. We hope you will enjoy three wonderful new additions to our book catalog and a special guest listing for Ricky Ricordi.

olive green book cover with illustrations of a hickatee and a sea turtle
The Cayman Islands have turtles that live both on land and in the sea. Hickatee lives on land and doesn’t belong in the sea, like the sea turtles. Do you know the differences? Come inside and learn about turtles, especially the marvelous hickatee.

 

A book cover with a blue sky, white clouds and brown booby birds on the beach
Meet the Brown Booby, a large sea bird which is a year-round resident only of Cayman Brac, They are not found at all in Grand Cayman or Little Cayman. These birds are a spectacular sight, soaring and gliding along the Bluff edge and the shore, diving for fish to feed their young, perching on rocks in the sun, then returning to their nesting colonies. With only about forty nesting pairs on the Brac, they are protected by Cayman law.

 

A golden orange book cover with a green catfish on the cover
Clarissa Catfish liked her new home at the Peoria Playhouse Children’s Museum, but she couldn’t see the exhibits or the children in her tank. How can a catfish see the sights when she needs to stay in the water? Come inside to find out and join Clarissa as she explores the marvelous museum.

 

a book cover of boy in jungle with iguana on shoulder
When Lorenzo finds an iguana in his garden, he has loads of fun bonding with his new pet, but soon realizes that the animal belongs in the wild.
Dominican children’s author Nelia Barletta recently released a second children’s book, RICKY RICORDI: THE ADVENTURES OF AN IGUANA, which educates children about conservation and the protection of endangered animals of the Dominican Republic. The book focuses on the Ricordi iguana, an endemic species of the Caribbean island and features illustrations by Argentinian artist/children’s illustrator Juan Manuel Moreno.
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Ricky Ricordi: The Adventures of An Iguana by Nelia Barletta now Available at Lyric Power Publishing

a book cover of boy in jungle with iguana on shoulderWhen Lorenzo finds an iguana in his garden, he has fun bonding with his new
pet, but soon realizes that the animal belongs in the wild.

Lyric Power Publishing, along with John Binns of the IRCF, recently assisted Dominican children’s author Nelia Barletta in the publication of the English version of her book about Ricky Ricordi. The delightful illustrations were created by Argentinian artist/children’s illustrator Juan Manuel Moreno. The English version is now available on Amazon.com.

Ricky Ricordi: The Adventures of an Iguana focuses on the Ricordi iguana, an endemic species of the Dominican Republic. The goal of this book is to educate children about conservation and the protection of endangered animals of the Dominican Republic. However, people around the world will enjoy this adventure tale.

Proceeds from the book are donated to Fundacion Abriendo Camino, an organization working to support disadvantaged children in Villas Agricolas, a marginalized neighborhood in Santo Domingo.

We encourage you to read this great adventure tale that is both entertaining and educational. Any story about an iguana is worthwhile reading!

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It’s National Bird Day Today and Who Doesn’t Love Birds? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

National Bird Day on January 5 was created to promote avian awareness.  You can participate in celebrating birds in a number of ways.  You can go outside and do some bird watching.  You can learn about birds, either your local feathered friends or birds of the world.  You can learn about the decreasing populations of birds and what you can do to help preserve them.

A copper colored book cover featuring an illustration of a Roadrunner bird
“With vibrant illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe, this picture book is jam-packed with scientific facts about roadrunners, delivered in verse form to keep the narrative lively. Roadrunners “…grab their victim/behind its head/And bash it on/the ground until it is dead.” Want to know how to swallow a horned lizard? Keep reading!” AZ Daily Star

I live in Southern Arizona and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sightings of one of my favorite locals, the Roadrunner. Talk about a fascinating bird! I write interesting facts about Roadies into a picture book called Don’t Make me Fly! Kids love the rhymes and illustrations, but I am a biologist and everyone learns something about roadrunners in this book. Science education is important to me, and I love making it fun.

a book cover with blue sky and white clouds, with Brown Booby birds on the beach next to a bush
All about the Brown Booby Birds of Cayman Brac by Bonnie Scott

 

 

I highly recommend a newly released book by my friend, Bonnie Scott. We share a love of conservation, iguanas, and the animals of Cayman Brac.  She recently published her book about the brown booby, Brown Booby Birds of Cayman Brac. It’s filled with her marvelous photographs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I loved the island story of a lost juvenile brown booby and featured him in one of my books, Fly Back to the Brac, Brian Brown Booby, which is based on the true story of “Brian,” who was finally able to learn to fly and find his family. He’s pretty famous in the Brac.

book cover, blue sky, bird a brown booby is on beach near ocean
Brian Brown Booby, a young resident of Cayman Brac, finds himself stranded on a beach on Grand Cayman. It’s too far back for a booby to travel, even if Brian could fly, which he can’t. Does Brian make it back to the Brac? What happens to a booby that can’t fly? Based on a true story.
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It’s Almost Pick A Pathologist Pal Day by Elaine A. Powers Author

As a mystery writer, a pathologist can be a very important pal to have. Pathologists do many important and interesting jobs, such as looking for disease within tissues, and determining causes of death. December 13th is Pick a Pathologist Pal Day and I thought I’d tell you about my friend, Dr. Dan Morse, MD, who was a forensic pathologist, meaning he determined the cause of death from skeletal remains. Talk about challenging!

He also tried to determine what the person looked like from remains of clothing, etc., found on or near the bodies. One of his favorite projects was discovering how animals dispersed the bones they scavenged, from large animals like bears and foxes to small field mice. He was the Florida State Forensic Pathologist and taught at Florida State University. The highlight of each year was his “body dig and barbeque.” Go out and find yourself a pathologist pal—you’ll be glad you did!

a dark book cover with skeleton in canoe
Two audio theater scripts that highlight danger can be found anywhere

Needless to say, when I featured a pathologist in my audio theater script, In the Swamp, No One Can hear You Scream, I chose Dr. Dan. This script is found in the collection Mayhem in Swamp and Snow. Danger can be found anywhere, and this collection contains two full-length mystery-themed audio theater scripts. The scripts require multiple actors and are well-suited for presentation by school and community theaters. (In the Swamp takes place in a south Florida mangrove swamp where skeletons are found, and is the story that features Dr. Dan.)

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Marketing Books and Meeting Interesting Folks in Tucson by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Image of Empire Ranch signEven though I would love to have someone else do the marketing of my books, doing it myself allows me to discover interesting sites in the Tucson area.  One such place is the Empire Ranch. I met some of the volunteers at the Western Writers of America conference and they thought my books would be a good fit for their gift shop.

The Empire Ranch is located on the road to Sonoita in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. The mission of the Empire Ranch Foundation is, “Acting in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The purpose of the Foundation is to protect, restore and sustain the Empire Ranch historical buildings and landscape as an outstanding western heritage and education center.” The combine two interests of mine, conservation and historical preservation.  Back in New Jersey, I was part of the Union Forge Heritage Association. The ranch was established in the 1860’s. 

The gift shop is looking to expand to include more items about animal and plant conservation. I’m honored to be included. They’ll be selling the Don’t series and Queen of the Night: the Night-blooming Cereus.

*Learn about the Night-blooming Cereus, Peniocereus greggii, the mysterious cacti
that bloom all together only one night per year
*An Amazon #1 Book in Children’s Botany Section
*See the Desert Southwest in a new, fun way
*Scientific facts written in rhyme are easy to remember
*Enjoy spectacular illustrations of Cereus, the Sonoran Desert and its wildlife

a light brown book cover with green lettering: Queen of the Night: Night Blooming Cereus, with illustration of a white flower
Biologist and Author Elaine A. Powers includes both scientific facts and the magic of this Southwestern Desert plant in her book, QUEEN OF THE NIGHT: THE NIGHT-BLOOMING CEREUS. Powers says being a musician helped her to weave into poetry the plant parts, the blooming cycle, the plant’s growing conditions, and its pollinators.
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Today is National Hermit Day and We’re Including Hermit Crabs! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

All illustration of Old Soldier, a hermit crab on Cayman Brac
Old Soldier sends the lads on a special journey

I swear, when I first read this, I read it as National Hermit Crab Day. I guess that’s because I love hermit crabs–such fascinating members of the crustacean family!

A hermit is defined as someone living in seclusion, and don’t we all wish at one time or another that we could get away from it all? So, in honor of National Hermit Day, and the hermit in all of us, we’re celebrating the hermit crab, my favorite crab and hermit.

Hermit crabs can live on land or in the sea. If you’re not familiar with them, they are amazing crabs that resemble cartoon characters. How so? They are able to move their bodies from one shell to another. Because crabs are very tasty and many other animals like to eat them, they need a hard shell to house their soft, delicate bodies.

But, as the hermits grow, they need bigger and bigger shells. Sometimes, the demand for the proper-sized shell leads to battles between the hermits. The accumulation of litter means we now see crabs using plastic bottles and baby heads instead of crab shells.

I feature a hermit crab in the Lime Lizard Lads story, The Dragon of Nani Cave, which is set in Cayman Brac, where the land hermit crabs are called Soldier Crabs. I think it’s because they march to sea en masse for mating season.

In my story, Old Soldier sends the lads, Gene and Bony, curly-tailed lizards, on their mission to find the dragon of Nani Cave. They do find the dragon and many other interesting animals and plants along the way. It’s an adventure tale, in which the reader learns all about this special Caribbean island!

colorful children's book cover with illustrations of curly-tail lizardsThe Lime Lizard Lads, curly-tail lizards of Cayman Brac, seek an adventure up on the bluff. Their goal is to reach Nani Cave and meet the dragon that lives there. Gene and Bony soon realize how big and how dangerous the world really is. Leaving home is easy, but can the lads make it back?

Lyric Power Publishing offers comprehensive and fun workbooks and activity sheets to supplement your child’s education. The one below is based on the Dragon tale. It’s a great way to keep the fun going, while reinforcing reading skills.

a green and white book cover with the image of a book called The Dragon of Nani Cave