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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

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Today is National Reptile Awareness Day by Elaine A. Powers, Author

I once wrote a poem that included the line “reptilian allure.” One of the meeting participants commented that he couldn’t see how reptiles had any allure.

A woman holds a five-foot rock iguana in her living room
The author with five foot rock iguana, Blue.

Even if you don’t feel the need to cuddle reptiles as I do, they are worthy of our admiration. Their body type has been very successful throughout the ages. Their tough outer scales are very utilitarian, providing great protection. They also gleam in the sunlight, which is known as iridescence. I like to use the Rainbow or Bahamian boas as examples.

irredescent bahamian boa
Rainbow Boa Image-by-Алексей-Комаров-from-Pixabay

They do, however, have what we might consider drawbacks in their physiological design. Being cold-blooded, ectothermic, they rely on the environment to regulate their body heat. While man’s construction may seem like a good thing, basking on those nice warm roads is fatal for far too many reptiles.

Many people don’t see the benefits of reptiles, but they serve us in many ways. They help control rodents and the diseases they carry (and let us not forget the pack rats in Southern Arizona that chew the wiring in our cars); they help plants to disperse and germinate, and some of them have provided molecules that have been turned into medicines.

And, our reptilian friends are fascinating. We don’t have to fear them and a good place to learn why is in a book I’ve written called Don’t Make Me Rattle. Everything you need to know about rattlesnakes is in this dramatically illustrated, fun book written in rhyme.

Help protect our reptilian friends and watch the road ahead.

close up of iguana face, feet on road
Image by Akiroq Brost from Pixabay

 

A book cover, with a Native American 'feel,' and a painting of a Western Diamondback RattlesnakePeople fear rattlesnakes because they don’t understand them. Come inside and learn about these amazing snakes, how they help people, and why the rattlesnake should be respected, not exterminated.

 

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Ahhh, the Mysteries! Such as, How Many Tortoises Can You Stack in a Corner? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

several tortoises fighting for space in a corner of a roomThere are many mysteries in life, questions that we need to know the answers to.

Like this one: How many tortoises can fit in a corner?

And the follow-up question: how many tortoises can you stack on top of each other before they topple?

I don’t know the answer to these inquiries, but these girls are well on their way to solving these mysteries.

 

 

 

 

 

Rain forest tortoise eating nectarineMeanwhile the smaller, smarter one, is off enjoying a bit of nectarine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know the differences between turtles and tortoises? And did you know the typical answer: “Turtles live in the water, and tortoises live on land,” is not that simple? If you want to find the answers to the question, How are turtles and tortoises different, you will certainly enjoy, Don’t Call Me Turtle! (That’s one mystery that’s easy to solve.)

It’s a fun, rhyming book and a favorite among the little ones–I get the most fan mail with their pictures about this book, along with notes from their parents telling me that they learned a lot, too, while reading Don’t Call Me Turtle!

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

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Chatting with Dudley Dewlap About a Hex at the World Soccer Championships by Elaine A. Powers, Author

photo of the profile of a carbbean iguana
Image courtesy of Jolyne D from Pixabay

One of my favorite stories for an episode in the Audio Theater Script Series, Conversations with Dudley Dewlap, by Yours Truly, is called The Hex. It is about the use of witchcraft at the annual World Soccer Championships. When I first heard about it, I thought it was an exaggeration, but apparently not. I bet it’s still going on.

Gray book cover, illustrated with two iguanas standing in front of microphones
Funny and educational audio scripts ranging from five to 20 minutes in length

Here, Dudley and Miles discuss Loa, the voodoo-practicing Lizard; and, as usual, Dudley turns the conversation to himself.

“DUDLEY: I was chatting with my pal Loa Lizard last night and he was telling me about soccer. I confess I’ve become obsessed. Listeners, Loa is an iguana from the Caribbean and an expert in voodoo. His name, Loa, means Voodoo guardian spirits.

LOA: Now there be lots of misconceptions about voodoo around and I tries to educate people.

DUDLEY: He’s in town for a big human soccer tournament and was hired to find out if the soccer field had been tampered with, if any curses or hexes had been put upon it.

MILES: The humans couldn’t do this for themselves?

LOA: No, the team advisers, or witch-doctors as they be known, were banned by the soccer ruling body.

DUDLEY: So they turned to Loa. Some teams will climb fences into the stadium rather than use the main gate, fearing a spell may have been put upon it.

MILES: You’ve got be making this up.

DUDLEY: I’m not that creative.

Interestingly, Dudley decides he wants to try out for the soccer team.

DUDLEY: Have you seen the game? The players aren’t allowed to use their hands.

MILES: Yes. So?

DUDLEY: Not only do I have powerful legs…

MILES: (BITE CUE) Yes, you can outrun any human.

DUDLEY: But the pièce de résistance is my tail! With my powerful tail, its incredible accuracy, I could be the entire team!

ANNOUNCER: Once again, today’s topic was directly from the news. The issue of witchcraft was discussed at the 2002 soccer World Cup. Really, Elaine couldn’t make this stuff up!”

NOTE: Conversations with Dudley Dewlap: The World from a Lizard Point of View is a collection of short comedy, small cast, audio scripts. Most roles are gender neutral. The primary characters are talk show hosts who discuss various amusing topics. The scripts can be combined or used
individually. Additional cast can be used for the sound effects. Along with being entertaining and family friendly, many of the scripts are also educational. The scripts are amenable to radio theater, readers theater, or may be adapted for stage. Approximate running times vary with each script, ranging from 5-20 minutes. The purchase of the scripts includes performance rights.

Please see all Elaine A. Powers theater audio scripts at Amazon here.

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Another Conversation About Dudley Dewlap and a Famous Eel by Elaine A. Powers, Author

The episodes I wrote from Conversations with Dudley Dewlap are based on real-life events. The “Pet Psychic” episode in the Dudley Dewlap audio script was inspired by real pet psychics. In listening to one of their episodes, I found out that green iguanas want to take over the world. The way green iguanas are spreading around the world as an invasive species, they just might succeed.

two hands extended, holding two small eels
Image of eels courtesy of PENEBAR from Pixabay

People often comment on my unusual pets, so I’ve decided to share the story of an even more unusual pet who lives with a family in Germany (as reported by Reuters). This family has kept a pet eel named Aalfred in their bathtub for 33 years. Yes, I said 33 years.

Pet activists complained Aalfred was being held under unnatural circumstances and asked authorities to release the eel into the wild. However, after examination by a vet, the eel was found to be in excellent health and well cared for. (I’m sure an animal psychic could’ve told the authorities how happy the eel was.)

This story has a happy ending: Aalfred the eel was allowed to stay with his family if they installed an arm-length pipe so he could rest more comfortably. The eel’s family stated, “This was the only reasonable outcome – in any case, we would have protected Aalfred.”

Truth is stranger than fiction.

And, for some truth from the lizard point of view in a comedic audio script, please click on Conversations with Dudley Dewlap.

Gray book cover, illustrated with two iguanas standing in front of microphones
Funny and educational audio scripts ranging from five to 20 minutes in length

Click the book above to check out these audio scripts for your school or theater group. Purchase of any of the audio script books includes performance rights.

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Today is Math Storytelling Day! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline.

Math was not my favorite, nor my best, topic, but I did like the math used to solve real-world problems. I enjoyed using geometry to determine how tall a tree is. Discovering the unknown variables in algebra fascinated me; it was like a secret code that had to be deciphered. I eventually came to understand how to use statistics and calculus in measuring aspects of ecosystems and in animal behavior. It turned out that I did like math–if it applied to my interests in science!

When master educator Marilyn Buehrer designed the Lyric Power Publishing workbooks and activity sheets based on my children’s storybooks, I was thrilled that she included some of my favorite animals in her math problems. I particularly like the one where she has the students measure the iguanas to determine average and median sizes in the workbook My Unit Study on Iguanas. I could use that in my citizen scientist work out in the field with the rock iguanas of Cayman Brac!

If you’re curious at all about the Sister Isle Rock Iguanas on Cayman Brac, check out my poignant book, Silent Rocks, pictured above. The population of Cyclura nubila caymanensis on Cayman Brac is in serious decline and these vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. Their reduction is the result of human activity on their habitat, and the threats can only be eliminated by human action. I am hopeful the people of Cayman Brac will turn this sad situation around.

colorful children's book cover with illustrations of curly-tail lizards

In The Dragon of Nani Cave, the 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. (The dragon is a Rock Iguana, but when you’re a small lizard, an iguana is a dragon!) Gene and Bony soon realize how big and how dangerous the world beyond their beach really is. Leaving home is easy, but what if they do find the dragon? And how will the lads make it back?

a green and white book cover with the image of a book called The Dragon of Nani CaveFor educators and homeschooling parents, LPP offers a 30-page coordinating workbook designed for grades 3-6. Fourteen pages are taken directly from The Dragon of Nani Cave, with 14 pages of corresponding questions. Teachers and parents read the book aloud to students, then hand out the reading and question pages. Students reread pages from the book and answer the questions for each page; they also color in the black and white pictures on every page.

illustration of head of cyclura nubila iguanaIf you have any interest in the identification booklets that LPP has published on how to tell the differences between the invasive green iguanas and the native rock iguanas, please contact Elaine Powers at iginspired@gmail.com.

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Looking for a Funny Audio Script? By Elaine A. Powers, Scriptwriter

Gray book cover, illustrated with two iguanas standing in front of microphones
Funny and educational audio scripts ranging from five to 20 minutes in length

I’m a retired biologist and I enjoy teaching children and consequently, adults, about science. Science education doesn’t have to be dry and tedious. I like to be creative, so I write rhyming picture books and adventure tales, in the hopes of slipping in facts while the reader enjoys the story.

However, my writing career didn’t start with the books for sale on this website. It actually started with radio/audio theatre scripts and a couple of talkative lizards.

Have you met Dudley or Didi Dewlap? Or Miles or Molly Monitor?

Dudley and Didi are green iguanas, known for being rather self-absorbed but energetic talk-show hosts.

Miles and Molly are water monitors, much more down-to-earth lizards, the perfect sidekick for an iguana. Did you know that green iguanas are arrogant and according to a pet psychic, that they want to take over the world? Not sure how they intend to do this, but it will be interesting to see them try.

In the meantime, Dewlap and Monitor discuss the world from the lizard point of view, and they include the pet psychic, witchcraft and the soccer World Cup in their musings.

The scripts in this book are written in talk-show style and they provide a great deal of information in a very humorous fashion. Not only is the news of the day discussed, but classic works of literature are discussed . . . by lizards. And by the way, they’re “political activists,” too. Reptilian politics, that is.

NOTE: Conversations with Dudley Dewlap: The World from a Lizard Point of View is a collection of short comedy, small cast, audio scripts. Most roles are gender neutral. The primary characters are talk-show hosts who discuss various amusing topics. The scripts can be combined or used individually. Additional cast can be used for sound effects. Along with being entertaining and family friendly, many of the scripts are also educational. The scripts are amenable to radio theater, readers’ theater, or may be adapted for stage. Approximate running times vary with the scripts ranging from five to 20 minutes. Performance rights are included with the sale of the book–as many times as you’d like!

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Sept. 12, 2019 National Day of Encouragement By Elaine A. Powers, Author

What a wonderful day–a day of encouragement. We all need encouragement, whether it be for something small or something big. As a writer, I’m constantly in need of encouragement. It’s one thing to put words on a page–that is easy. But I need encouragement to share my work with the world. I’ve gotten encouragement to write stories, to get them published, to market them to shops, and to speak in public about them.

TEXT WAY TO GO!

My writing career started because the other passengers on a boat encouraged me to publish the story. So, Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers was published. But the real encouragement came from the first children who read it when they asked me, “When is the next Curtis story coming out?” I hadn’t planned another Curtis, but their sweet encouragement led to the stream of books, 26 to date, that have flowed from me. I will be forever grateful.

A book cover with a Curly-tail lizard riding the waves in a red sneaker
Curtis, the perfect curly-tail lizard of Warderick Wells, decides to see where the tourists come from. He sets sail on his adventure in a ship of sneakers.

I am also encouraged when children who had the book read to them, incorporate the science into their daily lives and even share it with others around them. Like my friend’s young grandson who corrects adults who call a tortoise a turtle. “Don’t call him a turble!” he exclaims.

And I’m encouraged when an adult tells me after she’s read a book to the young person in her life, “I didn’t know that, either. I learned something new yesterday.”

We all have a story to share. I encourage you to share a story with a special little someone today.

A children's book cover, green with a tortoise standing, coming out of a circle, finger pointed, saying Don't Call Me Turtle

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Remember Clarissa Catfish and White Thunder? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

Two catfish in an aquarium

Clarissa Catfish and White Thunder are characters in the storybook, Clarissa Catfish Visits the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

I was back in my hometown of Peoria, IL., so I stopped by to visit a couple of old friends and a couple of inspirations. Clarissa Catfish and White Thunder from my story, Clarissa Catfish Visits the Peoria Riverfront Museum, are featured in the photo above. You can see why I didn’t want Clarissa to be kidnapped and eaten!

I was delighted to see they are still swimming about in the Illinois River Exhibit. Even though they look similar, Clarissa and WT are different kinds of catfish in my book, Channel and Bullhead. The book is an exciting tale of friendship and danger, plus you will learn a lot of fun facts about Channel cats.

Clarissa’s adventures will continue. The ending of her first book was left open ended. You’ll want to see where she goes next!

an illustrated children's book cover, blue water with a catfish swmming and a bu9ilding in the background
A flooding river takes Clarissa Catfish to the Peoria Riverfront Museum. She had thought exploring the Illinois River was exciting, but once she is taken inside the museum, the real adventure begins. Clarissa explores the exhibits and makes new friends–but will she escape the man who has dinner plans for her?