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Photographers on the Beach by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Must I share my beach?

Ocean Florida coast with two birds where waves lap

I’m a morning person and I’m a beach person. I enjoy being on the beach, walking in the gently lapping waves as the sun rises. Sunrise also means I might have a chance at being alone on the beach with the birds and sea creatures.

Ocean, beach, photographer on knees with camera and huge lens on tripod

However, I often have to settle for an almost-empty beach. Invariably, there are photographers on my beach, taking photos of birds, waves, whatever. Most of the time you can tell they are serious photographers–their cameras sport huge lens and their backpacks are full of other lenses.  They wear vests with lots of pockets and hats to protect their gear and heads. I try to give them a wide berth.

ocean, beach, man in swimsuit squatted, photographing water, while a bird creeps up behind him

But then you have photographers like this guy.  Same huge lens, obviously dressed for a day at the beach. That’s more my style! And look, he’s walking in the waves, just  like me—well, kind of. I and that magnificent bird creeping up behind him as he intently photographs something else (oblivious to what’s going on right behind him) are thoroughly enjoying ourselves. LOL.

Elaine A. Powers is the author of the Curtis the Curly-tail Lizard Children’s adventure stories, which take place in the Bahamas, and of Fly Back to the Brac, Brian Brown Booby, which is based on a true story.

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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Terror on the Beach – It got Gnatsy! By Elaine A. Powers, Scriptwriter

A black book cover, with an illustration of a skeleton in a canoe, in a swamp

One morning, when I got out of the car to walk on the beach, I was assaulted. Instantly, I had the feeling of being stabbed by thousands of tiny knives. From my head to my ankles, and everything else exposed, I was being stabbed. I slapped, rubbed and wiggled, but nothing alleviated my torment. I looked at my arm and saw a multitude of tiny black specks – gnats! Due to their small size, they are also called no-see-ums. (Give me a big bulky mosquito any day.) The scientific name of the tiny, black, stabbing specks is Culicoides furens, though I shudder to type it.

I ran for the ocean, hoping to elude these vicious pests and found respite in the onshore ocean breezes as I waded out into the water. But this nasty gnat encounter did bring back memories of similar encounters that had inspired one of my favorite audio/reader’s theater scripts, In the Swamp. The full title is actually In the Swamp No One Can Hear You Scream. At the time I wrote it, the movie Alien was very popular and had the tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream.” I couldn’t resist.

My script tells the story of the investigation of what happened to people whose skeletalized remains are found after they don’t return from a canoe trip in a mangrove swamp in South Florida. Gnats are involved. I wrote the script as a horror-spoof, but half the audience usually feels it is a straight up, full on, frightening horror tale. Either way, it is also a fun romp through the swamp–inspired by true life events. It is one of two audio scripts compiled in my book, Mayhem in Swamp and Snow.

For more information on my scripts, visit www.elaineapowers.com. My scripts are available both as a printed book or as a Kindle e-book.  And performance rights are included with the purchase.

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Writing in Exotic Locales by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Many people go to exotic locations, like the Bahamas, to enjoy the beach and various water-related activities.  I go for inspiration and time to write.  Of course, not all locations are conducive for intensive writing.  Some don’t have a desk.  Or the sun glare is too bright to read the screen.  Then there’s the issue of having electricity accessible to keep your laptop charged.  However, sometimes, the situation comes together to make for a really special place to write.

Bahamian hotel balcony, with wooden fence, table and chairs. Laptop on table.This is the balcony of my room in the Pineapple Fields Resort on Eleuthera. It’s convenient to the beach and the Leon Levy Preserve.

Now if I could just keep my mind on the task at hand and ignore all the stories that are inspired by the location from taking over my writing time! Don’t worry, I made notes. (Ahhh, retirement. So many books to write, so little time.)

View of pool from Bahamian hotel wooden balcony. Blue pool, lush green palms and vegetation, ocean beyondYes, that’s the ocean beyond the pool.

I’ve been told that some writers go into a room with minimum distractions or an office with limited windows to do their work.

I just can’t imagine . . .

Elaine A. Powers is inspired by life and nature. It was a little fellow, well, bigger than her big toe, who climbed onto Elaine’s shoe on a Bahamian beach and hung out for a couple of hours, curling and uncurling his tail. After he left, Elaine went back to her room and the entire story, Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers, came to her in one sitting. Talk about your destiny calling! She weaves science into fun adventure stories or rhyming stanzas that kids and adults alike simply love. As we say here at Lyric Power Publishing, “Science is Fun!”

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.

 

Sneakers on a beach, with a Cury-tail lizard on one of the shoes

Here’s the REAL Curtis who inspired the Curtis Cuirly-tail series of books. Heck, he even has his own YouTube channel now!

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Do You Believe in Omens? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

A sunrise in the Bahamas, beach, trees, yellow, pink and purple skyDo you believe in omens, especially of good things about to happen? Or, is it that life is just better and we are more happy and positive when we are experiencing the things we enjoy?

There was the morning I wanted walk the beach at sunrise. I woke up early on my own–no need for the alarm to jar me awake. But as I gathered my keys to head out, I heard the pop-pop-pop of raindrops on my roof. I went out and stood. It was just a few sprinkles, nothing too wetting. Perhaps the sun would burn the clouds off.

When I arrived at the beach–no rain. I marveled at the colors of the sky as the sun rose. The photo really doesn’t do it justice.

Then I turned around. A rainbow stretched across the sky.  I kept backing up but couldn’t get the entire rainbow in one photo, so I’ve pieced it together here.

Composite photo of beautiful Florida rainbow

I had enjoyed a few minutes of walking in the waves when I heard thunder and the raindrops commencing in earnest.  I returned to the car and drove home, the rain getting steadily harder. As I pulled into the driveway, a male Northern cardinal landed on the tree beside me.  As I reached for my phone, the female joined him. Unfortunately, I only have a memory of them. As I entered the house, the heavens opened, releasing a good steady soaking rain.

I knew this is going to be a good writing day.

Elaine A. Powers is both a biologist and musician, two aspects of her nature that culminated in a writing career during her retirement. She creates science-based stories that are fun to read. Her first story was inspired by a Bahamian Curly-tailed lizard who climbed onto her shoe and stayed for a couple of hours–apparently transmitting his story to her! As her animal characters go on adventures, we learn about their habitats and the dangers they face, or she cleverly weaves science facts into rhyme. Her books are beautifully illustrated and loved by children and adults alike. You can see them all here.

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

Cleo, a Bahamian boa, one of the misunderstood animals of The Bahamas, rescues Tabby, a Five-Finger Fairy. In trying to find Cleo a safe place to live, this unlikely pair help each other and the people they meet. Tabby loves Bahamian wildlife, Bahamian bush teas, and making friends with both animals and humans alike. This book focuses on important conservation issues that threaten Bahamian wildlife, such as wildlife smuggling, habitat loss, invasive species and human intolerance of animals such as snakes and spiders.

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Stop and Meet the Lizards Part 3 by Elaine A. Powers, Author

In my previous posts, I mentioned the wonderful lizards I met in the Bahamas National Trust’s parks on Eleuthera and Grand Bahama. I continued my lizard encounters in Fort Myers, FL., as well.

brown anole lizard on white frog statue on wood chipsI was fortunate to meet this individual, an anole. He or she was perched upon a decorative rock sculpture outside the front door.  You’ll notice, of course, that the sculpture is a frog, another favorite animal of mine. Carefully, I crouched down to get a close-up of the lizard with my cell phone, not wanting to scare him/her off.  I was so focused on this lizard, that I missed seeing the second one!

two brown anole lizards on the ground, rocks, leavesBoth lizards were worthy of admiring. Have you ever found yourself looking so closely at something that you miss important details or information? I learned I needed to stop back and look at the whole scene, not just one small area, like a frog sculpture with a lizard on it.

That’s true in life, isn’t it?

New lizard stories are percolating in the mind of Lyric Power Publishing’s author, Elaine A. Powers. In the meantime, check out her entertaining and educational lizard adventure series: the perfect Curtis Curly-tail and the adventurous Lime Lizard Lads.

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.

 

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. 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?
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Lightning and Me–We’re Close by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Blue sky but light is fading. Lightning strikes power poles. Dark line of trees across bottom of picture.
Nope, not just ONE pole . . .

When lightning strikes, you probably do not want to be near me.  I’ve never been directly struck by lightning, but too many times, it has struck close by. I opened my apartment door in Houston during a thunderstorm and the bolt hit just outside my door.  All my hair stood on end as I closed the door. I’ve been inside multiple houses when bolts struck the house directly in front of where I sat.

My favorite occurrence of near misses occurred in Pensacola, FL. One of the main thoroughfares is a wide, straight road with regularly-spaced power transformers on poles. I was driving home in a violent thunderstorm, when a lightning bolt flashed through the air, striking a transformer as I passed. Boom! The transformer exploded in sparks. I was startled, but I continued. Boom! The next transformer exploded with another bolt as I passed. A third transformer met the same fate as I drove by it. Boom! Followed by the fourth! Boom!

Grateful to have finally traversed the stretch of the road with the power lines, I now had to cross railroad tracks. Just before I reached the tracks, lightning struck the rails on my right. The electricity sparked as it rushed down the rails in my direction! I floored my car’s gas pedal hoping to outrun the approaching sparks. “Don’t touch the frame of the car,” I told myself. “Surely my rubber tires will protect me.” But after the four power poles, I raced across the tracks just in time and I didn’t have to find out.

So, if you’re ever near me with lightning in the area, you might want to move away. 😊

Elaine A.Powers loves an adventure and never sits still for long. She also writes stories for children that feature adventurous non-human characters, such as Grow Home, Little Seeds.

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My Life with Earthquakes by Elaine A. Powers, Author

I’ve experienced many earthquakes, small and large. I confess, I rather enjoy them.

My first experience was when visiting Alaska as a child with my parents. Little did I know that was just the beginning. Unfortunately, apparently because they don’t distress me, I tend to sleep through the ones that happen at night. I’d much prefer to be awake!

Despite the movement of the tall Japanese hotel we were staying in, I slept through a sizeable earthquake there. My parents told me about the swaying in the morning and explained that the hotel was designed to go with the earth’s movement,  instead of fighting it.

The most surprising earthquake occurred when I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I had a nice apartment with my beloved 55-gallon salt-water aquarium. The aquarium sat in my dining room area, near where I worked at the table. I was writing when I felt the earth move. Surprised, I realized there had just been an earthquake. How cool, I thought. I was delighted until I looked over at the aquarium.

Small silver fish swimming in a fish tank filled with rocks and plants and bubbles.
My fish tank was similar to this one. Imagine a wave almost as large as the tank sloshing back and forth.

Fifty gallons of salt water were sloshing in a large wave, back and forth, just like the building in Japan! The wave was strong enough that I was afraid the glass would shatter. On impulse, I ran over and embraced the tank as if I could calm the waves and hold the glass together. The fish and I were greatly relieved when the energy of the wave subsided and their home remained intact.

To learn more about geology and rocks, please see Lyric Power Publishing’s supplemental workbook, My Book on Rocks.

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Natural Disasters and Me: Mauna Loa by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Mauna Loa

When I was in high school, I participated in a summer study program on the Big Island of Hawaii. While studying animal behavior, we also had the opportunity to visit incredible sights on the island. One of our adventures was to camp on the side of Mauna Loa in a cabin. During the day, the entire island had been rocked with multiple earthquakes, 26 in the previous 24-hour period. All the volcanoes monitored on the island were “swelling,” so everyone expected something was going to erupt. The most likely candidate was the currently active volcano, Kilauea.

We arrived at the cabin after a day of visiting the historical sites only to discover that not all of us fit in the cabin. There weren’t enough beds or even space for on the floor for sleeping bags. So, some of us “heartier” students volunteered to sleep outside under the stars. It would be chilly, but we were from states that had winter, and we would be okay.

The stargazing was incredible, and we couldn’t settle down to sleep. There, at the top of the summit of Mauna Loa were flames! It started as a narrow line. Then the flames filled to the top of the volcano.  Mauna Loa was erupting. It had not erupted for 65 years.

Hawaii, Mauna Loa volcano erupting, fiery lava flow and smoke down mountain of hard rock
Courtesy of USGS: 1975 Eruption of Mauna Loa

We pounded on the cabin door to wake our classmates. We ran around the campground yelling, “Mauna Loa is erupting!” Some campers came out to look, but most told us to, “Shut up!” Boy, were they mad the next morning when they realized that Mauna Loa had erupted and they’d missed it.

Our camp leaders thought about driving up to the top of the volcano for a closer look. Hawaiian volcanoes have a caldera that fills with lava before it slops over the side. But the van was nearly out of gas and lava flows at 30 mph, which is faster than we could run (if necessary).

That 1975 eruption burned the observation platform on the side of the caldera and added one more foot of land to the island.

This was my first up-close natural disaster–but not my last.

Elaine A. Powers loves island adventures. She has written fun, adventure-based science books for children set in the Bahamas.