Back to my Writing! (Desk Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay)
Sorry, I don’t have time to talk. Tomorrow, December 31, is the last day to complete all the writing projects I told myself I would complete by the end of the year. They’re not all done! Of course, most of these deadlines are self-imposed but that doesn’t make me any less eager to finish them.
I hope you have been more successful than I have in achieving your goals. I also hope you have enjoyed this year’s many blog posts–I have certainly enjoyed writing about subjects near and dear to me and life’s adventures. Maybe you’ve also enjoyed one or two my science-based children’s books. I thank you.
Happy New Year! Have a happy and healthy 2020!
Now–you guessed it–I have to get back to my writing.
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!
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.)
I like to write about word use and finding more interesting, active verbs for more exciting writing. For instance, did the lizard skitter or scurry? In writing about a bananaquit, a small bird that flies rapidly from spot to spot, the question came up: Is the bird flittering or fluttering? The same question could be asked of butterflies. Do they flitter or flutter? English is such an interesting language.
Flitter and flutter can both be used as verbs. Even though they are only one letter different, they do describe different motions. Flittering suggests movement in a quick and seemingly random manner. Fluttering, in contrast, suggests the winged creature is flying unsteadily or irregularly. So, even though both words indicate flapping (another similar-sounding word) of wings, fluttering means wobbly motion, while flittering means flying nimbly. So, in the case of my bananaquit, she is flittering from branch to branch.
You’ll get to meet this bananquit in the upcoming book, Curtis Curly-tail Goes to the Doctor. In the meantime, please enjoy the previous books in the series.
Color eight different birds in this workbook, including the Bananaquit!
Even though I primarily write children’s books, I wrote a book called Silent Rocks about the declining population of Rock Iguanas on the Cayman Islands, and another about the Sonoran Desert’s Night-Blooming Cereus.
Ialso write murder mysteries and one is set in south Florida in a small coastal town. A lot of the action takes place in the mangroves. In fact, one scene regards a resort hotel being built within the mangroves. I thought I had included sufficient details with the tangle of roots and the wildlife flitting in and out. Recently, I had the opportunity to stay in a hotel actually built within the mangrove trees.
Who was it that thought this was a good idea?
Besides the senseless destruction of the protective trees, there are the people-consuming insects that consider the insect repellent to be seasoning. Guests slog through the muck to get to the steps of the hotel. The salt air seems to corrode everything metal instantaneously. The nesting and resting birds squabble day and night. And then there’s the smell–the omnipresent odor of hydrogen sulfide, which can be compared to odor of rotten eggs.
It’s time for me to edit the landscape descriptions in my story and really bring the location to life. In the case of a very strong setting like this one, it takes on importance equal to the characters. This has taught me to be certain to use all the senses when writing the location. My new motto: Get the details rights!
Lyric Power Publishing represents three authors at this time, though my books make up the largest quantity of LPP’s published works. Perhaps the parents and grandparents reading this will consider giving one or two of our wonderful children’s books (that are enjoyed by adults, too) this Christmas. With these books, kids learn that science is fun!~~EAP
I recently traveled to a foreign country (a pretty common event for me). On the immigration form, countries often ask for your profession. During my life’s work, I put biologist. I was a laboratory researcher. On one trip to Africa, I think that admission got me thoroughly searched. Upon my return, I declared I had purchased some sine wood carvings. Every item and the suitcases themselves were thoroughly searched. They suspected I had brought back some illegal samples of something. Nope, just a few nice carvings done by a local craftsman.
After I took early retirement, I put down “retired” as my profession, even though I was actively writing and trying to build my book business.
So, for the first time, on this last trip, I put down “Author” as my profession. I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to consider myself a professional writer. I have always loved science, and I recently realized that the enjoyment I get from writing and sharing about science has made my book business into a real business. I really, truly am an author.
Come join me in my adventure. Share your thoughts with me in a comment below and on Facebook here and here and here. Read my books that weave science into poetry and adventure tales, making science fun. Science should be fun! Check out Lyric Power Publishing’sworkbooks, which tie into LPP’s books, and are so well made by a teacher’s teacher. We are very proud of them here. They are extensive, multi-subject with a focus–like iguanas! We say, “Why not do math counting iguanas?
For educators and homeschooling parents, LPP offers a 30-page workbook called My Unit Study on Iguanas designed for students in grades 2-4. It’s filled with fun and educational pages and puzzles, all about the iguana.
What is it about the ocean that stimulates my muse? Sure, I can write at home in the desert, but I feel so much more creative with salty waves lapping at the shore, or crashing on the rocks. Maybe it’s the salty air blowing the cobwebs and dust of the mental doldrums from my mind. I have been noticing this more and more. I go to the ocean and I can’t write fast enough. There are times at home in Arizona where I have to fight for every word and then I throw most of it away.
Don’t get me wrong–I do love my desert home. Yet, somewhere in my soul, I need the ocean stimulus periodically. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, since my first book was inspired on an island while on a cruise. Curtis the curly-tail lizard of Warderick Wells climbed onto my sneaker and stayed there for a couple of hours! I don’t know if his adventure tale really happened to him, or if it was his dream, but when I got back to my cabin, his story poured out of me.
I am a biologist who now has 23 books in print! Children’s books based in science–even the fun rhyming books, and adventure tales, and especially, my pleas to save endangered species. It’s been a wonderful adventure so far, and I’m looking forward to wherever the waves of the muse take me, because I never know who I’ll meet that will inspire my next story.
Here is Curtis’ second adventure tale. His new friendship is tested when his home island’s ecosystem is threatened.
Storytelling is a part of all human cultures. Today, authors provide us with entertainment, as well as information. November is also National Family Literacy Month. Celebrate by sharing books with your family members. Read to each other. Read with each other. Lyric Power Publishing offers workbooks filled with comprehensive, educational and fun activity sheets that could be colored together and enjoyed by the entire family.
Reading can build up an appetite, so while you’re making yourself a meal, cook something for your pets, because National Cook for Your Pets Day is also in November. Most of my pets’ meals are freshly prepared raw fruits and vegetables. However, once in a while, I do cook butternut squash for my iguanas and tortoises. It is nice and soft and they enjoy it immensely, shoving their faces into the squishy, tasty pulp.
Once they have eaten their fill, they scrape off the residue; after all, they don’t want to be seen with squash on their face!
Writers are continually encouraged to use active verbs. A verb is a word that shows action. A verb can be either active or passive. A verb is active when the subject of the sentence is doing a specific action. For example, ‘The iguana ate the leaves.’ The passive voice of the same sentence is, ‘The leaves were eaten by the iguana.’
Verbs should also convey information about the action. Did the iguana walk over to the leaves or did she run or leap? So, choosing the correct word is important. Which brings me to the topic of this blog: When describing the movement of a lizard, does she scurry or skitter? I always thought a lizard scurried, as you will read in my books, like Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped pictured above, but a friend suggested that a lizard skitters. What’s the difference between the verbs?
To scurry is defined as moving in a brisk pace. To skitter also means to move rapidly, but with frequent changes in direction. So maybe my friend is right in saying that the characters in my books are skittering.
But wait, what about the verb, to scamper? A lizard could scamper with quick, light steps from fear or excitement.
There are so many interesting verbs I should be using in my books. This was an interesting language study lesson for me.
Check my future books to see how my lizards move! Will they scurry, skitter or scamper?
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?
In a previous blog, I wrote about the writer’s life and how satisfying it is to see your books on display in stores. I’d like to add to that a story of something very special that happened to me regarding one of my books set on Cayman Brac, The Dragon of Nani Cave. The story takes place on the island as the two lead characters, curly-tail lizards called the Lime Lizard Lads, have an adventure searching for ‘the dragon.’ I always enjoy books set in real locations and I love it when the author gets it right. The illustrations in Dragon were drawn from photos I had taken on my visits.
The merchants on Cayman Brac have been very gracious in putting my books out for sale, including a gift shop at the Brac Airport. I was chatting with owner at the counter where my books were on display, when two couples came up, looking for souvenirs for their grandchildren and children. They ended up buying my books, which, of course, I personalized for them. We chatted for a while and then we settled in to wait for our flight to be called.
I noticed each of them was reading one of my books. I glanced over, hoping they were enjoying the books, but I didn’t want to openly stare. Then they were writing on the illustrations on the books! What was going on?
One of them exclaimed, “That’s exactly what the lighthouse looked like!” They all agreed with her conclusion as they passed the book around. It turned out that they were adding their memories to the illustrations. What wonderful gifts for their family members! I was so honored to be part of their trip to the Brac.
So, go ahead and write about your travels in my books! I’ll be delighted.
For educators and homeschooling parents, LPP offers workbooks jam-packed with fun activity sheets, designed for students in grades K-5. The following workbook coordinates with the above children’s book, The Dragon of Nani Cave.
I am often asked why I write books. Mostly, it’s due to the multitude of stories cluttering up my mind. I never thought I would publish any of them and create books, but you never know where life will lead you. I always hope people will enjoy my books, but I do derive a great deal of enjoyment from writing them.
So it is satisfying, and humbling, when I see my books prominently displayed in bookstores and gift shops. I have been very fortunate with the merchants of the Cayman Islands.
Not only it is exciting to see my books displayed for sale, but to see the company they keep! In Books and Books on Grand Cayman, they are hanging out with Pedro and Georgie. I like that they offer books on animals from around the world, but are generous with shelf space for books set in the Cayman Islands.
Down the road at the gift shop of the National Trust of the Cayman Islands, my books are also featured, along with other children’s science-based books. I was able to stock them with the newest CI-themed release, The Lime Lizard Lads and the Ship of Sneakers. This book has proven to be very popular on Grand Cayman and it is challenge to keep them in stock. But my marketing agent, Bonnie Scott, and I accept the challenge!
My books may also now be found in all the libraries of the Cayman Islands, through the Friends of the CI Libraries, who purchased the copies. Their support of books about the islands is very commendable and I appreciate their generosity.
This passport craft is a fun way for students in grades 1-3 to learn about thirteen animals that live on the island of Cayman Brac in the Caribbean. Once the passport craft is put together, your students begin filling in their passports as they learn about the different animals! Assembly instructions included.
Forty-seven pages of fun activities about tortoises. Includes a KWL chart, fact sheet and coloring page; label the parts or a tortoise; predators of the tortoise coloring page; color by multiplication and division, color by three-digit addition; reading comprehension, 3rd and 4th grade vocabulary; four vocabulary-in-context pages; dangers to tortoises; ecology short answer; fill-in-the blank reading comprehension; True-or-False; cut-and-paste life-cycle; cause-and-effect worksheet; project sheets for writing a fable; nouns, adjectives, and adverbs; ecology crossword puzzle and word search.
I am still writing science-based books that take place on three of my favorite islands in the world. I look forward to many more visits and whatever adventures come next!
CURTIS CURLY-TAIL COMES ALIVE ON YOU TUBE!
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Learn about our latest science-based children’s books and workbooks. Read here about reptiles, birds, cats in a variety of locations. Read the blog to learn how the books come to be, what inspires an author to write, and many more interesting aspects of the publishing business.
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