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Tails, Tales, Adventures, Oh, My!

A grouping of the covers of children's books published by Lyric Power Publishing

Welcome to Lyric Power Publishing, where we believe children’s books should be both educational and entertaining. Our illustrations are unusual in the children’s book marketplace: They are vivid—to attract the reader to the written word and the fascinating world of science. When presented in delightful rhymes or engaging adventures, science is interesting and fun. No dry text books here! But don’t think these stories are only for children. Our fan mail indicates adults enjoy them equally and have also gained new knowledge.

We may be a small publisher, but we have a mighty mission:  Science education should not be boring! To that end, in addition to our fun, science-based books in print, we have developed our own activity sheets and bundled them into 12 to 47-page study-units. Our affordable, printable activity sheets, workbooks, flannel-boards and standups for Grades K-5 provide creative and fun opportunities to learn about ecology, reptiles, birds, mammals, habitats, predators and prey, plants, rocks, maps and directions. They include coloring pages, anatomy, life-cycles, crossword puzzles, cut-and-paste, word searches, spelling, vocabulary, math, and story-writing.

Wouldn’t your children rather count iguanas or bats than apples and oranges? Our workbooks can be viewed at the Workbooks tab and are downloaded and used as many times as you’d like.

We hope you will enjoy all there is to see on the Lyric Power Publishing website. You can meet our authors and illustrators under the Home tab and see our books at the Our Books tab.

Thank you for joining us as we discuss our work and our insights on this blog. If you’d like to receive our updates in your email, use the subscription box in the right column of any page but the Home page. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at iginspired@gmail.com.

 

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So, You Wanna Iguana?

A Green Iguana on a green background, telling what is required to care for an iguana as a pet

ELAINE A POWERS BOOKS HERE

ELAINE A POWERS.COM

ELAINE A POWERS AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

ELAINE A POWERS YOU TUBE PAGE

ELAINE A POWERS PINTEREST PAGE

Iguana Care

If you want a lizard that grows to six feet (three in the first year), eats fresh vegetables and needs fresh water every day, requires a large enclosure with special lighting and heat, is and always will be a wild animal, then an Iguana is for you.
If you’re willing to earn the trust of a wild lizard and become a friend to an intelligent, interesting, clever, dedicated animal, for 15+ years, an Iguana is for you.
The adoption process allows you to meet your new family member, learn his or her history, and be dedicated so that both of you live long, happy lives.

To learn more about iguanas, contact Elaine Powers at iginspired@gmail.com.

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Visiting the San Juan Islands in Washington State Inspired My Third Book, by Rhonda Banuelos, Author

A woman on a boat, holding up a children's book
Author Rhonda Banuelos holds her book, The Adventures of Hayley Cat

An idea came to me for our annual summer vacation: a whale watching tour. With a little internet research, I found the perfect place to enjoy such a memorable experience: The San Juan Islands in Washington State.

Photos on the internet featured an archipelago that consists of approximately 172 islands, with the four larger islands offering the most activities for tourists. Each island had its own unique locales and activities, from kayaking tours, hiking, bed and breakfast inns, glamping, sheep farm tours, fishing, and bike riding, just to name a few. There is so much to see and do in the area.

Bellingham offered a whale watching cruise from its port, which included lunch and a two-hour stop at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Once we arrived, we could easily walk around the shops, galleries, restaurants and parks. If we were lucky, we could feed the famous Harbor Seal, Popeye. This looked like an exciting trip for us and I quickly made our travel arrangements.

A black and white cat crosses the deck of a large ship
This black-and-white cat caught the author’s attention on her family’s vacation to the San Juan Islands

San Juan Island has a vibe of a miniature, cute, seaport village. We could smell the brewed coffee coming from the local coffee shops as we boarded our ship on the day of the whale-watching adventure. I noticed a ship docked next to our vessel and I saw a cat walking on the deck. It had black and white coloring, like an Orca whale.

This seemed like such a coincidence to me. My creative juices were flowing, and I realized Book Three of my Hayley Cat series was already forming in my mind. In addition to my theme of the importance of friendship, the story line would include travel, Orca whales and the Friday Harbor Port. Best of all, I knew, would be seeing Popeye, the famous gentle Harbor Seal, who did make it into Book Three as a main character!

We were then whisked away gently on the glorious ocean, enjoying the cool breeze on our faces, excited about our upcoming tour. Behind us was an amazing view of Mt. Baker. And what an incredible sight to see the Orca pods gliding beside our ship.

We passed several islands along the way to San Juan and viewing the quiet and quaint beaches gave us a feeling of wanting to explore every island in depth. We thoroughly enjoyed the Bald Eagles majestically perched among the Douglas Fir trees. So much wildlife so much closer to us than usual, from Canadian Geese to sea lions and harbor seals, to the numerous birds along the shores. I envied those who call these incredible islands home. Living away from the hustle and bustle of the city on these islands is something I would cherish. Our visit was way too short and left us with wanting to return to explore more of the islands as soon as we could. Be sure to see the Whale Museum if you go. The San Juan Islands are truly a treasure trove of wildlife.

The Adventures of Hayley Cat, Hayley Cat Sails the San Juan Islands, inspired by our vacation, is published by Lyric Power Publishing and is available at Amazon.com. Thank you for stopping by Lyric Power Publishing today and reading about the kinds of things that inspire us to write our stories.

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It Does Take a Village to Make a Book! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Meeting Nora Miller

Colorful Illustration of young girl sitting on a stack of books, with a book open on her lap, reading.I do write my stories, of course, but I don’t create the books by myself.  As the saying goes, it really does take a village. Where did I find Nora Miller, editor extraordinaire and designer of my books? At an editor speed-dating event! I had written, “Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers,” and my friend, Art Winstanley, had brought Curtis to life in the illustrations. I decided to self-publish through Createspace, but I had a problem: How would I get the text onto the pages with illustrations? That was beyond my technical capabilities.

As I was contemplating this situation, I read an article in the newspaper. The local editorial association was hosting an event to allow a limited number of authors to meet with editors who provided a variety of services.  Each author could meet with an editor for five minutes, then move onto the next editor—just like speed dating. If a connection was made, the parties exchanged information for a follow-up meeting.

I thought my need was straightforward and that I would have to choose between several editors. However, when I asked the editors if they could put text onto an illustration, the repeated response was, “No.” I was getting discouraged. Then I got to Nora’s table and her answer was, “Of course.”

This was the beginning of a wonderful relationship.  Not only does Nora compile my books, she tweaks the pictures, formats the file for the publishing types and she edits in at least three languages! Oh, and she manages my personal website, www.elaineapowers.com, too. She is truly versatile and indispensable in an industry requiring knowledgeable and thorough partners.

Thanks, Nora!

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Curtis Curly-tail Must Know! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

A lizard curling his tail on a sandy beach
The curious and courageous Curtis Curly-tail scoping out a sneaker on the beach.

Living on a Caribbean island can be wonderful, but it is also rather isolating. Just as we humans enjoy having visitors, Curtis Curly-tail enjoyed seeing people come ashore from their boats. When he watched them leave again, Curtis wondered where they had come from and where they were going.

One day the curious and courageous little guy decided to find out for himself. He crept into a sneaker and traveled to the big city, delighting in the many sights and sounds a small cay doesn’t have.  Eventually, though, Curtis wanted to go home. It didn’t take him long to realize that getting onto a tourist boat from his beach was much easier than catching a ride home would be. He would have to get on the right boat and he had no idea how he would cross the water between the boat and his beach.

You can find out how Curtis gets home in Curtis Curly-tail and the Ship of Sneakers, which is published by Lyric Power Publishing and available at Amazon.com.

Thanks for stopping by Tails, Tales and Adventures, Oh, My!

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Happy National Cat Day! by Rhonda Banuelos

Happy National Cat Day!

In honor of all the felines in our precious world – Happy National Cat Day! We at Lyric Power Publishing support the creator of this special day, Colleen Paige, and her efforts to spread awareness of sharing our loving homes with a feline through adoption.

A girl reads a book about cat adventures to cats in a shelter.
Sofia, Volunteer Reader to Cats up for Adoption in Orcas Islands, Washington

For the kitties still waiting for their forever homes, The Adventures of Hayley Cat series has volunteers, like Sofia, pictured here, who reads to the cats in the shelter on Orcas Island, Washington.

Adventures at Home with the Real Hayley Cat

I will always treasure the special memories Hayley Cat has given me through the years. He is a male Siamese-Seal Point/Himalayan mix. The moment I saw him online available for adoption, I jetted down to meet him at the Humane Society. He was about six-months-old. Due to a skin infection, he had a bald spot on his tail—other than that he was purrfect! I loved his coloring and blue eyes.

I had an immediate connection with him and knew he would bring more joy to our happy home. I filled out the necessary paperwork to adopt him and was told he would be ready to be picked up after 5:00 p.m. I was so excited and promptly went shopping for all the accessories: toys, cat bed, food and needs for his care. That evening I introduced him to his new home. He acclimated quickly and soon became the dear companion of our other cat, Bailey.

By nature, Siamese-Himalayan breeds are intelligent, curious, talkative and affectionate cats. Hayley won my heart over instantly. He brushed his body against my legs and walked around me, marking me as his territory, rubbing his face on me and secreting his scent. His unique meow has a high-pitched trill to it. It sounds more like, Meeeauwwhoa, mixed with little, short meow-meows. Siamese-Himalayan mixed cats are known for their musical voices and talkative natures. I definitely see evidence of this trait.

Hayley was a high jumper and found his special napping spot on top of the kitchen cabinets during the day. He had a life of leisure, but nighttime was playtime, with his toys and investigating every room in the house. Sometimes we would hear the opening of cupboards.

One of Hayley’s favorite things to do is to initiate playtime with Bailey, our other cat. He sits on the rug in the bathroom, crouching on his back legs and wiggling his hind end, then leaping over five feet to scare Bailey, casually walking by, unsuspecting of the taunt. Hayley chases him around the room and off they go to play. He sure is a character and very funny to watch!

Cats usually like to bring gifts to their owners to show them their love. Hayley did this once for me. It was a cool Autumn morning when he was perched on top of the patio wall. Little did I know that he was waiting to catch a bird. Before I knew it, feathers covered the patio and there it was, a dead bird gifted me on the mat. I didn’t blame his instincts, but cleaning the mess was gross. I told him to come inside and play and luckily, I didn’t have to see that incident repeat itself.

Thank you, Hayley, for bringing so much joy to our family.

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Yes! Plants Do Grow in the Sonoran Desert by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Plants of the Sonoran Desert

When people think about deserts, they often assume the land is barren with no plant life.  In the Sonoran Desert, many plants not only grow, but thrive. Some of them even bloom during the dry season! I’d like to tell you about a few of my favorites.

A saguaro cactus with multiple 'arms.'
Saguaro
a single tower saguaro cactus
Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantean) These tree-sized, columnar cacti are the symbol of the West and are important part of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem for both animals and humans. The saguaro is the largest cactus in the United States and its crown of large white blooms is honored as Arizona’s State Flower. The saguaro grows very slowly but can live up to a couple of centuries. They may or may not develop branches or “arms.” The roots are very shallow and reach out only as far as the saguaro’s height, but the cactus is also anchored by one deep tap root. The scientific name honors Andrew Carnegie, whose Carnegie Institute established the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona in 1903.

A teddy bear cholla cactus with many spines, in the Sonoran Desert
Teddy Bear Cholla is not cuddly at all!

Teddy Bear Cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii). From a distance, this cactus looks soft and fuzzy, but it is actually covered in a dense mass of spines. The spines, which are a form of leaf, are about an inch long, ending in a hook or barb. These spines so easily detach and embed in the flesh of any animal that touches it, that it is also called the Jumping Cholla, as if it actually attacks passing animals (or humans!).

 

A wide shot of many branches of a green tree, a Palo Verde tree, in the Sonoran Desert
Palo Verde Tree
Close up of thin, green branches of a Palo Verde tree
Palo Verde Tree II

Palo Verde, Foothills (Parkinsonia microphylla) Palo verde means green stick in Spanish. It is is so named due to its green bark, which, unlike the bark of other trees, is capable of photosynthesis. The tree is also known for its spines, seed pods, and brilliant yellow flowers. Palo Verde trees play a vital role in the Sonoran Desert ecology, serving as the primary nurse plant for young saguaro cacti. The genus name Parkinsonia honors the English botanist John Parkinson.

Thick, thorny branches of a green Velvet Mesquite Tree
Velvet Mesquite Tree

Mesquite, Velvet (Prosopis velutina) This thorny native tree of the Sonoran Desert survives the dry climate by sinking a taproot deep into the earth. The thorns reach one inch in length. The tree is an important part of the ecosystem, providing food and protection for animals and people. Flour is made from the seed pods. The wood is popular for grilling and seasoning food, and for carving into utensils.

 

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Don’t Call Me a Curly-tail by Elaine A. Powers, Author

A curly-tail lizard on a Caribbean white sand beach
Not only is THIS a Curly-tail lizard–it’s Curtis! He’s the little guy who started Elaine on her second career.

Some of the characters in my adventure books are curly-tail lizards. They are called curly-tail because they curl their tails over their backs. Curly-tailed lizards are found in the Caribbean. They’re widespread in their home range but haven’t made it to Arizona where I live. So, I was surprised when a friend said she had seen a curly-tail lizard in Tucson.

My friend was confusing curly-tails with other species of lizards who curl their tails. You see, many lizards curl their tails. It’s a way to communicate. Some have detachable tails and when a predator is thinking about having a nice plump, juicy lizard for lunch, the lizard will waggle its curled tail to attract the predator’s attention. The distracted predator then bites the tail, while the lizards runs off to live another day–their life. Some lizards can ‘drop’ their tails when they need to.  This process is called autotomy. It’s better to lose a tail than its life. Many of these lizards can regrow their tails but they’re never as pretty as the original.

Around my house are a bunch of lizards who curl their tails.  The Western Zebra-tailed lizards are beautiful, sandy-colored lizards with black stripes. They wave their tails to divert attention away from their body, allowing them to escape.

Then there’s the Greater Earless Lizard who also waves its striped tail to distract a predator.

So you see, lots of lizards use the tail-waving technique to distract the predators. Just because a lizard curls his tail doesn’t make it a curly-tail.

 

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Elaine A. Powers, Author, with Krinkle, a Spiny-tail Iguana

A woman holds one of her pets, a disabled spiny-tail iguana.

Krinkle, a Spiny-tail Iguana, was rescued by Elaine Powers, from a family who had left him in a small aquarium. He wanted to grow to his normal four-foot length, but was crammed into a “krinkled” one-foot, stunted mess. He couldn’t walk at first. Now he can, but he still can’t run without tipping over. Krinkle goes to classrooms with Elaine and loves to visit with the children.

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Elaine A. Powers and Myrtle–NOT a Turtle!

Myrtle, a TORTOISE, lives with Elaine and when Myrtle grew tired of everyone calling her Myrtle the Turtle, one day she asked Elaine to write a book about the differences between tortoises and turtles. Of course, Elaine said yes. (She and Myrtle are best buds.) Here Elaine is pictured reading Myrtle’s book TO Myrtle.

It turned out it’s not just tortoises who love the book–kids do, too. Don’t Call Me Turtle! has fans across America, with little ones telling grownups, “DON’T call him turtle! He’s a TORTOISE!”

A woman reading a book about tortoises to a tortoise.
Elaine A. Powers and Myrtle–NOT a turtle, but a tortoise.
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IGUANA CONSERVATION: Which Iguana is Which? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Most iguanas are found in the Americas and on Caribbean islands. They are grouped into three types: iguanas like the common green iguana, rock iguanas and spiny-tail iguanas. Each has evolved to thrive in their native environment. Unfortunately, through international commerce, the green iguana, Iguana iguana, has been introduced into ecosystems where they don’t belong.

the head of a native Rock IguanaHave you ever wondered how to tell iguanas apart? Being able to accurately identify iguana species is important to telling the difference between native iguanas and the invasive green iguanas. I have nothing against green iguanas. I’ve known many through the years as pets and when I operated an iguana rescue. Unfortunately, they are damaging the ecosystems and out-competing the native species.

Green iguanas live in an environment with many predators. So, greens lay many eggs and adapt to many foods. They have that in common with rock iguanas, who are also opportunistic eaters. (Sadly, they’ll even eat human food.)

But back to the telling iguanas apart. There are now booklets that show the physical differences. Rock iguanas don’t have the gorgeous subtympanic scale–that’s the big scale under the ear–that the green iguanas have. My mother called it the ‘jewel.’ It is lovely, in many pretty colors. No other iguanas have that scale. Greens also have little points on their dewlaps. A dewlap is the piece of skin under the chin. ( Oooh, that rhymes.) The greens have smooth, striped tails. Other iguanas have less striped tails.  Rock iguanas have that nice ribbing along the tail, while spiny-tails have keeled scales on their tail giving them a rough appearance.

I wanted to produce an item that would aid people in correctly identifying iguanas, something that was convenient to carry and interesting to look at. I was asked to make the text rhyme because this helps in memorizing the facts.  Anderson Atlas, John Binns and I have prepared these conveniently-sized booklets that people can carry around with them. Check them out –they’re free at ElaineAPowers.com.