Original Earth Day and Giveaway

21 03 2015

Raindrops on Green LeafDid you know that today was the original Earth Day? Here’s a link to a great post by middle-grade author Bonnie J. Doerr about the history of Earth Day along with a wonderful booklist of environmental titles that are perfect for celebrating today and for April’s Earth Month activities.

 





What Are You Doing to Help Mother Earth?

23 04 2012

I thought I’d devote some time this week to promoting a fellow author I admire not only for her writing, but also for her commitment to the environment. Her latest book, Stakeout, was a finalist for the Green Earth Award this year.

Bonnie J. Doerr not only writes green, she lives green. Her home is a log cabin set in a patch of woods in North Carolina. Bonnie J. Doerr's cabin in North CarolinaBonnie has carved out a space for herself to garden. You can see some of her lovely landscaping in this picture, but to truly appreciate what she’s done, you need to look at the before and after pictures of her garden space (see below). It’s difficult to believe that these pictures are of the same place. Bonnie’s hard work and green thumb are evident. In the first picture, she’s hard at work planting her garden.Picture of Bonnie J. Doerr plantingThen in the next picture, here’s how her garden grows. Amazing! Bonnie brings the same dedication and passion to her writing and to her environmental activism. So I asked her to write a blog post in honor of Earth Day.

By Bonnie J. Doerr

During Earth Week I’m reminded more than ever about why my writing took off in the direction it did. A deep appreciation of nature and the need to be immersed in the outdoors on a regular basis has defined my mental health for as long as I remember. I’ve been astounded to learn how many people are missing the gene that connects them to nature. In recent years my astonishment has turned into alarm. This dissociation from nature, I believe, is in many ways at the core of our environmental crisis.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin, 2005), defines this as Nature Deficit Disorder. As a result of a lifetime indoors, children have limited respect for their immediate natural surroundings. According to Louv, “An increasing pace in the last three decades, approximately, of a rapid disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature… has profound implications, not only for the health of future generations but for the health of the Earth itself.”

Watch the wonder and delight on a young child’s face when first observing a nest of eggs hatching, a tadpole growing into a frog, or a bean sprouting and reaching for the sky, and you know how much joy children naturally find in nature. We are wired to appreciate nature’s gifts. To nurture that appreciation, before it is lost to modern day society, can be soul saving.

Without first having experienced something, how can we come to care for it? So it seems tragically understandable that a lack of association with the natural environment leads to ecological abuse, or at the very least, taking our natural environment for granted.

I began to write poetry first, then short stories. But by the time I drafted my first novel, the die was cast. Each piece of writing had brought me closer and closer to natural settings, to crimes against the environment, and finally to where I am now—writing ecological mystery/adventures. I realize not every child can visit a wilderness, or explore a National Refuge, but every child can feel like they have when immersed in my novels. Teens can learn how much fun it is to be outdoors, how sensitive the environment is, and how they can set a good example for the adults in their world. They can virtually join other teens as they work to improve the Earth and save its creatures. It’s one small thing I can do to inspire environmental stewardship.

This month the Girl Scouts of USA are featuring Bonnie at their site. You can learn more about Bonnie and her novels on her website and by reading a recent interview. You can also see more about Bonnie’s work on her videos, which are posted at the Leap Books blog. And even better, Bonnie’s books are on sale the rest of this month for 40% off the paperbacks: Stakeout is only $7.79 and Island Sting is only $7.19.

Here’s one video of Bonnie’s work to whet your appetite:





Free and Bargain E-books

30 03 2012

Pass it on… Some great bargains for lovers of YA books are available this month:

FREE, yep, that’s right, FREE for the next few days (for Amazon prime members). It will be only 99 cents from April 1 to May 1:

Island Sting Check out Island Sting at Amazon.

Spirited Anthology by Maria V. Snyder

Anthology by authors Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill Williamson, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Linda Joy Singleton, and others...

Spirited available on Amazon for 99 cents!! It has augmented reality by Karl Gee.

Under My Skin

Under My Skin regularly $4.99, available for 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time.

And for adults, check out Dancing with the Devil, by Cate Masters, FREE on Amazon for a limited time. For other great bargains, check out the Leap Books site on April 1, 2012, for some great bargains.

And for a blog about FREE and BARGAIN BOOKS, see Downtown YA.





Back in the Saddle

11 01 2012

wild west

Image: Witthaya Phonsawat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I began January by submitting the beginning of a YA set in the Old West. I love how my projects dovetail with each other and with my life. The first connection is that the heroine falls in love with a boy who was adopted into the Shawnee tribe. So how perfectly does that fit with the project I just finished–the 5 vol. Encyclopedia of Native Tribes?

But the connections don’t stop there. My father bought a house in an Arizona ghost town near the Sonora desert. That mining town is now being rehabbed, but I got to see it before it came back. The heroine lives in on a ranch outside town, so I feel I know the area. Walking with forked sticks while watching for rattlesnakes, the scorching sun, the saguaro pointing like fingers toward the sky, the smell of mesquite rising from an open fire. I even spent time on a nearby reservation learning to make pottery. It’s wonderful how life experiences can filter into fiction to make it come alive.

Can’t wait to sit down and finish this one. So many ideas are running through my head. What projects have you started for the New Year? And how do they dovetail with your life?





African Animals

4 04 2011

As long as I’m on the subject of art, I thought I’d post one more picture I finished recently for a book on African Animals. Because the series of stories and folktales are from West Africa, I wanted a mudcloth border for the pictures.

Jaguar

© Laurie J. Edwards 2011

Anyone who knows me, knows I love drawing jungle animals, so this book was a treat. Perhaps my love of the jungle comes from living in West Africa when I was young and impressionable. Which reminds me of a story… which I’ll save for another post.





What moves faster: a snail or a glacier?

13 03 2011

snailDo you know? I didn’t. Here’s another fascinating fact I learned as I was researching one of the 266 articles I promised to write by the end of next month. (Yes, I’m certifiably crazy!)

Snails move waaayyy faster than glaciers. The average snail can run rings around a glacier. A snail’s easily more than a hundred times faster…

Now that you know this, don’t you wonder who spent their time conducting races for snails and glaciers? And how long did it take to do the research? If an average glacier moves 6 feet a day, how many glaciers did they have to time and how long did they spend studying each one and averaging the results? And even though snails move faster, conducting snail races to get an average would be time consuming. Bet those researchers got government grants.





Stimulating Creativity

1 07 2010

Picture by Clare Bloomfield

Whew! Back from ALA and glad to be surrounded by trees and green again. Guess I’m not a city person. I found the heat, humidity, and press of the crowds draining. I suppose many people find the city exhilarating, but if I lived there for any length of time, I’d miss the black sky spangled with stars, the treetops swaying in the breeze, and the laundry-fresh air after a rain.

Quite a contrast to the city, where neon lights pulsed all night, concrete towers hemmed me in and obscured the sky, and rain swirled oily puddles into the gutters and made the air stink of old urine. I admire those who can live amid the clanking, banging, and exhaust fumes and still remain creative. I wonder if the city sparks a different kind of creativity–a pulsating, in-your-face kind of story. Perhaps my writing needs a jolt of that high energy.

What setting stimulates your creativity?