Deborah - Zenha Adams

author, naturalist, yogi

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Cassidy Dwelis guest post and book giveaway

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Michelle Falkoff – How to Pack for the End of the World

Today’s guest is the fabulous author of How to Pack for the End of the World, Michelle Falkoff. Keep reading to learn more about the book, the author, and how to enter the giveaway.

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Carolyn Haines–Three Questions & a Cover

Three Questions and a Cover — a short interview with one of my favorite authors, along with one of the author’s covers.

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Lauren Carr ~ What’s Up With The Dog?

In this guest post from author Lauren Carr, you’ll find a shining example of how characters, human or otherwise, can take a story right out of the writer’s hands.

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Miranda James – Three Questions & a Cover

Three Questions and a Cover — a short interview with one of my favorite authors, along with one of the author’s covers.

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

If you stay, stay safe

I’ve written about people who don’t realize they are victims of domestic violence. (Click here to download a PDF about domestic violence.)

Now let’s consider the victims who DO know but aren’t yet prepared to leave the relationship.

Never mind why they stay — they have good reasons for that, reasons they may not be able to explain fully to others or even to themselves.

If you or someone you know is still in an abusive situation, it’s important to plan ahead for the next assault. Develop a safety plan, using these ideas:

~Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are always ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.

 ~Know where the nearest pay phone is located.

~Know your local battered women’s shelter number.

~Don’t be afraid to call the police.

~Let family, friends, or neighbors you trust know about your situation. Arrange a signal so they’ll know when you need emergency help.

~Be sure your children know they should never get involved when you are being threatened or harmed by your partner. Teach them to get away from the abusive situation and find help.

~Keep an extra set of keys to house and car, emergency telephone numbers, important papers (birth certificates, income verification, social security numbers, medication for you and/or your children, child’s favorite toy, etc., extra clothes packed in trash bag (not obvious)

~If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask that they document your visit.

~Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.

~Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made if possible.

~Contact your local battered women’s shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis.

Asking for help from a domestic violence shelter program does not obligate you to go into shelter. If you call a hotline, you don’t usually have to give your name. If you’re asked for your name, you don’t have to give your real name.

These programs exist to help you stay safe. Advocates care about you and want to provide you with the resources you need to live safely and happily. All you have to do is ask….

National Domestic Violence Hotline

800.799.SAFE (7233)

Lori Benton ~ – Three Questions & a Cover

Three Questions and a Cover — a short interview with one of my favorite authors, along with one of the author’s covers.

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Barbara Linn Probst — Queen of the Owls

Have you ever wondered where the idea for a book comes from? Barbara Linn Probst has an answer.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

I’ve been asked that question many times about Queen of the Owls, my debut novel, and I’ve responded in various ways. Mostly, I say it was a combination of things. Some had been simmering below the surface for a long time, others were new, and they all came together in one of those magical convergences.

The memory of a painful adolescent moment, when my heartthrob Bill Kingery dismissed me with the words, “Barbara? Oh, she’s a brain.” An event in the news about a teacher who’d been fired because a topless selfie went viral. A discarded scene from an old manuscript.

An intriguing what if ….

Looking back, the connection among those elements seems pretty obvious, since they all became part of Queen of the Owls.  Yet I didn’t consciously sift through memories and news stories and imaginative riffs, and then pluck the ones that could work together to shape a novel. The process was much more subconscious—a kind of inner relaxation, the intelligent working of the intuitive mind. Trying really, really hard to come up with an idea for a novel just doesn’t seem to work—not for me, anyway. I’ve never responded to writing prompts, suggestions from others, or techniques designed to ignite that spark.

But here’s the amazing discovery I made about the true source of Queen of the Owls. It happened after the book was written, revised, printed, and waiting in the warehouse for distribution.

I was getting ready for a Facebook author interview in advance of the book’s release, when it struck me that it would be fun to sit with my Georgia O’Keeffe poster on the wall, as background for the interview. It’s a poster I’ve had for years, her glorious 1927 Red Poppy.

I spoke about many things during the hour, including that seventh-grade crush who dismissed me as a “brain.” Later in the Q & A, as often happens, someone asked about the seed of the novel. Where did Queen of the Owls come from?

And suddenly, like that cliché bolt of lightning, I knew.

When my ex-husband and I split up, I let him have the giant flat-screen that he’d mounted over the fireplace. I never watched TV; besides, it reminded me too much of him—an adult version of Bill Kingery, although it took me a long time to understand that. I wanted to fill the empty spot over the fireplace with something that represented who I wanted to be now. So the very first thing I did after he left was to go to an art store and buy a huge print of Red Poppy. It was a declaration, a flag, my way to fill the new void.

When I bought Red Poppy and hung it on the wall, I was a doctoral student in clinical social work, a therapist, and adjunct instructor. Not a fiction writer.  I didn’t write Queen of the Owls for another decade. And I didn’t put it all together until that afternoon, two weeks before the book’s publication, when I was being interviewed on Facebook.

Maybe that’s the way it happens. It’s only by giving your novel to the world that you can really understand its source.

Where did I get the idea for Queen of the Owls

It might be truer to say that the idea got me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Details:

Book Title:  Queen of the Owls by Barbara Linn Probst
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  307 pages
Genre:  Upmarket Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  She Writes Press
Release date:   April 2020
Tour dates: Sep 9 to Sep 25, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13: Includes situations and discussions of adult subject matter.
“A stunner” — Caroline Leavitt, best-selling author

“A must-read”
— Barbara Claypole White, best-selling author

“Nuanced and insightful” — Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times
best-selling author

Book Description:

A chance meeting with a charismatic photographer will forever change Elizabeth’s life. Until she met Richard, Elizabeth’s relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe and her little-known Hawaii paintings was purely academic. Now it’s personal. Richard tells Elizabeth that the only way she can truly understand O’Keeffe isn’t with her mind―it’s by getting into O’Keeffe’s skin and reenacting her famous nude photos. In the intimacy of Richard’s studio, Elizabeth experiences a new, intoxicating abandon and fullness. It never occurs to her that the photographs might be made public, especially without her consent. Desperate to avoid exposure―she’s a rising star in the academic world and the mother of young children―Elizabeth demands that Richard dismantle the exhibit. But he refuses. The pictures are his art. His property, not hers. As word of the photos spreads, Elizabeth unwittingly becomes a feminist heroine to her students, who misunderstand her motives in posing. To the university, however, her actions are a public scandal. To her husband, they’re a public humiliation. Yet Richard has reawakened an awareness that’s haunted Elizabeth since she was a child―the truth that cerebral knowledge will never be enough. Now she must face the question: How much is she willing to risk to be truly seen and known?


 BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ BAM
Bookshop ~ Kobo ~ indiebound
Book Depository ~ Powells
Add to Goodreads

Author Barbara Linn Probst

Meet the Author:

BARBARA LINN PROBST is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, living on an historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut novel QUEEN OF THE OWLS (April 2020) is the powerful story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Endorsed by best-selling authors including Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, QUEEN OF THE OWLS was selected as one of the twenty most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother, a debut novel “too good to ignore” by Bustle, and “one of the best new novels to read during the quarantine” by Parade Magazine and Entertainment Weekly. It won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, and was short-listed for the $2500 Grand Prize. Barbara has a PhD in clinical social work and blogs for several award-winning sites for writers.

Connect with the Author:  website  ~ facebook  ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Read Banned Books Week is almost here

The last week of September is when wise people remind us that the freedom to read, the freedom of access to information, the freedom to choose for ourselves is always in peril. This year Banned Books Week is September 27 through October 3, although I strongly suggest that you read banned books every chance you get throughout the year.

 The American Library Association provides more information on their site, including lists of frequently challenged books and the ten MOST challenged books. (“A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.”)

Despite the fact that Americans pride ourselves on our freedoms, we manage to censor or attempt to censor a surprisingly large number of books for the most bizarre reasons. Here are a few of the books that have been banned or challenged in the United States:

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Animal Farm
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
  • Beloved
  • Brave New World
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • The Canterbury Tales
  • The Color Purple
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • Farenheit 451 (yes, a book about banning books)
  • The Glass Castle
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Harry Potter series
  • The Hunger Games series
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Thirteen Reasons Why
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin

 This list barely scratches the surface. Thankfully the internet is not yet banned–well, in fact, it is banned in many places–but most of you will be able to access sites about banned books and the actions you can take to stop the madness.

 The ALA website also provides web graphics, coloring sheets, videos, and a plethora of information to help you promote Read Banned Books Week.

The most important thing you can do is buy and read banned books, and then brag about it. Speak out against literary censorship.

My own choice for Banned Books Week this year is that anarchistic classic James and the Giant Peach.

The Nature of Nature review

Enric Sala wanted to know: “In what way do we depend on all…other species for our own survival?” This book, The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild, is the answer.

A former faculty member at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Sala founded the National Geographic Pristine Seas program. With these and other relevant credits on his side, Sala was well-placed to conduct the investigation that explored a myriad of topics related to his opening question.

Given that a massive team of humans with a carefully designed strategy to recreate a natural ecosystem garnered an epic fail with the Biosphere 2 project, how is it possible for multiple species to create ecosystems that not only thrive but even adapt and evolve? How is it that as the number of species join the ecosystem, they create more and more micro-habitats that, in turn, allow for yet greater diversity of species colonization? And what happens when a species preys upon but does not contribute to the system?

The answer won’t surprise fans of Dirk Gently, the fictional detective whose method of discovery revolved around “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.” Neither will it surprise environmentalists or conservationists or any thinking person.  But wait—there’s more.

Taking the reader through the steps of his research, Sala shows us exactly how “…humans are driving species extinct at a rate at least a thousand times faster than the natural background rate.” On the heels of that statement, he reminds us in no uncertain terms that we at the top of the food chain, are entirely dependent upon every other species in our ecosphere. When we damage our environment, we hasten our own extinction.

All well and good, I hear some of you say, but we’ve got to make a living / build a house / travel from place to place / eat. The loudest response is that we can’t do any of that if we are extinct. The Nature of Nature goes beyond the broadly obvious and beyond the moral and esthetic arguments for preservation of the ecosystem; it also explains the economics of a sound environmental policy, and offers a completely workable strategy for restoring degraded ecosystems, protecting all the species within that system, and enhancing quality of life worldwide

The Nature of Nature makes it clear that we have the ability to clean up the mess we’ve made. The only remaining question is: Do we have the intelligence to act?

• Hardcover : 256 pages
• Publisher : National Geographic (August 25, 2020)

In this inspiring manifesto, an internationally renowned ecologist makes a clear case for why protecting nature is our best health insurance, and why it makes economic sense.

Enric Sala wants to change the world–and in this compelling book, he shows us how. Once we appreciate how nature works, he asserts, we will understand why conservation is economically wise and essential to our survival.

Here Sala, director of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project (which has succeeded in protecting more than 5 million sq km of ocean), tells the story of his scientific awakening and his transition from academia to activism–as he puts it, he was tired of writing the obituary of the ocean. His revelations are surprising, sometimes counterintuitive: More sharks signal a healthier ocean; crop diversity, not intensive monoculture farming, is the key to feeding the planet.

Using fascinating examples from his expeditions and those of other scientists, Sala shows the economic wisdom of making room for nature, even as the population becomes more urbanized. In a sober epilogue, he shows how saving nature can save us all, by reversing conditions that led to the coronavirus pandemic and preventing other global catastrophes. With a foreword from Prince Charles and an introduction from E. O. Wilson, this powerful book will change the way you think about our world–and our future.

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Enric Sala

ENRIC SALA is a marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence dedicated to restoring the health and productivity of the ocean. He is widely recognized for his worldwide conservation efforts, based on solid observational and experimental research, combined with strategic communications and policy discussions. Previously a professor at the prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, he founded National Geographic Pristine Seas, a global project that combines exploration, research, and storytelling to inspire leaders and communities to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 22 marine reserves encompassing almost 6 million square kilometers of ocean, more than half the area of all 50 United States.

Find out more about Enric at his website, and connect with him on Instagram and Twitter.

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