Thursday, May 9, 2013

Next Big Thing blog campaign!

Today I host the Next Big Thing blog campaign—an opportunity to talk about my own YA book, but also help promote the work of other authors and illustrators who create neat books for kids and young adults. The campaign began in Australia, but became international. Authors answer the same ten questions about their upcoming or recent book title, than “tag” two other authors to carry the baton in succeeding weeks. Today I will be talking about my science fiction adventure, A Singular Prophecy, and then giving the nod to two other authors I admire: Nancy Oswald and Libby James. I hope you enjoy these insights into the process of creating children’s literature!

What is the working title of your next book? 
I am working on a collection of some of my published nature essays for adults called Confessions of a Time Traveller, but the book I would like to discuss today is A Singular Prophecy—a labor of love for young adults that also involves time travelling and first contact with an alien species.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A Singular Prophecy developed from my passion for collecting fossils and from a childhood incident that helped to give my life direction.

Fossil collectors are always looking for that find of a lifetime that will make a career and reveal something new about the history of life. My protagonist, Ryan Thompson makes such a find, but discovers that the history of life on Earth is intimately tied to life that evolved elsewhere.

The childhood incident was a story told to my mother by a fortuneteller: The fortuneteller said my mother wouldn’t be famous but one of her children would. I decided that child should be me. The same kind of prediction motivates Ryan in the book.

What genre does your book fall under?
A Singular Prophecy is YA science fiction, although many adults have enjoyed it.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Yikes! I watch few movies and many of those I’m familiar with date me. That said, I see Ryan as kind of a young Harrison Ford with a pragmatic sort of heroism that might not surface without the help of a strong woman, like his girlfriend, Skeets. A young Sigourney Weaver might play Skeets.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Two aliens attempt to subjugate two Earthlings and take over the world, but in the process have to cooperate to save the entire universe from disaster!

Who is publishing your book?
This book was a self-publishing venture. It’s available in soft cover through CreateSpace and is also a Kindle book on Amazon. Several conventional publishers nibbled on the book, but didn’t bite. I decided to jump into the world of self-publishing and test the waters.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I worked on this book, off and on, for well over a decade. Several groups critiqued it in various forms. I feel it became richer for the extended effort (though not a cost-effective process!)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I find that many of the early books by Robert Sawyer, a Canadian SF author resonate with me. He also likes to write about paleontologists and their obsessions.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to make a fortuneteller’s prophecy come true and spend time in a universe of wonder and possibilities.

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Can the universe be considered a work of art molded by the life that evolves within it?

Next in line...
So now I would like to introduce you to Nancy Oswald, a writer who will whisk you back to 1896 Colorado in her award-winning book, Rescue in Poverty Gulch. You will meet and thoroughly enjoy Ruby and her donkey Maude as they make their way to Cripple Creek, Colorado. Nancy will post her blog on May 23. Check her website at Rumor has it that Maude has a blog there.

Next, on May 30, Libby James will reveal her Muffin Magic—a picture book about a boy, his dad, and some muffins that help make a dream come true! Don’t miss her entry at

Hope you enjoy this fun game of author tag!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Alive and Aloft in the Aeolian Zone

I recently had fun researching an article for Colorado Gardener magazine about the life that exists in the atmosphere all around us. The atmosphere serves as a kind of bloodstream, distributing life and nutrients across the globe. The illustration I created shows a fraction of the traffic in this bloodstream. Enjoy the complete article at: