How many times have you heard a child say or indeed have said to a child when they have been upset by something another child has said to them: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me”? I have to admit I think I am guilty of this. It was something I was taught as a child and it is something I have probably told my own children a few times. Why do we say it? Is it because it is true? We all know that’s not correct. Of course words hurt us. We say it to try and convince ourselves not to let it hurt us, after all it’s just words, just sounds – isn’t it? Nonsense! Words have power. They create and they destroy. They weave an image which becomes a concept, which in turn becomes ingrained in our very being – cultures are born out of words. Think of some of the most powerful books, poems, songs, speeches. Laws are created by words aren’t they? Science and religion are made up of words aren’t they? Words are power! Especially the words you can’t even hear. The ones you think to yourself when you are alone. Yes, even that still little voice inside of you – that voice uses words – your words – and they have power.
Let us remember that words are our humanity. Let us teach our children to use words that have the power that will create not destroy, build others up not tear them down, affect positive change not fear and despair, clarity not confusion. We must mentor our children about the kinds of words that will be healthy for them to use in their lives and then let them build on that. And sometimes, just sometimes they have words to inspire us too. In days gone by we were led to believe that children should be seen and not heard. I believe that sometimes, just sometimes it’s us adults that should shut up and listen to what the children have to say.
Listen…listen to what the children have to say…
You heard the boy: “Let’s work together to change the world not just occupy it.”
I love this video. It links the crop circle phenomenon to our evolving spirituality and basically how sound and love are linked to the universe expressing itself in an ever expanding entity that grows more and more with love and understanding as it expands, expressing itself in all entities that it creates. UFOs and alien beings, in this explanation, are entities that are trying to help us discover this encoded vibrational expression of life and want us to understand this spirituality before we jump ahead with creating technology that we don’t understand fully and may misuse i.e.. not using it in love and understanding. Makes sense to me!
Saturday 15th March 2014
Bookish Banter is proud to present today’s Featured Author…
Welcome Jo. Please tell us where you are from? Let me guess Fairy Land … just kidding…no really do you? 😉
I live in Snohomish, Washington in the Pacific Northwest of the US. I live on the edge of a valley, which is an old prehistoric lava flow, but now rural farmland. Three enormous volcanoes surround Snohomish ~ Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, and Glacier Peak. An old growth forest is my backyard and a deep, slow-moving river winds through the valley.
So you do live in Fairyland! It actually sounds like a really magical place to live.
How long have you been making magic with your writing?
Twig fantasies sprouted about three years ago when my young daughter and I first spotted tiny, stick creatures living in the giant western red cedars in our back yard. Since then we discovered Twigs live in roots, moss, and ferns. More live in the wide valley below our hill. Eventually we realized these fascinating and elusive creatures probably live in forests and grasslands all over the world. Have you seen any?
I knew it! Well I haven’t seen any Twigs, although they sound like delightful little creatures, but my daughter did say she saw a fairy once when she was coming home from swimming, in our local park. So I guess you have to have a keen eye for the magic folk!
Are you promoting a particular book at the present time?
I’m always promoting the first three books in the Twig Stories collection: Leaf & the Rushing Waters, Leaf & the Sky of Fire, and Leaf & the Long Ice. The fourth book Leaf & Echo Peak’s release will be celebrated later this year. I also share the books’ royalties with conservation nonprofits, so I promote their good efforts, too, whenever possible.
It is so lovely to hear that you promote conservation Jo – and it is never too early to get children involved with respecting and conserving the environment. To buy these delightful books, just click on their pictures below.
The Twig Stories’ genre is actually eco-literature, children’s fantasy. It just means the fantasies are set in nature with a conservationist theme. My daughter and I want to tell children about the climate change impacts in our region like insect swarms, wildfires, floods, threatened ecosystems, and endangered species. Presently, children’s fiction is the only genre I can manage; probably because it’s the limit of my vocabulary.
Can you give us the magical details of your latest book?
That would be Leaf & the Long Ice. This story is located on the shrinking glacier of a massive volcano called Echo Peak. Leaf’s younger, twin brothers, Buddy and Burba, run away to play in the glacier’s snow before it all melts. After frightening encounters with rare beasts of the Long Ice, the twin buds are lost in a maze of blue tunnels. Leaf must seek help to find them. Mantru, a cranky old hermit who lives in a cave, and his little pika friend, Winkers, reluctantly join the search.
Where did the idea come from? Did a magical imp whisper it in your ear?
Twigs worry all the time about many different climate change impacts occurring in the Pacific Northwest. Shrinking glaciers are only one of the most obvious, so it was natural Leaf should have an adventure there. Leaf & the Long Ice may help bring attention to the resulting loss of fresh water in this region, too.
Did you have to do a lot of research for your latest work? You know late nights in a magical clearing… or enchanted wood…
Actually, I did research glaciers and the endangered animals inhabiting their alpine regions like the critically threatened woodland caribou, wolverines, and pikas. I also had generous guidance from well-known, expert glaciologists in Canada, Dr. Gwen Flowers and Dr. Sarah Boon. When I asked for their opinions, they actually offered to edit the manuscript and provide their invaluable, first-hand observations from their exploration of glaciers. I was very grateful, and incorporated all their suggestions into the story.
Do you think your writing is improving with each enchanted addition to your fantasy library?
I would have to say yes and no. Yes, in that it’s easier to actually write the action and follow the formula of a three day, frantic adventure driven by climate change events. No, in that the more complex the research becomes the more calculated my writing; although somehow ‘Long Ice’ actually turned out to be more fun for the readers
Did you find yourself stuck in the mud at any stage during the writing that held things up for a bit or did it flow freely?
I often need to rewrite a scene based on the actual facts of species behaviour, description, or what threatens it in nature. Sometimes I get carried away by the fantasy, and it simply doesn’t tally with the real world even in Twig land. The books are popular because there is this nice blend of Twig fantasy and scientific fact working together, so I must be faithful to the readers’ expectations of a nature.
Why do you love this craft so much? That’s the craft of writing by the way not fairy magic?
Oh, dear, I’m not sure I love writing. What’s the old saying, “I hate writing, but love having written”? But it’s the desire to tell the story which drives us, eh? We have this story we must get out of our heads and hearts, and for now, writing to purge ourselves of it seems to be the most enduring and satisfying technique to use.
How much planning goes into a book? Do you spend a long time planning or do you just start writing and see where it leads you?
I’m an obsessive planner and outliner. First I outline the entire book, then each chapter, then each scene, and even detail each illustration before I can write the story. Then after I write the story, I actually write it. Then I write it again, and again, and again. Once I’m satisfied with that part, I offer my manuscript to research professors, conservation nonprofit naturalists, biologists, educators, and any other person willing to read it. After I receive their guidance, I write it again
Do you have a crowd of forest folk followers who read every word and encourage you?
I’m amazed the books have been welcomed worldwide by thousands of readers, children and adults. I’m grateful for each Twig fan that liked even one book, not to mention those who have read and liked all three, and even anticipate the fourth! Compliments for Twig Stories from readers still startle me. I want to whisper, “Really?” Yet, even if there were only two fans, those are the ones whose expectations I hope to meet with each Twig story.
What is your experience of the Publishing industry?
Did you say opinion or experience? Oh, of course, my experience. Traditional publishing moves far too slowly for today’s audience. That’s why indie publishing has taken off like wildfire. Being an indie is exciting; very much like being a producer. You get to make all the decisions and call all the shots. It’s truly your book when at last it’s available to the reader, and that’s a very satisfying feeling. No one forced an illustrator on you, or revised it for mass consumption, or chose a weird marketing scheme. For better or worse, it’s all yours
Is this book a part of a delightful series? Where is it going?
Twig Stories books are a collection of four stories each about the exploits of one particular Twig. The first four books are told from the perspective of a young, Old Seeder Branch Twig named Leaf. The next set is told from his sister Fern’s viewpoint, and the next from Leaf’s younger twin brothers, Buddy and Burba. Each collection is placed in different regions of the western US. The climate changes impacting those regions drive the Twigs’ journeys.
Have you had some good reviews for your book?
Yes, thank goodness, or I probably would have given up by now. It’s hard work!
If you couldn’t be a writer what would you do instead? And no! A tree Nymph is not an option!
I’d like to do what I did up until a few years ago ~ assist attorneys in nonprofits with civil litigation. It would be great to team with other nonprofits, and do battle for wildlife and forestry issues. Legal action taken on behalf of conservation can be extremely effective and rewarding.
Your favourite Author is…
Besides children’s authors like A.A. Milne and Mary Norton, I love reading David Quammen’s bestsellers. He writes about complex global biodiversity, or ‘biogeography’, and dire climate change events. I love his writing style. It’s full of humour. He speaks to you from the pages of his books like a favourite professor might, sitting on your couch in old, worn slippers and explaining the science behind his conclusions as if you actually understood. He wrote The Song of the Dodo, The Flight of the Iguana, and most recently Spillover.
Have you got a book trailer?
What do you do to wind down?
I work Norman Rockwell puzzles and listen to big band era music.
Do you belong to a friendly writers group and does it help?
I enjoy a huge amount of support from online groups in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, but I’m not a fan of face-to-face discussion groups. Obviously, I don’t get out much.
I know how you feel – but online groups can be very helpful I have found!
What is you experience of editing and polishing your manuscripts?
I ask kids to read and edit the manuscripts. They get a big kick out of writing all over the text; mostly, happy faces or LOL or sad faces or sometimes ????. Their reaction is a tremendous amount of help. Researchers, teachers, and professors have edited the manuscripts and provided surprising endorsements, too. I’d get a lot wrong without their help. Other than that, I find reading the manuscript backwards helps catch grammatical errors and inconsistencies. Of course, I meant reading the last chapter first and so on, not literally reading it backwards word for word.
Now that would be impressive! I love the idea about having the children read and write on the manuscript. That sounds like a very clever idea!
Any tips for all our budding authors out there wondering how to get started?
Use Preditors & Editors religiously and do Google searches on every agent, publisher, and anyone else asking you for your manuscript or your money. I even found fake literary agents on LinkedIn looking to get your manuscript for free so they can sell it. There are many, many people who will take advantage of the naivety of indie authors. Don’t let them!
I use Createspace for indie publishing. They are owned by Amazon.com and are the most reputable out there as far as I’m concerned. They’ll set up your paperbacks and kindles for you to sell worldwide. They also have excellent design and marketing support teams. I’ve never been disappointed with their quick and professional assistance.
Link city – as many as you need to guide us round your internet trail of friendly forest fun…
Twig Stories website: http://www.twigstories.com
20% discounts are available via the Twig Stories website E-Store
Amazon.com Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jo.marshall
Facebook book/fan page: http://facebook.com/twigstoriesbooks
Facebook author page: http://facebook.com/twigstories
Let’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/twigstories
Amazon.com paperback & ebooks are available via Amazon.com worldwide
Leaf & the Rushing Waters ~ http://goo.gl/3CWhaA
Leaf & the Sky of Fire ~ http://goo.gl/xaB0zH
Leaf & the Long Ice ~ http://goo.gl/CahThv
Leaf & the Rushing Waters ~ http://goo.gl/eUN893
Leaf & the Sky of Fire ~ http://goo.gl/oGecbJ
Leaf & the Long Ice ~ http://goo.gl/uZB9cA
SCRIBd.com book excerpt for Leaf & the Rushing Waters: http://goo.gl/vynJYQ
SCRIBd.com book excerpt for Leaf & the Sky of Fire: http://goo.gl/waEZFN
SCRIBD.com book excerpt for Leaf & the Long Ice: http://goo.gl/xiu8DS
Thank you for joining us here on the ‘Bookish Banter’ and taking time out to give us such an interesting insight into your writing world.
Xx Laura Crean xX
It’s my pleasure, Laura! Thank you!
I thought this deserved a re-blog. I stumbled across this interview with Captain Ozone and thought I should give you guys a second chance to find out all about this time travelling Super hero with a super green ego – he certainly is an ecology champion for the 21st Century and beyond…
…so check him out!
See my interview with Captain Ozone here –
How can we save the planet?
Let’s ask a Time Traveller from the future – from the year 2039 to be exact!
I am very proud to be Introducing to you all – a Super Hero with a Super ‘Green’ ego…
When I first came across Captain Ozone, on my Facebook page ‘Time Traveller’s United’, I had been waiting for a real live Time Traveller to stumble across my page and give us the gossip from the future and to hopefully give us some really useful information that would help us to clean up the planet here in the present. When Captain Ozone flew by ‘Time Traveller’s United’ and left us a video showing how he materialised into our present time on his amazing Time Travelling Toilet, little was I to know just how useful and important his message to us could be.
You see Captain Ozone is not only a Super Hero Time Traveller from the future, he is also a champion for green causes.
He has seen the future (he’s been there) and he wants us to put ‘renewable energy’ at the top of our list for saving the planet. And Captain Ozone knows that our children are the future – so what better way to get his message across than through the children of today – our Heroes for tomorrow. So Captain Ozone and the Youth Ecology Program are here to tell us how we can start saving the planet today so that our future will be brighter, cleaner, and a whole lot greener.
I decided straight away that I couldn’t have a Time Traveller in my midst without interviewing him about the future. So without further ado here is my interview with Captain Ozone…
(Laura) – (This one’s from my 9 year old) – How old were you when you became a time traveller?
(Captain Ozone) – I was 27 going on 28 years old when I traveled a half-century backwards through time. I was born on April 7, 2011 and left my timeline on March 13, 2039 and arrived in your timeline on March 13, 1989. Ask your 9-year-old to do the math to figure out how old I am today.
(Laura) – Are you a human or an alien time traveller?
(Captain Ozone) – I’m all too human. All time travelers are human.
Earth has never been visited by extraterrestrials. They live too many light years away from Earth to travel here. Most sighted, photographed or filmed UFO’s are merely weather balloons, covert military aircrafts, or simply prank photos of someone tossing a hubcap or a hat in the air. However, a small percentage of UFO’s are actually human time travelers from the future. Some of them are from thousands of years into the dim future and they have evolved physically beyond human recognition. That is why some of them look like extraterrestrials to us. They have evolved larger temporal lobes and cerebral cortexes, giving them more intelligence and creativity, plus they are far more peaceful and civilized than we are.
(Laura) – What powers/scientific genius do you use to make your travels in Time?
(Captain Ozone) – I traveled only once through time. When I arrived at the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham, Washington in 1989, several hours later the local police confiscated my time machine. They thought that me, seated on my time machine in colorful costume, was a potential diversion for a robbery at the mall. I think it’s quite possible that my time machine is being stored somewhere at Area 51 today.
I’m no genius. General Landrew Carter assigned me this mission because he thought I was fool enough to do it. I realized that the day the cops confiscated my time machine and I had no way of getting back home. I’m not a physicist nor have I studied theories in time travel. I attended a briefing at the Hexagon (use to be the Pentagon building before it was remodeled) the day I left on March 13, 2039 and we spent about an hour discussing things like space-time continuum conundrums and whatnot. But I was just a country boy who grew up in a rural area. My friends use to call me “Willy the Space Cowboy”.
(Laura) – What year to you hail from?
(Captain Ozone) – I left on my time machine on March 13, 2039 at 2:40am and arrived in this timeline on March 13, 1989. When I materialized in 1989, my entry point created some sort of ”cosmic shock wave” which caused hundreds of power grid problems to erupt throughout the world, including a 12-hour blackout in Quebec, Canada. My entry also caused some satellites in space to go out of control for several hours and even the Discovery space shuttle was having problems. The media, not knowing about my “arrival”, attributed all these global electrical problems to a solar flare. Below is the original VHS videotape documentation of my “arrival”.
(Laura) – What country are you from? (If countries still exist)
(Captain Ozone) – The good ‘ol U.S. of A.
(Laura) – Who is the ruler/dictator of your country/state/world order?
(Captain Ozone) – When petroleum began to dwindle in supply by the late 2030’s, it shot sky high in price, triggering a world war over control of several oil fields situated in two countries. This war began in the fall of 2038 and wiped out almost a billion people – 8% of the world population. I will not identify the nations that were involved in this war for the reason that it will only incite suspicion, fear and hatred between these nations at present. For the same reason, I will not identify the two countries the oil fields were situated in that these nations warred over. Furthermore, a space-time continuum sticky situation would most likely occur if I were to identify these nations or even make known who was ruler/dictator of our country during the war. This is the principal reason why I refuse to share too much information about events in my future timeline.
(Laura) – Have you got a blog for your Time Travelling antics?
(Captain Ozone) – Antics?? You make my mission sound like horseplay or hanky-panky.
(Laura) – Do you write about your adventures? If so in what form and can we have a link please?
(Captain Ozone) – My writing really sucks so, no, I don’t write about my adventures. Some of my adventures are on YouTube. There’s a book you can order through Amazon.com called “I, Superhero!!” that has several pages about me. Some magazines and newspapers all around the world have done interviews with me or have written about me. There is also a movie called “Superhero Me” that you can stream on Amazon.com that features me.
A woman did an interview with me via shortwave radio several years ago and you can read it here at http://www.timechatter.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3
(Laura) – Do you have a nemesis?
(Captain Ozone) – Yes, I do have nemesis’s. They are Osun Thyruss (Dirty Brown Clown), Circus Jaxs and Agent Beryllium.
(Laura) – What are the most important lessons you have learnt from the future that you can pass on?
(Captain Ozone) – Into the late 2030s, very little had been accomplished to establish a worldwide, renewable energy infrastructure. Since fossil fuels were still the cheapest and therefore the most profitable energy sources, almost every nation had no incentive to create a zero-emissions economy.
The leading greenhouse gas from fossil fuels that’s held to cause global warming was reduced in the atmosphere through a carbon capture and storage technique known as Carbon Sequestration. This involves capturing carbon dioxide gas from factories and power plants and injecting it into underground reservoirs or on the ocean floor where it’s presumed to be stored permanently.
Global warming never occurred in the 2030s despite today’s prevailing belief that it will, but many scientists and ecologists were worried that major earthquakes would cause megatons of captured carbon dioxide to escape from where it was stored, causing rapid climate change.
My mission was to put a halt to wars over oil in the future and to reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions through safer methods than carbon sequestration. I would accomplish this by traveling a half-century backwards through time to the year 1989 to establish a global renewable energy infrastructure.
My primary mission was to deliver vital data in my holopedia to scientists in 1989 who were involved in the research and development of zero-emissions, renewable energy systems. The data was of schematic diagrams of highly efficient solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and hydrogen power systems that were fifty years ahead of 1989’s renewable energy technologies. These futuristic renewable energy systems would enable every nation to be energy self-sufficient, eliminating wars over oil in the future, plus they would significantly reduce manmade greenhouse gas emissions held to cause rapid climate change.
To answer your question, we need to build a worldwide renewable energy infrastructure ASAP with the contemporary technologies we have today. Businesses and home owners need to get off the power grid by investing in rooftop solar panels, mini wind turbines and geothermal systems. Power companies, factories and automobile corporations need to convert to zero-emissions energy sources.
(Laura) – Is there still a need for TV in the future or is it now all via digital implants? If so can I have one? LOL
(Captain Ozone) – No digital implants in the 2030’s. The human brain is far too complex to tap into like that. Maybe by the year 2113 we’ll have digital implants sending electrical impulses to our neurons in our visual cortex to see movies in our minds.
Television merged with the Internet in the 2020’s. By the 2030’s, the Internet (or the “binary heavens”) was in 3D IMAX resolution (4000p) at 600 frames per second (600Hz) with Surround Sound. Looking at your computer monitor was like looking through a window at the world. Even handheld holopedias had 3D IMAX screens! Nanotechnology was soaring in the 2030’s.
Captain Ozone documentary:
This is Captain Ozone signing off – but remember…
Well – I would just like to thank Captain Ozone for taking ‘time’ out of his busy schedule to come and answer some, what I am sure you will all agree, were some very important and probing questions about ‘Time Travel’ and I am sure that we have all learnt a great deal about how we can also become Champions for Ecology – Thank you once again to
I know I for one will be looking for greener alternatives – I hope you will be to…