JOAN PROCTOR: Dragon Doctor

By Patricia Valdez

A recent trip to the Denver Zoo with my grandchildren produced an interesting result. My oldest granddaughter (age 3 ½) bypassed the monkeys, elephants and, to my horror (my fav) tigers- to fixate on the Komodo dragon in the reptile house! She even wanted to return there before we left the zoo. We bought her a stuffed toy Komodo dragon (glad they had that), and I went online to buy a suitable science book to follow up with.

I was also happy to come across this picture book based on a true story. Joan Proctor was born in 1897 and, as a child, became fascinated with reptiles. Being sickly and missing a lot of school allowed her time for self study and she quickly became an expert in this area. Eventually, she became the assistant to the curator of fish and reptiles at the National History Museum in London. Four years later, she became the curator distinguishing herself for her research and her ability to create lifelike habitats for the animals in her care. In 1923, she became curator of reptiles at the London Zoo.

Shortly after, Joan received the first two live Komodo dragons to reach Europe. Komodo dragons had only been discovered in 1910 and very little was known about them. Joan nursed Sumba and Sumbawa back to health after a rough journey. She created a suitable enclosure and did much to further scientific knowledge of the new species. Much gentler than their reputation, she was known for walking Sumbawa through the reptile house steering him with his tail.

The author has created a delightful tale about a little girl who pursued her passion and eventually contributed in her own special way. This is a book about following your interests and talents, especially motivating for little girls who are often easily molded on how to fit in and often lose their unique spark. So, this is a book for all the little Joans- whether they like lizards or not!  

Click below to find my books.

https://amzn.to/2TZOB9h

VISIONARY FICTION FOR KIDS!

What is visionary fiction? It’s a new term for a collection of highly engaging stories.

According to the Visionary Fiction Alliance, “Visionary Fiction embraces spiritual and esoteric wisdom, often from ancient sources, and makes it relevant for our modern life. Gems of this spiritual wisdom are brought forth in story form so that readers can experience the wisdom from within themselves. Visionary fiction emphasizes the future and envisions humanity’s transition into evolved consciousness.”

My work falls in this category and I’m going to introduce you to a few more books by my fellow visionary writers. Grab one or two and enjoy. If you’ve read other books in this category (and you probably have, you just didn’t know it), feel free to leave a comment below.

The Dreams of Phillip Aisling and the Numinous Nagwaagan (Vol 1) by Brandon Bosse

Phillip Aisling is just like any other boy, or so he thought. On the night of his 13th birthday he has a dream so vivid that he is convinced it was real! He soon learns that he has begun training with the Dream Masters. They practice lucid dreaming to be able to fully control their dreams, giving them immense power. But when his vivid dreams turn into nightmares he never wants to fall asleep again! In his struggle to understand his remarkable dreams and prevent terrible nightmares, he finds The Dreamer’s Dictionary written to help young Dreamers make sense of their new powers.

Dragon Boy by Jim Murdoch

Eric daydreams of dragons. In his imagination, he believes he is, in reality, a dragon. As a dragon, he discovers Dreamland, a place where dreams come true.

But not everything we imagine is good. Fear and worry trap the only person to help heal Eric’s sick mother. Eric sees no hope of rescue until his friend, Enya, mentions the middle eye.

Orville Mouse and the Puzzle of the Clockwork Glowbirds (Orville Wellington Mouse Bk 1) by Tom Hoffman

Orville Wellington Mouse lives with his Mum in the quiet fishing village of Muridaan Falls, Symoca. His life takes an unexpected turn when he learns his best friend Sophia Mouse is not only from another planet, but is also a member of the Shapers Guild, a group of powerful mice who are able to convert their thoughts into physical objects.

Ana’s Dream of Flying by Mary R. Woldering

Ana, a young girl in Tennessee in the 1960’s, discovers the truth about her art, it’s connection to other realms. Something from beyond Earth is watching her as it searches for the pieces of her shattered soul. Tonight, when she thinks she is dreaming, it will take her flying, to remind her of the time when they were Gods.

My books can be found by following the link below.

https://amzn.to/33TcrTh

WHAT I’M WORKING ON


If you follow my blogs, Facebook, or Twitter feeds, I’m sure it looks like I’m not doing a whole lot. But since being back in country (since late Oct.) things have been very busy. Personal challenges continue— my mother died in April and the house hunt continues.

Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds, my new book was released this spring. Since the publisher does not have ebook rights, I’ll be releasing an ebook this fall. It will be an expanded version of the print book with additional material. My goal is to release this in time for Halloween since it’s a ghost story. Stay tuned for more on that.

The most coveted tulip during Tulipmania: Semper Augustus- could sell for as much as a grand canal house!

Additionally, I’m working on a new novel that’s about three quarters complete. No title yet. This has been a fun book to work on. It’s required some research into the history of Colorado’s start and the history of tuberculosis (the White Plague). The book is a visionary tale about girl who grows up in a 19th century, Colorado town known for its dry climate and healing waters. With a father in the mortuary business, Tallulah has always been around TB and death. Tally’s mother died when she was born, and she longs to know more about the woman who should have raised her. Two peculiar town residents, who Tally is warned to give wide berth, sisters Dottie and Lottie (rumor has it) can speak to the dead. Can Tally persuade them to help her? I’m hoping to finish this by the end of the year. Add your title ideas in the comments section. PLEASE!!

TB sufferers taking the open air cure.

Another manuscript I’ve been sitting on for a while, I think I’m going to self-publish soon. The Greening of the Laurel is a visionary, YA book in thriller mode.  Ryan’s junior year is turned upside down by a series of bizarre visions and freaky encounters with fire. Eventually, Ryan ends up in the ER. He finally comes face to face with the man who claims to have all the answers. But how can quantum physics and timeless spiritual mysteries be colliding with Ryan at the center of it all? Can he really believe he had a past as a medieval heretic where he hid what has become known as the lost Cathar treasure, a manuscript containing the hidden truth underlying the universe? Can he trust a secret society that claims to need his help if science is to move forward?

photo: Kaktus
(Montsegur- Cathar stronghold until the final battle of 1244)

Not at first, but as events threaten his family, Ryan returns to southern France to find the document he once allegedly hid. In 1244, he watched two hundred of his countrymen burn as he and two others slipped away in the night carrying a manuscript the world desperately needs. Surrounding Ryan are members of the Green Laurel, back to ensure his safety. Also, back are the dark forces of the Church who want nothing more than to exterminate the remnants of the Cathars and the truth the future requires. Without the manuscript, science cannot advance. A single unified theory will never be found and, all along, Ryan’s very existence remains in peril.      

And although I’ve never had any luck with picture books, I’m currently circulating a manuscript with agents starring Mona Lisa. A cute story, but no bites yet!  

Click below to find my published books.

https://amzn.to/30oq1NL



BOOKS FOR THE 4th OF JULY

Look for these books at your library or purchase from your favorite vendor.

THE GOOD FIGHT by Anne Quirk

“George Washington vs. King George. Benjamin Franklin vs. his son William. John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton vs. everyone!
 
Join author Anne Quirk and illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley as they referee four fascinating historical throw-downs between the founding fathers . . . and prove that the United States of America is a place worth fighting for.”

ALEXANDER HAMILTON- THE OUTSIDER by Jean Fritz

“Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an “outsider.” He fought in the Revolution and became Washington’s most valuable aidede- camp. He was there with Washington, Madison, and the others writing the Constitution. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country struggled to become unified and independent.”

IN SEARCH OF MOLLY PITCHER by Linda Grant De Pauw

“When Peggy McAllister learns about the Rattletop Award for “excellence in eighth grade social studies,” she is determined to win it with a research paper on a Great American Hero. But when she chooses Molly Pitcher, the famous Revolutionary War heroine of the Battle of Monmouth, as her subject, she runs into difficulties. With the help of her Greatgramps, a retired private investigator, his lady friend Mrs. Spinner, a local historian and secret author of historical romance novels, and Ms. Guelphstein, a dedicated reference librarian, Peggy sorts through a maze of confusing and contradictory evidence to identify the “real” Molly Pitcher.”

JOHNNY TREMAIN by Esther Forbes

“Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper, The Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington.”

BACKYARD BALLISTICS by William Gurstelle

“This bestselling DIY handbook now features new and expanded projects, enabling ordinary folks to construct 16 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. …This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard toy-rocket launchers and fireworks fanatics who wish every day was the fourth of July.”

https://amzn.to/30oq1NL

PRINT BOOK RELEASE!

NOW AVAILABLE !!!

TIMELESS TULIPS, DARK DIAMONDS: A GHOST STORY

When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to Upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.

When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia has to contend with what she may have inadvertently brought home with her.

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX



OPPORTUNITY- A FEW GREAT BOOKS

chronamut

Image by Chronamut

One of the things I’d really like to do in 2018 is to reach out and partner with other authors who are writing books for kids similar to my own. In general, I’m looking for writers who are creating in the newly emerging genre called visionary fiction.

Does your book involve any of these?

* spiritual/esoteric wisdom relevant to life today

* evolved consciousness

* ghost stories, NDEs, dreams/visions, psychic abilities, healing, etc (all pointing to a

bigger  understanding of our reality)

* reincarnation

* spiritual evolution, the rise of Kundalini

If so, I’d be interested in hearing about you and your book(s), and to perhaps do an interview on this blog. Please send me an email at: himalayaspencerellis AT yahoo.com and tell me about your work.

 

THE LITERARY GARDEN

Coming from Colorado to live in the Low Countries, I was immediately drawn into the wealth of colors the early breaking spring delivered here. People took great care with small spaces planting gorgeous flowers that have bloomed from early March right through. Right now, showy hydrangeas in white, blues, and pinks overflow my neighbors yards. I have enjoyed all the sights, textures, and scents as I walk the streets. It also got me thinking about books centered around a garden. Below are a few I think may be worth checking out.

The Girl from the Tea Garden- Janet MacLeod Trotter

Tea Garden

“In the dying days of the Raj, Anglo-Indian schoolgirl Adela Robson dreams of a glamorous career on the stage. When she sneaks away from school in the back of handsome Sam Jackman’s car, she knows a new life awaits—but it is not the one she imagined.

In Simla, the summer seat of the Raj government, Adela throws herself into all the dazzling entertainments 1930s Indian society can offer a beautiful debutante. But just as her ambitions seem on the cusp of becoming reality, she meets a charming but spoilt prince, setting in motion a devastating chain of events.

The outbreak of the Second World War finds Adela back in England—a country she cannot remember—without hope or love, and hiding a shameful secret. Only exceptional courage and endurance can pull her through these dark times and carry her back to the homeland of her heart.”

 

The Princess’s Garden: Royal Intrigue & the Untold Story of Kew- Vanessa Berridge 

Princess Garden

“The British enthusiasm for gardening has fascinating roots. The Empire and trade across the globe created an obsession with exotic new plants, and showed the power and reach of Britain in the early eighteenth century. At that time, national influence wasn’t measured by sporting success, musical or artistic influence. Instead it was expressed in the design of parks and gardens such as Kew and Stowe, and the style of these grand gardens was emulated first throughout Britain and then increasingly around the world.”

The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson Burnett

secret garden

“Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; “It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together…. ‘No wonder it is still,’ Mary whispered. ‘I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'” As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin’s sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden‘s portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate. Frances Hodgson Burnett creates characters so strong and distinct, young readers continue to identify with them even 85 years after they were conceived.”

INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER S. FRIEDMAN RIVERA

 Custom Book Cover Heather Rivera Exaltia Ebook

I first became acquainted with Heather’s work through reading her book Ultreia. It’s a wonderful book about a woman named Tess and her spiritual journey while running a past-life travel agency. Such a great premise! Recently, I’ve begun reading her fun, fantasy series for middle-grade readers (ages 9-12) called The Prism Walkers.

In the first of the series, entitled Into Exaltia, we meet twelve year old Sara and her ten year old sister Molly. They are visiting their grandmother over spring break. The girls are bored and it’s up to Sara to keep Molly entertained and out of trouble. Things take a turn when a magical portal is opened and they find themselves in Exaltia. Sara and Molly are drawn into an adventure and towards their destiny.

Welcome Heather. I’m glad you could join us to talk about your books for young readers.

How did the idea for Prism Walkers come to you?

Thank you so much, Ellis, for having me today. I was working on the books about Tess that you mentioned above. My husband and I were flying to Europe for a vacation and some book research for that series in May 2014. Earlier that morning I had read an Edgar Cayce reading about myself and it mentioned that I would enjoy writing children’s books. I dismissed the idea immediately. However, the first night that we slept in Dublin, as I was waking up, the story of the Prism Walkers “downloaded” into my head. Most of my stories come to me as I am waking up and this one was no different. I told my husband that morning over breakfast, “Well, I guess I am writing a children’s book.”

Are you more like Sara or Molly? And, how so?

I am more like Sara. Although I think I may have a bit of Molly’s sass too. My younger sister and I spent a lot of time at our grandma’s house when we were growing up. We enjoyed our time with our grandmother very much. The house in the Prism Walker books is modeled after my grandma’s house.

When I was growing up, I took it upon myself to keep my sister entertained. I would make up fantasy adventures for her and make-believe the backyard was a magical land. Our uncle also gave us a prism that we loved to look through.

What were your favorite kinds of stories at their ages? Any favorite authors come to mind?

Good question. I had to go back in my mind a bit to remember. I did like the Nancy Drew mysteries. I also enjoyed Judy Blume books, E.W. Hildick’s “The Active Enzyme, Lemon Freshened, Junior High School Witch.” I also enjoyed “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkein, and “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster.

I also read and re-read Henry David Thoreau’s “On Walden Pond”. Some of it was beyond my level of understanding as a child but I was determined to keep reading it. I took that book everywhere and still have that beat up copy.

Since you write fiction for both grown-ups and kids, I’m curious if you have a preference for one over the other, or find each allows you to express a different creative side?

I enjoy writing for grown-ups and kids and tend to write my young reader books in between the adult books. I love allowing the child-like part of me to play and explore wherever my imagination wants to take me. Writing about fantasy worlds gives me a lot of freedom. As a child I imagined all sorts of magical worlds so I’m just continuing this as an adult.

Can you give us a hint of what’s to come as the series unfolds? You leave us a tantalizing clue at the end of book 1 that Exaltia may have spilled over into the girls’ world. What kinds of things will the Prism Walkers be up against next?

In the second book, “In Search of Emerald Bay”, there is indeed a crack between worlds that threatens the survival of magical Exaltia. Sara and the other Prism Walkers are in a race against time to save Exaltia and all who live there.

In addition, I just completed the third Prism Walker book. It’s called “Inside the Crystal”. In this book the Prism Walkers, along with their elven friends, find themselves in a world very different from Earth or Exaltia—a land called Mandriland. “Inside the Crystal” will be out this year.

All of the Prism Walker books are illustrated by Martin Kaspar from Prague. He is an amazing artist who quickly understood the vision of the books and captured the characters and setting perfectly.

Thanks for spending some time with us today, Heather! To learn more about her work, please follow the links below.

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Heather S. Friedman Rivera, RN, JD, PhD was born in Los Angeles. She founded a research institute for advancing past life research, PLR Institute. In addition to speaking and researching about past life and related therapies, she writes fiction and hosts writing workshops on healing through fiction. She is the author of Healing the Present from the Past, Quiet Water, Maiden Flight, Ultreia, Into Exaltia, and In Search of Emerald Bay. When not writing, she loves to bike ride by the ocean. Her best friends include a Puggle, a neurotic Chihuahua, and a black cat.

For information on her work, to read her blog, or to just say “hi”, please visit https://www.facebook.com/heather.friedmanrivera

Her website: www.heatherrivera.com

Amazon link for Into Exaltia: goo.gl/VsfOjm

Good News for Elephants

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photo: Johnny Ljunggren

With 2017 getting off to a limping start, I am happy to report some good news this week for the long term survival of elephants. China will end trade in ivory this summer. Prior to European colonization of Africa, elephant numbers were thought to be around 20 million. The continent today  is home to less than 500,000 elephants.

elephants-never-forgotten-without-logo

My latest book, Elephants Never Forgotten, envisions a time when the great African plains no longer support these majestic creatures. They are missed and an effort is underway to bring them back. To write the book, I did a lot of research on these sentient creatures and their emotional lives. I hope readers get to know these animals on a deeper level and come to see their value (and the value of all life).

Amazon link: https://goo.gl/EdYS3C