Monday, June 18, 2018

How I got the idea for my picture book, ‘Jurassic Rat.’ Pub. Clear Fork Publishing

I was surfing the web for information on rats. Roof rats had invaded my roof. Consequently, I wanted to find a way to persuade them to leave. I dont like to poison the poor things.

Then I came upon this significant discovery; A Chinese Super Rat Roamed Earth 160 million years ago.

A FOSSIL of the oldest known ancestor of modern rats had been unearthed in China.

Bingo! Jurassic Rat was born.

I realized that no one had written about an insignificant rat that managed to hide from gigantic dinosaurs and still be alive today. Although, modern rats anatomy are slightly different from their ancestors - then again, so are humans, in respect to their ancestors.

 Arent we, Homo sapiens, physically diverse from the Neanderthal man, or farther away in time, from the Australopithecus afarensis, named Lucy? If you click on the links, can you notice the difference? I bet you can.

 Did you know that rats are the most evolved class of animals known as mammalians?

May I name a few of the most common for you?

1-      Roof rat, (Rattus rattus) also called the black rat or tree rat for the reason that they can climb trees and not only. Mine climbed up the power lines to reach the bird feeder in the winter, on the second floor. Wow! What an acrobat. Isn't it cute?

2-      Norway rat, (Rattus norvegicus) They love to steal a free meal from my dogs bowl.

 This little guy above is a skeleton of a Norway rat. No worry, it died by natural causes. I think my cat caught it. I buried it in a paper box. Two months later I dug up the grave to find that the necrophagous insects had done a brilliant job. There lay only the rats bones and a few tuffs of fur. I brushed off some dirt and debris, then I assemble the skeleton. (I wore a mask and gloves)  Dont get grossed out; this is called science. We learn a lot from bones.

If you want to read more about rats, click here

How many of you have domestic rats for pets? Have you noticed how ingenious they are? Let me know. I would love to hear from you. Have any of you ever thought of becoming an anthropologist or a paleontologist when you grow up?

Oh! I forgot to mention that the roof rats moved out after I introduced them to my cat, Giant. In Italian, we call him Gigante.

The picture book 'Jurassic Rat' is coming out in spring 2019, Published by Clear Fork Publishing 

#loveyourbiz #internationalmarketing

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Susanna Leonard Hill's 7th Annual Holiday Contest - A Children's Holiday Story

Hi there. This holiday season, I am being courageous and entering the contest for the first time. Thumbs up for everyone, and Happy Holidays.

Working title: A Surprise for Ava. PB WC 250

Dear Santa,

My name is Ava Evans. Please make sure you have me on your list.

This Christmas I would love a pet, even if mommy doesn’t want one.

But if YOU bring me a pet… she won’t get upset. So, please, please, please, make my dream come true.

I’ve been very good this year, REALLY! Well, besides a few accidents.

It wasn’t my fault I broke my big brother’s ruler. He was making fun of me, and it sort of fell and broke.

It wasn’t my fault I spilled the bowl of cereals on the kitchen table and floor. I was trying to catch a fly that wanted to drink my milk.

It wasn’t my fault mommy found a box full of cockroaches under my bed. They were the only pets I thought she wouldn’t find.

I’m sure these little accidents don’t count as being bad, right?

Oh! Just in case you don’t remember my address, here it is:

222 Snowball Lane
Cupboard County, USA.
Big kiss and hug.

Ava put the letter in an envelope and slipped it into the mailbox.

On Christmas morning, Ava ran downstairs. She rummaged through the pile of gifts and found a big box with her name on it.

She unwrapped it and sighed. A few tears rolled down her cheeks.

 ‘I didn’t want a dollhouse, I wanted a pet!’

Then… Ava saw a tiny snout peeking through a window of the dollhouse.

“Awesome! I knew my dream would come true.”

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Publishing Quest for Children's Books

Oh, dear, where to start? Since December 2016 lots of things have happened. Therefore I didn't find the time to post.

Firstly, as per Alinka Rutkowskas suggestions, I followed writing classes.  Alinka is a pro in book marketing. I dont know where she finds the energy and time with two wonderful kids, but she has built an empire. For those of you that want to self-publish click here. (Ill get a small commission if you join) Theres a lot of information, read, read, read.

Then, I started following Childrens Book Insider and took a course in writing Chapter Books,(Chapter Book Blueprints) I also took a course on social media, which was great. I am still a member of CBI for the great information and monthly newsletters about trends and agents, etc. Check out Laura Backs and Jon Bard.

Then, I stumbled upon CBA, Childrens Book Academy where I immediately felt I was at home with Dr. Mira Reisberg.

Call it ESP. Mira is a wonderful person, she loves her work and she really wants to help new authors get published. I dont know how she does it? In any case, I have followed various courses; illustrating kids books, Middle-Grade Mastery, and in writing picture books, with CBA.

Its difficult, the classes are packed jammed with information, which we must digest in 5 weeks, but can have access to the material for 6 months after the lessons are finished.

Its a challenge for those who are serious about becoming illustrators and authors. I highly recommend you check them out.  Its well worth it. Psst...they also have the Golden Tickets. Click on the link's for CBA, and find out what it means.

This said, I feel fulfilled, I am learning and applying the know-how. Perseverance and patience are important here. Dont expect to get your book published soon.

Nothing in life is easy, you have to work hard to achieve your goals, as in any other business.

Become a member of SCBWI, theres a lot of information on the website to help newbies.

If you want a ROI, (Return On Investment), you must first invest in time and money. Attend workshops in your area, and hone your craft.

Become an active member of the SCBWI. You cant imagine the wealth of information SCBWI can offer.

If youre a Canadian citizen join CANSCAIP here.

Youll get contacts and make friends with other authors that are willing to help you.

Oh lets not forget critique groups.

I was once afraid of joining critique groups. Why? Will they steal my idea? Even if they do, they will never write the same story as you will. Its impossible. Sotake the dive, find other authors willing to critique your work and do the same. Youll learn a lot from it. Both ways.

This said, I hope you investigate and take a few writing courses or workshops, especially if you are newbies to the publishing business - they are so important.

Youll learn the ins and outs of the publishing world and what is trendy right now.

All of the above-mentioned courses and persons are wonderful people, it's up to you to take the first step and find the right fit.

Now, get out there and write a great book.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Read your manuscript out loud.

As suggested by many authors, and editors - to pinpoint if your story is working out or not, you should try reading it out loud. What I did was record it. I then listened to my recording the following day. Half way through there was a long pause. There was noise in the background, I had forgotten to pause the recording.

I gathered from the background noise that I had gotten up from my desk to check the minestrone, (Italian soup).  Oh dear, I had burnt it, and it was stuck to the bottom of the pot. I tried to save it by pouring it into another pot hoping that my husband wouldnt notice the burnt taste.

I went on listening to the recording hoping to have the time to get to the end before he came home for dinner. He was late that night so I did manage to listen to the whole recording.

 Dont ever ask me to narrate an audio book. There were so many pauses and sighs in between, no kid would want to listen.

Listening further to the recording I heard myself saying Ahoh I burnt it. It was funny, you should try it. The pots and pans were clanging and I kept on sighing. Why?

 Because being authors is a tough job. Most authors have day jobs. I now realize how difficult it is to have a full-time job and try to write at the same time and give my family the attention they deserve.

 This said, I know I cant do miracles, I am a multitasking mom, grandma, and wife, struggling to get those words down on paper no matter what. I am lucky to have such a patient husband.

Unfortunately, that evening I served the soup to my husband. He didnt complain too much, he just said, Ah you burnt the minestrone again.

Ohguess whats for dinner tonightminestrone. This time round I put the timer on.

This said, dear authors, dont get discouraged, we will make it in the long run, all we need is patience and perseverance.  I hope you get a best seller out there one day.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Try to relax during the holiday season and stay with your family. We have all of 2017 to finish our drafts and get our books out there.

La speranza รจ lultima a morireDont ask me how to translate it.

Yours truly from Italy.

I posted this on my pen names Blog as well, Jocelyne Turbett with E. A. Peterson. In the future, I will be publishing my childrens books under my real name, Eleanor Ann Peterson. All other genres under Jocelyne Turbett. Soon I hope.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Would you be willing to give up your car and go on foot to save the environment?

I bet you wouldn’t, neither would I probably.

 However, if every single human being did something to help the environment everyday it would be a better place to live in. It wouldn’t take much. Less soap and detergents down the drain, less waste of clean drinking water, by taking less showers or quick showers.

Help by not polluting the grounds in your back yard with pesticides. Just because a little bug is sitting on your patio or because you have aphids on your flowers doesn't mean you have to pollute the whole area. There are environment safe products you can use that can do the job. For instance, use tobacco tea and spray your plants.

On Google +, many people add some beautiful pictures of animals and exotic rain forests. It helps us forget what it really is like out there and gives us hope for the future generations. Yes, there are still some Gardens of Eden but I truly fear for the future of mankind and the animal kingdom. 

Mankind would need to learn a lesson in order to realize how much damage he has caused to his environment in the last century. We would need a global shut down for a few weeks to make us realize that we can’t take mother earth for granted. 

Imagine for a moment, that you have,

  •  no running water coming from your water tap in the house,

  •  you have no lights because the electricity grid is shutdown,

  •  no Internet,

  • no gasoline for your car, because the pumps don’t work, I could go on and on.

What would you do?

If you lived in the country and had a vegetable garden,

  •  you would plant more potatoes, cabbage, and beets to stock the root cellar for the winter months.

You would be one-step ahead of the others,

  • if you were handy around the house, and you learned how to make candles by harvesting the capping from your beehives,

  • if  you made soap from your ashes in the wood stove.

  • if you had a wood stove, you would keep warm even if there were a total shut down.

  • if you were clever enough to have installed a water turbine in the small waterfall that you hooked up to a generator or  had a water wheel.

If our ancestors survived so could we.

If you lived in the city, you would be in big trouble.

No wood stove, no running water, not even a stream nearby, no heat, just chaos and cement. Most people would not survive.

Mankind is not evolving; there is a regression in course, an involution.
Involution as in retrogression; restoration of a former state.

Mankind is going backwards not forwards.

Every day on the news or on the Internet, we hear about animal extinction. Today we hear about the African elephants, tomorrow the Polar bears, soon, we will be an endangered species.

Today’s headline: The African forest elephants are being massacred into extinction. As usual, mankind is not kind at all. Why is it that profit always gets in the way no matter what?

I learned in Environmental Economy that mankind wants to

  •  be rich now,

  •  his interest now, is making money so he can live a leisure life now,

Why wait for tomorrow, who cares about what will happen 20 yrs or 40 yrs from now.

Many industrialized countries are taking advantage of the weak, poor, and sick populations.

 In the end, the under industrialized countries get nothing but a handful of dust once the Biggies have finished exploiting their land.

We are exploiting too many of our resources.

The black gold oil and its products have been poisoning our environment and us for the past century not to mention the wars behind it.
Soon, we will have global blue gold water wars .   .

Because of man’s thirst for money, and the frequent environmental disasters, our water, air, and food are polluted.

I was reading an article about a contest on vertical farming. It’s called vertical farming design challenge.

Vertical farming is the future seeing that there is not much land left to farm because of desertification.

The main cause of desertification is human activity and an over populated planet.

Jacque Cousteau warned us about birth control 60 yrs ago.

According to his first book, The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure, he was in favor of human population control and population decrease. The planet would not be able to sustain such a demographic boom. 

In 1953 the average annual growth rate was 1.77% in 2014 the average growth rate was 1.14%.

In just 100 years World population increased from 1.5 to 6.1 billion, we have now reached 7.3 billion. Experts say that the World population growth rate is falling. I hope they are right.

Instead of researching vertical farming, why don’t we try to pitch in and try to save what’s left.

For instance, if we ate vegetables and fruits that are healthy for us, instead of meat, we would have more farming land. Without intensive animal breeding, there would be more space for healthy farming and less CH4, methane in the atmosphere. No need for O.G.M. and pesticides there would be enough food for everyone. No more farming land for animal forage plants, because we don’t eat meat anymore, remember.

Thus instead of growing corn for chickens, we grow corn for human beings.

This was my thought for the day.

What do you think we could do to help our planet and ourselves?
How could you start to prepare yourself ahead of time in case there was a major shut down? How could you survive?

Think about it, what can you do to save the planet.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

What would happen if mankind disappeared, would our domestic animals survive without us?

Few domestic animals would survive and the less adapt would not.

Survival would depend on various factors. 

  • ·         their ability to adjust to their environment, (capability of adaptation)

  • ·         size, race, specie

  • ·         the capability of avoiding or protecting themselves from lurking danger

  • ·         problems they would need to solve to survive and reproduce

  • ·         the struggle to survive and thrive – from predation, competition, parasitism, and climate change

I do believe that some of our domestic animals would survive well in Italy, perhaps because of the climate; I wouldn’t be too sure about Alaska if I had a Toy poodle.

For instance, I received a tiny rabbit as a gift, Holly, a female. She arrived in a big cage where she ate, slept and did just everything poor thing. I couldn’t stand for that, therefore the first two years she lived on our spacious tiled bathroom, because she would chew the furniture and any wires hanging around the house, which is normal for a rabbit. Please bear in mind that,

  •        Rodents are animals with front teeth that grow all the time.

·         Therefore, our pet rabbits must always have something to chew on. If not, their front teeth will grow too long for them to chew food normally.

In the evening, I would pick her up and pet her, then settle her on the couch in the living room. She would play by jumping up and down from the couch, or thump her hind legs on the rug when she was face to face with our kitten. She was so sweet when she ran in circles on the rug, leaping in the air while contorting and twisting her body like an acrobat.

To make a long story short, I built Holly a three-story condominium outdoors and laid it on the lawn in the shade. I added some of her litter in a corner so she would feel safer. When I put her in the cage, she investigated her new habitat. Soon she started digging holes in the bottom of the cage, and then the next day she would cover the hole up with hay. 

Soon after, my husband and son brought home Biru, a Lionhead rabbit they found wandering the busy streets in town. It was a male but it seemed to us that he had been sterilized. 


We decided to put him in the cage along with Holly. Well, in no time at all they mated. After a few months I couldn’t find Biru in the cage, he had disappeared, I panicked, had the children left the cage door open?

 No, a few days later, I saw Biru coming out of a hole in the ground and…three little rabbits were hopping around on the first floor.

Biru and Holly had been very clever in hiding their nest. She had three litters during that summer before I even realized they had a litter. It had seemed strange to me that Biru and Holly were eating so much, I guess - with all the little ones they had to feed.

That summer the kids did leave the cage door open one evening and the next morning the rabbits were roaming the grounds, jumping and twisting their bodies in joy. I didn’t have the courage to put them back in the cage. Besides the fact I couldn’t catch them, only Holly was tame enough to approach but she didn’t appreciate being back in the cage, she chewed her way through the floor and stayed outdoors free once again. 

I had cut out a door for them on the ground floor so they could go back inside to eat and have a safe place to go back to in case of predators. 

Now we have quite a few rabbits hopping around the grounds, digging holes here and there then covering the entrance with debris. Biru disappeared; he probably migrated to another area in the woods nearby. He was a runaway when we found him so it’s possible that he likes to wander around. 

They all survived the winter and snow, they adapted very easily to their new environment. A few little rabbits are missing, but there are predators out there in the wilderness. The worst are cats, we occasionally have a fox in the spring that does come around, but the rabbits are very swift. 

I know that to some people it may seem unfair to free the rabbits but if you ever happen to have a chance to observe these beautiful animals in the wilderness, you wouldn’t think twice in freeing yours. 

You could take into consideration of fencing up an area and free your rabbits now and then, so they could dig up their little domain. It would make them very happy I assure you.

Therefore, this is one example, in case we humans disappear from the globe, which could prove that our little domestic animals could surely survive without us.

 I am writing a book on animal behavior and more precisely on my domestic and rescued wild animals.

 Over the years, I have been able to observe animal behaviors, which in some cases are very similar to human behavior.

Now, try to imagine what would happen if we were all to disappear.

 Give me your opinion on the subject; do you think your Doberman could survive without you? How about you’re Chihuahua?

 For more information on animal instinct and behavior check out the links below.

I love Darwin and read most of his books on the subject.

RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: John Murray. [1st edition]

I will not attempt any definition of instinct. It would be easy to show that several distinct mental actions are commonly embraced by this term; but everyone understands what is meant, when it is said that instinct impels the cuckoo to migrate and to lay her eggs in other birds' nests. An action, which we ourselves should require experience to enable us to perform, when performed by an animal, more especially by a very young one, without any experience, and when performed by many individuals in the same way, without their knowing for what purpose it is performed, is usually said to be instinctive.

For more information about Rabbit behavior check out the following website.

 Binkies, Nose Bonks and Flops: Rabbit BehaviorExplained.

Abi Cushman is an expert on the subject.