A BIG Book Celebration in Tucson, AZ

The authors are coming! The authors are coming! Once again, we’ll be celebrating books and literacy in person in Tucson at the 2022 Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB)! Learn more about this Tucson book celebration staple and how you find me there. 

A Brief TFOB History

The first festival was held March 14-15, 2009 with 450 authors and 50,000 visitors. The number of visitors has grown to 135,000. Yes, little ole Tucson has the third-largest festival in the country! They have an amazing team of volunteers who keep everything moving smoothly.

One aspect that I particularly enjoy is the annual festival mascot. Each year’s mascot is a resident animal of the Sonoran Desert. Creatures included so far have been the Gila monster, hummingbird, tarantula, Sonoran green toad, butterfly, Gambel’s quail, bobcat, jackrabbit, roadrunner, javelina, and coyote. I’ve written books about many of them and others are my companions in our desert home. I’ve been trying to get a photograph of a jackrabbit for years. They’re HUGE! This year’s mascots are prairie dogs or rather (as I suspect), round-tailed ground squirrels. I’m partial to ground squirrels (Squirrels of the Sonoran Desert).

Elaine smiling from her booth at the 2019 TFOB

Here I am at a previous Festival with some of my books. I’ve published a bunch more since then. 

The 2022 Tucson Festival of Books!

This year’s festival will be on March 12-13, 2022, at the University of Arizona Mall. I’ll be in the children’s section at booth #322. Look for Grab an Adventure by the Tale! Author-illustrator Brad Peterson, aka Anderson Atlas, will be joining me. Don’t miss the opportunity to get your personally signed books by either or both of us! We’ll be there all day, both days.

My books are all published through Lyric Power Publishing, LLC. One of my fellow LPP authors, Gene Twaronite, will sell and sign his books at the festival. He will be moving around to different locations for his signings. He starts at the Indie Authors – Children’s Author Pavilion on Saturday, from 10 am to noon. Then at the AZ State Poetry Society booth (#410 from 1-3 pm). On Sunday, at the ASPS booth again from 10 am to noon. And finally, at Young Adult Author Rendezvous (booth 451) to display his two young adult fantasy novels. 

Something for Everyone

Even though the festival is an opportunity for authors to sell their books and readers to meet the authors in person, TFOB has much more to offer. There are talks, performances, the science pavilion, non-profit agencies, parks, and food vendors. Tucson has the best food trucks. However, the festival is a celebration of literature to increase literacy rates among children and adults. Any money left over after the expenses are contributed to local literacy programs. So far, they have donated over $2 million.

So, mark your calendar for March 12th and 13th. Here’s a chance to get out and restock your reading pile with autographed books after meeting them in person. And remember to stop by booth #322. You’ll be glad you did, and so will I!

For more information on this festival, check out their website: https://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/

 

Tucson Festival of Books Event Image courtesy of Digital Bookmobile

A Spectacular ‘Bloom Night’ 2021 at Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens

The Night-blooming Cereus had to bloom all alone in the summer of 2020, but this year, they opened in all their glory for the visitors at the Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens on June 30, 2021.

Just prior to the 2019 blooming, I published my book, Queen of the Night: The Night-blooming Cereus. I wrote this book when the folks at Tohono Chul mentioned there were no books specifically for the native Cereus, Peniocereus greggii. After consulting with their expert botanist, I published this rhyming picture book. I was delighted by the public’s reception of the book on Bloom Night 2019.

Shortly after the 2019 blooming, photographer Karen Wright published a book about the Cereus featuring her phenomenal photographs, Queen of the Night: A Rare Beauty. So, with the park being open to members for the 2021 Bloom Night, I suggested that Karen and I do a book signing together.

I am pleased to report that we both had good sales and we made a good team, encouraging people to learn more about and fully embrace this unusual cactus species native to the Sonoran Desert. Most of the year, it looks like a stick, which extends from a large tuber buried in the desert soil.  Once a year, at the beginning of the summer monsoon, the cereus plants develop flowers. When all the conditions are just right, all the flowers across the area, bloom on the same night – for only one night! Their fragrance summons the pollinating moths and bats before the flowers all die with the morning sun.

These sticks produce spectacular blossoms one night per summer
Pots of Cereus Plant at Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens

A very brief but spectacular shared life!

 

 

 

 

 

book cover Queen of the Night

REVIEW ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Queen of the Night:
The Night-Blooming Cereus

$14.95
by Elaine A. Powers

Illustrated by Nicholas Thorpe 

A perk of Sonoran-desert living is the one-night-only appearance of the Night-Blooming Cereus, a much-anticipated summer event for Tucsonans who rely on predictions from experts to know precisely when the tiny window of opportunity will open on the floral extravaganza. How in the world do the experts know? And what causes a cactus to behave this way?

With this picture book, Elaine Powers demystifies the mysterious bloom, explaining – in rhyming couplets no less – the life cycle of the plant, how to predict its flowering (when the buds reach 170-230 millimeters, stand back!), why they all flower simultaneously, and other bits of botanical lore about this intriguing plant, which spends most of the year looking like an undistinguished stick. Written for children, Powers’ book will charm and edify cactus lovers of any age. Lush illustrations by Nicholas Thorpe are a splendid accompaniment: Look for his very stern javelina on page 12 – he’s delightful.

A former laboratory biologist, Powers, who makes her home in Tucson, now writes science-based children’s books.

– Helene Woodhams is retired from Pima County Public Library, where she was literary arts

 

 

 

Come Out and See Me at a Book-Signing on Cereus Bloom Night

On a recent walk in a Sonoran Desert wash, I came across the plant pictured above. I think it may be a night-blooming cereus, Peniocereus greggii, the first one I’ve seen in the wild. I don’t believe it’s dead—these plants look like sticks in the Sonoran Desert.

I have seen many night-blooming cereus plants and their magnificent flowers at Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens. Each year, they predict when “Bloom Night” will occur–when the night-blooming cereus plants will all bloom–open and close together in one night. It’s incredible! Even the plants in pots in the greenhouses bloom right along with those in the ground.

I was asked to write a book about these remarkable flowers and my illustrated and rhyming book was created. It went on to become an Amazon No. 1 book.

photo of Night-blooming Cereus plant

Look for me at a table with my book, Queen of the Night. I’d love to autograph your copy!

Now that the monsoons are approaching, it’s almost time for another Bloom Night at Tohono Chul. Check their website link above for the date of Bloom Night and, if you’re a member, stop by and get your personalized, autographed copy of my book, Queen of the Night: The Night-blooming Cereus.

It has all the scientific information you’ll need before the cereus plants bloom, and it features the captivating illustrations of Nicholas Thorpe. If you’re not a member of the gardens, you can still get the book at their gift shop. It’s also available on Amazon.com

infographic about Queen of the Night: The Night-blooming Cereus

#elaineapowers   #lyricpower  #nightbloomingcereus  #queen of the night
#Amazon No. 1 Book

What I Learned from My First ‘Facebook Live’ Presentation

One of my activities that I love is taking my reptile family members to schools for sharing. I can talk about reptiles for hours. Of course, with the pandemic, I’m not able to do these live presentations for now.

I’ve offered to present my reptiles using Zoom meetings, but then decided I might try a live Facebook talk. I had seen others do them and it looked straightforward enough. I chose a Thursday at 3:00 pm MST as a good time to start. I picked my topic, one of my book’s birthdays, and collected some props.

I have a standup banner printed with my company names and thought it would make a good background for my talk. I pulled out the six-foot banner and assembled it (no easy feat), laying it out on the floor to tie it tight to the corners and sides. When I went to put it upright, I discovered how tall my hallway ceiling was—much lower than the rooms of my home! After whacking the ceiling all the way down the hallway, I reached my broadcast spot.

I set my chair and table in position and moved my laptop over. It was fully charged and should easily last for an hour or so.  More on that later. I watched the clock move closer to 3:00 pm. I was poised to click on the ‘Live’ button. Precisely at 3:00, I clicked the button expecting to see my face come up. Instead, I went to a page with a lot of settings! Oops. I glanced quickly over my choices, made a few selections and continued to ‘being live.’ Whew!

I was having a great time discussing rattlesnakes and my book about them, Don’t Make Me Rattle, when a “low battery” notification came up on my screen–which was more like a “no battery” notification. My screen went blank just as I quickly realized I should sign off. In nine minutes, my entire laptop’s battery was drained! Lesson learned. In the future, I will make sure my laptop is plugged in. I’m sure I have a longer cord somewhere.

But, in those nine minutes, I realized something important. I miss the interactions in the classrooms. I discovered I do want to interact with people. Facebook Live allows me to receive live comments and questions—how fun! It will be the means for me to reach out about my books, the importance of science, and my reptilian family members.

Look for me on Thursdays at 3:00 pm MST on Elaine Powers on Facebook. You’ll see my smiling face with an ocean beach scene in the background.

Click here to see my first (learning) Facebook Live episode.

book cover graphic of rattlesnake
There’s Much More to Me
Than You Know!
I Am Shy and My
Rattle is Only a Warning:
Please, Stay Away!
For All Ages
Reading Level 8+
Bold and Vibrant Illustrations
by Nicholas Thorpe
Written in Rhyme
40 pages

 

Author Interview: Elaine A. Powers January 27th Big Blend Radio

I will be interviewed by Big Blend Radio on January 27th at 5:00 pm, Mountain Standard Time. The broadcast will available online at Big Blend Radio’s channel on BlogTalkRadio.com. It will also be available afterward as a podcast.

image of Lisa D Smith and Nancy J Reid of Blog Talk Radio
Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J Reid of Big Blend Radio

Big Blend Radio is hosted by Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith. They are the mother-daughter travel team on the Love Your Parks Tour and publishers of the digital Big Blend Radio and TV Magazine and Big Blend Parks and Travel Magazine. Big Blend has a cumulative monthly reading, listening, and viewing audience of over three million. Their audience spans all fifty states, and multiple countries worldwide.

All Big Blend Radio author interview podcasts will be featured in the Big Blend Radio and TV Magazine and on its website, BlendRadioandTV.com as well as on popular podcast sites such as Speaker, BlogTalkRadio, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Castbox, YouTube, Podcast Addict, Player, Facebook, Stitcher, Tunein, ListenNotes, MixCloud, Overcast.fm, etc.

I hope you will tune in on January 27th at 5:00 pm MST at Big Blend Radio as I’m interviewed about my work in conservation and writing books that weave science into rhyme and adventure tales. A career in science is always interesting, even fascinating, and makes for a rewarding life. I love encouraging future scientists by making science education fun.