I just received this endorsement from Diane Wilson, the most compassionate, courageous, and powerful woman I have the privilege to know. After being blown away by her book, I drove to a 1 day writer’s conference in Santa Barbara several years ago just to see her talk. I’d written the first “solid” draft of all the shrimping sections, having spent hours and days reading about the issues, the history of conflict over the turtles, and regulations shrimpers are under. I’d watched many YouTube videos to see how the fishing is done and described what I saw.
I cornered Diane on a break and told her about the book and asked if she knew a shrimper I could talk to, who might help me make sure I’d gotten it right. After hesitantly saying she’d be glad to help, the first thing she asked was, “Is Grandpa a Gulf shrimper or a bay shrimper.” Uhhh, embarrassing. I had no clue; didn’t know there was a difference. I’m surprised she didn’t walk out right then.
My desk during the rewrites. Diane’s book for courage, her photos for inspiration, and the sweetpeas as a reminder there is a garden and world beyond my computer screen.
But she stuck with me, read, corrected, re-read my fixes, and when she said Grandpa was real, I knew I could relax. Some of my favorite parts of Elizabeth’s Landing are there thanks to Diane’s own doggedness. Thank you, Diane. Your praise, and all you do and stand for, touch my heart. And give me strength!
If you haven’t read her books on her own environmental and social justice work, please do. Amazing stuff, read like novels, but all true.
“I can vouch for Ms. Pye’s dedication to the truth and her compassion for sea turtles. I’m a shrimper from the Gulf Coast of Texas, and when Katy Pye asked me to make sure her depictions of shrimpers and shrimp boats in her book was accurate, I was a bit hesitant. I am a fifth generation shrimper and despite our faults, funny and hard nosed ways, these are my people. I love them. I think many people don’t understand them so I’m a bit protective. But Katy was dogged about seeking me out! Wow, Katy! You are as bull-headed as any shrimper I know. So Katy’s narrator, Elizabeth, is pretty close to Katy. Same stubbornness. Same feistiness. I admire Katy for tackling this difficult subject and taking such care and thoughtfulness in her characters. Katy is as much the heroine of her life as her character Elizabeth is of this book. A wonderful read!”
Find Diane’s first book here at Chelsea Green or the usual online stores.
A photo Diane shared with me, which inspired an image in the book. These are wires connecting the boat to the net during a shrimp drag.
It’s true! It’s a miracle! Okay, that’s overstating it, but how it feels after six years. An e-book version of Elizabeth’s story is available through Barnes and Noble’s Nook site. If you don’t have a Nook device, don’t worry, you can download the app for free and read on your computer or other mobile devices. Go toB&N’s Mobile Apps webpage to sign in, sign up, and connect to the right download.
If you’re the something soft and flexible, tree-based-book type person, the Print-on-Demand version will be out by June through Amazon. A Kindle version will go up about the same time, maybe sooner if I’m successful formatting it myself, as I did the Nook. Watch my Facebook Author site, Follow me here, or leave your e-mail on the Contact Me page above for updates.
PLEASE, once you’ve finished the book, leave feedback and ratings at these sites, Goodreads, Facebook it, blog it, etc., because…
A portion of all my book sale profits support worldwide sea turtle conservation and education programs. B&N has e-book gift cards. Bookstores do, too. I’m just sayin’ . . .
Flags are flying–get out your calendar. The revised book launch date at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, CA. is June 30th, 6:30 p.m. Tux, tails, and formals optional, but my tiara’s getting steam-blasted and the side seams of my Senior Prom dress are sprung WAY out for the event.
I’m working on Grandma Linnie to do some of the catering.
Deepest thanks to everyone who has given writing help, an ear to moments of pain and joy, celebrations at key steps, and for believing all these years I really was writing a novel.
Indie publishers and indie bookstores are trying hard to work together so each can survive and grow. I’m publishing with the “big houses” (interpret at will) because it is the most direct, profitable way for me to get books into readers’ hands. Please support your local, or any independent bookstore, and encourage them to carry books you want to read. I’m working to collaborate with them, too.
Port Winston—home to sun, sand, and shopping. What’s not to like? Everything, to 14 year-old Elizabeth Barker, uprooted mid-school year to the Texas coast. When Grandpa, with more judgments than the Old Testament, pronounces her 10¢ shy of worthless and headed for trouble, Elizabeth bolts for Wayward Landing beach—the county’s last wild haven.
A chance encounter with an endangered, nesting sea turtle ignites new purpose, friendships, and trouble even Grandpa couldn’t predict. Her fight to save the Landing unearths complex family ties to the powerful developer and catapults her against those she loves. When the Deepwater Horizon oil slick threatens the turtles’ Louisiana feeding grounds, Elizabeth’s journalist mom hits the front lines. And Elizabeth’s fears and plans hit overdrive.
Elizabeth’s Landing, a compelling environmental and family saga, bridges risk and loss to hope and hearts —human to human, human to animal, human to world.
Ages 10 and up.
P.S. Turtle nesting season has begun along the Gulf coast. Info under Elizabeth’s Sea Turtles tells you the best places to visit to see turtles or hatchling releases. Donations are always welcome.
Miss Elizabeth’s finally got her party dress (had to bribe her into it). As soon as I have a secure shipping date, we’ll schedule a launch at Gallery Bookstore in Mendocino. Can’t wait!
Twirl around so they can see you from the back. Seamstress, Laurie MacMillan from Sunfield Graphic Design showed great skill and unbelievable patience, dealing with a picky 14 year-old–and her stage mother.
There is a photo album on my Katy Pye-Author Facebook page, along with text from the book next to each picture. I’ll post updates there and here about the book. Please Like the page if you do. Comments welcome, too.
A friend and I talked recently about her 10 year-old daughter’s struggle to find an interest for her spare time. When mom said her daughter knows how to knit, an idea from the paper popped in my head.
A local animal shelter advertised for recycled, clean dog blankets and jackets to help low-income pet owners keep their animals warm through the winter. Knitters stepped forward with yarn and finished sweater projects to help out.
Maybe the idea caught the girl’s attention, maybe not, but there’s always something to do. Sometimes, the hardest thing is knowing where to start?
Canadian blogger, Maria aka, “Poutine,” created an inspiring “Lens” on Squidoo all about young people making a difference. She’s gathered stories about kids and teens who have created cool and inspiring ways to give back, right the wrongs, ease another’s pain. Some are gentle souls, quietly doing what needs to be done. Some are mighty warriors, making big noises over big issues. Most don’t stand in the media spotlight, but all resonate in the hearts of those they touch.
The site has a list of idea books. Choose one idea or combine several. Or just drink in the power of inspiration and create your own, original project. UPDATE: 11-30-13, Maria’s Squidoo page link is no longer live. Sorry! An alternative book I recommend is Do Something: A Handbook for Young Activists by Nancy Lublin. A terrific step-by-step guide for kids (and adults!) to figure out their true passions and interests, then build them into action plans for giving, action, and caring.
Squidoo was co-founded by Corey Brown, Megan Casey, Seth Godin, and Gil Hildebrand as a “publishing platform and community that makes it easy for you to create ‘lenses’ online. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest–and snap it all into focus. Like the lens of a camera, your perspective on something.”
Check out Squidoo’s set of lenses focused at non-profits where you can collect royalties for your favs.
Update from Comments:
Woodlands Wildlife uses 100% of your donations to support the animals and birds it rescues.P.O. Box 1336 Mendocino, CA 95460
In myWorld Ocean’s Day post last June, I summarized the mounting problem of plastics in the world’s oceans. This map names the North Pacific gyre–the most infamous–but there are five, major “gyres” on the planet. The one off America’s Atlantic coast is home to the Sargasso Sea. All five gyres are growing plastic garbage dumps, creating serious problems for wildlife and ocean habitat.
Countless young people are making positive changes to our planet’s future. Yesterday, friend and fellow writer Ginny Rorby blogged an appeal to help talented and dedicated photographer, Justin Lewis and author Michelle Stauffer, realize their documentary short film and book project through Kickstarter.
But stormy days are followed by calm seas, sunshine, and now . . .
After Rain Point Cabrillo Lightstation Historic State Park Photo: Katy Pye All rights reserved
Migrating Grey Whales photo: Katy Pye All rights reserved
The Greys make the world’s longest mammal migration – over 6,000 miles, Alaska to Baja, Mexico – where females give birth, nurse their young, and gather with males to breed. In early spring, they repeat the trip, babes in tow, moving slowly past us again.
Whales — one of my “winter’s here” wildlife markers.
Wildlife and Winter — Kids at Work and Wonder
Like whales here, when northern waters cool, immature sea turtles in the Atlantic migrate south, following food. Often these days, nature’s signal comes too late, or is too brief. The water turns cold too fast, leaving hundreds of sea turtles stunned on the surface. Their bodies, as if in a giant deep freeze, float almost lifeless, sometimes for months; if not rescued, these turtles will die of hunger, dehydration, or hyperthermia. Likely all three. Incoming tides and surges “strand” many, barely alive, on beaches along the coastline.
Kids are helping save them. Nine year-old Skyler Lach is a four-year veteran sea turtle spotter. “Living on Earth,” (Public Radio International) aired a wonderful story about Skyler (you HAVE to see his picture with the turtles) and his dad, Michael, volunteers in the New England Aquarium and MA Audubon Society cold-stranding rescue program. The turtles spend a minimum of several months “thawing” and rehabing at the Aquarium, then are transported and released in warmer waters off Florida or Georgia. Listen to Skyler talk about his experience and more about the project. Know what a “wrackline” is? I didn’t.
No Sea Turtles to Find?
Take heart, there’s a lot you can do for wildlife in your neighborhood and backyard.
Check the web pages linked below for details. Here are the basics:
♥ Clean up — Litter that can injure wildlife, that’s anything they can get stuck in or they might eat, but shouldn’t.
♥ Write — a politician, supporting your favorite place or wildlife.
♥ Volunteer — at a wildlife organization or your local animal shelter. Dogs and cats need love, too!
♥ Donate — Every nickel makes a difference to your favorite cause. An amazing example of what one child, backed by energized, hard-working adults, can do, is Vivienne Harr and her “Make-a-Stand” campaign against child slavery. The point isn’t how much she made, but that she cared, had an idea, and said, “Let’s go!”
♥ Learn — Spend time outside. See if you can discover one new thing about the wildness in your backyard or neighborhood. Birds are everywhere. Which species do you see often? Audubon Society now has Christmas Bird Counts for Kids (CBC4Kids), thanks to Sonoma County, CA birders, Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie. Listen to a short interview on the recent “Bird Note” podcast. National Christmas bird counts begin mid December and end the 3rd week in January. Check your local Audubon Society to see if it sponsors CBC4Kids. If not, help start one!
All of Us Together
I love what Tom Rusert said about kids and parents birding together. What about kids who don’t live with their parents? Or parents unable or unwilling to share their kid’s interests? Author and environmentalist Rachael Carson addresses this beautifully.
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”
It’s true for all aspects of life. While not every child will respond if we step up to give, no child can respond if we don’t. Nothing adds perspective to how we grownups see the world — on our brightest and darkest days — than a child’s wonder.
Help a child, find an adult, change a heartbeat.
Thanks to the following organizations and sites for the tips and podcasts used here.
The iMatter kids lawsuits I wrote about in May are making headway. Where? In of all places, the historically conservative states of Texas and New Mexico.
photo: Matt Rudge – Creative Commons from TckTckTck
Maybe this year’s hottest summer on record (3,282 heat records broken in June), ongoing drought and wildfires convinced Texas District Court Judge, Gisela Triana, to rule “the atmosphere and air must be protected for public use.”
A few days later, Judge Sarah Singleton of the New Mexico District Court, threw out her state attorneys’ request to shut down the iMatter Trust suit, which, likewise, sought to protect the atmosphere. The plaintiff who sued the state, 18 year-old, Akilah Sanders-Reed, was represented for free by lawyers with Wild Earth Guardians.
Judge Singleton’s ruling helps move the state to cut atmosphere-damaging emissions by developing “Climate Recovery Plans” similar to others in states and the nation that restore streams, native grasslands, and ocean fish populations.
Listen to Akilah talk about her decision to become the suit’s key actor (Progressive Radio Network July 31, 2012, beginning at 17:17 minutes into the show). Her reasoning goes beyond her state, to the importance of these individual lawsuits on the nation and the planet. Attorney, Tanya Sanerib, a legal counsel in the federal cases, joins her to explain the basics of the suit and the Public Trust and what’s at stake. I promise it’s not boring.
New Mexico’s Whitewater Baldy Night Fire 6/6/2012 Photo: Kari Greer – Credit USFS Gila National Forest.
The iMatter kidshave done their homework. Watch their video stories; new ones have been added since May. All are impressive. These passionate young people, from diverse backgrounds, know that fighting for everyone’s right to a livable planet won’t be easy. The lawsuits force judges to breathe their decisions into uncharted air. The Public Trust doctrine has been used successfully to support the environment, but it has never been tapped to protect the atmosphere, thus full planet health. You can’t get more basic than that. Judges Triana and Singleton have bravely opened new legal territory, making it easier for other state and federal judges to act.
Visit and bookmark this page at Our Children’s Trust to read about and follow the state-by-state progress of the lawsuits.
Now the weirdest story I’ve run across about adaptations to climate change.
Opinions vary on why some cow farmers in the Midwest are resorting to feeding livestock chocolate, marshmallows, and gummy bears instead of corn. No science on the impact of turning cows into sweet junkies is offered. I wonder whether the state Ag Extension offices have weighed in. I may be a chocoholic, but I’m sticking to my California squeezed milk!
Leatherbacks are the “Texas*-sized” member of the sea turtle species. The largest, they lay the biggest eggs in the highest number of clutches, travel the greatest distances (and to more varied environments — tropical to subarctic), and dive the deepest (like, whale deep, up to 3,000+ ft/900+ m), looking for their favorite food, jellyfish.
Leatherback swimming off Mozambique photo: Wallace Nichols. Creative Commons
Imagine an animal as delicate and water-filled as a jelly, powering such a huge reptile around the world. The Pacific coast of California is one foraging habitat for leatherbacks, which can now find protection within a 16,000 square-mile “critical habitat zone” up and down the state.
Jellies photo: Petr Kratochvil
This week’s THUMBS DOWN for HAWAII
The bad news for leatherback and loggerhead turtles hanging out around Hawaii is the National Marine Fisheries Service has relaxed regulations, supporting the island’s long-line industry by increasing the number of turtles that can be legally caught (even killed) as by-catch during swordfish fishing.
In November the numbers for leatherbacks “go up to 26, more than a 60 percent increase, and the loggerhead catch to 34, about a 100 percent increase.” (Washington Post Oct 6, 2012). While these numbers seem small, both sea turtle species have suffered major population declines in the last few decades due to fishing, egg and turtle poaching, and ingesting plastics. Female leatherbacks reach breeding age when they are between 7 and 13 years-old. They may lay up to 10 clutches a year, they only nest every 2 to 7 years (2-4 is average). With all they face surviving to reach adulthood, then reproduce, cutting down threats, rather than raising limits on them, seems prudent.
As bad is the by-catch issue, escaped and discarded plastic is arguably the worst enemy of the ocean and its inhabitants. I taped this photo to my back door as a reminder to take cloth shopping bags with me and to watch for plastic-alternative packaging.
Leatherback hatchlings photo: Daphne Goldberg CC
Keep balloons on a tether and dispose of properly–this does NOT include releasing them into the sky*!
* Speaking of Texas and sky, watch for my next blog post, “UPDATE: Kids Winning for the Atmosphere,” coming soon.
Apologies for this late notice. As always, do what you can.
National Fisheries Marine Service is considering action to close a loophole in regulations that currently lead to the drowning deaths of thousands of turtles, and other sea wildlife, a year. You can “sign” and submit a petition encouraging the Service to require Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) in ALL shrimp nets.
Researchers estimate 28,000 sea turtles are caught in unregulated shallow-water “skimmer trawl” shrimp nets each year; 6,000 drown;1
TEDs and other by-catch reduction methods have reduced sea turtle deaths 90% since 1990; 2
Installed and used correctly, TEDs reduce sea turtle by-catch 97%; 3
Closing the loophole on skimmer trawls will help save thousands of sea turtles each year.
“Freedom! Freedom!“ Sea turtle escaping a TED photo courtesy of: Wikimedia CC
Gohereto see Sea Turtle Restoration Project’s petition. It takes a minute or less.Hereis a link to replace it or add a personal note.
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