Who agrees that it is time to divest in the largest arms manufacturers, chemical manufacturers, energy companies, financial institutions, and insurance companies (ACEFI)?
They are destroying the earth for profit.
Calling All Authors and Readers
Please stop by to meet Michael Thal. Michael has published three books and more than 80 articles on many subjects. He has a new novel in press that continues his series for young readers. See his interview on this website.
Welcome to Author Michael Thal’s Interview
My guest today is author Michael Thal. Michael’s books range from technical nonfiction to novels for young readers. He has published three novels, and articles in over 80 magazines. Solstice Publishing has accepted his fourth novel, Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback, a sequel to The Legend of Koolura.
- Tell our readers about yourself. I grew up on Long Island, New York in Freeport, a small town about thirty miles from New York City. After high school and college I migrated to California to get away from the cold. I taught public school for twenty-eight years until one morning I awoke to a profound silence. My hearing grew worse over the next few years until the hearing aides didn’t help much in the classroom. I re-evaluated my goals, learned the trade of the freelance writer, and started to write full time.
- Tell us why you write. Initially, I wrote science fiction. My first published novel was The Light: An Alien Abduction. However, a few years after its publication, the publisher went south. When my oldest daughter reached sixth grade, she hated to read. I asked, “If you had one book you’d like to read, what would it be like?”
She said, “Cool.”
So I wrote The Legend of Koolura.
Since my hearing loss, I’ve written a lot about Deaf issues. One such piece, “The Lip Reader” won first prize in Writer’s Digest’s 73rd Annual Writing Competition. I try to show people the strength and courage of hearing impaired and deaf people. Their story needs to be told.
- What do you like most about writing? I like the freedom it gives me. I can determine my own schedule, work when I want, and go to sleep when I want. As a teacher, I lived under a tight agenda planned by the school. Sometimes it felt like prison. As a freelance writer, I feel free.
- What do you like least about writing? Getting that first word on paper can prove daunting. Once that is achieved, the rest falls in place.
- What kind of personal goals have you set for yourself? My primary goal was to be the best father I could be. I know I have met that goal from feedback from my daughters. A few years ago, when my oldest daughter graduated from college she wrote, “You taught me persistence, dedication, and diligence. I learned from you to strive for my goals and to never give up. No matter how tough life was for you, you always approached every situation with great courage, hope and a big smile. Thank you for creating the person I am today.”
- Tell us about your publishing plans. Royal Fireworks Press published Goodbye Tchaikovsky last year. (It’s a book about a twelve-year-old boy, a violin virtuoso, who loses his hearing.) Last spring Goodbye Tchaikovsky won Honorable Mention in the 2012 Hollywood Book Festival. Recently, I found out it also won Honorable Mention in the Paris Book Festival. This fall, Solstice Publishing will be publishing the sequel to The Legend of Koolura, Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. Currently, I’m working on Koolura and the Mayans.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Within 5 years I’d like for my Koolura series to be popular with kids. Koolura is a wonderful role model, a young girl whose personality is a mix of my daughters Channie and Koren.
- What do you do to combat Writer’s Block? I keep a file of ideas. Many times I have thoughts or dreams. I write them down and file them away. If writer’s block strikes, I re-read an idea and work from there.
- What gives you the idea for a story? I get my ideas from dreams, reading the newspaper, magazines, or watching a movie. For example, a few years ago I watched “Fever Pitch,” which reminded me of my dating problems when I was in my twenties. From that I wrote “The Curse of the Brazilian.”
- What motivates you to write? Writing is my job. When I get up in the morning, I go to my computer, check my preassigned schedule, and write.
- How do you handle the dreaded Rejection Letter? Now a days it’s more like a rejection e-mail. I’m happy when I get one; at least someone gave my work a look. The submissions that get ignored are what really bother me.
- Do you find that a critique helps to strengthen your work? For sure. When I first started writing I formed a writing group, Crits International. We submitted our work to our website, critiqued our writing, and made revisions. Since then I decided a group meeting face-to-face would be better, so I organized the San Fernando Valley Critique Group. My writing has improved exponentially thanks to the feedback of my fellow critters.
- What words of encouragement would you have for someone just starting out? Write down those dreams, then, write them again. Never give up, and go through life with a smile. Even when you speak to someone on the phone, wear that smile. They can hear it in your voice. You’ll be happier with yourself, and with everyone else.
Here’s where you can learn more about Michael Thal and buy his books.
Michael Thal Tomorrow
Stop by tomorrow and learn more about Michael Thal and the novels he writes.
Not In Two Million Years Has CO2 Been This High
Professor Frank Aldrich lectured about rising atmospheric CO2 in my 1971 Climatology class. I recall a lecture on how climate would change if the north polar ice cap melted. None of us believed it would ever happen, but then we were students of physical geography, not human psychology. Now it seems so obvious that short-sighted and self-destructive use of excessive amounts of cheap dirty fuel to satisfy our personal ambitions was inevitable.
There are many good books and articles that have tracked the CO2 problem. Here’s a link to another one.
Sonoran Desert Toad (SDT)
This giant toad appeared by my back step yesterday, May 13, 2013, and remained all day, moving only once in the afternoon to stay in the shade. This is the first of these toads I have seen here, though it is obvious that this individual has been here gobbling insects and growing for at least two years.
The Sonoran Desert Toad (SDT) (Bufo alvarius a.k.a. Ollotis alvariaare and Incillius alvarius) or Colorado River Toad lives in southern Arizona and desert areas of New Mexico. It formerly lived in southeastern California. My place is near the species’ northern limit.
At seven and one half inches long, SDTs are the largest native toads of the U. S. This one is about five inches (and almost as wide .
These toads are primarily nocturnal. They are not as visible or noisy as the Rocky Mountain Toads that live in my yard. Though I did not know they were here, the SDTs are probably an important reason that I have no insect problems despite the lawns around the house and the large stock ponds only a few hundred feet away.
This chubby amphibian has powerful defense toxins. Glands on its sides, back, and legs produce the toxins. Predators absorb the toxins through their nose, eyes, and mouth. Dogs that mouth one of these toads can die. The toxin is hallucinogenic, and several states have classified it as a controlled substance. Perhaps “toad lickers” are partially responsible for the toad’s decline.
The SDT eats anything it can catch and fit in its mouth, even small mice. It can enter homes through pet doors. A welcome visitor, the toad will roam about eliminating household pests while providing amphibian decor unique to the Southwest. I haven’t had this good fortune yet, but I am optimistic.
The SDT has disappeared from its former range in California, and is declining in Arizona and New Mexico. It is a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. A google search will provide more information.