Category: On animals

A (virtual) Halloween book launch party!

By Midge Raymond,

UPDATE, October 31: Are you here for the party? You’re at the right place … but opened the wrong door. The party’s actually here.

Come join us!


You are all cordially invited to the official Out of Breath Halloween virtual book launch party on Monday, October 31.

This all-day party will be hosted right here on our blog, which means we can have a gigantic online party without worrying about the fire marshal breaking it up. All are welcome!

Doing a virtual book tour of my own this spring made me realize just how celebratory the virtual world can be for writers who are not able to get out there and meet with readers in person. So, as the publishers of this fabulous new book, we hope you’ll join us to celebrate online on Halloween.

Drop by this blog any time on October 31 to get the latest Out of Breath reviews, to sign up for book giveaways, and to participate in a daylong Q&A with the author. We’re delighted to be welcoming bloggers who will be stopping by to share new reviews as well as fantastic recipes for Halloween treats.

The Halloween candy may be virtual, but the good company will be real — hope to see you then!


Announcing new authors and our 2012 lineup

By John Yunker,

Ashland Creek Press in 2012
When Midge and I started Ashland Creek Press earlier this year, we knew what types of books we wanted to publish. And we noted this right on the home page.

But we weren’t sure exactly how many of these types of books were out there. All we did know was that we would have to be patient. Yet we were pleased and surprised to discover that we have not had to wait very long for amazing books to come our way.

I’m happy to say that our 2012 lineup of books captures the range of themes and issues we are most passionate about — books that introduce you to new cultures and new ideas, and books that have the potential to change the world, or at least the potential to change your way of looking at the world. So here is the lineup for next year, beginning in April:

The Names of Things by John Colman Wood

The Names of Things is one of those novels that sticks with you long after you’ve put it down. The book is a mystery, a love story, and an anthropological journey all wrapped up into one. We couldn’t put the manuscript down and are very happy to be introducing this novel to the world.

Falling into Green by Cher Fischer

Falling into Green is an eco-mystery set in Los Angeles with an ecopsychologist as its main character. This character, Ez Green, is a powerful, quirky, and highly engaging character, and this book is the first in what we hope will be a long series of Ez’s adventures on a changing planet.

And now let’s jump ahead to the fall of 2012 to introduce two newly signed authors and their novels:

The Dragon Keeper by Mindy Mejia

The Dragon Keeper is Mindy’s debut novel, and one of its most endearing characters is an endangered Komodo dragon living in a Minnesota zoo. But it’s ultimately about the woman who cares for the dragon, the perils of captivity, and the incredible series of events that change her life — and the dragon’s — forever. Mindy has an MFA from Hamline University, where The Dragon Keeper was awarded outstanding thesis in fiction in 2009. Her work has appeared in rock, paper, scissors, and Things Japanese: A Collection of Short Stories. She lives and works in Saint Paul, MN.

Balance of Fragile Things by Olivia Chadha

Balance of Fragile Things, Olivia’s debut novel, puts you smack in the middle of a modern American family — an Indian father, a Latvian mother, and a teenage son and daughter — as well as an environmental mystery that threatens to destroy the family’s livelihood as well as the whole town. Olivia completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Binghamton University and began her career writing comic book scripts. She teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

And, last but certainly not least, next fall we’ll be publishing the second book in the YA Lithia Trilogy:

The Ghost Runner by Blair Richmond

The second book in this trilogy will follow more of Kat’s adventures with the otherworldly inhabitants of Lithia. To learn more about this series, check out the first book, Out of Breath, which is available now and “officially” launches in October. You can download a PDF excerpt here, and please also join us here on this blog on Halloween, when we’ll be celebrating the publication of Out of Breath with a daylong virtual book launch. You can read some of the book’s early reviews here, including this one from Kirkus Reviews: “This series opener blends genre tradition with West Coast environmentalism … the result feels fresh and original.”

Welcome to all of our wonderful authors!

If Gandhi had PowerPoint

By John Yunker,

Gandhi was a genius at communication. And many of his strategies are still widely emulated by activists today — from plain old leafleting to dramatic nonviolent protests and marches.

I sometimes wonder how Gandhi would have co-opted contemporary tools of communication to spread his message. I imagine he would have had a field day with YouTube and Facebook and Twitter.

And maybe even PowerPoint.

One of the quotes widely attributed to him fits PowerPoint perfectly:

And here are two more of his quotes.



Which makes me wonder who will be the Gandhi of the Twitter generation.


Go Faux

By John Yunker,

The Magellanic penguin colony that I wrote about in The Tourist Trail was very nearly decimated twenty years ago by a Japanese firm that planned to “harvest” the penguins for their skins. The penguin skins were to be used for women’s gloves.

Fortunately, this never came to pass, thanks to the efforts of a handful of local activists who drew attention to the plan.

When I think about the use of fur and leather, I think of the penguins. And how quickly a few hundred thousand birds could have been extinguished for the sake of vanity — and profit.

And I think about the animals that are not in danger of going extinct, that are raised in horrific conditions specifically for their fur and hides, which is just as bad, if not worse. We can make an enormous impact on the lives of animals by simply choosing faux over leather. The fact is, there are excellent alternatives to any leather good, from belts to shoes to wallets.

It’s with this in mind that I am participating in a button contest to encourage people to opt for faux alternatives to leather and fur.

Here’s the button I designed:

I’ve ordered a quantity of these buttons and will include a free button with every purchase of The Tourist Trail from my web site.


  Category: On animals
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The definition of irony

By Midge Raymond,

So, we recently returned from a lovely trip down the coast of California. One of the highlights for me was discovering a lovely vegan wine from Girasole Vineyards of Mendocino.

Here’s the ironic part: While the wine is vegan, the descriptions on the back don’t exactly reflect this. The chardonnay, for example, is said to pair well “with salmon or chicken in a light cream sauce.”

And this I quote directly from back of the pinot noir bottle: “..pairs well with everything from salmon to pork to grilled vegetables. VEGAN.”

And the sangiovese apparently goes very nicely with “pork tenderloin.”

I realize that it may not sound as sexy to write that a wine pairs nicely with tofu or tempeh — but, seriously, if a vineyard really wants to appeal to vegans, “pork tenderloin” isn’t exactly the way to go.

However, what matters here is that it’s a vegan wine, and a yummy one. And I can report the chardonnay does pair well with veggies –it’s crisp and light and delicious, and definitely a wine I’d have again. I’m sure it’s lovely with tofu, too.


  Category: On animals
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