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“Without supernatural assistance, our fellow creatures can tell us the most beautiful stories, and that means true stories, because the truth about nature is always far more beautiful even than what our great poets sing of it, and they are the only real magicians that exist.”  KONRAD LORENZ

I stole this quote from Douglas Chadwick’s The Wolverine Way.  Chadwick is one of my favorite authors; one of those author’s who spends his time on boats and skis, in ocean and on mountain, to live the research he writes.  And his true stories of whale and mountain goat and wolverine read like fantasy fiction, with all the soul of magic and myth in every breath.

I wish everyone was half as inspired by nature, reading tree rings and turtle scutes as ravenously as the latest in the Hunger Games series.  But it takes a real scientist to be stirred by such minute details about the earth’s residents, doesn’t it?  Then again, if you’ve ever marveled at the uniqueness of individual snowflakes or the tonnage of a towering redwood that’s seen the last 5,000 years on earth, perhaps you’re more scientist than you know.

Without a grasp on the wonders of reality, what can possibly power the imagination?  This is why nature plays a heavy role in my fantasy fiction; in fact, in everything I write!  Because it truly is more fantastic in and of itself than anything I could ever hope to dream up.

You can delve into a new fantasy and revel in the wonders of nature in the same read in my fantasy novella, Opal.  And when you do so, you’ll be helping in the preservation of a few winged denizens of the forest at the same time.  Pick up a copy of Opal before October 1st and all proceeds will go to the Black Swamp Raptor Rehabilitation Center to help feed and house injured raptors of Ohio while educating the public about the conservation of these fantasy-worthy creatures.  Because it’s the scientists and naturalists behind the scenes, the ones who might not write their own books, but who play the roles of heroes in the great saga of nature verses man, whose stories we ought to be most inspired by.

Speaking of heroes, here’s a little clip of Diane Myers, head of the Black Swamp Raptor Rehab Center, and one of her devoted volunteers, Sue Kitzler, with a stunning barn owl.  Having shown owls myself, I know first hand that these nocturnal ghosts are none too happy about being the center of attention in a crowd, and they may flap their wings vigorously, click their beaks, or release their bowels as a way to ready for flight in an effort to get the heck out of there.  This owl, though, chose to sing out her woes.  Diane is in the blue, speaking to a gathering of children and adults, who hung on her every word about the fascinating habits of Ohio’s native birds.

If you’re an Ohio native or will be in the area next week, check out Diane’s next presentation on Tuesday, Sept 23rd at Riverbend Park in Findlay, OH.  Join the event on Facebook!  And thank you for your support.

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