MAY 2024

Photo from my travels: The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, California

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

THE FOURTH ALEX CARTER THRILLER PUBLICATION DATE

Exciting news for the next Alex Carter thriller, which is set in New Mexico and is about jaguars. My publisher has set the publication date to March 2025.

Much thought was given to changing the title themes, too, so instead of the working title, which was A Prowl of Jaguars, the book will be titled The Vanishing Kind.

Stay tuned for an exciting cover reveal coming soon!

Photo by Mike van den Bos on Unsplash


THE FIFTH ALEX CARTER THRILLER

I’m happy to announce that I’m at work on the fifth Alex Carter novel, and as always, am really enjoying joining Alex on her next adventure.

An official announcement will follow, revealing the title and which species I’ll be focusing on. Can’t wait to share it with you all!


IN THE MEANTIME…THE SKYFIRE SAGA!

If you’d like to read more of my work and are waiting for the next Alex Carter novel to come out, please consider checking out my climate change trilogy The Skyfire Saga, which includes the novels Shattered Roads, Shattered Lands, and Shattered Skies.

It’s full of adventure, astronomy, science, and action! In it, a menial laborer in a near future society in which science has been abandoned, learns that an asteroid is on a collision course with the earth. Can she find a fabled group of scientists who live in the weather-ravaged world beyond her climate controlled city and find a way to deflect the asteroid?

The trilogy is available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW IN THE WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS

I was delighted to be interviewed by fellow writer Tara Laskowski. We talk about my Alex Carter thriller series, wildlife, conservation, and what everyone can do to help.

You can read the interview here.


AUTHOR EVENT FOR UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA

If you missed the author talk I gave for the University of Northern British Columbia, the video is now available. It was a wonderful group of attendees and I discussed using fiction to shed light on conservation, interesting facts about the species I’ve written about thus far, and answered questions about how to fight through writer’s block and get your work out there.

You can watch the video here.


WILDLIFE IN THE NEWS

WOLVERINES GET LISTED AS THREATENED UNDER THE ESA

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) just issued a final rule listing wolverines in the lower 48 as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

This decision has been a very long time coming, and is the result of the stalwart dedication of many nonprofit wildlife organizations who demanded that the USFWS examine the science again.

The wolverine population has plummeted due to climate change, overharvesting, and habitat fragmentation. Though they once roamed as far south as New Mexico and as far east as the Great Lakes, now fewer than 300 wolverines survive in pockets of the Cascades and Rocky Mountains.

Unfortunately, the final ruling will likely include loopholes such as the death of wolverines in traps set for other species.

You can read more about the decision here.

Photo by Kristin O Karlsen on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

GRAY WOLVES

A lot of exciting things have been happening with wolves lately. Five wolves were released in Colorado late last year, the first wolves to live in that state since they were eradicated eighty years ago.

And a lone wolf, likely dispersed from the Shasta Lake pack in California, was spotted in northern Nevada, where they haven’t lived in more than a century.

But wolves still need our help. Northern Rockies wolves were removed from the Endangered Species Act, allowing states to hunt and trap them aggressively. Over 2022-2023 in Montana and Idaho alone, more than a thousand wolves were killed.

And the House of Representatives just passed a bill that will strip federal protection from most of the other wolf populations across the lower 48.

Nonprofits such as the Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society, the Sierra Club, and more have petitioned and sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to relist the Northern Rockies wolf population under the Endangered Species Act, but so far reinstating protections has been denied.


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

WOODPECKER TONGUES

Woodpeckers have some of the longest tongues in the bird world. They use them to access deep crevices and extract beetle larvae and other tasty tidbits. But want to hear something really crazy? Their tongues are so long, up to a third of the bird’s body length, that their tongues actually wrap around their brains to cushion against the impact of their pecking.

A woodpecker’s tongue splits into a V just behind its hyoid bone in their upper beaks. The two tongue sections then wrap completely around the inside of their skulls, meeting up again as a single tongue at the base of the lower beak.

To read more about this, and see some fascinating diagrams, go to this site.

Photo of northern flicker by Alice Henderson. The northern Flicker has the longest tongue of the North American woodpeckers.


GREEN TIP

REDUCE OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Did you know that noise and lights negatively affect amphibians?

Noise can interfere with frogs’ abilities to communicate vocally with each other, and can mask the sound of approaching predators. And light can make it easier for those predators to locate frogs.

You can help by shutting off external lights (and pulling curtains to cut out indoor lights) during vulnerable breeding seasons. Installing a light with a motion sensor rather than leaving an outdoor light burning all night will help. And think about any noise that emanates from your property or community and if it can somehow be reduced.

Cities and communities can help by making sure that the light from street lamps is directed downward, rather than diffusing broadly.

These steps will also greatly benefit many other species of wildlife, too.

You can read more about this here.

Photo by David Mohseni on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

OBSERVE NATURE

It’s spring and a lot of wildlife is getting active — finding mates, building nests, raising young. Flowers are starting to bloom, trees are budding and blossoming. It’s a great time to get out in nature.

You can help researchers gather valuable data by recording your wildlife, plant, mushroom, lichen observations, and more on the iNaturalist app or at iNaturalist.org. Bird sightings can be recorded on ebird. You can use the Merlin Bird ID app, created by the Cornell Lab, to identify birds by sound and sight, and the Seek app, created by iNaturalist, to identify plant and animal species with your phone or tablet camera.

By adding your observations, you are contributing to a global database that keeps track of biodiversity and supports a host of local and international research projects.

Photo of American pika by Alice Henderson


EXPLORING THE WORLD

AROUND US

Two pages from my nature journal

NATURE JOURNALING

Steeping in nature is always a powerful way to feel connected to our planet. From camping trips to day hikes to just sitting outside on your porch listening to birds, there are a lot of different ways to experience the out of doors.

One thing I’ve been doing for years is keeping a nature journal. I write and draw in it most days, jotting down notes and sketches of the wildlife I see and hear, the kinds of trees I hike through, the lichen I find on boulders. I also record the weather that day. I’ve found that I notice so many more details when I’m journaling than I do if I’m just sitting or hiking through a particular area. As I pause to sketch a wildflower, I suddenly notice a ladybug on the petals, or notice an even smaller flower of a different species beside it.

You don’t have to consider yourself an artist to keep a nature journal. Just writing down observations and making quick little sketches for yourself is a rewarding way to get in touch with the nature around you.

If nature journaling interests you, or if you already keep one and want to brush up on your skills or meet up with other journalers, there are a variety of clubs out there that host gatherings and give tutorials. This page has a wealth of information about clubs all over the world, as well as tips about starting your own.


ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY!

I’m introducing a new section in my newsletter – astrophotography!

I’ve long been fascinated with astronomy. When I was a kid, my dad and I spent many a happy hour gazing through a telescope he had built, marveling at Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon.

I’ve now taken up astrophotography and have begun imaging deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae. I’m excited to share the results with my readers!

The Horsehead Nebula was one of the first nebulae I learned about as a kid and have long wanted to see it through a telescope of my own. I love the little horsehead there, looking like a knight chess piece, rising above a bed of dreamy nebulosity.

Photo by Alice Henderson


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

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Copyright ¬© 2024 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.