"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes." ~Publishers Weekly review of Eolyn

"The characters are at their best when the events engulfing them are at their worst." ~Publishers Weekly review of High Maga

Friday, August 2, 2013

Savegre Lodge and Ballena Marine National Park

The resplendent quetzal, king of the highland forests
of Talamanca, is set to make a cameo appearance in
Eolyn's third companion novel, Daughter of Aithne.
This week Avila University professor Amy Milakovic and I did a scouting trip for a new course we plan to offer next spring, entitled Ecology through the Writer’s Lens.  The course was inspired during my residency for the Long Term Ecological Reflections (LTER) program at Andrews Experimental Forest in the mountains of Oregon (see my May 2011 posts). 
Like the LTER project, our goal is to integrate scientific and literary approaches to understanding the forest. Of course, we will be working on a much shorter time scale than LTER.  The program at Andrews Experimental Forest is set to run about 300 years; our course will run about 10 days.  Still, it’s going to be a fun and memorable experience for us as professors and for all our students.

On the scouting trip, we visited Savegre Lodge, nestled in the oak forests of the Talamanca Mountains, at about 2300m elevation.  Fans and followers of Eolyn know by now that these are the magnificent forests that inspired Eolyn’s childhood home in the South Woods.
Ballena Marine National Park, Costa Rica
After a night in Talamanca, we visited La Cusinga Lodge in the Pacific lowlands, surrounded by tropical rainforest and overlooking the stunning Ballena Marine National Park.  Along the way, we saw quetzals, monkeys, whales, and all kinds of other wildlife.   We travelled with long-time friend and colleague, Jose Rogelio Vargas, owner of Ruta Verde Tours.
While I was off the grid, Mark Nelson wrote a wonderful reflection for Heroines of Fantasy, marking our 100th post for the blog.  Mark contemplates the same question we will be asking in our upcoming course:  How do the landscapes we encounter inspire the stories we write? Please stop by to read Mark’s post and share your thoughts on this topic.

A howler monkey in the lowland rain forest
Next week, I’ll be starting a blog tour with Orangeberry Book Tours.  The tour will last through September, including guest posts, interviews, reviews, giveaways, Twitter views and Twitter blasts.  Eolyn will also be one of the featured titles for the Orangeberry Book Expo, which runs through the end of August. For the full schedule, visit my author page at OrangeberryBook Tours. I will, of course, post events as they occur here, as well as on my Facebook page and Twitter account for Eolyn.
That’s the news for now.  Enjoy the sunny weeks to come. Autumn is on its way.

Members of this week's tropical expedition (from left to right):
Dr. Amy Milakovic, Rafael Aguilar, me, Jose Rogelio Vargas