Notes from The Cloud Forest, Grumpy Gods, Cat Pix & the Secret to Happiness

 

 

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Near Monteverde, we stayed in a small windy cottage with a garden of tiny orchids, infested with burrowing Motmots. Seriously, they live in holes.

Motmots look like someone has artistically brushed the silhouette of a bird in flight, right over their eye.

images (13)Some birds are teases, crying enticingly from the green jungle, never visible, but not the omnivorous Motmot. The Motmots has an iron digestion. It’s one of the few animals able to eat poisonous dart frogs.

 

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They have long artfully tapered tails. And when they spot a predator, they wag them back and forth, telling the predator that it has been seen.

 

“Don’t even bother trying to catch me,” the Motmot is saying. “I can fly, so it will just be a waste of both our time.”

 

How do they know this? Researchers at the avian research institute, interviewed fifty jaguars, twelve ocelots, three leopards, and a margay.

“When I see a Motmot’s tail moving, I look for other prey;” roared ninety percent of the Jaguars and Leopards surveyed.

images (7) Fifty percent of the ocelots agreed, while ten percent said; “Motmots are tasteless, I wouldn’t eat one if it were wingless.”

The Margay denied all knowledge of Motmots and claimed he was a vegan. When questioned about all the blue feathers lining his den, he grew flustered, insisting they were flower petals, but Margays are notable liars.marhay

 

 

Everybody thinks of the Monteverde as THE CLOUD forest, but it’s actually a very small part of a huge plot of mostly privately-owned wilderness. The biggest part is The Children’s Eternal Rainforest (El Bosque Eterno de los Niños), which was begun by Swedish children in 1987.  (Why is it always the Nordic countries and New Zealanders that are “doing the right thing”?)  Over the years, sister organizations, schools, and individuals – children and adults – from more 44 countries all over the world also raised money in numerous ways to expand the preserve. It now combines with several reserves to protect a total area of about 170,000 acres — that’s bigger than Chicago but much, much safer. It’s run by the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL) founded in 1986 by a group of local residents.

It’s all “cloud forest” but in a place where every tree is its own biome, that means that every part is completely different.

I think Santa Elena is my favorite. About 60% of the forest is mosses, ferns, bromeliads, and orchids. The trees are so thickly hung with epiphytes you can’t even see the bark.   Each tree is its own tall, skinny, planet.

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Stranger figs wrap around trees, forming hollow lattice rooms inside their trunks, like mini cathedrals.

 

I wonder if the wind is the voice of trees screaming for help as they feel the first embracing tendrils of a strangler fig encircling their circumference?

Trees scream very slowly, so most people never hear more than that first “H” of “Helppppp- I’m being strangled.”

Next time you are in a cloud forest, listen.

After Monteverde, we went toward the Rio Celeste. We stayed in a transitional forest, the place between tropical and cloud. It’s like the valley between fantasy and imagination, where biodiversity is greatest. It’s surprisingly un-humid in the dry season.

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A young sloth slept in a tree outside my door.

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This is not the sloth outside our door. “Our” sloth is older and less photogenic.

It hasn’t moved for two days. I can’t see his face,, only a patch of mossy back. It would not make an exciting picture.

Sloths can have over 1,000 beetles and moths living in their hair, no wonder they seldom get asked to parties. They leave the treetops one a week to poo on the ground so that the sloth moths can lay eggs on their excrement. Their larval eat it.  Smelly mutualism at its best!

 

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Rio Celeste means light blue river. Legend has it that after God was done painting the sky he washed his brushes in the river.

Oddly enough, a team of researchers disagreed. They are no fun.

The researchers claim that the blue color is not a chemical phenomenon, but an optical one. Aluminum, silicon and oxygen, suspended in the water, absorbs all the light rays except sky blue.

God disagrees. He favors the paintbrush theory.images (16)

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There is so much to tell- Each day is a miracle of life.

At Arenal now, overlooking the lake.fullsizeoutput_13a6

Yesterday we saw flocks of great curassows a large, pheasant-like bird, with amazing plumage.

The male is black with a yellow clip- on beak.images (5)

The females have an almost naked head, like a vulture, but on top, she sports a wild tiara of black and white feathers. Her neck is fluffed out in a black and white feather boa and she wears what appears to be a leopard vest. She looks as if she went shopping for plumage during an “Out of the Closet’” Halloween sale.

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We also saw the lovely, but deadly, eyelash pit viperdownload (13)

and tapirs and…..images (5) a Resplendent Quetzal images (9)

There’s too much to write – and I want to go exploring!

Onto publishing news:

I sold a story, Hotel Quetzalcoatl, to Grumpy Gods II, which will be out next summer. What was the inspiration? I’m so glad you asked…

A few years ago, I was visiting Guanajuato with my niece/best friend, Gillian. We stayed in a hotel that consisted of four suites, each one an entire floor. We were the only occupants. Odd animal heads stared at us out of glassy eyes. A deer, a lion, a leopard, realistic, but obviously not real. The deer antlers were ridiculous – paper mache, and constructed by someone who’d never seen a deer.  Nonetheless, they had a quality of life about them that made them unsettling, like a china doll, with eyes too knowing, and porcelain teeth too sharp.

images (16)The owner, Arturo, lived down the hill. He had a rakish charm and an easy smile. The weather was windy and rainy. Gillian, we asked when we would have better weather
He said, “I won’t have any control over the weather for another 10,000 years.” His grin concealed mysteries.

I checked the internet and discovered that Quetzalcoatl was due to return in 10,000 years!

When I next  saw Arturo I said, “You’re Quetzalcoatl, aren’t you?”

He smiled knowingly and said, “I love tourists like you.” And the story was born.

On a side note, the Mormons believe that Quetzalcoatl was Jesus Christ. But neither they nor Jesus appears in my tale.

In Book News! As always, click for links- books here

My novel, “Blood Prism,” is now available in print, ebook and on Audible

Blood Prism is now available on audible –
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Actually, almost all my books are. I like to listen!
And all done by amazing narrators… Really great performers.
They all give fabulous readings and I am so fortunate to have had their talents put to work enhancing my fiction- Simon Prebble, Christopher Graybill, Derek PerkinsGenevieve Sibayan
Even so, Emily Emerson‘s performance of Blood Prism, was unexpectedly fabulous!
The Cat Writes A Declaration Of  Love On A Paper

The Cat Writes A Declaration Of Love On A Paper

She made theimages (4) odd, twisted world of sinister orchids,
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old Gods, Indian legends, and an ill-timed timeless love so alive and real, I forgot it was my own creation!
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If you listen to just one of my books, I hope you will try this one.
I love it.
Thank you, Emily!IMG_0234
Excerpts from Blood Prism:
“Neil feels protected in the redwoods’ shadow. They are love without argument, relationship without compromise. They climb up toward heaven reaching the stars, straight and unafraid. Under their boughs, he is part of the earth. He likes the constant evening, feeling most comfortable at the vespertine hour when dawn kisses night. He loves the rich damp moss, the mushrooms lurking in shadows, stained with lurid colors, a warning to hungry mouths that they might be deadly.”
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I wish I’d known that happiness is seeing the water lily you’ve been watching for a week blossom, even though it lasts only a day.”

 

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I’m reading some of the fabulous anthologies I’m fortunate enough to be part of.
I will recommend one or two stories in each blog that are not mine, But only one or two at a time… otherwise this blog will be an encyclopedia.
I love “Barn Raising,” by Buzz Dixon in “Bubble off Plumb.”

Buy a copy or five…One of the best parts of being a writer is receiving and reading all these great anthologies- I want to write about each tale and every author – but better you should read these stories yourself. If I write about every story I’ll never finish my new book.

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I’m going to put a list with links and a bit about each publication – I hope you check them out because the writing is amazing! You’ll discover new ideas and ways of seeing, which is almost like discovering a new color,  tasting a new kind of chocolate or discovering ice-cream for the very first time.

I am truly honored to be included in these publications!

Marigolds & Monarchs – Artpost– 2018

ARTPOST magazine was created in 2018 with one simple goal in mind: to find and publish creative works of fiction, poetry, photography and artwork from independent authors and artists around the world and pay them fairly for their work.

24/7- Alluvian-2018

Alluvian is a group of thinkers, science students, and writers examining the human condition in relation to the natural world. — anything intended to provoke thought on environmental science, global sustainability, and human engagement with nature, the environment, and climate change.

For Sale- Flame Tree, Cosy Crime Short Story Anthology, 201

Cosy Crime Short Stories is packed with armchair detectives, murders in the vicarage, family secrets unraveling in gossipy ears, and the ingredients of a genteel bloodbath in an otherwise delightful village. Contains a fabulous mix of classic and brand new writing, with contemporary authors from the US, Canada, and the UK.

images (1) This adorable cat has nothing to do with anything.

I’m Dreaming of a Red Xmas- the War against Xmas 2018

This won’t be out till next year, but Neil Gaiman is in here – So I get to be in two anthologies with Neil Gaiman this year!!! And as usual, the publishers are wonderful.

war on xmas

The Faithless Angel- Alternative Theologiessee my story

This book will remind you that no matter what you believe, we make this journey together. I love Bob and B cubed Press – they are our alternative to hate!

God’s Gifts- The Gathering Storm – 2018

For great, short, thoughtful modern fables check out The Storm.Cover Image 2-9.jpg

Ghost Island- Clarksworld- 2018

Clarksworld is on every science fiction writer’s top 5 list  – it’s a thrill-  they did a fabulous podcast of my story too, read by the wonderful Kate Baker. Thank you, Kate!

Estevan of the Children- Eldritch roots and Cosmic Shores- 

My day of the dead story, digitally illustration by Fran Eisemann in this lovely publication.

The Grammarian’s Grimoire – Re-Enchant –

Re-Enchant takes readers down twisted walkways to discover strange and magical places, people, and creatures. I LOVE THIS BOOK!

And once again: secrets to happiness-
Moderation in all things, even moderation!
Enjoy the beauty and wonder of life whenever you can.
Smile at everyone.

Buy my books.download

 

PS. One of my favorite things about Costa Rica? 95% of dogs are cared for and happy.
Remember, if properly trained, man really can be dog’s best friend.
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About E.E. King

E.E. King’s has published many short stories. Ray Bradbury calls E.E. King a writer “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I can not recommend her highly enough.” HER NEW COLLECTION new Collection of Short Fiction “Another Happy Ending,” comes out in October 2013. There is a book launch and party @ Ray Bradbury’s favorite Bookstore Mystery and Imagination Bookstore October 20th @ 2:00 -3:00pm Her first novel, Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, came out 2010, released in Spanish in 2/2012. She is performing bits of "Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, all you need to know to choose the right heaven.” (in costume) October 30th @ 7:30-8:30 @Echo Park in “Stories Book and Café.” 1716 West Sunset Blvd • Los Angeles • CA [213] 413-3733 The New Short Fiction Series, Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series, launched her anthology, Real Conversations With Imaginary Friends, 1/2012. Sponsor, Barnes & Noble. All her books as well as her children’s book The Adventures of Emily Finfeather or The Feathernail and Other Gifts are currently available on audible. E.E. King is the recipient of various international writing, biology and painting grants. Her murals can be seen in Downtown Los Angeles and Spain. Elizabeth Eve King has a background in teaching, painting, theater, comedy and biology. She will be an artist in residence at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art June -Sept 2015 Ms. King is the recipient of two International Tides painting fellowships, and two international biology Earthwatch grants. She was an advisor for the J. Paul Getty’s and the Science Center’s, Arts &; Science program. She was the Science and Arts coordinator in Bosnia with Global Children’s Organization (a summer camp for war orphans and refugees) in 2000. She was the founding Arts & Sciences Director for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation . She’s worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles. The butterflies wish she had chosen a different location. Her short stories have been published widely
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