Thrilled to be a Finalist for Two Book Awards

As a brand new author, I am elated to be selected as a finalist for the just announced Foreward INDIES Book of the Year Award #ForewardINDIES. A few months ago I was selected as a finalist for the USA Best Book Awards. This is not only more than I ever expected, it is also interesting that I have been selected under two different categories:  Nature for Foreward INDIES and Memoir under USA Book Awards. I think this reflects the strong dual aspects of the Naked Mountain story. In fact, the blurring of categories is a trend that the Managing Editor of Forward Reviews, Howard Lovy comments on:

“As we spent the past few months examining thousands of books sent to our office here in Traverse City, Michigan, and narrowing them down to these INDIES Book of the Year Awards finalists, we found that we could easily move many of them around from genre to genre. I think this is a great trend, this blurring of lines between traditional categories. And the independent publishing community is best equipped to deal with it.” https://www.forewordreviews.com/foresights/posts/here-they-are-our-indies-finalists/

The exhilaration of yesterday’s announcement was tripled when I saw who else is competing within the Nature category:  Terry Tempest Williams, a seasoned, spiritual writer of the Western natural experience and renowned naturalist and lepidopterist, Robert Michael Pyle. To be selected alongside these giants of natural world writing is breathtaking for me.

But as exciting as it is to be recognized by professionals, the most rewarding experience of being an author has been the response of readers. I have been deeply touched by the different ways the story of Naked Mountain has reached people of varying experiences and backgrounds.

One final recent delight was handing a copy of Naked Mountain to my GYN-Oncologist, Dr. Robert Bristow. He traveled to Baltimore last week from his current home in Southern California to participate in an event at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center honoring him through the establishment of a new surgical fellowship in his name. He gave a presentation summarizing the findings of twenty years of his own research on medical disparities in the field of ovarian cancer treatment. I was aware of his major findings, which have been published, among other places, in the New York Times. I incorporate them into author talks I give about the book. The copy I gave Dr. Bristow was signed and the note I wrote said, “Thank you for giving me more years of life.”

Photo:  Dr. Robert Bristow with fellow ovarian cancer survivors Ginny Corson and the author, Marcia Mabee at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore.

Coming Soon — Naked Mountain, A Memoir; Here now — the Plant List!

As you can see, the Naked Mountain Blog has a new look. The sliding header features views from my house and nearby outcrop barren as well as some of the spectacular flora and fauna that dwell on the mountain. Every time I gaze at these photos I feel immense gratitude to the wonderful people at Virginia’s Natural Heritage Program (a division of the Department of Conservation and Recreation) for working with me to protect these species by establishing the Naked Mountain Natural Area Preserve.

You can read more about Virginia Natural Heritage here — and note on the home page that 2016 is their 30th anniversary! A very happy anniversary to all the wonderful staff at Natural Heritage!

There is a new page on the menu of the blogsite:  Plant List — just click it and nearly 300 ordered species will appear. The Naked Mountain vascular plant list was compiled by Natural Heritage (VNH) staff with some contributions from me. It’s a work in progress as Gary Fleming, senior vegetation ecologist with VNH, who has visited the preserve a dozen times for research purposes, feels there are a number of species yet to be identified and added to the list.  He feels, for instance, that sedges are likely underrepresented.

There is one species on the list that is globally rare, Torrey’s Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum torrei). It is featured in the header, but here it is up close and personal.

Photo by Gary P. Fleming

Photo by Gary P. Fleming

This mint grows along with Narrow-leaf Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum tenufolium) and Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum incanum) in a grassy outcrop barren on the Southeastern slope. All three mints attract a beautiful green butterfly that lives in the barrens, Juniper Hairstreak.

Photo by Megan McCarty

Photo by Megan McCarty

Two other Naked Mountain species are on the watchlist:  American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and one of the seven orchids that are known to date to grow on Naked Mountain — Crested coralroot (Hexalectris spicata). Here is a close-up of the coralroot.

Photo by Gary P. Fleming

Photo by Gary P. Fleming

Another new feature of the Naked Mountain Blog is the page, Naked Mountain, The Book.  If you click on it you can see the cover. It will be published on September 6, 2016 and I will be announcing where and when I will do a book launch event. You can also check back here for updates on media and other events.

How do you like the watercolor treatment on the book cover of the view on the header?

Coming soon will be a tab under “The Book” page for a gallery of photos that depict scenes described in the book.

Hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring season. I will be back soon…