Today I'm hosting Karen Hulene Bartell for the first time with her new release, THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLE. Being a Floridian myself I have great respect and concern for our native turtles and their welfare. I asked Karen to give us some insight on what she learned in her research. I think you'll find this interesting.
Thanks for hosting me on your blog!
My husband and I visited the Keys and Key West in February 2017. Though turtles and tortoises have always been dear to me, when we visited Marathon’s Turtle Hospital and Key West’s Aquarium, I became aware of the sea turtles’ plight. As I wrote in THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLES, “Turtles have swum in our oceans for over 100 million years. They survived whatever wiped out the dinosaurs, but now their numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate.”
These turtles are endangered because of human actions and lifestyles. Seeing the vulnerability of these magnificent creatures firsthand prompted me to bring their needs to the greater public’s attention.
Fisheries According to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, “the global fishing fleet is currently 2.5 times larger than what oceans can sustainably support.” When longlines, gill nets, and trawls entangle or hook sea turtles underwater, they drown, are strangled, or require fin amputations. The Turtle Hospital states, “Monofilament fishing line takes up to 600 years to biodegrade.”
The solutions? Make responsible consumer choices. Know where and how your seafood was caught. Purchase seafood only from shrimp and other trawl net fisheries that use Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) with large escape openings. Websites such as www.seafoodwatch.org offer free guides for sustainable seafood. Discard used fishing line in monofilament recycling bins.
Pollution The Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire contends that “Plastics, discarded fishing gear, petroleum by-products, and other debris harm and kill sea turtles through ingestion and entanglement.” A study concluded that each square mile of our oceans is littered with 47,000 pieces of plastic. To sea turtles, plastic bags, bottles, etc. look like food and cause death. Runoff and chemical pollution also weaken the sea turtles’ immune systems.
The solutions? Reduce plastic use to keep our beaches and ocean clean. Drink from reusable water bottles, use paper—not plastic bags—and recycle. Participate in coastal clean-ups.
Direct Take Throughout the world, people eat sea turtles and their eggs, as well as kill them for their oil, leather, or shells.
The solutions? Don’t purchase turtle products. Don’t disturb nesting turtles, nests, or hatchlings.
Coastal Development I wrote about how coastal development degrades and destroys sea turtle habitat, particularly nesting beaches. As THE KEYS: VOICE OF THE TURTLES states, “It’s estimated [sea turtles will] lose over forty percent to urbanization and tourism. Beachfront lights disorient them. Seawalls interfere with the hatchlings’ dash from the sand to the sea.”
The solutions? Keep nesting beaches dark and barrier-free for sea turtles. Turn off or redirect beach lights. Remove beach chairs, umbrellas, and other obstructions to nesting sea turtles and emerging hatchlings. Fill in holes in the sand and knockdown sandcastles. Contribute to turtle conservation organizations and rehabilitation centers. Encourage legislators to pass and enforce laws to end unregulated coastal development and non-sustainable agricultural practices.
Through minor changes to our actions and lifestyles, I know we can save the sea turtles from extinction!
So Interesting. I hope we've all learned something. Now, let's hear about this beautiful book. Isn't the cover gorgeous?
Hours after arriving in The Florida Keys to help her cousin Keya create a turtle preserve, Ruth discovers a washed-up body and not one, but two apparitions—Maita, the angry victim's spirit, and Bart, a swashbuckling ghost. Ruth's curious ability to connect with the ghosts may help them move on, but how?
Keya is in a probate battle over her turtle-nesting beach. Land-hungry relatives want it bulldozed and developed. Like Ruth, she has a special gift—she can talk to animals. Between Ruth's help and Keya's unique ability, they work to save the property, but is it too late?
Can Keya save her beloved turtles? Can Ruth find Maita's murderer or help Bart solve his 400-year-old mystery? There's more than meets the eye to Keya's land. Add in a dashing sailor who believes in her, and Keya may have more than she bargained for…
Conveying this land to the turtles would be my way of leaving the world a better place.” She turned toward Ruth. “Does that make sense?”
Ruth nodded and gazed at Keya as if for the first time. Her cousin’s intentions were clear. “But legally, how can you will the property to the turtles?”
“Easy. I leave it to the Turtle Refuge.” Keya laughed inwardly as they meandered along the beach. “And this is where you come in. When you’re writing the brochure, add a few paragraphs about planned giving and charitable bequests…” Her words broke off as Keya stared as if in a trance.
Ruth looked at her. “What’s wrong?”
Her hand shaking, Keya pointed to a shady patch of beach half hidden by sand dunes. A lifeless hand lay tangled in seaweed, its fingernails broken and bloodied.
Racing behind the sandbanks to help, Ruth skidded to a halt, her heels digging into the sand. A woman’s bloated body lay staring at the sun, her eyes opaque and unseeing. “Do you recognize her?”
“No.” Keya shook her head as the cat gingerly approached, sniffing and meowing. But Earnestine said she smells familiar.”
“Knock, knock,” called a man’s voice.
Ruth flinched at the sound. “Who’s there?”
Amazon eBook: https://amzn.to/2XV2wO1
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2yfSB7b
Barnes & Noble NOOK Book: https://bit.ly/2YFHWgQ
Barnes & Noble Paperback: https://bit.ly/2yuBEWO
The Wild Rose Press: https://bit.ly/2ZsH1lm
It's wonderful to share this information with our guests, but it's also wonderful to meet a great author. Here's more about Karen~
Author of the Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories steeped in the supernatural that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.
Connect with Karen:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/karenhulenebartell
Thank you so much for joining us today, Karen.