“Don’t Be a Hypocrite – or Maybe, Yes, Go Ahead”

“Don’t Be a Hypocrite – or Maybe, Yes, Go Ahead”

by Olga Torres

smiling-apple

Bretta looked at her boss, smiled, and said kindly, “Thank you for the recognition,” while at the same time feeling a cringe in her stomach. What Bretta really wanted to say to her boss would have gotten her fired. An expression of her true feelings would clearly be defined as a breach of employee conduct, resulting in a violation of every moral, ethical, and organizational guideline. And it could have gotten her fired. In this case, Bretta instead decided to take the high road.

Corporate and office buildings could be considered employee containers, as they are filled by employees who produce for someone else in exchange for payment. As do all humans, employees have feelings, thoughts, expressions, and characters. Along with performing work-related tasks and daily duties, employees are expected to behave in a fashion that does not interrupt productivity. But it’s because humans populate these employee containers, everyday disagreements occasionally flourish, whether they are for personal or work-related reasons. While we may hear of an occasional uproar, isn’t it surprising that we don’t hear of them more often?

Employee dynamics are ever present inside every employee container. If anything, the curiosity question should be, How is it that there aren’t more interruptions and disruptions amongst employee? The answer: HYPOCRISY! Yes, hypocrisy is the word. This word, with its many negative connotations, may, in reality, be the savior of organizations. While examining this word brings darkness, betrayal, and negativity to the forefront, the true question is, Is examining these human characteristics really so negative?

This word and the action known as hypocrisy may have saved millions of dollars for organizations, not to mention all the paperwork resulting from lawsuits. For each hypocrisy in action, there is one less report to HR, one more saved job, the cushioned feelings of someone who could have felt worse, and better still, the prevention of a potential lawsuit.

While there is no defense for hypocrisy – as most people have been taught to be honest – corporate hypocrisy seems to have more to do with timing and feelings. Hypocrisy is not about lying to cover up an unethical or immoral breach, but rather to soften negative feelings among employees. Hypocrisy isn’t covered in the employee manual, but employees know it exists. And it may well be the key to keeping organizations in business. Like all humans, employees change –  and although today a negative feeling may have erupted, that feeling might have disappeared in a couple weeks. And thanks to hypocrisy, no one was hurt because of it.

With regard to Bretta, she went home with her recognition, her supervisor went home happy, and at the end of the day everyone prospered. So next time you think about hypocrisy, think of it as a tool that can smooth over difficult situations.Olga Torres

___________________________
Olga Torres is a doctoral candidate in Performance Psychology with a focus on Industrial Organization.

 

Please Share

Posted in Olga Torres | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Effective Author: New Words for New Culture

The Effective Author: New Words for New Culture

© 2020 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

No language demonstrates cultural evolution more clearly than does English. Perhaps that’s because so many different cultures speak it and introduce variations. Yet other languages are clearly evolving rapidly also. My husband and I were exploring TV channels recently, and we came across one that offers European dramas, commercial-free. Both having formerly known a lot of French and German, we were fascinated at how much those languages have changed in recent years. Amazingly, quite a few American words were being used by the Europeans in the French and German dramas.

I had just been pitching to my husband that the French and German we were taught decades ago would sound like out-of-date, stilted, schoolbook conversation, were we to speak it in Europe today. I wondered aloud how we might modernize our language skills, which were nearly fluent in the past. But it isn’t only to our European friends that we may sound quaint, if we aren’t careful. Just a few weeks ago, I was helping set up a conference, and we were stacking materials in a hotel lobby. A 40-something attorney asked me if a certain thing was correct, and I cheerfully replied, “Verily!” I knew that was hardly a hip 2019 term, but I thought it was cute for a minister to reply with that quaint word, so often seen in Bible translations. Also, it was more culturally apt than “Tru dat!” It means something like, “Supertrue!”

But the attorney pulled his chin back and repeated, “VERily?” He disapproved and seemed uncomfortable.

Authors especially need to be aware of how modern or quaint their languaging is. There is nothing so sad as a “period” movie with Victorian costuming and 21st century conversation and behavior. An author needs to take care to choose a time frame for his/her writing and utilize vocabulary and phrasing that are specific to that time. Finding historic conversation is easy, if we look to the classic novels of whichever previous cultural period we have chosen.

But how can we be contemporary in our conversation stylings without sounding like we’re trying too hard? A great way is to read opinion pieces written by contributors of the age group we want to match. Another way is to be sure to read the articles on new words, from the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster claims to have added more than 530 words in September 2019! I believe them, but I’m not taking the time to count.

Of course, we now have shortened words: vacay (vacation), inspo (inspiration), and sesh (session). We also have new words for new phenomena: podcast, solopreneur, and escape room. And we have old words applied differently for evolving culture: they and themselves.

The best strategy for writers and authors now, with the rapid rate of language change, is to always think of the target audience’s time frame and cultural context, then research that cultural framework when beginning a writing project. Then and only then, begin to outline and write. After all, you need to maintain your fabulosity. And you will be even more The Effective Authorsm.

_____________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second EditionHer newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

Posted in Kebba Buckley Button | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

To Publish or Languish, That is the Question

To Publish or Languish, That is the Question

by Marcus A. Nannini

To publish or languish is something most authors find themselves dealing with at some point. Especially if it is an author’s first complete manuscript. The author with no track record must have significant strength of character and patience in order to persevere. Strength of character comes into play with each rejection letter and patience is required to reach the point where the author actually becomes qualified to receive the rejection. An author needs both characteristics.

Often, an author will reach a point when they feel they have hit a wall. This may come after six months of sending queries, or maybe a year. Remember, a good story will eventually find a publisher.

At the beginning of my author journey, there was the initial search for a potential publisher. Locating the names of publishing companies and their specialties is not rocket science. Digging a little deeper for a specific editor to query is hit-or-miss. Personally, I prefer to query a specific person at a publisher, but if I cannot locate the right person, I rely on the generic “Dear Acquisitions Editor.”

I read each publisher’s website to learn their requirements. I also put the name of the company through an internet search as I seek additional information about them that could prove helpful. Often news stories or interviews with key personnel are out there just waiting to offer a really strong “hook.”

I use a basic publishing query letter template which I tailor to individual publishers without needing to reinvent the wheel each time. My opening paragraph is unique to each pitch and is intended to address the particulars of the targeted recipient. I keep the opening paragraph to two sentences, making sure there is not so much as a single unnecessary word in either. Open the editor’s eyes first, and then hit them with my best pitch is my philosophy.

Keeping the letter to one page is not necessarily my goal, especially since I will be cutting and pasting from Word into an email, as almost all publishers prefer email pitches. In fact, many will only accept them via email. Sometimes a publisher’s website will direct me to a submission form to be completed in lieu of a letter. In such instances, I usually can lift entire sections of my pitch letter and paste them in where appropriate. If you are using such a form, be careful not to duplicate aspects of your letter when cutting and pasting.

For the same reason my opening paragraph is always different, my goal is never to place all my marbles into one pitch letter format. Sometimes I feel the need to make changes to the basic letter when I see a better way to meet a publisher’s unique requirement. Or perhaps I’ll decide there is a better way to structure the pitch letter because of the kind of books the publisher has been pushing into the market.

In short, I change more than the addressee on each letter. I spend significant time working the body of the letter, always taking care to be concise, make my points, express who I am and what I write. My goal is to instill within any given acquisitions editor a strong desire to read my manuscript.

In two instances, I succeeded so well that the publishers went straight to the offer, even though all they read beyond my pitch letter was a couple of chapters. What can cause frustration is when publishers do not respond at all. I have occasionally received responses to the effect they do not publish my specific category. Sometimes a publisher is not clear, and sometimes I try to stretch the boundaries.

An example would be Smithsonian Books. I pitched them because I interpreted their market to include WWII bios. I received an email from the editor with praise for my book that I will be able to use on the cover jacket, though she went on to say they no longer publish WWII bios. Still, I know the pitch was effective. That is ultimately what counts.

Effective use of just a few words to convey the story behind your 70,000- to 110,000-word manuscript is tough. As authors, we are very close to our work so it can be difficult to adequately describe your entire work in a single paragraph. You might be allowed up to 100 words, but do not count on it. Create a telling sentence that makes a person want to read the book. One 15-word or less sentence. Work it. Work it. Work it again. Then sit on it a few days and work it some more. Create a line that will act as the proverbial “hook” that causes an editor to stop and pay attention to you. Yet, don’t be married to it. Over time it is likely to evolve into an even better line.

The 15-word limit is not hard and fast. It is my goal, but I do not always achieve it. And I don’t necessarily stick to it. Sometimes when I am reading about what a publisher is seeking, I think of a way to re-work the hook to hit the point precisely. But in every instance, I had one key sentence to work from. Just one telling sentence to create a firestorm of interest in your story.

But now it is many months, maybe even years, since your first query. The feeling you are languishing may feel overwhelming. If so, it is time to regroup. If you have not taken a couple of months off and worked on a different project, do so now. Perhaps seek out journals, magazines or blogs for your genre and pitch a story to them. The story may well be a modified outtake from your book. The point is to get yourself in print somewhere, anywhere. Accomplish that – then return to your book.

I suggest you print a copy of the entire manuscript, if you don’t have a clean copy to work from, and go through it paragraph by paragraph. Clean it up again while also “seeing” your story anew. And use the built-in thesaurus.

By the time an author is halfway through the manuscript, new ideas for pitching the book will have manifested. Not to mention the likelihood that fine-tuning the manuscript has resulted in a better book. Please don’t tell me your work is already perfect. After a year or two of pitching and, I presume, writing, you are a better writer than when you put down word number one.

Your decision is to pass on languishing, in favor of publishing, so it’s time to research publishers all over again. The market is always changing, and publishers you did not pitch the first time because of what they were seeking may be publishing your genre now. Publishing houses are always acquiring other publishing houses. Often, they do so as a quick and easy means to enter a piece of the market they were not serving. So research publishers all over again and do not shy away from those who turned you down the first time.

Again, patience is critical. Carefully research each publisher before you pitch them. Be certain of who they are and why they should publish your work. Keep a record of who you pitched, when you pitched them and the letter you sent.

A Ph.D. once told me the difference between someone with a BA and a Ph.D. is “patience.” The difference between a published and non-published author often boils down to one word, “patience.”

Don’t languish – regroup, refresh, restart and be patient.

_________________
Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the Marcus Nanninisixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel. His latest work, Left for Dead at Nijmegen, debuted to great regard.

Posted in Marcus Nannini | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Effective Author: Gifts for Authors 2019

The Effective Author: Gifts for Authors 2019

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

People never seem to know what gifts to give their author friends for the holidays. Here’s some help! Each year, I offer suggestions for items that authors (and you) would love and use, but perhaps you haven’t thought of yet. This year, my theme is LIGHTING.

Yes, I know lamps are everywhere, of all types and sizes. But maybe you haven’t seen these lighting tools. These are an array of my favorites, not a comprehensive list. I am deliberately omitting the least flexible options, such as units that mount above or on your headboard. But if you love those, go with that option. It’s all about what works for you.

  1. OttLite® Lamps. Used famously by those who sew by hand, these are also ideal for reading, if you stay sitting in the same place while you are reading. The light is bright and clear, permitting sharp viewing of that needlepoint project, your manuscript, or your new Kindle book. These come in many styles, from tabletop to standing floor lamp/magnifier. Some have an iPad holder. The brand is known for its flexible gooseneck supports, allowing perfect positioning for your project. However, note that when you shift, you will need to readjust the position of the lamp. Their prices range from about $35 to $150.
  2. Clip-on Book Lights. Advocated by travel gear suppliers, these literally clip onto your book. They weigh almost nothing and pack easily in your carry-on. These are not my favorite, because you may want to shift your reading position from time to time or hold your book differently. If you wanted it to help you while you crochet, you would need to finagle this type for stability. A newer entry in this market is the Energizer Clip LED Light. This one has a flexible cable about 6” long. It clips onto as much as a half-inch sheaf of pages, or perhaps an iPad mini. Highly packable, it is so small and light that it will not pull on your book. This one retails for about $7.

These next three options will not jump off your book, fall to your chest, or otherwise disturb your reading. They attach to you.

  1. Cap Lights. Literally lights on knit caps, these are very bright LED strips on the front of a beanie. These are perfect for tasks where your book/manuscript/sewing project will be held at different angles during your work time. Also, if you want to read at night while sitting on your porch swing, these will keep your head warm as the light moves with your head. A number of companies offer them, for about $10 and up.
  2. Hug Lights. These are very lightweight, flexible cable-like lights with bulbs on both ends. They hang around your neck and are adjustable, some models having a clip to hold the ends together near your collarbone. You may need to experiment to get the light pointed correctly at your project. Battery-powered, these retail for $7 and up, with rechargeable models retailing for $14 and up.
  3. Headband lamps. These are lightweight headbands with lights built in. They are available for $15 to $25. One company even offers a wide knit headband model, with a rechargeable light, for $23.

Need a gift for an author you love? Light up their life with one of these timely and useful devices! Help them to become ever more The Effective Authorsm.

________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

Posted in Kebba Buckley Button | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Excuses and Choices

Excuses and Choices

©2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

Perhaps you saw this gem among the short news items some time back: “Ex-wife accused of identity theft blames dog for leading her astray.” In Arlington, Washington, an ex-husband found money was leaving his account without his direction. Police investigators determined his ex-wife was paying her expenses with the unauthorized funds. When asked about using her ex-husband’s bank account, the woman said her dog ate her personal checks and she had no choice but to use her ex-husband’s account.

Now let’s back up a moment. Most people have another pad of checks, because checks typically come in batches of 160 or more. So maybe the dog ate all her checkpads, as well as all the checks in her checkbook, which was lying within reach of the dog’s mouth (why?). This woman probably has a debit card and can make online payments. She didn’t choose to do that. Debit cards and emergency replacement checks are available at all branches of her bank or credit union. The woman didn’t choose to avail herself of those services.

So maybe there was a long holiday weekend involved and she couldn’t talk to staff at her bank. But hello! The banks all have 800 numbers with staff standing by to help customers around the clock. All right, maybe there was a storm and all long-distance phone service was down. In desperation, perhaps the ex-wife thought, Well, maybe I can use my ex-husband’s account. This leaves only four questions in my mind.

One: Why did she choose not ask his permission?

Two: How did she still know or have a record of his bank account number?

Three: With her own checkpads all destroyed (we posit), where did she get checks from his account?

Four: Was she planning all this in advance, and is that how she had the resources she needed to access his account? That sounds much like a group of choices.

According to the ex-wife’s version of events, implicitly, if she had fed the dog something tastier than checks, none of this fuss ever would have occurred. Oh, but that must be wrong, because then she would have had some responsibility for what happened and for resolving it. Now she is being investigated for identity theft and forgery. If she goes to jail, she will have many fewer choices. I hope she will see the irony.

Excuses are the stories people offer to keep from taking responsibility for their ineffective and “bad” choices. Life is our greatest experiment, with hundreds of choices to make each day. With the option to make many choices comes the responsibility of making those that will yield the strongest results.

Are you currently making any excuses for the way you are handling or not handling something? Why not quit your excuses and start experimenting so you can build up your positive lifestyle? And please, will you be sure to keep your dog and your checks completely separated?

_________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

Posted in Kebba Buckley Button | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Predictability Can Kill a Great Story

Predictability Can Kill a Great Story

by Marcus A. Nannini

As an author, I strive to avoid predictability. My two most recent works were a challenge in that regard because the titles made it clear there would be a significant event at some point in the book, and as the reader approached the event, I’d better have a riveting continuation to the story. To complicate matters, both books were nonfiction. The facts are the facts, so the trick is in the presentation.

I admit, I never worried about the predictability factor, even though they were true stories because I knew I had adequate action sequences that allowed me to maintain the pacing, despite the title giving away the timing of the inciting incident. I could hide the details in the set-up for the next action sequence.

In Left for Dead at Nijmegen, the title incident occurs with about 75 percent of the story remaining. At least one reviewer mentioned he knew the subject of the book “would be left for dead,” yet the event itself was immediately followed by a succession of hair-raising scenes. He said it was as if the left for dead scene was just “a teaser.” In retrospect, he wished he’d taken an overnight break after reading the prior chapter, for once he reached the inciting incident, he discovered it was but one of an extended series of “riveting” incidents.

When it comes to a work of fiction, the author’s imagination is not restrained by the need to stick to the truth. As a pertinent aside, pay attention to your subtitle but don’t marry yourself to it. A good approach for a subtitle is to consider it tantamount to a movie logline. A logline must be short, yet contain enough information to convince a person to plunk down $14.95 to watch the movie in the theatre. As authors, our movie theatre is the nearest bookseller.

A book with a title that seemingly gives the story away is Joyce Lefler’s nonfiction work, From Miracle to Murder. The miracle happens very early in the book, as does the murder. What follows from what a reader might infer as the climactic moment is only the beginning of a dizzying series of events. The truth can keep the reader deeply involved when it flows well. Pacing is what it’s all about. Be it fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, pacing keeps the reader interested and turning the pages, anxious for more.

A history book can read as if it is an accountant reciting facts or it can tell a story, much like the historian Antony Beevor does. He is a masterful storyteller of historic events who never loses sight of the fact he must maintain the pace. But even Beevor can stumble now and again from the weight of the facts that need to be conveyed. And without facts, a book becomes fiction.

I remember, as a student, being very excited to write a book report concerning the Fall of Constantinople. The book was very long and contained a tremendous quantity of information I wanted to relay. In the end, I loaded the report with too many facts, lost the pacing, and was hugely dejected to receive a B+ with a note from my teacher: “Too much detail.” I never made that mistake again. Detail can kill, or it can score you a killer book. There is a fine, but very important line between too much detail, not enough, and just right.

Some authors are known for their detail. Highly descriptive scenes that take the better part of the first chapter to describe a single room are not most people’s cup of tea. It is especially difficult for me to wade through such exposition when the room description precedes the introduction of character #1 to the point said character doesn’t appear until chapter two!

There is a market for the slow-to-build storyline, but the over-detailed, sluggish-starting story is not for the majority of readers. Because I desire to sell my books in large quantities, I paint a water-color picture of the scene and permit the reader to imagine the details as suits their comfort level.

Critical details can always be filled in, as needed. The action counts more than the number of goats nibbling on the scrub grass in the background, of the specifics of each variety of flower growing in the garden.

You’re correct when you conclude I’m not going to read a book that fails to grab me at chapter one, unless it’s my book club’s choice of the month. I make no apology. I have a short attention span, as does the majority of the American book-purchasing public. Another point: never lose track of the fact that we, as authors, are competing with electronic diversions.

My characters are described with just enough detail to set each one apart. I leave it to the reader to form their own detailed picture in their minds. I like to think of myself as a sketch artist with words. As the author, my descriptions resemble the manner an artist uses to sketch a “Wanted” poster. Of course, in my works of nonfiction, I have the luxury of actual photographs for all the main characters.

While character and scene descriptions establish images, it is the action taking place that keeps a reader engaged. Though action for the sake of action is unlikely to hold the reading audience for long, a book isn’t going to end in 90 minutes as a movie would. We need to keep our audience reading for hours, not minutes. We must keep them wondering what’s going to happen next. And that’s where I look ahead as the writer and consider what a reader might be expecting. Based on that, I can logically set up a basis to provide the unexpected.

The story that remains to be told, at any point, absolutely must establish a basis for what is to come, no matter how subtle the basis might be. Yet the future events cannot be so far off course as cause any surprise twists that seem to have been contrived. It is more than simply avoiding the predictable, it is creating a story line with subtle intangibles that need to be worked into the story without diminishing it.

For example, what might appear as a chance meeting between your protagonist and a character who seemingly has no place in the story can set up the re-introduction of said character as the primary antagonist in Book #2 of the series. So long as that character appears in a scene that is pertinent to the current book, you can introduce what might appear to be a random player. The savvy reader will recognize what you are doing and begin looking forward not only to the end of your current book, but also to the next book in your series.

A surprise ending with no foundation is worse than no ending at all. There need to be elements of the story inherent in the surprise ending. I rarely introduce a character in my fiction books just to make it through a scene. The characters are, to me, a bundle of loose ends, and I am the expert at knot tying. Loose ends are different than open ends. An opening that allows room for the next book in the series is different than a loose end in the story line. Loose ends need to be tied up. Openings in the story line make for the beginning of a series. Know the difference. And by all means, keep the story moving.

We need to be unpredictable, but there must be a basis for the unpredictable events.

________________
Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the Marcus Nanninisixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel. His latest work, Left for Dead at Nijmegen, has recently debuted to great regard, internationally.

Posted in Marcus Nannini | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Crocodiles and Alligators

Crocodiles and Alligators

by Rita Goldner

As a kid, I didn’t have many books to read at home. My parents were avid readers, and owned collections of Shakespeare and the works of Rudyard Kipling, but not his children’s classics. Having six kids and a limited budget meant few children’s books. The public library was a favorite haunt of mine, and I remember the anthropomorphicfirst time I ventured to walk there by myself. I was very young, and it was a long walk, but kids in those days had a lot more freedom; parents weren’t afraid to let them out alone like they are today (probably with good reason). The first book I ever signed out by myself was a picture book about the differences between alligators and crocodiles. Even that far back, I was a naturalist, very intrigued by wildlife.

Now I have a book for adults on the same subject, and one of the characters in my work-in-progress book, Rhonda’s Great Big Feet, is a crocodile. In the process of creating the character, my reference photos are helping my illustration process with details like color and foot shape. For body composition and positioning of limbs, however, I have to wing it, because this particular character is doing a back-stroke down the river, in a synchronized swim with one leg lifted, perpendicular to his body. (In case that isn’t challenging enough, the next illustration is a rhinoceros in a ballet pirouette.) You don’t find a lot of animals in nature in these poses for photo references. Even though my poses are anthropomorphic, I feel the closer I can get to natural body proportions, the funnier the illustration.

Here are some fun facts I learned while researching my new character:

  • Crocodiles have been around for at least 240 million years
  • The smallest dwarf crocodiles are less than 5 feet, and the largest saltwater crocs are longer than 20 feet.
  • They eat only meat. They have 24 sharp teeth but can’t chew. They rip prey apart and swallow it whole.
  • They swallow stones to grind up the food in their stomachs and act as ballast.
  • The temperature of a crocodile’s nest determines whether the eggs will develop into males or females.  For the eggs to hatch into male crocs, the temperature needs to be 31.6 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is higher or lower, females will hatch.
  • 99% of croc babies are taken by predators within the first year.
  • In the wild, they live to 50 or 60 years, and some even make it to 80 years.

While crocs are found all over the globe, alligators are only in China and America. You can tell the difference one of two ways: (1) by color – they’re black, while crocs are grey-green; (2) by snout shape – an alligator’s snout is broad, while the croc’s is narrow and pointed. Both eat meat and fruit, and rarely attack humans.

The really weird thing is that although the nest temperature also affects the sex of alligator hatchlings, the effect is actually different from that in a croc’s nest. If an alligator nest is 31 degrees Celsius, an equal number of males and females will be born. If it is warmer than 33 degrees Celsius, they’ll all be males. If it’s below 28 degrees Celsius, you’ll get all females.

Wild animals’ evolution and adaptations fascinate me, which explains why I am always going down endless rabbit holes in my research – and reading way more than I have to. I’ll get this book finished yet, but it’ll take some discipline and time management!

Thanks, and comments welcome!

 

References for this blog:

https://factslegend.org/40-interesting-crocodile-facts-that-will-surprise-you
https://factslegend.org/30-alligator-facts-some-may-scare-you

_______________
Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water CycleThe Flying Artist, and Rose ColoredTo view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

Posted in Rita Goldner | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments