Press Releases

Donna Hamill, author

Two press releases follow. The first one has 700 words and the second has 300.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Press Release (700 word)

Local author, Donna Hamill, placed as a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Her first book, Baskets for Butterflies, is devoted to preserving heirloom (antique) vegetables, and it places in three categories: Biography, Gardening, and Young Adult.

Buckeye, Arizona — The New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards is a cooperative organization of over 1,400 publishers and authors who showcase books about New Mexico, Arizona, and the Southwest. This non-profit partnership has recently announced the results of its annual book awards. Local author, Donna Hamill, places as a finalist in three categories: Biography (Arizona), Gardening, and Young Adult (high school).

Baskets for Butterflies follows Donna through a four-month adventure as she struggles to grow an organic garden in the hot, dry Arizona desert. Through humorous mishaps, she discovers the benefits of sowing arid-adapted food crops. Her seeds, cultivated by Native Americans for generations, have evolved to thrive in harsh conditions. Sadly, many of the heirlooms are poised on the precipice of extinction!

Donna adds an enchanted twist when she wishes for a mentor and receives help from an ancient spirit sleeping inside a rock garden gnome.

“Who are you and why are you here?” she asks.

“Heard wish. Saw light. Want help you . . . Darkness comes!”

Although Baskets for Butterflies is a work of fiction, the story is based on Donna’s actual garden journal. Adult and young-adult readers alike share the real-life joys of daily farm life, including caring for dairy goats, endangered heritage turkeys, and baby chickens. The homestead nestles within a diverse Sonoran desert ecosystem that nurtures stately saguaro cactus and howling coyotes. The author strives to live sustainably, in harmony with native plants and wildlife.

The low desert of Arizona presents a challenging growing environment, including sizzling heat routinely surpassing 110 degrees. Because the ground absorbs solar radiation, the soil can bake even hotter. “I placed a meat thermometer three inches deep in the sandy earth,” she says. “It registered 145 degrees—no wonder my vegetables shriveled and died!”

After much struggling and many tears, she remembers stories about the Native Americans, including the Tohono O’odham and the Gila River Pima, whose ancestors farmed the barren desert with only the water that fell to the ground. They used special seeds—ones that knew how to grow in hot soil.

Heirloom vegetables, such as Native American varieties of corn, are living antiques. These gems have grown in the same arid environment for hundreds, or even thousands, of years, becoming uniquely adapted to heat, inhospitable soil, and drought.

Ancient farmers from diverse cultures across the globe handed down seeds to their children that were acclimated to the local climate, soil, and water conditions, along with instructions about how to plant, grow, and harvest the crops. Each community of people also shared its beliefs about the natural world, entwining these ideas with the heirloom plants into a precious legacy of garden storytelling.

The author reaches into her own ancestral heritage to find garden practices rich in folklore describing when to sow seed, how to predict weather, and general best practices. Moon lore, for example, tells farmers to plant when the moon is becoming fuller (waxing) rather than when it is declining (waning).

The gnome character in Donna’s book symbolizes the storytelling and folklore that passed from one generation to the next—along with the seeds. She says, “Gnome represents the down-to-earth wisdom of the ancient gardeners. He’s the magic of growing things or the laughter that floats across the field as families till the soil and make it bloom. He’s the inspiration I hold close to my heart when facing the challenges of my own plot of land.”

Armed with heirloom treasures and the advice of a feisty gnome, Donna sows a garden in the hot, dry sand. Will her vegetables and the special seeds survive?

Baskets for Butterflies weaves meaningful stories about heirloom preservation with humor . . . and a bit of magic.

List of Finalists: www.nmbookcoop.com/BookAwards/2015-finalists/2015-finalists.html

About Baskets for Butterflies: http://www.GnomesHeirloomGarden.com/books/

###


 

Press Release (300 words)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Local author, Donna Hamill, placed as a finalist in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. Her first book, Baskets for Butterflies, is devoted to preserving heirloom (antique) vegetables, and it places in three categories: Biography, Gardening, and Young Adult.

Buckeye, Arizona — The New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards is a cooperative organization of over 1,400 publishers and authors who showcase books about New Mexico, Arizona, and the Southwest. This non-profit partnership has recently announced the results of its annual book awards. Local author, Donna Hamill, places as a finalist in three categories: Biography (Arizona), Gardening, and Young Adult (high school).

Baskets for Butterflies follows Donna through a four-month adventure as she struggles to grow an organic garden in the hot, dry Arizona desert. Through humorous mishaps, she discovers the benefits of sowing arid-adapted food crops. Her seeds, cultivated by Native Americans for generations, have evolved to thrive in harsh conditions. Sadly, many of the heirlooms are poised on the precipice of extinction!

Donna adds an enchanted twist when she wishes for a mentor and receives help from an ancient spirit sleeping inside a rock garden gnome.

“Who are you and why are you here?” she asks.

“Heard wish. Saw light. Want help you . . . Darkness comes!”

Although Baskets for Butterflies is a work of fiction, the story is based on Donna’s actual garden journal. Adult and young-adult readers alike share the real-life joys of daily farm life, including caring for dairy goats, endangered heritage turkeys, and baby chickens. The homestead nestles within a diverse Sonoran desert ecosystem that nurtures stately saguaro cactus and howling coyotes. The author strives to live sustainably, in harmony with native plants and wildlife.

Armed with heirloom treasures and the advice of a feisty gnome, Donna sows a garden in the hot, dry sand. Will her vegetables and the special seeds survive?

Baskets for Butterflies weaves meaningful stories about heirloom preservation with humor . . . and a bit of magic.

List of Finalists: www.nmbookcoop.com/BookAwards/2015-finalists/2015-finalists.html

About Baskets for Butterflies: www.GnomesHeirloomGarden.com/books/

###

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