About The Book:
Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents follows Marty and Deb Essen on a three-and-a-half-year-long adventure to some of the wildest places on all seven continents.
The American couple began crisscrossing the globe with the simple intention of searching for rare and interesting wildlife. When their travels coincided with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the added element made them unwitting ambassadors for peace. Their experiences—from amusing to life threatening—changed their lives forever.
This is not your average travelogue. Marty Essen has written a book that entertains, informs, and poignantly reminds us that we all share a small planet.
“This is a wonderful book—a labor of love—that describes in soul-stirring language what it is like to live with the people, the animals, the birds, the snakes, the insects, the jungles, the treacherous rivers, the gorgeous scenery of seven continents. It is the best travel and exploratory work I have yet encountered. Marty Essen and his wife, Deb, are two highly intelligent, imaginative, and brave people.”
—Senator George McGovern, 1972 Democratic nominee for president
“An exciting and adventurous read. Cool Creatures, Hot Planet by Marty Essen is a roller coaster ride through the natural world that will both entertain and enlighten readers.”
—Jeff Corwin, The Jeff Corwin Experience
Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Marty Essen developed a love of animals at an early age. When he was eight years old, his first “pet,” a black widow spider, gave birth to hundreds of babies, which promptly crawled onto his hands when he opened the jar to feed them. He prudently traded his spiders for a horned toad.
Marty’s dream of an animal-oriented career became sidetracked at the age of thirteen, when he volunteered to answer request lines at a radio station. That position led to a job as a radio announcer, which in turn led him to become the owner of a Minneapolis-based talent management agency.
In 1990, Gig Magazine contracted Marty for his first professional writing work–a series of feature articles on the music business.
Eventually Marty moved to Montana to launch an independent local telephone company. In 2001, while being interviewed for a story about his telephone company, Marty mentioned to the reporter that he was heading to the Amazon rainforest. The reporter invited him to write a story about his adventures.
Marty’s Amazon story ran as a feature article in two Montana newspapers. The Amazon story, and a second story about a trip to Australia, were so well received that he decided to expand his travels to all seven continents.
While traveling the world, in search of rare and interesting wildlife, Marty was stung by one of the world’s most venomous insects, bitten by a poisonous snake, surrounded by wolves, attacked by a hippo–and had the time of his life! He chronicled his unique adventures in his first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.
Cool Creatures, Hot Planet has won three first-place awards for travel/essay writing: the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award, the 2007 National Indie Excellence Book Award, and the Best Books 2006 Book Award. It also won bronze metals in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards and the IPPY Awards. Additionally, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet took first place in the Animals category at the 2009 Green Book Festival in Los Angeles, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune named it a Top-10 Green Book.
In late 2007, building on the momentum from his book, Marty began traveling the United States with his seven continents digital slide show, Around the World in 90 Minutes. Marty’s high-energy show takes his audience on an unforgettable worldwide adventure, packed with rare and interesting wildlife. It’s the type of show where the audience has fun laughing at the stories, oohing and aahing at the photos, and then, when it’s all done, they realize just how much they’ve learned.
In November 2008, Marty Essen became APCA’s (the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities) #1 booked college speaker, and he has remained at #1 for an amazing 40 out of the past 50 months. He was also a Campus Activities Magazine “Hot Speaker” pick for 2011.