Original Earth Day and Giveaway

21 03 2015

Raindrops on Green LeafDid you know that today was the original Earth Day? Here’s a link to a great post by middle-grade author Bonnie J. Doerr about the history of Earth Day along with a wonderful booklist of environmental titles that are perfect for celebrating today and for April’s Earth Month activities.

 





What Are You Doing to Help Mother Earth?

23 04 2012

I thought I’d devote some time this week to promoting a fellow author I admire not only for her writing, but also for her commitment to the environment. Her latest book, Stakeout, was a finalist for the Green Earth Award this year.

Bonnie J. Doerr not only writes green, she lives green. Her home is a log cabin set in a patch of woods in North Carolina. Bonnie J. Doerr's cabin in North CarolinaBonnie has carved out a space for herself to garden. You can see some of her lovely landscaping in this picture, but to truly appreciate what she’s done, you need to look at the before and after pictures of her garden space (see below). It’s difficult to believe that these pictures are of the same place. Bonnie’s hard work and green thumb are evident. In the first picture, she’s hard at work planting her garden.Picture of Bonnie J. Doerr plantingThen in the next picture, here’s how her garden grows. Amazing! Bonnie brings the same dedication and passion to her writing and to her environmental activism. So I asked her to write a blog post in honor of Earth Day.

By Bonnie J. Doerr

During Earth Week I’m reminded more than ever about why my writing took off in the direction it did. A deep appreciation of nature and the need to be immersed in the outdoors on a regular basis has defined my mental health for as long as I remember. I’ve been astounded to learn how many people are missing the gene that connects them to nature. In recent years my astonishment has turned into alarm. This dissociation from nature, I believe, is in many ways at the core of our environmental crisis.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin, 2005), defines this as Nature Deficit Disorder. As a result of a lifetime indoors, children have limited respect for their immediate natural surroundings. According to Louv, “An increasing pace in the last three decades, approximately, of a rapid disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature… has profound implications, not only for the health of future generations but for the health of the Earth itself.”

Watch the wonder and delight on a young child’s face when first observing a nest of eggs hatching, a tadpole growing into a frog, or a bean sprouting and reaching for the sky, and you know how much joy children naturally find in nature. We are wired to appreciate nature’s gifts. To nurture that appreciation, before it is lost to modern day society, can be soul saving.

Without first having experienced something, how can we come to care for it? So it seems tragically understandable that a lack of association with the natural environment leads to ecological abuse, or at the very least, taking our natural environment for granted.

I began to write poetry first, then short stories. But by the time I drafted my first novel, the die was cast. Each piece of writing had brought me closer and closer to natural settings, to crimes against the environment, and finally to where I am now—writing ecological mystery/adventures. I realize not every child can visit a wilderness, or explore a National Refuge, but every child can feel like they have when immersed in my novels. Teens can learn how much fun it is to be outdoors, how sensitive the environment is, and how they can set a good example for the adults in their world. They can virtually join other teens as they work to improve the Earth and save its creatures. It’s one small thing I can do to inspire environmental stewardship.

This month the Girl Scouts of USA are featuring Bonnie at their site. You can learn more about Bonnie and her novels on her website and by reading a recent interview. You can also see more about Bonnie’s work on her videos, which are posted at the Leap Books blog. And even better, Bonnie’s books are on sale the rest of this month for 40% off the paperbacks: Stakeout is only $7.79 and Island Sting is only $7.19.

Here’s one video of Bonnie’s work to whet your appetite:





Free and Bargain E-books

30 03 2012

Pass it on… Some great bargains for lovers of YA books are available this month:

FREE, yep, that’s right, FREE for the next few days (for Amazon prime members). It will be only 99 cents from April 1 to May 1:

Island Sting Check out Island Sting at Amazon.

Spirited Anthology by Maria V. Snyder

Anthology by authors Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill Williamson, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Linda Joy Singleton, and others...

Spirited available on Amazon for 99 cents!! It has augmented reality by Karl Gee.

Under My Skin

Under My Skin regularly $4.99, available for 99 cents on Amazon for a limited time.

And for adults, check out Dancing with the Devil, by Cate Masters, FREE on Amazon for a limited time. For other great bargains, check out the Leap Books site on April 1, 2012, for some great bargains.

And for a blog about FREE and BARGAIN BOOKS, see Downtown YA.





What I Love about SCBWI

13 01 2011

I’ve gained so much by being a part of SCBWI over the years. (That’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, for those who aren’t familiar with the acronym.) Some of my first critique partners introduced to me many of the editors I work with now. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be earning my living by writing.  I’ve also learned so much by attending conferences and critique groups. My fellow critters are among my dearest friends. They’ve not only shared writing expertise, they’ve also served as cheerleaders, psychologists, and shoulders to cry on. And who else could possibly understand the crazy compunction to put words on paper and send them out time and time again for rejections. And who can better understand the joy of those acceptances?

Since the start of the new year, my chapter has had phenomenal news. It’s thrilling to watch other writers’ careers take off. We’re less than two weeks into 2011 and already we’ve had a book make the NY Times bestseller list, one on NPR, several major award-winning books, a few authors who’ve found agents (n some cases, multiple agents), and several people who have books coming out this month. And there’s plenty more good news to come. It’s nice to know I’m hanging around with stars, and I love how their successes inspire the rest of us to keep on working.





Writing the Mystery

11 09 2010

Authors Bonnie J. Doerr, Erica Spindler, and John Hart will be appearing on a panel on Writing the Mystery at Bookmarks 2010 in Winston-Salem, NC. 11 a.m. on September 11, 2010:





Crime Doesn’t Pay, Or Does It?

17 08 2010

So as I head off to Killer Nashville, where a horde of potential killers and criminals gather–or should I say writers who write about such things (let’s hope it’s all done vicariously)–I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded individuals.

I wonder if those of us who read and write mysteries do so to get rid of, or to fuel, our aggressive and antisocial tendencies. Where else can you find a better, law-abiding way to torture your enemies or an irritating spouse than in the pages of a book? Ah, the imagination runs wild.

Your boss fires you? You’ll make him pay. He’ll become a victim in your next crime novel. Wife driving you crazy? You can plot lots of great ways to do away with her. Lots of possibilities there to work out your negative feelings and revenge is sweet. It’s even sweeter if you make a profit on it. And this is one time that crime definitely DOES PAY.





Killer Nashville

13 08 2010

Well, I’ll soon be off to Killer Nashville, the great crime writing conference. Looking for tips on how to bump off pesky characters, pull off a heist, or escape a jail sentence? You’ve come to the right place. Where else could you sit down to dinner with tablemates who are all interested in discussing the best way to poison people so it’s undectable. Sort of makes me a bit paranoid. I find myself curling my arm around my plate to protect my food, but who knows if that would help. One of these would-be writers might have experimented with their poisons in the kitchen.

So what turns people crazy enough to write about sneaky ways to kill other human beings, or to read these books by the dozens? Not sure I want to delve into the psychology behind it, but I once heard that crime writers are often perfectionists who love to solve puzzles. Perfectionists do tend to get themselves all worked up over small details & threaten to kill people who mess up their orderly lives. So I’d suggest you steer clear of perfectionists when you’re choosing a spouse or a friend. You never know when they might knife you in the back.

Here’s a schedule if you’re interested in attending. Keynote speaker is Jeffery Deaver; find out more about him on his website. Agent and editor pitch sessions are included in the registration price. Conference runs from Thursday evening, August 19, to Sunday afternoon, August 22, 2010. Hope to see you there.