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.





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:





Leaps of Imagination: Fact, Fiction, & Fantasy!

4 06 2010

If you live near Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia, you might want to check out the cool conference that area has planned for children’s/YA writers sponsored by the regional SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) on July 17 & 18, 2010.

They have a fabulous lineup of speakers and breakout sessions for authors and illustrators at all stages of their craft–from beginners to the multi-published. Read on for a tentative schedule, then click here for more details, a brochure, and a downloadable registration form.

Saturday, July 17, 2010 

8:00 – 8:50 AM   Registration/Breakfast Snacks/Book Sales/Raffle Tickets/Making Friends
8:50 – 9:00 AM   Introductions & Welcome
9:00 – 9:50 AM   Stephen Fraser—“Leaping into Action: How an Agent Sells Your Book”
9:55–10:45 AM  Michelle Poploff and Edie Hemingway—“Partners In Imagination: The Author/Editor Revision Process”
10:45-11:00 AM  Break / Book Sales
11:00 – 11:50 AM  Morning Breakout Sessions
  • Marc Aronson—“Trends in Nonfiction”
  • Bonnie J. Doerr—“Writing the Eco-Mystery Novel / Balancing Entertainment with Education”
  • Carolyn Reeder—“Look Before You Leap”
  • Amie Rose Rotruck—“Building a Fantasy World”
  • 12:00 – 12:50 PM  Lunch / Networking / Book Sales and Signing
    1:00 – 1:50 PM Keynote Speaker, Margaret Peterson Haddix— “Along for the Ride: Taking Readers Where Your Imagination Takes You”
    2:00 – 2:50 PM   Afternoon Breakout Sessions
  • Editor/Agent Panel—Michelle Poploff, Louise May, Michelle Corpora, Stephen Fraser
  • Elana Roth (agent)—“The Great Query Caper”
  • Kelley Cunningham and Karen Nelson—“Illustrators’ First Look”—See registration page for details
  • 2:50 – 3:10 PM   Cookie Break/Book Sales and Signing/Networking
    3:10 – 4:00 PM   Marc Aronson—“The Truth Is… A Question”
    4:00 – 4:50 PM   “Steps in the Write Direction: A Panel Discussion on Writing Programs”
    4:50 – 5:00 PM   First Day Wrap-up and Raffle

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    7:45 – 8:15 AM   (Optional) Regional Chat Session in Dining Room
    7:45 – 8:20 AM  Registration/Breakfast Snacks/Book Sales
    8:20 – 8:30 AM   Welcome
    8:30 – 9:20 AM   Elana Roth—“The Scoop on High Concept”
    9:25 – 10:15 AM  Carolyn Crimi—“Baking Chocolate Cake: All the Ingredients You Need To Make Your Picture Book Delicious”
    10:15 – 10:30 AM  Break / Book Sales
    10:30 – 11:20 AM  Morning Breakout Sessions
    •  Teresa Crumpton—“Where Self-Editing and Revision Collide—For Stronger Prose”
    • Mary Bowman-Kruhm and Wendie Old—“Leap into Blogging and Social Media! (Will There Be Time to Write?)”
    • Donny Bailey Seagraves—“Finding Fiction In Our Own Backyards: Creating Home-grown Characters and Imaginary Setting Inspired by Real Life”
    • Karen Nelson—“Taking Your Imagination to the Marketplace” (for illustrators)
    11:30 – 12:30 PM  Lunch / Networking / Book Sales and Signing
    12:30 – 1:20 PM  Keynote Speaker, Joyce McDonald—“The Transformative Power of Fiction: How Real-life Stories Inform and Shape Our Own”
    1:20 – 2:10 PM   Louise May—“Creating Books Featuring Diversity: How Do I Leap In?”
    2:10 – 2:30 PM   Cookie Break / Last Book Sales
    2:30 – 3:20 PM   Debra Hess and Kelley Cunningham— “Imagination Is Just The Beginning”
    3:20 – 4:00 PM   “First Page” Panel
    4:00 – 4:15 PM   Raffles and Farewell

    General Session Blurbs (in order of presentation)

    “Leaping into Action: How an Agent Sells Your Book” –Stephen Fraser

    Discussing the simple principle, which an agent uses to sell your book, agent Stephen Fraser of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency talks about some recent sales, how and why they sold, how to succeed in today’seconomy, and how to be your best creative self.

    “Partners In Imagination: The Author/Editor Revision Process”—Michelle Poploff and Edith Hemingway

    You’ve revised and polished before submitting, but what happens after your manuscript is accepted? More revision! Michelle Poploff, V.P. and Executive Editor of Delacorte Press, and author Edith Hemingway will discuss working together to make a book the best it can be.

    “Along for the Ride: Taking Readers Where Your Imagination Takes You”—Margaret Peterson Haddix

    So you’ve dreamed up an incredible plot and/or extraordinary characters and/or a fascinating setting. How do you make your readers understand and fall in love with your story, too? And how do you fill in parts of the story that your imagination is still a little vague about?

    “The Truth Is…A Question”—Marc Aronson

    My books center on questions that I, or an expert with whom I collaborate, want to investigate. Formulating the right questions, figuring out how to answer them, and then bringing the results to young readers require many leaps of the imagination. My session will show the risks that writing non-fiction requires.

    “The Scoop on High-Concept”—Elana Roth

    We keep hearing agents say they’re on the look-out for this mysterious beast called the high-concept project. But what is it? Is it just the simple Hollywood pitch? Also, if there’s high-concept, does that mean there’s low-concept? And does high-concept have to mean low-quality? In this talk, Elana will demystify this term and give you the scoop on why these high-concept books are so appealing in the market.

    “Baking Chocolate Cake: All the ingredients You Need to Make Your Picture Book Delicious”—Carolyn Crimi

    Picture books should be as enjoyable and as memorable as that perfect slice of chocolate cake. So why does yours taste more like broccoli? Carolyn Crimi will help you learn to mix, sift, and blend your picture book batter until it’s the perfect consistency. No cooking experience necessary!

    “The Transformative Power of Fiction: How Real-life Stories Inform and Shape Our Own”—Joyce McDonald

    When our inspiration comes from the news media, the reason we are drawn to these real-life stories isn’t always evident at first.  Sometimes these stories haunt us until we finally confront them through narrative.  We write to understand, and in the act of writing, we often arrive at unexpected places and surprising truths.  In this session, I will talk about the tragic facts that informed my novels, Swallowing Stones and Shades of Simon Gray, and how I transformed them into fiction.

    “CREATING BOOKS FEATURING DIVERSITY: HOW DO I LEAP IN?”—Louise May 3, 2010

    Is it okay to write and/or illustrate across cultures? Do I need to be of the same background as the characters in my story? Do books featuring people of color have to be nonfiction or historical fiction? Is there a place for realistic fiction? What about fun and fantasy in books focusing on diversity? These questions and more pertaining to creating diverse stories for all of today’s young readers will be answered, from the point of view of Lee & Low Books, one of the country’s premier publishers of children’s books “about everyone~for everyone.”

    “Imagination Is Just The Beginning”—Debra Hess and Kelley Cunningham

    This joint presentation by Highlights Editor, Debra Hess, and Highlights High Five Art Director, Kelley Cunningham, will discuss the practical realities of putting together a magazine—what they actually do on a day-to-day basis and how it all works.

    Breakout Sessions (in order of presentation)

    “Current Trends in Nonfiction”—Marc Aronson

    Marc Aronson will talk about trends in writing nonfiction—what is currently selling and traditional NF voice vs. creative or narrative NF voice, leaving plenty of time for Q & A.

    ”Writing the Eco-Mystery Novel / Balancing Entertainment with Education”—Bonnie J. Doerr

    Follow the unique writing journey of combining environmental science with fiction.  Topics covered include choice of location, inspiration, plot development, research, observation of endangered species, interaction with natural environment, character development, and teaching without preaching.

    “Look Before You Leap”—Carolyn Reeder

    Historical fiction is much more than a story set in the past. Explore why it’s important to know the history before imagining the fiction, discover ways of bringing the past to life for your readers, and pick up some tips on making your characters authentic.

    “Building a Fantasy World”—Amie Rose Rotruck

    What color is the sky?  Who’s the king/president/dictator?  What’s the most common tree?  How does the food taste?  Good fantasy is not only about a good plot and interesting characters, but a fully-realized world.  Even if you’re writing urban fantasy set in your own neighborhood, you still have some work to do to make your fantasy world believable.  We’ll look at some examples of well-created worlds, discuss how to find inspiration for your world, and do some world-brainstorming.

    The Great Query Caper”—Elana Roth

    Querying an agent is often the first step to breaking into today’s market, but even if you’ve written a novel, these brief letters of introduction can be intimidating. Elana will lead participants in a real-time simulation of her slush pile experience, followed with a group critique of those very real query letters she has received and reveal why they worked—or didn’t work—for her.  Please note this is not a pitch session but a chance to learn how an agent thinks and how you can stand out in the crowd.

    “Leap into Blogging and Social Media! (Will There Be Time to Write?)”—Mary Bowman-Kruhm and Wendie Old

    Award-winning, multi-published authors Wendie Old and Mary Bowman-Kruhm discuss two free blogging platforms (WordPress and Blogger) and strike a glancing blow at other social media.  Bring a laptop or pen and paper and you’ll leave the session with a start on your own blog and basic information about social media.

    “Where Self-Editing and Revision Collide—For Stronger Prose”—Teresa Crumpton

     

    This fast-paced session is for all writers of fiction from beginner to multiply published professional. Together, we will work through a structured method, which blends general self-editing with deeper revision. Based on a series of strategic worksheets, in a half-session we’ll work through a Structure Analysis Worksheet and demonstrate its power. In the second half, we’ll use a basic Self-Edit Worksheet and note its benefits. Please bring a story or novel (yours or a published one) to work with. Handouts will be provided.

    Finding Fiction in Our Own Backyards: Creating Home-grown Characters and Imaginary Settings Inspired by Real Life”—Donny Bailey Seagraves

    How do you take a real-life event and turn it into a fictional story? A local family tragedy inspired me to write the middle-grade novel that became my first published book, Gone From These Woods. In this hands-on workshop, we will walk through the real place that became my book’s fictional world and we’ll meet some of the people who morphed into the characters there. Can you make the journey from your real-life event to fictional story? Bring pen and paper and I’ll show you how.

    “Taking Your Imagination to the Marketplace”—Karen Nelson

    This session for illustrators will focus on the inner workings of a publishing company, art department and the role of the art director.  Learn about marketing tools, approaches that work, and case histories, leaving time for Q & A.





    Next Up: BEA

    18 05 2010

    Art by Salvatore Vuono

    So I’ll soon be off to the Big Apple and have lots of plans while I’m there. One of the first is to meet all the cool authors in the Class of 2k10. These authors have been working hard to promote their titles as a group.

    They’re following in the footsteps of other classes before them. Class of 2k7 kicked things off when Greg Fishbone gathered a group of that year’s debut MG & YA authors together to help promote their books. Authors from that first year include (from the list on Greg Fishbone’s website):

    Class of 2k7 Alumni

    Spring Semester 2007

    • Ruth McNally Barshaw – Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel (Bloomsbury)
    • Kelly Bingham – Shark Girl (Candlewick)
    • Julie Bowe – My Last Best Friend (Harcourt)
    • Laura Bowers – Beauty Shop for Rent (Harcourt)
    • Paula Chase – So Not The Drama (Dafina/Kensington)
    • Cassandra Clare – City of Bones (McElderry Books)
    • Rosemary Clement-Moore – Prom Dates From Hell (Delacorte)
    • Karen Day – Tall Tales (Wendy Lamb Books)
    • Aimee Ferris – Girl Overboard (Penguin)
    • Paula Jolin – In the Name of God (Roaring Brook)
    • Carrie Jones – Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend (Flux/Llewellyn)
    • Rose Kent – Kimchi and Calamari (HarperCollins)
    • Constance Leeds – The Silver Cup (Viking)
    • Elizabeth Scott – Bloom (Simon Pulse)
    • Joni Sensel – Reality Leak (Henry Holt)
    • C.G. Watson – Quad (Razorbill)
    • Sara Zarr – Story of a Girl (Little Brown)

    Summer Session 2007

    • Sarah Beth Durst – Into The Wild (Razorbill)
    • Ann Dee Ellis – This Is What I Did (Little Brown)
    • Jeannine Garsee – Before After and Somebody In Between (Bloomsbury)
    • Judy Gregerson – Bad Girls Club (Blooming Tree Press)
    • Stephanie Hale – Revenge of the Homecoming Queen (Berkley Jam)
    • S.A. Harazin – Blood Brothers (Delacorte)
    • Thatcher Heldring – Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer (Delacorte)
    • Marlane Kennedy – Me and the Pumpkin Queen (Greenwillow)
    • Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (HarperCollins)
    • G. Neri – Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty (Lee and Low)
    • Rebecca Stead – First Light (Wendy Lamb Books)

    Fall Semester 2007

    • Sarah Aronson – Head Case (Roaring Brook)
    • Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why (Razorbill)
    • A.C.E. Bauer – No Castles Here (Random House)
    • Autumn Cornwell – Carpe Diem (Feiwel)
    • Greg R. Fishbone – The Penguins of Doom (Blooming Tree Press)
    • Sundee T. Frazier – Brendan Buckley’s Universe & Everything In It (Delacorte)
    • Jo Knowles – Lessons from a Dead Girl (Candlewick)
    • Eric Luper – Big Slick (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
    • Suzanne Selfors – To Catch a Mermaid (Little Brown)
    • Heather Tomlinson – The Swan Maiden (Henry Holt)
    • Tiffany Trent – In the Serpent’s Coils (Mirrorstone)

    Recognize any names? Bet you do. Many of those authors went on to make names for themselves. So I’m betting the Class of 2k10 will too.

    So pack your bags and join the fun. Follow the Class of 2k10’s slogan:

    So who’s in the Class of 2k10? Here’s the list of this year’s stellar authors:





    Flyleaf Authors: Soul Enchilada and Island Sting

    12 05 2010

    I thought I’d share a bit about the authors I’ll be signing with this weekend. With such a long list, I’ll highlight them 2 at a time. First up will be David Macinnis Gill and Bonnie J. Doerr. Interestingly enough, both of them are teachers and have written YA novels.

    If you haven’t already done so, check out David’s website. I’m not going to say any more and spoil it for  you, but I think it’s one of the coolest I’ve ever seen.

    David Macinnis Gill
    Soul Enchilada, a BBYA 2010 and Kirkus 2009 Best Book
    Black Hole Sun (August 2010)
    from Greenwillow Books, an imprint of   HarperCollins
    www.davidmacinnisgill.com
    Bug Smoot, on her own at 18 after all her family members died off one by one, broke, about to lose her cruddy apartment and her job delivering pizza, finds that fate has dealt her one more blow. Apparently her grandfather had sold his soul to the Devil for a Cadillac, but when he died he somehow escaped collection. So now the Devil’s minion, Beales, wants the car and Bug’s grandfather’s soul, and if she can’t deliver, he’ll take hers instead. But Beales may have more on his mind than a simple repo job.

    David Macinnis Gill is the author of the YA novels, Soul Enchilada and the forthcoming Black Hole Sun, from Greenwillow/Harper Collins. His short stories have appeared in several magazines, including The Crescent Review and Writer’s Forum. His critical biography of young adult author Graham Salisbury, Graham Salisbury: Island Boy, was published by Scarecrow Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English/creative writing and a doctorate in education, both from the University of Tennessee.

    Watch David’s book trailers below.

    Bonnie J. Doerr
    Island Sting (Leap Books)
    www.bonniedoerrbooks.com
    book trailer:   www.youtube.com/watch?v=L54xiWa8IDc

    When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she’s tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer. Her new home does have some benefits—mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit. But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans? Island Sting includes notes on the endangered Florida Key deer and the National Key Deer Refuge.

    A lifetime educator, Bonnie J. Doerr has taught students from kindergarten to college in eight states. Degrees in reading education, combined with a brief post as a science teacher, led her to write ecological mysteries. Her novels celebrate caring, involved, “green” teens who take action with attitude and a touch of romance. Bonnie is a member of the Class of 2k10, a group of exciting MG & YA debut authors who are working together to promote their novels.

    See Bonnie’s book trailer and one from the Class of 2k10 below.

    DAVID’s

    BONNIE’s

    CLASS OF 2K10’s