Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks for Unexpected

Proving that environmental stewardship is alive and well in the young adult book world (one of a gazillion things for which I'm thankful), I share my latest literary news.

Island Sting, received more accolades in recent weeks. First,I received notice that Island Sting is a finalist for an EPIC award from the Electronically Published Internet Coalition. Yes, it's on Kindle.

Second, Island Sting was recognized as one of 2010's Best Books with Crossover Charm by the Winston-Salem, Journal.

And of many kind reviews, the following cannot go unnoticed on BonnieBlogsGreen: Island Sting received a super review from members of the green book campaign.

Now on to even better news in the green world.

I'm grateful there is a grassroots effort for sustainable manufacturing in my own state.

When our November/December Farm Bureau magazine arrived I was thrilled to find inspiration for BonnieBlogsGreen. Inside was another addition to a long list of reasons to love North Carolina. I learned about a collaboration of farmers and manufacturers across the Carolinas dedicated to growing, manufacturing, and selling a quality product right here at home in the Carolinas.

Who isn't in favor of creating jobs while lessening our carbon footprint? Since most clothing sold in the USA is now manufactured in other countries, I had few ways to reduce my fashion footprint beyond shopping at resale shops. But now, I can buy at least one article of clothing produced from dirt to shirt here in North Carolina. Dirt to Shirt--a catchy green phrase that is part of the slogan on a Cotton of the Carolinas T-shirt.

Cotton of the Carolinas focuses on three main objectives:

- Support of Local Economies
- Low Transportation Footprint
- Complete Product Transparency

They make high quality T-shirts, too! You can even have your own design printed on a CoC shirt.

Take a quick tour CoC production and then visit their website for more green industry information;

Happy Thanksgiving. I leave you with this photo of the only turkey at our house this Thanksgiving. She's welcome every year.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mother Nature on a Rampage

It's a gorgeous sunny day here in NC, but that wasn't the case in many parts of the country just a few days ago. The massive storm system that plowed across the United States the last weeks of October hit us on the 26th and 27th. There was nothing we could do but stay out of the way of Mother Nature's rage. The day before what had been a lovely, peaceful scene--and also the bridge entrance to our driveway--turned into a furious nightmare.

How interesting that this storm swept the country a week before midterm elections. The writer in me couldn't help but see more than one metaphor in the phenomena. But I'll leave speculation to the political pundits.

We've had water over our bridge before. In fact, the experience inspired my first blog post in June of 2009 ( I rescued Mr. GP, a frequent subject of earlier posts, from the debris that was left on the bridge. And though we had to clear the bridge twice with this October storm--and how blessed we are to still have a bridge to clear--only natural debris was left behind by the water this time.

For the lack of human trash, we can thank Cub Scout Pack 752 from Lewisville, NC, their families, and friends. Among the green teens filling countless trash bags were several Crosby Scholars. When speaking with these amazing (and muddy) folks I learned about Scoutings Venturing Program and immediately became a huge fan.

Venturing is a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are 14 years of age OR 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade and are under 21 years of age. Venturing's purpose is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults.

The students who participated in the Clean Sweep of creeks and streams may have been earning points toward badges or scholarhips, but I'm betting many of them would have gotten their feet wet for the internal reward practicing environmental stewardship alone.

Mr. GP wanted readers to know he's had a great life since his rescue from the flood of 2009. He still worries about all the trash tossed along roadsides, but he knows he was lucky to have been one of the rescued and reycled discards. And he's looking forward to trick-or-treating.

As always, if you know of any green teens who deserve recognition, please let me know. You can contact me at

Monday, October 11, 2010

230 book giveaway for bookclubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now here's a fabulous way to celebrate 10-10-10, a supposedly fortuitous day. The amazing author class of 2k10 (In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a bit prejudice about this group) is ending our debut year with a bang. We're giving away a slew of books to worthy bookclubs. (Could any prize be dearer to a former reading teacher?) If you know of a tween/teen bookclub that needs assistance with procuring books, please pass the word along!

Announcing the Class of 2K10 230-Book Giveaway!
Oct. 10th, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Inspired by this post by author Teri Brown, the Classof2K10 is ending off the year with a massive book club giveaway.

Five book clubs around the country can win a prize pack of three to six sets of books written by the authors from the Class of 2K10. Each pack includes TEN (seriously TEN) copies of each book, and in some packs one of the books will be signed by the author.

For cover images go to .

The contest is open to all book clubs associated with a nonprofit institution, a school, or a library. To enter, just comment on this entry, specifying which of the prize packs you are interested in and which nonprofit you are affiliated with. The giveaway will end on November 11, 2010.

If there are any additional questions, please contact Leah Cypess at

The prize packs are:


The Carnival of Lost Souls by Laura Quimby
Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter


Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery by Michele Corriel
Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai


13 To Life by Shannon Delany
Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Under My Skin by Judith Graves


Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Faithful by Janet Fox
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride


Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
Party by Tom Leveen
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Split by Swati Avasthi


You must be a book club affiliated with a nonprofit, school, or library, and located in the continental United States.

To enter:

Leave a comment on the 2k10 blog . (Commenting here is always welcome, but unfortunately it doesn't help you win!)

  • Specify which of the prize packs you are interested in – you may choose from only one, to all five, as we will be holding 5 separate drawings. (However, no club will win more than one prize pack.)

  • Leave an email address where you can be reached should you win.

  • If the email address is a not an institution address, please specify which nonprofit, school, or library you are affiliated with.

  • If you are not sure whether you qualify, just leave the relevant information in the comment.

    Good luck!
    • Saturday, July 10, 2010


      Continue reading to learn how you can win this shirt.

      Exemplifying this month's tag line:

      Intrigue: What really went wrong with the gulf oil rig?

      Treachery : “Our operations failed to meet our own standards and the requirements of the law,” BP said in 2007 before pledging to improve its “risk management.” (

      Intrepid Teens: Young Olivia Bouler

      Since the Gulf Coast oil disaster first broke, I've been mentally paralyzed. How could I post an installment on Bonnie Blogs Green when all I could see was black? My beloved gulf waters were poisoned, creatures by the thousands--members of every major animal class--were dying, good men had been killed in the disaster, and life for hundreds, maybe thousands, of people had been destroyed for a generation or more.

      It didn't help the wall of depression when a book blogger wrote a review claiming that kids at her school would never pick up ISLAND STING, a book featuring an environmental club. How much of an adventure/mystery could that be?

      Saving the environment? Not an adventurous mystery? On what planet?

      Fast forward to a message from ISLAND STING readers who'd been inspired to start an environmental club at their school, then another and another of the same. And yesterday I received a letter from a reader stating, "I also love ISLAND STING because it really shows what a big environmental problem we have to deal with and how kids can help."

      And now, in case there are more people like me whose tears have blinded them to any good news, I offer the story of young Olivia Bouler's amazing efforts to save Mother Earth. It just may be my favorite green tween story to date. After you enjoy the video interview, please visit Olivia's Facebook page: You can help no matter your age.

      Thank you, Olivia. A wise person once said, "And a little child shall lead them."

      I probably should end with an uplifting quote from one of ISLAND STING'S many positive reviews:

      Much of the charm of this book is author Doerr's extensive research on the Keys and the deer, which she weaves seamlessly into an action-packed, engaging story. Any residents, visitors, or fans of the Florida Keys will be delighted by the setting, which is almost a character in itself. Doerr masters the "Green Teen" genre by mixing romance, suspense, and humor with current ecological issues. Her upcoming book, STAKEOUT, is sure to follow in this tradition.

      In a final bit of good news, ISLAND STING has been chosen as Forsyth County, NC 's online middle school book club read for the month of September. Love it! Encouraging green teens one region at a time.

      And now, a giveaway. YAY!!

      In celebration of good book news, I'm giving away a class of 2k10 t-shirt (size L) from our debut middle grade and young adult author class trip to BEA (BookExpo America) in New York City. No worries--it's never been worn! Simply enter a comment below for your chance to win the shirt along with a 2k10 bookmark and postcard. Include in your comment the link to a this blog on your Facebook page or Twitter and earn a second chance to win. If no more than 20 comments are made following this post (because lots of folks are on vacation) the contest will roll over to next month. Remember, if you're the lucky winner, I'll have to email you, so if I can't click your comment to find you, please email your address to me. And if at first your comment doesn't post, click the word post a second time.

      Remember you can always learn more about ISLAND STING and the Florida Keys at .

      Thursday, June 17, 2010

      Father's Day, Recycled Earrings, and a Garden Guest

      Father's Day has never brought me the sadness that Mother's Day has. (See May post.) Unlike Mother, Dad lived a long and productive life, helping others with his time and labor well into his late eighties until he was no longer physically able. During his last hours, when he was blind, unresponsive to the earthbound, and verbally working out issues only he understood, he cried out the same apology again and again, "I'm so sorry. I just can't help anymore. So sorry." Did he learn that ethic from being raised in an orphanage I wonder?

      I chose this photo of Dad in his Boy Scout uniform for BonnieBlogsGreen because Dad instilled my love of everything green. The need to teach a population to recycle as well as reduce consumption and waste would have baffled him. What happened to common sense? he would say. He was a tireless Boy Scout leader who won many national awards. Dad lived off and on with me in his final years, providing me the opportunity to tell him again and again how much I loved him. I'm rarely without a sense of my father being beside me. I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.

      Dad was living with me when my first piece of writing was published. He was so proud. I was thrilled he lived to see his support of my education begin to pay off. Not in money, mind you. Our family never strived for financial riches. Guess that's why my teaching career was a good fit for me. I hope he's aware of the attention Island Sting has been receiving. As an avid reader, he would have loved knowing Island Sting has been nominated for
      YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association--a division of American Library Association) 2011 paperback list.

      Speaking of Island Sting and recycling, during my most recent visit to the National Key Deer Refuge (the setting for Island Sting), I discovered one of my favorite recycled products of all time. You see, I have a teensy little issue with jewelry: I find it incredibly challenging to pass up affordable, unique earrings. I'd been looking hard and long for a pair of deer-themed earrings to wear for school visits. Imagine trying to find earrings featuring deer that aren't sporting festive red noses and/or a Christmas wreath around their neck. You guessed it--I found a pair I couldn't resist. Where? At the refuge welcome center gift shop. Seriously! The perfect pair. Not only designed specifically with endangered Key deer images, but set against the backdrop of mangrove trees, their favorite food! Even better, the earrings are made from recycled cereal box cardboard. Plus, they're adorable, well made, and well-designed. Visit Jabebo Earrings to see the Abbott's entire selection. Kevin and Mary Abbott are fascinating folks (Of course they are. They're teachers!) whose children are blessed to have such parents.

      Progress in Bonnie's green garden this season seems to have moved at warp speed, as evidenced by the two photos of the same location below taken in mid April and mid June. Our first ripe tomato can almost be seen in the second picture. I foiled the goldfinches this year by covering my Swiss chard. It no longer looks like Swiss chesse. But I've missed Mr. GP's company throughout these weeks. If you read my first posts you'll remember he was the inspiration for BonnieBlogsGreen, and that he spent many days with me as I worked in last year's garden. But he was so angry when I left to research in Florida without him, that he ran away. I only recently heard from him. He promises to return home soon with his own stories to tell. Just in time for the initial harvest. Apparently he is food motivated. Or perhaps he was waiting to be sure the snapping turtle that labored long and hard from
      the creek up our steep hill to again deposit eggs in our garden had left the premises. If you recall, he is a bit of a wimp.

      Thanks for visiting.

      If you're curious about learning more about my writing for tweens please visit AuthorsNow! Spotlight.

      Saturday, May 8, 2010

      Finally Facing Mother's Day With Gratitude

      May is a busy month for me. I traveled to a writers' retreat in Texas, will appear at Flyleaf Bookstore in Chapel Hill for Children's Book Week, will read at the NYC Public Library and appear at two bookstores there during BookExpo America, and I learned that Island Sting will be featured at Bookmarks Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. All exciting stuff that I intended to prattle on about, in addition to sharing spring gardening adventures.

      That plan changed when my brother phoned. He has been writing little memoir chapters for his children and grandchildren, and this month he honored our mother with his words. This year marks 50 years of our being motherless. Since 1960 I have found Mothers' Day to be the most difficult day of the year. But for some reason, my brother's words have started to ease my pain. I've always been grateful for the near perfect childhood Mother gave us, but it's also been a battle to believe the mantra I've chanted for fifty years, "Mom accomplished 90 years of work in a short 45 years. It was time for her to rest with God."

      Here are the healing words of my brother, Frederick E. Miller. A short addendum of my memories follows.

      May 7, 2010
      As Mother’s Day approaches, I have been thinking about Mom. As I look back, I really appreciate all the things that she accomplished in her “too short” life. I don’t know how she managed to accomplish all that she did.

      She cared for me while Dad was re-drafted into WW II. After the war, we moved into the same home with her parents. She help Dad start his plumbing & heating business in 1948, while she was pregnant & gave life to Bonnie. She managed the phone, was the accountant, purchasing agent, payroll clerk & many other things for the business.

      At the same time, she did all the duties of a mother, wife & housewife. Washing was done with an old ringer style machine, & clothes hung out on lines. Most clothes had to be ironed.

      Grandma & Granddad were also employed full time. We had a large vegetable garden which needed lots of attention. Mom & Grandma picked, cleaned, & canned for hours at a time. The shelves of the cold cellar were filled with jars of food.

      As time passed, the garden shrank, a freezer was bought, an automatic washer, dryer, & a cylinder type ironing machine appeared. Some clothes were still hung out, there was still a garden, and canning & freezing were still done. On holidays hours, if not days, were spent preparing feasts.

      Mom & Dad did a good job of raising us. We were taught respect, values & faith. Were shown love & responsibility. We did things together as a family. We traveled & saw many places together.

      She nursed me through a long recovery from polio, & what now seems to have been more than an average amount of childhood injuries.

      When Dad had spinal surgery & was in a cast from his armpits to his thighs for months, she continued with all the usual business & home duties. He was unable to bend his spine so he either had to stand, or lay flat. She had to take him everywhere, including to job sites. The business was sold because Dad could no longer do the heavy work.

      She eventually started a job as an assistant at the special education school and took in ironing work for extra income. My opinion has always been that she did it because of the significant drop in income after business was sold. This was at the same time I was starting college.

      During all this time, Mom continued to participate in church & community activities several evenings every week. She had a selfless attitude in which she felt that we all had a responsibility to help others.

      She was human. She could lose her temper (often justified by us family members). I can’t believe that she didn’t lose her patience more frequently with all she did.

      The week before Thanksgiving of November of 1960 she was walking up the back yard, coming home from work. She suffered a serious stroke. She never made it home. She’d been exhausted for weeks with unexplained bruise-like discolorations appearing on her body. In hospital she was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a low platelet count of no known cause. She suffered more strokes & passed away on Sunday after Thanksgiving.

      I was an 18 year old sophomore in college. Bonnie was 12. Mom was 45.
      She lived far too short a life.

      Even though she enjoyed life, I can’t help but think that she worked way too hard.
      Love you Mom!

      I remember all the beautiful clothes Mom made. One time she made burgundy corduroy suits for the whole family. We wore them to a state fair, and they were displayed in a local store window. She must have stayed up very late at night to sew. She had no other time.

      She could dress like a fashion queen or a tomboy. She often wore a baseball cap, unusual for her time. And how she loved to drive and fuss at other drivers for their incompetence! Never curse, just tell them off with feeling! She was bold and independent.

      I love you too, Mom. And I honor you this Mother's Day with more gratitude than pain, finally.

      Wednesday, April 14, 2010

      Award winning blogs. Sunshine and Books--The perfect combination.

      This post is going to be unique for me. Though I've been engaged in my usual spring green activities: preparing gardens to plant, depleting local garden shop shelves, and collecting green news, this month I'm posting award news, and book-related events instead. Sometimes I forget that I'm writing a monthly blog because, well, I'm a writer. I know, that sounds nuts, but that's what I am. Nuts I mean. Yes, a nutty writer/reader.

      BUT...There has been lots of sunshine lately inviting in the spring green. So I'll start with the Sunshine Award. Last month I was surprised and delighted to receive a sunshine award from the Word Press blog of Laurie J. Edwards, an awesome writer. I promised to pass it along. But what I didn't promise was to suggest to the twelve bloggers receiving the Sunshine Award from Bonnie Blogs Green that they must pass it on. It's spring. It's a busy time. No one needs to feel pressured to do more than the season demands. No bad karma will creep up on the following bloggers if they simply bask in the sunshine and sigh in contentment.

      It was painful to choose only twelve blogs because I read so many and none as often as I wish. That time crunch issue again. So much good stuff in the world to keep up with. It makes me wonder why scads of people dwell on the negative. Wait. I need to get back on track here. Dwelling on negativity is too huge a topic for me to handle. Back to sunshine. Here are the twelve blogs that receive extra sunshine this spring. These blogs and their contributors entertain, educate, inspire, and sometimes accomplish all three at once. I hope to tell them they've recieved this award soon. Maybe you'll beat me to it!

      Warm Sunshine Awards go to:

      1. The Turtle Hospital
      2. Inkygirl
      3. The Florida Keys
      4. Eco Maids
      5. The Nature Conservancy
      6. The Planet Esme Plan
      7. One Potato Ten
      8. Swati Avasthi
      9. Irene Latham
      10. Gratz Industries
      11. Janet Fox
      12. Jacqueline Houtman

      Another way to spread sunshine is to participate is Operation Teen Book Drop sponsored by four other amazing blogs. And that's just what I'm doing tomorrow (April 15, 2010). I'm dropping off a book at my local pet supply store. A book that will simply be lying out in the open like a lost puppy waiting for someone to pick it up, take it home, and love it. These great sponsoring groups are;; and I've already downloaded this snazzy bookplate to put on the cover.

      The last event I'm participating in this week is National Library Week (April 11-17) . I'd hoped to support a blog compaign kicked off by my friend Jennifer R. Hubbard , the incredibly talented author of The Secret Year. She gets major kudos for her efforts to support our local libraries. For each comment on her blog she donated money to her library and encouraged other bloggers to take up her cause.

      Because I only blog once a month and couldn't expect to gather enough comments to actually raise funds for my library, I'm donating five new novels for young readers (The Last Newspaper Boy in America, by Sue Corbett; When You Wish, by Kristen Harmel; Heck Superhero, byMartine Leavitt; When the Whistle Blows, by Fran Cannon Slayton, and Forget-Her-Nots, by Amy Brecount White) plus a supplemental cash gift of $25 to my local library. I enjoyed each of these books and want to pass along the reading pleasure. Even so, this is a supreme sacrifice for me because I consider three of these authors my friends (wish I knew all five) and hate to part with their children. But I know they will understand.

      Yikes. I nearly forgot to add my own title, Island Sting, by me, Bonnie J. Doerr, to the stack of donations. That makes six new books! Told you I'm a nutty writer.

      You'll probably miss the Teen Book Drop date or even National Library Week, but you can still participate. Whenever and wherever you want, leave a book of your own with a personal note in it for an unsuspecting reader of any age. In light of how many libraries across the country are being forced to cut staff, curtail purchases, limit hours of operation, or worse--shut their doors, I encourage you to donate to your own local library any time.

      So that's it for this month. A departure from the usual Bonnie Blogs Green, but it's all related. Sunshine brings Green. Books teach us how to live green. And libraries need green, lots of it!

      Be sure to check out the latest spots on the web where you can find me and Island Sting at

      Island Sting is available for special school and retail rates. Contact Cathleen Cartwright Ask for it at your local bookstore or online or

      Wednesday, March 10, 2010

      Transitioning from the Florida Keys to the Piedmont of NC

      One of the last wildlife visits I made while still in in the Keys was to my favorite tourist attraction--the Key West Aquarium. With quaint charm like no other aquarium I know (it was built by the Works Project Administration of the federal government during the depression in the early 1930s), it is a not-to-be-missed destination for any tourist. The wall murals and architecture are reason enough to visit, but for such a small facility the collection of aquatic life is also remarkable. The aquarium's size allows visitors a personal experience. Patti, the enthusiastic and knowlegeable interpretor, makes certain the experience is a memorable one for all. On this cold February day, Patti wanted no visitor to miss the chance to interact with an alligator. So she walked around the aquarium speaking to her guests, carrying baby gator Chris (who wears a jacket in the cold because alligators cannot regulate their body temperature).

      (Remember in most cases you can click the photos to enlarge them.)

      The Keys, like the rest of the country, experienced extreme temperatures this winter resulting in the death of countless fish, turtles, and even coral. Birds suffered also, especially pelicans. Fortunately, many cold-stunned animals were rescued and saved through super-human efforts. These fortunate sea turtles were kept warm in kiddie pools under blankets or heat lamps at the Marathon Turtle Hospital .

      In addition to mining the brains of naturalists and environmentalists, I visited with readers interested in Island Sting at many venues while I traveled. One super cold night I spoke with folks during outdoor movie night at the National Key Deer Refuge. All of us were bundled up in down coats. Unbelievable! Still, I received a warm reception as we ate popcorn, schmoozed, and enjoyed every image on the old fashioned folding screen while it buckled and flapped in the oh-so-un-Keysy bitter wind. It was the first time I'd seen film footage of the heroic Jack Watson, a determined cowboy-spirited ranger credited with saving the toy deer from extinction in the 1950s.

      I also enjoyed visiting Florida Keys Community College and the Key West Public Library. Thanks to all the enthusiastic readers out there! When I reached the mainland, I met fellow author Alexandra Diaz (Of All the Stupid Things, Egmont, 2010) . What a lovely lady! We read and signed at one of my favorite independent bookstores, Books & Books, in Coral Gables, FL.

      While I was in Coral Gables, I visited the canal where each winter the manatees congregate to wait out cold spells. During their winter migration to warm water, they are protected by enforcing lower speed limits on boats and in some cases, by banning boat traffic completely. When I arrived at this annual manatee hangout in the midst of one of the coldest winters on record, I witnessed an amazing sight--more manatees than I'd ever seen in one place before. It's a surprise to learn that such large marine mammals do not have the body fat that whales and seals have to protect them from the cold. In addition to all the other marine life that perished this season, the harsh winter of 2010 resulted in the death of many Florida manatees. But this herd was doing well in a canal warmed by groundwater seepage. Sadly, even in this lovely canal, trash found its way on top of one of these gentle creatures.

      I'm home now in NC as the first signs of spring are popping. You must search for them, but the tips of daffodils and tulips are poking above ground. My sad, brown garden depresses me until I remember my visit to the community gardens in Key West on my last island day. In the archives of BonnieBlogsGreen (August, 2009, I posted about green teens who work in community gardens across the country. Was I ever thrilled to find one such amazing new garden in Key West! Please visit their Wicki for an inspirational video about building the garden.

      This garden is an admirable example of how government and individuals young and old can work together to improve the lives and health of a community. In the photo, Jody Smith Williams prepares palm fronds for the garden's chipper. The fronds become one of many components in the compost gardeners use to grow organic food. You can learn much more about this wonderful project at

      Today, as I stare out my window at brown grass and browner garden plots, I have two reasons to smile. While the gardens in Key West wind down, mine are ready to be prepared for the bounty to come. And I was blessed to have interacted with so many environmental champions while traveling to launch my novel Island Sting and research the next. There are many more hands caring for Mother Earth than we will ever know. They are too super-busy to tell their own stories. I'm super happy to do it for them.

      May your spring be productive and green.

      Thursday, February 18, 2010

      Going Green in Key West

      Just truckin' about Key West... The go green message gets around.

      It's difficult to decide what to include on this post. I've been in the Florida Keys launching Island Sting while connecting with scores of other "greenies" for the past several weeks. I don't know how to prioritize the exciting experiences I've had and photos I've taken. But I'll give it my best shot.

      I kicked things off at the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor's Center on Big Pine Key. A wonderful chance to see old friends and make new ones. The taxidermy specimen behind me on the left is a much larger buck than average, but the tiny fawn in the case is normal size. If you click on the photo you can enlarge it and just make out its head. Look closely to find the little Key deer in the photo on the right. He's wearing cammo. I promise you there is NO food in my hand. He could be the very deer that caused Kenzie to wreck her bike in chapter 8 of Island Sting. Alison Higgins, (Friends and Volunteers of the Refuges--FAVOR, Nature Conservancy, and Green Living and Energy Education, guru) arranged for the Visitor Center to provide Island Sting for tween and teen readers.

      Next I co-sponsored a fundraiser at the Key West Wildlife Center a wild bird rescue, rehab, release program connected to a lovely natural growth park. Michelle Anderson, the director, and I became fast friends. We held a children's environmental art contest and gave copies of Island Sting to winners and to their schools. I awarded two of the winners, AJ and Raven, their books at movie night on a cold, cold Keys evening in the heart of the Key deer refuge. Join the Key West Wildlife's Facebook fan page .

      I learned far too many tragic tales of pelican deaths, but happily joined in a pelican release after the center was able to nurse six of the birds back to health. I've also been observing a new resident, a rare, white-phased, juvenile short tail hawk, from the day it was brought in by a local family. It was injured and traumatized, but now it is eating and strong enough to be feisty and threatening. Isn't she gorgeous? She's puffing up to scare me away!
      I traveled to the Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital, of my favorite rehab, rescue, release wildlife hospitals to update my research for Stakeout. Richie Moretti and Ryan Butts generously spent time with me to share their tales of triumph and tragedy, many of which you can read in Stakeout when it publishes January, 2011. Scooter, a young loggerhead, is one of their education turtles. Scooter washed ashore in a storm, but will be released when he reaches around 20 inches in length. He's waving to you!

      I hope to share more stories of my adventures in the Florida Keys where I continue to collect stories and data for my green teen eco-mysteries. Thanks for reading, and please support your local wildlife rehab organizations. If you don't have one nearby, KWWC, FAVOR, and Marathon Turtle Hospital always need donations.

      Don't forget, you can always find me at I'll be at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville in March and I'll be joining other members of the Debut Authors' Class of 2k10 at many May events in NYC during BEA as well.

      Tuesday, January 12, 2010

      Island Sting Enters the Kidlit World

      Usually my posts cover at least one specific green topic. I struggled with a topic for this month's post (my brain was frozen along with the rest of me). My book's launch didn't seem an appropriate subject. But wait. It's all about green teens! See what Louise Hawes, award-winning author of Black Pearls, Waiting for Christopher, and Rosey in the Present Tense had to say about Island Sting

      "Impetuous Kenzie, dashing Angelo, and a fascinating cast of four-legged characters make green go down easy in this fast-paced eco-mystery."

      Look at that. Island Sting is not just green, it's go-down-easy green! BonnieBlogsGreen is the perfect location to launch Island Sting after all. So raise your glasses high (yep, your eye glasses count) and wish the new baby smooth seas and fair winds, or as Angelo might say, "Wish her tight lines to hook schools of readers."

      Those books at the top were the advanced reader copies that arrived weeks ago. No art or graphics in them yet.

      But these images give you a sneak peek at Joanna Britt's drawings and Laurie J. Edwards' maps inside the published Island Sting. See what you have to look forward to?

      I'll be a busy camper in the coming weeks sharing the news with one and all. I start celebrating with an artist friend, Lauren Patton and her critique group, in Asheville on Saturday, January 16. We have many things to celebrate: Lauren's graduation, the launch of Leap Books publishing company, and the launch of my debut novel, Island Sting. The festivities begin at one of my favorite bookstores, Malaprop's Books and Cafe, around 2:30 pm.

      After that celebration I pack and begin my migration south to the Florida Keys, and I don't stop for long until I reach mile marker zero. That's when the fun begins. So, if you're in the Southern Most City or nearby, you can find me reading, writing, or raising a glass. Stay tuned, the schedule keeps changing.

      February 4:KONK AM "Eco-centric View" with Erika Biddle 2 - 3pm, Key West
      February 5: National Key Deer Visitor Center, Big Pine Key--Walk on Winn Dixie 7-9 pm
      February 7: Key West Wildlife Center, 1801 White Street, Key West, Family Fun Fundraiser, 1-4 pm
      February 9: Florida Keys Community College, College Road, Stock Island-- "Manuscript Makeover/What Not to Dare"-5:30
      February 11: Key West Public Library, 700 Fleming St., "Evolution of a Novel/Survival of the Determined"

      March 2: Books &Books, 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, Florida, 7pm Program TBA

      Okay, I get it. You'd love to be in the Keys or Coral Gables this time of year. But, no way. No problem. If you want to learn more about Island Sting you can find me in lots of places on the web.

      Let the fun begin!
      Order Island Sting from the publisher,; Barnes &, or your local bookstore.