Friday, October 5, 2018

Leap Author Jessica Bayliss Goes to THRILLERFEST

As an early-career author, I’m always on the lookout for education resources and other authors willing to support the newbies. I was excited about the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and their Debut Author Program. So, the year my book, BROKEN CHORDS, was published by Leap Books, I signed up, and I’m so glad I did. ITW offers a lot of perks for their members, including free promotion in their magazine, The Big Thrill, and opportunities for blurbs from ITW members.

One of the other perks is that I got to attend the Debut Authors’ Breakfast at ThrillerFest. ThrillerFest is a whirlwind of a conference held in NYC each July. I attended author panels on things like craft, character, and marketing/promotion, and a special State of The Market, which included something that made this psychologist very happy—data and statistical analyses! Then there were talks by the master authors like Heather Graham, George RR Martin, RL Stine, and Lee Child who, despite writing deviously entertaining thrillers, are all hilariously funny.

But back to the breakfast. Imagine your wedding day. You’re sitting up on the dais with your wedding party, looking down at the attendees in their finery. Now, replace that image with the same thing, except you’re not in formal wear, and instead of hundreds of your family and friends seated at the linen-decked tables, it’s a bunch of thriller writers, and your book cover and head shot are being projected on two large screens flanking the dais. And you get to give a speech.

Though you may be shuddering at the thought of talking in front of such an impressive crowd, it was a wonderful experience. Everyone was immensely supportive, and though we were on display, there was an overall very low-key vibe for the whole thing. Not only was the breakfast an opportunity for the debut authors to introduce themselves to the greater ITW community, it was a unique opportunity to meet one another. This year’s group is a very accomplished bunch! From special ops ex-military, to a microbiologist, a former detective, and professionals of all sorts. It was exciting to learn how they brought their unique expertise to their fiction.

We also had a closed-door chat with a senior thriller writer who told us the ins and outs of the business and a special dinner for just us debuts and the Debut Chairman, fellow Triada US Literary Agency author of THE HEMINGWAY THIEF, Shaun Harris. (New York really has some of the best pizza anywhere.) And, we got a bag full of goodies! 

Following the breakfast, the debut authors all participated in a signing, and I even got to sign some stock copies of BROKEN CHORDS for the famous Strand Bookstore. (Eep!)

I wonder who will be up on that dias in 2019

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bonnie J. Doerr, Bookmarks, and Getting Good News

Sometimes we get good news when least expected. Recently, I was surprised with good news that disguised even greater news.

Before the end of last school year, Bookmarks, a literary arts organization which produces the largest book festival in the Carolinas, created a summer reading program with activities and prizes for student participants across North Carolina. With the introduction of this reading program came the good news: Island Sting and Stakeout, the first two novels in my tween eco mystery series, were on the program reading lists, and I was asked to kick off this program with an author presentation. 

What fun! Not knowing the number or ages of children who’d attend, I tailored my endangered species game to work with whomever showed up, and the evening truly was fun.

Soon a fancy program listing books, activities, entrance requirements, and prizes circulated in North Carolina communities with authors of the chosen titles displayed on the back cover. I was impressed with the marketing and thrilled when I spotted my photo right below those of big name authors like Kate DiCamillo and Deborah Diessen (alphabetical order, you know) and in close proximity to Joseph Bruchac. Whoa! 

After a few days, I noticed asterisks by certain author names on the title listings. I paid little attention until someone pointed out what the asterisk meant: * denotes 2016 Festival Author. That was the greater surprise. You see, there is no formal application to participate in this festival. Authors simply receive a call. This was when I realized the call to participate in the Bookmarks festivities went way beyond the summer reading program. It became real when the two-page agreement showed up in my mailbox. I was blown away. What a way to launch my newest book!

And so, this September 9th and 10th , as a featured author, I will be visiting with nearly 500 students
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and speaking with festival attendees at a session dedicated to my work on Tangled Lines, the latest title in my tween eco mystery series. In Tangled Lines teens must stop a criminal gang that is wiping out the last pelican rookery in the Florida Keys, one bird at a time. Why? To bypass environmental protection laws and develop a tourist resort.

During the festival, I will get to hang out with the forenamed authors, plus best-sellers Jacqueline Woodson, Gayle Forman, and Dav Pilkey. Be still my heart. Other big name authors I hope to meet are: Azar Nafisi, John Grisham, and Terry MacMillan. What a day it will be.

The Bookmarks Organization reaches thousands of children each year through their Authors in Schools program. They have sponsored my school visits in the past, but I never expected to be honored as a featured festival author.

Recently, the organization announced they will soon open an independent bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with profits going toward keeping this fabulous festival free for everyone. Of all the exciting news I received, this was the best!

For more information on the Bookmarks organization and festival check out their website:

Bonnie J. Doerr, an avid traveler, gardener, and nature lover, is the acclaimed author of eco-mystery novels for tweens. For over thirty years, she taught reading and writing skills to students of all ages—from kindergarten to college. Ms. Doerr enjoys sharing her ecological research, writing experiences, and educational insights with adults and children. Her work has been described as a “mashup of Jean Craighead George and Carl Hiaasen” by some and as a “teen detective series inspired by Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys by others. Her work has been honored by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with a grant for its use in environmental education and has been included in Milkweed Editions literary field guides. She lives in a log cabin on the edge of a historic park in North Carolina.
Learn more about Bonnie at
Follow Bonnie on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Earth Day, Every Day

We recently invited award-winning Leap author Bonnie J. Doerr to share her thoughts on Earth Day with our readers. Bonnie's a passionate conservationist and an author with an amazingly generous heart. Her MG novels about adventurous teens helping rescue endangered species will soon be joined
by an exciting new novel called Tangled Lines. And it's because of Bonnie's devotion to our world's environment that we asked her to write this post.

Earth Day elicits mixed feelings for me. While it’s uplifting to see and hear people the world over appreciating the wonders of nature and the importance of protecting our environment, it’s sad that we designate one day to remind ourselves of what should be obvious every day. We depend on the environment for our existence. But we have become increasingly separated from nature, living a plugged-in life inside four walls, within cities made of boxes stacked side by side and on top of each other, rarely considering the source of our sustenance.

This boxed-in life leads to nature deficit disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods. One deficiency of this disorder is a careless environmental attitude. If a child  never experiences wonder at a seed’s transformation into a living plant, never truly sees it grow to provide food, raw materials for shelter or clothing; if he never contemplates the source of oxygen while breathing forest air or experiences the sensation of wading in a creek, or swimming in a lake or ocean; if she never touches, sees, smells, or hears the flora and fauna that provide food, energy, and fertilizer to sustain life... Well, truth is, if a child doesn’t interact and connect with nature, how can we expect him to care about the environment? To a child living inside four walls his environment may be fine. Especially if he controls it with a thermostat. Ecology? Conservation? Meh.

I  combine my ecological passion and love of adventure to write about teens who don’t spend all day in a box. They experience wild outdoor adventures. Like many teens, they have family, school, and friendship problems. They can’t often control trouble in their own lives, but they boldly fight to protect wildlife and their local environment.

 Readers who never venture outdoors can inside the pages of my novels safely explore the ocean, tropical forests, and rugged beaches. They can survive wild storms, heroically outwit dangerous criminals, and solve mysteries that baffle adults, all while protecting wildlife and the ecological health of their own community.

I write with the hope that my characters’ appreciation for nature will slyly leak from eagerly turned pages onto the skin and into the hearts of my readers—that they, like my characters, will realize their power and use it to protect and create a healthy, enriching, and sustainable environment.

Find out more about Bonnie's books and her mission at her blog.

Fan of coloring pages? Here's an Earth Day freebie for you! Select the image on the left and print it. When you're done enjoying your coloring page, please recycle it. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot Announcement

Leap Books is thrilled BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT, our Alice-in-Wonderland inspired young adult fiction anthology has made it to the preliminary ballot stage of the Horror Writers Association's (HWA) Bram Stoker Awards in the Superior Achievement in an Anthology category.

At this stage, we're not an official nominee for the award, but we're among the titles being considered as finalists. Those who do make the cut and proceed to the nominee stage will be announced by the HWA on February 23rd. And the actual winners of the awards will be announced at the first annual STOKER CON in Los Vegas on May 14th.

Below is a full list of all the award categories and titles under consideration and here is a link to the announcement. Congrats and good luck to all!

Superior Achievement in a Novel
The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker (St. Martin’s)
The Catacombs, Jeremy Bates (Ghillinnein)
The Fold, Peter Clines (Crown)
The Deep, Michaelbrent Collings (self-published)
The Cure, JG Faherty (Samhain)
Monster, Keith Ferrario (Samhain)
Black Tide, Patrick Freivald (JournalStone)
Skullcrack City, Jeremy Robert Johnson (Lazy Fascist)
Werewolf Cop, Andrew Klavan (Pegasus)
The Private Sector, Leigh M. Lane (Eldritch)
He Who Walks in Shadow, Brett J. Talley (JournalStone)
A Head Full of Ghosts, Paul Tremblay (Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Shutter, Courtney Alameda (Feiwel & Friends)
Mr. Suicide, Nicole Cushing (Word Horde)
Heaven, Hell, or Houston: A Zombie Thriller, Thom Erb (Severed)
The Amazing Mr. Howard, Kenneth W. Harmon  (JournalStone)
The Library at Mount Char, Scott Hawkins (Crown)
Consumption, Heather Herrman (Hydra)
We Are Monsters, Brian Kirk (Samhain)
Hannahwhere, John McIlveen (Crossroad)
The Keeper of the Crows, Kyle Alexander Romines (Sunbury)
Riding the Centipede, Jean Claude Smith (Omnium Gatherum)

 Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Never Let Me Sleep, Jennifer Brozek (Permuted)
The Suffering, Rin Chupeco (Sourcebooks Fire)
The Ridealong, Michaelbrent Collings (self-published)
Devil’s Pocket, John Dixon (Simon & Schuster)
Department 19: Darkest Night, Will Hill (HarperCollins Children’s)
Hallowed, Tonya Hurley (Simon & Schuster)
The Shadow Cabinet, Maureen Johnson (Penguin)
The Silent End, Samuel Sattin (Ragnarok)
Bleed, Dax Varley (Garden Gate)
End Times at Ridgemont High, Ian Welke (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
“Paper Cuts”, Gary A. Braunbeck (Seize the Night)
Cracked Sky, Ben Eads (Omnium Gatherum)
“Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen”, Scott Edelman (Dark Discoveries 1/15)
The Torment of Rachel Ames, Jeff Gunhus (Seven Guns)
The Box Jumper, Lisa Mannetti  (Smart Rhino)
“Resistance”, Seanan McGuire (The End Has Come)
At the Lazy K, Gene O’Neill (Written Backwards)
“Dia de los Muertos”, Jason Parent  (Bad Apples 2)
“Special Collections”, Norman Partridge (The Library of the Dead)
“Little Dead Red”, Mercedes M. Yardley (Grimm Mistresses)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
“Snow”, Dale Bailey (Nightmare 6/15)
“A Trader on the Border of the Mutant Rain Forest”, Bruce Boston (Daily Science Fiction 8/21/15)
“An American Ghost in Zurich”, Daniel Braum (Savage Beasts)
“Choking Hazard”, Michael Paul Gonzalez (Winter Horror Days)
“All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck”, Kate Jonez (Black Static 7-8/15)
“The Massacre of the Mermaids”, Alessandro Manzetti (The Massacre of the Mermaids)
The Algernon Effect, Gene O’Neill (White Noise)
“Happy Joe’s Rest Stop”, John Palisano (18 Wheels of Horror)
“The Cork Won’t Stay”, Nate Southard (Nightmare 7/15)
“Sing Me Your Scars”, Damien Angelica Walters (Sing Me Your Scars)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”, Alyssa Wong  (Nightmare 10/15)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
The Library of the Dead, Michael Bailey, ed. (Written Backwards)
The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Tor)
Beware the Little White Rabbit, Shannon Delany & Judith Graves, eds. (Leap)
Seize the Night,  Christopher Golden, ed. (Gallery )
Horrorology, Stephen Jones, ed. (Quercus)
nEvermore!, Nancy Kilpatrick & Caro Soles, ed. (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy)
X-Files: Trust No One, Jonathan Maberry, ed. (IDW)
18 Wheels of Horror, Eric Miller, ed. (Big Time)
Shadows Over Main Street, Doug Murano & D. Alexander Ward, eds. (Hazardous)
Midian Unmade, Joseph Nassise & Del Howison, eds. (Tor)
Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine, Jeani Rector, ed. (Post Mortem)
Exigencies, Richard Thomas, ed. (Dark House)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Halfway Down the Stairs, Gary Braunbeck (JournalStone)
Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Jennifer Brozek (Evil Girlfriend Media)
The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After, Shane Jiraiya Cummings (Brimstone)
The Mirrors, Nicole Cushing (Cycatrix)
Sacrificing Virgins, John Everson (Samhain)
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel, Taylor Grant (Crystal Lake)
New Avalon: Love and Loss in the City of Steam, Neal F. Litherland (James Ward Kirk)
The Hitchhiking Effect, Gene O’Neill (Dark Renaissance)
While the Black Stars Burn, Lucy A. Snyder (Raw Dog Screaming)
Dominoes in Time, Matthew Warner (Cemetery Dance)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror, Justin Everett & Jeffrey H. Shanks, eds. (Rowman & Littlefield)
Monsters and Monstrosity from the Fin de Si├Ęcle to the Millennium, Sharla Hutchinson & Rebecca A. Brown, eds. (McFarland)
The Art of Horror, Stephen Jones (Applause Theatre & Cinema)
Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth, Michael Knost (Seventh Star)
Horror 201: The Silver Scream, Joe Mynhardt & Emma Audsley, eds. (Crystal Lake)
Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Danel Olson (Centipede)
Haunted by the Abyss: The Otherworldly Experiences of Paranormal, Sarah Soderlund  (Llewellyn)
Haunted Plantations of the South, Richard Southall (Llewellyn)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Resonance Dark and Light, Bruce Boston (Eldritch)
The Madness in our Marrow, Amanda Crum (Amanda Crum)
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey (Mayapple)
Dark Parchments, Michael H. Hanson (MoonDream)
Eden Underground, Alessandro Manzetti (Crystal Lake )
Dark Energy, Robert Morgan (Penguin Books)
The Crimson Tome, K.A. Opperman (Hippocampus
Poetic Allegories, Michael Randolph (Eldritch)
Naughty Ladies, Marge Simon (Eldritch)
An Exorcism of Angels, Stephanie M. Wytovich (Raw Dog Screaming)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints, Cullen Bunn (Dark Horse)
Hellbound, Victor Gischler (Dark Horse)
Behemoth, Chris Kipiniak (Monkeybrain)
Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him, Robert Kirkman (Image)
The Children’s Vampire Hunting Brigade, Vol. 2: Age of the Wicked, David Lucarelli (Creator’s Edge)
Wytches, Vol. 1, Scott Snyder (Image)
Colder, Vol. 2: The Bad Seed, Paul Tobin (Dark Horse)
Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, Sam Weller & Mort Castle, eds. (IDW)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Crimson Peak
Goodnight, Mommy
Hannibal: “The Wrath of the Lamb”
The Walking Dead: “Here’s Not Here”
Penny Dreadful: “And Hell Itself My Only Foe”
Penny Dreadful: “Nightcomers”
It Follows
What We Do in the Shadows
Bone Tomahawk

Monday, November 16, 2015

13 Days of FRIGHT!

Come celebrate 13 Days of Fright with Leap Books as we launch Fright Before Christmas: 13 Tales of Holiday Horrors.  Each day throughout the tour we will be releasing a new teaser from one of these amazing holiday horror stories. Fright Before Christmas is the perfect stocking stuffer – for kids of all ages, naughty or nice…

About the Book:

It’s the most wonderful time of year…or is it?
Christmas Eve is a night of mystery and magic, but not always in ways we expect. Things lurk in the shadows and they’re not the least bit jolly or merry. Let’s just say some presents are better left unopened.
‘Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts. Monsters. Demons. And more! This Christmas, be careful what you wish for…

Leaping November 30th!

Visit a new stop each day to get access to story teasers, author bios, and chances to win a $10 Amazon gift card or print copy of Fright Before Christmas through Goodreads.


Lea Storry
11/16 Bella Harte Books
11/16 Reader Girls

Richard Ankers
11/17 We Do Write
11/17 AJ Book Review Club

Laura Pauling
11/18 Hot Off the Shelves

Patrick Hueller

Jackie Horsfall
11/20 Avid Reader Musings

Jessica Bayliss
11/25 Reader Girls
11/25/15 Hot Off the Shelves

Judith Graves
11/30/15 The Story of A Writer

Andrea Stanet
12/1 A New Look on Books
12/1 Seraphina Reads

Dax Varley
12/2 Bookworm for Kids
12/2 Crystal Schubert

Medeia Sharif
12/3 Cici’s Theories