Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Going Green

Leap Books has joined the Eco-Libris Green Books Campaign. When you read one of our books, you know it's been printed on FSC-certified paper. And as part of our commitment to being green we've joined this campaign to plants trees to replace those that are used for books. We also will be offering our books as e-books to save even more trees. Watch for our e-titles on Amazon soon. Leap Books has also made other commitments to the environment--profits from the sale of Bonnie J. Doerr's book Island Sting, an eco-mystery about kids saving the environment and rescuing the endangered Key deer from poachers, has funded several eco-friendly projects. You can read more about them at BonnieBlogsGreen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spooky Tour Countdown...

This is the second week for Judith Graves' Halloween blog tour: Meet Us at the Crossroads. So what fabulous YA paranormal authors will you meet at the crossroads?

October 31st
8 pm central time
Jordan Deen - The Crescent
Judith Graves – Under My Skin
Linda Joy Singleton - Magician’s Muse 
Karen Kincy – Other
Stacey Kade - The Ghost and the Goth
Amy Brecount White – Forget-Her-Nots
Joy Preble – Haunted
November 1st
8 pm central time
Angie Fraizer - Everlasting
Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl: Lovesick 
Lucienne Diver - Revamped
Jackie Kessler - Hunger
Kitty Keswick – Freaksville 
Shannon Delany – 13 to Life

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Meet 16 YA Paranormal Authors

Today's the day for the tour to start. If you aren't sure where to go next, check out Judith Graves' website for the The Crossroads event page.

The Crossroads Tour STORY: 

Eryn and her crew of hunters, Matt, Brit and of course, the oh-so-brooding, Alec, are hunting down a creature that’s been making a nuisance of itself in Redgrave. Rumour has it, the creature can only be destroyed on midnight of October 31st. That’s right, Halloween, and only at a crossroads.
Wade, Redgrave High’s resident hottie (and a vampire after Eryn’s heart), is searching for possible leads. Wade’s not one for research, but that’s all the crew will let him do. Let’s just say there are some trust issues at hand.
He lurks under a streetlight, cloaked in late afternoon shadows. He’s a bit miffed. If he can’t suck the info out of an unwilling victim, there’s not much of a thrill in it for him. Still, gathering intel might impress Eryn and perhaps lead to another dark alley clincher. He resigns himself to playing the good guy, just this once.
Uh oh. He’s spotted you on the sidewalk outside the library. It’s too late to grab the holy water you’ve got stashed in your backpack (you’re not a total spaz, this is Redgrave, after all). He stalks toward you, his eyes trained on yours. Your heart does a few desperate Karate-Kid kicks in your chest, but you’re unable to flee. You stare into his grey-eyed darkness. You slip under his spell. In seconds you’re his.
How lovely.
He’s close now. You smell an icy mint in the air. You close your eyes in submission, waiting for the press of his fangs on your neck. But instead of indulging in an after school snack, Wade compels you to do his dirty work for him.  As the sun fades, you spend hours searching through historic documents, the folklore section, and even crank out the microfiche. Consider yourself an honorary Giles…
Each day of The Crossroads Tour, a new research question will be revealed here on The Crossroad Blog Tour main page (, and each day the answer to that question will be found within one of the 16 different blog posts by Crossroads Tour authors. Your job is to get the question, read the blog posts, and collect all 16 answers by the end of the tour, on Halloween.
Send your answers to judithgraves at ymail dot com by midnight on October 31st to win a fab grand prize consisting of:
  • signed copy of Under My Skin by Judith Graves
  • copy of Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
  • copy of Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
  • gothic stickers
  • funky Halloween decorations
  • a DVD featuring Classic Horror Films
  • a $10 gift certificate for Leap Books
  • a Leap Books T-shirt

This Halloween, meet us at THE CROSSROADS…

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ready for Some Hauntingly Good Fun?

This Halloween meet 16 YA Paranormal Authors at THE CROSSROADS!

From October 16-31st, bloggers and authors will meet at a virtual crossroads, sharing their love of the paranormal and things that go bump in the night with readers.

What’s dark, delicious and READ all over? Young adult paranormal fiction, my FIENDS, and what better way to celebrate debut and established authors in the genre than a blog tour frenzy? Over sixteen days this October (October 16-31) bloggers and authors will meet at a virtual crossroads, sharing their love of the paranormal and things that go bump in the night with readers.

Judith Graves, an Alberta based YA author, (Under My Skin, Leap Books, 2010) has organized the event, the first multi-author blog tours of its kind. She’s wrangled in New York Times bestselling authors (Tonya Hurley, Ghostgirl series. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) and newbies alike for the sixteen day promotional GOREfest. Participating bloggers will give away generous amounts of SWAG donated by the authors, as well as signed copies of Crossroad author titles.

Paranormal authors deal with the fantastical and the yearnings of their readers. “It’s a once a year opportunity to be anything and anyone you want to be. Anyone can be a princess, a superhero or a villain- all in one night,” says Jordan Deen (The Crescent. Black Rose Writing, 2010). Joy Preble (Haunted. Sourcebooks Fire, 2011) agrees, “Halloween is a time for unloosening – of spirits and self.” Why not indulge in the spirit of reading? “[Halloween] is a time where the veil between the real and the unreal, the living and the dead, thins until you think you see strange shadows following you under the pumpkin-orange moon…” adds Karen Kincy (Other. Flux, 2010)

Besides the usual deal with the devil lore, crossroads symbolize so much more, as Angie Frazier (Everlasting. Scholastic Press, 2010) shares, “Literally or figuratively, a crossroads is place where a single decision will change everything. For me, a crossroads symbolizes choice and loss, and sometimes even bravery—when you choose one path, countless others are left behind, unexplored.” Amy Brecount White (Forget-Her-Nots. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2010) expands, “A crossroads symbolizes new possibilities. We can’t see what’s going to happen in either direction, but a choice is unavoidable. We are our choices, which is both exciting and scary.”

This Halloween, choose to explore new stories, new voices. “It’s the only holiday that encompasses imagination to the fullest. A night to be whoever you want to be. Try someone’s shoes on for size…experience magic,” encourages Kitty Keswick (Freaksville, Leap Books, 2010).

How the tour works:

From October 16-31st, readers, under the thrall of Wade Gervais, a dark-side vampire from Judith Graves’ Under My Skin, hunt for answers to a new paranormal trivia question each day. The answers are hidden within a different blog post daily, encouraging readers to visit each blog, each day of the tour. Bloggers will be giving away a bevy of tricks and treats donated by Crossroads Tour authors. At the end of the tour, on October 31st compiled answers are sent to Graves and a grand prize winner is randomly selected from those with correct and complete entries. There will also be two live chats on October 31st and November 1st, bringing readers, authors and bloggers together for a final celebration on Halloween and the Day of the Dead.
For the full list of participating authors, bloggers and giveaways, check out The Crossroads event page.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Haunted Halloween

Looking for some spooky tales this month. Get thee to the Haunted Halloween site where great authors are sharing their brushes with the paranormal. Just click on the logo to the left to go to the site.

And don't forget to stop back here tomorrow for another great Halloween treat.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Encyclomedia a Success

Here are a few shots from the Encyclomedia conference in Oklahoma.

Last week Oklahoma held their annual educators conference, Encyclomedia. A terrific panel of middle grade authors  kicked off the first panel on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

Pictured from left to right:
Fran Cannon Slayton, Award-winning author of When the Whistle Blows
Joy Preble, Author of Dreaming Anastasia, and Haunted (2011)
Bonnie J. Doerr, Author of Island Sting and Stakeout (2011)
Denise Jaden, Author of Losing Faith
Janet S. Fox, Author of Faithful

With some of the hottest titles out this year, these children’s novelists know a character when they see one. They shared great tips for using their books in the classroom. If you weren't able to attend, here's a sample of what Bonnie J. Doerr shared about Using Island Sting in the Classroom. (And, by the way, everyone loved Bonnie's yellow Crime Scene scarf that matches her bookcover.)

Bonnie J. Doerr
Island Sting
Leap Books, 2010
Mystery, adventure, and eco-crime in the Florida Keys.
Ages 10+
Visit for more educational ideas.

1.    Useful in interdisciplinary curriculum
    Relevant to many NCLB standards & expectations
·     reading/language arts
·     science
·     social studies
·     math
2.    Attractive to reluctant teen readers
3.    Appropriate for ages 10 and up
4.    Of interest to both boys and girls
5.    Fast-paced
6.    Short sentences and paragraphs
7.    Generous white space on pages
8.    Includes maps and illustrations
9.    Flesch-Kincaid reading level 5
10.    Flesch reading ease 73
11.    Paperback format
12.    Soon to be available in eBook format.
13.    Extensive vocabulary list on website
14.    Author notes include additional information on
•     habitat
•     endangered Florida Key deer
•     research
•     history
15. Website teacher guide under reconstruction includes:
•     discussion questions
•     specific lessons
•     activities

Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
                    TEACHER GUIDE OVERVIEW

Plot Analysis – As a mystery with clues and red herrings, Island Sting’s plot lends itself to a breakdown of inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Plot points can easily be recorded on a graphic organizer.

Cause & Effect, Sequence of Events – Plot analysis of Island Sting naturally leads to an understanding of how incidents propel action to the next event and lead to a solution of the mystery.

Reading Response – As a contemporary novel with a strong ecological element, Island Sting
lends itself to discussion and personal response connecting the text to self and beyond.

Language Choice – The National Key Deer Refuge setting of Island Sting is strongly developed. It serves as an excellent example of how word choice is used to develop a sense of place and how setting contributes to character development.

 Changing Literary Language – Island Sting is a prime example of changing style. Its use of dialogue, fast action, short sentences, and lack of long descriptive passages can be compared and contrasted to earlier mysteries or other classic genres.

Figurative Language   (Evaluation following study unit)

Skill: Students will display knowledge of figurative language by identifying and explaining idioms, similes, and metaphors in passages and phrases in Island Sting.

Pre-activity preparation: Teacher will copy the provided passages and cut into strips or paste on cards

Activity Introduction: Teacher will read sample  passages from Island Sting. Students will identify: speaker, circumstances, and type of figurative language utilized in the passage. Students will discuss why the comparison does or does not work and rewrite or retell the quote using original figurative language. After providing sufficient examples for comprehension, the teacher will divide students into cooperative groups and distribute passages. (Passages are provided in teacher guide.)

Example: “(You) roared through that field like wildfire.” (p. 38)
Answer: This is Angelo describing Kenzie's frantic attack on the buzzards. The simile works because a wild fire moves rapidly and is hot. Kenzie was racing forward in anger, and anger is associated with heat.

Possible rewrite: You raced through that field like a tornado.

Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr


Plan, prewrite, and compose a letter to persuade your middle school principal that litter cleanup at a local park should be a community service project for your campus.

Do you agree or disagree that national refuges should be established for the protection of endangered species?  Organize your reasons in a logical order before you write.

Social Studies and Math - Kenzie moves from New York City to Big Pine Key, Florida.

1.    On a map of the Eastern United States, trace two different routes Kenzie’s mom could have driven—a scenic route and a direct route.
2.    Identify at least five points of interest stops along each route. Explain your rationale for choosing these locations.
3.    In order, north to south, name the states through which your preferred route would pass.
4.    Estimate your trip's total mileage.
5.    Assuming you average a speed of sixty miles per hour including short stops (not taking into account overnight stays or points of interest side trips), estimate the your driving time.
6.    If your vehicle averages 30 miles per gallon estimate how much fuel your trip would require.

                                  Key Deer Deaths  1994 -1997 : Table 1

Year     Male     Female     Total       
1994     42     21     63       
1995     63     24     87       
1996     61     29     90       
1997     86     27     113    

Graphing Lesson I

Skills: Students will transfer data from Key Deer Deaths 1994 -1997: Table 1 to triple line and triple bar graphs. Students will choose appropriate intervals and construct their own graph keys.
Teacher Information: Data has been manipulated for this activity. Precise statistics on Key deer population and mortality are included in the Texas A & M research study. (
Introduction: Teacher will provide the above table and grid paper for graphing. Students will discuss and interpret data and discuss possible reasons for Key deer deaths (examples: traffic, disease, loss of habitat).
Work time: Students will work individually or in small cooperative groups. Students will transfer data from the table provided and construct graphs documenting Key deer deaths over a period of four years. Based on the data provided students must determine appropriate intervals to best display the statistics.
Conclusion and Evaluation: Students will share individual graphs with the class, compare and discuss. Suggestion: Based on discussions, students correct graphs, then submit corrected graphs to teacher for final evaluation.

Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
Graphing Lesson 2
Key Deer Population 1993-1999: Table 2

Key Deer Population    1993    1994    1995    1996    1997    1998    1999      
Male Key deer    68    87    109    134    155    169    187      
Female Key deer    223    267    292    304    321    357    389      
Total Key deer population    291    354    401    438    476    526    576   

Introduction: Teacher will review tables and graphs. Teacher will provide Key Deer Population: Table 2 and grid paper for graphing. Students will discuss observed trends. Examples: there are fewer male than female Key deer, populations of both male and female deer rise over the seven year research. Include discussion concerning possible reasons for population rise (refuge management, education, enforcement of speed limit, fencing of highway, etc.).
Skill: Students will transfer data from Key Deer Population 1993-1999: Table 2 to triple line and triple bar graphs. Students will choose appropriate intervals and construct their own graph keys.
Work Time: Students will work individually or in small cooperative groups.
Conclusion and Evaluation: Students will share graphs with class, compare and discuss.  Suggestion: After discussion and sharing, students may be allowed to correct their graphs, then turn them in for final evaluation.


Though there are often several definitions for the following words, the meanings in this list apply to their usage in Island Sting.
Chapter 1
•    canal – n. narrow man-made waterway
•    mangrove – n. tropical seaside tree or shrub that sends out many above-ground prop roots
•    miscalculated – v. got it wrong
•    flounder – v. struggle

Chapter 2
•    distinguish – v. recognize
•    adrenaline – n. A hormone secreted by the adrenal gland in response to physical or mental stress (as from fear). Adrenaline increases heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory  (breathing) rate.
•    victorious – adj. winning
•    treading water – a skill that allows a swimmer to remain afloat, in one place, in an upright position, with the least expenditure of energy
•    hypothermia - n. dangerously low body temperature
•    ventilate (medical) – v. the act of reviving and returning someone to consciousness by forcing air into lungs

Sunday, October 10, 2010

230-Books Giveaway by Class of 2K10

The Class of 2K10, a group of 23 debut middle grade and young adult authors, is banding together to help nonprofit book clubs obtain brand new, hot off the presses books for their reading groups. This gigantic 230-book giveaway will begin on October 10th, 2010, to mark 10-10-10 for the Class of 2K10. It will end on November 11, 2010.

The idea was spurred by author and blogger Teri Brown, who runs a book club at a low-income community center. Ms. Brown asked to be contacted by authors willing to donate 8 to 10 copies of their book, adding that she knows it can be a challenge, but that the girls in her club love their book club and “want more than anything to have it continue this year.”

“It can be difficult for authors to manage multiple copies on their own,” Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood and a member of the Class of 2K10, said. “We felt this was something unique we could offer as a group.”

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

The contest is open to all book clubs in the continental US associated with a nonprofit institution, a school, or a library. To enter, book club members or organizers need only comment on the giveaway post at the Classof2K10 blog (

CONTACT: Leah Cypess at

The prize packs are:

Middle Grade Fantasy Pack: (1) The Carnival of Lost Souls by Laura Quimby, (2) Under The Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan, (3) The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter

Middle Grade Realistic Pack: (1) Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery by Michele Corriel, (2) Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr, (3) Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham, (4) The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman, (5) Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Pack #1: (1) 13 to Life by Shannon Delany, (2) Freaksville by Kitty Keswick, (3) Mistwood by Leah Cypess, (4) Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen, (5) Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, (6) Under My Skin by Judith Graves

Young Adult Realistic Pack #1: (1) Change of Heart by Shari Maurer, (2) Faithful by Janet Fox, (3) Losing Faith by Denise Jaden, (4) The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride
Young Adult Realistic Pack #2: (1) Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz, (2) Party by Tom Leveen, (3) Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards, (4) The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard, (5) Split by Swati Avasthi

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meet 5 Fabulous Authors

This week Oklahoma is holding their annual educators conference, Encyclomedia. A terrific panel of middle grade authors will kick off the first panel on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

Session 1
10:45 - 11:45 a.m.
New Voices, New Books, and a Whole Panel of Characters

Janet S. Fox, Author of Faithful
Joy Preble, Author of Dreaming Anastasia, and Haunted (2011)
Bonnie J. Doerr, Author of Island Sting and Stakeout (2011)
Denise Jaden, Author of Losing Faith
Fran Cannon Slayton, Award-winning author of When the Whistle Blows

With some of the hottest titles out this year, these children’s novelists know a character when they see one. Come and listen as they reveal the stories behind their books, divulge trade secrets that will inspire young writers, and share reading guides that will animate discussion well beyond the classroom.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Island Sting Chosen as Forsyth County Read

Middle school students in Forsyth County, NC, have been reading Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr. Doerr's eco-mystery was chosen as the featured book for the county during September. Now all the teens who read it will have a chance to meet the author at a special program October 5, 2010, from 4-5 pm at at Teen Central in the Forsyth County Central Library, The public is also welcome at this exciting event. You can read more about the event on the library calendar.

Doerr's fast-paced novel about teens searching for the poacher of Key deer has kept readers enthralled this month. Now they can hear more about these small deer, which are the size of German shepherds. (See Doerr feeding the deer on the above.) This endangered species is found only in the Florida Keys.

For more about Bonnie J. Doerr, the Key deer, and green teens, visit BonnieBlogsGreen.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Skype Visits Anyone?

If you aren't sure how to use Skype for author visits, author Judith Graves will demonstrate this free technology that allows schools and libraries to host inexpensive author visits via the Internet.

See her presentation at:

 October 4, 2010: Parkland Regional Library School PD Day (Lacombe, Alberta, Canada). Session on Skype Author Visits and making the most of author related videoconferencing in a library setting.

If you aren't able to attend this session, contact Judith about a presentation for your organization. And remember, all our Leap Books authors are available for Skype visits. Contact Cathleen Cartwright, Public Relations Assistant, at cathleencartwright@leapbks

Friday, October 1, 2010


Throughout October, author Judith Graves will be available for visits:

October 2010: Young Alberta Book Society TALEBLAZERS Lit Fest. Touring schools and libraries across Alberta, discussing my journey from singer/songwriter to Young Adult paranormal fiction author. I explore what makes fiction to DIE for, how to develop characters that ROCK, and how to REVAMP your  work (revision with BITE!). She'd love to meet all students, library staff, and teachers from across the province. Book her now:

 Here are two of Judith's scheduled appearances:

October 5: Red Deer College Confluence Campus (Rocky Mountain House, AB).
October 22:  Author visit in Grimshaw, AB.

Judith is the acclaimed author of the Skinned Series. Book One, Under My Skin, is available now. Watch for Second Skin in 2011. And the third book in the series, Skin of My Teeth, will be out in 2012.