Thanks to all who participated in the contest and who stopped by to give the blog post a read. Surviving Bear Island is available at  Amazon and Barnes & Noble  and Independent Bookstores. If your local bookstore doesn’t have Surviving Bear Island, just ask them to order it for you.

If you want to learn about the story-behind-the-story of  Surviving Bear Island, I was interviewed at Cynsations. There are photos of Surviving Bear island territory in the interview!!

If you want to read the first chapter of Surviving Bear Island you can do so here.

Thanks to some assistance from Random.org, here are the winners:

Debby Herceg                                             Kim Thal

Sharon Sjordal                                         Stephanie Keyes           

Tyler Bender                                             Carl R.

Lou                                                              Marcy Collier

Jim Chaize                                               Denise Goshert

I’ve emailed them all and hope to hear back from each of them soon!!

Thanks for stopping by!!!


Surviving Bear Island hits the shelves today in independent bookstores and libraries. It’s also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To celebrate the release of my debut novel I am going to giveaway TEN, shiny copies!!! Even you already have a copy you are free to enter. Maybe you want to give one to a friend or to a school in your area, or to some other organization that works with kids.

Surviving Bear Island is a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection.

Here are snippets of the reviews coming in from the media thus far:

Kirkus: “a terrific thrill on the page.”

Juneau Empire: Surviving Bear Island is an exciting book outdoors-minded boys and girls both will enjoy….It’s fast paced enough to keep reluctant readers’ attention, but it also avoids oversimplification while communicating real-life dilemmas in understandable ways .”

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:  Surviving Bear Island is a heart-pounding adventure that both kids and adults will enjoy…It follows its hero through a brilliant coming-of-age the likes of which are unlikely to be found anywhere outside Alaska.”

Here’s how to enter the contest: Leave a comment below to be entered once.

Share the link and tell me where you shared it to receive an extra entry and double your chances of winning.

Don’t forget to leave your email address if it is not readily available when I click on your name so I can contact you if you win.

The contest is open until midnight, Friday, March 27th Eastern Time.

I’ll announce the winners by Tuesday, March 31st at the latest. They will be chosen by a random number generator.

Finally, please ask your local libraries and bookstores to carry Surviving Bear Island. Word of mouth is still the best way for books to be discovered by people who love them.

Thanks for stopping by!

PGreci and PDahlmeyer copy

A couple days ago, I did my first Surviving Bear Island school visits. I visited two schools where I was student back in the 70’s, John Marshall and Andrew Jackson Intermediate Schools for grades five to eight.

paul and marshall board

I felt very taken care of at both schools. The visits were set up on really short notice and the school staff did a fantastic job of being prepared. And the kids were just awesome and full of questions about writing and about Alaska.

paul reading at marshall

Later that day, I got my first letter from a student who had read my book.

The next night I went out to dinner with my high school English Teacher and signed books for him and for the school library.

Paul SBI

If you’d like to schedule a school visit or book signing check out my schedule and contact information by clicking here.

Surviving Bear Island comes out March 25th. Look for it in bookstores or order online now at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


On the 25th I’ll be celebrating the release of Surviving Bear Island and will be giving away ten copies of my book!! One of them could be yours!!

I hope you’ll stop by then for a chance to win!!!


Newspaper reviews are coming in for Surviving Bear Island.

From the Juneau Empire: Surviving Bear Island is an exciting book outdoors-minded boys and girls both will enjoy, and Southeast Alaskans will find a lot they can relate to. It’s fast paced enough to keep reluctant readers’ attention, but it also avoids oversimplification while communicating real-life dilemmas in understandable ways.

From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Surviving Bear Island is a heart-pounding adventure that both kids and adults will enjoy… It follows its hero through a brilliant coming-of-age the likes of which are unlikely to be found anywhere outside Alaska.

You can order a copy of Surviving Bear Island


Barnes & Noble


Thanks for stopping by.


 A lot of people have been asking for a little preview of Surviving Bear Island so here it is:

Chapter One


A wall of dog-like heads was closing in on us. Sea lions, six or eight of them, swam side by side. They raced toward us like they were gonna swim right through us, stretching their necks and plowing through the water like they had motors attached to their backs. I gripped my paddle tighter and held it just above the water, waiting, watching, just like Dad. Then, at the last second, they dove.

“They could’ve dumped us if they wanted to,” Dad said. “It’s happened to other kayakers.

I felt some bumps right under my feet, and the nose of the kayak shifted.

“Crazy,” I said. “You feel that?” The last thing I wanted was to take a swim. We’d be in trouble if we dumped. The water would freeze us solid.

“Never been touched like that,” Dad said. “Let’s paddle. Now.”

I dipped my kayak paddle into the blue-green salt water and pulled. Then did it again. And again. I twisted side to side, pulling one blade through the water while pushing the other through the air. Like Dad always said, “You get your back muscles working for you when you paddle. If you just relied on your arms you’d be trashed in a couple hours.”





Sea lions swam along on both sides of the kayak, easily matching our pace.

Just as I pushed my paddle in again, a gust of wind came out of nowhere and water slammed into my face, running down and underneath my raincoat. I felt the sweat building under my raincoat and rain pants and just wanted to crawl out of them. At the same time my hands were turning to ice from being washed by the waves and chilled by the wind.

The sea lions dove under the boat, nudging it. Two of them surfaced right next to me, opened their mouths and made these roaring sounds that made my breath catch. Then they dove again and disappeared.

I couldn’t see Dad, but I knew he was behind me, using the rudder to steer, keeping us pointed at an angle to the foot-high waves to help steady the kayak. Left. Right. Left. Right. I was a first-time kayaker.

Left. Right. Dad was the expert.

Left. Right. More water stinging my face.

Left. Rubbery arms.

Right. More water up my sleeves.

Left. I can’t feel my hands.

Right. Where are those sea lions.

Left. This was so Mom and Dad’s thing. I just agreed to go because this was the first time in three years that my dad actually acted like he wanted to do something with me.

I tried to keep paddling, but the water was dragging my arms down.

My body was burning but my face was freezing in place and my hands were completely numb. And to make matters worse, the gray clouds looked like they would dump on us any moment. But hey, that’s how it is in Prince William Sound, Alaska. You come out here to kayak, your muscles work overtime, and you expect rain. We’d been gone for two and a half weeks and still had sixty miles to paddle to get to Whittier and then a four hundred mile drive north to Fairbanks. I just wanted to get home.

The kayak slowed down. I stopped paddling and twisted my body around.

“Just making a clothing adjustment so I don’t overheat,” Dad said. His paddle was lying across his cockpit as he wrestled with his raincoat and life vest. “Looks pretty rocky ahead, but I’m gonna try to work us closer to shore. Hopefully that’s the last we’ve seen of those sea lions.”

I nodded, turned back around and waited. Mom should’ve been with us. Everything was better when Mom was around.

I scanned the water. No sign of the sea lions. And the waves seemed to be calming down. Little did I know I would be upside down in the water in less than an hour—fighting for my life.

Copyright 2015 by Paul Greci

Thanks for stopping by. Surviving Bear Island is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Soon it will be in bookstores.

Please share this post with others if you are able to. Thanks!

Moons and Moose

moonset 2






I don’t know if the full moon had anything to do with this odd but cute moose behavior that occurred just outside my door.


What surprising animal behavior have you observed?

Below are a few brief things about Surviving Bear Island. A little history and a look toward the future. (A version of this post was also published on Project Mayhem.)


  1. Surviving Bear Island, my debut novel, a survival story set in the wilds of Prince William Sound, Alaska comes out March 25th (Move Books). Having completed the first draft of this novel 10 years ago, and then countless drafts since then, I feel incredibly fortunate to have found a home for this book. As my agent was trying to sell a different manuscript we started working on getting Surviving Bear Island ready for submission.
  1. When I wrote Surviving Bear Island I didn’t envision it being illustrated. In fact, I first wrote it as a young adult novel and then six years into the revision process, it morphed into both first person and middle grade. One thing the illustrator James Madsen said about Surviving Bear Island is: “This book in particular has been one of my favorites because I grew up an avid outdoorsman and there’s no where I’d rather be than in the mountains or around wildlife.”

I feel fortunate to have my book matched with an artist who has spent a lot of time in the outdoors. In the past fifteen years James has illustrated more than 75 books. Below is one illustration from the book. James also did the cover.

bear copy




  1. Surviving Bear Island is a 2015 Junior Library Guild selection. Again, I feel incredibly fortunate that the Junior Library Guild is putting their energy into getting my book into school and public libraries.




  1. As of a couple days ago you can now pre-order Surviving Bear Island on Amazon.


As Surviving Bear Island nears publication I’m working on two books. One is an MG adventure set in Interior Alaska. The other is a contemporary YA novel.


Thanks for reading!



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