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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

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indigo

Thanks for stopping by.

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 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.”

Left.

Right.

Left.

Right.

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

 

 

Print

  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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After a sea kayaking trip with his father 
takes a dangerous turn, Tom Parker is stranded 
on the remote, outer coast of unpopulated Bear Island in the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska. With only a small survival kit in his pocket, Tom finds himself soaked and freezing, and worst of all—alone. Desperate to find his father, Tom doesn’t know how long he can survive and must put his survival skills to the test
 as he fights to reach safety. Will Tom make 
it through this wilderness full of bears 
and other dangers?

Surviving Bear Island is a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection in the High Interest Middle Category for grades 5 to 8.

Kirkus called Surviving Bear Island “a terrific thrill on the page.” You can read the full review here.

From the 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….Greci has spent time in Prince William Sound, and it shows. He describes Tom’s gradual initiation from the comforts of civilization into stark necessity and the natural world in a way kids will be able to relate to.”  You can read the full review here.

 

You can order a copy of Surviving Bear Island from Amazon today.

Soon it will be available from Barnes and Noble and Independent Bookstores as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

Print10887107_593638450768945_837515248378900968_o

It’s been a week of good news for me with Surviving Bear Island. First, a great review from Kirkus, and now Surviving Bear Island has been chosen as a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection in the High Interest Middle Category for grades 5 to 8.

From Junior Library Guild: These exciting, age-appropriate titles will appeal to even the most reluctant middle-school readers. Perfect for: Middle schoolers who have difficulty finding books that interest them.

I’m honored that my book has been chosen.

You can order Surviving Bear Island from Amazon.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my good news.

10887107_593638450768945_837515248378900968_o Below is the Kirkus review of Surviving Bear Island:

KIRKUS REVIEW

A fateful kayaking trip forces Tom to grow up fast while he faces dangers he only ever dreamed about. When his mother died in a biking accident three years ago, Tom had to struggle to find his way back to a normal life. Dad was no help, as he reacted to the loss of his wife by shutting down and shutting out the rest of the world. But a kayaking trip in Alaska’s Prince William Sound seems to be a turning point for the two of them, a chance to start living the rest of their lives as a family again. Unfortunately, a choppy sea and a bad accident rip them apart, and Tom is forced to struggle for his own survival on Bear Island. Facing starvation, injury and the eponymous bears, Tom relies on the hope of finding his father to get him through his ordeal. Greci delivers a compelling narrative that manages to keep a quick pace despite being built around one character alone in the wilds. Flashbacks to the moments before the accident and memories of life before the trip work well to explain certain plot points and to add texture and meaning to the first-person narrative. The tension is well-crafted and realistic. Bear Island is a challenging environment to survive but a terrific thrill on the page. (Adventure. 9-14)
Pub Date: March 25th, 2015
Page count: 192pp
Age Range: 9-14
Publisher: Move Books
Review Posted Online: Jan. 10th, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015
You can order Surviving Bear Island from Amazon.
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