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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.

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10887107_593638450768945_837515248378900968_o

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.

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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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There’s no spoilers in this short, 30 second trailer for Surviving Bear Island due out in March 2015. There are, however, some cool visuals, and some eerie growling noises!

Thanks for stopping by.

 

You can order Surviving Bear Island from Amazon.

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10887107_593638450768945_837515248378900968_oI’m totally enjoying working with Eileen Robinson at Move Books and am thrilled to share this book cover, which captures the essence of the story. Surviving Bear Island is due out in March 2015. I hope to share more about the process of getting this story ready for the world in future posts. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying summer. I’m in summer school working on my Masters in Special Education but am still managing to get out on some hikes. No prolonged adventures like the ones that inspired Surviving Bear Island but hopefully I’ll have a few more of those in the future.

You can now Pre-order Surviving Bear Island on Amazon.

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The land and water where my story takes place.

The land and water where my story takes place.

I am happy to announce that my middle grade adventure novel set in the wilds of Alaska, my home state, will be published by Move Books, a house dedicated to publishing books for boys, in the Spring of 2015.

A big Thank You to my agent Amy Tipton who introduced me and my writing to Eileen Robinson at Move. I’m totally excited to be working with Eileen.

From Publisher’s Marketplace:  Paul Greci’s untitled novel, pitched in the spirit of adventure/wilderness survival stories like Hatchet and Far North, about a sea kayaking trip gone wrong; at the beginning of the trip, a boy had a tent, a sleeping bag, plenty of food, and a traveling companion and guide, his father — but that was all before the accident that left him alone, cold, and soaked, with only the clothes on his back and the small survival kit in his raincoat pocket, to Eileen Robinson at Move Books, by Amy Tipton at Signature Literary Agency.

 Thanks for stopping by!!

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