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Life on the Deckle Edge

Exploring Big Cats and Little Kitties (and more) with Author Scotti Cohn

It's been a fun month of featuring nonfiction nature writers! For our last visit, I'm happy to host Scotti Cohn. I “met” Scotti online when her fellow Sylvan Dell author and my good friend Gail Karwoski told me about Scotti’s gorgeous rhyming picture book, ONE WOLF HOWLS (illustrated by Susan Detwiler). Needless to say, Scotti and I discovered we are pretty much from the same pack! The Illinois writer, who is planning to move to South Carolina in a few months, tackles a wide range of subjects for readers of all ages, and you should check out her great blogs. Today we welcome her for a sneak preview of her new book from Sylvan Dell, also illustrated by Susan Detwiler, BIG CAT, LITTLE KITTY.

Welcome, Scotti! We share a lot of passions, including members of the canine and feline families – wild or domestic. Tell us about your new book, BIG CAT, LITTLE KITTY. What does it have in store for young readers, and how did you come up with the idea for it? Read More 
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The Great Backyard Bird Count

Looking for a fun way to spend time outdoors and contribute to a good cause at the same time? The Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend! The Cornell Ornithology folks explain it best, so here's the blurb lifted directly from their promotional email:

From: Cornell Lab Bird News, Feb. 17, 2011
Great Backyard Bird Count
Join Us, February 18–21

Top 5 Reasons to Do the GBBC

1. The birds you see will be recorded for all time. Just count for at least 15 minutes on one or more days and enter your checklist at www.birdcount.org

2. Your counts ensure that the birds in your town or favorite birding locales will be represented in this continentwide event.

3. Scientists and birders alike can see the tallies as they roll in for more than 600 bird species.

4. Now in its 14th year, the GBBC provides data to track dynamic bird populations through time, a feat that would be impossible without the participation of tens of thousands of people like you.

5. Celebrate birds by watching them at your favorite spot. See photos of birds submitted from around the continent or send in your own for a chance to win birdy prizes.

Please help spread the word by asking your friends and family to participate! They’ll find easy instructions at www.birdcount.org.

For more news about the count, read this week’s article in The New York Times.
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From the LeBrea Tar Pits to Outer Space - take a safari with Author Donna H. Bowman

On this Valentine's Day, I'm thrilled to welcome someone for whom I have a lot of love - Donna H. Bowman, children's author, long-time critique group buddy, and former Co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI Southern Breeze.

Her books include (two versions of) BIG CATS (Intervisual Books/Piggy Toes Press), and two nonfiction titles from Picture Window Books: DID DINOSAURS EAT PEOPLE? – And Other Questions Kids Have About Dinosaurs, and WHAT IS THE MOON MADE OF? - And Other Questions Kids Have About Space. Donna also has an entrepreneurial streak we'll hear more about in a moment.


Hi, Donna! Let’s start at the beginning. I know you grew up running wild – in a good way – in California. Tell us a little about your childhood adventures in the great outdoors. Read More 
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Critiquelicious

from top, l-r: Vicky Alvear Shecter, Elizabeth Dulemba, yours truly; bottom, l-r: Gail Langer Karwoski, Kim Siegelson, Mary Ann Rodman
I have the wonderful good fortune to be in two critique groups. My first group, Bookbound, has been together for more than a decade and includes Donna H. Bowman, Paula Puckett, Katrice Graham and Heather Kolich. After some unruly scheduling issues in recent months, we are getting our ducks in a regular row again this year. (See my home page for a holiday photo including some of us and guests.)

My "new" group is now about two years old, and for some reason we call ourselves the Cheese Whizzes. We recently enjoyed our second annual winter retreat in the North Georgia mountains. Elizabeth Dulemba and Kim Siegelson posted wonderful blog entries about the group, so feel free to click their names and read those entries. Elizabeth's new blog offers personal insights into the creative process, and Kim's has some terrific tips for creating/sustaining successful critique groups.

Support and feedback help keep me going as a writer. I'm honored and humbled to share the journey with all of these gifted writers and amazing people. Remember to tune in Monday, when I'll feature long-time critique group buddy and nonfiction author Donna H. Bowman, continuing our nature writers focus for February! Read More 
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Nature Author Heather L. Montgomery on Snakes and More...

Author photo by Sonya Sones
I'm thrilled today that Alabama author and SCBWI Southern Breeze Assistant Regional Advisor Heather L. Montgomery has come out of the woods for a spell to spend time with us! What a great way to kick off a month of guest nature writers for children.

Heather's newest books are RATTLESNAKES and GARTER SNAKES in Capstone's
Wild About Snakes series. Her other books explore how to stay safe in an earthquake, what soil is made of, why teeth fall out, and mummy secrets! She's written many articles appearing in Highlights, Science World, Know Fun for Kidz, and Fandangle, and in professional publications as well.

But wait - there's more! Heather runs Dragonfly Environmental Education Programs, bringing folks of all ages and nature together. She helped develop McDowell Environmental Center in Alabama and currently serves as its Education Coordinator.

Heather, where do we start?  Read More 
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Poetry Retreat Info

Here's the info on our upcoming summer POETRY RETREAT with Rebecca Kai Dotlich! (This is from our SCBWI Newsletter - feel free to email me if you need more specifics.)

June 10-12, 2011
Center for New Beginnings
Dahlonega, Georgia

Join award-winning poet and seasoned presenter Rebecca Kai Dotlich for a weekend in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia.

Participants will enjoy immersion in poetry within a workshop setting, group discussions and writing exercises to awaken the imagination, and individual critiques with Rebecca. Traditional poetry for children, for themed collections or for magazines, will be emphasized. Rebecca will also discuss rhymed picture book texts.

Accommodations will be double or triple occupancy (additional fee for private rooms), simple but comfortable, with nourishing meals prepared by a gourmet chef. All this in peaceful, natural surroundings! Ahhhh . . . Read More 
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