Nellie Bly

I don’t remember the first time I heard of Nellie Bly. I may have been around the same age as my character Kit in The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan, or I may have been a couple of years younger.

I’m pretty sure I discovered her in the biography section of my school library, a place a spent an inordinate amount of time reading books about a wide range of women – all of whom seemed like women who did things I might want to do when I grew up or had characteristics I wanted to grow in myself. I spent a lot of time with Amelia Earhart (bold), Carol Burnett (savvy and funny), Rosa Parks (brave) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (who at some point decided her own regular life was worth turning into a story). I’m guessing somewhere in there I read about Nellie Bly, and her spunk, determination, and down-right gutsy nature stuck with me.

I didn’t consciously or purposely put Nellie Bly in my novel. She just showed up – right at the perfect time – and gave my character the exact thing she needed to complete her story arc. Writing – when it’s working – is often part magic. Sometimes things come to you in a flash of insight and luck, and sometimes your subconscious hands you the key you didn’t even know you needed. Either way, it’s a sort of alchemy – time travel coupled with story structure sprinkled with fairy dust from the muse. And it’s awesome. 🙂

I’m working on a new book now, so my thoughts are scattered in a thousand directions and far away from the early 1900’s and news rooms. Maybe that’s why coming across this Brain Pickings article about Nellie Bly felt a little like running into an old friend. It took me back – to writing The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan and to that younger version of me reading book after book about interesting and  inspirational women.

The article is fun, plus it contains an animated documentary. Check it out. Maybe she’ll become one of your inspirations too.

 “As the most famous woman journalist of her day, as an early woman industrialist, as a humanitarian… Bly kept the same formula for success: Determine Right. Decide Fast. Apply Energy. Act with Conviction. Fight to the Finish. Accept the Consequences. Move on.”

Nellie Bly Makes the News: An Animated Documentary About the Investigative Journalism Pioneer Who Paved the Way for Women in Media

 

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KIT’s Out in Paperback!

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is out in paperback!!

And it has a bright and shiny new cover. And it has a blurb from the legendary historical fiction writer Karen Cushman right there on the cover!

kit-donvan-paperback | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Isn’t it lovely? It totally reminds me of covers of books I read and loved when I was a kid. Plus, there’s just something so accessible about a paperback book.

Confession:  When I opened the box of hard cover books Albert Whitman & Company sent me last year, I couldn’t touch them. Seriously. I could barely look at them. They just seemed so real and so scary and so serious I couldn’t quite believe they were mine.

kit-in-paperback | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comBut when I got my box of paperbacks last month, I reached right in and pulled one out. I even flipped through it. I wasn’t afraid of breaking it, or making it dirty, or otherwise mishandling it. It felt familiar – in a way the hard cover never did for me.

I hope that readers find the paperback as enticing and as comfortable as I do.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN, now you can for the paperback price. (How fun is that?). And if you have bought a hard cover, thank you! You still might want to take a look at the beautiful new paperback, though. It’s so pretty and such a good deal, it’s hard to resist.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Powells | Indiebound

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KIT’s Winning Awards!

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN has had an pretty amazing run of luck these past couple of months. Truth be told, I’m still amazed that people are actually reading something I wrote. The fact that they are reading and liking it still feels pretty surreal to me. The fact that they want to give it an award is beyond shocking and completely humbling.

As you know, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN won an Oregon Book Award in May – an event that still makes me giddy when I think about and resulted in my book being on the shelf at Powell’s with one of those nifty little cards underneath.

KIT at Powells | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

But somehow the magic didn’t stop there. In the last couple of months, KIT has ended up on three other winner lists:

THE TRAGICWilla Award | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is the Winner of the 2018 WILLA Literary Award Winner in Children’s/Young Adult Fiction & Nonfiction – an award given by Women Writing the West to recognize “outstanding literature featuring women’s stories set in the west.” I’ve been an avid reader of western literature for as long as I can remember – and as I child I actively sought out stories about girls and women in the west; stories that proved difficult to find. After a childhood of making up “girl in the west” stories in my head, it was a joy to get one published. It’s a real honor to be considered an award-winning writer of one, too.

osba | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com
KIT is also the winner of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English’s Oregon Spirit Book Award. The award is “given yearly to the author of a distinguished contribution to children’s literature or young adult literature that engages and encourages readers’ imagination, discovery, and understanding, reflecting the spirit and values held by Oregonians.” If you know me, you know I’ve spent 15 plus years as an Oregon English teacher. You also know that encouraging kids to read and discuss books that interest and inspire them is high on my list of things that matter in the world. To be chosen for this award by a group of people I admire – and people I know to be a pretty tough audience 🙂 – is simply amazing.

WRMA | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comFinally, KIT has been chosen as a finalist for The Will Rogers Medallion Award. The WRMA “recognizes excellence in Western literature and media.” I’m so honored to be included among so many great Western writers. The Award Ceremony is in Fort Worth, TX in October, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

I’m so happy KIT seems to be finding her place in the world. You never know what all those years of writing and rewriting, hoping and despairing will amount to. You don’t know if a book will ever get published, or, if it does, if it will ever be read, or even liked, let alone loved. It’s a real joy to see that KIT’s story has resonated with people, that a few of them may have even loved it, and that someone might be carrying KIT around in their head as they walk to school or go shopping or just sit in class daydreaming – the way I did (and still do) with the books and characters I love.

Thank you all for your support over the last year and a half. It means the world to me.

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KIT won an Oregon Book Award!

Winner winner, avocado-toast dinner!! (It was Portland after all).

2018-oba_media-kit_facebook01THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN won an Oregon Book Award! Specifically the ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. (Want to learn more about Eloise Jarvis McGraw?Just click here).

I’m still stunned, but mostly I’m incredibly grateful.

The day to day of writing is mostly a solitary thing, but the the job of getting a book out into the world requires a lot of support. I’m so grateful for my friends, my family,  my agent, and my editor who all helped me write a book that people enjoy. It really does take a village. I only hope I give as good as I get.

I shared a lot of thanks in my speech that night – a speech I never imagined I’d have to give. I thought I’d share it here on my blog, too, for those of you who didn’t make it to the awards ceremony. *Note:  this may not perfectly match the deer-in-the-headlights, stammering speech I actually delivered in a state of shock that night. 🙂 But it’s pretty close to what I hope I said.

“I really didn’t expect it could get any better than seeing my little book on a list with so many authors whose work I enjoy and admire. To my fellow Children’s Lit. Finalists:  Kurt, Diane, Elizabeth, and Cynthia – your work is everything that is wonderful in kidlit. I’m honored to be in your company tonight.

As my character Kit learns in my book, you may start your journey alone, but it really takes the help of friends – both likely and unlikely – to get you where you need to go. And with that in mind, I have some folks to thank:

First Literary Arts. You championed this book far longer than you might know. First, with your Author Tours that brought workshops led by real life authors to my little town on the other end of the state. Then with a generous fellowship that helped me revise my story into something an incredible agent and later an editor would want. And now this. I can’t even begin to express how truly grateful I am.

Second, I’d like to thank our glorious community of Oregon Authors. I don’t know what writers are like everywhere else, but writers in Oregon are amazing. *Hardworking, talented, kind, and incredibly generous and supportive. I’m forever grateful to you for letting me into your organizations, for answering my emails and posts with grace and kindness, and for being so danged inspiring. It’s an honor to be part of your community and a gift that I get to call so many of you friends.

And finally I’d like to thank my husband John who believed in this book from the beginning –  and who does all the really hard stuff – like cooking dinner and navigating Portland traffic. None of this happens without you.

Thank you all so much. I’m stunned and beyond thrilled.”

*I may have said freaking amazing at the event – because they really are.

It was a pretty spectacular evening spent with pretty spectacular people. You can read about the other Oregon Book Award winners at Oregon Live and check out the other finalists in the Children’s Book category here.

Thanks again to Literary Arts! You made my year.

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I’m an Oregon Book Awards Finalist!

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I’m beyond thrilled to see my book on the list of finalists for this year’s Oregon Book Awards!

Five years ago, when I was trying hard to do the things I thought real writers did, I submitted 25 pages of a manuscript I was working on to the Oregon Literary Arts fellowship program on a whim. Miraculously, I was awarded the Edna L. Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers Literature. I used the monetary gift they so generously presented me to attend a retreat that helped me shape that manuscript into THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN. And now, that book is up for an Oregon Book Award! Talk about full circle.

It’s a real honor to be listed among the finalists for the ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE. The books are all incredible, and I wanted to give a shout out to each of them.


SHAKE A LEG, EGG by Kurt Cyrus

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | shake-a-leg-egg | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

From celebrated author-illustrator Kurt Cyrus comes a playful and whimsical picture book that celebrates the excitement and anticipation of a soon-to-be-born baby.

It’s springtime, and the pond is bursting with new life. There are beaver pups, heron hatchlings, and lots and lots of ducklings. Everyone is out and about, swimming, flapping, chirping, and quacking—except for one family of geese. When, oh when, will their last little one break on out and join the waiting world?

BRIDGE OF THE GODS by Diane Rios

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | bridge-of-the-gods | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comTwelve-year-old Chloe Ashton is an only child living in the remote wilderness of Oregon. She spends her days happily exploring the forests around her home, and is astonished to find the animals seem to know her, to follow her, and even try to speak to her. When a family tragedy results in Chloe’s abduction and sale to the vagabonds, she is taken deeper into the woods, and finds out just how much the animals know.

Set at a time when technology is first touching the west, there is an evil rising in the land. The country is under attack, and all creatures, man and beast, must hide. The old legends speak of an ancient, natural magic deep within the mountains and rivers, and as Chloe struggles to survive, she finds that it still exists deep within the forests. Friendship can be found even in the darkest of places, and it doesn’t always come in human form.

Bridge of the Gods is a novel for all ages about the magical power of nature, and of finding friendship in the darkest of places.

THE  MUSIC OF LIFE by Elizabeth Rusch

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | the-music-of-life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAward-winning biographer Elizabeth Rusch and two-time Caldecott Honor–recipient Marjorie Priceman team up to tell the inspiring story of the invention of the world’s most popular instrument: the piano.

Bartolomeo Cristofori coaxes just the right sounds from the musical instruments he makes. Some of his keyboards can play piano, light and soft; others make forte notes ring out, strong and loud, but Cristofori longs to create an instrument that can be played both soft and loud.

His talent has caught the attention of Prince Ferdinando de Medici, who wants his court to become the musical center of Italy. The prince brings Cristofori to the noisy city of Florence, where the goldsmiths’ tiny hammers whisper tink, tink and the blacksmiths’ big sledgehammers shout BANG, BANG! Could hammers be the key to the new instrument?

At last Cristofori gets his creation just right. It is called the pianoforte, for what it can do. All around the world, people young and old can play the most intricate music of their lives, thanks to Bartolomeo Cristofori’s marvelous creation: the piano.

LIFE by Cynthia Rylant

Oregon Book Awards 2018 | life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comCynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel explore the beauty and tenacity of life.

Life begins small, then grows…

There are so many wonderful things about life, both in good times and in times of struggle. Through the eyes of the world’s animals—including elephants, monkeys, whales, and more—Cynthia Rylant offers a moving meditation on finding beauty around us every day and finding strength in adversity. Brendan Wenzel’s stunning landscapes and engaging creatures make this an inspiring and intriguing gift for readers of all ages.

And (because I’m so excited I can’t resist):

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN by Patricia Bailey.

The Tragically True Adventure of Kit Dononvan | Patricia Bailey | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comLife in a 1905 Nevada mining town is not easy for any thirteen-year-old. For Kit Donovan, it seems downright impossible. When her mother dies of a fever, Kit is certain she is to blame. Guilt-ridden, she is determined to honor her promises to her mother—namely to be a “proper lady.” Only being a lady is tougher than it looks. When Kit discovers that Papa’s boss at the gold mine (the menacing and self-serving Mr. Granger) is profiting from unsafe working conditions in the mine, she convinces her dad to speak out. But sometimes doing the right thing leads to trouble. Now Kit must find a way to expose Granger’s misdeeds before it’s too late. Aided by an eccentric woman, a Shoshone boy, and a drunken newspaperman, Kit puts her big mouth and all the life skills she’s learned from reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to work. With a man’s hat and a printing press, Kit defies threats of violence and discovers that justice doesn’t always look like she imagined it would.

The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 30. I can’t wait to meet everyone and fan girl my heart out.

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In the meantime, be sure to cast your vote in the Readers’ Choice Award survey!

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Surreal Moment No. 11

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – November 18 2017
St. Louis, MO. (NCTE) National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference

It’s been a week,  and I still cannot believe that I was part of a conference session at NCTE. Talk about surreal. I never would have imagined I’d be speaking to English teachers on a national stage – ever – let alone after I stopped being one.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I had the honor of presenting a session at NCTE on Refreshing and Renewing Reading in the Secondary Classroom with fellow Class of 2k17 members McCall Hoyle, Alexandra Ott, and Leah Henderson. It was so fun speaking about teaching again – and extra fun to be speaking about something so dear to my heart – how to implement pleasure reading in the Language Arts classroom. The me who read Nancie Atwell’s In The Middle religiously while I was getting my teaching certification would have been thrilled.

Surreal Moments | NCTE Panel | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

surreal moments | Barnes and Noble Ladue | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

McCall and Alex and I also got to do a book signing at the wonderful Barnes and Noble in Ladue, MO. The staff was so friendly – and it was so fun being around so many kids and adults excited about books.

Surreal Moments | Barnes and Noble Ladue Store | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

I’m also happy that I’ve gotten the chance to see some amazing scenery in my travels this year.

St. Louis | NCTE | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

But mostly I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to talk about books with people so passionate about reading and about kids. I’m extra grateful for all the new friends I’ve made along the way.

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Surreal Moment No. 10

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – June 24 and 25, 2017
Chicago, IL. (ALA) American Library Association Annual Conference

So, June was a month of firsts! I got to go to Chicago. I got to attend the American Library Association’s Annual Conference. I got to meet my editor, Kristin, plus a lot of great folks from Albert Whitman. And, best of all, I got to meet and hang out with a bunch a debut authors!

I stayed with a couple of other Class of 2k17 authors at the Marriott downtown where we had a great view of the city – and killer access to The Riverwalk and The Magnificent Mile.

ALA Chicago View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA Chicago Fog View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

ALA | Chicago riverwalk | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Downtown Chicago | www,patriciabaileyauthor.com

My ALA experience started with a book signing at the Albert Whitman booth. The line went on and on until we ran out of books and had to pull one off the shelf for a kid who was bummed to see them all gone. Can’t beat that! Everyone was so sweet!  And I even got to see (and pose with) my rock star local library director. Later that day I got to hang out with the Albert Whitman crew at the American Writer’s Museum for a cocktail party and celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Boxcar Children.

ALA | Klamath Gals | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Albert Whitman Booth Signing | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

On Sunday, I shared the PopTop stage with fellow Class of 2k17 debuts, Leah Henderson and Jodi Kendall, where we talked about setting as a character in middle grade fiction.

ALA | Class2k17 Poptop Stage | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

Every moment at  ALA was a blast. I met so many great people, saw some beautiful sites, and came home with a pile of great books. A truly perfect weekend just hanging out being an author.

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Author Event at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland

heidischulz-patriciabailey-janetjohnson author panel at Annie Bloom'sI’m coming to Portland for an author event!

I’m so excited to be on a middle grade author panel with Janet Sumner Johnson and Heidi Schultz! We’ll be at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland, Oregon on May 22 talking about the real-world inspiration for the characters, friendships, and adventures in our books. We’ll discuss our writing process and how life inspires our creativity, leaving time for a Q&A session with the audience.

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll be able to make it. This will be my first out-of-town author event since THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN has been out in the world and I’m kind of nervous. I would be great to see some familiar faces!

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Surreal Moment No. 9

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Surreal Moment – April 25, 2017
Ashland, OR. Bloomsbury Books

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is officially out in the world and on the shelf at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland!

Ashland Oregon and Bloomsbury Books has always held a special place in my heart. I went to college in Ashland, and Bloomsbury Books was one of my favorite places to browse. I especially loved their staff recommendations. In fact, the first book I read that made me think it might be possible for me to write stories about things I knew was a book I bought at that bookstore.

So to see my little book on the shelves there was beyond thrilling.

KIT DONOVAN Book Launch | Bloomsbury Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com   KIT DONOVAN Book Launch | Bloomsbury Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Thanks so much for the staff at Bloomsbury for making my visit a memorable one! By now, Kit should also be at Treehouse Books in Ashland and Barnes and Noble in Medford.

As for me, I’m back in Klamath, still in a state of shock.

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Goodreads Giveaway for The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan officially launches at the end of the month – which means, it’s time for a Goodreads Giveaway!

Goodreads is giving away 4 signed Advanced Reader Copies of THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN.

All you have to do is head on over to Goodreads and enter.

Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

by Patricia Bailey

Giveaway ends April 22, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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