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Monday, September 19, 2011

MG/YA Blog-A-Thon with Guest Author Barbara Bockman

Today I have as my guest another Barbara. She is Barbara Bockman, or BarbaraB as she is known in the author's group. For some reason we seem to be paired in many things and that's okay, because knowing Barbara has been delightful. She writes MG stories and I write YA, but we have enjoyed learning more about each other. By some quirk of fate we are switching blogs today. She is guesting on my blog and I'm guesting on her blog: Stories a la Mode. 

Here is her bio:

Barbara always loved stories and the interesting way certain people have with words. So she majored in English and Library Science in college, and later, with a Master’s Degree in English, she taught her subject at Pensacola Junior College. Having long wanted to try her hand at it, she started writing stories for children.

Story ideas are all around her. One of the fun things about traveling is learning new facts and feeling the lives of people who lived in those exotic locales. She especially loves folk tales and myths.

She also enjoy stories about contemporary children and situations and likes to turn them into mysteries. Her family has been indulgent enough to allow her to write about them, as well.

Welcome Barbara! It's so exciting to have another Barbara here and thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I am a little late with this posting and I apologize.:) Running from one blog to the other is a little tiring. Over the weekend I wrote two blogs, one for DowntownYA and the other for the Muse blog. Also I was partying a lot and finally the last stragglers have all gone home!!! Thank you to all who came to the party and celebrated with me. It was so much fun. Unfortunately, all the cookies are gone and we went through too many bottles of champagne to count.:) Anyway, Barbara is here to talk about her book, Wounds, which coincidentally was released on the same day as If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor!
And like my book, Barbara has a wonderful review. I think it's great that we are so twinned. Barbara wrote about that on her blog too!!

Barbara, tell us about your book, Wounds. How did you get the idea for the book?

Hi, Barbara. Thanks for this opportunity to talk about my middle grade novel, my first book which was published by MuseItUp Publishing in the MuseItYoung division. I have been writing stories, articles, and poems for children’s magazines for several years. Before that, I used to put together little books for my grandchildren. Some of them were wordless, such as the one about the five senses, and the one with a big red circle on each page. Others were inspired by the actions of the children themselves and were dedicated to them personally. That was all a lot of fun, but I’m especially happy now to have a novel published. My novel, Wounds, started as an assignment with the Institute of Children’s Literature. Before submitting, I had to cut almost five thousand words. Wheeeeu! I’m looking forward to writing my ICL instructor to tell her about its publication.

Tell us a little bit about the book:

Throughout the story, several accidents happen that result in various people and objects being injured. The central character, Craig, is wounded when he tries to cut down a giant oak tree with a chain saw. He doesn’t succeed as the tree is much too large, but the tree is badly damaged. A series of events lead up to Craig becoming so angry that he tries to cut down the tree. First his mother dies from an accident and his father can’t cope. Craig’s dad becomes abusive and this leads Craig to vandalizing things at school. Both Craig and his dad are wounded emotionally. Craig becomes an outcast in the community. Because of his actions, Craig is taken to Juvenile Court. The man who owns the tree asks for custody of Craig. The judge tells Craig this is his chance to “make amends.” Mr. Ark and his wife and son, Nelson, take Craig in and befriend him; as does the family dog, a dachshund, Siegfried. Mr. Ark hires a forester, Logan Raxter, to work on the tree’s wounds. Nelson’s volunteer group, the K’BeTs, decide to raise money for the care of the tree and Craig is allowed to help. It is through the power of community service that Craig is accepted and forgiven.

I think many people, even youngsters, have done things they are ashamed of and sort of want to melt into the floor when they realize they've damaged something valuable. Guilt is hard to bear, but it's nice to know one can get forgiveness and even forgive oneself.

You are right. Guilt is something many people carry with them throughout their life. Your book looks like it examines another part of being a teen.


The youth group, K’BeTs, stands for “Kids for a Better Tomorrow.” One of the members is a cute, spunky girl named Carson. In the first excerpt below, the K’BeTs get permission from the forester to help with the tree. The second excerpt takes place after a shelter has been erected around the trunk of the tree, called the ICU.

An excerpt from Wounds:

            “That’s a great idea you have there, Nelson,” Carson said.
            “You convinced me,” Jean said.
            “Yeah,” Shaquan said. “I wish I had thought of it myself. We can build a skateboard ramp for our next service project.”
            “Hey,” Carson said, “aren’t you getting ahead of yourself, Shaquan?”
            “Now, we’re through arguing,” Jean said. “We’ve all agreed that the tree should be our service project. Let’s go talk it over with Mr. Raxter.”
            The K’BeTs rushed down the steps and sprinted over to talk to the tree man. “Hi, Mr. Raxter,” they each said.
            “Hello, there, K’BeTs.”
            “Mr. Raxter, we want to ask you something,” Shaquan said. “Can we help you with the tree?”
            “What he means is,” Carson said, “we want the tree to be our service project.”
            “That is,” Jean said, “if there is anything we can do.”
            “I’m sure we can find something for you to do. You were a big help to me after Hurricane Daisy.”
            Craig was astounded. That bunch had a lot of nerve! The tree was his project. Who invited them? He hobbled over to the tree.
            Mr. Raxter seemed pleased with the offer of help from the club. “We’re going to have extra help, Craig,” he said. “And believe me, we’re going to need it.” He didn’t even give Craig a say in the matter. The prospect of working with that bunch of do-gooders put Craig in a glum mood for the rest of the day.
            After walking around the tree several times, Mr. Raxter said, “I’ll let you guys know what to do as soon as I figure it out myself. Right now, I need to go to town to get some supplies.”
             Mrs. Ark called the young people into the kitchen for lunch. Afterward, she insisted Craig get some rest before any more activity. Craig whistled for Siegfried, and as the two headed for the stairs, Craig heard Carson say, “I can’t see why Siegfried wants to hang around that Craig.”

The day after the ICU was completed, the heater arrived. The utility crew laid a special electrical hookup from the road and one of the electricians installed the heat pump. Everyone crowded into the greenhouse to watch Raxter throw the switch--Craig and Siegfried, Mr. and Mrs. Ark, Nelson and Carson. Lately, Carson often came home from school with the boys.
            “That heater’s humming like a ’57 Thunderbird crusin’ down the highway,” said Mr. Ark. Everyone laughed.
             “Now we’ll see if we can make the tree believe it’s spring,” said Raxter.
            After Raxter left, Mrs. Ark called everyone to dinner, inviting Carson along. Craig stayed behind. “I’ll turn out the light,” he said. He wanted to be alone with the tree. It was hard to say what he was feeling, because there were so many thoughts jumbled up in his head. Everyone had big hopes for the tree to survive the trauma. But why had they been put in this position? Why was everyone forced to work so hard? It’s because of me, Craig thought. Oh, I wish I could go back and undo all the damage. And he walked to the tree and put his hands on it the way he had seen Raxter do that first day. He let out a long, loud sigh.
            When he turned to go in to dinner, he saw Carson standing in the doorway of the ICU. Her animosity toward him had blown away, and now her eyes held a softness he had not seen before. They exchanged a brief but understanding look before Craig reached up and pulled the chain on the hanging light bulb. Then they walked silently into the house.

Barbara, thank you again for being my guest and I wish you lots of luck with Wounds! Where can we find more about you?

You can find more about me and my book at:

The Muse Bookstore
Twitter: @babs22582

My own book, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is now on Amazon too and if you want me to sign it go to Find my book cover and request it be signed.

Until the next time thank you to all my followers. I will be visiting these blogs this week: Shellie Neumeier, Sue Perkins. On Thursday, September 22nd I will be hosting Rebecca Ryalls Russell here. Also this is the week of the 4th Thursday of the month so it's time for RRWL Tales from the Pages. I'm hoping to have as my guest, Karen Cote of @Karen's Romance whose book Erotic Deceptions is being released from MuseItUp Publishing in October. Have a great week!!


  1. The Barbara/Barbara show continues. Be sure to see Barbara's pst on Barbara as well as Barbara's post on Barbara here.

    I'm getting dizzy.

  2. Hi Barbara,
    Yes, it's been fun "twinning" with you for this most exciting year at MuseItUp and on this blog hop. Thanks for inviting me today.

  3. Think how I feel!! Thank you for visiting, Marva. This month has certainly been a whirlwind with the tour!! It's great though.:)

  4. Yes, Barbara! It's a lot of work, but this blogging experience has been a lot of fun too!! I hope our readers are enjoying themselves as much as we are.

    This year has been so amazing and I've learned so much and met so many new people. The feeling at MuseItUp is terrific and homey.

  5. Hi Barbara B. Great to see you here and read so much about you. Enjoy hearing about the book and can't wait to read it. Congrats to on the glowing review. Absolutely wonderful!
    C.K. Volnek

  6. Hey Barbra. Thanks for the comment on my blog. You have a cool page. I

  7. Hi David! Thank you for visiting and wonder how you got to this early post. Still thank you for leaving a comment and I did really enjoy your blog post too.


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