Congratulations, Wild Woman Bonnie McKinney!

Bonnie McKinney poses with one of her newly collared and tranquilized black bears.  (Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife.)

I’m excited to announce that Bonnie McKinney has been named one of the top twenty “Wild Women of Texas Conservation” by Texas Parks and Wildlife for her efforts to protect black bears in West Texas.  To read Bonnie’s story, please click here: Bonnie McKinney Nominated To Top 20 Wild Women

Bonnie is the heroine in my new book, The Legend of El Patron:  A True Story.  Bonnie saved the outlaw bear El Patron from certain death after the starving animal followed his nose to a poorly kept hunting camp and wrecked the place.  During her life’s work as a black bear researcher, Bonnie has trapped over 200 bears and radio-collared 71. When she captured the bear she named El Patron, the two became celebrities throughout the national and state parks and wildlife research communities.

Bonnie is an excellent role model for young women who love the outdoors and desire to be part of wildlife conservation efforts.  Congratulations, my friend.  This honor is so richly deserved and highlights the important contribution women can have in wildlife conservation.

The Legend of El Patron

I am most happy to report that The Legend of El Patron:  A True Story has been published. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s my first venture into the world of independent publishers.

This children’s book began while David and I were on a camping trip to Big Bend National Park.  I picked up a local paper and read an outlandish article about a bear that had migrated into Brewster County from drought-stricken Mexico. Because he was starving, the poor creature broke into a poorly-kept hunting camp. Marked as a nuisance after he wrecked the place, the wildlife researcher sent to put the bear to death ultimately saved his life. She found a home for El Patron at the Living Desert Zoo in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The first night the bear was in his new zoo home, however, he escaped, wandering the streets with law enforcement in pursuit.

The story simply begged to be written. I contacted the zoo and soon was sitting across from the park’s director for an interview.  I left Carlsbad armed with newspaper clippings, a notebook full of scribbles, interview tapes, contact information for the wildlife researcher who had captured and saved the bear, and even a few snapshots of the reclusive celebrity.

El Patron winter coat2
The reclusive El Patron in his enclosure at New Mexico’s Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

I sent the manuscript to several publishers and received some of the nicest rejection letters.  But, alas, they were still rejections.

Last year, however, it seemed that the time had come to publish El Patron’s story.  Animal and human interactions are on the rise.  The wildlife research community has many concerns over the proposed border wall and how it may inhibit animals migrating to and from Mexico, particularly larger animals such as bear,  jaguar, and ocelot.  Additionally, with its educational sidebars, El Patron’s book contains valuable information about desert bears and the only known repatriation of a large mammal without human intervention.  I’m excited about the book’s prospects.  I’ll let you know how I do with marketing and sales. If you would like to view The Legend of El Patron book trailer, please click here: The Legend of El Patron book trailer

I published my indie book through Booklocker because of their many options, services, and marketing tools.  Throughout the publication process, I have been very impressed with this publisher.  They have made many promises and have fulfilled them all.  Best of all, they made the process easy.  I will fill you in more about my experience later.  If you would like to view El Patron’s Booklocker page, please click here: El Patron Booklocker page.