Thursday, May 28, 2020

Middle-Grade Summer Reading Challenge


It’s summer! Well, almost anyway. Here in Colorado, the weather is nice enough to make me think I can plant a tree, so that counts as summer.

I had better things in mind for this time of year (for those of you who know me, you’ll know I had heart surgery in January), fun stuff that involved travel and even some early promotion of my upcoming middle-grade novel Midnight at the Barclay Hotel (August 25th! Mark your calendar! Pre-order!)

Alas, this is the year we all have to do without something, and I am certainly not going to complain. Compared to the (high) school grads, littles who miss their teachers, and all the other tragedy that COVID-19 is bringing us this year, I have it pretty good. I’m still writing, and have a beautiful Colorado to escape in when I feel too cooped up.

Still. I feel like if I don’t turn this thing on its head and set out to make summer special, I might get a little grumpy. So I decided to give myself a reading challenge, first of all, so I'd have some books for June and July. I went on the Twitterz and asked for middle-grade book recommendation, and boy did I get them! Thank you for those, internet friends. I added a few titles that were already on my radar, and…

Presto! I have a MG summer reading list. I ordered these books from my various indie bookstores in Colorado, so I’m also supporting my favorite hangouts. It’s a win all around.

You can join me, create your own list, or just follow along. I’ll be giving away these books by the end of summer, in August sometime.


Here’s my book list:

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
Ben Braver and the Vortex of Doom by Marcus Emerson
The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts
Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Illustr. by Jon Klassen
Ernestine, Catastrophe Queen by Merrill Wyatt
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor
Keep it Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence
American As Paneer Pie by Supriya Kelkar
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelli Barnhill
Stick Dog by Tom Watson, Illustr. Ethan Long
The Cryptid Catcher by Lija Fisher

Read on, y’all!

Monday, May 11, 2020

New Author Visit Information

In case you landed here looking for author visit information: I have updated my website due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

With the release of Midnight at the Barclay Hotel in August, I'm getting requests for the new school year already (very fun and exciting...) I miss doing author visits in person, but I've adapted my presentations to go virtual in the meantime.


You can find more information at this link; I look forward to lots of Skype and Zoom visits for the 2020-2021 school year!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Breaking book news: Look for MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL in 2020..!

I'm so excited that I can (finally) share this big news...

I have a new middle-grade book coming out! 

It's called Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, and it'll be published by Viking (Penguin/Random House imprint); here's the official deal announcement:



Pass the cake, guys!


Monday, November 4, 2019

#MMGM Review: SHINE! by JJ Grabenstein & Chris Grabenstein

From the Publisher: 

Everyone deserves to shine in this sparkling new book from the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Chris Grabenstein, and coauthor J.J. Grabenstein--just right for fans of Word of Mouse and The Fourteenth Goldfish.

"Who do you want to be?" asks Mr. Van Deusen. "And not when you grow up. Right here, right now."

Shine on! might be the catchphrase of twelve-year-old Piper's hero--astronaut, astronomer, and television host Nellie Dumont Frisse--but Piper knows the truth: some people are born to shine, and she's just not one of them. That fact has never been clearer than now, since her dad's new job has landed them both at Chumley Prep, a posh private school where everyone seems to be the best at something and where Piper definitely doesn't fit in.

Bursting with humor, heart, science, possibilities, and big questions, Shine! is a story about finding your place in the universe--a story about figuring out who you are and who you want to be.


My thoughts: 

I was really looking forward to reading SHINE!, and it did not disappoint. I loved Piper, the sweet message (while still providing plenty of depth in plot and character).

I've been a big fan of Chris Grabenstein's work; I think SHINE! shows a new side to his writing I really love. JJ Grabenstein clearly should have started writing long ago! Such a great book, one that gets it right on all levels: plot, character, setting, and theme.

I could see SHINE! being a great classroom read, at-home read for a family, and perfect for all ages. Highly recommend.


**NetGalley provided e-copy for review**



Tuesday, October 8, 2019

2019 National Book Awards Finalists -- Young People's Literature

In case you want to elevate your reading, here are the finalists for the 2019 NBA in Young People's Literature. Not sure if any of these are mysteries; I'll have to read them and report back...

Young People’s Literature

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Random House/Make Me a World)

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illus. by Alexander Nabaum (Atheneum/Dlouhy)

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Penguin/Kokila)

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler (Bloomsbury)

Get the full list of nominees for all categories here



Thursday, October 3, 2019

October News

It's October! If you're like me, you've probably already busted out all your fluffy sweaters and random orange d├ęcor, like these little pumpkins. I love fall, October especially because it's the it's-still-nice-out kind of weather.

What I've Been Up To

Although the blog has been kind of quiet, that doesn't mean that all I've been doing is lounge by the pool this summer. I've actually been hard at work, editing my top-secret middle-grade mystery. I've been dying to tell everyone about it, but for now I still need to zip it. More soon, I promise.

Otherwise, I'm enjoying reading all the Kidlit, including chapter books and picture books, with hopes of writing my own. It's harder than it looks, people...

What I'm Reading

I've never been a huge fan of spooky things (I don't like being scared), but I'm kind of coming around from that point of view. I'm enjoying horror movies and TV--much to the entertainment of my husband and kids, who laugh when I jump at the scary things), and am checking out spooky MG. I even found this website dedicated to spooky middle-grade.

We spent the night at the Colorado Hotel last month, which was old and very spooky. Check out these twin doors--made me think of The Shining...

And of course I had to read The Institute by horror master Stephen King. Not spooky all that much, but scary and good.

Where To Find Me

Other than school visits and Skype visits, I'm happy to say I'm spending my time by the fireplace. Starting Oct. 21st, I'm also teaching an online class on writing YA--it's short and fun, perfectly timed for NaNoWriMo...

Happy October, all!. Here's a picture of Luna, who is always ready for sweater weather (check out all that fluff)




Wednesday, July 10, 2019

KidLit 101 WriteBrain for Colorado Friends

I'm tearing myself away from summer for just a second, to let my Colorado friends know about a free WriteBrain (this is where you get smart, clearly) workshop I'm hosting for Pikes Peak Writers. Here are the details:



Kidlit 101
Date: July 16th, 2019
Time: 6:15-8:15 PM
Place: Library 21C, Colorado Springs, CO
So you have this great book idea for kids… But is it a picture book, middle-grade, or YA—and what do all those terms even mean?

Whether you’re a new writer or an experienced author interested dipping your toe in the growing kidlit market, author Fleur (F.T.) Bradley will explain the ins and outs, how to write for kids (like how to format a picture book, word count and content for each segment), and what to understand about marketing to the young set, from practical experience.

This is an in-depth A-to-Z look at the kidlit market, from writing to publishing.

I hope you'll join me! Now, back to some summer fun...

Middle-Grade Summer Reading Challenge

It’s summer! Well, almost anyway. Here in Colorado, the weather is nice enough to make me think I can plant a tree, so that counts as su...