Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm Over At Patti Abbott's, So Join In...

Over here. It's one of my favorite blogs--Patti's always in the know on the best in crime fiction, books or movies, new or forgotten.

It's like my favorite local pub. You know, virtually anyway.

So check it out, find out how Linc came about, comment, stay awhile.

Linc's Bookstore Tour: Stop #3: Little Shop of Stories

**Before continuing with the tour, I want to send all best wishes to East Coast friends. You're in our thoughts...**

It's Linc again. I left Seattle, which was loads of fun, and now I've landed in Georgia. I rode my skateboard over to the next stop in my bookstore tour:

Third stop: Little Shop of Stories 
Place: Decatur, GA

Question: What makes Little Shop of Stories different from other bookstores?

I think the biggest thing that makes us different are our events. We have three weekly storytimes (one of which kids are invited to wear their pjs and we serve milk and cookies), and tons of special events, like Fancy Storytime (where you dress as fancy as possible), Bark if You Love Storytime (where you bring your dog), art galleries, poetry jams, and an annual Root Beer Festival!

We have married dogs here at the shop, we've turned our basement into a crypt based on the Graveyard Book at Halloween, and we put a 30-foot Christmas Tree on the roof of our shop every year and host an annual tree lighting event for the city. We coordinate a community-wide reading initiative getting families and schools around Atlanta to read the same book and participate in our book-inspired program all fall. We offer summer camps based on books from Magic Treehouse to American Girl to Harry Potter to Percy Jackson. 

We host tons of author events as well. In October alone we hosted Adam Gidwitz, Judy Schachner, Matthew Reinhart, Tad Hills, and Christopher Paolini, to name a few. We love to bring the community together and show them a good time!

Question: I have a day to spend in the Decatur area. What should I do for fun?

Come visit Little Shop! We'll probably be having an event!

Other than that, you should walk around and visit the quirky, fun shops like Squash Blossom, Homegrown Decatur, Decatur CD, and Heliotrope. You should get a cup of coffee (wait, you're twelve, so maybe you don't drink coffee..who knows, with the busy spy life you lead, maybe you do) at Java Monkey, grab a Popsicle from the King of Pops cart, and visit the Decatur Cemetery for a self-guided walking tour.

There are tons of restaurants to choose from...but for you I'd recommend Farm Burger, Brick Store, or Raging Burrito. In the evening, stop by Eddie's Attic for a concert. You could also easily hop on MARTA and visit downtown Atlanta, the High Museum of Art, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and Piedmont Park.

Question: If you could invent any spy gadget, what would it be and what would it do?

I would invent a key that could open any door, that would also have the capability to get through doors with codes, or even hand or eye scanners. I think getting into locked rooms would be half the battle of being a spy.

Question: Any cool events coming up for my friends who live in the area?

Yes, tons!

 November 1st-November 6th The Little Shop Election! Come by the shop to vote for which book character should be our new president

November 3rd at 4 pm Holes Movie Screening at Decatur High School

November 5th 7 pm Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, (author of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels) will be at the shop for a reading and signing

November 8th 7 pm Inaugural Ball and Storytime Find out who is our next shop president

November 15th 7pm On The Same Page Holes Party

November 19th 7 pm Anne Lamott hosted by the Georgia Center for the Book

November 29th 7pm Decatur Christmas Tree Lighting

Verdict: Little Shop of Stories is super-cool!

Find Little Shop of Stories on Facebook and subscribe to their newsletter, so you never miss an event.

Or better yet, go over to Little Shop of Stories in person! You can tell them Linc sent you, and you can enter to win a signed copy of Double Vision and some cool spy gadgets...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Get Your Halloween On With Monday Music: Danse Macabre

This musical piece has always been a favorite of mine. Not sure if that makes me morbid...

Enjoy anyway, and I hope you have a spooky (and storm-free...) Halloween!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Linc's Bookstore Tour: Stop #2: Seattle Mystery Bookshop

Linc here--I just left Alexandria, VA, and I took a plane to the state of Washington. This bookstore tour is getting me all caught up on my peanut and pretzel eating, let me tell you.

I have to say: I'm glad to ride the streets on my skateboard again.

Second stop in my bookstore tour: Seattle Mystery Bookshop
Place: Seattle, WA

Here's the skinny:

Question: What makes Seattle Mystery Bookshop different from other bookstores?

What makes us special? Unlike many bookshops out there we focus on a specific genre of fiction. So for 22 years we have specialized exclusively on mystery books! Spies, thrillers, suspense, classic noir….if there’s a body in the book we have it!

Plus we try very hard to bring a personalized service to our customers. One of the biggest and best areas - we read, review and recommend new books & authors to our readers. In addition we have author events nearly every week where fans are able to meet and speak with their favorite authors. Which, let me tell you, is absolutely thrilling!

Question: I have a day to spend in Seattle. What should I do for fun?

Other than coming to Seattle Mystery Bookshop and finding a great book to read? Well...

I would suggest Pike Place Market, there is a wide variety of local vendors selling some very unique wares. Plus the crowds are big enough if you were being followed it would be easy to lose a tail. While you are there you can visit Seattle’s famous gum wall. Located in Pike Place as well, where years of chewing gum cling to an alley wall and all you need to do to participate is stick your piece on! I suggest Hubba Bubba. It is also a great place to leave a secret message, hidden in plain sight, should you need to make contact with another agent while on vacation!

Another recommendation would be The Water Front, where you have the Seattle Aquarium, The Carousel and a giant Ferris Wheel to see (plus a whole bunch of shopping, tours and a bug zoo as well). Plus it offers a number of modes of escape: street car, boat and ferry should you need to make a fast getaway!

Question: If you could invent any spy gadget, what would it be and what would it do?

Dr. Who’s slightly psychic paper would be nice, so you could always have a fake ID or invitation to get you out of a tight spot…. Or Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak would be nice as well, so you could follow quarry without being spotted. Or maybe that map…

But to be honest the most effective gadget for me…..would be a phase shifter. Since I can trip and knock things over when I am walking across a flat stable surface. That way when I need to break into a house to find a hidden file, secret lab or find evidence, I wouldn’t have to worry about knocking over a lamp, bumping into tables or tripping over an ottoman I would walk right through them. So I would never worry again about giving myself -- and the operation -- away!

Question: Any cool events coming up for my friends who live in the area?

One great event, Edgar winner, Dori Hillestad Butler author of the Buddy Files series will be in our shop on November 24th at Noon! This is a great series which we highly recommend!

Or the Run Scared 5k where you earn your candy on October 29
th in Seward Park. Costume contest, doggie costume contest, free kids dash, trick-or-treat bags, prizes for top runners and random door prizes, pumpkin bread, gear check, free event photos and so much more!

Conclusion: Seattle Mystery Bookshop rocks! 

I left a Kid Spy giveaway package, so make your way over there to find out how to enter, fellow spies...

Visit Seattle Mystery Bookshop's Kids Corner for children's, middle-grade and YA mystery book recommendations.

Follow Seattle Mystery Bookshop on Facebook or on Twitter @SeattleMystery for the latest news and upcoming events!

What's Your Favorite Independent Bookstore?

As you've probably noticed in recent posts, I've been pondering the whole what-is-home thing a lot. Because when you have a brand new book out, you kind of need your home team to cheer for you. And I've had lots of cheers (thank you :-).

You know what's been the coolest? Getting all those friends who live in different states to ask me if I'm coming their way, because they have the greatest independent bookstore nearby. Indies really mean home, and discovering them by proxy through Linc has been most awesome. He's going to Seattle tomorrow...

Dwell Magazine (they have the best modern dream homes...) has a map of independent bookstores across the U.S.--go over there and see if your hometown favorite is listed, and add it if need be.

And while we're on the subject: what's your favorite independent bookstore?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Linc's Bookstore Tour: Stop #1: Hooray for Books

Hey, it's Linc Baker, the twelve year-old kid who just came back from a mission in Paris. It was a tough one, let me tell you. I got arrested, ended up jumping from an airplane… Anyway, you can read all about it in Double Vision.

Now that my backpack is empty (I used all the spy gadgets my tech guy Henry made for me), I’m off on a tour of independent bookstores. You know, so I can fill it up with books, and see some cities without being chased by bad dudes.

First stop: Hooray for Books!
Place: Alexandria, VA

Here's the scoop:

What makes Hooray for Books! different from other bookstores?

First, we’re community driven--we’re here to provide a much needed service to our area, and we want to be sure our customers are taken care of. We like to think of ourselves as a gathering place for kids of all ages--and the adults who love them! We have weekly story times for neighborhood toddlers, book clubs for beginning readers through adults, and a “Grandmother’s Club,” which allows relatives to regularly ship books to youngsters around the country. And of course, we’re big fans of local authors and illustrators--we’re always happy to host events and book launches for our writer friends.

We want our customers to be as excited about books as we are! We’re devoted to giving people the personalized attention they deserve. Looking for an obscure book from your childhood? We’ll track it down. Need a list of recommendations based on your child’s favorite books? We’ll come up with one. We’re at your service!

I have a day to spend in Alexandria. What should I do for fun?

There’s always something cool happening in Alexandria. Wander through the artists’ galleries and workspaces in The Torpedo Factory Art Center by the Potomac River (their annual Arts Safari event in October is an especially fun day for kids and families). Don a crazy costume and Trick or Treat with the Boutiques for Halloween, then participate in Del Ray’s annual Halloween parade. Take a class (with a sweet name like “Cupcake Hootenanny” or “Candy Graveyard”) with our friends and candy purveyors extraordinaire at The Sugar Cube. Learn more about the spooktacular history of Old Town Alexandria on a Ghosts and Graveyard Tour--while you’re at it, take on the Old Town Scavenger Hunt, too! Have a look at the Old Town Boutique District and Del Ray Patch websites for more awesome ideas!

If you could invent any spy gadget, what would it be and what would it do?

If we could invent any spy gadget, it would be a Word Detector!  The Word Detector looks just like a pair of glasses, but when you put them on, they do something special: if you say any word out loud, all the books nearby that have that word light up!  That way it’s easy to find examples of fun new words we learn.

Any cool events coming up for my friends who live in the area?

Why, yes! How kind of you to ask! We’re pretty excited about our great lineup for the fall.

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 4 pm -- Author Jon Klassen

The author and illustrator of the hilarious I Want My Hat Back presents his newest picture book, This Is Not My Hat! Bring the whole family to enjoy an event with one of our favorite authors! RSVP info@hooray4books.com.  Ages 3 and up. Free.

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 12:30-6 pm  -- Silhouette Artist Keith Donaldson

There are very few true silhouette artists left in the country, and the amazing Keith Donaldson is one of them! He’ll be at Hooray for books to create a one-of-a-kind hand cut paper silhouette of you, your children, or anyone in your family! Reserve a spot at info@hooray4books.com.  All ages. Deposit required.

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2-3 pm -- Author Elizabeth Brokamp

Celebrate Halloween with us as spooktacular author Elizabeth Brokamp shares her picture book, The Picky Little Witch! Complete with a recipe for Halloween soup, this lighthearted story highlights an all too common problem: how can parents get their little witches (and wizards!) to try new foods?
Ages 3-6. Free.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 2-4 pm -- Author Mary Jane O’Loughlin

Welcome Mary Jane O’Loughlin as she presents Ruby and Baby...an Unlikely Friendship, the story of the bond between an American housecat and a baby elephant from Africa. Little ones will love this adorable animal story!  Ages 3-6. Free.

Sunday, Nov. 4, 2:30-3:30 pm -- Author Sharon Hickey

Grab a spot in our story time corner as local author and illustrator Sharon Hickey reads her picture book, Card Auntie’s Wonderful Workshop. After story time, get in on craft time--creating notes and pictures to send to overseas U.S. service members through Operation Write Home!  Ages 3-6. Free.

Conclusion: Hooray for Books! is the place to be! 

I left a Top-Secret backpack with a signed copy of Double Vision and spy gadgets for you kid spies... 

Find Hooray for Books! on Facebook so you'll never miss an event.

Follow Hooray for Books on Twitter @HFBooks

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Launch Realizations, And Announcing The Double Vision Book Tour

Three things I realized as I worked on launch events (since, you know, I have to market this new book and everything):

Realization #1: I'm a little homeless.

Well, not in the literal sense--I live quite comfortably (see the current Casa Bradley on the left). But given that my love wears combat boots, home is pretty much where ever he's assigned. Right now, that's the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

But when I hear fellow debut authors talk about their launch parties in home towns with dozens of friends attending, I have to scratch my head, feeling lost. Truth is, I have friends all over the world. Colorado, North Dakota, California, Holland, France, England, India--you get the idea. So no home town as such. And most everyone's too far away to have a party. I had fun in Birmingham, but still...

The world is my home town. Strange but true.

Realization #2: I really hate talking about myself.

I love Double Vision, and I'm really excited people get to read Linc's story now. I'm proud of this book. But there are only so many times you can talk about it to promote the book. Buy the book, please.

See? Nuf said.

I'd rather talk about someone else.

Realization #3: Book tours are expensive.

Even though the world is my home town, I don't have the budget to tour or host a launch party everywhere. Hence the virtual cake last week. But I'd really like to do a book tour.

Solution: A virtual book tour. Instead of going myself, I thought I would send Linc, since he's a cool dude between missions (hopefully, he'll stay out of trouble this way, too...).

He's going on a tour around the States (since the world is a wee bit ambitious), visiting my favorite book stores along the way. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Tattered Cover, Hooray for Books!, Little Shop of Stories--and many others. Linc will get the scoop on what's happening at each of these bookstores and what to do for fun in their city or town, and we'll talk gadgets too.

It'll be fun, so I hope you'll tune in! Linc's tour kicks off tomorrow...

And here's a Monday Music song, apropos:

Fun in Birmingham, And My First Signing

I had a blast in Birmingham this weekend. Partied with my SCBWI Southern Breeze peeps, hosted a workshop on writing YA and MG mysteries to a packed room, and had my first official book signing.

See, that's me. Behind me is not a prison, but just a closed high school cafeteria, since that's where the convention was. I was a little worried when I got there, because the bookseller had two huge stacks of Double Vision in the mini-store. Did they think I was famous or something?

But the store sold out, and I had to bring in my box-o-books from the car. So hurrah for Linc!

Cool story: the volunteer assigned to help me out had read the e-book of Double Vision before coming to Birmingham, and from the writing, he thought I was a guy. A compliment, in my opinion, since the book is for boys, sort of. But you can imagine his surprise...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Talking Writer Friends And Birmingham

As I'm celebrating my book launch this week, I really miss my Colorado writer friends. They were there for me when I was collecting rejection letters, and high-fived me when I finally found a home for my writing. They're awesome...

But I made a few new friends, even if they are kind of scattered around the expansive South. Here's a picture of a few Southern Breeze members (my SCBWI chapter--from left to right: Jo Kittinger, Claudia Pearson, and Hester Bass)--they really made this Colorado transplant feel like home.

And I'm off to catch up with them in Birmingham this weekend! I'm teaching a workshop on writing MG and YA mysteries at their Fall Conference. It'll be fun.

Hope to see you there....!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Join Me For My Book Birthday! There's Cake...

If you've been hanging around here a while, you probably know: it's launch day for Double Vision! Seems like it took forever for this day to come, and then suddenly, here we are.

Pass the cake (I'm all about the cake, you know)...

And for more partying, come on over to Sleuths, Spies, and Alibis for an Interrogation Room interview with yours truly. You can enter to win a signed copy of the book!

And if you've followed me this far, I hope you'll consider buying a copy of Double Vision--it makes a great present... Easy buy buttons are to the right, see?

That's it for the hard sell from me. Have some more cake, and let's celebrate!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Music: Happy Birthday, Swedish Chef Style!

As luck would have it, my birthday is today, and my book birthday is tomorrow. So I thought a little Swedish Chef was in order.

Pass the cake, all...!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Want A Free Kid Spy Giveaway Package?

Of course you do--who doesn't love spy stuff and freebies?

There's a nice review of Double Vision up at Criminal Element, and you can win a signed copy, spy gadgets and the latest Spy Kids movie.

Go over there if you're feeling lucky...

The Great Library Giveaway--Donate a Book for Good Karma

Want to donate a middle-grade book to a library in need? From The Mixed-Up Files is running a Great Library Giveaway--check out the details here.

Donate a book for some good karma. You know, in case you cut someone off in traffic this morning...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Back From Bouchercon

I'm back from Bouchercon! It was fun. And with 1200+ attendees, I still managed to miss some people. It's strange but true.

Opening ceremonies were at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--this picture is of me, being the tourist out in front.

The museum was amazing; I played hooky for much of the ceremony (apologies to the organizers...) to roam around. I highly recommend the place, if you find yourself in Cleveland.

Then on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. (yes, really), I was on a new author panel with a bunch of fellow newbies and Val McDermid. She was funny, we were nervous, and despite the early hour, a few hundred people showed up. So success, I say.

I'm pretty sure us attendees took over the city, because there were parties in just about every bar... Good times. I had a chance to meet fellow Harper authors, listen to some noir readings at the bar, and hear author Heather Graham rock it on stage.

The highlight of my trip? Going to the Cleveland Library--isn't it gorgeous? It's even more amazing inside.

And I was able to meet Annisha Jeffries, Children's Librarian Extraordinaire, also Princess Leia for Star Wars Reads Day. It's a great library--visit if you're there. You won't be disappointed.

Of course I came back with a suitcase full of books, which was the best souvenir ever. And I also took home a little crush on Cleveland. It's a cool city.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are You Going To Bouchercon?

If you are, come say hi! I looked at the attendee list, and realized I know about four people out of the 1200+ attending...

I'm going to try not to be such a fangirl, but some of my favorite authors are attending! Must act like a professional... Hope to see you there.

Oh, and in case you're interested: there's a nice article on me and Double Vision in the ITW Big Thrill monthly newsletter.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October's Must Have Book Is...

...Double Vision. Well, at least it is over at the ThinkBannedThoughts blog, where you can read an interview with me. Come say hi, take a load off, and join us for virtual drinks and snacks.

And I'm all about equal opportunity reading, so tell me: what book are you excited about this fall?

I would love some recommendations for my shrinking TBR pile...