It's August! That means I'm at that point in summer where I complain a lot about the heat and air quality, and about not being able to cook in the house without sweating.
But August also means back to school, which I think we're all a bit weary of. I actually jumped and felt my heartrate rise as I passed the back-to-school section last month...
Let's face it: this whole online schooling, Zooming, and hybrid-or-something learning has been hard on kids and teachers. And although I no longer have kids at this stage, I empathize with all of you who are carrying the weight of Covid... I hope this upcoming school year is a bit calmer for everyone. I look forward to doing lots of school visits again; I did over a hundred this past school year (!!). If you're an educator and want to invite me for a (virtual or in-person) author visit, you can find more info here.
For some good news: Midnight at the Barclay Hotel won the Colorado Book Award! I'm so humbled and proud, and most of all thankful to Colorado Humanities for the honor. Midnight at the Barclay Hotel is going strong (huzzah!) in sales and recognition even a year after publication, and it's out in paperback this month. So if you haven't gotten a copy yet, now is your chance to snag one at a bargain price.
To promote the book, I'll be roaming around Colorado in August, mostly at virtual events but some in person:
Aug. 7-9: Middleground Bookfest, panel on MG mysteries on Aug. 8th. (virtual and free)
Aug. 18: Sisters in Crime Colorado Book club (virtual)
Aug. 25-29: Bouchercon, New Orleans, LA
Aug 27: SCBWI Colorado Springs meet (in-person, members only)
More events to come in September and October!
What I'm reading in Young Readers:
I've loved Dori Butler's mysteries for kids for a very long time now. Her Haunted Library books are just the perfect chapter book series; King and Kayla is a great series to check out if you're looking for early chapter books in mystery (which are hard to find). Book #7, King and Kayla and the Case of the Gold Ring is out now.
What I'm reading in MG:
After we were on a panel together for the Agatha Award nominees for best YA/Juvenile, I finally discovered Elizabeth C. Bunce's Premeditated Myrtle. It won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile, and I can certainly see why, now that I'm deep into this series...
Such a smart MG mystery; I'm moving on to How to Get Away with Myrtle and having a blast reading. Elizabeth and I will be talking about her third book, Cold-Blooded Myrtle virtually at Murder by the Book on October 5th, if you want to join the MG mystery fun. she's a very entertaining speaker, so you don't want to miss this event!
What I'm reading in YA:
My TBR pile in YA mysteries is resembling the Tower of Pisa right now, but I couldn't resist The Taking of Jake Livingston. The cover had me take notice--nothing like a good spooky mystery to get me longing for those cooler October days leading up to Halloween.
What I'm writing:
I'm hard at work on my next middle-grade mystery, DAYBREAK ON RAVEN ISLAND. It's a little older reading-wise than Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, and a little spookier... Here's the quick summary:
When three kids miss the last ferry to get off Raven Island during a school field trip and are stuck on the island overnight, they must outrun a killer, a weird ghost hunting crew, and a creepy flock of birds--and solve a generations-old mystery--if they want to survive until daybreak.
It was a blast to write and now edit, and I can't wait to tell you more as we get closer to Summer 2022, when DAYBREAK ON RAVEN ISLAND is out in the world. I had to do lots of research into prisons (think Alcatraz), Alfred Hitchcock suspense, ghost hunting, and ravens. Get ready for me to talk your ear off about all that in 2022...
What I'm doing:
In the meantime, I'm enjoying summer while glamping in our new camper. It's fun, and I'm even getting some writing in here and there. It's a new adventure for sure.
Also, I have a recipe in this fun middle-grade cookbook, which you can download for free! Mary Lanni and Julie DenOuden deserve all the kudos for putting this together. You can download the book here...
More editing, and a bit of writing on a brand-new MG mystery, and a (top-secret!) YA mystery project. More on all that when I actually finish writing it... As you can see from this picture, my cat Chloe is on the case.
This blog post is actually a newsletter I'm sending to subscribers. If you sign up HERE, you'll be entered to win a signed copy of Midnight at the Barclay Hotel..!
Everyone likes to be a winner, right? Mr. Barclay certainly thinks so...