Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Banned Book

I saw this post on the Upstart Crow blog the other day, of agent Chris Richman with some of his favorite banned books. I wasn't going to join in (I was too lazy to find my camera and take a picture of myself, if you want to know the truth), but then I saw that Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz was at number four in 2008.

What the heck? Okay, so those weren't exactly the words I used, but I have to say I was really surprised to find that one on there. This book is awesome--the whole series rocks. It has all these spooky stories in it, nice and short, so also great for the reluctant reader. My daughter DEVOURED these books. The Scary Stories Series books are important because they're fun to read, even if you're not much of reader.

Anyway, if you want to join in on this banned books blogging bonanza, here 'tis:

1.Go find your favorite banned book.
2.Take a picture of yourself with said book.
3.Give that book some love by explaining why you think it is an important book.
4.Post it to your blog.
5.Spread the word!

And here's me, with the book. For what it's worth, my kids are not holding satanic offerings in the back yard. Yet...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gadgetry, Again

Today's news is in the gadgetry department again, though not the spy kind. This Scholastic study (NY Times) found that kids are very interested in e-readers, and said they'd read for fun more frequently if they had books in e-format. Great news for those concerned kids don't like to read, and maybe a push for publishers and other industry folk.

And good news for us Kidlitters, I think.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


If you've stopped by this blog before, you'll probably know I'm not much of a techie. I like things a little old school. That way I don't have to learn something new--so really, I'm just lazy.

I'm reading book two of the Alex Rider series now, by Anthony Horowitz, which is loads of fun. And Alex, as a MG version of 007, gets his share of gadgets. You'll have the read the books to see what those are.

For my current WIP, I try to stay away from gadgetry (is that a word?) for crime fighting; my guy is old school, like me. But his sidekick is very tech-savvy, so I'll have to do my homework after all.

Thankfully, over at Mulholland Books today, Keith Thomson makes it easy for me by covering some of the latest spy gear. Check out the article for yourself, and get your spy on. It's fun.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Filthy, Filthy Book

I read in The Guardian today that Stephenie Meyer's books are among the most challenged--check out the article. It's interesting in light of banned books week.

Meyer's books are called filthy, anti-family, satanic, and so on. I laughed at these comments, but then they're sad, too. I'm not a Twilight fan, but just don't understand what would make a parent think they have the right to decide what the rest of the world gets to read.

Censorship is so ugly. Maybe every parent who tries to get a book banned should be automatically signed up for a knitting class or something. Seems like they could stand to have something else to do.

And imagine all the great scarfs and sweaters we would have with all that energy redirected.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I've been fortunate enough to live all over the world: Holland, the U.K., Colorado, California, North Dakota--okay, so that last one wasn't such a fortunate situation, aside from getting to see the northern lights. But it's great for the writer in me, all this globetrotting. Plenty of locations to choose from.

For my current manuscript, I'm pretending to be back on California's central coast, and it's proving to be tougher than I thought. Where was that street again? And what did it look like, smell like? I remember parts, but it'll take some research to get the setting details right for the final draft. Plus I'll be seeing things through a 13 year-old's eyes for the book's purpose. So no wine tasting and food festivals--he doesn't care about that.

Over at Kidlit today, agent Mary Kole has some great thoughts on setting, so check it out if you're a writer.

And I'll be dreaming of beautiful Cali.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

39 Clues--Round Deux

The first book in the 39 Clues series is still on my TBR pile, but I read in EW today that the second series is in the works, with David Baldacci writing the final instalment slated for March 2013.

And there's a movie coming out, possibly directed by Stephen Spielberg. Exciting, yes? No word on when this movie will be out yet; you know how it takes the Hollywood folk a while to figure out the details.

Here's the full story, including a nifty interview with Mr. Baldacci.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swirly September

There's just something about September. Lots of birthdays in my family, publishing gets moving again after taking a summer break, and in Colorado everyone is getting their last activities in before the snow hits.

Busy bees we all are. Me, I've had something of a Dutch family invasion, a cat who just had kittens, and the random crises that come with family life, like my daughter's broken fingers yesterday. And we're almost out of milk, I think. I love my life and my family, but it does get a bit nutty sometimes--especially when you're also trying to edit a manuscript.

I thought September was just swirly for me, but then my great friend Deb made me laugh out loud with her post today. I guess I'm not alone in my scatteredness. Cheers, Deb.

Apologies for the lack of sleuthiness here at the YA Sleuth. I'll be on it a little more once it stops being 80-odd degrees out here, and I finish my edits. For this month, I seem to just be able to share the occasional song. This Sara Bareilles tune has been playing in my car a lot, and suits the mood--enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Little Lion Man

It's been quiet on the blog today, you may have noticed if you stop by here on occasion. September is one of those busy months, everything getting back to normal and all. Family visiting, cat having kittens--all fun, but busy also. So YA news has been off the radar.

Plus I've been working on a first draft of a MG novel. Such fun, and all-consuming; you writer friends know what I'm talking about. I'm not one of those people who write a first draft over the course of months or years. When the story is there, all I really want to do is go hang out with my characters. Go to the beach (in this case), get to know everyone, be surprised by the jokes my lead cracks. Good times.

First draft is done! I edit as I go, so hopefully the mess for draft two won't be too bad. But for now, I celebrate, and watch my cat's belly move.

Here's a song for your Friday. This one makes me want to go to the pub and have a Guinness.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I'm coming out of hiding (a fierce cold and mountain of work has kept me busy) to announce the upcoming anthology DISCOUNT NOIR.

I'm in it! And so are many more authors who wrote far better stories than I did, like Patricia Abbott, Ed Gorman, Dave Zeltserman, Chris Grabenstein, Cormac Brown, Gerald So--I could go on for a while, because the lineup is huge.

I'll keep you posted on when it's available. And cheers to Patricia Abbott and Steve Weddle for editing, and agent Stacia Decker of DMLA for pushing forward with this. There are not a lot of venues for short fiction, so I'm glad to see this one found a home, thanks to their commitment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

La Mer

After checking out some music on writer friend John's blog, I started thinking about French music. La Mer by Charles Trenet has to be one of my favorite songs--reminds me of childhood vacations in France, croissants with chocolate inside, real French bread, and sand between my toes.

Summer nostalgia. Enjoy.

Follow along with the MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL blog tour!

I'm so excited for the Aug. 25th release if MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL...!  If you want to join the fun, follow along with the bl...