Thursday, March 31, 2011


For a bit of science and deep thinking, check out this article over at PSFK on the hierarchy of creativity, and how imagination fits into that. I thought my fellow creative people might find it interesting.

Maybe if you imagine that your manuscript (or tax return?) is finished, you can make it so.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Those of you who've met me in person know: I can have a little bit of a... uhm... potty mouth? I blame my husband, who cusses ten times more than I do. I've been working on being more of a lady, with some days being better than others.

I thought this was an interesting article (Flavorwire) on the most popular cuss words among kids. It looks at both U.K. and U.S. trends. Not much has changed, with the f-bomb still popular as ever. One interesting thing: British boys cuss twice as much as girls, where in the U.S., they're about equal in their exclamation of dirty words.

There's gender equality yet!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kick In The Pants

Being creative can be hard. My writer pals know what I'm talking about. There are family commitments, work, TV shows to watch, fridges that need cleaning. I can come up with 101 reasons to put off writing.

Thankfully, agent Mary Kole has a really great post on taking responsibility, and get creative already. No excuses.

A great kick in the pants for your Tuesday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

If I Was From Paris

I'm busy plotting novels, and researching stuff--including Paris. I'm lucky enough to have visited there a few times, seen the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc. It's an amazing place, with an amazing history, which is always good for us writers. Did you know for instance that Paris has a whole underground tunnel system? It's patrolled by police, but many corners are still undiscovered, and there's a whole underground culture that lives there.

Fascinating stuff. The February issue of National Geographic has a great feature on these underground tunnels, their history, and even a map. Great for research. It's leaving me hungry for croissants...

How do you research locales for your work?

For Writers: Live Event Today

For my writer pals: check out today's event at WriteOnCon featuring lit agents Michael Bourret and Jim McCarthy. Topic: "Getting Started In Today's Market."

It's free, which we love. And a great way to start your week.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not So Wimpy

There's an interesting article over at Publishers Weekly, tallying up children's book sales for 2010. The big winners: series--no surprise there. E-books are winning too, again not surprising.

Read the whole thing here.

And happy weekend, all!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Music: I Heart Overalls

It wasn't until today that I realized I skipped Monday Music! Shame on me. I'll blame my house, since I was busy painting it--it looks good, though I realized while I was up high on the ladder that I needed overalls for the job. They have handy loops and pockets.

I love overalls. I wore them for years, until fashion magazines repeatedly reminded me they were no longer cool, and hadn't been for a long time. So when my last pair fell apart, I didn't buy another (as it turned out you can't buy them anywhere except farmer feed stores, which I took as another hint).

Anyway, as I was thinking about how much I missed overalls, I thought of Come On Eileen, THE overall song if there ever was one. It's also a bit of a stalker story, so don't try this at home, kids.

Here's to hoping overalls come back into fashion. Legwarmers did, so why not right?

Monday, March 21, 2011


Next weekend is Left Coast Crime 2011! In Santa Fe! And I'm not going, sigh... Between domestic duties and timing, it just ain't happening for me this year. It's a bummer, because this little conference is my favorite, and I saw in the line-up that I'll be missing lots of friends.

There's always next year, thankfully--in Sacramento, like you needed a reason, right? And if you're going to Santa Fe, I expect a full report.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Double Free

Two free events for my writer friends:

First, Pikes Peak Writers has a 45-minute workshop, "The Three Stories: Front, Back and Perspective", presented by authors Linda Rohrbough, Jodi Anderson (aka Jodi Dawson), and Laura Hayden. Download here.

And WriteOnCon, a free online writers conference, is scheduled for August 16 through August 18 this year. Still a bit of a wait, but that just gives you some time to prepare--you know, write that manuscript to pitch, and buy some extra comfy pants to hang around the house those days.

All free! We're cheapskates here at YA Sleuth, so free rocks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


My writer pals know: it takes a lot of work and patience to get to be a published writer. Tons of rejection, self-doubt--all while we look to that day when things finally come together.

Twitter pal Don Lafferty posted this link of literary tattoos the other day, which reminded me of my idea of celebrating my Book Deal Someday. I was going to get a tattoo. The Dixie Chicks did it for each of their albums, and I thought that was cool. And I'm a cool chick that way, right?

Well, uhm. Yeah. As it turns out, I'm not really all that cool of a chick--I'm more of a chicken, honestly. I celebrated my book deal with beer and pizza, at home. And I liked it that way.

When you're waiting for that day when you can count yourself among the published, you think it'll be all different once you're there. But it really isn't. I'm still working, just like before, writing, plotting, and wondering if it's any good. And I'm still not all that adventurous. Still not cool enough for a tattoo. I leave the adventure to my guy Lincoln Baker, while I sit in my office, cat on lap, snack at the ready.

I'll save that tattoo for when I sell a million books or something. I'm sure I'll be much cooler by then...

Monday, March 14, 2011


I was going to post some Monday music today, but... With what's going on in Japan today, I just couldn't.

Normally, I focus on YA and MG sleuthery here, and stay away from off-topic news. But today, I'm thinking of Japan. It's awful. I want to go over there with food, water, shelter and hugs.

So love to Japan today. Tomorrow, back to your regular programming.

Friday, March 11, 2011


To continue my post from yesterday on reaching today's kids: here's a super-interesting article in Publishers Weekly on how publishers are trying new things to reach young readers on the web. The article starts with a teen focus, but later talks about middle-grade and even picture book marketing via the ol' web. Cool stuff.

Happy weekend, YA Sleutheri!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back to the Future

Those of you who've followed this blog a while probably know I'm a reluctant techno adopter. Sure, I blog and Tweet like a birdie, but there are still a ton of things I have yet to learn. How to make my website cooler and less templatey, for one. Hashtags on Twitter, and how to text on my phone. I'm a little bit of a grandma sometimes when it comes to technology.

So with my first book coming out in a few years, I started thinking ahead about how to reach readers in 2013. What will your average middle-grader be up to by then? Will Twitter be out, or is it not even in with tweens? And how about these new social networking sites for tweens that are popping up?

What techno gear will kids have in the future? Any predictions?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Remember your resolutions for 2011? Did you plan to lose some weight, be more organized, etc.? How's all that coming along?

Here's a feel-good story: this teen has been doing something nice for someone EVERY DAY as part of her resolution. Next time someone complains about today's youth, you can send them this link.

Me, I vowed to write something new (check) and learn to cook a minestrone soup in 2011--now I feel really stupid. Or at least humbled. And I still haven't gotten around to that soup yet.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Word of the Day: Kidult

Ever watch a kid movie, catch a joke, and look over at the kids to see if they get it? I have, and the more I watch kid entertainment or read kidlit, the more I catch winks that were obviously meant for me, the adult. For example, I read a Edgar nom that was a really heavy detective pastiche, playing on all the cliches--and a middle-grader hasn't been exposed long enough to appreciate this. A nod to librarians and parents? I don't know.

Anyway, what had me thinking was this article on what's called kidult entertainment (like the new Rango movie). Interesting stuff.

It keeps me wondering: how much entertainment (and I'll include books here) is really for kids, and how much is through the adult lens? Are we directing kids' entertainment too much?

Food for thought.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kids and E-Books

I know, I know: you're sick of people speculating on the future of print and e-books. But this article in Publishers Weekly talks about kids' reading habits now, where e-books are a hit, and where kids still reach for the good ol' print version. Interesting stuff.

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm Such a Deal

Well, Harper Children's thinks so anyway. My middle-grade series sold! Exclamation mark!

Phew, I've been holding this great news in for almost a week now, and let's face it, I'm no good at keeping secrets. Here's the announcement on Publishers Marketplace.

F.T. Bradley's debut DOUBLE VISION, the story of 12 year-old ne'er-do-well who just so happens to be a dead ringer for a junior government agent who's gone missing in the midst of an international hunt for one of the world's most precious artifacts, billed as the first of a new action/adventure series in the vein of ALEX RIDER and "National Treasure," to Barbara Lalicki at Harper Children's, in a significant deal, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, by Stephen Barbara at Foundry Media Group (NA).

That's me, the F.T. Bradley. No, really.

Exciting, huh? I'll continue to talk in exclamation marks for a while now! And let's have cake!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Reluctant Reader

You've heard that term before, right? You definitely have if you're writing for kids, and this term usually refers to boys, middle-school and high school aged. I consider myself a reluctant reader most days. If the author gets too fancy with words, or takes too long to get to the point, I sign off.

Anthony Horowitz (of the Alex Rider series) wrote an interesting article about this non-reading boys issue--it's mostly geared towards the U.K., but all of his thoughts could just as easily apply to the us here in the good ol' U.S. of A. His solution is to make sure the opportunity to read is there, and just let kids find it.

Good ideas, I think, and food for thought.

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...