Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Take Your Child To A Bookstore Day!

Well, not today--it's actually Saturday (Dec. 1), but we can get excited ahead of time, right? What better way to do some good and get a book. You know, for the children.

Happy book shopping, all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who's Your Go-To Author?

I'm making my holiday wish list. It's not very long, and consists entirely of books (no surprise there, eh?).

Michael Connelly's latest is on there--I don't even know much about this book, but I want it. He's one of a few go-to authors on my list: those writers whose book I buy no matter what.

How about you? Do you have a favorite author like that?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Walking In The Air (from: The Snowman) And Random Thoughts On Dated Things

I loved The Snowman movie when I was a kid. I think it was the magical idea of stuff that only happens to kids, after parents think you're long asleep. Like the BFG by Roald Dahl.

But when I watched this movie with my kiddos, they couldn't care less. It was too dated for them, I think--though they've watched their share of movies and television from the eighties and even back a few decades, and loved that. My oldest devoured the old Twilight Zone episodes.

This weekend, we watched a nineties movie where the dad character was going to great lengths to find a popular toy for his kid. My daughter huffed. "What's his issue? Doesn't he know you can just order it off the internet?"

How about you, fellow Sleutheri? Are there movies or books that you loved that now seem dated to kids? Ones that held up?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Where To Get The Best Holiday Presents

I'm a big fan of Thanksgiving, and I get a little offended when people start talking holiday shopping before the bird has been cooked. But I'm going to break my own rule this year...

See, I sent Linc around the States to check out all these great bookstores so he could report back and give us all the scoop. Because as an author and reader, I'm a big fan of these independent bookstores. If you've ever visited a good one, you know how the staff, the atmosphere, and the personal recommendations make all the difference. I've discovered great new authors by visiting my local indies.

So I hope you'll join me and check out these bookstores for your holiday shopping:

Hooray For Books in Alexandria, VA

Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle, WA

Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA

Tattered Cover in Denver, CO

Murder by the Book in Houston, TX

Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS

Park Street Books in Medfield, MA

Most of them stock signed books (best present ever!), and will ship them to you. Or go to your own local bookstore. Saturday is Small Business Saturday...

That's my soapbox moment.

Happy Turkey Day, all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Talking Paris, And Middle-Grade Mysteries

The hardest part of being an author with a book fresh off the press? It's that I feel like I'm always talking about myself...

But I hope you'll come check out my post over at Lara Britt's blog, about Paris and researching location.

And I'm also in the SCBWI National Bulletin, talking middle-grade mystery.

That's it. Back to your regular programming...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Linc's Bookstore Tour Stop #7: Park Street Books

It's Linc again, still traveling around the States. My bookstore tour is almost over...

I'm kind of bummed, but then I should really head home to California for some Thanksgiving grub. My last stop takes me over to Massachusetts.

Seventh Stop: Park Street Books 
Place: Medfield, MA

Here's the scoop:

Question: What makes Park Street Books different from other bookstores?

Our bookstore is different in many ways: We are the biggest children's bookstore in New England. There is nothing downloadable or electronic in the store. We never advertise ... just word of mouth.

Question: I have a day to spend in the Medfield area. What should I do for fun?
Medfield Fun: Rocky Wood reservation for hiking.

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

My spy gadget would be a piece of wood with lead in it that can write down facts ... Wait, that may have already been invented.

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

Our cool events: We have lots of author visits and we have a creative art studio with classes and workshops. You can even paint your own pottery.

Verdict: Park Street Books is pretty cool, so come on by to meet the staff!

You can follow Park Street Books on Facebook, and check out the staff's favorite books for some holiday present ideas...

Friday, November 16, 2012

For A Friday Laugh

We went to see Wreck It Ralph last weekend. It was fun, but for some reason, I always remember those short animated movies afterward. This one had Paperman, a silent mini-film that had the kid-filled movie theater silent and glued to the screen. Brilliant, but alas not on the ol' Youtube yet. I'm sure it'll be up for an award.

But then there was a preview for Despicable Me 2. Not like they need me to plug the movie or anything, but this trailer made me laugh. So I had to share.

Happy Friday, all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My (Strange) Path To Publication, And Win A Signed Copy Of DOUBLE VISION

Fellow writerly people always want to know: how did you get published? It's an unusual saga for me and Linc, and I talk about it over at the awesome Smack Dab In The Middle Blog.

Come on over, comment, and enter to win a signed copy of Double Vision...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Linc's Bookstore Tour Stop #6: Lemuria Books

Linc here. I just left Houston, and now I'm in Jackson, Mississippi.

My tour is almost over... I'm kind of bummed about that--this is way more fun than going to school, let me tell you.

Sixth stop: Lemuria Books 
Place: Jackson, MS
Question: What makes Lemuria Books different from other bookstores? 
Well for one thing, just the sheer number of books! We want to make sure that we have the exact book you're looking for. We also have a lot, and I mean a LOT, of signed books We usually have more than one signing a week and we loved signed books.

Question: I have a day to spend in Jackson. What should I do for fun? After you have visited us, you should head over to Eudora Welty's house in Belhaven. One of the most complete author houses in the United States, Ms. Welty was a beloved Mississippian, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a lover of books. Take a tour of the house and you will feel like you met her. Oh and also, go visit the children's museum. I know, I know, you're twelve, too old for such things, but really, even adults have fun there. From the huge map/playground of Mississippi to the largest Scrabble board ever made, you can definitely learn a lot here and have too much fun doing it.

Question: If you could invent any spy gadget, what would it be and what would it do?
A gadget that reads people's thoughts and records them into written transcripts. You could do a lot of spying that way!

Question: Any cool events coming up for my friends who live in the area? Well, on Wednesday, November 14th at 5:00 we have the great author John Flanagan coming for the newest book in his Brotherband Chronicles series, The Hunters. I think you might even like it...

Looks like I'm sticking around Jackson for a while...!

Follow the Lemuria Books blog, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Or you can come meet the staff in person! I left a backpack with gadgets and a signed copy of Double Vision...

Monday, November 12, 2012

You've Made It As A Writer When....

How would you answer that question, fellow writers? Are you in it for the money (ha!), the fame (double-ha!), your name on the book cover?

I shared my 'Made It Moment' with Jenny Milchman, and it wasn't about any of those things... Check it out here.

What's yours?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

For Veterans Day

I wasn't going to post anything for Veterans Day. Didn't really have anything to add, plus as you may know, my better half wears combat boots, so it feels a little close to home.

But as we enjoyed an outing to the aquarium, I couldn't help but think of the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, etc. who are at war. They have to miss this sort of thing. And that--on top of the perils of serving in the military in combat--is really hard.

So as you enjoy your day, like me, I hope you'll join me in giving a little mental nod to those military members. Imagine what it would be like to miss that birthday, Christmas, whatever. And enjoy yours a little extra, for them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Linc's Bookstore Tour Stop #5: Murder by the Book

Linc here--I just left Denver, after hanging out at Tattered Cover and checking out the cool city of Denver. Now I'm headed south to Texas for the fifth stop in my tour. I'm having a blast!

Fifth Stop: Murder By The Book 
Place: Houston, TX

Here's the skinny:
Question: What makes Murder By The Book different from other bookstores?

For starters, we only carry mysteries! Our entire store is devoted to crime fiction, and we have a whole section for espionage/spy novels. Everyone on the staff at the store loves books and reading, so we're always ready to offer recommendations. We also host a TON of author events. A typical week has us hosting 3-4 events.

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

There's so much to do in and around Houston. My favorite thing to do is spend a day at Hermann Park. The park has a beautiful Japanese Garden, paddle boats, a train to ride through the park, the Houston Zoo, and it's surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts and The Museum of Natural Science. You can also take a trip down to NASA and visit Space Center Houston.

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

I think a gadget that put everyone in the vicinity to sleep for a short period would make sneaking into people's houses much easier. You would just sneak up to the area you needed to snoop around in, turn on the device and get a 10 or 15 minute window to find any information you would need. It's perfect, no one would get harmed and you could in, get the info you need, and get back out before anyone was the wiser!

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

We have some really great stuff coming up in December. We're still finalizing details, but December 8th and 9th we'll be hosting local authors at the store to signed books just in time for the holidays. We've got 14 authors signed up so far! On December 22nd we'll be hosting our annual Holiday Open House. We'll have live holiday music as well a last minute edition of Murder By The Book Recommends (where staff members tell the crowd about their favorite reads).

You can find the latest events on the Murder By The Book website.

Conclusion: Murder By The Book is where it's at!

Find Murder By The Book on Facebook and Twitter, so you always have the scoop. Or better yet, head on over there. Tell them Linc sent you, and they might be able to tell you how to enter to win some spy gadgets and a signed copy of Double Vision...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Do You Nano?

Every year, I plan to join the NaNoWriMo thing (you know, where you write 50k words in a month). It's so ideally suited for the middle-grade writer, since that's the length (roughly) of a MG manuscript.

But every year, I bow out. This time, it's because I'm still brewing Linc's third adventure. The outline is almost done... I think I'm taking the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race road for this one--cookin' it slow like a good soup.

How about you, writerly friends? Do you Nano?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Linc's Bookstore Tour Stop #4: Tattered Cover

It's Linc again. I left Georgia, and now I'm in Denver, Colorado, heading to the fourth stop in my bookstore tour. Did you know this airport looks like a bunch of tipis? Pretty cool...

Anyway, here's the lowdown on my next stop:

Fourth Stop: Tattered Cover Book Store 
Place: Denver (metro), Colorado
Question: What makes Tattered Cover different from other bookstores?

Excellent question Linc! Of course the whole idea of independent bookstores is their “independence” – so every bookstore is unique. We at the Tattered Cover are particularly proud of our author event series. We love being able to connect authors with their readers, and because we have three stores, we're able to host over 500 author events every year!

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

Denver sure has a lot to offer for an adventurous person like yourself. The Tattered Cover staff loves to enjoy local music, eat at some of our fabulous local restaurants, and enjoy Denver's year-round (mostly) sunny weather. Right now you can explore “Pompeii” at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, learn all about Vincent Van Gogh's amazing career at the Denver Art Museum, and catch an indie flick at the Denver Film Center/Colfax, just a few feet away from our bookstore on Colfax avenue.

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

I think one of the coolest gadgets any spy could have would be a belt that generates an invisibility field – rendering the wearer invisible. While I can't imagine the science behind it, I'm sure there's a brilliant spy-gadget inventor somewhere just putting the finishing touches on this idea!

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

I don't know what kind of books your friends are interested in, but I can say that we have a calendar full of events for kids of all ages (and adults) this fall. From storytimes with crafts to paranormal mysteries for teens, we have something for everyone. All anyone needs to do is visit our website ( and check out our event calendar.

Sounds like Tattered Cover is the place to be, right?

Find Tattered Cover on Facebook, read the Tattered Cover blog, and follow on Twitter so you never miss an event.

I dropped a Kid Spy giveaway package with gadgets and a signed copy of Double Vision at Tattered cover, so head on over there to enter to win...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Want To Help With Post #Sandy Recovery?

Go to Kid-Lit Cares!

There's a most cool list of items you can bid on, organized by the awesome Kate Messner, and all proceeds go to the Red Cross. I mean, who doesn't want a writer's retreat in Austin, or a manuscript critique by a great agent or editor?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sending All Best To East Coast Friends...

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling a little helpless as I watch the images of devastation from the East Coast. I wish I could send food, power, and a cleanup crew...

But aside from donations, I'll send some Kermit and Cookie Monster, because they always cheer me up. Hang in there, and may the recovery be swift...


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...