Posted in Books, kidlit, middle grade, Uncategorized

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

what-im-1Last week I managed to find time to read a book that’s been sitting on my e-reader for a while.

While I won’t be posting extensive book reviews, I’ll be sharing details about middle grade books that I’ve read or currently reading on this blog.

This was a really fun read with lots of plot twists and mystery. I definitely recommend!


Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

by Wendelin Van Draanen

Goodreads description

Grams always told her those binoculars would get her into trouble. Now Sammy’s witnessed a crime at the Heavenly Hotel-a light fingered thief stealing $4,000 from Madame Nashira, the astrologer with the fire-hazard hair-do. Thing is, while she was watching him, he was watching her, too…

Fast-paced and funny, packed with menacing suspects and clever clues, the Sammy Keyes mysteries keep you guessing to the last riveting page.



Posted in First drafts, kidlit, middle grade, Writing, Writing for Kids

How do you write?

finish-what-you-start-1 I’ve got more unfinished manuscripts than I care to admit to.

Some were hard to part with and others are in a temporary holding pattern until I’m ready to dust them off and regroup.

For the unfinished manuscripts, one thing has become quite clear: failure to outline was my downfall. I need a map of what happens in the beginning, during the middle and at the end. From the heap of incomplete writing projects in my Dropbox, I’ve recognized that I’ll never make it to the finish line unless I’ve got a clear map of where I’m going.

By all means, I’m no pantser either.

Up to this point, I’ve had a hybrid approach: write a little, outline a little. And up to a certain point I would say that it worked…well sort of. I had a tendency to write myself into a corner with no escape route, which led to major rewrites. This is why I’m in the position I’m in now.

Re-reading an 180+ page manuscript so I can outline my way to the end.

Big respect to all those who go with the flow and fill the pages but if I’m ever going to have a solid first draft, imma need that outline 🙂

I’m not saying that I need to know every character or every single move they make before I start writing but with an outline I’ve got a much better chance of crossing that finish line.

So how do you write?

Tell me what works for you in the comments.