Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Doesn't it feel great when you're talking about music-tv-movies-books to someone and find out you have the same taste? "I love it too" -- four words that connect us with each other. Having something in common is a unversal Superglue that unites people.

Not having anything in common can be interesting, too, and sometimes you can convince a friend to try something new. Or by liking something unique, you feel unique, too.

So I thought I'd share my list of things I like that are POPULAR or SHOULD BE.


Girl with Dragon Tattoo (Swedish translated to English) plus upcoming movie
The Help

Terra Nova (not sure if this is popular or not!)
Two Broke Girls
Survivor, Amazing Race, Project Runway,Big Brother

Harry Popular...I mean...Potter
Twilight -- yeah, I liked them which is less popular now than last year
Hunger Games-soon to be as popular as Twilight once the movie comes out

Ruby Red
Emerald Atlas
Liesl and Po
The Future of Us
Terrier trilogy by Tamora Pierce

And a picture book called PIRATE NAP by Danna Smith which is so fun to read that kids will beg "Again!"

Under the topic of "chocolate"...I love chocolate which is always popular especially at holidays.

Cats. Writers and cats, we just understand each other.

Music -- I have an odd mx of popular (Katy & GaGa) & Coldplay) and vintage (Beach Boys, Abba) on my Pandora app.

And I love musicals -- already have tickets for my family to go to see WICKED in June -- with a great song called "Popular."

Sunday, December 04, 2011



A book, of course. But add a childhood story to the book and it becomes more than a book; it becomes a never-ending story (which was an amazing movie of the same title by the way...but I degress....)

The story of this Christmas-theme book begins when I was 13 years old. I was shy, unpopular, insecure and bursting with creativity that often came out in the inventive crafts and games my best friend and I created (but that's another story). When I couldn't hang out with my best friend Lori, I spent time with my other best friend: books. I loved reading so much and had discovered girl mystery books. My favorites were the Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton series (rivals in publishing, but best friends on my bookshelves). So I wrote two fan letters--the first went to Carolyn Keene care of Grosset & Dunlap. I never received a reply (ghosts can't write fan letters after all). So I wrote a letter to my other favorite author, Margaret Sutton, original creator and author of 38 Judy Bolton mystery novels. And Margaret wrote back.

I was SO thrilled to have a letter from my favorite author. I showed it off at school the next day and will never forget that thrill, especially when I get the opportunity to give the same thrill to a fan of my books. Well, my relationship with Margaret didn't end there. She recognized something in me, maybe passion for writing, and we kept sharing letters. I met her in person at my high school graduation party (just my family in the kitchen, with Margaret as the celebrity guest).
PHOTO: Linda (age 17) Margaret (age 71)

As adults Margaret and I kept in touch mostly through holiday cards but when she moved to Berkeley, just an hour away, I visited her. On one visit she gave me the address for a group of her fans who had started a newsletter, The Whispered Watchword. Meeting other Judy Bolton fans was amazing. Even more amazing, through serendipity, one of the other fans has been given the beginning chapters of a new Judy Bolton mystery by Margaret and told she could do whatever she wanted with it. She gave it to me.

Now to understand how HUGE this was, imagine your favorite series and how you felt when it ended. I'd read all 38 Judy Bolton mysteries many times and longed for more. Just one more mystery, I wished. And now I had the opportunity to make it happen. But I had no synopsis or outline to go by, only 3 chapters that ended dramatically with a ambulance siren. I knew these books so well, better than I knew my own writing style. And I was thrilled for the chance to finish this book. So I reread Judy's and studied the style. I typed like I was possessed, and in three weeks had finished the book which Margaret titled THE TALKING SNOWMAN.

Several months later, I met Margaret along with some of her fans in Pennsylvania at a Judy Bolton reunion. I showed Margaret the manuscript, and while she pointed out things that would need to be edited, she was very positive, even impressed that I came up with solutions to the mystery and also guessed much of what she had planned. Of course, I couldn't include her trademark "something that really happened to the author" so she took the manuscript from me and added this scene herself, making editing marks and returning it to me for completion. And years later, I self-published THE TALKING SNOWMAN, a new Judy Bolton mystery co-written by Margaret Sutton and me.

Fans were so thrilled to have this book that I didn't need to advertise. Word spread and they found me. It didn't feel right to profit from a work of love, so I priced the book low; enough to cover my expenses. The first 500 books sold out so next time I printed 1,000. And I continue to sell these books to fans who stumble upon the www.Judybolton.com website and are stunned to find there are more than 38 books.

I wrote an introduction to SNOWMAN which begins: THIS BOOK IS A GIFT.

THE TALKING SNOWMAN is a Christmas story that keeps on giving to readers who love Judy Bolton; the girl heroine who wasn't perfect like Nancy Drew which endeared her to readers like me who watched her age from 15 to mid-20's; a teen to a young married woman.

And the 38 books of the original series have all been reprinted by Applewood Books so new readers can fall in love with Judy, too. Go online and search for Applewood's reprint of the first Judy Bolton book: THE VANISHING SHADOW, based on a real flood.

Make a comment on this blog and I'll randomly pick a winner who can choose one of my books as a prize. I have copies of my SEER, DEAD GIRL, STRANGE ENCOUNTERS series, as well as TALKING SNOWMAN to choose from.