How to be a Detective in 10 Easy Steps

Thanks to Deana Barnhart, GUTGAA goddess, my query and first 150 words are up for Round #1 Agent Judging.  I have been plugging away for nearly a year on my first children’s manuscript with some encouragement and a huge learning curve along the way. So I would like to take a minute to thank Deana for helping those of us slushing along!

How to be a Detective in 10 Easy Steps

Middle Grade Mystery
24,000 words


In this contemporary middle grade mystery Celia Narro, a Fancy-Nancy-meets-Nancy-Drew heroine, must put her knowledge of fashion and fabrics to work as she unravels the secrets of communicating with a boy and making new friends while discovering the different forms treasure can take. When Celia, a 10-year-old Hispanic fashionista-entrepreneur, reluctantly moves to a small lakeshore town upstate, she’s worlds away from her best friend Indira Prashad and their glamorous life on New York City’s Upper West Side. Fighting culture shock, she finds refuge in a secret room hidden behind her new bedroom closet that is both a legacy from the Underground Railroad and a key to a long-lost local treasure. Celia views this treasure as her one-way ticket straight back to New York City, but the search pulls her into a battle with jealous fellow 5th grader Jane Archer and Jane’s strange uncle Theo Rathbone, a member of a secret society who makes no attempt to hide his dislike for “illegal aliens”.

With the help of 10-year-old junior archaeologist and part-time Renaissance knight Joe Eli, Celia nearly has the treasure in her grasp when Joe, her only new friend, disappears. To find him Celia must choose between the treasure and Joe by reaching out to her nemesis Jane. This story is set in the form of a how-to book for beginning detectives with an ethnically diverse cast of characters, strong heroine and historic elements.

First 150:

“Seriously, a FARM and a restaurant,” Celia said. “Can you even?” She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and put her hands on her hips.

“Now do I look like a farmer?” she asked.

Indira Prashad put on her Fake Serious Face as she looked at her best friend, a Hispanic mirror of her own image. From Celia’s glossy black razor-cut hair to her manicured nails down to the soles of her designer sandals they were both city girls through and through, and had been ever since they met on the first day of kindergarten.

“Noooo. . .,” Indira said, dissolving into the giggly laugh Celia liked so well.

“And does this look like a farm dog?” Celia asked, pointing at Coco. This time they both laughed because there was no way to even picture the handful of cotton candy fluff anywhere other than the upholstered streets of the Upper West Side.

About empirewriter

I am a baker/writer lucky enough to live in northern Michigan. Google+ Heather Harris-Brady

Posted on September 19, 2012, in The Writing Experience. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I remember reading this over at GUTGAA and thought it was a great idea. 🙂 Thanks for posting the Hook, Line, & Sinker button. Hopefully we’ll see your entry over there!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: