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The Spellman Files named 2008 Alex Award Winner

THE SPELLMAN FILES is one of ten recipients of the 2008 Alex Awards. This award is given to ten authors whose books, while written for adults, have specific teen appeal. Lisa will be attending the awards ceremony in June at the American Library Association's annual meeting. Congratulations!

Here's a bit more about the award:

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association, named the recipients of the 2008 Alex Awards. . . . The awards, sponsored by Booklist, were announced at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

The Alex Awards were created to recognize that many teens enjoy and often prefer books written for adults, and to assist librarians in recommending adult books that appeal to teens. The award is named in honor of the late Margaret Alexander Edwards, fondly called "Alex" by her closest friends, a young adult specialist at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. She used adult books extensively with young adults to broaden their experience and enrich their understanding of themselves and their world.

Find out more.

Correction # 2

Dear Lisa:

Here’s another glitch for you blog: On page 103 you discuss a scene from “Get Smart” where Max uses 7 different kinds of phones . . . but you list only 6 (including the footnote):

A shoe phone, a wallet phone, eyeglasses phone, tie phone, handkerchief phone, and sock garter phone (by footnote).

Now I’m curious . . . what’s the 7th? . . . or were there only 6?


Doris Childs

* * *

Dear Doris,

Thank you for this fine question. What we have here is something I like to call a “mistake.” Anyone who is reading this blog and has my book in hand should go to page 103 and cross out the number “seven” and write in “six” right above it. (Halfway down the page in the paragraph beginning with KAOS).

I should mention, however, that if this is a library book or a friend’s copy, you might want to ask first before you mark it up. I’m not sure where the library or your friend stands on writing in books.

While it is true I made the above mistake in basic math, I would like to mention why. In the scene involving the variety of camouflaged phones (Season one episode "Satan’s Place"), Max uses all the phones listed above, however, he references having a handkerchief phone. He just never uses it. I suspect I added that one in my head when I was double-checking the numbers.

Thanks again, Doris.

Best wishes,


Mustard or Pants?

As my final bit of unsolicited sharing, I'd like to tell you about Jonesy's Jukebox.

Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols has this fantastic radio show in LA. It's so great, it makes me almost want to live in LA. But I don't think a radio show is a solid enough reason to relocate. Anyway, consider this a rave review.

Also, if Steve Jones playing you songs and talking to you with his wonderful, lazy voice isn't enough, on Friday, he has Jonesy's Jukebox Jury. On that show special guests listen to songs and judge them to be "pants" or "mustard." Mustard is good. Pants bad. It's best when the jury is made up of children, but I've only heard that happen once.

If it were up to me this show would be syndicated and last at least six hours a day, so that I can listen to it in my car no matter where I live. But I think Jonesy prefers a shorter work day.

Thanks for reading my very last unsolicited blog post.

Blogger's Block

It has been brought to my attention that I'm not blogging. It was brought to my attention a while ago, as well, but I chose to ignore it. I'm going to be honest: I don't like blogging. The traditional blogging format (where I'm expected to muse on a variety of topics) has never worked for me and I have finally decided to give up on it.

However . . . I am happy to answer questions--any kind of question at all--and post the answer in this blog space. If the question is about me and I think it's too personal, I'll just make something up. If the question requires that I do some research, I'll do the minimal amount of research required. I'd also be happy to answer any Spellman book related question, so long as it doesn't require that I give away any of the plot. But, mostly, I'm good with the etiquette questions, so if you have any of those, send them my way.

Anyway, if you have a question. Feel free to email me at and I will mostly likely answer the question eventually.

Good News

Recently I was interviewed by Lois Hirt, a dental hygienist who writes a column for the Los Angeles Dental Hygienists' Society called “Hygienists in Print”.

Lois is interested in any cultural reference to the dental profession, specifically hygienists.

Shortly after our interview, Lois informed me that she donated (along with an assortment of other dental related material) her copy of The Spellman Files to the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland.

While exploring their website, I became sidetracked by some interesting material on George Washington, famous for many things, but most importantly, his fake teeth. In fact, George has his own exhibit at the museum and the website has a section where you can learn about his life (beyond his teeth), Colonial Dentistry, his actual teeth--the why-he-lost-his-teeth saga--(which dispels the myth that those dentures he wore were wooden—no, they were made out of either hippopotamus or elephant ivory), and his dentist, John Greenwood, who was originally schooled in cabinet making.

Now I remember the point I was going to make: If you wish to relinquish your own copy of my book, might I suggest donating it to a museum?

Mouth by Lisa Chen

My friend Lisa Chen’s debut collection of poetry appears to be on sale today. At least that’s what it says on

Upon viewing the page I noticed that the cover was not the cover that Chen had shown me a few weeks back. I immediately emailed her and asked what was up.

The most surprising thing about Chen’s response was that she had not even looked her book up on Amazon, or anywhere else for that matter. The other surprising thing was that Chen claimed this picture was a photograph she had taken in her apartment months ago, while trying to come up with ideas for a book jacket.

The only thing I can say is I hope she’s getting a good deal on rent.

For future reference the actual book jacket has the title of the book on it--mouth--, Lisa Chen's name, a bicycle and graffiti, I believe.

Anyway, I highly recommend this collection of poetry. I am not an expert on poetry, but people who are highly recommend it. Plus, I’m assuming most of the people who read this blog actually know me and maybe know Lisa. This is friendly reminder to purchase many copies of her book.

I would also like to mention that Chen didn’t ask me to write this blog post and will most likely be annoyed that I have.

Love Reading?

Lisa is a featured author on

"This book has some of the funniest dialogue and wackiest characters we have come across in a long time. The Spellman’s are a dysfunctional family firm of private investigators who sadly can’t leave the tools of the trade outside the family home. This clearly makes for strained family relationships, when your mother runs a social security check on all your boyfriends, and totally f***ed up personal relationships when you know what your boyfriend is spending on his credit card before he gets the bill! The book is just brilliant and you have to read it!"

This Week So Far

Book Tour, Day 3: Monday, we (I) had three events. A book reading/signing at Stacey's in San Francisco, a recording for KQED's Writer's Block and a reading/signing at Capitola Book Cafe (this required a 90 minute drive after the KQED thing). Long day.

Stacey's was great fun. After I started the reading, some of my bosses from Desvernine Associates (the PI firm) crashed the event and helped entertain the crowd with stories from the old days.

This is me with Des and Pamela (she's the person who hired me):

Des, Lisa, and Pamela

Of all the pictures Anastasia has taken during the tour, this one of Des is my favorite:


During our reminiscing I remembered that about ten years ago (while I was working for the firm) I left a fountain pen open on a small desk in Des's office. The pen bled onto the curtain leaving a giant black stain. Apparently, he still has that same stained curtain in his office. Talk about leaving a mark . . .

Book Tour, Day 4: Tuesday, we (Anastasia and I) drove from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles. I got a GPS thing for this book tour, but we couldn't use it because Alistair (GPS speaks to us in a British voice) has a mind of his own. We wanted to take the 101; Alistair the 5. Anyway, even with old-school navigation, we had a fairly easy drive down south. Except there were still too many trucks on the road.

That night (Tuesday evening) we had a great night at Vroman's in Pasadena. Everyone showed in a timely fashion except my family. They were late as usual.

Book Tour, Day 5: We had a great event at Border's in Century City. Check out the cake they had made for the event:

Spellman Cake

Book Tour So Far

I'm very behind on the blogging because I decided to drive on the initial part of my book tour, instead of flying. I think it's necessary that I blog the following statement: I won't do this again. I hate driving. It's no fun. By the end of the trip, I started getting mad at trucks just for being on the road. I don't like driving or being a passenger. I like trains. My next book tour I'm going to do by train. Maybe.

Day 1: (I'm going backwards now that I got the driving thing off my chest.)

We had a great event at the University Bookstore in Seattle. Stesha Brandon is the event coordinator there and she's really cool and helped make the event go smoothly. I highly recommend having cocktails with her if you ever get the opportunity. I don't recommend drinking those cocktails on an empty stomach.

There was one day of packing and two days of driving in between. None of it went well.

Day 2: (I'm only counting actual book event days.)

I was on West Coast Live today. Anastasia is traveling with me and blogged about it first on her website. So I'm going to link to that.

I do however have more to say on the subject, so there will be another West Coast Live blog post in the future.

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