Saturday, February 10, 2018

Guest Post with Emily Ecton

Photo Content from Emily Ecton

Emily Ecton is a writer and producer for Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!
the NPR news quiz. She has also been a playwright, a chinchilla wrangler, an ice cream scooper and a costume character. She lives
in Chicago with her dog, Binky.

Find Emily’s Alter Ego here.


In my former job I traveled a lot, and I had to learn to write no matter where I was. But it's always nice to work at home, where I have my desk set up just like I like it. Here's a tour of my desk, where I worked on my new book The Ambrose Deception. (I'm not sure how much the desk actually had to do with the process. But it likes to think it helped.)

1. First off, there are the basics -- computer (screensaver by Sherman's Lagoon), keyboard, speakers, usb hub, mouse. AKA the boring stuff.

2. Next up are my favorite scissors -- if your scissors double as eyeglasses for your scissors holder, you notice if you forget to put them back. (He looks naked without his glasses.)

3. Next to that is my gargoyle pencil holder -- he guards the pencils and pens, and watches over my computer. He is also in charge of the pencil annex, currently housed in the adjacent mason jar.


4. Keeping him company is my plush pink giraffe, whose primary responsibilities are holding my phone and cleaning its screen. This shot was taken during her break.

5. Offering assistance on the other side of the desk is Peaches from Neko Atsume. She sometimes pitches story ideas, but is mostly decorative. (Her plot ideas are terrible.)

6. The mousepad she's sitting on is the one that I bought a million years ago when I got my first ever internet computer. I thought I'd probably get a fancier one eventually, but no other mouse pad ever seemed right, so it looks like it's here for the long haul.

7. Within reach is my most recent books notebook, where I write down all of the books I've read.


8. More important, though, is my steno notebook, which is always on my desk for writing down ideas, working out plot problems, making lists -- basically for everything. I'd like to say that I'm so organized that I have one notebook for each book I write, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't grocery lists and random confirmation numbers in there.

9. Around the keyboard are my gel wrist rest, so I don't mess up my wrists, my glass pencil sharpener and my pink tape dispenser guy. (Because who doesn't need one of those?)

10. On the left is my copyholder thingy -- I'm not even totally sure what its official name is, but I depend on it to hold my notes, outline pages and revision pages where I can easily see them. And as a backup, there are post-its.

11. There's also always a box of unscented kleenex. Because I'm just as sniffly as Wilf in The Ambrose Deception.

12. In the back, I've got a box with my spare ideas in it -- if I come up with ideas that I can't use right away, but I don't want to forget them, I write them on a notecard and put them in the box. It's easier for me to keep track of them if I have a physical copy. (Too many ideas have disappeared somewhere in the inner workings of my computer.)

13. Finally, art. (Not technically on the desk, but close enough.) Because you need something to stare at when you can't come up with the right word. The two dogs on the wall in this photo are by Mike Guerrero.

Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that's what their middle school teachers think. To everyone's surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn't take long before each begins to wonder whether the competition is a sham. It's only by secretly joining forces and using their unique talents that the trio is able to uncover the truth behind the Ambrose Deception--a truth that involves a lot more than just a scholarship.

With a narrative style as varied and intriguing as the mystery itself, this adventure involving clever clues, plenty of perks, and abhorrent adults is pure wish fulfillment.


"Readers of the Kingdom Keepers are going to eat this up! Ambrose Deception's tricky quest, a competition between polar opposites, thrusts the reader into a story that satisfies and complicates and then twists at just the right moment. Emily Ecton delivers a readable maze of a novel that middle grade readers will adore and not stop talking about! These characters are quite the accomplishment. I want to be their friend." ―Ridley Pearson, best-selling author of the Kingdom Keepers series

"Three kids race across Chicago in a competition for a $10,000 scholarship. Who will solve their clues first? The story made me grin, and the clues--truly solvable clues!--had me searching my memory for what I knew of Chicago for answers. (I recommend trying to solve the clues before the characters do.) Then, be prepared for twists. You'll think, 'Yeah, what is going on with all the secrecy? Is something up?' Indeed, it is!" ―Amy Timberlake, author of One Came Home, a Newbery Honor Book

"Emily Ecton writes stories that feel like good friends--this is a timelessly fun, funny adventure." ―Adam Rex, author of The True Meaning of Smekday

You can purchase The Ambrose Deception at the following Retailers:


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