I’m near the end of the first draft of the first Substreet Squad book:  Bring to Light. And in it the squad must look for evidence of Fleur’s mom at the iconic Gold Medal Flour grain towers along Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Falls.

Since I don’t illegally break into such places, I had to look for someone who does. And found this very helpful blog. I know I’m kind of skirting the edge of illegality here…but the pictures were so helpful! Don’t do this, kids. It doesn’t end well (as my book will show). But the pictures are so cool.

Meanwhile, here’s a snippet from the gang meeting at Claddagh Coffee House to plan their trip to Gold Medal Flour.

Fleur’s a yearbook nerd with a shameful secret—her mother is an addict who abandoned her family and disappeared onto the Twin City streets. The captain of the soccer team shows up one day with a photo from caves under St. Paul that proves her mother might still be alive. How much will Fleur risk in order to find her mother and bring her home?

The boys sauntered into the coffee house around nine. Grabbing double-espresso Red Eye coffees from the counter they sat down, Brett sliding in next to Rachel and Kai next to Fleur like it was the most natural thing in the world. It blew Fleur’s mind. Two weeks ago she had barely known Brett’s name.

“Hey,” she said, raising her mug. “To all of you. We may have our own reasons for being here, but I couldn’t do this without you and I’m grateful.”

“Damn straight,” said Rachel, eyes gleaming with a suspicious shine.

Brett cleared his throat and wiped his mouth with the back of his wrist. Fleur suddenly couldn’t physically turn her head to look at Kai, the moment was too pregnant with emotion.

“To Substreeters!” Brett said, clanging his mug against Fleur’s.

“The Substreet Squad,” said Kai.

“Bottoms up, squaddies!” Brett’s good humor shield was back. He drained his mug. “That’s more like it. Do they have Red Bull depth charges?” He stood up, but Rachel blocked him with her chair.

“Whoa there. We don’t need you all hopped up on caffeine. We have to be careful. Thoughtful.”

“I’m always full of thoughts.” He ruffled the top of Rachel’s head. “Right now I’ve got some really amazing ones.” He sat back down, sitting on the edge of the chair so he spoke right into Rachel’s wide eyes. “Just give me a chance.” He licked his lips. “You’d really, really like what I’m thinking now.”