Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Forthcoming YA Novels by Texas Authors

There're some great young adult novels by Texas authors that are going to be published in the next year. Here's a brief preview:

In 2006:

What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles (Little, Brown Children's Books, November 2006): Kyle Kirby has plotted a cruel and unusual revenge on the most popular girl in school for the death of his brother, David. He digs a hole. Kidnaps her. Puts her in a box-underground. But Kyle makes a fatal error. He doesn't understand who he just BURIED. . .ALIVE. . .

Gail lives in The Woodlands (note use of the definite article) just outside Houston, and is one freaky lady.

In 2007:

Tantalize, by Cynthia Leitich Smith. (Candlewick, February 13, 2007): A brilliant gothic fantasy: Werewolves, vampires, romance, Italian food, chase scenes, murder, suspense, humor, and Austin, Texas. Bon Appetit!

Cyn lives in Austin and is married to me (but you knew that already).

Dream Factory, by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. (Dutton, Spring 2007): A group of kids are hired as replacement cast members during a workers' strike at Disney World...overnight, an ice-cream scooper becomes Prince Charming, Robin Hood shows his true (obnoxious) colors, and an unlikely friendship develops between Cinderella and Dale (as in Chip and...)

Brad lives in someplace out east like Maryland, but Heather is a naturalized Texan. They're the authors of Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (Dutton 2006).

Brothers, Boyfriends, and other Criminal Minds, by April Lurie. (Random House, Summer 2007): Fourteen-year-old April Lundquist is having problems with her own love life, and her sixteen-year-old brother Matt is dating the daughter of the infamous mobster - Bobby "The Bull" Bocceli.

April lives in Round Rock, just outside Austin, and is the author of Dancing in the Streets of Brooklyn (Random House 2002).

Wonders of the World, by Brian Yansky (Flux, June 1, 2007): At 17, Eric runs away to discover the wonders of the world-the wonders his storyteller father told him about all through his childhood. He finds no wonders. He ends up living on the streets of Riverton, struggling with his friends, Catgirl and Payback, to survive the junkies, gangs, and the dark lord ruler of the street, Bluebeard. . .

Brian lives in Austin with his wife, author-illustrator Frances Hill. He's the author of My Road Trip to the Pretty Girl Capital of the World (Cricket Books 2003).

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Book Festival Weekend!

This year's Texas Book Festival began with a bang -- Cyn and I had dinner Friday with Tanya Lee Stone at East Side Cafe and then went for a glass of wine at the Marriott Bar with her and also met John Green, David Levithan, Barry Lyga, Laura Numeroff, Jo Whittemore (and her husband Roger), Lauren Myracle, and a couple of people down a the other end of the group I never made it over to to say "hello" (one of whom, apparently, was Jarrett Krosoczka).

We didn't make it to any panels in the morning, but spotted Varsha Bajaj and her family out and about (I was able to assure her son that she really did know me!), said brief hellos to Brian Anderson and April Lurie, and talked a bit with Jerry Wermund, who was manning the SCBWI Austin booth.

Saturday afternoon was the awards ceremony and panel for the Writers' League of Texas Violet Crown and Teddy Awards: TOFU AND T.REX was one of the finalists for the Teddy. Congrats to Heather Hepler and Brad Barkley for winning the Teddy for their SCRAMBLED EGGS AT MIDNIGHT. Cynthia blogs about the honorees here. Folks in the audience included Gene Brenek, Anne Bustard, Tim Crow, and Tanya Lee Stone.

The ceremony and panel was followed by a reception at the Brown Bar. Attendees included Julie Lake, Varian Johnson, Helen Hemphill (and her husband whose name I'm blanking on), Chris Barton (and his wife Casey (sp?)), and Annette Simon (who was also a Teddy finalist).

Afterwards, several of us headed next door to Gumbo's for dinner. (The duck was fantastic.). Then, because it was too late to get to the YA reading at the Hideout Theatre, Cyn and I went home to get some writing done (We were feeling inspired). I'm up to about 20,000 words on my WIP, about 10,000 of which are chronological and coherent. :-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Austin SCBWI Conference

Well, we just completed an exhilarating weekend of conferencing. Our SCBWI chapter just had its annual Fall Conference. Speakers included author Bruce Coville, agent Sarah Crowe, editor Lynne Polvino, author Esther Hershenhorn, illustrator Tony Sansevero, illustrator Don Tate, and licensing agent Suzanne Cruise.

Friday night, Cyn and I hosted a cocktail party featuring Texas wine and Central Market catering for out-of-town speakers and those folks who lent a hand at the conference and for the chapter during the year. I didn't get a chance to speak with everyone, but managed to talk with Bruce Coville (once I dragged him away from signing stock) about fantasy, humor, old houses, school visits, our mutual friend David Lubar, and our respective levels of geek-dom. Cynthia has more here,
and Jo Whittemore has some pictures and gracious words here.

On Saturday, Bruce spoke about the need for fantasy and humor (during one of the best conference speeches I've ever heard), and also managed to work in some craft pointers. Tony, who's illustrated some of Bruce's novels, showed some of his new work, including the artwork for Jerry Wermund's new picture book, and also provided fascinating insights into how illustrators should "market" their portfolios. Esther gave a great speech about resources for writers and all that you need to learn if you want to be part of the business. Sara demonstrated what a good query letter should look like, and Lynne told everyone how to get out of the slush pile. (I missed Don's talk, but am positive it was intriguing and useful :-)).

On the whole, the conference was fun and exhausting. Congratulations to outgoing RA Julie Lake, and welcome to incoming RA Tim Crow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

ALA's Joint Conference Librarians of Color

Cyn and I spent the last couple days up in Dallas at the American Library Association's First Joint Conference of librarians of Color. We drove up Thursday morning and spoke on a panel organized by Sylvia Vardell of Texas Woman's University. (Thanks, Sylvia!). In addition to Cyn and me, panelists included Lori Aurelia Williams, Varsha Bajaj, and Asma Mobin-Uddin. Everyone provided fascinating insights into where their books come from.

Thursday night, after a dinner at Chaparral, we attended a caucus and social get-together of the American Indian Library Association. Thanks to Victor Schill and Loriene Roy!

Friday, Cynthia and Lisa Yee spoke as keynoters at the Children's Author Luncheon. Cynthia spoke on American Indian children's literature and Lisa spoke on being/not being a writer of color.

Exhausting, lots of fun, and for once, the drive to Dallas on I-35 went smoothly.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


One of the fun things about being an author is getting to meet other people who are as "into" books as we are. This week began the fall speaking season for Cyn and me, as we gear up to promote Santa Knows.

Monday night Cyn and I spoke at the SCBWI-Houston monthly meeting, then spent the rest of the evening with Gail Giles and her husband (and their two new kittens and their Great Pyrenees). Other notables included Varsha Bajaj, Dotti Enderle, and Mary Wade.

Today, we had the pleasure of seeing Jennifer Holm speak at BookPeople about Penny from Heaven and the Babymouse series. Then we met book person par excellence Camille of BookMoot(!) and had a great lunch at Green Pastures.
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