Saturday, April 16, 2005

Me? A Celebrity?

At TLA, I went to lunch with an author friend who said she thought that autographings were a bad idea, that they sort of reinforced "the cult of celebrity," and the whole thing should just be about the book.

Greg countered that signings were basically a way for readers to connect one-on-one with authors, that it gave them a venue to chat a few moments.

I like to see a signature and remember that literary trade books don't start out like widgets, that they're art crafted in individual passion.

To me, the touch of the creator tends to rejuvinate a copy, refreshen the magic of it.

That said, the "cult of celebrity" is definitely part of the reason that it's become so difficult to publish the kind of literary picture books (with curriculum tie-in), especially multicultural ones, that teachers and librarians appreciate most.

Cynsational Links

State librarians do anything but keep quiet from News8 Austin. A rally at the Capitol (Greg and I were there!).

To Market, To Market by author Michelle Y. Green, who also offers The 60-Second Sound Byte. Michelle's site is possibly the best author stop on the 'net. Highest recommendation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Author Jane Peddicord Debuts Web Site

Jane Peddicord, author of Night Wonders (Charlesbridge, 2005), launches her official Web site.

Jane's site features not only her debut book, it also makes mention of Special Baby, illustrated by Meilo So, which is currently under contract with Harcourt.

She offers a biography, teacher's guide, information on author's visits, and links (thanks for the link, Jane!).

I like how Jane features other astronomy books available from Charlesbridge. It's gracious and speaks to the global message that great books matter!

Surf by to learn more about Jane and welcome her to the world of children's publishing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Some excerpts of answers from an online interview I did with a college student about creativity:

Some people are predisposed to be creative, but it is their responsibility to turn that inclination into a gift to the larger society.

My favorite (creative work) is always whatever I'm working on now, but other folks bring their own sensibilities to the equation.

An inspirational quote (from my Chicago days):
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood...Make big plans, aim high in hope and work." -- Daniel H. Burnham

Monday, April 11, 2005

Miss Lady Bird Signing at Wildflower Center

Greg and I attended a signing yesterday for author Kathi Appelt and illustrator Joy Fisher Hein of Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How A First Lady Changed America (Harcourt, 2005) at the Wildflower Center here in Austin.

It was a bit of a soggy day, but the author and illustrator were as sunny as they could be. I had an opportunity to see more of Joy's original art, chat with Kathi's husband Ken and his brother, the charming Darren, and visit with Buda author Jerry Wermund.

I bought copies of the book for myself, my mama, and for my cousin Stacy's children, Abigail and Alex. It's been a tremendous journey for Kathi, Joy, and Miss Lady Bird. If you have not already done so, be sure to read my story behind the story interview with this wonderful author-illustrator team.

Cynsational News & Links

Planners, please note that Greg and I are booked through the end of 2005 and now booking events for spring and fall 2006.

"A First Lady Who Made A Difference" by Alice Cary, a BookPage Interview with Kathi Appelt; March 2005.

Joy Fisher Hein from SCBWI Houston.

"Good Groups, Bad Groups: Online Critique Groups" by Patricia Green from the Institute of Children's Literature. See also "Three Steps to Growing Elephant Skin" by Lisa Leuck, also from the ICL.

Portraying The "Bad Boys of History:" an interview with James Cross Giblin from Children's Book Council.

RoseEtta Stone Speaks With Children's Book Author Kathi Appelt from

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Buddy Holly Signing Party

Greg and I attended a signing party yesterday for author Anne Bustard and illustrator Kurt Cyrus of Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2005) at BookPeople here in Austin.

Anne is also the author of T Is For Texas. Kurt also is the author/illustrator of Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water (Harcourt, 2005), which is very highly recommended.

It was quite the fete! The BookPeople marketing staff had hung records from the ceiling, and the lovely Gillian from S&S brought in a pal who sang some of Buddy's songs. We all wore Buddy-style glasses, Anne spoke and read briefly, Kurt fielded some questions, and then the signing was on.

When Greg and I left for the Shoal Creek Saloon with YA author Brian Yansky (My Road Trip To The Pretty Girl Capital of the World (Cricket, 2003); awarded best YA novel of the year by the Texas Institute of Letters), all but one copy of Buddy had been purchased. I'm sure it sold out by the end of the event!

In addition to Brian, celebrities in attendance included: Phil Yates (author of Ten Little Mummies (Viking, 2003)); April Lurie (debut author of Dancing In The Streets of Brooklyn (Delacorte, 2002)); Annette Simon (illustrator of This Book Is For All Kids, But Especially My Sister Libby. Libby Died (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2002)), Jane Peddicord (debut author of Night Wonders (Charlesbridge, 2005)); Meredith Davis (Austin SCBWI founder), Julie Lake (Austin SCBWI RA and debut author of Galveston: Summer of the Storm (TCU Press, 2003)), and Don Tate (illustrator of numerous books, including Sure As Sunrise: Stories of Bruh Rabbit and his Walkin' Talkin' Friends (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)).

I'm so incredibly happy for Anne, Kurt, and for young readers who'll be inspired by Buddy, who in his too short life somehow made his dream come true.

In more personal news, I'm hugely excited to report that Greg and I bought the cover art from Kurt, which will be proudly displayed in our foyer.

Boy howdy, it sure is fine!

Cynsational Link

Children's Fiction: Give Them Fights, Cameras, Action by Charlie Higson from The Sunday Times.
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