Friday, March 4, 2011

Week in Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Bruised

Ah, I spent half the week laid up in bed (or on the floor) with a back injury after I took a tumble while cleaning. Perhaps there is a reason no one ever called me graceful. (And why there was no Wednesday Inside the Writer’s Studio…be sure to check in next week for author Michelle Knudson, and her new picture book Argus.) However, as time ground to a halt for me there was much happening in cyberland and all over Austin this week.

The oh-so-witty K.A. Holt was featured over at the Daily Texan and I now know where the source of her haiku brain stems from. Getting back at the man! The article states,

To pass the time at her nine-to-five, and perhaps to channel her unused imagination, she began writing snarky haiku poems on the community dry erase board, typically targeting company management.

“Who are you to judge?/ A messy desk shows genius/ And a lack of drawers,” Roy wrote at work. “A messy desk ode/ Can an ode be a haiku?/ Messy haiku, too.”

And over at the Horn Book, Chris Barton, author of the forthcoming Can I See Your ID has a tip for all authors of nonfiction in his piece, Your Mother Should Know.

Dear Teen Me, one of my favorite spots to stop and reconnect with my youth (and I am sure teens everywhere are reading. Is yours?), featured my friend Lindsey Lane this week. I love Lindsey’s letter and so wish I had read this when I was a girl, and sexuality, and how to use it, how to acknowledge its power (over me and others) was such a new discovery. Sex and sexuality is never easy to discuss for some reason, but Lindsey is frank, forthright, and even funny! Cheers to her and DTM for the groundbreaking posts!

And, along with all the articles and blogs, a bevy of unveilings were going on. Greg Leitich Smith unveiled the cover art of all the Austin 2011 books from the community, and PJ Hoover featured one in particular—Callie—the fall release by Texas Sweetheart, Jessica Lee Anderson. I had the pleasure of reading Callie in almost final form and it is taught with tension and explores the crisscrossing of friendship, sisterhood (foster sisterhood but sisterhood, nonetheless) and family. Jessica always writes “real” and this is another stellar addition to the books under her belt.

The grace and good humor-filled Liz Garton Scanlon welcomed a new book into the world this week, Noodle and Lou (illustrated by Arthur Howard) is her follow up to the award winning All the World. Where All the World was big and all encompassing, Noodle and Lou is a small scale story but is big in the way that meaningful friendships are. What is bigger and more meaningful than a best friend?

Noodle and Lou join a bevy of picture book best friends, who should not be friends (Can a bird and a worm be friends? Buy the book and also hop on over to my previous blog post on the Dynamics of Picture Book Pairs…) and add to the canon of great kid lit. 

Previous Austin author and still friend to oh-so-many-of-us, Dorothy Love, debuted her new website this last week. Who is her designer? None other than Erik Kuntz, Austin SCBWI Volunteer of the Year.

I also got a wonderful surprise this last week—a stack of thank-you letters from the kids at Travis Heights Elementary. The day of the visit the kids were great but you never know if you made a lasting impact or not. The letters brought their smiling faces back front and center as I soaked up their words and feasted on their drawings. There were many references to, who lots of kids, dubbed Mr. French Fry Guy in their character sketches. Here are two of my favorite letters.

"Dear Bethany,
Thank you for teaching us how to sketch a person using words. My favorite part was when we got to sketch using words. I also liked the book you read to us. Do you think you can do it next year? I really enjoyed it.
From, Dexter.

And another…

“Dear Bethany Hegedus,
It was nice to work with you I hope you can come again next year. P.S. I came with another name for the boy, it’s super French fris eater.
Senserly your friend,

Man, you gotta love the fruits of school visits. Does it get any better than that?

Goings on in Austin
And, as usual there is a ton going on at the WLT and SCBWI. This weekend, Jeanette Larson, is the SCBWI speaker at BookPeople. She will be speaking about Love the Librarian (and Texas librarians do so much, we need to rally and show them our love!)

And after her talk, it’s party time. Jeannette will be celebrating the release of Hummingbirds, illustrated by Adrienne Yorinks. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on a copy, as she keeps selling out at other events I’ve attended where the book is for sale. I’ll need to nab my copy on the way in. Congrats, Jeannette for a gorgeously written (and fact filled) book. 

Over at the WLT, we have a treat in store for kid lit writers---both novelists and picture bookers. Kirsten Cappy, book publicist and creator of Curious City is coming to town. She will teach a class on Creating Your Independent Marketing Plan (Sat, April 2nd) and is also doing special one-on-ones with picture book authors and illustrators (Fri- April 1st.) Lisa Jahn Clough introduced me to Kirsten many years ago and I always look forward to spotting her at the big book events, BEA, ALA, etc. She is whip smart, thinks outside the box and is the marketing brain behind such books as Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, and The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister. To register for either the class or the limited one-on-one appointments, go here.

And, the YA A to Z Conference welcomes Random House/Delacorte Press editor Francois Bui to the line-up. Be sure not to miss the first ever conference dedicated to the YA (books considered upper MG, tween, etc.) field. Tim Wynne-Jones will be the Keynote Breakfast speaker. Tim will be speaking about how to find and appreciate your own genius. If you're looking for the perfect boost to inspire you as a writer, you'll want to be sure to catch this talk! To learn more and/or register for the conference, go here.

Coming Up for Me (and Truth with a Capital T)

The kind folks at the Brazos Valley SCBWI are hosting me for a workshop titled “Creating Your Own Canon” on March 26th from 10am to 1pm. If in the College Station area or willing to head down that way, click here for the workshop registration materials.

Don’t forget the YA Diversity in Fiction Tour is making an Austin stop. Authors Jo Whittemore,Varian Johnson and I join Cindy Pon and Malinda Lo. Check the YA Diversity Tour website for more information

See ya’ll next week!


  1. I'm always wowed with our community! Thank you so much for the lovely mention, Bethany! I sure hope your back feels better ASAP.

  2. Great post! Thanks.