Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School with the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

Welcome Back!

We missed you over the summer break! Did you eat your weight in watermelon?  Why not??

We've got some amazing things happening to kick off the school year: new books, new talks, and new news in general!

Don Tate
It was a busy summer for Don. In June, he attended the American Library Association (ALA) conference in Las Vegas, signing books and posters for various publishers. The highlight of his weekend was attending the Newbery-Caldecott awards banquet and the Coretta Scott King awards breakfast. 
"The only thing more exciting than witnessing Brian Floca accept a Caldecott for Locomotive, was sharing the evening with so many enthusiastic librarians," said Don.

In July, Don finished illustrations for his next book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill (Peachtree, 2015). This will be Don's first authored andillustrated book! In addition, he won a BOOK LAUNCH award-$2,000.00!-from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The money will allow him to take the book on a national book tour next year.

For Don, school visits and literary presentations will take off first thing this September, when he presents at schools in Round Rock, Texas; Delray Beach, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Springfield, Illinois! Please contact him early to inquire about his lively and interactive school visits.

Emma Virjan
Emma is pleased to reveal the cover of her upcoming picture book, What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig(HarperCollins, Summer 2015).
You can learn more about Pig and see more of Emma's artwork on her site here.

Jeanette Larson

Jeanette will share ways for writers to use their virtual library card to do research at the Austin SCBWI chapter's Fall Workshop: Research for Fiction, Non-fiction and Historical Fiction Writers on September 13.
She'll also be talking about hummingbirds at the Port O'Connor branch of Calhoun County Library on September 16. This coincides with the annual migration of the hummingbirds through the Coastal Bend area of Texas.
Jessica Lee Anderson
Jessica had an amazing time visiting and giving a talk at her alma mater, Hollins University.  And what better way to top off the presentation? Glitter Mehndi by talented Hollins student, Kassy Keppol!  
Jessica is offering a limited number of discounted visits in the Austin and San Antonio area, so please contact her for more information. 
Jo Whittemore
Jo has ARCs of Colonial Madness (Aladdin, February 2015)!
Want a chance to win one? Email her with the name of the first permanent English colony in America!
 Jo will also be speaking along with Kari Holt on a panel at the Writers' League of Texas monthly meeting Thursday, August 21st, 7pm at BookPeople. The subject? Writing for tweens!
Kari Holt
Kari had a thrilling time at ALA, signing advanced copies of her upcoming verse novel Rhyme Schemer (Chronicle, October 2014), and reading during the Poetry Blast. It was wonderful to meet so many librarians and educators!

Kari will be joining several other middle grade authors at theHulen Center Barnes & Noble in Fort Worth on Sunday, August 17th at 4:00. They will be discussing world-building in middle grade novels. Please drop by for a great discussion!
She will also be participating on a middle grade panel in Round Rock at the Book Spot on Monday, August 18th at 6:30. Prepare for some fun trivia questions and awesome prizes!
To round out a busy month, Kari will be on a Writers' League of Texas panel at Book People in Austin, on Thursday, August 21st at 7pm. The authors will be discussing writing for tweens. Come by for a great conversation!
Mark your calendars, and keep an eye out for fun book launch events online and in Austin, coming soon. 
P.J. Hoover
P. J. is thrilled to share some wonderful reviews for her upcoming middle grade book TUT: The Story of My Immortal Life (Starscape/Tor, September 16, 2014):

"The entertaining premise and fast pace keep this adventure on track, while the way Hoover reimagines the Egyptian pantheon ... is pleasantly reminiscent of Rick Riordan's work." - Publishers Weekly

"A pyramid history buffs and fantasy fans will delight in excavating." -Kirkus

P. J. is also excited to share the book trailer for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE.


P. J. loved presenting at the recent Region 13 ESC Library and Literary Summit here in Austin. Her presentation was titled "Beyond the Book: Creative Ways to Link Curriculum and Reading" and P. J. spoke on linking Minecraft and Video Games with reading among other things. Curriculum activities for P. J.'s books can be found on her website.

P. J. would love to visit your school! Please contact P. J. today for school visit inquiries. There is still a bit of room in her fall schedule. Information on her school visits can be found here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sliding Into Summer

The school year is winding down and summer is around 
the corner. Before the last bell rings, The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels want to thank you for another great school year. 
Thanks for inviting us into your classrooms and your continued support of our books. We look forward to the next school year! Have a fantastic summer.

We have a busy summer planned, including signings at the
American Library Association conference in Las Vegas, June 26 - July 1. We'd love to see you there.
ALA Schedule    

Don Tate
On Saturday, June 28, Don will sign It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw at the Lee and Low Books booth (#626) from 10 a.m. to 10:40

Immediately following at 11:00, he will sign The Cart That Carried Martin at the Charlesbridge Publishing booth (#557).

P.J. Hoover
 Saturday, June 28, 10:39-11:30 - Children's & Teen Author Speed Dating Event

Saturday, June 28, 1:00-3:30 - YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session
Sunday, June 29, 8:30-10:00 - YALSA's Coffee Klatch
Sunday, June 29, 1:00-2:00 - Book Signing at Cbay 
Books Booth
Sunday, June 29, 3:00-4:00 - Book Signing at Tor/Macmillan Booth

Kari Holt 
 Kari will be signing ARCs of RHYME SCHEMER in the Chronicle booth on Saturday, June 28th, and she'll be participating in the Poetry Blast at 3pm on Sunday,  
June 29th.   

News and Updates 
Jessica Lee Anderson 
Jessica Lee Anderson had an incredible visit at the Alternative Learning Center! She's been working on a variety of projects and has four educational books for young readers in the pipeline.

KA Holt 
KA Holt is super excited to announce her latest book deal! From Publisher's Weekly:

"Karen Wojtyla at Margaret K. McElderry Books has acquired K.A. Holt's Red Moon Rising, pitched as Firefly meets Little House on the Prairie. In the novel, a feisty 13-year-old becomes an unwitting pawn in the standoff between her struggling colony and the enclave of aliens who may be something quite different than they seem. The book is slated for early 2016 publication. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency did the deal for North American rights."

This book will follow the release of HOUSE ARREST, a middle grade novel in verse releasing in Fall 2015 from Chronicle Books, and RHYME SCHEMER, also a middle grade novel in verse releasing from Chronicle Book on October 14th, 2014.

P.J. Hoover 
Thank you to all those who entered P. J. Hoover 's

It was wonderful to hear from so many of you with such enthusiasm! The winners of the ARCs are Keri Rabe (Round Rock ISD), Lorrie Roussin
(North East ISD), Jo Martin (New Caney ISD), Suzanne Webb (Houston ISD), and Cheryl Michulka (Pflugerville ISD).
Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation sponsored a school visit for P. J. Hoover to visit the students of Grisham Middle School. Thank you to wonderful librarians Diane Hance for such amazing hospitality and a great event! 


P. J. still has limited availability in her May schedule for those looking for a last minute author visit. If you are considering a visit for the 2014-2015 school year, pleasecontact P. J. now. She would love to visit you school! P. J. speaks to students 3rd grade through high school

Don Tate
Recently, THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN, a book that Don illustrated for Eve Bunting (Charlesbridge), was named to the International Reading Association's Teacher's Choices 2014. 

In addition, HOPE'S GIFT, a book that he illustrated for Kelly Starling Lyons (Penguin), was named to The International Reading Association's Children's Choices 2014 list. Such an honor!

But that's not all. IT JES' HAPPENED, mentioned above, was a finalist for the Children's Crown Award.

Don will wind down the year this week in North Texas, where he will speak at Alice Ponder Elementary (Mansfield), Tarver Rendon (Mansfield) Elementary, and Walnut Glen Academy (Garland). 

School Visits for the Fall of 2014
As both an award-winning author and illustrator (and former book designer), Don is in the unique position to discuss all aspects of the book making process. Where do authors get their ideas? Why is revision necessary? And do illustrators also revise? These questions and many more are answered through a lively, interactive and entertaining presentation.  Contact Don personally at this link.

You can also contact him through his booking agent, Carmen Oliver, at  theBooking Biz!

Don Tate presented at Barnes & Noble, Garland, Texas, Educator Appreciation Day, April 2014.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Celebrate the Texas Library Association Annual Conference with The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels look forward to TLA all year, and it's finally here! We hope you all will come by our annual reception and say hi (and of course, maybe grab a cookie or two)!

Our complete schedule is below, including currently published book signings, ARC signings, and more. Please make sure to mention you read our newsletter when you come by! And be prepared to tell us whether you are a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel :)

***TLA Schedule***  


Monday, April 7th

Wednesday, April 9th
  • 10:15-11:00 - P. J. Hoover & Jessica Lee Anderson book signing - Booth 2522 (Overlooked Books booth)     

  • 10:15-11:00 - Don Tate -
    THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN signing - Author area

  • 11:00-12:00 - Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels Annual Reception - Booth 2522 (Overlooked Books Booth)

  • Odd Girl In 11:00-12:00 - Jo Whittemore book signing - Booth 2243 (Book Festivals of Texas booth)

  • 2:00-3:00 - Don Tate -
    THE CART THAT CARRIED MARTIN signing - Charlesbridge Booth 2440

  • 3:00-4:00 - P. J. Hoover & Jessica Lee Anderson book signing - Booth 2243 (Book Festivals of Texas booth)

  • 4:00-5:00 - K. A. Holt -
    RHYME SCHEMER ARC signing - Author area

Thursday, April 10th
  • 9:00-10:00 - Don Tate book signing - Booth 2522
    (Overlooked Books booth)   

  • 9:30-10:00 - TT4L Event - P. J. Hoover, K. A. Holt

  • 10:45-11:15 - P. J. Hoover -
    TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE ARC signing - Tor/Macmillan Booth 1448

  • 11:00-12:00 - Don Tate READ TO THE RHYTHM poster signing - Booth 1835 (iREAD booth)

  • 12:00-2:00 -YART Texas Tea Event - P. J. Hoover, K. A. Holt

 See you there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Forward with The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

Spring Forward with 
The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels! 
 Following a colder than normal winter, many Texans are experiencing cabin fever. But the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels are not waiting on Mother Nature to heat things up. Each and every one of us - P.J., Jessica, Kari, Jo, Jeanette, and Don -has a burning desire to inspire young children and teens to read more books. So we are saying goodbye to winter hibernation and turning up the heat on our already busy schedules, in order to reach more kids.

Here is a look at what is happening now, and what is ahead:
March has been a busy and exciting month for P. J. Hoover. First, and foremost, P. J. is thrilled to reveal the cover for her brand new middle grade novel, TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE (Starscape/Macmillan, September 16, 2014). TUT is the story of King Tut (yes, the boy king), but he's fourteen, immortal, and lives in modern-day Washington, D.C with his one-eyed cat, Horus. When his crazy uncle Horemheb shows up after being locked in a tomb for 3000 years, Tut enlists the help of the dorky kid from school who wants to be his best friend and the mysterious new girl who's got secrets of her own.
A Common Core guide for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE can be found here.
P. J. braved ice and snow to spend a wonderful week in Mansfield, Texas visiting intermediate and middle schools. She visited four schools in all (T. A. Howard MS, Jobe MS, Wester MS, and Lillard Intermediate School), met some wonderful librarians and teachers, and had a fantastic time talking with kids about her books, her path to writing, and what it's like to be an author. P. J. still has room available during May if you're interested in a school visit for this school year, and she is also actively booking school visits and speaking events for next fall, so please contact P. J. if you think you might be interested in a school visit. More information on P. J.'s visits can be found on her visits page.
with Marsha Riti, Amy Farrier, Samantha Clark, Cynthia Leitich Smith, & Jeff Crosby Photo credit: Greg Leitich Smith
Just before spring break, P. J. spoke at the monthly Austin SCBWI meeting on the topic of World Building. She covered everything from Terry Pratchett to the Hobbit and loved the crowd that turned out for the event. Thank you! She's looking forward to attending the April monthly meeting featuring Austin librarians on a panel talking about school visits.
In other news, P. J. discovered West Texas over spring break on a family road trip visiting Fort Davis, Pecos, Carlsbad Caverns, and Roswell. Texas is an amazing state with so much to offer, and it's wonderful living here!

Jessica Lee Anderson looks forward to visiting the Alternative Learning Center in Austin on April 17, 2014.  Jessica offers programs for all ages and still has availability this spring.  Don't hesitate to contact her for more information.  
Kari is excited to announce a redesign to her website: Swing by and check it out! She's also thrilled to have been able to take sneak peek at the new discussion guide created for her forthcoming middle grade novel, RYHME SCHEMER (October 2014, Chronicle). The discussion guide and ARCs of RHYME SCHEMER will be available at the TLA conference next month. Woo!

Photo by Frances Woolsey, Doss Elementary
Educator Open House and Presentation
Don will speak next month at Barnes & Noble in Garland, Texas (Firewheel Towne Center), as a part of their Educator Appreciation Day, on Saturday April 19. The event runs from 10 to 12 a.m. Educators will receive free materials for their classrooms and refreshments will be served. Be sure to register for prizes. In addition to a chance to win a NOOK and a $500 gift card from B&N, Don will give away one half-day school presentation. Yes, Don will present at your school at no cost! 
A book signing will follow the B&N event. See here for more information.

In addition, Don would like to visit schools on the two days leading up the the event. For that reason - and because of the short notice - Don is offering a very reduced honorarium for those days (half day rate for a full day visit). Please
contact the Booking Biz to inquire and make arrangements.

Don's School Visits 

Don recently visited schools in the sandy town of Monahans, Texas. Yes, sand-and a lot of it! "The librarians there are super," Don said, "and the children are big readers. I was impressed."   

Don still has plenty of days open to book a school visit in April and May.


Jeanette Larson is currently booking public library and school presentations for the summer. In addition to talking about writing and reading, summer programs can include a craft activity. Kids enjoy making hummingbird Mardi Gras-style masks or hummingbird feeders. Jeanette is also pleased to announce that she is moving to the Coastal Bend area, making it easier to visit libraries in the Rio Grande Valley and other South Texas locations. Contact Jeanette at


Our Featured Sweetheart for this month is librarian Norma Chapa of Sunset Valley Elementary. Don Tate nominated Norma for no other reason than, "She has a kind spirit and I was touched by her heart and personal story."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Winter from The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels! 
It's been a cold, crazy winter here in the heart of Texas! We've had delayed school, snow days, and some record-breaking chilly temperatures. Snow days, while wreaking havoc on scheduling and activities, make for wonderful days to stay home and read a great book. We hope you have discovered some wonderful gems this season in your to-be-read pile!

With spring approaching, we Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels have so much to look forward to. TLA is right around the corner, and we are hoping to see many of you there! In the meantime, however, here are the latest going-ons with us.

P. J.'s School Visits

January and February have been filled with wonderful school visits for P. J. Hoover
. Since our last newsletter, P. J. visited Laurel Mountain Elementary where she presented to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. She also spent a few days in Irving, Texas speaking to eight different middle schools. This past week, P. J. stayed closer to home and visited O. Henry Middle School and Martin Middle School, both here in Austin. The kids had awesome questions, and it was so nice meeting some new librarians!

Now is a great time to think about treating your kids to an author visit in May after testing is complete! More information on P. J.'s author visits can be found on her website visit page.  

Montgomery County Book Festival 

This past weekend, P. J.
P. J. with Jessica Brody. We dubbed our panel the "Purple Panel." 
traveled to Houston to participate in the Montgomery Country Book Festival Literary Love-Fest. She was on the "It's More than just Robots and Outer Space" panel along with Marissa Meyer, Jessica Brody, Lindsay Cummings, and Belle Whittington. Thousands of teens turned out, and the panel attendance was standing room only!




Eve Bunting Book Drawing

Winners were announced on Don's blog on February 4th. Don was not able to make contact with one winner, so if no response has been received by the end of this week (2/21), another name will be drawn.   

Don Tate (link here) and Eve Bunting (link here) discuss their book, The Cart That Carried Martin (Charlesbridge).   

Don was a featured author in the 22nd Annual African American Children's Book Festival in Philadelphia, where hundreds of children and their families came out to purchase and celebrate books. See Snapshots from the festival on the Lee & Low Blog

Several Fort Worth area librarians have suggested that Don's first authored book, It Jes' Happened, become a RIF title. And guess what-the book has now been included in RIF's (Reading Is Fundamental) 2013-2014 STEAM Multicultural Booklist (Grades Pre-K to 5). So what does this mean? It means that more than 3,200 children in low-income communities throughout the U.S. will receive a copy of Don's book, and many others.  

Don's School Visits 

Don recently completed a full week of school visits in Richland and Garland, Texas, where he presented 24 presentations to 7 schools. "I was so impressed with the children," Don said, "who gave me their complete undivided attention. They were so excited and asked great questions. Speaks to the hard work of their school librarians."   

Next week, Don looks forward to a week of school visits in Killeen, Texas. For more information about Don's school visit program, see Don's website. Don still has plenty of days open to book a school visit in April and May.


Jessica Lee Anderson recently made some updates to her website, so swing on and say hello! She has some availability for school visits this spring, so please contact her for more information.
Our Featured Sweethearts for this month are librarians in the Richland and Garland schools: Kathy Chicoine, Taressa Anderson, Toni Dowd, Amy Shaffner, Ann Rubin, Shannon Glidden. Pictured here is Ms. Robin McMahan, librarian Heather Glen in Garland. Thank you for working so hard on behalf of literacy for kids! (nominated by Don Tate)


Thursday, January 16, 2014


In the sentiments of Winnie the Pooh, 2014 feels like a grand adventure is about to begin. We're already exploding with good news!

Did you make any resolutions for 2014? Or did you resolve not to make any resolutions? Either way, we hope this will be a rewarding and grand year for you! One of our goals for this year is to connect with you, so check out the calendar sections on our websites to find out where we'll be. Please note that we're still scheduling school and library visits for this spring.  
Jo Whittemore is thrilled to announce the sale of SIX new books to Harper Collins for a humorous middle grade series, CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS, about students writing an advice column and all the ways it can go wrong. 

P. J. finished up 2013 with an amazing school visit at Gorzycki Middle School in Austin and started 2014 with an equally amazing school visit to Taylor Middle School! If you're considering an author visit at your school, please contact P. J.

P. J. is also getting excited for her next book. TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE will be released September 16, 2014 from Tor/Starscape. More details to come, but copyedits are done (!), the cover is currently being designed (P. J. just had a sneak peak at a cover sketch), and P. J. is hard at work at a secret project tied into the book. Go, King Tut!

Jeanette invites you to check out her blog, Bird Brainz, where she talks about birding and books. For those of you around the Texas Coastal Bend area, Jeanette will be spending more time birding in your area, making it easier to book school visits! 
New Author-Illustrator Photos!
Over the holidays, Don had new author-illustrator photos taken by the wonderful Sam Bond Photography. For school visits or other literary events, feel free to download photos from his website.
 The Cart That Carried Martin giveaway
In honor of Black History Month, Don will give away two signed copies of his newest book with Eve Bunting, The Cart That Carried Martin. The books will be signed by both Don and Eve! Two ways to enter the drawing:  #1: Like Don's Facebook page and be sure to leave a comment anywhere mentioning the giveaway. #2: Simply send Don an email and he'll enter you in the drawing. The drawing will be held on February 4, and the winners announced on his blog. Due to shipping costs, books will be shipped to US mailing addresses only.
The book was recently reviewed in the New York Times with Don's art for the final spread prominently displayed.  How exciting!
It was an ordinary cart pulled by ordinary mules. On the day of Dr. Martin Luther King's funeral, that humble cart carried greatness. On April 9th, 1968, on the streets of Atlanta, that cart carried the body of Dr. Martin Luther King. A crowd of tens of thousands of people followed behind.
"An affecting snapshot of a tragic day." - Kirkus Reviews
School visits
Don's first school visit kicks off in North Texas! He will present his school visit program to students at Taylor Elementary in Grapevine, Texas on January 16, and to students at Colleyville Elementary in Colleyville, Texas, on the 17th. Plenty of dates are still open for school visits during the months of March, April and May. Please contact Don early to book school library visits.
" Thank you again . . . Your presentations were outstanding!
Library Media Specialist/CTL, NISD
Kari is looking forward to the release of new her book, RHYME SCHEMER, in the fall, and she is busy drafting her latest book, HOUSE ARREST, due out in fall 2015.
Jessica Lee Anderson also has a new author photo!

Jessica recently completed a fun work-for-hire project for an educational publisher focused on emergent readers.  Jessica has published stories from Pre-K to YA and offers a variety of school and library presentations appropriate for each grade level.  She's a former certified teacher and is quite passionate about education! Please visit her website for more information about visits.
Jessica is also pleased to announce she's now represented by Erzsi Deak at Hen & Ink Literary Studio. 
Jessica Lee Anderson's little Sweetheart is a huge fan of Emma Virjan's NACHO THE PARTY PUPPY! 
Thanks to Emma for the banner design!