Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer News!

with The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels

Before the school year winds down, The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels want to thank you for all the support you've given us throughout the year. You've read our newsletters, invited us to your schools, purchased our books. Our gratitude is endless - but our work is not!  We have a full summer of writing, reading, speaking ahead - not to mention preparing for the upcoming school year. Somewhere in there, we plan to visit the beach! We hope you do, too. Have a great summer.
Good times at TLA! 
Signing at TLA
(from left to right) Don Tate, Jessica Lee Anderson, P.J. Hoover sign books at The Texas Library Association Conference, one of our favorite events of the year. 
Jeanette at TLA
Jeanette (right) having a fun time at TLA!
Austin ISD Librarians: TxLA Book Cart Drill Team Champions 2013 
Austin ISD Librarians: TxLA Book Cart Drill Team Champions 2013
The Sweethearts & Scoundrels were recently mentioned in a Publisher's Weekly article that discussed social networking. At a glance: "Many authors find strength in numbers, promoting one another's launches and books. P.J. Hoover, author of Solstice (due out in July), set up a Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog with other local writers."

As for hot summer releases, P. J. Hoover can't wait for the release of her debut young adult novel, Solstice, on June 18, just before the actual summer solstice. Set in Austin in the future when global warming is destroying the earth, Solstice is a perfect choice for those hot summer days by the pool or the beach.

Solstice also got a nice shout out in the Kirkus blog as a Science Fiction & Fantasy June Highlight & Top Pick. "Solstice by P.J. Hoover is a clever blend of mythology and dystopia set against the backdrop of a dying world." 

Jessica looks forward to teaching a Found Treasure Writing Workshop at Westbank Library on June 10, 2013 from 4-5:30 p.m.
Jeanette enjoyed a fabulous visit at Purple Sage Elementary in Austin for Children's Book Week, visiting kindergarten through second grade students.

This summer she is teaching for Texas Woman's University and finishing writing a book for librarians this summer so public appearances are limited. On August 5, Jeanette will be a presenter at the youth services library conference at the McAllen Public Library and later that month will travel to Florida to speak to librarians and hopefully visit some bookstores in the Daytona Beach area. 

Don wound-down the school year by visiting school libraries in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. 

Don poses with library clerk (Thing 1) and librarian (The Cat), Ms. Petrie at Eiland Elementary in Houston. 

Don is offering special pricing -- up to half off -- for school visits in August and September 2013, for schools near Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston. Contact Don with inquiries. 

You can read about our latest Featured Sweethearts who are making a different in their communities! This month we featured
Barrett Dowell (husband of Bridget Zinn. (read his interview here) 
Poison cover

Monday, May 27, 2013


Hi, P. J. Hoover here, and today I am beyond excited to be able to feature a book that I fell in love with and a true sweetheart that helped make it happen.

POISON by Bridget Zinn (March 12, 2013, Hyperion)

I participated in a launch event for POISON at BookPeople here in Austin, TX, hosted by Bridget's family, and had the wonderful idea that even though I couldn't feature Bridget here on the blog, I could feature someone very close to her, Barrett Dowell, her husband.

At the BookPeople launch event
L to R: Me, Barrett Dowell (Bridget's husband), Nikki Loftin, Cory Putman Oakes, and Mary Zuniga Johnson (Bridget's cousin)

Members of the Austin writing community signed the book.
A stamp with Bridget's signature was also used. 
You can have one of the signed copies from the event mailed to you.
Contact BookPeople for more information

Barrett, thank you so much for being her with us today! And now, let's get on with the questions!


PJHoover: The release of POISON has been such an amazing thing! What do you think would have made Bridget the happiest about the whole release?

BarrettD: There is a lot happing with POISON's release that would have thrilled Bridget and made her extremely happy. I think seeing how the international community of book lovers has rallied to support and promote POISON would have put Bridget over the moon. I know she would have been extremely grateful.

I also think the letters from readers about how POISON and Bridget's own story of battling cancer has impacted them would be quite touching for her. One letter mentioned how Bridget's words have "taken away the scary" from their own battle against cancer. It is so amazing how Bridget continues to put happiness in the world through her words.

PJHoover: When we talked, you mentioned there were some things in POISON that were "special" to Bridget. Can you share some of these with us?

BarrettD: The character Fred in POISON was named in honor of Fred Weasley from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels. Bridget was a huge fan of warm pockets of life in books. She loved those real moments when a characters connect and you see their real friendships. The Weasley twins brought humor to some of the darker parts of Rowling's novels and that is what Bridget loved in the books. She like many fans felt a loss after reading The Deathly Hallows and when Bridget was writing POISON she thought the name Fred was the perfect homage to a missed character.

Rosie, the katzenheim piglet that joins Kyra on her quest, is a character inspired from Bridget's own childhood. The name Rosie was borrowed from a lifelong friend who grew up just through the woods from Bridget's childhood home in northern Wisconsin. There are also nice moments between Kyra and Rosie in POISON that remind me of Bridget's relationship with our bengal cat, Harpo.

PJHoover: What has been your biggest surprise since the release of POISON?

BarrettD: My biggest surprise since the release has been the amount of help and support I have received from friends and people from around the country who have helped promote POISON to ensure it reaches readers. I am so thankful.

Another awesome surprise was Disney Publishing Worldwide's announcement of its donation of 1,000 brand new, hardcover copies of Poison to FirstBook in dedication of Bridget. This meant so much to me and to Bridget's father, Dick Zinn. We are both grateful to Disney Publishing Worldwide and so proud of Bridget.

PJHoover: Can you share with us some memories from the time POISON was being written?

BarrettD: Writing a book is a huge undertaking and Bridget had lots of support. She had a fantastic writers' group which she met with regularly. Their encouragement and critiques kept her on track and helped her craft POISON along with many other novels Bridget has written, but not yet published.

Bridget's agent, Michael Stearns of Upstart Crow Literary, had tremendous impact on our lives. He came in at the right moment and was the perfect addition to our team. It meant the world to Bridget to have someone she respected in the industry understand and believe in her work. Bridget signed with him about a month before her diagnosis of having fourth stage colon cancer.

PJHoover: If you could let the world know one special thing about Bridget, what would it be?

BarrettD: Bridget taught me to appreciate the moment. I think she said it best in her last tweet, "Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect."

PJHoover: Thank you so much for being here!



Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
Praise for Poison:
"A frothy confection of a fairy tale featuring poisoners, princesses, perfumers and pigs, none of whom are exactly what they appear (except maybe the pigs) …. Good silly fun—a refreshing antidote to a genre overflowing with grit and gloom."—Kirkus Reviews
Extraordinary." —Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times best-selling author

"Bridget Zinn's POISON is an absolute charmer of a book, full of adventure and romance and fun. I give it five stars—with an extra star for the cutest pig character you will ever meet." —Sarah Prineas, author of The Magic Thief series and the Winterling trilogy


If you know of someone who would make a great Featured Sweetheart, please let us know! The best part? If you nominate someone, we'll send you a $5 Starbucks gift card :)