I’ve got some news and some links, but first: a word count.

I’ve begun working with a designer friend on my full-fledged website, and I’ve taken a first crack at the content that will appear on my home page. This will come as a shock to anyone who has ever read an early draft of mine, but I’m trying to err on the side of brevity.

So: 113 words. My name, the navigation links, and the site-design credit included, that’s the total word count for the text I want to appear on my home page. There are certain things I want to clearly get across, and tons of text just seem to get in the way.

(By comparison, the home page of one veteran writer of nonfiction for young readers has 1,470 words. Another author, with her first book due out next month, has just 66 on her home page.)

Those of you authors with home pages already out there: What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t?


This past week has been packed. I saw the first preliminary sketches for S.V.T., scored free access to a high-dollar historical database I need for my impostors research, and came up with a fresh direction for another project of mine. Meanwhile, my picture book biography of J.R. has freshly gone out to a batch of editors. I got word that my brand-new picture book manuscript, Bell, is about to go out as well.

Also, I received printouts of The Day-Glo Brothers that I get to share with Bob and Joe Switzer’s family, and that pleases me to no end.

On top of all that, Austin SCBWI has scheduled me for my first presentation to the group, after years of me benefiting mightily as an audience member for such presentations. Got plans for September 12, 2009?


Finally, a few links that I’ve been stockpiling:

Via this GeekDad post on Transforming Picture Books into Film (“I have nothing kind to say about SHREK. When you look at the work of William Steig then turn to the ugly Dreamworks product, one can’t help but be saddened.”), I found out about this site offering free animations of Newbery and Caldecott winners, among other children’s titles.

The 2008 Cybils judging panels for nonfiction picture books and middle-grade/YA nonfiction titles have been announced. From personal experience, I can tell you that the folks involved are in for some spirited discussions, tough choices, and good times.

Austin author Julie Lake‘s latest publication credit puts her in some pretty fancy company. Check out the lead letter to the editor in the October issue of The Atlantic