Cynsational News & Links

Interview: D. Anne Love on Defying the Diva from Little Willow at Slayground. Here’s a sneak peek [on how publishing has changed in the past decade]: “It has become more competitive, but also more open to edgier and more challenging themes. There was a time when Robert Cormier‘s The Chocolate War and Katherine Patterson‘s Jacob Have I Loved were considered “out there.” Now we have authors tackling the subjects of sexuality and sexual identity, date rape, and other difficult topics. This new freedom is good for authors and good for readers, too.” Read a Cynsations interview with D. Anne.

Question of the Week Thursday: Mitali Perkins. Robin Friedman asks: “How Does Your Background Inform Your Writing?” Read a Cynsations interview with Robin.

Interview with E. Lockhart from Debbi Michiko Florence. Here’s a sneak peek: “Most of my books stem from anger or outrage about something. In this case, I was thinking about the old boys network that still operates and determines power in the world, despite our egalitarian values.” Read a Cynsations interview with E.

On Word Counts and Novel Length from the Swivet. Here’s a sneak peek: “YA fiction=Can be anywhere from about 50k to 80k; sometimes-but rarely-goes above 90k.” Source: Gwenda Bond at Shaken & Stirred.

Kathryn Erskine: official author site. Kathryn’s latest release is Quaking (Philomel, 2007)(excerpt). From the promotional copy: “After years of being batted around, fourteen year old Matt has learned to rely on herself at school and everywhere. Biology is good. I am an expert. We are studying morphing, but I have already morphed. I have my own exoskeleton… I have spent years developing my armor and I will not let it be pierced. She must call on all of her resources to handle Mr. Warhead, the Rat, and the Wall at her new school, not to mention the Beast in her head. But somehow it is even more difficult to cope with the warm Quaker family, her ‘last chance,’ who has taken her in. Why does Jessica insist on acting like a mom, for God’s sake? Why can’t their little boy with his gack covered fingers just leave her alone? And why does Sam have to care about her–and everything–so much? Doesn’t he realize that only gets you hurt? And even though Matt knows that pain very well, why is she finally letting down her armor and allowing herself to care?”

Rutgers One-on-One: “A Unique Program for Authors and Illustrators of Children’s Books Sponsored by the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature.” Note: The next One-on-One Plus Conference will be Oct. 18.

P. J. Lynch Gallery: the Dublin-based illustrator “has won many awards including the Mother Goose Award, the Christopher Medal three times, and the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal on two occasions, first for The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, and again for When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest.” Site features bio, books, other work (posters, murals, stamps), and store. See also the P. J. Lynch Gallery blog.

Check out the book trailer (below) for Chess Rumble by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson (Lee & Low, 2007). From the promotional copy: “A story in free verse about a troubled boy who learns to use his mind instead of his fists through the guidance of an unconventional mentor and the game of chess.” Source: Melissa.

Heather Brewer is giving away three paperback copies of Eighth Grade Bites (Dutton, 2007)(excerpt))! Learn how to enter. Deadline: May 1.

Sketchy Words: “Professional artist and writer indulges herself and hopes you will, too.” A new blog from Janie Bynum, who says, “I will post snippets, thoughts, sketches and other gibberish pertaining to the world of art and publishing.” Read a Cynsations interview with Janie. See also Bynum Creative: Design, Illustration, Photo, Fine Art.

Greg R. Fishbone is requests feedback on his Survey: Author/Illustrator Websites. Please surf over and help him out! Read a Cynsations interview with Greg.

Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going (Writer’s Digest, 2008). Here’s an excerpt: “When you watch the world around you, keep an eye out for conflict and tension. Part of what appealed to me about that particular news story was that the teens were meeting with resistance from the school board and people in their town. This intrigued me. I wanted to know how they would handle the opposition and how the situation would get resolved. Conflict makes for great stories, and although we wish it didn’t exist, it’s everywhere.” Read a Cynsations interview with K.L.

Meredith Wood offers a thoughtful review of Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles (Candlewick, 20007). Read a Cynsations interview with Jo.

Debut Author of the Month: Jody Feldman from Alice’s CWIM Blog. Here’s a sneak peek: “True revision means being brave enough to imagine your story could possibly be different than when you first conceived it.” Read a Cynsations interview with Jody.

XRR Book Reviews: “innovative, enticing, and engaging. (I’m tooting my own horn here, by the way. Take it with a grain of salt :)) Why? Because it’s got reviews of awesome (and not so awesome) books written in a straightforward but still somewhat charismatic and flamboyant style. It’s not a place to dis all books, and it’s not a place to rave about all books. It’s a place to tell it like it is.” Note: see information on submitting books for review and requesting an author interview.

The Children’s Writer Guide to 2008 is now available. It packs hundreds and hundreds of shrewd insider tips, market-tested strategies, and pointed insights from more than 250 leading editors, publishers, and authors in the children’s field.” Note: check out my quotes in Chris Eboch‘s article on horror and ghost stories.

René Saldaña, Jr.: a blog from the YA author of The Whole Sky Full of Stars (Wendy Lamb, 2007); Finding Out Way (Wendy Lamb, 2003); and The Jumping Tree (Delacorte, 2001). Note: “Originally from Nuevo Peñitas in South Texas (a suburb of Peñitas Viejo),” René now lives in Lubbock and teaches at Texas Tech University (in their College of Education).

Agent Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency, LLC in Boston has declared a YA specialty at the agency and is actively looking to acquire YA writers (both fiction and non-fiction). See submissions guidelines.

Congratulations to Sylvia Vardell on the release of Children’s Literature in Action: A Librarian’s Guide (Libraries Unlimited, 2008)! Sylvia says: “It’s intended to help the new librarian or library media specialist become knowledgeable about the field of children’s literature in preparation for guiding young people, ages 5-12, in their reading. It provides practical ideas for generating interest in reading, strategies for connecting with the school curriculum, and guidance for reaching out to families and the wider community through children’s literature.” Don’t miss: Authors in Action (written by Pat Mora, Seymour Simon, Janet Wong (author interview), Kristine O’Connell George, Laurence Yep, T. A. Barron, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Ashley Bryan). Read a Cynsations interview with Sylvia.

Reminder: Enter to win a copy of By Venom’s Sweet Sting (Mirrorstone, 2007). To enter, email me with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST April 30! Please also type “By Venom’s Sweet Sting” in the subject line. Note: one copy will be awarded to any Cynsations YA reader, and one copy will be awarded to a member of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please identify yourself accordingly as part of your entry! Don’t miss the latest Hallowmere book, latest Hallowmere novel, Between Golden Jaws by Tiffany Trent (Mirrorstone, 2008)(sample chapter)! Read a Cynsations interview with Tiffany.

Check out the latest book giveaway contests at Teens Read Too!

“Triple the Query Critique, Triple the Fun:” agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown looks at query letters for three YA fantasies and chimes in on what works, what doesn’t, and why. Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Congratulations to Lee Bennett Hopkins on the release of America at War, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Note: excerpt includes double-page interior illustration and poems by Brenda Powelson-Vick, Cynthia Cotten (author interview), and Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Reminder: Austin SCBWI offers a great line-up for its April 26 conference. Speakers include: author and editor Deborah Noyes Wayshak from Candlewick Press (author-editor interview); Alvina Ling from Little Brown (personal blog); agent Erin Murphy (interview from by Pam Mingle from Kite Tales, Rocky Mountain chapter, SCBWI); artist’s agent Christina Tugeau; and writing professor Peter Jacobi. See details at Austin SCBWI. Note: I hope to see you there!

Calendar this for April 17 from readergirlz! Read a Cynsations interview with the readergirlz divas.

How Do You Celebrate a Sale? from Mindy Alyse Weiss. Note: highlighting as a reminder to celebrate, celebrate, celebrate good news! Writing for publication has its lows. Make the highs something to remember!

Agent Query: the Internet’s largest and most current database of literary agents. Source: Mindy Alyse Weiss.

More Personally

An excerpt of Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow, 2000), will soon (if not already) be featured at the Office of Indian Education’s Teacher-to-Teacher website. See a featured illustration from Jingle Dancer!

Thank you to Devona Carpenter, youth programmer of Austin Public Library, and everyone at Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center for their hospitality this morning! In conjunction with Second Chance Books, Greg and I spoke to two groups–the first made up of about 70 kids who’re awaiting the next step in the legal process, and the second made up of about 15 girls who’re longer-term residents. “Second Chance Books is an award-winning collaboration between the Austin Public Library and the Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center. The collaboration began in 2003 and has become an invaluable resource to the incarcerated youth at Gardner Betts. Incarceration is not pleasant, but through the work of Gardner Betts teachers and Austin Public Library librarians, incarcerated youth are provided with books that they would like to read either for pleasure, personal growth, or both.” See “Program uses literature to change lives in juvenile center: Second Chance Books a success as accolades, grants keep rolling in” by Reggie Ugwu from The Daily Texan.

Also, I have a query for the cumulative brain: if you know how to be hired as a translator by a publisher, will you please email me with that information. A fellow Cynsational reader is seeking information. Thanks!