Cynsational News & Links

“Interview with Maureen Johnson, author of Suite Scarlette and many other books” from Julie Prince at YA and Kids Books Central. Peek: “So if I have any philosophy at all, it’s that you should attack and dismantle your own fears and prejudices and hang-ups. I think you have the power to rewrite your own personality any way you like, and if something is holding you back, it’s up to you to take that obstacle down.” Learn more about Maureen Johnson.

Conference Etiquette from BookEnds, LLC. Peek: “One of the reasons I advise against getting in touch with agents or submitting just before a conference is that for a lot of agents this puts them in an uncomfortable position. They feel that you’re expecting something they don’t want to give—usually feedback or more personal, detailed critiques than they would normally give.” See also “How to Impress an Editor” from Down a Dusty Gravel Road.

Elizabeth E. Wein hosts a virtual book launch to celebrate the publication of The Empty Kingdom and benefit Ethiopia Reads. See a related author interview with Jane Kurtz.

Avoiding Burnout from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “The act of writing, while it may be horrendously difficult sometimes, fills some deep, creative need within us. This is a gift we’ve been given in this life, and we need to cherish that and nurture that. And that often means striking some kind of devil’s bargain with Publishing. Because the very last thing we want to happen is for Publishing to destroy our love of Writing. And it can happen.”

Nancy J. Keane’s Children’s Literature Webpage: ready-to-use booktalks, lists of recommended reading, book reviews by children or other information about children’s literature.

28 & Beyond: Almost To Freedom (by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by Colin Bootman (Carolrhoda, 2003): a recommendation from Kelly Starling Lyons from The Brown Bookshelf. Read a Cynsations interview with the founders of The Brown Bookshelf.

Question of the Week Thursday: Mary Pearson from Robin Friedman at JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks: “Your newest novel, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which has received such acclaim, is a departure from your previous work; what made you decide on this bold new direction?” Read Cynsations interviews with Robin and Mary.

Attention: Writers’ League of Texas members: June 30 is the deadline for submission of a 2007 copyright-date book for the Teddy Award. The entry fee is $25. A $1,000 dollar cash prize and trophy will go to each winner. There are two youth literature categories–(a) short and (b) long works. See entry for and guidelines.

Evelyn B. Christensen – Author & Puzzle Creator: official author site features biography, information about her 33 educational puzzle books (including sample pages), teacher resources, weekly puzzles, articles, and a list of Educational Markets for Children’s Writers. See also: Writing for the Education Market.

Not Your Mother’s Book Club (Contents May Not Be Suitable for Parents): launched by Books Inc., a community for YA lit teen readers. Note: “Authors, librarians, booksellers, teachers, and those who just love teen books are also welcome, but contests and other special treats are for those in grades 7-12 only.” A space to “meet each other, meet authors, talk about new books, post book reviews, post stories, and generally have fun.”

Congratulations to Alleen Pace Nilsen and Kenneth L. Donelson on the publication of Literature for Today’s Young Adults (Eighth Edition)(Allyn and Bacon, 2009)! From the promotional copy: “Writing with the belief that students will have a better chance of becoming life-long readers if they have choices and enjoy what they read, renowned authors Alleen Nilsen and Ken Donelson offer a comprehensive, reader-friendly introduction to young adult literature framed within a literary, historical, and social context. The authors provide teachers with criteria for evaluating books of all genres, from poetry and nonfiction to mysteries, science fiction, and graphic novels. Coverage of timely issues such as pop culture and mass media have been added to help teachers connect with students’ lives outside the classroom.” Note: it was my pleasure to contribute to this book “Young Adult Authors Speak Out: Cynthia Leitich Smith on Hosting 1.6 Million Visitors in Cyberspace” (pages 98-99).

Video Interview with Neil Gaiman at his home from Comic Book Resources. Neil discusses comics, graphic novels, being a Goth icon, working with artists, movie adaptations, script writing, promotion and traveling, getting to know his fans more personally than other authors, and his next children’s book. Source: Amanda Williams.

Paula Yoo on Book Reviews from Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “I think it’s hard for writers to separate their personal selves and personal lives from their writing, because often, writers write what they know best – themselves.” Read a Cynsations interview with Uma.

The following institutions offer MFA degrees in writing for children and/or young adults: Chatham College; Hamline University; Hollins University; Lesley University; Seton Hill University; Simmons College; Spaulding University; Vermont College of Fine Arts; Western Connecticut State University. Note: many of these are low residency programs; I’m on the Vermont College faculty.

More Personally

Tantalize review from “The story is engaging, the menu is (dare I say it?) tantalizing, and the locale shines. This one is worth reading for teens (the target audience) and adults alike.”