Cynsational News & Links

This month the readergirlz welcome Newbery author Shannon Hale with her latest novel, Book of a Thousand Days (Bloomsbury, 2007). You can chat with Shannon and the readergirlz May 22 at 6 p.m. PST, 9 p.m. EST. Learn more! See also Fusion Stories: New Novels for Young Readers to Celebrate Asian Pacific American Month and Children’s and YA Books with Asian and Asian American Themes, compiled by Greg Leitich Smith, from my site.

Little Brown editor Alvina Ling blogs about the recent Austin SCBWI conference at Bloomabilities. Peek: “Follow your compass, not your clock. …this advice holds true in all of your careers as well. …so many of us are rushing, anxious, constantly comparing our own careers with everyone around us. We all need to make sure we remember the things that are really important to us.” Note: post includes many photos of Texas cuisine!

Writing Dialogue: Class Differences by Carrie Jones at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “At one end of the table my truck-driver dad would be saying, ‘Then the motor? Just kaput.’ At the other end of the table, my sort-of-uncle would be saying, ‘The proliferation of HIV-positive women in Africa promises to be a problem of epidemic proportions. I’m really tremendously concerned.’ Two different speech worlds collided over turkey every year.” See also her interviews on dialogue with YA author Rita Williams-Garcia and Flux editor Andrew Karre. Read Cynsations interviews with Carrie, Rita, and Andrew.

Presenting…Sarah Dessen! at Journey of an Inquiring Mind. Peek: “I think I was actually more productive when I was juggling writing with a second job, in a lot of ways. Now that I’m a new mom, though, I’m back to fitting writing in around the edges, and I’m finding it works better for me. When I had all day to worry about writing, the actual work was much harder for me. Now when I sit down, I know I only have so long, and that makes me get right to work.”

Interview with Jason Wells (part 1 of 2) from Just One More Book! Note: “Mark speaks with Jason Wells, Director of Marketing and Publicity for Harry N. Abrams Inc. in the first of a two-part series. In this part, Mark and Jason speak about the role and career path of the publicist, the high turnover rate in the industry and the evolution of book marketing and publicity in the digital age.” Also listen to recent podcasts with authors Kelly Bennett, Toni Buzzeo, and Kyra Hicks.

Presenting…Robin Stevenson! at Journey of an Inquiring Mind. Peek [on launch parties]: “As the author, you’ll be pretty busy and possibly too euphoric to be useful during the launch itself, so it’s a good idea to recruit a few friends to help out. You might want to ask a friend to take photographs of the event. If your publisher isn’t taking care of sales, you should bring books and ask a friend or two to sell books for you. And make sure you have a pen to sign them. Oh, and one thing I wish I’d done ahead of time—think of some things to write when you sign them. I kept wishing I had something more profound to say than ‘Hope you enjoy it,’ or ‘Thanks for coming out tonight.'”

Gaby Triana is blogging at LiveJournal again after a two-year hiatus. Gaby’s new book is The Temptress Four (HarperCollins, 2008). From the promotional copy: “Four best friends, one graduation cruise, a week of partying.Eight days of strife and storms… It’s supposed to be the best eight days of their lives. Bonds will be broken… But when a fortune-teller predicts trouble the night before their trip, One of you will not come home… Fiona, Killian, Alma, and Yoli are left on edge, wondering what it could all mean. Gaby Triana gets right to the heart of that thrilling, nerve-wracking, exhilarating, terrifying, amazing time that comes right after graduation, when the big question is: Where do we go from here?”

Who’s Moving Where? News and Editorial Changes at Children’s Book Publishers by Harold Underdown from The Purple Crayon. Harold says: “Harcourt’s children’s imprint will be maintained as a separate imprint, and will be moving into the same office building as Clarion. Jeannette Larson has been promoted to Editorial Director, Picture Books, and Kathy Dawson has been promoted to Editorial Director, Fiction. …Betsy Groban is now the Senior Vice President and Publisher.” Read a Cynsations interview with Harold.

Query Shark: ” You can send a query letter to the Shark. It might get posted and critiqued. It might not. You’ll know either way. You can send a revised query letter after the critique. It will be posted and critiqued as well.”

Killing Me Softly: No Child Left Behind by Jordan Sonnenblick from School Library Journal. Peek: “Our kids come to us needing more of everything that is joyous about the life of the mind. They need nature walks, field trips, poetry, recess. What they’re getting is workbooks.” Read a Cynsations interview with Jordan. Source: The Longstockings.

Help! from Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “The very best way to kick your writing up a notch in every respect is to find a very experienced mentor and be coached on your writing. Even if you have experience yourself. Even if you already know it all. Even Tiger Woods has a swing coach. And he knows a thing or two about the game of golf.” Note: includes a question-and-answer interview with Katie Gustafson, program director of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Pythons Attack! from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “I feel that this author stole my idea. What should I do? How do I prove that the idea was mine first?”

is giving away about 75 books and audio books in May! Surf over to enter!

If I Had a Hammer, I’d Hammer This Message Into You from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “People (of any age) do not appreciate the funnel-to-gullet method of learning a lesson.”

Subscribe to Alice’s CWIM email newsletter; each issue features a debut author of the month. “Other recurring features include exclusive interviews with authors and agents, updates of market listings, conference news, book mentions,” etc.

There Are No Rules: a new blog from Writer’s Digest Editorial Director Jane Friedman. Note: “to deliver valuable advice to aspiring and established authors through frank commentary on publishing trends, live reports from conferences/events, and brief interviews with agents/editors/authors.” Source: Alice’s CWIM Blog.

Diving in with a Smile by Jan Fields from The Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “…you need to know what you can expect to gain from a conference so you can prepare for all it has to offer.”

Lee & Low Books, an award-winning publisher of multicultural books for children, has announced its ninth annual New Voices Award competition. The Award will be given for a children’s fiction or nonfiction picture book story by a writer of color. The Award winner will receive a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500. Manuscripts will be accepted from May 1 through Oct. 31 and must be postmarked within that period. Read a Cynsations interview with Lee & Low editor Louise May. Source: Austin SCBWI.

Question of the Week Thursday: Robin Friedman asks Ellen Wittlinger: Have you seen changes in the industry since you first started out? Peek: “…there’s also a sense now that a YA author should be a sort of rock star, which makes it tough for those of us with gray hair and sensible shoes.” Read Cynsations interviews with Robin and Ellen.

Rowling Keeps Company With Seuss, Blume and Steinbeck from The Washington Post. Source: Donna Gephart. Note: I’m pleased to see so many of my own favorites featured, but fret what this says about the embracing (or lack thereof) of diverse voices and characters in youth literature.

Build Your Clip Collection with Regional Magazines by Beth Bence Reinke from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “Even though the breastfeeding article was written for adults, it showed that I could interview experts and organize the information in an interesting manner. This was my first query to Odyssey and it was accepted! The resulting article, entitled ‘Your Skeleton is Not Dead Bones!’ was published in the September 2007 issue.”

Author David Lubar is now on MySpace! Read a Cynsations interview with David.

Championing Children: Yohannes Gebregeorgis from CNN Heroes: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Impact. Peek: “Moved by the lack of children’s books and literacy in his native Ethiopia, Yohannes Gebregeorgis established Ethiopia Reads, bringing free public libraries and literacy programs to thousands of Ethiopian children.” See also Jane Kurtz on Ethiopia Reads and Jane Kurtz on the Ethiopian Books for Children and Educational Foundation, both from Cynsations.

Dr. Seuss and Dr. Einstein by Chet Raymo from Science Musings. Peek: “Dr. Seuss was a botanist and zoologist of the first rank. Never mind that the flora and fauna he described were imaginary. Any kid headed for a career in science could do no better than to start with the plants and animals that populate the books of the madcap master of biology.” Note: Originally published in The Horn Book.


The Cynsations grand-prize May giveaway is an autographed paperback set of all three of Lauren Myracle‘s New York Times bestselling Internet Girls novels (in chat-room-style writing)–ttyl, l8rg8r, and ttfn, all published by Amulet!

Read a Cynsations interview with Lauren. Read Lauren’s blog, and visit her at MySpace!

To enter the giveaway, email me with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST May 31! Please also type “Internet Girls” in the subject line. Note: one autographed set will be awarded to any Cynsations YA reader.

Take a sneak peek at the trailer for Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab (HarperTeen, June 2008). It’s available for order now! Learn more about the Class of 2k8! Source: Melissa at Poised at the Edge.

Here’s The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, 2008)!