Cynsational News, Links & Giveaways

Austin SCBWI offered a great line-up for its April 26 conference.

Featured speakers included: author and editor Deborah Noyes Wayshak from Candlewick Press (author-editor interview); Alvina Ling from Little Brown (personal blog); agent Erin Murphy (interview by Pam Mingle from Kite Tales, Rocky Mountain chapter, SCBWI); artist’s agent Christina Tugeau; writing professor Peter Jacobi; illustrator Christy Stallop; and retired educator Naomi “Mama” Pasemann.

The Critique Clinic and Success Panel Authors included: Brian Anderson (author interview); Chris Barton; Lila Guzman (author interview); Helen Hemphill (author interview); Varian Johnson; April Lurie (author interview); Jane Peddicord (author interview); Jo Whittemore (author interview); and Brian Yansky (author interview).

Special contributions also were made by Julie Lake (author interview) and Gary Schumann, Lyn Brooks, and the conference committee–Regional Advisor Tim Crow; Lyn Seippel; Meg Shoemaker; Donna Bratton; Julie Lake; Christy Stallop; and Carmen Oliver.

Highlights included the inauguration of the Austin SCBWI Meredith Davis Volunteer-of-the-Year Award, named in honor of our chapter founder and first regional advisor. The first recipient was current ARA Lyn Seippel.

The night before the conference, Greg and I had the honor of hosting a reception in honor of the conference faculty and volunteers. The menu (above) included: green goddess crudites with anchovy green goddess dressing; peak season fruits paired with cheddar, Jarlsberg, Havarti and Gruyere cheeses, an assortment of bite-size pinwheels of carne asada, grilled vegetable and roasted turkey with fig spread on colorful tortillas, jumbo shrimp poached in a court-bouillon and served with a choice of traditional cocktail sause or spicy gazpacho sauce, along with fresh lemons, lime, and dill, and two-bite sweets–cookies, brownies, and bars. We also served red and white wine, water, and sodas. The event was catered by Whole Foods (Lamar).

Thanks to the committee, critique clinic faculty, and speakers for an amazing event! Cheers again to Austinite and rising star, Varian Johnson, on his first hardcover sale (to Delacorte)!

May Giveaway

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!

From a recent Cynsations interview with Lauren:

“The credit for inspiration all goes to my fabulous and adorable and brilliant-beyond-words editor, the great Susan Van Metre.

“One day, she and I were having a talk about how different things are for girls now than when we were teenagers, and we circled around to the whole IM thing. You know, how when we were in school, we’d come home and phone our buds and go over the day (who wore what, who said what, etc.), but now, girls come home and IM their buds to do their post-op.

“And Susan said, ‘Someone should write a book all told in IMs.’

“And, being no dummy, I said, ‘Okay!’ And so I did.”

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.

Giveaway Winners

Autographed copies of A Growling Place by Thomas Aquinas Maguire (Simply Read, 2007)(author-illustrator interview) went to Katie, a fifth grade teacher from Las Vegas as well as Cynsational readers Tracy in Poway, California; and Sheila in Coral Springs, Florida.

Autographed copies of How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, 2008)(author interview) went to Cana, an eighth grade teacher in Starke, Florida; and Em, a Cynsational reader from Boulder, Colorado! Visit Jennifer’s LiveJournal and MySpace page!

And finally, Cynsational YA reader Kate in Bangor, Maine; and Tantalize Fans Unite! member Breanna in Tacoma, Washington; won copies of By Venom’s Sweet Sting by Tiffany Trent (Mirrorstone, 2007)! Read a Cynsations interview with Tiffany.

Hunger Mountain’s Annual eBay Fundraising Auction

Visit between now and noon EST May 8th to place your bid on manuscript critiques with notable authors and limited edition letterpress broadsides.

One-on-one manuscript critiques in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and writing for children and young adults are offered by phone, email, and mail with award-winning authors.

Authors offering critiques: Gillian Conoley, Cleopatra Mathis, William Olsen, Tim Wynne-Jones (author interview), Robin Hemley, Randall Brown, Sebastian Matthews, David Huddle, Victoria Redel, Evan Fallenberg, Dara Wier, Jack Myers, Baron Wormser, Thomas E. Kennedy, David Jauss, Xu Xi, and Norma Fox Mazer (author interview). Note: Tim and Norma specialize in youth literature.

A new letterpress broadside featuring Lucia Perillo’s poem “Breaking News” is now available. It is the fourth broadside in the Stinehour Broadside Award Series. These letterpress broadsides are all signed and numbered, limited edition, and frame worthy!

All purchases are charitable donations in support of Hunger Mountain’s non-profit mission to bring readers outstanding creative work by both established and emerging writers and artists, as chosen by guest editors from the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program faculty.

Visit for more information, including contest and submission guidelines. (Don’t miss the deadline for the Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize, awarding $1,000 and publication: entries must be postmarked by June 15, 2008.)

VCFA Picture Book Certificate Program

The Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program now offers a one-semester graduate-level picture book certificate program. This program is currently only available to graduates of the three MFA programs at the Vermont College of Fine Arts; however, for the fall 2008 semester, the program will be opened to graduates of other master’s programs and to individuals without an advanced degree on a case-by-case basis. Note: “The picture book certificate program is modeled after a regular MFA-WC&YA semester with a few additional components.”

More News & Links

BookPage Spotlight Award 2008: “reward a librarian for a job well done.”

Cheryl Klein: official site of the senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books. Includes a number of “talks on writing and publishing,” “on submissions and about me,” and more. Recent additions include: “Words, Wisdom, Art, and Heart: Making a Picture-Book Cookie” and “Principles of Line Editing.” See also her blog, Brooklyn Arden.

Grace Lin in the Kitchen Interview from jama rattigan’s alphabet soup: a children’s writer offers food for thought & fine whining. Peek: “I think the biggest challenge when writing autobiographical stories is to really let go. Many times people like to keep things private; don’t want others to know embarrassing or personal thoughts. But those are the things that are most interesting and perhaps what you most want to tell. Once you let that go, truly open yourself up to the page–then real writing happens. After that, the challenge is to figure out what events are interesting to an audience, not just yourself because it happened to you.” Note: includes super-cute kid photos of Grace and editor Alvina Ling. Grace will sign two copies of The Year of the Rat (Little Brown, 2008) for two lucky people who leave a comment at jama rattigan’s alphabet soup no later than May 7. “The books will be sent to her for personalization, so if you already own a copy, think in terms of a gift for someone special! And, if you mention this interview/giveaway on your blog, you’ll be entered twice!” See post for details.

How Much to Tell [a Prospective Agent] from Bookends, LLC. Peek: “I get a lot of questions about how much to tell an agent. If an agent previously reviewed your material and liked it enough to ask you to keep her in mind for other work, should you remind her of this rejection? If your work is currently under consideration at a publisher…”

Launch Pad: Where Young Authors and Illustrators Take Off! “a new literary arts magazine devoted to publishing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and artwork by children ages 6 to 12. The magazine is published six times a year and is fully accessible online.”

Janee Trasler: official author-illustrator site. Her books include Ghost Eats It All (Little Brown). Don’t Miss Janee’s blog, Art & Soul.

Desperately Seeking Cinderellas (or Cinderfellas!) fAiRy gOdSisTeRs, iNk is offering a $1,000 SCBWI Summer Conference Grant for a SCBWI member to attend the Aug. 1 to Aug. 4 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles. To apply, submit a 250 word double-spaced essay describing what you hope to accomplish by attending this year’s summer conference. Application deadline: May 15; winner will notified June 1. Send to:; questions? write: Note: “Fairy Godsisters, Ink. is a small, benevolent squadron of children’s book authors who believe in the magic of passing forward lucky breaks, bounty and beneficence, as so many have done for us.” Members: Thalia Chaltas, Mary Hershey, Valerie Hobbs, R. L. La Fevers and Lee Wardlaw. Source: Shrinking Violet Promotions.

Literary Estate Representation by Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown. Peek: “Many people think that representation stops when the author passes away. Not so! We here at Curtis Brown often work with the heirs of literary estates to try to make sure that the authors’ works continue to find new life via new editions and make sure every new opportunity is explored.”

Kathi Appelt hits the road to promote her debut novel, The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008)(author interview)! See her live at 7 p.m. May 6 at the Barnes & Noble Arboretum (10000 Research Blvd.) in Austin; at 5 p.m. May 8 at Hastings (2311 Colorado Blvd.) in Denton, Texas; at 4:30 May 9 at Learning Express (6828 Snider Plaza) in Dallas; at 2:30 May 10 at Blue Marble (1356 S Fort Thomas Ave.) in Fort Thomas, Kentucky; at 6:30 May 12 at Borders (1 North La Grange Road) in La Grange, Illinois; at 6:30 May 14 at Borders (3140 Lohr Road) in Ann Arbor, Michigan; at 6:30 May 15 at Barnes & Noble (2800 S. Rochester Road) in Rochester Hills, Michigan; at 1 p.m. May 17 at Octavia Books (503 Octavia St.) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Note: Tell Kathi I said “howdy!”

“Where the Rubber Meets the Road:” African-American Imprints/Publishers by Paula Chase-Hyman from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “If you’re looking for children’s books for and/or by African American authors here the following are a few places to begin.” Read a Cynsations interview with the founders of The Brown Bookshelf.

Take a peek at The Castaway Pirates: A Pop-Up Tale of Bad Luck, Sharp Teeth, and Stinky Toes, story and pop-ups by Ray Marshall, illustrated by Wilson Swain (Chronicle, 2008)!

Take a peek at The Adventures of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill (Front Street, fall 2008)!