Enter to win an advanced reader copy of City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (McElderry Books, March 24, 2009). To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “City of Glass” in the subject line. Note: Facebook and MySpace readers can message me instead, but don’t send mailing information. I’ll touch base if you win. Deadline: March 2! All Cynsational readers are eligible! Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra Clare.
Author Interview and Book Giveaway with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Beth Revis at writing it out. Peek: “My original concept was elf-vampire, not angel-vampire; that came at the suggestion of my editor, but I loved it and started over again.” Note: Beth is giving away a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Deadline: Feb. 28. See details.
See more giveaways, including Eternal giveaways, below!
Win-It Wednesday: No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia + The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson from Melissa Walker at MySpace. Peek: “both of these books are fantastic in different ways. You’ll love the spirit of Akilah in No Laughter Here (HarperCollins/Amistad, 2004)(author interview) as she tries to figure out why her best friend Victoria has changed after coming home from a summer visit to Nigeria. And in The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Holt, 2008)(author interview), the suspense of finding out Jenna’s true history kept me up late into the night.” Comment before March 11ish (she said “about two weeks”).
Author Jackson Pearce offers a videolog on giving cats baths and giving up on your novel (below). Note: I watch this and think: She has a gray cat; I have gray cats. I like people with gray cats. I want to learn more about her.
We Ask An Editor: Emily Schultz, Disney-Hyperion by Megan Frazer from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “I often reread my letters and think, “Thank God she didn’t agree with me on that one.” I write really long editorial letters with plenty of suggestions, but my real aim is to show authors potential in their stories they might not have realized. Sometimes they’re good ideas in themselves. But usually it’s the back-and-forth that propels the evolution of a story.”
SCBWI NY Winter Conference Report by Meredith Davis from Austin SCBWI. Peek: “Sure, I’d love to make that connection with the perfect agent or editor. But perhaps that isn’t going to happen in the mad dash that inevitably occurs at the end of a presentation. Maybe that connection only happens when I’ve reminded myself to write from my heart, and continue to produce new and different work that grows and changes just as my characters need to.”
Sympathetic vs. Unsympathetic Characters from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “And there are some actions that are just too far beyond the pale for even the most likable of characters, including using racial slurs and/or other powerful cultural taboos. (Oddly this does not seem to include killing people and eating their flesh. Books are weird that way.)” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.
Congratulations to Tanya Lee Stone on the release of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream (Candlewick, 2009). From the promotional copy: “Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20, 2009. What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape–any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules. Almost Astronauts is the story of thirteen true pioneers of the space age. They had the right stuff. They defied the prejudices of the time. And they blazed a trail for generations of women to follow.”
Agent Interview: Michelle Humphrey from Sterling Lord from Denise Jaden. Peek: “I’m looking for YA (contemporary, historical, romance, quirky – not really genre fantasy, but I’m open to fantasy elements)–anything with a distinct voice. I am especially fond of subversive heroines–characters who break the rules and aren’t afraid to set themselves apart from the crowd.”
Namastechnology: Asana: Twitter: “This new monthly column aims to bring bookselling and technology into greater balance with one another and is written by Stephanie Anderson, manager of WORD bookstore in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more of her thoughts on books and bookselling at bookavore.com.” Another peek: “You’ll feel almost instantly how good Twitter is for you. There are dozens upon dozens of booksellers, sales reps, publishers, reviewers and authors on Twitter. You know that sort of glow-y buzz you get after a bookseller convention, when you feel like your mind is expanding and you’ve met some cool new people and you have the greatest job in the world? That’s what Twitter can be like.” Source: Laurie Halse Anderson.
An Interview with Kathi Appelt from Authors Unleashed. Peek: “Perseverance is the key. I began to seriously write for publication when my boys were very young, so I learned to write in five minute snatches of time. I didn’t wait to find those huge chunks of time that everyone is always searching for. In those early days, that would have been impossible. So, whenever I had five minutes, I grabbed my pencil and wrote. I still do that to a great extent.”
Getting by With a Little Help from Your Friends from Buried in the Slush Pile. Peek: “I would like to encourage everyone to get out and mingle with your fellow authors. Writing can be a very solitary pursuit–just you and your keyboard or pad of paper. Interactions like these help you maintain perspective.” Note: a peek into the Austin youth writing/editing/book-selling scene.
More Story, Less You from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “I know you’ll find all over the Internet that writing qualifications are important. They definitely are if you’re writing nonfiction. But for novels: not so much. Honestly.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.
Bloody Bookaholics: “My duty is to help you not to waste your time and find the best match for you, whether its fiction or supernatural, the one book for everyone is out there, you just gotta look.”
Win Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson from In Bed with Books. Deadline: Feb. 28.
Sparrow Girls and Too Many Beetles: Ed Spicer’s Teen Book Reviews highlights Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka (Hyperion, 2009) and One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Matthew Trueman (Candlewick, 2009). Peek: “The common bond between both of these excellent books is the risks taken by Ming-Li and Darwin. Both risk the wrath of family and society by listening more to that inner voice that cares only for truth, than to caving in to the pressures exerted by family and society expectations.”
Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction from Locus Magazine. Peek: “The single worst piece of writing advice I ever got was to stay away from the Internet because it would only waste my time and wouldn’t help my writing.” Source: Laurie Halse Anderson.
What About the Catholics? from Liz B at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy. Peek: “On the one hand, as a child I assumed every character in a book was like me until I was told differently. Unless there was evidence to the contrary, the characters were Catholic like me. Of course, that’s not true. I think some authors perhaps do that deliberately (not mentioning religion at all). So what about the Catholics?”
Enter the So You Think You Can “Dead Girl” Dance Contest! 1st place: autographed copies of Dead Girl Walking (Flux, 2008) and Dead Girl Dancing (Flux, 2009), your name on the dedication page of a future Linda Joy Singleton book, your video link featured on the author’s blogs; 2nd place: a book of choice by Linda Joy Singleton. Learn more. Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy.
Evelyn Coleman: an interview by Carla Sarratt in conjunction with 28 Days Later 2009: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “…even with years of accounting experience, I still am not able to read the royalty statements of at least half of my publishers.” See also an interview with “vanguard” author Jacqueline Woodson. Peek: “I think if I didn’t have a village — here in Brooklyn… I have so many close friends, my children have so many ‘aunties’and ‘cousins’. There is always someone saying ‘You can do this, Jackie’ or ‘You rock!’ or just saying ‘come over, we’re cooking for y’all tonight.’ And that’s the kind of stuff that makes the everyday so much easier.”
In These Harsh Economic Times from The Rejector. Peek: “Despite the corporate doom-and-gloom, publishing is actually a fairly stable industry in that people always want/need books. It’s either for school or escapism, and it’s rather cheap escapism, as most mass market paperbacks are now cheaper than a movie ticket and the book will last you longer.”
Q & A with Lisa Yee by Lynda Brill Comerford from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “I didn’t really think about Maybelline’s race very much. Her feelings and emotions transcend race. But, in the book, there is an Asian character, Ted. Inserting him was a conscious choice. Through him, I wanted to explore what would happen if you were raised one race and found out that your DNA showed you to be a different race.” Source: Confessions of a Bibliovore.
Definitions for the Perplexed: Editorial Anonymous offers insights into the mysteries of such publishing issues as cast-off, galleys, ARCs, proofs, PPB, ISBNs. Peek: “So galleys are not like buckshot loaded into a shotgun, meant to be fired in the general direction of marketing opportunities. They are sent to the people who will very likely make a difference in the sales numbers. Try to remember this before you suggest that your publisher send you a couple hundred to pass out to your friends.”
Congratulations to J. E. MacLeod on the release of Waiting to Score (WestSide, 2009)! From the promotional copy: “Quirky 15-year-old Zack Chase is a smart, talented hockey player who knows how to score on the ice. Hockey’s in his blood. Trouble is he’s not so sure he wants to follow his late father’s footsteps to become a professional hockey player. But, Zack’s Mom is determined he’ll make it to the pros, no matter what. When Zack and his Mom move to a new town, incidents on ice and off force Zack to dig deep to find out who he really is–and what he really wants. Is it Jane, the hockey hating Goth girl he’s wildly intrigued with? Or an easier, sure thing? Soon, Zack faces sore losers, drinking problems, and his own screw-ups with girls. Zack discovers the hard way that sometimes secrets have tragic and far-reaching consequences. He ultimately learns that there are some things that can never be undone, no matter how much he may want it.”
A Boot Camp for Writers, Featuring Editors and Authors from Blooming Tree Press will be held by Austin SCBWI from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25 at the Residency Center in Terravista, located off I-35 in Round Rock, Texas (directions will be sent with confirmation). Event will include: professional critiques; Continental breakfast and lunch; networking opportunities; general sessions; break-out sessions. Note: Although Blooming Tree Press does not normally accept unagented submissions, Boot Camp Participants will be invited to submit work after this event. See additional information and registration packet. Note: featured editors will include Buried in the Slush Pile. Read a Cynsations interview with Blooming Tree editor Miriam Hees.
Check out this TV interview (below) with YA authors Mari Mancusi and Melissa Walker; see also Cover Stories: Fashion Week Interview with Molly (aka Violet!) from Melissa. Peek: “Meet Molly H. She’s the model on the cover of all three Violet books.”
Marvelous Marketer – Elizabeth Dulemba (Illustrator/Author) from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children’s Book Author. Peek: “It’s the old ‘see it seven times’ rule of advertising. People generally don’t notice an ad until they’ve seen it at least seven times. In other words, the more you and your name are out there, the more likely your work will stick in people’s minds.”
Q & A with K.L. Going by Sue Corbett from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “I was still working at Curtis Brown and seeing a lot of manuscripts that had to do with the fear that event had caused. I had been a fearful child but I was looking for a book that would deal with fear in a more general sense.” Read a Cynsations interview with K. L.
Rachel Cohn: visit her new author blog! Peek: “I just finished a book called Very LeFreak that will come out in early 2010. It’s about a nineteen-year-old girl, nicknamed Very LeFreak, who is way out of control with online and iPhone addiction, and what happens when she has to go cold turkey from her electronic life.” Note: she’s interested in suggestions as to what to blog about.
Overheard at the NJ-SCBWI Mentoring Workshop from Tara Lazar at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them). Peek: “We may see a return to house authors. Authors and publishers will enter a partnership. They’ll help nurture one another and careers will have a steady progression. If you find a house that loves you, they will love you long time!” Note: many interesting tidbits.
Winnie’s War by Jenny Moss (Walker, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLS Blog. Peek: “It’s the autumn of 1918; the war is almost over, but the town of Coward Creek, Texas; is bracing itself for the Spanish flu that has already killed thousands across the country and in nearby Houston.” Note: a well-crafted, emotionally resonant historical novel. Recommended to writers for study as a model.
Swag Bag Contest from Brooke Taylor. Peek: “This past weekend my local RWA group hosted a teen reader panel and I put together some awesome swag bags with the help of several very cool authors and I have 1 bag left! The bag has a signed copy of Undone plus book swag (stickers/magnets/bookmarks) from Alyson Noel, Keri Mikulski, Lisa Schroeder, and Tina Ferraro. Plus, As a thank you to these super ladies–I’ll throw in one book of your choice by any of these authors…” Deadline: March 1. See details.
Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia (Harper Teen, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “…a compelling and sometimes disturbing novel of choices and randomness…” Read a Cynsations interview with Rita.
Book Revenue Breakdown from Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. Peek: “….note that this (thankfully) doesn’t include rights the agent/author might have reserved, such as audio rights, foreign, and dramatic rights, which can be very important in helping authors earn enough for a new couch to sit on as they frantically write their next book in the hopes of landing the money for a new coffee table.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.
Attention Writers/Illustrators: “Comment Your Butt Off” Contest! $1,000 Prize! from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children’s Book Author. Starting March 1, comment to win a five-page website, a branding package, or a five-hour marketing consultation. See details.
Seven Impossible Interviews Before Breakfast #80: Daniel Pinkwater from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “I have had many adventures, including being stranded at night in the Serengeti, living on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, meeting many remarkable people, being in the right place at the right time over and over…and none of those are as much fun as writing.” Source: Gwenda Bond.
Check out this fun book trailer for Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (Chronicle, 2008).
Congratulations to author Varian Johnson on his recent profile, “Find Black Authors on Virtual Shelf,” by Jeff Salamon in the Feb. 24 issue of the Austin American-Statesman! Peek: “We just want a way to open up the world, or at least some people, to the idea that there’s more than just one type of African American children’s book.” See The Brown Bookshelf.
You Can’t Just Be a Writer Anymore by Tess Gerritsen from Murderati. Peek: “These days, being a writer is no longer just about the books. We can no longer slide by like those 1980’s slacker writers and turn in one well-written manuscript every year. Now we have to be novelists, salesmen, speakers, and media personalities.” Source: April Henry. Note: most of the rest of it holds true, but trade children’s/YA writers are not necessarily expected to produce at the same rate; don’t panic.
Interview with Rosemary Clement-Moore from ChristaCarol Jones. Peek: “I think the paranormal trend isn’t new in YA–in fact, Sci-Fi and Fantasy books used to be dismissed by serious literary types as ‘juvenile.’ Lots of what I pulled off the SFF shelves as a kid is now on the YA shelves.” Read a Cynsations interview with Rosemary Clement-Moore.
Cornelius Van Wright: an article and interview from Don Tate in conjunction with 28 Days Later 2009: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “We believe the editors we worked with saw that part of our process was to really do our homework investigating the culture we were illustrating. We would always find friends and neighbors we knew (or got to know) from the culture we were illustrating to find out or confirm whatever questions we may have had about any given topic, clothing or custom dealing with that culture.” Note: Neil and his wife, Ying-Hwa were the illustrators of Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Morrow, 2000). Read a Cynsations interview with Neil and Ying-Hwa.
Interview with Author P. J. Hoover and a book giveaway from Christy’s Creative Space. Peek: “I love sneaking bits of science and math into my writing! For example, how lower floors are numbered based on i (the imaginary number). What a meniscus is. Counting starting at zero. And most seemingly random numbers I used are actually powers of 2 (as binary numbers are the basis for electrical engineering).” Read a Cynsations interview with P. J.
VCFA Twitter from students and alumni of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Source: Gwenda Bond.
Giveaway: The Forest of Hands and Teeth from Carrie Ryan. Leave a comment to win.
Congratulations to author Kimberly Griffiths Little on signing her three-book deal with Scholastic! Note: a celebratory post, especially recommended to those needing a reminder that dreams can come true. Love those purple shoes!
Interview with new YA fantasy author Cindy Pon from Alex Moore. Peek: “fantasy is my first love as a genre. and i love myth and folklore. at the time, i had just begun as a student of chinese brush painting, and was enjoying learning about my heritage and culture. i thought i could combine my two loves and write a fantasy based on a chinese kingdom.” Note: interview is in lower case. Leave a question or comment to enter to win a copy of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia (Greenwillow, 2009). Source: David Macinnis Gill. Note: I’m especially excited about this book as I’ve longed for more diversity throughout the body of fantasy literature for young readers.
Congratulations to Bethany Hegedus on the release of Between Us Baxters (WestSide, 2009)! Peek: “It’s hard to be a ‘Black Sheep Baxter,’ at least for 12-year-old Polly. From a poor white family, Polly’s best friend, Timbre Ann Biggs, is black, making them the only ‘salt-and-pepper’ friends in town. Her mom keeps secrets, her dad turns to the ‘devil’s drink,’ and her rich, mean Meemaw makes Sunday dinners a chore. But in that fall of 1959, life in quiet Holcolm County starts to heat up. One by one, thriving colored businesses burn to the ground. When someone throws a note wrapped around a brick through the window of Biggs Repair, Polly worries that Timbre Ann will be blinded by the color of her skin and forget they were ever as close as Polly’s mom and Timbre Ann’s Aunt Henri have always been. When a tragic fire brings everything to a head, the spotlight falls on Polly’s family. Sensitively painting a vivid portrait of the Jim Crow South, Polly’s inspiring story captures the defiant spirit of youth in an oppressive small town, just as the seeds of the Civil Rights Movement begin to sprout.”
Virtual Author Visits: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, & the Awesome from Kate Messner at Kate’s Book Blog. Peek: “Talk to your students about etiquette for a virtual author visit. In many ways, it’s just like having a guest speaker in your auditorium or classroom in person, and kids need to know that all the same rules about courteous behavior apply. It will also be important for them to know that technical issues are a possibility and that their quiet cooperation will help you get things fixed more quickly.” Note: I predict more virtual visits in tough-budget, higher-tech times and especially recommend them to authors who must limit travel due to health, childcare, day job, or other considerations.
If you’re announcing a contest that will take place between Fridays (AKA so that I probably won’t have a chance to highlight it), please feel free to send an email/message with a short announcement paragraph, including applicable dates, the week in advance.
Cynsations Friday round-ups have become quite lengthy. However, I’ve also heard from many people, that they settle in here every Friday morning to catch up with the kidlitoshere. For those on LJ, MySpace, and Facebook, what are your thoughts? Stay long, or break up the round-ups to a couple of times a week?
On average, the site and blog attract approximately three requests a day, every day, for book donations. See the FAQ for policy information.
Special thanks to Anita Shinall and Kelly Czarnecki for their hospitality at the Teen Grid on Second Life on Tuesday! The above avatar was designed for me, though, just for fun, I did pick red hair in honor of Quincie from Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008).
Highlights of the past week included also author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell‘s talk on school visits at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting at BookPeople. Mark is a smart, funny, conversational and comfortable speaker. He made excellent points on a variety of related topics, some frequently touched upon, others less so.
I made particular note of his caution that “you’re physically vulnerable on the road.” He reminded us not to skip a “good breakfast” and urged us to travel safely. Mark pointed out that this is especially important because we’re often fatigued on the road and, worse, don’t even really know where we’re going. He reminded us to pick a hotel that has deadbolt locks, not to leave our laptops in the car, to be aware of our surroundings. He recommended never leaving out your purse or wallet and to insisted upon/choose lodging wherein your room door doesn’t open to a parking lot.
Afterward, a group of us met up for lunch at Waterloo Ice House (across Lamar from the store). Going counterclockwise from the head of the table are Carmen Oliver (back of her blond curls), April Lurie, Brian Yansky, Alison Dellenbaugh, Greg Leitich Smith, Frances Hill, Shana Burg, just a glimpse at the back of Brian Anderson‘s head and mine, Jennifer Ziegler, and Julie Lake‘s husband Gary. Photo by Donna Bowman Bratton. (See Donna’s report.) Not at all visible in the picture is Julie herself, Mark, and Debbie Gonzales.
This week I’ve also had the pleasure of visiting with Prof. Wally Hastings class, “The Voice of the Author,” at Rutgers–The State University of New Jersey via the university message board system! Thank you to Dr. Hastings and his students for their hospitality and thoughtful questions. What a wonderful conversation! Note: also visiting: Chris Crutcher, Patricia Reilly Giff, and Julius Lester.
Cynthia Leitich Smith was interviewed about Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) via Native America Calling on Feb. 25. Eternal is the February Book of the Month at NAC! Note: The show goes out to 500,000 listeners. Thank you to Candlewick Press for donating ten giveaway copies!
Eternal: Quick Fire Interview from Debbi Michiko Florence at One Writer’s Journey.
Reminder: Author Interview and Book Giveaway with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Beth Revis at writing it out. Peek: “My original concept was elf-vampire, not angel-vampire; that came at the suggestion of my editor, but I loved it and started over again.” Note: Beth is giving away a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Deadline: Feb. 28. See details.
Reminder: Enter to Win One of Five Copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) from Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central. Here’s the giveaway question: “If you had a guardian angel (and maybe you do!), what would his or her name be, and what would they be like?” Contest begins Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 28. See additional details. Note: Thanks to Candlewick Press and Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central!
Reminder: Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Eternal, Tantalize (Win stuff!) from Boy with Books. Comment between now and March 7 to enter to win a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002)!
More Cynsational Events
Cynthia will be speaking on “Writing and Illustrating Native American Children’s Literature” (with S. D. Nelson) and “Monsters and Magic: Writing Gothic Fantasy Novels for Teenagers” on March 15 at the Tucson Festival of Books.
Cynthia will sign Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) at 3 p.m. April 2 at Candlewick Booth at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in Houston.
Authors Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith invite you to join them at 1 p.m. April 11 at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar) in Austin. They will be celebrating the success of Kathi’s The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008), which was a National Book Award Finalist and newly crowned ALA Newbery Honor Book, and the release of Cynthia’s Eternal (Candlewick, 2009). The event will include very brief readings, entertaining commentary, and a signing by both authors. Please help spread the word! Let me know if you can make it! Hope to see y’all there! Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.
Cynthia and Greg will visit the Barbara Bush Branch Library in Spring, Texas; at 4 p.m. April 3. Note: Spring is outside of Houston.
Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30. Note: Cedar Park is outside of Austin.