Cynsational News & Giveaways

Mara Rockliff, Children’s Writer: official site from the author of such books as Next To An Ant, illustrated by Pascale Constantin (Scholastic), Pieces of Another World (Sylvan Dell), illustrated by Salima Alikhan, and the forthcoming The Busiest Street in Town, illustrated by Sarah McMenemy (Knopf), which will be released in October.

Author Branding
: a week-long discussion by Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Does your brand pigeonhole you into one type of work? Or can it free you to create all the books you dream of writing? How do you begin to understand your own personal and unique brand?” Note: don’t miss You’ve Got the Look: an interview on branding with debut author Julie Berry.

Elana Roth: a new agent blog. “Elana Roth is a literary agent, amateur potter, and children’s book devotee, who dwells in Brooklyn and thinks a lot about irony.” Note: Elana works for Caren Johnson Literary Agency; see her professional listing. Source: Tracy Marchini of Curtis Brown.

Ten Block Walk: a new blog from HarperCollins editor Molly O’Neil. Peek: “…young adult literature’s greatness comes from a place that is often just as aesthetically and technically brilliant, but also far more emotional, I think. And perhaps this is why I love it far more than the many Great Works of Literature I read in college.” Source: Tracy Marchini of Curtis Brown.

Bid to Win a Critique from Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown from the Brenda Novak 2009 Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research. Note: critique of a partial and response within one week.

Here’s a sneak peek at Austinite C.G. Young‘s “Toast,” which has been acquired by Feiwel & Friends. Learn more about the background behind C.G.’s work and publication story from author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell at How To Be a Children’s Book Illustrator.

Talking with Rick Riordan: The author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series talks about his runaway best-sellers as well as what’s next by Jeanette Larson from Booklinks. Peek: “Mythology is a natural draw for kids. It has magic, mystery, adventure—everything you could want. I try to mix in the modern with the ancient and use plenty of humor.” Read a Cynsations interview with Rick.

Beach Reads Giveaway: I Heart Daily and HarperTeen are giving away 10 sets of these four books: Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana; The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus; Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker; and Vacations from Hell by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Mlynowski. See more information.

Summer Teen Writing Workshops: author Deborah Davis will be teaching a series of five-day creative writing workshops in Berkeley for middle school and high school students in June and July. “We’ll focus on fiction, non-fiction, and poetry–with students choosing the genres and topics that interest them.” Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

The Release Party for The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (Holt) will be at 7:30 p.m. May 12 at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Peek: “Callie Virginia Tate (with a voice reminiscent of Scout Finch and Ramona Quimby together) is eleven years in Texas, 1899. Her insatiable interest in scientific curiosities are encouraged by her grumpy grandfather, an avid naturalist. In addition to her covert scientific explorations and her relationship with her reclusive grandfather, she must also navigate the dangers of living with six brothers and what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century. This is a a witty, well-written and unique story that captured the literary hearts of all BookPeople employees.” This will be an author presentation and book signing. There will also be refreshments and champagne. Read an interview with Jacqueline from Janet S. Fox at Through the Wardrobe.

Crazy Color Summer Reading List
from Edi, a school librarian, at Crazy Quilts. Peek: “Here’s the challenge. Make all or some of these your summer challenge! Read them, post a review on your blog, then link to your post on the Crazy Quilt Wiki. (more on the wiki to follow soon!) Let’s see how many reviews we can get on each book by Labor Day.” Source: The Brown Bookshelf.

Cynthia Rylant’s modern take on Greek myths: an interview by Linda M. Castellitto from BookPage. Peek: “I could see—as many mythologists have noted—that buried in these strange tales were deeply human stories we all live in some way. We all feel false pride, we all trust the wrong person, we all become obsessive, we all fight for love, we all try to control fate.”

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams from The YA Authors Cafe. Peek: “Several years ago I heard about a girl who had run away from home several times. She ran because she was supposed to marry someone in her extended family. The girl was part of a small polygamist group. At that moment I knew, someday, that I would write something to do with polygamy.”

Congratulations to Melissa Walker on the release of Lovestruck Summer (HarperCollins, May 2009)! Peek: “This is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship. She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts–and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name ‘Party Penny.’ Their personalities clash, big time. But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang? One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!”

In related news, Melissa and Susane Colasanti are sponsoring a contest to celebrate the releases of Lovestruck Summer and Susane’s Waiting for You (Viking, 2009). See video below and more information!

Working with An Agent by Sara Crowe at Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “Once you have your dream agent, there are some basic rules for maintaining a healthy author-agent relationship.” Note: also discusses writer-agent dynamics leading up to this point. Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

On the Man Telling You “No”: Where “the Man” Also = You. from Maggie Stiefvater. Peek: “Not to get too airy-fairy here, but as a writer, you ought to know this: words have power. Choose the right ones. Turn the negativity of your doubts into a positive challenge for yourself. I will get better. I will learn to characterize better. I will unlock the secrets of beautiful prose, stunning character growth, etc. The next book will be better.”

Children’s author Bonny Becker is closing her critique service due to a sharp uptick in her own writing projects. Candlewick is working with her to develop a line of Mouse and Bear books, including picture books and early readers, which will take up a lot of her time. Note: congratulations, Bonny!

Cynsational Tip: if you’re sponsoring a giveaway or other contest, be sure to include the deadline.

Making a Living by Vicki Cobb from INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “…I have not held a real job since 1969. I am not rich but I have managed to financially support myself and my two sons as a single mother and put a few dollars away for a rainy day (which is now).”

Take a sneak peek at Navel of the World (PDF file) by P.J. Hoover (The Forgotten Worlds, Book 2)(CBAY, October 2009) from Madeline at Buried in the Slush Pile.

Pirates–who they really hurt from Ally Carter at Ally’s Diary. Peek: “You see, whenever a book is online to download and/or read for free, chances are that someone has uploaded it without permission–illegally. And whenever someone reads or downloads that book they are essentially stealing it.”

Writers’ League of Texas Book Awards
: the deadline for entering has been extended to May 15.

Congratulations to Jenny Han on the release of The Summer I Turned Pretty (Simon & Schuster, 2009)! From the promotional copy: “Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.” Note: be sure to check out Jenny’s new official author website!

Lee & Low New Voices Award: “the award will be given for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The award winner receives 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 Sept. 31 and must be postmarked within that period.” See more information.

The Journal/Sentinel (WI) YA Column by Ann Angel: seeking suggestions of YA novels about “good girls and the real guys they love.” Seeks suggestions from YA authors on novels, non-fiction, and memoir. Contact Ann.

Congratulations to readergirlz for winning an Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation! Scroll for more information!


Enter to win an ARC of Pure by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon Pulse, 2009)! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Pure” in the subject line. Deadline: May 30.

Hunger Mountain Spring Fundraising Auction: bid to win feature manuscript critiques with notable authors and literary agents as well as limited edition letterpress broadsides! All items are be available for bidding at The Hunger Mountain Store, through noon EST May 9. The auction offers opportunities to work with award-winning children’s-YA authors Donna Jo Napoli, Sarah Ellis, Martine Leavitt, and Tim Wynne-Jones. Highly acclaimed picture book author-illustrator Laura McGee Kvasnosky and Newbery Honor author Marion Dane Bauer are offering their expertise. In addition, literary agent Mark McVeigh, founding member of The McVeigh Agency, has donated a full-length children’s/YA fiction critique and Tracy Marchini, agent assistant at Curtis Brown, Ltd., has donated a middle grade/YA critique.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference Fourteenth Annual Event will be held from Aug. 11 to Aug. 17. The award-winning YA faculty for summer 2009 are Newbery Honor author and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt and Printz Winner and National Book Award Finalist An Na.

Enter to win a paperback copy of Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac (Harcourt, 2008)! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Sacajawea” in the subject line. Deadline: May 30! Read a Cynsational interview with Joe.

Bridget Zinn Auction: will take place between now and 12 a.m. PST May 31. Bid to win critiques from award-winning and “big name” authors, signed books, promotional services, and much more.

Congratulations to Kelly in New York, who won a copy of Nacho the Party Puppy by Emma J. Virjan (Random House, 2008)! Read a Cynsations interview with Emma.

More Personally

This week’s highlight was meeting author Pooja Makhijani in person! She was in town for a family wedding, and we met for breakfast at Waterloo Ice House and walked over to BookPeople. Pooja is the author of one of my all-time favorite picture books, Mama’s Saris (Little Brown, 2007), which is a great choice for girls who like my Jingle Dancer (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2001).

Congratulations to Alicia in Virginia, who won her choice of Eternal T-shirts, from TeensReadToo! Note: Alicia chose the Royal Bat Blue. Read an interview with illustrator Gene Brenek on Images of Eternal. Learn more about the book!

Thank you to author Deborah Davis for highlighting Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2007) among recent recommended reads in her author newsletter! She says: “Who knew I’d become a fan of vampire stories in middle age? This one has a spunky girl protagonist, werewolves and werearmadillos, and terrific tension throughout the second half of the book.”

Thanks to R.L. La Fevers for listing Cynsations among her favorite blogs. She calls it: “The go to blog on the children’s book industry. If you visit only one industry blog, let it be this one.” Check out her other recommendations.

I look forward to visiting with YA book club readers at the Cedar Park (TX) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30.