Cynsational News & Giveaways

Find out more about Beach Lane Books, a new Simon & Schuster imprint, launching in this video interview with publisher Allyn Johnston, author-illustrator Marla Frazee, author-illustrator Debra Frasier, and S&S executive art director Ann Bobco. Source: Liz Garton Scanlon at Liz in Ink.

Taking a Chance on a Young Agent from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “Every agent starts out with zero sales. They need someone to take a chance on them and place their faith in them, and quite honestly, a young agent can really do wonders for your career.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

How to Interpret Kludgy Submission Guidelines from Cynthea Liu at Writing for Children & Teens. Peek: “But what if my book is wrtten in diary or journal format? Send first twenty-five pages. That’s the average for first three chapters of a book.” Source: Stacy Whitman. Read a Cynsations interview with Cynthea.

Author Paula Yoo talks about her new book Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, illustrated by Lin Wang (Lee & Low, 2009). Peek: “As a little girl, all Anna May Wong wanted was to grow up to be a movie star. While most young girls abandon their childhood dreams, Anna May Wong chased and caught her dream, becoming the first Asian American movie star. In the 1930s, film roles for Asian Americans were few, and most were stereotypical and demeaning. Paula Yoo talks about how Anna May’s pioneering hard work and persistence paid off and paved the way for better roles for women and actors of color in film today.” Source: jama rattigan’s alphabet soup.

Skipping Stones Honor Awards – a Celebration of Cultural and Environmental Richness from Paper Tigers. Peek: “The honored books, published by both large and small publishers, promote cooperation and cultivate an awareness of our diverse cultures. Together, they encourage an understanding of the world’s diversity, ecological richness, respect for differing viewpoints and close relationships in human societies. Bound to provide a great reading adventure, they offer a variety of learning experiences.” Click for the 2009 honorees (PDF).

Conrad J. Storad: author of more than 30 science and nature books for children and young adults. Most recently, Conrad has published a number of nonfiction books with Lerner and southwestern tales with Resort Gifts Unlimited. Conrad is based in Arizona.

Book Links to Become Booklist Supplement from the American Library Association. Peek: “Book Links magazine is on the move; starting in October 2009, it will be published as a quarterly print supplement to Booklist, at no additional cost to subscribers, rather than as a stand-alone magazine. Book Links’ editorial focus and original content, popular with tens of thousands of readers for almost 20 years, will continue to fulfill the mission of connecting children with books and related media.” Source: Children’s Book Biz News.

Congratulations to Austin illustrator Laura Logan on the release of Two To Cuddle, written by Eileen Spinelli (FSG 2009)!

“Matchmaking Your Manuscript” with Laura Purdie Salas: a chat transcript from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “What do you do with your finished manuscript in the sea of market choices–this transcript gives super tips for guiding your through the process.”

The Infernal Devices: check out the gorgeous new site celebrating the latest from Cassandra Clare. Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra.

Summer Blog Blast Tour: Rachel Caine from Trisha at The Ya Yas. Peek: “The romantic tension between Shane and Claire is, for me, the sweetest part of the series. I think at a certain point, as a writer, you have to let go and let your characters drive, and they seem to do that pretty well when it comes to having feelings for each other.” Read a Cynsations interview with Rachel.

What Are the Odds? from Kristi Holl at Writers First Aid. Peek: “Until the dust settles economically, I urge you to continue writing, to continue studying and improving your craft, and to maintain your good writing habits.”

Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan: an interview with Rukhsana by fellow author Uma Krishnaswami. Peek: “I felt confident that I could write accurately about Kandahari and Kabuli culture because I am quite familiar with both. My son in law’s family is from Kandahar and my sister in law’s family is from Kabul, and I’ve seen first hand the differences.”

The Different Types of Critiquers from Elissa D Cruz at Just Write. Peek: “Global Critiquers. These are the people who can see the whole picture and can point out where the story is dragging, or where the characters are a little flat, or where things get a bit muddled and need to be revised for clarity.” Note: different manuscripts will need each of these (except the last) at different stages; however, writers willing to receive this sort of global critique also tend to be those most likely to succeed.”

Scholastic’s Summer Challenge: “be part of a team quest to eat, sleep, and dream books all summer! Find great reads, play book-based games, and help Scholastic support Save the Children! Your minutes can also count toward the World Record Challenge.” Source: Lisa Yee.

Enter to Win One of Three Copies of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore from Cheryl Rainfield. To enter, comment here. Deadline: midnight June 15. Peek: “The book is marketed to adult readers, but will also appeal to teens and teen readers.”

Reminder: Bridget Zinn Auction is taking place between now and 12 a.m. PST May 31. Bid to win critiques from award-winning and other “big name” authors, agents, and editors, signed books, audio books & other CDs, promotional services, and much more. See Five Great Finds at Bridget’s Auction from Check It Out.

GLBT Month- Alex Sanchez Guest Blog Part 1 from Book Chic. Peek: “Imagine a teenage boy finding out he’s got the keys to something that’s even better than a Ferrari inside his pants but he’s got to wait until he’s 18 to drive it. How realistic is that? Even more extreme is the idea that teens not only shouldn’t explore sex, they shouldn’t even read about it.” Source: Jennifer R. Hubbard. Note: read an excerpt of Alex’s latest novel, Bait (Simon & Schuster, June 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Alex.

William Low: Portrait of a Digital Artist: a fascinating three-video series that offers a peek into the author-illustrator’s process. Originally posted on Saturday of last weekend.

Marvelous Marketer: Alan Gratz from Shelli at Market My Words: Rantings and ravings on how authors can better market their books to kids. Peek: “I wish I would have planned for selling more books from the outset, and designed an initial site that could be easily augmented as new books were added. I have that now, but it could have saved myself a lot of nights at the computer if I had made the original site focus on me, not a single book.” Read a Cynsations interview with Alan.

Interview with Jeannine Garsee by Debbi Michiko Florence. Peek: “Only when I start on the first revision do I really get into the souls of the characters.” To win a copy of Jeanine‘s Say the Word (Bloomsbury, 2009), leave a comment here by midnight PST June 7. Read a Cynsations interview with Debbi.

Authors Who Skype with Book Clubs from Kate Messner, Children’s Book Author at Kate’s Book Blog. Peek: “I am starting a list of authors who offer free 20-minute Skype chats with book clubs.” Note: opportunity for traditionally-published authors and book club coordinators. See initial list.

Congratulations to Annette Curtis Klause on the forthcoming release of a new edition (with a new cover) of The Silver Kiss. Includes two bonus short stories about Simon and Zoë, one of which (“The Christmas Cat”) has never before been published. Read a Cynsations interview with Annette.

Marianna: Further Thoughts on Dialogue — Distinct Voices for Similar Characters from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “In looking at YA novels that center on groups of friends, I found that some (definitely not all) writers successfully develop recognizable voices for their characters while still believably portraying close-knit groups with much in common. To do this, the writers key into the defining aspects of the characters’ personalities and create voices that reflect those traits.”

How Ursula K Le Guin led a generation away from realism: The most vital writers of my generation have been weaned from a puritanical distrust of imagination by her influence by Scott Timberg from The Guardian. Source: Miss Rumphius Effect.

Bowen to Join Greenburger Agency by John A. Sellers from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Brenda Bowen, who left HarperCollins in February, is moving in a new direction, signing on as a literary agent at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, beginning July 6. Bowen will represent authors and illustrators of children’s books for all ages (preschool to teen) as well as, in her words, ‘graphic novelists, animators and maybe a surprise element or two.'”

Take a peek at Let’s Do Nothing! from Tony Fucile (Candlewick, 2009). Read a CP interview with Tony (PDF). Peek: “I vividly remember those childhood moments of excruciating boredom. We tend to remember the interesting and exciting parts of youth, but what about those times when you feel like you are stuck in a vat of molasses?”

Lin Oliver: a writer and producer of movies, books, and television series for children and families. She has created over one hundred episodes of television, four movies, and several books. Note: paraphrased from Penguin. See also an Interview with Lin Oliver from SCBWI.

YA Paranormal Panel @ RomanceDivas: Christopher Golden, Cassandra Clare, Rachel Caine, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Lucienne Diver, Jeff Mariotte, and Alyson Noel are all talking about writing YA Paranormal fiction at the Romance Divas forum. Ends May 30. Source: Little Willow at Slayground. Read Cynsations interviews with Christopher and Rosemary. See links to interviews with Cassandra and Rachel above.

Congratulations to Austin writer Betty X. Davis on the acceptance of her story, The Last Bicycle, for publication in Spider magazine.

Congratulations to Buda author Jerry Wermund on receiving two honors for his 2009 book, Soil: More Than Just Dirt. It received the Pinnacle Achievement Award for Children’s Interest category from the North American Bookdealer Exchange and was the winner of the Children’s Nonfiction category in the National Indie Excellence Awards. The latter are for independently printed books. Read a Cynsations interview with Jerry.

How Tight is Your Bow? from Kristi Holl at Writers First Aid. Peek: “If we slow down–if we try to live a more balanced life–can we get it all done? Is it really possible?”

Tween and Teen Editors from Shana Burg. Peek: “In my case, I hired my former students. I begged them to be honest and promised them they wouldn’t hurt my feelings. I meant it. Then I trained them to critique me.” Read a Cynsations interview with Shana.

Geringer to Work with Egmont by John A. Sellers from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Laura Geringer has partnered with Egmont USA, to selectively edit titles for the house on a nonexclusive basis.” Read an interview with Egmont publisher Elizabeth Law.

The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies by David Lubar (Starscape 2009)(ages 8-up): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “In his fourth Weenies collection, Lubar delivers another set of often funny, sometimes gross, and occasionally creepy ‘Twilight Zone’-ish short stories.”

Handy Guide to Who Owns Whom from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “Keeping track of which imprint belongs to which publisher makes one feel a little like Danny Kaye in ‘The Court Jester’ trying to keep track of whether the pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle, the flagon with the dragon, or the chalice from the palace. But here’s my best effort…”

Writing from Life Without Boring Yourself by Mary Ann Rodman from Teaching Authors: Six Children’s Authors Who Also Teach Writing. Peek: “…unless it makes sense within the context of the story, nobody cares if it ‘really happened that way.’ This is fiction. Fiction is shaped reality.”

Shrinking Violet Promotions has been celebrating independent bookstores!

President Obama and First Lady named Honorary Chairs of the 2009 National Book Festival from Lori Calabrese. Peek: “President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as Honorary Chairs of the 2009 National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress. Now in its ninth year, this popular event celebrating the joys of reading and lifelong literacy will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 7th and 14th Streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine). The event is free and open to the public.”

Congratulations, Helen Hemphill

Congratulations to Helen Hemphill, author of The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones (Front Street, 2008), winner of the Virginia M. Law Award for the most distinguished book for young adults on Texas History. The award is given by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

Here’s Helen with Connie Impelman, the Library Committee Chairman at the DRT Library.

Note: “The Virginia M. Law Award, endowed by Mrs. Law’s daughter Nancy M. Law and sponsored by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, is given annually to the author and/or illustrator of the most distinguished book for young adults, grades 7-12, that accurately portrays the history of Texas, whether fiction or nonfiction. Mrs. Law was an active member of the Alamo Mission Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, an enthusiastic supporter of the purposes and efforts of the DRT, and a strong proponent of education.”

See also Grammar School from Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I promise it won’t be as painful as you remember, but maybe it will give you an insight into why grammar is every bit as important to a manuscript as voice, point of view, setting, and plot.” See also a Cynsations interview with Helen.

Congratulations, Victoria Laurie

Congratulations to Austin author Victoria Laurie, author of Oracles of Delphi Keep (Random House, 2009)! Victoria is shown above (in the multicolored top) with Mandy Books, Kids and Young Adult Events Coordinator from BookPeople. This photo was taken on Tusday night in the small red house at Jeffrey’s in conjunction with a Random House dinner party, celebrating the release.

From the promotional copy:

“Ian Wigby is about to find out that he is a very special boy.

“Along the southern coast of England, atop the White Cliffs of Dover, stands a castle. And at that castle’s old keep is an orphanage. Delphi Keep has seen many youngsters come and go through its gates, and Ian Wigby and his sister, Theodosia, are happy to call it home. Life has always been simple at the Keep, and the orphanage safe, until one day, Ian and Theo find a silver treasure box. And within the box, a prophesy. Three thousand years ago a great Greek oracle wrote of a quest. A quest on which the fate of the world depends. A quest that names two children—Ian and Theodosia. Suddenly Delphi Keep is no longer safe. And Ian and Theo, along with a very special group of friends, realize they must unravel the meaning behind the scroll of Dover cavern before darkness falls on the world. And before an unfathomable evil catches up with them.”

Cynsational Winners

Congratulations to the twenty winners of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (St. Martin’s Press, 2009) are: Aimee in Pennsylvania, Ben in Arizona, Auburn in Texas, Carlene in Texas, Caroline in Florida, Deb in Massachusetts, Deb in Washington, Emily in Ontario, Eric in North Carolina, C. Hope in South Carolina, Janine in Utah, Jeannine in Ohio, Lindsey in Alabama, Lori in Missouri, Navah in Connecticut, Nicholas in Maryland, Olivia in Connecticut, Paul in Alaska, Richard in Kentucky, and Tisa in Washington!

St. Martin’s Press will be sending your books out soon!

Read a Cynsations interview with Carol.

More Personally

Hooray! I’ve heard from Listening Library/Random House that Jesse Bernstein and Allyson Ryan will be playing the voices of Zachary and Miranda for the Eternal audio book, which will be available July 14. Jesse’s credits include the Percy Jackson series audio books. Allyson’s include The Garden of Eve by K.L. Going and the Suddenly Supernatural series by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel audios. Click links to hear their voices! I’ll keep you posted as more details arise! Note: news of the cover artist for Tantalize: Kieren’s Story (Candlewick, TBA) is coming soon.

Author-illustrator Annette Simon sends this shot of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) and Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) from Target in Columbus, Ohio.

On the Reading Table: Eternal from Lindsey Lane at This and That. Peek: “Fascinating. Leitich Smith is in full command of the world she has created in this book.”

Beyond that, my Memorial Day weekend was quiet and productive–with a razor focus on my upcoming deadline. Greg made sushi on Monday afternoon.

Thank you to Michelle Stewart and her students at Mt. San Jacinto College for their hospitality during my conference call visit on Wednesday!

Thank you to Chris Eldin for the book roasts!

Howdy to Jennifer Ziegler‘s mom! Thanks for reading Cynsations, and good luck with your manuscript! I’m rooting for you! Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

Congratulations, Austinites! The Austin Public Library will join the community 9 a.m. May 30 to celebrate the grand opening of the newly constructed North Village Branch located at 2505 Steck Avenue near the corner of Burnet Road and Steck Avenue. This newly constructed 11,000 square foot library is replacing the 5,000 square foot storefront lease spaced facility located in the North Star Home Shopping Center at 2139 W. Anderson Lane where it has been located since 1971. Source: Austin Public Library. See more information.

Attention: Aleksie in Indiana: your signed bookplate and bookmark have been returned by the postal service as undeliverable. Please contact me to confirm a new address. Thanks!

Last Call for Entries
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.

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. Read a Cynsations interview with Terra.