Cynsational News & Giveaways

Q&A With Lee Bantle, Author of David Inside Out (Henry Holt, 2009) from BookKids. Peek: “The voters in California took away the right to gay marriage. In the military, saying you are gay brings on discharge proceedings. We can get married in Dubuque. But not in New York or LA. The world is mixed up. So is David.” See also Fab YA Authors on their Favorite Queer-Themed Books (don’t miss part two).

Borders Books Supports Gay-Themed Novels by Jeff Rivera at GalleyCat. Peek: “Levithan says surprisingly that ‘there is not as much resistance in schools to having gay-themed novels in school libraries.'”

Beach Bag Books from the Horn Book Podcast. Peek: “Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano talk with Kitty Flynn about twelve great new books for summer.” See also Preview: July/August 2009 Horn Book Magazine from The Horn Book. Peek: “Our annual ALA Awards issue honors the 2009 winners.” Note: the most-read issue of the year includes the ALA winners’ speeches. Here’s information on subscriptions. Read a Cynsations interview with Roger.

Top 10 Biographies for Youth: 2009 by Ilene Cooper for Booklist. Peek: “This year’s top 10 biographies for youth could have been comprised almost entirely of books about Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, but we had to make room for some of the other excellent biographies that were reviewed in Booklist during the past 12 months.”

Congratulations to Texas author Bill Cochran and illustrator Steve Bjorkman on the release of My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Me (HarperCollins, 2009)! Peek: “Ted’s parents are divorced, but that’s just one fact about him. The fact that he has named his elbows Clyde and Carl? Or that Ted walks around with soap in his hair and likes to squawk like a chicken on the phone? Now, that’s definitely weird. As shown in this lighthearted yet heartfelt account, life with divorced parents isn’t always easy, but above all Ted knows he’s loved—and there’s nothing weird about that at all.” Read a Cynsations interview with Bill. Note: Steve was the illustrator for Santa Knows by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith (Dutton/Scholastic Book Club).

Beyond the Basics of Historical Fiction Picture Books by Verla Kay from Verla Kay’s Blog. Peek: “Accuracy of all facts is vitally important because children believe what they read in books.” Read a Cynsations interview with Verla Kay.

Sense of Place, Sense of Self compiled by Tessa Michaelson from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Peek: “This bibliography explores fiction for older elementary through high school readers in which the modern-day setting plays a critical role.”

The Time Gobbler by Kristi Holl at Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “‘A good rule of thumb is to spend one hour of Net time for every two hours spent writing. After all, you can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write,'” quoting Some Writers Deserve To Starve! by Elaura Niles (Writer’s Digest, 2005). See also The Downside of Goal-Setting.

You Know You’re a Debut Author When… by Joy Prebel at Class of 2K9: Debut Middle Grade and Young Adult Authors: Serving up Fresh Fiction. Peek: “You get so good at the Google-stalking thing that you feel a little frightened.” A very cute post from a new voice I’m especially excited about. Joy is originally from Chicago and now makes her home in Texas. Learn more about Joy Prebel. Note: for what it’s worth, my recommendation is always to focus on writing your next book. A remarkable amount of “noise” out there doesn’t matter.

Former UMass professor Julius Lester’s collection of photos to be exhibited in Southampton by Diane Lederman from Massachusetts Local News: Breaking News from Western Massachusetts. The exhibit will be at the Robert Floyd Gallery, 2 East St., Southampton through June 30. Hours are from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 27 to June 28 and by appointment. Peek: “When asked about his prolific output, Lester said, ‘I look back, and I wonder myself.'” But, he said, ‘I didn’t socialize. I’m very disciplined.’ When his children were young, he wrote when they played on the floor by his feet and later mostly at night.” Source: Debbie Reese.

10 Ways Twitter Can Help Writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi from MiG Writers. Peek: “One of the reasons I decided to take Twitter seriously was because I kept hearing about various editors and publishers who were Twittering. And they weren’t just posting promo items; they were also reading posts by other Twitterers and sometimes replying to them.”

Post-Conference Follow-Up from Kristi Holl at Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “How do you make good use of the notes and information gleaned at a writer’s workshop or conference?”

Cover Stories: The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams from Melissa Walker. Peek: “I was in New York, visiting everyone at St Martin’s Press, when my editor and Michael brought what they thought might be the cover for me to see.” Read a Cynsations interview with Carol.

Children’s Author Toni Buzzeo tours this week at A Patchwork of Books, Katie’s Literature Lounge, The Children’s Book Review, and Kid Lit. Read a Cynsations interview with Toni.

Why Write? by Carrie Jones at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Yet, I think one of the tools at becoming a better writer is understanding the why of why we write. It’s not always a simple reason or easy to discover. It’s not a set of reasons that applies to everyone.” Note: first post in a week-long series. Read a Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Does Listening to an Audio Book Count as Reading? Vote at Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Congratulations to Heather Brewer on the launch of Tenth Grade Bleeds (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Book 3)(Dutton, 2009)! Peek: “High school can be so draining when you’re half-human, half-vampire It’s another sucky year at Bathory High for Vladimir Tod. The evil vampire D’Ablo is hunting for the ritual that could steal Vlad’s powers. His best friend Henry doesn’t want to be his drudge anymore. And as if all that weren’t enough, it’s getting harder for Vlad to resist feeding on the people around him. When months go by with no word from Uncle Otis and D’Ablo shows up demanding Vlad’s father’s journal, Vlad realizes that having a normal high school year is the least of his concerns. Vlad needs to act fast, and even his status as the Pravus won’t save him this time…”

Projects, Patterns, and Personalities by editor Cheryl Klein at Brooklyn Arden. Peek: “I was looking over the list of my past and upcoming projects, and I realized that a very good chunk of them fit into at least one and sometimes more of these subject categories…” Source: Sara Lewis Holmes at Read, Write, Believe.

Sequel Anxiety — Can We Ever Give Readers What They Really Want? by Denise Vega from Blog. Peek: “My readers love my book! My readers want more! But then the fear creeps in because we know that we can never replicate the experience the reader had, and that’s what they are looking for.”

Truth, Interpretation, and the Goals of Nonfiction by Marc Aronson from Nonfiction Matters at School Library Journal. Peek: “Now there is a special challenge with young people. We have to train them in scholarship — teach them how to separate fact and opinion, how to be creatively suspicious, how to dig deeper, how to find earlier ideas so you don’t think you are inventing the new when you are merely repeating the known.” Read a Cynsations interview with Marc.

You, Represented By You from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “…you can submit the work your agent isn’t interested in on your own.”

What Backstory Can Do for Your Story by Jessica Morrell from Writer’s Digest. Peek: “When deciding when and where to use backstory in your work, it can help to think about what you’re trying to accomplish within a given scene. To do this, however, you need to understand the many functions of backstory.” Source: Children’s Book Biz News.

Marvelous Marketer: Tracy Marchini (Literary Assistant, Curtis Brown) from Shelli at Market My Words: Rantings and ravings on how authors can better market their books to kids. Peek: “Networking online is the same as networking in person, so whether you’re online or offline, it’s important to be a gracious host and an appreciative guest.” Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

The 2009 Annual Conference of the American Library Association will take place in Chicago from July 9 to July 15, 2009 at McCormick Place West. Highlights will include: “Nonfiction Book Blast: Booktalks for Reluctant Readers” from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 12 at Convention Center Room W181. Peek: “Despite the emphasis on fiction for leisure reading in schools, many reluctant readers are often more drawn to reading nonfiction. Expand your nonfiction repertoire as 17 authors booktalk their latest work.” Moderator: Sharon Mitchell, Library Media Specialist. Speakers: Lisa Rondinelli Albert; Mary Bowman-Kruhm; Laura Crawford; Jeri Chase Ferris; Kelly Milner Halls; Amy S. Hansen; Gwendolyn Hooks; Katherine L. House; Patricia K. Kummer; Suzanne Lieurance; JoAnn Early Macken; Carla Killough McClafferty; Wendie Old; April Pulley Sayre; Anastasia Suen; Christine Taylor-Butler; Rebecca Hogue Wojahn and Donald Wojahn.

Promotional Emails: Do’s & Don’ts by Elizabeth Bluemle from Shelftalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog. Peek: “Do not compare your own book to Harry Potter, The Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, or any other published title, for that matter — especially to claim that it’s that book’s equal or better.”

My Editor and Revision by Brian Yansky at Brian’s Blog. Peek: “Even experienced writers, after they have rewritten and rewritten and rewritten a manuscript, will have an editor who makes, often, very good points about how to improve the manuscript. This makes me happy.” See also My Fiction Is Stranger Than Truth. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Writing in the Woods: A Retreat for Writers of Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Phyllis Root, Marsha Wilson Chall, and Jane Resh Thomas will be teaching a workshop from Oct. 19 to Oct. 25 at Good Earth Village in Spring Valley, Minnesota. Enrollment limited to 10. Application deadline: Aug. 19. See more information. Read a Cynsations interview with Phyllis.

Why New Novelists Are Kinda Old, or, Hey, Publishing is Slow by John Scalzi from Whatever: Someday Your Tears Will Turn to Diamonds. Peek: “Whenever I hear about a ‘new’ novelist, they turn out to be in their 30s. Why is that? It seems like you hear about new musicians and actors and other creative people in when they are in their 20s.” Source: Children’s Book Biz News. Note: The article is centered on the adult market but is still of interest. It used to be that children’s-YA authors generally debuted in middle age, but younger writers are now regularly breaking in.

Episode 1: Teens “Speak” Up with Laurie Halse Anderson: a video from the Screening Room at YA Central from Penguin Group USA. Peek: “New York Times bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson talks about the 10th anniversary of Speak, her latest book Wintergirls (Viking, 2009) and chats with teen readers from the Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City in this episode of YA Central.” See also episodes featuring John Green and Lauren Myracle. Source: Elizabeth O. Dulemba.

Announcing One Shot Southeast Asia from Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray. Peek: “or those of you not familiar with the One Shot idea, a group of bloggers (and its open to everybody with a blog) all agree to read a book by an author from a certain region or a book set in that region and then blog about it on a specified day.”

Book Launch: The Gifted Series by Marilyn Kaye from Janet S. Fox at Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “Almost all my characters are based on an aspect of people I’ve known, and sometimes on aspects of myself. Then, I let them evolve in my imagination–they take on characteristics that just seem to emerge naturally from their personalities and situations.” Read a Cynsations interview with Janet.

Writing Links from my main website. An extensive listing of links to interviews, articles, and other information about agents, book design & art direction, editors & publishers, education, illustration, promotion, publishing, and writing.

Highlight of the Week

I’ve already blogged about last Saturday’s Austin SCBWI meeting with BookPeople events coordinators Mandy Brooks (in the BP T-shirt) and Alison Nihlean (in glasses). Here’s just another peek at our speakers with RA Tim Crow. Note: you can find books–many autographed–by local Austin authors at the store. Look in the BookKids department, behind and to the side of the information desk. Or you can call toll-free 800.853.9757; autographed copies of my own Gothic fantasies are available.

More Personally

Fellow Austin author Shana Burg highlights Tantalize (Candlewick) at Walmart in Greenville, Mississippi. Check out part one and two of Shana’s report on her recent trip to the Mississippi Delta, the setting for A Thousand Never Evers (Delacorte, 2008). Read a Cynsations interview with Shana.

Congratulations to Horn Book editor Roger Sutton on the birth of his grandson, Miles Henkels Asch, and congratulations to Blooming Tree editor and children’s author Madeline Smoot on the birth of her son, also named Miles! Read a Cynsations interview with Roger.

Everything I Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons by Brent Hartinger from Peek: “Dungeons & Dragons isn’t a dangerous, evil force in the world, nor is it just harmless fun; it’s actually one of the most worthwhile activities ever created, and there is literally nothing better for turning a kid into a thoughtful, creative, passionate, open-minded adult.” Note: I’ve never been a D&D player, but I’ve spent a lot of quality time in comic book shops with people who are. Read a Cynsations interview with Brent.

Giveaway Updates

Enter to win a copy of Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker (Harper, 2009)! To enter, simply email me (scroll and click the envelope) with your snail mail address and include “Lovestruck Summer” in the subject line. To be entered twice, ask me any question about Cynsations or my main website. Deadline: June 30. Read an interview with Melissa by Emily at BookKids Recommends: From the Crazy Folks at Bookpeople. Note: the story is set in Austin.

Enter to win a bookplate-autographed copy of the new release, Bones of Faerie (Random House, 2009), and traditionally autographed copies of both Secret of the Three Treasures (Holiday House, 2006)(hard copy) and Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2006)(paperback) from Cynsations. Note: Gothic includes Janni’s short story “Stone Tower.” To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Janni Lee Simner” in the subject line. Deadline: June 30! Read a Cynsations interview with Janni.

Enter to win your choice of an Eternal T-shirt, hat, or mug from Cynsations! Note: various designs and colors are available. See all of the choices!

You may also win an ARC of one of three YA paranormal books: Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Hyperion, 2008); Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2008); or Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (HarperCollins, 2008)!

Here’s how to enter:

(1) visit this link: Eternal Book Trailer by Naomi Bates at YA Books and More. Watch the trailer!

(2) (a) Email me (scroll to click envelope); (b) Type “Eternal trailer giveaway” in the subject line; (c) Offer your cheers about the trailer! What do you love about it? What questions does it raise in your mind? (d) Indicate your preferred T-shirt style, size, and color; (e) Rank the ARCs in the order of preference. Note: if you already have one or more of the books, you can mention that too. You are also encouraged to share your cheers in a comment at this post on Naomi’s blog, though this is not required to enter. It’s just friendly.

Deadline: midnight central time June 30!