Cynsational News & Last Call for Eternal Audiobook, Elizabeth Scott, Ed Young & J. Patrick Lewis Book Giveaways

National Day on Writing Testimonials: “celebrities speak to the importance of writing, the National Day on Writing, and the National Gallery of Writing.” Listen to authors Glenda Burgess, Jacqueline Jules, Sarah McCoy, Katherine Paterson, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Natasha Wing share our thoughts. Then Take Part in the National Day on Writing!

More News

Special Call for Illustrators of Color from Lee & Low at The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “Lee & Low Books, an award-winning publisher of quality multicultural books for children, is looking for skilled artists of color who can bring picture book stories to life with originality and authenticity.”

Beyond the Book: Geektastic, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009) from Alvina Ling at bloomabilities. Peek: “Sure, some of the stories speak mainly to hard-core geeks, and non-geeks might not get all the references. But that’s kind of the point. This is a book for geeks, by geeks; but it’s also a book for past geeks and future geeks.” Notes: (1) don’t miss Alvina’s click-t0-enlarge geek resume; (2) stories include “The Wrath of Dawn” by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith.

An Unusual Take on Conflict from Jennifer R. Hubbard at writerjenn. Peek: “If the characters avoid direct confrontation for a while, it builds tension.” Source: Nathan Bransford.

New York v. Introverts by Mary Hershey at Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “Elizabeth [Law] heartily encouraged us to get over it, and recognize that our editors (and agents!) are our business partners. Business partners? Wow. That really hit me. Not demigods?”

Moving on…Sometimes It’s a Necessity by Emily Marshall at Author2Author. Peek: “If you are serious about your writing, you owe it to your book to have it be the best it can possibly be when trying to query agents, and if during the querying process you learn it’s not the best it can be, I think you need to stop, make it better, and then get back to querying. But how can you determine when to stop?”

Sylvan Dell Publishing’s Blog: “a small publishing company in South Carolina doing amazing things for children’s literacy. We have 45 picture books, amazing eBooks, and a focused mission of bringing science and math to children through literature.”

An Interview with Illustrator Doug Cushman from Michelle Markel at The Cat and The Fiddle. Peek: “Pacing a picture book is the most important part of the process in my opinion. You want to make each page flow naturally into the next one but be true to the pace of the text as well.” Note: Michelle also is giving away five copies of Tyrannosaurus Math (Tricycle/Random House, 2009).

Agent Follow-Ups from Moonrat at Editorial Ass. Peek: “…ask your prospective agent what their submission plan is like before you commit to working with them.”

Anatomy of a Writer’s Group by Allison Whittenberg at Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “If you are thinking of creating your own writers group, here are some guidelines…”

A Writer At Home: Anita Silvey from Kimberly Willis Holt at A Pen and A Nest. Peek: “After thirty years of going into an office, I often have to pinch myself as I write at home. It is sometimes hard to believe that I am really working – when I go from my bed to my desk in a comfortable but tattered bathrobe.” Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Killer Unicorns? BookKids Q&A with Diana Peterfreund Reveals All! from The BookKids Blog! by the crazy folks at BookPeople (of Austin, Texas). Peek: “I was an abstinent teen and I was sick and tired of being told that only religious people are abstinent or that I was necessarily ‘saving myself’ for my wedding night. The girls in my book chose not to become sexually active when unicorns weren’t even around, and their reasons reflect the variety of experiences and beliefs that might shape those choices.”

How Do We Know The Truth – For Sure? by Susan Kuklin from I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “Writing both narratives and giving them equal weight turned out to have an unexpected benefit. The readers now had opposing material for debates. And they did. In the classroom and privately. With passion and conviction.”

“How to Thrive in a Challenging Economic Climate: Seven Savvy Strategies” by Sheila Wipperman from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “…here are a few strategies you can put into practice to stay on track and recession-proof your writing career.”

An Open Letter to Agents, with a Modest Proposal Regarding Submissions by Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Editor Cheryl Klein. Peek: “There are lots of pieces involved in putting an offer together, one that will be both financially and artistically sustainable and successful for both the book and the house—And none of those pieces are improved by speed.” See also In response to “A Modest Proposal Regarding Submissions” from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, then a follow up from Cheryl and a follow up from D&GLM. Source: Alice’s CWIM Blog. On a related note, check out Publishing Time by Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent.

Marketing Interview (& Contest) with Laura Purdie Salas from Becky Levine: Moving Forward on the Writing Path. Note: Laura talks about what did and didn’t work in marketing her first book. Peek: “The fantastic blog Shrinking Violet Promotions was a great starting point for me. Also, I had been saving emails and articles and all sorts of stuff for years in a folder marked ‘Promotion’. It was a ‘someday’ folder…and someday came, and I really did use a lot of that information!”

Multicultural Dialogue: Please Pass the Patate by Carmela Martino from Teaching Authors: Six Children’s Authors Who Also Teach Writing. Peek: “Members of my own immigrant family speak with heavy accents and often intersperse Italian words, or Anglicized Italian, with English. If I tried to reproduce such speech in my novel, readers would have a difficult time deciphering it.” Read a Cynsations interview with Carmela.

Getting Started on Twitter: A Quick Guide for Kid/YA Writers from Mitali Perkins at Mitali’s Fire Escape. Peek: “I recommend using a real name if possible. Or a pen name if you use one. It’s your brand, right?” Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.

A Good Experience by Marc Aronson at Nonfiction Matters from School Library Journal. Peek: “All we need to do is reveal to our readers, to our book talk groups, to our classrooms, that every word in nonfiction is chosen, and chosen with as much care, craft, and deliberation as the narrative in a novel, or the beats in a poem. Once we do that, the world opens up.” Read a Cynsations interview with Marc.

Meet Jerry Pinkney from BookPage. Peek: “I’m dyslexic, so I liked those classes where teachers understood my challenges, and allowed me the opportunity to exercise my own way of learning. I graduated with honors.”

Pulverizing Writer’s Block by Jo Whittemore at Jo’s Journal. Peek: “Treatments for writer’s block: Repeat after me. ‘I can always revise.” Especially if you’re on your first draft, this should be your mantra. Right now, you’re just nailing down the story, characters, dialogue. Revisions are going to hone and polish your work into a thing of beauty, so just concentrate on writing a rough version of the story first.'” Read a Cynsations interview with Jo.

Writing Through Interruptions by Kristi Holl from Writers First Aid. Peek: “So few of us live on a deserted island. Most writers–probably 90% or more–have to deal with distractions and interruptions.”

In the Author’s Tent: R.A. Nelson, Part Two: an author interview from Melodye Shore at Front Pages. Peek: “I don’t worry about identifying with kids. I don’t think of ‘age’ when I write, I just write. The kind of identification I care about is much deeper than bands or cell phones or Blackberries. It’s beyond age or even gender. It’s timeless and wrapped around the core of who we are.” Don’t miss Part One. Read a Cynsations interview with R.A. Nelson.

Terry Pratchett: State of the Nation by Lauren Barack from School Library Journal. Peek: “Children as a whole are more interesting as main characters because, by definition, there is lot that they don’t know, and at the beginning of the book there is a lot that the reader does not know and so they can learn together.” Source: Gail Gauthier at Original Content.

Digital Reviewing by Roger Sutton at Read Roger. Peek: “…picture books demand to be held, and the page-turn and your fingers are part of the story. Less ethereally, picture-book reviewers will often hold them at a distance to see how an image might carry across a story hour, or they will want to try one out with an individual child or group.” Read a Cynsations interview with Roger.

The Annual KidLitosphere Conference: “The Kidlitosphere Conference is an annual gathering of the Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The 2009 conference will take place in Washington, DC, on Oct. 17. While sessions are not scheduled for Friday, a Library of Congress visit is currently in the planning stages. An informal outing in DC will be scheduled for Sunday as well.” Source: The Brown Bookshelf.

An Interview with Novelist Laurie Halse Anderson from Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Peek: “As an artist, the last thing you want to do is repeat yourself. You want to keep pushing that boundary or else, again, you become a boring grown-up—why do that.”

A Book Reviewer’s Apologies by John Green at John Green’s Blog. Peek: “The reason I felt like it didn’t sound like actual teenagers IMing is because it didn’t sound like me IMing, and I was not yet accustomed to the idea that my way of experiencing the Internet might be dated. I fancied myself such an expert in online communication that I felt I could be very high and mighty about emoticons. Okay. That was embarrassing, but also kinda cathartic.” Note: John recommends How to be a reader: book evaluation vs. self-evaluation by Shannon Hale at squeetus blog. Read a Cynsations interview with John.

Cynsational Notes

Are you sponsoring a children’s/YA book giveaway/contest? Did you post an in-depth interview with an author, illustrator, editor, agent, or other book professional? Did you just compile, say, an annotated bibliography of books set in Mexico? Or on the civil rights movement? Did you pour a week into writing an article about craft, publishing, or the literature community that uplifts/inspires/informs? Did you launch your own new author/illustrator site or blog? Or have it professionally redesigned?

I’m looking for substantive links to share. Please let me know, so I can pass your good news onto my readers and hopefully send some visitors your way. Send the title of the link, the URL, and/or a brief description or quoted excerpt (in the fashion of the links shown above).

Note: round-ups usually appear on Fridays, so a contest that’s, say, announced Monday and closed Wednesday of the same week is not a great fit for me.

More Personally

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Jen Wardrip at Authors Unleashed (the blog of TeensReadToo). Peek:

“You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?

“Don’t lose yourself in another person. Everyone loves love, but don’t forget to love and honor yourself, too. It’s okay to choose to stand strong on your own.”

We’re Going to Need Bigger Bookshelves… by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “We just discovered that the post office has been holding incoming packages addressed to our PO Box without letting us know they were being held (No, we don’t know why). Yesterday, we went to pick up our mail, and discovered three months worth of review copies. (That’s six postal bins worth).” Note: we’re on it!

Reminder: I’m still on deadline on Blessed (Candlewick, 2010) until after Labor Day weekend. Please hold off on sending any optional e-correspondence. Note: if your interview answers are due or you’re sending a news release/link of interest to Cynsations readers, this does not apply to you! Thanks so much!

Last Call for August Giveaways

Enter to win one of two copies of the new Eternal audiobook (Listening Library, 2009)! One copy will be reserved for a teacher, librarian and/or university professor of children’s-YA literature, and one will go to any Cynsations reader!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Eternal audio” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the title in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31! Reminder: teachers, librarians, and professors should ID themselves in their entries!

Enter to win a paperback of Stealing Heaven (Harper, 2008) and a hardcover of Love You Hate You Miss You (Harper, 2009), both by Elizabeth Scott. To enter this giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Elizabeth Scott” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the name in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31. Read a related Cynsations interview with Elizabeth.

Enter to win both Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa, illustrated by Ed Young (Philomel, 2009) and Hook by Ed Young (Roaring Brook, 2009)! To enter this giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Ed Young” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the name in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Ed.

Enter to win Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Ethan Long (Little, Brown, 2009). To enter this giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “J. Patrick Lewis” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the name in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31. Read a previous Cynsations interview with J. Patrick Lewis.

Austin Events

Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Day in the Lone Star State: acclaimed authors Kathi Appelt and Sharon Darrow will lead a conference on the craft of writing for young readers on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 at Teravista (4333 Teravista Club Dr.) in Round Rock, which is located just 20 minutes north of Austin. Note: open to alumni and all other serious writers for young readers! Participants are incoming from nation wide. Spots are filling fast–only 7 more spots available!–register today! See more information. Read previous Cynsations interviews with Kathi and Sharon.

“The Main Elements of Story: Plot, Character, Setting, and Theme” with National SCBWI Speaker Chris Eboch sponsored by Austin SCBWI is scheduled for Oct. 10. Attendees will receive a $10 discount when registering for the local January 2010 conference. Seating is limited. Registration opens July 6. Note: Austin SCBWI events often sell out. From the author site: Chris has a new series, Haunted, debuting August 2009 [from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin] with two books: The Ghost on the Stairs and The Riverboat Phantom.