Cynsational News & Giveaways

For those holiday vacationers who may have missed it, last week I posted my Cynsational Books of 2009. I’d like to highlight just a couple more: The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (Flux, 2009) as well as The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series by Heather Brewer (Dutton, ongoing). Read a Cynsations interview with A.S.

Here’s the book trailer for The Dust of 100 Dogs:

Here’s the book trailer for Tenth Grade Bleeds (Dutton, 2009). Note: Heather is also highly recommended as a speaker. I had the pleasure of being on a panel with her in Westlake, Texas, last fall and was absolutely wowed by her savvy, smarts, and ability to connect with tweens.

This just in! Here’s the new book trailer for Eleventh Grade Burns (Dutton, Feb. 2010).

Likewise, here’s a quick recap of the interviews posted from Dec. 21 through the end of the month. Texas debut author Jill S. Alexander discussed story in country music; Jessica Blank wrote a guest post on adapting a novel into a screenplay; David L. Harrison talked about professional and artistic success, Michelle Markel shared her insights on taking writing risks, and debut author Penny Blubaugh reflected on early reading influences and her MFA.

New Releases

This Week’s New Releases from Blog. Highlights include books by Gordan Korman, Susanne Dunlap, Jordan Sonnenblick, Julie Ann Peters, Delia Ephron, Courtney Summers, Angela Johnson, Dia Reeves, Mari Mancusi, Jennifer R. Hubbard, Tim Bowlar, Lisa McMann, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Eighteen-year-old author Noni Carter talks about her novel, Good Fortune (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Note: Noni is a student at Harvard University.

Here’s a book trailer for Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Simon Pulse, 2010). Read a new interview with Lisa by Tabitha Olsen from Writer Musings. Peek: “Because I started with picture books, where you need to be succinct as possible, I do think it helped me with the verse. I seem to do well in getting to the heart of a scene and figuring out how to get the emotional truth with just the right choice of words.”

Here’s a book trailer for Captivate by Carrie Jones (Bloomsbury, 2010). Read a new interview with Carrie from Fantastic Book Review. Enter to win a copy of Captivate.

Welcome YA Rebels

Vloggers YA Rebels describe themselves as “seven young adult authors giving you the behind the scenes drama!” Notes: now posting regularly; video includes cameo by John Green.

More News & Giveaways

Cover Stories: Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard from Melissa Walker at readergirlz. Peek: “A few weeks later, they had a photo shoot, and they sent me the three best options–and they let me pick (my choice at left)! There were two styles of jeans and two types of red high heels. It was super exciting to be able to have some input at that point, and I’m grateful that the folks at Razorbill shared it with me.” See also Cover Stories: Far From You by Lisa Schroeder and Cover Stories: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph.

Manuscript Blindness by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “You have to look at the worth of your scenes in terms of the whole. Do they all belong? If they do belong, have you devoted the right amount of emphasis to each?” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Top Ten Questions Dutton Editors Ask Themselves When Looking At A Manuscript from Kathy Temean at Writing and Illustrating: Sharing Information About Writing and Illustrating for Children. Peek: “Does the action of the story move at a good pace and hold our interest? Does tension build as the story moves forward?” Source: Janet Reid, Literary Agent.

10 Things I’ve Learned about the Writing Biz
by Charlene Teglia from Genreality. Peek: “Don’t discount your business abilities and leave that up to other people because you’re ‘just a writer’. You’re also an independent business person and uniquely gifted with the ability to come up with solid ideas.” Source: Elizabeth Scott.

Win an ARC of Everlasting by Angie Frazier (Scholastic, 2010) from Angie Frazier: Adventures of a YA Novelist. Deadline: midnight EST Jan. 8. Learn more about Everlasting.

A Diamond in the Slush: What Picture Book Editors Are Really Looking For by Melanie Hope Greenberg from SCBWI Metro NY News. Peek: “In developing a project, however, they [Alexandra Penfold of Simon & Schuster and Alisha Niehaus of Dial] recommend that authors keep looking for ways to broaden its appeal.” Source: Tammi Sauer.

Interview: Melissa de la Cruz by Little Willow at Bildungsroman. Peek: “The supernatural stories are easier. For The Ashleys and The Au Pairs, it was fun but I found it exhausting after awhile to keep up with all the trends and incorporate them in the book in a new way.” Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa.

Six Word Resolutions & Goals! A Book Giveaway! And a New Year’s Poem For You! by April Halprin Wayland from Teaching Author’s: Six Children’s Authors Who Also Teach Writing. Note: “April posted a follow-up to the contest we held last fall asking readers to post their goals for the new school year. Now it’s time for readers to report on how they did. Those who didn’t make their goals are invited to post a revised goal. And anyone who missed the original post is welcome to share a new writing resolution for 2010. One lucky participant will receive an autographed copy of April’s award-winning picture book, New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, illustrated by Stephané Jorisch (Dial, 2009).”

How I Got My Agent by Anna Staniszewski. Peek: “Sometimes you have to be willing to put one project aside, as I did, and realize that it might not be the one that’s going to get you an agent/get you published/etc. That’s why you should never stop writing, because you never know which manuscript will grab someone’s attention.”

Congratulations to David Lubar on the release of Dead Guy Spy (Starscape, 2010), the second book in his Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie series! Peek: “Nathan Abercrombie is getting used to his rotten life as a half-dead zombie. The good thing is he doesn’t feel any pain. The bad thing is his body can’t heal, so he has to be really careful not to break anything. But that’s hard to do when his wrestling-obsessed gym teacher, Mr. Lomux, matches him up with Rodney the bully, who’s looking for any excuse to break his bones. Then one day, Nathan is approached by the secret organization B.U.M.—aka the Bureau of Useful Misadventures—which offers him a cure in exchange for his help. Nathan jumps at the chance to become the world’s first zombie spy, but soon discovers that B.U.M. isn’t quite what it seems. Can Nathan trust them?” Read a Cynsations interview with David.

Melanie Kroupa to Join Marshall Cavendish by Lynn Andriani from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Kroupa will be joining Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books as an editor-at-large on Jan. 1, reporting to publisher Margery Cuyler. Kroupa will work for the publisher, which is located in Tarrytown, N.Y., from her office in Dedham, Mass.”

Mary Cole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency on Urban Fantasy by Parker Peevyhouse from The Spectacle. Peek: “Believe it or not, some of the most successful urban fantasy stories are also some of the funniest, and that has everything to do with voice. Without humor, personality and wit, ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ will soon become ‘bleak’ and ‘grating.'”

Marvelous Marketer: Nathan Bransford (Literary Agent) by Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “Traditionally it wasn’t really the agent’s job to promote books, but I think that may be changing somewhat with the times.”

Katherine Paterson Named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature from School Library Journal. Peek: “Katherine Paterson, a two-time Newbery medalist and two-time National Book Award-winner, replaces Jon Scieszka as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a two-year position created to raise national awareness of the importance of lifelong literacy and education.” Note: Yesterday, Candlewick Press announced the upcoming publication of an illustrated middle-grade novel from Katherine. The Flint Heart is a retelling of the story by the late British fantasy novelist Eden Phillpots, written by Katherine and her husband, John Paterson. It will be illustrated by John Rocco and is slated for publication in March 2012.

Channeling My Inner Boy by Mary Atkinson from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “I’d write scenes like these and wonder, where did that come from? Do those boys really live inside me? Who are they? What do these scenes say about me? Am I crude, nasty, and violent?”

The First Sentence or Three by Rosalyn Schanzer from INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “In honor of finding some firsts in nonfiction, I thought I’d try to dig up a few books with great first sentences or first paragraphs; the kind that surprise you at first glance and pull you into a first-rate story right away.”

The Longstockings: a new site from Coe Booth, Daphne Grab, Lisa Greenwald, Jenny Han, Caroline Hickey, and Siobhan Vivian. Don’t miss 12 Months of Workshop: an opportunity to submit 25 pages of your work in progress to be workshopped by the Longstockings. Peek: “that writer will receive a document compiling the helpful notes, suggestions and (surely) lots of praise from The Longstockings!” Note: this contest will be held every month of this year.

Successful Queries: Agent Ted Malawer and ‘My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters’ from Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agent’s Editor’s Blog. Peek: “Sydney’s largest paragraph sets up the plot, the conflict, and introduces some exciting potential love interests and misadventures that I was excited to read about.”

MG/YA SFF Virtual Conference by Tiffany Trent from Eudaimonium: Finding the Gold. Peek: “So, I want to try an experiment. I’m planning on holding a one-day virtual conference sometime in late March or April. I want this to be a truly useful conference to writers and aficionados of MG/YA SFF. Many of us see the same panels over and over again at conferences, making us feel like we’ve wasted time and money. How might we do it differently? What panels would you like to see that you haven’t seen?”

Featured Sweetheart: Cailin O’Connor by P.J. Hoover from The Texas Sweethearts. Peek: “You may recognize Cailin as the genius behind the Bridget Zinn auctions in the past year.”

Revision by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “…there’s a time during revision where you have to be more analytical. The story is in place and the characters are real, and your manuscript feels like all the elements are fitting together. To get to this evolutionary moment in the manuscript, you had to depend on your creative side: instinct and imagination and inspiration. But now you need the analytical side that evaluates.” Note: Brian shares a scene-by-scene list of questions to consider for revision. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Comment Challenge 2010 from MotherReader. Peek: “Since it is said that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, we’re going to run the Comment Challenge for the next three weeks — starting Friday, Jan. 8, and running through Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. The goal is to comment on at least five kidlitosphere blogs a day.”

Author Interview: Natalie Standiford on How To Say Goodbye in Robot (Scholastic, 2009) from Peek: “Once a real story starts to gel, I write a loose plot outline. Some books have complicated plots and require a more detailed outline. I always end up changing things as I write anyway. But I like to know what’s going to happen so I can keep the story focused and sharpen every detail into an arrow that points toward the end.”

Congratulations to fellow Austinites Lila and Rick Guzman on the release of Lorenzo and the Pirate (Blooming Tree, 2010)! Peek: “The fourth book in the Lorenzo series, it is set on the high seas in 1779 and tells the story of Spanish participation in the American Revolution.” Source: Writers’ League of Texas. Read a Cynsations interview with Lila.

Is Your ‘But’ Too Big? by John Gibbs from An Englishman in New Jersey. Peek: “Be wary of such people. Many of them carry a virus, Excusitis, a mental affliction which can kill writing dreams by causing the person suffering from it to doubt themselves and their ability. Symptoms include excessive use of the phrases like ‘I wanted to be a writer, but…’, ‘I’ve always thought I had a book in me, but…’, ‘I love writing, but…'”

Matt Phelan is the winner of the 2010 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction for The Storm in the Barn (Candlewick, 2009). Source: Read Roger.

Congratulations to Sharon Draper, E.B. Lewis, Tanita S. Davis, Kekla Magoon, and the other nominees for the 41rst NAACP Image Awards in “Outstanding Literary Work – Children” and “Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens!”

Writing Links from Cynthia Leitich Smith Children’s-YA Literature Resources features lots to know about agents, book design & art direction, editors & publishers, education, illustration, promotion, publishing, and writing. See also Inspiration in Writing Children’s & YA Books and Perspiration: Self Study.

R.J. Anderson talks about Rebel, the sequel to Knife (Orchard UK)(titled Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter in the U.S. from HarperCollins). Source: The Enchanted Inkpot. Read a Cynsations interview with R.J.

Kidlitosphere Diversity Discussion

PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge 2010. Peek: “Choose one book from/about/by or illustrated by someone from each of the seven continents – that’s: Africa; Antarctica; Asia; Australasia; Europe; North America; South America. Have the books read aloud to you or read them yourself; share them as part of a book-group or in class. Combine your choices with other reading challenges. The books can be picture-books, poetry, fiction, non-fiction…the choice is yours.”

Reflecting on the Great Mosaic of Humankind by Jane Kurtz at The Power of One Writer. Peek: “I tend to be disappointed with consumers more than editors because I’ve seen what it’s like to have authors, editors, illustrators, art designers, sales reps, and others on the publishing team pour their hearts into a book that only sits in a warehouse because people–by and large–weren’t adventuresome enough (or openhearted enough) in their reading tastes.”

Demand Diversity in Publishing by Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray. Peek: “Think about balance in your reviewing–think about books for kids with black skin or brown, kids who attend a Mosque or Synagogue, kids who go to school on a reservation or Native village in Alaska or that had grandparents from Asia or the Middle East or India or Kenya or Haiti or Cuba. Think about everyone else as much as you think about yourself.”

Kids of Color in Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy–a look back at the 98 books nominated for the Cybils from Charlotte’s Library: Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Children and Teenagers. Peek: “Here are the kids of color I found, the ones who got enough page-time to be memorable.”

More Personally

My holiday highlights included reading Nightshade by debut author Andrea Cremer (Philomel, Oct. 2010). It was my great pleasure to send in a blurb for the novel, which you can read here.

Look for a screen shot and recommendation of my picture books bibliography from Cynthia Leitich Smith Children’s & Young Adult Literature Resources in “Web Monthly: Picture This–Websites About Picture Books” by Greg Byerly on pg. 35 of the January 2010 issue of School Library Monthly (formerly School Library Media Activities Monthly.