Cynsational News & Giveaways

The Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children was Watching Jimmy by Nancy Hartry (Tundra). The honor books were Vanishing Girl by Shane Peacock (Tundra) and Faerie Rebels – Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson (HarperCollins). Source: ACHOCKABLOG. Read a Cynsations interview with R.J.

The Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award went to Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingstone (HarperCollins). The honor books were The Gryphon Project by Carrie Mac (Puffin) and The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade (HarperCollins). Source: ACHOCKABLOG. Read a Cynsations interview with Lesley and a Cynsations interview with Arthur.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia: an audio talk and reading by Rita from

The Texas Governor’s Committee on People With Disabilities Vote to Add a Book Category to Media Awards by Jo Virgil from Austin SCBWI. Peek: “The award is for a book that is either about a disability, or that features a character with a disability in a respectful and realistic manner.” Note: children’s-YA books are eligible; books must have been published in the current calendar year. See more information.

On Acknowledgments from Getting Past the Gatekeeper. Peek: “Whom do you thank? How much space do you have? Do you have to thank everyone? (No.) Should you thank your agent? (You’d better.)” Source: Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent.

30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers by Michelle Kerns from The Examiner. Peek: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (later Sorceror’s) Stone was rejected by a dozen publishers, including biggies like Penguin and HarperCollins. Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, only took it on at the behest of the CEO’s eight-year old daughter, who begged her father to print the book. God bless you, sweetheart.”

Lee & Low Books New Voices Award: “Established in 2000, the New Voices Award encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent.” Also: “Manuscripts will be accepted from May 1, 2010, through September 30, 2010 and must be postmarked within that period.” See more information.

Publish Your First Book After 50 by Scott Hoffman from Writer’s Digest. Note: this is less of an issue for children’s writers (versus those who write for adults), but the pitfalls and tips are still worth noting.

The Catch-22 Dilemma by Mary Kole from Peek: “This is a perceived problem that some writers have. Let me explain why I say ‘perceived.’ It’s understandable thinking but I’d love to put this ‘I can’t get published unless I’m published’ thing to rest for good.” See also Getting Into a “Closed” House.

Managing Multiple Identities Online (Avoid) by Jane Friedman from There Are No Rules. Peek: “There are usually two areas where I see a definite need to separate and maintain different sites or social media accounts…” Source: Greg Pincus.

Sara F. Schacter: new official author site. See also Sara’s blog, This Is My Blog: Aha Moments for Moms who Write and Writers Who Mom.

Avoiding the Wannabe Trap by Anne Marie Pace. Peek: “When so many other writing activities beckon–conference, writing retreats, Internet chat sites and message boards for writers–sometimes writing time gets pushed aside.” Source: Carmen Oliver.

Editor Interview: Brian Farrey of Flux from Alice Pope’s SCBWI Blog. Peek: “…if you’re going to write YA, you need to read YA. Know the market. Every day I get manuscripts from people who clearly have not read a contemporary YA novel.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Jennifer Represents…where book reviews, agentish advice, party planning, cute animal pictures and general shenanigans collide from agent Jennifer Laughran. Note: new blog location.

The 40th Annual Rutgers One-on-One Conference is scheduled for Oct. 16. Peek: “One-on-One brings together the largest number of professionals of any conference of its kind. The unique one-on-one format gives writers and illustrators a rare opportunity to share their work with an assigned mentor. The conference also offers a chance to meet and exchange information and ideas with experienced editors, agents, art directors, authors, and illustrators, who have generously volunteered their time.” Application deadline: June 15.

Under a Red Sky: Memoir of a Childhood in Communist Romania by Haya Leah Molnar (Frances Foster/FSG, 2010)(ages 12+): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLSBlog. Peek: “…the sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, story of the day-to-day life of a young girl trying to discover who she is in a society where even school-children can be government informers.”

Reminder: Do the Write Thing for Nashville: “We’re raising money for flood relief in Nashville by auctioning off critiques and more from your favorite authors, agents, and editors.” New items go live daily.

Book Contract Essentials by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “Contract savvy–and professionalism–begins with the idea that you have options.”

Five questions for Laura Vaccaro Seeger (and much more) from Notes from the Horn Book. Includes a focus on concept books, much-buzzed new releases, war stories, gifts for grads and more.

How to Craft a Great Voice from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “Voice, at its most basic level, is the sensibility with which an author writes. It’s a perspective, an outlook on the world, a personality and style that is recognizable even out of context.”

The Torrible Zone: Authors Talk About Writing Obstacles by Michelle Markel from The Cat and the Fiddle. Peek from Janet S. Wong: “Ordinarily I have no problem with revision–even substantial changes and many of them–but Charlesbridge’s editorial team thought the book would read better as a novel. From this picture book…to a novel?”

Interview with Joy Peskin, Executive Editor at Viking Children’s Books, by Amy Finnegan from Throwing Up Words. From part II of the interview: Peek: “The most successful authors I know personally earned their status by producing consistently excellent books over time, by accepting reasonable but not bloated advances, and by showing they can connect with their audiences in a long-term, meaningful way.”

Congratulations, Anjali

Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee (Wendy Lamb, 2010) is now available. From the promotional copy:

“Eleven-year-old Poppy Ray longs to be a veterinarian, but she’s never had a pet. This summer, she’s going to spend a month with her uncle Sanjay, veterinarian and owner of the Furry Friends Animal Clinic on an island off the Washington coast.

“Poppy is in for big surprises. She loves tending to the dogs, cats, and even a bird, and she discovers the fun of newborn puppies and the satisfaction of doing a good job. But she learns that there’s more to caring for animals than the stethoscope and cotton swabs in her Deluxe Veterinarian First-Aid Kit. She’s not prepared for quirky pet owners, gross stuff, or scary emergencies. With help from a boy named Hawk, a chunk of seaglass, and a touch of intuition, Poppy gains a deeper understanding of the pain and joy of working with animals.

“With warmth and humor, Anjali Banerjee tells the story of a resourceful, determined girl who can’t wait to grow up, but begins to realize just how much she has left to discover.”

Congratulations, Kimberly

The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt (Henry Holt, 2010) is now available. From the promotional copy. From the promotional copy:

“Amos Kincaid is the son of a dowser – a person gifted in knowing how to ‘find’ water deep in the ground. As a young person, Amos doesn’t reveal his gift to others; he’s not sure he wants the burden. But through his experiences growing up and crossing the Oregon Trail, Amos learns about life’s harsh realities, especially the pain in losing loved ones. As he cares for those around him, Amos comes to accept his dowsing fate.

“This epic novel is a fascinating period piece about the westward expansion and one man’s destiny as he searches for love and family.”

Screening Room

St. Anne Institute Book Drive: YA author Eric Luper is holding a book drive for the outdated and depleted library at the St. Anne Institute, a residential/therapeutic facility for at-risk girls ages 12 to 18 in Albany, NY. He has set a goal of 1000 books.

See more information, including a chance to win the first signed hardcover of his forthcoming novel, Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto (HarperCollins, June 8, 2010). Giveaway deadline: May 17.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz reads from his latest YA novel, Last Night I Sang to the Monster (Cinco Puntos, 2009).

Cynsational Notes

Where Stories Are Made: Cynthia Leitich Smith: a guest post in which I offer a peek into my typical, at-home work day, complete with photos. Peek: “I love that my laptop allows me to migrate around the house. When I really need to spread out, it’s not unusual to find me at the dining room table. I often work on screen and on paper at the same time.”

This week’s in-person highlights included a dinner party at author Kathi Appelt‘s home in College Station. The event was in celebration of the release of her new novel, Keeper (Atheneum, 2010)(Simon & Schuster Audio, 2010; read by the author).

In keeping with the spirit of the book, Kathi dished up delicious gumbo…

and offered a buffet of shrimp, watermelon, and cornbread muffins.

She also gave hard-cover and audio copies of the book to everyone in attendance.

And decorated in celebration of the sea.

The beach towels, acting as table cloths, were a particularly colorful and fun choice.

Everyone had a wonderful time.

In other sparkly news, Greg and I joined YA author Carol Lynch Williams and children’s author Debbie Gonzales for breakfast yesterday at Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin Boulevard.

Central Texans: Make plans to see Carol at 1 p.m. this Sunday, the 16th, at BookPeople, where Carol will be talking about and signing The Chosen One (St. Martin’s, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Carol.

What else? Look for a mention of Cynsations on pg. 58 of the May/June 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest in the 101 Best Websites article. Thanks to Tara Nickerson for the heads-up!

Thanks to Nancy Bo Flood for recommending Jingle Dancer (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name, and my website in her guest post, Wanted: Books written by or about contemporary Native Americans, at papertigers blog!

Finally, I’m off to Fitchburg, Massachusetts for the New England SCBWI Conference (details below). Can’t wait to see many of you there! Note: please hold off on email and other correspondence until next Tuesday–thanks!

Giveaway Reminders

Enter to win a copy of Morpheus Road: The Light by by D. J. MacHale (Aladdin, 2010). To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Morpheus Road: The Light” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message/comment me with the name in the header/post; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: May 31. Publisher sponsored; U.S. entries only. See also the book trailer.

Enter to win a copy of Smells Like a Dog by Suzanne Selfors (Little, Brown, 2010)! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Smells Like Dog” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message or comment me with the name in the header/post; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: May 31. Publisher sponsored; U.S. entries only. See also Suzanne on Why I Love Writing for Middle Graders.

Cynsational Events

The Misadventures of a Manuscript: How to Write a Viable Story, with Literary Agent Scott Treimel of S©ott Treimel NY,” hosted by the Writers’ League of Texas, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14 at First Presbyterian Church (5300 Main Street) in Houston. Note: “Top children’s literary agent S©ott Treimel NY receives hundreds of queries and submissions each month, and he asks to see partial manuscripts of only 5 percent of those. In this workshop, you’ll learn directly from him the answer the question: What’s wrong with the other 95 percent? $99 members / $169 nonmembers.” See more information.

Moments of Change: the New England SCBWI Conference will take place May 14 to May 16 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. See conference schedule, workshop descriptions, manuscript critique guidelines, and special conference offerings. See faculty bios. Note: I’m honored to be participating as a keynote speaker!

SCBWI Florida: Mid-Year Workshop and Intensives will be June 4 and June 5 at Disney’s Coronada Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. Note: I’m honored to be leading the marketing track with author/social media consultant Greg Pincus and Ed Masessa, author and Senior Manager Product Development, Scholastic Book Fairs. Picture book, middle grade, YA, and series tracks also are available.