Cynsational News & Giveaways

The Pals in Peril Tourists’ Guide to Deepest, Darkest Delaware from M.T. Anderson. A fantasy tour guide of the state of Delaware–complete with sing-alongs and an interactive fantasy map on parchment. Read a Cynsations interview with Tobin.

My ALA wrap-up, in which I give a civil rights pioneer a piece of gum by Sibert Honor Author Chris Barton from Bartography. Peek: “During one of the speeches, I surreptitiously (I thought) snuck a package of gum from my coat pocket and began to extract a piece. That’s when I felt an elbow in my side and from the corner of my eye saw Ms. Colvin smile. I gave her a piece of gum. I figured it was the very least I could do.” Read a Cynsations interview with Chris.

Nonfiction Picture Books: The Power of Theme by Donna Bowman Bratton from Simply Donna. Peek: “Author Barbara Kerley refers to theme as the “so what” of the story; the ultimate reason why we care about the people or events that populate our story.”

Scholastic makes inroads into Arabic children’s book market by Geraldine Baum from the Los Angeles Times. Peek: “Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, first weeded its list of thousands of titles down to 200 and later 80. They were translated into Arabic, and over the last three years, almost 17 million copies have been shipped from a plant in Missouri to elementary schools across the Middle East and North Africa.”

Congratulations to Varian Johnson on the release of the Korean edition of My Life is a Rhombus; see link to compare/contrast the U.S. versus Korean cover art and interiors. Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

Making Up Stuff for a Living: newly redesigned official site of author Saundra Mitchell. Saundra’s debut novel, Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, 2010), is now available in paperback. Read a Cynsations interview with Saundra.

Violets in Action: KidLit Authors Club: an interview with Keri Mikulski and Nancy Viau by Jennifer R. Hubbard from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “We knew that having many authors who write for a variety of ages was pretty unique, so late in 2009 we sent out letters explaining who we were, and what we would do to draw a crowd.”

Featured Sweethearts: Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear of Figment by P.J. Hoover from The Texas Sweethearts. Peek: “Figment is a mobile publishing and social media site for reading and writing young-adult fiction.”

The Picture Book Wall by Gretchen Geser from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Selling books is an important part of an editor’s job, she told us. She has to sell the works she’s acquired to the people within her house who then sell them to bookstores, and she does this with a form she fills out for each book she edits.”

So, Names… by Amaris from The Enchanted Inkpot. Fourteen authors chime in on their thought process in choosing character names.

Death By Ham: Playing the Odds of Getting Published by Maggie Stiefvater from Words on Words. Peek: “I didn’t get published before I wrote Lament (Flux, 2008), though I wrote 30 other novels from the time I was in my teens (why no, I had no social life apart from bagpiping, why do you ask?) And this is why: those novels weren’t ready.” Read a Cynsations interview with Maggie.

Publishing Isn’t Perfect by Mary Kole from I’ve retitled this post, which is part of a series in which Mary discusses self-publishing. Peek: “…the old days of the recluse genius sitting in some attic, who only writes and doesn’t do a lick of outreach or publicity, are gone.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Necessary Agent by by Jofie Ferrari-Adler from Poets & Writers. Peek: “An agent who understands that at a time when there is an industry-wide blockbuster mentality that makes it harder than it’s ever been for editors to find the institutional support it takes to publish serious work well, it is more important than ever for agents to be fearless, savvy, and relentless advocates for their clients after their books are under contract.” Source: Elizabeth Scott.

Paul Fleischman: An Exclusive SCBWI Team Blog Pre-Conference Interview by Lee Wind from I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? Peek: “Keep your allegiance to your characters, not your theme. The minute your theme starts driving the book, the story will start feeling contrived–because it will be.”

The Page Turn: An Inside Look at Books from the School and Library Marketing Team at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Editorial Palavering: Jill Santopolo by Cheryl Klein from Brooklyn Arden. Peek: “Most of the books I acquire are about empowerment. About kids who realize they’re stronger, smarter and more capable than they thought they were or than society told them they were….Empowerment in general–and actually female empowerment in specific. I love books that star strong women.” Read a Cynsations interview with Jill.

The Inner Editor Versus the Inner Critic and How to Ignore Them by Malinda Lo. Peek: “You have to face these fears head-on. I suggest writing them down in black and white. Write them down by hand, so that they come out of a pen held by your own fingers. Look at them there on the page.”

Interview with Simon Pulse Executive Editor Anica Rissi by Carolee Dean from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “The Internet isn’t a place to market to readers, it’s a place to connect with readers, and like with successful face-to-face human interactions, those connections don’t happen through monologues.”

A Tip About Doing Author Events by Cynthia Lord. Peek: “It’s not unusual for me to find that what’s been promised is slightly different than what the event asked me to do.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cynthia.

Darth Vader is My Daddy by Cecil Castellucci from Red Room. Peek: “I was born the day I saw Star Wars, and Darth Vader made me. Sure, he’s a jerk. And an emotional nightmare. And he’s made some really unhealthy choices in his life. But he’s my muse. And I do want to own his helmet.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cecil.

Meet Andrew Auseon by Liz Gallagher from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Freak Magnet (HarperTeen, 2010) is that journey, but specific to two individuals, and pushed to extremes. Charlie and Gloria both visualize where they want to be and how they want to change, but they can’t seem to get there on their own. Their traveling companion not only surprises them, but becomes an essential part of the journey.”

Put Clothes on Him. But Not Too Many. by Lois Lowry from Lowry Updates. Peek: “It’s important, I think, for a reader to be able to visualize a fictional character or scene. But each reader will see something—or someone—differently, and that’s as it should be, because it’s what makes reading such a personal and individual act.”

Picture Books for Hard Times by Michelle Markel from The Cat and The Fiddle. First in a week-long series of posts. Peek: “…picture books about characters with economic hardships. Each day we’ll look at a hopeful yet authentic story. The subject matter presents many challenges: Which details can be used to evoke the setting? How can the characters transcend their circumstances? Is it possible for the characters to solve their own problems? How will emotion be conveyed?” Read a Cynsations interview with Michelle.

Sex Education Through “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” by Laura Sibson from Serendipity. Peek: “Later, we walked up to 29th Street for ice cream at Sundae Best and Tom asked the boys if they felt uncomfortable watching the episode. Our younger son (age 10) said he felt uncomfortable only because we were uncomfortable. ‘I mean,’ he said, ‘there’s no point in watching if you’re going to fast-forward through every scene.'”

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Sean Petrie for signing with agent Marcy Posner of Folio Literary Management, and congratulations to Marcy for signing Sean!

The Global Fund for Children: Features links to bookstore with children’s books, whose profits go to vulnerable children world-wide, and links to innovative organizations working with children. Books include Global Babies (Charlesbridge, 2009), Nasreen’s Secret School (Beach Lane Books, 2009), and Faith (Charlesbridge, 2009).

Children’s Picture Books and Plot by Martha Alderson from Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers. Peek: “Rather than admit my failure to her, I asked Uma [Krishnaswami] to tell me a bit about her process when it comes to the plot and structure of her picture books.” See A Tale of Two Uma Krishnaswami/ys from Cynsations.

Congratulations to Anna Staniszewski on the sale of her debut book, My Un-Fairy Tale Life, to Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Note: Anna’s agent is Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency; don’t miss Anna’s LJ.

New Film on Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. See the trailer for “Library of the Early Mind: A Documentary Film Exploring Children’s Literature.” Source: Julie Larios.

Evolution of the Strange Case of Origami Yoda Book Cover by Chad W. Beckerman from Mishaps and Adventures: Dedicated to the Process and Exploration of Children’s and Young Adult Book Design. Peek: “How do you treat the text? Now that we settled on a chalkboard for the backdrop the font and how the text would be rendered must blend into the environment seamlessly.” Read a guest post by author Tom Angleberger on The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Amulet, 2010).

Cynsational Screening Room

Behind the Scenes with Lucy Cousins, Celebrating 20 Years of Maisy from Candlewick Press and Walker Books.

Check out the book trailer for Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, Aug. 31, 2010).

Marketing: an Inteview with Bree Despain by Cherylynne from The View from Above and Beyond. Peek: “…the nail polish. It has been a great give-away because, unlike a book mark or a business card, it is something that people will keep and use. And I’ve found its an incredible talking piece. People constantly ask me about where I got the great color, giving me a chance to talk about The Dark Divine (Egmont, 2009).” Check out the book trailer for The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (Egmont, 2009).

Printz winner Libba Bray. Source: Heidi R. Kling. Note: thanks to Miss Libba for the shout out!

More Personally

Normally, Cynsations would be going on hiatus right now as I’d be off to teach at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. However, I’m taking a leave of absence instead to focus on my own writing, specifically the Eternal graphic novel and the fourth prose novel in my Gothic fantasy series.

I’m already missing my colleagues, students, and the VCFA community at large. My thoughts are especially with the incoming first semester class, the outgoing graduates, and the new visiting faculty members. To any of y’all reading this, have a wonderful summer residency!

What else? Greg and I celebrated the 4th of July with Chicago-style hot dogs…

and a visit to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, where–among other things–I was wowed by Ann Richard‘s boots. The late governor’s motorcycle also was on display. Notes: (1) some of you may remember Governor Richards from her Democratic National Convention Keynote Address in 1988 in Atlanta; (2) I love cowboy boots!

Get your geek on! Join anthologists Holly Black @hollyblack and Cecil Castellucci @cecilseaskull, along with authors Libba Bray @LIBBABRAY, Cassandra Clare @cassieclare, Barry Lyga, Tracy Lynn @TracyLynntastic, Wendy Mass, and Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith @CynLeitichSmith for a #GEEKTASTIC tweet chat in celebration of the paperback release of Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd (Little, Brown, 2009, 2010). The chat is scheduled for 5 p.m. PST, 6 p.m. MST, 7 p.m. CST, and 8 p.m. EST on July 12.

Increasing Website Traffic: an interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Darcy Pattison from PR Notes at Fiction Notes. Peek: “My top recommendation is to keep one’s site updated. I’m forever going to author sites, looking to link to information about new releases, and that content is nowhere to be found.”

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart (Delacorte, 2010). Just email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “How to Survive Middle School” in the subject line.

Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the title in the header or comment on this round-up; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win.

Deadline: midnight CST July 31. Note: U.S. entries only.

Cynsational Events

Author Pamela Ellen Ferguson will be presenting and signing Sunshine Picklelime, illustrated by Christian Slade (Random House, 2010) at 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at BookPeople in Austin.

The launch party for Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, Aug. 2010) will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 12 at BookPeople in Austin.