Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win an author-signed copy of Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson, illustrated by R.G. Roth (Knopf, 2010). From the promotional copy:

This powerful and tender story of desegregation busing in the 1970s introduces readers to the brave young heroes who helped to build a new world.

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) and type “Busing Brewster” 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: Aug. 31. Sponsored by the author; U.S. entries only.

Enter to win Vampire High: Sophomore Year by Douglas Reese (Delacorte, 2010)(author interview). From the promotional copy:

In the satiric and funny sequel to the witty Vampire High, Cody’s hopes for a great sophomore year at Vlad Dracul are dashed when his train wreck of a cousin, Turk Stone, moves in and messes with his life.

Turk’s a brilliant teen artist and goth with a sky-high ego . Her attitude infuriates the vampire (jenti) students, especially the dark, brooding Gregor. But something changes in Turk when she stumbles on the abandoned nineteenth-century mill in the forgotten district of Crossfield and immediately claims it as her new arts center project.

Though Cody resents his cousin at first, he has his own reasons for helping make Turk’s dream come true. But Crossfield has many secrets, and a mysterious vampire army called the Mercians will do anything to make sure they stay hidden. And when he takes on the Mercians, everything Cody has learned about courage and determination his freshman year at Vampire High will be tested.

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) and type “Vampire High: Sophomore Year” 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: Aug. 31. Publisher review copy; U.S. entries only.

The winner of How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart (Delacorte, 2010) was Nancy in Houston.

More News

Congratulations to Gita Wolf, author of Monkey Photo, illustrated by Swarna Chitrakar (Tara Books, 2010) “in the brilliant Patua folk style from Bengal.” Read a Cynsations interview with Gita.

Prime Real Estate by Mary Kole from Peek: “The more descriptive (and scene) space you give something, the more characters think and talk about it, the more important it will become in the reader’s mind.” See also Mary on Writing Woes. Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Writing Between Diapers: Tips for Writer Moms by Mayra Calvani from The National Writing for Children Center. Opens with this quote: “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” –C. G. Jung Source: Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid.

Dealing with Bad Reviews from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “It takes an exceedingly thick skin to be an author these days, perhaps moreso than at any time in the past.” See also An Open Love Note to Debut Authors about Hurtful Online Reviews from Cynsations. Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

A Peach of an Agent from Sarah Davies’s Blog at Greenhouse Literary Agency. Peek: “With ever more agents on the children’s/YA scene (I can count 10 new ones in the past year without even trying), the most standout new writers will increasingly experience the thrilling, bewildering fluster of The Agent Battle.” Note: on how to pick between multiple offers of representation. Source: Elizabeth S. Craig. Read a Cynsations interview with Sarah.

Food in Fantasy: opening thoughts from and an interview with Cindy Pon from Lisa Mantchev from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: “Food is such an important part of the Chinese culture, always bringing to mind time with family and friends as well as festivities. I wanted to write a fantasy novel that celebrated food as much as the Chinese culture does.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cindy.

Nonfiction and Fiction Picture Books – Illustrations from Donna Bowman Bratton at Simply Donna. Peek: “As much as possible, we must limit visual details from our text and allow illustrators to work their magic.”

Manipulation by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog – Writer Talk. Peek: “In revision, you need to keep getting to that place in you, the dream zone place, to revise at the scene level…but you also need to step back and analyze how the various aspects of story are working in your manuscript.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

We Begin Again. And Again. by Lindsey Lane from This and That. Peek: “Whenever I finish something, whether it is my newly minted MFA degree or a book or a play or an article, the inevitable question people ask is: ‘What’s next?'” Read a Cynsations interview with Lindsey.

Choose Your Friends Wisely by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “Sabotage from non-artist friends has more to do with your lack of availability. These friends may not understand your need to set aside time to work.”

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Gianna Marino by Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “I am both an author and illustrator. My first two children’s books are wordless, though ‘written’ by me. Yet my first job as a writer came from travel-writing. I think in pictures, so illustration is my first love and easier for me. I tend to write very descriptively. Great for travel-writing. A challenge for picture books.”

PR Notes: Book Trailer Software Demonstrated by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “So, here are my trailers. I used the same stock images for all of these, just experimented with different programs. There’s a slide show from Photobucket, a short trailer using, and a trailer made with Vegas Movie Studio HD.” See also Time Line Helps You Plot.

The comic book steps up as an aid to literacy by Wendy Martin from From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “For the reluctant reader, they are absorbing and entertaining. For a struggling reader or the reader learning English as a second language, they offer a bridge with pictures for context, and hopefully a different path into classroom discussions for higher-level texts.”

Overpromotion from Scott Tracey. Peek: “Build a fan base by being interesting – you’ll sell more books that way. Otherwise, you’re just trolling for bodies – and bodies don’t buy books.” Source: Elizabeth Scott.

The Mechanics of Novel Writing for Children and Young Adults: online class taught by Jill Santopolo (pictured)(Oct. 26 to Dec. 15) through McDaniel College. Jill is the author of the Alec Flint mystery series, including Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and The Vanishing Treasure (2008) and The Ransom Note Blues: An Alec Flint Mystery (2009). She also is an executive editor at Philomel. See also a spring 2011 class, Reading Like a Writer, taught by Lisa Graff. Lisa is the author of Umbrella Summer (HarperCollins, 2009) and The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower (HarperCollins, 2008). She’s also a former associate editor at FSG. Note: Lisa’s class appears to be on campus in Westminster, Maryland. Read Cynsations interviews with Jill and Lisa.

Supportive Writer Friends by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “Supportive writer friends pump you up to do your best work, and even act as cattle prods. (‘Quit stalling. Sign up for that conference.’)”

Dead or Alive: Top Ten Children’s Writer Collaborations I’d Love to See by Bethany Hegedus from Writer Friendly; Bookshelf Approved. Peek: “M. T. Anderson and Judy Blume: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Octavian.”

Congratulations, Keith Graves

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Keith Graves on the release of Chicken Big (Chronicle, 2010). From the promotional copy:

On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, giant egg. And out of this egg came one big, humongous . . . something.

“It’s big!” clucked the little rooster. “It’s enormous!” clucked the small chicken. “It’s an elephant!” peeped the smallest chicken. “Run for your lives!” they cried.

No matter how they try, these clueless chickens can’t make sense of the gigantic new member of their family—until he saves the day. With wacky, laugh-out-loud humor and silliness to spare, this big twist on the classic Chicken Little story lends a whole new perspective to what it means to be chicken.

Read a Cynsations interview with Keith.

Congratulations, Y.S. Lee

Congratulations to Y.S. Lee on the release of The Agency: The Body at the Tower (Candlewick, 2010), a companion to The Agency: A Spy in the House (Candlewick, 2010). From the promotional copy:

Mary Quinn is back, now a trusted member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls.

Her new assignment sends her into the grimy underbelly of Victorian London dressed as a poor boy, evoking her own childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want. As she insinuates herself into the confidence of several persons of interest, she encounters others in desperate situations and struggles to make a difference without exposing –or losing –her identity.

Mary’s adventure, which takes place on the building site of the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, offers a fictional window into a fascinating historical time and place.

Highest recommendation. Read a Cynsations interview with Y.S.

Cynsational Screening Room

Celebrating Arthur Slade‘s The Hunchback Assignments — book 2 is now out in Canada and Australia; it’ll be released Sept. 14 in the U.S.; see an interview with Arthur.

Don’t miss book one:

In the video below, Kathi Appelt talks to Uma Krishnaswami about Out of the Way! Out of the Way! illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy (Tulika Books, 2010)(Groundwood, forthcoming).

YA author Holly Cupala hosts several of her author pals, spilling their secrets:

az-ang talks to author Paula Yoo:

Helen Frost discusses and reads from Diamond Willow (FSG, 2010), winner of the 2009 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, given by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

M.T. Anderson sings the Delaware state anthem at SCBWI Nationals. Don’t miss Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Beach Lane, 2009).

See also What’s Hot? a report by Chris Eboch from SCBWI Nationals on what kind of manuscripts are selling well to national children’s-YA book publishers. Read a Cynsations interview with Chris.

More Personally is now featuring a short author audio introduction and reading of my chapter book collection of short stories, Indian Shoes, illustrated by Jim Madsen (HarperCollins, 2002).

Surf over to listen to it here.

Learn more about Indian Shoes; check out the free Indian Shoes readers theater, reading group guide, and teacher’s guides (pre-reading, comprehension, multiple intelligence, mathematical/logical) .

Also, my upcoming picture book, Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton, Nov. 11, 2010) is now available for pre-order from IndieBound.

Even More Personally

Last weekend, Greg and I had the pleasure of meeting children’s author Kerry Madden and her husband (AKA eye candy) for brunch at Maudie’s Tex-Mex on South Lamar.

I first fell in love with Kerry’s writing in her Maggie Valley books (Gentle’s Holler (2005), Louisiana’s Song (2007), Jessie’s Mountain (2008)(all Viking) and, more recently, was wowed by her new biography Up Close: Harper Lee (Viking, 2009).

We chatted over migas and breakfast tacos, and believe me, Kerry sparkles every bit as much as her books. What a delight!

Then on Wednesday, I was joined around the dining room table by fellow Austin authors P.J. Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson for a day of writing and some visiting and much laughter.

P.J. is the author of The Forgotten Worlds trilogy (Blooming Tree); book three–The Necropolis–will be available this fall!

Jessica is the author of Trudy (2005), Border Crossing (2009)(both Mikweed) and books for younger readers.

It’s an honor to be pals with such talented and inspiring writers! Can you see the smoke rising from their fingertips?

Featuring Greg

Interview with Greg Leitich Smith by Melissa Buron from Book Addict. Peek: “Attorney by day, author by night, Greg Leitich Smith is a special brand of Texan super-hero. Recently, Greg took a minute to visit about what enticed him to make Texas his home, how he became an award-winning author and what new projects the Austin-based Superman is working on now.”

Cynsational Events

The Austin SCBWI Diversity in Kid Lit Panel Discussion will feature author-illustrator Don Tate, illustrator Mike Benny, author Varian Johnson, author Lila Guzman, author/librarian Jeanette Larson and take place at 11 a.m. Aug. 14 at at BookPeople in Austin.

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.