Cynsational News & Giveaways

Nightfall Scary Story Writing Contest from Lerner Books. Peek: “After reading Thaw—our free Night Fall™ eBook—we want you to become an author and create a creepy ending to a scary story just like the tales told in our new Night Fall series.” The winner will receive two complete sets of all six books in the Night Fall™ series—one for the winner and one for the winner’s school library; editorial advice in a letter from the editorial director of Darby Creek. Plus, the winning story will be published on the Lerner Books Blog, and the winner’s name will become a character name in an upcoming Night Fall™ novel. See more information.

Featured Sweetheart: Jeanette Larson by P.J. Hoover from the Texas Sweethearts. Peek: “While many of us want to ‘own’ all our books and information, we can’t and that’s where libraries come in. My local library prints out my ‘savings; on the date due slip. I can easily save thousands of dollars a year by using the library. It’s the best bang for our tax bucks!” Read a Cynsations interview with Jeanette.

Glass Houses, Elephants, and the Internet by Danyelle Leafty from Carolyn Kaufman at QueryTracker. Peek: “I don’t really talk much about politics or religion. I have plenty of opinions on them, but I save those discussions for real life. Also, I don’t put up pictures of my kids, name them, or even really discuss them.”

From Publishers Weekly: Kevin Lewis will join Disney Book Group’s Disney-Hyperion Books as executive editor, where he will acquire and edit picture books, as well as middle-grade and young adult novels. He will report to Stephanie Owens Lurie, editorial director at Disney-Hyperion.

Poetry on the 2010 IBBY Honour List by Sylvia Vardell from Poetry for Children. Peek: “This list provides a ‘welcome opportunity to study and review the production of children’s books’ around the world–the best each country has to offer an international audience.” Read a Cynsations interview with Sylvia. See also Poetry for Children.

Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls for Writers to Avoid by Sage Cohen from Writer’s Digest. Peek: “It’s easy to focus on the negative in writing and in life. But when we turn our attention to what’s working and what we appreciate from moment to moment, our sails turn into the wind.” Source: Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

How Does Your Garden Grow? Digging into the Details of Craft and Career, sponsored by SCBWI-Illinois, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 13 Wojcik Conference Center at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. Speakers include: Marilyn Brigham, editor, Marshall Cavendish; Katherine Jacobs, associate editor, Roaring Brook; Tamra Tuller, editor, Philomel; Andrea Welch, editor, Beach Lane; Jennifer Mattson, associate agent, Andrea Brown Literary; Edward Necarsulmer, director of the Children’s Department, McIntosh & Otis. Note: I’ve had the honor of speaking at this conference in the past, and it’s a wonderful event!

It’s Okay Not to Be Happy All the Time by Kate Fall from Author2Author. Peek: “I couldn’t take all the disappointment anymore and I broke down to my husband. Ugh, I’ve been writing for so long, why aren’t I better at it?!”

Succeeding as a Writer: Confidence and Determination by Carolyn Kaufman from QueryTracker. Peek: “If feeling good about what you’d written was as far as any of this went, all would be well. But so many of us have this urge, this drive, this need to get published. And what is that all about anyways?”

Lisa Railsback and Sarajo Frieden Interview by Laurie Beth Schneider from From the Mixed-up Files of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “Noonie definitely feels misunderstood, and that her art is misinterpreted. Through my process of revisions, though, Noonie also comes to realize that she is misunderstanding the people, and the world, around her. They may not necessarily love art, or get her art, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t love her and support her.”

Losing Out on a Hot Commodity
by Mary Kole from Peek: “It isn’t my job to gush over a book or tell the author how brilliant they are (though I often do). It’s my job to sell that book. So if I think I can do my job, I offer representation. But I also caution the writer that there are no guarantees.” See also Mary on Does Your Day Job Matter? Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Seven Keys to Writing Good Dialogue by Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “When the dialogue is carrying exposition and trying to tell the reader too much, characters end up saying a lot of very unnatural and unwieldy things.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

How to Sell a Book? Good Old Word of Mouth by Lynn Neary from NPR. Peek: “Getting everyone within the company talking about the book is the first step in building the buzz. The next step is spreading that excitement to the outside world.” Source: April Henry.

Follow the Voice by Jim Murphy from I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “I remember early on in my career when I was still doing very detailed outlines and having to struggle to follow my inner voice’s suggestions. It seemed like terrible violation of the outline to abandon it’s carefully worked out route, a little like ignoring the professor’s instructions on what had to be in a term paper.” Note: Jim is the Winner of the 2010 Margaret A. Edwards Award, which “honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, that have been popular over a period of time. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.”

Random House announced a partnership with digital media agency Smashing Ideas to develop book-based children’s Apps for mobile devices. Smashing Ideas is a developer of immersive, interactive experiences for all screens, building digital products and destinations around brand characters in the children and youth markets. Random House Children’s Books will work in close collaboration with Smashing Ideas’ newly formed ePublishing group—led by the co-creator and developer of the smash hit, Alice for iPad—and with key Random House children’s books authors, illustrators and brands to produce innovative digital products that marry story, design, and technology.

Candlewick Partners with Toon Books: New imprint launches in October by Publishers Weekly Staff from Publishers Weely. Peek: “Toon Books, which are leveled books for emerging readers, are vetted by educators; the books feature original stories and characters created by veteran children’s book authors, renowned cartoonists, and new authors.”

Reading Like a Writer: Picture Book Pairs by Bethany Hegedus from Writer Friendly; Bookshelf Approved. Peek: “Each has characters with strong bonds, friendship or familial, with striking differences in personality, whose central conflict stems from this uniqueness and whose resolutions bring the duos that much closer together.”

Penguin Adds Poptropica Imprint by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Brallier, who founded the children’s imprint Planet Dexter in 1995, will serve as the Poptropica imprint editor. His goal, he says, is to ‘carry the DNA,’ or spirit, of Poptropica over to print. The imprint will launch with a Poptropica guidebook, which will be followed by eight graphic novels that will be released beginning in 2012.”

Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog by Nina Lindsay and Johnathan Hunt from School Library Journal is active again. Note: if you search “mock Caldecott,” “mock Newbery,” or “mock Printz,” you’ll also pull up a lot of new links. Source (for link and advice): Bookshelves of Doom.

How to Create a Character from Holly Lisle. Peek: “Don’t start your character off with a name or a physical description.” Source: April Henry.

Jane Yolen Writes 300th Book: Award-Winning Children’s Author Writes About Desire to Type Faster by Jane Yolen from the Huffington Post. Peek: “The responses I have gotten from friends, family, and fans on the news of my 300th book runs the gamut from: ‘You have got to be kidding!’ to ‘Anything good there?’ to ‘You are a National Treasure/Goddess/Diva.’ But almost everyone adds, ‘Do you remember writing them all?'” Read a Cynsations interview with Jane.

Three Mistakes Illustrators Make in Their Portfolios from Escape from Illustration Island. Peek: “One mistake that many Illustrators make is to fall prey to the temptation of including certain pieces in their portfolio simply because it has been published, even if the quality is inferior to the rest of their work, or it simply doesn’t fit.”

How To Connect with a Critique Group by Kathy Temean from Writing and Illustrating. Peek: “There are a lot of pluses to online groups. They open you up a broader range of writers, because you don’t have to worry about coordinating meeting locations and times.”

Scholastic Book Clubs Classrooms Care literacy program has put more than 10 million books in the hands of kids since 2001. This school year, with the “United States of Reading” theme of state pride and giving locally, the focus will be on giving voice to America’s teachers, students and parents as they participate in the program. A new Classrooms Care blog and social network opportunities via the Classrooms Care site, will provide teachers with news, tips, activities, quizzes and chance to engage with peers in every state. Through their blog they are encouraging parents and teachers to submit from their kids: (a) a fun fact about their state; (b) a tip on how to get more kids reading; (c) an activity idea demonstrating state pride.

Dark Song by Gail Giles (Little, Brown, 2010) Giveaway from P.J. Hoover at Roots in Myth. See link for details on how to enter. Deadline: Sept. 24. Read a Cynsations guest post by Gail on Writer’s Block.

On Requested Manuscripts by Sara Crowe from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “Now that my list is pretty full, and that I am not taking on many more new clients, I’ve also become more demanding of each requested manuscript. I know that for both the author’s sake and mine, I have to fall madly in love with it to be the right agent for it.” Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Inside the Writer’s Studio with Sundee T. Frazier: an interview by Bethany Hegedus from Writer Friendly; Bookshelf Approved. Peek: “Honestly, having babies has helped! I have limited time to write, so when I get a chance to be alone with my computer, I try to make the most of it. I’ve got no time to fool around, procrastinate, or stop at Starbucks on the way to the library for my twice-a-week evening writing sessions.”

The Promotional Quantity by Eric at Pimp My Novel. Peek: “A promotional quantity is the number of copies a store or chain needs to take in order for them to have enough to put the book into co-op placement.” Note: congratulations to Eric on his 300th post!

How You Can Tell How Well Your Book is Selling by Rachelle Gardner from Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Peek: “This is sometimes a tough one for authors.”

Summer Edward’s Caribbean Children’s Literature: “The premiere blog for Caribbean children’s and YA (young adult) books, illustration, reviews, giveaways, author interviews, publishing tips, etcetera, etcetera.” Note: this week, Summer highlights Edwidge Danticat‘s first children’s picture book, Eight Days: A Story of Haiti (Orchard, 2010) and asks, “Is it easier as a writer of color, to make it in the world of adult fiction than it is to make it as a children’s writer?” and if so, why? See post. Source: Color Online.

On Self-doubt and Getting It Written Instead of Getting It Right by Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard. Peek: “It won’t disappear just because you’ve sold a book. In fact, it might get worse. Because you’ll look at the total-piece-of-junk you think you’re writing, and then you’ll go to your shelf and you’ll pick up your published book.”

Women Writers of Color: Cindy Pon from Color Online. Peek: “I’m really a believer in being active through positive action.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cindy.

Listen Up for Candlewick on Brilliance Audio from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Candlewick on Brilliance Audio is the name of the new imprint announced today by Candlewick Press and Brilliance Audio. The companies have joined forces in an innovative agreement that enables Brilliance Audio to publish and distribute audiobook editions of select Candlewick Press titles. ” Note: the first list shipped last month.

Congratulations to Austinite Jennifer Ziegler on selling the film rights to How Not To Be Popular (Delacorte, 2008) to Amy Green of the Toronto-based company One Eye Open (via agent Erin Murphy and Luke Sandler at her co-agency, Gotham Group).

Joseph Bruchac’s Hidden Roots by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. The book went out of print, however Joseph “was able to get rights to it, and he’s bringing it out through his own press, Bowman Books. It’ll have a new cover and he’s worked on a better presentation of the form that appears on page 112-113 of the hardcover edition with the tree on the front.” See Debbie’s in-depth discussion of the book.

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Alien Invasions and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky (Candlewick, 2010). Note: In a blurb for this novel, I said, “Wry, fierce, richly imagined—-the total conquest of humanity has never been so entertaining.”

Author Mindi Scott talks about rejection in publishing and other aspects of her life. See disclaimers.

An Interview with Cheryl Rainfield from Daytime Toronto about Scars (WestSide, 2010).

Cheerios is distributing six million books on its boxes, starting in November. The winning titles are: All The World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane, 2009); Jump! by Scott M. Fischer (Simon & Schuster, 2010); No T. Rex in the Library by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa (McElderry, 2010); Chaucer’s First Winter by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Henry Cole (Simon & Schuster, 2009); The Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian Black and Peter Brown (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Here’s a peek at All the World:

More Personally

The launch party for Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. (Kari) Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, 2010) was at 2 p.m. Sunday at BookPeople in Austin. The event featured a face painter. Here, author Kari has been bitten by a zombie!

In true zombie fashion, Kari served eyeballs, fingers, brains, brain juice, and cookies.

BookKids event coordinator Mandy Brooks is in the spooky spirit!

And so am I! (Don’t I look scary? Greg and I went out to dinner at Shoal Creek Saloon afterward, and our waitress exclaimed, “What got a hold of your face?!” Note: the saloon was flooded about a foot in the main room, about a foot in the party room by Tropical Storm Hermine; the staff just shrugged it off.

Kari did a reading and judged a haiku contest, won by author Jo Whittemore.

Here’s Jo (dark hair) talking to Emma Virjan (in black), Jessica Lee Anderson (in red), her husband, and Bethany Hegedus is up front (in green).

See also Kari (and P.J. Hoover) on The Top Ten Ways to Make a Group Write-In Successful from The Spectacle.

In other news, thanks to Donna Cooner at YA Muses for the recent Follow Friday shout out! Most appreciated.