It’s May 1910, and Halley’s Comet is due to pass thru the Earth’s atmosphere. And thirteen-year-old Hope McDaniels and her father are due to pass through their hometown of Chicago with their ragtag vaudeville troupe.
Hope wants out of vaudeville, and longs for a “normal” life–or as normal as life can be without her mother, who died five years before.
Hope sees an opportunity: She invents “anti-comet” pills to sell to the working-class customers desperate for protection. Soon, she’s joined by a fellow troupe member, young Buster Keaton, and the two of them start to make good money.
And just when Hope thinks she has all the answers, she has to decide: What is family? Where is home?
Booklist calls Selling Hope, “a bouncy tale populated by a terrific cast of characters.”
More News & Giveaways
Ten Things to Do After Receiving a Revision Letter or Critique by P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. See also Paying It Forward with Partials: P.J., Elana Johnson, Shannon Messenger, Lisa and Laura Roecker, and Sarah Wylie all are giving away 25-page critiques. Deadline: Nov. 15.
The Care and Feeding of Your Author: Tips for a Successful Classroom Visit by Bobbie Pyron from From The Mixed-Up Files…of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “To ensure the kids and the author get the most of their time together, there are some things you, as a teacher or librarian, can do to maximize the event.”
Acquiring an Agent After Self-Publishing by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker. Peek: “Writing that moves people to tears and earns unasked-for praise will inevitably attract an agent’s attention. If you’ve got that kind of talent, surely you have more than one book in you. You can then leverage your self-publishing success in order to show an agent that your work has wider appeal.”
Getting Story Ideas by Verla Kay from Verla Kay’s Blog. Peek: “Are you stumped for a story idea? Don’t have a clue what to write about? Try asking yourself some of these questions…”
Cover Stories: Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales from Melissa Walker. Peek: “This happens regularly in publishing, that a cover designer will approach one of his colleagues and be like, ‘Hey, you have great hair/hands/legs/whatever. Will you model for this cover?’ No one has ever asked me to do this, but I am holding out hope.”
YA Outside the Lines: “authors of young adult fiction pushing boundaries and writing from the heart.” Contributors to this new team blog include: Jan Blazanin; Cheryl Renee Herbsman; Stephanie Kuehnert; April Henry; Julie Chibbaro; R.A. Nelson; Rosemary Clement-Moore; Lauren Strasnick; J. O’Connell; Trish Doller; Barbara Caridad Ferrer; Danielle Joseph; Sarah Porter; Tara Kelly; Holly Cupala; Jennifer Echols; Wendy Delsol; and Lauren Bjorkman.
Cheers to the 2010 Writers League of Texas Book Award finalists in children’s literature: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (FSG, 2009); The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (Henry Holt, 2009); and All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane, 2009)! The 2011 contest is now accepting entries of books published in 2010; see contest details. Read a Cynsations interview with Jacqueline and a Cynsations guest post by Liz on the ALA Conference and the Caldecott. Note: congratulations to Liz on the release of the Korean language edition of All The World!
Nathan Bransford, formerly of Curtis Brown, Ltd., is no longer a literary agent. However his writing/publishing blog and forums will remain active. Peek: “I am leaving the world of publishing to work at the tech news/review site CNET, where I will be helping to coordinate social media strategy.”
The Monstrumologist Giveaway from The Compulsive Reader. Peek: “I love a nice, creepy story, no matter what time of the year, and right now I’m digging Rick Yancey‘s The Monstrumologist (Simon & Schuster, 2009). (And hey, it was a Printz Honor Book, you know, if you’re into knowing those types of things.) And so, I’m going to be giving away a copy of each The Monstrumologist and the next book, The Curse of the Wendigo (Simon & Schuster, 2010)…” Deadline: Nov. 23.
Is Contemporary YA a Tough Market? by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: “So what can writers of contemporary realism do in order to make their books more saleable? Well, romance is a huge hook.” See also Mary on Is Waiting a Bad Sign?
Online Persona Workshop Week 6: Creating Content by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “So. Content. It’s the core of your online presence. It’s not only how you communicate who you are, but it makes you relevant to others.”
How Picture Books Play a Role in a Child’s Development by Lori Calabrese from Children’s Book Review. Lori counts down 10 reasons why picture books are important.
Beyond Boundaries Interview with Joseph Bruchac from ReaderKidZ. Peek: “Sometimes, people I’ve met inspire me to tell a story–one that is little known, like that of the code talkers. Or it may be a story that has been poorly told or left out the American Indian point of view.”
YA Books about Bullying, Including Trailers compiled by Naomi Bates from YA Books and More.
Top Ten Promotional Activities by Leah Cypress from 2010: A Book Odyssey. This cooperative debut author group ranks what has worked best for them. Peek: “A website is your business card; you’ve got to have one.”
Notes from the Horn Book: News about Good Books for Children and Teens (November 2010). Peek: “five questions for Lincoln Peirce, comic novels, poetic picture books, big kids’ nonfiction, must-have holiday books.” Source: Out of the Box.
Interview with Betsy Bird by Sheela Chari from From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “…the book that made a difference in your life when you were ten that will always trump the new fabulous middle grade novel that’s winning the awards today. Our sense of nostalgia (for lack of a better word) is strong.”
In the News This Week by Alice Pope from Alice’s Pope’s SCBWI Blog. More to know! Note: cheers to fellow Austinite Chris Barton, whose Shark vs. Train, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Little, Brown, 2010) was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010.
Vermont Novel Writing Retreat
2011 Novel Writing Retreat for Middle Grade & Young Adult Writers from the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From the retreat information:
The Vermont Retreat, scheduled for March 18 to March 20, is limited to 25 serious writers of middle-grade or young adult fiction. Each participant will choose between a critique track or a writing track. Critique track includes informal small critique groups where participants read and critique other members’ work.
Critique track participants will receive a one-on-one critique with either two-time Canadian Governor General’s Award Winner Tim Wynne-Jones or ALA Michael Printz Honor author K.L. Going. The writing track will give participants the stimulation of lectures, chunks of time to use for writing, and the opportunity to network. All participants are welcome to take part in scheduled sessions with the three presenters. Evenings will include a Q&A session and an open mike session.
For an additional cost, 13 participants from either track can put their first chapters (up to 10 pages) under the editorial microscope and have a critique with Julie Strauss-Gabel, associate publisher of Dutton Children’s Books. These critique slots are filled in the order applications are received. Please don’t hesitate if you’re interested.
The fee includes accommodations (double occupancy) in the dorms at Vermont College for Friday and Saturday nights. Meals from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch will be prepared by the New England Culinary Institute.
To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) and type “Love Drugged” in the subject line. Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just 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 Nov. 30. U.S. entries only; sponsored by the author.
Cynsational Screening Room
Kathi Appelt interviews Kimberly Willis Holt about her three 2010 releases–The Water Seeker, The Adventures of Granny Clearwater and Little Critter, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, and Piper Reed: Campfire Girl, illustrated by Christine Davenier (all Henry Holt).
Two Chances to Win a Blessed ARC
Win an ARC of Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2011) from Jama Rattigan from Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. Deadline: Nov. 21. See details. Peek: “Sounds tantalizing, no? If you’re seriously salivating over the prospect of more amped-up vamps, generous servings of diabolically delicious suspense, romance, wit and gothic gore presented in a contemporary setting, enter this giveaway post haste!”
Win an ARC of Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2011) from Steven R. McEvoy from Book Reviews and More. Deadline: Dec. 1. See details. Peek: “This much anticipated book ties the stories from Tantalize and Eternal together in a wonderful new story.”
Look for the ad for Blessed (Jan. 25, 2011) in the back of the Candlewick Press catalog! See also pages 24 to 25 for more details on the book. On the bottom, right-hand corner of page 25 you can “snap a sneak peek!” “To the first seven chapters of Blessed, you can snap a displayed tag with your smart phone.” Note: an URL for the app is included. See also the media kit for Blessed (PDF).
Check out the photo of these newly arrived author copies–six years in the making!
Women Writers of Color: Cynthia Leitich Smith: an interview by Miss Attitude at Color Online. Peek: “Write every-kids and make people a little uncomfortable, but never forget to honor the hero in you.”
Holler Loudly: a field test report from BookMoot. Peek: “…at the climax of the story, as Holler booms out a command to the tornado about to swoop through the town, the children were reading together, with expression (loudly.) Several of them covered their own ears as they read.”
Indian Shoes – Cynthia Leitich Smith: a review by Steven R. McEvoy from Book Reviews and More. Peek: “From stories about pants not being delivered with a tux for a wedding, to a Christmas menagerie, these stories will be fun to read as a family again and again.”
Kalamazoo Youth Literature Seminar 2010 – Cynthia Leitich Smith and Gillian Engberg by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “I think it was in 2002 that I met Cynthia at an NCTE Convention in Atlanta. In Kalamazoo, I was engrossed by her presentation. I tried to take notes, but was so taken with the remarks, that I don’t have much on my notepaper!”
See also my event report on Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’d like to add thanks to Marge Kars at Bronson Hospital, who coordinated my visit to the Juvenile Home, Diane Eberts at Kalamazoo Public Schools, and Stewart Fritz in Teen Services at the library!
Authors Bethany Hegedus, Brian Yansky and Cynthia Leitich Smith will celebrate their latest books at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. This joint author party will feature refreshments, alien tattoos, readings, a Q&A, and signing. Bethany’s new release is Truth with a Capital T (Delacorte, 2010)(ages 9-up), Cynthia’s latest release is Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton, 2010)(ages 4-up), and Brian’s latest release is Alien Invasions and Other Inconveniences (Candlewick, 2010)(ages 12-up). Check out this interview with Brian by Kristen and enter to win a copy of his new novel at Bookworming in the 21rst Century. See also an Interview with Bethany on Truth with a Capital T by Sarah Sullivan from Through the Tollbooth, and don’t miss part 2.
2010 Library Jubilee will be from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at ESC Region 12 in Waco, Texas. Note: I look forward to giving the keynote presentation.
“Give Yourself a Longer Shelf Life: Marketing for the Long-Term” panel discussion at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at BookPeople. Panelists: Cynthia Leitich Smith, Jay Ehret and Dana Lynn Smith. Jay is a book marketing expert, and Dana is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer Guides. Sponsored by the Writers’ League of Texas.