Attention Writers! Send a photo of yourself with a dinosaur (a museum skeleton, recreation, gas-station logo, made from Legos, whatever) to Greg Leitich Smith for inclusion in his upcoming blog series, Writers and Dinosaurs. You don’t have to be published to participate! See link for details. See also Greg on The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.
Making the Most of Writer’s Conference Critiques by Jennifer Ziegler from Chasing Tales. Includes insights from agent Erin Murphy, editor Stephanie Elliott (formerly with Random House/Delacorte Press, now with Sparknotes), former Austin SCBWI regional advisor Meredith Davis, author Dorothy Love, and Writers’ League of Texas executive director Cyndi Hughes. Peek from Erin: “It’s perfectly fine to talk it out with the critiquer to solidify your ideas, or to ask if you can have a moment to make a clear note to yourself so you don’t lose the train of thought and can go on to make use of all the time in your session.”
Cynsational Blogger Tip: Respect authors’ copyright. Keep quotes to under 5o words or ask permission to post a longer excerpt.
Adam Gudeon Author/Illustrator: official site of the debut author/illustrator of Me and Meow (HarperCollins, 2011). Peek: “Born in Manhattan, raised on Long Island, and art schooled in Brooklyn, Adam now resides in the beautiful Berkshires of western Massachusetts.” Check out his portfolio and shop Adam Gudeon on Etsy.
Creative Confidence by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: “You are the only person on this planet who is going to care the most about your creative output and your career. Sure, you will get people in your corner, like your agent, your editor, your mentors, your friends and family, you cat, and your fans, who will care about your books or whatever else you do, but nobody will care about it half as much as you.”
Interview with Translator Laura Watkinson by Sarah Blake Johnson from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “…if a foreign-language publisher is trying to sell something like a YA novel, it makes little financial sense for them to have the whole book translated and time is also an issue, so they’ll usually have just an excerpt translated to take along to the book fair. An excerpt is typically around twenty pages…may be packaged with extra information about the author, such as a bibliography and perhaps an interview.”
Your Platform Equals Opportunity by Greg Pincus from The Happy Accident. Peek: “Every time you create content, every time someone visits your blog while you’re asleep, every time you have an interaction…opportunity is created. You form a relationship, sometimes very brief and sometimes one that builds and builds.”
Check out the new cover for Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories, edited by Carrie Jones and Megan Kelley Hall (HarperTeen, Aug. 23, 2011). Note: contributions include “Isolation” by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
Publishing Industry News compiled by Kathy Temean from Writing and Illustrating. Peek: “Abrams will launch its third imprint Appleseed Books, a new imprint geared towards babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, in Spring 2012.” Round-up includes recent job appointments/promotions, a new interactive online book club for tweens from Simon & Schuster, and more.
New South Asian Book Award by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “The award will be given in recognition of a recently published work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry or folklore, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, published in the United States, Canada or United Kingdom, in English (translations into English will also be accepted) which accurately and skillfully portrays South Asia or South Asians in the diasporas, that is the experience of individuals living in South Asia, or of South Asians living in other parts of the world. The culture, people, or heritage of South Asia should be the primary focus of the story.”
Reminder: Teen writers/English teachers! Teen writers are encouraged to enter the Hunger Mountain Young Writers Contest. Three first place winners will receive $250 and publication! Three runners-up will receive $100 each. Note: I’m honored to be this year’s judge. See link for more information. Hunger Mountain is the Vermont College of Fine Arts journal of the arts.
Deadline: midnight CST April 1. Note: Author sponsored; U.S. entries only.
25 Days of Giveaways: Day 20: Tantalize Series by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Bookaholics Book Club. Giveaway includes:
-plush bat toy;
-chubby bat stickers;
-author-autographed postcard for Tantalize: Kieren’s Story (featuring not-yet-public cover art for the graphic novel, illustrated by Ming Doyle);
-Sanguini’s magnetic menu wipe board.
Eligibility: U.S. only. Deadline: 7:17 p.m. Friday, April 1. See link for entry form and more information. Note: Sanguini’s is the fictional vampire-themed restaurant that appears in Tantalize, Blessed, and Tantalize: Kieren’s Story.
Cynsational Screening Room
Consider donating to Poetry: Spread the Word: a Kickstarter project by Greg Pincus. Peek: “If Poetry: Spread the Word is funded, over the course of the next year (roughly May, 2011 through April, 2012), I will put 100 original poems up on my blog and out into the world for free and do 40 school visits (via Skype or, if it works out, in person) at no cost to the schools. I’ll also create a collection, described in more detail below, that will celebrate and document the visits and the poetry.” See more information. Note: Greg is really excited about the possibility that other children’s authors/illustrators could replicate this campaign to finance their speaking in tough budget times.
“Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure,” an app for the iPad, will be available, developed by OCG Studios in the Netherlands this month. Peek: “It’s not just an animated enhanced e-book with voice-over, but a truly interactive maze, including counting and finding elements.” Learn more about the creation of the app.
Check out this author video interview with Jennifer Lynn Barnes from RT Book Reviews. I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer and hearing her speak at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. Learn more about her novel, Raised by Wolves (Egmont USA, 2010).
At the SCBWI-Wisconsin novel retreat in Madison last weekend (details below), I had the pleasure of connecting with one of my favorite YA authors, Deborah Lynn Jacobs. Check out her trailer for Choices (Roaring Brook, 2007).
Here’s the scoop: Traveling by air, I’ve had to deal with missing luggage for up to five days.
If I’m on the road, that leaves me with only the outfit I’ve got on. (Even if shopping sounds appealing, author-speaker schedules are such that I may not have an opportunity to do so.)
Plus, most airlines are charging fees for checked bags. I’d rather not deduct that from my earnings, and I’m reluctant to pass that cost onto my hosts.
So, I pack my toiletries in a Ziploc bag (making sure to squeeze the air out), roll up mostly travel-knit garments, and plan to wear no more than two pairs of shoes on the trip. I also tend to take outfits that can be hand-washed and hanger-dried overnight.
From there, I slip in whatever is necessary–printed speeches, schedules, giveaways, manuscript, etc. The pack still fits beneath the seat in front of me, which is key with regional jets. Beyond that, I recommend using both shoulder straps. The pack will be heavy, and you’re less likely to pull a muscle.
What else? After a fair number of such long-distance treks, I’m returning to writing (and more events) here in Central Texas for the next few months. Check out the schedule below.
But first, I’d like to offer a huge thanks to everyone at Lee County Library System in Fort Myers, Florida for your hospitality at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival! Thanks also to those folks who turned out for my presentation and/or signing!
Personal highlights included meeting Alice Hoffman, Eric Litwin, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes (see video above) as well as reconnecting with Phil Bildner. I also had the opportunity to catch Sara Shepard and Rosemary Well‘s talks.
I had such a terrific time at An Evening with the Authors at the Royal Palm Yacht Club, an affiliated event, and staying the Hotel Indigo–lovely with excellent service. Beyond that, Fort Myers is one of the friendliest towns I’ve ever visited!
Another mega thank you goes out to the coordinators and participants at last weekend’s SCBWI-Wisconsin novel retreat at the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison!
Special thanks to RA Pam Beres, ARA Judy Bryan and Ann Angel for bringing me in to teach the workshop. I’m still wowed by the writers I met, consider myself their forever cheerleader, and came home with warm memories.
Mundie Moms gives Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002) five stars and says: “This is such a delightfully charming story. Through the little mishaps both Ray and Grampa Halfmoon have, I loved seeing how their love and support for each other kept getting stronger and stronger…. Indian Shoes is a fabulous book to have and I highly recommend picking it up. It’s a great edition for any classroom and personal home library.” Read the whole review.
School Library Journal says of Blessed (Candlewick, 2010): “Off-handed humor, clever wordplay, and a host of supernatural beings will delight fans of Smith’s Tantalize (2007) and Eternal (2009, both Candlewick), the two novels that precede this one, though Blessed can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.”
The annual Texas Library Association Annual Conference will be April 12 to April 15 at the convention center in Austin. Check out the list of Austin author signings. Notes: (a) Take a Chance on Art and enter a raffle to win the illustration “Space Age” by Melanie Hope Greenberg to benefit the TLA Disaster Relief Fund; see more information; (b) Cynthia Leitich Smith will be signing Blessed and other titles at 11 a.m. April 13 in the Author Signing Area.
YA A to Z Conference, sponsored by the Writers’ League of Texas, will be April 15 and April 16 at the Hyatt Regency Austin (208 Barton Springs Road). Cost: $279 WLT Members, $349 Nonmembers (through March 15). See more information. Note: conference faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Cynthia will serve as the interviewer at “Meet the Author: Gail Giles” and as a panelist on “Going Graphic: Writing Graphic Novels” with Hope Larson, moderated by K.A. Holt. Spaces are still available! Register today!
Jo Whittemore will be signing Odd Girl In (Aladdin, 2011) at 2 p.m. April 10 at BookPeople in Austin. Note: Odd Girl In is now available! Congratulations, Jo! See In the Writer’s Studio: Jo Whittemore on Odd Girl In from Bethany Hegedus at Writer Friendly, Bookshelf Approved.