Friday, July 24, 2009

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Day-Glo Brothers Giveaway

Enter to win one of five author-signed copies of The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2009)!

Three copies are reserved for teachers, librarians, and/or university professors of education, library science, and/or youth literature! (Please indicate title and affiliation). Two copies are reserved for any Cynsations readers!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Day-Glo Brothers" in the subject line (Facebook and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the title in the header). Deadline: July 31!

Read a Cynsations interview with Chris.

On a related note, check out Writing Community Events from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. An awesome report and photos of Chris Barton's book release party! See the day-glo couple below!

Sideshow Giveaway

Enter to win Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009)! Note: the collection includes my short story, "Cat Calls," which is set in the Tantalize/Eternal universe and features new characters!

School Library Journal raves: "Like The Restless Dead and Gothic!, this is a masterpiece of ten short stories by world-class authors.... Several of the stories pack the same punch as old-fashioned O. Henry or Roald Dahl classics and are the stuff that will fill the English literature textbooks of tomorrow....fantastic."

Enter to win one of three copies! One copy will be reserved for a teacher, librarian and/or university professor of children's-YA literature, and the other two will go to any Cynsations readers!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Sideshow" in the subject line (Facebook and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the title in the header). Deadline: July 31! Reminder: teachers, librarians, and professors should indicate themselves as such in their entries!

Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Sideshow & Geektastic are Now Available

Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009) and Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009) are now available! Note: both anthologies include short stories by me!

The Great Geek Escape: play the online game from the official Geektastic Site. And don't miss About the Authors! Isn't it sweet that my avatar is next to Greg's?

More News

Congratulations to Julia Durango on the release of Sea of the Dead (Simon & Schuster, July 2009)! From the promotional copy: "As the son of the Warrior Prince, Kehl has always known certain things about the world. First and foremost is...that the Teshic Empire is its center, and that everything--and everyone--beyond the empire's borders has been created ultimately to be brought under Teshic dominion. Furthermore, because Kehl is being trained to follow in his father's warrior footsteps, he is all too aware of the expectations placed upon him to never show weakness or fear, to instead show an unwavering loyalty to the Teshic Empire... But when Kehl is abducted by a seafaring band of rebels and taken beyond the borders to the enigmatic Sea of the Dead, a whole new world begins to open up before him... A world where Kehl's future--as well as his past--may be linked to the renegade crew of a ship named Carillon's Revenge and the Fallen King who captains her." Read chapters one and two! Notes: Julia will be signing copies from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 1 at Book Mouse in Ottawa, Illinois. Check out Julia's team blog, Three Silly Chicks: Writers, Readers, and Reviewers of Funny Books for Kids.

Journal Through Summer (part two) from Kristi Holl at Writer's First Aid. Peek: "Use a summer journal to take snapshots. In addition to using a camera, use your jour­nal." See also Press On to Finish Strong.

Games to Play While Waiting for an Idea from Tim Wynne-Jones. Peek: "When the ideas aren’t flowing you can prime the pump. Here are some games I have discovered along the way." Read a Cynsations interview with Tim.

Interview with YA Author Sara Zarr from Suzette Saxton at QueryTracker.net. Peek: "Basically, being published accomplishes one thing and one thing only: getting your book to readers in the marketplace (and that in turn might earn you some money, maybe a living, possibly a nice living)." Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

The Top 7 Things Every Aspiring Author's Website Must Have by Jordan McCollum, a guest blog from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. See also Everything You Need to Know About Writing a Novel, in 1000 Words by Victoria Mixon.

Right Now in Speculative Fiction: a news round-up from Parker Peevyhouse from The Spectacle.

When adversity strikes....: the first in a series of posts about challenges in the writer's life from Sarah Aronson at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "It would be nice to learn from the low moments, but as an avid Dear Abby reader, we should at least be able to acknowledge them, smile in solidarity, and move forward." See also More Adversity (when your editor hates your new manuscript), Another Common Problem (another author has published a book similar to your work in progress), Review Angst, and Antidotes for the Low Points. Read a Cynsations interview with Sarah.

In the video below, Dana Goldberg, Executive Editor of Children's Book Press, talks about the house, its philosophy, and its books. Source: La Bloga.



Personal and Peculiar from Brian Yansky at Brian's Blog. Peek: "...any advice about writing can only be of use if what’s given fits into your peculiar way of writing." See also Bad Things to Good People. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

The Fabulous Tamora Pierce on her Favorite LGBT-Themed Books from BookKids: the crazy folks at BookPeople.

Check out this video of the Oak Park (IL) Library Warrior Librarians winning the 5th annual Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship at the 2009 annual conference of the American Library Association. For a complete report and videos of the runners-up, see also Book Cart Drill Teams Battle for Supremacy by Sydney Beveridge from Mental Floss: Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix.



Rejection Netiquette from Angela at The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "Now more than ever, it's easy to connect with others, sharing details and commiserating. A little crying, a little fist-shaking and we can get on with the day. The question is, should we?" Source: Children's Book Biz News.

Book lists: Multicultural SF/F for MG and YA from Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. Note: to clarify, Quincie from Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) is English-Italian-Texan. In that book, Kieren is Mexican-Irish American (Mexican on the human side, Irish on the Wolf side), and he will be the protagonist and POV character in Tantalize: Kieren's Story, a graphic novel adaptation currently in production from Candlewick Press. In addition, Miranda, a co-protagonist from Eternal (set in the same universe, also Candlewick (2009)), is Chinese-Scottish American. Read a Cynsations interview with Stacy.

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Viking, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "Full of suspense and a pile of fascinating and sometimes hilarious characters..."

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (St. Martin's Press, 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "a compelling, finely-wrought, exquisitely written tale of one girl's difficult journey and struggles with temptation, hypocrisy, and group thought control..." Read a Cynsations interview with Carol.

So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow (art by David Ostow)(Flux, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "a hilarious look at high school, rock bands, and taking control of one's life."

Q&A with Elizabeth Bluemle by Sally Lodge from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Formerly editorial director of a small press, creative director of a book packager and a school librarian, and currently a bookseller, children's author and blogger (PW's ShelfTalker blog), Elizabeth Bluemle knows publishing from the inside out."

Check out this book trailer for A Circle of Time by Marisa Montes (Harcourt, 2002). Read a Cynsations interview with Marisa.



Marion Dane Bauer on Voice from Zu Vincent at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Concentrate on knowing your character. Your perceiving character will impact your voice in every story even when you are writing in third person. And concentrate on writing the very best you can." See also Janni Lee Simner Speaks Out on Voice and More from Janni Lee Simner on Voice. Read Cynsations interviews with Zu and Janni.

"Respecting Your Reader" with D.L. Garfield: a chat transcript from the Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "I was lucky that I'd kept a diary through my teen years and saved it all these years. Looking back at it, I saw I was often exhilarated one day and sobbing the next, and never sure of anything. As an adult, I'm more mellow and confident. So I think the inner life of teens is much more a factor of their individual personalities and their age than the era they're raised in."

Check out this book trailer for Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron (Atheneum, 2009), a sequel to The Higher Power of Lucky (Atheneum, 2006). Trailer by Tina Nichols Coury at Tales from the Rushmore Kid. Read a Cynsations interview with Susan.



What Advice Would You Give to New Or Aspiring Writers? from Deborah Brodie: Freelance Editor, Book Doctor & Teacher of Creative Writing. A selection of tips from various pros! See also great news from Deborah's clients.

Choosing a freelance editor: What you need to know by Alan Rinzler from The Book Deal: An Inside View of Publishing. Peek: "Has the editor worked on books that have been published successfully? Your prospective editor should be able to provide an author list of published titles that you can examine." Source: Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent.

New Agent Alert: Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates from Chuck at Guide To Literary Agents Editors Blog. Nuts and bolts for submitting.

Congratulations to Bettina Restrepo author of Moose and Magpie, illustrated by Sherry Rogers (Sylvan Dell, 2009)! From the promotional copy: "It isn’t easy being a moose. You're a full-grown adult at the age of one, and it itches like crazy when your antlers come in! Young Moose is lucky to find a friend and guide in the wisecracking Magpie. 'What do the liberty bell and moose have in common?' the Magpie asks as the seasons begin to change. Then, when fall comes: 'Why did the moose cross the road?' Laugh along with Moose and Magpie, and maybe—just maybe—Moose will make a joke of his own!"

Reading: Not Such Hard Work from Editorial Anonymous. Tips for reading like a book professional.

Readers, Writers, and Professors- a contrast in close reading by Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "I've outlined the novel, made notes in margins, used timelines and performed every kind of analysis known to man- or at least to writer- to understand how Audrey Couloumbis pulls off so much in such a little space, writing a story that is, in my opinion, both perfect for a sensitive child reader and a sophisticated adult."

The Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word: "a three-day literary festival celebrated each year during the second full weekend of October" in Nashville. Mark your calendars! The newly announced author line-up includes Hester Bass, Melissa de la Cruz, Kate DiCamillo, David Macinnis Gill, Peter Huggins, Jacqueline Kelly, Ronald Kidd, Justine Larbalestier, G. Neri, Elise Primavera, Donny Bailey Seagraves, and Sara Zarr. See the whole list with bios.

New Classes with Laura Purdie Salas

Writing Children's Nonfiction Books for the Educational Market: a two-week intensive online class scheduled from Aug. 10 to Aug. 21. Laura will teach the basics needed to pursue this market. Intermediate writers or writers with good critique groups will be all set. For beginning writers or those without access to helpful feedback, she's offering two optional critique add-ons. If you add the critique(s), you would have up to six months to send her your cover letter and/or your writing sample for critique. See details here (click on "For course information, click here").

Matchmaking Your Manuscript: Finding the Children's Book Publisher That Is Right for You: Laura and Lisa Bullard will teach the course, broken into two modules, this fall.

More Personally

Thank you to everyone who made the summer 2009 residency of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Young Adults such a success, and congratulations to our graduates! Special thanks to outgoing faculty chair Sharon Darrow, incoming faculty chair Margaret Bechard, special day ("Good & Evil") coordinators Julie Larios and Tim Wynne-Jones, program director Kate Gustafson, assistant program director Susannah Noel, the graduate assistants (Katie Mather, Cheryl Coupe, Debbie Gonzales, Stephanie Greene, Sharry Wright, Ann Jacobus Kordahl, and Nancy Bo Flood), and alumni mini-residency organizers Sarah Aronson and Mary Atkinson. And one last cheer to our speakers author Deborah Noyes, author Nancy Werlin, and editor Stephen Roxburgh!


Teens' Top Ten Nominees: Eternal: a review by Tara Olivero, Allen County Public Library Teen Advisory Board from YALSA Blog. Peek: "With a cast of vibrant and contemporary characters, Eternal is a must-read. Smith employs the perfect combination of wit and sincerity, making for an enthralling tale..." Note: "Eternal is one of 25 Teens’ Top Ten nominees chosen by teen advisory groups from around the country. Read all about TTT here."

Update: remember my judging the Ann Arbor District Library 2009 IT'S ALL WRITE! Short Story Contest for middle/high school students? Now, you can read all the winning stories online and order the book. Note: The contest was held in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Book Festival, and awards and publication "were made possible through a grant from the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library.

The Pizza-A-Day-Diet by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. While I was at the VCFA summer residency, my husband and sometimes co-author decided to take advantage of the situation to dive into a pizza-based diet (because I'd never sign off on that, if I were at home). For photos, reviews, and behind-the-scenes insights, see Pizza-A-Day and Other Weird Activities, Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza, Conans Pizza, Home Slice Pizza, Austin's Pizza, Rounder's Pizza, Frank and Angie's Pizza, Whole Foods, and Grand Finale: The Ultimate Pizza.

Austin Interest

Liz Garton Scanlon will celebrate the release of her picture book, All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/S&S), with story time at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 26 at BookPeople in Austin. Read Cynsations interviews with Liz and Marla.

Illustrators on Pet Parade: a peek at The Inklings, a picture book critique group in Austin SCBWI, from Mark G. Mitchell at How To Be a Children's Book Illustrator.

Photos of the Writers' League of Texas Agents' Conference includes a shot of YA authors Jessica Lee Anderson and Varian Johnson.

Reminder: Austin Public Library Fundraiser Seeks Book Donations: The APLF annual fundraising event and silent auction that will be held on Sept. 12. Authors interested in donating an autographed book(s) or item for the silent auction should contact Diane Hernandez--no later than the second week in August--to arrange for shipping and/or for her to pick up your donated item and form.

Mark Your Calendars

Destination Publication: an annual conference of Austin SCBWI will be held Jan. 30, 2010, and registration will open Sept. 1. Conference faculty will include Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson, Caldecott illustrator David Diaz, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein, author/FSG editor Lisa Graff, agent Andrea Cascardi, agent Mark McVeigh, agent Nathan Bransford, and a to-be-announced editor; see bios. Featured authors will include Chris Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Jessica Lee Anderson, Liz Garton Scanlon, Jennifer Ziegler, Philip Yates, and Patrice Barton; see author bios.

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