Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win a paperback copy of Shifty by Lynn E. Hazen (Tricycle, 2010). From the promotional copy:

Fifteen-year-old Shifty knows all about moving around and next to nothing about where he came from. When he's assigned to a new foster home and family, he tries hard to keep cool and stay out of trouble.

But it seems like the more he tries to do the right thing, the more trouble he finds.

As Shifty navigates a series of messy summer adventures, he struggles to find a balance between the street-wise spirit that has helped him survive and his longing for a place to call home.

Lynn E. Hazen has created a fast-paced, page-turning plot full of surprises and warmth.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Shifty" in the subject line. Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the title in the header or RT or comment on this round-up; I'll write you for contact information, if you win. Deadline: midnight CST April 30. Note: U.S. entries only. See also a Cynsations interview with Lynn.

The Happiest Day Giveaway

Enter to win The Happiest Day: A Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran (Lee & Low, 2008) from Writing with a Broken Tusk. From the promotional copy:

Meena is excited about the class play, a new and improved version of Red Riding Hood. But when she learns that she must play one of the trees in the forest, Meena's excitement vanishes. She is just too clumsy to be a quiet, steady tree.

One day at the Indian grocery store, Meena sees a yoga class in progress, and the store owner convinces her to try the children's class. Little does Meena know she is about to find a way to grow from the inside out, just like a tree, and move beyond her feelings of clumsiness and frustration.

The Happiest Tree is a gentle and empowering story of a young girl's road to self-confidence. It is sure to spark interest in yoga, and provide comfort to all children as they struggle to overcome the everyday obstacles to growing up.

Learn more about the book from Uma at Lee & Low. Note: The giveaway is in celebration of National Public Health Week. See also a Cynsations interview with Uma.

More News

The Asian Festival of Children's Content will take place May 6 to May 8 at the Arts House in Singapore. Peek: "This year's ACWIC is expected to attract a large number of writers, teachers, illustrators, librarians, publishers and distributors of children's content from Asia and other parts of the world. Over 70 renowned speakers from 15 countries will be presenting more than 100 workshops and panel discussions at this Festival." Note: the program will feature the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference, which will include tracks such as New Media Technologies and Children's Content; Alchemy of Writing; Illustrators' Palette; The Librarians' Menu; and The Publishers' Daily Bread. Speakers include Uma Krishnaswami.

Terms to Know: Abbreviations by Eric from Pimp My Novel. Peek: "All industries are full of jargon, gentle readers, and publishing is no exception. To make it doubly confounding, however, many of these oft-repeated jargon-filled phrases are abbreviated or transformed into acronyms, which renders the proverbial (already murky) waters utterly opaque."

The End of History (Books) by Marc Aronson from The New York Times. Peek: "Either we change the way we deal with copyrights — or works of nonfiction in a multimedia world will become ever more dull and disappointing." Read a Cynsations interview with Marc.

See also Marc on Young Men and Reading (about 30 minutes)(more thoughts). Marc also discusses his own books. See also Guys Lit Wire and Guys Read.



Definitions for the Perplexed: Royalties, Advances, and Earning Out from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "An advance is an approximation of what the publisher thinks your book will earn you in royalties in (perhaps) a year."

Silence by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog - Writer Talk. Peek: "Sometimes it’s critical voices saying I can’t write about this or a voice saying that no one will want to read my manuscript." See also a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Author/Illustrator Tip: regardless of whatever degree we embrace it, our bylines are our brands, and positive brands fare far better than negative. Think before you rant online or off. If you decide to go ahead, write the draft and then let it sit for a couple of days before you push "publish." If you're still unsure, ask a trusted pal to read it first.

Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light, by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson: a recommendation by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "One of the stories Tim told is about his grandmother's years at Tuskahoma Academy, a boarding school for American Indian girls. The color palette on the page for that story is, appropriately, a somber blue. There, Mawmaw as a young child, stands, looking wistful, stuck at the school at Christmas time. That illustration is exceedingly powerful. Actually, it is only one of many illustrations in the book that are astounding in what they convey."

Young Adult Authors Agent Bullying at facebook. Peek: "This group was created for Young Adult authors and readers to come together and put an end to bullying. Victims of bullying do not need to feel like they are alone. We are creating a platform for your stories. We are creating a safe haven for your concerns. We encourage all YA authors to become a part of this group, so that we can provide updates, mission statements, action items and simple ways to spread the anti-bullying cause. Please join our fight to end bullying and to give a voice to those who cannot or are too afraid to be heard." See also A List of YA Novels that Battle Bullying compiled by Mitali Perkins from Mitali's Fire Escape.

Old Manuscript: Two Questions Before Starting to Revise by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: "Maybe, when you originally started a story, you didn’t have the skills necessary to do a story justice. But you’re at a different place now. Are you ready to tackle it?" Read a Cynsations interview with Darcy.

How to Layer Points of View by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "A lot of adult writers want to reinforce to teen readers that adults have problems and to be more sympathetic to them. Probably because they’re raising teens at the time and feel unappreciated. This is not the way to help teen readers empathize because this type of moralizing usually doesn’t get published and reach teen readers." Note: the standard caution applies--if breaking the rule works, do it. But this is an interesting point, and in considering it, I can think of several books that integrate adult POV, but only a couple that do so successfully.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Tao Nyeu by Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: "Bunny Days (Dial, 2010) features three slapstick tales of six curious rabbits; one paternal, ever-patient, and very wise Bear; and Mr. and Mrs. Goat, who are simply about their chores in the countryside, only to have their plans foiled by the inquisitive rabbits. The writing is good, and there’s a lot of humor, but it’s Nyeu’s stylized art that really stands out, what Publishers Weekly once described as possessing an 'Art Nouveau-meets-psychedelic feel.'"

Building the Framework for Your Authorial Success from QueryTracker. Peek: "Put your name, first and last, on your blog. Near the top, so it is one of the first things people see. And if you are agented, say so, mentioning your agent by name. It’s good publicity for both of you."

Expectations: Looking Back by Candace Havens from Genreality. Peek: "I thought when I sold that first book that was it. The truth is, that’s when the work really begins." Source: Elizabeth Scott.

GottaBook Blog by Gregory K. Pincus: an endorsement from School Library Journal. Peek: "Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Dean Myers, and Kathi Appelt are just some of the writers who’ll take part in 30 Poets/30 Days, a celebration of children's poetry during National Poetry Month. Every day in April, author Gregory K. Pincus’s GottaBook blog and Twitter site will feature a previously unpublished poem by a different poet—and it’s completely free and open 24/7."

Kristin Walker: Your Inner Critic is a Jerk from Teenreads.com. Peek: "Cracking the whip on the inner critic can be like trying to stand an eel on end, but it’s essential for a writer to do."

Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents features recommended books in Spanish, recommended books about Latinos in English, professional books, and more.

Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson: Interview & Giveaway by P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. Comment to win a copy of Border Crossing (Milkweed, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with P.J. and Jessica.

Agent-Requested Revisions: An Interview with Literary Agent Joan Paquette by Mary Lindsey from Query Tracker. Peek: "Don't be afraid to take all the time you need to do a thorough revision; get some additional readers; let it sit a while and then come back to it with fresh eyes." Read a Cynsations interview with Ammi-Joan (same agent).

More Personally

Highlights of the week included tea at Bennu Coffee in East Austin with Greg (in the cap), Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA students Meredith Davis (in white), Sean Petrie (in blue) and Anne Bustard (in orange). The guest of honor was my fellow VCFA faculty member (and National Book Award finalist) Martine Leavitt (in black) in town from Canada.

How 21 of Your Favorite YA Authors are Spending Their Easter Day! from Reading Teen. Holiday insights from me, Ellen Hopkins, Heather Brewer, R.J. Anderson, Claudia Gray, Lesley Livingston, and many more! See also a peek at my Easter festivities below!



Central Texas is so magical right now. Here's one of the many wildflowers in my back yard.

More Giveways

Enter to win a copy of Athena the Brain and/or Persephone the Phony from the Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (Aladdin, 2010-)! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address in the body of the message. Type "Athena the Brain" or "Persephone the Phony" in the subject line, depending on which you'd prefer. Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to comment, message, or RT; I'll write you for contact information, if you win. Yes, you can enter to win both books! But please send two separate emails/comments/RTs, following the instructions above. Read a Cynsations guest post by Joan and Suzanne.

Enter to win Vampireology: A Genuine and Moste Authentic Ology (Candlewick, 2010)! To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Vampireology" in the subject line. Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the title in the header or RT or comment on this round-up; I'll write you for contact information, if you win. Deadline: midnight CST April 30. Note: U.S. entries only.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000), enter to win a copy the book! To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Jingle Dancer" in the subject line. Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to comment, RT, or privately message me with the title in the header; I'll write for contact information, if you win. Deadline: midnight CST April 11. Note: U.S. entries only; sponsored by HarperCollins.

Cynsational Events

The Greater Houston Teen Book Convention is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10 at Alief Taylor High School, and admission is free! Speakers include keynoter Sharon Draper and Cynthia Leitich Smith.

The Texas Library Association Annual Conference will be April 14 to April 17 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Note: I'll be speaking from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. on the "A Conversation Between Books and Technology" panel with Jay Asher, Corey Doctorow, Maureen Johnson, and Jude Watson. Then I'll sign books from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. See a schedule of Austin authors at TLA.

Release party - author Chris Barton will celebrate Shark v. Train, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Little Brown, 2010) at 1 p.m. April 24 at BookPeople in Austin. Read a Cynsations interview with Chris.


Moments of Change: the New England SCBWI Conference will take place May 14 to May 16 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. See conference schedule, workshop descriptions, manuscript critique guidelines, and special conference offerings. See faculty bios. Note: I'm honored to be participating as a keynote speaker!

SCBWI Florida: Mid-Year Workshop and Intensives will be June 4 and June 5 at Disney's Coronada Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. Note: I'm honored to be leading the marketing track with author/social media consultant Greg Pincus and Ed Masessa, author and Senior Manager Product Development, Scholastic Book Fairs. Picture book, middle grade, YA, and series tracks also are available.

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