Friday, July 16, 2010

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Congratulations to 2010 debut author Lisa Railsback on the release of her debut novel, Betti on the High Wire (Dial, 2010)! From the promotional copy:

Ten-year-old Babo and the other “leftover kids” live on an abandoned circus camp in a war-torn country. Babo believes her circus-star parents will come back for her any day now, so she is not one bit happy when an American couple adopts her.

She hates her new name (Betti) and is confused by everything in America. She’s determined to run away.

But as Betti slowly begins to trust her new family and even makes a friend, she decides maybe she can stay just one more day. And then maybe another . . .

Betti on the High Wire is both heartbreaking and hilarious—and completely unforgettable. This brave little storyteller of a girl will wiggle her way straight into your heart.

Lisa also is the author of Noonie's Masterpiece, illustrated by Sarajo Frieden (Chronicle, 2010). She lives in Austin, Texas.

More News

You Can't Kill the Undead: Or, Paranormal Romance Isn't Going Anywhere by Kiersten White from Kiersten Writes. Peek: "This agony, this feeling that truly connecting with your crush was impossible, stemmed from the idolization of the Other. That person was so foreign, such a mystery, it made you want them even more and terrified you that it was impossible to ever get them." See also Jennifer R. Hubbard on Romance with Friction from AuthorsNow!

Business vs. Art by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "As much as writers and agents and editors want it to be all about the art, they need to make money for themselves, for their agency, for their house. As much as people like paying their rent and putting their kids through school, they also want to create something meaningful and fulfilling…." Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

20 Tips for Attending SCBWI Conferences by Linda Joy Singleton from The Spectacle. Peek: "After receiving a business card or bookmark, make a note on it to remind you about the person you just met. When I get home after a conference and have a bunch of cards, it’s easier to remember clearer with helpful notes to remind me of new friends." Read a Cynsations interview with Linda.

Seven Power Twitter Tips and Why I Like Them by Michael from IHEARTEdTech. Peek: "Retweet the good stuff from others. Sharing is caring. Somewhat related to the above, you’ll find that retweeting helps you build relationships with those you retweet."

We Remember Norma Fox Mazer: Writer and Teacher: 1931-2009 by Anne Mazer from Jewish Women's Archive. Read Cynsations interviews with Norma and Anne.

A Clowder of Cats: a round up by Carol Brendler of cat-centric picture books from Jacket Knack. Peek: "When it comes to picture books, look no further than your very own backyard and the popular, ever-appealing image of the feline." See also Kit Lit: Cat-Themed Picture Books and The Children's Book Cats Extraordinaire: Official Writer Feline Bios from the chez Leitich Smith kitties.

Inclusion from Arthur A. Levine's Blog. Peek: "...the Lambda Literary Foundation has changed the rules for its literary award, so that it is granted to an author who identifies as LBGT, rather than a book that portrays the LGBT experience..." Note: includes thoughtful discussion in the comments from youth literature professionals with varying opinions. References Too Gay or Not Gay Enough? by Ellen Wittlinger from The Horn Book.

10 Things My Creative Writing MFA Taught Me Not to Do by Kate Monahan from Writer's Digest. Peek: [Don't] "Assume you have to save every piece of work. Some stories are worth letting go. Some stories are 'practice' stories, building blocks. They help us grow as writers." Source: April Henry.

Cynsational Author Tip: you do not own the copyright to reviews of your book and should not publish them without permission. Keep any quotes short, attribute, and if online, it's gracious to include a link to the review source.

On the Trail of Harper Lee by Kerry Madden from the LA Times. Peek: "The majority of people I interviewed were in their 80s and 90s, and three have since passed away. One story led to another, and the story I went seeking wasn't always the story I came away with but often something better." Read a Cynsations interview with Kerry.

Jane Fitch's 10 Rules for Writers from the Los Angeles Times. Peek: "Try to become stretchy–if you generally write 8 words, throw a 20 word sentence in there, and a few three-word shorties. If you’re generally a 20 word writer, make sure you throw in some threes, fivers and sevens, just to keep the reader from going crosseyed." Source: Lisa Schroeder.

Books at Bedtime: The Stories of Richard Van Camp: recommendations by Sally from PaperTigers. Peek: "As soon as I got these books, I read them to my daughter and she was completely taken in by them. She was struck especially by the lesson conveyed in A Man Called Raven (Children's Book Press, 1997), illustrated by George Littlechild wherein a mysterious man teaches some boys not to be cruel to ravens." Learn more about Richard Van Camp.

Barefoot Books’ Ambassador Veronika Riches by Corinne from PaperTigers. Peek: "Parents and educators alike love the multicultural concept of the books. People are attracted to how colourful and beautifully illustrated the books are."

Marriage for Writers by Peni R. Griffin from Idea Garage Sale. Peek: "For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer - who you marry will affect what you write, when you write, how you write. I recommend that every writer who is contemplating marriage read a few biographies with that in mind, and consider how this person fits in with your writing life." Read a Cynsations interview with Peni.

Cover Stories: The Blood Coven Series by Mari Mancusi from Melissa Walker. Peek: "They even changed the original jokey back cover copy to something darker and more mysterious to emphasize the angsty romance in the books, rather than the humor." See Mari on "Kids Don't Read Like They Used To...And That's a Good Thing."

What are Your Favorite Blogs? by Alice Pope from SCBWI Children's Market Blog. Peek: "There are just so many good industry blogs to choose from, and the task of creating the lists is a tad on the tedious side. It's kind of like cleaning out my closet. It's not awesome while I'm doing it, but I'm always very happy with the results when it's finished."

An Interview with Literary Agent Lauren MacLeod by Jeff Rivera from GalleyCat. Peek: "In addition to a great voice, I'm always looking for funny books in any of the YA or MG sub-genres. Funny is very hard to pull off, but it is a real sweet spot for me. I'd also love to see more YA or MG horror in my slush pile."

Tweet Roundup by Alice Pope from Alice's SCBWI Children's Market Blog. Peek: "Today's tweet soup: a stock of tips and advice, heaping spoonfuls of craft and vampire, a dash of this, a dash of that, topped off with a couple crispy conference croutons."

In the Harry Potter Era, An American Fantasy by Rebecca Serle from The Huffington Post. Peek: "Both The Underneath (2008) and Keeper (2010) [by Kathi Appelt (both Atheneum)] are fantasies but they are also deeply rooted in America. Just when we think we're in some faraway land you remind us--nope, still Texas!"

The Kennedys - the brother-sister, author-illustrator team behind the Pirate Pete picture book series (Abrams, 2002, 2006, 2007). Note: Doug has recently relocated to Austin, Texas.

A Novelist's Storyboard by Tami Lewis Brown from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "There's a block for an image, and underneath, lines for text. So how do you fill it in--- what goes in those blocks? I have some recommendations, but ultimately it's up to you."

Notes from the Horn Book by Jennifer M. Brabander. Highlights of the new issue include a Q&A with Grace Lin. Read a Cynsations interview with Horn Book editor Roger Sutton.

Boy Characters in YA by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "One way that writers with boy main characters in YA can be successful is if they take lots of girl appeal..." Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Eight Ways to Enrich Your Character by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: "What would your character never say or do? Of course, they must say or do this very thing. And do it with memorable lines. One of my characters knows his place in his world and it’s a humble place. So, when he says he’d be Emperor some day, it enlarges his characterization."

Read-a-Likes: Zombies: a reading round up by Karin from Karin's Book Nook. Note: look for Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, Aug. 17, 2010).

Children's and Young Adult Books with Interracial Family Themes from Children's & YA Literature Resources. Bibliography and related resources.

Life Gets in the Way by Ann Aguirre from Writer Unboxed: About the Craft and Business of Genre Fiction. Peek: "Without fresh experiences, your work withers and becomes frail." Source: Elizabeth Scott.

Cynsational Screening Room

Tenner Debuts for July to December:

Tenner Trailer Group 3 from tye murphy on Vimeo.

Check out the book trailer for Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter (Graphia, 2010).


Check out the book trailer for Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus (Egmont, 2010), and see an interview with Anastasia from Denise Jaden.



Cheryl Renée Herbsman reads from Breathing (Viking, 2009). Peek: "...about the main character Savannah's first kiss with her beau Jackson."



Check out the book trailer for Potty Animals by Hope Vestergaard, illustrated by Valeria Patrone (Sterling, 2010):


Why You Should Promote Your Back-List Books: an interview with Alexis O'Neil by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: "...a book is back-listed within six-months of publication. That’s hardly enough time to get the word out about it. I think that our promotional efforts should keep on going as long as the book is in print. And I think that fresh material on a variety of platforms introduces your book to new and diverse audiences."



More Personally

Much of this week was spent working on the Eternal graphic novel in the dining room. The gray-and-white blanket on the chair beside mine was knitted by one of my very favorite people, Rita Williams-Garcia. I'd resolved to keep the cats off of it. I did. However, Mercury has his own opinion on the matter. In fairness, he has been quite respectful. I've never seen him demonstrate such a love of natural fibers.

Thanks to editor Alvina Ling and co-anthologists Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci for organizing Monday night's twitter chat in honor of the paperback release of Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd (Little, Brown, 2010). Thanks also to everyone who tweeted by!

Amy H. Sturgis shares her favorite quote from my tween novel, Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001). See the novel Web extension and discussion guide. Note: Rain is also available for unabridged audio download from Listening Library.

For those who missed it, here's the Rain Is Not My Indian Name book trailer, created by Shayne Leighton:



Shayne Leighton | MySpace Video


Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart (Delacorte, 2010). Just email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "How to Survive Middle School" in the subject line.

Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately 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 July 31. Note: U.S. entries only.

Cynsational Events

The Austin SCBWI Diversity in Kid Lit Panel Discussion will feature author-illustrator Don Tate, illustrator Mike Benny, author Varian Johnson, author Lila Guzman, author/librarian Jeanette Larson and take place at 11 a.m. Aug. 14 at at BookPeople in Austin.

Author Pamela Ellen Ferguson will be presenting and signing Sunshine Picklelime, illustrated by Christian Slade (Random House, 2010) at 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at BookPeople in Austin.

The launch party for Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, Aug. 2010) will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 12 at BookPeople in Austin.

Southwest Texas SCBWI Fall Editor Day will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18 at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Featured speakers are Sarah Shumway, HarperCollins editor; Julie Ham, Charlesbridge associate editor, and Carmen Tafolla, award-winning author. See more information.

The Five Tribes Story Conference and Festival will be Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Peek: "According to one of the conference planners, Tim Tingle, the event will “focus on the stories of the Five Tribes of Oklahoma, with a great opening line-up of tellers, writers, and academic thinkers in the field."

Picture Perfect! A Spit-Polish Workshop at St. Edwards University, featuring famed Lisa Wheeler as Keynote Speaker is scheduled for Oct. 9 and sponsored by Austin SCBWI. Faculty also will include Sarah Sullivan, Stephanie Greene, Don Tate, and Laura Jennings. See more information (PDF).

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