Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Congratulations to Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos on the release of Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science (Clarion, 2010)! From the promotional copy:

When this award-winning husband-and-wife team discovered that they each had sugar in their family history, they were inspired to trace the globe-spanning story of the sweet substance and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives.

The trail ran like a bright band from religious ceremonies in India to Europe's Middle Ages, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas.


Sugar was the substance that drove the bloody slave trade and caused the loss of countless lives but it also planted the seeds of revolution that led to freedom in the American colonies, Haiti, and France.


With songs, oral histories, maps, and over 80 archival illustrations, here is the story of how one product allows us to see the grand currents of world history in new ways. Time line, source notes, bibliography, index.


In a starred review, School Library Journal raves, "Meticulously researched, brutally honest, compelling.... An indispensable part of any history collection."

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews cheers, "Covering 10,000 years of history and ranging the world, the story is made personal by the authors' own family stories, their passion for the subject and their conviction that young people are up to the challenge of complex, well-written, narrative history."

See more reviews & news. Note: named a 2010 Best Book for Teens in Kirkus Reviews and Best Book, Nonfiction, School Library Journal.

More News & Giveaways

Nervous? by Jennifer R. Hubbard from writerjenn. Peek: "People are sometimes surprised at how nervous writers get--about writing first drafts, editing, submitting a book, doing public appearances, reading reviews, and so on." See also Introverts: Finding Friends and Followers Online by Jennifer from Shrinking Violet Promotions.

Writers and Depression by Nancy Etchemendy from the Horror Writers Association. Peek: "The steady drum of rejection slips is a part of life for every writer, even the most successful. The courage it takes to deal with rejections and keep going may fail us at times. Without courage, we become fair game for depression." See also An Open Love Note to Debut Authors About Hurtful Online Reviews.

Spotlight on Agent Mary Kole: an interview by Kathy Temean from Writing and Illustrating. Peek: "I read the work of a lot of writers and see the work of a lot of artists who are technically fine…they have solid writing and good technique…but they haven’t risen to the next level yet. And only time and learning and growth can take them there."

Agents Requesting Work: The Happy Dilemma by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.net. Peek: "If it appears you should have received a response, assume a technology fail. Send a status query to the agent from a different email address, just in case her reply went into your spam folder (You are checking that periodically, right?)"

How to Survive Tough Times from Verla Kay. Peek: "The trick in tough times is to write (or illustrate) something that editors want. I've been struggling now for 20 years to figure out just what that is."

New Agent Alert: Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary by Chuck Sambuchino from Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog. Note: Molly is seeking fiction and nonfiction for middle grade and YA readers; link offers more specific information on her tastes.

Publishing by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: "Learning to write well is a slow process. If you’ve written for a year or two, even if you’ve written some good work, maybe your work isn’t quite ready to be published." See also Agent Mary Kole on Putting in the Time to Become a Good Writer from Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog.

Did You Hear About Nathan [Bransford]? An Interview with Everyone's Favorite (Former) Agent by Rachel Gardner from Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Peek: "If ever there were a time to empower young editors and trust their instincts, it's now."

Curious City: Where Kids and Books Meet: "a children’s book consulting duo building creative marketing projects and outreach for authors, illustrators, and publishers."

Secrets of a Library of Congress Cataloger by Elizabeth Bluemle from PW ShelfTalker. Peek: "I can tell you that we try to write 'in one voice' — that is, we try not to inject our own personality into the summaries, but sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes I try to have a little fun with them."

Bid Now in the Bridget Zinn Kicks Cancer Season of Love and Hope Auction. Bidding will take place from Nov. 22 to Dec. 4. Items/services available for bidding include: 25-page MG or YA manuscript critique by author/agent Ammi-Joan Paquette; 25-page manuscript critique and signed book by author Sydney Salter; custom classroom guide for your book by Shannon Morgan; critique by NYT bestselling author April Henry; critique by children's author Jody Feldman; query with 10 pages of MG or YA critique by agent Jill Cocoran, plus, more critiques, signed books, jewelry, additional accessories, tutoring, tote bags, B&B nights, pottery, and much more! Note: Bridget Zinn is a librarian and YA author who was diagnosed in 2009 with Stage IV colon cancer.

Best Literary Agents on Twitter by Jason Boog from GalleyCat. Note: (a) not all children's-YA agents; (b) bookmark to check back as list will be updated on an ongoing basis. Source: ACHOCKABLOG.

12 Tips for Writing Action Scenes by Kathy Temean from Writing and Illustrating. Peek: "Find a question that brings into play an issue your hero has that it’s important for him to learn. If he learns it, then he can win the scene, otherwise, he should lose. In this way, the reader can see how the action sequence causes the character to grow and change."

Interview with Andrea Cremer about Nightshade by anesbet from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: "I wanted to write a story about a female character who wasn’t being pulled into a magical world – she was already in the middle of it, a leader and a warrior."

Top Ten Reasons the Editor Doesn't Love What the Critique Group Loves from editortorent. Peek: "Publishers are only as innovative as their customers. They might be wrong—publishers frequently underestimate the ability of readers to adapt quickly to what might seem experimental—but editors do have to take the attitude of the higher-ups into consideration, and the higher-ups generally think their customers are conservative and change-resistant."

Austin Bat Cave
: "a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids in Austin, Texas; that connects a diverse population of young writers and learners with a vibrant community of adult volunteers."

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Love Drugged by James Klise (Flux, 2010).

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. See also a Cynsations interview with James about the novel.

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Quackenstein Hatches a Family by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Brian T. Jones (Abrams, 2010). Note: "A $500 donation to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums will be made by the author when this video is viewed 1000 times! Or a donation of $1000 will be made when this video is watched 5000 times!"



Check out the book trailer for Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book by Kersten Hamilton (Clarion, 2010).



Skye Video Interview with Author Jennifer J. Stewart from azang.



More Personally

The first review of Blessed (Candlewick, Jan. 25, 2011) is in, and it's glowing! Kirkus Reviews calls the world, "wild and ultimately fascinating" and says of Quincie and Kieren, "...the pages fairly smolder in describing their attraction to one another." Smolder! I've never smoldered before.

Pie-of-the-Month Club: Cynthia Leitich Smith: an author interview from Heather Vogel Frederick. Peek: "I love working visually, and I’m thrilled to have my text partnered with art. I consider a key part of my job to offer a stage for the illustrator to play on and then get out of their way."

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."

Check out this reader-created trailer by Midnight Machiko for my novel, Eternal.



Thanks to Cyndi Hughes, Bethany Hegedus, Jan Baumer and everyone at the Writers' League of Texas for their hospitality at last Thursday's monthly meeting at BookPeople in Austin. I spoke on a panel, “Give Yourself a Longer Shelf Life: Marketing for the Long-Term," with 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.

Werewolf cupcakes! What fun I had at the "Fangs vs. Fur" event on Nov. 19 at the University Hills Branch of the Austin Public Library! It was a treat to see families pour in, many dressed for the occasion. I'm still wowed by the teens' questions in the Q&A. Huge thanks to YA librarian Michelle Beebower and the entire staff for a remarkable event. Here's just a peek at the "furry" wolf cupcakes! Note: Special thanks to teen services Sarah Cronin for the photo and to Candlewick Press for sponsoring the book giveaway!

Ahoy there, matey! Thanks to Sherry (above) and everyone at Region 12 Education Service Center in Waco, Texas; for your hospitality at Library Jubilee 2010 on Nov. 16! The theme was "literature (our greatest treasure) along with various technology tools (trinkets)."

Highlights included seeing fellow Austin authors Janice and Tom Shefelman...

And fellow Texas author Jill S. Alexander.

Cynsational Events

Save the Date! Joint Launch Party: Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) and Night School by Mari Mancusi (Berkley) book party and signing at 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at BookPeople in Austin.

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