Monday, April 12, 2010

Cynsational Spring Break

Happy Spring!

I'm going to be taking a short hiatus from Cynsations from now through April 30.

Not coincidentally, the month's end is my "tweak" revision deadline for Blessed (Candlewick, 2011).

Wish me luck! Look for my status updates at facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Happy reading & writing!

And for now, I'll leave y'all to enjoy the bikers and even more bluebonnets!



Cynsational Notes

Worried you'll miss me? Bookmark this page, return on week days, and read:

April 12: "On Overwriting: The pitfalls of 'lyrical' prose" by Louise Hawes. Peek: "How to explain my fall from lofty lyricism? Why, when I finally had a chance to step into Melville’s shoes, did I instead write nothing but deliberate, frivolous fun? Because, quite simply, I had children."

April 13: Short Talk with a Prospective Children’s Writer by Astrid Lindgren from The Horn Book Magazine (1973). Peek: "Now I've made you cross. Fancy having the nerve to sit here feeding you such platitudes! Fair enough. But tell me, why does one come across so many children's books that have to be translated into simpler language before they can be understood by the children their subjects are intended for?"

April 14: The Key to Unlocking Mystery and Suspense by Gail Giles. Peek: "...when I start a mystery/suspense novel, I think the audience needs to see what’s at stake, needs to know there’s something to fear, needs to get a quick, but good look at that ugly rat, teeth bared, ready to launch himself at the reader’s face."

April 15: Where Ideas Really Come From by Tim Wynne-Jones. Peek: "Over the years I’ve found all kinds of ways of answering this important question. Mostly, I lie. I say things like, Ideas come from the Idea Store. A kid once told me he had been to the Idea Store. Another liar, I suspected. Except that he could describe it in detail."

April 16: Can Children's Poetry Matter by J. Patrick Lewis from Hunger Mountain. Peek: "Children rarely gravitate to poetry on their own. It’s an acquired taste. They must be introduced to it early and often by their teachers and parents, the critical influences in their lives."

April 19: Barbara Slate: The ABCs of Graphic Novels by Lauren Barack from School Library Journal. Peek: "When I started in the '80s, there were only two women writing and drawing comics, because about 95 percent of readers were boys and about 5 percent girls. But Jenette Kahn, president of DC Comics, was looking to get girls. It was a huge untapped market."

April 20: Pick a Podcast from Children'sbookradio.com. Just to highlight: espisode #14 features Jane Yolen, #18 features Marla Frazee, #23 features Carole Boston Weatherford, #25 features Lois Lowry, #26 features Cynthia Kadohata, #28 features Kadir Nelson, #30 features Jennifer L. Holm, #31 features Cynthia Lord, #34 features Kirby Larson, #40 features Kimberly Willis Holt, #41 features Dian Curtis Regan.

April 21: Debut Teen Author Brews a Tasty Romance: Interview with Kristina Springer by Linda M. Castellitto from BookPage. Peek: "Anyone who’s worked in a service-industry job will nod in recognition while reading passages about snarky customers and cranky coworkers—and anyone who’s been a teenager will relate to the romantic tension that builds as Jane makes matches for her friends but doesn’t realize she’s overlooking her own perfect romantic partner."

April 22: The Westing Game Manuscript: an online exhibit showing the various drafts of Ellen Raskin's Newbery-award-winning book as well as items from Raskin's notes and clip files from the Cooperative Children's Book Center. This exhibit is accompanied by an audio-tape of Ellen Raskin talking about the manuscript. See also introduction, drafts, final manuscript, working notes, book design.

April 23: Virtual Exhibition: Books for/Books from Africa from IBBY. Peek: "The IBBY exhibition is envisaged as source of information for quality African children’s books produced for teachers, researchers, parents and for all those interested in children’s literature" See introduction, forward, reviewers' profiles, picture books, chidlren's fiction, folk tales, YA fiction, and others.

April 26: My Dark Deep Past by Brent Hartinger. Peek: "So I decided to write. I saved up $2000 from my summer job as a lifeguard, and I lived on that for the next nine months while I wrote my first novel (I’m still proud that I could live on so little for so long!)."

April 27: Motivating Young Readers: An Interview with Famed Children's Book Author Joseph Bruchac by Claus E. von Zastrow from Public School Insights. Peek: "Bruchac spoke ...about strategies for motivating children to read. He offered ideas for helping struggling readers, resources parents and teachers can use to combat stereotypes in children's literature, thoughts on the promise and perils of the internet, observations the shortcomings of standardized assessments, and a preview of his forthcoming books."

April 28: Now and Forever: The Power of Sex in Young Adult Literature by Tanya Lee Stone (PDF). Peek: "Oddly, sex explored within the context of fantasy seems to ruffle fewer feathers. For quite some time, we have been able to enjoy Tamora Pierce’s and Francesca Lia Block’s wonderfully sexy characters without much, if any, backlash. Is that because it seems safer to wouldbe censors to frame sexuality in non-realistic settings?"

April 29: To Cheer or To Covet by Liz Garton Scanlon. Peek: "Actually, this is probably the conundrum of the artist, not the writer exclusively. That it is our own community--the community that inspires us and lifts us up -- that can also drive us ugly-green with envy."

April 30: Choosing Your Own Path by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "...whatever your creative process and working method is, chances are there is a very legitimate path to success that you can emulate."

Cynsational Notes

The winner of the 10th Anniversary Giveaway of my debut picture book, Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Write and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000), was Gina in North Carolina. Thanks to all who entered and celebrated!

This week marks over 2,000 posts here at Cynsations. Any efforts to recommend and/or link to the blog while I'm in the revision cave will be deeply appreciated. Thank you!

The Greater Houston Teen Book Convention

What a great time I had this weekend at Houston Teen Book Con!

The event took place between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Alief Taylor High School. From the official website:

The TeenBookCon mission is to celebrate and promote reading by connecting teens with authors.

Speakers included keynoter Sharon Draper and:
Here's a peek at the festivities!

Okay, these are not YA lit enthusiasts! These fish are swimming in a pool in the lobby of the Omni Hotel, which offered a choice of restaurants and lovely rooms. We enjoyed our stay.

The event opened with a Friday evening reception for the author/illustrator speakers and the event committee at Blue Willow Bookshop, a tremendously warm and charming indie store!

Here's Greg with author pal Marjetta Geerling from Florida.

George O'Connor from New York with his graphic novel, Zeus.

The store has a terrific selection of books for kids, teens, and grown-ups!

Authors sign the walls in blue marker. (I climbed a ladder to sign!).

Here's one of the Fillbach brothers--illustrators may have an advantage at such things.

Houston author Judson Roberts visits with fellow speakers the following morning in the green room. In the background, Greg looks over as Sharon Draper walks in.

Sharon gave one of the best keynote addresses I've ever heard.

I have a few more terrific pics, but I'm going to save them for future features.

But first, let me draw attention to Elizabeth Eulberg's books.

Huge thanks to all the sponsors and committee members, especially everyone at Blue Willow, and the rock-star librarians! This was a first-rate event! Authors, if you're invited in the future--go! You'll love it. I know I did!

Cynsational Notes

I tend not to run photos of kids for the obvious security/permissions reasons, but attendance was excellent (over 400), especially considering that this was a first-time event.

Attention: Massachusetts Teens & Tweens -- YA Author Laurie Faria Stolarz to Teach Spring & Summer Creative Workshops

YA author Laurie Faria Stolarz will be teaching three upcoming workshops in Massachusetts.

The Creative Writing Workshop for Teens is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 24 at Cornerstone Books in Salem. Geared for teens, ages 13+, students will work to develop, nurture, and improve their writing craft in a fun and supportive group. They will work on such literary devices as setting, character, voice, point-of-view, dialogue, and plot. With the author, they will discuss how closely these devices are linked in creating believable stories. They will learn from other writers by examining their styles through excerpts. They will also practice these styles through group and individual exercises. Students are encouraged to be creative and ready to try new things. Laurie says, "Please bring a notebook and pen."

The cost for this workshop is $75. Scholarships are available for those with financial need. To apply for a scholarship, please submit a typed explanation, in 300 words or less, as to why you would like to take this course. Submit this writing sample to Cornerstone Books, along with your name, telephone number, and e-mail address by April 15. Please note: the scholarship will cover the full cost of the course. See more information.

The four-day Creative Writing Workshop for Tweens is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. July 13, July 15, July 20, and July 22 at The Spirit of 76 Bookstore and Card Shop in Marblehead. Cost $200.

Geared for ages 9 to 12, students will work to develop, nurture, and improve their writing craft in a fun and supportive group. They will work on such literary devices as setting, character, and plot. With the author, they will discuss how closely these devices are linked in creating believable stories. They will learn from other writers by examining their style through excerpts. They will also practice these styles through group and individual exercises. Students are encouraged to be creative and ready to try new things. Please bring a notebook and pen. Again, Laurie says, "Please bring a notebook and pen."

Scholarships are available for those with financial need. To apply for a scholarship, please submit a typed explanation, in 300 words or less, as to why you would like to take this course. Submit this writing sample to The Spirit of 76 Bookstore, along with your name, telephone number, and e-mail address by June 15, 2010. Please note: the scholarship will cover the full cost of the course. See more information.

The four-day Creative Writing Workshop for Teens is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. July 13, July 15, July 20, and July 22 at The Spirit of 76 Bookstore and Card Shop in Marblehead. Cost $200

Geared for teens, ages 13+, students will work to develop, nurture, and improve their writing craft in a fun and supportive group. They will work on such literary devices as setting, character, voice, point-of-view, dialogue, and plot. With the author, they will discuss how closely these devices are linked in creating believable stories. They will learn from other writers by examining their styles through excerpts. They will also practice these styles through group and individual exercises. Students are encouraged to be creative and ready to try new things. Once more, Laurie says, "Please bring a notebook and pen."

Scholarships are available for those with financial need. To apply for a scholarship, please submit a typed explanation, in 300 words or less, as to why you would like to take this course. Submit this writing sample to The Spirit of 76 Bookstore, along with your name, telephone number, and e-mail address by June 15th, 2010. Please note: the scholarship will cover the full cost of the course. See more information.

About the Instructor

Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of several popular young adult novels, including Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Project 17, Bleed, and the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series, which has sold well over 500,000 copies worldwide.

Stolarz's titles have been named on numerous award lists, including the Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers list, the Top Ten Teen Pick list, and YALSA's Popular Paperback list, all through the American Library Association.

She is currently working on the Deadly Little Games, the third book in the Touch series, as well as Do You See, the third book in The Amanda Project.

Read a Cynsations interview with Laurie.
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