Friday, January 09, 2009

Spooky News

Impossible by Nancy Werlin (Dial, 2008): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "a thought-provoking read that offers engaging characters and suspense..." Read a Cynsations interview with Nancy.

Revision Questions from Cynthia Lord. Peek: "Can I make this stronger, deeper, more vivid, without sacrificing pacing?" Source: Lisa Schroeder. Read a Cynsations interview with Cynthia.

Congratulations to Gwenda Bond for signing with Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and congratulations to Jennifer on signing Gwenda. Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

Best Advice for Aspiring Writers... from Ally Carter at Ally's Diary. Peek: "Is this cruel, cruel advice? Yes. But believe me I wouldn't be opening myself up for the onslaught of angry comments that might commence if I didn't think it were true."

Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little Brown, June 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "graceful and profound." Read a Cynsations interview with Grace.

The Seven Deadly (Publishing) Sins from Waxman Literary Agency. Peek: "These seven no-nos will put your career on ice faster than you can say 'remainder.'" Source: Elizabeth Scott's Blog.

Predicting Success by Robin LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "It turns out that creative success is a very elusive beast, and that it often has less to do with quality and more to do with reaching a certain tipping point in terms of generating buzz and getting talked about." Read a Cynsations interview with Robin.

Writing process...writing practice from Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Practice is about getting better. It's about doing, analyzing, and critiquing. But it's also about reflecting. What am I doing to sabotage my story? How can I write this sentence, this paragraph, this chapter better?" Also features a video interview with Anne Lamont. Read a Cynsations interview with Helen.

The Book Roast: a free promotional site for authors dedicated to celebrating great books. "Our mission is to help publicize books of all genres, printed by publishers of all sizes (excluding self-published and pornography). We serve up a variety of authors and books lightly grilled and seasoned with humor. The interactive and party spirit on our site helps set us apart." Note: The Book Roast returns from hiatus on Jan. 12. Guests marinating include Barrie Summy (Jan. 15) and Curtis Brown literary agent Nathan Bransford (Jan. 22).

Meet Saundra Mitchell! from Sara McLean. Peek: "Screenwriting says if I've spent more than five minutes in a particular scene, I'm boring people. It's easy for me to get in and get out, which I think is hard for some novelists."

Middle Grade Fantasy Books: a bibliography compiled by Stacy Whitman.

Let the Drawing Begin: a contest for kids from K-6 grades to draw the perfect bookmark, sponsored by BookKids at BookPeople in Austin. Peek: "This year our theme is 'Be Independent.' Then, we print up the top entry in each of four age categories and distribute the bookmarks in the store for the rest of the year. Winners also receive a $25 gift certificate to BookPeople." See details.

Tips on Starting a Book Club by Little Willow from SparkNotes. Peek: "Before your first meeting think about what kind of questions can get the conversation going and keep it going."

Blockbuster or Bust: Why struggling publishers will keep placing outrageous bids on new books by Anita Elbers from the Wall Street Journal. Peek: "When a publisher spends an inordinate amount on an acquisition, it will do everything in its power to make that project a market success. Most importantly, this means supporting the book with higher-than-average marketing, advertising and distribution support..." Source: April Henry.

Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009) ARC Giveaway from author Cindy Pon. Peek: "please respond in the comment section with your favorite Chinese dish!" Deadline Jan. 12. See details.

On Getting Published by Justine Larbalestier. Peek: "They seem to not hear the part about spending twenty years trying to get into print. Twenty years, people!" Read a Cynsations interview with Justine.

What Inspires Your Writing? from Little Willow at Slayground. Peek: "I asked authors to name books they recently read and enjoyed as well as their favorite classic and contemporary authors. 'Tell me whose books you devoured as a kid,' I said, 'or whose novels you collect now as an adult.' I also asked each author whose writing career he or she would most like to emulate." Check out answers from Kelly Parra, Linda Joy Singleton, Jo Knowles, Micol Ostow, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and more!

Boys Reading About Girls by Donna Bowman Bratton at Simply Donna. Peek: "I've spent a great deal of time as a library volunteer and substitute librarian at my son's school. Boys love nonfiction. There's no dispute about that. But, I regularly see boys older than E choosing female-centered books like Judy Moody along with a book about NASCAR." Note: Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) has a female protagonist (and my Gothics are all arguably feminist), but I do get regular reader male from YA boys. The gender difference in the correspondence is generally related to length and directness. Girls tend to write longer, more personal letters. Boys tend to get right to the point. My favorite: "When is the sequel coming out? What is taking you so long? What are you doing with your time?"

Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow, 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "warm, funny, and full of grace."

Reader's Choice Best YAs of 2008: chime in with your favorites at the YA Authors Cafe.

The Children's Book Council 2009 Teen Book Awards from Peek: "In association with the Children's Book Council (CBC), is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us your five favorite books of 2008. The five titles that receive the most 'votes' will serve as the finalists for the CBC's 2009 Teen Choice Book Award." Note: there's still time to nominate more of 2008's best books. Source: professornana.

Enter to win the January book giveaways at TeensReadToo.

You are cordially invited to attend...a Royal Tiara Auction to benefit "essential teen programs" at the New York Public Library. Until Jan. 31, tiaras decorated by such celebrities as R. L. Stine, Chris Van Allsburg, Judy Blume, Marc Brown, Meg Cabot, and Sarah Dessen (as well as various famous designers, actors, royals, media outlets, etc.) will be available for bidding in celebration of Meg Cabot's Forever Princess (HarperCollins). Note: definitely check out the tiaras, consider making a bid, and share the link--it's a great cause! Source: Cynthia Lord.

Online Classes

Writing Children's Nonfiction Books for the Educational Market from Laura Purdie Salas. Peek: " will learn about the educational market and how it differs from the trade market. You will learn how to put together an introductory packet to send to publishers. We'll work on the various components of that packet so that by the end of the month, you have packets ready to pop in the mail." Class runs from Jan. 26 to March 20. See details.

Matchmaking Your Manuscript: from Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard. Peek: Do you have a children's book manuscript ready to submit? Are you feeling overwhelmed? The children's book universe can appear impenetrable to unpublished writers. This six-week online course will give you the knowledge and confidence to create a submission plan for your manuscript (and your future manuscripts). Laura and Lisa will guide you step-by-step through the submissions process and show you how to improve your chances of publication. Includes a critique of your cover letter or query letter.

More Personally

Amazing, surprising news! I heard this week from my genius editor that Eternal (Candlewick, Feb. 10, 2009) is going into a second printing. A huge thanks to y'all for your continued support!

It also was an honor to see Eternal included in "My Favorites of 2008" from Karin's Book Nook. If you're a fantasy fan, take a look at her great list!

If you want me to see a post related to Eternal, please email me with the link. (I do not do Google Alerts as I've observed that they lead to insanity). Thank you!

I'm off to the Vermont College of Fine Arts winter residency and don't expect to be back in the saddle, work-wise, in Austin until Jan. 26. I will do my best to check email while I'm in Vermont; however, if you could hold off on non-critical messages until I return, that would be helpful.

Austin Area Events (Cyn and Friends)

Writing For The Mass Markets: My Publishing Boot Camp With Jennifer Ziegler at 11 a.m. Jan. 10 at BookPeople, sponsored by Austin SCBWI. "Discover what you can learn from writing for the mass markets. How does it differ from writing trade novels? Can it help or hurt your career? Will it improve your craft? Will it help you make valuable connections? Most importantly, will your literary friends and associates still want to hang out with you? Jennifer Ziegler, an Austin-based author and former English teacher, has been writing teen novels for twelve years – many of them for mass market YA series. One of them, Alias: Recruited (Bantam, 2002), made the New York Times' Bestseller List for children's chapter books. Her trade novels include How Not to be Popular (Delacorte, 20089)(author interview), and Alpha Dog (Delacorte, 2006)(author interview) which was a finalist for the 2007 Teddy Award." Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be speaking on "First Drafts" at the February monthly meeting of the Writers' League of Texas at 7:30 Feb. 19 at the League office in Austin (611 S. Congress Avenue).

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30.

More of Cyn's Events

Due to a technical difficulty, Cynthia's discussion of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008), Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 24. See more information.

Cynthia will be speaking on "Writing and Illustrating Native American Children's Literature" (with S. D. Nelson) and "Monsters and Magic: Writing Gothic Fantasy Novels for Teenagers" on March 15 at the Tucson Festival of Books.