Friday, March 13, 2009

Spooky News & Never Trust a Dead Man Giveaway

Congratulations to Rosemary Clement-Moore on the release of Highway to Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil)(Delacorte, 2009)! From the promotional copy: "Maggie Quinn was expecting to find plenty of trouble with Lisa over Spring Break. Give a girl a bikini, a beachfront hotel, and an absent boyfriend, and it's as good as a road map to the dark side. But Maggie doesn't have to go looking for trouble. Trouble has started looking for her. One dead cow and a punctured gas tank later, she and Lisa are stuck in Dulcina, Texas—a town so small that it has an owner. And lately life in this small town hasn't been all that peaceful. An eerie predator is stalking the ranchland. Everyone in town has a theory, but not even Maggie’s psychic mojo can provide any answers. And the longer the girls are stranded, the more obvious it becomes that something is seriously wrong. Only no one—not even Maggie's closest ally—wants to admit that they could have been forced on a detour down the highway to hell." Note: Rosemary will be signing the book from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 14 at Barnes & Noble in Hurst, Texas! Note: I would be there myself, except I'm heading out of state this weekend. Read a Cynsations interview with Rosemary.

Definitions for the Perplexed: Sell-In and Sell-Through from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "It's a tough, tough business, and it's only tougher these days. Do everyone a favor and go buy a book, okay?" Note: buy two! Also, if you haven't already read through EA's whole Publishing Dictionary. Very useful info.

Wonderful Bookclub Books! Cheap, Badly Bound, Wonderful Bookclub Books! from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "The idea of the Scholastic Book Clubs is to make children's books available at prices that children could conceivably afford. In poorer areas, this is a blessing, and studies have shown the important psychological difference that owning a book makes to children."

Interview with Flux Editor Brian Farrey from Karen Screk at Crowe's Nest. Peek: "You can learn from writers whose material you don’t care for just as much as you can from writers whose material you adore. Know what’s out there. It’s very, very easy for me to spot a submission written by someone who hasn't read a contemporary YA novel. Ever." Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Attention, Writers with an Advanced Degree: The Fourteenth annual Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers' Conference is scheduled for Aug. 11 to Aug. 17. Note: The event will include two workshops in Writing for Young Adults, led by award-winning author-teachers Kathi Appelt and An Na. Note: the event is open to all writers with an advanced degree, not just VCFA alumni (though of course we hope they'll come).

Dealing With Negativity from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "All of this boils down to one thing: negativity is a test of strength. If you show weakness in the face of negativity: you lose. If you show strength and character in the face of negativity: you win." See also suggestions from Nathan's readers on Dealing with Frustration. Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

How (and When) to Follow-Up with Agents and/or Editors from Tracy Marchini at My VerboCity. Peek: "Sometimes, it seems that writers are over-anxious in their follow-up methods after submitting to an agent or editor. Here's some basic guidelines to make sure your follow-up is professional and effective."

How to stay organized if you are a disorganized writer by Emily Marshall at Author2Author. Peek: "Sometimes I’m dealing with hundreds of story ideas, multiple drafts of a project, and even two or three books at a time. That’s a lot of computer files, paper, and general confusion."

Agent Advice: Kelly Sonnack of The Andrea Brown Literary Agency from Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents. Note: Kelly is looking for middle grade fiction and cultural memoirs. Peek: "I will admit a particular soft spot for picture books but there's only so many of those I can take on at a time. I really love literary, coming-of-age YA, as well as quirky and smart MG. I'm also particularly loving graphic novels for kids these days. We're living in a time that is ripe for them, and it's exciting to help shape that." Source: Alice's CWIM Blog.

Congratulations to Arthur Slade on the U.S. release of Jolted! See trailer below. Trying to get a feel for steampunk in the children's-YA market? Check out the covers of Arthur Slade's upcoming novel, The Hunchback Assignments.

Trapped by Kimberly Willis Holt at A Pen and a Nest. Peek: "As writers we sometimes forget to explore the endless possibilities when we create our worlds. Sometimes we hit a barrier and if we're too tunnel-visioned we may lose the chance at adding another layer or plot point that enriches our story." Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Sara Crowe Literary Agent: new official site features client list, news, and blog. Peek: "I am always looking for young adult fiction and middle grade fiction for my children's list. I represent a few wonderful picture book writers and am not looking to add to that list at this time. I am open to hearing from author/illustrators."

Swagology 101 by Mary Hershey from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: " a former kid that had no disposable income, I love being able to give a child something totally free, no strings attached. I give out postcards, candy, stick-on gem earrings, small notebooks, fun erasers, and pencils. Only the postcards have my promotional information on them."

The Book Roast blog will be hosting a Pitch Party on St. Patrick's Day--March 17 from 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. EST. Peek: "We're inviting participants to submit a pitch for a book (real or for fun). The theme is 'luck,' and the pitches will be limited to 75 words. One pitch per participant. You'll have fun, and you can use a pen name if you like! Five highly esteemed editors (Evil Editor; Editorial Anonymous; Edittorrent; Moonrat; Ms. Spitfire) will select their favorite three, and say why those pitches stood out. The winning pitches will be announced at 9 p.m. EST." Note: "Ms. Spitfire is technically in marketing, but she has occasion to touch the slush." More info will be posted late Friday evening on the Book Roast blog.

Q & A with Melissa Marr from Publishers Weekly. Peek: " only gets easier to work with this world. When I write I often know where my characters will go in the future."

Congratulations to Jennifer Ziegler on signing with Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency and to Erin for signing with Jennifer! Congratulations to on the sale of Jennifer's "Sass & Stupidity" to Stephanie Elliott at Delacorte. Read Cynsations interviews with Jennifer and Erin.

Resource Recommendations

Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland (Image Continuum, 1993). As relevant for writers as musicians as painters as photographers as dancers, this economical slim paperback is a godsend for anyone who's a human being and trying to create art.

Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy (HarperCollins, 1993). This gem of a paperback is a must-have for the writer's peace of mind and piece of soul. From the promotional copy: "This daily motivator of people who write provides an insistent wake-up call for the creative urge, with insights on how to work against resistance, live with the loneliness, develop discipline, and dare to take deeper risks in their work. These 200 essays explore every aspect of the process of writing."


Enter to win a paperback copy of Never Trust a Dead Man by Vivian Vande Velde (Magic Carpet Books/Harcourt, 2008)(originally published in 1999) from Cynsations. To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Dead Man" in the subject line. I'll touch base if you win. Deadline: March 18! All Cynsational readers are eligible! Read a Cynsations interview with Vivian.

More Personally

The social highlight of the week was a surprise visit by author Shana Burg, who came bearing an out-of-this-world gift--a Princess-Senator Leia Organa Flash Drive!

Do you think it holds the plans to the Death Star?

I'm guessing that many of you will want one of your own. So FYI: designs featuring C3P0, Wicket, Luke Skywalker, and others are also available. Note: Han Solo and Boba Fett are low on stock (figures). See Star Wars MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives.

Attention Austinites: as you know, it's almost time for SXSW 2009! If you're like me and want to support our live music scene, but feel somewhat lacking in band savvy, you may want to check out Turn2live ("the first online tool that enables users to discover shows using intuitive search terms. These terms exist outside of the traditional boundaries of genre, artist and venue and include creative, mood-oriented keywords such as 'sunny' and 'sensual.'")

Donna Bratton at Simply Donna highlights Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002). Peek: "Through it all, Grandpa Halfmoon is there for him whether it is to rescue Ray from a catastrophic haircut, or to share a precious night-fishing trip where the biggest catch had nothing to do with a fish."

Booklist calls Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) a "witty, dark love story of death and redemption" and says "Miranda and Zachary are complex, sympathetic characters, and their hopeful ending is well earned."

Notes from the Hornbook says of Eternal, "Suspenseful, entertaining, and enthusiastically gruesome, Smith's latest will be lapped up by vampire fans."

Thanks to author P.J. Hoover for reading Eternal and saying "
Love the attitude of the guardian angel (GA for short). So go out and buy this book." Read a Cynsations interview with P.J.