Friday, July 24, 2009

Spooky News & Sideshow Giveaway

Enter to win Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009)! Note: the collection includes my short story, "Cat Calls," which is set in the Tantalize/Eternal universe and features new characters!

School Library Journal raves: "Like The Restless Dead and Gothic!, this is a masterpiece of ten short stories by world-class authors.... Several of the stories pack the same punch as old-fashioned O. Henry or Roald Dahl classics and are the stuff that will fill the English literature textbooks of tomorrow....fantastic."

Enter to win one of three copies! One copy will be reserved for a teacher, librarian and/or university professor of children's-YA literature, and the other two will go to any Cynsations readers!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Sideshow" in the subject line (Facebook and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the title in the header). Deadline: July 31! Reminder: teachers, librarians, and professors should indicate themselves as such in their entries!

Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Sideshow & Geektastic are Now Available

Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009) and Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009) are now available! Note: both anthologies include short stories by me!

The Great Geek Escape: play the online game from the official Geektastic Site. And don't miss About the Authors! Isn't it sweet that my avatar is next to Greg's?

More News

Journal Through Summer (part two) from Kristi Holl at Writer's First Aid. Peek: "Use a summer journal to take snapshots. In addition to using a camera, use your jour­nal." See also Press On to Finish Strong.

Games to Play While Waiting for an Idea from Tim Wynne-Jones. Peek: "When the ideas aren’t flowing you can prime the pump. Here are some games I have discovered along the way." Read a Cynsations interview with Tim.

The Top 7 Things Every Aspiring Author's Website Must Have by Jordan McCollum, a guest blog from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. See also Everything You Need to Know About Writing a Novel, in 1000 Words by Victoria Mixon.

Right Now in Speculative Fiction: a news round-up from Parker Peevyhouse from The Spectacle.

When adversity strikes....: the first in a series of posts about challenges in the writer's life from Sarah Aronson at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "It would be nice to learn from the low moments, but as an avid Dear Abby reader, we should at least be able to acknowledge them, smile in solidarity, and move forward." See also More Adversity (when your editor hates your new manuscript), Another Common Problem (another author has published a book similar to your work in progress), Review Angst, and Antidotes for the Low Points. Read a Cynsations interview with Sarah.

Personal and Peculiar from Brian Yansky at Brian's Blog. Peek: "...any advice about writing can only be of use if what’s given fits into your peculiar way of writing." See also Bad Things to Good People. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Check out this video of the Oak Park (IL) Library Warrior Librarians winning the 5th annual Library Book Cart Drill Team Championship at the 2009 annual conference of the American Library Association. For a complete report and videos of the runners-up, see also Book Cart Drill Teams Battle for Supremacy by Sydney Beveridge from Mental Floss: Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix.

Rejection Netiquette from Angela at The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "Now more than ever, it's easy to connect with others, sharing details and commiserating. A little crying, a little fist-shaking and we can get on with the day. The question is, should we?" Source: Children's Book Biz News.

Book lists: Multicultural SF/F for MG and YA from Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. Note: to clarify, Quincie from Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) is English-Italian-Texan. In that book, Kieren is Mexican-Irish American (Mexican on the human side, Irish on the Wolf side), and he will be the protagonist and POV character in Tantalize: Kieren's Story, a graphic novel adaptation currently in production from Candlewick Press. In addition, Miranda, a co-protagonist from Eternal (set in the same universe, also Candlewick (2009)), is Chinese-Scottish American. Read a Cynsations interview with Stacy.

The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Viking, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "Full of suspense and a pile of fascinating and sometimes hilarious characters..."

Marion Dane Bauer on Voice from Zu Vincent at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Concentrate on knowing your character. Your perceiving character will impact your voice in every story even when you are writing in third person. And concentrate on writing the very best you can." See also Janni Lee Simner Speaks Out on Voice and More from Janni Lee Simner on Voice. Read Cynsations interviews with Zu and Janni.

"Respecting Your Reader" with D.L. Garfield: a chat transcript from the Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "I was lucky that I'd kept a diary through my teen years and saved it all these years. Looking back at it, I saw I was often exhilarated one day and sobbing the next, and never sure of anything. As an adult, I'm more mellow and confident. So I think the inner life of teens is much more a factor of their individual personalities and their age than the era they're raised in."

What Advice Would You Give to New Or Aspiring Writers? from Deborah Brodie: Freelance Editor, Book Doctor & Teacher of Creative Writing. A selection of tips from various pros! See also great news from Deborah's clients.

Choosing a freelance editor: What you need to know by Alan Rinzler from The Book Deal: An Inside View of Publishing. Peek: "Has the editor worked on books that have been published successfully? Your prospective editor should be able to provide an author list of published titles that you can examine." Source: Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent.

New Agent Alert: Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates from Chuck at Guide To Literary Agents Editors Blog. Nuts and bolts for submitting.

Reading: Not Such Hard Work from Editorial Anonymous. Tips for reading like a book professional.

Readers, Writers, and Professors- a contrast in close reading by Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "I've outlined the novel, made notes in margins, used timelines and performed every kind of analysis known to man- or at least to writer- to understand how Audrey Couloumbis pulls off so much in such a little space, writing a story that is, in my opinion, both perfect for a sensitive child reader and a sophisticated adult."

More Personally

Thank you to everyone who made the summer 2009 residency of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Young Adults such a success, and congratulations to our graduates! Special thanks to outgoing faculty chair Sharon Darrow, incoming faculty chair Margaret Bechard, special day ("Good & Evil") coordinators Julie Larios and Tim Wynne-Jones, program director Kate Gustafson, assistant program director Susannah Noel, the graduate assistants (Katie Mather, Cheryl Coupe, Debbie Gonzales, Stephanie Greene, Sharry Wright, Ann Jacobus Kordahl, and Nancy Bo Flood), and alumni mini-residency organizers Sarah Aronson and Mary Atkinson. And one last cheer to our speakers author Deborah Noyes, author Nancy Werlin, and editor Stephen Roxburgh!

Teens' Top Ten Nominees: Eternal: a review by Tara Olivero, Allen County Public Library Teen Advisory Board from YALSA Blog. Peek: "With a cast of vibrant and contemporary characters, Eternal is a must-read. Smith employs the perfect combination of wit and sincerity, making for an enthralling tale..." Note: "Eternal is one of 25 Teens’ Top Ten nominees chosen by teen advisory groups from around the country. Read all about TTT here."

Update: remember my judging the Ann Arbor District Library 2009 IT'S ALL WRITE! Short Story Contest for middle/high school students? Now, you can read all the winning stories online and order the book. Note: The contest was held in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Book Festival, and awards and publication "were made possible through a grant from the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library.

The Pizza-A-Day-Diet by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. While I was at the VCFA summer residency, my husband and sometimes co-author decided to take advantage of the situation to dive into a pizza-based diet (because I'd never sign off on that, if I were at home). For photos, reviews, and behind-the-scenes insights, see Pizza-A-Day and Other Weird Activities, Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza, Conans Pizza, Home Slice Pizza, Austin's Pizza, Rounder's Pizza, Frank and Angie's Pizza, Whole Foods, and Grand Finale: The Ultimate Pizza.

Austin Interest

Photos of the Writers' League of Texas Agents' Conference includes a shot of YA authors Jessica Lee Anderson and Varian Johnson.

Reminder: Austin Public Library Fundraiser Seeks Book Donations: The APLF annual fundraising event and silent auction that will be held on Sept. 12. Authors interested in donating an autographed book(s) or item for the silent auction should contact Diane Hernandez--no later than the second week in August--to arrange for shipping and/or for her to pick up your donated item and form.

Mark Your Calendars

Destination Publication: an annual conference of Austin SCBWI will be held Jan. 30, 2010, and registration will open Sept. 1. Conference faculty will include Newbery Honor author Kriby Larson, Caldecott illustrator David Diaz, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein, author/FSG editor Lisa Graff, agent Andrea Cascardi, agent Mark McVeigh, agent Nathan Bransford, and a to-be-announced editor; see bios. Featured authors will include Chris Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Jessica Lee Anderson, Liz Garton Scanlon, Jennifer Ziegler, Philip Yates, and Patrice Barton; see author bios.