Friday, December 18, 2009

Spooky News & Watersmeet Giveaway Reminder

Enter to win one of three signed copies of Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott (Marshall Cavendish, 2009)!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Watersmeet" in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the name in the header; I'll write you for contact information, if you win). Note: one copy of each book will be reserved for a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature; those eligible in these categories should indicate their affiliations in the body of their entry messages. The other two will go to any Cynsations readers!

Deadline: midnight CST Dec. 31.

More News & Giveaways

Interview with Malinda Lo by Liz Burns from YALSA. Peek: "The first draft of Ash was actually straight—Ash fell in love with the prince. I gave that draft to a friend to read, and she told me that she felt that Ash didn’t have much chemistry with the prince. She did, however, seem to really like this other woman in the book!" Read a Cynsations interview with Malinda.

Submissions Guidelines from Tu Publishing: Multicultural Fantasy and Science Fiction for Children and Young Adults. Peek: "Tu Publishing is pleased to announce that we will be officially open for submissions from writers on Jan. 1, 2010. We are a small press focusing on multicultural fantasy and science fiction for children and young adults. We are specifically looking for novels for readers ages 8 to 18." See also Transracial Writing for the Sincere by Nisi Shawl from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Novel Ideas: Weaving Structure and Theme by Zu Vincent from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "Here’s how Jeanne Dutton, author of Freaked (HarperTeen, 2009); Sydney Salter author of Jungle Crossing, (Harcourt, 2009); and Lauren Bjorkman, author of My Invented Life (Henry Holt, 2009), approached the structural challenges of writing their novels, and how these challenges have informed their next books." See also Writing Timeless Yet Topical Fiction with Suzanne Morgan Williams.

Discover the Life of the Children's Book Agent with Jill Corcoran (Dec. 9 to Dec. 11): an interview/workshop moderated by Jan Fields from the Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "Editors email me at night, on weekends, on holidays. They work their buns off trying to find the best manuscripts and once they find the best, making them even better."

The Pricker Boy by Reade Scott Whinnem (Random House, 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: " intensely compelling and creepy novel...."

Quantity Improves Quality by Kristi Holl at Writer's First Aid. Peek: "Two years ago at a workshop, award-winning writer Jane Yolen made a statement that stunned the group of fourteen published writers who attended."

Character Invention by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: "I believe in creating a character in an organic way without any preconceived notions about what he/she might become as he/she evolves in a manuscript." Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

All About Writing Contests from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "Know what you're entering. Know what happens to your work in the event you win (or even/especially if you don't win). Make sure you're completely comfortable with it." Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Awesome Austin Scene

Mark G. Mitchell, Don Tate, Brian Anderson, and Tim Crow.

Mark has a terrific blog, How to Be a Children's Book Illustrator. Don recently signed with The McVeigh Agency. Brian is the author of the Zack Proton graphic-format chapter book series from Aladdin, and Tim is an educator and the outgoing Austin SCBWI regional advisor.

Mark, Don, and Varian Johnson.

Varian looks forward to the release of Saving Maddie (Delacorte, 2010).

Bethany Hegedus, Brian, and K.A. "Kari" Holt.

Bethany (Between Us Baxters (WestSide)) and Kari (Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel (Random House)) are both 2009 debut authors.

Liz Garton Scanlon, Donna Bowman Bratton, and Carmen Oliver.

Liz's All the World (Beach Lane) is one of the most buzzed picture books of 2009. Donna and Carmen are published in children's magazine writing and are leaders in Austin SCBWI.

Greg Leitich Smith, Jerri Romine, Liz, P.J. "Tricia" Hoover, Jennifer Ziegler, and Jessica Lee Anderson.

Jerri is an educator and a rising talent in Austin SCBWI. Tricia looks forward to the release of The Necropolis (Blooming Tree/CBAY, 2010), the third book in The Forgotten Worlds trilogy. Jennifer recently signed with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, which has a new website. Jessica formed The Texas Sweethearts with Tricia and Jo Whittemore. Jessica's new release is Border Crossing (Milkweed, 2009).

Jerri and Tricia.

Bethany Hegedus and Chris Barton.

Chris's debut picture book The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors (Charlesbridge) is one of the hottest titles of 2009.

Greg Leitich Smith, Lindsey Lane, and Meredith Davis.

For the holidays, Greg recommends books by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, Neal Shusterman, R.L. LaFevers, Joan Bauer, Reade Scott Whinnem, and David Macinnis Gill at BookKids! from the Crazy Folks at BookPeople.

Lindsey and Meredith are both students in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Don and Brian.

Tim and Betty X. Davis.

Betty is published in children's magazines.

Julie Lake is the author of Galveston's Summer of the Storm (TCU Press, 2003).

I hereby nominate Hemlock for Austin children's-YA writer mascot!

More Personally

Eternal: a recommendation from By the Book Reviews. Peek: "This book was great! There was always something exciting going on, and it was very easy to stay sucked into this book!"

Andrew Smith interviews YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith from The Scribblers Chronicle. Note: I talk about common threads in mythologies, the dark fantasy/paranormal "trend," where stories come from, and my current deadline. Peek: " of the best ways for people to process fear is from a safe distance and in the pages of a horror novel. As Annette Curtis Klause has said, it helps them to build 'coping mechanisms.' It’s what the heart hungers for, the heart of the artist and the heart of the audience."

2009 Holiday Gift Guide from Reading in Color. Note: recommendations for those who appreciate a diversity of characters/culture in their YA book reading diets. Note: I'm honored to see Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) on the list!

Cynsational Events

Destination Publication: An Awesome Austin Conference for Writers and Illustrators is scheduled for Jan. 30 and sponsored by Austin SCBWI. Keynote speakers are Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson and Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Marla Frazee, who will also offer an illustrator breakout and portfolio reviews. Presentations and critiques will be offered by editor Cheryl Klein of Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, author-editor Lisa Graff of FSG, agent Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic Literary, agent Mark McVeigh of The McVeigh Agency, and agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Advanced critique break-out sessions will be led by editor Stacy Cantor of Bloomsbury. In addition, Cheryl and author Sara Lewis Holmes will speak on the editor-and-author relationship, and Marla and author Liz Garton Scanlon will speak on the illustrator-and-author relationship. Note: Sara and Liz also will be offering manuscript critiques. Illustrator Patrice Barton will offer portfolio reviews. Additional authors on the speaker-and-critique faculty include Jessica Lee Anderson, Chris Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Jacqueline Kelly, Philip Yates, Jennifer Ziegler. See registration form, information packet, and conference schedule (all PDF files)! Note: only 35 spots are still available--Austin SCBWI conferences always sell out! Register today!

2010 Houston-SCBWI Conference is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2010, at the Merrell Center in Katy. Registration is now open. The faculty includes author Cynthia Leitich Smith, assistant editor Ruta Rimas of Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, creative director Patrick Collins of Henry Holt, senior editor Alexandra Cooper of Simon & Schuster, senior editor Lisa Ann Sandell of Scholastic, and agent Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.