Friday, July 31, 2009

Spooky News & Sideshow Giveaway

Dragon Speaker: The Last Dragon (HIP Books, September 2009) Contest from Cheryl Rainfield. Share Cheryl's "excited author" videos for chances to win signed books, more books, gift certificates to online book retailers, and more. See details. Contest open worldwide. Deadline midnight Sept. 30. Learn more about HIP Books.

What a Girl Wants #4: The girl vs the woman (when it comes to reading) from Chasing Ray. Peek: "...if YA did not exist would teens still be getting the best reading experience?" From Sara Ryan: "I think the YA authors who nail teen girls' voices credibly--and part of that is recognizing that a monolithic Teen Girl Voice does not exist--respect girls and their lives in a way that authors of adult books with teen girl characters often don't."

Striving for Contentment from Kristi Holl at Writers' First Aid. Peek: "To be honest, if you want to enjoy the writing life–if you want to enjoy the process, and not just the final product–you'll have to find a way to embrace both contentment and the urge to grow and improve." See also Restoring Balance to Your Life and A Writer's Renewal.

Choosing Your Own Path by R.L. LaFevers at Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "So here’s the thing. There are at least a hundred different paths to success. No, I'm not kidding." Read a Cynsations interview with R.L. LaFevers.

Between a Rock and a Can of Worms: Gail Carson Levine on cliches. Peek: "When you play out a cliche without using its words you freshen it up and get to the core that made it a cliche." Read a Cynsations interview with Gail.

YA Science Fiction is Alive and Well. Really. From Janni Lee Simner at Desert Dispatches. Peek: "...most of the YA SF out there is in fact published by the YA imprints of mainstream houses. That's a function of the way the YA genre markets itself--mysteries and romances and SF and fantasy and sometimes graphic novels all hang out side by side." See also Boy Books, Girl Books, Kid Books. Read a Cynsations interview with Janni.

A Character's Controlling Belief by Mary Atkinson from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "A character’s goal is different. Goal answers the question, what does a character want? Controlling belief answers, why does she want it?"

JacketFlap: "a comprehensive resource for information on the children's book industry. Thousands of published authors, illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, and publishers visit JacketFlap every day." Includes social networking features and blog registration. A great way to increase your children's-YA blog's readership! Read a Cynsations interview with JacketFlap CEO Tracy Grand.

Nancy Werlin: National Book Award Finalist and Edgar Award Winner: official site is newly redesigned by Hit Those Keys. Atmospheric!

The book trailer below features The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren by Wendy Toliver (Simon Pulse, 2007).



How 19 Jobs Prepared Me for the Writing Business by Kimberly Willis Holt at A Good Blog is Hard to Find. Peek: "I don't view my former jobs as mere pit stops along the journey. No matter how unrelated those positions might seem to the writing profession, each contributed to my earning a byline." Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Diversity Roll Call Roundup: POC in Sci-Fi & Fantasy by L.M. Baldwin from Color Online. Reading recommendations!

Secret Agent by Brian Yansky at Brian's Blog. Peek: "I am a writer. You are a writer. I am a secret agent. You are a secret agent. " Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

More Personally

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Listening Library, 2009) is now available in audio formats. The readers are Allyson Ryan as Miranda and Jesse Bernstein as Zachary. Watch Cynsations for a giveaway announcement!

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith from The Compulsive Reader. Peek: "[On what makes my Gothic fantasies unique] it's probably the girl-empowerment themes and the combination of multicultural, religious, and economic diversity in fantasy settings. They're also upper-level YAs that include, say, quasi-epistolary elements, unreliable narrators, alternating point of view, etc., which gears them toward more YA sophisticated readers."

Thank you to the Austin area Barnes & Noble CRMs for their hospitality at my signing last Friday afternoon at the Texas PTA conference at the Austin Convention Center.

Business Notes

If you would like to submit a book for consideration, request confirmation of receipt, or request a book donation, or submit any other request, please first see the contact page of the main site.

Blurb requests on manuscripts should be sent, after query, by agents or editors, not by authors.

Note: the above policies apply both to strictly professional colleagues and to those who have a personal tie. Thanks for your understanding!

Last Call for July 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!

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.

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.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wizards of the Coast: Dragon Song Contest

From librarian Jeanette Larson

Wizards of the Coast LLC is sponsoring a lyrics-writing contest for libraries and kids and teens ages 8-14 to explore the world of dragons. Entrants will write lyrics set to the story of the Green Dragon, and the winning lyrics will then be set to music to tie in with the Mirrorstone® book, A Practical Guide to Dragons by Lisa Trutkoff Trumbauer (2006), and the books in the Dragon Codex series.

Lyrics about the first four dragons in the Dragon Codex series – Red Dragon (2008), Bronze Dragon (2008), Black Dragon (2008) and Brass Dragon, all by R. D. Henham -- provide the start of the song and will be provided on the Wizards of the Coast website.

Now it’s your turn to tell the Green Dragon’s story in lyrics. We’ve provided:

• the chorus and the lyrics about the first four dragons plus music for where the winning lyrics will go;

• information on the Dragon Song format;

• tips on how to write great lyrics (it's a lot like writing poetry!);

• a fact sheet about Green Dragon with information from A Practical Guide to Dragons (2006) and from the new book in the Dragon Codex series, Green Dragon Codex (2009).

Check your library for these and all the Dragon Codex series books. Now your group can be the bard and give us the words!

The contest is open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited. The contest will be open from 12:01 a.m. PST June 25 until midnight PST Aug. 9. The winner will be announced on or about Sept. 1.

To enter, email Raab Associates the text of your lyrics along with your Library Participation Form (scroll for link) and the Entry Form for each participating child/teen (scroll for link). By participating in the contest, participating library and each entrant agrees to be bound by the official rules.

Once the contest is done, Wizards will record the final stanza and credit the winning library and the first name (or team name) of the entrant when we announce the winner. The song will be posted at Mirrorstone.

The winning library will receive two copies each of:

A Practical Guide to Dragons by Lisa Trutkoff Trumbauer (2006);
Red Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (2008);
Bronze Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (2008);
Black Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (2008);
Brass Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (2008);
Green Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (2009);

Plus two Practical Guide calendars and an assortment of bookmarks.

Plus each member of the winning team will receive one copy of A Practical Guide to Dragons (200) and Green Dragon Codex (2009)!

Visit Mirrorstone for contest details. This is a great summer promotion that can tie in with summer reading programs and which you can do as a group writing activity, or have kids write their own entry and have a contest at your library to pick the entry you think is best to submit. Don’t forget to listen to the Dragon Song lyrics we have started it off with and also check the website for tips to help you create a winning entry!

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.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd is Now Available

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009) is now available!

From the promotional copy:

"Acclaimed authors Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best-selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

"With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on."

My short story, "The Wrath of Dawn," co-authored by Greg Leitich Smith, is included in the collection.

Read Cynsations interviews with Holly and Cecil.

Cover of the Week: 'Geektastic' by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "'This was assigned to me based on my personality; I love geeky stuff. The book immediately made me think of this group called EbOY, which does avatar designs. Initially we asked them to do fantasy figures [some of which remain on the cover, like Geeky school girl and Superhero]. Those were so cool, we asked them to do the authors. We gave them full-sized photos, and they managed to capture the author’s personalities.'"

Geektastic Giveaway

Geektastic Giveaway from Bookluver-Carol's Reviews. Peek: "So do you want to win 1 in 5 copies? Just leave a comment telling me about your geektastic story. It can be real or made up, but it has to be geektastic. There are no length requirements; it can be as long (or short) as you like." Deadline Aug. 17! Enter to win here, not at Cynsations.

Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical is Now Available

Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009) is now available!

The collection includes my short story, "Cat Calls," which is set in the Tantalize/Eternal universe and features new characters!

Here's the whole list of contributors:
Sideshow Giveaway

Enter to win one of three copies from Cynsations! 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. Deadline: July 31! Reminder: teachers, librarians, and professors should indicate themselves as such in their entries!

Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Spooky Summer Hiatus & VCFA Summer Residency

Spookycyn will be on hiatus from now until sometime shortly after July 22 while I teach at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults summer 2009 residency in Montpelier.

I look forward to working with fellow faculty members Kathi Appelt, Marion Dane Bauer, Margaret Bechard, Alan Cumyn, Sharon Darrow, Sarah Ellis, Louise Hawes, Ellen Howard, Uma Krishnaswami, Jane Kurtz, Julie Larios, Martine Leavitt, Leda Schubert, Shelley Tanaka, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Tim Wynne-Jones.

Kathi is leading the picture book program.

The VCFA Symposium on Good & Evil will be July 18. Guests will be Deborah Noyes, Nancy Werlin, and editor Stephen Roxburgh. Nancy will lecture and read from Impossible (Dial, 2008), and Deborah will lecture and read from The Ghosts of Kerfol (Candlewick, 2008). "Other events will include a writing challenge, breakout groups, book signings, and a reception.

"All are welcome to join faculty, students, and alumni for this day-long conference." Interested in attending? See more information.

The Alumni Mini-Residency will be July 17 to July 19. Organizers are Sarah Aronson and Mary Atkinson. About 60 alumni will return to campus for those three days for lectures, workshops, a master class with Patricia McCormick, and meetings with editors and agents.

Our graduate assistants will be Katie Mather, Cheryl Coupe, Debbie Gonzales, Stephanie Greene, Sharry Wright, Ann Jacobus Kordahl, and Nancy Bo Flood.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Spooky News & Sideshow Giveaway

Enter to win one of three copies of Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, July 14, 2009)! From the promotional copy:

Molly is a bearded girl who joins the circus, only to find that her former tormentor faces a far hairier plight. Tia claims that her lamented mom is a three-thousand-year-old mummy, but is it really an act? Cody sets out to foil a pop psychic, but the shocking result is not what he planned for. And Tiffany’s grandma sees something wild in her future, but is the girl prepared for the powerful shape it will take?

Whether the sideshow touts a two-headed rat or a turn-of-the-century American jargo, whether the subject discovers an odd kind of miracle or learns that the real freaks are outside the tent, these stories and graphic tales are by turns humorous and insightful, edgy and eerie, but always compulsively entertaining. Freaks, magicians, psychics, and the passing strange take center stage in ten original tales by top YA authors and graphic novelists.

Note: the collection includes my short story, "Cat Calls," which is set in the Tantalize/Eternal universe and features new characters!

Here's the whole list of contributors:
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. Deadline: July 31! Reminder: teachers, librarians, and professors should indicate themselves as such in their entries! Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Cynsations Giveaway Winners

Brent in Maine won an ARC of Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2008). Mary in Illinois won an ARC of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (HarperCollins, 2008). Kelly in California won an ARC of Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Hyperion, 2008). Read Cynsations interviews with Lisa, Lesley, and Laurie.

The winner of the Eternal T-shirt is Beth in Oklahoma. She chose the "I HEART My Guardian Angel" design in blue. Read a Cynsations interview with Gene Brenek on the Tantalize and Eternal designs.

The Janni Lee Simner Prize Package included a bookplate-autographed copy of the new release, Bones of Faerie (Random House, 2009), and traditionally autographed copies of both Secret of the Three Treasures (Holiday House, 2006)(hard copy) and Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2006)(paperback). Note: Gothic includes Janni's short story "Stone Tower." The winner was Katie in Washington. Read a Cynsations interview with Janni.

More News

Polite Communication from BookEnds, LLC - A Literary Agency. Peek: "It amazes me sometimes how often I'll have to call or email a single editor to get an answer to one question or how often I wonder if an editor has died and maybe, just maybe no one told me." Source: Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Number of times so far an author this year has, in all sincerity, asked if I knew whether his/her editor had died: twice.

Should You Self-Publish? from J.A. Konrath at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Peek: "I would avoid print self-pubbing if you someday want a traditional book deal, because numbers follow you. If you get an ISBN, that number is trackable, and so are the sales associated with it." Source: Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent.

Power of Writing Things Down by Kristi Holl at Writer's First Aid. Peek: "The days I keep track and write down what I accomplish are days when I write more and accomplish more."

Working in Children's Books and the Recession of 2008-09 (January 2009/Revised June 2009) by Harold Underdown from The Purple Crayon Blog. Peek: "In spite of all their growth, sales of ebooks in 2008 amounted to about 1/3 of the sales of audiobooks—something over $100 million compared to something over $300 million." Read a Cynsations interview with Harold.

Delacorte authors offer crash course in writing for a young audience by Katherine Tanney from the Austin American-Statesman. Peek: "At BookPeople on June 13, the quintet known as the Delacorte Dames and Dude gave a panel discussion moderated by Sarah Bird. The DDD — Shana Burg, April Lurie, Varian Johnson, Jennifer Ziegler and Margo Rabb — write novels for the young adult market (all for the same publisher) and also meet monthly to share information and writerly support."

VCFA Symposium on Good & Evil will be on July 18. Guests will be Deborah Noyes, Nancy Werlin, and editor Stephen Roxburgh. Nancy Werlin will lecture and read from Impossible (Dial, 2008) and Deborah Noyes will lecture and read from The Ghosts of Kerfol (Candlewick, 2008). "Other events will include a writing challenge, breakout groups, book signings, and a reception. All are welcome to join faculty, students, and alumni for this day-long conference." See more information. Read Cynsations interviews with Deborah, Nancy, and Stephen.

Coincidence by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Random thoughts on the art and craft of fiction writing. Peek: "Avoiding coincidence completely because you're trying to make your story 'real' sacrifices too many possibilities." See also Sheepdog and Writing. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Top 10 Ways to Fight Writer's Block by Stephanie Burgis from 2010: A Book Odyssey. Peek: "Julia Cameron is one of the best writers on creativity I know, and she suggests that every artist (of any type) should take time once a week to go out for an hour by themselves and do something that they find personally stimulating, whether that means visiting an art gallery or a stationery shop or a football game."

Doctor! Doctor! from Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "This week I want to talk about the role of the freelance editor, or book doctor. Is there a difference?" Note: the first in a week-long series that includes interviews with freelance editor Deborah Brodie and agents Emily van Beek of Pippin Properties and Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Note: congratulations to Helen on signing with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, and congratulations to Erin on signing with Helen!

Pre-Editing (Or, My Thoughts on Hiring Freelance Developmental Editors Pre-Submission) by Moonrat at Editorial Ass. Peek: "My esteemed interlocutor, however, did not realize I was bragging! Instead, she said something that shook me from buttons to boots: 'Oh wow, you guys edit over there? That's nice--I always used to enjoy editing. We don't have time, so we can only really buy books that are pretty much ready for production.'"

Crit Groups: Face to Face, or Online, Which is Best? by Kate Fall from Author2Author. Peek: "I have two crit groups: one in person and one online. Which is better? Well, it depends."

Robin Hood - Bold Outlaw of Barnsdale and Sherwood: Allen W. Wright's educational site features articles on Robin Hood, including interviews with children's authors such as Jane Yolen, Theresa Tomlinson, and Michael Cadnum.

Alex Flinn, Young Adult Author: a totally newly revamped website from the author of such recent books as Beastly (HarperCollins, 2007) and A Kiss in Time (HarperCollins, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Alex.

2k9 Celebrate Summer Giveaway: enter to win a prize package of 12 middle grade and YA novels from Class of 2K9. To enter, comment here by midnight July 14. Source: Megan Crewe.

NRT: Suzanne Crowley Interview + Contest by Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag. Peek: "I would say The Stolen One (Greenwillow, 2009) is a young adult historical romance with a bit of intrigue and mystery. The romance is not dominant as in a traditional romance. In fact, Kat has three love interests to choose from." Note: U.S. and Canadian readers may enter to win a copy of The Stolen One and a box of Godiva Chocolate by commenting by July 13. Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne about the novel.

"Beating the Jealous Bug" by Jan Fields from Writer's Support Room - Work Habits from the Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "The first time the Jealous Bug bit me was when I saw writers who I knew had fewer years in their craft landing book contracts while my picture book was making it to acquisition meetings but no further. Part of me wanted to roar, 'Why not me?'"

Journal Through the Summer by Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: "For a variety of reasons, writers often have difficulty writing during the summer. Your children may be out of school and underfoot, or you may have a house full of company. You may have trips and vacations planned."

When to Query, that is the question... from Emily Marshall at Author2Author. Peek: "What is Querying Fever, you ask. if medical dictionaries (or even Urban Dictionary) were cool enough to recognize this disease, it would be described as 'the constant itch and desire to send query letters too early'."

Meet Chris Eboch

Interview with Haunted's Chris Eboch by Joni Sensel from The Spectacle. Peek: "I try to be an open-minded skeptic, and that comes through in the books. My message is: don't believe everything you are told, but don’t assume things can't be true. Investigate, and make decisions for yourself."

"The Main Elements of Story: Plot, Character, Setting, and Theme" with National SCBWI Speaker Chris Eboch sponsored by Austin SCBWI is scheduled for Oct. 10. Registration information will be posted on the Austin SCBWI website this week. Attendees will receive a $10 discount when registering for the local January 2010 conference. Seating is limited. Registration opens July 6. Note: Austin SCBWI events often sell out. From the author site: Chris has a new series, Haunted, debuting August 2009 [from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin] with two books: The Ghost on the Stairs and The Riverboat Phantom.



Highlights of the Week

The Writer's League of Texas hosted is 2009 Agents Conference from June 26 to June 20 at the Austin Sheraton Hotel.

YA authors Varian Johnson and April Lurie chat with attendees after their panel. Read Cynsations interviews with Varian and April.

Greg and I didn't officially participate in this year's conference, but we stopped by to meet Julie Schoerke of JSK Communications and Keen Literary. Note: sorry, the light at the hotel was a bit funky. Read a Cynsations interview with Julie.

Julie first came onto our radar when she did an enormously successful publicity campaign for author Helen Hemphill (above). Read a Cynsations interview with Helen.

Austin YA author Jessica Lee Anderson and children's author Debbie Gonzales. Read Cynsations interviews with Jessica and Debbie.

Later, we went to dinner at Threadgill's South Austin with YA author Jennifer Ziegler, tween author Shana Burg, and Varian. Shana had brought a copy of the most recent Random House catalog. Read Cynsations interviews with Jennifer and Shana.

Varian shows off the page for his upcoming YA novel, Saving Maddie (Delacorte, 2010).

Jennifer shows off the page for her upcoming paperback release of How Not To Be Popular (Delacorte, 2010).

In other news, I recently had the honor of judging the Ann Arbor District Library 2009 IT'S ALL WRITE! Short Story Contest for middle/high school students!

The contest is 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. Judges also included Janet Lee Carey, John Coy, S.A. Harazin, Michael Harmon, Tanya Lee Stone, and Laura Wiess. Gary D. Schmidt was the awards ceremony speaker.

Congratulations to the young writers! Thanks to contest coordinators Vicki Browne and Shirley Coleman!