Friday, September 17, 2010

Spooky News, Alien Invasions & Brains for Lunch

Nightfall Scary Story Writing Contest from Lerner Books. Peek: "After reading Thaw—our free Night Fall™ eBook—we want you to become an author and create a creepy ending to a scary story just like the tales told in our new Night Fall series." The winner will receive two complete sets of all six books in the Night Fall™ series—one for the winner and one for the winner's school library; editorial advice in a letter from the editorial director of Darby Creek. Plus, the winning story will be published on the Lerner Books Blog, and the winner's name will become a character name in an upcoming Night Fall™ novel. See more information.

Glass Houses, Elephants, and the Internet by Danyelle Leafty from Carolyn Kaufman at QueryTracker. Peek: "I don't really talk much about politics or religion. I have plenty of opinions on them, but I save those discussions for real life. Also, I don't put up pictures of my kids, name them, or even really discuss them."

Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls for Writers to Avoid by Sage Cohen from Writer's Digest. Peek: "It’s easy to focus on the negative in writing and in life. But when we turn our attention to what’s working and what we appreciate from moment to moment, our sails turn into the wind." Source: Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

It's Okay Not to Be Happy All the Time by Kate Fall from Author2Author. Peek: "I couldn't take all the disappointment anymore and I broke down to my husband. Ugh, I've been writing for so long, why aren't I better at it?!"

Women Writers of Color: Cindy Pon from Color Online. Peek: "I'm really a believer in being active through positive action." Read a Cynsations interview with Cindy.

Succeeding as a Writer: Confidence and Determination by Carolyn Kaufman from QueryTracker. Peek: "If feeling good about what you'd written was as far as any of this went, all would be well. But so many of us have this urge, this drive, this need to get published. And what is that all about anyways?"

Losing Out on a Hot Commodity
by Mary Kole from Peek: "It isn’t my job to gush over a book or tell the author how brilliant they are (though I often do). It’s my job to sell that book. So if I think I can do my job, I offer representation. But I also caution the writer that there are no guarantees." See also Mary on Does Your Day Job Matter? Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Seven Keys to Writing Good Dialogue by Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "When the dialogue is carrying exposition and trying to tell the reader too much, characters end up saying a lot of very unnatural and unwieldy things." Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

How to Sell a Book? Good Old Word of Mouth by Lynn Neary from NPR. Peek: "Getting everyone within the company talking about the book is the first step in building the buzz. The next step is spreading that excitement to the outside world." Source: April Henry.

How to Create a Character from Holly Lisle. Peek: "Don't start your character off with a name or a physical description." Source: April Henry.

How To Connect with a Critique Group by Kathy Temean from Writing and Illustrating. Peek: "There are a lot of pluses to online groups. They open you up a broader range of writers, because you don’t have to worry about coordinating meeting locations and times."

Dark Song by Gail Giles (Little, Brown, 2010) Giveaway from P.J. Hoover at Roots in Myth. See link for details on how to enter. Deadline: Sept. 24. Read a Cynsations guest post by Gail on Writer's Block.

On Requested Manuscripts by Sara Crowe from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "Now that my list is pretty full, and that I am not taking on many more new clients, I've also become more demanding of each requested manuscript. I know that for both the author's sake and mine, I have to fall madly in love with it to be the right agent for it." Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

The Promotional Quantity by Eric at Pimp My Novel. Peek: "A promotional quantity is the number of copies a store or chain needs to take in order for them to have enough to put the book into co-op placement." Note: congratulations to Eric on his 300th post!

How You Can Tell How Well Your Book is Selling by Rachelle Gardner from Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Peek: "This is sometimes a tough one for authors."

On Self-doubt and Getting It Written Instead of Getting It Right by Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard. Peek: "It won't disappear just because you've sold a book. In fact, it might get worse. Because you'll look at the total-piece-of-junk you think you're writing, and then you'll go to your shelf and you'll pick up your published book."

Spooky Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Alien Invasions and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky (Candlewick, 2010). Note: In a blurb for this novel, I said, "Wry, fierce, richly imagined—-the total conquest of humanity has never been so entertaining."

More Personally

The launch party for Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. (Kari) Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, 2010) was at 2 p.m. Sunday at BookPeople in Austin. The event featured a face painter. Here, author Kari has been bitten by a zombie!

In true zombie fashion, Kari served eyeballs, fingers, brains, brain juice, and cookies.

BookKids event coordinator Mandy Brooks is in the spooky spirit!

And so am I! (Don't I look scary? Greg and I went out to dinner at Shoal Creek Saloon afterward, and our waitress exclaimed, "What got a hold of your face?!" Note: the saloon was flooded about a foot in the main room, about a foot in the party room by Tropical Storm Hermine; the staff just shrugged it off.

Kari did a reading and judged a haiku contest, won by author Jo Whittemore.

Here's Jo (dark hair) talking to Emma Virjan (in black), Jessica Lee Anderson (in red), her husband, and Bethany Hegedus is up front (in green).

See also Kari (and P.J. Hoover) on The Top Ten Ways to Make a Group Write-In Successful from The Spectacle.

In other news, thanks to Donna Cooner at YA Muses for the recent Follow Friday shout out! Most appreciated.