Attention Writers! Send a photo of yourself with a dinosaur (a museum skeleton, recreation, gas-station logo, made from Legos, whatever) to Greg Leitich Smith for inclusion in his upcoming blog series, Writers and Dinosaurs. You don't have to be published to participate! See link for details. See also Greg on The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.
Spooky Blogger Tip: Respect authors' copyright. Keep quotes to under 5o words or ask permission to post a longer excerpt.
Reminder: Teen writers/English teachers! Teen writers are encouraged to enter the Hunger Mountain Young Writers Contest. Three first place winners will receive $250 and publication! Three runners-up will receive $100 each. Note: I'm honored to be this year's judge. See link for more information. Hunger Mountain is the Vermont College of Fine Arts journal of the arts.
Creative Confidence by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "You are the only person on this planet who is going to care the most about your creative output and your career. Sure, you will get people in your corner, like your agent, your editor, your mentors, your friends and family, you cat, and your fans, who will care about your books or whatever else you do, but nobody will care about it half as much as you."
Making the Most of Writer's Conference Critiques by Jennifer Ziegler from Chasing Tales. Includes insights from agent Erin Murphy, editor Stephanie Elliott (formerly with Random House/Delacorte Press, now with Sparknotes), former Austin SCBWI regional advisor Meredith Davis, author Dorothy Love, and Writers' League of Texas executive director Cyndi Hughes. Peek from Erin: "It’s perfectly fine to talk it out with the critiquer to solidify your ideas, or to ask if you can have a moment to make a clear note to yourself so you don’t lose the train of thought and can go on to make use of all the time in your session."
Interview with Translator Laura Watkinson by Sarah Blake Johnson from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "...if a foreign-language publisher is trying to sell something like a YA novel, it makes little financial sense for them to have the whole book translated and time is also an issue, so they’ll usually have just an excerpt translated to take along to the book fair. An excerpt is typically around twenty pages...may be packaged with extra information about the author, such as a bibliography and perhaps an interview."
Your Platform Equals Opportunity by Greg Pincus from The Happy Accident. Peek: "Every time you create content, every time someone visits your blog while you’re asleep, every time you have an interaction…opportunity is created. You form a relationship, sometimes very brief and sometimes one that builds and builds."
Why Love Matters by Danyelle Leafty from QueryTracker. Peek: "...do you want just any old agent? Someone who might enjoy your story without ever having loved it?"
A comprehensive list of U.S. college- and university-sponsored or -hosted children’s and young adult literature conferences, festivals, and symposia compiled by Chris Barton from Bartography.
Publishing Industry News compiled by Kathy Temean from Writing and Illustrating. Peek: "Abrams will launch its third imprint Appleseed Books, a new imprint geared towards babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, in Spring 2012." Round-up includes recent job appointments/promotions, a new interactive online book club for tweens from Simon & Schuster, and more.
Last Call: Enter to win a signed copy of Throat by R.A. Nelson (Knopf, 2011). To enter the giveaway, comment here or email me (scroll and click envelope) and type "Throat" in the subject line.
Deadline: midnight CST April 1. Note: Author sponsored; U.S. entries only.
25 Days of Giveaways: Day 20: Tantalize Series by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Bookaholics Book Club. Giveaway includes:
-plush bat toy;
-chubby bat stickers;
-author-autographed postcard for Tantalize: Kieren's Story (featuring not-yet-public cover art for the graphic novel, illustrated by Ming Doyle);
-Sanguini's magnetic menu wipe board.
Eligibility: U.S. only. Deadline: 7:17 p.m. Friday, April 1. See link for entry form and more information. Note: Sanguini's is the fictional vampire-themed restaurant that appears in Tantalize, Blessed, and Tantalize: Kieren's Story.
Spooky Screening Room
Check out this author video interview with Jennifer Lynn Barnes from RT Book Reviews. I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer and hearing her speak at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. Learn more about her novel, Raised by Wolves (Egmont USA, 2010).
At the SCBWI-Wisconsin novel retreat in Madison last weekend (details below), I had the pleasure of connecting with one of my favorite YA authors, Deborah Lynn Jacobs. Check out her trailer for Choices (Roaring Brook, 2007).
I've had a few questions of late about traveling to writing/books events with only a backpack for trips under four days.
Here's the scoop: Traveling by air, I've had to deal with missing luggage for up to five days.
If I'm on the road, that leaves me with only the outfit I've got on. (Even if shopping sounds appealing, author-speaker schedules are such that I may not have an opportunity to do so.)
Plus, most airlines are charging fees for checked bags. I'd rather not deduct that from my earnings, and, I'm reluctant to pass that cost onto my hosts.
So, I pack my toiletries in a Ziploc bag (making sure to squeeze the air out), roll up mostly travel-knit garments, and plan to wear no more than two pairs of shoes on the trip. I also tend to take outfits that can be hand-washed and hanger-dried overnight.
From there, I slip in whatever is necessary--printed speeches, schedules, giveaways, manuscript, etc. The pack still fits beneath the seat in front of me, which is key with regional jets. Beyond that, I recommend using both shoulder straps. The pack will be heavy, and you're less likely to pull a muscle.
What else? After a fair number of such long-distance treks, I'm returning to writing (and more events) here in Central Texas for the next few months. Check out the schedule below.
But first, I'd like to offer a huge thanks to everyone at Lee County Library System in Fort Myers, Florida for your hospitality at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival! Thanks also to those folks who turned out for my presentation and/or signing!
Personal highlights included meeting Alice Hoffman, Eric Litwin, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes (see video above) as well as reconnecting with Phil Bildner. I also had the opportunity to catch Sara Shepard and Rosemary Well's talks.
I had such a terrific time at An Evening with the Authors at the Royal Palm Yacht Club, an affiliated event, and staying the Hotel Indigo--lovely with excellent service. Beyond that, Fort Myers is one of the friendliest towns I've ever visited!
Another mega thank you goes out to the coordinators and participants at last weekend's SCBWI-Wisconsin novel retreat at the Bishop O'Connor Center in Madison!
Special thanks to RA Pam Beres, ARA Judy Bryan and Ann Angel for bringing me in to teach the workshop. I'm still wowed by the writers I met, consider myself their forever cheerleader, and came home with warm memories.
School Library Journal says of Blessed (Candlewick, 2010): "Off-handed humor, clever wordplay, and a host of supernatural beings will delight fans of Smith’s Tantalize (2007) and Eternal (2009, both Candlewick), the two novels that precede this one, though Blessed can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel."
Links of the Week: Fight Multiple Sclerosis with author Lindsey Leavitt, Don't You Need a Gown Made of Golden Books?
Erin Murphy Literary Agency Wine Social will be at 3 p.m. April 16 at BookPeople in Austin. Peek: "Come meet Erin Murphy as well as some of the authors she represents."
The annual Texas Library Association Annual Conference will be April 12 to April 15 at the convention center in Austin. Check out the list of Austin author signings. Notes: (a) Take a Chance on Art and enter a raffle to win the illustration "Space Age" by Melanie Hope Greenberg to benefit the TLA Disaster Relief Fund; see more information; (b) Cynthia Leitich Smith will be signing Blessed and other titles at 11 a.m. April 13 in the Author Signing Area.
YA A to Z Conference, sponsored by the Writers' League of Texas, will be April 15 and April 16 at the Hyatt Regency Austin (208 Barton Springs Road). Cost: $279 WLT Members, $349 Nonmembers (through March 15). See more information. Note: conference faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Cynthia will serve as the interviewer at "Meet the Author: Gail Giles" and as a panelist on "Going Graphic: Writing Graphic Novels" with Hope Larson, moderated by K.A. Holt. Spaces are still available! Register today!