Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Self" Promotion?

Jenlibrarian posts on why authors need to tell librarians about their books and cites author Rukshana Khan as a good role model.

I often go to lunch with first-time authors who express concern about promoting themselves.

(Actually, to date, women express concern about this; men don't).

What I tell them is that it isn't about you, the person.

It is about your book and your body of literature.

It's about your role as an ambassador (to whatever extent you feel comfortable) of children's/YA literature and literacy.

Cynsational News & Links

Interview with Rukshana Kahn from author Uma Krishnaswami's Web site. Also includes interviews with other writers of South Asian origin.

"The Shoe String Press has ceased bookselling operations as of April 15, 2005, after fifty-three years of continuous business."

For the next few days, I'll be busy running Writefest 2005 with Greg. Surf over to spookycyn if you want to know more about it.

I Am The Wallpaper by Mark Peter Hughes

I Am The Wallpaper by Mark Peter Hughes (Delacorte Press, 2005). Floey's nothing but "the wallpaper" compared to her sister Lilian who "always had to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral." But all that's over now, at least if Floey herself has anything to say about it. New Floey, future Floey is on the rise, no matter the resulting friendship fallouts, family turmoils, and revelations of her private life on the Internet. At turns tender and comedic, Floey is ultimately a heroine to cheer. Ages 10-up. Read an excerpt, and don't miss floeysprivatelife.com.

More Thoughts On I Am The Wallpaper

Floey is a great example of a character who grows into her likability. Too often it seems we're so worried about reader identification (and attention span) that we writers back away from really showing protagonist faults. The result is that the character growth arc is flattened. But here, the author sees and conveys his heroine clearly and compellingly.

I absolutely love that Calvin was from Oklahoma City (central time zone!) and, having dated an cowboy poet or two myself, found him utterly convincing.

Love also the Internet extension of the novel. An excellent example of how books and technology can be cooperative rather than competitive.

Overall the book was very well produced, though on the rare occasion that Floey's "handwriting" type is produced with an asterix and smaller font, I found it challenging to read. But then again, I'm very old (age 37).

Marketing pitches the novel with a Booklist quote calling it a clever amalgam of Bridget Jones' Diary and Harriet the Spy, which is fair, but I agree also with Floey herself that she at least begins in more of a Molly Ringwald a' la "Sixteen Candles'" (Samantha Baker) place in the world (bonus points for mentioning "the cute guy in the red car").

This debut novel was a finalist for the 2003 Delacorte Press Prize for First Young Adult Novel.

Like me, author Mark Peter Hughes has worked in a gas station (he was an attendant; I was a cashier) and in a movie theater (he was an usher; I was a popcorn popper).

Also the zen was way zen, says Zen Cyn.

Cynsational News & Links

Amazing Vermont College MFA folks I've heard from lately include author Louise Hawes. Her titles include: The Vanishing Point (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); Waiting For Christopher (Candlewick, 2002); and Rosey In The Present Tense (Walker, 1999). She offers some lovely inspirational words for new writers and some wonderful essays: "On Overwriting: The Pitfalls of 'Lyrical' Prose;" "Writing from the Core: Does It Have To Hurt?;" September 11: the Day the Writing Stopped;" and "Thou Shalt Not Tell...Or Shalt Thou?"

Monday, June 13, 2005

Shelf Life by Robert Corbet

Shelf Life by Robert Corbet (Walker, 2004). A quasi short story collection with a wrap-around romance wherein each "aisle" offers insight into an employee's "shelf life." Best when it gives a peek into the scenes behind the shelves; worth reading for Rahel's story alone. Ages 12-up.

Unrelated Thoughts

Lots of talk in the author community about how school visits are drying up. Many folks who've been full time authors for several years are going back to day jobs.

Authors might consider creating bibliographies of their own recommended reads--hand them out at events, slip them into mailings, post them on Web sites. Light a candle!

Cynsational News & Links

Shelf Life recommendation from Richie's Picks.

Super Stories from the Supermarket by Sally Murphy from Aussiereviews.com.

A preview of "Letters of Imagination," a silent auction at the upcoming 2005 ALA National conference in Chicago, is available at the Children's Book Council Web site. Contributing artists include nine Caldecott winners and numerous other award winners. 150 original letters of the alphabet were created specifically for the auction. Bidding will start at $50. Find out more about the auction; see the art by letter (highly recommended); see the art by artist.

Frequent readers will notice that I've turned off comments for a while because I'll be too busy to police them.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Order Of The Poison Oak (Take II)

LizB offers a wonderful rec of The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger (HarperCollins, 2005)(see June 10 post).

I particularly agree with her assertion: "Now all we need -- because I'm the demanding sort -- are GLBT teen books that are fantasy. And science fiction. And mystery."

It also hit me that I've been neglecting to mention the book in my recent lists of my 2005 recs because I read the ARC in 2004. But it's a 2005 book, and folks paying a lot of attention to the books published this year should have it high on their radar.

See my own thoughts on The Order of the Poison Oak (includes Story Behind The Story interview on Geography Club).

(Also don't miss the rest of the 2005 recs, plus new additions: Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez (Simon & Schuster, 2005); Sketches From A Spy Tree by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, illustrated by Andrew Glass (Clarion, 2005); It Is The Wind by Ferida Wolff, illustrated by James Ransome (HarperCollins, 2005); and The Meanest Girl by Debora Allie (Roaring Brook, 2005)).

Cynsational News & Links

Brent Hartinger: Author Bio from Teenreads.com. April 12, 2005 interview.

Brent Hartinger: the out gay author of young-adult best sellers addresses writing about gay issues for teens by Jamie Rhein from Out.com.

Interview with Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club from Debbi Michiko Florence.

Interview with Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club from AfterEllen.com.

"Should I Do Free Rewrites?: Thoughts on an Age-Old Writing Question" by Brent Hartinger from The Purple Crayon.

"The Writing Pie: How Do You Slice It?" by Christa Exter from the Institute of Children's Literature.

"The Power of Persistence: Overcoming Rejection on the Path to Publication:" an archived ICL chat with author Judy Cox.
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