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:
- David Almond
- Aimee Bender
- Cecil Castellucci
- Shawn Cheng
- Annette Curtis Klause
- Margo Lanagan
- Danica Novgorodoff
- Matt Phelan
- Cynthia Leitich Smith
- Vivian Vande Velde
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.
Enter to win one of five author-signed copies of The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2009)! From the promotional copy:
Joe and Bob Switzer were very different brothers. Bob was a studious planner who wanted to grow up to be a doctor. Joe dreamed of making his fortune in show business and loved magic tricks and problem-solving. When an accident left Bob recovering in a darkened basement, the brothers began experimenting with ultraviolet light and fluorescent paints. Together they invented a whole new kind of color, one that glows with an extra-special intensity—Day-Glo.
Three copies are reserved for teachers, librarians, and/or university professors of education, library science, and/or youth literature! (Please indicate title and affiliation). Two copies are reserved for any Cynsations readers!
To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Day-Glo Brothers" 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 Chris.
Cynsations Giveaway Winners
The winner of Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker (Harper, 2009) is Olivia in Connecticut.
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.
R.A. Nelson Books: official site of the author of Teach Me (Razorbill, 2005), Breathe My Name (Razorbill, 2007), and Days of Little Texas (Knopf, July 2009). Peek: "Before becoming a writer, I wanted to be an astronaut, an NBA star, a time traveler, a colonist on the N. American continent somewhere between the years 1589-1720, and a general all-around explorer." See also his blog, R.A. Nelson Books. Read a Cynsations interview with R.A. Nelson.
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.
Reminder: the 2009 Annual Conference of the American Library Association will take place in Chicago from July 9 to July 15, 2009 at McCormick Place West. Highlights will include: "Nonfiction Book Blast: Booktalks for Reluctant Readers" from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 12 at Convention Center Room W181. Peek: "Despite the emphasis on fiction for leisure reading in schools, many reluctant readers are often more drawn to reading nonfiction. Expand your nonfiction repertoire as 17 authors booktalk their latest work." Moderator: Sharon Mitchell, Library Media Specialist. Speakers: Lisa Rondinelli Albert; Mary Bowman-Kruhm; Laura Crawford; Jeri Chase Ferris; Kelly Milner Halls; Amy S. Hansen; Gwendolyn Hooks; Katherine L. House; Patricia K. Kummer; Suzanne Lieurance; JoAnn Early Macken; Carla Killough McClafferty; Wendie Old; April Pulley Sayre; Anastasia Suen; Christine Taylor-Butler; Rebecca Hogue Wojahn and Donald Wojahn.
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.
Fab YA Authors on Their Favorite Queer-Themed Books from Emily at BookKids (see parts three and four).
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."
Marvelous Marketer: Mary Kate Castellani (an associated editor at Walker Books for Young Readers) from Shelli at Market My Words: Rantings and ravings on how authors can better market their books to kids. Peek: "It's not essential that a writer has a web site at the time of acquisition, but it's always a bonus to be able to say that an author has already created a web site—especially because it's a tool we'd want them to have at their disposal in the future."
Ask the Author from Melissa Stewart at I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. The question from Melody is: "How closely do you need to connect with your subject matter to write about it? Do you need to be female to write about amazing women? An environmentalist to write about Rachel Carson? Do you lose all your credibility if you're writing about African-Americans and you're not African-American?" Responding authors are Susan E. Goodman, Gretchen Wolfe, and Rosalyn Schanzer. See also More Ask the Author from Melissa as AMD asks: "What advice do you have for writers interested in breaking into this field?" Includes answers from Barbara Kerley and Vicki Cobb.
Beyond the Book: Confetti Girl by Diana Lόpez by editor Alvina Ling at Blue Rose Girls. Peek: "As soon as I finished reading the first draft of Confetti Girl (Little, Brown, 2009), I knew I wanted to marry it. Sure, I wanted to work with the author to make the novel even better, but the great thing about marrying a novel as opposed to a person is that you truly can make changes (a person might not be as open to changing!)." Read a Cynsations interview with Diana.
Finding My Character's Character by Jennifer Brown from Kidlit Central News. Peek: "Of all the pre-writing I do before starting a new big project, character sketching is one of the most important for me. I just can't sit down to write my character's story until I feel a really know who my character is. But I've found that filling out the same tried-and-true character questionnaire gets old..."
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.
Interview - Literary Agent Anna Webman from Suzette Saxton at QueryTracker.net. Peek: "Yes! I do absolutely think great YA can be done without being edgy." See also Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do).
Check out this sneak peek book trailer for My Papa Diego and Me / Mi papá Diego y yo by Guadalupe Rivera Marín and featuring artwork by her father, Diego Rivera, coming in Sept. 2009 from Children's Book Press. Note: trailer also features Dana Goldberg, executive editor of Children's Book Press; Susan McConnell, director of children's sales for PGW, and David Ouimet, national accounts director for PGW.
KT the Magnificent: An Interview with Kathleen T. Horning: Kathleen T. Horning is is one of the most influential librarians you'll ever meet—and one of the kindest by Nina Lindsay from School Library Journal. Peek: "We estimated there were about 2,500 new books published for children that year—and of those, only 18 were by African-American authors and illustrators. We were so shocked by that number that we published it in the introduction to CCBC Choices for that year. That had a real impact..."
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!