Friday, August 07, 2009

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win both Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa, illustrated by Ed Young (Philomel, 2009) and Hook by Ed Young (Roaring Brook, 2009)! See entry details at end of giveaways listing. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Ed.

From the promotional copy of Tsunami!: "Ojiisan, the oldest and wealthiest man in the village, doesn't join the others at the rice ceremony. Instead he watches from his balcony. He feels something is coming—something he can’t describe. When he sees the monster wave pulling away from the beach, he knows. Tsunami! But the villagers below can’t see the danger. Will Ojiisan risk everything he has to save them? Can he?

"Illustrated in stunning collage by Caldecott winner Ed Young, here is the unforgettable story of how one man's simple sacrifice saved hundreds of lives. An extraordinary celebration of both the power of nature and the power each of us holds within."

From the promotional copy of Hook: "Hook is about the universal need to find oneself. An orphaned bald eagle is adopted by a caring but confused hen and must try again and again to rise to where he belongs in life. A very simple text sketches the story, while Young's pastel drawings on speckled burnt sienna paper glow as they bring the story to life."

Enter to win Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Ethan Long (Little, Brown, 2009). See entry details at end of giveaways listing. Read a previous Cynsations interview with J. Patrick Lewis.

From the promotional copy of Countdown to Summer: "Whether readers love poetry, riddles, and rhymes or just like to laugh, this richly varied collection of original poems is sure to keep them coming back for more! J. Patrick Lewis's fun and accessible poetry features delightful wordplay and a variety of subjects and forms featured in a compendium that counts down from the first day of school to the last. Paired with Ethan Long's lively art, these poems will have readers wishing there were more days in the school year!"

Enter to win a paperback of Stealing Heaven (Harper, 2008) and a hardcover of Love You Hate You Miss You (Harper, 2009), both by Elizabeth Scott. See entry details at end of giveaways listing. Read this week's Cynsations interview with Elizabeth.

From the promotional copy of Stealing Heaven: "Dani has been trained as a thief by the best--her mother. Together, they move from town to town, targeting wealthy homes and making a living by stealing antique silver. They never stay in one place long enough to make real connections, real friends--a real life.

"In the beach town of Heaven, though, everything changes. For the first time, Dani starts to feel at home. She's making friends and has even met a guy. But these people can never know the real Dani--because of who she is. When it turns out that her new friend lives in the house they've targeted for their next job and the cute guy is a cop, Dani must question where her loyalties lie: with the life she's always known--or the one she's always wanted."

From the promotional copy of Love You Hate You Miss You: "It's been seventy-five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her. And she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone now, and she doesn't want to talk about it. They wouldn't get it, anyway. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to have your best friend ripped away from you. They wouldn't understand what it feels like to know it's your fault.

"Amy's shrink thinks it would help to start a diary. Instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. But as she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past wasn't as perfect as she thought it was--and the present deserves a chance too."

To enter these contests, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Ed Young," "J. Patrick Lewis," or "Elizabeth Scott" in the subject line (Facebook and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the name(s) in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31. Note: you may enter more than one giveaway, but please send a separate email/message for each entry.

Reminder: the Eternal audiobook giveaway is ongoing!

June Giveaway Winners

The winners of Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009) were Kristen in Illinois, Erika in Florida, and Elaine Willis of Irwin County Middle/High School in Georgia. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Deborah.

The winners of The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2009) were Jeffrey in Florida, Kathi in Texas, Barbara at Farmington Public Library in New Mexico, Patricia at the University of Richmond in Virginia, and Stella (an LMS) in New York.

Listen to Mark Perzel's radio interview with Chris on WBXU 91.7 in Cincinnati. See also a recent Cynsations interview with Chris.

More News

Congratulations to Justine Larbalestier and Bloomsbury USA on the new cover of Liar (2009)! Justine writes: "...given the paucity of black faces on YA covers, and the intensity of the debate around the original Liar cover, Bloomsbury felt really strongly that a more representative approach was needed. Rather than using a stock photo, Bloomsbury went the whole hog and did a photo shoot." Note: you can catch up on the discussion--much of it about representations of diversity more broadly--which contributed to a change in Justine's US cover, at her blog and several others. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Justine.

Cupa Chat with Author Karen Cushman by Jolie Stekly from Cuppa Jolie. Peek: "The Newbery Awards changed my life. Professionally, the awards mean my books will stay in print, I get letters from enthusiastic readers who ask enthusiastic questions, and I travel to bookstores and schools and conference and meet a lot of fabulous people and eat a lot of rubber chicken."

Collecting Literary Tattoos by Jason Boog from Mediabistro. Peek: "According to the LA Times, bloggers Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge from HTMLGiant are looking for submissions for a literary tattoo collection."

Texas librarians show wild side in calendar by Kelly Shannon from the Associated Press. Peek: "Texas librarians are baring their skin and revealing their tattoos - all to raise disaster relief money to help damaged libraries. Photos of the librarians and their body art appear in a new calendar sold by the Texas Library Association."

The 2009 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Finalists: "The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the finalists for the inaugural Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction." The finalists are: After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam); Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt); The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins); Me, The Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins); My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger (Dial). Source: The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance.

The Bluebonnet List & Readers Theater: 2009-10 Master List Suggested Scripts from the Texas Library Association. Highly recommend to elementary educators, includes 11 scripts.

Brothers Delacorte: "Adam Selzer, James Kennedy and Daniel Kraus, three young Chicago authors who write young adult and middle grade novels for Random House's acclaimed Delacorte Press imprint. They have joined forces to cross promote their books and appear at stores, conventions, and schools in Chicago and across the country." See also Austin's Delacorte Dames and Dude.

Be There by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: "You have to be there in the scene you’re writing. You have to write it from the inside out and not the outside in." See also Avoiding a Filter. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Brian.

Catching Up with Coe by Jeff Rivera from School Library Journal. Peek: "Writing about inner-city kids is near and dear to my heart, especially considering the fact that I used to be an inner-city kid myself! And since I live in the Bronx, it’s only natural that I’d be inspired by the things I see around me." Source: April Henry.

Kendra by Coe Booth: the August feature from readergirlz. Peek from Lorie Ann Grover: "'We were enthusiastic to discover this Bronx teen girl, working through abandonment, restriction, and physical attraction. Our community will engage with Kendra and the realistic cast that surrounds her. Brava, Coe!'"

Siblings in Children's Books: You Gotta Love 'Em, Right? by Stephanie Greene at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "I just want to talk about books which I feel portray siblings realistically. And those that don't. And why kids love reading about siblings. And what, in the readers own experience as a sibling, affects their response to siblings in a book." See also All Happy Siblings are Alike, Siblings, Siblings Everywhere, and There's a Limit to How Interesting Siblings Find One Another.

What Fuels Your Writing? by Kristi Holl at Writers First Aid. Peek: "Energy from hurts and wounds and pain can be very useful to you as a writer. But, if you're just wounded, does that automatically translate into books others will want to read? No." See also What Motivates You? and Get Inspired Daily.

Hammond Starts Picture Book Line from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Themes of the new line will center around self-awareness, the importance of personal choices and social awareness." Source: Children's Book Biz News.

Congratulations to Debbi Michiko Florence on the release of Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book, illustrated by Jim Caputo (Williamson Books, 2009)! From the promotional copy: "Are you curious about Japan? Do you want learn how to make omusubi and mochi? Do you celebrate Children's Day? Would you like to learn some Japanese words? In Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book, you can discover the amazing places, art, food, games, history, and holidays of Japan through over 40 hands-on/minds-on activities." Read a previous Cynsations interview with Debbi.

Piper Reed Giveaways: Kimberly Willis Holt is sponsoring a whole month of giveaways of books from her Piper Reed series, including one entire classroom set, in celebration of the release of Piper Reed Gets a Job (Henry Holt, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Editor Ruta Rimas of Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins from Terry Pierce: Children's Author. Peek: "My taste in books...Well, it has to be something that moves me—in a humorous way, in a touching way, in a thought-provoking way…" Note: Ruta is on the Kansas SCBWI fall conference ("Wrangling Words and Works of Art") faculty on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12. Source: Kidlit Central.

Check out this book trailer for Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert (MTV Books, 2009). Join the online release party. See also What's Fresh with Stephanie Kuehnert's Ballads of Suburbia from Kelly Para at YA Fresh.

Marvelous Marketer: Melissa Sarver (Literary Agent, Elizabeth Kaplan Agency) from Shelli at Market My Words: Rantings and ravings on how authors can better market their books to kids. Peek: "In fiction, I am looking for literary and commercial projects; I gravitate toward dark, edgy stories with brilliant prose and strong voice as well as quirky stories with a fresh sense of humor. I especially enjoy family sagas, multicultural stories and similarly emotional stories with dystopian themes."

Working with Your Partner, the Writer: a guest post by Carly Wells from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "As a high school English teacher, I already have a life that drives me crazy with busyness, but I still want to be a part of my writer-partner's journey toward being published, and I'm sure I'm not alone in those feelings. Here are the ways I've found that have helped out..."

Interview: Lara Zeises from Little Willow at Slayground. Peek: "The book had been optioned by its producer, Barbara Lieberman, on behalf of Lifetime the summer of 2006. I didn't hear anything for months and months, but then, in the spring of 2007, my agent casually mentioned in a voice mail message that things were moving along with the movie deal. Shocker!" See also Lara's newly redesigned website. Read a Cynsations interview with Lara.

Roxie Munro: official site of the author-illustrator of Amusement Park (Sterling, 2009), Inside-Outside Dinosaurs (Marshall Cavendish, 2009), Go! Go! Go!: More than 70 Flaps to Uncover and Discover (Sterling, 2009), Mazeways: A to Z (Sterling, 2007), Rodeo (Bright Sky, 2007), and many more (several Western-themed) books for young readers. Roxie was born in Texas and now makes her home in New York.

How do your critiques vary? by P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. P.J. takes a look at how she approaches first-page v. partial v. full-manuscript critiques. Peek: "I love reading first pages. I don't want to be confused. I don't want too many characters. And I really don't want to see too many adjectives or adverbs. I want to see conflict. I want the voice to make me want to keep reading." Read a Cynsations interview with P.J.

Interview with Author Kathleen Duey by Alice Pope from Alice's CWIM Blog. Peek: "To move from my very competently written paperback series to the kind of books I am writing now, I had to recover the deeper parts of my own artistic process. It was tricky at first. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I set it aside and why, and I very purposefully set out to get it back." See also a Cynsations interview with Kathleen.

Check out this trailer for the forthcoming Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe (Henry Holt, Sept. 15, 2009). See also Megan's insights on the making of the trailer.

How to Write a Log Line by David Macinnis Gill at I Am Chikin, Hear Me Roar. Peek: "A 'log line' is Hollywood terminology that means a one-to-two sentence descriptor of a story. It gets its name, I imagine, from a time when someone had to log each story line, and they wanted to write as little as possible." Read a previous Cynsations interview with David.

The age-old, oft-discussed, oft-annoying discussion: what is the difference between MG and YA? by Stacy Whitman at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. Peek: "Yes, the author needs to tell the editor what age group you see it as, because it helps us to know whether you have a firm enough grasp on the market to be able to place it. However, where you say it is may not be where it ends up." Read a previous Cynsations interview with Stacy.

Neil Gaiman and Ashley Bryan at ALA: videos courtesy of Joyce Valenza Ph.D at School Library Journal.

Jo Knowles: Did It Happen To You? from Peek: "'Where did you get your idea?' Often when I give the usual answer, I can see a bit of disappointment on some faces. Or is it suspicion? I think this is because the real question some people want to know is, is the book 'true'? In other words, did it happen to me?" Read a previous Cynsations interview with Jo.

More Personally

I'm honored that one of my favorite authors (and people), Carrie Jones, included being featured on Cynsations as the fulfillment as one of her Writing Dreams. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Please note that I'm on deadline for Blessed (Candlewick, 2011) until mid September. Unless you have a time-sensitive matter, please hold off on sending me email (to the extent practical) until after that time. Thanks!

Reminder: the Eternal audiobook giveaway is ongoing!

VCFA Day in Texas
Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Day in the Lone Star State: acclaimed authors Kathi Appelt and Sharon Darrow will lead a conference on the craft of writing for young readers on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 at Teravista (4333 Teravista Club Dr.) in Round Rock, which is located just 20 minutes north of Austin. Note: open to alumni and all other serious writers for young readers! Participants are incoming from nation wide. Spots are filling fast--register today! See more information. Read previous Cynsations interviews with Kathi and Sharon.

Central Texas Events

Liz Garton Scanlon will celebrate the release of her picture book, All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/S&S), with story time at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 26 at BookPeople in Austin. Read Cynsations interviews with Liz and Marla. See the All the World curriculum guide (PDF) created by Natalie Dias Lorenzi. Read a previous Cynsations interview with Liz.

Jessica Lee Anderson (Border Crossings (Milkweed, 2009)) and P.J. Hoover (The Forgotten Worlds Book 2: The Navel of the World (CBAY, 2009)) will have a joint book release party at 2 p.m. Oct. 18 at BookPeople. Read previous Cynsations interviews with Jessica and P.J.

Austin SCBWI

Cynthia Levinson will speak on "Writing for the Magazine Market" at 11 a.m. Aug. 15 at BookPeople and Chris Barton will speak on "Writing the Picture Book Biography" at 11 a.m. Sept. 12 at BookPeople, both in conjunction with Austin SCBWI. Read a recent Cynsations interview with Chris.

"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.

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 Kirby 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. Read Cynsations interviews with Mark, Nathan, Chris, Shana, Jessica, Liz, Jennifer, and Philip.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Craft, Career & Cheer: Keith Graves

Learn about Keith Graves.

What do you love most about your creative life? Why?

I love the freedom to dig into my creative sub-conscious every day and pull out the interesting things I find in there.

Then it's like a science project where I build this cool thing that I can kind of see, but there's no blueprint for how to put it together. I have to figure out what the thing is and how to create it on the fly.

Sometimes it comes together smoothly, logically, but often it's all trial and error, and starting over a bunch of times.

Then when it's done, it's like seeing your papier mâché volcano erupt. It's a blast like no other.

When and where do you write? Why does that time and space work for you?

I write in my studio so early in the morning that it's barely actually morning. It's kind of a spooky, peaceful time of day with no distractions, when almost anything seems possible. I sometimes put on ambient creepy sound effects for mood enhancement in the background.

Also, I'm most creative when I first wake up in the morning, more likely to come up with good stuff. Still, I will sometimes sit down and write at other times if the feeling hits me.

What do you love most about being an author? Why?

I love inventing entire worlds and peopling them with interesting beings. I love telling myself stories and then tweaking them over and over again, adding things that make them cooler, thinking “Yeah, like that!”

It's like entertaining myself with wilder and wilder ideas until I’m completely obsessed with the whole thing. At that point, I'm hooked and there's no way out except to write the story.

Then there's the thrill of having the book in your hand at the end, when the thing gets (hopefully) published, and knowing that a bunch of other people might have as much fun reading it as you did writing it.

What can your fans look forward to next?

Next up is Chicken Big, which will be published by Chronicle Books. It's a funny picture book about a giant chick's identity crisis, and the dumb chickens around him who make matters worse by suggesting he may be anything from an elephant to an umbrella. Anyway, I think it's my funniest one.

Then there's my new YA book series tentatively titled "Gory, Horrid, and Macabre." It's a creepy/funny/mysterious/disgusting story about a kid who doesn't know who (or what) he is, or where he came from. Now that I'm writing this, he sounds a little like Chicken Big! I guess I'm into characters with identity problems these days.

But, unlike the chicken book, it's a story with an insane murderer, mutant monsters, a walking corpse, a fourteen year old girl who hates make-up, anhydrous ammonia, a gangster cat, and quite a bit of the stuff the title suggests. I've done some illustrations to go with the story as well, one of which I’ve included here. Coming soon.

Cynsational Notes

See the video "Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance" from Lost Boy Studios, in association with Vanguard Films, featuring a story by Keith Graves. Note: don't worry if the whole guide bar doesn't load, "buttons" should still work.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Author Interview: Elizabeth Scott on Something, Maybe and Love You Hate You Miss You

You last visited Cynsations in August 2008 to discuss Stealing Heaven (HarperCollins, 2008). Do you have any recent news to share on that novel or your other books?

After Stealing Heaven came out, it was named to the Texas Library Association's reading list and was a 2009 Best Book for Young Adults pick, which made me very happy!

I also had another novel released in 2008, Living Dead Girl (Simon Pulse). It was a departure from my previously released books--much darker in tone, about a girl who has spent five years living with her kidnapper.

I was fortunate to receive a lot of support for Living Dead Girl from my publisher, readers, and librarians--all of whom have really championed the book. Living Dead Girl was named a 2009 Best Book for Young Adults, a 2009 Quick Pick for Young Adults, a 2009 Amelia Bloomer Project pick, a VOYA's Editor's Choice for Teens, and was recently named one of the NYPL's 100 picks for 2009's Stuff for the Teen Age. Quite frankly, it's been amazing and, as I said, I've been very fortunate!

Congratulations on your 2009 releases--Something, Maybe (Simon Pulse, 2009) and Love You Hate You Miss You (HarperCollins, 2009)! Let's start with Something, Maybe! What was your initial inspiration for writing the book?

I actually got the idea for the book when I came up with the original title, Live! Nude! Mom. There was just something about it that I loved, and I knew there was a book in there--and sure enough, all the characters fell into place. It's a little strange getting an idea from a title, but hey, when an idea comes, you hold onto it!

Moving on to Love You Hate You Miss You, what were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life?

Love You Hate You Miss You was challenging to write because both my personal and professional life changed quite a bit while I was writing it, and there were times when I wanted to give up. But I really believed in Amy and her story and was lucky enough to have a friend, Jessica Brearton, who really encouraged me to keep going, and so I did.

Love You Hate You Miss You did require a certain amount of research, mostly about young women and drinking and how that drinking is perceived. It's strange--there's a lot of worry about it, but there's also a fair amount of "it's a stage, it's not really a problem because most girls don't drink every day"--and that was something I thought about a lot, and that Amy comes to her own conclusions about in the book.

Love You Hate You Miss You was also originally in an all-letter format, but my editor asked me to think about doing both letters and chapters and I'm really glad she did. I think that the mix of the two helps the book flow better and gives you a better look into Amy's life.

Looking at Love You Hate You Miss You and Living Dead Girl (Simon Pulse, 2008), it's clear that you're able to go to emotionally difficult places with your characters. How do you go about approaching characters in such profound distress? Why is it important to you to do so?

I'm drawn to writing about characters in trouble--I always have been. All of us have our dark moments, all of us have pain, and we try so hard to pretend it away. We pretend we don't see others' pain.

And that fascinates me, because the more you try to hide your hurt, the deeper it grows. It can become all you are.

Coming back to pretending, we can't see others' pain--why do we do that? Because it's too hard to see? Because we're scared? Because it's easier to turn away?

I don't know. I wish I did. But it's something else I think about a lot.

I love writing romance--I adore love stories--but I also want to write about those little (or not-so-little) moments when who you are or who you think you are crack open. When you start to break, or when you do break--and what happens. Or what happens if you see someone else breaking.

Do you have a vision for your career as an author or take it book-to-book or both? How does that come together in your mind?

I won't lie--I'd love to be a best-selling author! Who wouldn't? But you know, at the end of the day, all I can do is write the books that call to me and make them the best I can. And that's what I try to do.

I'm so impressed by your combined level of quality and productivity! What advice do you have along these lines?

First, thank you! I don't consider myself very productive, actually, so it's always a lovely surprise when people say I am.

Second, a huge part of why I've been able to have more than one book come out a year is that I sold my first three young adult novels--Bloom (Simon Pulse), Stealing Heaven (HarperCollins), and Love You Hate You Miss You (HaperCollins)--back in 2005. And Bloom didn't hit stores until 2007, with Stealing Heaven following in 2008, and Love You Hate You Miss You was scheduled to be in stores early this June.

So I had a good two year period--plus a little extra--to write, and as I'm lucky enough to be able to write full-time, thanks to my husband's job, that's what I did.

Of the ways you reach out to your readers, which do you think are most effective and why?

I'm not really sure what's the most effective way to reach readers, but I do think that it's important to have a web presence and to interact with your readers--to reply to their emails, to listen to what they'd like to see on your website, etc.

Luckily, I love my readers! I love hearing from them, and I also really, really love giving books away, which has proven to be pretty popular! I think reading is amazing--the best thing ever, actually--and I love being able to share books, to give people a chance to fall into someone else's world.

Ultimately, though, I think what really gets a book out there is a combination of publisher enthusiasm/support and people picking the book up, liking it, and telling others to check it out. I've been very lucky to have some amazingly supportive and vocal fans--and I hope they know how much I adore them!

Do you work with a critique group, a partner, or exclusively with your editor? Why does that work for you?

I tend to write all my drafts without showing them to anyone except one person who reads everything I write. When I'm done with a draft, I have a group of truly lovely friends who will look over what I've done and tell me what works and--more importantly--what doesn't. So then I rewrite until it's as good as I can get it, and then I go through a couple more rewrites with my editors, who know how to push me to make my books even stronger.

So far, what's your favorite YA novel of 2009 and why?

I haven't read a lot of YA in 2009 because I can't read it while I'm working on something, and so I tend to have these twice-a-year-or-so binges where I'll read something like forty to sixty young adult novels, just gobbling them up. But late last year, I read a novel called Dooley Takes The Fall by Norah McClintock (Red Deer, 2008) after Bookshelves of Doom wrote a rave review for it. The review happened to mention the movie "Brick," which I love, and I knew I had to read the book after that!

And when I did read Dooley Takes The Fall, I just loved it. It's smart and sharp and the writing is gorgeous. I hear there is a sequel coming [Homicide Related], and I've been checking to see when it will be released because I can't wait to read it!

Cynsational Notes

Watch this video featuring YA author Elizabeth Scott on Love You Hate You Miss You from HarperTeen.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Adriana Domínguez Joins Full Circle Literary

From Jo Ann Hernandez

Adriana Domínguez has joined Full Circle Literary as its newest agent, effective immediately. Ms. Domínguez has over ten years of experience in publishing, most recently as Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she managed the children's division of the Latino imprint, Rayo.

Prior to her work at HarperCollins, Ms. Domínguez was Children's Reviews Editor at Críticas magazine, published by Library Journal. She is also a professional translator, and has worked on a number of Spanish-language translations of best-selling children’s books.

At Full Circle Literary, Ms. Domínguez will continue her strong list of children's picture books, middle grade novels, and literary young adult novels. She will also represent authors writing for adults in the following genres: literary fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. For her adult nonfiction list, she will seek women's interest, multicultural, pop culture, and how-to books.

Full Circle Literary founder Stefanie Von Borstel says, "We are very excited to have Adriana on board. Her eye for spotting and developing authors is unparalleled, and we feel her taste is very much in tune with our global interests. Adriana and I met while working on Latino-interest projects at Rayo. I was impressed by her detail-oriented editing and her strength as an advocate for authors throughout the publishing process. I am certain that those skills, among others, will make her an excellent agent."

"I am very much looking forward to helping published and unpublished authors develop their work and navigate the complex world of publishing from concept through publication, and beyond," adds Ms. Domínguez. "I am particularly excited about having joined an agency that shares my interest in publishing the work of Latino authors and that has the awards and recognition to prove that it does it well."

Ms. Domínguez will be based in New York City and will serve as Full Circle Literary's East Coast representative. She can be contacted by e-mail at

Full Circle Literary is a California-based literary agency. Founded in 2004 by Stefanie Von Borstel and Lilly Ghahremani, the agency represents a wide range of children's and adult authors.

Cynsational Notes

Read a new interview with Adriana from Jo Ann Hernandez at BronzeWord Latino Authors (scroll to find). Peek: "One of the things I love about Full Circle Literary is that it really is author oriented, and that the agency does the most it can to help authors get published from the very start, beginning with their proposal." See also Submissions Guidelines.

Author Snapshot: Maggie Stiefvater on Shiver

You last visited Cynsations in October 2008 to talk about Lament: A Faerie Queen's Deception (Flux, 2008), which is one of my favorite Gothic fantasies. Could you tell us about your latest release, Shiver?

If I was a novel and my books were chapters, Shiver would be a new chapter for me. Actually, it would possibly be a new part. One of those ones that says something like "Part Two: The Journey" and underneath has a little black and white illustration done by an eccentric old guy with a hyphenated last name. And possibly a quote from Yeats, followed by the regularly scheduled chapters.

The point of this very long analogy is that Shiver represents a big shift for me. It’s a new publishing house, a new format (hardcover!), a new mythology (werewolves!)(not the slavering kind!), a new style (now with 10% more angst!).

Basically, Shiver is a bittersweet love story about Grace, a girl who has always loved the wolves that live behind her house, especially the one with the yellow eyes, and Sam, a yellow-eyed boy who must become a wolf each winter. Each year, he gets less and less time as a human, and this year might be his last.

It's different from Lament for a few reasons. First of all, it’s unabashedly a romance, which I never thought I’d do. Unlike Lament, which had a side dish of romance, love is center stage in Shiver. There is plenty of nookie to keep people warm during cold Minnesota winters. Secondly, Lament is drenched in folklore, something I absolutely love. But Shiver approaches its paranormal aspects--werewolves -- in a scientific way. The magic comes from the setting and the subtle details of the interpersonal relationships and the wolves' tie with nature. And finally, it’s more . . . me. I feel like I really grew and got confident with my writing style, somewhere along the way from Lament to Shiver to Ballad. I play with words a heckuva lot more.

What it comes down to is that I'm revoltingly excited and terrified for this book to come out. I'm torn between thinking this book is such a huge leap forward for me, people will love it! and what if no one thinks this book is such a huge leap forward for me!? Don't even get me started on my neuroses about Ballad, the sequel to Lament. . .

Oh, oh. One last thing. I have heard rumors that some people read the last page of a book first, before they read the entire thing. If you are one of these people and you should happen to pick up Shiver and you should happen to read this and you happen to love me at all, kindly do not touch that last page until you read the rest of it.

Cynsational Notes

Listen to Maggie read chapters one and two of Shiver.

Find out more from Maggie about Shiver at Scholastic.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Eternal Is Now Available as an Audiobook from Listening Library; Enter to Win Audio

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.

about this audiobook

Classified Ads

WANTED: Personal assistant to Her Royal Highness. Duties: Whatever asked without hesitation, including but not limited to secretarial/administrative, household, defense, blood donation, driving, companionship, prey disposal, and love slavery.

At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Her reckless and adoring guardian angel, meanwhile–fighting in human guise as the princess’s personal assistant–has his work cut out for him with the Master’s Death Day gala fast approaching. Can Zachary save his girl's soul and redeem himself before all hell arrives, quite literally, on their doorstep?

about the giveaway

Enter to win one of two copies of the Eternal audiobook! One copy will be reserved for a teacher, librarian and/or university professor of children's-YA literature, and one will go to any Cynsations reader!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Eternal audio" in the subject line (Facebook and MySpace readers are welcome to just message me with the title in the header). Deadline: Aug. 31! Reminder: teachers, librarians, and professors should indicate themselves as such in their entries!

Cynsational Notes

Buy now from an audio download retailer.

Check out the Eternal blog buzz, reviews, author interviews, and readers' guide.

Eternal Trailer

Vermont College of Fine Arts (Writing for Children & Young Adults) Day in the Lone Star State

Round Rock, Texas -- Acclaimed authors Kathi Appelt and Sharon Darrow will lead a conference on the craft of writing for young readers on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3 at Teravista (4333 Teravista Club Dr.) in Round Rock, which is located just 20 minutes north of Austin.

The event is sponsored by the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, where both Kathi and Sharon serve on the faculty.

The VCFA program intends for this retreat to serve as an opportunity for alumni and their colleagues to reconnect with one another as well as to reignite their passion for the craft of writing for children and teens.

You do not need to be a VCFA graduate to participate.

Newbery Honor winner Kathi Appelt will lecture on "Writing the Novel" and lead a craft class and writing workshop on "Writing the Picture Book."

Former faculty chair Sharon Darrow will lecture on "Braiding the Character's Emotional Trajectory into the Story's Event Trajectory." Her craft class and writing workshop will focus on "The Plot Sentence & Major/Minor Dramatic Questions."

Together, Kathi and Sharon will discuss the rewards of the writing life, product, and process.

Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 with a social gathering at Teravista's historic Ranch House, and continue the following day with lectures, workshops, and panel discussions at Teravista Golf Club.

The fee for the VCFA Day in the Lone Star State event is $150.00. Online registration is available at this link. Contact Debbie Gonzales (512.426.6050) with questions.
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