From the promotional copy:
Alexis "Alex" Evins is a first-class prankster.
When she plays a particularly disastrous prank (hair + fire=bad), her dad sends Alex (and her older brothers) to a character-building after-school program. There, the Evins siblings are faced with the ultimate test of teamwork, leadership, and responsibility.
Can the "Evil Evins" pass the course in one piece, or are they destined for an epic fail?
Kirkus Reviews calls Odd Girl In a "...witty, laugh-out-loud romp. Whittemore handles not only the comedy but deftly portrays Alex's and her brothers' advancement into a more mature state of mind. It should keep middle-schoolers laughing from start to finish. Funny and perky."
Deadline: midnight CST April 15. Note: Author sponsored; U.S.-Canadian entries only.
Not: Jo (right) will launch Odd Girl In at 2 p.m. April 10 at BookPeople in Austin.
Enter to win an author-signed copy of Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas by Jeanette Larson, illustrated by Adrienne Yorinks (Charlesbridge, 2011). To enter the giveaway, comment here or email me (scroll and click envelope) and type "Hummingbirds" in the subject line. Deadline: midnight CST April 8. Note: author sponsored; U.S./Canada entries only. Read this week's Cynsations new voice interview with Jeanette.
On a related note, the winner of an autographed copy of Throat by R.A. Nelson (Knopf, 2011) was Vivien in New Jersey! Congratulations, Vivien, and thanks, R.A.!
7 Rs of Positivity for the Unpublished Novelist by Lydia Sharp from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Writing fiction is emotionally taxing work. When you’re feeling especially low, remove yourself from everything." Source: An Englishman in New Jersey.
Vermont College of Fine Arts invites published authors with teaching experience to apply for part-time visiting faculty positions in its highly-acclaimed MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program. The College seeks a number of prospective faculty members who can be hired in the coming years to meet expected growth. Faculty positions require presence, readings, lectures, and leading workshops on campus for 11-day residencies every six months. Faculty oversee independent study work for the six months between residencies, thus allowing educational work to be interwoven with the activities of home, community, and personal artistic practice. Applications will be reviewed on criteria including publications, teaching experience, literary nominations and awards, and education. An advanced degree is preferred but not required.
Folktales and Fairy Tales--for Teens by Chris Eboch from The Spectacle. Peek: "To update a traditional folk or fairytale, she (Natalie M. Rosinsky) suggests setting the story in a new location. You might also change the point of view, for example telling a princess story from the prince’s viewpoint. Humor is another bonus."
Zen and the Art of Manuscript Submissions by Jeannie Mobley from EMU's Debuts. Peek: "Submission is the part of the process that completely and utterly exposes us all to the most brutal noise and clutter in the world– the voices of self doubt and criticism that come shrieking in like Valkyries onto the bloodied battlefield of our creative minds (because what fruit salad is complete without some Old Norse Paganism?). But here is my point..." Source: Liz Garton Scanlon.
Attention: Schools, Libraries, Book Clubs! From The Mixed-Up Files, a middle-grade book club, is giving away Skype visits with 20 middle grade authors! See details!
5 Tips for a Successful Reading by Marianna Swallow from Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents. Peek: "When presenting, reading from plain paper is easier than reading from a book. And when you do, speak from your gut." Note: with books for young readers (versus adults), I'd say a two-to-three minute reading is long enough--maybe five, if you're theater trained. You can go longer, presenting with illustrations, but it's okay to edit down even a picture book text for length.
Without Boundaries: Selling Children's Magazine Articles to International Markets by Ruth Schiffmann from the Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "If your effort is apparent, a publisher will likely meet you half way. I sold a personal experience piece to a teen magazine in Ireland. After all attempts to make the piece 'universal' the contract still included a note that said, 'We may need to change some language slightly to account for cultural differences.'"
Check out the new giveaways at TeensReadToo!
Q&A with Author Carrie Ryan by Cyndi Hughes from the Writers' League of Texas. Peek: "When I first started writing with the goal of making a career out of it I gave myself ten years in which I’d write, revise and submit and then move on to the next project. After ten years, if I still wasn’t published then I could re-evaluate my plan." See also An Original Carrie Ryan Short Story Available as an E-book from Random House via The Compulsive Reader.
Agent Advice: Holly McGhee of Pippin Properties by Ricki Schultz from Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents. Peek: "As a parent and as a writer, it’s our duty to prepare kids for the world. That means telling and talking the truth."
Elements of a Successful Fiction Platform by Christina Katz from Writer's Digest. Peek: "What does a successful platform really look like for a fiction writer?"
The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children's Literature: a new blog from Ann Angel, Nancy Bo Flood, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Peter Marino, and J.L. Powers.
Attention Teachers, Librarians, Book Clubs! Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules (HarperTeen, June 2011) have teamed with independent bookstores across North America to giveaway $2,000 in free books to Support Teen Reading. You can participate here to receive a free pinback button for early participation (while supplies last) and be eligible for new books from your nearest indie bookstore (not to mention the iPod nanos and $200 in iTunes credit).
Once Upon a Backstory by Stina Lindenblatt from Query Tracker. Peek: "...figure out what past events made them who they are today or shaped their behavior. Only then will your characters have depth, and their actions will be realistic to who they are."
Readergirlz and Figment will Rock the Drop in honor of Support Teen Lit Day, next Thursday, April 14th. Find out how you can join in here!
Kidlit for Japan Auction
Kidlit4Japan is hosting a children’s-YA literature auction to benefit victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. A daily auction preview appears weekdays at 8 a.m. EDT. New items appear hourly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Items include signed books, advance reader copies, artwork, critiquing services, book-related swag, author visits, the chance to name a character in an upcoming book, etc." Currently available items include:
- critique, partial middle-grade novel from literary agent Erin Murphy;
- novel synopsis critique from author-teacher Esther Hershenhorn;
- signed copy of Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (HarperCollins, 2010);
- critique query letter/pitch from author Marlene Perez;
- an ARC from the Tu Books' debut list from Stacy Whitman.
Cynsational Screening Room
Concubines, Eunuchs, and Fury by Cindy Pon from Diversity in YA Fiction. Peek: "Much of Fury of the Phoenix (HarperTeen, 2011) takes place in the inner court of the Palace of Fragrant Dreams, where the concubines reside, inspired by the actual concubine quarters of ancient China. When I was revising the novel with my editor, she actually crossed out 'thousands' once and wrote 'hundreds?' above it."
Bringing an Elevator Speech to Life by Christine Hurley Deriso from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "Writing the trailer script helped me distill 273 pages worth of thoughts, plots and character development. It helped me avoid the blank stare I’ve come to refine when people ask, “So what’s your book about?" Check out the book trailer for "...Then I Met My Sister (Flux, 2011).
Thank you to Elizabeth Wrenn-Estes and her Library and Information Science class at San José State University for your hospitality during our online visit on Tuesday night! Special thanks to Mardi Veiluva for tech training and assistance!
So What's It Like to Live with a Writer? from Salima Alikhan. Note: my husband (and sometimes co-author) Greg Leitich Smith and I chime in.
Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Maureen McGowan from Get Lost in a Story. Peek: "My series includes not only werewolves, but also werecats, wereopossums, werebears, weredeer, and werearmadillos. If you could shift to any animal form, which would you choose and why?" Discuss at the link.
Thanks to Debbie Reese for this shelf shot of Blessed (Candlewick, 2011) at the Urbana (Illinois) Free Library! Debbie blogs at American Indians in Children's Literature.
Links of the week: Check out Smokey the Purring Cat (going for the world record in loudness)! I think he's a kindred soul to Holler Loudly! See also YA Books to Movies List compiled by Naomi Bates from YA Books and More.
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.
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."
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. Last call! Register today!