The Art and Insanity Of Creativity is now LIVE at Hunger Mountain

The long wait is over everyone! The annual print edition has been put tobed and before the year is up will be turning up in subscriber mailboxes as well as brick and mortar stores and the fall YA & Children's issue is rolling out new content.

From my editorial letter:

Dear reader,

Welcome to the Art & Insanity of Creativity issue. While this issue’s theme may sound tongue in cheek, it is anything
but. To quote Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis (1885-1957) “A person needs a little madness, or else they dare never cut the rope and be
free.” Kazantzakis’ quote points to artist as rebel. Artist as free thinker. Artist going against the societal ties that bind us all. An
artist is all these things—and therefore an artist needs the courage to examine the world we live in and our own human nature.

And then we have psychiatrist, scholar, and bipolar patient Dr. Kay Redfield Jameson whose book Touched with Fire: Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament intends:

…to make a literary, biographical, and
scientific argument for a compelling association, not to say an actual
overlap, between two temperaments—the artistic and the manic
depressive—and their relationships to the rhythms and cycles, or
temperament of the natural world. The emphasis will be on understanding
the relationship between moods and imagination, the nature of
moods—their variety, their contrary and oppositional qualities, their
flux, their extremes (causing in some individuals occasional bouts of
‘madness’)—and the importance of moods in igniting thought, changing
perceptions, creating chaos, forcing order upon that chaos, and 
enabling transformation. (5)

In reading Jameson’s book for research for an upcoming novel of mine, and to understand an illness that has touched my family’s life in many ways, I began to see and make connections I hadn’t before. Anyillness—cancer, diabetes, bipolar disorder—is scary and can be life-threatening but it also can be life-affirming. That is where artand artistry comes in: exploring the dark, wandering there, with the sole purpose of finding the light.

In this issue, we will have pieces on the artistry of teaching (with Debby Dahl Edwardson, current NBA finalist both last week and this week), the market’s “obsession” with dystopia, how to overcome fear in our work, an In Response essay by Andew Karre, Editorial Director at Carolrhoda Books on our In Defense of YA piece and my YA is NOT a Genre essay, which appears over  at Hunger Mountain blog Another Loose Sally,  a word play exercise with Children’s Poetry Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis, as well as fiction and poetry which play with extremes and bring order to the chaos of the character’s lives.

This week, we welcome Kirsten Cappy of Curious City in our Industry Insider
with her ode to REM, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It…” which delves into the multifaceted work that Kirsten does with her Curious City clients. We offer new fiction by novelist Jennifer Hubbard with The Stage Manager and A Cut-Out Face by Mima Tipper—both of which are psychological studies as well as damnfine short stories. And, we debut the first of our features for this issue with Bobbie Pyron’s brave essay The Perks of Being Bipolar

And lest this issue sound too serious—do not fear— there is plenty to chuckle at and laugh with in the pieces above and the pieces to come. So, please stop back often. Read, respond and let this issue aid the art
and insanity in your creativity.


Bethany Hegedus, YA and Children’s Lit Editor

We are now accepting pieces for consideration for our Winter 2012 issue The Magic & Mystery of Identity and our Spring 2012 issue The Landscape of Literature. Please see here for submission guidelines. *Note: there is now a $3.00 submissions fee which is not
a reader fee, but a charge that helps fund the cost of the online submissions manager. Since our readers and editors are scattered around
the globe, snail mail submissions, which would also cost submitters roughly $3, are not viable. Thank you for your continued support of Hunger Mountain.*

Fabulous Fall Friday

The temp here in Austin is now reaching a high of 87 with evenings in the cool 60s. This is fall for us--so I am going to take it. I do miss the fall foliage of upstate NY, the crisp apples, donning sweaters andwalking to my beloved Brooklyn bagel shop and having coffee with friends on park benches. But, Austin has brought other Indian Summer pleasures--taking a walk with AK down at Town Lake, writing outside at The Place with the ladies and as K.A. Holt said bogarting a picnic table for 5 hours, and finally opening The Writing Barn to friends.

This last Sunday, a rainy Sunday which the drought ridden soil so desperately needed we held the opening of The Writing Barn. (Also, a birthday celebration for my 39th.) The day before Dave Wilson, a wonderful photographer, who just happens to be married to Austin author Nikki Loftincame to take professional shots of  The Barn. It may have been gloomy outside but Dave, with his wide angle lense, and his talent made The Barn look bright and welcoming.

A fancy shot merging three solo shots.

Guest bedroom, queen sized bed

Cozy loft space to read or write

A place to rock and read

Screened in porch

Lovely courtyard in front of The Barn

The rain continued to fall for the Barn Warming on Sunday afternoon but friends came--ready to eat, drink, and be merry! Abou Sylla and band were incredible!

Jeff Crosby, Shelley Ann Jackson, and E. Kirstin Anderson chat.

Gather ye round for cake. From R to L, Vanessa Lee, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Jenny Moss, and Don Tate and his lovely wife.

Abou Sylla breaks it down. Pic by Jen Bigheart.

The birthday carrot cake ala Central Market

It was a wonderful to see so many friends, old and new, and to break in
the barn the right way--mud and all--before The Barn's first event this
weekend, a book launch party for HARNESS HORSES, BUCKING BRONCOS & PIT PONIES: A HISTORY OF HORSE BREEDS at the Writing Barn on Sunday, Oct. 16th from 2-4 pm. Written and illustrated by Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson.  (For an excellent interview with Jeff and Shelley see Donna Bowman Bratton's blog.

Lots of other goings on this week, In Austin

Don't miss Cynsations interview with Tu Books (Lee and Low) Editor Stacy Whitman and Author Karen Sandler. Comment and you will be eligible for a 10 page critique by Editor, Stacy Whitman. 

Publisher's Weekly featured BookPeople in this week's Children's Bookshelf. Meghan Goel, book buyer for BookPeople was asked 3 Questions. To find out what they are--go here. 

Outside Awesome Austin

The National Book Award nominees were announced. A big congrats to all nominees but a special congrats to friend Debby Dahl Edwardson for My Name is Not Easy, and the two other VCFA names in the mix--the wonderful Lauren Myracle  for Shine and current VCFA faulty member Franny Billingsley for Chime!

Over at Hunger Mountain

The annual print edition is DONE, which means new content to the YA & Children's section for the fall issue, The Art & Insanity of Creativity will be launching soon. Look for content by Bobbie Pyron, Ron Koertge, Lindsey Lane, Debby Dahl Edwardson, Uma Krishnaswami, Jennifer Hubbard, Sarah Aronson, J. Patrick Lewis, and more.

I  was invited by Claire Guyton to write an essay for the Hunger Mountain Voices series going on at the blog, Another Loose Sally. The first essay was written but nabbed up for a future Writer's Life, Inc piece. So I began drafting a new one--that effort YA Is Not a Genre--I hope clears up some of the misinformation about YA. Thank you to my Hunger Mountain colleagues--the woman at the head of the ship, Miciah Bay Gault, and our extraordinary social media intern, Kris Underwood for their participation in the conversation.

Inside the Writer's Studio with Tess Hilmo

Today at Inside the Writer’s Studio we welcome debut author Tess Hilmo. Tess is a member of The Class of 2k11 and writes in the genre I most love: Southern Middle Grade!
About the book:
From the Publisher--FSG
When Ollie’s daddy, the Reverend Everlasting Love, pulls their travel trailer into Binder to lead a three-day revival, Ollie knows that this town will be like all the others they visit— it is exactly the kind of nothing Ollie has come to expect. But on their first day in town, Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel, whose mother is in jail for murdering his father. Jimmy insists that his mother is innocent, and Ollie believes him. Still, even if Ollie convinces her daddy to stay in town, how can two kids free a grown woman who has signed a confession?  Ollie’s longing for a friend and her daddy’s penchant for searching out lost souls prove to be a formidable force in this tiny town where everyone seems bent on judging and jailing without a trial.
Welcome, Tess! Thanks for being with us today!
Is there a story behind the story that you wish to share? (Ie: the ah-ha or lightning moment where the story inspiration struck.)
I grew up loving southern gospel music and have memories of singing songs like Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Let My People Go and This Little Light of Mine as a little girl.  I'd sing them while I was walking home from school or doing my chores.  I'd sing them in the shower or after an argument with a friend.  Now you should know that I am a terrible singer but that didn't matter. Those songs made me believe in myself.  Fast forward many, many years and you would find me, now a busy mom, trying to write novels for kids.  I decided that I wanted to write a novel that would embrace these songs I love so much.  With A Name Like Love is that story.
How do you stay inspired to face the dreaded blank page? Is it something you dread? Look forward to? Share a bit about your writing process.
I'd love to tell you that I have a strict writing schedule...that I follow the good advice to sit down and write some every day, but I don't.  My creative process takes a lot of musing.  I need to go on long drives and sit in parks.  I need to gaze out windows and let my mind wander.  Sometimes I even need to eat whole tubs of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.  It's a hard life, but someone's got to live it :)
How does “place” come through in your writing? How important is place in this current novel/picture book? Is it tied to a place you once lived or are familiar with or is it a new world entirely?
I knew this story would need to be set in the south, but really had little experience of the south myself.  Generations ago, I did have distant relatives in Arkansas and a great uncle who was an itinerant preacher.  I honestly believe those angels looked down from heaven and guided my writing.  I read some of their journals and lots of books on Arkansas.  I combed the internet.  I wrote key facts on paper and taped them all around my workspace.  I did my best to imagine the world they lived in and make it come to life for Ollie and her family.
Writers love books; we love reading. What book do you turn to over and over again and why do you love it?
Anything by Gary Schmidt is a favorite.  His writing style is very different from mine, but it inspires me.  I can imagine myself dancing on the rocky cliffs with Lizzy Bright from Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy or tossing a baseball with Doug Swieteck in is most recent (and amazing) novel, Okay For Now.  Everything he writes encourages me to strive for real characters living in a real world.  No one does characterization better.
If your protagonist and antagonist were competing on American Idol what songs would each sing? And who would have the better voice?
I couldn't pass this question up! Ollie sings old gospel songs that her daddy teaches her and her sisters ... at one point in the novel she sings Let My People Go, her daddy's rich voice guiding her in her head.  If she were to be on the American Idol stage, she'd sing that song and rock the house!  There are a few antagonists in the story...I'll chose Esther Roberts for this question (a pinch faced shop keeper who is mean as they come) and say she'd stand on the stage and start singing I'm A Little Teapot --- but about two sentences in, she'd stop singing and tell everyone how dumb the whole competition is before stomping off stage.  That woman is a pain in the hind end!
In ode to Maebelle, the main character in my new book Truth with a Capital T, who keeps a book of little known facts about just about everything, please share a wacky piece of trivia that has stuck with you or please share a little known fact about YOU.
 I used to be terribly superstitious as a child...always careful never to step on cracks in the sidewalk or pick up "tail side up" pennies.  I even recall separating all of the silverware in the dishwasher because I was afraid the knives would hurt the forks and the forks would hurt the spoons.  It may have been extreme, but it was for their own good.
Tess, thanks for being with us and thanks for keeping those forks and spoons safe!

Busy, Busy, Busy: A Round Up Between Bursts of Busy

It's Friday--which means it is round up time and there is much going on in the kid lit scene one must read about.

In Awesome Austin
The Austin SCBWI hosts Storytelling in the Digital Age tomorrow at St. Edwards. The event itself, and author/speaker Lindsey Lane, got some wonderful coverage in the Austin Statesman, in their article, "Storybook apps for kids a major topic among children's book writer's and artists."  
"It astounds me the possibilities of what you could do with a story and
touching the screen, opening up different worlds for kids," Lane said.
If wanting to register, see here. 

The Austin Teen Book Festival
I was one of the 25,000 attendees at The Austin Teen Book Festival at
the Palmer Center last weekend. I snapped many a picture, chatted with
many a fellow author, and was overwhelmed at the excitement in the air.
The teens came out in full force to see a line up of stellar YA writing
rock stars. Check out today's coverage from Publisher's Weekly, including a fabulous quote from Varian Johnson, Austin author of Saving Maddie.
A young fan of author Jennifer Ziegler

An attendee in full steampunk regalia. 

Authors Jennifer Ziegler, Christina Mandelski, Stephanie Perkins and Simone Elkeles

For more photos of the outstanding event, see Cynsations Event Report by Austin Teen Book Festival featured author Cynthia Leitich Smith, whose Tantalize series drew in plenty of fans. And, see also Greg Leitich Smith, whose new novel Chronal Engine is coming soon!

The Writers' League of Texas
As usual, much is going on at the Writers' League of Texas, including a
fundraiser for the WLT this Sunday evening. Check out information for
the Raise the Roof Party Here.

The Texas Book Festival
I am up to my ears in books for this year's TBF. Please join me on Saturday at 2pm, Oct. 22nd as I moderate:

Zombies, Odd Girls, and My Other Middle School Classmates

with Mac Barnett, K.A. Holt, René Saldaña Jr., and Jo Whittemore
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2011
Time: 2:00 - 3:00
Location: Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca)

In middle school, most kids are afraid to be themselves. So we want to celebrate those daring middle schoolers who are proudly unique - the sullen odd girl in Jo Whittmore's Odd Girl In, the brain-eating zombies in K. A. Holt's Brains for Lunch, and the crime-solving detectives in Mac Barnett's It Happened On a Train and René Saldaña Jr.’s The Lemon Tree Caper. Because if you can't be yourself, you might as well be (un)dead.

Moderator Bethany Hegedus is the author of Between Us Baxters and Truth with a Capital T, both of which were named to the Best Books list by the Bank Street Awards Committee. Forthcoming is the picture book Grandfather Gandhi,
co-authored with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma. Bethany serves
as the Young Adult & Children's editor for the literary journal Hunger Mountain.

Authors: Jo Whittemore
René Saldaña, Jr.
K.A. Holt
Mac Barnett

At the Writing Barn
Please join us for The Writing Barn's first event, October 16th, 2-4 pm. 
Please join Jeff Crosby & Shelley Jackson to celebrate the release of their newest children's picture book,HARNESS HORSES, BUCKING BRONCOS & PIT PONIES: A HISTORY OF HORSE BREEDS!

Minis and Friends, acharitable organization that benefits disabled children, will be at theevent with live miniature horses to pet. Original art from the book will be on display, prints will be for sale, and copies of HARNESSHORSES will be available for purchase and to get autographed. We'llalso have snacks, horsey games and more!
This  event is open to the public. The Writing Barn is located at 10202 Wommack Road in Austin.Parking will be available inside the property and overflow parking is on Riddle Road and Wommack Road. It's sure to be a fun event for horse lovers, book lovers, and art lovers of all ages!

Happy Friday!

Inside the Writer's Studio with Monika Schröder

Today for Inside the Writer’s Studio we have with us Monika Schroder, author of The Dog in the Wood, Saraswati’s Way, and the newly released My Brother’s Shadow. I was introduced to Monika by the irrepressible Kirsten Cappy, the brain behind Curious City. Shortly thereafter, Monika was working on a piece for Hunger Mountain about the writing of My Brother’s Shadow. It is an honor to have her with us today to dig into her process and her keen insights into human nature.

Welcome,  Monika. And let us all welcome My Brother’s Shadow to the shelves.

A bit about the book:

From the publisher, FSG

As World War I draws to a close in 1918, German citizens are starving and suffering under a repressive regime. Sixteen-year-old Moritz is torn. His father died in the war and his older brother still risks his life in the trenches, but his mother does not support the patriotic cause and attends subversive socialist meetings. While his mother participates in the revolution to sweep away the monarchy, Moritz falls in love with a Jewish girl who also is a socialist. When Moritz’s brother returns home a bitter, maimed war veteran, ready to blame Germany’s defeat on everything but the old order, Moritz must choose between his allegiance to his dangerously radicalized brother and those who usher in the new democracy.

And though out only one day, the reviews are in and they are outstanding!

“A good choice for sharing across the curriculum, this is a novel readers will want to discuss.” --Booklist
"In this nuanced and realistic work of historical fiction, Schröder (Saraswati’s Way) immerses readers in her setting with meticulous details and dynamic characters that contribute to a palpable sense of tension. Moritz’s intimate narration captures the conflicts, divided loyalties, and everyday horrors of the period." --Publishers Weekly

" 'War gives meaning to some men's lives. For other men, the experience of war extinguishes all meaning in life,' says a man who becomes Moritz's mentor; Schröder makes this sad and ever-timely lesson all too clear."--Kirkus Reviews

“The sorrow and the pity of World War I haunt every page of this unsparing coming-of-age story set in Berlin during the war’s final days. Monika Schröder skillfully sketches in the fractured political background of a disintegrating imperial Germany. She doesn’t miss a beat in her fast-paced first-person narrative as sixteen-year-old Moritz copes with his family’s misfortunes, finds his calling, and discovers love…This is a memorable and instructive novel.”—Russell Freedman, Newbery-award winning author of The War to End All Wars: World War I

Now on to the interview!

Monika, how do you stay inspired to face the dreaded blank page? Is it something you dread? Look forward to? Share a bit about your writing process.

I dread writing the first draft. I am not good at tapping into the “white heat” some writers describe that lets them write pages and pages of unedited text in one swoop. My “inner editor” is always on and I experience a constant struggle between the part of my brain that thinks about structure and function of a scene or a chapter and the part that just feels what needs to happen next. So probably like every writer I dread the blank page, but over time I have learned that sitting and staring is part of the process. When I talk to kids I tell them that one secret of writing is to just “keep your butt in the chair.” I don’t have a rule about minimum amount of pages per day, but I am very disciplined when it comes to just spending time in front of that page, be it empty or partially filled, and waiting until I can write the next sentence.

I much prefer revising to composing a first draft. Once there is something to shape it is easier to get into the flow.

Name a writer whose work and/or career you admire. And why do you admire them?

I like the books by Avi, since I enjoy the way he makes place and time come alive. And I also admire Jennifer Holm who writes always with a strong voice and has a gift of creating lively characters in historical fiction.

Theme can be seen as a dirty word but as writers I believe we all have something to say, something we want to share with the world. What is that something for you?

I think that one theme I have investigated in my writing is how war and political transitions affect regular people and children in particular.

I have always been interested in history. Germany, my home country, has started two World Wars in the last century. Both wars not only brought death and terror to large parts of Europe but also ended in defeat followed by fundamental changes of the political system. I have tried to imagine how regular people dealt with these changes. I find it fascinating that a German person born at the beginning of the 20th century could have experienced a monarchy, a failed democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a socialist totalitarian regime and then again a democracy, just within one life span. 

In my first novel, THE DOG IN THE WOOD, I wrote about the end of World War II and how people in a small village in east Germany experienced the arrival of the red Army. My new novel, MY BROTHER’S SHADOW, is set in 1918, another important transition time in German history. I tried to imagine what it might have been like for a young man who had grown up under the Kaiser to see the monarchy disappear and be confronted with socialist ideas and women’s emancipation. The defeat in the war led to a socialist revolution in Germany. The split between those who considered this a hopeful event and those who thought of it as treason foreshadowed the conflicts to come during the Weimar Republic.


What do you feel is your strength as a craftsperson? How do you turn your weaknesses into strengths?

I hope that my strength lies in pacing and characterization. I believe my weakness is voice. I hope to have tackled this weakness by writing MY BROTHER’S SHADOW in first person. The book I am currently working in is also told in first person. And I have another work-in-progress that I am trying to tell in two alternating voices.

How does “place” come through in your writing? How important is place in this current novel/picture book? Is it tied to a place you once lived or are familiar with or is it a new world entirely?

I think place is very important in my books. I have written two novels set in Germany and one set in contemporary India, and I hope that readers feel transported to those locations while reading the books.

MY BROTHER’S SHADOW is set in Berlin, my favorite city. I have lived in Berlin in the late 1980 and early 1990s and was always fascinated with the city’s history. When I wrote the book, which takes place in the year 1918, it was easy to imagine what Berlin looked like at the time. Also, there are a lot of photographs and even early film reels available to help an author see the setting.

Currently, I am working on a book set in the 1830s. The story starts in Boston and the character takes a boat to Calcutta. I have visited both cities but the historical time period requires a lot more research for me to depict it authentically.

How do you balance the internal and external arc in the story? Which comes to you first—the external action or what is emotionally at stake? How do you weave the two together? 

I seem to develop the external plot structure first. For THE DOG IN THE WOOD I had to slowly create a character that this story could happen to. Akash, the main character of SARASWATI’S WAY, was fleshed out in my mind early on and I knew that his internal journey would be connected to his relationship to his gods and how he defines fate. I knew the story’s arc would take him from his village to the train station in New Delhi, but I didn’t learn about the obstacles along his way until I wrote the book. 

When I started to write MY BROTHER’S SHADOW I knew it would be a story about disillusionment, about how the main character, Moritz, deals with the loss of what once was and adjusts to a completely new world. I knew that Moritz’s brother would return from the war and join the reactionary forces in Germany, opposing his mother’s involvement with the socialist movement. But the details of his journey and the emotional development that he went through I had to discover through the process.

Which literary character, yours or another author’s, do you most relate to? And why?
In my own work I can relate to Akash. He is a math wizard (I used to be very good in math), he has a burning desire to fulfill his dream and the stamina to pursue it, but he has to learn patience (I still haven’t learned to be patient).

Inspired by the Actors Studio, what sound do you love? What sound do you hate?

I love silence. When my husband and I spend the summers at our cabin in Northern 
Michigan I enjoy the absolute silence at night. Having lived in big, noisy cities for the last 15 years probably has made me crave silence even more. We have now left New Delhi, a noisy city of over 17 million, and moved to the mountains of North Carolina, where it is more silent.

But if you ask me about my least favorite ones I might name a few: I don’t like the sound of chain saws or loud machines but I also have some quirky dislikes: I don’t like hearing someone clipping his nails or cracking his knuckles or the sound of people jingling coins in their pockets. (I know this is weird.)

Be brave. Share a paragraph from a WIP. 
                As I passed the reverend’s room I noticed that the door stood ajar. I peeked inside and found his chamber empty. I gave the door a light push and it opened without the familiar squeak. The reverend must have fixed it himself as I noticed a dark oil stain around the hinges. I entered the room where the bag stood on the bed. Next to it a large map was spread out on the cover.  I recognized the almost triangular outline of India, as I had read about the country in Uncle Ezra’s magazine. On the left bottom of the map was written: “A New Map of Hindoostan by Major James Rennell, Surveyor General to the Honorable East India Company.” I stepped next to the bed to study the tiny names of cities and rivers. A circle was drawn in red pencil around a city in the northern part of the country. Leaning closer I tried to decipher the name. Dehly. I wondered if this was the location of the reverend’s brother’s mission.  Looking at the bag I contemplated a quick search for the heavy object that caused the clanging sound earlier but I didn’t dare to touch it. When I heard footsteps on the stairs I quickly hurried from the room. I had just reached the hallway when the reverend appeared on the landing, wearing his coat and hat. “You are still awake, Caleb?” he asked, eyeing me suspiciously.
                “I’m just about to go to bed,” I said, glad the loud banging of my heart was inaudible to him, and that I could slip into my room without another word.

In ode to Maebelle, the main character in my new book Truth with a Capital T, who keeps a book of little known facts about just about everything, please share a wacky piece of trivia that has stuck with you or please share a little known fact about YOU.
I only drink three kinds of beverages: water, red wine (preferably Merlot from South America) and high end second flush Darjeeling tea.

Thank you to Monika for being with us. I will always have water, red wine and Darjeeling tea on tap for you! 

Hunger Mountain, 2012 Submission Calls PLUS The Opening of The Writing Barn

It officially has only been fall for a few days (though the temps in Austin are still 100) but things have been busy on this end. The Writing Barn is soon to open and as YA and Children's Editor of Hunger Mountain, I wanted to let all readers know about our 2012 Submissions Needs.
Hunger Mountain Submissions Call
The Hunger Mountain Children’s & YA page continues to showcase the best and brightest in children’s literature, from new voices to award-winners. We spotlight industry issues as they happen and create a dialogue between writer, reader, librarian, parent, and all interested in kid-lit. 
 *We are also interested in sneak-peaks into new books coming out, deleted chapters from books, short stories, etc.* Hunger Mountain buys first world serial rights and upon publication, the rights revert back to the contributor.  For sneak-peaks, publisher and rights department approval is needed. 
For those interested in submitting, please visit the Hunger Mountain submissions page.
Jan-March 2012
The Mystery & Magic of Identity
Hunger Mountain is actively seeking submissions for the Winter 2012 issue The Mystery and Magic of Identity. We are looking for essays, fiction, poetry, non-fiction and humor that touch on the themes of identity—gender, sexual, ethnic, privilege, author branding, online identity, explorations of self, along with the mystery and magic of world building in fantasy and novels that deal with time travel. For picture books—identity issues as a child, sibling relationships, the magic of word choice, the mystery of the page turn etc.
April-June 2012
The Landscape of Literature
Hunger Mountain is actively seeking submissions for the Spring 2012 issue, The Landscape of Literature. We are looking for essays, fiction, poetry, non-fiction and humor touching on the importance of setting, place, regionally distinct pieces (Not just Southern), use of dialect, heritage—literary heritage as well as author’s heritage, where historical novels now fit, illustrators incorporating setting details in their work, setting as character,  from YA, MG and PB contributors.
Along with our features, each issue we would like to include one or two essays for our regular columns:
The Flipside—two authors various take on one issue.
This Writer’s Life—essays on and about the writer’s life.
INKlings—essays on and about the illustrator’s life and/or techniques.
In Response—an essay adding to or commenting on the conversation from the prior HM issue.
The Toolbox—craft based essays on a variety of topics.
What My Last Book Taught Me—A short essay on what the author’s last book taught them.
New Work—fiction, poetry, short stories, opening chapters of WIP, etc.
Do not miss the Art & Insanity of Creativity fall issue which will launch later this month.
Do not miss content from the Hunger Mountain C&YA Archives, some highlights include:
Young Adult and Children’s Literature
And in Writing Barn News!
A bit about the barn...
The Writing Barn, a writing retreat and book launch party space is available for rental in S. Austin. Operated by author Bethany Hegedus, The Writing Barn, which features floor to ceiling book shelves, cozy loft, large covered porch, free wifi, spacious bedroom with queen-sized-bed, half bath, and kitchenette, is a haven for all book lovers.  For more information visit: The Writing Barn (web site under construction) and/or email bahegedus at for rates and availability.

The Barn's FIRST Event... October 16th, 2-4 pm. 

Please join Jeff Crosby & Shelley Jackson to celebrate the release of their newest children's picture book, HARNESS HORSES, BUCKING BRONCOS & PIT PONIES: A HISTORY OF HORSE BREEDS!

Minis and Friends, a charitable organization that benefits disabled children, will be at the event with live miniature horses to pet. Original art from the book will be on display, prints will be for sale, and copies of HARNESS HORSES will be available for purchase and to get autographed. We'll also have snacks, horsey games and more!
This event is open to the public. The Writing Barn is located at 10202 Wommack Road in Austin. Parking will be available inside the property and overflow parking is available on Riddle Road and Wommack Road.
It's sure to be a fun event for horse lovers, book lovers, and art lovers of all ages!

Rembering 9/11

Rembering 9/11

This year, maybe because of the 10th anniversary, maybe because of the
floods and the fires and natural disasters, I sheltered myself of all
images of 9/11, save the gorgeous New York Times magazine piece on the iron-working, sky-walking men who are working on the rebuild. 

Today, I share something I wrote on my bravebethany blog in 2005, four
years after that day. That ten years have passed is mind boggling.
I am never quite sure what to do with myself on 9/11.

I was there--across the street in 1 WFC. I was sitting at my reception
desk, about to sip my coffee, eat my yogurt from home and orange I
bought from the vendor right in front of the WTC before crossing into
the bridge that led into my building. I evacuated my floor, screaming
when the first plane hit. (I was a fire searcher and the last one off
the top floor of the 1WFC both times we evacuated.) I hit the staircase
with the rest of the people in my building, and when no news came on
the intercom system, my boss who was the fire warden and I got out of
the stairwell so she could call downstairs. We were in a brokerage firm
which had no cubicle or office dividers. It was one big, huge, open

I had friends working in the WTC. The one that was hit first. I went to
the window. Was pulled to the window. I wish I hadn't have looked. I
still wish I hadn't have looked.

With no news, and people jumping from the burning building, we thought
it best to stay where we were. We went back upstairs--I worked on the
31st floor, in the elevator. I tried to call my parents in Georgia. I
didn't get them. I got my aunt who saw it on the Today show. An
airplane pilot had a heart attack, I was told. I wanted to believe it.
My shaking hands wanted to believe it. I called my brother who had no
idea why I was borderline hysterical, while he stood in line in a
parking lot in Georgia at the DMV. I called an actor friend, so she
could spread the word that I was ok. I woke her. She had no idea what
was happening. Not long after the second plane roared over our
building--so close it roared in our ears--it hit the WTC, the tower
diagonal to us, across the street. I screamed. Threw down the phone and
took to the staircase again.

This time, the staircase was silent. No one brought their coffee or
morning bagel. Everyone, at least in their heart, knew we were under
attack. There were whispers that there was a bomb in our building. I
tried to recite my favorite prayer, "The Prayer for Protection" that
strangely enough I say every time I am on a plane, before take off and
landing. I could not remember the words. My body prayed them for me.

Out on the street, crowds stood and stared. I wouldn't look up. Couldn't look up.

My boss had had a premature baby that almost died. We were concerned
with getting her home. Getting her home to her son. We headed for the
ferry by the Wintergarden. So much glass. Glass everywhere. I kept my
head down. Tripped over my feet. My legs carrying all my fear. We
pushed on to one of the last ferries going across. People were standing
in line for tickets. We weren't buying any. "They aren't charging us,"
I said.

Out on the water, I looked up. Two huge holes. Smoke, heavy smoke, billowing into the blue, blue sky.

Once we got to Hoboken, I got on a PATH train to Jersey City, where I
was living. We sat and sat and sat on the train. I was mute. I didn't
say a word. No one knew I had been there. Other people talked. I
listened. I learned about the Pentagon. I worried about my friends at
the UN. I looked at people's faces, memorizing them, but feeling,
looking, I am sure, so blank. Just blank.

When the Path train came up, a tall thin man said, "They're gone. The
towers are gone." I didn't believe him. I couldn't see the two
buildings that were my touchstone. Since moving to NYC I lived in many
apartments but I held only one job. The towers were my home. They were
reminders of how far I had come. I looked at them every night from NJ
thinking I work there. I moved from Georgia and I work there. There.

There was gone. 

For my old roommate Nicole, who lost her dad that day, and for all the
other lives lost, for NYC, for our country, I offer this prayer.

The Prayer of Protection

The light of God surrounds us;

The love of God enfolds us;

The power of God protects us;

The presence of God watches over us;

Wherever we are, God is, and all is well. Amen.

Last of The Varying Shade of Shadow issue

This week the Varying Shade of Shadows issue comes to a close with the much anticipated, In Defense of YA, a round up of YA reader and writer voices that comment on the Wall Street Journal
pieces by Megan Cox Gurdon that lit up the twittersphere with the
creation of #YAsaves in June. By now, much has been written about in
reaction to the question Darkness Too Visible? but here at Hunger Mountain
we care not only what we writers think, we care about what the readers
think. The teen readers. YA is after all for young adults. What they
think matters. Thank you to the teens who took time out of their summer
vacation plans to lend their voices, their intellect, and their wit to
join with YA authors everywhere who tackle darkness, light, and
everything in between.

 Our issue also closes with a sneak peak into the much anticipated historical novel Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, as well as a Toolbox piece, Searching for Truth in History’s Shadows: Finding the Characters in Jefferson’s Sons , also by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Congratulations are also in order for Hunger Mountain Young Adult &
Children’s Assistant Editor E. Kristen Morse, who along with Miranda
Kenneally, whose popular website DearTeenMe,
will now be an anthology, with new and original content, forthcoming
from Zest Books in 2012. Since coming on board here at Hunger Mountain
Emily’s expertise and enthusiasm is much appreciated. We wish her and
Dear Teen Me, the book, every success.

And don’t forget our next issue, The Art & Insanity of Creativity
is coming soon. We are still accepting fiction submissions. Please see here, for guidelines.

Earlier content from The Varying Shade of Shadows issue. 

industry is not just about the writing but about the illustration as
well, from books for the very young to teens and beyond. We at Hunger Mountain
are thrilled to champion the illustration and ingenuity that goes on
in our field by featuring three sneak-peeks into books that are soon to
hit the shelves.  Award-winning illustrator Betsy Lewin offers a
snapshot into creating The Little Bitty Bakery by Leslie Muir. This delectable treat will leave you wanting more…look for The Little Bitty Bakery to be released August 30th. Author/illustrator Don Tate takes us into his Austin studio with his piece Toot Toot Tootie Toot: an Illustrator Captures Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, detailing his choices and art-in-progress for his October release.  And New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith in her piece, Going Graphic, details how she and illustrator Ming Doyle created the visual world for her characters to inhabit, in the eagerly awaited Tantalize: Kieren’s Story.  Fans of the gothic series will not be disappointed.
When, Along with her Characters, an Author Gets In Trouble by Ellen Levine, describes running into a wall of silence with her latest book, In Trouble.  The Monsters in Us All, by Dr. Ilsa J. Bick is a precursor to Hunger Mountain’s In Defense of YA. 
We chose to spotlight Ilsa J. Bick’s thoughtful but cutting response 
now as she not only disagrees with Megan Cox Gurdon—she also agrees,
with certain points, that is. As always, please feel free to weigh in in
the comments section of each piece.

For What My Last Book Taught Me, Monika Schröder advises us to Learn to Drive in the Dark as she takes a trip back to discover what her latest novel, My Brother’s Shadow, taught her as a writer.  Lastly, as all the world is a stage, we offer Jest A Minute, which pokes fun at all the dark/light publishing hullabaloo, with a list of Ten Classics Revamped to Capitalize on the Dark  YA Trend (created by none other than moi) and a second list–of Ten New Titles to Please All by author and humorist K. A. Holt.  Read, respond, enjoy!

Also check out This Writer’s Life: The Politics of Story by Neesha Meminger author of Shine, Coconut Moon and Jazz in Love. Neesha explores and argues, with great clarity, how writing fiction is and always will be a political act. In our Industry Insider we host a Q & A with Anita Silvey,
author, children’s literature scholar and the creator of the popular
Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac.  We also add to our growing list of new
fiction with Quarry, a short story by Kevin Waltman that captures the delight and danger in a trip to a forbidden place.
Don’t miss a timely FlipSide, The Light and the Dark of It, highlighting Jennifer Ziegler’s Let There Be Light and Clare Dunkle’s On the Dark Side. Both authors had their pieces well in the works before the June 4th Wall Street Journal article by Meghan Cox Gurdon asked the question: Is Darkness Too Visible?.  Also be sure to check out new fiction: Stone Field, a re-imagining of Wuthering Heights, by Christy Lenzi;  Starcatcher, a unique fantasy by Penny Blublaugh author of Blood & FlowersMonsters, a surprising and raw read by Jennifer Hubbard;  The Proposal, fiction by Lindsey Lane that dives deep into the hiddenness of our human natures and our desires to be both safe and loved.

You can also read earlier features: an exploration of self and sisterhood by Janet Gurtler in Embracing Shadows;  also  In the Half-Light, an essay detailing the shadowy subconscious that aided Hunger Mountain Sneak Peek author Joe Lunievicz in creating his debut novel, Open Wounds (WestSide Books, 2011); the wickedly smart investigation into the use of elision by Janet Fox in The Shadowy Landscape of Dreams Where Reader and Writer Meet. Our Industry Insider Column offers an interview with Elena Mechlin and Joan Slattery in New Faces at Pippin Properties. Be sure to check out the instructive Toolbox piece, Where the Teens Are: 5 Ways to Freshen Up YA Fiction’s Favorite Places from Deborah Halverson, author of the newly released, Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, and the In Response essay to the Passion for the Picture Book special feature by the outstanding author Liz Garton Scanlon.

So, please stop back often.  Read, respond, share your thoughts,
delight in the darkness and luxuriate in the light. They both offer
respite and reward. Go ahead, see for yourselves.


Bethany Hegedus, Editor

Weekly Round Up-End of Summer Style (Please Let It Rain!)

Like the rest of the country, I anxiously watched the footage of Irene. I lived in NYC for 13 years and while there I had my fair share of snowstorms, power outages, flash flooding, subway problems. (The terrorist attacks do not belong in this grouping, but yes, I was there for that too.) When I first moved to NYC I lived in what I lovingly call the "ghett-o" right across from the projects off Hoyt near Smith Street in Brooklyn. We were on the top floor and I had a turkey pan duct taped to my ceiling to keep the water from the hole in the ceiling dripping into a huge pot I'd empty every hour. The hole was right above my closet. I called in sick to work during one tropical storm to be sure the ceiling didn't cave in over everything I owned. I was lucky that day and I was glad this week when I awoke to see NYC had been spared. But, my beloved Vermont was hit hard. For anyone considering a way to help, please see the VT Red Cross.

Here in Austin though, we have been praying for rain. Some may come this weekend. What was a 60% odd is now a 20% odd but I don't believe in odds. I believe in hope, and prayer, and believing things into being. So I am going to believe it will rain, even if it is only a steady stream of my sweat dripping off my nose.

The Writing Barn is pretty much done and I have began hosting mini-celebrations for those hard working writers who have recently landed an agent or their first book deal. (Or in Nikki Loftin's case, her first two book deal!). It's been a pleasure to celebrate the dedication, talent, and triumphs of Shelli Cornelison and Donna Bowman Bratton both who signed with Red Fox Literary and Nikki Loftin, whose first novel The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is due out in the fall of 2012.

Shelli, Bethany and Nikki. Three writer ladies.
Donna rubs her magic genie lamp--every writer needs one. There is nothing like signing with an agent (your first agent!) or selling that first book. Suddenly, the years and years of hard work, near misses, tears at certain rejections disappear and a writer (though we should never fully look outside for confirmations) feels validated. It is a heady and scary time. There is always more work to do. More growth in our words, our stories, ourselves. But there is also time to raise a glass and cheer our success. I might be as corny as a Hallmark card or Walt Disney but dreams do come true. That's why the barn mascot is this little guy.
Barn Mascot: Betty, the Believer.
I will be hosting another day/evening at the barn for E. Kristen Anderson, one of the brains behind Dear Teen Me, which will be a BOOK and a blog! From the Publishers Marketplace announcement:

Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristen Andersons's DEAR TEEN ME, based on the website of the same name, a compilation from adult writers to their teen selves, to Hallie Warshaw of Zest Books, in a pre-empt for publication in 2012 by Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency.

I am super excited by this news! E. Kristen (known to me as Emily, the Hate Mongering Tart and beloved Associate Editor at Hunger Mountain) is an amazing writer and a force to be reckoned with. She is smart, savvy, hilarious and has such energy. The Dear Teen Me idea struck Emily and she had the courage and persistence to pursue it as a blog--to invite well-known and up and coming authors to participate. She found a partner in crime in Miranda and they have gone on to great things. I wish nothing but success to the project and to the readers of DEAR TEEN ME--the soon-to-be-book and the blog. Betty, my day-dreaming pig is beside herself with glee!

More at the Barn--I hope to get a website together in the coming weeks for The Writing Barn. I will be teaching there, working with my private students, and opening the space for community events and classes. Look for Lisa Yee to make a pit-stop while she is in Austin at the Austin SCBWI conference in Feb to teach a Master Class at The Barn. She and Peep will be leading a one day intensive on Creating Compelling Bad Guys and Bullies. Registration for the conference and for the one day event is filling up quickly so REGISTER NOW.

The sun setting on The Writing Barn. The Writing Barn will also be available for rental--whether it be for a small writing retreat--an in-town get away or a cool and unique place for the out of town book lover to stay. Think of us and look for the website coming soon!


As I work on my new WIP, I am amazed at the serendipity coming my way. Today, thanks to the lovely Suvi, this am I toured the inside of Casa Neverlandia and met owners and artists James Edward Talbot and Kay Pils. Talbot and Kay are in two words awe-inspiring. I loved meeting them and stepping into their colorful world. All in Austin should turn out to celebrate Talbot's "Essential Magnificence" official unveiling on Sept. 10th at 9:00am. See here for details. I will be there coffee in hand.
My "Essential Magnificence" is displayed with eyes closed.
Grandfather Gandhi

Grandfather Gandhi, (forthcoming Antheneum S&S) has a an illustrator and not just any illustrator the amazing Evan Turk. Evan is new to the publishing industry but based on the samples I've seen of the work he did to land the Gandhi book--he won't be new for long. His work is filled with energy, a zest for life, and he is well-traveled and respectful of all cultures. I am honored to have his name on the cover alongside Arun Gandhi and myself! More updates on the book coming soon!

Back to School, Back to Blogging

So, today was back to school day here in Austin. And, I figured that was a good time
to get back to blogging. I meant to only be away for a month (Sorry,
those who have interviews scheduled with me. I shall be posting them
soon!) and I had pre-blogged. 

I was in Maui for much of June and early July. Rough, right? I know. My fiancé
had a conference he was hosting at one of the area hotels and we stayed
there for two weeks and then spent two weeks in Paia, this funky little
hippy town. While there I let myself decompress from the work-a-day
world and made my transition into the write-a-day world. I kept up with
my editorial duties at Hunger Mountain, and with the work of my
one-on-one students, but I took time to breathe again. 

To be Bethany again. 

To explore. To laze on the beach. 

To sip cocktails and read, read, read and write, write, write.

Each day new words found me. I jotted them all down. A week before leaving I had
40 pages down and usually that is the time I take those pages, those
mountains of words, and I hit delete. I had found my characters a bit
and now I could start again. I could begin.

 Strangely,or not so strangely really, two days before leaving Maui I realized the manuscript I was writing would be a beach book. A summer vacation story which would bring my two MCs to Maui the summer’s after Sophomore year, Junior year, and Senior year. I have always loved beach books and walking through airports have purchased Dorthea Benton Frank and Elin Hildebrandfor years (though I can’t read a Nicolas Sparks book I can partake of the movies made from them). I never—never—thought I would write my own beach book.  Those that know me well know that I hate summer. Since I was a kid I felt like summer fun is prescribed and is supposed to be a prescription for all that has ailed ye all year long.

Summer fun by definition is giddy and outdoorsy. I am not giddy or outdoorsy. Maui opened me up to see another side of summer—and another side of me. The sunsets, the sunrises, the people, the tropical flowers and afternoon showers all created this opening in me. An opening to do what I wanted—write, watch locals collect seaweed, walk on the beach, hear music, play with kids in the water—splashing and doing tricks. It
took me away from myself. From my year round concerns and healed the
overworked, treadmill part of me. 

When I arrived back in Austin, about a month ago now, I didn’t find it hard to write but I did find myself resisting blogging. I love to blog. I do.But I needed time for my story to come first. I am now at 100 pages in
my RD and feel grounded in where I may be headed. I have been missing blogging. Missing adding my voice to the kid lit conversation. Missing trumpeting the horn of my fellow writers and all their accomplishments. I
have missed the in-depth interviews and have some fabulous ones I shall be posting in the weeks to come. I now miss the outer world as much as I missed my inner world before my time away. So, thanks for having me

Next week I will begin a month (or more long) series on Adventures While Teaching, using thoughts I garnered from reading Roger Rosenblatt’s Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing.

In Hunger Mountain news:

Look for, later this week, the In Defense of YA Round-Up that was promised to readers back when the whole WSJ brouhaha began in June, as well as a Toolbox piece by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and a sneak-peak into her new novel, Jefferson’s Sons. 

We are still accepting fiction for the fall issue: The Art & Insanity of Creativity. See here to submit and to see guidelines:

The Katherine Paterson Prize has closed (though there is always next year so start polishing those submissions) and the judging is going on now. Who will NBA winner Kimberly Willis Holt choose as the 1k winner??? Keep a look out. 

Winter and Spring Themes to be announced soon as well as those pieces from 2011 that have been selected to be a part of the annual print edition, which will be on sale in bookstores and sent to Hunger Mountain subscribers.

In Awesome Austin, a round up of the summer awesomeness.

Since I last posted two incredible Austin authors have welcomed wee ones (and
this time I mean babies—not books). Congrats to Varian and Crystal
Johnson on the arrival of Savannah Parker and to Mari Mancussi Beach and
Jacob Beach on the arrival of Avalon. 

Get ready for Chronal Engineby Greg Leitich Smith. I have seen some of the cover art and interiors
for his 2012 release and this time-traveling dinosaur book is going to knock you out. 

Greg, Vanessa Lee and Jenny Moss pour over a Chronal Engine slideshow

Congrats to Jeannette Larson’s Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore of the Americas illustrated by Adrienne Yorinks being chosen to represent Texas in the National Book Festival. 


Three cheers for Tantalize: Kieren’s Story,
a new graphic novel by Cynthia Leitich Smith and illustrated by Ming Doyle which releases tomorrow. To get a peak into Cynthia’s process of turning her best-selling novel into a graphic novel with new content see her Hunger Mountain article Going Graphic.  

The Austin Statesman this weekend featured a review of Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson, calling the book: “finely wrought, with emotional twists that will absorb your teen reader.” (14 and up) To see an interview with Jessica, head on over to Carmen Oliver’s blog  and read their in-depth Calli chat.

To read a chapter from Jessica’s work-in-progress, check out the Hunger Mountain archives and read Finding Bigfoot.

A big whoo-hoo for the Writer’s League of Texas 2011 Children’s Book Award Finalists:  

Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton, A Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata, Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy, Betti on the High Wire by Lisa Railsback, and Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber.

And triple woo-hoos for Austinites Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lisa Railsback, and Chris Barton

E. Kristin Anderson, Jennifer Ziegler, moi, and Holly Green

I attended the Keep Austen Weird celebration for Austin author Jennifer Ziegler’s
new release Sass & Serendipity. Plenty of fun was had by all and
with my long gown I won the award as the Most Serendipitous. And for all
you Jennifer Ziegler fans go vote for Sass & Serendipity at Justine magazine as your favorite summer read. Vote here. Or read her Hunger Mountain essay, Let There Be Light on the writing of the novel and how Jane Austen influenced her and her work. 

Big rah-rahs for Austinites Shelli Cornelison and Donna Bowman Bratton for signing with at Red Fox Literary. See Kathy Teman’s wonderful interview with the folks at Red Fox.

I may have missed someone’s accolade (sorry if I did) so don’t miss the Austin SCBWI website where Debbie Gonzales is always celebrating the Austin kid lit writing community’s successes. 

For the Calendar 

Don't miss the Austin Teen Book Festival, Oct. 1st. 

or The Texas Book Festival Oct. 22-23rd.