Cynsational News & Links

The Texas Library Association has announced its 2007-2008 Tayshas list. Titles include: Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz (Hyperion, 2006); Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Viking, 2006)(author interview); Copper Sun by Sharon Draper (Atheneum, 2006); What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles (Little Brown, 2006)(author interview); An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (Dutton, 2006)(author interview); Strong at Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse by Carolyn Lehman (FSG, 2005)(author interview); A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt (Wendy Lamb, 2006); The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin (Dial, 2006)(author interview); and Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (Razorbill, 2005)(author interview). See the whole list (PDF).

Working under a grant from the Canadian government, Annick Press has produced a series of brief web video interviews with several of their authors and illustrators.

Inventing and Reinventing Your Writing Self: hosted by the MFA-Writing for Children & Young Adult Program at Vermont College, Montpelier. Lectures, presentations, readings, book discussion, book signings and more! Join faculty, students, and guests M.T. Anderson, Anita Silvey, David Levithan, and Martine Leavitt for thought-provoking sessions related to the writer’s identity and concerns, the scope of the work of writing, and how this work changes over time. Registration is $100 ($75 for Vermont College alumni). $10 discount for early-bird registration received by June 1. For registration and more information, contact Susannah Noël by phone (802) 828-8637, (800) 336-6794, ext 8637 or email:

13th Carnival of Children’s Literature from Jen Robinson’s Book Page.

Attention Austinites: Mark your calendars for April 28th when Austin SCBWI authors and illustrators will be featured in a MEET THE AUTHOR autograph party from 11a.m. to 1 p.m at Barnes and Noble Westlake. At last count, twelve authors and two illustrators were planning to be on hand to sign books. Note: Greg and I will not be at the event; however signed copies of our books will be available.

Interview with Heather Brewer, author of Eighth Grade Bites (Dutton, August 2007), by Little Willow at Slayground.

What are Your Favorite Writing/Publishing Blogs? Chime in on the MySpace page of agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown.

More Personally

Congratuations to Varian Johnson on receiving a merit scholarship to the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults!

Congratulations to April Lurie on her star from KLIATT on Brothers, Boyfriends & Other Criminal Minds (Delacorte, 2007)!

Speaking of which, KLIATT says of my new release Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007): “For those who enjoy the horror of the original Dracula or the heart-wrenching sorrow of Romeo and Juliet, Smith’s book will be seen as a fresh, updated version of these timeless classics.”

School Library Journal raves: “Readers will be tantalized by this dark, romantic, and disturbing fantasy of vampires, werewolves, and a strong no-nonsense heroine. Fans of Stephenie Meyer and Annette Curtis Klause will eat it up.”

In related news, Tantalize has been nominated for the TLA 2008-2009 Tayshas list! Nominees also include: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking, 2007); St. Iggy by K.L. Going (Harcourt, 2006)(author interview); Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale (Holt, 2006)(author interview); Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (HarperCollins, 2006)(author interview); 21 Proms, edited by David Levithan (Scholastic, 2007)(author interview); The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)(author interview); Wait for Me by An Na (Putnam, 2006)(recommendation); Notes from a Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick (Scholastic, 2006)(author interview); Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster, 2006); Rubber Houses by Ellen Yeomans (Little Brown, 2007); and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (Little Brown, 2007)(author interview). See all the nominees (xls file)!

Thanks to everyone at the Arkansas Literary Festival. Greg and I had a great time on our panel. Authors at the event included Walter “The Giant Storyteller” Mayes, Deborah Wiles, and Jerry Wermund.

Thanks to Darcy Pattison for mentioning Cynsations in “Blog Basics for Children’s Literature,” and to WOW! Women on Writing for their recent link.

Even More Personally

Like many (all?) authors, I’m utterly “skinless.” The Doubt-O-Nator* stalks me. It is much like the folk, unkept.

So, when I first began writing, I decided that I wouldn’t read reviews of my books, obsess over sales ranks, or otherwise fret–good or bad–whatever might emerge in reply from the universe.

I quickly found out that this was counter-productive. Such references are important to keeping up one’s bio, promotion, targeting markets, updating teaching applications, etc.

Yet authors are often left out of the news cycle. Publishers may pass on reviews or articles or announcements of awards/nominations…or they may not. Often, we bring the information to them. Why? No one else is affected more, and no one else cares as much. It’s up to us to “Google” ourselves and our titles.

Still, I have been doing that too much lately.

Tantalize followed very shortly after Santa Knows (Dutton, fall 2006). The new novel has largely completed its pro review cycle, and overall, the reception has been lovely. We’re in the fifth printing. And I’m honored to play a small role in the YA literature community I’ve so long admired.

At the same time, I’ve been living in the famed “season of nausea” since ARCs went out at the last BEA. I’ve spent more than one sleepless night fretting 102 ellipses, waited out a cover art revision, and second-guessed myself for initially not trying to sell more than one of the books in my intended, overarching story.**

Consequently, I need to just say nada to Google and Technorati and their Web-scanning pals. Regroup, focus, write.

My point being: if there is something you’d like me to see, please just write me personally. Don’t assume I’ll know otherwise.

Meanwhile, I’ll be tapping away at my keyboard, sporting my PJs uniform, drinking iced tea with Splenda, assisted by my writer cats. Studying and celebrating books by other folks. Living footloose and nausea free. Thanks!

*Nancy Werlin calls hers “Fearnando,” which is (a) my inspiration (b) more charming.

**I’d felt convinced that I had to first prove readers would accept my doing non-Indian-themed work. Others seemed to think so, too. Given early signs, though, I feel comfortable saying that I’ve always envisioned Tantalize as the beginning of a larger story, and I wrote it that way. If the universe is willing, I have hopes for more to come.