Cynsational News & Links

Ying Chang Compestine: A Test of Character from CBC Magazine. Here’s a sneak peek: Ying Chang Compestine came to the United States for graduate school in 1986. After her parents passed away, she began her first novel, Revolution is Not a Dinner Party (Holt, 2007), as a way of coping with her grief and to reconnect to China. Described as the ‘Anne Frank in the Cultural Revolution,’ Compestine draws from her childhood experience to bring hope and humor to this powerful story of a girl who comes of age and fights to survive during this darkest period of Chinese history.” Visit Ying Chang Compestine online.

Online Class: Writing Children’s Nonfiction Books for the Educational Market from Laura Purdie Salas. The class is scheduled for Jan. 7 through Feb. 1; register by Dec. 5 for a discount.

On Writing Non-fiction for Kids from Fiona Bayrock. Includes subsections on writing science, writing biography, writing history, writing crafts, and selling series non-fiction.

Kidlit Junkie Tells All! From the bio: “I’m an Editorial Assistant at a Big Name Publishing House. I blog about children’s books, events, and publishing in general. I’m happy to answer questions.”

25 Tips to Book Promotion and other thoughts… from Gentle’s Holler. Read a Cynsations interview with Kerry Madden.

Mark your calendars: “the 2008 SCBWI Houston conference will be Feb. 23. Speakers are being confirmed now, and a lineup, program, and registration form will be posted soon. There will be three editors, an agent and an illustrator, and author Kimberly Willis Holt.” Note: according to Devas T Rants and Raves! illustrator Don Tate also will be speaking. Read Cynsations interviews with Kimberly and Don.

Reminder: Austin SCBWI offers a great line-up for its April 26 conference. Speakers include: author and editor Deborah Noyes Wayshak from Candlewick Press (author-editor interview); Alvina Ling from Little Brown (personal blog); agent Erin Murphy (interview from by Pam Mingle from Kite Tales, Rocky Mountain chapter, SCBWI); artist’s agent Christina Tugeau; and writing professor Peter Jacobi. See details at Austin SCBWI.

Early registration for the 2008 Writers’ League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference is open now. The first 50 people who register will receive the early-bird discount of $30 in addition to first choice of agents! The Conference will take place at the Sheraton Austin Hotel, June 20 to 22. Members: $309 (Early Bird: $279); Non-Members: $354 (Early Bird: $324). All early-bird registrations must be submitted by phone. To register, call 512.499.8914.

Check out the 2007 nominees for the Cybils in non-fiction picture books, fantasy and science fiction, graphic novels, middle grade-YA non-fiction, middle grade fiction, YA fiction, fiction picture books, and poetry! Get and customize the Cybils widget for your blog or site at JacketFlap! Note: I’m honored that Tantalize is included among the nominees.

“Where the Wild Things Came From: how children’s books evolved from morals to madcap fun” by Emily Bazelon and Erica S. Perl from Slate. Click the link for the slide show. You’ll have to sit through a brief sponsor commercial. Afterward a link will appear in the upper left corner to advance the slide show. Once you’ve studied the text and image on each, click the image to advance.

Parents’ Choice Awards

The Parents’ Choice award winning books for fall 2007 have been announced. Highlights include:

silver medal winners: Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (Abrams); Has Anyone Seen My Emily Green by Norma Fox Mazer, illustrated by Christine Davenier (Candlewick);

recommended books: What Happens on Wednesdays by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Lauren Castillo (FSG); Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Candlewick)(author interview).

Note: Greg Leitich Smith was a Parents’ Choice gold medal winner for Ninjas, Piranhas & Galileo (Little Brown, 2003).


Congratulations to Julie Berry on the sale of her debut novel to Bloomsbury! Julie is a student at the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I had the pleasure of advising her in her first semester there.

Books I look forward to in 2008 include The Opposite of Invisible by debut author Liz Gallagher (Wendy Lamb, January 2008).

From the flap copy: “Alice and Jewel have been best friends since grade school. Together, they don’t need anyone else, and together they blend into the background of high school. Invisible. To Alice, Jewel is the opposite of invisible. Jewel is her best friend who goes to Indie concerts and art shows with her. Jewel scoffs at school dances with her. Alice is so comfortable around Jewel that she can talk to him about almost anything. But she can’t tell him that she likes the cool, popular Simon. And then Simon asks her to the school dance the same day that Jewel kisses her for the first time. Still, she can’t say no to Simon. He seems like the easy choice, the one she’s attracted to, the one she’s ready for. But will it mean losing Jewel?

“In a bright debut novel set against the lively backdrop of Seattle, Alice must learn the difference between love and a crush, and what it means to be yourself when you’re not sure who that is yet.”

Note: Liz is a graduate of the Vermont College, where she was one of my advisees.

Through the Tollbooth is a new LJ on the craft of writing. The team behind the blog is Tami Lewis Brown, Sarah Aronson, Kelly Bingham (author interview), Liz Gallagher, Carrie Jones (author interview), Sarah Sullivan, Zu Vincent, Stephanie Greene, and Helen Hemphill (author interview). If you haven’t already, please welcome this wonderful group to the kidlitosphere!

Holiday Shopping?

Princess Nevermore Shop at CafePress: check out tops and tees, mugs, buttons, and bears in celebration of Princess Nevermore (Darby Creek, 2006) and Cam’s Quest (Darby Creek, 2007), both by Dian Curtis Regan. Read a Cynsations interview with Dian.

Sanguini’s Shops at CafePress and Printfection: tees, mouse pads, cutting boards, mugs, magnets, stickers and more in celebration of the fictional vampire restaurant from my latest book, Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Read an interview with Sanguini’s logo designer Gene Brenek. See also the bibliographies highlighting some of my background reading in preparation for writing the novel (more specifically Gothic fantasy and shape-shifters).

More Personally

Thanks so much to Carolyn and everyone at Westlake High (outside Austin) who participated in my online author visit on Nov. 20! What fun! Note: we used a chat program called Skype that was highly conducive to the event. Learn more about my online author programs and Virtual Visits with Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers at Toni Buzzeo‘s site.

Tantalize is listed among 100 Sizzling Titles at Voices Rising of Cleveland.

Reminder: through the end of this month, I’m doing a giveaway of a copy of Rain Is Not My Indian Name, signed by me, and a poster of NASA astronaut John Herrington (signed by him). See details. Note: see also Debbie Reese’s thoughts on the giveaway and on persistent (and international) stereotypes of Native people at American Indians in Children’s literature.

Attention, Austinites! Greg and I will be reading Santa Knows, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman (Dutton, 2006) at 1 p.m. Dec. 2 at Barnes & Noble Westlake.

From the flap copy: “Who knows if you’ve been naughty or nice? Santa knows, that’s who! But not everyone believes in Santa Claus. Consider Alfie F. Snorklepuss. He thinks he’s proven that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. Alfie thinks there is no way that Santa could do all the things he’s supposed to, like deliver billions of presents all over the world in one night or know what every little kid wants. When Alfie starts spreading the word that there is no Santa Claus, he makes someone very unhappy: his little sister Noelle. And so Noelle turns to the only person who can help her. The one person Alfie thinks doesn’t exist: Santa Claus. Ho, ho, ho!”

If you would like a signed bookplate for Santa Knows, just write me with “Santa Knows” in the subject line, and both your snail mail address and any personalization information in the body of the email. Visit!