Cynsational News, Links, Giveaway & Hiatus

“BEST GYMNAST. BEST speller. Best kazoo player. It seems everyone has a talent except Babymouse. That is, until Babymouse takes to the ice and surprises everyone with her spectacular spins and jubilant jumps. Until the famous Olympic coach, Coach Bearnakorva, discovers her and asks Babymouse to be her new protege. Will Babymouse’s dreams of a medal come true? Or is she treading on thin ice?” (from the promotional copy). Note: Babymouse is an absolute must-read series! Highest recommendation.

Hurry! Hurry! Enter to win a Babymouse doll and a copy of the seventh Babymouse adventure: Babymouse: Skater Girl by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House, 2007)! To enter, just email me with your name and address by 3 p.m. CST TODAY! Two of these prizes will be awarded! I’ll send them out via FedEx immediately after the deadline. Read a Cynsations interview with Matthew!

More News & Links

Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic, Book 1, by Kathleen Duey (Atheneum, 2007): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLSBlog. Here’s a sneak peek: “Duey skillfully uses Sadima’s story to illuminate Hahp’s, creating characters that are expertly drawn and a fantasy world that is textured and real.” Read the whole recommendation and a Cynsations interview with Kathleen.

Why My Books Really Are 12-up by Alex Flinn. Read a Cynsations interview with Alex.

Rudolph’s Top Five Writing Tips: Revision Notes from Darcy Pattison. Read a Cynsations interview with Darcy.

Bookmark “Beacons of Light” at Wordswimmer for 28 interviews from 2007 with such authors as Carolyn Crimi, Sarah Dessen, Sherry Garland, Louise Hawes, Carrie Jones, Lois Lowry, Barbara O’Conner, Graham Salisbury, Sonya Sones, Joyce Sweeney, Sarah Weeks, and many more. Here’s a sneak peek from Norma Fox Mazer: “I learned long ago that only fear would stop me.” A highly recommended link! the official tie-in site to First Light by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2007) brings you to an icy landscape where young readers can discover the science behind the story, including the truth about freshwater lakes nestled deep within frozen glaciers, the mechanics of ice melt in Greenland, and the exhausting realities of arctic fieldwork (think snow shoveling, and waterproof paper). There are also links to learn about carbon, climate change, firefly science, and how to build an igloo.

Visit Sara Zarr’s newly redesigned author site! Sara is the author of Story of a Girl (Little Brown, 2007) and Sweethearts (Little Brown, 2008). Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

“Spiderwick Chronicles meets up with SexySassySmartTV” at YouTube. Catch a short interview with Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. Now learn about the movie and the next Spiderwick series, also at YouTube. Visit The Spiderwick Chronicles, and read a Cynsations interview with Holly. Source: Melissa (subscribe to her blog at MySpace). Note: plan to see the “The Spiderwick Chronicles” movie on opening weekend! Coming February 2008!

Reminder to vampire fiction fans: don’t miss Heather Brewer‘s fang-tastic new series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod (Dutton, 2007-). Check out this trailer, read an interview with Heather by Little Willow at Slayground, and visit Heather at MySpace!

Top 10 Children’s Books from Time Magazine’s 50 Top Ten Lists of 2007. Highlights include: When Dinosaurs came with Everything by Elise Broach, illustrated by David Small (Atheneum) and Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts (Abrams). Read Cynsations interviews with Elise and Andrea.

Teaching This Week, from Chennai by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. See pictures of India from Uma’s desk top. Read a Cynsations interview with Uma.

I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? “The Place to find out about Young Adult fiction books with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning characters and themes…and other cool stuff from Lee Wind, Teen Action Fantasy author.” Source: AS IF: Authors Support Intellectual Freedom.

Worth the Trip: Queer Books for Kids and Teens. See sidebar for lists of GLBTQ authors, resources, library recommendations, and more. Source: AS IF: Authors Support Intellectual Freedom.

Take a peek at Chess Rumble by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson (Lee & Low, 2007). From the promotional copy: “A story in free verse about a troubled boy who learns to use his mind instead of his fists through the guidance of an unconventional mentor and the game of chess.” Scroll to read “how Chess Rumble came about” at G. Neri’s site. Follow the link at Jesse Joshua Watson’s site that says “see more Chess Rumble.” Note: learn about more great youth literature at The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story.

The Graphic Novels Guy from Buzz, Balls & Hype by M. J. Rose.

Chronicle Books is currently running two contests–the Taro Gomi Squiggles & Doodles Creativity Contest and the Ivy & Bean Friendship Contest (for teachers and their classrooms).

Debut Author of the Month: S.A. Harazin… from Alice’s CWIM Blog. Here’s a sneak peek: “A writer can spend every hour of the day promoting and still feel like it isn’t enough. I try to balance promotion with writing—I am a writer. That is what I do best. I want to write, and that is the most important thing to me.” S. A. Harazin is the author of Blood Brothers (Delacorte, 2007)(excerpt).

World Religions: Islam: a book list from The Horn Book. Read a Cynsations interview with editor Roger Sutton.

Global Reading: Selected Literature for Children and Teens Set in Other Countries compiled by Megan Schliesman from CCBC (2007).

Core Collections: Math in Fiction by Stephanie Zvirin from Booklist.

Host a Jewish Book Author: a new site that lists Jewish book authors worldwide, searchable by name, location, or genre. Each listing includes the author’s city, book titles (up to four), lecture topics, areas of travel, along with contact information. Note: this is not a booking agent. It’s a clearing house for JCCs, Federations, synagogues, book clubs, libraries, bookstores, and others who want to arrange visits and signings with authors. Authors themselves decide on the contact information to be listed on the site. They can choose their publicist, publisher, speakers’ bureau, themselves, or anybody else. Each listing contains links to buy books. Authors interested in participating should contact Anna Olswanger. See the list of children’s authors. Read an interview with Anna on her award-winning picture book, Shlemiel Crooks, illustrated by Paula Goodman Koz (Junebug, 2005)(a Sydney Taylor Honor Book), and another on her work as a literary agent.

Hot Off the Press: A Sneak Peek at Publishers’ Newest and Hottest Titles from CBC Magazine. Updated Dec. 15.

Simmons in Boston is now offering an MFA in Writing for Children as well as a dual degree MA/MFA.

Attention writers: if you haven’t already, take a look at this writer montage from YouTube! Source: Tanya Lee Stone. Note: just for fun!

Congratulations to Cynthia Cotten on her debut novel, Fair Has Nothing to Do With It (FSG, 2007)(book trailer). From the promotional copy: “There are two bright spots in Michael’s life: Melanie, the new girl in town, and Charlie Andrews, an artist and retired teacher who used to work with Michael’s dad and is now giving Michael private art lessons. Like Grandpa and Michael, Mr. Andrews knows how to observe carefully and deeply, and as his lessons progress, Michael understands better and better how to capture what he sees on paper. But after losing Grandpa, can Michael let himself get close to someone else?” Cynthia also has a new picture book, Some Babies Sleep, illustrated by Paul Tong (Philomel, 2007).

Texas News & Links

Jane Peddicord will discuss “the language of picture books” at 11 a.m. Jan. 12 at the Westlake Barnes & Noble. Sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

Liz Garton Scanlon will be teaching an advanced workshop in Writing for Children at the Rio Grande campus of Austin Community College this spring. “This class presumes a basic understanding of the practice and craft and will address issues in texts ranging from picture books to young adult novels. The course will be 12 weeks long, starting in February, and will be held on Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. If you’d like to register, the course is in the creative writing department: ENGL 2308 Advanced Writing Workshop, 14329 Writing For Children.” Contact Liz Garton Scanlon with questions. Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Scott Scribes Scholarship for Older Adults (age 40+) from the Writers League of Texas. Texas residents with financial need qualify. Fields of study are journalism/mass communications, creative writing, English composition/writing skills, and public relations/advertising. Deadline: Feb. 1. See details.

Author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell will be teaching a children’s book illustration class again at the end of January. The class will be six weeks, on Wednesday nights, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Jan. 30 to March 5 at the Art School at the Austin Museum for Art. For more information, or to request a class outline or supply list, please contact Mark or can call the art school at 512-323-6380. Read a Cynsations interview with Mark.

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. Note: critiques with Deborah Noyes Wayshak and author April Lurie (interview) have already sold out!

More Personally

Congratulations to the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at The University of Kansas in Lawrence on its 60th anniversary! I’m a 1991 graduate in news/editorial and public relations. Note: I’m also a 1994 graduate of The University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.

From Publisher’s Lunch, new deals for Dec. 14: “Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Tantalize, a graphic novel adaptation of the author’s prose romantic suspense novel Tantalize, retelling the story from the werewolf’s point of view, to Deb Wayshak at Candlewick, for publication in 2009, by Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown (World English).” Note: I first learned to read by myself with the comic format (and have continued to enjoy it since), and the early drafts of Tantalize were written from Kieren’s POV, so writing this book feels like coming full-circle as a reader and with this story. I’m thrilled!

In addition, Listening Library will be releasing an audio edition of Tantalize in 2008! Note: The book will be read by Kim Mai Guest, whose audio credits include Wait for Me by An Na, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, and Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles.

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Sarah Aronson at Through the Tollbooth. This interview highlights my own writing process; however, it’s also very much about the author’s life more globally. I answer questions about blogging, creating a Web presence, the five keys to success now, our greatest obstacle, and promotion. Here’s a sneak peek: “I have found that it helps to celebrate every victory no matter how small. You finished your draft? Celebrate! You received a personal rejection letter? Celebrate! Your workshop leader says your story arc is stronger? An agent asks for the whole manuscript? You’ve sold your first book? Your fiftieth? Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!” Thanks to Jo Knowles, Debbi Michiko Florence, and Elizabeth O. Dulemba (congratulations, Elizabeth!) for related posts! Read a Cynsations interview with Sarah Aronson of Through the Tollbooth.

Reminder: I’ll be chatting at Faerie Drink Forums from Jan. 1 to Jan. 8. See complete list of authors and schedule.

The December giveaway at the Tantalize Fans Unite! group at MySpace is two gift certificates for Italian dinners and two copies of The Far Sweet Thing by Libba Bray (Delacorte, Dec. 16 2007). Read a Cynsations interview with Libba. Visit me at MySpace!

As of this post, Cynsations is going on a hiatus until Feb. 1. If you have a pending interview, please turn in your questions as your schedule allows. That way, they’ll be ready to go in 2008. In the meantime, Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys will be giving the main site a polish and buff for its ten-year anniversary! Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm in 2007! Happy Holidays!