Cynsational News, Links & Giveaways

Enter to win a copy of The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper (Greenwillow, 2008), email me (scroll for email address) with your name, snail/street mail address, and favorite Shakespeare quote by midnight CST June 16! Please also type “The Juliet Club” in the subject line.

Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.

Monthly Giveaways

The Cynsations grand-prize June giveaway is an autographed hardcover set of First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover (Dutton, 2007) and First Daughter: White House Rules (Dutton, 2008), both by Mitali Perkins. Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll for address) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST June 30! Please also type “First Daughter” in the subject line. Note: one autographed set will be awarded to any Cynsations YA reader.

More Giveaways

Evernight Contest #6 from author Claudia Gray. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Amazon and a chance to name a character in the fourth Evernight (HarperCollins) novel. Deadline June 30. See more information. Read Claudia’s LJ. From her FAQ: “Why not vampires? I used to check books of folklore out of the library and read for hours. Then there was Anne Rice, then there was ‘Buffy,’ then there was ‘Moonlight‘—basically, if it had vampires in it, particularly if it wasn’t flat-out horror, I wanted to check it out. “

More News & Links

Children’s author Lindsey Lane debuts her new official site, designed by Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys. Features bio, “writing life,” author visit information, links, and contact information. Lisa says: “Lindsey’s design looks simple but is actually a tour de force of CSS background image finesse. Illustrations all original, including the silhouette that looks just like her even though we haven’t met. Her ‘pictorial biography’ makes use of a new javascript that I used for the first time here, a kind of vertical scrolling widget–almost a vertical slideshow.” Note: this site does a wonderful job of capturing the magic that is Lindsey Lane. Read a Cynsations interview with Lindsey.

Interview with Mary E. Pearson by Debbi Michiko Florence. Peek: “Since I don’t outline or ever know for sure how a story will play out, it becomes very much a trusting process with lots of doubt sprinkled in along the way.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mary. See also Mary E. Pearson on Inspiration from Teen Book Review. Peek: “‘There is a Jack London quote that says, ‘You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.'”

Author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell of Austin, Texas is offering four months of free on-line lessons on “How to illustrate children’s books” to anyone who is willing to go to this link and answer the question they see on the screen. The course is designed to help anyone who is interested (no matter what level of artistic education or training he or she has–from MFA to having never taken an art class before) get moving in all the right directions on illustrating a children’s book or other form of children’s media. Read a Cynsations interview with Mark.

The Query Points System and Rule Breaking from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “I have requested a large number of partials where the idea did not immediately strike me (let’s say 3 or 4 points), but the query letter was so impeccable (8 or 9 points!) I wanted to check it out.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Question of the Week Thursday: Lisa Yee by Robin Friedman from Robin Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks: “What’s it like to share an editor with J. K. Rowling?” Read Cynsations interviews with Lisa and Robin. On a related note, the Harry Potter prequel by J. K. Rowling is available online. See Big A little a for how to find it.

“Kathi Appelt–Writing The Underneath” from Kimberly Willis Holt (author interview) at Jambalaya–A Little of This and That. Peek: “In some ways this story was like taffy. I kept stretching it and pulling it and stretching it and pulling it some more, and at times pushing it further and further out. I revisited the region in which it took place, east Texas, tromped around in those pine forests.” Don’t miss part two. See also a recommendation of The Underneath from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “…a gripping story of cats, dogs, cruelty, love, and ancient and contemporary evil.”

Interview: Author Alison McGhee by Little Willow at Slayground. Peek: “Much of my work is set in the landscape of my childhood – remote and hardscrabble upstate New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. I’m a mountain and water girl at heart, and I always return to the land for solace and renewal.” Source: LizGallagher.

“The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” from Harvard Magazine. “J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivers her Commencement Address…at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.”

Q and A with Susan Beth Pfeffer by Lynda Brill Comerford, Children’s Bookshelf — Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Writing has been my career for my entire life. I had my first book published when I was 20 and still in college. But out of all my books, these last two have been the most fun for me to write.” Read a Cynsations interview with Susan.

The Book Transfusion: “The Book Transfusion was started in May 2008 by teen author Devyn Burton. Our goal is to collect as many new books as possible and distribute them to local hospitals in lower east Michigan–to be received by teen patients. We are currently reaching out to local businesses, schools and authors from all over the world to take part.”

What I Like by Alvina Ling, an editor at Little, Brown, from Bloomabilities. Peek: “Because although what I’ve acquired and edited in the past is certainly indicative of my tastes, there are so many other types of books that either I’ve acquired but haven’t been published yet, and still more that I’m open to but just haven’t acquired anything in that genre. The thing is, I guess it’s a bit of a cycle–I tend to get submissions in a similar vein to the books I’ve acquired.”

Katherine Applegate: A Marketing Journey from Robin LaFevers at Shrinking Violet Promotions: Marketing for Introverts. Peek: “Certainly publishers have a vested interest in seeing series flourish, but the allocation of resources varies tremendously, depending on what else in on a list in a given season, how a publisher is doing financially, how committed a publisher is to a certain genre.” See also a Cynsations interview with Robin.

Joining the Clique: YA’s bumper crop in Christian fiction by Jana Riess from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Novelist Claudia Mair Burney understands this tension well. ‘Christian fiction seems to play it safe so often, but adolescence is inherently unsafe,’ she explains. ‘If we can’t show Christ as redeemer in the midst of people cutting themselves, starving themselves or having sex before they’re ready, why would we write at all?'” Source: April Henry at So Many Books, So Little Time.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Tricia Tusa from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “I draw sketches quickly so as not to deliberate too much and get in my own way. I will trace from these sketches directly, using a light box…all the while trying to maintain the spontaneous feel of these originals.”

“Welcome to Walden Backyard:” a tour of Cynthia Lord‘s “little writing house.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cynthia.

Congratulations to Sarah Hamburg on her selection for the 2008-2009 Boston Public Library Children’s Writer-in-Residence Program.

Authorial Intrusion: Varian Johnson from L. K. Madigan at Drenched in Words. Peek: “I’m especially fond of this book because the author (a man) writes in the voice of a teen girl. Since I am a woman whose book is written in the voice of a teen boy, I sense a kindred spirit in Varian.”

Reading about Families in My Family by Megan Lambert from The Horn Book. Peek: “In my family there are two moms and five kids. I’ve yet to find a children’s book that depicts a cast of characters that looks anything like our particular multiracial, foster-adoptive family constellation…”

“Love of Horses Propels Writer: Louisville Native Turns Youthful Experiences into Novel for Girls” by Tamara Ikenberg of The Courier-Journal. Peek: “‘I just wanted to write a book for girls that would be a positive, interesting story about a girl who struggles and makes it through because of her own strength and determination,” says [author Anne] Wedekind…'”

An Interview with Rudine Sims Bishop by Kathleen T. Horning from The Horn Book. “Talking with the foremost scholar of African American children’s literature.” Peek: “…there is a stigma attached to having ancestors who were slaves. What the writers try to do is to destigmatize that ancestry by saying, ‘These were people who survived. These were people who were resilient. These were people who…”

Author Visits by State by Kim Norman (author interview) from The Apple: Where Teachers Meet and Learn.

Teen Ink is a national teen magazine, book and website featuring teen writing, information, art, photos, poetry, teen issues and more. All articles are written by teen authors who are students at schools. Teen Ink is also a book series published by HCI Teens. More than 25,000 teens have been published in the magazine and its companion Poetry Journal. Teen Ink runs a London Summer Program for teenage writers.”

Given these history-making times, lately, I have received several queries from folks of all political persuasions, asking about interracial themes and biracial identity in youth literature. My main site includes as one of its features a section on “Children’s and YA Books with Interracial Family Themes.” In addition, I would like to recommend this “Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People” by Maria P. P. Root from Interracial Voice. Note: the book (left) is Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference by Marlene Targ Bill (Lerner, 2006).

What’s Said, What’s Unsaid by Jennifer Hubbard from writerjenn. Note: on dialogue. Peek: “Sometimes the unsaid things build tension. People rarely come right out with all their deepest feelings in conversation, exposing their inner thoughts and analyzing them bluntly.” Source: Nathan Bransford.

Attention Texans

Attention Austinites: debut author Shana Burg is hosting a launch party for A Thousand Never Evers (Delacorte, 2008) from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. June 14 at BookPeople in Austin. Note: don’t miss Shana’s “Workshops for Students” and “Professional Development for Teachers.”

Austin SCBWI‘s “A Day with an Editor” featuring Jill Santopolo, author and senior editor at Laura Geringer/HarperCollins, and Cynthia Leitich Smith will be Sept. 13. “Mark your calendars now and prepare to register early as this event is expected to be a sellout. Registrations will open around July 1, and registration forms will be available at Austin SCBWI.” Note: Jill is interested in literary novels, quirky middle grades, and picture books. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College and is the author of Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Vanishing Treasure (Scholastic/Orchard, 2008).

Tantalizing Tidbits

Authors in the Corner: Cynthia Leitich Smith: a new interview from From the Corners of Megan’s Mind. Peek: “‘I don’t think I’d be writing Gothics today if it weren’t for Joss Whedon‘s ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and Annette Curtis Klause‘s Blood and Chocolate (Delacorte, 1997).”

Check out the new play list for Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) on my MySpace page. Thanks to members of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace for their song suggestions.

Reminder: In celebration of summer reading, I’m giving away autographed sets of 25 Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) bookmarks to five YA public librarians.

One of those mailings also will include a copy of the Tantalize audio, and one will include a Sanguini’s T-shirt (Sanguini’s is the fictional vampire restaurant in the book).

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll for address) with your name, the name of your library, and the library snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST June 30! Please also type “Summer Reading” in the subject line. Note: prizes will be sent on a rolling basis.

Check out the Tantalize Reading Group Guide and the Tantalize Research Bibliographies. Watch the Tantalize Book Trailer, and listen to an excerpt of the audio book edition by actress Kim Mai Guest from Listening Library.


At an ABC news affiliate, authors Jane O’Connor, MAC, and Scott Westerfeld (author interview) offer summer reading tips. Source: Big A, Little A.

Check out this book talk for Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2003)(author interview).

And this book trailer for Gone by Michael Grant(HarperCollins, 2008)(author podcast; page includes previous podcasts with: E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle; Melissa Marr; Anna Godbersen; and Meg Cabot.

Watch This Book: In bid to boost sales, authors try viral videos; Plugging a novel on roller skates by Lauren Mechling. Note: originally published last weekend in The Wall Street Journal. Peek: “In a book industry flooded with titles and facing sluggish sales, a growing number of authors are going to dramatic lengths to attract attention. The latest tactic: producing and starring in zany videos aimed at the YouTube audience.” Note: different focus than the movie-like trailers. Source: Melissa Walker.