Cynsational News, Links & Giveaways

Enter to win a signed copy of the Australian edition of Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer (Allen & Unwin, 2008)(published in the U.S. by HarperCollins, 2008)!

From the promotional copy: “This is the story of five sisters. Beauty longs for love. Mim holds a secret tightly. Stevie is tempestuous and impulsive. Fancy talks too much and understands too little. And Autumn, the youngest sister, struggles to discover who she is. None of the Herbert girls is aware of the mild-looking man who has become obsessed with them–until the day one sister doesn’t come home.”

“Mazer’s latest novel would give Alfred Hitchcock a run for his money.” –Kirkus Reviews

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll for address) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST June 23! Please also type “Missing Girl” in the subject line.

In other news, the winner of a signed copy of The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper (Greenwillow, 2008) is Anna in Louisiana!

The quote she submitted was from Romeo & Juliet, Act 3, Scene 1. “No, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door; but ’tis enough,’ twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.”

Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.


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.

Also, check out Mitali’s recent post–Why Are Children’s Books Still So White? at The Fire Escape–and comment her with your theories on the answer.

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). Due to popular response, I may add another T-shirt and audio.

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.

More News, Links, & Giveaways

Thanks for the positive response to this week’s Cynsations interview with author Brian James! Good news: you can learn more about him in another interview, this one from Imperial Beach Teens of the Imperial Beach Library (Imperial Beach, California)! Plus, this month, the IBTs are giving away copies of both of Brian’s new releases Zombie Blondes and Thief! Peek: [On surviving the teen years] “I was very confused, angry and scared most of the time and the way I handled that was do a lot of stupid things. I often look back and realize that it’s a near miracle I survived.”

The book wot I wrote by Stephanie Merritt from The Guardian. Peek: “The growth of celebrity fiction in both the adult and children’s markets has led to a wider acknowledgement of the ghostwriter, who has partially come in from the cold; celebrities, their publishers and those who buy their books are quite knowingly and willingly colluding in a kind of illusion.” Source: April Henry. Note: hugs to every author who’s kept a chin up at their vacant book signing while folks lined up for the celebrity “author’s” autograph.

LOL Cat Contest To Win Spiderwick DVD Books from Holly Black. Holly says: “I have been given six copies of the Spiderwick Chronicles DVD by the good folks at Paramount. I also have one Collector’s Trunk with the five original Spiderwick chapter books and the notebook bundled inside.” Deadline June 29. See more information.

“Today’s After-School Special: Sales Peer Pressure” from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “In my experience, it’s mostly commonly a combination of authorial hubris and publisher gutlessness.” See also Everyone! (Translation: No One!).

“Just the Facts?” by Don Brown at I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “…the trick still is to winnow a meaningful story to about 1500 words–I don’t believe kids will sit still for more–without sacrificing narrative drive and in a manner that doesn’t substitute fluff for meat.” See also “Creative Nonfiction at Its Best” by Kathleen Krull.

Call for Submissions: Carnival of Children’s Literature: Fathers in Children’s Literature from Susan Taylor Brown at Susan Writes (author interview). Deadline June 21. Peek: “In honor of Father’s Day I chose fathers in children’s literature. What father or father figure has stood out in your mind long after you closed the pages of the book?” See more information. Note: Susan’s novel, Hugging the Rock (Tricycle, 2006, 2008)(excerpt), is now available in paperback! Read a Cynsations interview with Susan.

Do You Have a Plot? from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “…in my opinion, there is absolutely one thing every writer should start with before they begin writing. And that’s a plot.” Note: I would say “character.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan. See also Can I Get a Ruling on Pitch Sessions?

Huge Giveaway: Amanda at A Patchwork of Books is giving away five copies of Mary E. Pearson‘s The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Henry Holt, 2008). Read a Cynsations interview with Mary about the novel.

Writing Children’s Nonfiction Books for the Educational Market: an upcoming online workshop scheduled for July 22 to Aug. 22 from Laura Purdie Salas. Laura says: “…walks you through the entire assignment-hunting process, so that at the end of the month, you are ready to send out your packet to selected educational publishers. And you’ll know what to expect and how to proceed when you receive an assignment.” See details and student comments. Learn more about Laura’s nonfiction.

Pay the Toll for [Author-Editor] Jill Santopolo from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I made myself a rule when I started writing that home time was writing time, and office time was editing time. I’ve pretty much stuck to that, though a lot of times it means working pretty late in the office to make sure that all my editing work is done before I head home to write.” Note: Jill and I will be leading a workshop at Austin SCBWI’s upcoming “A Day with an Editor”–see more information below.

Eric Carle’s Colorful World of Children’s Books from All Things Considered/NPR. Peek: “Carle’s familiar characters were inspired largely by the fox holes, spider webs, bugs and animals that he found exploring castles as a child in Stuttgart, Germany.” Note: don’t miss the accompanying slide show! Source: Laurie Halse Anderson.

Y.A. New York: a site dedicated to young adult literature. Peek: “Here in this big city of YA, I’ll be reviewing YA fiction, interviewing YA writers, covering YA events in New York City, and bringing you the latest YA news.” Note: coverage with not to limited to NY-based authors.

Night Road by A.M. Jenkins (HarperCollins, 2008): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith of GregLSBlog. Peek: “For years, Cole has held himself aloof from the community, but now he’s called back to handle an “accident:” an accidentally-created and newly-formed heme named Gordo.” Read Cynsations interviews with Greg and A.M. Jenkins.

2009 Newbery and Caldecott Predictions – Halfway Mark by Elizabeth Bird of A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal. Note: I’m rooting for The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, 2008). Full Disclosure: it’s dedicated to me (and Greg).

More Gifts for Readers and Writers by Cheryl Rainfield from Cheryl Rainfield: Avid Reader, Teen Fiction Writer, and Book-a-holic. All Things Books, With a Focus on Children’s and Teen Fiction. Note: shopping anyone?

Interview with Sundee T. Frazier from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I knew the main character was biracial, with a black dad and a white mom, but the character actually started as a girl. Yep, Brendan Buckley was originally Brenda Buckley!”

Silhouettes and Stock Photos – Ho, Hum by Alison Morris from Shelftalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “My biggest problem with all of them [silhouette covers] is the fact they look almost completely interchangeable. They smack of covert operations or fugitive outlaws, but in a very generic, rather uninteresting sense.”

Getting a Second Opinion by Allison Winn Scotch at Ask Allison. Peek: “Book editors and doctors don’t come cheap…and if they do, you better do an ample background check on them to figure out why they’re so cheap.”

“Bad Writing Days” by Justine Larbalestier at Justine Larbalestier: Writing, Reading, Eating, Drinking, Sport. Peek: “When we are in that kind of state it’s best not to remind us that the day before we thought it was the best book ever written. All you can do is nod and smile and make sympathetic noises and offer us food or liquid we find particularly comforting.”

Illustrating Ron’s Big Mission Cover by Don Tate at Devas T. Rants and Raves. Peek: “This style is somewhat realistic, yet stylized enough to offer some grace where my realism is off.” Read a Cynsations interview with Don.

Salina Bookshelf is now at MySpace! Read a Cynsations interview with editor Jesse Ruffenach of Salina Bookshelf.

The Best Job in the World by Tanya Lee Stone at I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “How about this: A gentleman and his wife approach you a few minutes before your event is to begin. They definitely look like they have something to say, and I definitely don’t know them. The man is looking at me with a small smile and a twinkle in his eye. The woman says: We heard about your book on the radio (further evidence of the Flying Pig’s Awesomeness!) and had to come. She motions to the man still quietly standing by her side. My husband here is…are you ready for it…”

Recommended Reading: Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway with Elizabeth Stuckey-French (Longman, 2006) from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “This is the book you keep at your desk. It is a reference book, with chapters on the process, in general, form and structure, showing and telling, building character, place and time, point of view, comparison, theme, and revision.” Note: this is a new feature at the Tollbooth; “Each month, we will recommend excellent craft books that we think will help you on your journey.”

Three Books for Teens Who Hate to Read by Amber Gibson from NPR. Peek: “For girls who think Cosmopolitan constitutes summer reading, I recommend Melissa Walker‘s Violet on the Runway. Let’s be honest–even the most tomboyish girls dream of being a supermodel, and this book provides an exclusive view at life on the runway.” Check out the other two picks; here’s a hint: read a Cynsations interview with Jay Asher.

In Memory

Tasha Tudor, 92; children’s book illustrator and author known for delicate artwork by by Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer from Los Angeles Times. Excerpt: “Tasha Tudor, a children’s book illustrator and author whose delicate and dreamy artwork was featured in about 80 books, including a 1944 edition of ‘Mother Goose’ that was so successful it enabled her to buy a farm and create a lifestyle rooted in the early 19th century, has died. She was 92.”

Attention Austinites

BookWoman (5501 North Lamar #A-105, between North Loop and Koenig Lane) is hiring a part-time bookseller. Peek: “We are looking for a committed and energetic feminist who loves her local feminist bookstore and loves books (especially by and about women) and is able to talk about them, who works well with and around people, has excellent customer service skills, is self-motivated, hard-working, as well as detail-oriented; and has the ability to multi-task — including data entry, publisher interface, and store upkeep.” Application deadline: June 23. See more information.

Slumber Party @ Teen Fest: April Lurie (author interview)(MySpace), Jennifer Ziegler (author interview)(MySpace), and Cynthia Leitich Smith will join forces in a “lively, intimate discussion about books and writing for teen girls” at noon Aug. 2 at Carver Branch Library/Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas. The event will include a book signing, “games, snacks, beauty tips, and even a passionate reading contest. Pajamas and pillows optional!”

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). Don’t miss today’s new interview with Jill at Through the Tollbooth.

More Personally

Thanks to Donna Gephart for highlighting Cynsations among “Some Blogs to Check Out…” in The Sand Scoop: The Official Newsletter of the SCBWI Florida Chapter! Read a Cynsations interview with Donna.

My main site at will be off-line June 28 due to server relocation.

In the wake of the Myanmar cyclone and China earthquake, the U.S. Midwest is being hit hard by a 500-year flood, and the American Red Cross is short on funds. Please consider donating.


Question of the Week Thursday: Heather Brewer from Robin Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks: “What has it been like to experience the enormous success of your new series?”

On a related note: “This video is about what it’s like to be Heather Brewer’s son.”