Cynsational News & Giveaways

Happy Independence Day to those who celebrate it! Please note that Cynsations will be taking a very short hiatus, and will resume posting next Thursday, July 10!

The Cynsations grand prize giveaways for July are two signed copies of Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2008). From the promotional copy: “For 17 year-old Janie Hannagan, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but- nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her half a lifetime. She can’t tell anybody about what she does; they’d never believe her or, worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control. Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. Because for the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….” See also the book trailer below!

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll for address) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST July 31! Please also type “Wake” in the subject line. Note: one autographed copy will be awarded to a YA public librarian (please specify library with entry) and one autographed copy will be awarded to any Cynsations YA reader.

Check out the book trailer for Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2008)!

And that’s not all! Enter to win a copy of Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand by Louise Hawes (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)! Read a Cynsations interview with Louise.

From the promotional copy: “…and they lived happily ever after. Remember the fairy tales you put away after you found that no princess is as beautiful as common sense and happy endings are just the beginning? Well, the old tales are back, and they’ve grown up! Black Pearls brings you the stories of your childhood, told in a way you’ve never heard before. Instead of lulling you to sleep, they’ll wake you up to the haunting sadness that waits just inside the windows of a gingerbread cottage, the passion that fuels a witch’s flight, and the heartache that comes, again and again, at the stroke of midnight. Make no mistake: these stories are as dark as human nature itself. But they shine, too, lit with the fire of our dreams and our hunger for magic.”

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll for address) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST July 14! Please also type “Black Pearls” in the subject line.

June Giveaway Winners

Winners of the autographed sets of 25 Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) bookmarks in celebration of summer reading were: Rachel at Brentwood Public Library in Pittsburgh; Barbara at Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, New York; Deena at Brighton Memorial Library in Rochester; Laura at Uphams Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library (who also received a Tantalize audio), and Deb at San Marcos Public Library in San Marcos, Texas; (who also received a Sanguini’s T-shirt (Sanguini’s is the fictional vampire restaurant in the book)). Due to popular response, additional giveaways were awarded! Valerie at Chambers County Library System in Anahuac, Texas; and Edda at the International Mall Branch Library in Miami both won bonus sets. In addition, Chelsie at the Necedah Memorial Library in Necedah, Wisconsin, won the bonus set along with a Sanguini’s T-shirt, and Ray at Rio Linda Public Library in Rio Linda, California, won bonus set, plus a Sanguini’s T-shirt and Tantalize audio! Wahoo! Thank you to all who entered! Note: I’m currently out of bookmarks, but more are on order.

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

More News & Giveaways

Congratulations to Melissa R. Schorr on the paperback release of Goy Crazy (Hyperion, 2008)! Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa.

Lobster Press is giving away Summer Reading Book Bundles for three age groups -ages 3 to 7, ages 8 to 12, and ages 13-17 The contest ends July 20th.

Guest Blogger: Susane Colasanti at YA New York. Peek: “The Outsiders [by S.E. Hinton (Viking, 1967)] inspired me in a way I wish my books would inspire other kids. I want to write books for people who need to escape into stories, who rely on books to save them.”

Vladimir Tod’s Best Nighttime Photo: win an iPod nano and great prizes from Heather Brewer‘s The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd at Sugarloot: Sweet Contests. Deadline: Aug. 11. Learn more here!

Resistance Has Meaning by Ann Jacobus from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Having a routine and a time and/or page quota can help a writer push through resistance. I keep a written log of page production every day. OK, double-spaced pages, and any page I write—pre writing, essay, blog, research, journals—counts. But this has upped my production and helped me get through blocks because it prevents me from kidding myself.”

How Important Is Your Book, or, Top Ten Ways to Blow a Book Deal #4 from Editorial Ass. Peek: “It is unforgivable to ever tell someone (or their boss) that you’re too important to be working with them, or to imply the same.”

Sarah Dessen on Time Management: “I used to be incredibly disciplined about my writing. I wrote seven days a week, two hours a day, until a book was done. If I skipped a day, or even cut one short, I felt horribly guilty and stressed out. Since I had my daughter, though, I don’t have the luxury of control over my own schedule like I used to.”

Where You Live: Blogging List from Cynthia Lord. Note: does my AAWW report count?

Do you have some odd books? 826 Valencia recently opened a satellite space at James Lick Middle School in San Francisco. They’re looking for some donations. Source: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency by way of author Donna Gephart.

In the Book Reviewer Hot Seat: a series of red-hot reviewer interviews from the Class of 2k8. Read a Cynsations interview with Marissa Doyle and Jody Feldman on the Class of 2k8!

Jacqueline Woodson: A Voice for Hope from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “My ideal is getting books in the hands of people who couldn’t otherwise afford them. So if my publisher said ‘Here’s $5,000 to do with it as you will,’ I’d buy a whole bunch of my own books in paperback and give them out at underserved schools and community centers, etc.”

The Prairie Wind: Newsletter of the SCBWI Illinois Chapter is available online! Highlights include tips for writers, illustrators, critique groups, career and promotion information, and much, much more! Consider “Finding Your Center of Gratitude” by Carol Coven Grannick. Peek: “The natural anxiety that arises during periods of uncertainty – it can feel like a low-level existential angst – has less on which to practice the optimistic turn of phrase.”

Author Cecil Castellucci is giving away an advanced reader copy of her graphic novel Janes in Love (Minx, 2008)! Find out how to enter here. Read a Cynsations interview with Cecil.

How Much Money Do You Put Into Promotion? by Laura Purdie Salas: Writing the World for Kids. Peek: “I don’t have money to burn, by any means. But I also realize I have to invest in myself and my career. But I’m nervous about losing money. But I know I need to support my book. But marketing is not my strong point. But if I don’t do enough for my book, it’s even more likely to sink without a ripple. But…well, you see my dilemma.” Note: chime in with advice!

The PJ Library: Boosting Jewish Publishing from Heidi Estrin at The Book of Life. Peek: “The PJ Library selects, mass-purchases and mails Jewish children’s books directly to children ages 6 months to 7 years on a monthly basis. Currently the books are mailed to 22,000 children per month, and projected to reach 44,000 by next year.”

Are you a YA reader? Check out the bounty of giveaways at TeensReadToo!

Lisa Holton Announces New Venture, Teams with HarperCollins by Lynn Andriani from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Fourth Story will produce stories and content that span multiple formats, including books, Web sites, online games, DVDs, audio/digital downloads and social networks. Its first series is The Amanda Project, an interactive, collaborative fictional mystery series for girls aged 12 to 14, told across a variety of different media including books, a Web site that features games and a social networking platform, a related series of blogs and satellite sites, music, and merchandise.”

Character and Plot: Inseparable! from Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. Peek: “Plot is what makes the character interesting (because the character is tested) and character is what makes the plot interesting (because we’re learning about the character).” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Author Claudia Gray is now fielding character interview questions! Peek: “What do I mean by that? You send in questions for Bianca, and she will answer. Although you’re interviewing Bianca right after Evernight, when she has no idea what will happen in future books, feel free to ask her absolutely anything. I don’t promise that she will answer every question asked, but we’ll post a good interview with her here and on the website August 1.” Learn more!

Book Blast Giveaway! from I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. “It’s a nonfiction give-away contest of gigantic proportions! To support the children’s nonfiction community, our fifteen published authors have each agreed to donate a signed copy of one of their books. That’s fifteen books to one lucky winner.” Deadline: Sept. 5. Learn more!

How Do Book Auctions Work? by Little Brown editor Alvina Ling at Blue Rose Girls. Peek: “In my experience, there are two main ways an agent will conduct an auction. Prior to the auction, the agent will generally send out an email outlining the rules of the auction. Sometimes this will include a request for a marketing plan. In general, the two types of auctions are Rounds, and the other is Best Offer.”

Question of the Week Thursday: Lauren Myracle from Robin Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks: “What’s it like to write so many types of books?” Peek: “I’ve written “sweet” books for tweens, funny books for teens, scary books for teens, slightly-naughty books for tweens, books told all in IM, and even a collaborative novel about a road trip (for teens). And I’m about to embark on a lower lower grade series for boys! Good golly, now that you point it out…what am I thinking? Read Cynsations interviews with Lauren and Robin.

Check out a book trailer for Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Hyperion, 2008)! Note: Deadly Little Secret is the first novel in the “touch novel series.”

Attention, Texans!

“Create Your Own Future with Goals and Time Management” with P. J. Hoover from Austin SCBWI on July 19 at Barnes and Noble Westlake. “Imagine you can achieve anything. Imagine there is no way you will fail. What goal would you pick above all others? Half the battle in achieving goals in life is knowing what they are. The other half is formulating a plan to achieve those goals. Firm goals and excellent time management skills will lead to success in every aspect of life. Financial success. Strong relationships. Excellent health. All things are possible, and, with a little inspiration, you’ll create a new future for yourself. Author P.J. (Tricia) Hoover will talk about some great ways set goals and to use time to achieve those goals. So come listen and learn how to make the most of life’s most valuable resource–Time.” P.J. is the debut author of The Emerald Tablet (Blooming Tree, Oct. 2008). The Emerald Tablet is the first book in her middle grade science-fiction trilogy, The Forgotten Worlds Books.

“Five Things To Consider When Plotting a Novel” with Helen Hemphill from Austin SCBWI on Aug. 16 at Barnes and Noble Westlake. It’s thrilling to begin a new novel, but most writers know it’s the middle and the ending that can make or break a story. A great plot is both planned and discovered. This mini workshop will offer up practical strategies for plotting a middle grade or young adult novel and suggest five things you’ll want to consider as you plot your novel. Helen is the author of the middle grade novel Runaround (2007) and the young adult novel Long Gone Daddy (2006), both published by Front Street. Her new novel, The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones (Front Street, 2008), will be published this fall. Helen holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College.

April Lurie will celebrate the release of her latest book, The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine (Delacorte, 2008), with a book signing from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Barnes and Noble in Round Rock.

Slumber Party @ Teen Fest: April Lurie (author interview), Jennifer Ziegler (author interview), 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!”

SCBWI Houston is sponsoring a “Nuts and Bolts” Picture Book Writing Workshop taught by award-winning author, Kathi Appelt Sept. 6. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., lunch included. Before July 8, $40 members of SCBWI, $50 non-members. After July 8, prices go up $10. See details. Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

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).

More Personally

Again, please note that Cynsations will be taking a very short hiatus, and will resume posting next Thursday, July 10! Again, to those who celebrate it, have a wonderful and safe July 4th weekend!

Attention: Tantalize fans! A teen YA reader known as “Miss Quincie” has started a brand new Tantalize Fan Forum. For those of you on MySpace, see also Tantalize Fans Unite!

On a related note, the Sanguini’s store at Printfection will be closing soon (no worries! the Sanguini’s store at CafePress is being expanded soon–with new designs). Certain colors and styles of shirts with the Sanguini’s logo will no longer be available, so shop Printfection now, if you have your heart set on one of its selections.

Thanks so much to the Denton (Texas) Public Library for featuring the Tantalize book trailer on your MySpace page! I’m glad you like it! See an interview with Shayne Leighton on the making of the trailer!

Tale of 3 Blogs (and 4 Bloggers) from Lynn E. Hazen at Imaginary Blog. Peek: “I’m imagining this experiment as a sort of literary, slightly random, Word-Association-Rorschach-Blotty-Blog-Interview…” Read a Cynsations interview with Lynn. Note: it was an honor to be interviewed with Elizabeth Bird, Eisha, and Jules! Thanks, Lynn!

Both the trade and library editions of Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000) are going into reprint! Thank you for your continued support of the book!

Do you read Teacher Librarian: The Journal for School Library Professionals? What for “A Lawyer She Was, An Author She Is: An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith” by David Gill (June 1, 2008)(Pg. 64(2) Vol. 35 No. 5). Note: includes breaking news about Eternal (Candlewick, March 2009).

Bon voyage to all those leaving for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults summer residency! Congratulations to the graduates, who include my former advisees Lynn Acheson, Mari Jorgenson, Marianna Baer, and Rebecca Van Slyke! A big welcome to new faculty members Shelley Tanaka and Alan Cumyn! See you all in January! Note: the new VCFA URL is:


Author Goddesses Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson: