Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of two two autographed copies of Night Road by A. M. Jenkins (HarperCollins, 2008)! Read a Cynsations interview with A. M. Jenkins.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 18!

OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 18! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win.

One copy will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), and the other will go to any Cynsational reader. Please also type “Night Road” in the subject line.


The grand-prize giveaways for August are three autographed copies of My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson (Flux, 2008)! Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 30!

OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 30! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win.

One copy will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), and the other two will go to any Cynsational readers. Please also type “Rhombus” in the subject line.

The winner of Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Creatures by Dr. Ernest Drake, illustrated by Douglas Carrell, Nicholas Lenn, and Helen Ward, edited by Dugald A. Steer (Candlewick, 2008)(inside spread) is Cheryl in Florida.

As for her favorite monster, Cheryl writes: “I’ll choose the chupacabra as I live in South Florida and have neighbors who swear they’ve seen one! Plus, it’s not a commonly known monster.”

The winners of Gone by Michael Grant (HarperCollins, 2008) were Elizabeth in Georgia, who blogged it, and Cyn (not me, obviously) in Pennsylvania!

This Weekend

“The primary focus of ArmadilloCon is literary science fiction, but that’s not all we do — we also pay attention to art, animation, science, media, and gaming. Every year, dozens of professional writers, artists and editors attend the convention. We invite you to attend the convention especially if you are a fan of reading, writing, meeting, sighting, feeding, knighting, and all the other things folks do at a sci-f/fantasy convention.” Note: I’ll be speaking Saturday night on the vampire panel, and Sunday morning on the YA panel. Hope to see y’all there!

“Five Things To Consider When Plotting a Novel” with Helen Hemphill from Austin SCBWI on Aug. 16 at Barnes and Noble Westlake.

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.

More News & Links

Heather Brewer has shared the new cover art to Tenth Grade Bleeds (Dutton, 2009). Note: Loving it, and, FYI, Heather is a gracious, reader-friendly author. You know, in an appropriately spooky and fang-y kind of way. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series also has great dual-gender appeal.

readergirlz TV: surf over to watch interviews with Sonya Sones, Paula Yoo, and more! Read a Cynsations interview with the readergirlz divas and the newest diva, Mitali Perkins.

Author Websites from Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. Peek: “…definitely don’t forget that professional part, and that goes for every single thing you post online, whether it’s a blog, blog comment, or Twitter.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Write what you know: Author uses life experiences to inspire first novel by Eva Niessner from The Herald-Mail. Peek: “‘A girl had been harassed because her boyfriend came out. I couldn’t understand it,’ she says of the hate crime and adding that writing the book helped her figure out how it could have happened.” Read a Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Tanita S. Davis in the Kitchen Interview! from jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. Peek: “I think we are taught to assume, ‘Oh, well, guys, when you write them, you have to use terse sentence structure, and keep things really tight and minimal,’ but I don’t think all guys sound a particular way, and it’s crucial to keep assumptions and stereotyping out of writing. At least, that’s important to me.”

Corpus Libris: An Ongoing Photo Essay on Books and the Bodies that love them… Peek: “…began as a fun little photo essay on a Thursday night while working at Skylight Books in Los Angeles.” Note: Outstanding! Please do submit photos! Source: Cecil Castellucci.

Managing Critiques for Revision: Befriend the Binder System by Lisa Rondinelli Albert from Kidlit Central News: Children’s Publishing News from the Central U.S. Peek: “I needed my critiques handy, but organized. I opted to invest in binders of various sizes and colors, a good quality three-hole punch and lots of sheet tab dividers. (I love office supplies!).”

Helping readers away from YA Books: an essay from YA author Alex Flinn. Peek: “I then pointed out that I was the only kid in my high school performing arts program who hadn’t been allowed to see the R-rated movie, ‘Fame,’ and that I was still traumatized by that. She [Alex’s mother] said, ‘Well, you didn’t get pregnant in high school,’ and I said, ‘You think I would have if I’d been allowed to see R-rated movies?’ (Unlikely. I didn’t date in high school).” Read a Cynsations interview with Alex.

Shakespeare Helps You Write a Better Picture Book from Darcy Pattison’s Revision Notes. Peek: “I think you can compare picture book structure to the structure of poetry. For example, sonnets have 14 lines, picture books can have 14 double-page spreads. So, taking a sonnet as an example of structure, you can imitate one of these sonnet structures.”

Kids Reading List from Oprah’s Book Club: “some great recommendations from the American Library Association.” Big cheers to OBC for going to real experts in youth literature!

Did you read Margo Rabb‘s essay I’m YA, and I’m Okay from The New York Times Book Review? Then don’t miss the interviews behind the process: Mark Hadden interview (“I haven’t experienced any of this stigma in recent years. Partly, I think because Curious was seen by most people as an adult novel which was also sold to young readers, as opposed to a YA novel also marketed to adults.”); Markus Zuzack interview (“The adult and children’s divisions of publishing houses don’t seem to be down the corridor, they’re in different buildings, and the publishers don’t seem to know each other very well. I think that’s the main reason I had a novel categorized for adults in Australia and for young adults in America.”); Michael Cart, Linda Sue Park, Justine Larbalestier, and the YA Community (Michael says: “With the rate we’re going, every single member of the adult literary community will be writing for young adults in a matter of time.”); and Barnes & Noble interview (“I can’t think of another YA book offhand that would fit as an adult book. This is a unique situation.”). See also Margo’s list of Must-read YA Titles.

The Stigma of Changing Agents from BookEnds, LLC. Peek: “A reader recently emailed to ask if leaving an agent makes it more difficult to find another agent and if it labels her as high maintenance and difficult to work with.”

Interview with Ellen Wittlinger: part one and two from Mark Dursin at Teacher Trenches: Notes from the so-called “trenches” of education… and, you know, other stuff. Peek: “I think teens have read and seen so many happy-ending stories that some of them just expected these two would end up together no matter how unlikely that scenario was, and when it didn’t happen, they were upset with the character (instead of me!). I don’t like to tie up my books with pretty ribbons at the end. I like them to be hopeful, but not unrealistically happy.” Read a Cynsations interview with Ellen.

Hugo and Campbell Winners from Locus Online News. “…this year’s Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer were announced…at Denvention 3, the 66th World Science Fiction Convention, in Denver…”

Rainbows and Bullying from Lois Lowry at Lowry Updates [title tweaked]. Peek: “I do remember with regret and shame that in college, freshman year, in a small dorm, most of us cruelly excluded a girl who was ‘different’ in ways we didn’t understand.”

“kidlit 08” shop!: a CafePress shop with apparel and mugs from Laini Taylor at Grow Wings. Note: all proceeds go to support the 2008 Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland on Sept. 27.” Note: upbeat and fashionable! Brava!

Impressions of SCBWI Conference by Deborah Hodge at West Coast Writer. Peek: “Arthur [Levine] suggests the fall of independent booksellers is the key reason for the picture book struggle of today.”

Editors and Assistants
from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “Two revisions is one too many without a contract, if you ask me.” See also Of Course I’m Right: Moral Compasses In Children’s Lit.

Publicity Packages for Smaller Presses by Rose Fox from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “…be very, very wary when comparing an author to other authors or a book to other books. I’ve lost count of the authors who have been proclaimed ‘the next Tolkien’ or ‘the next Robert Jordan’.” Source: Sherwood Smith. Note: Great article (for authors as well)! I would add that, if you’re sending a hardcover, please tuck the relevant information inside the cover.

Surf over to the Class of 2k8 for interviews with award-winning authors Meg Rosoff, A. M. Jenkins, and Carolyn Mackler.

Mirrorstone Changes Submissions Guidelines from Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire. Peek: “the Discoveries imprint will cease publishing at the end of the year, and Mirrorstone will now focus solely on books inspired by the lore of Dungeons and Dragons, such as the Dragon Codex books and The New York Times best-selling Practical Guide series.”

In Case You Guys Think I Don’t Like Vampires from Holly Black. Peek: “I am in the process of making Cassie a belated birthday Vampire Hunting Kit.” Read a Cynsations interview with Holly.

Mistaken identity for submissions reveals the importance of researching before submitting from Cheryl Rainfield. Peek: “I stare at the emails–huh? Why are you submitting to me? I’m a writer! A reader. I write book reviews. But nowhere, not one place on my blog or my site, do I say that I’m a publisher or an agent. ” Note: I get a number of these myself, and my guidelines do specify that I’m not an agent or publisher.

Interview with David Macinnis Gill by Julie M. Prince from Young Adult Books Central. Peek: “The role of Bug will take an actress with the chops to pull off outer toughness, inner marshmallow, and athletic prowess, all with comedic timing.”

Five Ways That Another Author’s Career Can Sideline Yours from Pub Rants. Peek: “This is a long haul business and we have seen new authors who rush too hard to get projects out that should have been edited more. Don’t kneecap yourself by worrying about your friend’s recent deal.”

Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 to Oct. 4, is sponsored by the American Library Association. Site features “about,” “events,” and “what you can do.” Peek: “More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities.”

Question of the Week: Robin Friedman asks Barry Lyga: “Did your publishing experience turn out as you expected?” at Robin Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Peek: “See, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about eight years old. When you spend the bulk of your life fantasizing about something — and when you’re blessed with a good imagination — it takes on a ridiculously inflated position in your mind.” Read Cynsations interviews with Robin and Barry.

Wave by Suzy Lee (Chronicle, 2008): a celebration of the picture book from the publisher. Watch the video and read an interview with the author-illustrator (php file). Check out the Chronicle Books Blog.

Coming Soon

The first annual Hill Country Book Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgetown Public Library (Georgetown, Texas).

The children’s activities will include author and illustrator visits; live music; face painting; crafts (puppets and collages). Free popcorn and snow cones will be available, as will hot dogs for $1.

Participating authors/illustrators include Liz Garton Scanlon, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, Don Tate, P. J. Hoover, and Deborah Frontiera. The Biscuit Brothers also will be performing! See schedule.

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 & Noble in Round Rock!

Attention Authors & Bloggers

Do you write YA Gothic fantasy, suspense horror, paranormal romance or otherwise spooky stories? If so, feel free to send me (CYALR PO Box 3255 Austin TX 78764) bookmarks, buttons, or other fun promotional items. I typically spend the last several moments of presentations to teens highlighting related books of interest, and I can use such materials to support that effort. Note: I’m featuring Mary E. Pearson‘s cover art as a reminder to check out The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Henry Holt, 2008). Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Do you sponsor giveaways? I am happy to help promote them, whenever possible. You are welcome to email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with the name of the giveaway, the book (or other item–must be youth-lit related), the deadline, and the URL for more information. I’ll do my best to feature it–keeping in mind that I have some editorial discretion, am sometimes sincerely swamped, and every once in a blue moon, take a day off. Note that the news round-up usually runs on Fridays, so please check your calendar and contact me with the info before the deadline expires. Thanks!

More Personally

Thanks to deenaml at LJ for listing Cynsations among her favorite blogs!

Happy birthday to my very cute husband and (sometimes) co-author Greg Leitich Smith! Greg is turning 41.

You can wish him a happy birthday via email or at his blog.

Floral cake from; photo used with permission.

A friend of Cyn? Keep in touch with me at Blogger, LiveJournal, MySpace, JacketFlap, and most recently, Facebook!