Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of four ARCs of Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez (Harcourt, 2008)(author interview)! From the promotional copy:

“Fashion statement…or something freakier?

“The first installment of this creepy, campy paperback original series introduces the psychic Giordano sisters—and their very strange hometown, Nightshade, California.

“Teenage girls are being mysteriously attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy Giordano is a junior.

“When Daisy discovers that a vampire may be the culprit, she can’t help but suspect head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new ‘look.’

“Samantha looks a little…well, dead, and all the popular kids at school are copying her style.

“Is looking dead just another fashion trend for pretty popular Samantha, or is there something more sinister going on? To find out, Daisy joins the cheerleading squad….

“Dead is the New Black is a fast-paced mystery that combines romance, humor, sibling rivalry, and lots of attitude.”

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 Sept. 15! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 15! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win.

One ARC will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), two will go to any Cynsational readers, and one will go to a member of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please indicate status. Please also type “Dead is the New Black” in the subject line.

Attention: teachers and school librarians! Enter to win a copy of Jake Starts School by Michael Wright (Feiwel and Friends, 2008)!

To enter, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 8! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 8! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win. Please also type “Jake Goes to School” in the subject line and indicate your school or library.

Read a Cynsations interview with Michael.

Enter to win one of three ARCs of The Devouring: Sorry Night by Simon Holt (Little Brown, Sept. 2008). To enter, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 8!

OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 8! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win.

One ARC will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), one will go to any Cynsational reader, and one will go to a member of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please indicate status. Please also type “Devouring” in the subject line.

The winners of the Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella, 2008)(exclusive to Borders/Waldenbooks) giveaway were: Ann, a school library media specialist in Tennessee; Lucile in Florida; and Ciera in South Carolina. Note: there’s some delay in adding it to the Borders website, so try to find a “brick-and-mortar” store. Note: read a related interview with P. C. and Kristin Cast. Didn’t win? Don’t despair! Enter another Immortal giveaway, sponsored by fellow contributor Claudia Gray!

The winners of the My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson (Flux, 2008) August grand-prize giveaway were: Chantele at the Hurst Public Library in Hurst, Texas; Brooke in Florida; and Asma in Malaysia! Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

More Giveaways

Join debut author Kimberly Pauley from now to Sept. 10 at the The Official Sucks to Be Me Book Launch Par-tay! Note: it’s so gracious (and typical) of Kimberly to be highlighting other authors as she launches her own debut title! There are tons of amazing giveaways!

TeensReadToo is giving away books by Dakota Lane, Sarah Mlynowski, Julie Anne Peters, Laura Resau, Dandi Daley Mackall, Sally Nemeth, Margo Rabb, Kathi Appelt, Michael P. Spradlin, Tamora Pierce, and Kenneth R. Besser. Learn how to enter here!

Contributor Claudia Gray is giving away three copies of Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella, 2008)(exclusive to Borders/Waldenbooks)! Learn how to enter. Read a new interview with Claudia from Book Review Maniac. Peek: “I am currently working on a couple of proposals that are both definitely supernatural and romantic, but no vampires — one involved witchcraft, and the other–hmmm–let’s call them reincarnated time-travelers.”

Enter to win from the Texas Book Festival! Grand prize: VIP Trip for two to the Texas Book Festival in Austin from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. Second prize: Fort Worth Arts and Culture Tour. Third prize: Barnes & Noble and Gift Basket & Gift Card. Check out the amazing details (airline tickets, spa resort, and much more)!

Between now and Dec. 31, author Suzanne Selfors is running a video contest! The winner “will be announced in January and will receive a $150 gift certificate for the bookstore of his/her choice and a signed copy of Suzanne’s next teen novel, Coffeehouse Angel. [The] winning video will also be featured on Suzanne’s website.”

To celebrate the paperback release of Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (HarperTeen, 2007) and the release of Do The Math #2: The Writing on the Wall (HarperTeen, 2008), both by Wendy Lichtman, librarians are invited to enter a drawing sponsored by Raab Associates. Ten teen librarians will receive a free autographed copy of each book plus 25 original, limited edition Do the Math temporary tattoos.

It’s easy to join in the celebration! Simply answer a few questions and submit your responses with your name, library name, mailing address, and email address. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. EST Sept. 15. Ten lucky libraries will be selected at random. No purchase is necessary and you may enter regardless of whether your library sponsors a teen advisory group or not. Winners will be contacted by Sept. 22.

Join Author Micol Ostow’s Popular Vote Cyber-Launch Party at First Person Present! From Sept. 8 to Sept. 13, Micol will be offering question-and-answer interviews with such youth lit authors as Jill Santopolo, Judy Goldschmidt, Nancy Krulik, Nancy Holder, Marjetta Geerling, Kim Kane, Liz Gallagher, and more! Each day, Micol also will also giveaway “one copy and one bookmark of Popular Vote (Scholastic Point, 2008), plus a special prize from the visiting author of the day.”

More News

Author Paula Yoo visits with readergirlz.

Hip, Hip Hooray, It’s Monsoon Day!/¡Ajúa, ya llegó el chubasco! by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford (Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Press), is one of five finalists for Arizona’s ONEBOOK. Online voting will determine which of the titles that Arizona children will read during April 2009. Voting will be from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30. Vote here.

World Religions: Buddhism and Hinduism: a recommended bibliography from The Horn Book.

April Henry seeks suggestions of YA books to review that were published in the past six months and are somehow connected to the U.S. Pacific Northwest (in terms of author residence, setting, etc.) She writes a YA book column for The Oregonian.

How It Came Together (with Pictures): author Debbi Michiko Florence takes you behind the scenes to check out the process for writing and publishing her debut book, China: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book (Williamson Books, 2008). Peek: “My editor then made changes based on my suggestions (or not) and then it went to book design where the text with photos and illustrations were arranged as it would look for the book. Once that was completed….” Read a Cynsations interview with Debbi.

First Steps: Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults: an eight-week class taught by children’s author Debby Dahl Edwardson. “Do you have a passion for children’s literature? Have you dreamed about trying your hand at writing for children but don’t know where to start? Or started writing but stalled out too many times? First Steps: Introduction to Writing for Children, offers a jump-start for those interested in writing for young readers and submitting to today’s vibrant children’s and young adult book and magazine market. In this eight-week online class, you can learn about the many forms and genres within this field. Ask your burning questions, nourish your story ideas. Develop your writing muscles with a series of online lectures, exercises and discussions.”

Why You Should Never Submit Unagented to Publishing Companies from Editorial Ass. Peek: “All authors seeking publication should work with agents on their projects. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule. But even the exceptions are ill-advised.”

Cycler Interview: the transcript of an IM interview with Lauren McLaughlin, author of Cycler (Random House, 2008)(excerpt) from Scott Westerfeld. Note to self: must read this book!

Some Thoughts on Writing from Elizabeth Gilbert. Peek: “…all writers think they suck.” Source: Shrinking Violet Promotions.

Writer April Henry tells what really happens when you quit your day job by April Henry from The Oregonian. Peek:”I am more creative. I am currently writing four books, and revising three more that are already accepted for publication. When I had a day job, I could only manage one book at a time.”

Preparing for Critique Sessions from Editorial Anonymous. Peek [from Questions Not to Ask]: “‘Why is getting published so hard?’ (No matter how sympathetic the editor seems, don’t start whining to her. Be professional, cheerful, and accepting of critique. We meet a broad spectrum of people at conferences, and these qualities usually mark the people who have a chance at making it in the industry.)”

Where Have All the Titles Gone from Buried in the Slush Pile. Peek: ” Since fewer books are being acquired right now, are people just holding on to them until the market turns around?”

Congratulations to Carla Killough McClafferty on the release of In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry (FSG, 2008). “…American Holocaust rescuer Varian Fry, who was a Harvard educated American journalist who went to Marseille, France in 1940 and arranged the escape of more than 2000 predominately Jewish refugees before they could be arrested by the Nazis. Varian Fry was the first American to be honored at the Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.” In a starred review, Booklist says: “…amazing information about the unassuming hero who saved so many.” Read a Cynsations interview with Carla.

Query Stats by Word Count from Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. Peek: “Anything shorter than 250 usually (but not always) seems too short and anything longer than 350 usually (but not always) seems too long.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Writer’s Block: Is It All In Your Head by Lauren Baratz-Logsted from The Red Room: Where the Writers Gather. I sometimes get the impression that the questioner has never suffered it themselves but merely expects to, and it is, I find, a romanticized–in a bad way–view of the writing life. It reminds me of the woman I knew once who kept expecting the other shoe to drop in an amazing relationship until I explained to her that high romance didn’t necessarily have to equal high (bad) drama.”

Congratulations to Maha Addasi on the release of The White Nights of Ramadan, illustrated by Ned Gannon (Boyds Mills Press, 2008)! From the promotional copy: “Maha Addasi’s bright and happy story, richly illustrated by Ned Gannon, captures the merriment of a festive holiday and the greatest joy of all—the joy of giving.”

When an Agent Isn’t Loving Your Work from Bookends, LCC – A Literary Agency. Peek: “Talk to your agent first to see whether or not the two of you are on the same page. Does she believe in you and your career in the way you want her to? Is this the agent you really want or do you think that someone else might be a better fit?”

Targeting Your Submissions by Laura Manivong from Kidlit Central News. Peek: “For me, targeting submissions means keeping a detailed reading log so you can get a sense of who likes what.”

Things I Don’t Need to Know in a Query from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “Here is a list of things I don’t need to see in a query. There are exceptions to most of these rules, so, in the end, use your best judgment. But hopefully this list will help you wield the delete button wisely…” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Are Sequels Easy or Hard to Write? Robin Friedman asks Sarah Beth Durst. Peek: “My muse… She’s a chocoholic who delights in making snide comments about my hair. She also likes loud music, so one of my writing tricks is to play loud music when I want to write so that my muse starts dancing and leaves me alone to get some work done.”

Call for Entries: 20th Annual Oklahoma Book Awards from the Oklahoma Center of the Book. There is a children’s/YA category. Peek: “Books considered for this award must have an Oklahoma-based theme, or entrants (authors, illustrators, or designers) must live or have lived in Oklahoma.” Books must have been published in 2008; deadline: Jan. 7, 2009. Learn more. Note: two of my books, Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow, 2000) and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001) were OBA finalists.

Congratulations to author Kimberly Griffiths Little on signing with Tracy Adams of Adams Literary Agency, and congratulations to Tracy on signing Kimberly! Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

Stephen King’s On Writing by Liz Gallagher from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “You might be surprised to learn (I was!) that King doesn’t plot. He just tells stories as they go. Even the really complicated ones. He says that stories are like relics, and that the writer’s job is to uncover the relic, keeping as much of it in tact as possible.” Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Joan Bauer: Stories Connect Us: official newly designed and relaunched author website. Features include new teaching guides, wallpaper downloads; information about Joan’s latest novel, Peeled (Putnam, 2008), her blog, and Teaching 9-11.

A Captive Audience – Bringing Books to Teens in Detention by Dodie Ownes from School Library Journal. Peek: “‘We often only get through two or three chapters because we stop and talk about the characters and try to challenge the boys with questions about their own opinions or how they can relate to the situation,’ reports Skipper. ‘The discussions we have about the books are what make the club successful to me.'” Source: April Henry.

Controlling What We Can from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “…it was of great comfort to me to hear Jennifer Enderlin of St. Martin’s Press emphasize that publishing is a business of relationships, whether with your publishing house or your readers.”

The Fine Art of Writing Blurbs from Making Up Stuff for a Living. Peek: “As writers, we tend to think about too much when we’re trying to describe our work. There are so many elements! This part is especially meaningful! Oh, and the backstory, did you ever see such a poignant backstory? Nobody cares.” Source: Author2Author.

Check out this new book trailer for Zombie Blondes by Brian James (Feiwel & Friends, 2008), and read a Cynsations interview with Brian about the novel.

Coming Soon

Rick Guzman (Austin) will speak at the Sept. 13 meeting of the CenTex Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers in Round Rock, Texas. “Book Publishing Contracts: What You Need to Know,” will discuss what to look for, what to avoid, and what it all means. “Guzman’s law practice includes publishing interests, and he writes biographies of famous Latinos, most recently George Lopez: Latino King of Comedy (Enslow, 2008).” Source: Writers’ League of Texas.

The Youth Literature Festival, sponsored by the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be Oct. 4. All events are free and open to the public and will be held at various locations across the Urbana-Champaign community.

Speakers will include: Ashley Bryan; Betsy Hearne; Dan Keding; W. Nikola-Lisa; Alice McGinty; Patricia Hruby Powell; Melodye Rosales; Marc Aronson; Susan Campbell Bartoletti; Chris Crutcher; Jan Spivey Gilchrist; Jennifer Holm; Paul Jancezko; Francisco Jimenez; M. E. Kerr; Robert Lipsyte; Robert San Souci; Cynthia Leitich Smith; Joyce Carol Thomas; Richard Van Camp; and Janet Wong.

See more information. Hope to see you there!

The first annual Hill Country Book Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11 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.

“Connections & Craft: Writing for Children and Young Adults:” hosted by Brazos Valley (Texas) SCBWI Nov. 15 at A & M United Methodist Church in College Station, Texas. “Editor Joy Neaves, agent Emily Van Beek, and author Cynthia Leitich Smith comprise our faculty for this day-long event. Published BV-SCBWI authors will also conduct a hands-on Writers’ Workshop.” Download the brochure. Read a Cynsations interview with Emily.

Online Events

I’ll be appearing twice to discuss Tantalize and related forthcoming books in October on the Eye4You Alliance Island at Second Life. From School Library Journal: “There will be two appearances, the first on the main grid of Second Life (for those 18 and over) on October 14, and again on October 28 on the teen grid of Teen Second.” See more information.

More personally

Happy belated 14th wedding anniversary to Greg Leitich Smith! Last night we had a wonderful, celebratory dinner at Eddie V’s.

Thank you to Lobster Press for nominating Cynsations for a Brillante Weblog Premio award!

Autographed paperback copies of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008) are available at the Barnes & Noble Westlake (Texas), where April Lurie signed The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine (Delacorte, 2008) last Saturday. April also signed stock after the end of the event, so you can find them there, too, along with signed copies of her previous novel, Brothers, Boyfriends & Other Criminal Minds (Delacorte, 2007)(author interview).

Autographed hardcover copies of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) are available at Austin’s famed indie bookstore, BookPeople. Go upstairs toward the BookKids section and you’ll find the YA shelves along the east wall (and in that area). You can also call BookPeople at: 800.853.9757, to purchase a signed copy and request that it be shipped to you (postage will be charged).

You can of course also find the book at more fine indies, the various national chains (now including Wal-Mart), and libraries! If you’d like a signed bookplate for a copy of your own, feel free to write me with a snail/street mail address, and I’ll zip it right off!

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