Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of two autographed hardcover copies of The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie (Delacorte, 2008)! From the promotional copy:

A mother who split for another man.

A father who works 24/7.

An older brother who excels at everything—and smokes a lot of weed.

A best friend, of the feminine persuasion, who only wants to be a friend, and who’s shooting a film set in cool Greenwich Village, New York.

Dylan Fontaine’s life seems to be full of drama he can’t control. But when he stars in his best friend’s movie, Dylan discovers that, sometimes, life’s big shake-ups force you to take risks—and to step into the spotlight.

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. 30! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 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 high school teacher, YA librarian, or university professor of YA literature (please indicate) and one will go to any Cynsational reader. Please also type “Dylan Fontaine” in the subject line.

REMINDER: In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of, I’m offering a rather eclectic giveaway package, which will include paperback copies of the following books: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958); Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977); Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (1997); and Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith (2008)(signed). All Cynsational readers are eligible!

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with a question for me to answer and your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 30! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 30! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win. Please also type “anniversary giveaway” in the subject line. See more information.

REMINDER: In celebration of 10 years of, the lovely Angela L. Fox is sponsoring a giveaway at Pickled Pixel Toe. Enter to win a T-shirt! Here’s how: go to one of the following categories: The Muses (see design sample); The Inner Critics; or Writing, Illustrating, and Conference. Pick a T-shirt design. Then email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your design choice, the color you prefer, your shirt size, your name, snail/street mail address, by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 22! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 22! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win.

Congratulations to the winners of the Dead Is The New Black by Marlene Perez (Harcourt, 2008) ARC giveaway: Laura at the Uphams Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library; Tantalize Fans Unite! member Tracy in Ohio, and Cynsational readers Denise in Illinois and Ruby in Oklahoma! Read a Cynsations interview with Marlene.

More News

Crowe’s Nest: An Agent and Her List Discuss Children’s Books, Publishing and Beyond from Sara Crowe. See also Putnam Editor Stacey Barney Talks to Us: an interview by author Heidi R. Kling at Crowe’s Nest; peek: “…having a Web presence is the really important and not just one that connects the author to other writers, but in the YA market particularly, you want a Web presence that connects you to the readers–the kids.” Note: thanks for the caw! Source: Devas T. Rants and Raves. Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Check out this trailer for the Death by Latte (by Linda Gerber (Puffin/Sleuth, 2008)) Online Launch Party! Source: Marlene Perez.

Congratulations to my one-time Vermont College student (and now alumnae) Marianna Baer for signing with Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger Inc., and congratulations to Sara for signing Marianna! Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Don’t Get Caught Up in the Rush from Nathan Bransford from Curtis Brown. Peek: “…twice in the past month authors have come back to me after an unsuccessful submission with the unrevised manuscript, wishing they had taken the time to revise. But at that point I can’t really help them — it’s already been seen at the major houses.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish (Carolrhoda, 2006): recommended by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “…an altogether suspenseful and truly scary novel that intriguingly probes the boundaries between love and self-indulgence.” Note: strongly agreed; a must-read for upper elementary and middle schoolers!

The Safest Way to Search for an Agent by Victoria Strauss from SFF Net. Peek: “Too many agents engage in abuses–charging up-front fees, participating in kickback referral schemes, urging writers to pay for expensive editing services–for you to assume that every agent who expresses interest in your manuscript is reputable.” See also Researching an Agent’s Track Record. Source: April Henry.

Facial Expressions, Culture, and Stories by Mitali Perkins at Mitali’s Fire Escape. Peek: “…should writers, artists, directors, and actors depict facial expressions or non-verbals in a way that’s easily understood by the culture consuming the story, even if it might not be ‘authentic’?” Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.

The Editing Cycle (a confession) from Editorial Ass. Peek: “In the middle of the night, I’ll wake up with the shakes about my own mediocrity and inability to improve your manuscript enough. I hate your manuscript, and I hate myself for acquiring it (even though I still love you, the author).”

Welcome back to one of my favorite blogs, Three Silly Chicks: Readers, Writers, and Reviewers of Funny Books for Kids! Get to know chicks Andrea Beaty, Carolyn Crimi, and Julia Durango. Check out Attack of the Return of the Sequels. Peek: “Alas, movie sequels are tricky things. Sometimes they make our fluffy yellow hearts sing. And sometimes, they don’t. Same goes for book sequels. And here are a few of our recent favorites. Read them, you must!”

Interns Wanted by Cheryl Klein of Arthur A. Levine Books at Brooklyn Arden. Peek: “If you’ll be in New York this fall, you’re passionate about really great children’s and YA books, and you have eight-to-ten hours to spare during the business week, you’re welcome to apply for an internship with Arthur A. Levine Books.” See the whole post, and don’t miss Cheryl’s link to more information (scroll to the last question-and-answer on the page).

Curiosity: A Graphic Novel Project by Beckett Gladney and Debbi Ridpath Ohi. Peek: “I’m always browsing for news in the comics industry related to online comics (in general) as well as the graphic novels for young people. I’ll be posting anything I find particularly interesting or informative here.”

Congratulations to Rosemary Clement-Moore on the release of Hell Week: Maggie Quinn: Girl VS Evil (Delacorte, 2008)! From the promotional copy: “Maggie Quinn is determined to make her mark as a journalist. The only problem? The Ranger Report does not take freshmen on staff. Rules are rules. But when has that ever stopped Maggie? After facing hellfire, infiltrating sorority rush should be easy. It’s no Woodward and Bernstein, but going undercover as the Phantom Pledge will allow her to write her exposé. Then she can make a stealth exit before initiation. But when she finds a group of girls who are after way more than ‘sisterhood,’ all her instincts say there’s something rotten on Greek Row. And when Hell Week rolls around, there may be no turning back. If there is such a thing as a sorority from hell, you can bet that Maggie Quinn will be the one to stumble into it.” Read a Cynsations interview with Rosemary.

“Are you an unpublished writer of children’s fiction or nonfiction who is a person of color? It’s not too late to submit a manuscript to Lee & Low Books Ninth Annual New Voices Award.” Submissions are being accepted through Oct. 31. Source: The Brown Bookshelf.

Check out the Query Letter for Soul Enchilada by David Gill from I Am Chikin, Hear Me Roar.

Building Your Author Platform: questions from Colleen Ryckert Cook. Peek: “What have you done to create an identity both online and traditionally?”

Agent Interview: Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management from Alice’s CWIM Blog. Peek: “…it’s tough to establish a brand when you’re jumping from one category to another or from one genre to another. You want to give readers what they expect while still satisfying your own muse.” See also The DGLM blog.

What Makes A New York Times Bestseller? from Pub Rants. Peek: “Word-of-mouth. Avid fans. We owe a lot to the readers who absolutely loved the book and told 20 of their closest friends to read it, too.”

Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright from the United States Copyright Office. See also Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright for Students and Teachers from The Library of Congress.

Children’s & YA Book Authors & Illustrators on the Web from my main official site. Note: published folks are encouraged to double-check their links on the site and/or submit an official author/illustrator site or blog for consideration for a listing. Likewise, if you have ever lived in Texas, please check the Texas author/illustrator listings.

SOUP’S ON: Maha Addasi in the Kitchen Interview and Book Giveaway from jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. Peek: “…if you enjoy writing picture books keep on writing them. Don’t worry about the market. Write for your own personal enjoyment first, which makes for better writing, and this leads to publication.”

The Six Friends Every Writer Needs from Jackson Pearce, author of As You Wish (HarperCollins, 2009). Peek: “Every red mark on your manuscript is an opportunity to make it better. She just gave you a hell of a lot of opportunities. Tide gets bloodstains/ink stains out of most fabrics.”

Jim McCoy’s Big Blog of Nancy Werlin from Nancy’s fiance. Peek: “This blog is intended to celebrate all (well, most) things Nancy. For those few of you who’ve inadvertently landed here without knowing about our heroine, Nancy is an award-winning writer of young adult fiction.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nancy.

Unlocking the Biography by Sneed B. Collard III from I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “For me, a key to writing about a person is to understand what drove that person forward through life.”


Plan to celebrate the release of Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Flux, 2008) with debut author Maggie Stiefvater. The physical launch will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 EST at Creatures & Crooks Bookshoppe in Richmond, Virginia. The virtual launch will be in the Enchanting Reviews chat room at 8 p.m. EST Oct. 1. See details.

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. 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. See schedule. Hope to see you there!

R. L. Stein’s Halloween Party will begin at 3 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Austin Children’s Museum (201 Colorado St.). R. L. Stein will read and tell a communal (audience-participation) ghost story at 3:30 p.m. and sign books from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event is free, but space is limited to 350. Costumes welcome. Note: Barnes & Noble will be selling books; sponsored by the Texas Book Festival in cooperation with the museum.

“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. “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. UPDATE: a new editor speaker will be announced soon.

The Tenth Annual Jewish Children’s Book Writers’ Conference is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 23 at the 92nd Street Y (1395 Lexington Avenue) in New York City. The fee is $95 before Nov. 1, $110 after Nov. 1 and includes kosher breakfast and lunch. Featured speakers are associate agent Michelle Andelman of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, publisher David E. Behrman of Behrman House, executive editor Michelle Frey of Alfred A. Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers, editor Larry Rosler of Boyds Mills Press, director Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben Publishing, and illustrator’s agent Melissa Turk of Melissa Turk & The Artist Network. Award-winning author Johanna Hurwitz will give opening remarks, and the day will include sessions on publishing and writing in Israel, the Sydney Taylor Book Award and Manuscript Competitions, and individual consultations with editors and agents from past conferences. The registration form is available for download (PDF file). Call 212.415.5544 or e-mail for additional information or to request the form by mail. The final registration deadline is Nov. 17.

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 Oct. 14, and again on Oct. 28 on the teen grid of Teen Second.” See more information.

More Personally

My sympathies to the family and friends of Colleen Salley. See: Horn Book publisher Anne Quirk’s thoughts at Read Rodger and Obituary: Colleen Salley by Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal. See also Books Dedicated to Colleen; source: A Fuse #8 Production.

I haven’t yet seen an “official” obituary, but you may want to consider donating to the Colleen Salley – Bill Morris Literacy Foundation (and linking to it from your blog/site).

Thank you to everyone who wrote to inquire about my status related to Hurricane Ike. The only weather manifestation in Austin was gray skies and some light rain on Sunday morning.

The city, however, is housing many evacuees. Please consider donating to the American Red Cross or the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

To “contribute online to help our coastal libraries,” visit the Texas Library Association‘s Disaster Relief Fund.

To those still coping with the storm’s aftermath, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Readers interested in related books should consider Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale (Henry Holt, 2006)(author interview) and Galveston’s Summer of the Storm by Julie Lake (TCU Press, 2003)(author interview), both of which focus on the 1900 storm.

Thank you to Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page, author Marlene Perez, author Debbi Michiko Florence, author Jama Kim Rattigan, author Carrie Jones at Through the Tollbooth, and author Stacy DeKeyser for blogging about the 10-year anniversary of!

YA author Devyn Burton sends in this photo (above) of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008), taken at a Wal-Mart in Michigan. Note: autographed paperback copies of Tantalize are now available at the Barnes & Noble – Aboretum in Austin.

Congratulations to Cynsations MySpace reader Zulmara on her interview at Interviewing Authors! Peek: “I write with a co-author, Eduardo Estrada Montenegro from Nicaragua, and we collaborate on the books. Some we have co-authored, and I do the translations for the books. I am also writing curriculum for the books and an EZ Bilingual Newsletter to help others enhance their bilingual skills.” Note: Zulmara also is giving away “an assortment of writing goodies” in conjunction with the interview.