Cynsational News & Giveaways

Wahoo! In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of, children’s author Michelle Meadows is sponsoring the giveaway of a signed copy of her picture book Pilot Pups, illustrated by Dan Andreasen (Simon & Schuster, 2008)(excerpt)!

From the promotional copy: “When a couple of kids forget to put away their toys, it’s up to Pilot Pups to go on a special search and rescue mission to bring their toy buddies back home. “

To enter, 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. Please also type “Pilot Pups” in the subject line. All Cynsational readers are eligible!

Read a 10th Anniversary Feature Interview with Michelle! Peek: “I realized that I didn’t have to give up. I didn’t have to let my past rejection letters swallow me up. At any moment, I could have a fresh start; I could choose to write something totally new and try again.”

REMINDER: Enter to win one of two autographed hardcover copies of The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie (Delacorte, 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. 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 “Dylan Fontaine” in the subject line. 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.

REMINDER: In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of, I’m offering one 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). To enter, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with a question to for me answer (about writing, my books, etc.) as well as 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. All Cynsational readers are eligible!

Thanks again to Angela L. Fox of Pickled Pixel Toe for sponsoring the T-shirt giveaway in honor of the ten-year anniversary of The winner was Vivian in Massachusetts, and she chose the “Don’t Talk to Me…I’m Revising” shirt.

More News & Giveaways

Enter to win an autographed copy of Dead Girl Walking by Linda Joy Singleton (Flux, 2008). Peek: “…is about 17-year-old Amber who has a bad sense of direction–so bad that when she has a near-death experience, she makes a wrong turn and wakes up in the gorgeous, rich, popular body of a girl who’s attempted suicide. Then it’s a race for time to find her real body to switch back before her organs are donated and Amber is trapped forever in the wrong body. ” Deadline: Sept. 29. See details.

Enter to win a copy of Champlain and The Silent One (North County Books, 2008) from author Kate Messner! Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac says: “Kate Messner’s sense of American history and human nature is as strong as her clear, evocative prose. Her multicultural cast of characters truly comes alive in this wonderful little novel that gives one of the best pictures I’ve yet seen of that period of early contact.” The deadline is midnight EST today, Sept. 26! See more information.

Lost Dog by Ingrid Lee (The Chicken House/Scholastic, 2008): a five-copy giveaway from Cheryl Rainfield. Peek: “Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee is a moving, uplifting middle-grade book…. It depicts some abuse, but there is so much hope and people acting with kindness that it is a feel-good book.” Deadline: midnight EST Oct. 15. See more information.

Congratulations to 2k8 debut author Donna Freitas (interview) on the publication of The Possibilities of Sainthood (Frances Foster/FSG, 2008)! Check out the book teaser below:

An Interview with Anna Levine about Freefall (Greenwillow, 2008) from Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Peek: “Once you have been in the field with someone, carried them, carried their equipment, leapt from planes with them, ate, celebrated and cried with them, these experiences become the glue that binds.”

Attention: authors/illustrators! Tracy Vaughn Zimmer writes: “If I’ve written a guide for your wonderful book and you have examples of student projects that have resulted from them, would you be so kind to share them with me? Or, hey, if you’ve done a project with my own books with your students…! I’m speaking at two teacher conferences this fall and would love to have examples…” See contact information. Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

The Drift Record: a blog from author-poet Julie Larios. Julie also is one of my colleagues on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Read a Cynsations interview with Julie.

SCBWI South Africa – News: News about Children’s Books, Writers and Illustrators in South Africa.

Editors Speak: an extensive archive of interviews with children’s magazine editors from Kid Magazine Writers Market Guide.

Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children Blog: Articles, interviews, advice and more from Sally Murphy and visiting bloggers. Recent articles include 5 Reasons to Join an Online Writers Community by Sally and A Common Pitfall: Expository Dialogue by Laura Backes, Publisher, Children’s Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children’s Writers. Note: especially recommended to beginners.

Papertigers Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with features such as: interviews with author Pam Muñoz Ryan and Houston librarian Rose Zertuche-Treviño, both by Aline Pereira; Susan Guevara and David Diaz in the illustrators’ corner; an article by Yuyi Morales; and much more!

Críticas: An English Speaker’s Guide to the Latest Spanish-Language Titles: “an authoritative one-stop source for English-language reviews of new adult and children’s titles from the national and international Spanish-language publishing world. It also covers Spanish-language publishing news as it pertains to U.S. readers, librarians, and booksellers.” Source: Rose Zertuche-Treviño via Papertigers.

The Book Transfusion by Devyn Burton – YA Author. Devyn is coordinating a “book raising” event for hospitals in lower east Michigan. Peek: “Being in the hospital so much I noticed a trend, teens in the hospital had two options–A) color and do crafts meant for a six year old or option B) ‘suck it up’ like an adult watch TV all day. That is unacceptable, we need something to occupy our minds as well—and even if you did partake in options A & B, you can only color and watch TV so much! A book is a wonderful tool for anyone in the hospital.” Note: YA authors, publishers, businesses, readers, there are ways that all of you can help! Just blogging the link will help!

CanLit for Kids: Outstanding Recently Published Canadian Children’s Books. Peek: “Our goal is to meet the needs of school libraries by providing recently published, high quality books that are affordable, relevant and reflect upon our Canadian heritage, values and culture.” Source: Karen at 55 Degrees North.

Check out the book trailer below for Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Boyds Mills Press/Wordsong, 2008):

The Picnic Basket: “Deborah Sloan’s delicious blog for librarians, teachers, and other gluttons for good books–all you can read (and write) about forthcoming children’s literature!”

Author Carrie Jones offers a fond farewell to former Flux editor Andrew Karre (now of Carolrhoda) and welcomes his replacement. Read a Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Author Spotlight: Deborah Hopkinson from the ALSC Blog. Peek: “Recently I have become increasingly interested in historical literacy. I think that developing critical thinking skills in looking at the past is important, because we can then use those same skills in looking at the present.”

PENPals: A Correspondence with Brian Selznick and Paul O. Zelinsky from PEN America Center. Peek from Paul: “I’ve also felt relief, or sometimes shock and depression; and sometimes elation, when I’ve first held a printed version of what had previously only been sketches and dummies. Actually, it is always a shock to me, whether good or bad. It mostly has to do with the page turn, which is the equivalent to a change of scene in a novel or a movie, right?”

28 Agents Who Want Your Work by Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest. Note: actually, only two of the listed agents–both from Writers House–are interested in working with children’s authors: Lindsay Davis (“actively seeking: picture books, tween, YA, and middle grade”) and Josh Getzler (“does not want to receive: picture books”). A few others list YA among their areas of interest. If you’re interested in an agent who lists YA among many other categories, make sure they know our market. See also my agent resources from the main website.

28 Days Later: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature: “Submissions for the 2009 28 Days later spotlights will open Sept. 29.” Read a Cynsations interview with the founders of The Brown Bookshelf.

Check out my directories of state and national awards for children’s and YA books. Suggest a resource link for one of these pages.

The Big Questions: Science Fiction and Young Adult Fiction Share Themes and, Hopefully, Readers by Adrienne Martini from Baltimore City Paper. Peek: “The Potter bubble has passed, yet those readers–and their younger siblings–are still buying books by the bucketful.” Source: Gwenda Bond.

Art of the Agent Search from Pub Rants: A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants about Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry. Peek: “Here a few tips on some things that will hinder your agent search.”

Check out the book trailer for Third Grade Baby by 2k8 debut author Jenny Meyerhoff (FSG, 2008):

For the Fantasy Writers Out There from Buried in the Slush Pile. Peek: “I thought we’d start with the trickiest fantasy to write — first person high fantasy.”

DC Cancels Minx Imprint by Matt Brady from Peek: “At the time of the line’s launch, it was noted that DC would team with Alloy Marketing + Media to promote Minx in the coming months, and had a budget of $250,000, making it ‘the largest thing we’ve done in at least three decades,’ according to DC president and publisher Paul Levitz. The titles in the line received their share of positive press and reviews, but never really caught on in the numbers that justified their continued existence, apparently.” Note: I’m saddened by the cancellation of the line but grateful for the quality books that Minx did release. See Cecil Castellucci’s thoughts.

The Fine Art of Writing Blurbs by Saundra Mitchell from Crowe’s Nest: An Agent and Her List Discuss Children’s Books, Publishing and Beyond. Peek: “I’m not advising you to write your blurb in rhyming couplets, but the basic rules of poetics should apply to your advertising. The sounds of words, the assonance, the consonance, the rhythm of the words- these are important in any writing, but especially important here.” Note: Crowe’s Nest is now syndicated to LJ.

Cuentecitos: Reviews, Views & News on Latino Children’s and YA Literature.

More Personally

Welcome back, (much of) Houston!

It’s my understanding that many of y’all had your power returned this week, and we’re glad to have you online again!

That said, I also just read that 430,000 remain without power. It’s been 13 days, and that has to be awful. My thoughts remain with you and those even more adversely affected.

On a related note, the Austin SCBWI Day with an Editor (Jill Santopolo) has been rescheduled for Dec. 6. Thanks to Jill, Debbie Gonzales, and RA Tim Crow for of your efforts! Thanks too to Gene Brenek, who had originally volunteered his home as a venue!

For me, this week has been a productive one. Greg and I reviewed pass pages for our joint short story to appear in Geektastic: Stories of the Awesomely Uncool, edited by Cecil Castellucci and Holly Black (Little Brown, 2009), and I sent a revised draft of my graphic novel, Tantalize: Kieren’s Story (Candewick, TBA) to my editor.

Beyond that, I’m working hard to update my own writer’s guide to my Gothic fantasy universe and on Blessed (Candlewick, TBA), which will crossover the casts of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) and Eternal (Candlewick, March 2009), picking up at the end of the first novel.

I also had the honor of reading/critiquing two manuscripts for local writer pals, one a picture book and the other a young adult novel. Austin area writers are amazing!

My pop-culture highlight was the season three premier of “Heroes.”

More personally, thank you to Sarah for creating her gorgeous Tantalize fan page at MySpace!

Thanks also to author David Lubar for his blog cheers on the ten-year anniversary of! I’m honored!

Online Events

Reminder: 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 Events

To all those heading to Portland this weekend, please know you’re in my thoughts! Have a wonderful time. I wish I could be there!

ALA Banned Books Week is Sept. 27 to Oct. 4. See video below. Source: ALA Library. See also Children’s book on male penguins raising chick tops ALA’s 2007 list of most challenged books and a Cynsations interview with Lauren Myracle.

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. I 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). 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.

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. “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.

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.