Cynsational News & Giveaways

Check out readergirlz’s “Books with Bite” series celebration of Teen Read Week; see the awesome trailer below:

The 2009 Red Dirt Book Festival has called for proposals. The theme is “Imagine Oklahoma: Read, Write, Talk.” Submit your proposal here. Deadline: Dec. 1. Note: the 4th annual Red Dirt Festival will be held in Shawnee, Oklahoma; Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, 2009 at the Expo Center and on the campuses of Oklahoma Baptist University and St. Gregory’s University.

Author-Illustrator Tip: consider dedicating one page on your site to each of your titles, and include cover art, all author and/or illustrator bylines with links to official sites, publisher, publication date, link to publisher dedicated page, hardcover/softcover/both, ISBN.

Behind the Pages of Shadowed Summer: a vlog from author Saundra Mitchell. Smart, interesting, and smokin’ cool.

Behind the Pages of Shadowed Summer

Book Business: Creepy Cool by Lori Atkins Goodson from ALAN Online. Peek: “…it’s the term I use for books that are a little edgy, a little unpredictable, a little uncomfortable to read, and incredibly engaging. “

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards: check out the 2008 winners and honor books, photos of the ceremony, and audio. Video coming soon. Source: Read Roger.

Bubble Stampede! Two Authors, Two Books, and a 9-month Conversation about…aack!…Promotion: a LJ from authors Laurie Purdie Salas and Fiona Bayrock. Source: Mitali’s Fire Escape.

Can a bad review end your career? by Tess Gerritsen from Murderati: Mysteries, Murder, and Marketing. Peek: “I recall hearing about the time Stephen King got a PW review that was so brutal, so nasty, that it almost made him stop writing entirely.” Source: Elizabeth Scott’s Blog. Note: My feeling is that youth publishing is a bit more forgiving; markets may vary.

Jillian Cantor: official site of the debut author of The September Sisters (HarperCollins, 2009). Learn more about Jillian.

Caution: Authors, Illustrators, and Publicists: remember that book reviews are copyrighted by the review source. You may not reproduce them without permission. Note: Greg suggests keeping quoted excerpts under 50 words and offering full attribution with a link. See the U.S. Copyright Office for more information.

Shrinking Violet Spotlight: Lisa Chellman, Librarian by Mary Hershey from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “Without further ado, here’s my advice for authors on how to impress their librarians in all the wrong ways…”

Children’s Literature Author & Illustrator Booking Service: “assists schools, museums, conferences and other organizations in identifying authors and illustrators for speaking engagements.” Source: Cachibachis.

The Class of 2k8 School Librarian Contest: The Class of 2k8 is sponsoring a giveaway just for school librarians. First Prize: the winner’s choice of a full set of the 27 Class of 2k8 books or a free author visit from a Class of 2k8 author in his/her region (if available)! Two Second Prizes: A $50 gift certificate from Indie Bound (formerly BookSense) plus three books from the Class of 2k8 to add to your school library. Three Third Prizes: Three books from the Class of 2k8 to add to your school library. To enter, send the Class your favorite anecdote about books, reading, or your life as a school librarian! Try to keep it under 200 words, because they’ll be posting some of entries on their blog during November. Feeling shy? They’ll also take a quote about books or writing from your favorite author instead. E-mail your anecdote or quote at Please be sure to include your name and contact information at your school with your entry. Entries will be accepted from Oct. 1 to Nov. 10. Winners will be drawn randomly from among all entries and announced on Nov. 24. Note: if you pass this on to other school librarians and they mention the referral, you and your school will be entered in the drawing twice!

Check out the book trailer for Dragon Wishes by Stacy A. Nyikos (Blooming Tree, November 2008). Source: Buried in the Slush Pile.

Clueless: Ask and You Shall Receive from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “Mother of God, this is what your agent is for. March yourself into the bathroom right now, look yourself in the eye, and say to yourself, ‘My agent is my guide and counselor and representative…'”

“In Defense of Adverbs” by Jan Fields from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “Virtually any novel you pick up will use adverbs. They aren’t evil when used by a writer who is giving scrutiny to every word to be certain it’s the correct word for the job. If you don’t believe me, look at these quotes from Newbery winning books…”

“Getting to Know My Characters” by Mary Atkinson from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “Gradually, over a series of drafts and revisions, meanderings and false starts, the mom began to emerge. I tried to push her away. I didn’t want her in my story. It was too sad, too hard. I wanted Tillie to have a happy story.”

“Go for It!” encouragement and words of wisdom for “very beginning writers” by Kathryne B. Alfred from The Longstockings. Peek: “Especially when starting out, give yourself tons of space to write badly. In fact, as you’re starting out, don’t even ask yourself (or–and this is important–anyone else) whether what you’re writing is good or bad. At this point, all that matters is that you’re writing, and enjoying it.”

The Other Side of the Fence by Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted at The Red Room. Peek: “Although her book isn’t even out yet, when she tries to share good news with certain friends, they no longer seem happy for her. The sad truth is, some of them probably aren’t.”

Kekla Magoon: debut author of The Rock and The River (Simon & Schuster, 2009). Note: Kekla is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Monster Month of Giveaways — Ghost Week from Brooke Taylor. Featured books include Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell; Must Love Black by Kelly McClymer; A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb; Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz; Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley. Note: zombies are next week!

Native American Heritage Month is coming soon! Please consider celebrating by featuring the Native Youth Literature widget on your blog.

Outgoing GLIBA President Issues “Call to Arms” by Claire Kirch from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Children’s booksellers were out in full force throughout the weekend, with some general booksellers expressing an interest in expanding their inventory by stocking more ‘recession-proof’ children’s books.” Source: Sea Heidi Write.

Pretty Monsters by Colleeen Mondor from Bookslut. Recommended spooky reads for the season.

Reading in Biology: More than a Textbook Thing! from Mrs. H’s Classroom at a teacher requests donations to buy books to supplement her biology class. Peek: “Each book I would like to purchase has backing with in the curriculum; Double Helix – DNA/genetics; PEEPS – parasites; Eva – ethics and ecology. I want to get students reading in all my classes; even my college Biology one, but I need the funding. That is where donors come in.” Note: if I’d had a teacher like that, I probably wouldn’t have stopped taking science after biology.

Revision from the Agent’s Perspective by Sara Crowe from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “If the author is deciding between a few different ideas for a next book it can be helpful to have me look at drafts of chapters and synopses to try to help figure out what idea to develop first. I always tell my clients to send material to me when my feedback will be useful, and I think that point is different for each writer.” Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Congratulations to author Liz Garton Scanlon for signing with agent Erin Murphy, and congratulations to Erin for signing Liz! I wish you both many wonderful books together. Check out Liz’s report on the great news, and read Cynsations interviews with Liz and Erin. See also an additional interview with Erin that Liz cites.

Author Elizabeth Scott–whose Living Dead Girl (Simon Pulse, 2008) is absolutely riveting–is sponsoring a giveaway. Peek: “…all you have to do is tell me what young adult novel out there you wish you had a copy of, or that you’ve been wanting to buy but haven’t, and you could get that book for free!” Deadline: midnight EST tonight! Read a Cynsations interview with Elizabeth.

Watch the book trailer for Stop Me If You’ve Heard this One Before by David Yoo (Hyperion, 2008).

Teen Fiction Café: “the ultimate YA author hang-out.” Contributors include: Amanda Ashby; Lauren Baratz-Logsted; Teri Brown; Jessica Burkhart; Liza Conrad (Erica Orloff); Linda Gerber; Sara Hantz; Stephanie Kuehnert; Alyson Noel; Kelly Parra; Wendy Toliver; Melissa Walker; Sara Zarr.

Things to Consider Before You Sit Down to Write a Poem by Julie Larios from The Drift Record. Peek: “Many writers believe that poetry is language that has been artificially torqued and manipulated, and that prose is the most natural (thus, easiest?) of forms for our thoughts, but the effort to state what we think in an articulate and organized manner (witness the effort involved in writing a good essay) is extremely difficult.” Read a Cynsations interview with Julie.

Happy birthday to Through the Tollbooth: Thoughts on Writing for Children and Young Adults!

Tips from a Picture Book Author from Emily Marshall at Author2Author. Peek: “I think many people in the Awaiting an Agent stage go through this daily. Trying to figure out when to put a book in your drawer. Is it a certain number of agent rejections? A certain number of revisions and then rejections?”

Tween Literature: a essay of musing related to a bookseller panel, “led by the owner of a children’s bookstore, and my fellow panelists were a child psychologist, a librarian, and the author of a ‘clean YA’ novel” from Bookavore. Peek: “When a parent specifically asks me about a book, I tell them as much as I know about it. If I don’t know, I ask the children’s book buyer, or I check the Internet for more information, or I suggest a book that I am familiar with. My magic word is ‘content,’ as in, ‘This book has mature content’ or even just ‘This book has content.'” Source: Laurie Halse Anderson.

Unassigned: What to Read this Month for Fun by Allie Costa at Spark Notes. Recommends four new releases for October. Peek: “This book [My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel] celebrates the modern family without shame, without dysfunction or exaggerated angst.”

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
: a Book Blast Book Giveaway Contest from The Kids’ Book Club Book. 25 copies will be given away. Deadline: Nov. 15. Must be 18 to enter.

V-Blogging: Kidlitophere 2008 Conference in Quick from Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production. Note: unexpectedly brought tears to my eyes–love you kidlitosphere!

Untitled from Elizabeth Bird on Vimeo.

Congratulations to Emma J. Virján on the release of her debut book Nacho the Party Puppy (Random House, 2008). You can meet Emma at the upcoming Texas Book Festival!

When all the wrong wishes come true: an interview with Justine Larbalestier by Heidi Henneman from BookPage. Peek: “‘What if there was such a thing as a parking fairy, but you were too young for it to be useful?'” Read a Cynsations interview with Justine.

Why I Write YA Fiction
by Karen Mahoney. Peek: “I remember how brave I could be at 17, while now – as an adult – I am much more cautious and (try to) think things through before acting. There’s a fearless quality to many teenagers I have known.”

YA YNot?: a new social network from TeensReadToo! See my page on the network! Enter to win one of the many October giveaway books at TeensReadToo!

Want A Book Dedicated To You? (Contest!) from author Linda Joy Singleton. Peek: “the prize will be to have either Dead Girl 2 or Dead Girl 3 dedicated to you. Yup, that’s right–your name on the opening page of a published book. Plus an autographed copy of the book when it’s published.” Linda Joy is looking for a book trailer and great promo ideas. See details. See also a new interview with Linda Joy from Enchanting Reviews; peek: “They could cast my characters as cartoons if that’s what it would take to sell to Hollywood.”

Congratulations to the fantabulous Lisa Yee on five years of author-ness! Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Vote for Ethiopia Reads

Yohannes Gebregeorgis, a native of Ethiopia and children’s literacy advocate, has been named a Top 10 Hero of the Year by CNN. Mr. Gebregeorgis was selected from more than 3,000 individuals nominated by viewers throughout the year. Finalists were selected by a Blue Ribbon panel of judges that includes Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall and Deepak Chopra. The Top 10 Heroes will be recognized in CNN’s “All-Star Tribute” to air on Thanksgiving.

Yohannes was first recognized as a “hero” by CNN in May for his work championing children in Ethiopia. A former political refugee who worked as a librarian at San Francisco Public Library, Yohannes is the co-founder of Ethiopia Reads, a non-profit organization that works to create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books. In a country where 99% of schools have no libraries, Yohannes and Ethiopia Reads are improving lives, one book at a time.

Vote for Yohannes, then visit Ethiopia Reads web site for more updates. Note: please consider yourself encouraged to pass on this announcement and these links!

From Oct. 12 to Dec. 15, Yohannes will visit cities across the United States, sharing his story and vision for Ethiopia Reads. Cities include Washington, DC; San Francisco; Seattle; Kansas City, Kan.; Denver; Albuquerque; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; and New York.

More Personally

Thank you to my hosts at last weekend’s inaugral Youth Literature Festival, sponsored by the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign!

Special thanks go to: Violet J. Harris, Alex Schmidt, and everyone at the college; librarian Patricia M. Palut of Bottenfield Elementary; librarian Sherri Bolen of Holy Cross School; Robert Warrior of Native American House; Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children’s Literature and her colleague LeAnne Howe of the American Indian Studies Department, who hosted an informal social; and my festival escorts Lizz and Haeny!

Highlights of the weekend included the school visits on Friday, the reception at the University of Illinois President’s Mansion, meeting Kim Reis-Schultz (an Eastern band Cherokee jingle dancer), and visiting with fellow author participants such as Marc Aronson; Susan Campbell Bartoletti; Jennifer Holm; Richard Van Camp, whose picture book What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?, illustrated by George Littlechild (Children’s Book Press) is highlighted here; and Janet Wong, among others. The Spurlock Museum was also a great venue.

“Brown…(but not) like me” by Paula Chase-Hyman from The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story. Peek: “Today I want to shine the light on a small sampling of other brown authors writing for children. Most featured below are writing exclusively in the YA realm.” Note: It was such an honor to see my tween novel, Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001) featured on the blog! Thank you! Read an interview with the founders of The Brown Bookshelf.

Thank you to John Bard of Children’s Book Insider and for featuring Cynsations as a recommended blog in the Oct. 9 Children’s Writing Update! Peek: “Cynsations is one of kidlit’s most widely read and respected blogs, and with good reason. It’s chock full of interviews, publishing news, links and recaps of the best of the blogosphere and lots, lots more. It’s a wonder to behold and an absolute must-read.” Jeepers, I’m blushing!

Thanks also to the LJers who replied to my quandry about cuts and long posts. Apparently it’s a Mozilla glitch, and at those who replied didn’t mind that I’m sharing so much good news at once.

The winner of my Books with Bite Teen Read Week Giveaway is Jennifer at Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming! Martha won a signed paperback copy of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008), a signed copy of Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P.C. Cast (BenBella, 2008)(exclusively to Borders/Waldenbooks), a Sanguini’s T-shirt, and 25 autographed Tantalize bookmarks! Notes: Sanguini’s is the fictional vampire restaurant in Tantalize. YALSA’s Teen Read Week 2008 is Oct. 12 to Oct. 18, and the theme is “Books with Bite.”

The winner of the 10th anniversary giveaway is Laura in Colorado! Laura has won paperback copies of four books with a special meaning to me: 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).

In other recent giveaway news, you can check out the fabu T-shirt–designed and donated by Angela at Pickled Pixel Toe–that HipWriterMama won from Cynsations here!

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.

National Events

Author Kimberly Willis Holt is will appear at 2 p.m. Oct. 11 at The Big Read in St. Louis. Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Attention Ohio: Teen Read Week Author Visit: Rachel Caine. Vampires only come out at night – or do they? Find out at special appearances by Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampires series. In keeping with this year’s Teen Read Week theme, “Books With Bite @ Your Library,” Caine will discuss the history of vampires, including fun facts. An open registration for grades 7-12 will begin Oct. 1 and is limited. To register, call 330-744-8636, ext. 149. Boardman, 9:30 a.m., Oct. 14; Poland, 12:30 p.m., Oct. 14. Read a Cynsations interview with Rachel.

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.

Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) Workshop in San Antonio Nov. 24 to Nov. 25. An event I utterly adore for the depth of discussions, sophistication and dedication of the attendees-leadership, and wonderful company of fellow YA authors. Note: NCTE stands for “National Council of Teachers of English,” which has a preceding conference. Details on my signing and speaking schedule to come.

Texas Events

Tantalizing news! As the author of a novel set at a fictional vampire-themed restaurant here in Austin, I feel compelled to announce that Austin Restaurant Week is Oct. 12-15 and Oct. 19-22. Try the city’s hottest fine dining locations at a discount, and don’t forget to make reservations! Equally exciting: Paggi House reopens this weekend!

Following a chocolate reception for educators at 1 p.m., authors Shana Burg and Kristi Holl will be reading and signing their books Oct. 11th at Barnes & Noble at Northwoods Shopping Center in San Antonio. Read a Cynsations interview with Shana.

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.

John and Hank Green are appearing in cities across the U.S. Check out the schedule and the play list for John’s new release Paper Towns (Dutton, Oct. 2008), which I just started. From the promotional copy: “When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.” Read a Cynsations interview with John.

Rick Guzman (Austin) will speak at the Oct. 18 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. Note: this event was rescheduled due to Hurricane Ike.

Celebrate the release of The Forgotten Worlds Book 1: The Emerald Tablet by P.J. Hoover (Blooming Tree, 2008) at 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at BookPeople in Austin, Texas!

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.

Texas Book Festival will be Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 in Austin. UPDATE: authors to be featured at the 2008 festival include: Kathi Appelt; Shana Burg; Melissa de la Cruz; Heather Vogel Frederick; Shannon Hale; Varian Johnson; Laurie Keller; Christopher S. Jennings; Marisa Montes; Yuyi Morales; Lauren Myracle; Margo Rabb; Tanya Lee Stone; Philip Yates; Paula Yoo; and Jennifer Ziegler. See the complete list.

“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, editor Kim T. Griswell of Highlights, 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.

Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) Workshop in San Antonio Nov. 24 to Nov. 25. An event I utterly adore for the depth of discussions, sophistication and dedication of the attendees-leadership, and wonderful company of fellow YA authors. Note: NCTE stands for “National Council of Teachers of English,” which has a preceding conference. Details on my signing and speaking schedule to come.