Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of three autographed copies of The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small (Atheneum, 2008)(excerpt). From the promotional copy:

“There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.

“A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath…as long as they stay in the Underneath.

“Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. …Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love–and its opposite, hate–the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.”

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 Oct. 27! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Oct. 27! 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 “Underneath” in the subject line. Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

Enter to win one of three autographed copies of The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2008). 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 Oct. 21! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Oct. 21! 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 “Kerfol” in the subject line. Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

More News & Giveaways

“The Big Acceptance” by Evelyn Christensen from The Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “Not all of us can be J.K. Rowling and write Harry Potter books, but we can all find joy in our writing.”

Building Your Own Press Kit by Saundra Mitchell at Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “A press kit provides basic biographical information and information about your work, in an easily accessible kit for reviewers and journalists.”

Caution: publishing pics online of readily identifiable kids’ faces (without parents’/guardians’ express permission) can be perilous for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps shoot the group from behind for your blog event report.

Take a sneak peek at the first four chapters of Sleepless by Terri Clark (HarperCollins, 2008)! From the promotional copy: “I can’t go to sleep! And not because of the cute boy lying next to me. There’s a killer stalking me in my dreams. And if it’s up to him . . . I’ll never wake up. I have to find a way to get him, before he gets me.”

Creating an Author Identity by Colleen Ryckert Cook from Kidlit Central News. Various authors chime in on what has and hasn’t worked for them.

Critique Group Survey by Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl: Daily Diversions for Writers. Peek: “How many of you are currently in a critique group, online or offline? Any tips for those who are still looking for the right critique group?”

Interview with Jody Feldman by Debbi Michiko Florence. Peek: “I credit my journalism/advertising background with my ability to crank things out very quickly. I once wrote a 35,000-word book in two weeks. That said, quality takes much longer.” Read Cynsations interviews with Jody and Debbi.

Good Writer = Like. Good Writer + Chocolates = Love from Editorial Anonymous. Note: a recommended approach for “pitching” your manuscript to the editor who inherits your orphaned manuscript. See also Just Saying No (To Your Editor).

Gottawrite Girl: author interviews, publishing news, and musings on writing life from Susan Gray Bethesda. Peek: “If you’re an old timer or aspiring author, like me… I’d like to be your friend. Trudging the road to publication is easier this way!”

To celebrate the release of Something Wicked by Alan Gratz (Oct. 2008), Dial Books is offering a special promotion: they’re letting you read the first Horatio Wilkes mystery, Something Rotten (2007), for free! You don’t have to register, you don’t have to give your e-mail address, you don’t have to buy something else to read it. All you have to do is click here. Read a Cynsations interview with Alan.

Hardcover versus Paperback Debuts from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “…a book that might have caught on as a paperback original could see a paperback run partially dashed if the hardcover doesn’t do well.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Congratulations to Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler on the release of Jars of Glass (Dutton, 2008)! From the promotional copy: “Teenage sisters Chloe and Shana recall fondly the days when their mother wove stories about kingdoms under the sea. Now that Mom is ‘away’, Chloe does not allow herself to believe in fairy tales. She is too busy caring for her adopted brother, Micah, because Dad has withdrawn. Shana copes by escaping every night under the cover of Goth garb. The day the family visits Mom for the first time is the day Chloe learns why Shana will never allow their mother to return. It is up to the sisters to pull together and form a new definition of family.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brad and Heather.

Question of the Week Thursday: Sarah Mlynowski from Laura Friedman’s JerseyFresh Tude. Robin asks: “What’s it like to write for both teens and adults?” Read a Cynsations interview with Robin.

On Inspiration by Cassandra Clare. Peek: “I don’t know any writers who talk about how inspiration comes to them in a silvery shower, but they would probably get punched the head by other writers if they did.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra.

Becky Levine: Moving Forward on the Writing Path: new site. Focus will include: “the big elements of writing;” “the writing process;” “the critique process;” “networking;” “marketing and PR;” and “book reviews.”

Librarian By Day: “…thoughts on teen literature. I care about good writing, interesting characters, and intriguing plots.”

Marking Observation: the back of the jacket for Melissa Marr‘s Ink Exchange (HarperCollins, 2008) features a reduced-size image of her previous cover for Wicked Lovely (HarperCollins, 2007). Great idea; very helpful to readers looking for the first book! Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa.

Marketing Observation: excellent new trends include putting the publication month and year on the spine of ARCs.

A2A Chat: Interview with J.E. MacLeod from Author2Author. Peek: “There are a couple of reasons why I use a pen name. The first is to protect my husband’s family. My married name is very unique, and his Mom and Dad are both quite religious, while my books are rather edgy. I don’t want to cause any upset feelings…” J.E.’s debut novel will be Waiting to Score (WestSide, 2009)(publisher interview).

Check out the trailer for Bliss by Lauren Myracle (Amulet, 2008)! Peek: “New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle offers a spine-tingling, unforgettable story of friendship gone very, very wrong.” Source: Poised at the Edge at MySpace. Read a Cynsations interview with Lauren.

Interview: Claire Mysko by Little Willow at Slayground. Claire is the author of You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self (Adams, 2008). Peek: “The bottom line is that eating disorders don’t just go away on their own without professional help. You can’t force someone to get treatment, but you can educate yourself so you are better prepared to help others or get help for yourself. The National Eating Disorders Association has some great resources for eating disorder sufferers and for family members and friends. “

Jackson Pearce, author of As You Wish (HarperCollins, 2009), vlogs about outlines. Note: inspirational and bonus points for adorableness of the author.

Poetry for Young People 2008 (so far) by Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children. Scroll for list. Read a Cynsations interview with Sylvia.

Truman Readers Award: selected by Missouri “students in grades six through eight and presented annually.” Sponsored by the Missouri Association of School Librarians.

Trade Offs and Confessions by Deborah Wiles at Deborah Wiles — One Pomegranate: So Many Stories Inside Each Fruit. Peek: “…we writers try to explain that what appears to be quirkiness and stubborn-ness and maybe just-plain-arrogance is not about being special, it’s not. It’s a job, this writing gig, this writing life, and this is how it works.”

Author Chat With: Kristin Tubb, Debut Author from Heidi R. Kling at sea heidi write. Peek: “In 2002, I was on a guided tour of Cades Cove, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I stood in a cabin that once belonged to John Oliver, and was marveling at how tiny and uncomfortable the cabin seemed when it occurred to me…”

Monster of the Month Giveaway: Zombies from Brooke Taylor. Peek: “To enter, leave a comment with the answer to the following question: If you became a Zombie tomorrow, whose brain would you most want to eat and why? Deadline: midnight CST Oct 23. See details.

Flood Relief Anthology

Cornstalk Gypsies: The Iowa Flood Relief Anthology, edited by J.K. Richard, is available for purchase at Lulu Marketplace. 100% of the proceeds from this anthology will go towards relief of individuals, businesses, cities, and schools affected by the 2008 summer floods in Iowa. Contributors include: Sarah Prineas (author interview), Michael Jasper, Carrie Jones (author interview), Dr. Catherine Schaff-Stump, Joya Mannan, Ann M. Nguyen, Tyson Chaney and Shalanna Collins. Note: “Cornstalk Gypsies is a 230 page science-fiction/fantasy anthology. It is available through in perfect bound A5 format ($13.00 USD + Shipping) or digital download, .pdf format (4.95 USD).”

More Personally

13 Questions with Cynthia Leitich Smith
from the YA Authors Cafe. Peek:

“7) Bela Lugosi or Gary Oldman?

“George Hamilton.” Bahahaha!

Note: members of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace are encourage to comment on the interview post to be eligible for October giveaways and should see the latest group bulletin for more information!

Thank you to Saundra at Crowe’s Nest for giving Cynsations an I Heart Your Blog Award! Saundra says, “Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsations. It is an institution in the online YA community. She’s the New York Times, People and Time all rolled into one!” Check out the other honorees at the nest! Yowza, I’m blushing. I’ve also won this one before, so I’ll just refer back to my previously highlighted list. Learn more about Saundra Mitchell!

I love this: Shocking Photo of Austin Authors Reading Banned Books! at BookPeople in Austin from Jennifer Ziegler. Read Cynsations interviews with Jennifer, April Lurie, Shana Burg, and Varian Johnson (an interview with Margo Rabb is coming soon!).

Online Events

Thanks to Kelly, Donovan, and Abby for their hospitality at Tuesday night’s event at the ALA Island!

Thanks too to everyone who attend, and special cheers to author A.S. King, whose support was especially appreciated! Note: absolutely check out A.S.’s author site–it’s really unusual and amazing!

Reminder: I’ll be appearing to discuss Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) and related forthcoming books Oct. 28 on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life. See more information.

Real-Space Events

John and Hank Green are appearing in cities across the U.S. Check out the schedule and the playlist for John’s new release Paper Towns (Dutton, Oct. 2008). 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.

“A Study of Voice as Demonstrated in The Genre of the Sports Novel” with Debbie Gonzales from Austin SCBWI at 11 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Barnes & Noble Westlake (Texas). Peek: “Think that sports novels are cheesy, clichéd, metaphoric boxed of stake Cracker Jacks? Well, think again. This lecture focuses on a brief overview of the various voices of the sports novel, three distinct writing styles, and a focus on the historical development of the female athletic protagonist. Also, step up to the plate and compete in the hottest new sport to hit the literary scene – Snicker Trivia.” Debbie is a recent graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

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! From the promotional copy: “Benjamin and his best friend Andy are different from normal. They love being able to read each other’s minds and use telekinesis to play tricks on other kids. In fact, they are getting all set to spend their entire summer doing just that when Benjamin’s mirror starts talking. Suddenly, Benjamin’s looking at eight weeks of summer school someplace which can only be reached by a teleporter inside the ugly picture in his hallway. And that’s the most normal thing he does all summer.”

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.

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.