Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win a copy of Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, edited by Rick Riordan with Leah Wilson (BenBella, 2008)(PDF excerpt)! Read a Cynsations interview with Rick. From the promotional copy:

How are the Greek gods like your middle school principal?

Would you want to be one of Artemis’s Hunters?

Why do so many monsters go into retail—and why are they never selling anything a demigod really wants?

At the beginning of The Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson tells us to stop reading: if we suspect we, too, might be demigods, we should put the book down right away. But how can we, when the world he lives in is so much fun?

Spend a little more time in that world—a place where the gods bike among us, monsters man snack bars, and each of us has the potential to become a hero.

Contributors: Kathi Appelt; Rosemary Clement-Moore; Paul Collins; Cameron Dokey; Sarah Beth Durst; Jenny Han; Carolyn MacCullough; Sophie Masson; Elizabeth M. Rees; Nigel Rodgers; Ellen Steiber; and Elizabeth Wein.

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 Dec. 2!

OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Dec. 2! But DON’T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I’ll contact you for it if you win. Please also type “Demigods and Monsters” in the subject line.

Enter to win an autographed copy of Santa Knows by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman (Dutton, 2006)! Four runners up will receive audio productions of the book either on tape or CD (Scholastic Book Club, 2007)!

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 Dec. 8! OR, if you’re on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Dec. 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 “Santa Knows” in the subject line, and specify whether you prefer tape, CD, or either. Visit!

The winners of The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, 2008) were Christine, a librarian and tutor from Pennsylvania, and Rhonda, a Cynsational reader (and grandma) from Maine.

Jingle Dancer [by Cynthia Leitich Smith] Giveaway sponsored by Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature. From the publisher promotional copy: “Jenna, a contemporary Muscogee (Creek) girl in Oklahoma, wants to honor a family tradition by jingle dancing at the next powwow. But where will she find enough jingles for her dress? An unusual, warm family story, beautifully evoked in Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu‘s watercolor art.” Deadline: Nov. 29. Learn more about Jingle Dancer. See details on the giveaway. Note: I’ll gladly send a personalized bookplate to the winner!

More News

Virtual Writers’ Conferences by Donna Gephart at Wild About Words. Peek: “…when you need a boost of inspiration and information, explore these virtual writers’ conferences until you’re able to make it to the real thing.” Read a Cynsations interview with Donna.

The winner of the National Book Award in Young Peoples Literature is Judy Blundell, author What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic); finalists were: Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Chains (Simon & Schuster); Kathi Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum); E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion); and Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf).

2008 Winter Blog Blast from Chasing Ray. Highlights include: M. T. Anderson from Finding Wonderland: the WritingYA Weblog. Peek: “I believe that the language we use not only defines us, but in some way delimits and infuses what we see in the world around us.” See also the Holiday Books Recommendation Event.

WBBT Interview: Tony DiTerlizzi by Miss Erin. Peek: “I feel that working in the fashion that was used in creating the Spiderwick books allows the collaborators to use all of their tricks, talents and point of view to create the best book possible. And doing so creates a final story that neither Holly nor I would create on our own–it truly is a hybrid.”

Congratulations to the YA authors who made the latest Texas Library Association’s Tayshas list! Highlights include: Flight by Sherman Alexie (Little Brown); The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (HarperCollins)(author interview); Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, 2008)(author interview); City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (McElderry, 2007)(author interview); Derby Girl by Shana Cross (Holt); Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey (Atheneum, 2008)(author interview); The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher (Wendy Lamb/Random House, 2007)(author interview); Right Behind You by Gail Giles (Little Brown)(author interview), Paper Towns by John Green (Dutton)(author interview); My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson (Flux)(author interview); Bliss by Lauren Myracle (Abrams)(author interview); Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson; The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick)(author interview); The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Holt)(author interview); Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott (HarperCollins)(author interview); Impossible by Nancy Werlin (Dial)(author interview); and Sweethearts by Sara Zarr (Little Brown)(author interview).

Congratulations to the authors whose books made the Texas Library Association’s Lonestar List. Highlights included: The Compound by S. A. Bodeen (Feiwel and Friends, 2008)(author interview); The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas (FSG, 2008); The Found (The Missing, Book One) by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster, 2008)(author interview); The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Holt, 2008)(author interview); the dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Harcourt, 2008)(author interview); Unwind by Neal Shusterman (Simon & Schuster, 2008); and How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, 2008)(author interview).

Food: a bibliography of recommended picture book and non-fiction reads from The Horn Book.

Author Heather Vogel Frederick is now on LiveJournal. Welcome, Heather! Source: Jo Knowles. Read a Cynsations interview with Heather.

The Great American Query Letter: Smoothly crafted letters aren’t fooling this agent by Stephen Barbara from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Imagine my chagrin: one minute I’m intrigued by a smoothly crafted query letter, the next I’m staring down at a crackpot writing sample. For a literary agent who receives some 5,000 queries a year, this is a disastrous turn of affairs.” Read a Cynsations interview with Stephen. Source: April Henry.

The Breathtaking Collages of Ed Young in Wabi Sabi (Little Brown, 2008): a feature by Mark G. Mitchell from How to Be a Children’s Book Illustrator. Peek: “‘It’s flexible and alive. With other mediums you often get tight too quickly, then you get attached to it and it’s hard to change. Collage was something I used for sketching in the past. Now I use it to finish my work.'” Read Cynsations interviews with Ed and Mark.

Cover Art Interview with Saundra Mitchell on Shadowed Summer from Book Nymph. Peek: “I used to think I wanted a more classic typeface like Trajan for my cover, but I have grown to love the typeface they used for my title. It’s called Cult, and it’s so distinctive.”

The D-Word by Sarah Sullivan from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “…how do you effectively capture a historical time and place without ‘letting your research show,’ by overloading the text with background information?”

Challenges and Rewards by Cynthia Lord. Peek: “Most authors who write about serious subjects will make some people angry or hurt, and I am no exception.”

Query Clinic
from Editorial Anonymous. See also Synopsis Language.

Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog recommends: Swords: An Artist’s Devotion by Ben Boos (Candlewick, 2008); Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times by L. Brittney (Feiwel & Friends 2008); Keeper of the Grail (The Youngest Templar, Book 1) by Michael Spradlin (Putnam, 2008); Lincoln Shot: A President’s Life Remembered by Barry Denenberg, illustrated by Christopher Bing (Feiwel & Friends, 2008).

The Power of Youth from the Personal Blog of Shana Burg. Peek: “I want to shine the spotlight on a book for young readers called Witnesses to Freedom: Young People Who Fought for Civil Rights by Belinda Rochelle (Puffin, 1997).” Note: Congratulations to Shana, whose debut novel, A Thousand Never Evers (Delacorte, 2008) was included among the Amazon Editors’ picks for middle readers! Read a Cynsations interview with Shana.

On Encouragement by Lisa Schroeder from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “That night, in my hotel room, I woke up in the middle of the night, and thought, what am I doing here? I almost got up and drove home at three in the morning! Fortunately, I didn’t act on that impulse.” Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Our Secret Society by Margo Rabb from Books, Chocolates, and Sundries. Peek: “Our (not-so-secret-anymore) Delacorte Dames & Dude Society is featured in Publisher’s Weekly! Here are a few outtakes from our photo session.” Note: very cute author group pics! Read Cynsations interviews with Shana Burg, Varian Johnson, April Lurie, Margo Rabb, and Jennifer Ziegler.

Cover Stories: Dead Girl Walking by Linda Joy Singleton from Melissa Walker. Peek: “Flux/Llewellyn often asks the author for cover suggestions. Then they let the art department and whoever is at their top secret meetings make the decisions (okay, the meetings probably aren’t top secret, but as as author who would love to know what really goes on, they always sound mysterious to me).” Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy.

Selling Nonfiction With and Without an Agent by Marianne Dyson from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “To be more appealing to editors, send in your query with a list of sources, photos, and interview subjects. An article or book proposal with quotes and photos will win every time over one without those things!” Read a Cynsations interview with Marianne.

Writing for ALA Book Links: “Writers interested in submitting to Book Links should have a strong background in children’s literature and should study the magazine for its style, approach, and focus prior to sending a manuscript.”

Project WISE 2009 – Call for Authors: The Writers’ League of Texas seeks authors who want to participate in the 2009 season of Project WISE (Writers In Schools for Enrichment), a program designed to put children’s authors in Austin-area public schools at no cost to the school. This program is funded by the Writers’ League of Texas and by the City of Austin. Authors are paid an honorarium of $300 for each three-hour visit to a school. Application deadline: Dec. 2. Note: You must be a current WLT member to be considered. See more information.

Isinglass Teen Read List hosted at the Barrington (NH) Public Library. Note: click relevant link on Teen Zone page. Highlights of the 2008-2009 list include Beastly by Alex Flinn (HarperCollins, 2006)(author interview); Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale (Henry Holt, 2006)(author interview); Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (Scholastic, 2004)(author interview); Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham (Candlewick, 2007)(author interview); Warrior Heir by Cinda Chima Williams (Hyperion, 2006)(author interview).

Something Real
by Mary E. Cronin at Tell It Slant. Peek: “But one goal still sticks clearly in my mind: I wrote that I wanted to have a poem published in a Lee Bennett Hopkins anthology some day.” Note: sweet, inspiring, and LBH is one of my favorite people. So there.

Congratulations to Jessica Leader on the sale of Nice and Mean to Kate Angelella at Simon Mix!

Congratulations to Meredith Davis on being accepted to the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults! Meredith is the founder of Austin SCBWI.

Mitali Perkins Interview from Mother Reader. Peek: “I like to cross borders and shatter stereotypes, so I decided that in a book by a Boston-based writer of color published in New York, it would be good to make Sparrow’s dad a Republican. I wanted to reach out to readers in red states who don’t often see people in books who vote like their parents.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.

What Color is Your Revision?
from R. L. LaFevers. Peek: “I’ve discovered a enormously helpful new revision tool.” Note: I’m going to try this for Blessed Candlewick, TBA)!

Interview with Elizabeth Scott from Becky’s Book Reviews. Peek: “…the heart of Living Dead Girl is all about the moments where we see something–someone–that gives us pause, those moments where we know something is wrong…and turn away. That was, and is, the hardest thing to think about.”

More Personally

Just for fun, here’s one more pic of the Austin SCBWI Holiday Party at BookPeople–illustrator Erik Kuntz, Zack Proton author Brian Anderson, illustrator C. G. “Clint” Young, and YA author Thomas Pendleton AKA Dallas Reed (yes, he’s a man of mystery).

Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) has received a couple of lovely online mentions of late!

In The Next Dead Thing by Donna Freitas from Publishers Weekly, Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston says “She’s having success with Melissa Marr‘s novels, the Blue Bloods series from Melissa de la Cruz, as well as Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Beastly by Alex Finn.” Source: Michelle Meadows.

In a recent interview with Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth, agent Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary listed Tantalize among her favorite horror novels and said, “Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith is brilliant in mixing horror with food. A winning combination that somehow really works. The final scene, between Quincie and Kieren, is… Well, you’ll just have to read it!” Read the whole interview.

readergirlz and ALA YALSA also partner each year on Operation Teen Book Drop, which asks publishers to donate 500 copies of a title to affiliated hospitals to be distributed among their young adult intensive care and oncology patients. I was thrilled to learn that Candlewick has committed to donating Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008)! More on that later!

Please come see me at NCTE/ALAN! Details below!

On a dare, Lauren Myracle faces her fear of doing the ‘Thriller’ dance in public…”


NCTE and 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. Please stop by the Candlewick booth at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, where I’ll be signing ARCs of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and look for me at the ALAN Panel – “Gods, Foods, and Tatoos: The Mixed Mythos of Fantasy” on Monday at 2 p.m. ish at the Marriot Rivercenter (Salon E, Third Floor Room). I’ll be speaking with Melissa Marr (author interview) and Rick Riordan (author interview).

American Identity in Children’s Literature: a symposium to take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Newberry Library in Chicago. “Four scholars will discuss the development of ethnic or multicultural children’s literature, which seeks to diversify the all-white world of children’s literature.” Speakers are: June Cummins-Lewis, San Diego State University; Debbie Reese, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michelle Martin, Clemson University; and Phillip Serrato, San Diego State University. Source: American Indians in Children’s Literature.

More Reminders

Take a Chance on Art: purchase one or more $5 raffle tickets to enter to win illustrator Don Tate‘s painting “Duke Ellington,” and support the Texas Library Association Disaster Relief Fund. Note: it’s especially important this year in light of devastation caused by Hurricane Ike. To learn more, read interviews with TLA librarian Jeanette Larson and illustrator Don Tate.

Hurricane Ike Recovery Fund for Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas. Peek: “The Children’s Department, Technical Services, Circulation Department and Operations were located on the first Floor and all are gone. [emphasis added]” See more information. Note: Please consider yourself encouraged to pass on this blurb and link. The media has moved on to other stories, but efforts to deal with the aftermath are ongoing.

Hurricane Ike Library Relief: “Following the destructive visit of Hurricane Ike, Blue Willow Bookshop [in Houston] is initiating a nationwide campaign to rebuild the library collections of Anahuac High School, Freeport Intermediate School and, closer to home, the Alief Hastings 9th Grade Center. These schools lost more than 75% of their collections. Our goal is to have 1,000 books to deliver to these libraries by Dec. 1.”