Cynsational News & Giveaways

Reminder: enter to win one of four autographed advanced reader copies of Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, Feb. 10, 2009)!

There are two ways to enter…

(a) email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address;

(b) message me at MySpace or Facebook, but don’t send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook (I’ll contact you for it if you win);

and in either case, type “Eternal” in the subject line and, in the body of the message, include your answers to at least three of the following questions about the excerpt of Eternal available from Candlewick Press:

(1) Can you guess who a couple of Miranda’s favorite fantasy authors are?

(2) What furniture item in her room does she think may be possessed?

(3) When was Zachary created?

(4) What do people say about the old cemetery near the high school?

Deadline Feb. 5! All Cynsational readers are eligible to win! Note: there also will be a giveaway in conjunction with the release of the novel on Feb. 10!

More News & Giveaways

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan: now available online for a limited time from Penguin Young Readers Group. Peek: “Find out how the adventure begins – but hurry! Read book one of the New York Times best-selling Ranger’s Apprentice series FREE for a limited time (1/15-2/15)!” From the promotional copy: “They have always scared him in the past–the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied….” Learn more about Ranger’s Apprentice.

African-American Children’s Book Project: an interview with Vanesse J. Lloyd-Sgambati by Kelly Starling Lyons at The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “The book project develops book tours, creates promotional events, serves as consultant to publishers/authors and corporate entities who are interested in literacy.” See also an interview with Shadra Strickland, winner of the John Steptoe Award for New Talent by Don Tate at The Brown Bookshelf.

Marvelous Marketer – Lisa Schroeder from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “I find it harder on Facebook to connect with people I don’t know and get the word out about my books. On MySpace, I had no problems sending friend requests to teens I found on other author’s pages and suggesting we be friends because we seem to like the same kind of books. But Facebook is more personal, and I think why people like it more, so I don’t seek out people like I did on MySpace.” Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

“Sporty Girls” with Keri Mikulski: a chat transcript from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “Keri talks about writing sports fiction and nonfiction for books and magazines.”

Scholarship Available for SCBWI Summer Conference: fAiRy gOdSisTeRs, iNk (FGI) announces its 2nd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference Scholarship! FGI is offering a $1500 scholarship for a SCBWI member to attend the August 2009 conference in Los Angeles. FGI awarded the 2008 scholarship to Linda Lodding of the Netherlands. To apply for the 2009 scholarship, submit a 250-word, double-spaced essay describing what you hope to accomplish by attending this year’s summer conference. Send your essay to: The application deadline is April 15. The winner will be notified May 15. fAiRy gOdSiStErS, iNk. is a small, benevolent squadron of Santa Barbara children’s book authors who believe in the magic of passing forward lucky breaks, bounty and beneficence, as so many have done for them.

Marvelous Marketers – Children’s Book Editor Martha Mihalick (Greenwillow Books) from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “…blogging or being active on Facebook or Twitter puts you in the public eye. Anyone can see what you write, so don’t forget that as you post—be aware that you are presenting yourself to potential readers, critics, editors, agents, and fellow writers.”

Congratulations to Micol Ostow on the release of GoldenGirl: a Bradford Novel (Simon Pulse, Jan. 2009). Note: Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) is one of Madison’s favorite books.

ALAN 2008 San Antonio: Suzanne Crowley offers a debut author’s eye on the workshop. Peek: “I felt like I was at the equivalent of a Hollywood party filled with movie stars. When I came home to my hotel, I rode up the elevator with Laurie Halse Anderson, the highlight of my trip according to my middle daughter.” Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.

Query Critiques from Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. Peek: “…while I think there’s an interesting idea here, I found the setup confusingly described.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Enter to win books and more at the Simon Pulse Spring Fling Contest! Deadline: Feb. 14. Source: Elizabeth Scott.

Scholastic Book Fair features a video of Heather Brewer book talking The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod – Ninth Grade Slays. Peek: “In this thrilling sequel to Eighth Grade Bites‚ Vlad must confront secrets from the past and battle forces that once again threaten his life. Can he identify the slayer in time? Or for that matter‚ can you?” Check it out!

A Featured Local Author: Jennifer Ziegler by Madeline from BookKids at BookPeople of Austin. Peek: “‘Either because of the universities or because it embraces musicians and artists, Austin tends to attract very open, creative, and spirited folks. People who are unapologetically themselves. Fascinating beings who belong in books.'” Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

Watch the Music Video and See What Austin Public Library Can Do For You from the APL. Note: Seriously, you have to check it out. I love this town!

Do You Want to Be in Tanya Lee Stone’s Next Book?! Send Her Your Barbie Stories!: “this nonfiction book for middle-grade/YA will explore all that is Barbie and what she means to our culture. Please keep your stories to 150 words and under. Include your first name, age, and state or town/state.” See more information. Deadline: Feb. 20. Read a Cynsations interview with Tanya.

Editorial Anonymous is now available through a LiveJournal syndication.

What to Do with an Upper Middle Grade Novel by Stephanie Greene from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “It’s valuable for writers to know what some of the subjects are that might push their middle grade manuscript into the nebulous cross-over area. According to Karin Michels, Head of Youth Services at the Chapel Hill Library in North Carolina, it could be, ‘Age of protagonist, explicit language, and a focus on sexuality.'”

Agent Interview: Elana Roth of Caren Johnson Literary from Alice Pope at Alice’s CWIM Blog. Peek: “…I have a lot of YA right now, so I’d like more middle grade, but I’m not picky about genre when it comes to falling in love.”

Check out a video featuring author Danette Haworth discussing Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning from Scholastic Book Fair.

First in Series Contest from Terri Clark: a contest with the first books in some of her favorite YA series. Featured titles: “Marked – House of Night Series – P.C. and Kristin Cast; Prom Dates from Hell – Maggie Quinn Series – Rosemary Clement Moore; Dead is the New Black – Nightshade series – Marlene Perez. Peek: “To enter please leave a comment telling me why you like (or don’t like) series and what your favorite series is.” Deadline: Feb. 13. Learn more about Terri Clark.

More Personally

I will be appearing at Book Roast to discuss Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) on Feb. 19. Please plan to stop by, and don’t miss my other upcoming events (listed below)!

Speaking of Eternal, I also was delighted to hear that Walmart will be carrying the hardcover release. I know many of my readers–especially those in small towns, many of them without another bookseller–discovered Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008) in paperback at the chain, and I’m glad that they’ll have immediate access to the companion novel.

Attention MySpacers, check out this new reader page celebrating my Gothic fantasy books and see the “support” icon immediately below!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Enter to Win an ARC of Geektastic, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, August 2009). Peek: Miss Cecil says: “It has stories from all our favorite geeks: Kelly Link, M. T. Anderson, Garth Nix, Liz Brazwell, John Green, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Lisa Yee, Barry Lyga and Sara Zarr with comics written by [Cecil and Holly] and illustrated by Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley.” Talk ’bout geektastic company!” To enter: “Make us a geeky icon that screams geektastic! Or an icon for any one of the authors in the anthology. Or for [Cecil] or Holly.” See details from Cecil! See details from Holly! Winner announced Feb. 1.

Enter to Win one of 10 Copies of Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella, 2008) from Teen Libris. Peek: “…we’re giving away ten copies to bring some heat to the middle of your winter. (Not body heat, obviously, because– vampires!).” Immortal features my short story, “Haunted Love.” Deadline: Feb. 10.

28 Days Later, 2009: a Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature from The Brown Bookshelf: United in Story: check out the amazing authors and illustrators to be featured in the Brown Bookshelf’s latest awareness-raising campaign. Read a Cynsations interview with the founders of the Brown Bookshelf.


Join readergirlz‘s own Justina Chen Headley for the release of North of Beautiful (Little Brown, 2009) at 3 p.m. Feb. 1 at Barnes & Noble (626 106th Ave.) in Bellevue, Washington. Don’t miss the “Find Beauty Challenge,” wherein you’re invited to submit a 90-second video of what you find truly beautiful and thereby qualify to win an iPod. Justina also will donate $10 (up to $1,000) “to help kids with cleft lips in third-world countries.”

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be speaking on “First Drafts” at the February monthly meeting of the Writers’ League of Texas at 7:30 Feb. 19 at the League office in Austin (611 S. Congress Avenue). Peek: “Sometimes getting that first draft down is the biggest hurdle to bringing a great idea to literary life. Find out how several authors approach the first draft.” Note: “Before the program, join us at Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill, 1123 S. Congress (two blocks south of the WLT office for a ‘Mixand Mingle Happy Hour.'”

“The Profit, Pleasures and Pitfalls of Author Visits to Schools” with author-illustrator Mark Mitchell will be at 11 a.m. Feb. 21 at BookPeople in Austin. “For published authors of children’s books, school visits can make a lot of sense. They’re a terrific way to connect with your market and, if done right, a revenue source for an author. The machinery of ‘school tours’ contains many moving parts: organization, ‘market positioning,’ salesmanship, public relations, communication, technology, travel, book sales, book-keeping and more. Mark will discuss [how to frame a business model that works] and will help to grow your success as an author. He’ll also touch on crafting a performance that speaks to the kids, and connects with them.” The event is sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

“Mark’s Raising La Belle (Eakin, 2002), about a 312 year old Texas shipwreck won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America (for best juvenile nonfiction book) and the United States Maritime Literature Award. In 2006, he began touring schools with his Raising La Belle presentation. Since then he has visited 83 schools around the state and received many rave reviews from librarians, teachers, and students.”

Due to a technical difficulty, Cynthia’s discussion of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008), Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 24. See more information.

Cynthia will be speaking on “Writing and Illustrating Native American Children’s Literature” (with S. D. Nelson) and “Monsters and Magic: Writing Gothic Fantasy Novels for Teenagers” on March 15 at the Tucson Festival of Books.

The First Annual African American Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference will take place on April 25. The conference will be held at the Hilton Charlotte University Place, in Charlotte North Carolina. Speakers will include: editor Sarah Ketchersid; editor Eileen Robinson; author Eleanora E. Tate; author-illustrator Don Tate; author Christine Taylor Butler; author Jacquelin Thomas; author Kelly Starling Lyons; and author Christine Young-Robinson.

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30.