Cynsational News & Giveaways

Mark your calendars! Authors Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith invite you to join them at 1 p.m. April 11 at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar) in Austin. They will be celebrating the success of Kathi’s The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008), which was a National Book Award Finalist and newly crowned ALA Newbery Honor Book, and the release of Cynthia’s Eternal (Candlewick, 2009). The event will include very brief readings, entertaining commentary, and a signing by both authors. Hope to see you there! Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

Attention Teachers, School and Public Librarians, and University Professors of Children’s-YA Literature! Enter to win an autographed classroom set of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) bookmarks! To enter, please email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name, the name of your school or library, and your snail/street mail address. Please type “Eternal bookmarks” in the subject line. Good luck!

Enter to Win One of Five Copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) from Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central. Here’s the giveaway question: “If you had a guardian angel (and maybe you do!), what would his or her name be, and what would they be like?” Contest begins Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 28. See additional details. Note: Thanks to Candlewick Press and Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central!

Eternal will be published in hardcover by Walker Books Australia and New Zealand in May 2009. See more information.

More News

2009 Youth Media Award Calls
from American Libraries. Note: have you ever wanted to listen in on a call to a new Newbery winner? Here’s your chance! (This is the one link you must click).

Recipe for success? High concept. from Waxman Literary Agency. Peek: “High concept is about making it easier for people to pick up what you’re putting down, which benefits you at every stage of the publishing game.” Source: Gwenda Bond.

Julie Berry, Writer for Young Readers: official site from the debut author of The Amaranth Enchantment (Bloomsbury, March 2009). Peek: “I’m the youngest of seven clever children, none of whom are children anymore, but they’re all still clever. I spent my early years desperate to catch up to what they were reading, and sit at the big kids’ table. Now with four sons of my own, ages 12, 10, 8, and 4, I eat every meal at the big kids’ table.”

As Ursula Nordstrom Said, “No, I Don’t Have Any Children. But I Was a Child, and I Haven’t Forgotten a Thing.” from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “There are other authors who seem to have vivid memories of a great deal of their childhoods, and can write empathetically and respectfully for a wide range of ages.”

Agent Jennifer Mattson on Magic Realism from The Spectacle. Peek: “I also think of the magic as being very gentle and often surreal – nothing ‘high fantasy’ (wizardly bolts, vampires, et cetera) about it.”

Check out the book trailer for Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand by Louise Hawes (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), featured below! Read a Cynsations interview with Louise.

yoborobo: a new blog from author Pam Smallcomb. Pam’s books include The Trimoni Twins and the Shrunken Treasure, The Trimoni Twins and the Changing Coin, and The Last Burp of Mac McGerp (all Bloomsbury).

My Secret Weapon: eBay
by Sue Macy from INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “Although there were a few photos available of citizens voting against the Games, they weren’t very interesting. So I checked eBay—and found one of the few souvenirs minted before the withdrawal, a commemorative pin.”

Congratulations to A. S. King on the release of The Dust of 100 Dogs (Flux, 2009)! From the promotional copy: “In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with “the dust of one hundred dogs,” dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact. Now she’s a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.”

Open Big
by Coe Booth at The Longstockings. Peek: “While it’s good to get to know the characters early on, some of the writers who entered the contest decided to put all of the characters in the first chapter. Occasionally it worked, especially for the ensemble novels, but most of the time it was just a confusing mess of people, making it impossible to keep track of them all.”

Grants: a listing from Jennifer Ward. Peek: “Thinking of hosting an author visit, but need some funds? Here are some terrific grants, just for educators!”

A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship by Debra Lau Whelan from School Library Journal. Note: I’m re-running this link to encourage you to take a look at the new comments that follow. Source: Confessions of a Bibliovore.

Congratulations to Stacey Jay on the release of You Are So Undead To Me (Razorbill, 2009). From the promotional copy: “Megan Berry’s social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she’s part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people with a whole lot of issues. All Megan wants is to be normal–and go to homecoming, of course. Unfortunately, it’s a little hard when your dates keep getting interrupted by a bunch of slobbering Undead. Things are about to get even worse for Megan. Someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it’s looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party–the bloody kind. Megan must stop the Zombie apocalypse descending on Carol, Arkansas. Her life–and more importantly, homecoming–depends on it.” Read an excerpt. Read an interview with Stacey Jay from Welcome to the Oakenwyld: This world of ours, and worlds unseen / and thin the boundary between.

A Pen and A Nest: a new blog from author Kimberly Willis Holt. Peek: “A Pen and a Nest will also introduce you to other writers and artists and what home means to them while exploring their craft. We’ll find out where they like to write. I want to know. Don’t you? And lucky us, my pal, Kathi Appelt agreed to be the first.” See also Laundry and Writer’s Block. Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Check out this book trailer for Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne (Dial, 2009).

Cynsational Tip: make sure your publisher’s name is listed with your books on your website!

2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults from the American Library Association. See picks in the following categories: Death and Dying; Fame and Fortune; Journey > Destination; Spies and Intrigue.

The Rainbow List: 2009
from GLBTQ Books for Children and Teens. Source: Malinda Ho.

An Interview with Zetta Elliott in conjunction with 28 Days Later: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “It’s interesting how often people ask if I had a brother who died of drug addiction; I don’t, and I didn’t have a grandfather who was a Tuskegee airman. Readers often want to believe that a story emerged directly from an author’s life experience, but more often than not, it’s a blend of fact and fiction.” Note: this series is currently ongoing and highly recommended.

Interview with author Joan Kremer: Second Life and writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohio from Inkygirl: Daily Diversions for Writers. Peek: “A few days after I’d first come in-world, I happened to meet this avatar also strolling around INKsters. We got to talking, discovered we were both writers, became great friends, and from that came our desire to build our own writers’ center.”

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast #97: Ed Young: “Eisha, could you even pick your favorite Ed Young title, or would it be way too hard? ” Read a Cynsations interview with Ed.

Get ready to party in celebration of the release of Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby (Puffin, March 2008)–see below.

Multiples: a week-long discussion from Liz Gallagher at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “What’s the planning process like when you know that the book you are writing is part of a bigger whole? Do you always know when you start out? What if you just have more to say? Or what if you’re supposed to have more to say, and you don’t? And, hey, does a book with a sequel actually have to be a complete story in itself?” Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Marvelous Marketer – Krista Marino (Sr. Editor/Delacorte Press) from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children’s Book Author. Peek: “You can quietly build a solid fan base by keeping (and maintaining regularly) a blog and website.”

Remember that book …? from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “So. As a kid, I read. A lot. Many of the books I’ve completely forgotten about. Some of them, I remember liking and still remember in part. And some of them, I’ve completely forgotten about and will never remember again unless and until somethings jogs the memory. Anyway, now, being an author of youth literature, I wanted to see how some of them held up today…”

Malinda Lo: Official author site features a blog on writing and books, queer issues, food, and more. Lo’s first YA novel, Ash, will be published in September 2009 by Little, Brown. Lo is the former managing editor of (part of MTV’s Logo network), the web’s largest entertainment news site for lesbians and bisexual women.

Manuscript Critique Discount from Stacy Whitman at Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire. Peek: “We’re all dealing with tough times right now. Getting your manuscript critiqued by an experienced editor is definitely a luxury, and an expensive one at that. With that in mind, I’m offering a discount for the next month (expires March 11) on my manuscript critique services.”

Interview with Susane Colasanti from The Book Obsession. Peek: “I’m a proud New Yorker who’s in love with this city, so I was super excited about writing a book that takes place here. I wanted to infuse my passion and adoration for my neighborhood into the story. I hope my readers can feel the magic, too!”

Congratulations to Lisa McMann on the release of Fade (Simon Pulse, 2009)! From the promotional copy: “For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open–but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both. Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d even feared… ” Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Kids can help Arthur the aardvark find new friend by Leanne Italie of The Associated Press. Peek: “Through March 31, children can send in drawings and descriptions of their creations for a chance to appear on TV in a short live-action segment. The winner will also get to meet Brown, who as author and illustrator has put out about 70 Arthur titles that have sold more than 65 million copies in the United States alone.” See contest rules and entry form. Source: NCTE.

An Interview with Micol Ostow by Liz Gallagher at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “A mistake that would-be tie-in writers can make is to assume that being a fan of the show immediately qualifies you to write to for the book series. That’s not always the case. In fact, there is almost a cult of very talented writers who make a living writing tie-in stories, and I think it’s that experience that allows them to switch so fluidly between properties and to be able to write into a series voice.”

Check out this interview with Lauren Myracle on Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks (Dutton, 2009)!

Living Is Optimism
from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “If I told someone I would get back to them in three months, my brain/workstyle would categorize that task as too far in the future to keep track of, and forget about it entirely. If I told someone I would do something in three months, it would not happen.” “an online resource devoted to news and critical analysis of fantasy-themed projects in all media: movies, television, games, books, live theater, graphic novels and comic books, and web content.” Even better: “ is edited by author Brent Hartinger.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brent.

Awesome Authors: Carrie Jones featured in conjunction with the Bradford Blog Bash in celebration of the release of GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow (Simon Pulse, Jan. 27, 2009). Peek: “Well, a diary is for yourself. A blog is read by others (possibly). So there’s a definite private vs. public aspect. Even though I seem terribly confessional on my own blog I really keep my biggest troubles and secrets to myself. I might hint at them occasionally (like this week actually) but I never tell. That’s how I am in my un-blog life, too. I’m not good about telling the big deep hurts or truths.”

Happy Second Birthday, Shrinking Violets! Peek: “In the spirit of our birthday celebration, how about buying a book at an independent bookstore and donating it to a child, teen, a shelter, a school or public library?”

I HEART the Editorial Letter by Lisa Schroeder from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “For me, the hardest part of doing the revisions at first is just opening the document and starting. It can be overwhelming, because you have this letter of all the things you’re supposed to work on.”

Q & A with Virginia Euwer Wolff by Lynda Brill Comerford from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Reviewers have called my books ‘novels in verse.’ I think of them as written in prose, but I do use stanzas. Stanza means ‘room’ in Latin, and I wanted there to be “room”—breathing opportunities to receive thoughts and have time to come out of them before starting again at the left margin.” Source: April Henry.

More Personally

Winners of the Eternal Giveaways, please note that your prizes are in the mail! Here’s a peek at my crack assembly process! Thanks again to all who entered!

Thanks to Gwenda Bond for highlighting my recent interview with illustrator Gene Brenek about his designs for the Tantalize and Eternal T-shirts! Read the interview with Gene.

Thank you to P. J. Hoover and Shana Burg for being so “Bitten and Smitten” and to Liz Gallagher and for cheering the release of Eternal at Through the Tollbooth! Hugs too to Miss Madison at Prêt-a-Party for blogging the same! Please go visit our mutual friend, Miss Micol-stat!

Thanks to Hip Writer Mama for highlighting the release and featuring the trailer! Most appreciated! And thanks to Niki Burnham for dishing on the end cap at Barnes & Noble, nation-wide! On a related note, thanks too to Barnes & Noble and Candlewick Press!

Notes From The Horn Book says: “When the beautiful Zachary awakens the vestiges of Miranda’s humanity, together they raise a full-scale supernatural battle against the increasingly unstable Dracula. Eternal is not for the squeamish, but fans of the author’s delectably demonic Tantalize will lap it up.”

The teen reviewers at Justine Magazine say Eternal is “haunting,” “romantic,” “memorable.” Lane, 16, Arkansas, says: “Every girl I know would love to be loved like Zachary loves Miranda.” See all the teen reviews!

Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature cheers the release of Eternal and says: “In essence, it is important that we be open to what is being written by Native writers. Don’t pigeon hole them or their writing. Expand your expectations of what Native writers write about. Read Native writers, whether their stories are about Native life, or vampires.”

And finally, I have updated my playlist at MySpace to reflect Eternal.

Even More Personally

Happy birthday to my cousin Stacy! Happy Valentine’s day to Greg! Thanks to all of you for your support during this week’s launch of Eternal!

Coming Soon

Cynthia will be appearing at Book Roast online to discuss Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) on Feb. 19. Please surf by for a chance to win a signed copy of the novel!

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be on a panel about “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.'”

More Cynsational Events

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.

Cynthia will sign Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) at 3 p.m. April 2 at Candlewick Booth at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in Houston.

Cynthia and Greg will visit the Barbara Bush Branch Library in Spring, Texas; at 4 p.m. April 3. Note: Spring is outside of Houston.

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30. Note: Cedar Park is outside of Austin.