Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win an advanced reader copy of City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (McElderry Books, March 24, 2009). From the promotional copy:

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “City of Glass” in the subject line. Deadline March 2! All Cynsational readers are eligible to win! Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra Clare.

Author Interview and Book Giveaway with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Beth Revis at writing it out. Peek: “My original concept was elf-vampire, not angel-vampire; that came at the suggestion of my editor, but I loved it and started over again.” Note: Beth is giving away a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Deadline: Feb. 28. See details.

More News

Check out this book trailer for The Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu (Puffin, 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Cynthea.

Congratulations to Linda Joy Singleton on the release of Dead Girl Dancing (Flux, Feb. 2009)! Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy.

The 2009 Cybils Winners from The Cybils 2008: Children’s & Young Adult Blogger Awards.

Three Across: The Great Transatlantic Air Race of 1927 by Norman H. Finkelstein (Calkins Creek/Boyd’s Mills 2008): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “…a gripping and suspenseful account of the epic quest…”

The Writer’s Studio: Greg Leitich Smith from Tony Abbott’s Book Blog. Peek: “That room has a queen-sized bed and a restored arts-and-crafts schoolhouse desk that’s only large enough to hold the laptop and a small legal pad, which can be awkward when you have four cats who don’t respect the sanctity of the keyboard.”

Keep School Librarians in Schools from the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. Peek: “In times of economic crisis school and local libraries are needed more than ever and are usually the first casualties of local, state, and federal budget cuts.”

Interview: Jenny Moss, author of Winnie’s War from Welcome to the Oakenwyld: This world of ours, and worlds unseen / and thin the boundary between. Peek: “In March 2005, I wrote Winnie’s first words: Her grave was well-tended because I tended it. That sentence didn’t make into the final manuscript, but it did help me establish Winnie’s voice.”

“Funky Nonfiction” with Fiona Bayrock: a chat from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Peek: “Outrageous curiosity is great thing to have. I have no experience in the fields about which I write, either, but the curiosity and the accompanying need to share what I find interesting drives my writing, and I always have my work reviewed by experts in the field to make sure I haven’t missed something only someone immersed in the topic would know.”

Blogging for Beginners from Pub Rants. Peek: “I would love it if everyone would post a friendly piece of general advice for novice bloggers in the comments section of this post. Then, I’ll use the advice (with your blog address attached of course) during my presentation.”

Congratulations to VCFA student Clete Smith on the sale of film rights for his YA novel “Grandma’s Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast) to Disney! Source: Publishers Weekly.

Marvelous Marketer: Shrinking Violet Promotions (Robin LaFevers) from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children’s Book Author. Peek: “So while it sounds kind of trite to say ‘write an amazing book,’ there is a whole heap of truth in there. Take an extra year, a few more workshops, really wrestle with the craft and voice until it shines.”

Interview: Author Harry Mazer on Sally Lincoln by Mitch Wertlieb from Vermont Public Radio in Montpelier. Peek: “Mazer’s latest book is called My Brother Abe (Simon & Schuster, 2009) and takes a look at Lincoln’s life through the eyes of his only sibling, his older sister Sarah, better known as Sally. The novel is told from Sally’s point of view, and focuses on the early life of the young Lincolns growing up in Kentucky, and later Indiana.” Read a Cynsations interview with Harry.

Would you like a larger audience for your children’s-YA writing or literature blog? Register it at JacketFlap! Read a Cynsations interview with CEO Tracy Grand on JacketFlap.

Why We’re Optimistic. And Why You Should Be Too. from CBI Clubhouse: The Community for Success-Oriented Children’s Book Writers. Peek: “This optimism is not based on hopes, or wishes or fantasy. We have real reasons to tell you not to waver and to have a positive outlook moving ahead. Here they are…” Source: Cheryl Rainfield.

Richard Curtis on Publishing in the 21st Century: The Ten Commandments of Courtesy Part 1 and Part 2 from E-Reads. Peek: “In publishing, the rules governing behavior are codified into a system of protocol and etiquette called ‘courtesy.’ Courtesy is not always easy to define because editors, authors, and agents each have their own code and the three don’t always harmonize.” Source: Nathan Bransford.

Fragile Eternity Review and ARC Giveaway from Giveaway deadline: Feb. 28. Read a Cynsations interview with author Melissa Marr.

Children’s Book Press from La Bloga. Peek: “Our 33 year-old-non-profit independent Press has been side swiped by the tough economic storm that we are all experiencing. It is serious, but I am not one to freeze in the road. Instead, in the spirit of our new national leadership, I am asking for your help so that we can make sure our work will continue on behalf of kids and families here and abroad.” Read an interview with editor Dana Goldberg of Children’s Book Press.

Congratulations to Anne Bustard on the launch of her newly redesigned author website! Anne is the author of Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly (Simon & Schuster) and T Is for Texas (Voyageur). She also offers a tremendous blog, Anneographies, on picture book biographies–featured on the subjects’ birthdays. The blog also has been redesigned! See an article by web designer Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys on both redesign projects! Note: Anneographies is highly recommended, especially to teachers, school libraries, and writers studying biographies.

Congratulations to VCFA student Jess Leader on the sale of her middle-grade novel, Nice and Mean, to Simon and Schuster’s Aladdin MIX! The release is slated for summer 2010.

Congratulations to Suzanne Selfors on the release of Fortune’s Magic Farm, illustrated by Catia Chien (Little Brown, 2009)! Kirkus Reviews calls it “droll” and says, “…newly confident readers will cozy up to the tale’s quirky characters and enjoy the many twists and turns of this magical adventure.” Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.

Writing Nonfiction for Children: a site for writers and readers who have an interest in children’s books, especially nonfiction. We’ll talk about how to write, how to research, and great books and writers out there. Peek from Peggy Thomas: “I am the author of more than 15 books for children and young adults…”

Where the Wild Things Aren’t: Lamenting the predictability of Jewish kids’ lit, a writer takes matters into her own hands by Laurel Snyder from Nextbook: A New Read on Jewish Culture. Peek: “I can envision sweet, silly characters and ridiculous situations—a rabbinic Cat in the Hat. A crazy time-traveling sukkah. Books as wild and wonderful as anything the secular market offers. I can imagine them. Now I have to write them.” Source: Janni Lee Simner.

Bunny Eat Bunny: The diaspora website of Bowen Press. Peek: “Like most readers of literary press blogs, I thought I was Jo. For years. I wrote romances (The Adventures of Charles and Caroline). I used a fountain pen. I was earnest and bookish. I dated men with foreign accents who drank strong coffee and dosed strong medicine to anemic prose. Argumentative and proud with a strong, even crippling, mutinous streak. That’s me.” Source: Mary E. Pearson.

Interview with Kekla Magoon Part 1 and Part 2 from Sarah Sullivan at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Emotionally, I’ve always been intrigued by/enamored with the civil rights movement, even since childhood. But like many young black people, I’ve been steeped in a familiar narrative of that time period that doesn’t leave a lot of room for asking difficult questions of one’s self – like, ‘where would I have stood, in that time and place, if the choice between non-violence and militancy was handed to me?'”

Aussie YA Alliance: “Allie, Lisa and Adele are three voracious YA readers that just happen to be Australian. In an attempt to bolster the status of Australian YA authors in the blogosphere, we have created this shared blog.”

Author-Editor Andrea Pinkney: an article and interview by Don Tate in conjunction with 28 Days Later 2009: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “One of the most refreshing changes I’ve seen in recent years is the blending of genres — the pushing past the hard-and-fast lines of specific publishing categories.” Note: this celebration will continue throughout the month is highly recommended. Multicultural youth literature in particular survives and thrives in large part through word-of-mouth. Here in the kidlitosphere, we can do our part by making some noise. Bloggers, commenters, and friends, please consider showing your support by highlighting this link and/or talking up the initiative.

Get Real! Publishing Myths Exposed! by Penny Sansevieri from Peek: “Review copies are sold, it happens all the time and spending your time chasing used copies isn’t a good use of your promotional efforts.” Note: I never sell review copies. Source: Elizabeth Scott.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (Flux, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: “Pulling no punches, King takes us from Cromwell’s Ireland to the Spanish Main to contemporary America and Jamaica as Emer/Saffron’s lives — human and dog — unfold in gripping detail.”

Interview with Jo Ann Hernandez, author of The Throwaway Piece from The Dark Phantom Review. Peek: “Once I sent out a story under a man’s name and one magazine wrote me back that as a man, I didn’t have any idea of what women really like to read about themselves. Rejections? Just a Bad Hair Day for someone else.”

Certainty, Uncertainty, Sand, Sphinx from Julie Larios at The Drift Record. Peek: “Where does poetry (much less mystery) fit into standardized curriculum? One of the great joys of being able to come in as a special guest to schools is the permission I have to send kids off into mystery and uncertainty.” Read a Cynsations interview with Julie.

At ALAN in San Antonio, author Laurie Halse Anderson reads from “Listen,” a poem in tribute to the 10-year anniversary of Speak and reader mail it inspired. See also the “Speak Up About Speak” page.

Why Was My Manuscript Rejected? 3 Literary Agents, 3 Opinions

Three New York agents are offering a new workshop for writers and artists who want to be published in the area of children’s books. Their workshop offers feedback, in which they will discuss— among many facets of children’s book publishing— why they think editors or agents rejected your manuscript.

The workshop promises to be lively with three, possibly different, opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of each manuscript.

Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic Literary Agency, Anna Olswanger of Liza Dawson Associates, and Ann Tobias of Ann Tobias, A Literary Agency for Children’s Books–—all agents specializing in children’s books—will conduct “Why Was My Manuscript Rejected?” from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 at 138 West 15th Street, New York City. See schedule.

Authors and author-illustrators of children’s books are invited to send a package (20-page maximum) consisting of a one-page synopsis, the query letter you used in submitting your work to agents and publishers, and either a first chapter or a full picture book manuscript or an illustrated dummy (all genres are welcome) to be read by the agents in advance of the workshop. Besides commenting on your manuscript, the agents will discuss query and cover letters, the markets for different kinds of children’s and young adult books, and offer suggestions on how to submit. For further information, please visit

Eternally Yours

Great news! I heard from my genius editor yesterday that Eternal is in its third printing! Thanks to all for your enthusiasm and support!

The winner of the Eternal bookmark giveaway is Kymberley at the Oneida Community Library in Wisconsin! Your autographed bookmark set will go out on my next trip to the post office.

I’m thrilled to announce that Listening Library/Random House will be producing the audio edition of Eternal for a July 2009 release! I’ve previously worked with LL on the audio adaptations of Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001) and Tantalize (2008) and, in both cases, was absolutely thrilled with the final productions! Listen to a reading from the Tantalize audio by actress Kim Mai Guest. Note: Rain is now available for audio download!

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!

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. Please help spread the word! Hope to see y’all there! Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi. Note: Thank you to Donna Bowman Bratton at Simply Donna for blogging about the event!

Book Review: Eternal from Melissa Jauregui at Poised at the Edge. Peek: “Wholly original, and delightfully morbid, fans of Tantalize will eat this one up!”

Review: Eternal from Liviania at In Bed with Books. Peek: “I loved how Eternal expanded on the world of Tantalize. Quincie was an outsider to vampire culture, but Miranda is in the center of things. Eternal isn’t just one person’s struggle with temptation. Miranda can affect the entire vampire society.”

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Reviewed by Hilary Williamson of BookLoons Reviews. Peek: “Like Tantalize, Eternal is darkly entertaining and great fun.”

Meredith Wood says: “I loved Tantalize. I adore Eternal! Talk about upping the stakes. It’s such a good book. ” Note: she also wants to talk to fellow readers about a particular line!

Interview tidbits from ‘Tantalize’ author from BronzeWorld’s Blog. A great compilation of highlights from interviews past.

To those looking for Eternal or Tantalize at their local Barnes & Noble, the end cap display looks like this (below). You can find signed stock of Eternal at Barnes & Noble Arboretum and Barnes & Noble Sunset Valley, both in the Austin area. Note: B & N Aboretum also has one signed copy of Tantalize, but they were sold out at the other store.

Aboretum Store.

Sunset Valley store. I was charmed to see it next to Lisa McMann‘s Fade (Simon Pulse, 2009)(author interview).

While browsing, I snapped a pic of debut author Saundra Mitchell‘s Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, 2009)…

and VCFA grad Micol Ostow‘s GoldenGirl (Simon Pulse, 2009)…

and VCFA grad Carrie Jones‘s Need (Bloomsbury, 2008)…

and readergirlz diva Justina Chen Headley‘s North of Beautiful (Little Brown, 2009).

Thanks to Jess in Kansas who walked four miles round trip to a bookstore that wasn’t carrying the novel (and ordered it)!

Thanks also to Carmen Oliver for blogging the release and to Varian Johnson for blogging his recent book sightings! Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

More Personally

Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Barry Gott is scheduled for release by Dutton in spring 2011.

Romantic that I am, the highlight of the past week was Valentine’s Day! Greg made us a special dinner–tomato basil soup (from scratch), an iceberg lettuce wedge topped with his own homemade dressing, green onions, walnuts, and Gorgonzola, followed by pan-friend Cajun catfish and brown rice. Note: can you tell that I’m back to writing Quincie? See also my luscious red roses.

Thank you to the librarians of the Austin Public Library for their hospitality at the “Book Exchange” lunch last Friday! It was a huge honor to visit with y’all! Thanks for all you do for young readers! Special thanks to Alison for coordinating my visit! Note: Watch the Music Video and See What Austin Public Library Can Do For You from the APL. It’s one smart, savvy, sexy PSA!

Thank you to Cyndi Hughes at everyone at the Writers’ League of Texas for their hospitality at last night’s First Drafts panel! Thanks especially to everyone from the youth writing community for your enthusiasm and support!

Thank you to Chris Elden and everyone who stopped by Book Roast yesterday to celebrate Eternal! Congratulations also to Dorothy, who won the giveaway!

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.