Cynsational News, Eternal T-shirt Giveaway & Kansas-Arkansas Report

Enter to Win an Eternal T-shirt this month at! Check out the available styles. Read a Cynsations interview with logo designer Gene Brenek. See the five-star review of Eternal from TeensReadToo. Peek: “This novel is definitely a page-turner. It is filled with danger, deception, humor, love, sadness, and hope.”

More News

Author Libba Bray will be doing a reading of The Sweet Far Thing and chatting at from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST on April 28th.

The McVeigh Agency
: a boutique literary agency handling writers, illustrators, photographers, and graphic novelists for both the adult and children’s markets. Note: children’s/YA author/illustrator clients include: Steve Björkman, the illustrator of Santa Knows (Scholastic Book Club); VCFA graduate Rebecca Van Slyke; Pooja Makhijani; and April Fritz Young.

Coveside Writing Workshop & Retreat. Peek: “Now in its eleventh year, Coveside Writing Workshop & Retreat is the uniquely intensive, uniquely intimate, hands-on writing workshop for writers of all genres. Through a pyramid of guided meditation, free-writing, editing and revision, Anita Riggio leads the writer to discover the deeply personal wellspring of images and ideas that gives resonance to writing. Established and emerging writers alike will leave this workshop exhilarated, exhausted–and brimming with stories only they can write.” Dates: May 16 and May 17; June 6 and June 7; Oct. 4 and Oct. 5. Note: $325 includes lunches and a festive dinner at the author’s home and studio. See more information.

Editor/Author Interview with Jill Santopolo from Holly at Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “High quality writing is the most important thing to me. I love working on well-written, well-crafted books. And then the second most important thing is a cool concept—something different and fresh and unique. I always like books that project a feeling of empowerment.”

Marvelous Marketer: Anastasia Goodstein, editor-in-chief of Ypulse from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children’s Book Author. Peek: “One thing we as writers know how to do that other folks trying to market products sometimes don’t is writing. Blogs and other websites love good, free content. Guest post, offer to write newsletter articles, etc. and make sure your book is mentioned and/or integrated in some way (include the cover!). Work with your publicist to be able to do book giveaways combined with Q&As for blogs.”

Check out this book trailer for Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender (Hyperion, 2009).

An Author’s Responsibility by Tracy Marchini at My VerboCity. Peek: “I’d be interested to hear from writers, editors and agents – what responsibilities does one have if they create media for children? Where do you draw the line between age-appropriateness and censorship? How much power do you think children’s media has to change the way we socialize?”

Pondering Adult Characters In Children’s Books by Gail Gauthier from Original Content. Peek: “Our social order is run by adults, making children outsiders. Outsider child readers can connect with outsider adult characters.” See also Adult Protagonists in Children’s Books by Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk.

Teaching Authors: Six Children’s Authors Who Also Teach Writing (April Halprin Wayland; Carmela Martino; Esther Hershenhorn; Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford; JoAnn Early Macken; Mary Ann Rodman). Peek: “Here, we will share our unique perspective as writing teachers who are also working writers. While part of our goal is to discuss what we’ve learned about writing and the teaching of writing, we also hope to accomplish something here that we can’t do on our websites: facilitate conversations between writers, teachers, and librarians about the subjects we love best–writing, teaching writing, and reading.”

More Personally

Exciting news of late included a weekend rave review (“Romance in Eternal Rivals Twilight” by Kimberly J. Smith in the arts-and-entertainment section of The Dallas Morning News. Note: the review was originally posted at Cool Kids Read. Peek: “A true page-turner, I can’t imagine any fan of gothic suspense/romance not thoroughly enjoying this–and not just YA readers either.”

Entrevista a Cynthia Leitich Smith: an interview from Los Bloguitos. Peek: “Sí, mi último libro es Eternal. Estoy esperando un libro con dibujos, Holler Loudly (Dutton, 2009), que será un cuento original del sureste.” Note: translated from my replies.

Event Report

Road trip! Last Tuesday, Greg and I loaded up a rental Ford and took off north on I-35, through Dallas to Oklahoma…

We stopped for lunch at the Two Frogs Grill in Ardmore. Culinary highpoint of the trip. I had the most delicious ham-and-cheese sandwich on Texas toast. Plus, talk about atmosphere!

In addition to this nifty stage, hanging above our booth was an autographed Willie Nelson guitar, which spoke profoundly to our inner Austinites.
This was followed by much more driving up through the southern plains. We could see evidence of the wildfires in Oklahoma. I looked really hard for Big Foot to no avail.

We were on our way to Ottawa High School in Ottawa, Kansas.

Thanks so much to Sheryl, the OHS librarian, and Dr. Bushman of The Writing Conference. I had such an amazing time, visiting with teens and teachers at the school that day as well as young writers who’d won or placed in the writing contest (and their families) that evening. Notes: (a) check out the Literature Festival! I spoke there in 2003. (b) what a tremendously inspiring group of YA readers! I was seriously charmed. The photo above shows an informal group right after one of my three presentations.

Dr. Bushman was a tremendous host, and he kindly invited us to relax for a couple of hours in his home. He apologized that gigantic flower was late blooming, but we didn’t mind. What a huge and magical blossom it was, just waiting for our oohs and ahhs!

A Jayhawk myself, I appreciated his home decor. We’re talking about a dedicated professor emeritus here. In the yard, he has blue flowers spelling out “K” and red ones spelling out “U,” or at least he’s working on it.

But this is the takeaway: Dr. Bushman is one of those champions of reading and writing who’s touched more lives than he can ever imagine. I count myself among the lucky ones.

The next day, we were off to Russellville, Arkansas; for a local public library event. Here’s Greg, checking messages at the local Fairfield Marriott. Note: apparently, pal Jennifer Holm was in the area at the same time, and we missed her. Authors really should have a national flight plan filing system for this very reason.

I gave a brief talk, and then we had pizza and pasta! It was a tremendous group of teens, tweens, and families.

This is a sort of a middle-of-the-dinner shot. Some folks are chowing down, others up and about in the library. If you look closely, you can see Greg with his mouth stuffed (ha!). I was especially impressed with the YA readers and their parents. Such great questions.

And then I did a signing with photos and other glorious happiness! Sadly, not all of my pics turned out, but I’ll work on getting the URL of a boy who’s campaigning to work a word of his own into the language a’ la Frindle.

This library vixen is Lauren, the YA lit queen of Russellville! (Good luck at grad school!)

The next day, I hosted a workshop on “Writing for Young Readers” (here’s a “before” shot) in the quaint historical building that was the original library.

We had a lovely mix of teen and adult writers. See Workshop by Justus M. Bowman from Across the Multiverse. Peek: “This character was someone I would have never come up with, so when Cynthia told each of us to write a story in 15 minutes, I grew concerned. Ha ha. It turned out okay.” (Devious thing that I am…)

And afterward, Lauren and Co. rewarded us with lunch at Italian Gardens Cafe downtown.

Perhaps you’re wondering what a hard-working writer does for 24 hours in the car. Well, at least 14.5 of them were spent listening to a seriously first-rate audio production of Dracula, an overdue necessity as I’m in the midst of writing Blessed. Note: it’s different to listen than read. The ear hears things that the eye can’t see.

Don’t miss Greg’s report!