Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of TWENTY copies of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (St. Martin’s Press, 2009)! Read a Cynsations interview with Carol. To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “The Chosen One” in the subject line. Deadline: May 25!

Enter to win one of FIVE signed copies of Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2009) from Free Book Friday Teens! Giveaway will be May 22!

Enter to win a paperback copy of Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac (Harcourt, 2008)! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Sacajawea” in the subject line. Deadline: May 30! Read a Cynsational interview with Joe.

Enter to win an ARC of Pure by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon Pulse, 2009)! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Pure” in the subject line. Deadline: May 30.

More News

“For over 100 years, Booklist magazine has been reading everything–so you don’t have to. But how do we read that many books? For the first time ever, the intrepid editors of Booklist provide a glimpse into the their top-secret methods. Prepare to be shocked and amazed.” From the American Library Association.

Enter to Win Suddenly Supernatural (ages 8-up) from Laura’s Review Bookshelf. Peek: “There will be one winner and a second winner for Book 3 (Books 1 & 2 are allocated).” Deadline: May 23.

Getting Crazy With Fonts from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “I honestly don’t know what’s behind the wacky formatting craze, but it seems to be sweeping query nation.”

Dead Girl Walking Interview with Linda Joy Singleton from J. Aday Kennedy : A Writing Playground. Peek: “For instance, some people think I’m outgoing but that’s only when I’m around other writers and in my element. In different situations, around different people I can be shy, polite, crude, silly, stubborn, easy-going, hard-working, lazy, dark and light. But if you show all of these traits in one character in a book, they’ll come off as unstable.”

Why we write for kids by Deborah Heiligman from INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “It might be easier for the outside world to understand why people write fiction for kids, but non-fiction? Why do we go through all the research, learn about our topic front and back, inside and out, and then write it as a picture book for preschool through second-graders, or as a middle grade book, or as a YA?”

Criticism, Commentary, and Calmness from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: “It’s important to remember that this is one of the magics of creating art, and one of the heaving frustrations.” See also EA’s answers to submission questions.

Meet author-illustrator Jerry Craft from Don Tate at The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “I’ve been fortunate to be able to work on some really cool projects over the years. For me, the biggest would have to be my Mama’s Boyz comic strip that has been syndicated weekly by King Features for more than 15 years. But it’s not so much as doing the comic strip each week as it is publishing my own Mama’s Boyz books.”

The Best Way to Improve Your Writing from E.M. Rowan at Postscripts of a Writer. Peek: “If you read enough books, you can learn how to write a novel without ever taking a writing class. Many published authors do not have a degree in English, Creative Writing, or a related major. Study your favorite books to learn about plotting, good characters, and even little things like grammar and mechanics.”

SBBT: Kekla Magoon Interview by Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production. Peek: “I’d recently read something about The Black Panthers online that surprised me–the fact that they ran a free breakfast program for school children. As I learned more about them, I graduated from surprise to shock to outrage that I hadn’t known about the depth of the Panthers’ community engagement before. I’d only ever heard about their militancy.”

Nonfiction: Because Children Ask: a week-long series from Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “This week we will look at nonfiction books that are the ‘best’ and explore why.”

Craft Issues from author Janet S. Fox at Through the Wardrobe. A series of posts about such topics as research methods, creating the plot summary, and “the sticky-note method of plotting.”

“Baby in the Basket” a short story by Cecil Castellucci from Strange Horizons.

PBS KIDS Gets Cat in the Hat TV Series by Thomas J. Mclean from Animation Magazine. Peek: “Production has begun on 40 animated half-hour episodes of ‘The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!,’ with actor Martin Short voicing the lead character.” Source: KidsLit at Caestecker Public Library.

SBBT: Amber Benson from lectitans: reading eagerly on. Peek: “You can deal with very topical subject matter, but throw it into an alternate world and no one gets offended. It’s really freeing.” See the whole schedule, featuring Kekla Magoon, Carrie Jones, Jo Knowles, Barbara O’Conner, Maggie Stiefvater, Cindy Pon, Lauren Myracle, and many more authors. Source: Chasing Ray.

Top 10 SF/Fantasy for Youth: 2009. by Gillian Engberg from Booklist Online. Peek: “Debut novels make a strong showing on this year’s roundup of the top 10 science fiction and fantasy titles for youth, all published in the past 12 months.” Source: Mitali Perkins.

Donate Spanish-language Preschool & Kindergarten Books: Austin-based children’s writer Lindsey Scheibe seeks donations for Makarios, a small, non-profit missionary school in the Dominican Republic, which educates Dominican and Haitian children. The school also provides students with two meals a day. Please send Spanish-language preschool and kindergarten books only to 3267 Bee Caves Rd, Suite 107-71, Austin, TX 78746. Note: donations also are welcome at the website.

Coleen Salley Endowment Fund: established at The University of Southern Mississippi to promote storytelling during the annual Book Festival. “Ms. Salley was a regular at this festival for over 40 years and helped bring some ‘big names’ in the children’s book world to the Book Festival. In November, 2008, the” Coleen Salley – Bill Morris Literacy Foundation “gave $10,000 to the Endowment Fund.” Note: “The Foundation Board has decided to terminate the Coleen Salley/Bill Morris Literacy Foundation in order to further the development and enrichment of the Endowment Fund.” See also the USM Foundation.

Pardada Pardadi from Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “What a thought. What if we all spent an hour a day to think about others, to think about the planet, to think of doing good in small, practical ways? I sent a box of books and here they are two months later, in the girls’ hands.”

“At a time when we are regularly discussing the importance of teen readers ‘seeing themselves’ represented in their literature, you have to wonder what the shop kids and retail workers think of being left out of the conversation.” An excellent interview with YA author Melissa Wyatt about her new novel Funny How Things Change at Chasing Ray.

I Don’t Do Morals by Jeannine Garsee from Bookluver-Carol’s Reviews. Peek: “Teens, like adults, make some very bad choices, yet they learn from their experiences and somehow manage to grow up into responsible adults.”

Sorting Out the Voices from Kristi Holl at Writers First Aid. Peek: “How many voices try to tell you what to write, when to write, and how to write? What voices do you listen to?”

And You Thought a Royalty Involved a Crown from Editorial Ass. Peek: “I realized that royalty accounting must be so mysterious to anyone unpublished. Or published. Or anyone. I realized even I didn’t really know what I was talking about. So here is my imperfect attempt to describe to you an author’s possibilities for making money with her/his books.”


Bridget Zinn Auction is taking place between now and 12 a.m. PST May 31. Bid to win critiques from award-winning and other “big name” authors, agents, and editors, signed books, audio books & other CDs, promotional services, and much more. Latest additions include a custom kitchen knife, a thirty-page read from Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, a basket of MG books by the Class of 2k9, a basket of YA books from the Class of 2k9, and more!

Austin Author Christine Rose

Highlights of the week included a Wednesday brunch with local author Christine Rose at Waterloo Ice House.

Christine’s debut novel, co-authored by her husband Ethan, is Rowan of the Wood, which was published last fall by a small local press.

What Would You Do to Win a Kindle 2 Contest! sponsored by authors Christine and Ethan Rose at Bitten by Books. Deadline: May 30.

More Personally

Cynthia Leitich Smith: an Interview with the Author of Eternal (and many other books). from Shutta Crum: author and teller of stories. Peek [on character names]: “I often look for variety in terms of syllables, vowel and consonant sounds, first letters, etc. or meanings. The name ‘Miranda’ from Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) means ‘miracle.'”

Once Upon A Romance’s Review Of…Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Amy. Peek: “His name is Zachary and let’s just say that he is a character that girls everywhere would want to live out eternity with… There’s danger, romance, and a high dosage of really good writing.”

Signed copies of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) and Eternal are available at BookPeople in Austin! You can order online or call: (800) 853-9757.

The Royal Bat logo (above), among other designs, is available on T-shirts, caps, and other items celebrating Eternal and Tantalize at the Sanguini’s CafePress store.

Check out Carmen Oliver’s report on the May Austin SCBWI meeting, featuring author Shana Burg. Peek: “When Shana begins a new novel, she starts with the setting. She says some writers choose character or plot but whatever element you begin with, you need to infuse them with rich details. Oprah Winfrey says, ‘Love is in the details,’ and Shana said the more love the better.”

And finally, here’s a little beauty from my world to yours. My Easter lilies are blooming again.