Cynsational News & Giveaways

Janni Lee Simner Super Giveaway

Enter to win Bones of Faerie (Random House, 2009) and autographed copies of both Secret of the Three Treasures (Holiday House, 2006)(hard copy) and Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2006)(paperback).

Note: Gothic includes Janni’s short story “Stone Tower.”

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Janni Lee Simner” in the subject line. Deadline: June 30!

Read a Cynsations interview with Janni.

Signed Eternal Bookmarks Giveaway

Attention YA Public Librarians: enter to win one of two sets of 10 autographed Eternal bookmarks to use for summer reading giveaways! To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Eternal bookmarks” in the subject line. Deadline: June 8!

Cynthia Leitich Smith Contest

Do you live in Carbon County, Pennsylvania or the surrounding area? If so, you are eligible for the Cynthia Leitich Smith contest from Reading Escapes!

“Enter to win your favorite book by Cynthia! Email us to tell us what your favorite book by Cynthia is and why in less than 50 words by June 30 to enter to win a copy of it or another book of your choice by her. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, just let us know which book you would like to read and why you think you would like it.” See contact and more information.

More News

Stepping Up Your Game from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “Publishers right now want the surest of sure things that are so sure it beats surety over its sure head. And agents have to adjust what they take on accordingly.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Attention Teachers & Librarians: nominate a book for YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list.

The winner of the 21st Annual Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children’s/Young Adult was Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg (Dutton)(excerpt). Honor books were: Hit the Road, Manny: A Manny Files Novel by Christian Burch (Simon & Schuster); How They Met & Other Stories by David Levithan (Knopf); Mousetraps by Pat Schmatz (Carolrhoda); What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson (Random House); and Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story by Ellen Wittlinger (Simon & Schuster). Note: “The Lambda Literary Awards seek to recognize excellence in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature.” Read Cynsations interviews with David and Ellen.

Writing Tips: Who Wants to be a Children’s Author? from Verla Kay’s Blog. Peek: “I never set out to be an author. I never wanted to write. Actually, I hated writing as a child and never dreamed I would grow up to be a writer. As a teenager, I wrote many poems and stories and tucked them away in a folder, to be shown only to my very best of friends.” Read a Cynsations interview with Verla Kay.

Polish Those Nuggets until They Shine! More on Writing Fiction Inspired by Reality by JoAnn Early Macken from Teaching Authors. Peek: “How do we unearth an event from real life and shape it into a story? Here are some possibilities.”

#BEA09 from Harper Studio. Peek: “Way way way less galleys. In fact, HarperCollins gave out egalleys.” Note: I wonder if we’ll be seeing a cutback in galleys at the teacher-librarian conferences as well.

Forest of Reading® Winners: “Thousands of schools and libraries across Ontario came together at the Harbourfront for the annual Forest of Reading – Festival of Trees on May 13 & May 14, 2009. Over the two days, more than 7,000 Ontario school children come together for the announcement of the hotly anticipated winners of Blue Spruce, Red Maple, White Pine and Silver Birch.” Congratulations to: Mélanie Watt, author of Chester (Kids Can Press/University of Toronto Press); Alan Cumyn, author of Dear Sylvia (Groundwood Books/HarperCollins Canada); and Mahtab Narsimhan, author The Third Eye (Dundurn Group/University of Toronto Press). See the whole list.

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers Contest: “The prize of a book contract (on the publisher’s standard form) covering world rights for a hardcover and a paperback edition, including an advance and royalties, will be awarded annually to encourage the writing of contemporary young adult fiction. The award consists of $1,500 in cash and a $7,500 advance against royalties.” Source: BronzeWord Latino Authors.

KUHF-Arte Público Press Author of the Month: René Saldaña from 88.7 KUHS-FM/NPR. Peek: “His next book, The Whole Sky Full of Stars (Wendy Lamb Books, 2007), is ‘about the perils of friendship and the burdens of parental expectations,’ according to a starred review in Booklist. It centers on gambling, boxing, and a 1964 Ford Galaxie.”

Marvelous Marketer: Illustrator Jim Di Bartolo from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “..if you’re not succeeding with your current style, maybe consider something drastically different with your technique or materials. Or if you’re getting a lot of feedback that seems to be suggesting that the foundation of your skills is lacking, you don’t have to quit necessarily.”

Author Interview & Constest with Marlene Perez from Amberkatze’s Book Blog. Peek: “The first line of Dead Is The New Black popped into my mind, fully formed. “Being dead became fashionable approximately forty-five minutes after Samantha ‘the Divine’ Devereaux came back from summer break.” Enter to win one of three copies of Dead Is So Last Year. Deadline: 4 p.m. CET June 7. Note: the series is published by Harcourt. Read a Cynsations interview with Marlene.

Roundtable Discussion: Working With An Editor: a conversation with authors Linda Joy Singleton, Jo Whittemore, and P.J. Hoover from The Spectacle. See the continuing discussion with Joni Sensel, Parker Peevyhouse, and Greg Fishbone. Read Cynsations interviews with Linda Joy, Jo, P.J., and Greg.

Trusting My Gut from Kimberly Willis Holt at A Good Blog is Hard to Find. Peek: “In my gut, I knew it wasn’t ready. Something about the story didn’t feel right, but I was impatient and slipped the envelopes in the mail anyway.” Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Purple Prose People Eaters by Tabitha Olson at Writer Musings. Peek: “Purple prose is a choice of words that aren’t there for the sake of the story, they’re there for the sake of themselves. The words go beyond packing a punch and leave bruises on the reader.”

Win an 8GB iPod Touch and Signed Audiobooks! from Listening Library/Random House. Peek: “f you could go on a fantasy road trip with a character (or characters!) from your favorite series, where would you go? What would you do along the way? How would you travel? Create a video and show us! Best selling authors Libba Bray, Tamora Pierce and Rick Riordan will judge the videos and choose three grand prize winners!” Note: “The contest will open for entries June 1 to Aug. 17.” See more information. Source: Libba Bray. Read Cynsations interviews with Libba and Rick.

What Kind of Tree Are You? Win an ARC of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z! from author Kate Messner. Deadline: 11 p.m. EST June 5. Note: The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. From Kate: “This humorous middle grade novel, due out with Walker on Sept. 1, is about a girl whose ‘beautiful Vermont autumn’ is being ruined by the monster school leaf collection project she left to the last minute. To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment on Kate’s blog about what kind of tree you’d be if you were a tree.”

Writing and Canine Criticism from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “Last week my Old English Sheepdog, Merlin, pulled some of the manuscript pages of my latest WIP from my desk and began to eat them.” Note: Brian Yansky is the author of two YA novels. His third, Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences, will be published by Candlewick in 2010. Brian is based in Austin. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Picture Book Math from Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site Newsletter, Volume 14, Number 3. Note: this site and e-newsletter are especially recommended to those with an interest in linking trade books to the classroom.

Talking with Shelley Tanaka by Barbara A. Ward and Terrell A. Young (author) from Booklist. Peek: “What was important about her (Amelia Earhart) was her passion for flying—and that’s where the book started, of course—but the other reason I chose to start with that anecdote was that it actually set her in the history of airplanes.” Source: Leda Schubert.

Teens Read Too is giving away several great books this month, including 20 copies of the ARC for The Chronicles of Vladamir Tod: Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer (Dutton), which is highly recommended. See more information. See book trailers for the series.

Eerie Books: a horror specialty shop at 205 N. Ballard Street in Wylie, Texas. Also features horror art, movies & DVDs, a book club, storytime, and much more!

Five Stages of Procrastination from Kristi Holl at Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “This brings the deadline closer and creates more pressure. You delay starting so long that you can’t really be tested on your actual writing ability (what you are capable of if you’d started sooner).”

Librarian Koren Stembridge: Forgive and Forget by Donna Liquori from School Library Journal. Peek: “When Koren Stembridge heard that kids in Boston’s public schools avoided the library because they had late fines or lost materials, the programs and youth services manager for the Boston Public Library helped launch ‘New Start,’ a mass amnesty campaign for the 57,000 kids with outstanding fines. It worked. Many of Boston’s youth came back.” Source: Elizabeth O. Dulemba.

Visualizing Composite Characters, Whether Or Not They’re Modeled on “Real” People by Carmela Martino from Teaching Authors. Peek: “When I wrote the short story’s first draft, the main character was me–I used my own name and the real names of all the other people involved.”

Mindful or Multitasker by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “Is there honestly an alternative to the chicken-with-her-head-cut-off chickenfrenzied multi-tasking that many of us use to get through our days?” See also Kristi on Unblock: Two Techniques.

Enter to Win a Copy of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, 2009) from The Shady Glade. Deadline: June 15. Note: Maggie is one of my favorite new voices, and this is one of the most highly anticipated YA Gothics of the year. See details. Read a Cynsations interview with Maggie.

What’s On Your Summer Reading List? Children’s and Young Adult Authors and Illustrators Tell All by Daryl Grabarek, Curriculum Connections, from School Library Journal. Get the scoop from Susan Patron, Mo Willems, Kate DiCamillo, Adam Rapp, Elise Broach, Melissa Marr, Deborah Hopkinson, Megan McDonald, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Marilyn Singer, Avi, Brian James, Richard Peck, Laurie Halse Anderson, E. Lockhart, Jerry Spinelli, Juanita Havill, Sara Zarr, Ridley Pearson, Dave Barry, Ann M. Martin, James Preller, Joyce Sweeney, and Paul Janeczko. See also A Need to Read: What Parents Can Do to Encourage Summer Reading by Nancy Twigg from Knox news. Source: Teri Lesesne. Read Cynsations interviews with Elise, Melissa, Deborah, Brian, E., and Sara.

An Agent Talks Trends in MG/YA Publishing from Mitali Perkins at Mitali’s Fire Escape. Peek: “At our Boston Bookish Tweetup on Sunday, literary agent Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency reflected on the current and future state of Middle Grade (MG) and Young Adult (YA) books.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.

Date rape. Anorexia. Slavery. Is there a topic that Laurie Halse Anderson won’t tackle? by Kathleen T. Horning from School Library Journal. Peek: “A word that often comes up when they write me is they feel that my books are honest. I don’t sugarcoat anything. When they’re reading about an emotional experience in my books, it’s something they identify with. It feels real to them.”

Living the Dream by Sarah Prineas. Peek: “One of the first things I learned is that being an author is not the same as being a writer. The writer part is pretty much the same as it always was. Authoring is the add-on to that. Being an author means doing school visits, traveling, giving presentations, being ‘on’ and friendly, spending time and energy on being the human representative of a book. It also means doing interviews, answering questions from foreign translators, dealing with taxes, etc.” Read a Cynsations interview with Sarah.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan (McElderry 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: “a terrific read, rich in atmosphere and wit. Best of all, the relationships between and among the pairs of siblings are thoughtfully constructed (to explore what it means to be family), without stinting on either horror, action, or suspense.”

Blogging Dos and Don’ts – Advice for Writers from author-agent Lucienne Diver. Peek: “Remember your mother telling you ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’?” Learn more about Lucienne’s new release Vamped (Llewellyn, 2009).

Congratulations to the winners and honorees of the 2009 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature! Read Cynsations interviews with M.T. Anderson and Tanya Lee Stone.

Revising your manuscript from Samantha Clark at Day by Day Writer. Peek: “Think those award-winning books or bestsellers were brilliant the day their authors typed The End? Think again. Most writers go through revision after revision after revision.”

Check out the book trailer for Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul (Writers Digest, 2009). Trailer by Tina Nichols Coury. Learn more about the book. Source: Alice’s CWIM Blog.

Youth Tribes, Double Bottom Line & Multiple Platforms by Anastasia at YPulse: Youth marketing to teens, tweens & Generation Y (Gen Y). Peek: “It’s not that racial identity is no longer important to young people or that there aren’t differences to be aware of, but that’s just one part of their identity and not necessarily the part to target in a campaign.”

Ten Writing Tips by Verla Kay – Part 1. Peek: “Believe that what you are writing is worthy of being read. Believe that you can do this, that you can write and finish a story so compelling, so entertaining, so special, that editors and kids will love it and ‘have’ to read it.” Read a Cynsations interview with Verla Kay.

What Are Your Author Goals? from Tracy Marchini at My VerboCity. Peek: “What are your goals as a writer, one, five and ten years from now?” Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

Cynsational Winners

The winner of the paperback copy of Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac (Harcourt, 2008) was Rebecca in Alaska, and the winner of the ARC of Pure by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon Pulse, 2009) was Skipper in Michigan! Thanks to all who entered! Read Cynsations interviews with Joe and Terra.

More Personally

Highlights of the week included receiving contributor copies of Geektastic: Stories of the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009). The story Greg and I wrote is “The Wrath of Dawn.” Full contributor list: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr. With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley. Read Cynsations interviews with Holly, Cecil, M.T., Libba, Cassandra, David, Barry, Scott, Lisa, and Sara. Note: do you see that vampire avatar in the top row with the black dress and the red cowboy books and the sunglasses? That’s me!

Thank you to the Cedar Park (TX) Public Library for your hospitality last weekend! Through a grant program, the library sponsors a YA book club to bring in local authors and purchase copies of their latest book for participants. Other recently featured Austin area authors include April Lurie and Jennifer Ziegler.

Author Laurie Faria Stolarz sends a couple of picks of my Gothic fantasy books in New York City. Here they are in the YA Dept at the Barnes & Noble on 5th Ave. (She also set a shot from the New York Public Library (Grand Central Branch), but I can’t seem to get the image twisted around yet–soon, I hope!). Thanks, Laurie! Read a Cynsations interview with Laurie.