Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win your choice of an Eternal T-shirt, hat, or mug from CafePress! Note: various designs and colors are available.

You may also win an ARC of one of three YA paranormal books: Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz (Hyperion, 2008); Wake by Lisa McMann (Simon Pulse, 2008); or Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (HarperCollins, 2008)!

Here’s how to enter:

(1) visit this link: Eternal Book Trailer by Naomi Bates at YA Books and More. Watch the trailer!

(2) (a) Email me (scroll to click envelope); (b) Type “Eternal trailer giveaway” in the subject line; (c) Offer your cheers about the trailer! What do you love about it? What questions does it raise in your mind? (d) Indicate your preferred T-shirt style, size, and color; (e) Rank the ARCs in the order of preference. Note: if you already have one or more of the books, you can mention that too.

Note: You are also encouraged to share your cheers in a comment at this post on Naomi’s blog, though this is not required to enter. It’s just friendly.

Deadline: midnight central time June 30!

Just for fun, see also How I create digital book trailers by Naomi. See also an interview with artist Gene Brenek on the various Eternal tie-in designs. Read author interviews with Laurie, Lisa, and Lesley.

Do you want to win a copy of the novel Eternal (Candlewick, 2009)? If so, check out the June giveaway at Writer Musings: A place to ponder books, as well as how the words get on the page.

More News & Giveaways

Visit author-illustrator David Macaulay‘s studio and see/hear him talk about his process. Source: Mark Mitchell. Note: see Mark’s comments for more information.

Multicultural Literacy Events from papertigers. A listing of events around the world. Source: Children’s Book Biz News.

10 Ways Not To Get An Agent by Tracy Marchini from My VerboCity. Peek: “Send multiple revisions of partials. (This makes us feel like you aren’t taking enough time to read and revise before you’re sending out material.)” See also When Should You Revise? Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

Revision Checklist from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “Do your main characters emerge from the book irrevocably changed?” See also This is a Blog from Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “I have to be honest that it’s mildly alarming how many queries I receive that misuse the word ‘blog.’ I’ve seen everything from ‘the webpostings on your Blogsite’ to ‘your blogspot on your website.’ People are personalizing, which is great, but… word people should not be misusing words.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Jessica Verday: the author’s site has been gorgeously redesigned. Her debut novel, The Hollow, will be available from Simon Pulse in September 2009.

How to Fire Your Agent from Rachelle Gardner: Literary Agent. Peek: “I think the mature way of handling a situation like this is to say, ‘This isn’t working for me. Can something be changed?'” Source: Nathan Bransford.

Ten Writing Tips by Verla KayPart Two and Part Three. Peek: “If you believe in yourself, if you are writing and learning your craft and the business of writing for children, if you are working hard to become a published author, then never give up.” Note: Part One for those who missed it. Read a Cynsations interview with Verla.

Firebrand Started A Blog. Should You? from Stacia Decker at Firebrand Literary Blog. Peek: “Get a feel for the time commitment and your inclinations by substitute teaching for blogger friends on vacation or contributing posts to others’ sites.” See also Submission Etiquette and Taking Your Time from Chris Richman. Peek: “If I request revisions, I’m not going to forget a project in two, three, or even six months. If it takes a writer that long to get to the changes, that just makes me assume they’re taking the revisions seriously.” Note: Firebrand Literary is “a full-service literary agency specializing in books for young readers.” Read an interview with Michael Stearns of Firebrand Literary.

Craft Issue: Plot Points (Or, How to Twist Your Character) by Janet Fox at Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “Make sure that at the end of Act I the action of the story spins your character into a new, increasingly tense situation.” Read a Cynsations interview with Janet Fox.

Two Minutes, Not Two Pages by Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “The crazy schedule of 2009 has made me master of the writing snippet, which I will now name the Summer Snippet.” Read a Cynsations interview with Helen.

Featuring Duane Smith and Janet Halfmann from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “‘When I found out how he had stolen a Confederate gunboat and ran it past several forts in Charleston Harbor, I knew that this was a great adventure story that kids would love.'”

People may be able to taste words by Victoria Gill, Science reporter, BBC News. Peek: “…according to Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, we are all ‘synaesthetes’ up to a point.” Source: Gwenda Bond.

Lightning, Lightning Bugs, Twain, Madness of Art from Brian Yansky at Brian’s Blog. Peek: “Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t, but if you’re never out in that rain, you will never be struck by lightning.” See also Thank you, Mr. Twain and Wrath. Note: one of the best, brainiest new writer blogs on the Web; highly recommended! Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

The First Annual Complete Your Draft Contest brought to you by Les Trois Graces in association with Tuesday Night Chatters. Deadline: June 30; see prizes.

A Very Geektastic BEA from Alivina Ling at Blue Rose Girls. Peek: “what could be more geeky than a bowling party?” Note: Wish I could’ve been there! Greg and I contributed a short story, “The Wrath of Dawn,” to Geektastic: Stories of the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, 2009).

Congratulations to Austin’s own Liz Garton Scanlon, who’s been chosen as a featured author at the Texas Book Festival! Look for her upcoming picture book, All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, this September from Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

The Unschedule
from Kristi Holl at Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “I have a five-hour critique to do today. Always in the past, I did the five hours non-stop, then crashed with a bad neck ache and headache. Today I’ve scheduled it in small chunks with rewards interspersed frequently. I also have a phone call with a friend at noon on the schedule.”

Cynsational Author Tip: you don’t own the rights to everything published about your book! Try to keep review/recommendation quotes short (under 50 words) and link to the main source.

Introducing the New Blog! from Marisa Emralino, Editorial Coordinator for Peek: “Teenreads decided to launch this new blog, as a way to bring you–our readers–even more book and author news on a more frequent basis, in addition to our regular monthly updates. But, what makes this feature stand out is that we’re asking authors to help bring this content to you directly.” See Tim Wynne-Jones on The Uninvited (Candlewick, 2009).

Going Online to Get Published by Cyn Balog. Peek: “The first thing I did was start reading agent blogs. I then started up my own LiveJournal, and began friending as many writers for Young Adults I could find.”

Michael Cart on libraries, and “What is YA? from Margo Rabb at Books, Chocolates, Sundries. Peek: “‘I’m not even sure how welcome it is now,’ I said, ‘since I’ve had three different YA authors tell me they thought my book wasn’t YA. Because of the short story structure or because it’s such an interior novel’.” Read a Cynsations interview with Margo.

It Was, Like, All Dark and Stormy Teenage readers are gravitating toward even grimmer fiction; suicide notes and death matches by Katie Roiphe from The Wall Street Journal. Peek: “Unsettling as it is, there is a certain amount of comfort to be gleaned from the new disaster fiction; it makes its readers feel less alone.” Source: YA Books and More.

Five questions for Gene Luen Yang (and other nifty stuff) from Notes from the Horn Book. Peek: “Books are about communication. And books communicating through images, even sequential images, aren’t something new trying to substitute for the tried and true.”

Interview with Susan C. Griffith on the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards by Aline Pereira from papertigers. Peek: “For fifty-six years, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award(JACBA) has been given to children’s books that most effectively and engagingly invite children to think deeply about issues related to peace, social justice, world community and racial and gender equality.” Source: Children’s Book Biz News.

Check out the book trailer for Surf Mules by G. Neri (G.P. Putnam, 2009)!

The Book So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades from Blue Yonder Ranch. Peek: “Chris has generously offered to share an autographed copy of The Day Glo Brothers (Charlesbridge, 2009) with one of our readers. For your chance to win this book all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us what your big dreams were as a child.” Deadline: June 14 p.m.

Enter to Win a Copy of Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell from Kristina Springer. Deadline: midnight CST June 12. Learn more about Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, 2009).

First Draft Tips from Lisa Schroeder at Author2Author. Peek: “Don’t get too caught up in details. Details are easy to add in later.” Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

“How To Have a Successful Book Event” led by BookPeople events coordinators, Alison Nihlean and Mandy Brooks will be at 11 a.m. June 20 at BookPeople in Austin. Peek: “It’s a collaborative effort that when performed creatively and appropriately, fabulous events happen. They’ll share success stories and not so success stories about their years as BookPeople’s event organizers, then the floor will be open for questions.” Note: sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

Real-space Event & Online Giveaway

Double the Pleasure! Double the Fun! Double the Mysteries! Come join author Jill Santopolo for the publication party in celebration of her second Alec Flint Mystery, The Ransom Note Blues (Scholastic, 2009) and celebrate the paperback publication of The Nina, the Pinta, and the Vanishing Treasure (Scholastic, 2008)! The event will be at 6 p.m. June 23 at Books of Wonder (18 W. 18th St. NYC). Learn more about the series and RSVP to Jill Santopolo (see “contact” at top bar)!

The first two people to e-mail with their mailing address, saying that they read this message on Cynsations and correctly cracking and answering the coded question below will receive a free copy of The Ransom Note Blues. (Hint: The key to Alec and Gina’s code can be found at Here’s the coded question that needs to be cracked and answered: Dszg xzmwb rh Trmz vzgrmt lm gsv xlevi lu Gsv Izmhln Mlgv Yofvh?

Read a Cynsations interview with Jill.

Giveaway Updates

Enter to win a bookplate-autographed copy of the new release, Bones of Faerie (Random House, 2009), and traditionally 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.

Breaking News as of June 12: Janni has upgraded this giveaway so that all three books will now be autographed!

Tabitha Olson at has announced her June book giveaway at Writer Musings: A place to ponder books, as well as how the words get on the page. The featured books are: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Hyperion, 2008); How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski (HarperCollins, 2008); Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2007); and Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2009). To enter, leave a comment at this post. See also information on extra entries. Note: Tabitha will “randomly draw four names” June 27.

Don’t miss the “autographed gimmies,” including signed Eternal bookmarks from Cynthea Liu’s Paris Pan Takes the Dare online launch party! While you’re there, enter to win a copy of Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000)! See all the giveaway books. Note: Cynthea also is auctioning off prize packages, virtual visits, and critiques with authors, editors, and agents to benefit a Title 1 school in Oklahoma City. Check it out!

Winners of the signed Eternal bookmarks giveaway were Jennifer at the Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming and Deena at Brighton Memorial Library in Rochester, New York. Thank you to all who entered!

Event Reminder

The “Everything You Wanted to Know about Young Adult Fiction But Were Too Afraid To Ask” panel discussion will feature the Delacorte Dames and Dudes, five authors of tween-young adult (YA) novels at 1 p.m. June 13 at BookPeople. They are all published by Delacorte Press (Random House), and they all live in Austin!

Delacorte Dames are April Lurie, author of The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine (2008), Jennifer Ziegler, How Not to Be Popular (2008), Margo Rabb, Cures for Heartbreak (2007), and Shana Burg, A Thousand Never Evers (2008). The lone Delacorte Dude is Varian Johnson, whose novel Saving Maddie is forthcoming in 2010.

More Personally

Highlights of the week included Sunday brunch at Hyde Park Bar & Grill with author Varsha Bajaj and her family! Varsha is a dear pal and the author of How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? illustrated by Ivan Bates (Little, Brown, 2004). From the promotional copy: “‘How many kisses do you want tonight?’ the animals ask, snuggling critters tight. This adorable counting bedtime book celebrates the special ritual of goodnight kisses. Children and baby animals request from one to a million kisses from their parents when they settle in for the night. The simple, rhyming text makes for a perfect read aloud.” School Library Journal said, “Sure to be an instant sleepy-time favorite!” Look for a new picture book from Varsha in the near future! Details to come!

Thank you to Youth Services Librarian Nicki Stohr and everyone at the Schertz Public Library in Schertz, Texas for your hospitality on Tuesday afternoon. It was a pleasure visiting with you!

Thank you to Pat Anderson, Vickie, and everyone at Texas Overlooked Books for your hospitality at the Texas Authors & Illustrators margarita reception at the annual conference of the Texas Association of School Library Administrators, held Tuesday night in the presidential suite at the Radisson Austin North! See Pat and Melissa Ritchie in the first photo below. Note: Texas authors in attendance included Austin’s YA rising star Jennifer Ziegler; you can see her farther below with her fellow DDDs (and in person at BookPeople on Saturday!).

For those of you who live for such things, I have it on good authority that this was the suite Elvis stayed in when he last performed in Austin. I know you’re excited! I was. Note: I think it was a Hilton back then.

Here’s a bright smile from Anastasia Suen, the author of 114 books for children! Anastasia is based in Plano. She’s also an active blogger in the kidlitosphere.

The author (and performance artist) in the wheat-colored jacket is San Antonio-based Dr. Carmen Tafolla. Carmen’s most recent release is What Can You Do with a Paleta? illustrated by Magaly Morales (Tricycle, 2009).

Here’s Austin’s own author-illustrator Keith Graves, hiding behind one of my all-time favorite picture books, Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance (Chronicle, 2006)(paper edition).

Cynthia Leitich Smith on Summer Reading from Blog. Peek: “Back then, I loved any books that had to do with magic, especially those about putting on a magic show. I wanted to be a magician when I grew up.”