Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win a copy of Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker (Harper, 2009)! From the promotional copy:

This is the story of Quinn, an indie rock girl who came out to Austin, Texas for a music internship.

She also plans to spend long, lazy days in the sun at outdoor concerts–and to meet a hot musician or two. Instead, she’s stuck rooming with her sorority brainwashed cousin, who now willingly goes by the name ‘Party Penny.’ Their personalities clash, big time.

But Sebastian, a gorgeous DJ, definitely makes up for it. Sebastian has it all: looks, charm, and great taste in music. So why can’t Quinn keep her mind off Penny’s friend cute, All-American Russ and his Texas twang?

One thing’s certain: Quinn’s in for a summer she’ll never forget!

To enter, simply email me (scroll and click the envelope) with your snail mail address and include “Lovestruck Summer” in the subject line. To be entered twice, ask me any question about Cynsations or my main website. Deadline: June 30.

Read an interview with Melissa by Emily at BookKids Recommends: From the Crazy Folks at BookPeople. Peek:

“BP: Of course, we here at BookPeople love our hometown, but what made an East Coast gal like you choose Austin as the setting for a summer romance?

“MW: How could I NOT set a summer romance in a town with awesome live music, gorgeous bodies of water, sweat-trickling heat, smiling Texas boys, bridge-living bats and live music?! It was a given as soon as I stepped off the plane.”

More News & Giveaways

Check out this trailer for David Small‘s graphic novel memoir, Stitches. Available Sept. 8 from W.W. Norton & Co. Source: A Fuse #8 Production.

Guest Column: The Kindle—Igniting the Book Business Amazon’s Kindle has raised issues for book publishers, such as appropriate pricing options for e-books. By Peter Olson and Bharat N. Anand from Book Business. Peek: “E-book royalties per book should not be reduced in absolute dollar terms below p-book levels in order to provide the necessary incentive for creative energies that could otherwise be directed elsewhere (the current royalty schemes proposed by publishers would unfairly give authors only a percentage of net revenues).” Source: Nathan Bransford. Note to authors: Having a good agent is more important than ever. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Characters by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog. Peek: “Of course you will discover different levels of yearning as you work through drafts but knowing early what your character primarily yearns for can help you discover a lot.” See also Brian on Writing Destinations. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Books with Bite Trailer from MPL Teen Space (doesn’t include this spring’s releases, but still a comprehensive highlight of vampire-themed YA novels). Note: 10+ minutes.

The Nutcases by Kristi Holl at Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “‘Whether they appear as your overbearing mother, your manic boss, your needy friend, or your stubborn spouse,’ says Cameron, ‘the crazymakers in your life share certain destructive patterns that make them poisonous for any sustained creative work.'” See also Get Your Fear Shot.

Two Lakes and a Dairy Maid Parking Lot by Sarah Sullivan at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I’m going to talk about how the details of setting enhance a work of fiction.” Note: first entry in a week-long series of posts; don’t miss Sarah’s interview with Fran Cannon Slayton, author of When the Whistle Blows (Philomel, 2009). See also an interview with Fran from Janet Fox at Through the Tollbooth.

Wondrous Read Contest: enter to win an autographed copy of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (HarperCollins, 2008) by commenting on Lee A. Verday’s blog. Then sign up for “Get the Goods” on Jessica Verday‘s site, where everyone wins. Peek: “Want to keep up-to-date on the latest news about Jessica Verday and The Hollow (Simon Pulse, 2009)? Sign up here, and you’ll get a Goodies package sent straight to your door!” Read a Cynsations interview with Lesley.

Children’s writer and Vermont College graduate Frances Lee Hall blogs about her recent trip back to the newly restored Angel Island Immigration Station on San Francisco Bay, the setting and inspiration for her middle grade historical novel manuscript, “Paper Son.” Complete with video clips! See part one and two. Peek: “…a construction worker asked me to leave. How ironic that I was being kicked out of the immigration station, when my ancestors, including my father as a young boy, were held there for days, weeks or even months, almost 100 years ago.”

A Tweet Treat? by Karen Springen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “Are author-editor tweet-fests the marketing wave of the future? Perhaps. After all, the price is right. The Q & A was completely free to publicize, produce and to read. Mercado and Marino simply spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and message boards.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nancy Mercado of Roaring Brook Press.

Vermont College of Fine Arts: a new, totally remodeled website. Learn more about the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Read an interview with faculty chair Sharon Darrow about the program.

Marvelous Marketer: Jon Bard (Children’s Book Insider/CBI clubhouse) from Shelli at Market My Words: Rantings and ravings on how authors can better market their books to kids. Peek: “Target niches that might have an affinity for your book. Let’s say one of your main characters is a cheerleader. Go to the top online cheerleading sites, blogs & e-zines and offer to do interviews about your book.” Read a Cynsations interview with Jon.

Interview with E. Lockhart from Writer Musings: A place to ponder books, as well as how the words get on the page. Peek: “I wanted to write about pranks and urban exploration — and I also wanted to write about the old boys’ network, which still exists and is incredibly powerful, even in this supposedly post-feminist age.” See below for an opportunity to win books by E. from Writers Musings. Read a Cynsations interview with E. Lockhart.

Social Networking for Authors and Illustrators: an online class from Susan Taylor Brown. Two upcoming sessions: June 22 to June 26 and July 13 to July 17. Cost $75. See more information. Read a Cynsations interview with Susan.

Manuscript Critiques by Tracy Marchini from My VerboCity. Peek: “Believe it or not, it’s actually kind of intimidating to sit down with an author face-to-face and analyze their manuscript. You know that they’ve put their heart and soul into what they’ve just handed you.” Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

Nonfiction Now: One Publisher’s (Holiday House) View from Loreen Leddy at I.N.K. Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “Publishers, authors and illustrators of nonfiction, and booksellers now need to explain to consumers that books can offer things that the World Wide Web does not.” See also How to Find Your Way In to a Story by Tanya Lee Stone. Read a Cynsations interview with Tanya.

Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, lllusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical: a recommendation from Charlotte at Charlotte’s Library: Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Children and Teenagers. Peek: “When the difference that lead to someone becoming a sideshow are combined with magic, mystery, and mayhem, there’s a lot of room for great writers of fantastical fiction to make gripping and memorable stories. Which is what happens here.” Note: Sideshow is edited by Deborah Noyes and will be released next month from Candlewick Press; the anthology includes my short story, “Cat Calls.” Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

The New Literal Mind by Elizabeth Bluemle from ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog. Peek: “Whatever happened to imagination, metaphor, curiosity? To encountering the unexpected, or trying on new lives through the windows of a book?” Note: Of late, I’ve noticed this same trend in working with teenagers, too. See also Elizabeth on To Market, To Market, a discussion of which promotional materials are most useful for booksellers. Peek: “Use way more packaging than you need. Large boxes with few galleys and lots of pretty packing material come off as wasteful and needlessly expensive. In addition, a lot of fancy packaging gets banged up in the mail, so it often doesn’t reach your booksellers in great condition.”

A Writer at Home: Sharon Creech from Kimberly Willis Holt at A Pen and A Nest. Peek: “I work best with a view of trees (the lake is a bonus) and with my ‘stuff’ around me: favorite pens, pencils, paper, reference books, family photos, filing cabinets, computer (iMac), printer, and doo-dads (a few small shells, several miniature wood and stone turtles, a George Washington bust, a donkey, stone paperweights, etc.)” Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Cynical optimism, or vice versa by Sara Ryan. Peek: “I’m not saying that the existence of events like Anti-Prom in New York, or Mr. and Ms. Junior Gay Pride here in Portland, means that violent bigots will vanish from the earth. (I do have that cynical side.) But having the events, and talking about them, and making sure everyone knows how incredibly cool they are — that’s one way to create change.” Source: Gwenda Bond. Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Take the Dare! Show You Care! from Cynthea Liu’s launch party. Check out the auction, which includes newly listed editor critiques from Kristin Daly of Balzar & Bray/HarperCollins, Martha Mihalick of Greenwillow/HarperCollins, Andrea Welch of Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda, and freelance editor Stacy Whitman. Notes: see also additional opportunities to bid with more editors, agents, and authors; proceeds to benefit Tulakes Elementary, a Title I school in Oklahoma City. Read Cynsations interviews with Cynthea, Andrew, and Stacy.

GLBT Month – Alex Sanchez Guest Blog Part 2 from Book Chic. Peek: “Homophobia hurts everybody, not just gay kids.” Here’s part 1 for those who missed it. Note: read an excerpt of Alex’s latest novel, Bait (Simon & Schuster, June 2009). Read a Cynsations interview with Alex.

Parenthetic Comma Phrases, Anyone? by Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “A writer to whom I pointed this out protested that editors want explanation, since books by “us” (i.e., writers of color) are often written for a diverse audience, all of whom may not be familiar with the culture in question. That’s true enough, but we have so many rich and wonderful choices.” Read a Cynsations interview with Uma.

Guest Blogger: Jean Reynolds, Some Observations on the History and Future of Informational Books, Part 1 and Part 2 from Vicki Cobb at I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “Jean Reynolds is a veteran children’s nonfiction editor. She founded Millbrook Press and was its publisher for 15 years. It was sold to Lerner in 2006. She has also been Chair of the Children’s Book Council and served on the Board of Governors of Higher Education in Connecticut.”

Austin News & Events

Austin’s Delacorte Dames & Dude Talk YA Literature by Donna Bowman Bratton at Simply Donna. Peek: “There are many challenges in writing for teens. [Jennifer] Ziegler points to the raw emotions teenagers have trouble dealing with. As she says, the emotional ‘pendulum doesn’t swing quite so far for adults. For that reason, YA novels often have deeper emotional content.'” See also True Friends: DDD Panel Discussion from Shana Burg and Delacorte Dames and Dude Discuss Details, Dreams, Duties, Divisions, and Dealing with Disrespect from Jennifer Ziegler and Things That Make Me Happy from Varian Johnson.

Here are some pics from the event. First up is Jennifer with Delacorte Dude Varian Johnson.

And here’s Varian, Jenny, and Shana with April Lurie, Margo Rabb, and moderator Sarah Bird. DDD devotees should also make sure to check out a gorgeous shot of the fab five at April Afloat.

“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.

Celebrate the Day-Glo Brothers with debut author Chris Barton at 1 p.m. July 11 at BookPeople in Austin. See Review of the Day: The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton from Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production. Peek: “When the book you hold in your hands is all about the discovery of a certain kind of color, it’s very important to get the right design feel right from the start. Open this book.”

The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: “…an amazing tale of perseverance, hard work, and how one’s dreams can take one on different and unexpectedly satisfying paths.”

Highlights of the Week

Highlights included lunch at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill on Sixth Street with College Station school librarian and children’s author Debbie Leland. Debbie is a rare self-publishing success story. Her books include Aggie Goose Rhymes, The Jalapeño Man, The Firegator, The Little Prairie Hen, and Daddy’s Love. The Little Prairie Hen won the 2005 Texas Golden Spur Award for Children’s Literature, given annually by the Texas State Reading Association. Debbie is highly recommended for school visits and other events.

Sparkling debut author Kekla Magoon is also in town this week. We had breakfast at Juan in a Million on East Cesar Chavez St. Note: the restaurant was recently featured on “Man versus Food.”

Kekla is the author of The Rock and The River (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, 2009). In a starred review, Booklist says, “True to the young teen’s viewpoint, this taut, eloquent first novel will make readers feel what it was like to be young, black and militant 40 years ago. ….an important title for YA American History classes.”

Kekla is offering joint school visit programs with Bethany Hegedus, author of Between Us Baxters (WestSide, 2009). Peek: “Our books span the civil rights era, from the time of segregation in the south to the emergence of black power movements in the urban north. Our interactive workshop can be tailored to the needs of your class, including historical themes, video clips, readers’ theater, discussion, writing exercises, handouts, and follow-up classroom activities and teacher resource material.” For information on rates, scheduling, etc. contact

More Personally

I’m busy revising Blessed, (Candlewick, 2011), which will crossover the casts of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) and Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), picking up where Tantalize leaves off.

Anastasia Suen re-runs an article I wrote a few years back, “How to Throw a Launch Book Party,” which draws on my experience from the Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) launch.

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) from Cynsations. 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.

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

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. 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!

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. Bonus sets went out this week to Kathy at the Defiance (Ohio) Public Library, Laini at Culpeper Public Library in Virginia, and Buffy at Creekview High School in Georgia.