Cynsational News & Giveaways

Babylonne by Catherine Jinks (Candlewick, 2008): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLS Blog. Peek: “…an intense and exciting adventure and provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of the early thirteenth century.”

Jacket Knack: Thoughts on the Covers of Children’s Books from Julie Larios and Carol Brendler. Read a Cynsations interview with Julie.

Reminder: 2009 Nominations are now open for the Cybils 2009: Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. Peek: “All kids books published in English between Oct. 16, 2008 and the close of this year’s nominations are eligible. Nominations close at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15.”

Owning Up To Your Mistakes by Elana Johnson from QueryTracker. Peek: “Okay, not really your mistakes. But those your characters make. By the end of the novel, do they need to own up to their mistakes?”

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff (Egmont, 2009): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLS Blog. Peek:”…will resonate with everyone who’s ever been on the outside looking in and everyone on the inside looking to get out.”

PAYA: Bringing (More) YA to PA: “PAYA is a coalition of Pennsylvania’s young adult authors, bloggers, librarians, readers, and other book-lovers. Our mission is two-fold: 1. To share the love we have for young adult literature with others in our state; 2. To raise money to support Pennsylvania’s libraries, with a focus on helping build young adult library collections and young adult services.” Source: Elizabeth Scott.

Inner Critics and Time Wasters by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “Our inner editor sometimes keeps us from seeing what’s in front of us. We are constantly ‘revising’ the facts. So what’s the problem with that? You can’t accept–and get peace about–what you can’t honestly see or face. You stay stirred up–a condition rarely suited to being creative.”

Pleased to meet you–fully exploiting a character’s first scene by Marianna Baer from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “From the moment a new character enters a book, the reader consciously and subconsciously picks up on clues about his nature and quickly forms an opinion. If details are not thoughtfully chosen, a character’s first scene can be a missed opportunity or, more negatively, disruptively misleading.”

Holding Out for a Super Heroine from Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray. Peek: “One of the reasons I enjoy Justice Society of America (as opposed to Justice League) is that there are a ton of female characters and the group is also more multi-ethnic than about any other book.” Note: I’m a particular fan of Birds of Prey, led by Oracle AKA the original Batgirl (who is also a librarian).

Your Morning Dose of Publishing Optimism from Ron Hogan at MediaBistro’s GalleyCat. Peek (quoting independent literary publicist Scott Manning): “I liken it to the introduction of mass market paperbacks. At the time, everyone said it was going to mean the end of hardcovers. Hardly.” Source: Alice Pope.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: fights censorship and defends First Amendment rights of comic book professionals.

Writers Against Racism: Paula Chase-Hyman from Amy Bowllan at Bowllan’s Blog at School Library Journal. Peek: “I don’t sit and think, Oh, this person will be Black. This one White. This one Asian. I just naturally see the world in color. If anything, my characters all suffer from terminal suburbanism, which often leads them to a wake-up call of sorts when they realize there’s a different life beyond their sheltered space or view.” Read a Cynsations interview with Paula.

Trick-or-Treat: 20 Halloween Books for Kids by Bianca Schulze from The Children’s Book Review. A first-rate round-up of spooky titles for the elementary set.

So Your Book Has Been Challenged: Ellen Hopkins, E.Lockhart, Jo Knowles, Jacqui Robbins, Sarah Brannen and Frank Portman Tell It Like It Is! (part 1) from Lee Wind at I’m Here, I’m Queer, What the Hell Do I Read? Don’t miss part 2. Peek from Jo: “What saddens me the most is thinking about how the kids in that district who are gay, or who’ve been abused, must feel when they find out books in their school are being challenged because a group of people think it’s inappropriate to read about or discuss these very topics. What kind of message does that send them? That they should keep quiet? Be ashamed? Blame themselves?” Source: The Spectacle.

Spooky Cynsational Giveaway

Reminder: In celebration of the “Read Beyond Reality” theme of Teen Read Week, which is scheduled for Oct. 18 to Oct. 24, and the spooky season now upon us, I’m offering the biggest, winner-take-all Cynsational giveaway ever, with an emphasis on Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and spectacular read-alikes! You can enter to win: Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2009); Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors (Walker, 2009); Far From You by Lisa Schroeder (Simon Pulse, 2009); How to Be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead by Amy Gray (Candlewick, November 2009); Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Harcourt, 2009); Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler (Simon Pulse, 2008); and Vamped by Lucienne Diver (Flux, 2009). To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Read Beyond Reality” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the name in the header; I’ll contact you if you win).

You will get an extra chance to win for each of the following: (1) you blog about the giveaway and link to my related announcement posts at Cynsations at Blogger, LiveJournal, JacketFlap, MySpace or Spookycyn (send me the URL to your post with your entry); (2) you post the link to your Facebook page or tweet it (find me at Twitter and Facebook and CC me on those systems so I can take a look); (3) you are a YA teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (indicate school/library with your entry); (4) you are a book blogger (teen or grown-up)(include the URL to your blog with your entry message). Deadline: midnight CST Oct. 30. Good luck and stay spooky!

More Giveaways

Trick or Treat 2009: Saundra Mitchell is hosting a ghost story every day of October from YA and MG authors, screenwriters, and reviewers. You can win a prize pack that includes nine haunting novels as well as CDs, toys, and other treats! Just stop by and say Trick or Treat to enter, and stick around to read ghost stories from Maggie Stiefvater, Carrie Jones, Lisa Schroeder, Cyn Balog, and many, many more! Deadline: Oct. 31.

October Giveaways from TeensReadToo. Featured titles include Alma Alexander‘s Worldweavers: Cybermage (HarperCollins, 2009), Lara Zielin‘s Donut Days (Putnam, 2009), and Jessica Verday‘s The Hollow (Simon Pulse, 2009).

Reminder: enter to win the Reading is Fundamental/Super Contest sponsored by Lee A Verday at Lee A. Verday’s Book/Writing Blog. Winner-take-all prize package includes: a signed copy of The Hollow by Jessica Verday (Simon Pulse, September 2009); a “R.U.H2?” T-shirt (R-U-H-Squared?)(Stands for aRe yoU Haunted by the Hollow?); Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris (Point, 2009); The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central, 2009); The Palace of Strange Girls by Sallie Day (Grand Central, 2009); Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2009); and an “I HEART My Guardian Angel” T-shirt (which ties into Eternal)! New followers of Lee’s blog can also enter to win a signed ARC of Darklight by Lesley Livingston (HarperCollins, December 2009)! Deadline: midnight PST Oct. 12. See more information.

More Personally

Cheers to lovely librarian Kat Werner, shown here modeling her Sanguini’s T-shirt!

Sanguini’s is the fictional vampire-themed restaurant that appears in Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) and Blessed (Candlewick, spring 2011).

The Sanguini’s logo with fang marks to dot each “i” was designed by writer-illustrator Gene Brenek. You can see all of his designs (as well as Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) designs) at CafePress. I’ve had great fun using these for giveaways. Read a Cynsations interview with Gene.

Huge thanks to the students and librarian at Bammel Middle School in Houston for their hospitality during yesterday’s virtual visit!

Last weekend students, faculty, alumni, and honored guests came together in Austin for Vermont College of Fine Arts Day in the Lone Star State. Participating faculty in attendance (including speakers) were Kathi Appelt, Sharon Darrow, Uma Krishnaswami, and myself. Note: our novels are displayed on my fireplace mantle above.

Here’s a peek at the buffet from Central Market. I believe that’s grad Varian Johnson in the far background. Congratulations to Varian on the sale of his untitled companion book to Saving Maddie (Delacorte, 2010)!

Heaping amounts of credit goes to grad Debbie Gonzales, pictured in turquoise, who was the on-site coordinator. See a full report with more photos from Debbie.

Cynsational Events

Jessica Lee Anderson (Border Crossings (Milkweed, 2009)) and P.J. Hoover (The Forgotten Worlds Book 2: The Navel of the World (CBAY, 2009)) will have a joint book release party at 2 p.m. Oct. 18 at BookPeople. Read Cynsations interviews with Jessica and P.J.

“Beyond Daily Life” readergirlz Chat will feature Cynthia Leitich Smith (Eternal), rgz diva Holly Cupala (Tell Me a Secret), and Lisa McMann (Wake) on Oct. 21. “It all happens at the rgz forum ( beginning at 6 p.m. Pacific Time (7 p.m. Mountain Time, 8 p.m. Central Standard Time, 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).” See the whole readergirlz “Read Beyond Reality” chat schedule for Oct. 19 to Oct. 23. See also more information. Note: “Anyone who loves YALSA’s Teen Read Week is encouraged to let it out on their blog through a post or vlog, then send the link to readergirlz AT (subject line: entrant’s name, TRW Tribute). readergirlz will collect all contributions and post them at the rgz blog in a tribute that will run Oct. 23.”

The Texas Book Festival take place Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Austin. Featured children’s-YA authors include: Jessica Lee Anderson, Libba Bray, Janie Bynum, Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Keith Graves, Heather Hepler, K.A. Holt, Jacqueline Kelly, Rick Riordan, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Rene Saldana, Jr., Tammi Sauer, Liz Garton Scanlon, Anita Silvey, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Samantha R. Vamos, Rosemary Wells, Kathy Whitehead, Mo Willems, and Sara Zarr. See the whole list! Note: I’ll be speaking on a panel “Deals with the Devil: Writing about Faustian Bargains” with Daniel and Dina Nayeri from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Texas State Capitol Building, signing to immediately follow.

Destination Publication: An Awesome Austin Conference for Writers and Illustrators is scheduled for Jan. 30 and sponsored by Austin SCBWI. Keynote speakers are Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson and Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Marla Frazee, who will also offer an illustrator breakout and portfolio reviews. Presentations and critiques will be offered by editor Cheryl Klein of Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, author-editor Lisa Graff of FSG, agent Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic Literary, agent Mark McVeigh of The McVeigh Agency, and agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Advanced critique break-out sessions will be led by editor Stacy Cantor of Bloomsbury. In addition, Cheryl and author Sara Lewis Holmes will speak on the editor-and-author relationship, and Marla and author Liz Garton Scanlon will speak on the illustrator-and-author relationship. Note: Sara and Liz also will be offering manuscript critiques. Illustrator Patrice Barton will offer portfolio reviews. Additional authors on the speaker-and-critique faculty include Jessica Lee Anderson, Chris Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Jacqueline Kelly, Philip Yates, Jennifer Ziegler. See registration form, information packet, and conference schedule (all PDF files)! Note: all editor and agent critiques are sold out, author critiques with Liz and Jacqueline are sold out, the Friday night reception at my house is sold out! Register ASAP before the whole event is sold out and to secure one of the few remaining author critique spots!