Cynsational News & Giveaways

Congratulations to the finalists for the National Book Award in the Young People’s Category: Deborah Heiligman for Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt); Phillip Hoose for Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); David Small for Stitches (W. W. Norton & Co.); Laini Taylor for Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic); Rita Williams-Garcia for Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins)! Read a Cynsations interview with Rita! See also David Small’s Stitches: YA? Really? OK! by Ron Hogan at GalleyCat. Peek: “‘We always intended to submit Stitches in the young people’s category,'” confirmed Erin Sinesky Lovett, Norton’s assistant director of publicity. ‘We knew it would appeal to a YA audience as well as an adult audience.'”

Congratulations to Kathi Appelt, recipient of the PEN Literary Award in children’s literature for The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008)! The awards ceremony will be Dec. 2 in Beverly Hills. See more information (PDF file). Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

Congratulations to the finalists for Canada’s Governor’s General Award: Tim Wynne-Jones for The Uninvited (Candlewick); Shelley Hrdlitschka for Sister Wife (Orca); Sharon Jennings for Home Free (Second Story); Caroline Pignat for Greener Grass: The Famine Years (Red Deer); Robin Stevenson for A Thousand Shades of Blue (Orca)!

Interview with Pat Lowery Collins from Authors Unleashed, the blog of TeensReadToo. Peek: “This novel weaves the history of Antonio Vivaldi’s musical career into the lives of three amazing young women who find that the love they each seek is not where they expect to find it. and that the sheltered life of the orphanage has not prepared them for what lies outside its doors.”

It’s What You Don’t See by Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “I talk to my students (sixth graders) often about using negative space as part of writing description, but it occurred to me that it may apply even more to drawing an authentic character that seems real on the page.”

Writing Under the Influence – Tips for Parents of Very Young Children by Suzette Saxton from Blog. Peek: “Create a daily routine and stick to it. Toddlers thrive on a routine, and you will, too! Plan out specifically when you will write, and stick to it as much as possible.”

Decline letters 101 by Alvina Ling at Blue Rose Girls. Alvina breaks down the various degrees of feedback offered and what each means. Peek: “…if you think of decline letters as a stepping stone to publication, that may make receiving them that much easier.”

An Interview with Rabbi Zach Shapiro by Barbara Bietz at Jewish Books for Children. Peek: “…I began to think about the tired, restless creatures on Noah’s Ark, from the ants to the zebras. I went home that night and wrote the first draft of my manuscript.”

Writing Extraordinary Queries by Tabitha Olson at Writer Musings. Peek: “While we’re on the subject of e-queries, never never never send a query to multiple recipients. Copy and paste each query into a new email, addressed to one specific person, with the word ‘query’ in the subject line.”

The Global Scene by Sylvia Vardell from Poetry for Children. A report on the recent biennial IBBY regional conference in Illinois. Peek: “I’ve always characterized it as more of a ‘retreat,’ than a conference, because you spend as much time in conversations and meals with colleagues—including the speakers themselves who stay and participate—as you do attending sessions.”

So, What Happens During the Editorial Process? by Janet S. Fox from Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “The entire thing is a great deal more complicated than I’d thought. I knew there would be revisions–I love revisions! I’d already made a bunch of revisions with my agent. But this was something else. So here’s what happens…”

Editing Is Like… by Victoria Schwab. Peek: “Surviving the fire swamp (you knew I’d go here, too). Because Wesley and Buttercup know that it’s going to be almost impossible (“We’ll never survive.” “Nonsense. You only say that because no one ever has.”) but they do it anyway because they are being chased and don’t have a choice…”

Author Interview: Jennifer Brown from Flip the Page! Book Reviews. Peek: “…I wanted readers to come away from the story hopeful, which sounds weird, given the subject matter, but I do think it’s possible to come out of darkness… hopeful.” Note: reading this one now–wow!

Some Thoughts On Marketing–From the Amazing Elizabeth Law of Egmont USA from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “Truthfully, a lot of trouble can come out of people making up stories in their minds when they don’t pick up the phone or send an email. We’d much rather you just ask us. And it’s our job to have a strong working relationship with the writers we publish.”

Guest Post: Strength in Numbers: a guest post by Bella Stander from Reading Under the Covers. Peek: “I am a lucky author. No, my publishing house doesn’t do squat for me promotionally, I didn’t win a major award with my very first novel, and I’m not on anyone’s bestseller list. What I am is a LAYA.”

Discovering Children’s And Young Adult Literature: Listservs from Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy.

Here’s a new book trailer for Choices by Deborah Lynn Jacobs (Roaring Brook, 2007). Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #136: Featuring Il Sung Na by Eisha and Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “Evidently, Na created the illustrations by combining hand-made painterly textures with digitally-generated layers, all combined in Photoshop. The result? Very textured, delicate, intricate spreads over which other Illustration Junkies may enjoy poring.”

Blind Auditions and Gender Bias by Janni Lee Simner. Peek: “The simple act of adding a screen to hide the gender of classical musicians at auditions has had a significant impact on the gender balance of orchestras.”

Protocol: When An Agent Offers to Represent You from Rachelle Gardener from Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Peek: “Then say something like, ‘I wanted to let you know that I’ve received an offer of representation from a literary agent. Would you like a chance to respond to my proposal before I finalize the arrangement with the other agent?'”

An Interview with Lisa Yee from Peek: “Arthur Levine discovered me and believed in me, even when I had no clue what I was doing. Cheryl started in the publishing world at the same time I did, so we’ve grown up together. They are both incredible to work with. I value their editorial insights and their friendship. Although…”

Interview: Artist Rebekah Raye by Carol Brendler at Jacket Knack. Peek: “I have learned from my publisher at Tilbury House that the eyes of your characters are very important and to make a connection to the audience as if they are really looking at you the viewer. While the interior illustrations contain images of the characters looking at each other to better tell the story.”

Why Omit Scenes by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “One scene was just the wrong focus. It was an assembly at school, where things got announced. But when I looked at it hard, I realized that my main character did nothing, except sit and watch the assembly happen.”

What I’ve learned in my first year as a published author by Kristin Tubb from Do Things Different. Peek: “Getting your book into specialty stores is time-consuming, but can be worth it.” Note: in celebration of the one-year anniversary of Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different (Delacorte) one-year anniversary, Kristin will make a $1.00 donation to Friends of the Smokies for each valid comment she receives in the comment section of the above linked post between now and Oct. 31. See a book trailer for the novel below.

Interview with Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Author of Crazy Beautiful by Emily at BookKids! From the crazy folks at BookPeople. Peek: “a unique reimaging of the classic fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” Unlike many retellings, Baratz-Logsted approached her novel without magic or folklore, using the stark realities of high school to create her ‘Beauty’ and ‘Beast’ characters.”

Padma Venkatraman on Climbing The Stairs (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2008) from readergirlz. Peek: “…if they are referring to the mistreatment of women in India in 1941, let me just point out that mistreatment of women has (unfortunately) occurred in all societies at different times in our shared human history (and I’ve never found it pretty).”

More Personally

Welcome to Austin, YA author Bethany Hegedus! Bethany is the 2009 debut author of Between Us Baxters (WestSide), and she blogs at And Then: The Daily Dramas of a Children’s Writer.

I’m honored to report that Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) is a nominee in the teen category for the fantasy/science fiction Cybils Award! See the whole list!

Speaking of Eternal, thanks to Shelli at Market My Words for the shout out about my “hot angel book!” Made my day!

Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith from YA Rock Starlette Blog. An interview about Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008). Peek: “The restaurant setting came easiest. I’d worked as a waitress after high school and in college to help pay for my educational expenses.”

Here’s a book trailer by Shayne Leighton in celebration of Tantalize:

Celebrate the National Day on Writing on Oct. 20! Hear my thoughts on the subject!

I look forward to seeing “Where The Wild Things Are” with friends tonight. See the official trailer! Note: Austinites, we’re going to the IMAX Theater because the Alamo South was all sold out.

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!

Cynsational Events

Kate DiCamillo will speak and sign The Magician’s Elephant, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka (Candlewick, 2009) at 4 p.m. Oct. 17 at BookPeople in Austin. See Kate’s entire tour schedule. Read a Cynsations interview with Kate.

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. And don’t miss this week’s blog post by both!

“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.

SCBWI-Illinois’ Fifth Annual Prairie Writer’s Day: Brick by Brick: The Architecture of Our Stories will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. Speakers include: Stacy Cantor, associate editor at Walker; Nick Eliopulos, associate editor at Random House; T.S. Ferguson, assistant editor at Little, Brown; Yolanda LeRoy, editorial director at Charlesbridge; Cynthia Leitich Smith, award-winning author and Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member; and Michael Stearns, agent and co-founder of Upstart Crow Literary.

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)!

2010 Houston-SCBWI Conference is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2010, at the Merrell Center in Katy. Registration is now open. The faculty includes author Cynthia Leitich Smith, assistant editor Ruta Rimas of Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, creative director Patrick Collins of Henry Holt, senior editor Alexandra Cooper of Simon & Schuster, senior editor Lisa Ann Sandell of Scholastic, and agent Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc. Note: critique slots are limited; Alexandra Cooper and Ruta Rimas critiques have already sold out.