Cynsational News & Giveaways

Linda W. Braun: YALSA Teen Read Week — Reading Beyond Reality from Guest post from the president of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Peek: “Teen Read Week also promotes the idea that reading for pleasure doesn’t happen just with books. Reading magazines, graphic novels, blog posts, sports websites, etc. are ways in which teens can enjoy content.”

Your Inner Blogger, Advice for Blogging Authors, and Social Media Tips from Jama Rattigan at Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. A Kidlitcon 2009 report. Peek: “I am more apt to pick up a book by someone who has taken the time to share who they are as human beings, engage with others, voice honest opinions, and express an interest in something other than ‘me, me, me.'”

Nonfiction Writing As a Way To Learn by April Pulley Sayre from INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “Like teaching, writing involves shaping what you know into digestible pieces of information. You also have to open yourself to questions that might arise. This encourages you to fill the gaps in your own knowledge.”

Win Hate List by Jennifer Brown (Little, Brown, 2009) from Devyn Burton at Faerie Drink Review. Deadline: Nov. 7. See more information. Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

Author Linda Sue Park Wins Empire State Author Award by Rocco Staino from School Library Journal. Peek: “Newbery Medal-winning author Linda Sue Park is this year’s winner of the Empire State Author Award, given to a New York State children’s or YA author for a body of work.” Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Sue.

Author Websites part 1.75: What Not to Blog from the Intern. Also includes recommended topics. Under “not”: “Anything mean. You will regret it. No exceptions.”

How I Wrote Liar by Justine Larbalestier from Peek: “…it was more like writing poetry than a novel. I rewrote each one multiple times before the draft was completed, thinking about every single word, worrying about its placement on the page.” Read a Cynsations interview with Justine.

Angie Frazier: new website from the debut author of Everlasting (Scholastic, 2010). See also Angie Frazier: Adventures of a YA Novelist.

Creative Chaos II: The occasional postings of a writer, illustrator, and mom. from Anna J. Boll. Peek: Anna reviews nonfiction, fiction and poetry for middle grade and picture book audiences. She is accepting books, ARCs and F&G’s for August 2009 to March 2010 books. No self-published books. After the review, books can be returned or donated to a local school library. Please email Anna at annajboll at gmail dot com for more information.

Featuring Mélanie Watt by Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “My husband taught our girls to say, at very young ages, ‘commercials are for suckers.’ This would be why I’m happy to share some illustrations today from Mélanie Watt’s newest picture book, Have I Got a Book for You! (Kids Can), in which Mr. Al Foxword, one very insistent salesman, tries just about everything to get you to buy his book already.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mélanie.

Tina Kugler Studio: children’s illustrator Tina Kugler spent ten years drawing storyboards for Walt Disney Studios and Nickelodeon Animation. Clients include Teaching Textbooks, Teacher’s Discovery, and Birmingham Parent. Note: Tina is a Cynsational reader.

The Federal Trade Commission and Book Bloggers–update from Kidlitcon 09 from Charlotte’s Library: fantasy and science fiction books for children and teenagers. Peek: “Book bloggers who don’t get paid by publishers to act as shills for their books are independent reviewers, regardless of how many books they might get from publishers.” See also An Introvert Goes to the Kidlitosphere Conference by Jennifer R. Hubbard from Shrinking Violet Promotions.

Missed Opportunities by Brian Yansky at Brian’s Blog: Random thoughts on the art and craft of fiction writing. Peek: “The good thing about fiction is a missed opportunity isn’t really missed. We get do-overs all the time. We get the gift of revision.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Rosemary Wells: new official site of the children’s author-illustrator. Includes sections for kids, parents & educators, and original art. Note: don’t miss the video featured in “In the Studio.” Rosemary’s new releases include Lincoln and His Boys, illustrated by P.J. Lynch (Candlewick, 2009).

Marvelous Marketer: Michael Stearns (Upstart Crow Literary) from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “Do I Google new authors? Sure. Am I looking for the oft-bandied-about-but-never-adequately-defined-buzzword ‘platform’? God, no. I wouldn’t know a platform if I saw it.”

The Vibrant Triangle (part 1, part 2) from Liz Garton Scanlon at Liz In Ink. An interview with Tamara Ellis Smith on The Vibrant Triangle, “the dynamic between the picture book, the adult reader and the child listener.”

Publishing 101: What You Need to Know by Jerry D. Simmons from Writer’s Digest. Peek: “Here’s your step-by-step guide to the publishing process–how it works, why you need to know and how you can play an influential role in your book’s success.” Source: April Henry.

Congratulations to the Teens Top Ten books of 2009 (and their authors)!

Want your name in my book? an auction from L.K. Madigan at Drenched in Words. Peek: “I’m offering up for auction two minor character names in my 2010 YA fantasy, The Mermaid’s Mirror, scheduled for release in Fall 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.” Deadline: midnight Nov. 1.

Celebrating the National Day on Writing: A Revision Gallery: Kate Messner, author of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. (Walker, 2009) has created a resource for teachers who want their students to see examples of deep revision. Her “Revision Gallery” includes photos of marked-up manuscript pages from a collection of children’s and young adult authors, along with a short note from each writer about the revision process. The gallery is available as a series of jpegs here on Kate’s blog, where there’s also a link to the full presentation on SlideShare. Includes samples from authors Sarah Miller, Sara Lewis Holmes, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, Saundra Mitchell, Claudia Osmond, Maria Padian, Crissa-Jean Chappell, Kay Cassidy.

From Page to Screen: “Where the Wild Things Are” movie review by Claire E. Gross from the Horn Book. Peek: “…it’s the movie’s willingness to run with its new themes, darker than those of the book (yet, paradoxically, more invested in the underlying innocence of childhood) that allows it a measure of success.”

Kids’ books face a rough path to the big screen: Turning a simple short story into a 90-minute movie can be tricky by Alonso Duralde from MSNBC. Peek: “In ‘Wild Things,’ screenwriters Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze start the story before Sendak does, giving us an idea of Max’s life and the factors that guide his behavior.”

The 2009 Kirkus Reviews Teen Book Video Awards from Blog. Peek: “To watch these enticing book trailers, vote for your favorite, and read more about the competition and each of the filmmakers, visit We had a lot of fun watching the videos, and can’t wait to see who wins. Which video excites you about reading a book the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!”

Book Launch: Haven: an interview with author Beverly Patt on her debut novel Haven (Blooming Tree) from Janet S. Fox at Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “I struggle with guilt sometimes when I’m not writing. I have to remind myself that non-writing is good too. Not only does it pull you out of your hole and make you more sociable, it gives you new experiences to include in your writing.” Read a Cynsations interview with Beverly.

National Coalition Against Censorship Salutes Judy Blume by Sara Antill from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “while…accusatory responses have come from adults, the letters Blume has received from young readers paint a different picture. ‘Thank you for letting me know I’m normal,’ read one of the letters presented.” Read a Cynsations interview with Judy.

First Drafts by Brian Yansky at Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “Michelangelo was very eloquent about his approach to sculpting. He said, ‘I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.’ Oh, yes, very nice indeed. Very pretty. Lucky bunch, those sculptors.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Writing Contest: Create Another Another Faust from Daniel & Dina. Peek: “Write a 3000 word (max) retelling of the Faustian Bargain (“Another Another Faust”) set in any time, place, dimension, or world. Your story can be from any viewpoint, and you can get as creative as you’d like! Don’t exceed 3000 words, but don’t give us filler either. You can certainly tell an amazing story in just a few words.” Deadline: Jan. 31. See details.

See the book trailer below for Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Candlewick, 2009).

See the book trailer below for Hold Still by Nina LaCour (Dutton, 2009). Read Nina’s thoughts about making the trailer at Crowe’s Nest.

See the book trailer below for Racing Against the Odds: The Story of Wendell Scott, Stock Car Racing’s African-American Champion by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Marsahll Cavendish, 2009).

More Personally

Happy Teen Read Week! Thank you to everyone who turned out for my readergirlz chat with Holly Cupala and Lisa McMann on Wednesday night! See chat transcript! And don’t miss tonight’s readergirlz chat with authors Dia Calhoun and Sylvia Engdahl!

Cynthia Leitich Smith Celebrates Teen Read Week: a quick “Beyond Reality” Q&A from the YA Authors Cafe. Peek: Q: “What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?” A: “The yard gnome that Libba Bray gave me. I swear it comes to life at night.”

My latest review is from AudioFile Magazine of the Eternal audiobook from Listening Library (2009), though kudos really go to actors Allyson Ryan and Jesse Bernstein. Audiofile raves: “Together the narrators create magic: Listeners will both love and hate Miranda as she drinks her way through Chicago’s population, and the suspense is thrilling as Zachary desperately tries to figure out a way to save his undead princess.” Listen to a clip from Listening Library/Random House.

Highlights of the week also included Kate DiCamillo‘s signing last Saturday and Jessica Lee Anderson and P.J. Hoover‘s signing last Sunday, both at BookPeople in Austin.

Let’s start with Kate:

Here’s Kate, taking questions from a standing-room-only crowd, and this is on Texas-OU game day, which of course makes the turnout even more impressive. Kate’s new release is The Magician’s Elephant (Candlewick, 2009).

Here she is afterward, signing books. Note: I’d feature more pics of Kate, but this was about as close as I could get to her; it was one of those events where you had to get your specially color-coded bracelet in the morning.

Fans in attendance included writers Erin Edwards, Julie Lake (author of Galveston’s Summer of the Storm (TCU Press, 2003), and recent VCFA grad Jennifer Taylor.

Read a recent Cynsations interview with Kate about The Magician’s Elephant!

And now let’s go to P.J. and Jessica’s event! (P.J. is the taller of the two and has lighter hair).

Note the very cute T-shirts.

Note the authors’ family members, also in T-shirts!

Jessica and P.J. shared the stage, talked about their books, read, and took questions from kids in the audience. Jessica’s new book is Border Crossings (Milkweed, 2009), and P.J.’s new book is The Forgotten Worlds Book 2: The Navel of the World (CBAY, 2009).

P.J. and Jessica signed their books!

Here’s 2009 YA debut voice Bethany Hegedus (green)(author of Between Us Baxters (WestSide, 2009) with Austin SCBWI regional advisor Tim Crow and YA author Jennifer Ziegler (purple). Bethany has newly relocated to Austin from New York!

Here’s another first-time Austin author–K.A. Holt, whose debut book is Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel (Random House, 2009)!

Tim again, this time with Betty X. Davis, the grand lady of our writing community.

Writer Erin Edwards with Emma J. Virjan, debut author-illustrator of Nacho the Party Puppy (Random House, 2008)!

Jo Whittemore with her husband. Jo is the author of The Silverskin Legacy trilogy (Llewellyn, 2006-2007) and Front Page Face-Off (Aladdin MIX, 2010).

A handful of us grabbed lunch at Opal Divine’s on 6th Street afterward. Going around the table, here’s YA author April Lurie (lighter green), picture book author Frances Hill, YA author Brian Yansky (end of table), Greg again, author Debbie Gonzales, and Bethany again (darker green). Note: in this pic, not everyone has arrived yet.

Afterward, a couple of the authors visited my house and were kind enough to sign their books. Here’s Jessica and Bethany, both together and individually!

See also A Book Release Party and Other Random Bits from P.J. at Roots in Myth and An Interview with P.J. Hoover from Tabitha Olson at Writer Musings.

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

From BookPeople: “The first Austin Teen Book Festival: Read Beyond Reality will be this weekend, on Oct. 24 at Westlake High School. From 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the school will be filled with a who’s who of YA authors signing and selling their newest books.”