Cynsational News & Giveaways

American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature. Debbie points to a PDF file of resources provided to parents and educators by the National Museum of the American Indian as well as recommended books for young readers.

Teacher and Librarian Resources for Children’s and YA Books with Native Themes from Children’s Book Author Cynthia Leitich Smith. A collection of educator links and guide books. See also Native American Youth Literature Widget from JacketFlap. Add this widget to your blog to raise awareness of books by Native children’s authors and illustrators!

Aladdin M!X: official imprint website. Peek: “So you’re too old for kids’ books, but your mom will freak out if you come home with anything scandalous. Aladdin M!X is the perfect fit.” Reprints Out-of-Print Titles by Guild Members from the Authors Guild. Peek: “The Guild’s service makes out-of-print works available through online bookstores and the nation’s largest book wholesaler. There is no charge for members to participate, for most titles.”

Indie Bookseller Interview: Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy by Cindy Pon from the Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: “What’s most rewarding is probably the reader who comes back and expresses appreciation for a recommendation, when I successfully tell someone about a book I enjoy that I think is a good match for their tastes.”

Reading beyond reality: Interview with Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix, by Stacy Whitman at Tu Publishing. Peek: “I’ve read beyond my comfort zone and favorite genres since deciding to become a writer–and I would encourage all readers to do the same. If you only read romance, try some mystery. If you only read high fantasy, try contemporary or urban fantasy, etc.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cindy.

The Loft Literary Center: “Incorporated in 1975 in a space above a Minneapolis bookstore, The Loft Literary Center has grown to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive literary center. It is located in the award-winning Open Book literary arts building in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the heart of one of the most literate and book-friendly regions in the country.” Note: offerings include classes in writing for young readers.

The Myth of Reading Up by Megan Frazer at Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “In my job as a high school librarian, I help teens to make their reading choices every day. For the most part, they want to read about other teenagers. When I look at the fiction on my return cart, I do not see a row of adult novels. Instead I see mostly YA, with a few Jodi Picoult and Stephen King thrown in – authors, it should be noted, who often feature teen characters.” Read a Cynsations interview with Megan Frazer.

Peaches & Messy First Drafts by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk: Random thoughts on the art and craft of fiction writing. Peek: “I have to say that too much mess isn’t good. If your manuscript keeps breaking off into big lumpy sections and has no unifying forces holding it together, then you could end up with a draft that can’t be made to fit no matter how many times you revise it.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

2009 Debut Library Giveaway from the 2009 Debutantes. Peek: “To celebrate Teens Read Week, the YA and MG authors of Debut 2009 are giving away a 46 book set of their debut novels to one lucky library, anywhere in the world! From Oct. 18 until Dec. 31, we’ll be taking entries from librarians only- public and school libraries are eligible.”

The Acquisition Process by the Buried Editor at Buried in the Slush Pile. Peek: “I created a flowchart of the acquisition process.” Note: context is acquisitions at Blooming Tree Press and CBAY.

Re-Agented! (or It’s a Small World After All*) by Deena Lipomi at Author2Author. Peek: “After my agent left the agenting business this summer and I was left floating on my own in a world of editor research, I am now re-agented! And let me tell you, the way this went down was nothing but serendipity (and a little bit of talent, right?).”

Writer Beware from Lucienne Diver at Authorial, Agently and Personal Ramblings. Advice on how to avoid scams and find a reputable agent. Read a Cynsations interview with Lucienne.

100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens, and Teens from Online School. Peek: “Whether you are interested in literature for the very young, teen and young adult literature, or specialized genres such as multicultural literature, poetry, or comics and graphic novels, these blogs will help you find the best books available–leaving you more time for reading and enjoying this literature.” Note: I’m honored to see Cynsations on the list.

2009 Co-Winners Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award from Texas State University are: The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans by Carmen Tafolla (Wings, 2008) and He Forgot to Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Source: Mitali’s Fire Escape.

Rejecting Rejection and Embracing Revision from Tabitha Olson at Writer Musings: A place to ponder books, as well as how the words get on the page. Peek: “Even the word, re-jec-ted, sounds so harsh. But that doesn’t mean we can’t turn it into a good thing.”

Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest: “Serendipity Literary Agency, in collaboration with Sourcebooks and Gotham Writers’ Workshop, is hosting its first Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition for a chance to win a one-on-one consultation with one of New York’s leading YA literary agents!” See details.

Jessica Leader: official site of the debut author of Nice and Mean (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, 2010). Peek: “Jessica Leader grew up in New York City. Like the characters in Nice and Mean, she had many important conversations in the stairwells of her school and on the cross-town bus. In high school, she won a playwriting contest that led to her play being produced all over the country. She earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. In between those two events, she taught English and drama, first in New York and then in Louisville, Kentucky.”

Cynsational Tip: if you have a don’t-miss link for the Friday round-up, please feel free to suggest it. I’m looking for substantial interviews, writer resources, articles on the writing life and craft, children’s-YA book giveaways, and other posts/resources of interest to teens, writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and other industry pros/community members.

Thanksgiving Giveaway: Giving Thanks to Public and School Librarians from the Class of 2k9: Middle Grade and YA Debut Authors. Peek: “Between now and Thanksgiving weekend, the Class of 2K9 will be celebrating the many wonderful librarians who’ve supported us throughout the year by offering…three sets of books.” These include a full set for public libraries and a set for an elementary/middle school and high school respectively.

Gothic Fantasy and Suspense for Teens and ‘Tweens from from Children’s Book Author Cynthia Leitich Smith. An annotated bibliography of spooky reads, links to author interviews, and writing resource links.

Editing: How To Avoid Staring Into The Great Black Abyss by Elana Johnson at Peek: “I’m going to give you some pointers that have helped me tackle my 320-page manuscript, edit it, polish it, get it to betas and then out the door in less than 30 days.”

Win a Signed Copy of Operation Yes! by Sara Lewis Holmes (Arthur A. Levine, 2009) from Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. Peek: “…we’re giving away two signed, personalized copies. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment at this post, telling us who your favorite teacher was/is (real or fictional), and why.” Deadline: midnight EST Nov. 5. See more information.

A Touch of Grace: Grace Lin’s new novel is a tribute to her late husband–and a reminder of what really matters by Madeleine Blais from School Library Journal. Peek: “‘Basically, I spent two years contributing to the world’s landfills,’ she says. An unusual tone of self-satisfaction creeps into her voice: ‘And then, a wonderful thing happened. I lost my job.'” Read a Cynsations interview with Grace.

The Reverse Snobbery of Low Literary Aspirations by Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent. Peek: “…there is definitely something that is lost in the over-celebration of mass appeal and the lowest common denominator and the dismissal of experts, and I really think it can be taken too far. What about aspiring to create something that is great, rather than merely popular.” Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Twitter Chats for Writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi from Daily Diversions for Writers. Peek: “If you want to say something in the chat, just post your comment to Twitter, but make sure the hashtag is included somewhere in your post so other people in the chat will see it. That’s the simplest way to participate in a chat so if you’re in a hurry, there’s no need to read further.” Source: Jessica Lee Anderson.

More Personally

Around the kitlitosphere, I loved this peek into a Liz Garton Scanlon preschool event. Gorgeous photography! You can almost see the fairy dust! I also enjoyed Jody Feldman’s report on P.J. Hoover and Jessica Lee Anderson’s signing party!

Cynsations: a recommendation from Elizabeth Burns (Liz B) at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: All I want: like Buffy, I want a chair. A fireplace. A tea cozy. And to talk about stories. Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea. Peek: “If you’re reading children’s and young adult books; writing them; reviewing them; or just want to know more about what is going on this part of the book world? Read Cynsations.” Note: this post means a lot to me.

Round-up of Quotes from my Tantalize Interviews from Jo Ann Hernandez at BronzeWorld: Latino Authors. Peek: “Tantalizing tidbits abound as Cynthia dishes on writing, Gothic lit, favorite things and her latest novel.”

Halloween Review: Eternal by Miss Attitude from Reading in Color. Peek: “This book will stay with me for close to eternity I’m sure! It was funny, sweet and thought-provoking in a very subtle way. Oh and I now officially love vampires. I understand the craze, because even though vampires are evil in Eternal, there is just something about them that draws you in.” Note: enter to win copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and Asleep by Wendy Raven McNair (CreateSpace, 2009) from Reading in Color. Deadline: midnight CST Oct. 31; see more information.

Highlights of the week included the Austin Teen Book Festival. My fan girl moment? Meeting Heather Brewer, pictured here with Austin authors Bethany Hegedus and Shana Burg.

Another thrill? Seeing rock-star YA author Carrie Jones (behind the book).

Varian Johnson with a yellow rose from the Texas Sweethearts.

Sweethearts Jo Whittemore and Jessica Lee Anderson.

The Westlake (TX) High dance team performing “Thriller” for the authors at lunch.

My gift bag! I especially loved the original art card. The vampire-mouth candies were fun too!

It was an amazing line-up–also including keynoter Libba Bray, Daniel Waters, Jennifer Ziegler, Justine Larbalestier, Rick Yancey, Lisa McMann, Matt de la Pena, Deb Caletti, and Terra Elan McVoy–sorry for the lack of pics! As I was still coughing (just a cold), I kept my distance to the extent practical from my fellow speakers (for their own protection).

Thanks so much to the speakers, teens, parents, BookPeople staff (especially my moderator Emily), and librarians who made this debut event such a success! Special thanks to the YA readers who drove in all the way from Houston to see me! Wow!

Last Call 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

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. Hope to see y’all there!

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.