Cynsational News & Giveaways

28 Days Later: Tonya Hegamin by The Brown Bookshelf from 28 Days Later: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature. Peek: “I’m a storyteller. In teaching fiction and in teaching poetry I want to get my students to the same underbelly of human beauty that strikes a chord in the reader.” Note: 28 Days Later is a month-long series; be sure to check out the other interviews/features.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Cybils! And special cheers to my two nominees, All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane) and The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton; illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge). Read a Cynsations interview with Chris.

Guest Post: Ask Agent Jennifer Laughran from Justine Larbalestier. Peek: “So you want an agent. First of all—is your book finished? Not just ‘I have enough pages to basically make a book…sorta,’ but seriously finished, polished, like you could see it on the shelves of a store?” Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

Deception by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “Writers aren’t like musicians. A lot of musicians can be very good when they’re very young. Most writers who’ve published have written a bad novel or two or three or four before they write a good novel.” See also Process by Brian. Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

The Showdown by Jo Whittemore from The Spectacle. Peek: “Every good showdown is either physical, emotional, or mental. Sometimes, it can be a combination of the three. ” Note: features a list of elements to consider. Read a Cynsations interview with Jo.

Author Authenticity and the Right to Write by Renee Ting from Shen’s Books. Peek: “Who should have the right to tell a story? Can people outside of a group write authentically about members of the group?”

AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books 2010 SB&F Prize Winners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Source: @mitaliperkins.

Let It Rain! by Emma Dryden from Our Stories, Ourselves. Peek: “…the very best stories—in books and in life—are those in which the characters make it through whatever happens, coming out the other side soiled or bruised or worse, but all the more strong and wise.”

Q&A with Dana Goldberg of Children’s Book Press from papertigers. Peek: “Founded in 1975, Children’s Book Press is a nonprofit independent publisher of multicultural and bilingual literature by and about people from the Latino, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American communities.” Read an interview with Dana from Cynsations.

World Building by Anna Staniszewski from Alisa M. Libby: a ghost queen, a bloody countess, and me. Peek: “Not only does magic have to adhere to strict rules, it needs to come with a price, e.g. every time the boy has a vision, it drains him of his strength.”

Character Checklist by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Note: focuses on 17 character qualities. Read a Cynsations interview with Darcy.

Book List: Nerd Alert and Geek Pride by Little Willow from Bildungsroman. Peek: “Someone online asked for a list of YA novels that included a lot of nerdy references. The request specifically asked for realistic fiction, nothing fantasy. I, a self-proclaimed geek and nerd, had many suggestions, including…”

Congratulations to Marion Dane Bauer on the release of The Very Little Princess, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles (Random House, 2010). From the promotional copy: “Regina is only 3-1/4 inches tall, but she knows from the moment she wakes up in her dollhouse bed that she is a princess. Why else would she have such a lovely pink gown? Why else would she have such golden hair and flawless skin? And why else would she have a four-foot, curly-haired human creature to wait on her? Meanwhile Zoey, that four-foot, curly-haired creature, has always dreamed that someday one of her dolls would come alive. But in her dreams, the doll never ordered her around. The doll didn’t call her a servant. And the doll was a whole lot nicer! In a classic storyteller’s voice, Marion Dane Bauer tells an exquisite tale of friendship, family, and loss, laced with humor and joy.” Read a Cynsations interview with Marion.

Print On Demand Does Not Equal Instant Bookstore by Tracy Marchini from My VerboCity. Peek: “If the publisher retains print-on-demand rights, how many books does an author have to sell in order to make it worthwhile for the author?” Read a Cynsations interview with Tracy.

Ethiopia in Her Heart: an interview with Jane Kurtz by LeAnne Hardy from International Christian Fiction Writers. Peek: “It does bother me when we Christians only talk with each other or others like us: one of the legacies of my childhood, no doubt. So one big advantage of my choice is having a voice in a wide and varied community of readers.” Read a Cynsations interview with Jane.

Peace Study Center: “Our mission is to build a more peaceful world, one book at a time. By sharing quality literature with children, we will inspire them to resolve differences without violence and learn to appreciate diversity through educational experiences.”

Win An Advance Copy of The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt from Kimberly. Deadline: noon CST Feb. 22. Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

When the Rubber Meets the Road by Rachelle Gardner from Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Peek: “…I want you to tell yourself, “Okay, this is what I signed up for. They said it would be difficult, and this is what difficult looks like. I can do this.” Source: QueryTracker.

Austin SCBWI: official website — expanded with more community and member news.

Austin SCBWI 2010: a conference report by Donna Bowman Bratton from Simply Donna. See also Good News from the Austin’s Children’s-YA Writing Community from Simply Donna and Austin Scene Sparkles by Shana Burg from A Thousand Never Evers.

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win Bell’s Star (Horse Diaries 2) by Alison Hart, illustrated by Ruth Sanderson (Random House, 2009). From the promotional copy:

Vermont, 1850s

Bell’s Star is a brown Morgan colt with a white star and two white stockings. He was bred for hard work, yet he longs to run free with his human friend, Katie, on his back. But when Star helps rescue a runaway slave girl, his ideas about freedom may change forever. Here is Star’s story . . . in his own words.

With exciting and knowledgeable text and lovely black-and-white art throughout—both by real horse owners—Horse Diaries are the perfect fit for all lovers of horses and history!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Bell’s Star” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the title in the header or comment on this round-up; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: Feb. 28.

Read “Writing About Horses” by Alison Hart from Cynsations.

Enter to win one of two copies of The Book of Samuel by Erik Raschke (St. Martin’s, 2009). To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “The Book of Samuel” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the title in the header or comment on this round-up; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: Feb. 28. Note: one copy of each book will be reserved for a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature; the other will go to any Cynsations reader!

Cynsational Screening Room

A video interview with Jerry Pinkney from Reading Rockets. Peek: “Jerry Pinkney talks about growing up as a slow reader and the early encouragement he received as a young artist.”

More Personally

Visit with Cynthia Leitich Smith from TRT Book Club. From those who missed it, a new Q&A author interview went live yesterday. Peek: “I’m a Capricorn of the mountain-goat variety, always try to push myself to greater heights and having to make a special effort to play once in a while.”

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith: a review from Book Chic. Peek: “The climax was really fun to read and had me on the edge of my seat and turning pages as quickly as I could to see what happened next.”

It was my pleasure to provide a blurb for Kimberley Griffiths Little’s upcoming novel, The Healing Spell (Scholastic).

Cynsational Events

The Greater Houston Teen Book Convention is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 10 at Alief Taylor High School, and admission is free! Speakers include keynoter Sharon Draper and:

Master Class/Writing Salon Event Details from Austin SCBWI. Peek: A Master Class/Writing Salon for the advanced writer, led by author Carol Lynch Williams, will be held May 15 at the Ranch House at Teravista in Round Rock, Texas. The cost is $80. Read a Cynsations interview with Carol.

Moments of Change: the New England SCBWI Conference will take place May 14 to May 16 in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. See conference schedule, workshop descriptions, manuscript critique guidelines, and special conference offerings. Note: I usually list conference speakers/critiquers, but as you’ll see from the faculty bios (all eleven pages), it’s an unusually big group. I will say, however, that I’m honored to be participating as a keynote speaker!