Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win Vampireology: A Genuine and Moste Authentic Ology (Candlewick, 2010)! From the promotional copy:

Long before the term vampire was born, long before Bram Stoker fictionalized this being’s ways, blood-drinking demons were banished to Earth by Michael’s host of Angels, or so the Bible describes.

Now this rich, mesmerizing resource, written in 1900, sheds light on what happened hence to the three vampire bloodlines — especially the tortured souls known as the Belial. Interspersed are booklets, flaps, and letters between a young paranormal researcher who discovered the book in the 1920s and an oddly alluring woman who seeks his help. Among the phenomena explored are:

* vampires’ genealogical origins, attributes, and range

* myths about the making of vampires

* secrets of vampires’ powers and shape-shifting skills

* tips for spotting vampires, protecting oneself, and fighting back

* case studies of famous vampires — and vampire hunters — through history

* a shocking overview of vampires “living” among us

Explore (if you dare) the true history of the Fallen Ones — and follow the fate of a 1920s investigator lured by a beauty with violet eyes.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Vampireology” 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: midnight CST April 30. Note: U.S. entries only.

Cynsational Winners

The winners of Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (Knopf, 2010) are Karen in California, Jennifer in Wyoming, and Kristen in Oregon. Read a guest post by Margo on Short Stories and Novels – Different Animals, Different Taming Techniques.

The winners of How Not To Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, 2010) are Amy in Utah, Mark in New Jersey, and Lena in Texas. Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

The winners of the T-shirt tie in to Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Hyperion, 2010) are Lauren in Pennsylvania and Jude in Massachusetts. Both winners also will receive a copy of the novel! Read a Cynsations interview with Rachel.

National Cowboy Museum Announces Wrangler Award Winners of the 49th Annual Western Heritage Awards

Oklahoma City– For the 49th time, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum announces the Western Heritage Awards. The awards honor and encourage the legacy of those whose works in literature, music, film and television reflect the significant stories of the American West.

The Western Heritage Awards are presented at a black-tie banquet at the Museum, set for April 17. Each winner in attendance receives a Wrangler, an impressive bronze sculpture of a cowboy on horseback. Awards presented in 2010 are for works completed in 2009. Qualified professionals outside the Museum staff judge all categories. Qualified professionals outside the Museum staff judge all categories.

There are seven categories in the literary competition. They include Western novel, nonfiction book, art book, photography book, juvenile book, magazine article and poetry book.

Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan Williams (McElderry, 2009) is the Outstanding Juvenile Book. The novel, published by McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, tells the story of Cam O’Mara, grandson and younger brother to championship bull riders. Cam is more interested in skateboarding and focuses on making his tricks perfect — that is until his older brother Ben comes home from the war — paralyzed.

Williams, a former elementary school teacher, writes a moving story of one family’s struggle to live with the life changing effect of war and injury. Cam promises Ben to carry on the family tradition of bull riding if Ben promises not to give up. Will 8 seconds and $15,000 help the family heal? Find out in Williams’ book written for grades 7 through 10.

Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.

More News & Giveaways

Cover Stories: So Punk Rock by Micol Ostow, with art by David Ostow by Melissa Walker from readergirlz. Peek: “The committee who chose the cover was torn and it took them a while to decide on the final cover because in essence, all 3 covers are very similar in their feel and look with slight variations in the imagery.” Read a Cynsations interview with Micol and David.

Bologna Book Fair–Illustrators, International Youth Library and more book sightings by Sarah Johnson from Through the Tollbooth. Note: one of a series of posts that takes you inside the fair.

Constant Cussing
by Natalie Whipple from Between Fact and Fiction. Peek: “To me, swearing is like caviar or a really good bleu cheese—a little goes a long way.” Source: Nathan Bransford.

The dark heart of modern fairytales: A slew of recent literary fiction with young adult protagonists is at last restoring fairytales’ socially subversive origins from The Guardian. Peek: “The world of the other, of gods and demons, fairies and tricks, is there to teach us about this world, the world of families, houses, love and hate, happiness and sorrow.” Source: @mitaliperkins.

Writers and Technology: a new blog by Anindita Basu Sempere. Peek: “This blog is a space in which to explore the relationship between writers and technology, covering everything from software for writers to new forms of storytelling.”

Read Alikes: Ecological Disasters by Karin Librarian from Karin’s Book Nook. Peek: “I love disaster movies/books. My favorite movie is ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and I’m always up for a new book that throws me in a world of death and destruction.”

Retelling Traditional Stories by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “Because I was writing for an Indian publisher, I could also make some assumptions about audience. I didn’t have to worry about whether readers would ‘get it.’ I could give myself permission to write in the kind of voice a storyteller might employ to speak to an audience, while assuming certain commonalities in framework and context.” Read a Cynsations interview with Uma.

In the Past or Present by Tabitha Olson from Writer Musings. Peek: “To have a completely effective story told in present tense, the characters must be in the moment, not the author.”

“It Suddenly Dawned on Her”: Improving Your Character Epiphanies by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “The term ‘epiphany’ was originally a religious term referring to the physical appearance of a deity. In fiction, it’s the point at which truth appears before a character; the character learns or understands something.” Read a Cynsations interview with Darcy.

Russian Books for Kids
from Chicken Spaghetti. Peek: “All these great picture books concerning Russia, Russian folk tales, and Russian-American experiences.”

M.T. Anderson: new official author website. Includes insights from M.T. on his books, the text of several of his speeches, including On The Intelligence of Teens. Peek: “…the one thing which still causes people pause – the final hurdle – the last frontier – the one element which still gets a few adult readers up in arms about whether a book is appropriate for kids – is intelligence.” Read a Cynsations interview with M.T.

Co-op Redux
by Eric from Pimp My Novel. Peek: “In a digital environment, you won’t have front-of-store promotions, aisle endcaps, or tables of discounted titles; instead, you’ll have banner ads, e-couponing (those of you who subscribe to the Barnes & Noble or Borders coupon e-mails will be familiar with these), front-page splashes and placement…” Source: Elizabeth Scott. See also All About Co-op from Nathan Bransford.

Sonia Gensler: a new official site from the author of The Revenant (Knopf, 2011). Note: this author lives in Oklahoma and has a cat. Both good signs.

Thoughts on Writing: The Very First You by Seanan McGuire. Peek: “While I am happy to allow that you can definitely style yourself after someone, I don’t think that anyone can be the next insert-name-here.”

Author/Illustrator Reminder: you may own the copyright to your book, but you don’t own it to reviews published about it. Do not republish them online (or elsewhere) without permission. Keep quotes short, attribute, and link to the source.

Congratulations to Beverly Patt on the upcoming release of Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook, (Marshall Cavendish, April 2010). Peek: “German-American Louise Kessler, 14, starts a scrapbook when her best friend, Dottie Masuoka, leaves for the Japanese internment camps. Louise’s scrapbook includes items from her life ‘on the home front’ as well as Dottie’s letters and drawings from the internment camp. Together, their intertwined stories tell of a friendship that even war cannot tear apart.” Note: the book has already received a starred review from School Library Journal and has been named to the Great Lakes, Great Books Spring 2010 List. Read a Cynsations interview with Beverly.

Featured Sweetheart: Verla Kay from The Texas Sweethearts. Peek: “The most important thing about my [Children’s Writers & Illustrators] message board (to me) is that it stays a “clean and safe” place for writers and illustrators to share information. That can be a tough job, and it’s an impossible one for just one person to do.” Read a Cynsations interview with Verla.

What Makes a Science Fiction/Fantasy Book YA? by Peni R. Griffin from Idea Garage Sale. Peek: “If the bearded wise man wears a lab coat, it’s science fiction, even if there’s no scientific justification for what he does. If he wears a robe, it’s fantasy, even if the things he does are rooted in theoretical physics.” Read a Cynsations interview with Peni.

Author/Illustrator Tip: when presenting with others on a panel or at a reading, be gracious, mindful, and respectful of everyone’s time with the microphone. You’ll be more fondly remembered by your peers and the event planner, if you do.

Jennifer Laughran, Agent Extraordinaire: an interview by Margie Gelbwasser. Peek: “I would love some funny wonderful classic-feeling Middle Grade fiction, like The Penderwicks [by Jeanne Birdsall] or Andrew Clements. It is extremely hard to write. ” Read a Cynsations interview with Jennifer.

How Much Can You Take? by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “…you need to block out what you read about ‘overnight successes’ in the publishing business.”

Naming Your Characters by Alex Flinn. Peek: “Characters who are outsiders or who defy trends get names that reflect that, unusual names.” Read a Cynsations interview with Alex.

YALITCHAT by Kelly Hashway from Kelly Hashway’s Books. Peek: “I originally thought Twitter was a place for people to post all the mundane details of their day, and yes some people do this. However, I only follow agents and other writers, and the ones I follow tend to tweet about useful things.”

10 Book Design Terms Explained by Carol Brendler from Jacket Knack. Peek: “Foil: ‘A metallic or pigmented coating on plastic sheets or rolls used in foil stamping and foil embossing.'”

Canadian First Nations Literature: a celebration from Papertigers. Features include: an interview with author-Literacy advocate David Bouchard by Marjorie Coughlan; interview with Patty Lawlor, Program Coordinator of “First Nation Communities Read” by Sally Ito; and a peek into the illustrator’s gallery at the work of C.J. Taylor and Julie Flett.

Win an Advanced Copy of Nice and Mean by Jessica Leader and More! Deadline April 8. Open to citizens of the U.S. and Canada.

Attention Traditionally Trade-Published Texas Children’s-YA Authors & Illustrators: please check your listings on the immediately previously linked page and let me know if you have any corrections/added. Please note that the page is updated monthly. Thanks!

Reminder: this week Cynsations featured: new voice Y.S. Lee on The Agency: A Spy in the House (Candlewick, 2010)(“what happened to smart, unconventional women in the period. If you weren’t a good little girl, and you didn’t have a lot of money, what on earth happened to you?”); Arnold Adoff and Kacy Cook on Virginia Hamilton: Speeches, Essays, & Conversations (Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2010)(“when our son, jaime, began to write and publish for young readers [see Jaime Adoff], i wanted to get out to conferences with him…to introduce him to old friends and colleagues, share a platform, enjoy a joint reading and our spirited public conversations….i began to re-enter the world of books and publishing…”; Writing Across Formats: Marion Dane Bauer (“I don’t think the emotional reality has changed for our young people, but the same emotional realities are being housed in very different vessels.); and the cover art for Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton, Nov. 11, 2010)(ages 4-up).

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Simon & Schuster). See also Jasper Dash Desktop Wallpapers.

Check out the book trailer for White Cat by Holly Black (The Curse Workers)(McElderry, 2010).

Check out this book trailer for The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf, 2009). Source: A Fuse #8 Production.

Check out the book trailer for Mistwood by Leah Cypess (Greenwillow, April 27, 2010).

Check out the latest trailer, featuring upcoming releases, from The Tenners:

In case you haven’t heard, there’s this series about a boy named Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic). Source: Cool Kids Read.

From Teen Librarian Adriana Melgoza

Attention YA Authors: “This summer teens at the Alhambra Civic Center Library will be invited to participate in a unique reading program called ‘Making a Difference @Your Library.’ We hope to encourage teens to actively participate in events that will inspire them to make a difference in their community. Part of our incentives will of course be books, so we are asking young adult authors who can spare a copy of their books (signed is better!) to please donate one to our cause. The teens and the staff at the Alhambra Library greatly appreciate all your help!” Note: “We will be running publicity in the city’s community events newspaper, “Around Alhambra,” and will be sure include author’s names/books in our summer reading flyers and print material.” Mailing address: Alhambra Civic Center Library; Attn: Adriana Melgoza; 101 S. First St.; Alhambra, CA 91801.

More Personally

What fun I had at the salon party for Maddie’s Purple Party at Embellish Nails & Boutique in Westlake, Texas, in celebration of the release of Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (Delacorte, 2010).

Our hostess was Varian’s wife Crystal.

She created an amazing tie-in scrapbook for the novel.

And served cake!

Here, Crystal gives one of many purple scarves (we all got one) to Cyndi Hughes, director of the Writers’ League of Texas.

We also all had manicures with purple nail polish. Here’s Vanessa.

And Jo Whittemore. April Lurie and Frances Yansky are farther down.

Mary Baker of Embellish did a first-rate job.

Check out Donna Bowman Bratton‘s purple stylings.

And Julie Lake‘s.

Shalou looks at the scrapbook.

Then Varian himself arrived to join the festivities.

He chatted with the ladies.

Cake was served.

And everyone showed off their nails.

You see what I mean.

Did Varian himself get a manicure? I’ll never say.

But Debbie Gonzales won the big giveaway drawing.

The rest of us received goodies, too!

Take a peek!

Then on Saturday, the action moved to BookPeople, where Varian threw a joint launch party with April Lurie.

Didn’t they look nice?

Check out their books!

And cover art cake!

Crystal shoots some photos.

Tim Crow visits with Meredith Davis.

Jo shows off her new release, Front Page Face-Off (Aladdin, 2010), April’s The Less-Dead, and Varian’s Saving Maddie (both Delacorte, 2010). See also Coffee Break Tuesday with Jo Whittemore from Debbi Michiko Florence.

The featured authors interviewed each other.

Lindsey Lane and Greg Leitich Smith.

Frances and Brian Yansky visit with Margo Rabb.

The famous Delacorte Dames and Dude–April, Bethany Hegedus, Varian, Jenny Ziegler, and Margo.

In other news, highlights of the week included receiving these books from Richard Van Camp. Read an interview with Richard Van Camp by Judith Saltman from Papertigers. Peek: “Family, identity, culture, and the essential question: “What does it mean to be Dogrib?” I was raised away from the Dogribs because my parents were taxidermists in Forth Smith…. So, because I’m half White and half Dogrib, family and identity are recurring themes in my writing.”

Even More Personally

I spent much of the week reviewing sketches for the Tantalize graphic novel, and now I’m back on deadline for the final round on Blessed (both Candlewick).

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Brigid Gorry-Hines from Cafe Skill. Peek: “I was geeky—very into comic books and ‘Star Wars,’ which I saw over 300 times. I drove a red 1968 Mustang Coupe. I miss that car.”

In Which Kaz Reads Stuff by Karen Mahoney. Peek: “If you love vampires and werewolves but are getting a little tired of the same-old, same-old, give Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) a shot.”

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 Cynthia Leitich Smith.

The Texas Library Association Annual Conference will be April 14 to April 17 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Note: I’ll be speaking from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. on the “A Conversation Between Books and Technology” panel with Jay Asher, Corey Doctorow, Maureen Johnson, and Jude Watson. Then I’ll sign books from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. See a schedule of Austin authors at TLA.

Release party – author Chris Barton will celebrate Shark v. Train, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Little Brown, 2010) at 1 p.m. April 24 at BookPeople in Austin. Read a Cynsations interview with Chris.

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. See faculty bios. Note: I’m honored to be participating as a keynote speaker!