Cynsational News & Giveaways of Smells Like Dog & Morpheus Road

Enter to win a copy of Smells Like a Dog by Suzanne Selfors (Little, Brown, 2010)! From the promotional copy:

Smells Like Dog is another fun, well-written, and funny middle grade novel from Suzanne Selfors. It is the story of Homer Pudding, an ordinary farm boy who dreams of going on grand adventures like his uncle, the famous explorer Drake Pudding, and the dog he inherits when his beloved uncle mysteriously vanishes.

Homer doesn’t understand why Drake would call a droopy dog with no sense of smell “his most treasured possession,” until he discovers a mysterious coin hidden on Dog’s collar. Soon Homer, his sister Gwendolyn, and Dog are off to The City, a dangerous metropolis where they meet the conniving Madame La Directeur, Head of the Natural History Museum.

Homer soon realizes that Madame wishes to steal the coin and take Homer’s place in a secret society of adventurers known as L.O.S.T. Along the way, Dog is stolen, just as Homer learns that Dog has a hidden talent- he can smell treasure. Homer must go deep into the heart of the Museum to defeat Madame, rescue Dog, and take his uncle’s place in L.O.S.T.

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Smells Like Dog” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message or comment me with the name in the header/post; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: May 31. Publisher sponsored; U.S. entries only.

Love a spooky story? Enter to win a copy of Morpheus Road: The Light by by D. J. MacHale (Aladdin, 2010). Here’s the book trailer:

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Morpheus Road: The Light” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message/comment me with the name in the header/post; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: May 31. Publisher sponsored; U.S. entries only.

More News

50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know by compiled by Ginny Moore Kruse and Kathleen T. Horning; updated by Kathleen T. Horning, Carling Febry, Merri T. Lindgren and Megan Schliesman from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (2010 update). Note: I’m honored to see my chapter book, Indian Shoes, illustrated by Jim Madsen (HarperCollins, 2002) on the list in the ages seven-to-nine category. The review cheers, “An excellent collection of interrelated short stories will appeal to newly independent young readers ready to tackle one or more of these accessible stories.”

From Locus Online News: “The top five finalists in each category of the 2010 Locus Awards have been announced. Winners will be presented during the Science Fiction Awards Weekend in Seattle” from June 25 to June 27. The YA novel finalists are: The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker (Tachyon); Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Delacorte); Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic; Scholastic UK); Liar by Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury; Allen & Unwin Australia); and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK). See the whole list of finalists. Read Cynsations interviews with Libba, Justine, and Scott.

2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Awards Short List from the American Booksellers for Children. Special congratulations to Kate Messner (The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z (Walker)) and Grace Lin (Where The Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown)). Read a Cynsations interview with Grace.

Martha Alderson, Plot Consultant: an interview by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “…plot is detected most easily when you push aside the words of a story to reveal the plot strands of character, action, and theme in every good book at both the reading and the writing level.”

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson: a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLSBlog. Peek: “Can he bring back the old Maddie while keeping faith with God and his parents, when he doesn’t know who he is himself?” Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

Enter to Win Your Choice of Critique by Carmela A. Martino from Teaching Authors. The winner may choose from critiques of a fiction picture book (up to 1000 words), a nonfiction picture book or beginning of longer nonfiction manuscript (up to 1000 words), a synopsis of a middle grade or young adult novel; the first five pages of a middle grade or young adult novel (up to 1250 words); poetry (up to thirty lines, 12-point font)–this can be in one poem or several poems; or a middle grade short story (up to 1000 words). Deadline: May 4. See more information.

Process by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog – Writer Talk. Peek: “It’s not easy to trust your process because every writer faces moments in a manuscript when process might be blamed for any number of unfortunate situations.” Read a Cynsations interview with Brian.

Genius at Work vs. Working Writer by Mary Kole from Peek: “…you should learn novel craft, genre, form, structure and what the ‘standards’ are inside and out before you start to innovate. And you should prove to publishers that you can do well with a more conventional novel that follows the rules in terms of all these nitty gritty things (but feel free to be innovative in terms of plot points, story, language and characters, of course), before you try to recast the mold.”

Interview with Heather Brewer from Peek: “Bill and Tom are really just a summary of the experiences I had with bullies. If only I had had freaky vampire powers to get them to leave me alone! But my loss is Vlad’s gain.”

Beverly Cleary Turns 94 by Rocco Staino from School Library Journal. Peek: “When I started as a children’s librarian in 1939, I would been astonished to know that that my birthday would be remembered by School Library Journal in 2010.”

Congratulations to long-time Cynsations reader Brent Watson, who recently signed with Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency, and congratulations to Jill for signing Brent!

Interview with Michael Bourret, agent from Laurie Thompson: Nonfiction Author for Young Readers. Peek: “…recently signed up a novel based on a Poe story that I’m very excited about, and I’d love to see more dark, psychological thrillers. Something that makes my skin crawl would be great!”

Literary agent Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown is now accepting YA manuscript submissions to consider for possible client representation. Peek: “She loves complex characters, coming-of-age stories, and strong narrators.” Source: Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent.

Cover Artist Sally Wern Comport on One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia by Carol Brendler from Jacket Knack. Peek: “I chose a surreal landscape perspective so, rather than a montage, the scene is somewhat realistic and somewhat fantasy as are the stylizations of the three main characters.”

What a Great Critique Partner or Group Means by Mary Kole from Peek: “It’s all about growing and learning and evolving in the writing business. It’s up to you to find partners who are like-minded and who understand that. And once you get their feedback, it’s up to you to use it in your work and do the revisions.”

Wizlit: On the Wisdom and Power of Children’s Literature: a new blog from Paige Britt. Peek: “I read kid’s books because I enjoy them. But that’s not all. Lots of times, I gain amazing insights from them — insights that inspire me to approach life with wonder and profound respect. If that’s not wisdom, I don’t know what is.”

The Day Job: A Writer’s Inquiry: A blog in which we will explore the day to day jobs of writers and authors. A new blog from Erin Moulton. Peek: “My first book, Maple T. Rittle and the Quest for a Miracle comes out in Summer 2011 from Philomel A Penguin Young Readers Group. I am represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.”

How Do We Know What We Know? by Deborah Heiligman from INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “How do we know what we know? Or another way of putting this is: how can we be sure that what we know is true? That it won’t be disproved in a month, two years, a decade?”

Interview with Author R.L. LaFevers by Leah Cypress from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: “In addition to researching the British Museum, I poured over antique street maps of London, pictures of buildings, studied the Edwardian period and its differences from the Victorian period, London street life, clothing, funeral customs.”

Ready for a Coffee Break? Join author Debbi Michiko Florence in chatting with Vivian Vande Velde, Jerry Spinelli, Jo Whittemore, Erin Dionne, Elizabeth Scott, and Sara Zarr.

How a Blog is Like a Puppy by Tami Lewis Brown from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Do you want your blog to be a ferocious watch dog or a gentle lap dog? Like puppies, blogs have personalities. Will you write book reviews? Will you interview authors? Will you focus on marketing or your agent hunt or the daily work of a writer?”

Ma’am, Put Down the Laptop and Step Away from the Blog! by Hilary Wagner from The Prairie Wind. Peek: “Before you admit defeat and inter your blog in the vast online graveyard of blogs that had their last post in May of 2007, take a step back, take a breath, and realize you can do this.” Note: includes some tips from me and a few of my favorite fellow authors.

Bid to Win Critiques

Hunger Mountain Fund-raising Auction is ongoing now to May 9 on Ebay. Bid to win full length manuscript critiques with Tanita Davis, author of the Coretta Scott King Honor Book Mare’s War (Knopf, 2009), Michelle Poploff, Vice President, Executive Editor at Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, and picture book writer Tanya Lee Stone, who won the Sibert Award for Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream (Candlewick, 2009). In addition, National Book Award finalist Deborah Wiles and Jacqueline Kelly, author of Newbery honor book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Henry Holt, 2009), will offer young adult and middle grade manuscript critiques. Bidding ends at midnight EST May 9.

Celebrating Betty X Davis

Betty X. Davis: new official website of one of my favorite Austin writers.

For those who missed it last time, meet Betty in the video below, talking about her 90+ years, eight kids, tennis, and publishing dreams. She’s a wonderful, inspiring writer.

Cynsational Screening Room

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow, 2010): a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLSBlog. Peek: “…the deliciously Machiavellian follow-up to The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia…” Check out the book trailer.

Check out the book trailer for Dead Is Just A Rumor by Marlene Perez (Graphia, August 2010).

Check out the book trailer for Sea by Heidi R. Kling (Putnam, June 2010).

In the video below, find out what books inspired Scholastic YA authors and more recent favorites, books they wish they’d written, what they’d do if they weren’t an author, and more! Source: Angie Frazier.

In the video below, Girls in the Stacks report on Houston Teen Book Con. See also my report on the event.

TeenBookCon – home bound from GITS on Vimeo.More Personally

Thank you to YART and Candlewick Press for your enthusiasm and support at the April 14 to April 17 annual conference of the Texas Library Association in San Antonio. Thanks also to everyone who came to my panel and signing. It was great to see y’all there! (Photo report coming soon).

Thanks to librarian Mike and everyone at Pechanga Chámmakilawish School for a great school visit last Thursday! (Photo report coming soon, depending on how well my disposable camera worked).

Raising Your Voice: a recommendation of my upcoming picture book, Holler Loudly, from Professor Nana at The Goddess of YA Literature. Peek: “This is a perfect read aloud, one with an important message about when to be loud and perhaps when to be a tad quieter.” Note: my upcoming picture book, Holler Loudly, is illustrated by Barry Gott and will be available in November 2010.

Inquiry 1: Cynthia Leitich Smith: an author interview by Erin Moulton from The Day Job: A Writer’s Inquiry. Peek: “With love to the literature and logic of the law, it’s perhaps not the most poetic or action-packet reading, and it was a treat to come home again to those [children’s-YA] books.” Note: Erin’s debut novel, Maple T. Rittle and the Quest for a Miracle, will be released by Philomel in summer 2011, and it’s utterly splendid.

Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008) is being made available through Scholastic Book Club in its high school markets.

Attention Austinites: look for signed stock of Tantalize at Barnes & Noble in Round Rock and at the Arboretum. Signed stock of Eternal (Candlewick, 2010) also is available at the Round Rock store. And, as always, you can find signed copies of my books at BookPeople downtown.

An Interview with Ming Doyle [Illustrator of Tantalize: Kieren’s Story (Candlewick, 2011)] by Jim at Bostonist. Peek: “I can’t deny the appeal of drawing werevultures, werepossums, werearmadillos, and all other manner of Texan werecreatures along with some more conventional monsters on a daily basis.”

Thanks to Naomi Bates for creating this wonderful book trailer in celebration of Eternal.

Cynsational Events

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!

SCBWI Florida: Mid-Year Workshop and Intensives will be June 4 and June 5 at Disney’s Coronada Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. Note: I’m honored to be leading the marketing track with author/social media consultant Greg Pincus and Ed Masessa, author and Senior Manager Product Development, Scholastic Book Fairs. Picture book, middle grade, YA, and series tracks also are available.