Cynsational News & Giveaways

Banished by Sophie Littlefield (Delacorte, 2010) is now available. From the promotional copy:

Sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell can’t wait for the day she’ll leave Gypsum, Missouri, far behind, taking only four-year-old Chub, the developmentally-delayed little boy her cruel drug-dealing grandmother fosters for the state money.

But when a freak accident in gym class leaves a girl in critical condition, Hailey feels drawn to lay her hands on the injured girl and an astonishing healing takes place.

Before Hailey can understand her new powers, a beautiful stranger shows up…just in time to save her and Chub from hired killers. A desperate race begins, with Hailey as the ultimate prize: there are those who will stop at nothing to harness her gifts to create an undefeatable army of the undead.

Now it is up to Hailey and a small but determined family of healers to stand up to the unbelievable and face the unthinkable.

Scroll to read an excerpt.

Book Club’s 31 Days of Giveaways

It’s a bounty of book-and-bling giving from Book Club! Each day this month, visit Book Club’s facebook page and Twitter tweet deck for a clue as to which author’s blog/facebook/Twitter account to check for the question of the day.

Then surf over to answer in the comments section of the corresponding daily prize post at Crissi’s Blog, which will include an image of the prize.

Notes: (a) due to the number of authors who contributed, some days feature more than one author, (b) winners fwill be randomly selected from the correct answers and awarded within 24 hours of the respective day, (c) Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Grand Prize Giveaway will be Dec. 17!

More News & Giveaways

Dana Reinhardt‘s The Things a Brother Knows (Wendy Lamb, 2010) has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and School Library Journal. It also has been named one of Kirkus Reviews 2010 Best Book for Teens. From Dana’s site: “Unfortunately, the first print run of the book is missing three pages: 41, 168, and 222. New copies are being printed now. If you have already ordered yours, or if you have a copy with the missing pages, you may read the missing pages by clicking here.” Read a Cynsations interview with Dana.

Agent Spotlight: Ann Behar by Casey McCormick from Literary Rambles. Ann is looking for picture books through YA. Note: if you’re in the market, you may want to peruse all of the Casey’s spotlight posts (conveniently linked in sidebar of her blog).

Four Ways to Deal with Fictional Parents by Anna Staniszewski. Peek: “I have two new projects in which there’s at least one parent in the picture — wow do I spend a lot of time figuring out how my characters can do certain things without their parents finding out.”

What Do Editors Do at Conferences? by Alvina Ling from Blue Rose Girls. Peek: “My main duty while at conferences is author care. I’ll usher authors from place to place so that they don’t have to worry about anything logistically-speaking, and generally make sure they’re happy.”

Congratulations to fellow Texas author Dotti Enderle on the release of Crosswire (Calkins Creek, 2010)! From the promotional copy: “A teenage boy experiences the danger and struggle of the taming of the Texas plains when his family’s ranch is threatened by violent gangs who cut fences, kill livestock, and threaten ranchers in a war to keep the plains open. In a time and place where the law doesn’t really exist, it is a man, his gun, and the courage to use it that stands between life and death, but is Jesse really ready to stand up and be that man?” Kirkus Reviews says,”Enderle writes with restraint, her research neatly woven into the story, her characters carefully drawn. A small gem of a story.” Read a Cynsations interview with Dotti.

Crafting Powerful Sentences by Tabitha from Writer Musings. Peek: “An added preposition is just padding, and your prose won’t be as sharp or clean. Avoid adding a preposition when it’s not needed, such as ‘at about,’ or ‘order up.'” Note: good advice, but keep in mind voice.

Marketing Intern Wanted by Mary Kole from Peek: “The internship is part-time, with a weekly commitment of about five hours. It is also unpaid, but I will sign for university credit, if applicable. The ideal candidate for this internship is a current student or recent graduate who is a Communications or English major and wants to go into marketing, PR or publishing. Recent graduates of publishing programs, MA programs or MFA programs could also be a great fit, as long as they enjoy the practical and business aspects of the industry.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Cynsational Marketing Tip: emphasize what is special and exciting about your book in promotional materials. Avoid minimizing competing titles or latching onto like-reads for comparative purposes (it blurs the focus and may inadvertently serve to alienate your targets).

Congratulations to Mary Amato on the release of Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook (Holiday House, 2010)! “In this humorous and touching mystery, fifth grader Edgar Allan tries to catch a thief who leaves poetry instead of fingerprints at the crime scenes.” See discussion questions, vocabulary list, and poetry writing activities.

10 Checkpoints for a Scene by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Read a Cynsations guest post by Darcy on Creating Book Trailers.

Historical Fiction Is A-Changing AKA How An Author Researches by Kimberley Griffiths Little from Librarian By Day. Peek: “I only stop obsessively researching when I get to the point that the material has become repetitive. I get to the point where I start thinking, I could have written this book! I stop when the details have become ingrained in my own brain and psyche that when I start drafting I almost never have to stop and look something up.” Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberley.

Time To Pray by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon (Boyds Mills, 2010) Picture Book Giveaway from Jama Rattigan at Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. Peek: “The bond between Yasmin and her grandmother makes for a warm, satisfying story that’s not in the least bit didactic, and it resonates on a universal level.” Deadline: midnight EST Dec. 12. Note: Maha and Ned will be featured on Cynsations in mid December.

Putting Out Feelers Before Leaving Your Agent by Mary Kole from Peek: “If you make the decision to break with your spouse or your representation, you do have to get it over with, and only then can you go out into the uncertain world and hope to get someone else lined up.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Coffee Break Tuesday with Author Kathryn Erskine: an interview by Debbi Michiko Florence from One Writer’s Journey. Peek: “Fortunately, my new (very smart and wonderful) editor, Tamra Tuller, told me the day before that I’d better come up with some remarks in case I won, so I did. And fortunately, I remembered them when my name was called! Wow!”

Q & A with Anita Silvey on the Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac from Leda Schubert: Writer and Teacher. Peek: “When I go to sleep at night, I know at least I have done something to help one author or illustrator, one book, one editor, and one publishing house.” Read a Cynsations interview with Anita.

For YA Publishers (Or Librarian’s Have It Covered) by Deena Lipomi from Author2Author. Discusses cover qualities that do and don’t resonate with librarians. Peek: “Because as much as places like B&N and Borders can have ‘control’ over the cover decisions and are probably often correct in their assessment about what will or will not sell, publishers should not underestimate the power of librarians to spread book love that teens will spread from there.”

Cheers to the finalists for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel (Amulet/Abrams, 2010); They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010); Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers (National Geographic Society, 2010); The Dark Game: True Spy Stories by Paul Janeczko (Candlewick Press, 2010); and Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw (Charlesbridge, 2010). Read Cynsations guest posts about their respective books by Ann and Susan.

Congratulations to Helene Boudreau on the release of Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Sourcebooks, 2010). From the promotional copy: “‘Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning…’ If she hadn’t been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail? Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever. Jade soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown? Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke? This summer is about to get a lot more interesting…” Read an interview with Helene from E. Kristin Anderson at The Hate-Mongering Tart.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a illustrator autographed copy of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick, Illustrated by Daniel Jennewein (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, 2011)!

The book will include a customized drawing–the winner can pick the buffalo’s pose!

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) and type “Buffalo” 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: Dec. 31. Sponsored by the illustrator; world-wide entries.

In other news, the winner of Love Drugged by James Klise (Flux, 2010)(author interview), is Vivien in Kansas! Congratulations, Vivien! Thanks again to Jim for hosting the giveaway!

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes (Annick Press, 2010). Source: Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Check out the book trailer for Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (Holiday House, 2010). Download and print Nightshade City bookmarks for your library or bookstore.

Because of Mr. Terupt (Delacorte, 2010), a video conversation with bestselling author John Irving and debut author Rob Buyea. See also teachers guide.

More Personally

On Nailing the Kid-Friendly: Author Cynthia Leitich Smith — With Lots of Art from Barry Gott from Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Note: includes interior illustrations and even sketches (!) from Barry. Peek: “I was stymied. But that summer I attended a ‘special day’ on the picture book at VCFA. Editor Melanie Kroupa spoke about various manuscripts that she’d acquired of late and focused for a while on the tall-tale tradition. I can’t tell you what it was exactly that Melanie said, but I was already scribbling my revision before she finished talking.”

BCCB says of Holler Loudly, “This original tall tale is a readaloud dream, full of big, brazen shouts and playful homey dialect. There’s hilarity in the chaos Holler’s volume causes, and the ending, wherein Holler learns the value of quiet and the townsfolk learn the value of loudness, is satisfyingly even-handed and logical.”

An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith by Stacey O’Neale from The Young Adult Fantasy Guide. Peek: “…I’d definitely have a hug waiting for Quinice, Kieren, and Zachary. Miranda. I’m not so sure. It would depend on when I met her. I’d rather not become dinner to the vampire princess.”

The first reader-created trailer for Blessed (Candlewick, Jan. 25, 2011) is up. Tom Cruise as Bradley Sanguini? Why not? Thank you, novelinspection!

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith: a review from Steven R. McEvoy from Book Reviews and More. Peek: “She has created a world and stories that are compelling and real, and yet she manages to humbly nod her hat to the original [AKA Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897), which largely inspired the series].” Note: some spoilers.

Thanks to Annette Simon for this shelf shot of paperback copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2010) and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008)! The photo is from Books Plus, an independent bookstore in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Thanks to Tammi Sauer for this shelf shot of her Mostly Monsterly, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2010) and my Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton, 2010) at Best of Books in Edmond, Oklahoma! Read a guest post by Tammi on Word Choice in Picture Books.

Thanks to Lisa Firke at Hit Those Keys for my gorgeous new YA cover art gallery! Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa. See also “Just the Pretty Bits,” Lisa’s very reasonably priced option for folks just looking for a design punch-up on their site/blog. Peek: “You can commission a splendid treatment of your name or business as a digital graphic, perhaps with other masthead decoration, along with a personalized color palette and detailed suggestions for how to incorporate these elements into your existing blog or web site.”

Even More Personally

What a treat to learn about Austin SCBWI RA Debbie Gonzales‘s holiday tradition in The Austin American-Statesman–Mother and Daughter to Celebrate 25 Years of Nutcracking by John Kelso. Read a Cynsations interview with Debbie. Don’t miss Debbie’s Simple Saturday: “dedicated to…weekend crafts, activities, games and zany family fun!”

My link of the week is Libba Bray on World AIDS Day. Read a Cynsations interview with Libba.

Finally, congratulations to my fellow Austin authors on our bounty of 2010 children’s-YA book releases! Note: list, including covers, compiled by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLSBlog.

Cynsational Events

Jessica Lee Anderson will speak on seven things she’s learned through her publishing journey…using songs at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting at 11 a.m. Jan. 15 at BookPeople in Austin. Read an interview with Jessica and P.J. Hoover.

Save the Date! Joint Launch Party: Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) and Night School by Mari Mancusi (Berkley) book party and signing at 2 p.m. Jan. 29 at BookPeople in Austin. Read a guest post by Mari on Kids Don’t Read Like They Used To…And That’s a Good Thing (on connecting books to technology).