Cynsational News & Giveaways

Congratulations to Stephanie Perkins on the release of Anna and the French Kiss (Dutton, 2010)! From the promotional copy:

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews says, “Perkins’s debut surpasses the usual chick-lit fare with smart dialogue, fresh characters and plenty of tingly interactions… Sarah Dessen fans will welcome another author who gracefully combines love and realism, as Anna’s story is as much about finding and accepting herself as it is about finding love. Trés charmante.”

Note: I dived into this book in part because I studied law in Paris one summer and have since returned to visit for fun. Stephanie does a tremendous job of capturing the study abroad experience in general and The City of Light in particular. If you ever wondered what it would be like to fall in love in Paris, read Anna and the French Kiss!

Goddess Girls New Release & Giveaway

Congratulations to Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams on the release of Artemis the Brave (Aladdin, 2010), the latest book in the Goddess Girls series! Read a Cynsations guest post by Joan and Suzanne on how the series came together.

Enter to win the celebratory giveaway:

* 8 1/2 inch plush Amby–short for Ambrosia–food of the gods! It’s Artemis’s pet dog. (Yomiko)
* Sally nail polishes
* Bangle bracelets (mudd)
* Goddess Girls bookmark
* Autographed copy of Artemis the Brave

See more information.

More News & Giveaways

Teenage Depression in I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena from Peek: “I do a lot of school visits these days, and I’m finding that a shocking amount of today’s junior high and high school kids deal with depression.”

How To Guest Blog
by Lia Keyes from The Scribbler. Peek: “You need to be sure your post fits their style and stance. So read as many posts as possible, as much to be sure it’s something you’d like to be associated with as to figure out how to write a post that will integrate seamlessly with their existing content.”

Cynsational Tip: if you’re a featured in an interview or guest post on someone else’s blog, it’s gracious to link to it with your thanks. Don’t copy and publish it (simultaneously or otherwise) without first touching base with the host blogger. If you’d like to retain the copyright, most folks will say “sure!” But first make sure you have a meeting of the minds.

Twitter Tags of Interest for Children’s Literature (from Picture Book to YA) by Greg Pincus from GottaBook. Peek: “Here is an attempt to create a list of the various tags used on Twitter that relate to the field of children’s literature. This will be a ‘living’ document, changing as Twitter changes and as new tags pop up.”

When Writers Don’t Read by Parker Peevyhouse from The Spectacle. Peek: “Reading a chapter of someone else’s book is like taking a shot of espresso–it keeps me going. It puts me in the right frame of mind, like the author is sitting there with me waiting for me to jump in with my own story.”

Interview with Barry Deutsch, author of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (Yet Another Troll-Fighting, 11-Year-Old, Orthodox Jewish Girl) by Leah Cypress from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: “I…wanted to counter the stereotype that being religious means being dour and grim. I hope people reading Hereville will get the impression that for the characters, Shabbos is, yes, a religious occasion with real spiritual meaning, but also an occasion that’s full of joy.” See also Seasons in Fantasy.

Promoting Your Books by Michelle Bayuk of Albert Whitman from Tabitha at Writer Musings.. Peek: “…authors are not expected to sell books. You can go into a bookstore and alert the store manager about the book they have coming out, possibly leave a postcard or something similar behind, but you are not the one who convinces the store to buy X number of copies.”

Online Persona Week Ten: Friends and Followers by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Features tips and suggestions from Lisa Schroeder, Sherrie Peterson, and Becky Levine. Peek from Lisa: “The best blogs are inspirational, educational or funny, or a combination of the three.”

New Agent Alert: Joan Slattery of Pippin Properties by Chuck Sambuchino from Guide to Literary Agents. Peek: “Joan Slattery joined Pippin Properties in November of 2010 as an agent and contracts manager. After nearly twenty years in children’s book publishing, most recently as Senior Executive Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers.”

Congratulations to Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly on Shades of People (Holiday House, 2010)! From the promotional copy: “People come in lots of shades, even in the same family. This exploration of one of the most noticeable physical traits in humans uses vibrant photographs of children and short text to inspire young readers to look beyond the obvious.” Note: I’ve seen several books on this concept but perhaps none so successfully executed. The approach is child friendly, and the photographs are warm, charming, spot on.

Child’s Letter Writing Campaign Brings Local Bookstore: Books-A-Million to open at mall by Mark Millican from The Daily Citizen in Dalton, Georgia. Peek: “Claude Anderson of Books-A-Million was at Westwood Elementary School on Friday morning to announce a store opening in Walnut Square Mall — perhaps even before Christmas — as a direct result of Charlie’s letter-writing campaign that eventually included 500 students from several schools.”

2010 Winter Blog Blast Tour Schedule by Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray. Note: lots of great insights here; I especially enjoyed L.K. Madigan at Writing and Ruminating. Peek: “If I’m really honest with myself, I think I did know when I first wrote the book that I wasn’t finished with Lena’s world. At the same time, if this book ends up as a stand-alone–after all, I can’t force my editor to publish a sequel–I’m proud of the story. It’s whole and complete, in its own ‘bittersweet’ way.”

Ling and Ting Paper Dolls by Grace Lin from Blue Rose Girls. Peek: “I’ve made a special activity to accompany the book. Here are some Ling & Ting Paper Dolls! These paper dolls are ready for you to color and cut and are completely free. It is my small holiday gift to you!” Note: Grace’s Ling & Ting: Not Exactly The Same (Little, Brown, 2010) is a New York Times Best 2010 Notable Children’s Book.

Congratulations to fellow Texas author and dear pal Varsha Bajaj on signing with Jill Cocoran and Ronnie Ann Herman of the Herman Agency, and congratulations to Jill and Ronnie on signing Varsha! Varsha and I met at one of Kathi Appelt‘s private children’s writing classes nearly ten years ago and have been friends ever since. Varsha’s latest release is T is for Taj Mahal, an Indian alphabet book, illustrated by Robert Crawford (Sleeping Bear, 2010).

Scholastic Experts Issue List of Ten Trends in Children’s Books from 2010 from PR Newswire. Peek: “Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category….”

Portland author and artist Allen Say’s books for children unfold in luminous dreams by Jeff Baker from The Oregonian. Peek: “‘I’m not disguising anymore. There’s some nudity and violence in this work, for God’s sake.'”

Esther Hershenhorn on Writing, Teaching, and Coaching by Donna Bowman Bratton from Simply Donna. Peek: “Everything a fictional book does, a non-fictional book must do too. Engage the reader and keep him reading. Offer a narrative arc and story tension that keeps the reader caring, worrying, turning the page. Consider the reader’s needs cognitively, emotionally, chronologically. Comply with the format that best serves the story.”

Team Countdown—An Interview with Author Deborah Wiles and Editor David Levithan by Laurie Beth Sneider from From the Mixed Up Files…of Middle Grade Authors. Peek from Deborah: “I want young readers to think critically about the facts they are fed and to think for themselves about their own assumptions, prejudices, and choices. Story is a marvelous, powerful vehicle for connecting with a reader’s questioning–and questing–heart.” Note: “Countdown has received starred reviews from The Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus [Reviews], and was recently named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly.” See Scholastic’s discussion guide (PDF), and hear chapter one from Listening Library.

Writer’s Links: Agents compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Children’s-YA Literature Resources. Note: round-up of the best of the Web on acquiring, working with, hiring and firing an agent.

Giveaway Reminder

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.

Thanks again to all y’all who found me and my new picture book, Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton, 2010) through or via Kids Buzz! The winners of a signed copy of the book are: Beth in Tennesssee, Syndra in New York, Mari in Minnesota, Martine in California, and Susan in New York. Your packages will go out on my next trip to the post office.

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Tim Ladwig (Eerdmans, 2010). See also reading and discussion guide and bookmarks, posters and postcards. Note: one of Booklist’s Top Ten Religion Books for Youth.

Check out the book trailer for Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber (McElderry, 2010), which has been named a finalist for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award.

Check out this book trailer for Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Razorbill, Jan. 11, 2011). It’s incredibly effective. Read the first chapter (PDF).

More Personally

The Horn Book magazine says of Blessed (Candlewick, Jan. 25, 2011), “Even in undeath, Quincie has a zest for life that shines through as she balances supernatural duties with schoolwork and running her family restaurant, the vampire-themed Sanguini’s. Romance blossoms, too, as she and her beloved werewolf, Kieren, prove their devotion to each other under deadly duress. A hearty meal for the thinking vampire reader.”

Austin YA librarian Jen Bigheart sent in this shot of the Blessed ARC, taken at Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek in Austin. Jen was there seeing “Due Date” (and apparently, reading, too!).

Gift Guide: Books for All Ages by Nancy Churnin from The Dallas Morning News. Note: what a thrill to see Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott, on this list of recommendations. Peek: “Gott’s drawings of 10-gallon hats lend a Texas twang to Austin author Smith’s tale of a boy who lives up to his name, much to the exasperation of his parents. Happily, he finds a good use for that loud voice and learns the value of quiet time.”

The Lackawanna County Children’s Library in Scranton, Pennsylvania is performing a readers theater of Santa Knows by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, illustrated by Steve Bjorkman (Dutton, 2010) at 2:30 Dec. 12.

Holler Loudly – Cynthia Leitich Smith and Barry Gott: a review by Steven R. McEvoy from Book Reviews and More. Peek: The story is wonderfully written and illustrated. It will be enjoyed in our house again and again and I am sure in yours also, especially as the children try to copy Holler’s loud outbursts.”

This week’s highlights included welcoming Anne Bustard, Bethany Hegedus, and Amy Rose Capetta (pictured) for a writing day in the dining room. Amy brought homemade chocolate muffins, cranberry scones and whipped cream. Anne brought mixed nuts and dried fruits.

We also did a little seasonal decorating. The themes of my tree are music and literature.

Reminder: I welcome (and respond to) comments at Cynsations at LiveJournal. You can also find me at facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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).