Friday, August 29, 2008

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of three ARCs of The Devouring: Sorry Night by Simon Holt (Little Brown, Sept. 2008). From the promotional copy:

"When dark creeps in and eats the light,

"Bury yours fears on Sorry Night.

"For in the winter's blackest hours,

"Comes the feasting of the Vours.

"No one will see it, the life they stole,

"Your body's here but not your soul..."


"15-year-old Reggie doesn't know who penned the mysterious journal about the Vours, wicked creatures that inhabit children's bodies on Sorry Night, the darkness of the winter solstice. Once inside a human, the Vour assumes the victim's personality, banishing their soul to a dark netherworld called a fearscape. Frightening, but thought to be only the musings of an anonymous lunatic... until a midnight game awakens an ancient evil.

"After playing with the journal's incantations on Sorry Night, Reggie and her best friend Aaron discover the story of the Vours is all too real. When a demonic force consumes Reggie's little brother, Henry, she must race to save him. Slowly, she uncovers the truth: Vours have existed since the dawn of mankind, feeding on humanity's fright. Reggie acquires the ability to enter victims' fearscapes, psychic prisons sculpted from pure terror. Once inside, she must empower victims to conquer their fear and destroy the Vours that have enslaved them.

"Together with a small band of believers, Reggie wages war against an enemy she cannot touch or reason with, creatures powerful enough to enslave human bodies and steal souls without detection. The Vours gorge themselves on human fear—feeding their guile, their cruelty, and their power. A cataclysm called 'The Devouring' approaches, and only Reggie Halloway can stop it."

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 8!

OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Sept. 8! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win.

One ARC will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), one will go to any Cynsational reader, and one will go to a member of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please indicate status. Please also type "Devouring" in the subject line.

Last Chance

Enter to win Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella, 2008), now available at Borders and Waldenbooks! Note: there's some delay in adding it to the Borders website, so try to find a "brick-and-mortar" store.

This vampire-themed YA anthology includes short stories by P. C., L. J. Smith, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kristin Cast, Rachel Caine (author interview), Tanith Lee, Nancy Holder, Richelle Mead, and Claudia Gray.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 30!

OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 30! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win.

I'm giving away three copies, each autographed by contributor Cynthia Leitich Smith (that's me, obviously)! One copy will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), one will go to any Cynsational reader, and one will go to a member of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please indicate status. Please also type "Immortal" in the subject line.

The grand-prize giveaways for August are three autographed copies of My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson (Flux, 2008)! Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

To enter the giveaway, email me (scroll and click on the envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 30!

OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Aug. 30! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win.

One copy will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of youth literature (please indicate), and the other two will go to any Cynsational readers. Please also type "Rhombus" in the subject line.

Winners of The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (HarperCollins, 2008)(author interview) were Kearsten of the Glendale Public Library in Arizona and Royal in California.

This Weekend

April Lurie will celebrate the release of her latest YA novel, The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine (Delacorte, 2008)(excerpt), with a book signing from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Barnes & Noble in Round Rock!

In a starred review for KLIATT, Clare Rosser says: "
She writes with wit, intelligence, and compassion for her characters. This is a story about guys, primarily...brothers; fathers and sons; lonely young men who are feeling somewhat lost. Lurie does a wonderful job of making them real."

See also April's report on the Teen Slumber Fest at the Austin Public Library and speaking to kids at Gardner Betts Juvenile Detention Center through the Second Chance Books Project. And, while you're at it, read a Cynsations interview with Brazos Price on Second Chance Books.

More News & Links

10 Things I Hate About Your Web Portfolio from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "If you can do people, show me that. If you can't--if your proportions are always a bit off and you can't get a 3/4 profile right and you can't figure out why your children just look like short adults, then for the love of mike, don't do people."

We're warming up for the 2008 contest... from The Cybils 2008. Peek: "We open nominations to the public on Oct. 1 at cybils.com. Anyone 13 or older--authors and publishers included--may nominate a book in one of our eight genres." Don't miss the Call for Judges! Read a Cynsations interview with Kelly Herold and Anne Boles Levy on The Cybils.

Featuring Maggie Stiefvater from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: "Lament (Flux, October 2008), as Maggie puts it at her art blog, is about a musically talented high school girl who falls for an enigmatic boy who seems to know a lot about her. And, adds Maggie, it 'sucks that he's a fairy assassin.' There is more information about the book here."

Talking Picture Books with Marla Frazee from Linda Urban at Crooked Perfect. Part two, part three, part four. part five. Peek: "I use the word 'form' because it is my job as the illustrator to envision the book as a physical object. What size will it be? What shape? Is it going to be oversized or small? Is it horizontal, vertical, or square? Will it work in 32 pages? Or should it be longer? Or shorter? Will the illustrations jauntily hop around in the midst of lots of white space or will they stretch across double-pages all the way to the edge of the paper? Or both? Will there be a formality to the book? Or is it more freewheeling?" Read a Cynsations interview with Marla.

Picture Book Topics to Avoid from Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes. Peek: "It's not that these topics are taboo. Instead, they are so common that you must really rise above the competition to be accepted." See also, The Illustrator Doesn't Tell YOU What To Do. Peek: "What if you hate the art?" Read a Cynsations interview with Darcy.

Ready for School Visits by author-illustrator Don Tate from Devas T. Rants and Raves. Peek: "I adjusted my pricing down a bit. I'm charging $600 for a full day (three presentations). Four hundred for a half day (two presentations). And all that is negotiable." Read a Cynsations interview with Don. Learn more about school visits.

Interview with Editor Meghan Nolan from Lobster Press. Peek: "In this interview, Nolan shares her thoughts on writing children's books and the kind of manuscripts and characters that excite her. Authors interested in submitting manuscripts to Lobster Press can find more information on the Lobster website."

Exclusives and Literary Agents from Nathan Bransford--Literary Agent. Peek: "I'm going to break down my thoughts on exclusives based on the different stages when they might arise and give you some dos and don'ts along the way..." See also Unagented Revisions. Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.

Querying an Agency, Not Just an Agent from Bookends LCC. Peek: "...it continues to amaze me how many of you will query all three of us at once or query us one at a time as the rejections come in."

Skill Set by Sarah Prineas and Kid Writing Thoughts by Janni Lee Simmer both take on the question of how, in terms of ability, writers for young readers are different from writers for adults.

Books after Ink Exchange from Melissa Marr. Here's the full (and exciting scoop). I especially cheer the spoiler observations that follow. Peek: "The individual resolution for Leslie wasn't an authorial ploy to tease out a different romantic resolution. " Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa.

Guest Blogger Kerry Madden at Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "The Care Bears were in town. (I think that’s why the Wolf Man didn't show. He knew better. Don't ever try to compete with the Care Bears.)" Don't miss part two! Read a Cynsations interview with Kerry.

10 Tips for Querying an Agent by Chuck Sambuchino from Writer's Digest. Peek: "If you have an automatic spam filter, turn it off. If you're lucky enough to garner a reply from an agent interested in your work, the last thing they want to deal with is a spam filter requiring them to prove their existence."

What Your Posse Says About You from Bookends LCC - A Literary Agency. Peek: "These authors find each other because of their drive and stick together because they constantly push and support one another. They don't get into petty fights or go into jealous rages when one succeeds and the others don't. Instead they see that as another step for them all to reach for and they see the success of one as the success of all."

Big Yellow Sunflower and Trip to Mexico from Esme Raji Codell at The PlanetEsme Plan. Note: Esme highlights more great books and shares great photos and news from her trip to San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico, where she visited with author Dianna Hutts Aston. Peek: "Dianna was living in the boonies, but even in her remote surroundings she had managed to surround herself with many brilliant, kind, capable and dynamic bilingual people who shared her enthusiasm for hot-air ballooning." Learn more about Dianna's Oz Project, and read Cynsations interviews with Esme and Dianna. Note: Dianna's upcoming releases include The Moon Over Star, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial, Oct. 2008).

How to Write a Picture Book Biography from Darcy Pattison's Revision Notes. Peek: "...there are successful picture book biographies and they usually focus on the narrative arc and/or the emotional core of the person." Note: looking for examples? See Anne Bustard's Anneographies: Picture Book Biographies and a few Collected Biographies, Too, Birthday by Birthday. Read Cynsations interviews with Darcy and Anne.

How the Writer Works in the Summertime by Maryrose Wood at Fresh Fiction. Peek: "Does it require superhuman levels of energy and concentration? The ability to multitask? A bottomless well of inspiration? No, my friends. Those are all icing on the cupcake. The key to poolside writing success is having the right equipment."

"This Semester You Can Expect": an original poem by author Liz Garton Scanlon. Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

To Blog or Not To Blog? Robin Friedman asks Dianne Ochiltree, and Dianne in turn interviews Cynthia Leitich Smith (that's me!), Debbi Michiko Florence, Lisa Yee, Bill Barnes, and Rebecca Grose of SoCal Public Relations. Peek from my answer: "The content quality of many blogs is as high as you'll find anywhere in the industry, and by the very nature of the Web, there are fewer barriers to diversity of point of view." Read Cynsations interviews with Robin, Dianne, Debbi, Lisa, and Rebecca.

Coming Soon

"Connections & Craft: Writing for Children and Young Adults:" hosted by Brazos Valley (Texas) SCBWI Nov. 15 at A & M United Methodist Church in College Station, Texas. "Editor Joy Neaves, agent Emily Van Beek, and author Cynthia Leitich Smith comprise our faculty for this day-long event. Published BV-SCBWI authors will also conduct a hands-on Writers' Workshop." Download the brochure. Read a Cynsations interview with Emily.

The first annual Hill Country Book Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgetown Public Library (Georgetown, Texas).

The children's activities will include author and illustrator visits; live music; face painting; crafts (puppets and collages). Free popcorn and snow cones will be available, as will hot dogs for $1.

Participating authors/illustrators include Liz Garton Scanlon, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, Don Tate, P. J. Hoover, and Deborah Frontiera. The Biscuit Brothers also will be performing! See schedule.

More Personally

For me this week has been one of productivity and local writers!

I've reviewed and sent back copyedits on my forthcoming short story, "Cat Calls," which will appear in Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, July 2009)(author interview).

I've signed and returned a foreign rights contract on Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008). More on that soon!

I enjoyed lunch at Suzi's China Grill and Sushi Bar with Blooming Tree publisher Miriam Hees (publisher interview), a performance at the Hyde Park Theater by author Lindsey Lane (author interview), and I'm off tomorrow to the Barnes & Noble Round Rock for YA author April Lurie's signing (author interview)(see event details above).

I've also read through and made notes on manuscripts for Austin SCBWI's Day With an Editor, which I co-leading with author-editor Jill Santopolo (author-editor interview) on Sept. 13.

On the book front, I'm honored to report that Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001) is the recipient of the Dishchii'Bikoh High School Reader Award. DHS is on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in eastern Arizona. See also a reading group guide for Rain Is Not My Indian Name.

Author Daria Snadowsky writes to report that Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) was included in this Houston ISD summer reading list! Read a Cynsations interview with Daria.

I'll also be appearing twice to discuss Tantalize and related forthcoming books in October on the Eye4You Alliance Island at Second Life. From School Library Journal: "There will be two appearances, the first on the main grid of Second Life (for those 18 and over) on October 14, and again on October 28 on the teen grid of Teen Second." See more information.

Reminder

Join debut author Kimberly Pauley from now to Sept. 10 at the The Official Sucks to Be Me Book Launch Par-tay! Note: it's so gracious (and typical) of Kimberly to be highlighting other authors as she launches her own debut title! There are tons of amazing giveaways!

Speaking of which, don't miss our question-and-answer interviews with each other and her giveaways of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) as well as a Sanguini's T-shirt!

Then jump to her features on Marlene Perez, Lauren Myracle, and Tanya Lee Stone, and enter to win those giveaways, too!

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