Friday, November 06, 2009

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of two author-signed copies of Soap Soap Soap Jabón Jabón Jabón (Raven Tree, 2009), one of three author-signed copies of My Father's House by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Raul Colón (Viking, 2007), an author-bookplate-signed copy of Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French (Amulet, 2009) and a contributor-signed copy of Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P.C. Cast (BenBella, Oct. 2009)!

From the promotional copy of Soap Soap Soap Jabón Jabón Jabón:

Hugo's mamá sends him to the store to buy soap. Of course, Hugo takes the long way there which gets him into loads of trouble and plenty of mud. With all his adventures, he keeps forgetting what he’s supposed to buy at the store. But through each mishap he's somehow reminded he needs soap, soap, soap ~ jabón, jabón, jabón! Hugo ends up a muddy mess, but he finally prevails. He buys the soap and returns home only to discover that his mamá plans to use the soap on him!

Soap takes the classic Appalachian Jack Tale and gives it a modern twist. The story now takes place in a small rural town with a sweet little troublemaker named Hugo. The artwork is drawn with graphite and rendered digitally using bright, happy colors reminiscent of this playful tale.

From the promotional copy of My Father's House:

"Oh my father, thank you,

"for all your many mansions. . . ."

From woodland halls to painted desert walls, from mountain porches wrapped in snow to rain forest attics catching clouds, this exquisitely beautiful poetic tribute to Earth’s creator is grand in its gratitude and sure of the love found throughout the natural world.

Filled with award-winning artist Raul Colón’s jewel-toned illustrations, My Father’s House imparts a refreshing and uplifting message that is necessary today more than ever. This is a book both to give and to treasure for years to come.

From the promotional copy of Operation Redwood:

Waking up alone in an abandoned office, Julian Carter-Li intercepts an angry e-mail message meant for his high-powered uncle:

Sibley Carter is a moron and a world-class jerk!

With that, Operation Redwood is set in motion as Julian discovers his Uncle Sibley's plan to log an ancient redwood grove in Northern California. Will there be "consequences" when Sibley discovers Julian's been tampering with his e-mail? Can Julian find out more about Robin, the intriguing girl who sent the message? Can he escape math camp for the summer and help save Big Tree Grove? Is Operation Redwood doomed to failure . . . or is there hope?


Read a Cynsations interview with S. Terrell French.

From the promotional copy of Immortal: Love Stories with Bite:

This edition includes a new short story by Rachel Vincent. This vampire-themed YA anthology also includes short stories by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kristin Cast, Rachel Caine, Tanith Lee, Nancy Holder, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, and Claudia Gray.

Read a PDF excerpt which highlights my short story, "Haunted Love." The story is set in the same universe as Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) and Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and features new characters.

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "Soap Soap Soap Jabón Jabón Jabón" and/or "My Father's House" and/or "Operation Redwood" and/or "Immortal" in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the name in the header; I'll contact you if you win). Deadline: midnight CST Nov. 30.

The winner of the Spooky Cynsational October giveaway was Courtney in Pennsylvania! Courtney won Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2009); Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors (Walker, 2009); Far From You by Lisa Schroeder (Simon Pulse, 2009); How to Be a Vampire: A Fangs-On Guide for the Newly Undead by Amy Gray (Candlewick, November 2009); Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Harcourt, 2009); Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler (Simon Pulse, 2008); and Vamped by Lucienne Diver (Flux, 2009).

More News

Uncommon Sense- Author Debby Dahl Edwardson and Her Process by Tami Lewis Brown from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "When it comes to deciding which details to leave in an which to leave out, though, I really like that Janet Burroway quote you posted: 'No amount of concrete detail will move us unless it also implicitly suggests meaning and value.'"

How to Encourage Young Writers?
by Carmela A. Martino from Teaching Authors. Discussion of recommended craft books and online resources. Read a Cynsations interview with Carmela.

SPELLBINDERS: Teacher/Librarian Newsletter: A Monthly Newsletter by three Children's/Young Adult authors (Carolee Dean, Kimberley Griffiths Little, Lois Ruby) to help teachers and librarians create lifelong readers. Peek: " Interviews, curriculum ideas, new book buzz, literacy in the community, and lots more!"

George Littlechild's This Land Is My Land (Children's Book Press, 1993): a recommendation by Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek: "...he provides teachers with the opportunity to teach children that Native peoples in the U.S. and Canada were and are members of nations."

What Not to Do With Rejection by Tabitha Olson from Writer Musings: A place to ponder books, as well as how the words get on the page. Peek: "There is nothing wrong with having a personal reaction to a rejection. You just need to keep it personal and private."

Let's Get Sensual by Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "This week we'll explore sensory detail beyond the basics. How does the right sensory detail build voice? What effects can you create by describing smell, taste, touch, sound and the old standby what your point of view character sees? Do different readers perceive sensory detail differently? How do you avoid sensory overload?" Note: first in a week-long series of posts.

Marvelous Marketer: Wendy Loggia (Delacorte/RHCB) from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: "Like most editors, the voice is what immediately hooks me. A fast-paced plot doesn’t hurt, either. Think women’s fiction—for teens, a la Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot. Would like a great paranormal..."

Helping Those Who Talk Less Get Heard More: Self-Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead from Mary Hershey at Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "You also don't have to be an extrovert to do it well; instead, you can let your quiet strengths shine through and do it your way. This book is about helping you find your way. " See also My Comfort Zone (It's Actually Very Tiny) by Kristen Tracy at Crowe's Nest.

Book Review: Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Susan Carpenter from the Los Angeles Times. Peek: "The A-list writers are at the top of their game in this young-adult short story collection of all things nerdy." Note: Geektastic (Little, Brown) is edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci and includes my short story "The Wrath of Dawn," co-authored by Greg Leitich Smith.

Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Taeeun Yoo from Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: "...it’s called Only a Witch Can Fly (published by Feiwel & Friends in August), and it’s by the prolific and talented Alison McGhee. The illustrations were done by Taeeun Yoo, who has illustrated enough picture books to count on one hand, but whose work I very much like."

Books & Resources for Native American Heritage Month 2009 from Elaine Magliaro from Wild Rose Reader. A listing of resource links.

Fixing a Stalled Career by Jessica at BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency. Peek: "Earning out your advance only matters to the publisher who paid the advance. What others are going to be interested in is your sales track record." Note: the agency specializes in "adult" literature, and you can't always transfer wisdom from adult to youth publishing, but this post offers global publishing insights that may prove helpful.

The Good Books: Writing Religion for Young Adults by Micol Ostow from Jewish Book Council. Peek: "The best reviews I’ve read have talked about the book taking Judaism and relating it to teens in a contemporary way, as opposed to the canon of didacticism that permeates classic Jewish kid-lit." Read a Cynsations interview with Micol.

Mongoose Madness Classroom Contest from Bruce Hale. Peek: "You can win a virtual author visit (via Skype) with author Bruce Hale, or a classroom set of the Chet Gecko mysteries, or a paperback Chet Gecko mystery for everyone in your class." Deadline: midnight Nov. 13. See details. Read a Cynsations interview with Bruce.

Haven Giveaway from Beverly Patt at the Class of 2k9. Deadline: Nov. 9. From the promotional copy: "With his Christmas wish for an ATV dashed, Rudy Morris isn’t sure how he fits into his family anymore. Latonya Dennis just wants a family to fit into. Their paths cross on Christmas Day, when Latonya ends up as the annual orphan at the Morris household. But Latonya doesn’t disappear from their lives the day after Christmas like the other orphans have. She pulls Rudy and his best friend, Stark, into a scheme to fix up a rusty, old ATV and use it to help her run away from her group home, The Haven. Rudy reluctantly agrees but as the day draws near, his own feelings for her get in the way. What’s a getaway driver to do?" Read a Cynsations interview with Beverly.

Featured Blogger: Jacket Knack's Julie Larios...
from Alice's CWIM Blog. Peek: "Julie Larios maintains Jacket Knack along with co-blogger Carol Brendler (a writer with an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts). The pair offer weekly posts focusing on children's books cover art." Read a Cynsations interview with Julie.

Storysleuths: "Writers Allyson Valentine Schrier and Meg Lippert read like writers, investigating award-winning children's literature for clues about how to improve their own writing." Note: new in the kidlitosphere!

A World in Your Backyard: Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me by Jennifer M. Brown from School Library Journal. Peek: "I think that life gets much more complicated at 12. At that age I did have friends who were boys. But what I found was—not so much confusion about whether we were boyfriend and girlfriend or just regular friends—for me, 12 was the age at which things started to change, whether I wanted them to or not." Source: April Henry.

Mean Girls in YA Lit: a multi-voice discussion at Chasing Ray. From contributor Margo Rabb: "As an adult, it's usually fairly easy to brush off criticisms and avoid people who you don't get along with. As a teen, the tiniest comment from an insensitive girl or boy can send you into a tailspin, and you may remember it for the rest of your life."

Cover Stories: Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr from Melissa Walker at readergirlz. Peek: "To me, her face and expression were all wrong. Her hands were too small and delicate. She was too pretty. Just not Deanna." Read a Cynsations interview with Sara.

Stories from Candor: Episode One: Poised: a podcast from author Pam Bachorz to tie into Candor (Egmont, 2009). In this new series of audio podcasts, listen to the secret diary of Campbell Banks as he builds Candor, Florida. In this episode, Campbell discusses last-minute preparations for the first people to move into Candor, including how he'll prepare his own family for moving from Chicago. He also shares details on how he'll brainwash his town's new residents. Note: so far six total podcast episodes have been released. Read a Cynsations interview with Pam.

"I Didn't Know You Liked Wonder Woman" by Robin Friedman, author of The Importance of Wings from Unabridged/Charlesbridge. Peek: "I met the late Paul Zindel... Offhandedly he commented that all of his books are autobiographical." Read a Cynsations interview with Robin.

Anneographies from author Anne Bustard. Highlights picture book biographies for children, each posted on the subject's birthday. Those with unknown birthdays are spliced in throughout the year. Read a Cynsations interview with Anne.

Screening Room


Watch this book trailer for Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Chronicle, 2009):



In the video below, Lorraine García-Nakata, Publisher & Executive Director, of Children's Book Press talks about the mission of her house (which is a nonprofit and invites donations). Source: Rene Colato Lainez at La Bloga.



The Multicultural Minute: Food from



More Personally

Please note that I'm on revision deadline and wait on sending all non-essential messages until further notice--thanks!

Guest Post: Cynthia Leitich Smith from readergirlz. Peek: "how should I weigh the need to convey a contemporary setting with the risk of dating the book too quickly?" See also Little Willow at Slayground on Getting Dated or Not.

Let Your Inner Werewolf Out: recommended reads, including Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007), by Barbara Bell from the San Jose Examiner. See also recommended children's-YA books with Native American themes, also from Barbara at the Examiner (scroll for list).

Even More Personally

I graduated with a B.S.J. from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. Here's a peek from a proud Jayhawk! Peek: "KU's main campus in Lawrence, Kansas occupies 1,000 acres on and around historic Mount Oread in Lawrence, a community of more than 80,000 in the forested hills of eastern Kansas." Note: I'm also a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.



Cynsational Events

"Going with Your Gut:" a presentation by Liz Garton Scanlon at 11 a.m. Nov. 7 at the monthly Austin SCBWI meeting at BookPeople. Peek: "We practice our craft. We study the field. We dot our i’s and cross our t’s. But it’s intuition that guides great art, and sometimes in the course of our careful study and practiced efforts, we ignore our own personal muse at the expense of our best work. Let’s talk about paying attention to the most important voice of all."

SCBWI-Illinois' Fifth Annual Prairie Writer's Day: Brick by Brick: The Architecture of Our Stories will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. Speakers include: Stacy Cantor, associate editor at Walker; Nick Eliopulos, associate editor at Random House; T.S. Ferguson, assistant editor at Little, Brown; Yolanda LeRoy, editorial director at Charlesbridge; Cynthia Leitich Smith, award-winning author and Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member; and Michael Stearns, agent and co-founder of Upstart Crow Literary.

Destination Publication: An Awesome Austin Conference for Writers and Illustrators is scheduled for Jan. 30 and sponsored by Austin SCBWI. Keynote speakers are Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson and Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Marla Frazee, who will also offer an illustrator breakout and portfolio reviews. Presentations and critiques will be offered by editor Cheryl Klein of Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, author-editor Lisa Graff of FSG, agent Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic Literary, agent Mark McVeigh of The McVeigh Agency, and agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Advanced critique break-out sessions will be led by editor Stacy Cantor of Bloomsbury. In addition, Cheryl and author Sara Lewis Holmes will speak on the editor-and-author relationship, and Marla and author Liz Garton Scanlon will speak on the illustrator-and-author relationship. Note: Sara and Liz also will be offering manuscript critiques. Illustrator Patrice Barton will offer portfolio reviews. Additional authors on the speaker-and-critique faculty include Jessica Lee Anderson, Chris Barton, Shana Burg, P.J. Hoover, Jacqueline Kelly, Philip Yates, Jennifer Ziegler. See registration form, information packet, and conference schedule (all PDF files)!

2010 Houston-SCBWI Conference is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2010, at the Merrell Center in Katy. Registration is now open. The faculty includes author Cynthia Leitich Smith, assistant editor Ruta Rimas of Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins, creative director Patrick Collins of Henry Holt, senior editor Alexandra Cooper of Simon & Schuster, senior editor Lisa Ann Sandell of Scholastic, and agent Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

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