Zach lives with his grandparents on a remote island in Puget Sound in Washington State. With only his little brother, Gilbert, to keep him company, Zach feels cut off from the world.
But when Gilbert is kidnapped, Zach tries the only thing he can think of to find him: astral projection. Soon, his spirit is soaring through the strange and boundless astral realm—a shadow place. While searching for his brother, Zach meets a boy named Emory, another astral traveler who's intriguing (and cute).
As Zach and Emory track the kidnappers from the astral realm, their bond grows, but each moment could be Gilbert's last. Even worse, there's a menacing, centuries-old creature in their midst that devours souls and possesses physical bodies. And it's hungry for Zach.
Brent says: "I wanted to write an outright supernatural thriller that involved gay teens as leading characters, because that seemed like something fresh and different. I'd like to think their being gay informs the story, but it doesn't define it."
Read the first chapter, check out the discussion guide, and see the review from NPR.
To enter, comment on this post and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. In the alternative, you may email me (scroll and click envelope) and type "Shadow Walkers" in the subject line. Deadline: midnight CST May 27. Note: Author sponsored; U.S.-Canada entries only.
In the video below, Brent offers Seven Reasons Why You Should Watch Shadow Walkers. Note: video also includes (mostly) gratuitous introduction of Brent's adorable cat.
More News & Giveaways
Why It's Important to Stay Positive by Salima Alikhan. Peek: "If you have the capacity to step back from your work, see it as an entity separate from yourself, critique it objectively—all while loving it tenderly and being brokenhearted over it and praying every day that it bears fruit and cradling it like a baby—you are a remarkable human being."
Cynsational Blogger Tip: Use specific, content-focused post titles rather than overly vague ones, teasers that don't pay off and/or side comments. For example, "Well..." is not a great post title for click-through. "Guest Post: P. J. Hoover on When Your Agent Is Your Editor" is a great post title for click-through.
Authors remember their grandparents: Grandpa Felix by Yuyi Morales from PaperTigers. Peek: "He is my abuelo because mama told me so. But he doesn’t remember me."
Featuring Arthur Howard and Liz Garton Scanlon from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Features interior illustrations from Noodle and Lou (Beach Lane, 2011).
20-Book Giveaway in Celebration of the Release of Solstice by P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. Includes recent mythology-themed, paranormal, and realistic YA books.
How To Use Book Trailers Effectively: Podcast Interview with Darcy Pattison by Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn. Peek: "YouTube is just one of the many sites you can load video to, although arguably it is the most important. You need to research where you can load your videos as many sites are audience specific." Source: Mystery Writing Is Murder via An Englishman in New Jersey.
Asking a Published Author to Read Your Work and/or For an Agent Referral by Rachelle Gardener from Rants & Ramblings on Life as a Literary Agent. Peek: "It seems to me the best approach would be not to ask. Wait until the fact that you're a writer comes up in conversation naturally. Then you could throw something in like..." Source: An Englishman in New Jersey.
The Case for Putting a Manuscript in a Drawer by Nathan Bransford. Peek: "It's hard putting a manuscript in the drawer. It's a huge blow to the ego, it's utterly painful to think back of all the time you spent writing that novel and dreaming about what would happen when you're finished and admitting to yourself that you came up short. But it's not time wasted, and you didn't come up short." See also Nathan on Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing, and Control.
Scars by Cheryl Rainfield and Online Bookstore Gift Card Giveaway from Cheryl Rainfield. Note: giveaway features multiple signed copies of Scars (WestSide, 2010, 2011) and $10 bookstore gift cards.
Great Novels Aren't Written--They're Rewritten by Danyelle Leafty from QueryTracker.net Blog. Peek: "Having an everything-is-optional attitude from the beginning is freeing. It allows me to draft with less fuss, because I'm not so worried about making everything perfect the first time. And it helps with the revisions...."
Complications of Gender in the World of Children's Books by Uma Krishnaswami from Women Doing Literary Things. Peek: "No one talks about girls who don’t read. Presumably there are some. Why are we not in a stew about them? And why does everyone talk about boys who don’t read as if they were representative of all boys?" Note: Uma quotes Greg Leitich Smith.
(Book) Siblings Are Good. Twins Can Be Trouble. by Jennifer Laughran from Jennifer Represents. Peek: "...an agent's list can really only have so many of one type of book before it starts getting boring and repetitive. And as far as specific plots and such, one will do."
Rejection Redux by Marlo Garnsworthy from Wordy Birdie. Peek: "I was sifting through the pile this morning and found six 'positive' rejections for a picture book I’d shelved some time ago. Now I’m thinking it might be time to get that text out and revise it." See also Sherrie Peterson on the Magic Rejection Number from Adventures in Children's Publishing. Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.
Interview with Karen Sandler: From Slush Pile to Publication by Stina Lindenblatt from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: "I’d always thought it would be very cool to have more than one agent “fighting” over me. But I loved them both, and it was difficult and sort of heartbreaking to have to choose one."
Beyond Orcs and Elves: Diversity in Science Fiction and Fantasy for Young Readers by Stacy Whitman from Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. Peek: "You may or may not know that fantasy as a genre started long before Tolkien was born. In fact, people have been telling fantasy stories for as long as there have been people." See also part 2; peek: "There’s a privilege situation that means that most of the demographic writing books aren’t necessarily the same demographic as the kids looking for books in our schools and libraries."
Selling Out in Writing YA Books by Adam Selzer from Author2Author. Peek: "The real challenge for me is to write something that I know is marketable, but which I still like and feel is my own. This can be a fun challenge."
It Was Easier the First Time by Robison Wells from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "Not that there's anything I really want to change, but there are a few details that, as I was writing it, I thought were minor. But now that I'm writing the sequel I realize that those things are really important."
Cynsational Author Tip: On your official website, include the publisher, publication date, and ISBNs for each of your books. If applicable, also include a link to your book's author, co-author(s), illustrator, anthologist, etc., and if you're an anthologist, list all of the contributors as well.
Hunger Mountain: A VCFA Journal of the Arts
New edition includes:
- Welcome from editor Bethany Hegedus
- The Shadowy Landscape of Dreams Where Reader and Writer Meet by Janet Fox
- Where the Teens Are: 5 Ways to Freshen Up YA Fiction’s Favorite Settings by Deborah Halverson
- I Do: Renewing Our Commitment to the Picture Book by Liz Garton Scanlon
- The Proposal: Fiction by Lindsey Lane
Cynsational Screening Room
Check out the book trailer for Mine! by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton (Knopf, 20100)
Check out the book trailer for Oprah: The Little Speaker by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by London Ladd (Marshall Cavendish, 2011).
Cynsational Book Giveaway Reminder
Enter to win a signed copy of The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones (Delacorte, 2010). First prize: a hardcover copy. Second and third prize: paperback copies.
To enter the giveaway, comment at this post (click link) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address or email me (scroll and click envelope) and type "Owl Keeper" in the subject line. Deadline: midnight CST May 27. Note: Author sponsored; U.S.-Canada entries only. See Christine on Writing Scary But Not Too Scary for Tweens.
In celebration of the Diversity in YA Fiction Tour, enter to win a copy of two, randomly selected books by participating authors! To enter the giveaway, comment at this post (click link) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or email me (scroll and click envelope) and type "Diversity" in the subject line. Deadline: midnight CST May 27. Note: author-sponsored; U.S. entries only.
In other news, the winner of an author-autographed copy of Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Arthur Howard (Beach Lane, 2011) is Varsha in Houston.
Cynsational Manuscript Critique Giveaway Reminder
In celebration of Egmont USA Publisher Elizabeth Law's recent joint Cynsations interview with YA author Allen Zadoff, she is giving away a critique of up to thirty manuscript pages.
Her response will include a thirty-minute phone call with the author and short, written notes about the submitted work, which can be fiction, nonfiction, or chapter book.
The winner will have two weeks to submit an excerpt for critique. The phone call/feedback will occur within a week after that.
Submissions should be writing targeted to young readers, ages 8 and up (middle grade or YA). The phone call may also touch on any questions the author has about the audience or market for the book, the publishing and submitting process, etc. In other words, anything the author wants to cover!
To enter, comment at Elizabeth and Allen's interview and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. In the alternative, you may email me with "Elizabeth and Allen" in the subject line.
An extra entry will go to those who comment to ask Elizabeth and/or Allen a thoughtful question or make another, related thoughtful comment. Additional extra entries will go to those who tweet, blog, or otherwise promote this link/giveaway. Please indicate your efforts/URLs in your comment. Enter deadline: May 31. This giveaway is international--writers from all over the world are eligible.
Chris Barton launched Can I See Your ID? True Stories of False Identities, illustrated by Paul Hoppe (Dial, 2011) last Saturday night at BookPeople in Austin.
Inside the Writer's Studio with Chris Barton by Bethany Hegedus from Writer Friendly, Bookshelf Approved. Peek: "Some of the challenges in that were offering up an engaging second-person voice that was tweaked slightly from subject to subject but was still consistent across the entire book; finding the material that would allow me to recreate these actual scenes, including dialogue, without fabricating or fictionalizing; and blending the action with the reflection, shifting from one to the other, in a way that felt natural and believable and realistic."
Who are these mysterious undercover children's-YA authors, A, B, and C?
Happy news! My Candlewick editor has sent my latest revision of the fourth book in the Tantalize series off to copy editing. We still have line edits and pass pages and what not, but big picture, it's nearing final shape.
Consequently, I've been taking a couple of weeks to catch up on author/business work, and I'll be starting work on Smolder on June 1.
San Francisco Book Review says of Blessed (Candlewick, 2011): "Smith is a master of vampire fiction. Blessed is just begging to be read." See the whole review.
From Greg Leitich Smith:
- Mercury Boo recommends Puss In Boots
- Writers and Dinosaurs: Brian Yansky
- Writers and Dinosaurs: Caroline Arnold
The First Annual BooksmART Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 11 as part of Arts & Letters Live from the Dallas Museum of Art. Peek: "Come spend the day with authors, illustrators, musicians and actors, and enjoy talks, workshops, gallery tours, and entertainment, designed to appeal to every member of the family and every age group." Featured children's-YA book creators include Rick Riordan, Norton Juster, Laurie Halse Anderson, David Wiesner, Jerry Pinkney, Gene Luen Yang, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Duncan Tonatiuh, Antonio Sacre, Joe McDermott, Jan Bozarth, and Ann Marie Newman.
Authors Jennifer Ziegler and Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak to YA readers at 2 p.m. June 18 at Bee Cave Public Library in Bee Cave, Texas. Mark your calendars for book talk and pizza! See also event planner information on booking Jennifer and Cynthia for the joint "From Classics to Contemporary" program--two authors for the price of one!
Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak to the Cedar Park Teen Book Club at 11 a.m. June 25 at Cedar Park (TX) Public Library.