Friday, October 31, 2008

Spooky News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of three hardcover copies of The Robe of Skulls: The First Tale from the Five Kingdoms by Vivian French (Candlewick, 2008)(author interview). From the promotional copy:

High above the mountain village of Fracture, trouble is brewing. The sorceress Lady Lamorna wants a skull-studded gown of deep black velvet, but her treasure chest is empty of gold.

That doesn't stop her, however--from kidnapping, blackmailing, and using more than a little magic to get what she needs.

Will her plans be foiled by the heroic Gracie Gillypot, two chatty bats, a gallant (if scruffy) prince, the wickedest stepsister ever, a troll with a grudge, and some very ancient crones?

Humorously macabre and wickedly illustrated in black and white, The Robe of Skulls is truly a scream. Fire up your cauldron for an exuberant, fast-moving, wildly entertaining tale with a cast of characters who are good, bad, and very, very ugly.

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 Nov. 3!

OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Nov. 3! 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 "Skulls" in the subject line.
Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Winners of signed copies of The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, 2008) were: Greg of the University of Chicago Charter School, Woodlawn Campus; Yat-Yee of Colorado; and Becky in Texas. Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

More Giveaways & Auctions

Leave a Mark Auction: an auction to benefit First Book hosted by The Page Flipper. Between now and Nov. 3, bid to win a copy of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2008) that I've marked in the margins with insider tidbits about the writing of the novel and much more.

The Great Pumpkin Contest Revealed: Lee "L.A." Verday is sponsoring a contest at MySpace. The grand prize is an autographed paperback copy of Tantalize with a Tantalize bookmark.

Additional prizes include a copy of The Elite by Jennifer Banash (Berkley Trade, 2008); two copies of two copies of Chris Grimly's illustrated book inspired by Washington Irving's tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow;" a DVD copy of "Sleepy Hollow," starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, and spooky cool stickers celebrating the release of Jessica Verday's The Hollow (Simon Plus, fall 2009)!

Here's how to enter: Carve or paint a pumpkin, take a picture, and post it to MySpace. Then--and this is important--tag the photo to Lee so it appears in her photos. Special bonus goodies for anyone who carves or paints with a sleepy hollow twist. The winners will be chosen on Halloween and notified Nov. 1st. Note: if pumpkins are sold out, you can draw one.

Codes, Spells, Incantations and Riddles: a contest at Eric Luper's Random Musings. Peek: "I have listed a bunch of spells, codes, incantations and riddles from different books, movies, songs and television programs. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is not to solve the riddles, but to identify the book, movie, song or program in which the quote appears." The prize is an author-marked copy of his debut novel, The Big Slick (FSG, 2007), and it will go to the first person to identify all the sources correctly. The contest will run through Nov. 5 (or until someone wins); however, if no one manages to rise to Eric's challenge he will draw a random winner from the entries. Read a Cynsations interview with Eric.

Recommended Read

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin, 2008). From the promotional copy:

"Another inky evening's here— The air is cool and calm and clear. Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes!—Bat Night at the library!

"Join the free-for-all fun at the public library with these book-loving bats! Shape shadows on walls, frolic in the water fountain, and roam the book-filled halls until it's time for everyone, young and old, to settle down into the enchantment of story time. Brian Lies' joyful critters and their nocturnal celebration cast library visits in a new light. Even the youngest of readers will want to join the batty book-fest!" See the teacher's guide.

More News

We Ain't Afraid Of No Vermont College Ghost from Tami Lewis Brown at Through the Tollbooth.

Check out this trailer for Soulless by Christopher Golden (MVT, 2008); trailer designed by Jen Wardrip. Read a Cynsations interview with Christopher about the novel.

Ghosts, Shapeshifters, and Vampires, Oh My! by Allie Costa from SparkNotes. Peek: "If you’re looking for a spooky story to read on Halloween, you've come to the right place. Get ready to sink your teeth into these supernatural treats."

Holly Black's Secret Library from The Steampunk Home. Note: confirms my long-standing theory that Holly Black is the most totally awesome person on earth. (I was a teenager in the '80s; therefore, I'm allowed to say "totally awesome.") Read a Cynsations interview with Holly.

PowerPoint Tricks and Treats by Julie Bowe at Kidlit Central News. Peek: "Don't let the PP slides be your program. Don't rely too heavily on PP slides for your program or your audience will begin to drift. Change the focus by showing props, inviting volunteers to come up front...!"

Attention Target Shoppers: if you visit any Target store to pick up your copy of Blue Bloods: Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz (Hyperion, Oct. 2008), you'll receive access to a special website, with a secret chapter excerpt from the book, exclusive for Target guests! Note: Melissa suggests you read the story only after you've read the book! "The secret chapter is called 'The Lie That Conceals The Truth.'" Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa. See also the Revelations trailer below.

Author Interview: Amber Kizer on Books and Religion from Liz Gallagher at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: " can be religious without being faithful and full of faith without practicing a religion. I know this will make me unpopular with some, but I’m okay with that—it's quite possible you won't like my work anyway if your ideas of religion are concrete and immovable and unquestionable."

A Talk with the NBA Finalists (or: What I Saw Underneath the Disreputable Chains of the Spectacular Now) by Sue Corbett, Children's Bookshelf--Publishers Weekly. A peek from E. Lockhart: "I had various ideas about things I'd read about that I wanted to get into a novel—urban exploring in sewers and steam tunnels, the panopticon, feminist theory I had read in graduate school. All this stuff belonged in the same book but there was no story." Source: April Henry.

Writers First Aid: a medicine ease the pains of the writing life, increase your writing energy, and help make your writing dreams come true from Kristi Holl, "the author of 35 books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Writer's First Aid. Through this blog, Kristi hopes to share the challenges of being a writer, bring you encouragement, and pump you full of perseverance!" See also information on Critiques by Kristi Holl. Note: Kristi has experience with both the mainstream and Christian markets!

"The Scavenger Bride" a spooky short story by author Linda Joy Singleton offered free online. See also "The Boy in the Mirror." Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy Singleton.

Here's one last book video, this one to Parties and Potions by Sarah Mlynowski (Random House, 2008)! Source: E. Lockhart.

More Personally

Boy, do I love Halloween! Here's wishing you all a happy and safe one!

This week has been spooktacular, highlighted by P. J. Hoover's launch party for The Emerald Tablet (Blooming Tree/CBAY, 2008). See P. J.'s report and party pics (below)! Read a Cynsations interview with P. J.

P. J. herself in an Emerald Tablet T-shirt. She shared her book trailer and offered a first-rate PowerPoint presentation.

The crowd was enthusiastic, and refreshments were plentiful (there was also a candy table).

YA author Jennifer Ziegler with P. J.'s editor Madeline Smoot, who also works at BookPeople. Learn more about Madeline's imprint, CBAY Books (Children's Brains are Yummy).

2008 debut author Shana Burg (author interview) and author-poet Liz Garton Scanlon (author interview).

Author Jo Whittemore (interview), illustrator Gene Brenek (interview), and author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell (interview) and 2008 debut author-illustrator Emma Virjan. Note: Jo turns 31 today on the 31rst! Happy birthday, Jo!

My Events

Joseph Bruchac and Cynthia Leitich Smith will be chatting with readergirlz at MySpace on Nov. 6. Joe will be featuring Sacajawea (Scholastic) and Cynthia will be featuring Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins). From Harcourt: "Joseph Bruchac has written more than 60 books for children and adults, and received many literary awards, including the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas." Read a Cynsations interview with Joe.

The Austin chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators will be hosting its annual holiday party from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at BookPeople (6th and Lamar) in Austin. The event will include: panels on writing picture books, on writing middle grade novels, on writing YA novels; author signings; and much more!

"Connections and 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, editor Kim T. Griswell of Highlights, 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.

Due to a technical difficulty, Cynthia Leitich Smith's discussion of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life has been rescheduled for for 3 p.m. Nov. 18. See more information.

Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) Workshop in San Antonio Nov. 24 to Nov. 25. An event I utterly adore for the depth of discussions, sophistication and dedication of the attendees-leadership, and wonderful company of fellow YA authors. Note: NCTE stands for "National Council of Teachers of English," which has a preceding conference. Details on my signing and speaking schedule to come.

More Events

Happy Texas Book Festival weekend! Authors to be featured at the 2008 festival include: Kathi Appelt; Shana Burg; Melissa de la Cruz; Heather Vogel Frederick; Shannon Hale; Varian Johnson; Laurie Keller; Christopher S. Jennings; Marisa Montes; Yuyi Morales; Lauren Myracle; Margo Rabb; Tanya Lee Stone; Philip Yates; Paula Yoo; Emma J. Virjan; and Jennifer Ziegler. See the complete list. Note: due to a foot injury, I won't be in attendance, but I wish y'all a wonderful festival!

R. L. Stein's Halloween Party will begin at 3 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Austin Children's Museum (201 Colorado St.). R. L. Stein will read and tell a communal (audience-participation) ghost story at 3:30 p.m. and sign books from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event is free, but space is limited to 350. Costumes welcome. Note: sponsored by the Texas Book Festival in cooperation with the museum.