Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spooky Books of 2008

Congratulations to all of the authors and illustrators of our 2008 spooky reading list, defined broadly! And thank you to everyone who discussed and debated and cheered and championed this year's books!

Just for fun, I'd like to share a few of my favorites.

Quick caveats: (a) I haven't read every 2008 book published, though I did read 500+; (b) to varying degrees, I know or have met some (but not most) of the creators below--if I cut everyone I knew, potential picks would be significantly reduced in number;* (c) I will continue to read and feature 2008 titles in 2009 and beyond; (d) these are highlights, not predictions, not an all-inclusive list of my favorites.

Beyond that, I made an effort to sidestep bestsellers as well as previous ALA and NBA honorees, though one or two may have sneaked in. Those books are of course wonderful, but they already get a lot of attention. My hope is that, here, you'll find at least one spooky cool book that's new to you!

Here we go:

The Adoration of Jenna Fox
by Mary E. Pearson (Holt)(author interview)

Bliss by Lauren Myracle (Abrams)

The Compound by S. A. Bodeen (Feiwel & Friends)(author interview)

the dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Harcourt)(author interview); see Life As We Knew It, also by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Harcourt, 2006)

Dead Girl Walking by Linda Joy Singleton (Flux)(author interview)

How To Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury)(author interview)

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (HarperCollins); see Wicked Lovely, also by Melissa Marr (HarperCollins, 2007)

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (Simon Pulse)

Night Road by A. M. Jenkins (HarperCollins)(author interview)

Soulless
by Christopher Golden (MTV)(author interview)

New Voice

Maggie Stiefvater (Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Flux))(author interview)

*That said, I exempted my former VCFA advisees as well as my editor Deborah Noyes, author of The Ghosts of Kerfol (Candlewick) and Encyclopedia of the End (Houghton Mifllin)(interview) due to the nature of our particular relationships; however, I am--as ever--wowed by them and their books. Note: I'll add advisees to the mix on their second or third books out.

Cynsational Notes

In 2008, my novel Tantalize was released on audio by Listening Library and in paperback by Candlewick and Walker U.K.

In addition, my short story, "Haunted Love," was published in Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella). Contributors were: P. C. Cast, L. J. Smith, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kristin Cast, Rachel Caine (author interview), Tanith Lee, Nancy Holder, Richelle Mead, and Claudia Gray.

Friday, December 26, 2008

RIP Eartha Kitt



Source: Cecil Castellucci.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spooky News & Giveaways

Reminder: Enter to win one of four ARCs of Dead Is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jan. 2009)(author interview).

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 Dec. 31! OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Dec. 31! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win. Please also type "Dead Is a State of Mind" in the subject line. Note: one copy will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of YA literature; two copies will go to any Cynsational readers, and two copies will go to members of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please indicate your entry status (if you qualify in more than one category, you get a separate entry for each).

More News

Congratulations to Lisa Schroeder on the release of Far From You (Simon Pulse, Dec. 2008)! Here's a peek at the promotional copy: "Do you believe in angels? Far From You is a story of love and loss, and reminds us what's really important in life. Fans of I Heart You, You Haunt Me are sure to enjoy this novel-in-verse featuring 16-year-old Alice, a singer/songwriter who's had her share of hard times, and unfortunately, has more to come. What will pull her through? Her music? The love of her boyfriend, Blaze? Or perhaps, an angel, here on earth?" Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Teen Fiction Cafe is now available via LJ syndication.

VLog: Seven Books You Should Definitely Read in 2009 (Including Mine) from Saundra Mitchell (below). Note: Saundra is the author of Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, Feb. 2009).

Seven Books You Should Definitely Read in 2009 (Including Mine)


Your Identity, for the Internet from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "Your website, in the very lucky event that an editor decides to look you up, should tell the editor more about who you are as a person-- your other pursuits, anything that makes you particularly well suited to write for kids, your sense of humor, that sort of thing."

Fifth Annual Novel Writing Retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts will be March 27 to March 29, 2009. Featuring: author Kathi Appelt; author Elise Broach; and editor Cheryl Klein of Scholastic. Includes: lectures; organized workshops; writing exercises; one-on-one critiques with one of the guest authors; one-on-one critique with guest editor (extra fee); open mike; discussions; room and board. Cost: $450. Registration begins Dec. 1.

2008 Top 10 Books from Linda Joy Singleton. Peek: "I notice that my favorite books tend to be both midgrade and YA, mostly fantasy and mysteries." Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy Singleton. See also 2008 in Review (Haiku) from Emily Reads.

Interview with Carrie Jones, author of Need (Bloomsbury, Dec. 2008) from Jeri Smith-Ready. Peek: "I think fear works both ways. You know how at slumber parties everyone would freak themselves out because they heard noises in the kitchen or outside? I was always the kid who grabbed a weapon, made the other kids form a line behind me and investigated." Read a Cynsations interview with Carrie. Note: congratulations to Carrie on her new release!

Kids Books: The Best Gifts for Grown-Ups: recommendations from Emily at BookKids Recommends. See also Favorite New Books for December.

So How Do You Know When You Suck (Or Just Haven't Made It) by Allison Winn Scotch from Ask Allison. Peek: "Obviously, writing is a subjective thing, and what is good to one person will certainly suck for another (just read any author's reviews and you'll see a wide range), but on the whole (and yes, there are exceptions, where universally, everyone says, how the hell did that get published), most published writers have a certain something that appeals." Note: a candid, give-and-take (with no clear answers) on a question heard a lot from folks in their apprenticeships.

The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier (Knopf, 2008): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: "In this elegant first novel, Neumeier presents an atmospheric world of intrigue and treachery."

Austin illustrator Clint Young and author Deborah Noyes are now at JacketFlap. Peek at Clint's bio: "Born 1971 in Dallas, Texas, but now call Austin Home. I spent several years in the San Francisco Bay area as a senior artist for LucasArts/Lucasfilm. Currently I have found a home as a concept artist for Bioware, Austin." See also a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

More Personally

Exclusive Q & A with Author Cynthia Leitich Smith from Teen Book Blog: maintained by the Palatine Public Library District as an online extension of services to young adult patrons. Peek: "I popped corn for a movie theater back during the 1980s blockbusters. Lines would wrap around the theater. One night someone broke in with a gun and stole our copy of 'Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom.' That job was my inspiration for my short story, 'Haunted Love' in Immortal Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast."

I'm going to take a few days of hiatus and will be back Dec. 29! Happy Holidays! Here's a little cheer from my wintery kitty. Meet Blizzard!

Events

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be speaking on "First Drafts" at the February monthly meeting of the Writers' League of Texas at 7:30 Feb. 19 at the League office in Austin (611 S. Congress Avenue).

Due to a technical difficulty, Cynthia's discussion of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008), Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 24. See more information.

Cynthia will be speaking on "Writing and Illustrating Native American Children's Literature" (with S. D. Nelson) and "Monsters and Magic: Writing Gothic Fantasy Novels for Teenagers" on March 15 at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Spooky News & Giveaways

Enter to win one of four ARCs of Dead Is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jan. 2009)(author interview). From the promotional copy:

Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It's home to the psychic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries. During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom-shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case!

There's a gorgeous new guy at Nightshade High: Duke Sherrad, a fortune-teller claiming to have descended from Gypsies. Even though she’s psychic herself, Daisy is skeptical of Duke’s powers. But when a teacher who was the subject of one of his predictions ends up dead, she begins to wonder if Duke is the real deal after all. Maybe if Daisy can track down the teacher's killer, she can find out the truth.

The only trouble is, all signs point to the murderer being of the furry persuasion. Is Daisy any match for a werewolf? Maybe she is . . . in more ways than she bargained for!

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 Dec. 31! OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Dec. 31! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win. Please also type "Dead Is a State of Mind" in the subject line. Note: one copy will go to a teacher, librarian, or university professor of YA literature; two copies will go to any Cynsational readers, and two copies will go to members of Tantalize Fans Unite! at MySpace. Please indicate your entry status (if you qualify in more than one category, you get a separate entry for each).

In other news, the winner of Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia edited by Herbie Brennan (BenBella, 2008)(PDF excerpt) was Valerie in Indiana! Read an interview with Herbie.

More News

See below for an archived online radio interview with P. J. Hoover on The Emerald Tablet (CBAY/Blooming Tree, 2008) from Book Bites for Kids. See also an interview with P. J. from The First Book.



Playing Against Hype: Buzz verses hype -- Stephen King promotes Andre Dubus III's The Garden of Last Days from EW.com. Peek: "Good buzz goes from mouth to ear to blog to text message and back to mouth and...well, you get it." Source: April Henry.

To Cloth or Not to Cloth? (Or, The Age-Old Paperback Original Conundrum) from Editorial Ass. Note: great, illuminating post, though I wonder what differences there are in the youth lit market. I suspect our children's-YA librarian buyers, for example, are much more fiction friendly than their adult-market counterparts.

A video review of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Holt, 2008) from Mrs. Magoo Reads.



Attention: YA Horror, Paranormal (and Otherwise Creepy) Authors and Publishers: promote your books by sending giveaways to Phoenix Comicon. The event will be Jan. 25 to Jan. 27 at the Mesa Civic Center, with a preview night featuring Zombie Walk and Zombie Beauty Pageant on Jan. 24. Last year Phoenix Comicon boasted more than 5000 attendees, including many in the YA and middle readers demographic. Email sponsors@phoenixcomicon.com, and check out www.phoenixcomicon.com to find out more about the guest list, events, how to coordinate giveaways, and more.

Enter to win one of many super cute writer items (T-shirt, mug, button, etc.) from the Pickled Pixel Toe. Deadline: midnight tonight (Arizona time). See more information.

Author Michael Grant on Gone (HarperCollins, 2008).



Teen Writing Contest: Gotham Writers' Workshop "has teamed with Sonya Sones and Simon & Schuster publishing for a truly original writing competition - The What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know Writing Contest." Peek: "Sonya Sones will read the entries, and the author of her favorite entry will win a free six-week online writing class from Gotham Writers' Workshop and Teen Ink! Sonya will even post the winning entry on her website! Ten runners-up will receive a year's subscription to Teen Ink. The winner and the ten runners-up will also receive a personalized copy of What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know signed by the author." See details and official rules.

From Publishers Lunch: "Jo Whittemore's Ink Slingers, a peek at the behind-the-scenes world of the eighth-grade newspaper, to Alyson Heller at Aladdin, for publication in Summer 2010, by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency." Congratulations, Jo, Alyson, and Jennifer! Wonderful news! Read a Cynsations interviews with Jo and Jennifer.

"'Twas the Night Before Christmas Aboard the 'Black Sark'" a celebration of A Pirate's Night Before Christmas by Phil Yates from Mark G. Mitchell at How to Be a Children's Book Illustrator. Peek: "His artwork was modern, moody, had an edgy quality to it that was appealing. Similar to Lane Smith, I think. Lots of clutter, but I mean that in a postive way. Detail upon detail. He could also handle crowds of pirates in one picture, which, when you look at the illustrations, you can see this was necessary." Read Cynsations interviews with Phil and Mark.

Fade by Lisa McMann (Simon & Schuster, Feb. 2009) ARC Giveaway sponsored by Elizabeth Scott. See details. Deadline: today!

Process and Product - 3 by Liz Garton Scanlon at Liz In Ink. Peek: "Honestly, if my process grew stagnant I would never sell a thing and, plus, I'd pull all my hair out. Which would hurt, since it's already so curly and tangly anyway." Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Official Rules for the Touch Series Book Launch Contest from Laurie Faria Stolarz. Peek: "In celebration of the release of Deadly Little Secret (Hyperion, Dec. 23, 2008), I'm launching a very exciting contest." Note: "The winner of the contest will have a minor character in Deadly Little Lies, the second book in the Touch series, named after him or her." Runner-up prizes are also awesome. Deadline: March 1, 2009. See details.

Check out the December Carnival of Children's Literature at Jen Robinson's Book Page.

Far From You Release Celebration and Contest from Lisa Schroeder. Peek: "Copy and paste this entire blog entry into your blog between now and Dec. 21, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either LiveJournal or Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get two enteries to win a number of prizes." See details. Learn more about Lisa's upcoming novel, Far From You (Simon Pulse, Dec. 2008). Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Chris Barton: official author website (peek below). Chris is the debut author of The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, July 2009). You can also find him online at Bartography.


Fear and Publishing by Carrie Jones from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "We want to make the best books we possibly can make. What's happening in the publishing world shouldn't change that." Note: bonus points for "Buffy" and "Scooby" references. Read a Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Greg Leitich Smith at GregLS Blog recommends: (1) Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman (Dutton 2008). Peek: "an utterly engaging narrator (and narrative voice)" (2) The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem (Harcourt 2008). Peek: "a fascinating, well-drawn world with a compelling and likeable protagonist and intriguing conflicts." (3) The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman (Greenwillow, 2008). Peek: "imaginative and fun, the puzzles and stunts creative and thought-provoking." (4) Gone by Michael Grant (HarperTeen 2008). Peek: "Part 'Heroes,' part Lord of the Flies" (5) Squashed by Joan Bauer (Putnam 2001). Peek: "a funny, heartwarming story about family, love, friendship, finding out who you are, and giant vegetables."

More Personally

An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith
by Robyn at Once Upon a Romance. Peek: "I was a switchboard operator for a bank, a cashier at a gas station, a marketing intern for Hallmark Cards, a summer clerk for a 10th Circuit appellate judge, a summer clerk for a legal aid office in Hawaii, a reporting intern for the Dallas Morning News, and a tutor in English composition for college freshmen from migrant farm families." See also last month's interview with Dotti Enderle.

A Great Time to Support Local Authors by Emily at BookKids Recommends. Peek: "Austin is rife with local authors! Buying local is a great way to put money back into your community, and it works with literature, too! Below are some of my very favorite local author titles for holiday gift-giving. (Psssst - most of these are available in signed editions!)" See also: More Local Authors: Picture Books: also from Emily. Peek: "From sleep-walking penguins to pirate Santas, Austin’s authors cover it all." Emily says of Santa Knows (Dutton, 2006): "Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith are a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to believing in Santa." And she says of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008): "...a great book for Austinite teens and lovers of dark fantasy." Shop BookPeople!

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith: thoughts from Professor Nana AKA Dr. Teri Lesesne. Peek: "Smith weaves lore from Draculian legend and story along with some other familiar cultural and literary references. Astute readers will delight in finding references to James Howe's Bunnicula [1979] and others ranging from Johnny Cash to Joss Whedon and C. S. Lewis..." Note: I am absurdly pleased that Teri appreciated my lit-and-pop-culture geekdom.

Thanks to Bob at Doogle Books for linking to my site!

Thanks to Kimberly Pauley for giving Cynsations an I Heart Your Blog Award! Peek: "I learn something every time I visit her blog." I've won this award before, so I'll just refer back to my previously highlighted list. Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberly.

Reminder: Submitting a children's/YA book to Cynsations? Please don't write a "pitch" letter (per the instructions on my site) as I can't respond individually to thousands of these a year. Instead, see the submissions guidelines to decide whether your book is a fit. Good luck!

Even More Personally

I'm giving books for the holidays! They include How Not To Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, 2008), The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie (Delacorte, 2008), Backwater by Joan Bauer (Putnam, 1999), and Bubba and Beau Go Night-Night by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Arthur Howard (Harcourt, 2003). In addition to BookPeople, I'm also shopping at The Literacy Site!

I'm also happy to report that Greg cut my hair, so I no longer look like a dark-haired yeti! And I have reclaimed my very cute brown knit hat, which reads "Life is Good," from Threadgill's South!

Hooray for the film adaptation of The Tale of Despereaux! Learn about author Kate DiCamillo.




Friday, December 12, 2008

Spooky News & Giveaways

Enter to win a copy of Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia edited by Herbie Brennan (BenBella, 2008)(PDF excerpt)! Read an interview with Herbie.

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 Dec. 15!

OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Dec. 15! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win. Please also type "Wardrobe" in the subject line.

The winners of autographed copies of
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum, 2008) were Sally, a teacher in Michigan, and Lucile, a Cynsational reader from Florida! Read a Cynsations inteview with Jennifer.

More News

"Secret Vampire, the first book of nine in L. J. Smith's Night World series, can be freely downloaded until Dec. 21." Source: School Library Journal by way of Janni Lee Simmer.

Congratulations to Deborah Noyes on the release of Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)! From the promotional copy: "How much do we truly know and understand about our own mortality? Enter Encyclopedia of the End, a compulsively readable and beautifully illustrated compendium that explores this most taboo of topics. Entries present a kaleidoscopic mix of topics from afterlife to assassination, forensic science to funeral foods, rigor mortis to reincarnation and more. With an appreciation for the profound and profane, Deborah Noyes helps lift the shroud of secrecy surrounding one of the most fascinating and ordinary phenomena of life. After all, who says that a book about death can't be lively?" Read a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Melissa Marr Interview from The YA YA YAs. Peek: "When I started, I wrote a short story. About a year later, those characters and that story evolved into a novel. As soon as I finished it, I began writing another novel (parts of which eventually became the second and third books, Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity respectively). Currently, I'm planning a total of five books in this world. The fourth of those is the one I’m currently writing." Read a Cynsations interview with Melissa.

Writers You'll Be Hearing a Lot About by Sarah Aronson from Through the Tollbooth. A celebration of pre-published talent. See interviews with: Gene Brenek (who, incidentally, designed the Sanguini's T-shirts); Elly Swartz; Kellye Carter Crocker (one of my former VCFA students--go, Kellye!); Sean Petrie (of the Austin community).

Keep Writing! by Jill Cocoran Books. Reflections on the financial status of publishing from a variety of voices.

Reminder: Firebrand Literary is taking a Query Holiday: see detailed information on how to submit your first chapter between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15. Note: due not submit without reading guidelines.

Book Party Tips from Marianne Mancusi from Pub Rants. Peek: "Gift Bags! Take a page from red carpet events and make up gift bags for each guest. You can solicit companies to donate products—it's much easier than you might think!"

AuthorsNow!: "The Internet's Largest Collection of Debut Authors and Illustrators." Peek: "New talent is in town! Learn about what's hitting the shelves in children’s and teen literature today from our debut authors and illustrators. Not only will you find information about our books, but we’ll also point you to other popular groups, web sites, blogs, and communities who love children’s books as much as we do!" See also the application to become an AuthorsNow! member.

Attention Authors, Illustrators, Web Promotion Pros: remember to include the publisher, publication date, and ISBN for each book on your websites. Please also be aware that reviews are copyrighted. You may not reproduce them in the whole without permission. Stick with a short quote and a link back to the review source.

Kids ♥ Authors Day: "Bookstores, authors, and illustrators are teaming up to make V-Day 2009 an unforgettable one for New England families." New England authors, illustrators, booksellers, and media can find out how to participate here. Source: Cynthia Lord.

More Personally

Thanks to all who cheered the cover of Eternal (Candlewick, Feb. 2009)! The book now has its own page on my official website, and the readers' guide (warning: spoilers) is up too. If you'd like a smaller version of the countdown widget, you can find it on either of those pages. More Web features are in the works and will roll out over the next couple of months.

On a related note...

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith -- Review from Karin's Book Nook. Peek: "Reading Tantalize first isn't necessary, so in February when Eternal hits the shelves run to the bookstore and get your copy."

Last weekend I had the pleasure of co-leading Austin SCBWI's Day with an Editor with Jill Santopolo of HarperCollins. Thanks so much to RA Tim Crow, workshop hostess Debbie Gonzales, her dedicated team of volunteers, and all who participated! Read a Cynsations interview with Jill. See also author Kristi Holl's thoughts on the day from The Gift of Time at Writer's First Aid. Here's a pic of Jill herself...


Another of Jill, this one with VCFA student and Sanguini's T-shirt illustrator Gene Brenek.


Author Lindsey Lane.


VCFA student Jennifer Taylor.


An array of talented participants (on break).


And refreshments provided by Caribbean Cart Catering.


In other news, author-illustrator Annette Simon sends in this shot of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) from a Wal-Mart in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Thanks, Annette! Note: a non-writer pal asked me this week why folks were sending in photos of my book in stores across the country, and my answer was: "Because it's never happened before, and these are people who know that for someone who's been writing and loving books so long, it's a small miracle." Thanks again to all for the enthusiasm, support, and cheers.

Events

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be speaking on "First Drafts" at the February monthly meeting of the Writers' League of Texas at 7:30 Feb. 19 at the League office in Austin (611 S. Congress Avenue).

Due to a technical difficulty, Cynthia Leitich Smith's discussion of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008), Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 24. See more information.

Reminders

Fifth Annual Novel Writing Retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts will be March 27 to March 29, 2009. Featuring: author Kathi Appelt; author Elise Broach; and editor Cheryl Klein of Scholastic. Includes: lectures; organized workshops; writing exercises; one-on-one critiques with one of the guest authors; one-on-one critique with guest editor (extra fee); open mike; discussions; room and board. Cost: $450. Registration begins Dec. 1. For more information, contact Sarah Aronson.

Novel Secrets: A Novel Retreat in 3 Acts: "Have you always wanted to write a young adult or middle grade novel for children, but have not carved out the time to get it done? Do you have a draft of a novel written, but are looking for ideas and strategies to revise and strengthen it? Would you like the chance to meet with an editor or an agent to pitch your novel and gain critical feedback about this novel in particular and the fiction market, in general? All of this is possible if you attend..." Features authors Elaine Marie Alphin, Darcy Pattison, editor Jill Santopolo, and agent Stephen Barbara. See more information.

Finally

Here's a little peek at home life--say howdy to Leo in his house.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Spooky News & Giveaways

Enter to win a copy of Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia edited by Herbie Brennan (BenBella, 2008)(PDF excerpt)! Read an interview with Herbie. From the promotional copy:

Why is Prince Caspian the ultimate teenager?

What does Narnia have to do with the Nazis?

How come C. S. Lewis has such a big problem with lipstick, anyway?

Step through the wardrobe...and into the imaginations of sixteen friends of Aslan as they explore Narnia, from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to The Last Battle, from the heart of Caspian's kingdom to the Eastern Seas.


Contributors: Herbie Brennan; Deb Caletti; Diane Duane; Sarah Beth Durst; Brent Hartinger; Susan Juby; Sophie Masson; Kelly McClymer; O.R. Melling; Lisa Papademetriou; Diana Peterfreund; Susan Vaught; Ned Vizzini; Elizabeth Wein; Zu Vincent and Kiara Koenig.

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 Dec. 15!

OR, if you're on MySpace or Facebook, you can message me on that network by 10 p.m. CST Dec. 15! But DON'T send in your contact information on MySpace or Facebook. I'll contact you for it if you win. Please also type "Wardrobe" in the subject line.

The winner of Demigods and Monsters: Your Favorite Authors on Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, edited by Rick Riordan with Leah Wilson (BenBella, 2008)(PDF excerpt) was M.L. in California!

More News

How to Ditch Your Fairy Interview with Justine Larbalestier from Scott Westerfeld at westerblog. A husband-wife author-author IM-style interview. See also a Cynsations interview with Justine.

List of YA Authors by State from YALSA. Peek: "...page will collect the names of YA authors and list them by state, for the purpose of helping librarians, library workers and educators to plan author visits and other such programs." Source: S. A. Harazin. Note: you may add to the list.

Laura's Review Bookshelf
: "reviewing new young adult novels and interviewing young adult authors."

Watch this video of Neil Gaiman on The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008). Peek: "I loved getting lost." Me too. Source: The Horn Book.




Sci Fi/Fantasy: Ten Rules of Magic
by Megan M. at Teen Ink. Peek: "If your characters fought hand to hand, you would not expect them to escape without (at least) a few bruises. The same must be true for magic, whether those 'bruises' manifest themselves as physical exhaustion, emotional corruption, or unintended consequences." Source: Journey of an Inquiring Mind.

How to Publish without Perishing by James Gleick from The New York Times. Peek: "This means a new beginning — a vast trove of books restored to the marketplace." Source: The Authors Guild.

Don't miss the December book giveaways at TeensReadToo.

Blurbs II: Giving by Lauren Lise Baratz-Logsted at Red Room. Peek: "It's a privilege to have succeeded at it so well that people actually think that using your name will help them sell a few books. Everyone who has ever pursued a career in writing with all their heart and all their will should be so lucky." Don't miss part one: Blurbs: Getting.

City of Glass ARC Contest, December 2008 from Cassandra Claire. Peek: "there are four categories and one ARC for winning in each category. Each category requires you to do a funky, fun or creative thing that's somehow related to the Mortal Instruments books." Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra.

M. T. Anderson Challenges Young Adults with Complex Narratives from The Washington Post. Peek: "If we're going to ask our kids at age 18 to go off to war and die for their country, I don't see any problem with asking them at age 16 to think about what that might mean." Source: Gwenda Bond.

In search of murder ballads and mournful cello by Deborah Noyes at Haunted Playlist. Peek: "I lack the tenacity to maintain a true blog that talks about my books (what I have to say on that count is already in my books) or my daily life, which moves at more or less the pace of drying paint, but I did want to share something along with my author-photographer sites besides the stuff I'm trying to sell you. In the process, in my small way, I get to promote great, largely indie musicians."

Masterpiece by Elise Broach: a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: "...full of charm and intrigue..."

Interview with Kathleen Duey, author of Skin Hunger from Christy's Creative Space. Peek: "I just finished the second book, Sacred Scars, so the worst of the timeline wrestling is over."

Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman: a recommendation by Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: "...an altogether funny, thoughtful, and thought-provoking novel about life, death, friendship, and family."

Process and Product 1 by Liz Garton Scanlon from Liz in Ink. Peek: " We want to skip ahead to product. To success. Fame and fortune. The finish line. Or do we?" See also part 2. Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Something Rotten Online Promo -- By the Numbers by Alan Gratz at Gratz Industries. Peek: "I broke down the numbers for editor Liz and the marketing folks at Penguin, but I wanted to blog about them here for anyone curious about the promotion's impact." Read a Cynsations interview with Alan.

Queries That Worked by Sara Crowe at Crowe's Nest. Peek: "What I want to highlight in the following letters is the description of the book. This is what I want to know about most, obviously — and is often overlooked in favor of a lot of unnecessary information about the writer of the letter, such as they have been writing since they were five and love Harry Potter and their grandchildren love their work."

Wanted, Male Models: There's a good reason why boys don't read by Gail Giles from School Library Journal. Peek: "A boy doesn't want to be a woman. He wants to do what a man does. And if he doesn't see a man reading, he won't read." Source: S. A. Harazin. Read a Cynsations interview with Gail.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte, 2009) Giveaway sponsored by Sharon Loves Books. Deadline: Dec. 18. Learn more about Carrie Ryan.

Rowling "fierce" but fair about Potter: editor by Ian MacKenzie and Nick Zieminski from Reuters. Peek: "J.K. Rowling's first editor, who championed Harry Potter after several publishers had turned the boy wizard down, described the author as 'fierce' but fair to work with." Source: The Leaky Cauldron.

Celebrate Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month with the video below. Learn more about Carleen Brice. Note: for suggestions of children's-YA books by black authors and illustrators, see The Brown Bookshelf.



Cheers to Topher Bradfield, children's outreach coordinator at BookPeople in Austin, who was featured as #3 in "My Job's Cooler than Your Job" by Rhonda Lashley in the December issue of Austin Monthly.

More Personally

After NCTE/ALAN (see Alvina Ling's video report), Greg and I enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving holiday with a meal of turkey, faux mashed potatoes (whipped cauliflower), stuffing, and corn-on-the-cob. He'd caught a cold in San Antonio--better now, so we took it easy over the weekend.

However, we're now revved and ready for tomorrow Austin SCBWI's Day with an Editor, featuring author-editor Jill Santopolo of HarperCollins, which was rescheduled due to Hurricane Ike. Jill and I will be critiquing three-page manuscript excerpts from participants in front of the group. Read a Cynsations interview with Jill.

Per the side photo, here's an essay that was posted this week...

A Cozy Space...with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Tony Abbott. Peek: "...the second of a series about writers' work places, we'll take a peek into Cynthia Leitich Smith's little writing room." Read a Cynsations interview with Tony.

Thank you to Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature for sponsoring a giveaway of Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000). Congratulations to the winner--the Colorado River Indian Tribes Library!

Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) is clearly in good company beside Scott Westerfeld's Uglies (Simon Pulse, 2005)(author interview). I'm not sure if it qualifies as advice or nonfiction, but I'm not complaining.


But even better, the novel pictured is at a New England grocery store, so reader-shoppers can pick up the ingredients for the Sanguini's menu on the way out! Thanks to David Yoo for the pics!


On a final note, my condolences to those adversely affected by the various publisher layoffs. To the wider community, keep the faith--take care of yourselves and each other. Buy books, swarm brick-and-mortar stores, support library budgets, and continue to focus on craft.

Events

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be speaking on "First Drafts" at the February monthly meeting of the Writers' League of Texas at 7:30 Feb. 19 at the League office in Austin (611 S. Congress Avenue).

Due to a technical difficulty, Cynthia Leitich Smith's discussion of Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008), Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 24. See more information.

Reminders

Fifth Annual Novel Writing Retreat at Vermont College of Fine Arts will be March 27 to March 29, 2009. Featuring: author Kathi Appelt; author Elise Broach; and editor Cheryl Klein of Scholastic. Includes: lectures; organized workshops; writing exercises; one-on-one critiques with one of the guest authors; one-on-one critique with guest editor (extra fee); open mike; discussions; room and board. Cost: $450. Registration begins Dec. 1. For more information, contact Sarah Aronson.

Novel Secrets: A Novel Retreat in 3 Acts: "Have you always wanted to write a young adult or middle grade novel for children, but have not carved out the time to get it done? Do you have a draft of a novel written, but are looking for ideas and strategies to revise and strengthen it? Would you like the chance to meet with an editor or an agent to pitch your novel and gain critical feedback about this novel in particular and the fiction market, in general? All of this is possible if you attend..." Features authors Elaine Marie Alphin, Darcy Pattison, editor Jill Santopolo, and agent Stephen Barbara. See more information.

Take a Chance on Art: purchase one or more $5 raffle tickets to enter to win illustrator Don Tate's painting "Duke Ellington," and support the Texas Library Association Disaster Relief Fund. Note: it's especially important this year in light of devastation caused by Hurricane Ike. To learn more, read interviews with TLA librarian Jeanette Larson and illustrator Don Tate.

Hurricane Ike Recovery Fund for Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas. Peek: "The Children's Department, Technical Services, Circulation Department and Operations were located on the first Floor and all are gone. [emphasis added]" See more information. Note: Please consider yourself encouraged to pass on this blurb and link. The media has moved on to other stories, but efforts to deal with the aftermath are ongoing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith -- Feb. 2009: Cover, Info, Excerpt, Countdown

Here's a sneak peek at the cover art and flap copy to Eternal (Candlewick, Feb. 2009):

At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die.

Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight.

Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala.

In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.

Read two sample chapters.

Cynsational Notes

Eternal is set in the same universe as Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) and features different main characters. The two casts will crossover in a third novel, Blessed, which is now in progress and picks up in the timeline where Tantalize leaves off. An audio edition of Eternal is also in production at Listening Library.

If you know of another YA novel featuring angels, please write me with the title, author, and publisher. I often briefly book-talk related reads at the end of presentations and/or distribute tie-in bibliographies. I'm already well set with books reflecting vampire and shape-shifter mythologies, but please also keep me in mind for these as new releases emerge. Thanks!

Countdown

Please see the Eternal countdown widget below! If you would like to include it on your own blog, MySpace, or other webpage, just click "copy me" in the upper right corner. Click one of the icons (upper left, first one) to copy the code, paste it onto your page, and finally re-upload the page to display.