Monday, January 26, 2009

Spooky News & Giveaways

Welcome back to Spookycyn!

My winter hiatus has concluded, and it's a great day for children's-YA literature!

Congratulations also to all of the newly announced ALA winners and honorees!

I'll leave the details and dissections to those fine folks who aren't digging out of an email avalanche from spending much of this month teaching and go with the big picture.

Highlights included a few personal favorites (per Greg, per child_lit):

Newbery Honor: The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small (Atheneum)(author interview);

William C. Morris Award: A Curse Dark as Gold written by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Arthur A. Levine).

More News & Giveaways

Enter to Win an ARC of Geektastic, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown, August 2009). Peek: Miss Cecil says: "It has stories from all our favorite geeks: Kelly Link, M. T. Anderson, Garth Nix, Liz Brazwell, John Green, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Lisa Yee, Barry Lyga and Sara Zarr with comics written by [Cecil and Holly] and illustrated by Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley." Talk 'bout geektastic company!" To enter: "Make us a geeky icon that screams geektastic! Or an icon for any one of the authors in the anthology. Or for [Cecil] or Holly." See details from Cecil! See details from Holly! Winner announced Feb. 1.

Interview with Simon Pulse Editor Michael del Rosario by Lisa Schroeder from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "Not in any particular order, the things that draw me to a manuscript would be: Humor, originality, an authentic voice, quirk, passion, flow, edge, and of course good writing."

I Don't Know Why I Love You Like I Do from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "One of the most surprising discoveries young publishing professionals make upon finding a chair on this side of the desk is how many well-known, well-respected authors are totally incapable of telling when they've written something good and marketable, and when they really, really haven't."

Enter to Win one of 10 Copies of Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella, 2008) from Teen Libris. Peek: "...we're giving away ten copies to bring some heat to the middle of your winter. (Not body heat, obviously, because-- vampires!)." Immortal features my short story, "Haunted Love." Deadline: Feb. 10.

2009 Texas Book Festival Writing Contest: Texas junior high and high school students are invited to submit a piece of original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length, to be judged by Texas authors, some of whom will appear at the 2009 Texas Book Festival in Austin, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Entries should focus on the theme, 'In My Own Backyard.' Judges will look for excellence in use of dialogue, imagery, character development, setting, plot, conflict and resolution. Submitted entries will be submitted in three divisions—Grades 7-8; Grades 9-10; Grades 11-12. Authors will enter the division for which they were a student during the 2008-09 school year. Schools are limited to three entries per division. There is no entry fee. Entries must be double-spaced and faxed to the Texas Book Festival office at 512.322.0722 no later than July 1. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place finishers per division. First place winners will be invited to Austin to receive an award and to read their works during the 2009 Texas Book Festival. Their winning entries will also be published on the Texas Book Festival Web site. See entry form.

Subplots: a call for discussion by P. J. Hoover at Roots in Myth. Peek: "I'm sure we can all pull out the old Harry Potter example and say, 'Look at all the masterful subplots J. K. Rowling managed so well in Harry Potter.' But in all seriousness, who cares if the house elves have hats knitted for them (HP5)?" Note: don't miss the comments. Read a Cynsations interview with P. J.

Spicy Reads: Ed Spicer's Teen Book Reviews.

78th Annual Writers Digest Writing Competition
: enter in the children's/young adult division for a chance at the grand prize--$3,000 cash and a trip to New York City to meet with editors or agents. Deadline: May 15. Late entry deadline: June 1 (add $5 to entry fee). See more information.

Working in Children's Books and the Recession of 2008-09 by Harold Underdown at The Purple Crayon. Peek: "What should you do, if you write or illustrate or edit or design or do any of the other jobs that keep our business running?" Read a Cynsations interview with Harold.

A Potter Week and Thoughts on Setting by Greg Leitich Smith from GregLSBlog. Peek: "I'd forgotten just how much Hogwarts is almost a character itself. In the books, Hogwarts is of course more than merely backdrop -- being there over the school year drives some (much?) of the personal dynamic and fleshes out the conflicts with Snape and Malfoy and other students and faculty."

Publicist Interview: Jennifer Taber of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "Authors can do themselves a great service by educating themselves about the current state of publishing and by communicating with their publicist about plans and goals."

The Justified Line: Copyediting and manuscript evaluation services. Peek: "Welcome to the editorial services website of author Stacy DeKeyser. I have over 12 years of experience writing, critiquing, and copyediting both fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. I've taught workshops on submitting your work to publishers. I've worked with a number of different publishers, and I'm represented by one of the best agencies out there, so I have a pretty good idea of how editors and agents work."

Social Networking Guilt: Get Over It by Mitali Perkins at Mitali's Fire Escape. Peek: "Creative purists who scoff at social networks as a time-waster need to remember that a writer is only half the dialectic in this business. The other half is made up of readers, and these days young adults make calendaring and purchasing decisions via social networks." Read a Cynsations interview with Mitali.

More Personally

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith: a recommendation by Mandy from Nocturnal Reviews. Peek: "Tantalize was just wow... I couldn't stop reading it. I put aside schoolwork, saying I'd stop reading in another hour. But I kept reading and reading. Just like it's name, I was definitely tantalized with every chapter, craving for more. I regret not reading this sooner!" Note: Mandy mentions a strong desire for a sequel, and there is more to come. Eternal, which will be released Feb. 10 in the U.S., is set in the same universe but features different main character. Then the two casts will crossover in a third novel, Blessed, which picks up with Quincie where Tantalize leaves off. There's also a graphic novel adaptation of Tantalize (from Kieren's POV) in the works! Stay tuned to Cynsations for more news!

As an author who's new to seeing her books reach readers overseas, it was a thrill to see this announcement by Janet Tansley in the Liverpool Echo about Tantalize. On a related note, Tantalize will be published in France by Editions Intervista in April 2010.

And as if all that weren't lovely enough, Carrie Jones loves me. Yay! P.S. Laughed out loud at David Lubar's comment. I also thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Yee's How Not to Get an Agent, featuring the irrepressible Peepy and my own fabulous agent, Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown.


YA Author Margo Rabb will be performing at five-minute monologue on Friday at Five Things in Austin. Peek: "The subject is women talking about men and their various grooming/icky habits. I'll be talking about one of the worst jobs I ever had, cleaning men’s bathrooms." Note: this is not a book event, but rather one that features an author. Read a Cynsations interview with Margo.

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).

"The Profit, Pleasures and Pitfalls of Author Visits to Schools" with author-illustrator Mark Mitchell will be at 11 a.m. Feb. 21 at BookPeople in Austin. "For published authors of children's books, school visits can make a lot of sense. They're a terrific way to connect with your market and, if done right, a revenue source for an author. The machinery of 'school tours' contains many moving parts: organization, 'market positioning,' salesmanship, public relations, communication, technology, travel, book sales, book-keeping and more. Mark will discuss [how to frame a business model that works] and will help to grow your success as an author. He'll also touch on crafting a performance that speaks to the kids, and connects with them." The event is sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

"Mark's Raising La Belle (Eakin, 2002), about a 312 year old Texas shipwreck won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America (for best juvenile nonfiction book) and the United States Maritime Literature Award. In 2006, he began touring schools with his Raising La Belle presentation. Since then he has visited 83 schools around the state and received many rave reviews from librarians, teachers, and students."

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.

Note: Cynthia on occasion speaks of herself in the third person. It's a Kansas thing.