Saturday, February 28, 2009

Austin's Delacorte Dames and Dude

Not for teenagers only: Austin's Delacorte Dames and Dude explain why writing young adult novels is a very grown-up endeavor by Jeff Salamon from The American-Statesman Staff. Peek: "Having a group of friends who are going through the same thing as you—trying to reach the same audience, dealing with the same copy editors, working with the same marketing department—is a rare blessing." See more from Jeff about the DDDs latest novels.

Learn more about Shana Burg, Varian Johnson, April Lurie, Margo Rabb, and Jennifer Ziegler.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Spooky News & City of Glass Giveaway

Enter to win an advanced reader copy of City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (McElderry Books, March 24, 2009). To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "City of Glass" in the subject line. Note: Facebook and MySpace readers can message me instead, but don't send mailing information. I'll touch base if you win. Deadline: March 2! All Cynsational readers are eligible! Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra Clare.

More News & Giveaways

Win-It Wednesday: No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia + The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson from Melissa Walker at MySpace. Peek: "both of these books are fantastic in different ways. You'll love the spirit of Akilah in No Laughter Here (HarperCollins/Amistad, 2004)(author interview) as she tries to figure out why her best friend Victoria has changed after coming home from a summer visit to Nigeria. And in The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Holt, 2008)(author interview), the suspense of finding out Jenna's true history kept me up late into the night." Comment before March 11ish (she said "about two weeks").

Sympathetic vs. Unsympathetic Characters from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent. Peek: "And there are some actions that are just too far beyond the pale for even the most likable of characters, including using racial slurs and/or other powerful cultural taboos. (Oddly this does not seem to include killing people and eating their flesh. Books are weird that way.)" Read a Cynsations interview with Nathan.
Agent Interview: Michelle Humphrey from Sterling Lord from Denise Jaden. Peek: "I'm looking for YA (contemporary, historical, romance, quirky – not really genre fantasy, but I'm open to fantasy elements)--anything with a distinct voice. I am especially fond of subversive heroines--characters who break the rules and aren't afraid to set themselves apart from the crowd."

Namastechnology: Asana: Twitter: "This new monthly column aims to bring bookselling and technology into greater balance with one another and is written by Stephanie Anderson, manager of WORD bookstore in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more of her thoughts on books and bookselling at bookavore.com." Another peek: "You'll feel almost instantly how good Twitter is for you. There are dozens upon dozens of booksellers, sales reps, publishers, reviewers and authors on Twitter. You know that sort of glow-y buzz you get after a bookseller convention, when you feel like your mind is expanding and you've met some cool new people and you have the greatest job in the world? That's what Twitter can be like." Source: Laurie Halse Anderson.

An Interview with Kathi Appelt from Authors Unleashed. Peek: "Perseverance is the key. I began to seriously write for publication when my boys were very young, so I learned to write in five minute snatches of time. I didn't wait to find those huge chunks of time that everyone is always searching for. In those early days, that would have been impossible. So, whenever I had five minutes, I grabbed my pencil and wrote. I still do that to a great extent."

Getting by With a Little Help from Your Friends from Buried in the Slush Pile. Peek: "I would like to encourage everyone to get out and mingle with your fellow authors. Writing can be a very solitary pursuit--just you and your keyboard or pad of paper. Interactions like these help you maintain perspective." Note: a peek into the Austin youth writing/editing/book-selling scene.

Win Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson from In Bed with Books. Deadline: Feb. 28.

Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction from Locus Magazine. Peek: "The single worst piece of writing advice I ever got was to stay away from the Internet because it would only waste my time and wouldn't help my writing." Source: Laurie Halse Anderson.

Enter the So You Think You Can "Dead Girl" Dance Contest! 1st place: autographed copies of Dead Girl Walking (Flux, 2008) and Dead Girl Dancing (Flux, 2009), your name on the dedication page of a future Linda Joy Singleton book, your video link featured on the author's blogs; 2nd place: a book of choice by Linda Joy Singleton. Learn more. Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy.

In These Harsh Economic Times from The Rejector. Peek: "Despite the corporate doom-and-gloom, publishing is actually a fairly stable industry in that people always want/need books. It's either for school or escapism, and it's rather cheap escapism, as most mass market paperbacks are now cheaper than a movie ticket and the book will last you longer."

Definitions for the Perplexed: Editorial Anonymous offers insights into the mysteries of such publishing issues as cast-off, galleys, ARCs, proofs, PPB, ISBNs. Peek: "So galleys are not like buckshot loaded into a shotgun, meant to be fired in the general direction of marketing opportunities. They are sent to the people who will very likely make a difference in the sales numbers. Try to remember this before you suggest that your publisher send you a couple hundred to pass out to your friends."

A Boot Camp for Writers, Featuring Editors and Authors from Blooming Tree Press will be held by Austin SCBWI from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25 at the Residency Center in Terravista, located off I-35 in Round Rock, Texas (directions will be sent with confirmation). Event will include: professional critiques; Continental breakfast and lunch; networking opportunities; general sessions; break-out sessions. Note: Although Blooming Tree Press does not normally accept unagented submissions, Boot Camp Participants will be invited to submit work after this event. See additional information and registration packet. Note: featured editors will include Buried in the Slush Pile. Read a Cynsations interview with Blooming Tree editor Miriam Hees.

Enter to Win an ARC of The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan from Karen Mahoney. Note: leave a comment explaining why you want to win the book." Deadline: March 2.

Marvelous Marketer - Elizabeth Dulemba (Illustrator/Author) from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children's Book Author. Peek: "It's the old 'see it seven times' rule of advertising. People generally don't notice an ad until they've seen it at least seven times. In other words, the more you and your name are out there, the more likely your work will stick in people's minds."

Overheard at the NJ-SCBWI Mentoring Workshop from Tara Lazar at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them). Peek: "We may see a return to house authors. Authors and publishers will enter a partnership. They'll help nurture one another and careers will have a steady progression. If you find a house that loves you, they will love you long time!" Note: many interesting tidbits.
Stacy Whitman: new official site from the editor-writer. Read her recent interview at Cynsations.

You Can't Just Be a Writer Anymore by Tess Gerritsen from Murderati. Peek: "These days, being a writer is no longer just about the books. We can no longer slide by like those 1980's slacker writers and turn in one well-written manuscript every year. Now we have to be novelists, salesmen, speakers, and media personalities." Source: April Henry. Note: most of the rest of it holds true, but trade children's/YA writers are not necessarily expected to produce at the same rate; don't panic.

Interview with Rosemary Clement-Moore from ChristaCarol Jones. Peek: "I think the paranormal trend isn't new in YA--in fact, Sci-Fi and Fantasy books used to be dismissed by serious literary types as 'juvenile.' Lots of what I pulled off the SFF shelves as a kid is now on the YA shelves." Read a Cynsations interview with Rosemary Clement-Moore.

Interview with Author P. J. Hoover and a book giveaway from Christy's Creative Space. Peek: "I love sneaking bits of science and math into my writing! For example, how lower floors are numbered based on i (the imaginary number). What a meniscus is. Counting starting at zero. And most seemingly random numbers I used are actually powers of 2 (as binary numbers are the basis for electrical engineering)." Read a Cynsations interview with P. J.

VCFA Twitter from students and alumni of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Source: Gwenda Bond.

Giveaway: The Forest of Hands and Teeth from Carrie Ryan. Leave a comment to win.

Congratulations to author Kimberly Griffiths Little on signing her three-book deal with Scholastic! Note: a celebratory post, especially recommended to those needing a reminder that dreams can come true. Love those purple shoes!

Interview with new YA fantasy author Cindy Pon from Alex Moore. Peek: "fantasy is my first love as a genre. and i love myth and folklore. at the time, i had just begun as a student of chinese brush painting, and was enjoying learning about my heritage and culture. i thought i could combine my two loves and write a fantasy based on a chinese kingdom." Note: interview is in lower case. Leave a question or comment to enter to win a copy of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia (Greenwillow, 2009). Source: David Macinnis Gill. Note: I'm especially excited about this book as I've longed for more diversity throughout the body of fantasy literature for young readers.

Virtual Author Visits: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, & the Awesome from Kate Messner at Kate's Book Blog. Peek: "Talk to your students about etiquette for a virtual author visit. In many ways, it's just like having a guest speaker in your auditorium or classroom in person, and kids need to know that all the same rules about courteous behavior apply. It will also be important for them to know that technical issues are a possibility and that their quiet cooperation will help you get things fixed more quickly." Note: I predict more virtual visits in tough-budget, higher-tech times and especially recommend them to authors who must limit travel due to health, childcare, day job, or other considerations.

Site-Blog Notes

If you're announcing a contest that will take place between Fridays (AKA so that I probably won't have a chance to highlight it), please feel free to send an email/message with a short announcement paragraph, including applicable dates, the week in advance.

Cynsations Friday round-ups have become quite lengthy. However, I've also heard from many people, that they settle in here every Friday morning to catch up with the kidlitoshere. For those on LJ, MySpace, and Facebook, what are your thoughts? Stay long, or break up the round-ups to a couple of times a week?

On average, the site and blog attract approximately three requests a day, every day, for book donations. See the FAQ for policy information.

More Personally

Special thanks to Anita Shinall and Kelly Czarnecki for their hospitality at the Teen Grid on Second Life on Tuesday! The above avatar was designed for me, though, just for fun, I did pick red hair in honor of Quincie from Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008).

Highlights of the past week included also author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell's talk on school visits at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting at BookPeople. Mark is a smart, funny, conversational and comfortable speaker. He made excellent points on a variety of related topics, some frequently touched upon, others less so.

I made particular note of his caution that "you're physically vulnerable on the road." He reminded us not to skip a "good breakfast" and urged us to travel safely. Mark pointed out that this is especially important because we're often fatigued on the road and, worse, don't even really know where we're going. He reminded us to pick a hotel that has deadbolt locks, not to leave our laptops in the car, to be aware of our surroundings. He recommended never leaving out your purse or wallet and to insisted upon/choose lodging wherein your room door doesn't open to a parking lot.

See Mark's blog, How to Be a Children's Book Illustrator. Read a Cynsations interview with Mark. Here's a peek at Mark (below), speaking to the crowd.

Afterward, a group of us met up for lunch at Waterloo Ice House (across Lamar from the store). Going counterclockwise from the head of the table are Carmen Oliver (back of her blond curls), April Lurie, Brian Yansky, Alison Dellenbaugh, Greg Leitich Smith, Frances Hill, Shana Burg, just a glimpse at the back of Brian Anderson's head and mine, Jennifer Ziegler, and Julie Lake's husband Gary. Photo by Donna Bowman Bratton. (See Donna's report.) Not at all visible in the picture is Julie herself, Mark, and Debbie Gonzales.

This week I've also had the pleasure of visiting with Prof. Wally Hastings class, "The Voice of the Author," at Rutgers--The State University of New Jersey via the university message board system! Thank you to Dr. Hastings and his students for their hospitality and thoughtful questions. What a wonderful conversation! Note: also visiting: Chris Crutcher, Patricia Reilly Giff, and Julius Lester.

Look for my article "Work, e-Chat, Love" on page 179 in the March/April 2009 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Read a Cynsations interview with editor Roger Sutton on The Horn Book.

Author Suzanne Crowley sends in this shot (below) of Eternal at the Barnes & Noble in Southlake, Texas. Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.

Cynthia Leitich Smith was interviewed about Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) via Native America Calling on Feb. 25. Eternal is the February Book of the Month at NAC! Note: The show goes out to 500,000 listeners. Thank you to Candlewick Press for donating ten giveaway copies!
Eternal: Quick Fire Interview from Debbi Michiko Florence at One Writer's Journey.

Miranda from Eternal is a lot like Carrie Jones. Read a Cynsations interview with Carrie.

Reminder: Author Interview and Book Giveaway with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Beth Revis at writing it out. Peek: "My original concept was elf-vampire, not angel-vampire; that came at the suggestion of my editor, but I loved it and started over again." Note: Beth is giving away a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Deadline: Feb. 28. See details.

Reminder: Enter to Win One of Five Copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) from Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central. Here's the giveaway question: "If you had a guardian angel (and maybe you do!), what would his or her name be, and what would they be like?" Contest begins Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 28. See additional details. Note: Thanks to Candlewick Press and Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central!


Reminder: Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Eternal, Tantalize (Win stuff!) from Boy with Books. Comment between now and March 7 to enter to win a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002)!

More Cynsational Events

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 sign Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) at 3 p.m. April 2 at Candlewick Booth at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in Houston.

Authors Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith invite you to join them at 1 p.m. April 11 at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar) in Austin. They will be celebrating the success of Kathi's The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008), which was a National Book Award Finalist and newly crowned ALA Newbery Honor Book, and the release of Cynthia's Eternal (Candlewick, 2009). The event will include very brief readings, entertaining commentary, and a signing by both authors. Please help spread the word! Let me know if you can make it! Hope to see y'all there! Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

Cynthia and Greg will visit the Barbara Bush Branch Library in Spring, Texas; at 4 p.m. April 3. Note: Spring is outside of Houston.

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30. Note: Cedar Park is outside of Austin.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Boy with Books; Eternal and Indian Shoes Giveaways

Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Eternal, Tantalize (Win stuff!) from Boy with Books.

"Part of what I loved about Zachary was his interactions with fellow guardian angel and best pal, Joshua. For much of the world, Josh is Zachary’s main connection to 'upstairs,' and there’s a range to their exchanges–sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, often offering a glimpse into heaven itself."

Read the whole interview. Comment between now and March 7 to enter to win a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002)!

Spooky Notes

BoywithBooks.com gives Eternal 5/5 for Quality and 4/5 for Popularity. He writes: "Eternal is a definite page-turner with Vampires, Angels, Werebeasts, romance, intrigue, double-crossing, action, and suspense. Just read it already!" Read the whole review.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Editor Update: Stacy Whitman

We last spoke in June 2006 about your work as an editor for Mirrorstone Books (an imprint of Wizards of the Coast). What is new in your editorial life since then?

Sadly, a few months ago, I was laid off from Mirrorstone, along with several other Wizards employees from various departments. It all came about in relation to a change in focus for all the company's lines, including books. All newly acquired books, including Mirrorstone books, will now be related to the Dungeons and Dragons brand or other "core brands" like Magic: The Gathering.

For Mirrorstone, that meant that we kept our Practical Guide series, including the Practical Guide to Monsters, which I edited, as well as my Dragon Codex series that started with Red Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham (Mirrorstone, 2008) and R.A. and Geno Salvatore's The Stowaway (Mirrorstone, 2008).

After last fall season, books like the exciting Hallowmere series ceased publication because they do not tie in to any core brand.

For me, editorially, the layoff opened a few doors. I am currently freelancing for several publishers and am seeking to expand that. I copyedit, proofread, line edit, and do developmental editing for a number of publishers, and in addition I am looking for books to acquire for Tor's children's and YA lines as a freelance consulting editor. At the time of this interview, I'm still looking for the right first book.

To simplify matters for right now, I'm only open to agented submissions and authors with whom I've worked before, including those who have sent me full manuscripts by my request when I was at Mirrorstone.

I also do critiques for individual authors.

What new books that you edited have been released, and what's special about them?

My two main series are the Dragon Codex books and the Hallowmere books. Both are ongoing series full of adventure and magic. The Codex books are written for a middle-grade audience, but I recommend them for readers of all ages, especially readers who grew up with the Dragonlance books.

Hallowmere is a series for teen readers who love dark fantasy and historical fiction. Both series are great for reluctant readers and avid readers alike, which is what I love most about fantasy--how it hooks readers of all types. And me, of course!

[See the book teaser for the first Hallowmere novel, In the Serpents Coils by Tiffany Trent (Mirrorstone, 2007)(author interview)]

The newest of the Dragon Codex books are Bronze Dragon Codex (Mirrorstone, 2008), Black Dragon Codex (Mirrorstone, 2008), and Brass Dragon Codex (Mirrorstone, 2009). They tie in to the Practical Guide to Dragons, and it was fun reinventing an existing shared world while staying true to the spirit of it. The authors who assisted R.D. Henham with these books are Amie Rose Rotruck , Ree Soesbee, and Rebecca Shelley, respectively. Rebecca Shelley is the author who assisted in the first book of the series, Red Dragon Codex.

Queen of the Masquerade by Tiffany Trent and Amanda M. Jenkins and Oracle of the Morrigan by Tiffany Trent and Paul Crilley are the two most recent installments in the Hallowmere series created by Tiffany Trent.

This is the first series I ever acquired, and it's dear to my heart—Tiffany and her co-authors have created an expressive, adventurous series peopled by strong, active girl characters in a time when young girls were expected to be seen and not heard, while still staying true to the historical time period.

What new books are forthcoming?

With the changes at Mirrorstone, Hallowmere's last volume was Oracle of the Morrigan, which I think is a good place to end it (though of course not ideal!) because we get to see how the Unhallowed Fey began. Tiffany Trent has a few inventive books in the works, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more from her soon.

But the Codex books continue on, and I'm just as excited about the next two volumes in the series as I am about the books that have already released.

Then in June 2009, the last Dragon Codex I acquired and had a hand in editing, Green Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham with Clint Johnson's assistance, will be released.

I also worked on several books that won't be published by Mirrorstone due to the changes, but I hope to see them out in print soon. One is already contracted by another publisher, and I hope to be able to say the same about all of them. I want kids and teens to be able to read these books. And who knows, maybe I'll get to work with those authors again myself!

What's new at Mirrorstone? What do you want writers in particular to know about the current status of the imprint?

Mirrorstone is in the capable hands it's always been in—those of Nina Hess, my senior editor. Nina is an amazing editor, and she's been at the editorial helm this whole time, mentoring me and building Mirrorstone with her vision.

Along with the books I already mentioned, they had a strong fall 2008 lineup with Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley (Mirrorstone, 2008)(author interview) and The Stowaway.

With the streamlining, the books coming in the future will be just as excellent as the acclaimed and best-selling adventurous fantasies for children and young adults they've been publishing.

Everyone should, of course, continue to watch Mirrorstone's website as new books are announced, and if you're a writer, keep in mind the new submission guidelines.

They're still looking for great writers for the shared-world series, for which there are all sorts of possibilities. D&D is a very open-ended fantasy setting and they're not looking necessarily for writers with experience playing the game. As always, great fantasy writing is the main requirement.

Writing in a shared world can be a great way for new authors to get experience working with an editor and to get their names out there.

What's new in terms of your own career direction?

Well, I have moved to Utah, where I have a number of friends from college who are writers. In particular, Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells, among many others, have been very supportive in helping me to transition—not least of which by carrying heavy objects for me when I moved, which ended up being twice in a very short while due to an apartment flood when I first moved in!

At Kindling Words, I participated in the editor track and got a lot of excellent advice from a number of editors who are at different stages of their careers. It was a wonderful experience and gave me a lot of new ideas that I'm implementing. For example, I hope to teach several classes in my local community on writing for children and young adults, specifically focusing on genre writing such as fantasy and science fiction.

I currently freelance for several publishers and am looking for more work, especially in children's and young adult genre fiction, including (but not limited to) fantasy and science fiction.

I have experience with all sorts of publishing (educational, newspaper, trade magazine—after all, my first job after college was with Electrical Apparatus magazine: industrial electrical motors), so to pay the bills I'm willing to branch out. But of course my main love stays with the children's book industry.

Hopefully, I'll find the right book for Tor, and it will grow from there, but perhaps the right in-house position will come along as well, and then I'll have some choices to make! And I am working on my own writing too.

Are you working with publishers, writers, etc.?

I work with a number of publishers on various projects from small pamphlets to full books. I prefer to focus on developmental editing, but I am a detail-oriented copyeditor and proofreader as well. I continue to copyedit for Mirrorstone/Wizards, and I've worked with Marshall Cavendish, Covenant Communications, and a few other publishers. Like I said above, I have just begun a relationship with Tor as a freelancer and hope that it will grow.

Also mentioned above, I do critiques for individual authors. I feel I can be of most help to those who are in the submitting stage, and who perhaps might even have gotten one or two rejections and feel they need an experienced editorial eye to help them take their manuscript to the next level.

I have two services: a short critique of the first three chapters and cover/query letter giving an editor's perspective on the first impression, or a critique of the full manuscript, which would include a full editorial letter and a full edit of the manuscript itself. More information on that can be found on my site along with recommendations from authors I've worked with in the past.

I love to help authors find solutions through coaching, careful questioning, and suggesting solutions. That's what I loved about working at Mirrorstone—working with new authors is thrilling, because they love to hear what an editor has to say and welcome their unique position in the creative process.

I'm also glad to consult with less-experienced writers and give them advice on their projects, though I hope that they have finished their manuscript first because that would be the time an editor's help is most useful.

How can people find out more about your services?

I'm still working on getting a full website up and running, but for now they can refer to my LiveJournal, where I have posted a listing of my critique services, including pricing and recommendations.

My submission guidelines for consideration for Tor are simple: agents or authors who have worked with me in the past may email me at stacylwhitman AT gmail.com with the cover letter, synopsis, and first three chapters, and I will get in touch if I want to read more.

I have gone green both for the simplicity of submissions and because as a freelancer, I can't guarantee my physical address will remain the same long-term.

And of course, any publishers who are interested in working with me can contact me via email (stacylwhitman AT gmail.com) and we can discuss details.

How goes your own writing?

Very well, actually! I am one of those editors who likes to write, but feels more at home on the editorial side of the desk. When I'm editing full time, that's where my creative energy goes, and that makes me a very good editor—but it leaves little time for my own writing.

Currently I have had a little more time than normal to work on my own YA fantasy novel, which has been a great experience both in learning the craft from the other side, and to discuss with other writers how they accomplish certain effects. Even with my own writing, I'm always finding new ways to communicate with my authors, too.

I've found that keeping in touch with a community of writers is essential to my writing process. I joined a friend's writing group, which of course gives me weekly deadlines.

Also, I participated in jonowrimo, which you may know was started by Lessons from a Dead Girl author Jo Knowles (Candlewick, 2007)(author interview) to get a head start on Nanowrimo and doesn't require that we start a new project.

It's a great way for writers to encourage each other on their writing goals, whether it's to finish a complete first draft (me) or a revision goal. Once again, I didn't finish a first draft during JoNoWriMo, which was my goal, but it was great to have the encouragement to work toward that goal.

Looking back, what has the last couple of years taught you?

I feel like the girl in the movie who says, "How much time do you have?" Because I've learned so much, and much of it is hard to quantify.

I've learned how to be a better editor from all my amazing coworkers, especially from Nina Hess and Phil Athans and Peter Archer.

I've learned to be a better negotiator and that negotiating with agents and authors isn't really all that scary. We're all on the same team and want the best for the book.

I think the biggest thing I've learned is how to become a better communicator in all facets of the job. Nina taught me how to phrase my critiques and suggestions so that they communicate more precisely with each author's individual personality—which allows us to understand each other better off the page as well as on.

Going to conferences to talk to teachers, librarians, and writers about Mirrorstone's books was as exciting for the chance to talk about all books with wonderful people as it was to help them know all about Mirrorstone's books specifically—but it was doubly exciting to return to a show a year later and have people recognize our books and remember how much they loved reading one, or how much a child they knew loved them.

And isn't that what it's all about? Getting kids to read great books and to grow in their love of reading is the goal of all of us in children's literature.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Just that this isn't the last you'll hear from me! I'm not sure exactly what my next permanent step will be, but I have plenty of options and I've been having a good time exploring them.

In the meantime, I look forward to working with a variety of individuals and companies to make good books even better.

Morganville Vampire Series Giveaway

Morganville Vampire Series Giveaway from Karen Mahoney: writing, life & soul. Peek: "One lucky winner could own all five books (so far) in Rachel Caine's fabulous YA Morganville Vampires series." Deadline: end of the day (anywhere) Wednesday, Feb. 25. See details.

Read a Cynsations interview with Rachel. Peek: "Morganville is a planned vampire community, and there's loads we--and the main characters--don't know about the town, but find out as we move alone. That's the fun of it."

Cynsational Notes

Check back this Friday for more news and giveaways from Cynsations and around the Web.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Visit with Author Cynthia Leitich Smith on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Second Life

YA Gothic fantasy author Cynthia Leitich Smith will discuss Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008), Eternal (Candlewick, 2009), and related forthcoming books on the teen grid of Teen Second at Second Life at 3 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Feb. 24. See more information. Note: this is the rescheduled date and time. Here's a sneak peek at the venue...


Spooky News & Giveaways

Enter to win an advanced reader copy of City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (McElderry Books, March 24, 2009). From the promotional copy:

To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type "City of Glass" in the subject line. Deadline March 2! All Cynsational readers are eligible to win! Read a Cynsations interview with Cassandra Clare.

Author Interview and Book Giveaway with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Beth Revis at writing it out. Peek: "My original concept was elf-vampire, not angel-vampire; that came at the suggestion of my editor, but I loved it and started over again." Note: Beth is giving away a copy of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) or Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007). Deadline: Feb. 28. See details.

More News

Congratulations to Linda Joy Singleton on the release of Dead Girl Dancing (Flux, Feb. 2009)! Read a Cynsations interview with Linda Joy.

The 2009 Cybils Winners from The Cybils 2008: Children's & Young Adult Blogger Awards.

The Writer's Studio: Greg Leitich Smith from Tony Abbott's Book Blog. Peek: "That room has a queen-sized bed and a restored arts-and-crafts schoolhouse desk that’s only large enough to hold the laptop and a small legal pad, which can be awkward when you have four cats who don’t respect the sanctity of the keyboard."

Blogging for Beginners from Pub Rants. Peek: "I would love it if everyone would post a friendly piece of general advice for novice bloggers in the comments section of this post. Then, I'll use the advice (with your blog address attached of course) during my presentation."

Congratulations to VCFA student Clete Smith on the sale of film rights for his YA novel "Grandma's Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast) to Disney! Source: Publishers Weekly.
Why We're Optimistic. And Why You Should Be Too. from CBI Clubhouse: The Community for Success-Oriented Children's Book Writers. Peek: "This optimism is not based on hopes, or wishes or fantasy. We have real reasons to tell you not to waver and to have a positive outlook moving ahead. Here they are..." Source: Cheryl Rainfield.

Richard Curtis on Publishing in the 21st Century: The Ten Commandments of Courtesy Part 1 and Part 2 from E-Reads. Peek: "In publishing, the rules governing behavior are codified into a system of protocol and etiquette called 'courtesy.' Courtesy is not always easy to define because editors, authors, and agents each have their own code and the three don't always harmonize." Source: Nathan Bransford.

Fragile Eternity Review and ARC Giveaway from BoyWithBooks.com. Giveaway deadline: Feb. 28. Read a Cynsations interview with author Melissa Marr.

Congratulations to Suzanne Selfors on the release of Fortune's Magic Farm, illustrated by Catia Chien (Little Brown, 2009)! Kirkus Reviews calls it "droll" and says, "...newly confident readers will cozy up to the tale’s quirky characters and enjoy the many twists and turns of this magical adventure." Read a Cynsations interview with Suzanne.

Bunny Eat Bunny: The diaspora website of Bowen Press. Peek: "Like most readers of literary press blogs, I thought I was Jo. For years. I wrote romances (The Adventures of Charles and Caroline). I used a fountain pen. I was earnest and bookish. I dated men with foreign accents who drank strong coffee and dosed strong medicine to anemic prose. Argumentative and proud with a strong, even crippling, mutinous streak. That's me." Source: Mary E. Pearson.

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (Flux, 2009): a recommendation from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: "Pulling no punches, King takes us from Cromwell's Ireland to the Spanish Main to contemporary America and Jamaica as Emer/Saffron's lives -- human and dog -- unfold in gripping detail."

Why Was My Manuscript Rejected? 3 Literary Agents, 3 Opinions

Three New York agents are offering a new workshop for writers and artists who want to be published in the area of children's books. Their workshop offers feedback, in which they will discuss— among many facets of children's book publishing— why they think editors or agents rejected your manuscript.

The workshop promises to be lively with three, possibly different, opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of each manuscript.

Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic Literary Agency, Anna Olswanger of Liza Dawson Associates, and Ann Tobias of Ann Tobias, A Literary Agency for Children's Books--—all agents specializing in children's books—will conduct "Why Was My Manuscript Rejected?" from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 at 138 West 15th Street, New York City. See schedule.

Authors and author-illustrators of children's books are invited to send a package (20-page maximum) consisting of a one-page synopsis, the query letter you used in submitting your work to agents and publishers, and either a first chapter or a full picture book manuscript or an illustrated dummy (all genres are welcome) to be read by the agents in advance of the workshop. Besides commenting on your manuscript, the agents will discuss query and cover letters, the markets for different kinds of children's and young adult books, and offer suggestions on how to submit. For further information, please visit 3LiteraryAgents.com.

Eternally Yours

Great news! I heard from my genius editor yesterday that Eternal is in its third printing! Thanks to all for your enthusiasm and support!

The winner of the Eternal bookmark giveaway is Kymberley at the Oneida Community Library in Wisconsin! Your autographed bookmark set will go out on my next trip to the post office.

I'm thrilled to announce that Listening Library/Random House will be producing the audio edition of Eternal for a July 2009 release! I've previously worked with LL on the audio adaptations of Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001) and Tantalize (2008) and, in both cases, was absolutely thrilled with the final productions! Listen to a reading from the Tantalize audio by actress Kim Mai Guest. Note: Rain is now available for audio download!

Enter to Win One of Five Copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) from Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central. Here's the giveaway question: "If you had a guardian angel (and maybe you do!), what would his or her name be, and what would they be like?" Contest begins Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 28. See additional details. Note: Thanks to Candlewick Press and Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central!

Authors Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith invite you to join them at 1 p.m. April 11 at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar) in Austin. They will be celebrating the success of Kathi's The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008), which was a National Book Award Finalist and newly crowned ALA Newbery Honor Book, and the release of Cynthia's Eternal (Candlewick, 2009). The event will include very brief readings, entertaining commentary, and a signing by both authors. Please help spread the word! Hope to see y'all there! Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi. Note: Thank you to Donna Bowman Bratton at Simply Donna for blogging about the event!

Book Review: Eternal from Melissa Jauregui at Poised at the Edge. Peek: "Wholly original, and delightfully morbid, fans of Tantalize will eat this one up!"

Review: Eternal from Liviania at In Bed with Books. Peek: "I loved how Eternal expanded on the world of Tantalize. Quincie was an outsider to vampire culture, but Miranda is in the center of things. Eternal isn't just one person's struggle with temptation. Miranda can affect the entire vampire society."

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith, Reviewed by Hilary Williamson of BookLoons Reviews. Peek: "Like Tantalize, Eternal is darkly entertaining and great fun."

Meredith Wood says: "I loved Tantalize. I adore Eternal! Talk about upping the stakes. It's such a good book. " Note: she also wants to talk to fellow readers about a particular line!

Interview tidbits from 'Tantalize' author from BronzeWorld's Blog. A great compilation of highlights from interviews past.

To those looking for Eternal or Tantalize at their local Barnes & Noble, the end cap display looks like this (below). You can find signed stock of Eternal at Barnes & Noble Arboretum and Barnes & Noble Sunset Valley, both in the Austin area. Note: B & N Aboretum also has one signed copy of Tantalize, but they were sold out at the other store.

Aboretum Store.


Sunset Valley store. I was charmed to see it next to Lisa McMann's Fade (Simon Pulse, 2009)(author interview).


While browsing, I snapped a pic of debut author Saundra Mitchell's Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, 2009)...


and VCFA grad Micol Ostow's GoldenGirl (Simon Pulse, 2009)...


and VCFA grad Carrie Jones's Need (Bloomsbury, 2008)...


and readergirlz diva Justina Chen Headley's North of Beautiful (Little Brown, 2009).

Thanks to Jess in Kansas who walked four miles round trip to a bookstore that wasn't carrying the novel (and ordered it)!

Thanks also to Carmen Oliver for blogging the release and to Varian Johnson for blogging his recent book sightings! Read a Cynsations interview with Varian.

More Personally

Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Barry Gott is scheduled for release by Dutton in spring 2011.

Romantic that I am, the highlight of the past week was Valentine's Day! Greg made us a special dinner--tomato basil soup (from scratch), an iceberg lettuce wedge topped with his own homemade dressing, green onions, walnuts, and Gorgonzola, followed by pan-friend Cajun catfish and brown rice. Note: can you tell that I'm back to writing Quincie? See also my luscious red roses.

Thank you to the librarians of the Austin Public Library for their hospitality at the "Book Exchange" lunch last Friday! It was a huge honor to visit with y'all! Thanks for all you do for young readers! Special thanks to Alison for coordinating my visit! Note: Watch the Music Video and See What Austin Public Library Can Do For You from the APL. It's one smart, savvy, sexy PSA!

Thank you to Cyndi Hughes at everyone at the Writers' League of Texas for their hospitality at last night's First Drafts panel! Thanks especially to everyone from the youth writing community for your enthusiasm and support!

Thank you to Chris Elden and everyone who stopped by Book Roast yesterday to celebrate Eternal! Congratulations also to Dorothy, who won the giveaway!

More Cynsational Events

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 sign Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) at 3 p.m. April 2 at Candlewick Booth at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in Houston.

Cynthia and Greg will visit the Barbara Bush Branch Library in Spring, Texas; at 4 p.m. April 3. Note: Spring is outside of Houston.

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30. Note: Cedar Park is outside of Austin.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Visit with Cynthia Leitich Smith Today at Book Roast; Enter to Win a Copy of Eternal

Visit with me about Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) online today at Book Roast. I'd love to hear your questions and thoughts (post to the comments section). You'll also have the chance to answer a silly question and win a signed copy of the novel!

Cynsational Notes

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be on a panel about "First Drafts" at the February monthly meeting of the Writers' League of Texas at 7:30 p.m. today at the League office in Austin (611 S. Congress Avenue). Peek: "Sometimes getting that first draft down is the biggest hurdle to bringing a great idea to literary life. Find out how several authors approach the first draft." Note: "Before the program, join us at Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill, 1123 S. Congress (two blocks south of the WLT office for a 'Mix and Mingle Happy Hour.'"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith Event on April 11 at BookPeople in Austin

Mark your calendars!

Authors Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith invite you to join them at 1 p.m. April 11 at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar) in Austin.

They will be celebrating the success of Kathi's The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008), which was a National Book Award Finalist and newly crowned ALA Newbery Honor Book, and the release of Cynthia's Eternal (Candlewick, 2009).

The event will include very brief readings, entertaining commentary, and a signing by both authors. Please help spread the word! Hope to see y'all there!

Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

Spooky News & Links

Mark your calendars! Authors Kathi Appelt and Cynthia Leitich Smith invite you to join them at 1 p.m. April 11 at BookPeople (Sixth and Lamar) in Austin. They will be celebrating the success of Kathi's The Underneath (Atheneum, 2008), which was a National Book Award Finalist and newly crowned ALA Newbery Honor Book, and the release of Cynthia's Eternal (Candlewick, 2009). The event will include very brief readings, entertaining commentary, and a signing by both authors. Hope to see you there! Read a Cynsations interview with Kathi.

Attention Teachers, School and Public Librarians, and University Professors of Children's-YA Literature! Enter to win an autographed classroom set of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) bookmarks! To enter, please email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name, the name of your school or library, and your snail/street mail address. Please type "Eternal bookmarks" in the subject line. Good luck!

Enter to Win One of Five Copies of Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) from Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central. Here's the giveaway question: "If you had a guardian angel (and maybe you do!), what would his or her name be, and what would they be like?" Contest begins Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 28. See additional details. Note: Thanks to Candlewick Press and Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central!

Eternal will be published in hardcover by Walker Books Australia and New Zealand in May 2009. See more information.

More News

2009 Youth Media Award Calls
from American Libraries. Note: have you ever wanted to listen in on a call to a new Newbery winner? Here's your chance! (This is the one link you must click).

Recipe for success? High concept. from Waxman Literary Agency. Peek: "High concept is about making it easier for people to pick up what you're putting down, which benefits you at every stage of the publishing game." Source: Gwenda Bond.

Julie Berry, Writer for Young Readers: official site from the debut author of The Amaranth Enchantment (Bloomsbury, March 2009). Peek: "I'm the youngest of seven clever children, none of whom are children anymore, but they're all still clever. I spent my early years desperate to catch up to what they were reading, and sit at the big kids' table. Now with four sons of my own, ages 12, 10, 8, and 4, I eat every meal at the big kids' table."

As Ursula Nordstrom Said, "No, I Don't Have Any Children. But I Was a Child, and I Haven't Forgotten a Thing." from Editorial Anonymous. Peek: "There are other authors who seem to have vivid memories of a great deal of their childhoods, and can write empathetically and respectfully for a wide range of ages."

Agent Jennifer Mattson on Magic Realism from The Spectacle. Peek: "I also think of the magic as being very gentle and often surreal - nothing 'high fantasy' (wizardly bolts, vampires, et cetera) about it."

Check out the book trailer for Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand by Louise Hawes (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), featured below! Read a Cynsations interview with Louise.



Congratulations to A. S. King on the release of The Dust of 100 Dogs (Flux, 2009)! From the promotional copy: "In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of one hundred dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact. Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica."

Open Big
by Coe Booth at The Longstockings. Peek: "While it's good to get to know the characters early on, some of the writers who entered the contest decided to put all of the characters in the first chapter. Occasionally it worked, especially for the ensemble novels, but most of the time it was just a confusing mess of people, making it impossible to keep track of them all."

A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship by Debra Lau Whelan from School Library Journal. Note: I'm re-running this link to encourage you to take a look at the new comments that follow. Source: Confessions of a Bibliovore.

Congratulations to Stacey Jay on the release of You Are So Undead To Me (Razorbill, 2009). From the promotional copy: "Megan Berry's social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan Berry is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she's part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people with a whole lot of issues. All Megan wants is to be normal--and go to homecoming, of course. Unfortunately, it's a little hard when your dates keep getting interrupted by a bunch of slobbering Undead. Things are about to get even worse for Megan. Someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it's looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party--the bloody kind. Megan must stop the Zombie apocalypse descending on Carol, Arkansas. Her life--and more importantly, homecoming--depends on it." Read an excerpt. Read an interview with Stacey Jay from Welcome to the Oakenwyld: This world of ours, and worlds unseen / and thin the boundary between.
Interview with author Joan Kremer: Second Life and writers by Debbie Ridpath Ohio from Inkygirl: Daily Diversions for Writers. Peek: "A few days after I’d first come in-world, I happened to meet this avatar also strolling around INKsters. We got to talking, discovered we were both writers, became great friends, and from that came our desire to build our own writers' center."

Get ready to party in celebration of the release of Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby (Puffin, March 2008)--see below.



Multiples: a week-long discussion from Liz Gallagher at Through the Tollbooth. Peek: "What's the planning process like when you know that the book you are writing is part of a bigger whole? Do you always know when you start out? What if you just have more to say? Or what if you're supposed to have more to say, and you don't? And, hey, does a book with a sequel actually have to be a complete story in itself?" Read a Cynsations interview with Liz.

Marvelous Marketer - Krista Marino (Sr. Editor/Delacorte Press) from Shelli at Market My Words: Marketing Advice for Authors/Illustrators from a Marketing Consultant & Aspiring Children's Book Author. Peek: "You can quietly build a solid fan base by keeping (and maintaining regularly) a blog and website."

Remember that book ...? from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog. Peek: "So. As a kid, I read. A lot. Many of the books I've completely forgotten about. Some of them, I remember liking and still remember in part. And some of them, I've completely forgotten about and will never remember again unless and until somethings jogs the memory. Anyway, now, being an author of youth literature, I wanted to see how some of them held up today..."

Manuscript Critique Discount from Stacy Whitman at Stacy Whitman's Grimoire. Peek: "We're all dealing with tough times right now. Getting your manuscript critiqued by an experienced editor is definitely a luxury, and an expensive one at that. With that in mind, I'm offering a discount for the next month (expires March 11) on my manuscript critique services."

Congratulations to Lisa McMann on the release of Fade (Simon Pulse, 2009)! From the promotional copy: "For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open--but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both. Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd even feared... " Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

TheTorchOnline.com: "an online resource devoted to news and critical analysis of fantasy-themed projects in all media: movies, television, games, books, live theater, graphic novels and comic books, and web content." Even better: "TheTorchOnline.com is edited by author Brent Hartinger." Read a Cynsations interview with Brent.

Awesome Authors: Carrie Jones featured in conjunction with the Bradford Blog Bash in celebration of the release of GoldenGirl by Micol Ostow (Simon Pulse, Jan. 27, 2009). Peek: "Well, a diary is for yourself. A blog is read by others (possibly). So there's a definite private vs. public aspect. Even though I seem terribly confessional on my own blog I really keep my biggest troubles and secrets to myself. I might hint at them occasionally (like this week actually) but I never tell. That's how I am in my un-blog life, too. I'm not good about telling the big deep hurts or truths."

More Personally


Winners of the Eternal Giveaways, please note that your prizes are in the mail! Here's a peek at my crack assembly process! Thanks again to all who entered!

Thanks to Gwenda Bond for highlighting my recent interview with illustrator Gene Brenek about his designs for the Tantalize and Eternal T-shirts! Read the interview with Gene.

Thank you to P. J. Hoover and Shana Burg for being so "Bitten and Smitten" and to Liz Gallagher and for cheering the release of Eternal at Through the Tollbooth! Hugs too to Miss Madison at PrĂȘt-a-Party for blogging the same! Please go visit our mutual friend, Miss Micol-stat!

Thanks to Hip Writer Mama for highlighting the release and featuring the trailer! Most appreciated! And thanks to Niki Burnham for dishing on the end cap at Barnes & Noble, nation-wide! On a related note, thanks too to Barnes & Noble and Candlewick Press!

Notes From The Horn Book says: "When the beautiful Zachary awakens the vestiges of Miranda's humanity, together they raise a full-scale supernatural battle against the increasingly unstable Dracula. Eternal is not for the squeamish, but fans of the author's delectably demonic Tantalize will lap it up."

The teen reviewers at Justine Magazine say Eternal is "haunting," "romantic," "memorable." Lane, 16, Arkansas, says: "Every girl I know would love to be loved like Zachary loves Miranda." See all the teen reviews!

Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature cheers the release of Eternal and says: "In essence, it is important that we be open to what is being written by Native writers. Don't pigeon hole them or their writing. Expand your expectations of what Native writers write about. Read Native writers, whether their stories are about Native life, or vampires."

And finally, I have updated my playlist at MySpace to reflect Eternal.

Even More Personally

Happy birthday to my cousin Stacy! Happy Valentine's day to Greg! Thanks to all of you for your support during this week's launch of Eternal!

Coming Soon

Cynthia will be appearing at Book Roast online to discuss Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) on Feb. 19. Please surf by for a chance to win a signed copy of the novel!

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will be on a panel about "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). Peek: "Sometimes getting that first draft down is the biggest hurdle to bringing a great idea to literary life. Find out how several authors approach the first draft." Note: "Before the program, join us at Doc's Motorworks Bar & Grill, 1123 S. Congress (two blocks south of the WLT office for a 'Mixand Mingle Happy Hour.'"

More Cynsational Events

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 sign Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) and Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007, 2008) at 3 p.m. April 2 at Candlewick Booth at the annual conference of the Texas Library Association in Houston.

Cynthia and Greg will visit the Barbara Bush Branch Library in Spring, Texas; at 4 p.m. April 3. Note: Spring is outside of Houston.

Cynthia will visit the YA book club at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library at 11 a.m. May 30. Note: Cedar Park is outside of Austin.