Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BLESSED release day!

Congratulations to Cynthia Leitich Smith on the release today of BLESSED, book 3 in the TANTALIZE series!

Check out the article in Sunday's Statesman!

"A guardian angel joins forces with an unusually humane vampire and a host of shape-shifters in this appealing melding of characters from Smith's earlier novels, Tantalize (2007) and Eternal (2009). The pages fairly smolder...[and] readers will again be pulled into this wild and ultimately fascinating...alternate universe." Kirkus Reviews

"As in the first two novels, the main attractions are the clever and campy blend of the supernatural and the everyday and the thoroughly entertaining characters, human and otherwise...A hearty meal for the thinking vampire reader." Horn Book Magazine

Check out Cynthia's northeast tour schedule! And don't forget the Austin launch party!

Monday, January 24, 2011

BLESSED and NIGHT SCHOOL signing! [Bumped and Updated]

Update 1: Check out the BLESSED blog tour!

Update 2: Check out the great article in Sunday's Statesman, "In 'Blessed,' neophyte vampire battles forces of the undead -- and adolescence"!

Update 3: If you're in the northeast, go see Cynthia next month on the BLESSED tour!

Save the date: On January 29, 2011, at 2 PM, at Book People at 6th and Lamar, Cynthia Leitich Smith and Mari Mancusi will be celebrating their new releases, BLESSED and NIGHT SCHOOL, respectively, with a party and signing!

Event is open and free to the public! The celebration will include author talks, a Q&A panel, book raffle, surprise giveaways, devilish desserts, demonic drinks and signing.

Wear red and black if you're on the side of Evil or blue and black if you're on the side of Good.

Bonus points (and possible prize) to anyone who dresses up as a vampire, shape shifter, vampire slayer, angel, or fairy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Austin Authors speak!

The 2011 monthly SCBWI meetings (open to everyone) kick off on on January 15, at 11 AM, when Jessica Lee Anderson will be speaking at Book People on "seven things she's learned along her publishing journey...using songs."

Jessica is the author of Trudy, winner of the 2005 Milkweed Prize, and also Border Crossing.

Then, at 7 PM on January 20 (also at Book People), the first Third Thursday program of the Writers League of Texas begins with a panel on "Inspiration: The First Glimmer of a Book Idea." Panelists include YA authors Jennifer Ziegler (How Not to Be Popular) and Brian Yansky (Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences), as well as author Stephen Harrigan (The Gates of the Alamo).

2011: Dinosaurs on TV!

Check out "American Experience" next week: on January 17, 2011, the show will feature "Dinosaur Wars," a documentary on the rivalry between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh.

Then, this spring, Steven Spielberg is doing dinosaurs again! Sadly, not Jurassic Park IV, but a TV series called "Terra Nova," which features a time-traveling family from the future who go back in time to save humanity and get eaten. Or something like that. :-). It'll debut with two hour long episodes on May 23 and May 24 before beginning its regular weekly run in the fall.

Finally, this summer, Discovery Channel is teaming up with Pixar to air a six-part series called "Reign of the Dinosaurs," featuring up-to-date CGI, in the tradition of "Walking with Dinosaurs." Per their press release, "'Reign of the Dinosaurs' combines the latest paleontological research with Hollywood storytelling and the talent of the world's best dinosaur illustrators and animators. In the series, new creatures like giant dinos with Freddy Krueger-style clawed hands, a Jurassic flying squirrel, pygmy T-Rex and frogs so big they can eat dinosaurs, are combined with the latest understanding of dinosaur behaviors."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cybils Finalists 2010

The finalists for the 2010 Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards) were announced a couple weeks ago. Congrats to everyone! Winners will be announced February 14, 2011.

Go check out the entire list of finalists, but here are the ones I blogged last year:

Fiction Picture Books

SHARK VS. TRAIN, by Chris Barton, ill. by Tom Lichtenfeld

Middle Grade Novels


Middle Grade/Young Adult Nonfiction


Nonfiction Picture Books

DINOSAUR MOUNTAIN, by Deborah Kogan Ray

HENRY AARON'S DREAM, by Matt Tavares

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


BLESSED, by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2011)(14+). Picking up where TANTALIZE and ETERNAL left off, neophyte vampire Quincie P. Morris is still struggling to keep Sanguini's afloat. At the same time, she has to deal with the rise of hundreds of new vampires, courtesy of the restaurant's former chef. Plus, she has to clear Kieren of suspicion for Vaggio's murder. The addition of a new chef and the exotic Zachary only add to the problems...

Deliciously creepy and horrific, but not without romance and humor, BLESSED artfully explores themes of salvation and forgiveness and good and evil. Having overcome her transition to the vampiric life, Quincie is steadfast and determined. And Zachary is, well, Zachary. :-).

Check out the amazing Official Trailer:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


CHIME, by Franny Billingsley (Dial, March 2011)(12+). In the early twentieth century, in the village of Swampsea, which borders a swamp still inhabited by the Old Ones, they hang witches. So seventeen year-old Briony Larkin must keep the secret that her uncontrolled powers injured her sister and killed her stepmother. But with the Boggy Mun sending the swamp fever, she must choose between telling all or letting the children die. And when handsome, funny Eldric arrives, things become even more complicated. Although attracted to him, she knows a witch cannot love...

Elegant and enigmatic, CHIME offers a world on the cusp of modernity, but where ancient wild magic still holds sway. At times both romantic and horrific, Briony's struggles over which path(s) to take make for a compelling and ultimately satisfying tale of love, family, and mystery.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ALA Awards 2011

Congratulations to everyone who received good news today from the American Library Association! Here are the ones I blogged about last year:

Coretta Scott King Award:

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Newbery Honor:

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer L. Holm.

Schneider Award:

After Ever After, by Jordan Sonnenblick.

Friday, January 07, 2011

How Cool is This?

Or "are these," I suppose, to be more accurate.

The first is something I'd heard about last spring (or thereabouts) involving the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Now, as a kid, Science and Industry was my favorite of the Chicago museums (I especially liked the trains and the U-505), although it was a knock against them that they didn't have dinosaurs :-).

But. Last year, they did this totally awesome thing: they held a contest to choose a person who would live at the museum for a month. October 20 to November 20. So, when I heard about it, I was sorely tempted. Sigh. Day job. But, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, anyone?

Here's the blog of the chosen one: http://www.msichicago.org/matm

The second really totally cool thing is the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Now, apart from the fact that it's a paleontology museum, what's so cool about it?

Here's the thing: It's in a high school. Really.

And it's accredited by the American Association of Museums and has real paleontologists on staff. (Okay, I confess to feeling a special affinity because it's located in Claremont, California, where my grandparents lived after they retired. And that a recent paper by the museum curator of paleontology was extremely helpful on my novel research. And that the place seems almost extreme enough to belong at the Peshtigo School.). But there's also the fact that, ninety (90) percent of their holdings were found by -- get this -- students at the associated Webb School.

And, if you're a teacher in the LA area, they're having free "Paleontology for Educators" workshops this winter. Here's the info I received:

"The Paleontology for Educators Workshop is a two-day workshop providing K-12 teachers with a hands-on introduction to paleontology, the study of past life. Each session includes a short course on paleontology,
evolution, and earth science, with the aim of illustrating how to
present this material in an interactive way to students.

"Each participant will gain experience in paleontological museum methods, within the setting of an accredited museum. A “Paleontology in the Classroom” book of activities and teaching kit will be given to each participant and made available online. The museum will also make available “classroom kits” for check-out, including real and replica fossils for use in activities in the classroom.

"The workshop is hosted at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology (www.alfmuseum.org), located 30 miles east of Los Angeles in Claremont, in the only accredited natural history museum on a secondary school campus. There is *no cost* to attend this workshop (including all materials, lunch, and snacks), and funding is provided to reimburse school districts for the cost of hiring substitute teachers for workshop participants.

"Workshop dates include: Thurs.-Fri., Jan. 13-14, 2011; Thurs.-Fri., Feb. 3-4, 2011; Mon.-Tues., Mar. 14-15, 2011; and Thurs.-Fri., Apr. 14-15, 2011. For registration information or other questions, please contact museum curator Andy Farke (afarke AT webb.org)."

Caveat: I don't know anyone who's done this, but, heck, I'd look into it. :-).

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Coming this February to the ZACH SCOTT, performed by the ZACH SCOTT's "youth pre-professional troupe," a musical based on April Lurie's young adult novel, BROTHERS, BOYFRIENDS, AND OTHER CRIMINAL MINDS:

"At first glance, April Lundquist seems like your average high school freshman in 1970s Brooklyn. She's sporting bellbottoms and dancing disco like all of her friends. But when the Mafia shows up on her doorstep--literally--April finds herself confronted with some tough choices to make. Will she be able to save her brother, navigate boyfriends, and capture the perfect kiss, all while keeping her cool? Find out in ZACH's world premier production of this new musical for the whole family!"

Saturdays February 5, 12 and 19 at 1pm & 4pm
and Sundays February 6, 13 and 20 at 6:30pm on ZACH's Kleberg Stage.

Click here to buy tickets.

Cynthia and I had the pleasure of attending a read-through a few months back. Even at the rough draft script stage and without all the songs, it was hilarious and engaging. Can't wait to see it!

BLESSED countdown widget

More Hollering!

School Library Journal cheers "Readers as well as listeners will have fun with this animated story, and the Southwestern twang will just come naturally."

Check out this post for more great reviews!

Cyn has a interview with Shannon Morgan on the Holler Loudly Teacher Guides! Also, check out an interview with illustrator Barry Gott!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel 2011)(ages 12+). In spring of 1941, fifteen year-old Lina Vilkas is preparing for art school and the rest of her life. But in Soviet-occupied Lithuania, no one is safe, especially not the family of a university professor. One fateful night, the NKVD -- Stalin's secret police -- come for Lina, her mother, her eleven year-old brother, and thousands of other "unreliables."

Taken from their homes, they are loaded into cattle cars and hauled off to work camp in Siberia. There, they suffer malnutrition and starvation; exposure to the elements; and psychological and physical abuse from their guards. With only each other and only the barest smidgen of hope, can they and their fellow prisoners survive the brutality of the gulag?

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is a profoundly moving story of the resilience of the human spirit. Sepetys, herself the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, is unsparing in her portrayal of one girl's struggle for self and dignity in the face of the most horrifying treatment, and demonstrates the worth of even small acts of kindness in the face of evil.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Cat Calls by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2010) is now available for free as an e-book from Amazon.com!

"Cat Calls" is a short story set in the Tantalize series universe and features entirely new characters.

"Cat Calls" was originally published in Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009).

It also will be featured at the back of the Blessed (Candlewick, Jan. 25, 2011) e-book.
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