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Cynsational News & Giveaways

Sept2013, CynthiaLeitichSmith
Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

On Being Thin Skinned by David Macinnis Gill from I Am Chikin, Hear Me Roar. Peek: "...thick-skinned peo­ple are not very good writ­ers. They are bul­let proof to crit­i­cism, yes, but they also lack the insight and empa­thy required to feel the emo­tions that should res­o­nant through­out their work."

Character Entry: Clever by Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "Resourcefulness marked by inventiveness or originality." Note: bookmark this blog for brainstorming!

Who's Your First Reader? by Michael Gettel-Gilmartin from Project Mayhem. Peek: "These were people who liked me but didn't love me, and who were all too willing to point out my flaws--and give me the tools to fix them."

On Nostalgia: Which of You Is Which? by Tim Wynne-Jones from Write at Your Own Risk. Peek: "We are not immune to nostalgia but cannot–must not, I feel–project onto our stories any sense of this hankering for a time that, frankly, never was, except that wishing makes it so."

Three Things I've Learned about Writing Picture Books by Anna Staniszweski. Peek: "In my effort to find the story, I wound up making things far too complicated."

Author Insight: Revising the Journey from Wastepaper Prose. Authors answer the question: "If you could change one thing about your journey to publication, what would it be?"

Cynsational Blog Tour Tip: Turn in your texts and images well in advance, so the participating bloggers have plenty time to properly edit and format your posts.

Interview with Linda Sue Park by Marjorie Coughlan from PaperTigers.org. Peek: "The response of the students and teachers who have read the book has been just remarkable. Dozens of schools and individuals have been inspired by Salva’s story to raise money for Water for South Sudan."

Making Your Writing Dreams a Reality by Kristy Lahoda from QueryTracker.net. Peek: "They (twin babies) came home at the beginning of October and while they slept 18 hours a day, I wrote. I had to be very conscientious about not getting distracted with other things that weren’t as important..."

Marketing and Publicity for Authors, Part Three by Janet Fox from Through the Wardrobe. Featuring tips from various authors.

Twitter Hashtags about Children's Books, Writing, Publishing and Education from Loren Leedy. Peek: "Hashtags are the way people index their tweets, which allows anyone searching on a hashtag to find info about, say #ebooks or #elemed (elementary education) or #math."

Roles in Publishing: Bryony Woods, Literary Agents Assistant, from Teri Terry at Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: "...obsessed with all things book-related, and is lucky enough to have her ideal job–working in one the UK’s top literary agencies."

2012 YA Writer-in-Residence Program at Miami-Dade Public Library System from Austin SCBWI. Peek: "We are seeking a dynamic and engaging young adult author who will encourage local teens, 12-18, in the creative writing process. The three month residency will run from September – November 2012 in Miami, Florida."

Seeking Money to Finance an Author School Visit? The SCBWI Amber Brown Grant is now open and accepting applications for 2012! Peek: "Two schools will be rewarded with an all-expense-paid visit by a well respected children’s author or illustrator. The chosen schools will also receive a $250 stipend to assist in creating this memorable event to celebrate reading, learning, and children’s literature and $250 worth of books by the visiting author. Additionally, one runner-up school will be selected and rewarded with books valued at $250.00."

Congratulations to Jennifer Ziegler, the new programming chair for the Writers' League of Texas, and many thanks to outgoing chair Sara Kocek for a job well done! Note: learn more about Jennifer and Sara.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 Cybils Awards! Source: Jen Robinson's Book Page.

Seuss fan? Celebrate NEA's Read Across America Day (March 2) by entering to win Lorax themed prizes at facebook from Random House.

Marshall Dawa on Adapting to Create Success from Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing. Peek: "Nothing against hanging on, but sometimes we have to fall in order to soar. Learning when to do the former so as to experience the latter is tricky."

10 Questions to Ask When Offered Representation by a Literary Agent by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "...it’s important that you really take the time, ask the right questions, get full answers, and give yourself as much information as possible."

Congratulations to Tracy Winfield Holczer on signing with literary agent Rosemary Stimola, and congratulations to Rosemary on signing Tracy! Read a Cynsations interview with Rosemary.

Querying Your Unlikable Character by Jane Leback from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: "Maybe it's the character's intelligence. Maybe he was abused as a child and wanted to break out of the cycle but couldn't figure out how. Present those characteristics. Let us know the character is multidimensional."

On a Budget? How to Support Authors and Show Your Book Love from Megan Crewe. Peek: "Checking a book out from the library shows them that readers are interested, which makes them more likely to pick up later books from the same author. If your local library doesn’t already have the book you want, you can usually submit a request that they add it to their collection in person or on the library’s website."

Reminder! 28 Days Later: A Black History Month Celebration of Children's Literature from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: "To celebrate children’s authors and illustrators of color, during the twenty-eight days of Black History Month, we’ll profile a different artist (each day)." See Day 10: Atinuke, Day 11: Brian Collier, Day 12: Earl Sewell, Day 13: Debbi Chocolate, Day 14: Lynda Jones, Day 15: Calvin Alexander Ramsey, Day 16: L. Divine (posts are ongoing).  

Cynsational Business Tip: Be discreet about any correspondence, revisions or other exchanges with a prospective editor or agent until a contract is finalized. Likewise, there's no reason to go public about your submission history while you're still shopping the manuscript, and it may work against you.

Enter to Win I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Hachette/Little, Brown) from Steven R. McEvoy from Book Reviews and More. Deadline: March 15. Eligibility: North America.

Writing a Strong Plot: Be Cruel to Your Characters by Chris Eboch from Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writing Workshop. Peek: "You can create conflict by setting up situations which force a person to confront their fears. If someone is afraid of heights, make them go someplace high. If they're afraid of taking responsibility, force them to be in charge."

Keep Calm and Carry On: Reflections on Bulldozing Writing Walls by Luke Reynolds from Hunger Mountain. Peek: "No matter how little you feel like it, no matter how futile it sometimes seems, you must keep writing. You must continue to send out queries. You must continue to make contact, believing that the words you write do possess all the possible power and beauty in them to affect one life."

A Glorious Year of E-booking by Arthur Slade from Arthur Slade: The YA Fantastical Fiction Guy. Peek: "Exactly a year ago, I began putting my out-of-print backlist up for sale on various ebook vendors (Smashwords, Kindle, iBooks, B&N, Kobo...)." Arthur talks numbers and features nifty visual aids.

Flooded with Understanding by Tamara Ellis Smith from Hunger Mountain. Peek: "Accepting help became entwined with growing an incredible sense of empowerment, liberation and connection."

Word Play: The Case for Ludic Poetry by J. Patrick Lewis from Hunger Mountain. Peek: "'Ludic' means 'game-playing.' Ludic poetry plays word games. Let’s get serious for a moment about wordplay."

R.L. Stine Posts a Short Story on Twitter from GalleyCat at Media Bistro. Peek: "The novelist tweeted a mini-horror story about a haunted kitchen. We’ve collected the posts...for your reading pleasure."

This Week for Writers from Adventures: Our Favorite Articles and Blog Posts from YA & Children's Publishing.

ALA Popular Paperbacks

2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Readers from YALSA. Categories include Adventure Seekers, Forbidden Romance, Get Your Geek On, and Sticks and Stones. Special cheers:

Note: "The Wrath of Dawn" by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith appears in Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd.

Cynsational Giveaways

Click to enlarge!

Enter to win a Blessed paperback giveaway! The grand prize includes:
Runner-up Prizes
To enter, comment on this post (click previous link and scrolll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or you can email me directly with "Blessed giveaway" in the subject line. Author sponsored. Eligibility: international. Deadline: Feb. 27.


Enter for a chance to win:
To enter, comment on this post (click link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with "Camping Trip" in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Eligibility: North America (U.S./Canada). Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 20.
To enter, comment on this post (click previous link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with "One Cool Friend" in the subject line.
Author-sponsored. Eligibility: North America (U.S./Canada). Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 20. See also One Cool Friend Before Breakfast from Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Note: in-depth post features early sketches.



Six-book giveaway! Enter to win one of the following autographed books:
To enter, comment on this post (click previous link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or you can email Cynthia directly with "Alex Flinn Giveaway" in the subject line. Deadline: Feb. 20. Author sponsored. U.S. entries only.

Last call! Enter to win one of two copies of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton, 2012). To enter, comment on this post (click previous link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with "The Fault in Our Stars" in the subject line. Publisher-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 20.

The Cynsational winners of the Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith giveaway were Sarah in Iowa (grand prize), Darrella in Texas, Mahek in Surrey (England), Yamile in Utah, Sheela in New York, Aiwah in Australia, and Donna in Missouri.

The Cynsational winner of Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012) was Jamie in Oregon.

The Cynsational winner of Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle, 2012) signed by all of the contributing authors was Maria in California.

Cynsational Screening Room

Author Mitali Perkins talks about the influence of her heritage, writing between cultures, social justice themes, being a five-senses writer, and more.



In celebration of this week's North America paperback release of Blessed from Candlewick Press, check out the readers guide and book trailer.



Check out the book trailer for Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O'Connell George,  illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Clarion). Emma Dilemma is the winner of the Claudia Lewis Award from Bank Street.



This Week at Cynsations
More Personally

Great news! Blessed is now available in paperback from Candlewick Press! Don't miss the book trailer and mega prize pack giveaway, both above!

Photo by author-illustrator Salima Alikhan.
Last week's other highlight was the Vicious Valentine YA Fantasy Panel at BookPeople in Austin.

My fellow featured authors were Jordan Dane, P.J. "Tricia" Hoover (Tricia's report), Mari Mancusi, Rosemary Clement-Moore, and L.A. Weatherly with devilish moderating by Sean Petrie. Talk about great company!

Thanks to the participating authors, Mr. Sean, BookPeople, Candlewick Press, and everyone who joined us at the event for your enthusiasm and support! See the event report!

Please also note that you can always find signed stock of my books at BookPeople!

Girls in the Stacks says of Diabolical: "The story unraveled with many surprises and twists, and kept me
guessing and entertained. The memos, news articles and phone
transcripts interspersed between chapters gave the reader hidden
insights to the story – sometimes humorous, sometimes chilling."

Personal Links:
From GregLSBlog:
Cynsational Events

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith at an Alamosa Books Author Event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 7 in Albuquerque.

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith on March 10 and March 10 at Tuscon Festival of Books. Panels: from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 10 "Blood and Kisses: Paranormal Romance with Courtney Rene and Aprilynne Pike," followed by signing and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 11 "What's New & Who's Reading Now? with Janni Lee Simner, R.L. Stine & Aprilynne Pike," followed by signing.

Interested in taking a class with Cynthia this summer? Try the 13 Annual Conference of Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers from June 18 to June 22 in Sandy, Utah; the Southampton Children's Literature Conference from July 11 to July 15 in Southampton, New York; or the 17th Annual Postgraduate Writing Conference from Aug. 13 to Aug. 19 at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.
See more of Cynthia's upcoming events.

Note: Due to volume, I can't feature the author/illustrator events of all of my Cynsational readers, but if you're Austin bound for an appearance here, let me know, and I'll try to work in a shout out or two.

Join Cynthia from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 7 in Albuquerque

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about me & cynsations

Cynthia is a New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of fiction for young readers. Graphic novelist. Fond of cats, comics, and cocoa.

Cynsations is a source for conversations, publishing information, literacy and free speech advocacy, writer resources, inspiration, news in children's and teen literature, and author outreach.

Note: via various means and mirror sites, Cynsations has about 6,000 regular subscribers and averages 80,000 page views a month.

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