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Cynsational News & Giveaways


Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

The 24th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category are: Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan (Scholastic); Huntress by Malinda Lo (Little, Brown); I Am J by Cris Beam (Little, Brown Books); Pink by Lili Wilkinson (HarperCollins); and Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright (Simon & Schuster). 

Lee & Low, a multicultural children's book publisher in New York City, is hiring a marketing and publicity assistant and a marketing and publicity intern.

Character Trait Thesaurus: Curious from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "Characters who are curious easily stumble upon secretive things, or involve themselves in things they shouldn't; as such, they can conveniently introduce conflict into a story line."

Cynsational Blogger Tip: consider positioning any peripheral notes about the guest author or his/her subject at the end of the post rather than front load them in a long introduction. Grab the reader, in a focused way, right away.

How To Button a Chapter by Mary Kole from Kidlit.com. Peek: "What you never want to do with your chapter button is make your reader feel at peace. Unless it’s the last chapter."

Six Things I Wish I'd Known About Being a Writer by Michelle Davidson Argyle from Imagination Is the Only Rule in Fiction. Peek: "It's so easy to stay on one project forever. I don't like NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) much, but it did save me the one time I
did it. It saved me from working on the same book forever and ever and ever." Source: Jennifer R. Hubbard.

Hunger Games Movie Adaptation: review by Katie Bircher from The Horn Book. Peek: "The few changes to the plot mostly enhance the story by deepening relationships between characters." Note: includes spoilers.

Listen by Katie McGarry from Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing. Peek: "Now I had a choice to make: I could listen or ignore the comments. I loved my story—loved. It hurt to think that someone didn’t love it as much as I did. My initial reaction was to discount the judges; to say they were wrong."

Why Aren't Chapter Books on Agents' Wish Lists? from DearEditor.com. Peek: "Study the websites and acknowledgement pages of established chapter book authors to identify their agents. Then study those agents’ websites, blogs, and online interviews to see if their literary sensibilities match your own."

Connections: Is There Such a Thing as Writer's Block? from Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: "Martha Alderson (the Plot Whisperer) suggests that 'writer's block is more aptly described as a writer who does not know her story well enough.'"

My Top Ten Middle Grade Heroines by Stephanie Burgis from Word Spelunking. Peek: "I am an enormous fan of strong middle grade heroines! Aeicha asked me to write about my very favorite middle grade heroines, so here they are in no particular order: ten girls who made me sometimes cheer, sometimes laugh out loud, and sometimes even cry. I love them all."

What Is My Motivation? Tips on Showing Character Motivation from The Other Side of the Story. Peek: "While many will advise to always know why your characters do something, trying to show every single motivation can bog a story down." Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out this book trailer for The Ash Mistry Chronicles by Sarwat Chadda (HarperCollins, 2012). See also Colouring in Heroes by Sarwat Chadda from tall tales & short stories. Peek: "when you write a kids’ book with an Asian hero, you’ll have a bookseller come up to you and say ‘I can’t see anyone in my area buying you book because we’ve not got any Indians living around us.’ By that logic you need to be a hobbit to buy Lord of the Rings."



Cynsational Giveaways

Cat not included.
Enter to win a signed copy of Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith (Clarion, 2012) and a T-rex puppet! Runner-up prizes: two more signed copies of Chronal Engine. 

To enter, comment on this post 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 "Chronal Engine giveaway" in the subject line. Note: For extra chances to win, blog, tweet (hashtag: #chronalengine), facebook or Google+ this giveaway and list your efforts in your entry!

Author-sponsored. Eligibility: North America. Deadline: March 31.

Enter to win a signed advanced reader copy of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin (Razorbill, 2012) and some sinister sweet swag.

To enter, comment on this post and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with "Sinister Sweetness" in the subject line. (If you're on LiveJournal, I'm also taking entries via comment at the Cynsations LJ.)

Author-sponsored. Eligibility: North America (U.S./Canada). Deadline: midnight CST April 9.

The winner of the Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart package was Sophia in Texas.

The winners of ARCs of Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood were Victoria in Ohio, Gaby in Georgia, Laura in Tennessee, and Cassie in Tennessee. Note: still waiting to hear from the fifth winner; check your email!

The winners of signed copies of Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future by Fred Bortz (Twenty-First Century/Lerner, 2012) were Carl in Arizona and Deena in New York.

This Week's Cynsations Posts
2012 SCBWI Bologna Series
See also Why Go to Bologna? by Lucy Coats from An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

More Personally

Signing at BookPeople; photo by Jacqueline Kelly.

This week's highlight was the launch party & reception for Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith (Clarion, 2012)! See Greg's report on the author presentation at BookPeople and my report on the reception that immediately followed.

More personally, I got a sneak peek at the flap copy for Smolder. I'm expecting copy edits soon.

What a glorious spring! Texas wildflowers blooming in my yard.

Savvy Sensation: Cynthia Leitich Smith from Laura B. Writer. Peek: "I’m active online, but I put my creative writing first. When I’m stuck on a scene, I dance to the soundtrack to 'Xanadu.' For the first time today, I received a check from a publisher in Turkey. And my latest revision went to my editor this morning." Note: that was actually a while ago.


Book Review: Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Simple Pleasures Book Blog. Peek: "Prepare yourself for a tantalizing mixture of romance, the world of the supernatural and Italian food."

Tantalize: Recommendation from Reading Is So Much Fun. Peek: "This story had lots of action to it and twist and turns in it. Just
shows some times you can't trust those who you thought you could even a family member or one who you start to have feelings for....an excellent read."

Personal Links:
About Greg Leitich Smith:

  • Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith: Jurassic Park Meets Time Travel from Popcorn Reads: For People Who Love Entertainment. Peek: "It's a fun adventure with enough risk and danger to make it exciting but not so much danger that middle-grade kids will have nightmares. ... When I was a kid I would've jumped on a book like this one!"

  • Chronal Engine from BookMoot. Peek: "Of course there are dinosaurs, big dinosaurs, little dinosaurs, baby
    dinosaurs, flying dinosaurs and ginormous alligators. The action is fast paced and gripping as the rescue party discovers they are no match for the sheer mass of these animals, much less their claws and teeth."

Cynsational Events

Cynthia will appear at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference:

  • April 18: 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. "Connecting Teens and Authors: Teen Book Festivals and Awesome Author Visits."
  • April 20: 8 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. "Introducing the Spirit of Texas Reading Programs."
  • Signing coordinated by Candlewick Press and TLA. See program for details. 

Note: Greg Leitich Smith also will be signing at the conference.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will appear at A Festival of Authors, which will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 12 at Reagan High School in Northeast Austin.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will appear June 30 at Bastop Public Library in Bastrop, Texas.

Interested in taking a class with Cynthia this summer?


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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