Cynsational News & Giveaways

Cover Stories: Forgive My Fins by Tara Lyn Childs from Melissa Walker. Peek: “I sent it immediately to my friends at Blue Willow Bookshop for their bookseller perspective and then sent on their suggestions with mine. The art department at Harper absolutely took those suggestions to heart. They were extremely committed to making the cover as perfect as possible and worked on every little detail.”

Secrets to Successful School Visits by Cynthia Lord from Donna Gephart at Wild About Words. Peek: “…tell the principal how wonderful the media specialist (or whoever organized the visit with you) has been to work with. It’s a nice way to affirm the hard work that went into bringing you to the school.”

Dealing with Flash Point, Difficult Topics by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. A discussion of how to approach hot-button topics, using The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt, 2008) as a case study.

Frances Yansky – Author Illustrator: new official site. Step into her parlor (for quotes about Frances from fellow Austinite children’s book folk), then swing by the library, and don’t miss the studio for a peek at her art work. Site designed and produced by Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys.

Austin Avant-Grande Mentoring Program: “a network of successful kid-lit artists and writers offering support, providing guidance, and sharing expertise in a highly professional manner. AAMP amplifies a sense of community through a concentrated focus on craft.”

Rose Kent: new official author site. Meet Rose, learn about her books and author visits, and then chow down on some food for thought. Site designed and produced by Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys. Note: Rose’s latest book, Rocky Road, is a middle-grade novel, available this month from Knopf.

Attention Gothic fantasy, horror, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy authors! Please swing by spookycyn and my related bibliography to make sure your blog/author site links are included. If not, please contact me with the URLs and where they should go.

From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle Grade Authors: “the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children’s book from writing to publishing to promoting.” Learn about the authors behind the blog.

Once Upon a Baby Brother: Sarah Sullivan and the Source of Story: an author interview by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “As a storyteller, my coping mechanism is to transform an untenable situation into story and play around with it. I examine the situation from other people’s viewpoints to see if I can make some sense of it. In a very strange way, Lizzie’s story mirrors what was happening in my own life at the time that I wrote it.”

PR Notes: Book Publicity by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “For some time, I’ve been very interested in the ins and outs of marketing, public relations, social media, etc. I’ve thought about doing a separate website; instead, I’ve decided to write a PR Notes column on Wednesdays. I’d love to include your PR story in a guest post or I’d be glad to send you a Q&A.”

The 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards by Roger Sutton from Read Roger. Picks include fiction honor book The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sís (Scholastic); see the whole list.

Margaret Bechard: new official author site. Learn about Margaret and her books, read her journal, and find out about her teaching. Peek: “Writing is hard and frustrating and sometimes I just want to be a barista at Starbucks. But then there are those moments where everything comes together, when my fingers are typing just a little bit faster than my brain is working, and then I know why I always wanted to do this.”

Selling Yourself by Parker Peevyhouse from The Spectacle. Peek: “Is all this talk about post-its and Halloween drowning out the carefully crafted noise of a well-written story?” See also What It Means to Say “Brand Me” by Colleen Mondor from Chasing Ray, which springs from Maureen Johnson‘s Anti-branding Manifesto.

Critiques: Guidelines and Tips by Donna Bowman Bratton from Simply Donna. Peek: “As a critique group member, you will at times be a partner, a therapist, a sounding board, an impartial reader, an editor, and a cheerleader.”

Golden Kite, Golden Dreams: The SCBWI Awards from Austin SCBWI. Peek: “Curated by David Diaz, this exhibit features artwork from some of the most prestigious, influential and talented artists, many of who are also Caldecott Award Winners. Ranging from ink, pencil, acrylic, gouache, and watercolors to paper cutting, this exhibit displays works from fifty artists with seventy-five pieces of artwork. This exhibition highlights the variety, diversity and high standards that the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) sets for Golden Kite Awards recognition. Exhibit is running from July 8th to October 1st in the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature.”

Checking in with Dan Santat by Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “Honestly, the solution to this spread could have probably been resolved in maybe three or four images, but I felt that taking the time to show the girl’s every nuance in planning and preparation added a bit of charm to her personality. (This is really the only thing you know about her. You don’t even know her name!)”

Excerpts of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Book Publishing (3rd and latest edition) are being tweeted by author Harold Underdown (@HUnderdown), beginning June 8. See hash tag: #cigpcb

The Elephant in the Room by Elizabeth Bluemle from PW Shelf Talker. Peek: “What I’d like to do is open the conversation by offering some positive, creative steps we can all take to make the world of children’s books—behind the scenes, in addition to between the covers—catch up to the amazing, diverse, infinitely rich world those books are meant to reflect and celebrate.” Note: features original, tie-in art by Kevan Atteberry, Addie Boswell, Jerry Craft, Katie Davis, Nancy Devard, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Laura Freeman, Erin Eitter Kono, Grace Lin, Nicole Tadgell, and Sharon Vargo. See also Is My Character Black Enough? from Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire.

2010 Américas Award Winners are Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (Knopf, 2009) and What Can You Do with a Paleta? / ¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales (Tricycle Press, 2009). Honorable mentions: Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Curbstone, 2009); I Know the River Loves Me / Yo sé que el río me ama by Maya Christina González (Children’s Book Press, 2009); and My Papa Diego and Me: Memories of My Father and His Art / Mi papa Diego y yo: Recuerdos de mi padre y su arte by Guadalupe Rivera Marín and Diego Rivera (Children’s Book Press, 2009). Source: papertigers.

Dystopian and the Apocalypse: What’s the Difference? by Kaitlin Ward from YA Highway. Peek: “These terms sometimes have that same confusion factor (for me, at least) as ‘urban fantasy’ vs. ‘paranormal romance.’ So much potential for overlap, but really, they are their own unique snowflakes.” Note: includes model books for reference.

The Thrill of Harry Potter Rides On by Neil Genzlinger from The New York Times. Peek: “…rides aren’t really the point; workmanship is. This attraction was made for the kind of people who have more or less memorized Ms. Rowling’s books, and it shows in all sorts of details. The weathering of the stone to make it look indefinably old. The way the snow sits on the rooftops, just on the verge of melting.” Note: don’t miss the video.

Hunger Mountain

Young Adult and Children’s Literature, edited by Bethany Hegedus and Kekla Magoon from the spring 2010 issue of Hunger Mountain: the VCFA Journal of the Arts. Highlights include:

Helping Inmates Find Their Truth: Using Writing Prompts to Explore Personal Journeys by Jo Knowles. Peek: “As the women became more comfortable sharing things with me, emotions ran high. I don’t think there was ever a meeting without tears. The women were writing from hard places. Angry, hurt places. Having no training in this area, I was often at a loss for how to respond.”

Teens Do Judge a Book by Its Cover by Mitali Perkins. Peek: “I was in my upper teens when I realized that the protagonists in the books I loved were all of European descent. It was embarrassing; I felt like I was denying my culture. Was I a white-girl wannabe?” See also My Speech and Slideshow at BookExpo America Children’s Breakfast 2010 from Mitali’s Fire Escape.

Reflected Faces by Tanita S. Davis. Peek: “This omission allows the insidious message of “you brown children don’t matter” to become louder and more commonplace from a source that should be celebrating their potential. Avoidance of the faces of minority readers trumpets the message, “We own this. Literature is ours. It is not a Brown thing. It is not your thing.”

Organically Grown Thrillers by April Lurie. Peek: “When I was fourteen years old, David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam, was shooting and killing blond, blue-eyed girls in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Needless to say, this was a bit unsettling, especially since I was a Scandinavian girl living among a majority of Italians.”

Note: these are just a few of the many features in the latest issue of Hunger Mountain. You’ll also want to check out poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye and E. Kristin Anderson, articles by Chris Barton and Jeannine Atkins, the industry scoop from Curtis Brown agent Nathan Bransford, fiction by authors Holly Cupala and Jessica Lee Anderson, and much more!

Reminder: the deadline for the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing is June 30. Peek: “One overall first place winner receives $1,000 and publication! Three runners-up receive $100 each.” This year’s judge is Holly Black.

Cynsational Screening Room

Bethany Hegedus reads Between Us Baxters (WestSide, 2009) in this video by Kathi Appelt, shot in College Station, Texas. See Kathi’s report on the event.

Check out the book trailer for Susan Beth Pfeffer‘s post-apocalypse trilogy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Celebrating Ming Doyle

Rumor has it that the delightful folks at Candlewick are starting to talk about the spring 2011 list, which is a big list for me because it’ll include both Blessed and Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, a graphic novel, illustrated by Ming Doyle. This strikes me as another call to celebrate the awesomeness of Ming, so here’s a Lois & Clark video snapshot from her LJ.

On a related note, Ming now has a journal of her art available for purchase. Note: this would be a lovely gift to give one’s wife for her anniversary. This is a hint to my husband.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of Swim the Fly by Don Calame (Candlewick, 2010)! Read an excerpt or sample chapter (PDF). Check out this author interview (PDF).

To enter, email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “Swim the Fly” in the subject line (Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message or comment me with the name in the header/post; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win). Deadline: June 30. Sponsored by Candlewick Press; U.S. entries only.

More Personally

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci is being released in paperback this month by Little, Brown. The anthology includes “The Wrath of Dawn” by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith.

Thanks to Shveta for hosting my latest interview–Dancing and jingling and tantalizing: Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith–at A desi faerie spins stories of stars, jasmine in her hair…. I talk about the inspirations for Tantalize, Eternal, and even Cynsations as well as what I’ve learned from teaching, a few recommended multicultural novels, what I’d like to see more of in children’s-YA books, my upcoming releases, and fictional role models.

Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith: Author of Eternal by J.E. from Fresh Dawgs’ Book Blog. Peek: “My reading tastes have expanded over the years. When I was in high school, I enjoyed spooky stories, and I still do. But I also love great creative nonfiction, historical novels, novels in verse, and many more genres and formats. Writing has made me appreciate more what I can learn from embracing a wide variety of books.”

Why Do You Read Cynsations? Please answer this question at the poll in the sidebar of Cynsations at Blogger.

Reminder: any ARC/book blurb queries should be emailed to me by editors/agents, not from authors directly. Please also note that I have been swamped of late with such requests, so it’s not an ideal time. Thanks!

Austin Area Events

“The Metaphor: So Much More Than a Simple Comparison,” a lecture by Varian Johnson at 11 a.m. June 12 at BookPeople.

Picture Perfect! A Spit-Polish Workshop at St. Edwards University, featuring famed Lisa Wheeler as Keynote Speaker is scheduled for Oct. 9 and sponsored by Austin SCBWI. Faculty also will include Sarah Sullivan, Stephanie Greene, Don Tate, and Laura Jennings. See more information (PDF).