Cynsational News & Giveaways

On Learning How to Write by Lisa Schroeder from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “I’ve been writing seriously for almost ten years, and during that time, I’ve often wished I could pursue a formal education in creative writing. But it’s not something I’ve been able to do for a lot of different reasons. So, I’ve had to learn the old fashioned way.” Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.

Five Rules for Writing YA by Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary from Chuck Sambuchino from Guide to Literary Agent’s Editor’s Blog. Peek: “The YA field welcomes innovators. What will your contribution be? Think fresh.”

Scholastic Editor Nick Eliopulos: An Exclusive SCBWI Team Blog Pre-Conference Interview by Lee Wind from I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? Peek: “You can tell a lot in 30 pages. If there’s a quality in the writing that makes me want to engage—even if the writing isn’t quite where it needs to be, but I can envision helping you get it there—then I keep reading.”

Cynsational Blogger/Vlogger Tip: If you would like to tape or report on a speech in a way that goes beyond fair use, ask permission first, preferably in advance.

Serious about Series by Rose Cooper from From The Mixed-up Files of Middle Grade Authors. Peek: “So, what makes readers love a book so much they want to read the entire series?”

ReaderKidZ: One Child, One Book, One Page at a Time: a new resource site from Debbie Gonzales, Dianne White, Nancy Bo Flood, Stephanie Greene. Peek: “We’ve come together to establish a resource for teachers, parents and librarians who work with readers in grades K-5. On a regularly-updated basis, ReaderkidZ will provide new and exciting downloadable tools we hope you’ll use in promoting books to these up-and-coming readers.” Don’t miss Author-in-Residence, Beyond Borders, Book Room, and Tool Box.

The Whole Megillah: The Writer’s Resource for Jewish-themed Children’s Books: from Barbara Krasner “to provide writers of Jewish-themed content for young readers a helpful resource. This blog will contain entries about: Jewish history; book reviews; interviews with and guest blogs by authors, editors, agents, and librarians; event news; research information, e.g., Jewish museums and archives.”

Don’t Toss Your Days to the Wind by Janice Shefelman from Inside Shefelman Books. Peek: “Once, in Venice, I lost my journal, the nightmare of any writer. I left it on a table in a restaurant where Tom and I had lunch. When we returned it was gone. Why would anyone steal a journal?” Read a Cynthia guest post on Researching Anna Maria’s Gift (Random House, 2010) by Janice.

On Creating Character Through Memory by Cheryl Renee Herbsman. Peek: “It’s almost impossible to think of the place or its objects without thinking also of how and when they were used or special memories you associate with them. So when you build a home for your characters, the same must be true.” Read a Cynsations interview with Cheryl.

The Season of Windblown Hair — Or, the Zeitgeist of Book Covers by Elizabeth Bluemle from PW: SHelf Talker. Peek: “It’s probably just something in the zeitgeist that brings a whole season of, say, close-ups of hands or stripey socks and tennis shoes or flowers illuminated as if shot on a lightbox. Or close-ups of girls’ faces, or face parts, or the backs of teenagers’ heads, or blue-jeaned hips. Or, for that matter, entire herds of dustcovers with photos of dramatically lit girls framed by dark foliage or fabric.” Read a guest post Promotional Bookmarks and Postcards by Elizabeth.

When Facts Change: Updating Nonfiction by Loreen Leedy from I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “When you least expect it, carefully researched details or large chunks of a book can be rendered obsolete overnight.”

Picture Book or Short Story? by Mary Kole from Peek: “The other ruler I use in my head is the fact that a picture book is about a $50,000 investment for a publisher. An agent told me this figure once and it has always stuck with me. What goes into this investment?” See also Shooting Glances. Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

Someone’s Filling My Shoes: An Interview with the New CWIM Editor Chuck Sambuchino by Alice Pope from Alice Pope’s SCBWI Blog. Note: don’t miss information on querying to write articles and submitting materials to be considered as a featured debut author.

Support a Kidlitosphere Blogger’s Race for the Cure: “On Oct. 6, 2009, Andrea Ross of was diagnosed with breast cancer. On Oct. 3, 2010, she will run for the cure. If you’d like to support her efforts to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, please click here to sponsor Andrea, and spread the word about this event!”

Pie-of-the-Month Club: Kimberley Griffiths Little by Heather Vogel Frederick from Set Sail for Adventure. Peek: “It took a period of about six years from the time I wrote the first draft until it sold – even though I had many editors tasting and re-tasting and telling me how close it was! Just a little more plot, another pinch of character, a few more pecans—I mean scenes.” Note: includes recipe for Melt-In-Your-Mouth Apple Pie. Read a Cynsations interview with Kimberley.

Beats by Jennifer Hubbard from writerjenn. Peek: “Here are three of the ways in which I deliberately manipulate prose rhythm (though not always consciously–I usually find myself fixing the rhythm of a sentence “by ear”).”

A Writer’s Guide to Leaving an Agent by Georgia McBride from Shelli at Market My Words. Peek: “…if your agent is unresponsive, shows a complete lack of regard for or interest in your work, you should consider looking for alternate representation. Another indication is an agent who is condescending or disrespectful to you or writers in general. But don’t lose your cool.”

Pippin Properties has renovated and relaunched its website. See also the new agency blog, The Pippin Insider.

Book Giveaway and Guest Teaching Author Interview with Karen Romano Young by Carmela Martino from Teaching Authors. Peek: “We all think we’re alone as writers, and we’re all afraid of failure. One solution is to recognize that your work is going to come out differently; another is to accept that you’ll go through a process as a writer in which you continually evaluate your work, finding the strengths and weaknesses and, draft by draft, working to improve them.” Don’t miss the Doodlebug video tutorial (at the link) or the giveaway of Doodlebug: A Novel in Doodles (Feiwel & Friends, 2010). Deadline: 11 p.m.CST Aug. 4.

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out the book trailer for Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski (Delacorte, 2010). Read a Cynsations guest post by Sarah about her twitter promotion for the novel.

A Video Interview with Author Lisa McMann from Ed Spicer at Spicy Reads. Read an interview with Lisa.

More Personally

Top Ten Books Recommended for Elementary School, Top Ten Books Recommended for Middle School, and Top Ten Books Recommended for High School by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “…stories Native writers create about Native people and places. The books I list here include fiction, historical fiction, traditional story, and poetry.” Note: I’m honored to see three of my books, Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000), Indian Shoes, illustrated by Jim Madsen (HarperCollins, 2002), and Rain Is Not My Indian Name on the lists. See my teacher guides.

Eternal (Candlewick, 2009, 2010) made the Literature category of the Our Angels are Different page on Television Tropes & Idioms. Note: It’s a pop-culture coup!

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith: a review by Karin from Edifying and Edgy. Peek: “The relationship between Quincie and Kieren is touching and so deep that…”

For those who missed them, here are my two recent guest posts on other blogs in the kidlitsophere:

Guest Dispatches: Cynthia Leitich Smith/Austin, Texas: my musings on my city and how it inspires my writing from Janni Lee Simner at Desert Dispatches. Peek: “Austin is the kind of place that’s almost impossible to leave—a capital city, a college town, high tech, overeducated, joyfully diverse. Crunchy, funky, corporate and entrepreneurial. Hippy, urban cowboy and urban cool.”

Writers Against Racism: Cynthia Leitich Smith: my musings on the impact that racism had on me as a young person, how it’s affected my professional writing, and the ways literature can combat the effects of racism and promote tolerance from Amy Bowllan at Bowllan’s Blog via School Library Journal. Peek: “Speculative fiction has long illuminated real-world societal dynamics. For some kids, it’s in this fantastical context that the pain of injustice and importance of cross-cultural respect will finally click.”

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win How to Survive Middle School by Donna Gephart (Delacorte, 2010). Just email me (scroll and click envelope) with your name and snail/street mail address and type “How to Survive Middle School” in the subject line.

Facebook, JacketFlap, MySpace, and Twitter readers are welcome to just privately message me with the title in the header or comment on this round-up; I’ll write you for contact information, if you win.

Deadline: midnight CST July 31. Note: U.S. entries only.

Cynsational Events

The Austin SCBWI Diversity in Kid Lit Panel Discussion will feature author-illustrator Don Tate, illustrator Mike Benny, author Varian Johnson, author Lila Guzman, author/librarian Jeanette Larson and take place at 11 a.m. Aug. 14 at at BookPeople in Austin.

Author Pamela Ellen Ferguson will be presenting and signing Sunshine Picklelime, illustrated by Christian Slade (Random House, 2010) at 2 p.m. Aug. 15 at BookPeople in Austin.

The launch party for Brains for Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, Aug. 2010) will be at 2 p.m. Sept. 12 at BookPeople in Austin.

Southwest Texas SCBWI Fall Editor Day will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18 at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Featured speakers are Sarah Shumway, HarperCollins editor; Julie Ham, Charlesbridge associate editor, and Carmen Tafolla, award-winning author. See more information.

The Five Tribes Story Conference and Festival will be Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Peek: “According to one of the conference planners, Tim Tingle, the event will “focus on the stories of the Five Tribes of Oklahoma, with a great opening line-up of tellers, writers, and academic thinkers in the field.”

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).