Cynsational News & Giveaways

Unworthy Heroes by Sarwat Chadda from Diversity in YA Fiction. Peek: “I mean a cast of thousands and heroes who bleed and swear and come back for more. The big, bold old-fashioned Boys Own adventures but ones where the heroes aren’t the blond, blue-eyed, defenders of civilization fighting against the bearded, turbaned fanatical hordes.”

Four Elements of a Great Book Signing by Corrie Garrett from Pimp My Novel. Peek: “…let’s say you’ve done your promotion and your marketing and you’ve managed to gather a respectable crowd at your local Barnes and Noble. What do you do with them?” Source: Jon Gibbs from An Englishman in New Jersey.

Bookbird: a Journal of International Children’s Literature from the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). See also Co-Editors Interview: Cathy Kurkjian & Sylvia Vardell on Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature from Cynsations.

Certificate in Children’s Book Illustration from Hollins University. Peek: “The goal of this program is to help artists develop a personal vision and style for tomorrow’s picture book market. The courses will provide an opportunity for intensive exploration and improvement of students’ art skills and knowledge of picture book fundamentals, while being informed by an in-depth study of both past and contemporary picture book illustrators.”

YA Writing Workshop with Margo Rabb will be Sept. 13 to Oct. 18 at Austin Bat Cave in Austin, Texas. Peek: “The term ‘young adult’ encompasses a wide range of fiction. This class will discuss what makes a novel or a short story ‘young adult,’ and the complexities of the genre. Each class will focus on aspects of the craft of fiction, including character, plot, voice, and dialogue while paying particular attention to the revision process. In addition, the following topics will be discussed: finding time to write, making a life as a writer, and the business of publication, from finding an agent to submitting work to magazines and publishing houses. Class is limited to ten students.”

Submission Tracking Chart by Tabitha from Writer Musings. Peek: “I knew exactly what I’d sent out and when I could expect a response. I created a header for all of this information, then created subsections for material that had been requested, rejected, was still out, and who I had left to query.”

Author Interview Tricia Springstubb and Giveaway from Carmen Oliver from Following My Dreams One Word at a Time. Peek: “Fox Street began with a real incident here on Cleveland’s west side. Some developers, with the support of the mayor, made a bid to buy a small, blue collar neighborhood and replaced it with high-end condos and retail. This neighborhood was on the edge of a glorious metropark. To the surprise of the developers but no one else, the residents fought back.” Giveaway deadline: July 29.

Flipping the Switch from Introvert to Extrovert by Deborah Halverson from R.L. LaFevers at Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “Figuring that anything I did in a future career would require me to step out of those shadows I so enjoyed, I very consciously set about making myself comfortable with activities that extroverts take for granted.”

It’s Time to Get on Google+ by Kate Fall from Author2Author. Peek: “Google Plus is more social than Twitter and more businesslike than Facebook.” See also No, You Don’t Have to Join Google+ by Greg Pincus from The Happy Accident. Peek: “Finding a network or networks that work with what you want to accomplish and what makes you comfortable takes the stress out of the equation….” Note: Cynthia Leitich Smith at Google Plus.

Cynsational Author Tip: Include your publisher names, publication dates, and ISBNs for each of your books on your official website.

Be Book Smart: “If you shop at Macy’s and give $3 to provide a book for a child, Macy’s will donate your $3 to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) to help reach their goal of giving 1 million books to kids. You’ll also be eligible for $10 off a $50 purchase.” Enter to win a $500 Macy’s Gift Card from RIF.

Celebrate the publication of YA zombie comedy Bad Taste in Boys (Delacorte, 2011) with author Carrie Harris and benefit the kids of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital with Night of the Giving Dead! Bid on over 80 items, including signed books, ARCs, and author/agent critiques. Participants can enter to win one of two grand prizes: a Kindle or a six-month writing mentorship with the author. Deadline: midnight EST, July 27.

Interview with Tu Editor Stacy Whitman from the Happy Nappy Bookseller. Peek: “I try to address both encouraging authors of color to write fantasy/SF (or submit those manuscripts they might have put aside thinking there was no market for a POC main character in fantasy) and encouraging white writers to diversify their writing in a way that doesn’t appropriate from other cultures.”

Anna Staniszewski: newly redesigned official author site. Note: Anna’s upcoming book is My Very Un-Fairy Tale Life (Sourcebooks, Nov. 1, 2011).

The Case for Comic Books by Mindy Lucas from The Kansas City Star. Peek: “Students in Whitted’s class pore over and deconstruct the books in as serious an academic manner as one would analyze Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment or Joyce’s Ulysses (both of which, by the way, have been turned into graphic novels).”

One Simple Way to Sharpen Your Pitch by Zachary Petit from Writer’s Digest. Peek: “I like to apply the MacDonald Rule to all of my pitches and loglines. In other words, even though it’s only a few lines, a pitch should explain who is trying to do what and why.” Source: Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

By Lupe Ruiz-Flores (Arte Público, 2010)

Congratulations to the 2011 SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant Winners! Special cheers to Texans Lupe Ruiz-Flores and Shannon Morgan. Note: Shannon is the creator of my marvelous teacher guides for Holler Loudly, illustrate by Barry Gott (Dutton, 2010)

Cantastic Guest Author: Yolanda Ridge from Lindsey Carmichael at Ten Stories Up. Peek: “I’m not sure this is unique to being a debut author in Canada, with all publishers cutting back on marketing, but it is hard because the book buying population is small.  I feel fortunate that my publisher sells in the United States and does some marketing, but there is still a lot of responsibility left to the author in terms of social media and publicity.”

Dealing with Criticism by Icy Sedgwick from Fuel Your Writing. Peek: “I dislike the distinction drawn between constructive and deconstructive criticism – whichever way you slice it, it’s still criticism. I prefer the word “feedback”. Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

A Writer’s Dilemma: Meditating Versus Participating in the Moment by Heather Anastasiu. Peek: “…part of being a writer is constantly writing, even in your head.”

The Business Side of Writing: a chat with Sue Ford from the Institute of Children’s Literature. See also Patching Picture Book Problems by Jan Fields, also from ICL. Note: these links are  recommended to beginners.

Cynsational Giveaways

Tantalize: Kieren’s Story by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Ming Doyle with cover art by Sam Weber (Candlewick, Aug, 2011) Giveaway from P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. Deadline: July 29. Peek: “Illustrated by Ming Doyle, Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Tantalize is reimagined as a graphic novel, seen through Kieren’s werewolf eyes.” Learn more about Tantalize: Kieren’s Story.

The winner of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson (Wiley Publishing, 2011) is Beth in New Hampshire. See also Deborah on Serving Up Subtext from Alice Pope’s SCBWI Market Blog and Melodrama Isn’t a Four-Letter Word from QueryTracker.netBlog.

Enter to win an author-signed bookmark and copy of Bumped by Megan McCafferty (HarperTeen, 2011). To enter, comment on this post (click link) 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 “Bumped” in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Deadline: July 29. This giveaway is for international readers–everyone is eligible!

Cynsational Screening Room

Walter Dean Myers and Chris Myers on We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart from HarperKids. Peek from Walter: “I wanted to put myself out there and make a statement and say, you know, I love this country.” Source: Shadra Strickland on Living the Dream.

Congratulations to Jo Knowles on the release of Pearl (Henry Holt, 2011). See the book trailer. See also a snapshot interview with Jo from Angelina C. Hansen and comment for a chance to win a copy of Pearl. Deadline: July 27. For a more in-depth interview with Jo, check out this Q&A with Kate Messner about revision.

Congratulations to Melissa Walker on the release of Small Town Sinners (Bloomsbury, 2011)(excerpt). See the book trailer. See also an interview with Melissa by Lucienne Diver from Authorial, Agently, and Personal Ramblings.

Last weekend, I saw “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. See the review by Kazia Berkley-Cramer from Out of the Box: an exclusive look at what comes into the Horn Book offices. Check out this video from the set in which the cast and crew says goodbye to the actors.

More Personally

A more recent incarnation of the downtown Ann Arbor store.

When I think of Borders, it’s the original store in Ann Arbor. My Borders had crooked stairs and books piled in the middle of aisles, and it smelled like a bookstore. I’m sad for the booksellers who’re losing jobs and readers who no longer have any bookstore within comfortable driving distance. My thanks to everyone at Borders for their service to the children’s-YA book community. Note: I’m a 1994 graduate of The University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.

On a brighter note, congratulations to the summer 2011 graduates of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults!

I’m making an effort to read more children’s-YA book writing/publishing blogs that originate outside the U.S. and are more focused on other markets. Please feel free to suggest.

I’m also pleased of news of solid sales of Eternal in Poland. Thank you to my Polish readers!

Interview de Cynthia Leitich Smith, auteur de Sanguine from Loraah Books. Peek: “Quand j’étais adolescente j’ai travaillé en tant que serveuse, et j’ai toujours pensé que les restaurants faisaient de fantastiques scènes de drame. Vous avez un décor, des menus et de la musique thématiques.” Note: for French-language readers.

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

Cynsational Events

Keep Austen Weird Prom! Jennifer Ziegler is hosting a launch party for Sass & Serendipity (Delacorte, 2011) at 2 p.m. July 23 at BookPeople in Austin. Peek: “This modern YA retelling of Sense & Sensibility is a perfect jumping off point for a teenager’s first taste of Jane Austen, but adults well-versed in the world of Austen will love it too! We’ll be doing this book release party prom-style; wear your fanciest duds and get ready to make all your dreams come true. Jennifer will be interviewed by her real-life sister (fingers crossed for some embarrassing stories), plus there will be contests & prizes and yummy refreshments.”

The 2nd Annual Halloween in July will be at 8 p.m. CST, 9 p.m. EST July 27 with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kim Baccellia and Dawn Metcalf from #yalitchat on Twitter. Follow: @cynleitichsmith @ixtumea @DawnMetcalf. Chat with us for spooky fun, giveaways and more!

Southwest Texas Fall SCBWI Conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 17 in San Antonio. Faculty includes: Andrea Welch, editor from Beach Lane Press (Simon & Schuster); Elena Mechlin, agent from Pippin Agency; Kristin Daly Rens, editor from Balzer and Bray (HarperCollins); author Diane Gonzales Bertrand; Kim Murray, online media specialist with Piccolo Media; and Richard Johnson of InteractBooks. Note: the early bird registration deadline has been extended to July 23.

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