Cynsational News & Giveaways

Congratulations to Elaine Scott on the release of Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time (Clarion, 2011)! From the promotional copy:

Have you ever wished you could travel back in time? Or visit a galaxy light-years away? Or see a star being born?

The Hubble telescope has allowed scientists to do just that. The Hubble’s dazzling images have transformed astronomy, shedding light on the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, sparking new discoveries and turning speculation into fact. 

Its gaze has helped astronomers find new galaxies, look back in time almost to the Big Bang, and verify the existence of dark energy, the mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. 

Through the eye of the Hubble, Elaine Scott skillfully guides readers along the evolution of our universe, investigating a question that was once unanswerable: “Where did we come from?”

Look for Elaine at the Texas Book Festival on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23 at the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.

More News & Giveaways

Guest Blogger Jennifer Nielsen: The Rules of Readings from R.L. LaFevers at Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “Forget about ‘reading’ and focus on the emotional center of the story. Your reading should capture the emotion, not the plot.”

Why You Should Only Query Six-to-Eight Agents at a Time by Chuck Sambuchino from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “After all, though an agent will usually reply quickly (bless you, e-mail), they may take three whole months to get back to you, only to send you a form rejection. You can’t wait around for agents one by one like that.” See also Simultaneous Submissions by Mary Kole from

Does Writing Affect One’s Love of Reading? by Candy Gourlay from Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: “What a tragedy. My love for reading was what made me want to become a writer in the first place. But maybe there’s an antidote…”

Living the Dream: Quitting the Day Job to Write Full Time by Teri Terry from Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: “I love Mondays. It’s what writing’s all about.”

A Balance of Action and Information by Mary Kole from Peek: “The biggest place where this matters is in a novel’s beginning. Imagine you are trying to read a dystopian that’s in a completely other world–you open the book and…”

Interview with Agent Erin Murphy by Natalie Dias Lorenzi from EMU’s Debuts. Peek: “Ask questions. You’d be amazed how many questions clients have been afraid to ask that take me just 10 seconds to answer, and they feel so much better afterward.”

Find in the Penguin spring 2012 catalog.

Authorial Intent by Jennifer R. Hubbard from writerjenn. Peek: “Authors are responsible for what they write, but how responsible are they for what readers find?”

Challenges to Graphic Novels from Good Comics for Kids at School Library Journal. Peek: “There are a few simple strategies all librarians should have in place for preparing for challenges to graphic novels.”

Janni Lee Simner: newly redesigned official author site. Very active and up to date.

Children’s Author Maurice Sendak, Still Working at 83 by Association Press from the Charleston Daily Mail.  Peek: “Wearing jeans and a thin, buttoned shirt, he sits at the breakfast table of his 18th-century farmhouse in the Connecticut countryside, where artists and their fortunes have often settled. He looks out on a wondrous garden of elm and maple trees, and grass a damp green.” Source: ACHOCKABLOG.

A Checklist for Marketing Your E-Book by Jane Friedman from Writer Unboxed. Note: Focusing on product, place, price, and promotion. Oriented toward self-published books.

Children’s Book Art Auction sponsored by the Children’s Literature Assembly. Peek: “Children’s Literature Assembly invites you to participate in a Silent Auction featuring original artwork by children’s book illustrators. Own a piece of art and support the work of CLA (which offers workshops, scholarships, research grants, publications, etc.).” Source: Sylvia Vardell.

Submit Books for SCBWIs 2012 Golden Kite Awards from Alice Pope’s SCBWI Market Blog. Deadline: Dec. 16. Peek: “Started in 1973, SCBWI offers the Golden Kites annually to recognize excellence in children’s book in for categories (Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text and Picture Book Illustration).”

Congratulations to the latest two additions to The Brown Bookshelf team–Crystal Allen and Gwendolyn Hooks! In related news: “…the campaign is ‘under construction.’ It will be alive and well in 2012, but how we’re selecting authors this year is different. So stay tuned. We’ll get you all up to speed closer to campaign time.”

Details for the Texas Institute of Letters 2011 Literary Contests are now available. The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award offers two $500 prizes–one for a chldren’s book and one for a YA book. Postmark deadline: Jan. 9, 2012.

On Foreign Rights and Book Fairs by Sara Crowe from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “What goes into selling a book in Germany is not so different from what goes into selling a book here. For one thing, selling here or there or anywhere requires research, contacts and knowing the market.”

The 50/50 Project: Help for Somali Refugees, Plus a Critique for You from Janet Fox at Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “For a flat $50 donation you can help the destitute and starving of Somalia and come away with a terrific critique as well.”

Hunger Mountain Submissions Call: “The Hunger Mountain children’s & YA page continues to showcase the best and brightest in children’s literature, from new voices to award-winners. We spotlight industry issues as they happen and create a dialogue between writer, reader, librarian, parent, and all interested in kid-lit. We are also interested in sneak-peaks into new books coming out, deleted chapters from books, short stories, etc.” For more information, visit the Hunger Mountain submissions page. Source: Bethany Hegedus.

See also Best Articles This Week for Writers from Adventures in Children’s Publishing, which in turn links to several other roundups.

Mark Your Calendars

Donate items or services for bid!

Mark your calendars for Jean Reidy’s Light Up the Library online auction celebrating the release of her latest picture book Light Up the Night (Disney Hyperion, 2011) and benefiting the library at Musana Children’s Home in Iganga, Uganda! The auction will take place Nov. 7 to Nov. 18. Critiques from editors, agents and award-winning authors, writing mentorships, autographed books and more. Learn more at

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out this new book trailer for Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale by Karen Henry Clark, illustrated by Patrice Barton (Knopf). Book trailer by Dan Prozinski / Durable Images Inc.

Enter to win a signed set of the Witchfinder triology by William Hussey from Tall Tales & Short Stories. Eligibility: international. Winner to be announced midday Oct. 13 (U.K. time). See the book trailer below.

Check out this Banned Books video from Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston. More about the video. Includes a reading of “Manifesto” by Ellen Hopkins. See also Confessions from a Book Challenge (YA librarian Allison’s perspective on past challenges) from Jen Bigheart at I Read Banned Books.

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win a signed copy of Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz (Hyperion, 2011). To enter, comment on this post (click immediately preceding 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 me directly with “Lost in Time” in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Deadline: Oct. 10. Eligibility: U.S./Canada. Good luck!

The winners of Snuggle Mountain apps by Lindsey Lane, illustrated by Melissa Iwai (PicPocket, 2011) were Elizabeth, Stacy, and Varsha! Lindsey will be contacting you about receiving your app.

Gail Giles Banned Books Giveaway: enter to win from Cari’s Book Blog. Prize includes: a signed copy of Right Behind You; Shattering Glass, a signed copy of What Happened to Cass McBride; Banned Book Button; Bookmarks and Swag. Eligibility: U.S. only. Winner announced Oct. 2. See link for details. See also Gail Giles on Writer’s Block.

Looking for an international giveaway? Scroll back up to “Cynsational Screening Room” for the link to enter to win William Hussey’s Witchfinder trilogy!

Postcard & iTunes Giveaway

Enter to win one of three sets of ten signed Tantalize: Kieren’s Story graphic novel postcards, each with a $10 iTunes gift card. To enter, comment at 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 “iTunes/postcard set” in the subject line. 

You may earn extra chances to win by blogging, posting at social networks, or tweeting about this giveaway. Detail efforts in your entry. Five entries maximum per person.

If you are a public/school librarian, university professor of youth literature/education/library science, or a children’s-YA bookseller, you may include that information in your entry with a link to your school/public library, university department, or bookstore website for an extra chance to win.

Author-sponsored. Deadline: Oct. 10. Eligibility: North America.

Austin Scene

Author Jessica Lee Anderson signed Calli (Milkweed, 2011) after a recent Austin SCBWI monthly meeting at BookPeople. Note: Jessica is highly recommended as a speaker.

Harness Horses, Bucking Broncos & Pit Ponies Launch Party & Art Show at The Writing Barn (10202 Wommack Road) in Austin. Peek: “Please join Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson to celebrate the release of their newest children’s picture book, Harness Horses, Bucking Broncos & Pit Ponies: A History of Horse Breeds (Tundra, 2011)! Minis and Friends, a charitable organization that benefits disabled children, will be at the event with live miniature horses to pet.

“Original art from the book will be on display, prints will be for sale, and copies of Harness Horses will be available for purchase and to get autographed. The event will include snacks, horsey games and more.”

The Writing Barn, a writing retreat and book launch party space is available for rental in South Austin. Operated by children’s-YA author Bethany Hegedus, The Writing Barn is a haven for book lovers with floor-to-ceiling book shelves, a cozy loft, a large covered porch, free wifi, a spacious bedroom with queen-sized-bed, half bath, and a kitchenette.  For more information visit: The Writing Barn (website under construction) and/or email writingbarn at for rates and availability.

More Personally

Happy Rosh Hashana to my Jewish friends! My favorite related picture book is New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch (Dial, 2009)(click link for trailer).

WOW Wednesday: Cynthia Leitich Smith–Your Only Real Competition is Yourself from Martina at Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Peek: “I’m talking about me versus me and what that means to my writing life. I’m talking about you versus you and what that might mean to yours.”

A Tantalizing New Perspective on Tantalize by J.L. Bell from Oz and Ends. Peek: “Strangely enough, while some male teens would be wary of a book featuring a hunky guy in a tight T-shirt, the long traditions of mainstream American comic books mean that the same cover offers no worries as long as there are many more pictures of the same hunky guy inside.” Great observation!

Crashing the Gate: Writerly Advice from Industry Folks in the Know from Pamela Witte at Ink & Angst. Insights from authors, an editor, and an agent (including Cynthia Leitich Smith).

Houston Highlights: Blue Willow and Pasadena Schools from Cynsations. Note: Blue Willow Bookshop has author-signed stock of books in the Tantalize series! Shop online or call 281.497.8675 to order!

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

Cynsational Events

Austin Teen Book Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 1 at Palmer Events Center in Austin. The event is free! No need to register, just show up! Students do not need to be accompanied by an adult.

Meet Ming!

Illustrator Ming Doyle will be signing Tantalize: Kieren’s Story at 2 p.m. Oct. 2 at Brookline Booksmith (279 Harvard Street) in Brookline, Massachusetts. Guests are invited to participate in a vampire/werewolf costume contest.

More Than One Way to Read with Barry Lyga and Cynthia Leitich Smith from 11:30 to 12:30 in Capitol Extension Room E2.010 Oct. 22 at the Texas Book Festival. Signings to follow. See also 2011 Texas Book Festival Children’s-YA Programming from Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will be appearing at Austin Comic Con, scheduled for Nov. 11 to Nov. 13 at the Austin Convention Center.