Cynsational News & Giveaways

Writing Lessons from The Hunger Games from Jennifer R. Hubbard at writerjenn. Peek: “The main character was, thank goodness, smart. When the reader could tell that a certain situation was a trap, Katniss did not go blundering stupidly into obvious trouble.”

The Value of School and Library Presentations by Clete Barrett Smith from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “Today, I have interviewed three administrators about school/library visits.” See also Successful School Visits and Sharing Your Writing with Kids.

Congratulations to Ammi-Joan Paquette on her promotion to associate agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency! See also Erin Murphy’s new blog, EMLA Blog.

6 1/2 Ways to Unravel That Story Problem by Becca Puglisi from Donna Gephart at Wild About Words. Peek: “Skip it. Don’t obsess over that opening, scene, or sub plot. Just keep writing. Finish the draft, work on what you do know, and by that point, you’ll most likely have a better idea of what to do.” See also Donna on Promoting Like a Pro Without Driving Yourself (Or Anyone Else) Crazy from The Bookshelf Muse.

The Dilemma of the Too-nice Author (With Reference to Writing Characters) by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “There’s a saying that iron sharpens iron, and it’s true. Put iron outside your characters and you’ll soon find the iron within.”

Dialogue and Exposition by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Note: includes examples and a caveat on “talking heads.”

Interview with Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier by Zack Smith from Newsarama. Note: on adapting The Baby-Sitters Club, which sold 17 million copies, for Scholastic’s Graphix imprint. Peek from Raina: “Ann would see every draft – from the thumbnails to the pencils to the final lettered pages – and every version, there would be some tweaking, which is normal for editors.” See also Part Two.

Writing Family Secrets by Zu Vincent from Through the Tollbooth. Peek: “With every poke of the pen the closet door opens and light shines in, illuminating the secrets of those closest to us. They’ll know, you think. They’ll recognize themselves. They’ll be horrified.”

Show Your Confidence by Jessica from Bookends, LLC. Peek: “…when I’m contacted by an author I want to know that I’m actually requesting and reading the work because I’m one of the agents they are interested in hearing from, and not that they are simply contacting everyone because they were told they should.”

Interview with National Book Award Finalist Debby Dahl Edwardson on Names, History and Novel Structure by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “…names have a significance specific to specific groups of people. So when you’re speaking of a people who have been forced, throughout their schooling, to leave their cultures and their names at the schoolhouse door, and when the people in question, believe that a name has a spirit or soul attached to it, then the act reclaiming one’s name becomes both spiritual and revolutionary.”

Finalists for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award: 184 Candidates from 66 Countries. Note: “…the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is awarded annually to a single recipient or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion may be rewarded. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, and in children’s rights, globally.”

What Not to Say in a Query from Rachelle Gardner. Peek: “…who cares if you’ve been writing since you were a child? Either you have a salable book or you don’t, whether you started writing at six or sixty.”

What’s New in Novels in Verse? by Sylvia Vardell from Poetry for Children. Peek: “It’s been a boom year for publishing excellent novels in verse. I count nearly 20 of them…” Points to a directly of verse novels published by authors around the globe.

Three Questions Every Creative Person Must Ask from Jane Friedman. Peek: “If you’re producing work for an audience, it means…”

A Quick (and Inevitably Incomplete) Guide to the YA Twitterverse by Wendy at Boxcards, Books & A Blog from Albert Whitman & Company. Peek: “Twitter provides a great happy medium between the kind of industry news stories you get from Publishers Weekly and the here’s-a-video-of-my-cat minutiae of Facebook—often focusing more on real discussions, opinions, and networking.”

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

Cynsational Screening Room

Welcome to the Class of 2k12! Check out the blog, facebook, twitter, and newsletter. Peek: “In honor of our friends debuting this year, we’re giving away a huge prize pack of all seventeen Class of 2k11 titles for a deserving class, school, or public library. If you’d like to nominate your favorite library, stop by our Facebook page and tell us about it. The winner will be announced Nov. 12.”

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

Children’s Book Giveaway

Enter to win an Aphrodite the Diva Swag Giveaway, courtesy of authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams.

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 “Aphrodite the Diva” in the subject line.

Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S./Canada entries only.

Deadline: Oct. 23.

YA Book Giveaways 

Enter to win a copy of Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri (Candlewick, 2011). The book features a quartet of YA novellas, written entirely on an iPhone.

Check out these book commercials for each of the novellas. Peek from Daniel: “I’d love to see more book commercials, instead of trailers. From a writer’s perspective, they didn’t mess around with a story that I spent years laboring over. They made their own thing.”

To enter, comment on this post (click the 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 “Straw House” in the subject line. Publisher sponsored.

Eligibility: U.S./Canada entries only.

Deadline: Oct. 24.

Last call! Enter to win a copy of Other (2010) and/or Bloodborn (2011) by Karen Kincy, both from Flux. 

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 “Other,” “Bloodborn” or “Other/Bloodborn” in the subject line. Publisher-sponsored. Eligibility: North America (U.S./Canada) Deadline: midnight CST, Oct. 14. Read a Cynsations interview with Karen.

The winner of a signed copy of Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz (Hyperion, 2011) is Roxy in California.

Tantalize Series Books & T-shirt Giveaways — Last Call!

Attention U.S./Canada/U.K./Aus./N.Z. Readers!

Enter to win:

1rst prize: Blessed, Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, and your choice of Tantalize series T-shirts, designed by Gene Brenek

2nd and 3rd prize: winner’s choice of Blessed or Tantalize: Kieren’s Story

See this post to view various T-shirt designs. Winner will be invited to specify style, size, color.

One of many T-shirt design options

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 “Blessed/TKS Giveaway” in the subject line.

Author-publisher sponsored. 

Deadline: Oct. 17.

The winners of one of three sets of ten signed Tantalize: Kieren’s Story graphic novel postcards, each with a $10 iTunes gift card are Erin in New Hampshire, Karin in Texas, and Amanda in Texas.

Editor Critique Giveaway

In celebration of Tankborn by Karen Sandler (2011), Tu editor Stacy Whitman is offering a critique of the first 10 pages of a middle grade (ages 8-12) or young adult (ages 12 and up) manuscript. The manuscript should be fiction (no nonfiction or picture books). Though she specializes in fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, other genres such as realism are welcome.

Stacy and Karen

Her response will include a fifteen-minute phone call with the author and short, written notes about the submitted work. The winner will have three weeks to submit an excerpt for critique, and the critique and phone call will occur within two weeks after that. The phone call may also touch on any questions the author has about the audience or market for the book, the publishing and submitting process, etc.

To enter, comment on this post (click preceding link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) to foil spanners or a link to an email address. Or you can email Cynthia directly. An extra entry will go to those who, in a comment, ask Stacy or Karen a question or make a related observation. Additional extra entries will go to those who tweet, blog, or otherwise promote this link/giveaway. Please indicate your efforts/URLs in your comment. Limit five entries.

Eligibility for this critique giveaway is international! However, if the winner is from outside the United States, Stacy will confer via Skype instead of by phone. Deadline: midnight CST Oct. 24.

See also Author Karen Sandler & Editor Stacy Whitman from Cynsations.

More Personally

Highlights of the week included a joint presentation (with Greg Leitich Smith) Wednesday evening at the Children’s Literature class at St. Edward’s University in Austin. Special thanks to faculty host Dr. Judy A. Leavell for her good cheer and hospitality!

Check out the cover art for Diabolical (Candlewick, winter 2012)! From the promotional copy:

When “slipped” angel Zachary and his werewolf pal, Kieren, are summoned under suspicious circumstances to a mysterious New England boarding school, they quickly find themselves in a hellish lockdown with an intriguing assortment of secretive, hand-picked “students.” 

Plagued by demon dogs, hallucinatory wall decor, a sadistic instructor, and a legendary fire-breathing monster, will they somehow manage to escape? Or will the devil have his due?

Best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith unites heroes fro the previous three novels in the Tantalize series–including Zacharys girl, Miranda, and Kieren’s love, Quincie–along with a fascinating cast of all-new characters for a suspenseful, action-packed clash between the forces of heaven and hell.

Dying for a peek? Read the first 10 pages of Diabolical (Candlewick, 2012). Note: the book is told from the alternating points of view of Zachary, Kieren, and Miranda. Quincie is not a point of view character, but she is a main character in the story.

Blessed: a review from Jessica at I Read to Relax! Peek: “I had actually forgotten how much I enjoyed Quincie as a character. She’s tough, tough enough that you almost forget how young she is…until she does something that only a teenager would do.” Note: enter to win a copy of Blessed.

In other news, Greg and I donated six boxes of children’s-YA review copies to Taylor Middle School (“Once a Duck, Always a Duck”) in Taylor, Texas. Special thanks to Tim Crow for transport and coordination! I’m told ESL, special ed, and regular ed classes all benefited from the giveaway.

To fellow bloggers, I recommend passing on the books you receive–especially in cases of multiple copies of the same title–to folks who can get them in the hands of kids. Note: ARCs shouldn’t be shelved in libraries, but they make terrific giveaways.

Taylor teachers choose titles to supplement their classroom libraries.

Found a great one!

Coming up, I’ve signed onto the critique faculty of the Austin SCBWI Regional Conference, scheduled from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, 2012 at St. Edward’s University. Look for more 2012 event announcements to come! Note: I’m booked solid through September 2012 for long-distance events. If you are interested in October-November dates or 2013 dates, please contact me directly. The rate is the same for me to speak with Greg Leitich Smith, and we’ll gladly share a hotel room/car.

Even More Personally

That glowing angelic figure, center stage, is superstar Dolly Parton.

Last week’s highlight was seeing Dolly perform live at Cedar Park Center. Dolly’s concert featured several of her classic hits (like “9 to 5”) and new music off the “Better Day” album. The show was heartfelt, celebratory, and inspiring. “The Sacrifice” was my favorite of the new songs.

Dolly also mentioned that she’ll be starring with Queen Latifah in a new film, “Joyful Noise,” due out Jan. 13, 2002.

I love music, but I’m not a regular concert-goer. Living in Austin, I’m spoiled by the live music scene here. Terrific bands frequent local clubs, and I often listen to nearby outdoor performances from my own front porch.

But I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Dolly. I’ve adored her since I first saw her in person on a second-grade field trip to the American Royal Rodeo in Kansas City.

I was utterly charmed by the glittering, gorgeous woman and her sweet voice. I was convinced she was some kind of magical fairy. Seeing her again through grown-up eyes, I know I’d been right.

In other news, I’m still processing the rewrite of Wonder Woman’s parental history. See DC Comics big gamble pays off as sales of relaunched Superman, Batman, other titles boom by Michael Sangiacomo from The Plain Dealer.

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

Cynsational Events

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.”

See also An Interview with Jeff Crosby & Shelley Ann Jackson on Harness Horses, Bucking Broncos & Pit Ponies from Donna Bowman Bratton.

Jessica Lee Anderson (Calli) and P.J. Hoover (Solstice) will be signing from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas.

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.

New York Public Library Children’s Literary Salon on the topic of Fiction and the Military Family with authors Rosanne Parry, Suzanne Morgan Williams and Sara Lewis Holmes on Nov. 12. See also Rosanne on Children’s-YA Fiction and the Military Family.


10 thoughts on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. A fabulous, information-packed post as always, Cyn. You always pinpoint the most interesting sources.
    And, thank you for the plug about my interview with Shelley and Jeff.

  2. Wow. All I can say is…wow. And thanks for the plug, of course. But this is great stuff. I look forward to working my way through the links this weekend. Thank you!

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  3. Another fantastic roundup. And I LOVE the post about the Hunger Games. I hadn't come across that before, and I loved the argument in the comments there as well. Lots of perspectives to ponder.

    Thanks also for the link! Marissa, Clara, and I appreciate it very much!



  4. Thank you, AF! It's a pleasure!

    Becca, you're a gem. I love what you do!

    Martina, thank you for pointing folks my way. I'll keep doing my best to return the favor. And big yes on Jennifer's post. She's one of the best author-essayists out there.

    My pleasure, Caroline! I'll be in touch with you all as soon as I survive the busy bustle that is October (she said optimistically).

    Jeannine, we had such a terrific time. I highly recommend Dolly live and in person. Greg isn't a country fan, and he was still wowed by her showmanship, talent, and charm.

  5. I am always amazed at how much you pack into these posts and HOW you find the time to do it all for us–thank you so much for all your hard work.

    And OMG, I loved the Zombie Food Pyramid–my kids are big into zombies so I'll have to show them this one.

    Thanks so much for the mention as well! Have a great week!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  6. Thanks, Angela! I enjoy it–my way of keeping up as well as shining a light here and there! I love that your kids are into zombies, and that you're sharing the ZFP with them. You're a good mom. Cheers to all you do!

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