Cynsational News & Giveaways

Teaching to Learn by Louise Hawes from Write at Your Own Risk. Peek: “I know now, what this mildly famous author missed by not working with new and emerging writers. He missed the chance to grow, to change, to be inspired far beyond his own lonely dreams.”

Pacifiers or Catalysts: Your Choice by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “What fills our lives–what quells our anxiety–can be either positive or negative. The activity we choose can be either a pacifier or a catalyst.”

Conjuring a Young Witch’s World in Watercolor: Marsha Riti from Mark Mitchell at How to Be a Children’s Book Illustrator.

Forensics Q&A: Not All Explosives are Created Equal by Kristy Lahoda from QueryTracker.netBlog.

Teaching, Writing and the Practice of Illusion by Uma Krishnaswami from Hunger Mountain: A VCFA Journal of the Arts. Peek: “‘writing fair’ has always been about creating illusion, placing emotional signposts, manufacturing an effect upon the page. The object is to come at truth, but in the most indirect ways possible.” See also Making a Community that Promotes Creativity by Sarah Aronson and True Confessions of a New and Newbie Teacher by Debby Dahl Edwardson, both also from HM.

SCBWI Tokyo and Hong Kong by Mary Kole from Peek: “We met at the lovely Yokohama International School the Saturday before Halloween and then spent one long day talking about the marketplace, queries, craft, and the submission process.”

Writing as Therapy? by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: “It has not provided me an avenue to work out my past and my own emotional baggage on the page. Instead, the hard work I do to make my writing better has spilled out into my non-writing life.”

C.S. Jennings Illustration: an Austin-based illustrator, and sometimes author, working primarily in the children’s media industries. Follow him on Twitter. Note: Christopher is recommended for Saturday children’s book events.

Five-in-One Notebook Special: Children’s Books about Terezín from Candlewick – Editors Elizabeth Bicknell and Kaylan Adair, Authors Paul Janeczko and Ruth Thomson, Publicist Tracy Myracle from The Whole Megillah. Peek from Paul: “I spent a day in the town and in the ‘Little Fortress’ across the Ohře River, taking lots of pictures, visiting the museums, and just being there. I subsequently used the pictures I took as a slide show that I ran on my Mac as a screen saver. So, whenever the computer was on, those images of Terezín slowly floated across the screen of my computer.”

Novelist Fights the Tide by Opening a Bookstore by Julie Bosman from The New York Times. Peek: “A collective panic set in among Nashville’s reading faithful. But they have found a savior in Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist who grew up here.”

The Sad Song of Okinawa: Life is Our Most Precious Treasure from the SCBWI Tokyo Translation Group. Peek: “…the heart-wrenching story of the Battle of Okinawa, ‘World War II’s longest and fiercest battle,’ as told from the perspective of two young Okinawan children. It is in the form of a picture book for young readers, but certain to stimulate discussion among all age groups about the nature of war and peace.”

Comics Showcased at NYC Librarian Conference from Good Comics for Kids at School Library Journal. Peek: “…how do you address the student who comes in looking for books—comic books—on a certain level?”

Congratulations to Horn Book editor Roger Sutton who received the Norton Juster Award for dedication to children’s literature and literacy from the Reader to Reader Foundation.

Do Fiction Writers Need a Platform? by Mary Kole from Peek: “…platform shouldn’t be the thing you need to focus on before you write your manuscript. Once you get a book deal, you’ll need to shift into two modes, a) marketing Debut Novel, and b) writing Follow-up Novel. But that’s after.”

Congratulations to Thanhha Lai, author Inside Out & Back Again (Harper), on winning the National Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature! Read an interview with Thanhha by Eisa Ulen from the National Book Foundation. Note: congratulations also to Fiction winner (and fellow University of Michigan graduate) Jesmyn Ward.

So Who Do We Write For? (Featuring Kathi Appelt, Tom Birdseye, Shutta Crum, Sharon Darrow, Jane Kurtz, Julie Larios, David Lubar, and Leda Schubert) by Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek from David: “Perhaps it marks me as a mutant, curmudgeon, or semi-solipsist, but I generally write with no audience in mind.” See also more on audience from Stacy DeKeyser, Kimberley Griffiths Little, and Barbara Brooks Wallace.

SCBWI’s Open Letter to the Kidlit Industry about No-Response-Means-A-Rejection Policies from Lee Wind at SCBWI: The Blog. Peek: “As an organization, we encourage both publishers and agents to find a cost-effective and efficient way to let writers know that they are free to submit elsewhere.”

Back Up Your Blog by Greg Pincus from The Happy Accident. Peek: “Whatever platform you use to host your blog, it probably has a way to back it up. It’s worth doing for peace of mind.”

All Vulnerable All the Time and Not Knowing Why by Jane Kurtz from Write at Your Own Risk. Peek: “That’s one good thing about having lived through eighth grade–we have those feelings inside of us that we can use in our writing.”

Reminder: Call for Entries! Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award (Children’s Book $500)(YA Book $500) from the Texas Institute of Letters. Deadline: Jan. 9 postmark. Requirements include a “statement of eligibility confirming that the entrant was born in Texas or lived in Texas for at least two consecutive years at some time. A work whose subject matter substantially concerns Texas is also eligible.”

(Simon Pulse, Jan. 2012)

Live Action Book Trailer Contest for Film-making Enthusiasts from K.M. Walton. Prizes include: $500; personal film critiques by top industry professionals (an Oscar nominee, the director of the major motion picture “The Mighty Macs,” writers for the MTV Movie Awards, and more). Deadline: Jan. 17, 2012.

Interview with Debbi Michiko Florence from Voicu Mihnea Simandan. Peek: “My heart goes out to the people of Japan.”

Meeting Gandhi’s Grandson, the Making of a Picture Book by Bethany Hegedus from ALSC Blog. Peek: “I sat in my wooden seat in the middle of Town Hall and turned to a friend and said, ‘These stories would make a beautiful picture book.’ She agreed. But it was an idea for someone else. Not for me. I left Town Hall, after hearing Arun speak, stronger, less broken, and more able to forgive, albeit slowly.”

What Not to Blog About by Rachelle Gardner. Peek: “…if you’re engaging in social networking as a way to help your writing career, you can’t afford major missteps in your online persona. The trick is to be a real person without over-sharing.”

Last Call: Light Up the Library Auction: bid for a chance to win agent critiques, author Skype visits, original art and much more!

See also This Week for Writers from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing, which includes links to even more roundups.

Picture Book Month

Picture Book Idea Month

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win Lala Salama by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Candlewick, 2011)!  To enter, comment on this post (click preceding link and scroll) and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or email Cynthia directly with “Lala Salma” in the subject line. Publisher-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Deadline: midnight CST Nov. 30. Note: View an inside spread.

The winner of The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Paterson, illustrated by John Rocco (Candlewick, 2011) was Halli in North Carolina.

Enter to win a prize pack for The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister by Kami Kinard (Scholastic, 2011) from Uniquely Moi Books. Includes a signed ARC of The Boy Project, a tote bag, two cards, and bracelets.

Enter to win the Elevensies 2011 Book Feast Giveaway! Deadline: Dec. 30.

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

Cynsational Screening Room

Picture Book Month 2011 Trailer from Carter Higgins on Vimeo.

The official trailer to “Hunger Games” (2012).

More Personally

Greg and I hosted a writing day on Tuesday in our dining room. Breakfast was comprised of blueberry pastry bread, egg burritos, fresh strawberries, tangerines, ginger chocolate, Oreo cookies, baked Lays potato chips, croissants, and peanut butter cups. Lunch was penne marinara with squash, and we had brie and French bread after we finished writing for the day.

Mari Mancusi, K.A. Holt, Liz Garton Scanlon, Margo Rabb & Greg Leitich Smith.
Erin Edwards, Sean Petrie, and Jennifer Ziegler.

Highlights of the week also included Austin Comic Con!

Pictured: Joy Preble (purple), Jo Whittemore (Batgirl), P.J. Hoover (goddess), Danny and Julie (the owners of Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas), Cory Putnam Oats (silver), Mari Mancusi, (cat), and in front Jessica Lee Anderson (Calli), Madeline Smoot (Mouseketeer), and K.A. Holt (zombie).

See my full photo report on the convention!

Thanks to librarian Nidia S. Rodriguez for sending the following photos of United High School students at my online author visit to five Laredo, Texas schools!

Thanks also to S. Laurel, who read Eternal with all of her classes! What a wonderful event! 
The next best thing to being there!

And once more, thank you to Carmen A. Escamilla, the additional librarians/IT gurus, and students who made my online visit yesterday with Alexander High School, L.B.J. High School, United High School, United High School (9th Grade) and United South High School in Laredo, Texas such a great experience! Thanks for your wonderful questions and for your enthusiasm for the Tantalize series!

Kirkus Reviews says of Diabolical (Candlewick, 2012): “A blend of romance, action and horror, this distinguishes itself from the crowd of paranormal teen fare with the employ of plenty of camp and a healthy dose of dry humor.”

Congratulations to P.J. Hoover on the sale of Brazilian rights to Solstice!

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

Cynsational Events

Holiday Tree Lighting and Author Signing at LBJ State Park! Join Cynthia Leitich Smith for the tree lighting ceremony at LBJ State Park from 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18. Cynthia will be signing Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton, 2010). Lucy Johnson will be speaking briefly at the event, and Santa may make an appearance, too. See more information.

See also Cynthia’s upcoming events in Austin, Albuquerque, Tucson, Sandy (Utah), Southampton (New York), and Montpelier (Vermont).