Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

YALSA Announces Nonfiction Award Finalists from YALSA’s The Hub. The finalists are:

Julia Churchill of the Greenhouse Agency by Jo Wyton from Notes from the Slushpile: “She’s based in London, looking after the UK side of the agency.” See also Editorial Director Maurice Lyon of children’s books at Frances Lincoln.

Holiday Shopping? Editor Laura Atkins is offering gift certificates for her critiquing and mentoring, author Ralph Fletcher is selling signed copies of his books for children, young writers, and writing teachers, and author Anastasia Suen is offering gift certificates for her online children’s writing workshops.

African-Americans in Graphic Novels from YALSA’s The Hub. Peek: “From what I’ve discovered, there are a number of appealing, well-written graphic novels with African-American characters. What I didn’t see were that many female African-American characters in these graphics compared to male characters. There is also a real lack of comics written and illustrated by women. Hopefully, that will change.”

“Chrissy’s Classroom” seeks book donations for Shiprock High School, an under-served school in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, from Cory Putnam Oats. Note: Chrissy Costello is there in conjunction with Teach for America Program, and the school serves children of the Navajo Nation.

Nominate Your Favorite Books of 2011 for the Teen Choice Book of the Year from teenreads. Peek: “In association with the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and Every Child a Reader (ECAR), is giving you a very special opportunity to let your voices be heard by telling us your five favorite books of 2011. The five titles that receive the most votes will serve as the finalists for the CBC’s 2012 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Once the five finalists have been determined, we will tell you where you can go vote for them. The winner will be announced in May 2012.”

Interview with Barnes & Noble Children’s Bookseller: Cerelle Woods from Kathryn Lay. Peek: “As far as age groups, I think there’s a real need for “tween” books—both for boys and girls. Parents really hesitate to buy teen books for their 12-14 year olds. They are worried about the content. Another thin genre is realistic fiction for young boys. I hear so many parents tell me that their sons simply don’t enjoy fantasy and want something more ‘true-to-life.'”

A Sense of Self by Donald Maas from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “The protagonists in fiction serve a similar purpose. We look to them as models. What we want from them is not just entertaining stories but examples of how we can feel, see the world, conduct ourselves, grow and change. We admire them, learn from them, celebrate them and return to them over and over for inspiration.” Source: Phil Guinta.

Holiday Art Implosion from Jesse Joshua Watson. Jesse is offering original art, both fine art and children’s book illustration, on sale (30% off the list price) with free shipping anywhere in the U.S. through Christmas. “Imagine your walls beaming with original art from Hope For Haiti, I AND I- Bob Marley, Chess Rumble, Ghetto Cowboy… or any of Jesse’s original portraits of jazz, blues, and reggae musicians, or his evocative surf and snow scenes.” Contact him directly at: mail at jessewatson dot com.

The Power Within: An Anti-Bullying Comic Book that’s Free for your GSA, school or youth services group from Lee Wind at I’m Here, I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? Peek: “…about Shannon, a guy going into 8th grade who has an imaginary superhero alter-ego to deal with being bullied. But when things escalate Shannon can’t retreat into his imagination, and he has to find the power within himself to triumph.”

The Sense of Ending by Tim Wynne-Jones from Write at Your Own Risk. Peek: ” Fiction, according to Kermode, is about the humanizing of time. We want a beginning, middle and ending; we want shape Story  —  something that means.”

Authors Against Animal Abuse: The Auctions from Christine Johnson. Peek: “100% of the proceeds from these auctions will go to benefit the Humane Society of Indianapolis.”

Writing Diversity: Avoiding the Magical Negro by Stacy Whitman from Stacy Whitman’s Grimoire. Peek: “The trope is a trope because it can make a story work. Yet just because it’s something that works doesn’t mean it’s something we shouldn’t try to avoid when we can, especially because the trope can be pretty caustic, too.”

2012 Novel Writing Retreat for Middle Grade & Young Adult Writers to feature authors Coe Booth and Holly Black with Little, Brown editor Alvina Ling from March 16 to March 18 at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Note: “The fee includes accommodations (double occupancy) in the dorms at Vermont College for Friday and Saturday nights.” You do not have to be a VCFA student or alumnus to participate; all children’s-YA novelists are eligible.

Australian Children’s Laureates Announced from IBBY Australia. Peek: “…congratulates children’s authors Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor as the first Australian Children’s Laureates. Each of them brings a wealth of skill, experience and passion for children’s literature to the role.”

Agent Spotlight: Nicole Resciniti from Literary Rambles. Peek: “A consummate science geek and card-carrying Mensa member, Nicole would love to find the next great science fiction/fantasy novel or action/adventure masterpiece.” Note: represents YA.

Author-illustrator Interview: Naomi Rose on Tashi and the Tibetan Flower Cure by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “The doctor was baffled about the unexpected healing. But Tibetan man explained that the disease couldn’t live in a body filled with so much love. It was such a beautiful story of the power of kindness and community, I knew I had to write it for children.”

First Book Fundraiser from Teaching Authors. During December, the TeachingAuthors are sponsoring a fundraiser on their blog in support of First Book, an organization “determined to see that all children, regardless of their economic conditions, can achieve more in school and in life through access to an ongoing supply of new books.” For every comment posted at this month (one per person, please), the TeachingAuthors will donate $1 to First Book, up to $225. Every $2.50 donated provides a brand-new book to a child in need. And through Dec. 31, Disney Publishing Worldwide will match every $1 donated with another new book. Their goal is to send 315 new books to children in need. Visit for details, and to post your comment.

See also This Week for Writers from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.

Austin SCBWI’s Community Outreach Project

The fall of 2011 left the Bastrop community ravaged by Texas forest fires. Even though the Bastrop Public Library escaped damage to their building, many of their books perished because they had been checked out in the community.

In an effort to help those affected, the Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) called on the generosity of the Kid-Lit community. Over 1,000 books and funds totaling $285 were donated and awarded to the Bastrop Public Library and the Bastrop Friends of the Library.

A deep, earnest, heart-of-Texas thank you to the schools, SCBWI chapters, and individuals who donated from coast to coast. See more information and photos.

Source: ARA Carmen Oliver.

Austin SCBWI Regional Conference 2012: Something for Everybody is scheduled from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19.

Cynsational Giveaways

“Haunted Love,” a short story by Cynthia Leitich Smith is now available for free download from Barnes & Noble (U.S.), Books on Board, (U.S.) and (U.K.). It will be available from additional e-retailers soon. From the promotional copy:

Spirit, Texas, is a town of secrets, and as the new owner of the local haunted movie theater, Cody Stryker is juggling more than his fair share. 

When a mysterious new girl comes to town and runs afoul of the ghost that lives in his theater, Cody’s caught in the middle and needs to figure out exactly who he can trust.

“Haunted Love” is a short story by New York Times Bestseller Cynthia Leitich Smith — featuring new characters and set in the same Gothic universe as her novels Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, and Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle.

Thanks so much to Bookshelves of Doom for the shout out about “Haunted Love” as well as to everyone who retweeted the announcement. Your support is noticed and deeply appreciated!

More Giveaways

Enter to win an ARC of Diabolical and Calli by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed, 2011) from P.J. Hoover at Roots in Myth! Deadline: Dec. 17.

The winner of Home for the Holidays: Mother-Daughter Book Club #5 by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster, 2011)(excerpt), plus a copy of the newly released Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace, illustrated by Lois Lenski (HarperCollins, 2011) and the first two Betsy-Tacy high school books, in a special Betsy-Tacy canvas bag is Megan in Illinois. The runner-up winners are Sara in Ohio and someone who has yet to respond. They’ll both receive signed copies of Home for the Holidays: Mother-Daughter Book Club #5.

The winner of a critique by Peggy of a nonfiction picture book manuscript or the first three chapters of a longer nonfiction manuscript and a signed copy of Anatomy of Nonfiction by Margery Facklam and Peggy Thomas (Writers Institute Publications, 2011) is Joanna in Nice, France.

The winner of an author-signed copy of The Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, 2012) is Deb in Washington.

Looking for new giveaways at Cynsations next week!

Recent Cynsations Posts

Cynsational Screening Room

A video featuring author S.E. Hinton on location in Tulsa, Oklahoma, talking about the film adaptation of “The Outsiders”. Note: “The Outsiders has sold over 10 million copies in North America and is secondly only to Charlotte’s Web in total sales of books to young people.” Source: Elizabeth Cole.

A video interview with Brenda Reeves Sturgis on 10 Turkeys in the Road from Good Morning Maine.

More Personally

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews says of Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every Story, edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle, 2012): “Each of the authors excels at creating vibrant, sympathetic, honest characters with voices that will appeal to older teens, male and female alike.” My pairing with Joseph Bruchac is specifically referenced: “…a likable, tough girl muscles in on a bully who is harassing the object of her crush.”

Cynthia Leitich Smith on Diabolical: From Literary Homage to Growing the Craft from Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “Put mildly, the psychological and intellectual challenges have been numerous and formidable. The experience has equipped me with a toolbox of skills that I hope to carry into future projects. But my more valuable takeaway is what I learned about YA readers and my relationship to them.”

Cecilia Richards of ReadPlus in South Australia says of Tantalize: Kieren’s Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle: “…dark and thrilling. I loved that Kieren does everything he can to protect Quincie. The illustrations are beautiful and add that extra depth to the storyline.”

Thank you to Reading Lark for making Diabolical for Waiting on Wednesday pick this week!

Thank you to Multicultural Literature Resources for recommending Cynsations!

Recent local highlights included the Austin SCBWI Holiday Party at Opal Divine’s Marina.

Author P.J. Hoover, author-illustrator Salima Alikhan, Salima’s husband Sam Marx, 
and writer/blogger/Literary Lonestar Stephanie Pelligrin.

Author-illustrators Shelley Ann Jackson and Jeff Crosby
Note: illustrator Patrice Barton in the background.

Writer Shelli Cornelison and YA author/columnist Margo Rabb.

Also I enjoyed the Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels Holiday event at The Book Spot in Round Rock.

 Authors Jessica Lee Anderson, P.J. Hoover, Jeanette Larson, Jo Whittemore, and K.A. Holt.

Author-illustrators Don Tate and Emma Virjan to the either side of Don’s son, Kolby Tate.

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).

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