Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Reminder! 28 Days Later: A Black History Month Celebration of Children’s Literature
from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “To celebrate children’s authors and
illustrators of color, during the twenty-eight days of Black History
Month, we’ll profile a different artist (each day).'” See Day 4: James (Jim) Haskins, Day 5: Ni-Ni Simone, Day 6: Keith D. Shepherd, Day 7: Nikki Giovanni, Day 8: Tracey Baptiste; Day 9: T.L. Clarke (posts are ongoing). See also Black History Month: a video by Amy Bowllan from Writers Against Racism.

Creating Memorable Characters by Kristina Springer from Author2Author. Peek: “I’ve been researching how to create memorable characters and finding snippets of information that I think would be useful to share.”

Congratulations to Mari Mancusi on the release of the Spanish edition of Stake That

Cynsational Tip: Weigh your sources! Numerous well-written and
well-intended posts on the Web, especially related to the business of
publishing, reflect a limited or inaccurate understanding of the
industry. Make an effort to discern the difference between wishful
thinking, educated guesswork, opinion and fact. Consider the author’s
credentials and experience.

How My Dream Became a Deal
by Melanie Crowder from EMU Debuts. Peek: “I heard that pesky
statistic—the one that says we’re more likely to be struck by lightning
than published. But I kept at it anyway. For years. Because I had
something to say. Many somethings; important somethings. But truly,
truly, I am so grateful that those early stories stayed in their dusty
drawer, that my skills and taste had time to catch up with my dreams.”

Notes from the North
by Leigh Anne Williams from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “With this issue,
we launch a regular column of news from Canadian children’s book
publishers, written by PW’s Canadian correspondent.”

2011 OLA Best Bets for Children and Young Adult from The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Peek: “…selects the top Canadian picture books, fiction and non-fiction for children, and fiction for teens. Books are selected on the basis of their literary merit as well as their appeal to the intended audience. Illustrations are also considered in the case of graphic novels.” Special cheers to Cynsations Canada reporter, Lena Coakley, whose debut novel Witchlanders (Atheneum) made the list!

What Makes a Book Sell from Jill Corcoran Books. Peek: “Be absolutely mindful of every character you choose to put in the book. Why are they there? How do they move the story forward? What is interesting about them that will make a reader care about following them from page to page to page?”

The Best Training to Write for Publication by Laurel Garver from Laurel’s Leaves. Peek: “…accepting and even expecting misery as part of one’s work experience is what separates the pro from the amateur. A pro shows up for the job day after day, even when it’s boring, back-aching, humiliating and gross.” Source: Jennifer R. Hubbard.

Author Interview: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen by Tom Owens from What’s Right with Children’s Literature? at Children’s Literature Network. Peek: “Picture books are developmentally appropriate for young children, exploring issues that are relevant and important to them, whereas early readers explore the needs of older children—in light of that, how could anyone want to lose the picture book experience?”

Gallery: Li Jian from Peek: “Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on the theme of water in multicultural children’s books… Our first feature is an online gallery of talented artist Li Jian’s work, including illustrations from his first book to be published in English, The Water Dragon (Better Link Press, 2012).”

Graphic Biographies Too Fictional? from Good Comics for Kids at School Library Journal. Peek: “My instinct is that fictionalized dialogue is not enough (in most cases) to invalidate a graphic novel biography. Every biographer makes decisions about what they portray, and how they show their subject’s state of mind, and while they may or may not construct dialog, they do write description and narrative that affects what the readers understand to be true.”

Ethiopia Reads: “…education is the key to improving the lives of the next generation of Ethiopians, a country filled with children, and that books are the key to fostering a genuine love of learning. We invite all who love children and books to join us in the endeavor.” See also 20 Ways to Support Ethiopia Reads.

Marketing and Publicity for Authors Part 2 by Janet Fox from Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “A reader mentioned the press room on my website. This is a wonderful idea I borrowed from other writers. It’s set up so that someone wanting my head shot, cover jpeg, and/or book information can access these easily, with jpegs at different resolutions for different purposes. Newbies: don’t forget your ISBN. My first 1000 bookmarks were missing this vital information.”

Writing + Baby = ? by Leila Austin from YA Highway. Peek: ” I got a week into my maternity leave and made some progress on the draft. And then? Then she arrived, five weeks early.”

Editor Alvina Ling: Personal Journeys Through Publishing from CBC Diversity. See also Editor Nancy Mercado on How I Got Into Publishing. Note: add CBC Diversity to your blog roll.

Reaching Reluctant and Struggling Readers by Paul Greci from Project Mayhem: The Manic Minds of Middle Grade Writers. Peek: “An author friend who is scheduled to speak at a school asked for my input on how to connect with both struggling and reluctant teen readers—the student population I worked with for fifteen years.”

Interview with Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency by Melodie Wright from Forever Rewrighting. Peek: “…the middle grade quest is all about placing that character in a unique world and how he/she reacts to that world in all its weirdness. A middle grade reader may think they know what they’re doing (or then again, maybe not), and then it turns upside down again the very next day.” 

This Week for Writers: Our Favorite Articles and Blog Posts from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Categories include: Book Reviews and Giveaways; Craft; Inspiration and Smiles; Issues, News, Trends, and Congratulations; Social Media, Promotion, and Self-Publishing; To Market. See also a variety of news from A Fuse #8 Production.

Study Writing for Young Readers at Madeline Island School of the Arts

Madeline Island School of the Arts will offering its first class in Writing for Children and Young Adults, taught by award-winning children’s writer Lisa Bullard, from June 11 to June 15.

Madeline Island is surrounded by the Apostle Islands, known for their sea caves, beaches and lighthouses. Highlights of the setting include the natural beauty of Lake Superior, the Island’s miles of rocky and sandy shoreline, and the quiet serenity to be found anywhere on the Island. Madeline Island School of the Arts is located on a meadow surrounded by a forest and is a little over a mile from the Town of La Pointe, Wisconsin. The school includes three large classrooms, gathering areas, comfortable Mission-style cottages for student housing, and studios (open for students 24 hours a day). 

Instructor Lisa Bullard is the author of many books for children, including picture books, chapter books, and nonfiction titles for a range of ages. Her books have won several honors, including a Children’s Choice Award, a Teacher’s Choice Award, a National Parenting Publications Children’s Resources Silver Award, a Science Books and Films Best Books of 2011 listing, and a Storytelling World Awards Honor Title.

Lisa has been a writing teacher for over ten years at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and is co-founder of Mentors for Rent, a service developed to offer coaching, critiquing, and marketing expertise to children’s book writers. Lisa also brings an insider’s view of the book industry from over 16 years of working as a publishing professional. 

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter for a chance to win:

To enter, comment on this post (click previous 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 “One Cool Friend” in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Eligibility: North America (U.S./Canada). Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 20. See also One Cool Friend Before Breakfast from Jules at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Note: in-depth post features early sketches.

Six-book giveaway! Enter to win one of the following autographed books:

To enter, comment on this post (click previous 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 Cynthia directly with “Alex Flinn Giveaway” in the subject line. Deadline: Feb. 20. Author sponsored. U.S. entries only.

Last call! Enter to win a copy of Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012). To enter, comment on this post (click previous 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 Cynthia directly with “Ellen’s Broom” in the subject line. Deadline: Feb. 13. Publisher sponsored. U.S. entries only. See also Kelly Starling Lyons on Ellen’s Broom.

Enter to win a copy of Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle, 2012) signed by all of the contributing authors!
To enter, comment on this post (click previous 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 “Girl Meets Boy” in the subject line. Publisher
sponsored. Eligibility: North America. Deadline: midnight CST Feb. 14. 

Enter to win ARCs of Partials by Dan Wells (HarperTeen) and Various Positions by Martha Schabas from Tabitha Olson at Writing Musings. Deadline: Feb. 25.

Reminder! Win a Chained Book Club Kit from Lynne Kelly at Making Stuff Up & Writing It Down. Kit includes: 10 hardcover copies of Chained (FSG, 2012), a Chained tote bag, bookmarks and signed bookplates for each member of your class or group, and up to an hour-long Skype visit. Grades 3 to 8. Deadline: May 1. See also YA and Kids Book Giveaways at Young Adult Book Central.

Congratulations to the winners of signed copies of  Bittersweet by Sarah Ocker (Simon Pulse)(excerpt): Sarah in New York; Traci in Oregon; Bri in New Jersey; Ellen in Michigan; Cari in Florida; E. in Virginia; Maggie in California; Jenn in Wyoming; Alison in Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada); and Kara in Pennsylvania.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Great news! Diabolical is now available from Walker Books Australia and New Zealand!

Greg and Blizzard read “Smolder” aloud for the copy edit.

Author Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing a Series by Samantha Clark from Motivation for Writers. Peek: “…a fascinating experience to write scenes literally set in heaven and hell. It forced me to question my own beliefs, what best served the story/characters, and whether there actually might be the equivalent of an atrium hotel outside the Pearly Gates.”

Review: Girl Meets Boy, edited by Kelly Milner Halls, reviewed by E. Kristin Anderson from The Hate-Mongering Tart. Peek: “Most memorable for me is Joseph Bruchac and Cynthia Leitich Smith’s ‘Falling Down to See the Moon’ and ‘Mooning Over Broken Stars,’ respectively, two tales about kids on an Indian reservation: one, a geeky martial arts whiz, and the other a top female athlete, both fairly uncomfortable in their bodies. “

Reminder! Nominations for The Children’s Book Council “2012 Teen Choice Book of the Year” are being accepted on until Feb. 15. Readers are being asked to list up to five of their favorite books of 2011; the five titles that receive the most votes will become finalists to be entered in a second round of voting. From there, teens will vote again to determine the ultimate winner — the 2012 Teen Choice Book of the Year. Note: Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick/Walker) is a nominee! If you liked the novel, please consider voting for it–along with your other four picks–to reach the finals. See the full list of nominated books. (Remember, write-in titles are still being accepted.) Vote for your favorite books here! Voting eligibility: international. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 can vote. Deadline for voting in the nominating round: Feb. 15.

Personal Links:

From GregLSBlog: 

Cynsational Events

My Vicious Valentine: Spine-tingling YA Author Panel, featuring Jordan Dane, P.J. “Tricia” Hoover, Mari Mancusi, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and L.A. Weatherly—moderated by Sean Petrie–will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at BookPeople in Austin. Join us when six top YA authors dish on the devilish, gab about ghosts, and soar with the angels in this panel celebrating spine-tingling stories, supernatural creatures, and perhaps scariest of all, true love.

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith at an Alamosa Books Author Event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 7 in Albuquerque.

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith on March 10 and March 10 at Tuscon Festival of Books. Panels: from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 10 “Blood and Kisses: Paranormal Romance with Courtney Rene and Aprilynne Pike,” followed by signing and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 11 “What’s New & Who’s Reading Now? with Janni Lee Simner, R.L. Stine & Aprilynne Pike,” followed by signing.

Mark your calendars for Alex Flinn’s Upcoming Tour.  She’ll be appearing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville on Feb. 14, at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston Feb. 15, and at Barnes & Noble in Round Rock (Texas) Feb. 16.

Join Greg Leitich Smith at the Chronal Engine Launch Party at 2 p.m. March 24 at BookPeople in Austin. See also the Chronal Engine Activity Guide.

Interested in taking a class with Cynthia this summer? Try the 13 Annual Conference of Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers from June 18 to June 22 in Sandy, Utah; the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference from July 11 to July 15 in Southampton, New York; or the 17th Annual Postgraduate Writing Conference from Aug. 13 to Aug. 19 at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. See more of Cynthia’s upcoming events.

Note: Due to volume, I can’t feature the author/illustrator events of all of my Cynsational readers, but if you’re Austin bound for an appearance here, let me know, and I’ll try to work in a shout out or two. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. Thanks for posting up the information about The Brown Bookshelf, and for choosing my book cover to go with it. I was totally surprised when I happened upon the post and saw my cover!

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