Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

No Boundaries: A YA Novel Roadtrip by Naomi Bates from A Bookable Trip. A celebration of YA novels set in the U.S., state by state. Note: Texas is represented by Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2011, 2012) and Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill (HarperTeen, 2009, 2010).

The Edge in Fiction or Why Safe Books are Dead Books by Ashley Hope Pérez from Finding Wonderland. Peek: “There has to be an element of risk and exposure in the reading
relationship if anything very profound is going to occur. A great book
is not a safe place for the reader.”

Questions You Might Be Asked When Offered Representation by Mary Kole from Peek: “If you have one amazing idea and then a nightmare litany of things I
will never be able to sell in a million years, that will honestly dampen
my enthusiasm. I’m not looking to sign you for one project, I want to
work with you for a long time.”

Blind Date: Those All-Important First Five Pages by Martina and Lisa from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “We are taking readers on a journey, and they want to be sure it isn’t one they have traveled before, but at the same time, they want to know what kind of a journey it is going to be.” Note: Includes questions for consideration.

The Editorial Process: My Experience vs. My Expectations by Mary Lindsey from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “Sometimes editors will spend a great deal of time studying your manuscript and analyzing ways to make it stronger. Sometimes, they will ask you to take your story apart, delete 40%, reorder it, and write new scenes to replace the deleted ones.” See also Philomel editor Jill Santopolo on her experience editing that same manuscript from Books Complete Me.

Clarion Editor Daniel Nayeri: How I Got Into Publishing from CBC Diversity. Peek: “They represented, to me, the ability to assimilate–a quality that any first-generation immigrant desires on some level, for various reasons. I realize only now, looking back, that I was also beginning to see slang as a sort of mastery over language, a kind of expert-level code that only native speakers could employ.”

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 17: Charlotte Riley-Webb, Day 18: Bil Wright, Day 19: Pansie Hart Flood, Day 20: Traci Dant, Day 21: Nikki Carter, Day 22: Sharon Robinson, Day 23 Teresa Harris (posts are ongoing).  

Reading Rainbow to Return as an App by Lauren Barack from School Library Journal. Peek: “Actor LeVar Burton wants to bring Reading Rainbow back—as an app. So says the popular show’s former host, who has kept the flame alive for the beloved children’s series, which launched on PBS Kids in 1983. Instead of a television show, Burton is planning to launch a mobile application, which will offer books to children.”

Permission to Be Stubborn by Rachel Harris from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “…hold tight to the story you want to tell. The core of your book. The things that turned you onto the shiny new idea to begin with. About a year ago, I read that author Stephanie Perkins always makes a Love List for her works in progress, and now I do, too.”

Talking PR: a report on #mglitchat on Twitter, along with Kellie Celia, the Marketing Communications Manager at Walden Pond Press, and Tracey Daniels, the founder and senior partner at Media Masters Publicity by Greg Pincus from The Happy Accident. Note: tips for promoting middle grade (and other) books.

Want American History? Interview with editor Carolyn Yoder of Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills by Gretchen Woelfle from I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids. Peek: “This is the mission of Calkins Creek books – to offer young readers original research and original writing. For me, great history writing is a balancing act of the two.”

2011 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award from Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children. The winner is Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Henry Holt, 2011); the one honor book was Hidden by Helen Frost (FSG, 2011). See more information.

However You Can by Susan Fletcher from Write at Your Own Risk. Peek: “While many writers seem to have some kind of inner sonar to guide them, I tend to stumble into quagmires and pit traps, taking vast amounts of time and energy to extricate myself and find my way back to solid ground. Panic is familiar territory — the gut-level feeling that I’m stuck, that I’ll never get out, that this whole thing has been a massive waste of time, that my career as a writer is over.”

Enter to win an ARC of Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith from P.J. Hoover from Roots in Myth. Peek: “This is the kind of adventure I would have desperately wanted to go on as a kid (or heck, even as an adult). It’s smart and witty and 100% engaging!” Deadline: 11:59 p.m. March 3. Eligibility: North America.

Cynsational Writer Tip: If you write, you are not an “aspiring” writer. You are a writer. You don’t need publication to prove you’re a writer; just get the words down on the page. Own your awesomeness.

Marketing Consultation Giveaway with Shelli Johannes from Project Mayhem: The Manic Minds of Middle Grade Writers. Peek: ” Build relationships online and help others. What comes around
goes around. That, to me, is the best tool an author can have. Other
than that, it depends on your target audience.” Enter to win a one-hour phone consultation with Shelli. Deadline: midnight EST Feb. 29.

Agent Spotlight: Marie Lamba of Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency from Literary Rambles. Note: Marie is interested in middle grade and young adult fiction manuscripts. She is published in YA fiction (with Random House) herself.

AAAS/Subaru Middle Grades Science Book Winner

2012 AAAS/Subaru Science Books & Film Winners Announced
by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Peek:
“Books on vanishing frogs, secretive seabirds, and the fascinating
history of feathers were among the winners…. The annual award,
established in 2005, recognizes books for young readers that encourage
an understanding and appreciation of science.” Source: Chicken Spaghetti.

Are Teens Embracing E-Books? by Karen Springen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “‘The YA market has the largest demographic reach of any category,’ says Felicia Frazier, senior v-p of sales for Penguin Young Readers Group. ‘You’ve got little kids, eight-and nine-year-olds, some of them reading teen books, and 30- and 40-year olds as well. We want them to come to us on any platform, whether it’s physical or e-books. If we can get more people reading and interested in reading and having access, whether it’s physical or digital, it’s a win-win.'”

Story Water: The Cultural Wellsprings of Storytelling by Sayantani DasGupta from Hunger Mountain. Peek: “Just as American children recognize the cackle of a Halloween witch, what Bengali child hasn’t shivered with delight at the Haau! Maau! Khaau! of a carnivorous rakshas on the trail of a human meal?”

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win a copy of Firelight or Vanish, both by Sophie Jordan (Harper). 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. Please specify if you already own one of the books and are looking to win the other. Or email Cynthia directly with “Firelight,” “Vanish” or “Firelight/Vanish,” if you’re open to winning both, in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Deadline: midnight CST March 5.

The winner of the Blessed (Candlewick) paperback grand prize giveaway was Christina in Pennsylvania. The winners of Tantalize Kieren’s Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle were Marla in Florida and Kyle in New Hampshire, and the winner of Diabolical (Book 4 in the Tantalize series) was Maria in Oklahoma.

The winners of the Alex Flinn six-book giveaway were: Karin in Oklahoma, Aricka in Texas (Bewitching); Vanessa in Florida, Crystal in Washington (Beastly Deluxe Edition (including Lindy’s Diary), and Rebecca in California, Brittany in Pennsylvania (Cloaked). Thanks to Alex for sponsoring!

The winners of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton, 2012) were Debby in Alaska and Arianna in Texas. Thanks to Penguin Books for Young Readers for sponsoring!

The winner of  One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small (Dial, 2012) was Amalia in New York. Thanks to Toni for sponsoring!

The winner of The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (Dial, 2012) was Margie in Michigan. Thanks to Barb for sponsoring!

Note: don’t miss the Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith giveaway and Marketing Consultation by Shelli Johannes Giveaway.

Cynsational Screening Room

Guadalupe Garcia McCall Interview by Ed Spicer from Spicy Reads. See also Guadalupe’s speech at the YALSA reception honoring her as a Morris finalist. (She’s also a Pura Belpre author.)

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

More Personally

Last week’s highlight was the 2012 Austin SCBWI Regional Conference, “Something for Everybody,” at St. Edward’s University. Special thanks to RA Debbie Gonzales, ARA Carmen Oliver, Illustration Chair Mark G. Mitchell as well as the the faculty, volunteers, and attendees for a wonderful event. The Meredith Davis Member-of-the-Year Award went to writer Shelli Cornelison, the winner of the portfolio contest was author-illustrator Jeff Crosby.

In a surprising turn of events, Greg Leitich Smith and I received an award naming us the 2011 Ambassadors for the Austin Kid-Lit Community. We’re deeply honored.

See my event photo report. See also Illustrator Advice: Austin SCBWI Takeaways from C.S. Jennings at CSJenningsDrawings, Nikki Loftin’s photo report, Austin SCBWI report, Salima Alikhan’s report on Donna Jo Napoli’s keynote, ARA Carmen Oliver’s report, and the Writing Barn report. Note: congratulations to Lori Ann Stephens who signed with agent Jill Corcoran of Herman Agency at the conference; see the whole scoop on how it happened!

“Captivating” –SLJ

School Library Journal says of Diabolical: “…this captivating story combines action, suspense, and romance with just the right touch of humor to keep it entertaining. A great finish to an original and satisfying series.”

Writing Heroes: Cynthia Leitich Smith by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “Which is why I’m pretty sure she’s got some secret superpowers that enable her to watch over and come to the rescue of the global writing community.” Note: Highlighted that particular quote due to a longing since childhood for superpowers. Also, it’ll be a pleasure to pass on the generous critique giveaway offer to Cynsations readers; watch for announcement to come!

Nifty! My literary agency is now on Twitter @curtisbrownltd.

Seeking study? On a budget? “Cynthia Leitich Smith will be
leading an intensive, small-group workshop in writing for young adults
(also “tweens”) this summer at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference
from Aug. 13 to Aug. 19. VCFA offers funding for partial scholarships
to support writers needing assistance to join in the Conference. Contact
Ellen Lesser, Director at
or 802-828-8835 with scholarship inquiries and other questions.”

fit into your schedule? Cynthia also will be teaching with Greg Leitich Smith at the Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers Conference in June 18 to June 22 in Sandy, Utah; and the Southampton Writers Conference from from July 11 to July 15.

Long-awaited rain in my garden reveals a dragon.
My Valentine’s Day flowers in bloom.

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

Cynsational Events 

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.

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.

Join Cynthia from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 7 in Albuquerque

2 thoughts on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. Once again, I see my work honored on one of my favorite blogs in the universe! Thank you once again. I very much appreciate the inclusion.

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