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 24: Sofia Quintero, Day 25: Malorie Blackman, Day 26: Alice Faye Duncan, Day 27: Elizabeth Zunon, Day 28: Margaree King Mitchell, and Day 29: Meet the Brown Bookshelf: Paula Chase Hyman, Crystal Allen, Don Tate, Gwendolyn Hooks, Tameka Fryer Brown, Kelly Starling Lyons &
Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. Check out the whole series!

Character Trait Entry: Diplomatic by Angela Ackerman
from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “Astrophil, Petra’s tin spider (Cabinet
of Wonders); Alfred Pennyworth (Batman); Minerva McGonagall (Harry

Writing Guys: Tips from YA Author Jennifer R. Hubbard
from Laurel Garver at Laurel’s Leaves. Peek: “…there are real
cultural differences. In our world, for example, aggression is still
encouraged, or at least tolerated, far more in boys than in girls. On
the other hand, talking about emotions is expected more of girls.”

Business: E-Books & Libraries – What’s the Vision? by Lee Wind from the Official SCBWI Blog. Note: a quick-hit roundup of relevant, ongoing considerations.

Who Thinks Picture Books are Just for Kids?
by Anna Cavallo from Lerner Publishing Group. Peek: “Picture books
texts, whether rhyming or not, involve a certain poetry. The more
limited the text, the more thought put in to each word selected and the
weaving of those words into a narrative.”

2012-2013 Tejas Star Book Award List
from Regional One Education Center. Peek: “…to promote reading in general and for readers to discover the cognitive and economic benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism. All the children of Texas will have the opportunity to select their favorite book from the Tejas Star list….” Source: Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

New Mexico Centennial Author Series by Rebecca Donnelly from The Chained Library. Featured authors include: Jan Thomas, Katherine B. Hauth, Uma Krishnaswami, Caroline Starr Rose, and Vaunda Micheaux Nelson.

Figment will acquire inkpop, the teen writing community from HarperCollins. Peek: “As Figment continues to establish itself as the premier creative social site for teens and young adults, this acquisition represents a major leap forward for us.”

The Writing Process by Danyelle Leafty from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “For me, character and plot aren’t completely separate entities. Rather, they are two points on a continuum. Some stories will lean closer to the character side, while others will lean nearer to the plot end.”

Help Is Here: Eliminating Author Anxiety by Kristi Holl from Writers First Aid. Peek: “I found some blog posts by agents and former agents that will lower your
blood pressure, reduce your writing anxiety, make you more
optimistic–and maybe even make you laugh.”

Breaking Stalin’s Nose: Author Book Reading from Audio in which Eugene Yelchin introduces and shares some of the backstory for creating Breaking Stalin’s Nose.

Alliteration Always Annoys by Mary Kole from Peek: “A lot of people seem to think that the bulk of their characterizing work
or word choice craft in picture books comes down to alliterating. And
that’s it. Just name him Sammy Skunk and kick up your feet because your
work here is done! Right? Not quite.”

Weenies Topical & Literary Index from David Lubar. Peek: “Yes, there are anthropomorphic hot dogs on the covers, but they conceal a broad and deep variety of short fiction….find the perfect story for any classroom need.”

A Brief History of the Children’s Picture Book and the Art of Visual Storytelling by Maria Popova from The Atlantic. Note: “From cave paintings to Maurice Sendak, a look at the masters of the form.”

More Author Insight: Coveted Characters from Wastepaper Prose. Several authors chime in on the question: What character in any book do you wish you had written?

Build a More Effective Author Website from Jane Friedman. Peek: “Every author website should include these elements, whether on the homepage or elsewhere.”

Guest Editor Melissa Wiley on Facebook vs. Google as Author Tools from Peek: “At this point, however, Google+ users tend to be early adopters and
tech-lovers; it’s a smaller audience and you may find it harder to
connect with readers there.”


Golden Kite & Sid Fleischman Awards from SCBWI.  The 2012 Golden Kite Award winner for fiction is Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel); the nonfiction award winner is Amelia Lost: The Life And Disappearance Of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade); the award winner for picture book text is Over And Under The Snow by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal (Chronicle), the award winner for picture book illustration is Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin), and the Sid Fleischman Award For Humor goes to The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander (HarperCollins). See The Official SCBWI Blog by Lee Wind for details.

Cynsational Blogger Tip: any time you mention a book, be sure to include the publisher’s name. This information can be quite helpful to event planners, librarians, and readers seeking more information and resources. 

Notes on Building Characters by Chris Eboch from Write Like a Pro! Key considerations.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Middle Grade and Were Willing to Ask: a conversation between literary agent Michael Bourret and editor Molly O’Neill from Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Peek: “…there can be a fine line between stories that feel familiar and those
that feel, well, dull. This is a big reason I often encourage my authors
to push past their initial ideas and explore the unknown creative wilds
beyond the very first idea/solution/problem/mystery/story point/etc
that they think of – because often the really fresh ideas live deep in
writer’s minds, not at the very forefront.”

Interview: Trend Spotter: A Sneak Peek at 2012’s Top Kids’ Books by Laura Weiss from School Library Journal. Peek: “Nonfiction is the most requested genre, specifically, science,
biographies, and history. We also get many requests for graphic novels
and fantasies and, for high schools, historical fiction.” Notes: (a) an interview with Susan Marston, editorial director of Junior Library Guild (JLG), (b) Susan mentions YA historical fiction, but Cynsations is seeing an uptick in middle grade historicals as well. Check out some of this week’s new voices posts, for examples.

Feeling Festive? Check out the February Carnival of Children’s Literature from The Fourth Musketeer. See also This Week for Writers: Our Favorite Articles & Blog Posts from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing.

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.

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.

3000 Thank Yous Giveaway from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse. Enter to win books by Janice Hardy, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Elizabeth Spann Craig, and one of 10 pre-release copies of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Guide to Character Expression. Deadline: March 12.

Cynsational Screening Room 

In the video below, the Asian American Author Series celebrates author-illustrator Grace Lin. 

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

More Personally

Great news! Alfa Basim Yayim Dagitim in Istanbul has bought Turkish-language rights to Tantalize and Eternal. Thanks to my newest international publisher and my literary agency, Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Beyond that, I thrilled to report that my revised draft of “Smolder” is off to my Candlewick editor, Deborah Wayshak. Yesterday’s highlight was receiving an email from Deb calling me “the world’s BEST reviser” and saying that the revision had a “grand polish.” It’s off to the copy editor!

Smolder will be book 1 in the spin-off series; feel the heat! Photo by Jens Buurgaard Nielsen.

My current focus is preparing for my upcoming trip, reading student manuscripts, and helping Greg Leitich Smith prepare for the Chronal Engine Launch Party on March 24 at BookPeople.

Personal Links: 

From Greg Leitich Smith:

About Greg Leitich Smith:

Dino-Mite! An Exclusive Interview with Greg Leitich Smith by Susan VanHecke  from Authorlink. Peek: “I had to pick a time and place and ecosystem. Fortunately, I knew enough
by then that Texas had a terrific Late Cretaceous dinosaur population
including tyrannosaurs and some of the last sauropods, like Alamosaurus. It also had some amazing non-dinosaur fauna.”

Book Reviews and More says of Chronal Engine: “It was incredibly well written. I found it hard to put the book down the few times that I had to while reading it. The characters were amazing, and the loops in the story and the logic behind them was stunning. The way Greg has scripted this story sets it up for a number of wonderful reads in the same world.” More on Chronal Engine.

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.

Greg Leitich Smith will launch Chronal Engine (Clarion, 2012) at 2 p.m. March 24 at BookPeople in Austin. The program will include an author presentation and refreshments. Pre-order the book.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will appear at A Festival of Authors, which will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 12 at Reagan High School in Northeast Austin.

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

4 thoughts on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. Go, you, you polishing grand reviser! How fabulous! I have to say – I was kind of over the whole vampire/werewolf thing 'til I read Blessed for the Cybils – and had to start from the beginning. You done good. Just wanted to tell ya. ♥

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