Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cradle Me by Debby Slier (Star Bright): a recommendation by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “…Slier included a two-page spread that specifies each baby’s tribal nation.” See also Debbie’s recommendation of Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island by Lee DeCora Francis, illustrated by Susan Drucker (Tilbury House), which is also recommended by Cynsations–more coverage to come.

Marketing & Publicity: Street Teams by Janet S. Fox from Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “Publishers can enhance a book’s profile through advertising and promotion; but midlist, debut, or little-known authors can use positive street cred to help with promotion. This is where your street team comes in.”

Persistence by author/agent Mandy Hubbard. Peek: “I’d been standing at that door for so long, and now it seemed like I could hear someone on the other side, and all I needed to do was convince them to open the door. And this time, I refused to fail. So I tried a whole new approach.” Source: Megan Crewe.

Roles in Publishing: Hatchette’s Naomi Cartwright, Senior Rights Executive from Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: “…we’ll feedback to the Editor that a rhyming alphabet picture book, (the ones that go; A is for apple, B is for banana…) isn’t likely to sell anywhere other than America. Why? Well even if an international publisher had exactly the same alphabet as us, there’s no guarantee their word for apple would also begin with the letter A. Verse is also notoriously difficult to translate.”

U.K. Agent Interview: Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency from Tall Tales & Short Stories. Peek: “Obviously, no two fantastic writers’ voices are alike, but they all have something vital in common: they’re believable. If I read a few lines aloud, they sound natural and authentic, and they make me care about the protagonist immediately.”

NBFAGS –Promise of the Night (Chronicle)

Notable Books for a Global Society 2012 from the Children’s Literature and Reading Group of the International Reading Association. Peek: “…was developed to help students, teachers, and families identify books that promote understanding of and appreciation for the world’s full range of diverse cultures and ethnic and racial groups.”

The Canadian Library Association has announced the 2012 shortlists for their three major awards, the Young Adult Book Award, the Book of the Year for Children Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award. The winners of these awards, and the Honour Books, will be announced prior to the National Canadian Library Association Conference and Trade Show. The awards will be presented at the conference in Ottawa, Ontario on May 31 at at the annual awards reception. Source: Cynsations Canada reporter Lena Coakley.

Blogs to Explore in Transforming a Book to a Passport by Carol H. Rasco from Reading Is Fundamental. Peek: “…a list of blogs I hope you will find useful in your efforts to become more familiar with a wide array of multicultural books and customs.”

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Lindsey Scheibe on the sale of her debut novel, Riptide, in a two-book deal to Brian Farrey at Flux! Cheers also to Lindsey’s agent, Mandy Hubbard!

Oklahoma SCBWI 2012 Regional Conference at Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City on March 31. Featured speakers include editor Noa Wheeler from Henry Holt, senior editor Maggie Lehrman of Amulet/Abrams Books, executive editor Krista Marino of Delacorte/Random House, agent Marietta Zacker of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency and art director Jim Hoover of Viking.

Roll Call: Character Building and Pre-Writing,
compiled by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith from the International
Reading Association. Features Hanging Out with the People in Your Head
by Jennifer Ziegler and “What Happened Next?” Know Your Character by Knowing Your Character’s Timeline by Chris Barton. Peek from Jennifer: “In
a well-written story, characters do things not because their writer
needs them to, but because of who they are. Therefore, an author needs
to know everything he or she can about a character before beginning the

Congratulations to Mari Mancusi on the e-release of  Tomorrow Land! Peek: “…a post-apocalyptic, dystopian YA romance previously published as Razor Girl in Dorchester’s crossover Shomi line. Best described as a post-apocalyptic pilgrimage to Disney World in a zombie infested
wasteland, the story follows two teens who had fallen in love before the apocalypse and then separated, Casablanca style, only to be reunited four years later and forced to find a way to trust one another again. All the while trying to deal with those pesky, flesh eating zombies!” See also the cover reveal of Blood Forever, the eighth and final book in the Blood Coven Vampire Series.

The Hans Christian Anderson Award Jury of IBBY Announces the 2012 Short List from Raab Associates. Peek: “Five authors and five illustrators have been selected from 57 candidates submitted by 32 national sections of IBBY for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award. The award, considered the most prestigious in international children’s literature, is given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children’s literature. The winners will be announced on Monday, March 19th at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.”

Author Chat: Amy Novesky on Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Jama Rattigan from Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup. Peek: “There’s no place like Kauai. It’s green and gorgeous. The air is soft and warm and fragrant with the scent of flowers and saltwater. The ocean
is full and lovely; one of the places I feel most deeply connected to everything. The people are warm and wise and generous.”

Second Sight: An Interview with Executive Editor Cheryl Klein from The Whole Megillah. Peek: “…your protagonist should have an emotional backstory that enhances or complicates the plot of this book now.”

Crafting Memorable Scenes in Fiction by Martina from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “For me, the process of crafting a scene is visual. The truly great
scenes, the ones I remember, play in my mind like a film. I can see the
action, but unlike film, a novel also lets me smell the coffee, and
taste the fear or sorrow. I can get closer to the character than I would
in a film, so the emotion is right there close to my heart.”

Book Buzz! Tomo Anthology, Edited by Holly Thompson & Giveaway from Debbi Michiko Florence from DEBTastic Reads. Peek: “…an incredible collection of young adult stories that are either located in Japan or related to Japanese culture and/or history. From the website: Proceeds from the sales of this book will go directly toward long-term relief efforts for teens in Tohoku, the area most affected by the disasters, in the northeast region of Japan’s main island, Honshu.” Giveaway eligibility: North America. Deadline: midnight PST March 16.

Your Story’s Timeline: Cut It Up by Darcy Pattison from Fiction First Aid. Peek: “…literary folks have traditional ways of dealing with timeline distortions.”

Anatomy of a First Draft by Dianne Salerni from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “Every new novel begins with an inspiration comparable to The
Big Bang – an explosion of light and matter and creative force capable of
producing an entire universe, not to mention critical acclaim, several awards,
and New York Times best seller status.”

Christian Trimmer: Editor at Disney Hyperion by Mindy Alyse Weiss from Journey of a Children’s Book Writer. Peek: “Research helps make the world more believable. Pay attention to the
details!  This helps make sure that readers can see the scenes, too, and
adds a layer of credibility.” See also Mindy’s notes on Picture Book Workshop with Abrams Editor Tamar Brazis and Voice Workshop with Agent Jill Corcoran.

10 Things Authors Should Know About Twitter from Angela James. Peek: “Essentially, by locking your account, you’re creating a very small
circle of people you can have a conversation with. If you’re an author,
this makes Twitter a lot less effective as a promotional tool. How are
you going to get new people to follow you if they can’t see you
conversing with others?” Source:

Cynsational Blogger Tip: Quoting from another blog or website? Keep it under 50 words or ask permission.

Talia Vance on When Revision Means Rewriting from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Peek: “This revision was not simply a matter of tweaking a scene of changing a
character’s motivation. It involved reimagining the story in a way that
fulfilled the promise of the hook. As I outlined and planned, I was
amazed by how far off track I had let the original story get.” Note: includes some great advice from agent Sarah Davies.

Successful Writing: A Weekly Quota of Words by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “I love the idea of setting a quota. However, the quota of “words
written” only works for me for rough drafts, when you’re pulling words out of thin air and creating new pages of your novel. So little time, though, is spent writing that first draft.”

The 2012 Golden Kite Award Interviews: Kate Messner (Picture Book Text for Over and Under the Snow) by Lee Wind from the Official SCBWI Blog. Peek: “If you want to write picture books, write them. Whether you are feeling inspired or not. Some of them will be awful, and this is okay. Don’t send them out. Let them live their lives out quietly on your hard drive, and learn from them. Some of them will be good. Revise these.”

It’s Been Done Before, Or, The Snapped Twig by Jennifer R. Hubbard from writerjenn. Peek: “…you know one thing that is on those lists of no-nos? Starting a book with a character waking up. And yet that’s how The Hunger Games starts, and I think we all know how well that has turned out for Suzanne Collins.”

Creating an Authentic Cultural Voice: A Highlights Foundation Program, with award-winning authors Mitali Perkins and Donna Jo Napoli, editors Alvina Ling and Stacy Whitman and special guest Kathryn Eskine,
which will take place April 26 to April 29. Peek: “Through
impeccable research, imagination, empathy, and experience, a true
cultural voice can be achieved.” 

March Into Mysteries by Jeanette Larson from ReaderKidZ. Peek: “Mysteries for the youngest readers usually involve simple situations in familiar settings but those for older readers become more complex and may even involve more serious crimes. Check out these titles for intrigue and excitement…”

On Publishing and Being a Writer in the Right Now by Janni Lee Simner from Desert Dispatches. Peek: “No writing era has ever been good for everyone. We all have our
careers with their lumps and bumps and good times and awful times that
make us want to give up, and all of those can happen at any time. I find
this unpredictability as terrifying now as I did 20 years ago, but it
isn’t new.”

Patriotic Poetry: recommendations by Sylvia Vardell from Poetry for Children. Comment today (March 16) for a chance to win Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year by Janet Wong and a signed copy of her autobiography, Janet S. Wong: Before It Wriggles Away (Richard C. Owen)(a Meet the Author biography).

How Life Has Changed Post Book Deal from Victoria Scott.  Peek: “Writers want goodies to look forward to. So here’s what I’m going to tell you…  Life changes. Here’s how…”

This Week’s Cynsations Posts

2012 SCBWI Bologna Series

The ongoing SCBWI Bologna 2012 interview series is brought to you by the SCBWI Bologna Showcase in conjunction with Cynsations. To find out more, visit the SCBWI Bologna Showcase Special thanks to Angela Cerrito for coordinating this series with SCBWI Bologna and Cynsations.

Authors for Henryville

Bid for a chance to win a signed copy of Chronal Engine by Greg Leitich Smith from Authors for Henryville. Peek: “We’re authors helping to rebuild the school libraries after the March 2 tornadoes that devastated Henryville, Indiana.”

Cynsational Screening Room

The Solstice MFA Program offers this peek into its community. Read a Cynsations interview with Director Meg Kearney of the Solstice Creative Writing Programs of Pine Manor College in Massachusetts.

Cynsational Giveaways

5 Chances to Win!
Awesome Prize Package!

Reminder! Enter to win ongoing Cynsations giveaways: five ARCs of Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood for YA fans (eligibility: U.S.; deadline: March 26) and the Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart Prize Package for middle grade book lovers (eligibility: North America; deadline: March 26)!

Enter to win one of two signed copies of Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future by Fred Bortz (Twenty-First Century/Lerner, 2012).

To enter, comment on this post 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 “Meltdown!” in the subject line. Deadline: March 26. Publisher sponsored. U.S. entries only.

 More Personally 

What fun I had in Albuquerque and Tucson! Thanks to all for your enthusiasm and hospitality–look for a full report soon! (Sorry, I’m running late. I have to figure out how to pull the images off my new phone.) You can order signed copies of the Tantalize series and Holler Loudly from Alamosa Books.

This week’s highlight was last night’s Writers’ League of Texas monthly meeting on nonfiction, celebrating children’s author Cynthia Y. Levinson and moderated by YA author and new publicity and programming director Jennifer Ziegler. Children’s-YA author Bethany Hegedus, formerly of the League staff, also was in attendance.

I’m also honored to announce that I’m among the contributors to Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves, edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kinneally (Zest, fall 2012)(shap-shot interview from Jen Bigheart’s I Read Banned Books). Peek:

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? 

Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends–and a lot of familiar faces–in the course of Dear Teen Me.

Personal Links:

From Greg Leitich Smith:

About Greg Leitich Smith

Cynsational Events

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 dinosaur cookies, cupcakes and other refreshments. Pre-order the book.

Cynthia will appear at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference:

  • April 18: 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. “Connecting Teens and Authors: Teen Book Festivals and Awesome Author Visits.” 
  • April 20: 8 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. “Introducing the Spirit of Texas Reading Programs.” 
  • Signing coordinated by Candlewick Press and TLA. See program for details. 

Note: Greg Leitich Smith also will be signing at the conference.

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.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will appear June 30 at Bastop Public Library in Bastrop, Texas.

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.

3 thoughts on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. I am grateful for a rainy Saturday morning! Soccer games have been canceled, which means this mama gets to sit with a cup of coffee and catch up on this week's news. Thanks for putting all of my reading material in one place!

  2. This looks amazing, Cyn! I love all the pictures with the teenagers. You go, girl!

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