Cynsational News & Giveaways

Recommended for fans of Holes

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Canadian Read-Alikes That Appeal to Fans of Louis Sachar’s Holes
from CanLit for Little Canadians. Peek: “…these novels have the
twists, turns and laughs that have made Holes (by Louis Sachar) such a popular book.”

2012 Cybils Call for Judges from Anne Levy, Cybils Overlord. Deadline: Aug. 31. Note: hurry!

Writing Realistic Love Relationships by Carolyn Kaufman from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “A problem I see in some fiction is that there is no reason for the
characters to fall for each other or be in love—other than the fact that
they’re both excruciatingly hot, of course.”

Traditional Publishing: A Poor Exercise in Vanity
from YA Highway. Peek: “My editor and I went through four rounds of
edits. I’d call the process grueling, but it wasn’t, not exactly. She,
too, understood my vision in an intimate and precise way.”

The Publishing Process in GIF Form from Nathan Bransford. Note: required reading/viewing.

One Teen Story Launches New Magazine by Ron Charles from The Washington Post. Peek: “Designed for readers 14 and up, One Teen Story will publish nine issues a
year, once a month while school is in session ($18/year). Like its
older sibling, this new magazine won’t carry photographs or advertising,
but each year’s issues will have a cover designed by a single artist.” Source: Margo Rabb.

The Naked Truth: Librarians Stood By Maurice Sendak, No Stranger to Controversy
by Kathleen T. Horning from School Library Journal. Peek: “Just how
often was Mickey diapered in America’s libraries? And who started it?
How did others react to the practice?” Source: A Fuse #8 Production.

Seven Questions Over a Late-Night Breakfast with Christian Robinson
from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: “I give a large
amount of credit to San Francisco for contributing to my happiness. I
currently live and work in the city. I love it.”

Author Insight: Trunk Novels
from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: “How many trunk novels do you have, and is
there one you’d like to revisit?” Note: Insights from Margo Lanagan,
Joy Preble, Greg Leitich Smith and more.

Staying Afloat in Tough Times by Kristi Holl
from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “I tried different things to see what
might work. The following year I wrote a story for an anthology, entered
several contests, did some short manuscripts for children’s magazines,
wrote some writers’ articles.”

When to Stop by Stephanie Pellegrin from Stephanie, A History. Peek: “I can’t work on it forever. Eventually I have to let it go. Whether or not I query with this book and whether or not it ever sells is a mute point. I’m done.”

Let’s Play: Is It Worth It? The Writer’s Conference Edition
from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “When I
received a postcard last week advertising an upcoming conference in my
area, these criteria helped me figure out whether I should attend or

Getting Students Reading, Keeping Them Reading
by Edith Campbell from CBC Diversity. Peek: “Students consistently
asked for mysteries with Black characters and I could produce none.”

Tantalize series, honored by TLA/YART

Congratulations YART/TLA Spirit of Texas Middle School Authors Andrea White, Veronica Goldbach, Jennifer Archer, Karen Blumenthal, Chris Barton, and Scott Westerfeld, and congratulations YART/TLA Spirit of Texas High School Authors Gail Giles, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Ashley Perez, C.C. Hunter, and Jennifer Ziegler! Note: Cynthia Leitich Smith (that’s me!) also is a SPOT High School Author, holding over from last spring (Thanks, Texas librarians!).

Dusting Ourselves Off After Set-Backs by Elizabeth S. Craig from Writing Mystery is Murder.  Peek: “…when
I picked up my daughter at horse camp a few weeks ago and saw that she
was completely covered from head to toe in red clay (which is what
passes for soil in many parts of the Deep South), I knew she’d been

How to Get a Job in Publishing, 2012 Edition by Cheryl Klein from Brooklyn Arden. Peek: “…you
can meet publishing people these days not just through long-established
methods like informational interviews and the publishing institutes,
but at writer’s conferences, if you can find an unpressured time to
talk, and in various forums online.”

Cynsations Author
Tip: If someone writes asking for a signed bookmark or bookplate, first
reply asking which of your books (s)he’s read. A fan will write back
cheerfully. Someone who’s just trying to snag your signature for
whatever nefarious reason probably won’t.

Who’s Story Is This Anyway? by Danyelle Leafty
from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “…how do you decide who the main
character will be and whose point of view you’ll frame the story

Writing Through a Rough Patch of Life by Tracy Hahn-Burkett
from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “…as an unpublished author, I have only
myself to satisfy. And I’d become my most negative and
impossible-to-please critic.”

Writing Resource: Writing Grief in Fiction by Denise Jaden from Angela Ackerman
at The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “Grief alone is not enough to make a
novel. It’s the backdrop, sometimes the obstacle, but books must be
flavored with other emotions.”

Sitting Around and Talking by Mary Kole
from Peek: “You may have heard several writing teachers
saying that kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, airplanes, and cars
are especially dangerous settings in fiction. Why? Because they limit
action to one of very few things.”

Interview with Author Shawn Stout & Editor Jill Santopolo of Philomel on the Penelope Crum series
from Quirk and Quill. Peek from Jill: “…even though this is a fun,
young series, Shawn also injects real depth into the conflicts Penelope
has with her family and her friends.” Note: enter to win one of four
ARCs of Penelope Crum; deadline: 8 p.m. PST Sept. 15.

Diverse Dystopias: A Book List
from Lee & Low Books. Peek: “For the purposes of this list, our
definition of diversity is: 1.) A book with a main character of color
(not just secondary characters), or 2.) A book written by an author of

Being Willing to Revise by Mette Ivie Harrison. Peek: “The main problem I see with writers who are nearly there and writers who
are already there is the people who are willing to make the big

Seven Essential Elements of Scene + Scene Structure Exercise by Martha Alderson from Jane Friedman. Peek: “Just as plot has many different layers, every scene has layers of functions, too.”‘

Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of sets of Don’t You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey and Leaving Fishers by Margaret Peterson Haddix (both Simon & Schuster) were Amanda in North Carolina, Kathy in Ohio, Colleen in New Jersey and Rebecca in California. The winner of Caught by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster) was Ezequiel in Indiana.

The winner of a
signed hardback copy of Piper Reed, Forever Friend (2012), a signed
paperback copy of Piper Reed, Navy Brat (2011), and a signed paperback
copy of Piper Reed, Rodeo Star (2011), all by Kimberly Willis Holt
(Henry Holt)
was Trisha in Illinois.

The winner of a print copy of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi was Diana in Utah.

Check your email! I’m still seeking shipping information from the winners of Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster), a Let’s Go Rambling Kit, celebrating One Day I Went Rambling by Kelly Bennett (Bright Sky Press, 2012), and a signed paperback edition of Flutter (Puffin, 2012) and a signed ARC of Tracing Stars (Philomel, 2012), both by Erin E. Moulton.

This Week at Cynsations

Austin Scene

This week’s highlight was the launch party for debut author Nikki Loftin‘s Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy (Razorbill, 2012) at BookPeople in Austin (review & chance to win from Jen Bigheart at I Read Banned Books). A huge crowd turned out to celebrate!

Greg Leitich Smith and Nikki Loftin
Sinister Sweets
More Sinister Sweets (donuts topped by icing & candy sprinkles anyone?)
Salima Alikhan & Bethany Hegedus
Lindsey Scheibe & Tim Crow
Lynne Kelly & Vanessa Lee
Chris Barton & Jennifer Ziegler
Jo Whittemore & Brian Anderson
Writing Barn reception — not so sinister, just as sweet!
What a gorgeous buffet!

See also Dear Teen Me from Author Nikki Loftin.

More Personally

Hey, Cynsational readers! Did you catch my post this week on coping strategies for author events? Don’t miss the comments with additional tips from various Cynsational readers (who’re authors themselves) at LiveJournal. Thanks to all of them for sharing their thoughts!

also hold off on blurb requests until I say otherwise–I’m feeling a
bit inundated at the moment. And on a semi-related note, I’m taking the
holiday weekend off. Cynsations will resume posting on Tuesday of next
week. Go out into the world. Rejoice. Dance. Play.

for fun, I present a recent celebration dinner at Casa Leitich
Smith–chicken-and-lobster in a pot, steamed broccoli and purple
faux-tatoes (cauliflower masquerading as mashed potatoes).

P.S. marvel at the awesome-ness of Nikki Loftin‘s shoes–they’re practically candy coated!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Liz Garton Scanlon will launch Think Big (Bloomsbury, 2012) at noon Sept. 1 at BookPeople in Austin. See more information. Note: Liz also is teaching “Poetry License: Using Poetic Devices in Your Poetry, Prose and Everyday Writing” from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 15 via The Writers’ League of Texas.

Check out the new “It’s Complicated Conversation,” focusing on book covers, starting next Monday, Sept. 3, at CBC Diversity. Participants include YA author Coe Booth, Simon & Schuster art director Laurent Linn, senior VP & director of sales at Penguin Felicia Frazier, agent Joseph Monti of Barry Goldblatt Literary, and independent bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle, owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will be part of the mass reading of “Buried Treasure” at 2 p.m. at the O. Henry 150th Birthday Crawl Sept. 15 at the O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas.

Join Newbery Honor author Marion Dane Bauer
for a free live teleconference at 7 p.m. EST Sept. 19. She will also be
offering a free live webinar on “Point of View in Fiction” at 7 p.m.
EST Sept. 26. See more information.

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