Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Congratulations to P.J. Hoover on the gorgeous cover for Solstice (Tor, June 2013). From the promotional copy:

Piper’s world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

More News & Giveaways

Five Questions for Louise Erdrich by Martha V. Parravano from The Horn Book. Peek: “The migration across Minnesota into the Dakotas, and the warmth of family life, is something that these books have in common with the Little House series. I am happy that they are being read together, as the Native experience of early western settlement is so often missing in middle-grade history classes.”

RIF Releases Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Multicultural Book Collection from Mitali Perkins at Mitali’s Fire Escape. Peek: “This year’s collection will be accompanied by a set of free downloadable activities for parents and educators to engage children in literacy
development, based on the Common Core Standards adopted by 45 states in the nation (U.S.).”

Character Trait Description: Just by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse.  Peek: “…believing in or pursuing what is morally right or good.”

Live and In Person by Jennifer R. Hubbard from writerjenn. Peek: “Multi-author events have come to be my favorite. In fact, at the launch
party for my second book–which was technically a solo event–I invited
any authors who were able to attend to display and sign their books,
too.” Note: inspired by A Love Note (& Battle Strategies for Author-Speakers).

Online Writing Resources by Danyelle Leafty from Querytracker.netBlog. Peek: “…even though I have a hard time sitting down with writing books, I have a
few online resources that I would have a hard time doing without.”  Note: Thanks for the shout out to Cynsations!

The Elusive Work-Life Balance by Alvina Ling from Blue Rose Girls. Peek: “I think I’m better at drawing lines now–in fact, when an agent asked if
an author could deliver a manuscript the day before my wedding, I told
him ‘that’s fine, but I won’t be editing it!’ and life went on (and
instead the author delivered early and I edited it two weeks before my

National Hispanic Heritage Month and Dia by Jeanette Larson from ALSC Blog. Peek: “We often focus a lot of attention on picture books for use with preschool children but I recently read two books by Alma Flor Ada that would be great to share with older children….”

Author Insight: Pieces of Publishing from Wastepaper Prose. Insights from various authors, including Greg Leitich Smith. Peek: “What’s the one thing you’d like the world to know about publishing?”

Networking Can Give You an Edge by Talia Vance from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Peek: “…someone tapped me on the shoulder, and I turned around to come face to face with none other than (Flux editor) Brian Farrey. I nearly fell over.”

The Art of the Complete Rewrite by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “Your novel deserves better than that. Give it a level foundation. Start with a blank document.”

Giving Yourself Permission by Kirsten Hubbard from YA Highway. Peek: “Truly, in an industry like this, it’s so, so important to be kind to yourself. That means giving yourself permission to struggle, to mourn, to take your time, to lean on others, and much more.

My Secret Marketing Weapon and Some Other Marketing Tips from Kimberly Sabatini. Peek: “I thought about auditioning. It would have been a fabulous opportunity. I
also realized it would likely cause my premature death.”

Malinda Lo on the Making of a Book Trailer for Adaptation from Shelf Elf. Peek: “I thought it would not only look gorgeous on film, it would look creepy, and I wanted to make sure the book’s creepy vibe came through.”

Talkin’ About Bessie by Nikki Grimes from The Poetry Zone. Peek: “Some books are harder to birth than others, and Bessie was a book-baby in breach.”

Kathy Dawson Gets Imprint at Penguin by Sally Lodge from Publishers Weekly. Peek: ‘Dawson emphasizes that offerings from Kathy Dawson Books will span – and even bend – genres. “I tend to do genre books for non-genre readers,’ she says.”

Query Roundup: An Agent’s Responses and What They Mean by Suzie Townsend from Confessions. Peek: “…if you have a book that could be called “not commercial” you have an
uphill road in front of you. Not only do you have to write an awesome
query, but this is where comp titles are going to be so important.” Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

Cynsational Giveaways

The winner of  a signed copy of Lupe Ruiz-Flores’ bilingual picture
book, Alicia’s Fruity Drinks/Las aguas frescas de Alicia; a small “Hope”
note pad; a Charlotte Bronte journal; and a business card holder (PB)
has been contacted–check your email!

The winner of three picture books (and one F&G) by Pat Mora is Whitney in Louisiana, the winners of My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt are Alyson in Alberta, Kathy in Ohio, Jess in Washington, D.C., and Ginger in New Hampshire, and the winner of Never Enough by Denise Jaden is Candace in Virginia.

Don’t miss the Great Library Giveaway of 2012 at From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle Grade Authors. Nomination deadline: 11:59 p.m. PST Oct.16.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Guess what! As of last Wednesday, I’ve been tweeting @CynLeitichSmith
for three years, and it’s possibly my favorite form of social
networking, though it would serve me less well if it weren’t augmented
by Cynsations. As for my “real space” activities:

Authors Margaret Peterson Haddix & Lisa McMann visit BookPeople in Austin.
Last weekend, I participated in a multi-author reading at the O. Henry Museum.
Participants include authors Lori Aurelia Williams and Ruth Pennebaker.
Texas Book Festival’s Clay Smith and author Sarah Bird.
O.Henry’s fedora
Was he a chess player? Don’t know, but these kids were having fun.
Music was a highlight of the festivities.

 Even More Personally

My go-to Chinese restaurant has closed. Fortunately, there’s another location.
Flying monkeys scare me. What scares you?

Personal Links

Mari Mancusi on reinforcing reading

About Greg Leitich Smith

Fiction Books at Their Best by Holly E. Newton from Meridian Magazine. Peek: “Chronal Engine, by Greg Leitich Smith, and sprinkled with illustrated drawings by Blake Henry, is an exciting adventure…”

Cynsational Events

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith at 11 a.m. Sept. 22 at Cedar Park Public Library and at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 at Freeport Library, a branch of the Brazoria County Library System.

Conversation with Kirsten Cappy of Curious City: An Event for Published Authors from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at The Writing Barn in Austin. “To RSVP, please send an email to with ‘Cappy Class’ as the subject line by Oct. 1.”