Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Austin Writer Jacqueline Kelly Revisits the ‘Willows’ by Jeff Salamon from The New York Times. Peek: “As Ms. Kelly began writing ‘Return to the Willows,’ she found one of the
characters taking over the story — specifically, the one who represents
the sort of disregard for convention that Grahame feared but
schoolchildren adore.”

Interview with Editor Heather Alexander of Dial by Jenny Martin from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “A lot of times, there is an instant gut reaction when reading submissions.  But once I know I like something or don’t, I focus in on the concrete reasons why.”

Are You a Marathon Writer? by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “I am saddened by the talented writers who quit easily. I am even more often encouraged by the medium-talented writers who hang in there and get published.”

Jillian Medoff: From Flattened to Fabulous by Sarah Pinneo from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “‘And it flopped,’ Medoff told me. ‘It had great reviews… and lousy sales.'”

The Mortal Review: Cassandra Clare on Diversity
from Peek: “When I did a signing in Mexico City,
dozens of girls came up and asked me whether I would include a Hispanic
female character soon and I was happy to be able to say that yes, as my
next series is set in Los Angeles one of the major female protagonists
is Mexican, and they were so happy — it made me feel sad to see how
starved they were for representation in the fantasy adventure books they

PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: Uma Krishnaswami’s Top 10 and a Quick Chat from PaperTigers Blog. Peek: “I started out by thinking of the face-off we see so often between human sprawl and green, growing things.”

Three Steps for Using Prompts to Write Better and Get Published from Jane Friedman. Peek: “Through a simple three-step process, I built up my writing stamina and
got tangible results just by doing writing exercises, and you can do it

A (Revised) Plot Checklist by editor Cheryl Klein from Brooklyn Arden.

Always Write Terrible First Drafts by Carolyn Kaufman from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “…if you always consider your first draft terrible, you’re not going to be offended when others point out weak areas.”

Guessing and Misunderstandings in Plot by Mary Kole from Peek: “Plots that have a guess or a misconception at the heart of them are very
difficult to pull off because there is not a lot for your reader to
hook into and believe in.”

Books of Wonder (a children’s bookstore) in NYC Needs to Raise $100,000 to Survive by Maryann Yin from GalleyCat. Peek: “As of this writing, they have received more than $20,000 in contributions. The campaign will last for 30 more days.” Donate and help spread the word.

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Native American Month 2012 by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “…suggestions on how you might get your library ready for parents,
teachers and students who come into your library looking for materials
on American Indians.”

Mary’s Magic: video interviews with author-illustrator Mary Sullivan about her upcoming picture book, Ball (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), by Mark G. Mitchell from How to Be a Children’s Book Illustrator. Peek: “Based on the ball-chasing dog Mary never had, Ball uses only one word, repeatedly to tell of a dog who dreams of chasing a certain red ball.”

Katherine Catmull on the Writer and the Storyteller from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Peek: “…some of us face drafting like a small child faces a doctor with a syringe. Nothing worse could happen. I will do dishes, I will exercise, I will fall asleep at my desk, even, before I will draft.”

Being a Writer Means Being a Child Forever by Sue LaNeve from Quirk and Quill. Peek: “Without consciously trying, ideas began to emerge about the era in which
I’d set my lovely story. Did this setting detail exist in that year?
Was that song released before or after this story event?”

Looking for more publishing links? Try QueryTracker.netBlog.

Cynsational Giveaways

Winners for last week’s giveaways have been contacted. If you won but haven’t responded, please do so this weekend.

This Week at Cynsations

Tweens Read Book Festival

I accompanied Greg Leitich Smith to Tweens Read Book Festival in Pasadena, Texas last Saturday. Greg was a featured author speaker. Kudos to the Blue Willow Bookshop booksellers and the whole (teacher-librarian packed) volunteer team for an amazing event! See Greg’s coverage.

Trent Reedy & Greg Leitich Smith
Chronal Engine cupcake
Editor Virginia Duncan & Stefan Bachmann
Authors assemble on stage
Greg Leitich Smith on a panel
Shana Burg, Claire Legrand, Diana Lopez & Lisa Schroeder
Augusta Scattergood, Deron R. Hicks, Lynne Kelly & W.H. Beck
Shannon Messenger & Lisa Schroeder
Keynoter Heather Brewer
Greg with me at Tweens Read; photo by Shana Burg.

More Personally

This week’s highlights included the launch party for Return to the Willows by Jacqueline Kelly, illustrated by Clint G. Young (Henry Holt, 2012)(see cover above).

Jackie & Clint spoke to a standing-room-only crowd.
Lovely live music at the opening reception.

An Interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith from Montgomery County (Texas) Book Festival (Feb. 2, 2013). Peek: “I floated across cliques and…read superhero comics and saw ‘Star Wars’ (the original, now subtitled “A New Hope”) over 300 times at the movie theater.”

Even More Personally

Jurassic Bark

While in Houston, Greg and I visited The Houston Museum of Natural Science. I enjoyed the whole new Hall of Paleontology but especially enjoyed The Jurassic Bark Exhibit.

I’m also excited about the spooky season!
Happy Halloween!

Personal Links

From Greg Leitich Smith

Cynsational Events

Look for Greg Leitich Smith at the Texas Book Festival Oct. 27 and Oct. 28 at the state capitol building in Austin. See also Texas Book Festival 2012 Youth Literature Programming.

Congratulations to Melanie Chrismer on the release of Chachalaca Chiquita, illustrated by David Harrington (Pelican, 2012)! Houston readers, look for her from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27 at River Oaks Bookstore, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 3 at Barnes & Noble — River Oaks Center, and from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 10 at Barnes & Noble Town & County.

The Writing Barn (Austin) Presents 2013 Advanced Writing Workshops, featuring editor Alexandra Penfolds (January), YA author Sara Zarr (April), and Francisco X. Stork (November).  See details.