Cynsational News & Giveaways

McElderry, 2013

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Holly Black’s Pep Talk from Fairy Tales and Monsters. Peek: “I know it seems like writing that pours out of your brain in a passionate flood should be better than writing that comes slowly and miserably, but the only person who will ever know the difference is you. So no excuses—get the word count done.”

Creating Book Covers As Both Mirror and Window by Laurent Linn, art director at Simon & Schuster, from CBC Diversity. Peek: “…a complex art/commerce balancing act.”

We All Need Encouragement by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “I thought you might enjoy snippets of the pep talks that are emailed to writers to help them keep going.”

Using Setting to Add Humor from Anna Staniszewski. Peek: “I’d sort of sketched in the setting, but I hadn’t really developed it or thought about the history behind it. Finally, it occurred to me that I could use the setting to add humor to the story. Here are some tips I came up with…”

Facebook: Best Practices for Author Profiles, Pages, Groups & Posts by Darcy Pattison from Wow! Peek: “Here are some tips from authors who are in the thick of things and using Facebook to find and interact with readers.”

Just End It by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “You learn how to write by writing and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t and doing more of the former and less of the later.”

Voices of Christmas from Nikki Grimes. Peek: “It’s always a bit weird trying to figure out what kind of language to use when writing about people who lived thousands of years ago, and who spoke a very different language than your own. But then again, that’s part of the challenge, and part of the fun.”

Tips on Planning a Writing Retreat by Varian Johnson from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “Make a schedule.”

Writing: Hobby vs. Business by Nick James from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Peek: “You’re not just writing for yourself anymore. You’re writing for an
audience, as well as a publisher, with all the expectations and
deadlines (I repeat, deadlines) that go along with that.”

Everyone’s a Critic by Danyelle Leafty from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “The key is figuring out which critics to listen to and which to ignore.
I’ve separated the types of critics into three separate categories as
they pertain in relation to the author (you).”

Why Picture Books are Important from Picture Book Month. A series of posts by such children’s literature luminaries as (click for individual posts)…

 Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of ARCs of Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, 2013) were Tabatha in Texas, Alicia in Alabama and one more person (check your email!).

The winners of Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker (Roaring Brook, 2012) were Kathi in Ohio, Lorna in Washington, and Deena in Rochester.

This Week at Cynsations

Austin Scene

Congratulations to Liz Garton Scanlon, honored for outstanding literary achievement by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation!

Liz Garton Scanlon with Lyman Grant, Dean of Arts & Humanities at ACC; photo by Sarah Bork Hamilton

Last week’s highlight was the Writers’ League of Texas panel on book launches at BookPeople.

Jennifer Ziegler, Greg Leitich Smith, Meghan Goel, Cory Putnam Oakes & Bethany Hegedus

More Personally

Cynsational readers will notice that this week’s roundup is early and shorter than usual due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Safe travels and much happiness to those who celebrate it as well as those who simply don’t mind a day off and enjoy eating turkey. The blog will resume posting on Monday.

Holiday shopping? You can find/order signed copies of my books at BookPeople in Austin.
Who loves my new Amazonian bracelets? Should I paint stars on them?

Personal Links

From Greg Leitich Smith

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will sign from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 1 at The BookSpot in Round Rock. Also featuring Greg Leitich Smith, Liz Garton Scanlon & Shana Burg.

2013 Advanced Writing Workshops — Simon & Schuster Editor Alexandra Penfolds, Deconstructing Children’s Literature Characters Jan. 18 to Jan. 20 at The Writing Barn in Austin. Application deadline: Dec. 1.

Austin SCBWI Regional Conference Early-Bird Registration Deadline: Dec. 19. After that, the price goes up $25.

2013 Novel Writing Retreat for Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers will be March 15 to March 17 at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Study with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lauren Myracle and Candlewick editor Andrea Tompa.

Extended Three-Session Intensive Workshop: Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson will be running a three-part revision intensive in Westport, Connecticut, over three Saturdays in January, February, and March. Peek: “Bring your picture book, nonfiction, or novel manuscript and get multiple rounds of feedback as well as revision techniques.”

Sneak Peek at New Year’s Workshops from the Highlights Foundation. Peek: “‘Whole Novel Workshop: Young Adult’ with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich Smith, Nancy Werlin. Founded in 2006, the Whole Novel Workshop is specifically designed for writers of young-adult novels. This unique program offers the one-on-one attention found in degree programs, but without additional academic requirements, lengthy time commitments, or prohibitive financial investments. Our aim is to focus on a specific work in progress, moving a
novel to the next level in preparation for submission to agents or publishers. Focused attention in an intimate setting makes this mentorship program one that guarantees significant progress.”

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