New Voices: Meredith Davis & Nicole Valentine On Being An Author

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to introduce two debut authors to the Cynsations audience today. I met both at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago while we were all working on MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Both write middle grade, but their books are very different, illustrating the depth and diversity that exists in children’s literature.

Meredith Davis is the co-author of Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight To Walk (Scholastic,

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New Voices: Austin Authors Jennifer Coleman & Dan Marvin on Inspiration & Apprenticeships

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m very excited to share the writing journey of two Austin debut picture book authors today. Jennifer Coleman is the author of The Texas Nutcracker, illustrated by Wade Dillon (Pelican, 2018) and Dan Marvin is the author of But I Don’t Eat Ants, illustrated by Kelly Fry (Pow! 2017).

Jennifer Coleman

As an author-teacher-librarian,

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New Voices: Samantha M. Clark & Melanie Sumrow on Writing Communities

Samantha M. Clark and Melanie Sumrow

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today I’m excited to share the publishing journeys of two Texas middle grade authors, Samantha M. Clark and Melanie Sumrow.

Both are members of the Electric Eighteen debut author group and both are passionate about community involvement as a component of publishing success.

Samantha M.

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Querying Alternative: Author Lindsay Leslie & Editor Charlotte Wenger on Twitter-Pitching Manuscripts

Learn more about Lindsay Leslie

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Submitting queries can sometimes feel like tossing a bottled message into the ocean: you’re not sure when or if you’ll get a reply.

Through social media authors now have additional avenues for connecting with publishing gatekeepers.

I recently interviewed upcoming debut Lindsay Leslie about how #PitMad figured into her success,

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Survivors: Jennifer Ziegler on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s-YA Author

Learn more about Jennifer Ziegler.
Image by Sam Bond Photography.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

In children’s-YA writing, maintaining an active publishing career is arguably an even bigger challenge than breaking into the field.

Reflecting on your personal journey (creatively, career-wise, and your writer’s heart), what bumps did you encounter and how have you managed to defy the odds to achieve continued success? 

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Profiles of Persistence: Lisa Bierman, Meredith Davis, and Jill Donaldson on Committing Long-Term to Children’s Writing

By Carol Coven Grannick

Part One: The Writer’s Heart

Many hard-working, committed, persistent, and resilient writers forge ahead with their writing journeys in spite of obstacles, disappointments, “almost-there” moments and plenty of what I call “Beautiful, buts.”

This two-part interview explores the experience of being a long-time, determined writer who has not yet had a book published.

Writers Lisa Bierman, Meredith Davis,

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Author Interview: Samantha M. Clark on Being a SCBWI Regional Advisor & the Austin Chapter

Learn more about Samantha M. Clark,
photo by Sam Bond.

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we take a peek behind the curtain at the planning and preparation required to organize a successful Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators chapter.

I chatted with Austin’s Regional Advisor, Samantha M. Clark to get the inside scoop.

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New Voice: Cate Berry on Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!

By Traci Sorell

I’m so pleasured to feature my interview with Cate Berry, debut picture book author of Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime, illustrated by Charles Santoso (Balzer + Bray, 2018).

Publishers Weekly described it as “…a buoyantly subversive antibedtime tale,” and I couldn’t agree more.

The witty repartee between Penguin and Tiny Shrimp,

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New Voice: Laney Nielson on Peppermint Cocoa Crushes

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Laney Nielson is the debut author of Peppermint Cocoa Crushes (Skypony, 2017). From the promotional copy:

Sasha is so excited for her school’s Winter Variety Show! She and her best friends, twins Karly and Kevin, have been working on a song and dance routine for it, with super cute candy cane costumes. 


Sasha is sure they’ll be the best.

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Book Trailer: Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Check out the book trailer for Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan (HarperChildren’s, 2017). From the promotional copy:

A talking tiger is the only one who may be able to get a princess to speak in this beautiful picture book set in a mythic India by the Newbery Medal-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Norse Mythology,

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