Intern Insights: How to Set Up a Halloween Book Project

By Robin Galbraith
for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

The Problem



Like many writers, I have a lot of books.

One of my favorite social activities is going to a friend’s book signing and buying their fabulous book. I also love keeping up with the newly published children’s and young adult offerings and buying those amazing books.

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Guest Interview: Lin Oliver on the Global Future of Children’s Literature

By Tioka Tokedira
for SCBWI Bologna 2018 & Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Note: To wrap up Cynsations coverage of the 2018 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Tioka Tokedira, Regional Adviser for SCBWI France, talks with SCBWI co-founder Lin Oliver about trends in publishing for children and young adults.



In today’s digital world,

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LoonSong: A Writers Retreat & LoonSong: Turtle Island


LoonSong: A Writer’s Retreat is scheduled for Sept. 6 to Sept. 10 at Elbow Lake Lodge in Cook, Minnesota.

Faculty include children’s-YA authors Nikki Grimes, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Bruce Coville, Marion Dane Bauer, Jane Buchanan, Sarah Aronson, and Debby Dahl Edwardson as well as agent Michael Stearns of Upstart Crow Literary and editorial director and publisher Yolanda Scott of Charlesbridge.

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New Voice: Jen Petro-Roy on Epistolary Novels & P.S. I Miss You

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Jen Petro-Roy is the debut author of P.S. I Miss You (Feiwel & Friends, 2018). From the promotional copy:

Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister, Cilla, away to stay with a distant great aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. Forbidden from speaking to Cilla, Evie secretly sends her letters. 

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Guest Post: Carole Lindstrom on Writing on Two Continents

By Carole Lindstrom

I recently returned to live in the Washington D.C. area after a three-year stint living in Durban, South Africa.

Why Durban, you ask? Most people do. That is definitely a story I will be writing one day – so you’ll have to stay tuned for that one.

My first picture book, Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle, illustrated by Kimberly McKay (Pemmican Publications,

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New Voice: Hannah West on Kingdom of Ash and Briars

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hannah West is the first-time author of Kingdom of Ash and Briars (Holiday House, 2016). From the promotional copy:

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular and wholly original debut.


Bristal, a sixteen-year-old kitchen maid,

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Cynsations Intern: Gayleen Rabakukk on Writing Communities

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

I’m honored to announce that Gayleen Rabakukk has been chosen as the summer-fall 2016 Cynsations intern. Thanks to all who applied!

Here’s more from Gayleen:

By Gayleen Rabakukk

“You mean you both just sit there and write? On different things? And don’t talk?”

“Yes,” I tell my non-writing friends.

I realize how odd that may sound.

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New Voice: I.W. Gregorio on None of the Above

Browse-able Excerpt from Epic Reads

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

I.W. Gregorio is the first-time author of None of the Above (Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, 2015). From the promotional copy:

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?


When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place.

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Guest Post: Jean Reidy on Choosing a Writer’s Workshop

Cynthia Leitich Smith & Jean Reidy at The Writing Barn

By Jean Reidy

I’ve been tackling a new genre – the middle grade novel. And after hammering out the latest draft of a novel-in-progress and getting solid feedback, I was excited to put the “work” into a workshop.

So, I kept an eye out for just the right opportunity.

On a message board,

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New Voices: Kirsten Lopresti on Bright Coin Moon

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Kirsten Lopresti
is the first-time author of Bright Coin Moon (Sky Pony Press, 2014)(author blog). From the promotional copy:

Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Allen is an A-student who has her heart set on becoming an astronomer. But first she must break away from her mother, an eccentric failed beauty queen who has set up a phony psychic reading shop in their Oregon garage.

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