New Voice Interview & Giveaway: Kerri Kokias on Snow Sisters!

By Traci Sorell

In addition to covering publishing news pertaining to Native creators for Cynsations, I am excited to shine a spotlight on fellow Epic Eighteen authors and illustrators, all of whom have a debut picture book coming out in 2018.

One of the first releases from our group is Snow Sisters! by Kerri Kokias, illustrated by Teagan White (Knopf, Continue Reading New Voice Interview & Giveaway: Kerri Kokias on Snow Sisters! »

Author & Editor Interview: Jessica Lee Anderson, Madeline Smoot on Uncertain Summer

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’ve always had a fascination with Bigfoot; the idea that an ape/human creature could be secretly living in the woods both intrigued and terrified me as a child.

So when I got the opportunity to chat with the author and editor of Uncertain Summer by Jessica Lee Anderson (CBAY, 2017), I couldn’t pass it up. First, the promotional copy:

For decades something has lurked in the swampy lakes of East Texas. Continue Reading Author & Editor Interview: Jessica Lee Anderson, Madeline Smoot on Uncertain Summer »

Guest Post: Helena Echlin on How to Write (& Rewrite) a Tale of Suspense

By Helena Echlin

Cynsations Note: 


Happy Halloween! 


Yesterday we heard from Gillian French about techniques for building suspense. 


Today Helena Echlin shares her take on giving your readers goosebumps. 


And if you looking for even more ways to scare your readers,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Helena Echlin on How to Write (& Rewrite) a Tale of Suspense »

Guest Post: Gillian French on Hooking Readers: How to Build Suspense

By Gillian French

Cynsations Note: 


What scares you? Snakes? Spiders? Bigfoot? It’s different for everyone. Likewise, authors use different approaches for building suspense. 


Our Halloween treat for you is a glimpse at techniques from two YA authors for upping the stakes. 


We suspect this is a topic you want to know more about,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Gillian French on Hooking Readers: How to Build Suspense »

Guest Post: Sarah Albee on Brain Training: How Writers Must Learn to Shift Gears

By Sarah Albee

If you write for kids, chances are you are working on several things at the same time.

 Most writers of books for kids don’t have the luxury of working on one project for years and years. We are short-order cooks, juggling multiple tasks at multiple stages.

So how do we shift gears between projects?

To answer this question, I thought I’d start by giving you a tour of what’s on my own highly-organized and tidy desk today:

My laptop,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Sarah Albee on Brain Training: How Writers Must Learn to Shift Gears »

Guest Post: Candice Ransom on Working Backwards & Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten

By Candice Ransom

People always ask writers how they get their ideas. Ideas are everywhere—people should ask how does a book come about? 

Over my 36-year career as a writer of children’s books, I’ve written a dozen picture books.

Normally, an idea comes to me and over a period of months, I’ll write the text. If the manuscript is acquired, the editor finds an illustrator,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Candice Ransom on Working Backwards & Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten »

Guest Post: Becca Puglisi on Setting as a Characterization Tool

By Becca Puglisi

In storytelling, our number one job is to make readers care. We want to ensure that our fiction captivates them on many levels and that our characters seem like living, breathing people who continue to exist in readers’ minds long after the book closes.

So how do we do this?

Well, it may not seem like the obvious choice, but the setting can be one of the best tools through which to organically reveal truths about your characters.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Becca Puglisi on Setting as a Characterization Tool »

Guest Post: Carol Coven Grannick on Open Expectations: Preparing for an Artist’s Residency: Internal Logistics

By Carol Coven Grannick

I headed to my first writer’s residency at The Ragdale Foundation at the end of March with an imagined vision of open space, open time, and what I call “open expectations” – no finish line, no deadline, no shoulds or have tos about the challenging revision of my middle grade novel in verse or the small community of artists of which I’d be part.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Carol Coven Grannick on Open Expectations: Preparing for an Artist’s Residency: Internal Logistics »

Guest Post: Amy Bearce on World-Building Woes (& Wows)

By Amy Bearce

Confession: I have a terrible time with world-building. So, naturally, I consistently write fantasy, where world-building is critical.

You gotta be kidding me! Credit: Pixabay, mintchipdesigns, CC0

In real life, I’m not very observant about the space around me. I notice people’s emotions, but not what they are eating or what they are wearing. But in writing, all those little details make a place come alive.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Amy Bearce on World-Building Woes (& Wows) »

Guest Post: Lara Herrington Watson on Analyze This: A Grammatical Breakdown of Favorite First Chapters

click to enlarge

By Lara Herrington Watson
@lashwatson

As I finished writing my second YA novel, I worried that my writing was getting stagnant.

What if I was learning bad habits that I would repeat through all of my future novels?

In order to glean some knowledge about my writing, I completed grammatical analyses on the first chapters of works by some of my favorite authors (Jane Austen,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Lara Herrington Watson on Analyze This: A Grammatical Breakdown of Favorite First Chapters »