Friday, July 01, 2011

Cynsational News & Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies Giveaway

Enter to win one of two signed copies of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson (Wiley Publishing, 2011). To enter, comment on this post (click link and scroll to comment), mention "giveaway entry" and include an email address (formatted like: cynthia at cynthialeitichsmith dot com) or a link to an email address. Or you can email me directly with "Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies" in the subject line. Author-sponsored. Deadline: July 15. This giveaway is for U.S.-Canada readers.

In related news, from June 29 to July 5, Deborah is offering daily “Free First Chapter Critique” giveaways, free downloads, excerpts from the book, and profiles of the 13 authors (including Cynthia Leitich Smith!), editors, and agents who contributed sidebars to the book. As the grand finale, she’s giving away a “Free Full Manuscript Edit” on the final day of the launch. Click over to DearEditor.com to check it out!

See Deborah on Why Perfectly Nice People Make Perfect Bad Guys from Cynsations. Note: five ways to make your antagonist believably sympathetic.

See also Guest Teaching Author Interview with Deborah Halverson and Book Giveaway by Carmela Martino from Teaching Authors: Six Children's Authors Who Also Teach Writing.

More News

Author Websites: The Basics from Kathleen Ortiz: Publishing + Digital + Chai = My Life. Peek: "Do not have automatic music: if someone's at work or in a quiet house and forgot the sound is on, it will irritate them and send them packing, never to return!"

Million-Dollar Mommy: Judy Blundell Moves from Star Wars to Noir by Nina Shengold and photographs by Jennifer May from Chronogram Magazine. Peek: "A hundred or so books into her career, at her editor’s urging, Judy Blundell finally published one under her own name. Her breakthrough teen noir What I Saw And How I Lied (Scholastic, 2008) won a National Book Award. Source: April Henry.

If I Were an Unpublished Writer, Would I Self-Publish? by Bob Mayer from Write It Forward: The Future of Publishing Is Here. Peek: "The more I think about it, the more I feel for a new writer with no backlist, the most important thing to do is write three manuscripts first, before investing heavily in promotion." Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

Five Thoughts About Writer Publicity by Patty Jansen from Must Use Bigger Elephants. Peek: "Publicity is not something you do for a few days, and then let it take care of itself. It’s something that takes a long time building up, and that improves if you put regular effort into it. It’s not something that ever goes away, either." Source: Jon Gibbs at An Englishman in New Jersey.

Get Corked: The Screenwriters' Trick for Plotting by Stina Lindenblatt from Seeing Creative. Peek: "Obviously, this is ideally done before you write your first draft. But even if you’ve written your first draft (or your third or fifth draft), you can still use this tool." Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

Congratulations to Donna Bowman Bratton for signing with literary agent Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary, and congratulations to Karen for signing Donna!

Recommended by Booklist.
Top Ten Biographies for Youth by Ilene Cooper from Booklist. Note: an annotated bibliography.

Infographic Reveals the Best Times to Post on Twitter and Facebook by Megan O'Neill from Social Times: Your Social Media Source.

A Bridge to Story by R.L. LaFevers from Shrinking Violet Promotions. Peek: "One of the things that I especially love about the beat sheet is that it takes narrative structure out of the lofty realms of literary criticism or writer’s workshops and puts the structure in terms that any reader would understand."

The Buffy Effect by Joy Prebel from Joy's Novel Idea. Peek: "...over the years, it was like a tutorial of storytelling - of how to mix pathos and humor and horror, how to hit the right funny beats, how to arc a series and characters and make it all blend." Note: "Buffy" had a huge impact on my writing. I often reference in in my author talks and author's notes.

Publishing and Why You Need a Game Plan: Keeping the Readers in Mind by Danyelle Leafty from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: "...keep your expectations real and write the next book. Find out what you should expect realistically and adjust yourself accordingly. And nothing keeps an author's books selling like having the next book come out, especially if each book is better than the last."

Cynsational Blogger Tip: Double check the spelling of names.

Interview with Alan Gratz by Mindy McGinnis from Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire. Peek: "Each rejection feels like a punch in the gut, whether it's your first or your fiftieth. It's whether you get up off the mat and take another swing that matters. Eventually you're going to connect."

New from Abrams.
Chatting with Poetry Man Lee Bennett Hopkins by Jama Rattigan from Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup. Peek: "A good anthology should have an arc. Most of my collections have a beginning, middle, and end so that readers feel they are completing a whole story."

AmyKossBlogThang: new blog from the author of 14 teen novels and many L.A. Times articles.

Interview: Trent Reedy on Words in the Dust Part 2 by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing With a Broken Tusk. Peek: "I could have just as easily written 'goodbye' when Zulaikha said 'khuda hafiz.' I could have written 'thank you' when she said 'tashakor.' I wanted to keep those words and a few others in Dari because my fellow soldiers and I used them so often during our time in Afghanistan." See also Part 1 and Part 3.

Diversity in YA Reading Challenge from Diversity in YA Lit. Features opportunities to participate for libraries, bloggers, and other readers. See the preliminary list of prizes.

The Politics of Story by Neesha Meminger from Hunger Mountain: the VCFA Journal of the Arts. Peek: "Everything is connected—the political, the creative, the economic, the social, the cultural, the personal. It is an intricately tangled web where each strand is an integral part of the whole. If we futz with one, we affect them all."

Random Acts of Publicity (Sept. 6 to Sept. 9, 2011) from Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Get ready to spread some author/book love!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (HarperTeen/US)
Why "World Rights, One Cover" Is Not the Best Idea by Ginger Clark, agent, Curtis Brown Ltd. Peek: "...the author benefits much more if they have a publisher on the ground in that country, doing their own homegrown promotion and creating a market-appropriate cover."

Blogging Etiquette Dos and Don'ts by Jon Gibbs from An Englishman in New Jersey. Peek: "If you see a post you want to share with your readers, by all means link to it, but please don’t copy someone else’s journal entry into a post on your own blog (even if you do give credit to the original author in your introductory paragraph)."

First Drafts: Gary Soto's 'Talking to Myself' and 'Sunday Without Clouds' by Alex Hoyt from The Atlantic. Peek: "I remember the first time I presented a poem to the class, all ten of us with sadness in our satchels. Buckley uncapped his fountain pen--a functional Parker--and began, 'I think we have a poem here, but...'"

Parent-vision, Teen-vision, and What It Means for Books to Reach Their Audience from Ashley Perez. Peek: "I...fight my way toward an articulation of what's a little off for me with the direction the #YAsaves conversation has gone."

Poetry for the Very Young by Jan Fields from The Institute of Children's Literature. Peek: "When dealing with young toddlers, they have difficulty grasping comparisons at all. To a toddler, dogs are so much like cats, that if you compare them, the child may have difficulty understanding that they are really different things at all."

Celebrating the Journey: The Myth of Arrival by Salima Alikhan. Peek: "...we forget to savor what we have right now, the bliss of being intimate with our stories, just us and them, with no one’s hungry eyes on them yet. Every author who has written under pressure, saddled with expectations, probably yearned for just a taste of that freedom again."

From Caroline Starr Rose

Book Clubs for Kids: Enter to Win a May B. Book Club Kit from Caroline Starr Rose from Caroline by Line.A great opportunity for reading circles and book clubs!


The kit would include:

  • Schwartz & Wade, Jan. 2012
    10 copies of May B.
  • discussion questions
  • background on the storyline and setting
  • copies of a literature-based assignment Caroline created called Where in the World Are We Reading (used successfully during her years teaching)
  • ideas for social studies and poetry tie-ins (if applicable)
  • bookmarks
  • CD with book trailer
  • interactive Skype visit

From Holly Thompson, SCBWI Tokyo Regional Advisor


Tomo, an anthology of YA fiction related to Japan, will be published by Stone Bridge Press in Spring 2012 to benefit teens in the quake- and tsunami-affected areas of Tohoku, Japan.

See details and submission guidelines. Note: The deadline is very tight--August 15--"since we are eager for the Tomo publication date to coincide with the 2012 one-year anniversary of the March 11 earthquake."



Recap for Those at ALA


More Personally

Thanks to Kit and the YA Reading Group at the Cedar Park (Texas) Public Library for your hospitality last Saturday!
This week I reviewed Ming Doyle's first sketches for the Eternal graphic novel.
I also met with Austinite, Nikki Loftin. Learn about her 2012 debut middle grade novel.


Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith Review from Carmel at Rabid Reads. Peek: "I like a novel that plays on my emotions and Blessed definitely achieves that in spades."

Check out this video of Boston Comic Con 2011 from Nerd Caliber, which includes Tantalize: Kieren's Story illustrator Ming Doyle, dressed as Thor.



In conjunction with my traditional summer blockbuster quest, I saw "Green Lantern." What I liked about it was depiction of the alien Lantern characters, iconic to the comics/mythology. I know this franchise has gotten off to a rocky critical start, but I'm a long-time fan of Hal Jordan and rooting for a great second movie. Note: my favorite Lantern is Kyle Rayner.



From Greg Leitich Smith:

Personal Links:



Cynsational Events

Jeff Crosby is launching Weiner Wolf (Hyperion, 2011) at 11:30 a.m. July 2 at BookPeople in Austin. Peek: "The Central Texas Dachshund Rescue will be here handing out information on how you can adopt a darling dachshund yourself - and will be bringing one of those wiener dogs for us to meet! We'll have hot dogs to snack on, crafts to do, balloon animals, a costume contest, and cupcakes! Wiener Wolf, Granny, and a wolf might even make an appearance." Don't miss it! See also Jeff's blog and learn more about him and the book from Mark G. Mitchell at How to Be a Children's Book Illustrator. Here's a quick promo video!

Jenny Moss will be signing at 2 p.m. July 16 at the Barnes & Noble Arboretum in Austin. Her latest book is Taking Off (Walker, 2011).

Jennifer Ziegler is hosting a launch party for Sass & Serendipity (Delacorte, 2011) at 2 p.m. July 23 at BookPeople in Austin.

2 comments:

Mindy McGinnis said...

WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED is a fantastic book. I'm pretty sure Blundell has another noir title come out soon, and I'll be buying it!

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Mindy, that makes two of us. Thanks for chiming in.

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