Saturday, July 07, 2012

Book Trailer: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the book trailer for Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (Katherine Tegen, 2012). From the promotional copy:

New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?


Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Eight Tips for Unlocking the Secrets of Mystery Writing by Lisa and Laura Roecker from Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing. Peek: "Don’t write a damsel in distress."

Children's Bookshops are Bucking a UK-wide Decline, according to a new report by the Booksellers Association (BA), from BBC. Peek: "Not a single children's bookshop closed in 2011, said the report, despite a steady drop in the number of independent stores, with 73 closing their doors for good."

Ten Reasons Parents Should Read Multicultural Books to Kids by Meera Sriram from InCultureParent. Source:

Author Insight: Negative Reviews from Wastepaper Prose. Insights from authors Joy Preble, Margo Lanagan, Greg Leitich Smith, and more.

How to Polish Your Writing Until It Shines by Stina Lindenblatt from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: "Start at the final sentence of your manuscript and read it out loud. Then read the one before it. It really does work."

Use Adverbs Fearlessly by Jael McHenry from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "So in your first draft, I say, deploy those adverbs fearlessly. Throw them in wherever you think they make sense. And when you go through the text on your first edit, see whether they’re really necessary."

The First Sale: Expectations vs. Reality (Part 2) by Kristin Halbrook from YA Highway. See also part 1. Peek: "When an author gets their contract to sign can vary greatly. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't take long for mine, compared to others I know who might have waited months and months. But I wasn't surprised when my first revision letter came later than promised--also standard procedure."

Donna Cooner on the Terrible Truth from Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing. Peek: "I didn't know it at the time, but if I had stopped there I would have missed something really amazing. And that's the thing with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in writing and in life."

Define Success by Jane Lebak from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: " agent couldn't sell my last novel and my next isn't yet on submission: so am I a failure? Or is my definition of success skewed to something well-nigh impossible to achieve?"

More Author Insights on Negative Reviews from Wastepaper Prose. Featuring insights from Barry Lyga, Lissa Price, Leigh Bardugo and more.

Looking Back at Early Writing by Andrew Porter from Glimmer Train. Peek: "There are any number of reasons for why stories get orphaned and forgotten, why they get sent to the darkest corners of our hard drives. Sometimes they may belong there, but other times I think they remain there simply because we've chosen to forget them, or worse, because we've given up on them." Source: Jane Friedman.

Irreversible Plot Points by Mary Kole from Peek: "Anchor the forward momentum of your story along plot turning points that divide your tale into a clear 'before' and 'after' with no going back."

Going Both Ways: Outlines for Plot, Panster, for Character by Janice Hardy from The Other Side of the Story. Peek: "If you like a little structure to keep you on track, but relish the discovery of an unfolding story, a combo outline/pantser style might be for you." Source: QueryTracker.netBlog.

A Ripple in the Pool: Multicultural Books with Water at Their Heart by Marjorie from Peek: "Our blue planet provides us with endless experiences of water – and these are reflected in the variety of stories and non-fiction resources available."

Professor Nana AKA Dr. L's LS 5385 Blog: features reviews and recommendations of a wide variety of children's-YA books by a foremost authority and professor at Sam Houston State University.

Discovering Your Readers: A Low Residency Course in Sane Self-Promotion of Children’s Books at The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas

October 2012-Februrary 2013

Kirsten Cappy of the children’s book marketing firm, Curious City will lead eight children’s books creators in a low-residency class in the self-promotion of each creator’s published book or scheduled publication.

Classroom time and one-on-one sessions will focus on decreasing anxiety about promotion by exploring comfortable and unique ways to introduce your books to potential readers.

Promotional topics will include increasing your web presence, blogging to reach new readers, communicating with librarians and booksellers, creating tools to increase your books “worth”, creating contests, building giveaways, and other initiatives.

Assignments will be given to students between sessions to complete customized outreach. Group marketing commonalities, differences, and other oddities will be shared as teaching moments for all. Members will also be able to share progress and ask questions on a private class blog.

For class schedule (in person classes held at The Writing Barn or attend via Skype,) application, and registration and fees see here.

Cynsational Giveaways
The winner of a signed copy of Keep Calm and Query On: Notes on Writing (and Living) with Hope by Luke Reynolds (Divertir, 2012) was Carl in Arizona.

The winner of a signed copy of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu (Walker, 2012) was Lesley in Singapore.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

My attention this week went to scrutinizing pass pages for the first book in the upcoming spin-off series. I'm not trying to be coy -- I'd tell you the title, if it were finalized.But we're getting closer!

Thanks to everyone at Bastrop (TX) Public Library for a wonderful event!

Review of "Haunted Love" by Cynthia Leitich Smith by Mera from Mera's YA Book List. Peek: "'Haunted Love' was an enticing and surprising short story, that just increased my need for Smith's novels. Now to get Diabolical." Note: "Haunted Love" and "Cat Calls" -- both set in the Tantalize series universe are available for free download by major e-tailers.

Celebrating Nonconformity: Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Instantly Interruptible: A Bookworm Mom's Blog about Parenting and Children's Books. Peek: "A book like this will give such 'wild' children the idea that it's okay to be who they are, but it's also possible to fit in (and quiet down) every now and then." Note: post also offers interesting insights into parenting non-conventional children. Learn more about Holler Loudly, and see Holler Loudly teacher guides, developed by Shannon Morgan (interview), for Pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade

Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith from Bookshelves of Doom. Peek: "...the characters are likable and believable, the dialogue rings true, the different voices are all distinct, and the action is fabulously entertaining—but it's the worldbuilding that really shines." See also Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize Series: a recap of reviews from Bookshelves of Doom. Peek: "Love. These. Books."

Reminder: the Tantalize series giveaway, in celebration of the Diabolical (Walker U.K.) cover reveal is ongoing. International; winner's choice of books in the series; don't miss out!

Personal Links:
Learn more about We've Got a Job
From Greg Leitich Smith:

Thursday, July 05, 2012

New Voice: Laurisa White Reyes on The Rock of Ivanore

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations
Laurisa White Reyes is the first-time author of The Rock of Ivanore (Book One of the The Celestine Chronicles)(Tanglewood, 2012)(blog). From the promotional copy:

Marcus Frye, enchanter's apprentice, sets out to in search of the rock of Ivanore, but what is it and where will he find it? 

When his path crosses that of an Agoran half-breed named Jayson, their quests become one. Their journeys soon become a race to defend their homeland from enemy invasion. 

As Marcus learns the value of loyalty and self-sacrifice, he also discovers truths about himself he never dreamed possible. 

Who has been your most influential writing/art teacher or mentor and why?

I have always been a writer. I wrote my first poem when I was five and knew from a very young age that someday I wanted to grow up and write books. But that dream nearly ended in my sophomore year of high school.

My teacher at the time tried to drill into me the mechanics of writing essays, bibliographies, proper punctuation and so forth, but I had a difficult time with it. When she called me into her office and handed me my term paper with a big red ‘D’ on the cover, I broke down and wept.

Visit Laurisa's blog.
I believed I was a terrible writer, that I could never succeed at what I had always dreamed of doing.

The next year I was assigned to Elizabeth Rose’s English class. She was enthusiastic, kind and supportive. Instead of pointing out the flaws in my writing, she emphasized my strengths. She recruited me to be her classroom aide, and nearly every day for two years, she’d talk with me after school about anything I wanted. I went from a failing student to a straight ‘A’ student, and even received a special recognition award from the English department when I graduated.

Mrs. Rose was my mentor and friend. She showed me that I could succeed, that I did have the talent and abilities I needed to become a writer. After 25 years, we are still close friends. My kids call her Aunt Elizabeth.

Every child needs someone like Elizabeth Rose in their life.

As a fantasy writer, going in, did you have a sense of how events/themes in your novel might parallel or speak to events/issues in our real world? Or did this evolve over the course of many drafts?

In my book, The Rock of Ivanore, Marcus is an enchanter’s apprentice who can’t do anything right. Every time he tries to cast a spell, he botches it.

Laurisa's rejection letters.
Marcus is a lot like I was at that age, like a lot of kids. Adolescence is challenging because we tend to judge ourselves pretty harshly sometimes. It is too easy to lose faith in yourself when you are young.

Of course, there have been times when I’ve doubted myself as an adult, too, like getting 40+ rejection letters before finally publishing my first book.

Like Marcus, I was fortunate to have several mentors along the way, and my skills as a writer improved with time and practice. Marcus’s skills as an enchanter improve as well, and eventually he finds the courage and confidence he needs to use those skills to succeed in his quest.

I am hoping that kids who read my book will relate to Marcus and realize that they can succeed at whatever their particular goals and dreams may be. I didn’t start off intending my book to have any message. It just evolved naturally from my own experiences and from those of my children.

When I wrote the first few drafts, I was just interested in writing something my kids would enjoy reading. But I think self-doubt and discouragement are universal, as is the desire to reach for something better. I believe all children have potential. They just need to believe in themselves, but sometimes they need someone else to believe in them first.

Laurisa's office.
Cynsational Notes

Find Laura at Goodreads, facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Career Builder & Giveaway: J. Patrick Lewis

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

A Ph.D. in Economics (The Ohio State University, 1974), J. Patrick Lewis (“Pat”) turned to children’s poetry at age forty.

He has since published 80 children’s poetry and picture books to date with Creative Editions, Knopf, Atheneum, Dial, Harcourt, Little, Brown, National Geographic, Chronicle Books, Candlewick, Sleeping Bear Press, Scholastic Teaching Resources, and others.

Over one hundred of his adult poems have appeared in small magazines and journals. His first book of adult poems, Gulls Hold Up the Sky, was published by Laughing Fire Press in 2010.

Pat has made nearly 500 school visits all over the world, and he has collected a T-shirt with logo at every school. He was recently given the 2010-2011 NCTE Excellence in Children’s Poetry Award, announced every two years.

In May 2011, he was named the third U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate (2011-2013).

Would you describe your career as a hike up a mountain, a winding road, a path of hills and valleys or hop-scotching from rock to rock across the rapids? Why?

Never having had that electrifying teacher or librarian who turned me to poetry as a kid, I came to it very late in a career that was already “Over there — Behind the shelf” (teaching college economics).

Poetry, once discovered, led to three years of poring over untold numbers of poetry volumes and texts, though I was hardly able to quit my day job.

Included in the multi-book giveaway!
Self-teaching is a bracing experience. The best metaphor to describe my circumstances is the rapids. But there was no “hop-scotching” about it, unless you define the occasional poem accepted in a small journal a success.

I raced down those roiling rapids for seven years, passing hundreds of signs that from the shore that shouted “No!” Rejection followed rejection with the rapidity of tracer bullets.

But my message to schoolchildren is advice that I have always taken myself: Nothing succeeds like failure. Make failure your friend. Ignore the Muse, who is usually on vacation at Richard Wilbur’s.

A sweet whisper from the Muse—inspiration—is overrated anyway. Poetry is mostly dedicated hard work. Create your own Muse by reading, reading, reading. Then and only then are you ready to take up arms against the beast. If you consider yourself a writer, giving up does not enter the conversation.

How have you grown as a writer? What skills have you seen improve over time? What did you do to reach new levels? What are areas that still flummox you at times?

Despite the hard work (and pleasure) of learning the poet’s trade, enthusiasm was not the key to an invitation that I was hoping for. Frankly, but unbeknownst to me at the time, my first poems were embarrassing. And it took some good people, most often my twin brother, to hold up the mirror of my pedestrianism. As Maxim Gorky once said to Chekhov, “When I read your stories, I feel as if I am writing with a log.”

Passion alone is not enough. If I have developed anything over the years, I like to think that my ear has become better attuned to distinguish the great from the good, the middling from the awful, and can tell me just where my own work has gone off the tracks.

The poet Donald Hall once said that poets should wake up every day and tell themselves that they are going to write great poetry. Will they succeed? Not very likely. And yes, that flummoxes me, as it must every poet. But when was that ever the point?

The point is in the trying. You can substitute music, dance, painting or any of the other arts for poetry, and Hall’s assertion would be just as valid.

Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you should have done differently? What and why?

Occasionally, I regret that I didn’t start writing poetry when I was twenty instead of forty, that I didn’t get a Ph.D. in English, or at least an M.F.A. instead of Economics.

But, cliche though it is, good things happen to those who wait. And I’m pleased that I was never one of the “insiders” who, I think, must unlearn so many bad habits of creative writing classes, not the least of which is trying to write the way their poetry professors do.

I do regret that I wasn’t weaned at an earlier age on classic poetry—adult poems and children’s verse alike. It’s been a long process of “catching up” during my second career.

But I love the chase, discovering minor poets whose work has been overlooked or underrated, stumbling upon new, sometimes foreign, verse forms, and knowing that there is so much poetry to look forward to.

Of all of your books to date, which one are you the most proud of? Why?

I’m asked this question at virtually all of my school visits. My stock answer is that my books are like my three children: I love them all for different reasons.

But of course I do have favorites as far as the art goes, and here I have been blessed beyond the telling. Pure dumb luck. I’ve been assigned some of the world’s greatest illustrators, for which I can take no credit. These are artists who have evoked my words with unspeakable grace. So there are at least a dozen titles that I would be proud to let stand as a legacy.

As much as I love writing nonsense verse, I am especially gratified with the poems I have written to honor minorities, such as, Freedom Like Sunlight: Praisesongs for Black Americans (Creative Editions), and a forthcoming 2013 book in that vein, When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders (Chronicle Books).

For sheer beauty, though, the two books I have been honored to do with the incomparable illustrator and Hans Christian Andersen winner Roberto InnocentiThe Last Resort and The House (both from Creative Editions)—hold pride of place.

Super Cynsational Giveaway

Wow! Enter to win a signed copies of all of these 2012 titles by Pat:

Take Two! A Celebration of Twins, with Jane Yolen, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Candlewick)

What’s Looking at You, Kid? illustrated by Renee Graef (Sleeping Bear)

Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, illustrated by Michael Slack (Harcourt)

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs, with Jane Yolen, illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmons, (Charlesbridge)

Plus, three books in the Tugg & Teeny series: Tugg & Teeny; Tugg & Teeny: Jungle Surprises; and Tugg & Teeny: That's What Are Friends For (Sleeping Bear).

Author-sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. only. Deadline: midnight CST July 17.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

    More Information

    Pat's 2012 books also include:
    However, they're not yet available (and, thus, not included in the giveaway). So keep a lookout for them this fall/winter!

    Cynsational Notes

    The Career Builders series offers insights from children's-YA authors who written and published books for a decade or more. The focus includes their approach to both the craft of writing and navigating the ever-changing business landscape of trade publishing.

    Monday, July 02, 2012

    Guest Post: Brenda Peterson on Leopard and Silkie: One Boy's Quest to Save the Seal Pups

    By Brenda Peterson
    for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations 

    Henry Holt, 2012

    As a novelist and National Geographic author, I pay close attention to my own backyard beach here in the Pacific Northwest where river otters roll in our grass, Great Blue Herons and eagles nest in my kitchen tree, and mighty orcas and harbor porpoises sail by during our picnics.

    One day while washing the dishes, I glanced out my Seattle waterfront window to see the tail flukes of a gray whale slapping the waves.

    With this marine life a part of my daily world, it’s no wonder that many of my adult books — from the environmental thriller Animal Heart (Sierra Club, 2004) to the memoir Build Me an Ark: A Life with Animals (W.W. Norton, 2001, 2002)— are about the sea and the fellow creatures who share our shores.

    Brenda's cats help edit the layout; photo by Brenda Peterson

    When a seal pup hauls out on our backyard stretch of rocky beach, worlds collide. Human and animal meet, often for the first time. A newborn seal pup faces many dangers: dogs off leash, joggers, curious beachcombers, and in the summer, volleyball games and hundreds of sunbathers.

    For many years, my neighbors would gather together and just sit protectively over any seal pup left on our beach while the mother swam far out into the Salish Sea to fish. But in 2007, there was a bumper crop of newborn seal pups on our busy, urban Alki Beach.

    Here’s what humans look like to a seal pup onshore:

    From Leopard and Silkie; photos/illustrations by Robin Lindsey and text by Brenda Peterson

    To be good neighbors and help protect seal pups, we formed the volunteer grassroots organization, Seal Sitters. We’ve been trained by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to cordon off the seal pup with yellow tape, like a big crib on the beach. Then we carefully observe, educate passersby, and most of all, keep off-leash dogs away from the vulnerable pups.

    Since 2007, over 500 volunteers, including kids, have taken our Seal Sitters’ training. Some kids watch over pups when doing their homework on the beach.

    art by Uko Gorter

    One summer, our Seal Sitters volunteers were watching over a very underweight seal pup, Leopard, as he rested in the rocks near Alki Beach. We were worried that Leopard, a golden, spotted seal, might not survive weaning. Seals spend half of their lives on shore resting, nursing, and regulating their body temperatures.

    Day after day, an increasingly thin Leopard hauled out onto the beach, hiding in rocks from joggers, dogs off leash, and curious beachcombers. He was as beautiful as he was vulnerable.

    Leopard, 2007 from Leopard and Silkie, photo by Robin Lindsey

    The weaning season is especially dangerous for pups whose mothers have left them after four-to-six weeks to fish on their own. Even though we have a healthy harbor seal population in Washington State, only 50 percent of seal pups survive their first year.

    Threats include wild predators, dogs, infection, dehydration, starvation, ingestion of plastics from balloons or bags, and human-caused injuries.

    It’s a tough life out there on the beach, but people and especially kids can make a difference. Like Miles, our Russian boy Seal Sitter whose passion for all things animal makes him a hero.

    Here’s Miles on the beach:

    Miles, six-year-old Seal Sitter, from Leopard and Silkie; photo: Robin Lindsey

    Robin Lindsey, the photographer-illustrator of this picture book, and my co-founder of Seal Sitters, noticed that Leopard was getting thinner by the day. We worried that Leopard might not survive weaning. Then one morning, Robin found Leopard sleeping cozily with another pup, Silkie.

    She was a little older, plumper, and her fur shone a luminous white in the misty marine light. Silkie slept sweetly with her head on Leopard. Silkie taught the smaller pup to fish for himself. The two pups were such great friends and so adorable, delighting our kid and adult Seal Sitters every day.

    “This is a children’s book,” I told Robin as she snapped a zillion photographs of Leopard and Silkie.

    Problem was, I’d never written for children, only adults.

    Writing a picture book? The difficult dance and haiku of capturing a story in only a thousand words? It seemed way beyond me. After sixteen books, I was again a debut author.

    Silkie on the shore; photo by Robin Lindsey

    But my writer friends argued that a children’s book about marine mammals was a next logical step for me. I’d studied whales and dolphins for two decades and chronicled their lives in such books as Living by Water and Nature and Other Mothers (Ballantine.)

    In fact, my second memoir, I Want to Be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth, begins and ends with Seal Sitting scenes. It was selected a “Top Ten Best Non-Fiction Book” of 2010 by The Christian Science Monitor. Here’s the first chapter, “Saving Seals,” published in Orion magazine.

    Learn more.

    The more Robin and I and other Seal Sitters watched over Leopard and Silkie, the more I realized that here was a true story of friendship and survival. Leopard and Silkie were going through what kids do — separation from the mother and finding friends to survive. This story needed telling!

    With Robin’s gorgeous photos, I wrote a draft called "Pups on the Beach" and found a children’s book agent, Erin Murphy. She sold the picture book to revered editor Christy Ottaviano, who has her own imprint at Henry Holt for Young Readers.

    Christy championed the book and guided us every step of the way. I kept trying to figure out the narrative arc of the story. Robin kept making her daily “sweeps” of the shore and documenting the lives of our Salish Sea pups. Robin’s fabulous “blubberblog” is on or Seal Sitters website. It is there she chronicles the dramatic lives of seals who grace our shores.

    We lived the story along with Leopard and Silkie. As did all the kids who faithfully kept watch over these two pups. One of the kid Seal Sitters, Etienne, organized a beach cleanup to keep the seals safe from marine debris. Etienne was interviewed with me on the recent NPR “Living on Earth” program that aired nationally.

    Etienne and her sister Noemi, Seal Sitting on Alki beach; photo by Robin Lindsey
    Our teenage seal sitters patrolled the summer beach boardwalk on their skateboards. Kids of all ages made Seal Sitting their school science projects and even community service. In the tradition of Jane Goodall, who always named her chimps and documented their stories, whenever a kid discovered a seal pup first, they were given the honor of naming the pup.

    So over the years we’ve had fabulous seal pup names — Spud, after our local Spud’s Fish and Chips, “Feurte,” which means “strong” in Spanish because the pup was injured and survived a nasty wound while we protected him on the beach; and a very plump lady-of-leisure pup, whom Robin named, “Queen Latifah” because she lounged on beach rocks while an adoring public watched for 67 straight days.

    Scholastic magazine ran two stories in 2009 on young Seal Sitters for their Super Science and Science in Action magazines, read in over 550,00 classrooms. We were getting seal reports and emails from kids in Scotland and Russia.

    I always tell readers that this picture book is the most difficult book I’ve ever written. Many adult writers are under the misconception that children’s books must be easy — after all, how could so few words matching a lot of beautiful photos be so hard? But this book took us three years in the making.

    The boy hero grew taller, naturally lost his front teeth, learned English, and is now in third grade. The pups were only with us for a few weeks one summer and so the photos of them are few. Sometimes the light was almost gray from marine mists. These pups are wild, not captive in a zoo whenever a photographer wants to snap a shot. What always had to change in the editing and production was the text. And that was my job.

    In the edit stages, I placed about 100 photos on the floor of my guest room and walked around them for hours each day, rearranging them like dominoes and trying to fit the true story into a narrative arc. Whenever I was not hovering over the photos in bewilderment, I was going about my life with an imagined giant crossword puzzle of photos and words floating above my head.

    I’m sure there are many more accomplished picture book authors who have figured out a sophisticated way to weave art with their words. But for me, this was what worked best.

    My biggest surprise as a debut children’s book author is how much I enjoy it. Children’s and YA authors seem so much saner and more collegial than the adult book world. I joined SCBWI and attended the international conference last summer in Los Angeles and was struck by how cooperative and helpful everyone was. And such enthusiasm!

    In fact, I’ve found so many acts of kindness and generosity in the picture book world. An ace bookseller is taking us and Leopard and Silkie into the Seattle schools; children’s librarians are inviting us to talk to school assemblies; other authors, conservation groups, zoos, and aquariums are asking us to present our slide show from the book all over the country.

    And unlike so many of the adult books for which I’ve had to travel thousands of miles to research, this book began in my own backyard. Just by paying attention to my neighbors, who happen to be animals.

    Pupping season begins in mid-June in the south Salish Sea. By then, it is already in full swing on the outer coasts. We always keep a lookout for a newborn with Leopard’s golden spots or Silkie’s pure white fur. The next generation.

    For more photos, audio, and video, please visit: and

    Cynsational Notes 

    The Leopard and Silkie site is excellent -- both for those interested in learning more about Seal Sitters and this book and also, for you marketing mavens, as a model of a successful tie-in website for a children's book.

    Sunday, July 01, 2012

    Event Report: Writing & Illustrating for Young Readers

    By Cynthia Leitich Smith
    for Cynsations

    Personal highlights of the summer include my teaching a workshop and speaking at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers in Sandy, Utah (Salt Lake City area).

    I participated as a faculty member in WIFYR at the bequest of my long-time friend, fellow author, and WIFYR chair Carol Lynch Williams, shown here at King's English Bookshop.

    Thank you to my brilliant assistant, Courtney, as well as my other utterly splendid YA fantasy/paranormal workshop students -- Andria, Aurie, Camille, Elliott, Lana, Paige, Sarah and Suzanne for making the experience such a success!

    Alas, I didn't manage to get (non-blurry) photos of the whole faculty, but here's a peek at:

    Fellow faculty member Matt Kirby
    Fellow faculty Tim Wynne-Jones
    I hugely enjoyed visiting with each of them and all of them--authors, editors, and agent! The attendees were all upbeat and terrific company, too.

    After the conference, Greg and I spent a couple of extra days in the Salt Lake City area.

    We visited the zoo...
    Saw some big kitties...
    And then I took him to pet the dinosaurs!

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