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By Melissa Walker of readergirlz
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

In conjunction with Support Teen Literature Day, top young adult authors, editors, teen lit advocates, and readers will “Rock the Drop” by leaving their books in public places for new readers to discover and enjoy.

In recognition of the readergirlz’s seventh birthday of promoting literacy and a love of reading among young women, our fans and followers are also encouraged to donate YA books (or time, or even monetary contributions) to seven very worthy literacy philanthropies.

Cyn supports Reading is Fundamental!
The groups include: First Book, The Lisa Libraries, Girls Write Now, 826 National, Room to Read, Reading is Fundamental, and World Literacy Foundation.

For this year’s Drop, we are also teaming up with Justine Magazine and I Heart Daily to help spread the world and build enthusiasm for this always-enjoyable kick off to spring reading season!

A nationwide effort of authors, publishers, librarians, educators, and readers

In its sixth year, Rock the Drop is part of a massive effort by librarians, young adult authors, educators, publishers, and avid readers to spur reading on a nationwide scale. The day aims to encourage teens to read for the fun of it.

Cyn is dropping...!

  • In past years, more than 100 young adult authors—including David Levithan, Sara Zarr, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen, and Cynthia Leitich Smith—have “rocked the drop,” leaving copies of their books in public places for teens to find.

  • Publishing houses both “Big Six” and indie alike have donated tens of thousands of books to dedicated literacy philanthropies, in addition to rocking the drop, too.

  • Teens, librarians, teachers, and other fans of YA literature are also invited to rock the drop, on their own or as a group.

  • Participants are encouraged to donate to any of our seven suggested philanthropies – or one of their own! Post on the Readergirlz Facebook page to update us on some of your favorite worthy causes.

Operation Teen Book Drop aims to reach a large number of teen groups,” rgz diva Melissa Walker said. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating our website’s seventh birthday with this fun, festive day!”

How to support Rock the Drop:

Learn more!

About Support Teen Literature Day

In its sixth year, Support Teen Literature Day is April 17, 2014, and will be celebrated in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week. Librarians across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their libraries. The celebration raises awareness that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre, as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.

About readergirlz

Lorie's new release!
readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Award for Innovations in Reading. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy.

Launched in March 2007, in celebration of Women's National History Month, readergirlz was cofounded by acclaimed YA authors - Dia Calhoun, Lorie Ann Grover, Justina Chen, and Janet Lee Carey. Readergirlz is currently maintained by awarded YA authors - Micol Ostow, Melissa Walker, and co-founder Lorie Ann Grover.

rgz Operation Teen Book Drop has donated over 30,000 new YA books to under-served teens.

touching the puppet head

Things I did today:

  • had more of my crotch hair destroyed with a laser
  • had a tasty sammich
  • took some books back to the library (where I am sitting right now)
  • wrote a script to help avoid repeating the $6000 mistake I made with Rita book 2
  • finally wrote some scripts to automatically switch Illustrator’s workspace when I connect/disconnect my big monitor
  • fixed the spine width on the cover to Rita 1 for reprint purposes

I can probably get more stuff done but these are all a bunch of little things that needed doing. Right now I think it’s probably time to leave the library and either go home or to a cafe.

Things up for doing later today:

  • rf2014 flier (and probably style guide too)
  • work on rita p.128 or 129 (still not sure if 128 is done or not)
  • rita book 2 fixes
  • kick back and read some of the comics I’m taking out of the library today, or some of the comics scored at ECCC
  • assemble the shelves that came this morning so I have space to store my growing inventory

There’s probably some other crap I’d like to do but who knows. This is the stuff at the top of my mind.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

automation is good

So I was thinking about my mistake with missing a page out of the Rita 2 book and how to NEVER MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN. I mean obviously I am now going to make sure to do multiple passes over my proofs, and get at least one set of eyes on them to make sanity checks for things like “there seems to be a page missing”. But the actual mistake was that I was manually editing a long list of files by hand:

Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,
Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,
Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,
Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,
Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,
Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,
Teczetherca Thur Uenu Chousun:Users:egypt:Documents:gfx:working: rita:books:2:working files:With,

I mean, can you tell at a glance that is missing? Would you even bother to check? Making this list is a tedious thing that requires executing the same simple steps over and over without error. In other words, it’s the kind of thing that humans are really terrible at, and that computers are really good at.

Or in pictures and words…

99 of Cups: Recursion Singing "99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall" is a long and tedious task. Maybe it'd be better to automate it!

99 of Cups: Recursion
Singing “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall” is a long and tedious task. Maybe it’d be better to automate it!

So I took my own advice and wrote a little Applescript to do this for the next book, then bundled it up into a tiny application and stuck it in the directory where all my working files for the books live. NEVER AGAIN WILL I MAKE THIS FILE BY HAND.

I mean it’s still possible for me to put the wrong files in there, but that’s a part of the process where I actually have my brain online, you know?

Here it is if you happen to want it. It pops up a file requestor to choose a directory, then outputs a CSV file with the full path to each file – exactly what InDesign wants when you use the Data Merge panel to build a book from a template.

Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.

Detcon 1

Well, that's my plane booked and my flight booked for Detcon 1 in July. Just felt the need to kibbitz with some writers and, I guess, go to Detroit. As usual, it will be a solo trip.

So, if you'll be there, let me know. I'm letting you know now. You see how that works?

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Bless Your Mechanical Heart is out!

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Just a quick reminder, my latest anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media, BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART, is out in the wild now and is getting awesome reviews. Cover art by Larry Dixon. There are some really awesome stories in this one.

I just love this cover.


caged heart (rough sketch)
- design by me as requested by my cousin who wanted it done for a tattoo.

Writing, blogging, life - also JETBIKE!

I've been mostly neglecting LJ of late. Are you on Tumblr? I am! In fact, these days I mostly post there, which I often auto-cross-post to my Twitter account and my Facebook account. If Tumblr x-posted to LJ, you'd see me here a LOT more. It's all about convenience, I'm ashamed to admit, because my jobs SUCK SO MUCH TIME. Not that that's bad, mind you - I LOVE teaching, and my teaching JOB itself has been getting steadily better; I LOVE directing the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and we have a bunch of REALLY BIG and EXCITING things about to happen (and, of course, it's always exciting); and I LOVE my writing career, which I'm finally, at long frakkin' last, TREATING like a CAREER... to the point that if my employer were to try to take that away from me, or if my day-job evolved to the point of no-time-for-writing, I would either fight to fix the problem or no longer work there. THAT's how much I've decided to dedicate myself to my writing.

Speaking of which:
  • Coming out soon is "Frederik Pohl: Mr Science Fiction (A Love Story)." Scheduled to appear in the Spring/Summer edition of Foundation: The International Review Of Science Fiction.

  • My Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop is getting close to full with a nice variety of writers. Really looking forward to this, as always! June 1 - 15.

  • As soon as I reach 1st Draft Complete on Jack & Stella, I'll dive back into short fiction. I have about three stories ready for quick revisions (HA!), ten more that need a bit more work but are worth it, and who-knows-how-many (six? ten?) in progress that I really want to get back to. Short stories are great in that they take a LOT less time per word than novels, and they'll help keep my name out there in the zeitgeist while the novels are making their way to shelves, but novels are ALL-CONSUMING. Every idea I come up with ends up in whatever book I'm currently working on. As it should be, I guess, but that means BLACK HOLE of IDEAS, and no new stories.

  • Wait, that's not true: I'm planning to develop several things that are back-story for Jack & Stella into stories of their own. Speaking of novels...

  • Just about ready to submit Empire Ship. It's done (and has been for a while), but I wasn't happy with some things - worked it out! I figured I'd just hold off until I had a draft of Jack & Stella, and fixed Empire Ship to my satisfaction, then submit them both together... speaking of which:

  • And I've reached another milestone on The Galactic Adventures of Jack & Stella: Just crested 80,000 words! That's up nearly 6000 in the past ten days, and all that word-count is brand-new in the past year... in fact, pretty much all of it is new in 2014, as I started over at the beginning at about 30,000 words when I realized it just wasn't working. Ah, the joys of novel-writing.

And now, because this is both inspiring and INSANE, I share OMG DANGEROUS JETBIKE MANIAC:

(Yes, I want to do this. Only I'll wear a helmet, thank you, and do a MUCH better job of engineering a proper bike platform. Are you hearing this, MadMatMax? Nevertheless, I'M IN LOVE. And now a subscriber of his.)

More like this:

Aw, yeah.

for Cynsations

What fun it was to chat with The Horn Book about creepy cuisine, werecats and the kind of shape-shifter I'd most like to be!

Pop over to check it out and join in the conversation!

See also a review of my latest novel, Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) from The Horn Book. Peek:

"Debut character Kayla — level-headed, religious, but also quietly proud of her shifter nature — holds her own, nicely complementing Yoshi’s swagger, Wild Card shifter Clyde’s newfound confidence, and human Aimee’s resourcefulness. Witty banter peppered with pop-culture references keeps the tone light even as the stakes ramp up."

Cynsational Notes

Reminder: E-volt is having a sale on Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) for $1.99 and Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith, $2.99--discount prices will hold through April! Listen to an audio sample of Feral Nights and read a sample of Eternal.

Life is a List

Life is a list of chores
To keep life long
And other people want done.

Every morning is another list
The same dishes, the same laundry,
The same store, the same job

Every morning is another list
A new problem at work
A new problem at home

Hit the road to run away
Find yourself on a different highway
With the same stores all along the way.


not sure if~~

I just took the Sun card from my Tarot deck and drew arrows all over it labeling all the knees of the various bees on it as “me”.
bees knees

Why? Well, I was poking at my Patreon campaign and came across this text: Patreon is an alternate way to support my work; you’re free to do this if you’re not interested in a physical book from the Kickstarter, or to do both Patreon and Kickstarter if you think I’m totally the bee’s knees of an entire hive full of happy comics-making bees. Do I need to draw that? I should totally draw that before I officially launch this campaign.

And I was like, yes, I do need to draw that, and I think I will do so right now. Or, rather, grab a hive full of bees I drew a few years ago and label it accordingly. I also grabbed another old image, changed it up a little more than that, and added it to the “thanks for pledging!” page.

Anyway. Looking at that image makes me want to go out and get some sun now.


Originally published at Egypt Urnash. You can comment here or there.



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