Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Newbery/Caldecott 2013: Mid-Year Predictions by Betsy Bird from A Fuse #8 Production at School Library Journal. Note: great to see part-time time Austinite Sara Pennypacker‘s Summer of the Gypsy Moths (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2012) receiving this level of buzz.

Interview with New York Times Bestselling and Award-winning Author Ellen Hopkins by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Peek: “I thought I’d write horror. Then I thought I’d write picture books. Neither, it turned out, was where I belonged as an author. A personal story brought me to YA fiction.” See also Ellen Hopkins on Fearless Writing from Adventures in YA and Children’s Literature.

An Unexpected Mirror by Namrata Tripathi from CBC Diversity. Peek: “I think initially I was simply happy to see a half-Sikh character in a story where I didn’t expect to, but then I read a few simple, powerful lines in the novel that seemed to make everything fall into place.”

Role Call: Want to Work with Kids in a Public Library? Here’s the Inside Scoop. By Betsy Bird from School Library Journal. Peek: “Public librarians need to reach out and meet up with local school librarians, public and private. Build relationships with these people, and you’ll get your hooks into students who might otherwise never have stepped foot in a public library without a gentle little push.” See also Protecting Our LGBTQ Youth by Alicia Eames, also from SLJ.

Reach a Reader Resources: “Whether you’re a book reviewer trying to find a home for extra review copies, a teacher looking to augment your classroom library, or a school librarian trying to get authors to visit your school, we’re here to help you find resources both online and offline.” Source: Jeanette Larson.

Chugging Through the (Early) Stages of a Writing Career by L.B. Shulman from EMU’s Debuts. Note: focus is from beginning to first sale; highlights common psychological pitfalls. Peek: “I was surprised to find that I had to write three or four books before I was competent enough to land an agent. Sadly, this was the point when I began to realize that writing wasn’t as easy as I first thought.”

It Turns Out I Have a Gender Bias. Who Knew? by K.A. Holt from K.A. Holt’s Online Disaster. Peek: ” I wouldn’t have done this on purpose, but because there is a gender bias deep within me — an unconscious softening of the world — I would have perpetuated my bias towards both my character and my reader. I am shocked by this. And not a little bothered by it.”

The Law of Diminishing Returns by Mary Kole from Peek: “When you’re doing revision, go through your manuscript and isolate
everything that repeats, whether it’s an encounter between characters, a
setting, or a plot point. Then make sure that each is different enough
from its predecessors and also that you craft its impact slightly differently from all the other times.”

Author Insight: Writerly Flaws from Wastepaper Prose. Features insights from various writers, including Margo Lanagan, Joy Preble, Greg Leitich Smith, and Cyn Balog.

Diversification Or How to Survive as a Writer by Linda Strachan from An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. Peek: “…look around at different ways you can ply your craft, different avenues that will provide an income stream but still allow you to keep true to
your inner muse.”

Featuring René‘s story, Aug. 2012

The War in El Salvador by René Colato Laínez from Peek: “You can hear the voices of the voiceless. In the news, they only talk
about names of war leaders, bombings, dead and desolation. But they
usually don’t talk about the people who are suffering in the war.”

Three Secrets by Brian Yansky from Crowe’s Nest. Peek: “W. Somerset Maugham once wrote, ‘There are three secrets to writing a novel. Unfortunately nobody knows what they are.’ Right. Thanks for nothing, Somerset.”

Book Publicity: Creating an Online Marketing Kit by Dana Lynn Smith from Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing. Peek: “…your media page isn’t just for the media – it’s a great place to
showcase your credentials and biographic information for a variety of
author and book publicity purposes.” Source: Seeing Creative.

Engineering a Fiction Series by Ash Krafton from QueryTracker.netBlog. Peek: “A series isn’t a three hundred thousand word novel that gets broken up into chunks. It’s a collection of novels connected by themes and characters.”

Bad-ass Viewpoint Characters by Alex Flinn from I Plan to Be a Diva Someday. Peek: “…it is important to give the reader something to relate to about the main character, a reason to sympathize.”

The Reader Must Want to Know What Happens Next by Lisa Cron from Jane Friedman. Peek: “Contrary to what many people think, a story is not just something that happens. If that were true, we could all cancel the cable, lug our Barcaloungers onto the front lawn, and be utterly entertained, 24/7, just watching the world go by.”

The 2012 Amelia Eliz­a­beth Walden Award final­ists are: The Berlin Box­ing Club by Robert Sharenow (Harper­Collins); Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel Books); Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Mar­garet K. McElderry Books); Shine by Lau­ren Myr­a­cle (Amulet Books); Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Gar­cia McCall (Lee & Low Books). Note: the award is given by the Assem­bly on Lit­er­a­ture for Ado­les­cents (ALAN) of the National Coun­cil of Teach­ers of Eng­lish (NCTE); win­ner will be announced July 23.

Character Trait: Glamorous by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “…having an aura of allure and fascination; a showy attractiveness.”

Are We Stripping Modern Books Bare? from Nathan Bransford. Peek: “I do think it’s a modern phenomenon. I also think that stripping the
unessential is a reflection of the fact that people are getting better
at writing books. But it’s complicated.”

Celebrating Sendak: a series of articles and more by top voices in children’s-YA literature from Hunger Mountain: A VCFA Journal of the Arts.

Interview with Gary Schmidt from Martha Brockenbrough. Peek: “I follow Steinbeck‘s pattern of 500 words a day per project.  I usually
try to work on two or three projects at a time, and for each I give 500
words–unless it’s a teaching day, when I usually work on only one
project.” Source: Lee Wind.

Upcoming YA Trends: More Mermaids, Psychological Thrillers, Human Experimentation and More by Gretchen Kolderup from YALSA Hub. Peek: “…attended publisher previews, watched preview webinars, picked up ARCs, and scoured upcoming releases titles to get a sense for what’s been published recently and what’s coming soon.” Source: Bookshelves of Doom. See also Trend Watch from Teen Librarian’s Toolbox.

Cynsational Screening Room

Some members of the Children’s Authors Network got together to share three words to open gateways to summer reading, starring Joe Cepeda, Mary Ann Fraser, Joan Bransfield Graham, Amy Goldman Koss, Michelle Markel, Alexis O’Neill, April Halprin Wayland, and Janet Wong.

Cynsational Giveaways

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

I’m having a quietly perfect writing week, filled with day after day of waking up and catching up with administrative to-dos and blogging, working out to 1980s power ballads, and writing.

Varian Johnson

Congratulations to fellow Austin and YA author Varian Johnson on the sale of his middle grade debut novel! Peek: “Cheryl Klein at Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books imprint has bought world rights, in a pre-empt, to author Varian Johnson’s middle-grade debut, ‘Jackson Greene Steals the Election.’ Pitched as ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ for middle-schoolers, the book stars an eighth-grade reformed con artist who has to get his old crew back together to stop the school bully from winning the all-powerful SGA Presidential election, while trying to win back his ex-best friend and first crush. Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger brokered the deal.”

14 Best Pieces of Advice from Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers by Mette Ivie Harrison. Peek: “When you start cycling, adding in a bit and then taking it back out—it’s time to turn in the manuscript (Cynthia Leitich Smith).”

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