Cynsational News & Giveaways

Find out Allen’s fictional dream date.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Author Insight: Fictional Matchmaking
from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: “If your character was best friends or in a
romantic relationship with a character from another book, who would it

Stonecoast MFA from Megan Frazer Blakemore. Peek: “If you are considering an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, there is a new option opening up. The Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing will be offering coursework in writing for children and young adults as part of their Popular Fiction Focus. What is unique about this program is that it is fully integrated into the larger program. As a writer, you would be part of the Popular Fiction group, which means not only would you have access to faculty who specialize in writing for youth, but also top writers in several genres including fantasy, science fiction, and romance.”

Next Steps and Considerations by Mary Kole from Peek: “The lessons and realizations (and then the energy and courage to use those insights when you’re back at the page) are up to you.”

Three Things Which Are Not Signs You Should Give Up on Your Messy Draft by Leila Austin from YA Highway.  Peek: “It might have been that
you didn’t get much sleep the night before, your computer started playing up, some neighbour was busy doing angry things to their hedge with a chainsaw, you weren’t quite caffeinated enough, you got interrupted six times by cats and small children and someone trying to sell you life insurance….” See also The Secret to Writing an Awesome Synopses Is…by Stephanie Kuehn from YA Highway.

The Perfection Myth by Laurel Garver from Laurel’s Leaves. Peek: “…perfectionism promises freedom from fear while creating more anxiety.” Source: Jennifer R. Hubbard. See also Stage 1 of Change: Making Up Your Mind by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid.

L.B. Schulman on Writing for the Long Haul from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “…writing has a lot in common with marriage. After the intensity of a
relationship wears off, it can be challenging to maintain interest. It
begins to take work.”

Fictional Point of View Characters to Introduce a True Story from Donna Bowman Bratton. Peek: “There are a number of reasons why authors choose to add a fictional
character to an otherwise true story. Sometimes, it’s because of a lack
of available research sources. Sometimes, it’s just a creative
storytelling decision.”

A Humble Demand: More Nonfiction Book Trailers Please by Travis Jonker from School Library Journal. Peek: “It seems nonfiction gets almost completely overlooked in the book trailer department. This needs to change.”

Getting a Traditional Book Deal After Self-Publishing by Judy Mandel from Jane Friedman. Peek: “I had sold about 2,000 print books and a few hundred e-books on Amazon.
It’s very hard to say which marketing tactic worked best, but all
combined produced this modest success.”

Wouldn’t You Like to Know…Libba Bray? from VOYA. Peek: “We’re bombarded with so much image and messaging in everything from politics to product branding that I think it would be good to learn how not to take this sort of messaging at face value, but to be able to decode and deconstruct it, to suss out the insidious reinforcing of gender and racial stereotypes, the beauty myth, consumerism, nationalism, etc. in order to make more conscious, informed choices and challenge that status quo.”

It Matters If You’re Black or White: The Racism of YA Book Covers by Annie Schutte from YALSA’s The Hub. Peek: “The first step toward change is awareness, and so below I’ve tried to
pull together a collection of examples of these forms of subtle and
not-so-subtle racism.” Note: don’t miss the excellent conversation in the comments.

Should You Always Show-Don’t-Tell? by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “But [Sara] Pennypacker says she didn’t write it humorous. Rather, the reader wrote it funny. What does she mean?”

Goals for 2013 by Varian Johnson from Quirk and Quill. Peek: “Now that 2012 is coming to a close, it’s time to come up with more
goals. And as I do every year around this time, I look back on the year
and use that as a way to gauge the future.”

Charlesbridge Editor Yolanda Scott: the Pre-NY13SCBWI Interview by Lee Wind from I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read. Peek: “…the term ‘mid-list’ gets thrown around a lot…for the sake of this question, let’s say it refers to published authors that are neither household names nor people at the onset of their career. And there are a whole lot of people like that, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle at any publishing house…”

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

The winner of Skinny by Donna Cooner (Scholastic, 2012) is Mary in Massachusetts.

The winners of three
packages of five new and award-winning titles from Groundwood Books, to
include Climate Change and Nobody Knows by Shelley Tanaka; Guacamole:
Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem by Jorge Argueta; Broken Memory:
A Novel of Rwanda by Elisabeth Combres (translated by Shelley Tanaka);
and My Name Is Parvana by Deborah Ellis
were Selena in Wisconsin, Heather in Ontario, and Joan in Rhode Island.

Cynsational Screening Room

Check out “It Gets Better: Write Your Own Future” from Hachette Books (Little, Brown); source: Blue Rose Girls.

More Personally

Many blessings to all of my friends and Cynsational readers celebrating Hanukkah!

It’s a quiet week here at Casa Leitich Smith and boils down to: Deadline. Shopping. Friends.

Oh, and I’m looking forward to the Austin Trail of Lights 5K Run on Saturday night!

What are Gate Crashing authors asking for this holiday season? by Pamela K. Witte from Ink & Angst.

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