Cynsational News & Giveaways

RITA Nom: The Farm by Emily McKay

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

2013 RITA Nominees for Best Young Adult Romance from YA Fresh. Peek: “The Romance Writers of America have announced the finalists in their prestigious RITA contest. Here are the 2013 finalists in the Young Adult Romance category…”

The Art of Using Literary Devices and Techniques by Melissa Donovan from Fiction Notes. Peek: “I’ve found some resources that make a distinction between storytelling techniques, which deal with the structure of a story, and language techniques, which deal with how we choose and use words.”

Interview with Book App Designer Roxie Munroe by Digital Content Task Force from ALSC Blog. Peek: “Most important, you must have a good story, idea, or concept. Then the ‘assets’ – text, art, narration/voice-over, sounds, music – need to be created and have to be of the highest quality.”

The Greenhouse Funny Prize from Greenhouse Literary. Peek: “The Greenhouse Funny prize is open to un-agented writers writing funny fiction for children of all ages.” Deadline: July 29.

Writing on Schedule by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “Each morning look at your day’s demands, appointments, and activities. In this particular day, where is a time slot you could set aside for fifteen minutes of writing?”

Advice for Writers: Are You a Cable Channel or a Broadcast Network? by Brent Hartinger from Brent’s Brain. Peek: “Does the writer’s work have widespread, ‘mass’ appeal — just like the broadcast networks? Or does it have a quirkier, more challenging sensibility for a ‘niche’ audience, like the cable channels?”

What Makes a Good YA Coming Out Novel? by Claire Gross from The Horn Book. Peek: “…what makes such a book more than just an issue novel? What gives it that special combination of universality and particularity that allows it to reach a wide audience while at the same time speaking to individual readers on a deeply personal level? What makes a coming-out novel good?”

Physical Attributes Entry: Fingers by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “When a person is nervous or worried, the fingers are great indicators.”

You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You: Feminism and YA Romance by Rachel Lieberman from Ingrid’s Notes. Peek: “…there are ways to develop a good feminist story without making it preachy or propaganda. I’ll share some methods that I found useful and talked about in my lecture.”

Twitter Promotion Tips for Authors by Chris Robley from The BookBaby Blog. Peek: “I’ve compiled some articles on Twitter promotion tips, etiquette, and more.”

Thanks, Maurice by Steven Heller from The New York Times. Peek: “Mr. Sendak once told me that King Kong was a great character and had influenced him when he created ‘Wild Things.'”

A Character By Any Other Name by Sarah Pinneo from Peek: “When a verb or adjective is used as a name, the character takes on a gleam of action immediately. Luke Skywalker, for example, is a very memorable and actionable name.”

Argentinian illustrator Isol wins Astrid Lindgren Award by Alison Flood from The Guardian. Peek: “The world’s largest award for children’s literature has been won by a picture book illustrator whose work ‘exposes the absurdities of the adult world’.”

Escaping Conflict, Seeking Peace: Picture Books That Relate Refugee Stories and Their Importance by Marjorie Coughlan from Peek: “The refugee experience can be divided into three main areas: the flight, living in a refugee camp or in a detention centre, and adapting to a new home. Stories for children can focus on one, two or all three of these issues: but they all have one thing in common — they provide a stepping stone towards empathy and expanding global awareness and vision in their readers.”

Author Interview with David Lubar by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Peek: “Straight out of college in 1976, I set out to break into print. I collected 100 or so rejections for everything from light verse to stories to magazine-article pitches before making any sales.”

A Matter-of-Fact Approach to Diversity by Brent Hartinger from Brent’s Brain. Peek: “I’m not a member of any of those above groups. And when I write about them, I admit to feeling a little nervous. I’m gay, so I know about stereotypes, about how certain characters are almost always portrayed a certain way, how the stories often seem to go the same cliched direction. I know how frustrating that feels.” See also On Authenticity from Finding Wonderland.

Chris Eboch on Self-Publishing and Middle Grade Novels: Should You or Shouldn’t You? from Project Mayhem. Peek: “Self-publishing can be especially appealing to authors with out-of-print books. Even if sales are low, you have the satisfaction of knowing the books are still available, and you can bring copies to sell at school visits.”

Making a Living as a Writer (Part 1 and Part 2) from Rachelle Gardner. Peek: “Writers begin to see a “living wage” when
they have a stack of books out there in the marketplace. Each book needs to be bringing in royalties regularly.” Source: Gwenda Bond.

Gerald Dawavendewa’s The Butterfly Dance: a recommendation by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “I see myself and family in the characters Dawavendewa depicts, in their clothing and their actions.”

Amazon Buys Book Recommendation Site Goodreads by Krishnadev Calamur from NPR. Peek: “Amazon, the online retail behemoth that has made a much-publicized foray into publishing, has just bought Goodreads, the social book-recommendation site.”

National Poetry Month Kidlitosphere Events by Jama Rattigan from Jama’s Alphabet Soup. Peek: “For the fifth consecutive year, Greg Pincus will be hosting 30 Poets/30 Days at GottaBook. Look for an original, previously unpublished poem by a different children’s poet every day of the month.”

Terra Incognita by Jennifer R. Hubbard from YA Outside the Lines. Peek: “Often I would rather go deeper into known territory, dig beneath the surface, look for treasures I missed the first time, than move to completely new territory. That plays out in the jolt I get going from an old book to a new one.”

Your Story Opening: Shock vs. Seduction by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro from Jane Friedman. Peek: “This is called the hook, and it must be in the first three paragraphs of the text, preferably in the first sentence. The hook also sets up the initial pace of the story, which is maintained through the beginning of the tale.”

See also New Releases Plus Huge Giveaway (Books by Kelley Armstrong, Michael Northrop, Robin LaFevers, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Daniel Kraus & more) from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing and Revision Week from

Cynsational Spotlight

Check out the free novella Camp Kiss by Cynsations YA reporter Karen Rock and her writing partner Joanne Rock, who publish under the byline J.K. Rock from Spencer Hill. From the promotional copy:

Lauren Carlson, a fourteen-year-old expert on the cosmos, superheroes, and science fiction trivia has a crush on her longtime camp friend, Seth. Last summer she’d dreamed about upgrading their relationship to BF/GF status and this year she has a plan… if only her well-meaning cabin mates wouldn’t interfere before she’s ready. She hasn’t even adjusted to her new braces yet, let alone imagined kissing Seth with them.

When a dare pushes her out of her comfort zone, will she and Seth rocket out of the friendzone at last? There’s only one way to find out….

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

The winner of a signed paperback copy of a signed paperback copy of Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Viking, 2013) was Gaby in Georgia.

The winner of My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (Viking, 2013) was Carl in Arizona.

Calling All Treadmill Desk Writers

Do you write on a treadmill desk?

My Cynsations YA reporter Karen Rock is doing a post on how you (literally) move along with your stories. If you’d like to be interviewed (or know someone who might), please send her a note.

More Personally

Many blessings of Passover and Easter to those who celebrate them! With a brief break for the holiday, I’ll be spending the majority of the weekend at my dining room table revising book two in the Feral series.

The Austin American-Statesman Reviews Feral Nights (Candlewick, 2013): “It’s fast-paced and packed full of action. But ‘Nights’ is no simple supernatural thriller. Smith alternates narration between Yoshi, Clyde and Aimee, giving us layers of insight into each.”

Quick hits: Check out the reading guide for Dear Teen Me, which includes a letter by me and Debbi Michiko Florence’s VCFA Writing Retreat (part 2) includes a few of my thoughts on worldbuilding.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

The Art of Dr. Seuss from April 5 to April 20 at Art on 5th Gallery, 3005 S. Lamar, in Austin. Source: Austin SCBWI.

Authors/Speakers at TLA 2013 from April 24 to April 27 in Fort Worth from the Texas Library Association. Look for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s signing and Spirit of Texas High School author panel. See also the Itsy Bitsy Gallery to “take a chance on art at the TLA 2013 raffle” to benefit the Texas Library Disaster Relief Fund. Note: featuring an original illustration by Tom Shefelman from I, Vivali by Janice Shefelman (Eerdman’s).

Planning and Revising Your YA Manuscript on April 27 at Write Yourself Free in Westport, Connecticut. Peek: “Learn some tools for handling the complexities of a YA manuscript, including both the planning and revision of it, in this one-day workshop. Submit your current manuscript or one that’s stuck or needs new direction. We–Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown of Kids Book Revisions–will teach you a variety of techniques, help you try them out, provide editorial feedback on your manuscript, discuss ‘the market,’ and get you ready to use the techniques.”

YA lit readers! Join Cynthia Leitich Smith at 1 p.m. May 25 at Cedar Park (TX) Public Library.

Join Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith at 11 a.m. June 11 at Lampasas (TX) Public Library.

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers will be held from June 17 to June 21 in Sandy, Utah. Note: I have taught at this conference in the past and highly recommend it.

Join authors Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, Nancy Werlin and ICM Partners literary agent Tina Wexler at a Whole Novel Workshop from Aug. 4 to Aug. 10, sponsored by the Highlights Foundation. Peek: “Our aim is to focus on a specific work in progress, moving a novel to the next level in preparation for submission to agents or publishers. Focused attention in an intimate setting makes this mentorship program one that guarantees significant progress.” Special guests: Curtis Brown agent Sarah LaPolla, authors Bethany Hegedus and Amy Rose Capetta.

Save the Date! 5th Annual Austin Teen Book Festival by Jen Bigheart from I Read Banned Books. Note: Sept. 28, 2013.

One thought on “Cynsational News & Giveaways

  1. I read Rachel Lieberman's post and heard her graduate lecture. Even if you can't listen to the lecture, the post is an excellent resource for anyone considering writing a YA novel with a female protagonist.

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