Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Ask a Million Questions: Worldbuilding by Kristin Bailey from Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing. Peek: “I started out writing science fiction and fantasy because there is nothing more challenging and fun that creating an entire world from scratch. I found the key to good world building is to ask a million questions. When starting from scratch, you have to question everything.”

What’s the Right Tone for Your Query Letter? by Deborah Halverson from Peek: “Aim for a ‘relaxed professional’ tone for your fiction query, which is more like flap copy than a letter to your banker.”

The Only Book in the House by Joseph Bruchac from Lee & Low. Peek: “It’s been my good fortune to be able to frequently visit schools on Indian reservations and in inner cities. There, rather than having a home full of books, children’s own first book may be the only one in the house.”

The 11th annual Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop: a whole-novel seminar from Oct. 4 to Oct. 6 near Santa Cruz, California, for 16 advanced/published writers. Offering partial or full novel critique(s), in written and open-clinic format by Regina Griffin (executive editor, Egmont USA) and Fiona Kenshole (agent, Transatlantic Agency; former executive editor). Plus, one more agent TBA. Workshop alum, Annemarie O’’Brien (author of Lara’’s Gift (2013), will do additional critiques and speak on working with an editor and/or agent. Other faculty topics include revision techniques, inline editing, and adapting cinematic techniques to your fiction. See also information on the concurrent TeenSpeak Novel Workshop. The adults’ early-bird fee: $769 through May 20. (Teens: $499 through late June.) Includes three nights’ beachfront townhouse lodging and most meals; critiques additional. Application deadline: June 20, but inquire ahead to complete materials. Final manuscript submissions due: June 28, with possible extensions throughout summer. Open until filled. Apply early to hold your space.

Recipients of the 2013 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards have been announced by the Jane Addams Peace Association. Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Nancy Paulsen) is the winner in the Books for Younger Children Category and We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson (Peachtree) is the winner in the Books for Older Children category.

Play Ball! A Look at Recent Baseball Books from The Brown Bookshelf. Peek: “Given the release of ’42,’ the story of how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, we feature a couple of books about the legendary star and others.”

From Blogging to Books: A Tour of Children’s-YA Lit Book Bloggers Who Went Onto Publish Books by Elizabeth Bird from School Library Journal. Peek: “I got to thinking about others in my field who have followed similar paths from blogging to book publication. The successes, if you will. With that in mind, here are some names that come immediately to mind…”

Some Facebook Hints for Authors by Janet S. Fox from Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “…step one: create an Author Page. Go to Account Settings (upper right corner, the flywheel) and at the bottom of the page that opens next is a link to ‘Create Page.’ That will get you started.”

Author Insight: Creating Characters from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: “When you conceptualize a character does personality or physicality come first or does a complete person instantly form?”

Editorial: Everybody Wants to Be a Teenager by Roger Sutton from The Horn Book. Peek: “While I’m firmly in favor of the right of people of any age to read up, down, or sideways as they choose, here at the Horn Book we like to think there is a bright line between publishing for adults and publishing for kids, defined as people of an age between birth and high school graduation.”

Degrees of Boundary Busters by Kristi Holl from Writers’ First Aid. Peek: “To be honest, the major boundary busters–often dubbed ‘abusers’–are the easiest to spot (especially in someone else’s life.) Harder to detect are those ‘minor’ boundary invaders who look quite normal.”

Good Morning World by Paul Windsor: a recommendation by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “Teachers and librarians will get a lot of mileage out of this book!” See also Navajo Nation’s First Poet Laureate: Luci Tapahonso, also from AICL.

Uncertainty: The Normal Writing Process by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “It’s helpful to embrace uncertainty in the writing process, to just write and see what happens.”

Picking the Right Time by Mary Kole from Peek: “Whenever you interrupt the flow of dialogue, you best have a good reason.”

Historical Fiction for Girls by Katrina Hedeen from The Horn Book. Peek: “Strong-willed, memorable female protagonists are the stars of these historical novels for middle-grade and middle-school readers. A small gold-mining town in Alaska; early-twentieth-century San Francisco; 1870s rural Wisconsin; and Reconstruction Louisiana provide the backdrops for their entertaining adventures.”

National Picture Book Writing Week from Paula Yoo at Write Like You Mean It. Guest bloggers include: Varsha Bajaj, Katie Davis, and Lauri Meyers.

SingTel Asian Picture Book Award: “The National Book Development Council of Singapore is delighted to announce the inaugural SingTel Asian Picture Book Award. Beginning in 2013, the award will be presented annually for an outstanding unpublished picture book with a distinctly Asian theme.” See link for short lists. See also the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. Source: Cynsations Asia & Aus-NZ reporter Christopher Cheng.

The Edgar Award Winners from The Mystery Writers of America. Juvenile: The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo (Abrams/Amulet Books); Young Adult: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion). See honor books.

Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden and tie-in T-shirts were Jenn in Wyoming and Christine in Ontario.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Great news! My 2013 YA releases, Feral Nights (Book 1 in the Feral series) and Eternal: Zachary’s Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle (a graphic novel from the Tantalize series), are now available from Walker Books Australia and New Zealand. See more information!

Congratulations to my pal Varsha Bajaj of Houston on the sale of Our Baby, a celebration of an elephant’s birth, to Nancy Paulsen at Nancy Paulsen Books, in a two-book deal, by Jill Corcoran at The Herman Agency.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events 

Central Texans! Come celebrate the release of Mary Sullivan’s new picture book, Ball (Houghton Mifflin), from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 at The Writing Barn in Austin. With a book sale by BookPeople, donations for Austin Pet’s Alive, and music by Mr. Mark of Rockapoodle, it’ll be a great event for adults and kids alike.

YA lit readers! Join Cynthia Leitich Smith at 6:30 p.m. May 25 at Round Rock Public Library.

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

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.

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