Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Divya Srinivasan on Octopus Alone: an interview by Chris Barton from Bartography. Peek: “‘Loner’ seems such a negative word, and so definitive. I liked showing a character who loves her home, but realizes she needs some space, and who then ends up finding a place that feels all her own, like a precious secret.”

Finding the Perfect First Sentence by Jessica Brody from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “Sometimes, as a writer, all you get is one page, one paragraph or even one sentence to hook a reader. So it’s crucial to pick the right opening.”

Physical Attributes Entry: Butts from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “Physical description of a character can be difficult to convey—too much will slow the pace or feel ‘list-like’, while too little will not allow readers to form a clear mental image.”

Saying “No” to an Editor by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “You can refuse a contract for any number of reasons. Money, vision for the published manuscript, an unkind word. You never have to sign a contract.”

Where Are All the Black Boys? by Varian Johnson from They Call Me Mr. V. Pek: “Either people will think it’s not relevant to them because it features a black boy. Or they won’t buy it because they’ll think it’s about slavery or racism. Or people won’t buy it because it’s not true Black History Month material.” Note: don’t miss the continuing conversation in the comments. See also 2013 Middle Grade Black Boys: Seriously People? and Judging Covers by Andrea Davis Pinkey.

Will Konigsberg’s “influential” choice

Author Insight: Books with Influence from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: “What do you feel is the most widely influential book you’ve read in the last few years?”

An Ongoing Discussion, an Ongoing Question by Charlesbridge editor Julie Ham for CBC Diversity. Peek: “Can authors or illustrators write about or illustrate cultures and races different from their own?” See also Diversity in the Caldecott Winners & Honors (Or Lack Thereof) from Children’s Literature Network.

What If? A Method for Developing Ideas by Elizabeth S. Craig from Mystery Writing is Murder. Peek: “You can brainstorm this way. You can even outline this way. You can get yourself out of plot holes this way.”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in Children’s Literature from Colorín Colorado. Peek: “…celebrates family traditions and the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific Americans with books, activities, and a variety of resources and ideas for ELL (English language learners) educators.”

Genre Bending/Blending by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog. Peek: “There’s something inherently rebellious about writing fiction. And there are writers who find themselves, even if they begin writing in a certain genre they love to read, wandering.”

Guest Editor Danny Fingeroth on Submitting Graphic Novels from Peek: “…having pages of the story drawn and lettered to include with the proposal is generally a good idea, although there is the chance that some editors may not like the look of the art, and so may reject the story even if they like the writing, and even if you make it clear you would be willing to work with another artist.”

Cynsational Giveaways

The winner of Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith was Amanda in London, and the winner of Eternal: Zachary’s Story by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Ming Doyle, was Brandon in Florida.

See also Interview with Joy Preble & Giveaway of The Sweet Dead Life from Cari’s Book Blog.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Here’s a peek at my comings-and-goings last week in the Austin children’s-YA lit scene.

At the YAB Fest reception with Jessica Lee Anderson, P.J. Hoover & Danny Woodfill of The Book Spot in Round Rock.

Julie Dinkel Woodfill of The Book Spot & author-editor Madeline Smoot

Author E. Kristin Anderson & librarian Jen Bigheart
Authors Cory Putnam Oakes & Krissi Dallas

Jen & author Lindsey Scheibe

Authors Lindsey Lane & Shana Burg at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting

With authors Susie Kralovansky & Bethany Hegedus

Author-speaker Lynne Kelly

As for this weekend, Joy Preble will speak and sign The Sweet Dead Life at 3 p.m. May 18 and Lindsey Scheibe will speak and sign Riptide at 2 p.m. May 19 at BookPeople in Austin.

See also Cynthia Leitich Smith on Eric Gransworth’s If I Ever Get Out of Here (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic) from Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

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.