Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Six Tips for Bursting Through a Creative Block by Katie Sise from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “The next time you find yourself procrastinating, tell yourself you’ll work on the task you’ve been avoiding for just ten minutes.”

Balancing Solitude and Social Life by Rosie Genova from QueryTracker. Peek: “Writing is a solitary art, but we are social animals. We have spouses, partners, parents, and children, and those relationships can sometimes be at odds with our work.”

You Will Surprise Yourself: How Setting Writing Goals Can Expand Your Abilities by Rebecca Leach from the Office of Letters and Light. Peek: “Even if you’d rather not talk to anyone quite yet, you can still sit and write while surrounded by people who have the same crazy deadline and goal as you.” See also You Love Who You Love: a Pride Week Post by Rebecca from E. Kristin Anderson at Write All the Words!

Interview: Melissa Coats with Brilliance Audio from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: ” I don’t feel that audiobooks appeal only to a specific subset of young readers. In my experience, the appeal of audiobooks is more about exposure, than a specific type of young listener.”

Seven Agents Talk about the Most Common Submissions Mistakes by Jan from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. From Sarah Davies: “We see a lot of waffle sometimes! Writers telling us they are pretty hopeless and have no track record; or telling us they are wonderful and we’d be fools to pass them by. And then we have the ones who tell us at great length about their families and children and husbands, whom they love dearly.” See also Raising Questions with Your First Line by Emma Trevayne from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.

Introducing Fantasy Elements by Mary Kole from Peek: “The missing piece is often what happens immediately after the introduction of the paranormal element. That’s what actually teaches us about what kind of world you’re creating.”

Author Interview: Tara Sullivan on Golden Boy by Janet S. Fox from Through the Wardrobe. Peek: “Sadly, though Golden Boy is…based on reality. …I came across a news story that told about the kidnapping, mutilation, and murder of African albinos for use as good luck talismans, I was horrified, and struck by the topic on multiple levels.”

Five Things I’ve Learned About Doing School Visits by Janet Wong from School Visit Experts. Peek: “A significant number of my school visits are ‘repeat business’–usually 5 or 6 years after my first visit, once the kids I met during my first visit have graduated.” See also Author Photos by Elizabeth S. Craig from Mystery Writing is Murder.

Bid to Win 10-Page Critique & 10-Minute Phone Consultation with Literary Agent Anna Olswanger from Wildlife Freedom Auction to benefit The Born Free Foundation (an international wildlife charity that works throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering). Peek: “Anna Olswanger has been an agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York for eight years. She focuses on adult nonfiction, children’s picture books (art and text) and historical mysteries (adult).” Deadline: June 29.

Timelines: Plotting by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “Obviously, a time line lays out the time period of your novel. Does it take place in 24 hours or does it span 24 years? Within that time span, you’ll want to slot events, reactions, and characters.”

What Rivers and Jackhammers Have in Common with the Writing Process from Robin LaFevers.Peek: “I’ve heard it said that you can never cross the same river twice, which I take to essentially mean that the fluid nature of water and the ever-changing flotsam and jetsam that is floating in a river at any given time changes constantly so therefore a new river is created every few seconds. I find this true for writing.”

Writing for the Long Haul by Sherwood Smith from Janni Lee Simner at Desert Dispatches. Peek: “My feeling is that the author in ‘midcareer’ (and I firmly believe that many of us will consider ourselves to be in midcareer until they find us face down at our desk, our lifeless, withered hands loose on the keyboard) must sometimes work to keep inspiration alive. It will probably be a different type of inspiration that moved us to write than when we were young. And that’s okay.”

Why It’s So Hard to Go from Last to First Draft by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Diary of a Writer. Peek: “…a day or week or whatever later you start the next novel. And it’s a bloody mess. Did you ever really know how to write a novel?”

Divya Srinivasan and the Introverted Octopus by Julie Danielson from Kirkus Reviews. Peek: “As I learned about octopuses and their behavior (solitary, curious, observant, quick to hide when discovered), I imagined a character that I could relate to in many ways. For instance, I can be pretty self-conscious around others sometimes, but when I’m alone I feel free to be myself without worry. And though I enjoy being
social, I equally need a lot of time alone.”

Colorado Librarians Announce Bell Picture Book Award Program by Karyn M. Peterson from School Library Journal. Peek: “‘…my hope that publishers see how their books are used by libraries and children to foster literacy—and that they continue to offer talented writers and illustrators a platform for sharing their wonderful ideas.'”

A Short History of Gay YA Lit by Nora Olsen from Write All the Words! Peek: “I’m going to take you on a whirlwind tour of a few notable moments in queer YA history!”

As Demographics Shift, Children’s Literature Stays Stubbornly White from National Public Radio. See also June 2013 Census: Numbers We Know from CBC Diversity.

Fighting the Summer Slow-Down with a Fast Draft by Ash Krafton from Peek: “Sandy organized a team of writers who wanted to get the work done but, perhaps, like me, didn’t trust themselves enough to do it alone. The plan involved setting a week aside for the Fast Draft, to write in sprints of 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day, to communicate our goals and progress on Twitter, and to cheer each other on.”

Making a Book Trailer

Making a Book Trailer by Annemarie O’Brien from Quirk and Quill. Peek: “For a little over a minute of run time, the book trailer for Lara’s Gift took months of my attention from start to finish.”

Celebrate Summer Reading

The Seattle Public Library launched the 2013 Summer Reading Program by setting a new world record for the longest book domino chain!” Filmed by Playfish Media.

Support Morganville

Morganville: The Series: a Kickstarter campaign to finance a high-quality web TV series based on the international bestselling Morganville Vampires novels by Rachel Caine. Peek: “Writer/Producer Rachel Caine is a proven quantity–40 novels published, multiple bestsellers, and she’s on board to write the entire first season of episodes. (The first two are already done.)”

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win one of two copies of How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine (Philomel, 2013) from Cynsations. Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S. Enter here.

See also New YA Releases & Two Giveaways from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Congratulations to P.J. Hoover on the release of Solstice (Tor, 2013)!
Celebrating Solstice with children’s author Shana Burg
Congratulations to programming director (& YA author) Jennifer Ziegler on the success of last weekend’s 2013 Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference in Austin!
At the Writers’ League conference with author Nikki Loftin and literary agent Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary
Children’s author Donna Bowman Bratton celebrating the release of Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (Delacorte)

Learn about Sarah Prineas

Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Cynthia Leitich Smith by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Peek (on the song that describes my work ethic): “‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ by Kelly Clarkson.”

Cheers to my one-time VCFA MFA advisee Rebecca Van Slyke on the sale of Lexie The Word Wrangler “at auction, in a two-book deal, to Nancy Paulsen at Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin)…”! Source: Publishers Marketplace.

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Donna Bowman Bratton on the sale of her first book, Step Right Up: The Story of Beautiful Jim Key, to Lee & Low! From Publishers Marketplace: “…the biography of a former slave and self-taught veterinarian who, armed only with patience and kindness, taught a horse to spell, write, and do math, and together they became powerful advocates for the emerging animal humane movement…”

Thanks to Donna Gephart for including Cynsations among her recommended Great Resources for Writers! I’m honored to have my blog featured in such terrific company!

Huge thanks to Sarah Prineas for her assistance in updating the state awards section of Children’s & YA Lit Resources! Expect a full site update by summer’s end, courtesy of my new webmaster, Erik Kuntz of Square Bear Studio.

Tune in this weekend for a report on the Asian Festival of Children’s Content from Cynsations reporter Christopher Cheng, and then Cynsations will go on summer hiatus in July-August. During that time, you are still welcome to pitch and send ideas for guest posts, new voice interviews, guest interviews, book trailer reveals, giveaways, etc. to run in the fall. Contact me directly with details.

Personal Links

Actual Teen, Adult Teen
Cover Reveal: The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond
Tiny Shells, Each with a Wilderness Inside 
Writers League of Texas Love
How Summer Reading Programs Can Help Your Child with Special Needs 

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