Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cover Stories: Sophie’s Mixed-up Magic by Amanda Ashby from Melissa Walker. Peek: “…a few weeks later I got an email from the girl on the cover of the books. She was so lovely and I swear she is even more excited about the books coming out than I am!”

Writing Talent: What Is It? from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: “Freshness of perspective is helpful. And because writing is not so much an imitation of life as it is an imitation of other writing, freshness of perspective can be hard to come by.” See also Thoughts on Intelligence, Effort and the Myth of Talent by Janni Lee Simner from Desert Dispatches.

Why Should Children’s-YA Authors Totally Rock a Book Trailer? by Pamela K. Witte from Ink & Angst. Several authors chime in with their thoughts.

Rita Williams-Garcia on Writing about Female Genital Mutilation for Teens from The Guardian. Peek: “I planned to place friendship between the characters at the centre of the novel to make the story relatable to readers and to hopefully generate interest about children beyond my readers’ safe borders.”

Defining Diversity More Expansively by Crown editor Phoebe Yeh from CBC Diversity. Peek: “We can continue publishing the books if people are buying them. All of us who wish to see more diversity in publishing are collectively responsible. So borrow the books from local libraries or purchase them. Fewer sales, fewer books. It’s that simple.” See also First, Know Yourself by Diana López and Checking Boxes and Filling in Blanks: Diversity and Inclusion in Children’s Literature by Cory Silverberg.

Cloak, Cape or Hood: Consistent Fiction by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “I am doing a final pass through of a novel and finding tons of inconsistencies. For example, the main character shows up in a cloak and a scarf wrapped around her head. But at the beginning of the next scene, which is a direct follow-up, she throws back her hood and takes off her cloak. In another scene, she is described as wearing a cape.” See also Darcy on Ebooks vs. Book Apps.

Gwenda Bond on Reinventing Legends from E. Kristin Anderson at Write All the Words! Peek: “I knew I wanted the book to be set in D.C., and that I wanted a (no longer) secret society, but I also wanted to add my own twists to those things. There’s a big difference, to my mind, of being aware of mental real estate and engaging in lazy storytelling because it’s easier to default to the familiar.”

Signing the Book Contract: Not Your Typical ESPN Moment by Donna Bowman Bratton from Emu’s Debuts. Peek: “Honestly, nobody could have told me how twisty and arduous this journey could be. Maybe it’s enough to know that we change and grow between our Freshman writing stage and our first sale.”

What to Do (& Not To Do) When You Get a Rejection by Debbie Ridpath Ohi from MiG Writers. Peek: “It drives me a little crazy when people call me an overnight success, partly because of my many years of rejections but mostly because it sends the wrong message to others who are still struggling to get published. I believe there is no such thing as an overnight success.” Source: Amy Farrier.

Where Are Platonic Friendships Between Girls in YA Literature? by Emilia Plater from YA Highway. Peek: “I’m 98.72% sure my friends and I didn’t come out of the womb thinking this way. In society as I’ve experienced it, teenage girls are encouraged to believe – whether by the media, their peers, or other forces – that they’re not whole without a love interest.”

So You Want to Win the Newbery? (Part I) and (Part II) by Travis Jonker from School Library Journal. Peek: “April is the month when the most Newbery winners were released (in the last 30 years).” See also Travis on What are the Chances You’ll Win Another Newbery?

Portfolio Tips from SCBWI MidSouth Members Susan Eaddy and Mary Uhles from The Official SCBWI Blog. Peek: “Illustrators, check out this excellent (under 7 minute) video on putting together your portfolio.”

Tips to Writing a Sequel by Lea Nolan from YA Highway. Peek: “The sequel needs to be bigger in every way possible. Not necessarily longer, but bolder, darker, have higher stakes. You name it, it’s got to be larger than that first book.”

The Butt-In-Chair Strategy: What Is It? by Gail Gauthier from Original Content. Peek: “Is it possible that butt-in-chairers follow some time management strategies they’re not aware of? Do some of them, for example, take a break for coffee every hour or so, inadvertently breaking their time into units and thus tricking their minds into believing they’re starting out fresh when they go back to their desks with their cups?”

To Outline or Not to Outline? by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog. Peek: “My method is something of a hybrid.” See also Kendra Leighton on Visualizing the Tension in Your Story by YA Highway.

I’m Your Neighbor: Children’s Books & Reading Projects Building Bridges Between New Arrivals and Long-term Communities: “…a project which promotes the use of children’s literature featuring ‘new arrival’ cultures and groups to engage the entire community in a discussion of commonalities and differences. The project features a recommended list of books and an evolving list of engagement projects for educators, librarians, and community organizations who seek to build bridges.”

Are Series Giving Way to Stand-Alones in Middle Grade (& YA) Fiction? by Deborah Halverson from Peek: “The current middle grade fiction market is more open to stand-alone books than it’s been in recent years.”

Persons of Interest: The Untold Rewards of Picture Book Biographies by Barbara Bader from The Horn Book. Peek: “Style matters. Style of drawing, style of storytelling.”

The Cart That Carried Martin: An Interview with Don Tate by Carmen Oliver from ReaderKidZ. Peek: “My editor for that project, Yolanda Scott, inquired about my interest and availability for the Eve Bunting book, and I was on board immediately. Then she told me about the subject matter: The day of Dr. King’s funeral, with a focus on the cart that carried his casket. I paused.”

A Plea for Book Censors to Stand Down by James Blasingame from The Washington Post. Peek: “The bottom line in terms of court precedents is basically that while parents do indeed have the right to the final say on what their children read in school, no parent has the right to determine what other people’s children read in school.”

To Look Forward, Start by Looking Back by Sarah Aronson from Uma Krishnaswami at Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “My rabbi seemed to be reading my mind, because what she said next really made sense for the holiday as well as the writing process and plot development—things I’m always thinking about. She said, ‘Before we can look forward, we must look back. We must examine where we have been. Only then can we see where we are going.’”

Branding 101: What Is Your Brand? from Jane Gold. Peek: “…our brand is simply what other people think of us.” Via QueryTracker.

Cynsational Giveaways

See also Four Book Giveaways + New Releases from Adventures in YA Publishing and Giveaway: A Kite That Bridged Two Nations: Homan Walsh and the First Niagara Suspension Bridge (Calkins Creek, 2013) from Teaching Authors.

The winners of Smash: Trial by Fire by Chris & Kyle Bolton (Candlewick, 2013) are Karl in Arizona and Jennifer in Washington, and the winner of Promise Me Something by Sara Kocek (Albert Whitman) is Brook in Iowa.

Candlewick, Feb. 2014

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Take 5: Mouth Watering Reads: Foodie Fiction for Teens
from Teen Librarian’s Toolbox. Peek: “Foodie Fiction are those yummy
reads that somehow manage to incorporate food into the story.” Note: I’m
honored to see my novel Tantalize (Candlewick) on this list.

Congratulations to Cynsations reporter Karen Rock on the release of her adult romance, Wish Me Tomorrow (Harlequin, 2013)!

With a ghostly traveler at the Galveston Railroad Museum.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Delve into the world of graphic novels on Oct. 5 with a Graphic Novel Workshop, featuring author/illustrator Dave Roman, author Cynthia Leitich Smith and First Second Books Senior Editor Calista Brill; sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will speak Oct. 17 at Lampasas ISD in Lampasas, Texas.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will offer several presentations the week of Oct. 20 in conjunction with Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000) being the featured title for children as part of the 2013 One Book, One San Diego campaign, sponsored by KBPS, more details forthcoming.

Cynthia Leitich Smith joins featured authors at the Texas Book Festival Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 at the State Capitol Building in Austin.

Cynthia Leitich Smith (Feral Nights) and P.J. Hoover (Solstice) will sign their new releases from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Barnes & Noble in Round Rock, Texas.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will speak at the Florida Association for Media in Education Conference Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 in Orlando.

The Craft & Business of Writing: Everything You wanted to Know About Writing,
a fundraiser featuring C.C. Hunter, Miranda James and Lori Wilde for
the Montgomery County Book Festival, on Nov. 16 at Lone Star College
Montgomery Campus in Houston. Fee: $100. Registration deadline: Nov. 10.
See more information. Register here.