Cynsational News

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Judge My Books by Tiffany Trent from Diversity in YA. Peek: “I was so proud of my publisher for going the extra mile to get it right. And yet people were saying that they got it wrong! Some even accused them of pandering to diversity pundits just to get more attention. That could not have been further from the truth.”

Considering Common Themes in Middle Grade Books by Joseph McGee from Project Mayhem. Peek: “While we should never resort to becoming didactic, it is important to understand what you are writing about.”

Why an Agent May Not Submit Widely by Mary Kole from Peek: “Sometimes, it’s true, an agent will only submit to a few editors because they don’t believe in the project 100 percent and they want to test the waters. That’s a tough pill to swallow.”

Self-Editing: Common Errors & Easy Fixes by Aaron Sikes from Elizabeth Spann Craig. Peek: “The first editor I worked with gave me a valuable lesson in tightening my prose, beginning with the elimination of the verb to be from my manuscript. This, like all rules regarding exclusion, should not be viewed as a hard and fast proscription.”

Everything You Need to Know to Be a Published Author from Mette Ivie Harrison. Note: Remarkably comprehensive quick hits on frequent issues/questions for beginning writers and new authors.

Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell (Abrams) from ALSC Blog. Peek: “The research for Pure Grit included a daunting amount of material. I wanted to tell a concise, powerful story about the 76 Army and Navy nurses captured by the Japanese, but also help readers come to know individual women.”

In the Cloud by Coe Booth from Write at Your Own Risk. Peek: “…recently, I made a big change and, so far, I’m really liking it. I switched from keeping a physical journal to using a digital one.”

On the Devaluation of Writers by Writers from literary agent Jill Corcoron. Peek: “Writers, I know there is a good marketing reason for capturing readers with our first ‘free’ book and then have them coming back for more, but now that the reading public can fill their e-readers with practically free ‘bestselling’ books, what is their incentive to pay you a fair price for your next book? And what is a fair price these days?” See also Devaluing Writers? by Heidi R. Kling, Author.
Books for National Eating Disorder Week 2014 from the Horn Book. Note: annotated bibliography.
Author Tip: If you are traditionally published, always be sure to list your publisher in your promotional information. Don’t make readers hunt for it.

Understanding Character Wounds: A List of Common Themes by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: “Emotional wounds are more than just painful memories. Inside each wound is a seed of doubt. Is this somehow my fault? Am I to blame? This doubt blossoms, eroding one’s self-worth.”

Webinar Three: Harold Underdown Presents: Finding the Right Fit: Researching the Right Agent, Editor, and/or Publishing House from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 27 from SCBWI Michigan. Registration closes at 2 p.m. EST March 26. Non-member cost $25.

Poet to Poet: Margarita Engle and Mariko Nagal from Poetry for Children. Peek: “In Dust of Eden (Albert Whitman), the story found its own form – there have been many beautifully written books about Japanese-American internment camps but I had to tell my own version of the story, Mina’s story. …the verse novel – gave a poetic space for her internal voice, her bewilderment, her anger and her sadness to come out in small snapshot-like moments. I can’t imagine this book told in any other way except for the form it’s in. “

Capstone Young Readers Launches YA Imprint: Offers Wide Range of Nonfiction and Fiction Titles from PR Web. Peek: “Capstone Young Readers, a leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, announced the launch of Switch Press, a new imprint dedicated to titles that appeal to the wide range of interests of the young adult audience today. Switch Press will include a broad selection of contemporary nonfiction and fiction book titles such as graphic novels, cookbooks, craft/how-to, narrative non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, fantasy and other speculative fiction.”

YA Science Fiction & Fantasy Awards

Nebula Andrew Norton Nominees from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America:

This Week at Cynsations

28 Days Later

28 Days Later is “a Black History Month celebration of emerging and established children’s book creators of color” from the Brown Bookshelf.

Thank you to Varian Johnson, Don Tate, Kelly Starling Lyons, Tameka Fryer Brown, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Gwendolyn Hooks, Crystal Allen, Paula Chase Hyman for an inspiring and informative campaign.

Note: if you haven’t already, please visit the campaign, pick a least one book to check out or purchase and pass on the link(s) in whatever way makes sense for you.

See also:

More Personally

I’m deeply honored to see three of my titles, Jingle Dancer, Indian Shoes and Rain Is Not My Indian Name (all HarperChildren’s) featured among Top 100 Books by Indigenous Masters from School Library Journal, compiled by Susan Hanks, Debbie Reese, Teresa Runnels, and Tim Tingle for the 2012 Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums in Tulsa.

Thank you, Web Middle School in Austin for the great school visit last Friday!
Thanks to BookPeople for featuring Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) in such great company!
Congrats again from me to Nikki Loftin on the release of Nightingale’s Nest (Razorbill, 2014)!
On a related note, behold my geektastic Wonder Woman glassware (and Japanese scarf) from Nikki!

Hey, e-book readers! You can snag free copies of two of my short stories, “Haunted Love” and “Cat Calls,” from E-volt & a copy of Tantalize (Book 1 in the Tantalize series) for only $1.99 through 2/28. Expires midnight EST 2/28/14. Visit this link to download!

Note: the short stories are set in the Tantalize & Feral series universe (and all are from Candlewick Press)! The shorts introduce new characters, except for Granny Z, the fortuneteller who appears in “Cat Calls” and my newest release, Feral Curse.

On a related note, giveaway winners of Feral Nights were Sandra in Texas, Karis in Ontario, and Linda in Illinois. Giveaway winners of Feral Curse were Victoria in Ohio, Jennifer in Wyoming and one more–if you entered, check your email In box!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers will be held June 16 to June 21 at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. Keynote speaker: James Dashner; faculty includes Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith. Learn about the WIFYR Fellowship Award. See also Alison L. Randall on Choosing a Writing Conference.

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