Cynsational News & Giveaways

Watch the Dorothy Must Die book trailer!

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith

What’s Old Is New: Recent YA Books with Allusions to Classic Lit by Emily Moore from School Library Journal. Peek: “Dorothy gets her comeuppance. Young book addicts share their love for Harper Lee’s classic. And Robert Louis Stevensons’s thrilling novel is reimagined as a gothic romance.”

Writing So Children Can Temporarily Escape Harsh Realities by Alidis Vicente from Latin@s in Kidlit. Peek: “I’m sure to the dismay of many, when people ask why I write for Latino kids, my answer is simple. I don’t.”

Interview: Tamara Ellis Smith on the Road to Publication by Uma Krishnaswami from Writing with a Broken Tusk. Peek: “…it helps me tremendously to take a big step back from the writing after a good few solid drafts and not write, but talk…a lot…about the story.”

It’s Complicated. (Wrong Answer.) by David Corbett from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Throwing words at a bad idea does not improve the quality of the idea, no matter how lovely the words.”

In the Past or Present by Tabitha Olson from Writer Musings. Peek: “To have a completely effective story told in present tense, the characters must be in the moment, not the author. That means that there should be no reflection or analyzing of what is currently happening. They need to figure things out as they go.”

Choosing a Point of View Character by Janice Hardy from QueryTracker Blog. Peek: “If you’re faced with a story idea and you aren’t sure what the best point of view to tell it from, try asking a few questions. These questions can also help if you have a novel that isn’t quite working and you’re not sure why.”

How Author G. Neri and Librarian Kimberly DeFusco Changed a Life by G. Neri, Kimberly DeFusco, and Raequon P. from School Library Journal. Peek: “He had made a conscious decision to not be ‘smart’ in middle school so he wouldn’t be bullied. He put on this tough-guy, joker persona and started goofing off in school. He did not want anyone to know he was a poet.”

National Book Award finalist Franny Billingsley is starting a new semester of private novel study and has room for new students. Peek: “Work on your middle grade/YA novel in an intellectually rigorous semester based on the low-residency MFA program model.” For more information, contact:

Too Good for Grownups: On the Art of Writing for Children by Anne Ursu from The Loft Literary Center. Peek: “…mostly, I write for kids because nobody loves a book like a kid loves a book. They need them, and you can tell that by the way they take them into their whole being, absorb them like the blob.”

In Praise of Revision from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: “Let me note, though, that I’m talking about revising, not polishing… That’s when you lovingly caress what’s already there, trimming, refining.”



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This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win Audio & Print Books from the Feral series by Cynthia Leitich Smith!

The winner of a signed copy of The Summer I Saved the World…In 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz (Wendy Lamb, 2014) was Samantha in Washington.

More Personally

Two characters sent me these cat cookies in celebration of my completing the Feral trilogy!

Great news! My latest novel, Feral Curse, is now available from Walker Australia and New Zealand. (It was released earlier this year in North America from Candlewick Press.)

To celebrate, I’m featuring an interview with the series audio actors and an audio + print book giveaway! Peek from actor Todd Haberkorn: “Sometimes, I have to do the narrator voice, two different females, three different males, and they all have accents all on one page!”

On the writing front, I turned in copy edits for my upcoming short story, “Cupid’s Beaux,” which will appear in Things I’ll Never Say: Short Stories About Our Secret Selves, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015). Note: “Cupid’s Beaux” is a Tantalize-Feral universe story, set in Austin and told from the point of view of the guardian angel Joshua. Note: Quincie fans should love it, too!

First Book Marketplace is now featuring three of my Native American titles: Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperChildren’s, 2001) and Indian Shoes (HarperChildren’s, 2002).

Click title links to purchase. Peek: “The First Book Marketplace is an online resource available exclusively to Title I schools and community-based programs serving children in need.”

Like many publishing folks, I’m thinking a lot this week about diversity in the industry and within the body of literature. Thank you to everyone who’s supporting diverse books and voices! Please remember to include books by Native authors in your collections and conversations. For recent titles, see Resources and Kid Lit About American Indians by Debbie Reese from School Library Journal.

Reminder: Don’t miss my post this week on The Perks & Perils of Author Panels. Be sure to check out the comments!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Middle Grade Mayhem! Join Varian Johnson, Greg Leitich Smith and Jennifer Ziegler in celebrating their new novels at 2 p.m. June 14 at BookPeople in Austin.

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 (deadline Monday!). See also Alison L. Randall on Choosing a Writing Conference

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith in discussing Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) with the YA Reading Club at 11 a.m. June 28 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.