Utopia, Iowa is about a small town where the supernatural meets the natural. There’s some murder and mystery and mayhem in this novel. Ghosts and other creatures and humans abound.
Some funny moments. Some sad.
At heart, it’s a story about a boy who wants to write for the movies and his struggle with leaving all he knows (family, friends, hometown) to pursue his dreams.
See also The Road to Utopia, Iowa Was Paved with Rejection by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Diary of a Writer. Peek: “How many rejections did Utopia, Iowa, get? I could probably ask my amazing agent for an exact number, but I’ll guess in the neighborhood of fifteen, including one from the publisher who ultimately accepted and published it (though not the same editor). And also–an important detail- the version she accepted was not that same version that had been rejected.”
More News & Giveaways
Confronting Grief with YA Literature: An Interview with Jason Reynolds by Brook Stephenson from The Gawker. Peek: “People always say time heals. Time doesn’t necessarily heal anything. It allows you to manage things. There are occasions where you feel the pain as if it just happened but you know that it’s a fleeting moment.”
Seven Core Values to Celebrate During Black History Month by Veronica Schneider from Lee & Low. Peek: “we like to not only highlight African Americans who have made a difference, but also explore the diverse experiences of black culture throughout history, from the struggle for freedom in the South and the fight for civil rights to the lively rhythms of New Orleans jazz and the cultural explosion of the Harlem Renaissance.”
Simple Promotional Tip: Call Your Book by Its Name by Sharon Bially from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Time and again I’ve seen even the most experienced authors make what I consider to be a big publicity faux pas. It happens at readings, on conference panels and in casual conversation.It can be summed up with these two simple words. ‘My book.'”
Congratulations to Isabel Quintero (for older readers) and Duncan Tonatiuh (for younger readers), winners of the 2015 Tomás Rivera Award from Latinas for Latino Lit. Peek: “Established in 1995, the award honors authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican America experience.”
Official SCBWI Conference Blog from SCBWI. Note: next best thing to attending the annual winter conference in New York.
Dear Writers and Editors: Some Cautions About Selecting Beta Readers by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature. Peek: “Speaking to a tour guide at a museum is not enough. They are not the person with the authority to work with you. Obviously they’re interested in education but there’s an important distinction in what they do, and what a tribe’s research board does.”
Thematic Book List: Extreme Weather from The Miss Rumphius Effect. Peek: “…a list of books that focuses on storms and other conditions caused by extreme weather conditions.”
Creating Fascination with a Character by Sarah Callender from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Not knowing how we are supposed to feel about a real person, in real life, is not comfortable. But in fiction? It is delicious.”
Four Research Hacks for Writing Thrillers by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: “One of the most common questions I’m asked as an author is, “How can you write thrillers if you’ve never served in the military/emergency services/spy agencies/etc.?”
Perspectives of Diversity in Book Reviews, Part 1: “Scarcely Plausible” by Malinda Lo from Diversity in YA. Peek: “In a novel, the writer’s goal is to cause the reader to lose themselves in the story, so anything that knocks the reader out of the story’s world may appear to be a flaw. When a diverse cast is criticized as ‘contrived,’ though, it’s a bit more complicated.”
- Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putnam Oakes & plush dino toy
- signed ARC of Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
- partial manuscript critique by Heather Demetrios
This Week at Cynsations
- In Memory: George M. Nicholson
- Heather Demetrios on Becoming the Designated Typist
- Book Trailer: Dreaming In Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
Super busy week! I finished my speech on Crafting Diverse Books for Young Readers for tomorrow’s Austin SCBWI meeting and critiqued ten partial manuscripts for our chapter’s upcoming regional conference. See event details below. What’s more, I’m grading my VCFA MFA students’ first round of packets. Whew!
|This week a sun-shiny beauty appeared in my back yard.|
Thank you to readergirlz for the shout out about the upcoming release of Feral Pride (Candlewick, Feb. 24, 2015)!
The Horn Book says of Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015): “Cynthia Leitich Smith takes a characteristically paranormal approach in ‘Cupid’s Beaux’: “slipped” angel Joshua must decide whether it’s ethical to conceal his celestial identity and woo human Jamal…. The assortment of approaches offers plenty of surprises, and the collection can be read in one sitting without becoming repetitive.”
Link of the Week: How Authors Get Paid from Mette Ivie Harrison. Peek: “This all sounds perfectly obvious, right? But a lot of people I talk to think that authors get paid a lot more than they actually get paid. This is partly because of a wide variety of misconceptions, such as….”
|Now available! More coverage to come!|
- It’s Time to Stop Using the Word “Retard”
- Disability Video: “Don’t Be Awkward”
- Gene Yang to Write DC Comics “Superman”
- Dear Teen Me by Cory Putnam Oakes
- The Scarlet Rabbit (Round Rock, TX)
- 100 Things I Wouldn’t Know
- Typewriter Rodeo at “Alice in Wonderland”
- The Busy Librarian Podcast Interview: Chris Barton
- “The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know” (music video tie-in to Brent Hartinger’s spin-off of his YA Russell Middlebrook series (the new novel is for grown-ups))
- “Hunger Games” Tour Launches in Atlanta
- Japanese Army Creates “Star Wars” Sculpture
- Two New Royal Scandals Stories by Nicole Burnham
- Amazing, Patented Title Generator
Cynthia will speak on “Crafting Diverse Books for Young Readers” at 10 a.m. Feb. 14 at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting at BookPeople in Austin.
The SCBWI Austin 2015 Writers and Illustrators Working Conference will take place March 7 and March 8 at Marriott Austin South. Note: Cynthia will be moderating a panel and offering both critiques and consultations.
|Releases Feb. 24, 2015|
Cynthia will appear from April 14 to April 17 at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Texas Library Association in Austin.
Join Cynthia from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Saratoga Springs Public Library for a celebration in conjunction with Saratoga Reads! at Saratoga Springs, New York. Note: Cynthia will be presenting Jingle Dancer (2000), Rain Is Not My Indian Name (2001) and Indian Shoes (2002)(all published by HarperColllins).
Cynthia will serve as the master class faculty member from June 19 to June 21 May 2 at the VCFA Alumni Mini-Residency in Montpelier, Vermont.
Cynthia will speak from June 25 to June 30 on a We Need Diverse Books panel at the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in San Francisco.