Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Congratulations to fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts faculty member Martine Leavitt, who also an alumna, for winning the Canadian Governor General’s Award. Peek: “Told in spare, beautiful prose, this transcendent exploration of reality and truth is funny, frightening and affirming. Calvin (Groundwood Books) is an astonishing achievement.” — #GGBooks Jury Statement.

(Re)Igniting the Writer’s Life by John Vorhaus from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “We want to write but we fear to write. If you’re in this bind, my heart goes out to you, and I really want to help you over the hump and into, or back into, your active practice of writing.”

Why People Forget Your Character & How to Prevent It by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “…too many times I find myself struggling to remember details of a character in a novel I read last year. Give your characters longevity and notoriety with these techniques.”

The Rejection Tug-of-War from Uma Krishnaswami. Peek: “…we brood. Was that editor or agent right? Is the work dead? Is is any good? Is there something there worth salvaging?”

What to Expect from an Agent by Mary Kole from Peek: “What will an agent do for you? What might an agent do for you if they have certain specialties? What is unreasonable to expect of an agent? First, I’d like to discuss what an agent won’t do.” Note: Agents also get paid a percentage of royalties.

Using Family Stories to Write Historical Fiction by Helen Maryles Shankman from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “…I couldn’t run away from my parents’ stories. As I grew up, I began to understand that they weren’t just memories that could be dismissed and forgotten; they were the origin stories for our own scarred and imperfect lives.”

Planning Great Book Events by Sophie Masson from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “Launches are especially good for debut books; for bespoke, collectible books; and for group books, such as anthologies and collections.”

Decolonizing Nostalgia: When Historical Fiction Betrays Readers of Color by Sarah Hannah Gomez from The Horn Book. Peek: “I may have done the work to tease out the parts of the girls I read about that matched my own identity, but I became increasingly aware that the books themselves did not recognize me, a biracial (black and white) adoptee in a bicultural (Mexican American and Ashkenazi Jewish) family.” See also Hannah on 5 YA Books Inspired by Real-Life Murderers from BNTeenBlog.

The Need for More Diversity Within LGBTQIAP Children’s-YA Literature by Ashley Herring Blake from CBC Diversity. Peek: “…in the end, I only had one book to put in that mother’s hands. After talking with this mother, the children’s book manager at my store found some more books about trans kids for younger readers and ordered them, and that is excellent, but we need more options.”

Writing and Parenting from Elizabeth Spann Craig. Peek: “99% of the posts that dads write on parenting and writing are different–they don’t seem to have the guilty undertones. In fact, these dads usually feel they’re spending better quality or more time with their kids.”

The Complex Principles of a Picture Book from Chronicle Books. Peek: “How much abstraction for artistic intent is acceptable? What needs to come across in information? What needs to come across in feeling?”

Cynsational Giveaways

This Week at Cynsations

A four-part series:

Cynsational Event

With Shelli Cornelison & Christina Soontornvat at Donna Janell Bowman’s Book Launch

See Donna Janell Bowman on Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness from Cynsations.

More Personally

Happy Halloween weekend, Cynsational readers!

First, my thanks to author-illustrator Ambelin Kwaymullina for joining me here this week for an in-depth, four-part dialogue on the creative life and process, speculative fiction, diversity, privilege, indigenous literature, and books for young readers.

On Monday, I attended Laurie Halse Anderson‘s author event and signing at BookPeople in Austin. She spoke with great passion and compassion about the American Revolution, historical research, the creative life and the importance of diversifying children’s-YA literature–all the while book-talking and centering diverse voices. Inspiring!

This week I am praying for the Water Protectors and for all children being inundated with the Cleveland Indians mascot. See The Great Failure of the Indian Mascots Debate by Sterling HolyWhiteMountain from ESPN, which reflects on both. Also, go Cubs!

Personal Links

Moderating & Signing Nov. 5

Join me Saturday, Nov. 12
Honored to join the SCBWI winter conference faculty!
Honored to join the SCBWI winter conference faculty!