Guest Post: Suzanne Crowley on Finding Inspiration Close to Home

Young Suzanne with her Grandfather Tio
in Uvalde, Texas

By Suzanne Crowley

As writers, we are frequently asked where we draw inspiration from. I think it’s true that everything we write is somewhat autobiographical.

I know I scatter a bit of myself in everything I write – that’s what gives it a soul and makes my stories “sing,” if you will.

In Finding Esme (Greenwillow,

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Guest Post: Shutta Crum on A New Life for an Out-of-Print Book

Learn more about Shutta Crum

By Shutta Crum

So you’re zipping along—doing your thing—and below the radar one, or more, of your books goes silently out of print.

When a book goes out of print, it always hurts—it’s a death in the family. You’ve spent a significant portion of your life living with it, writing it, and cheering it on. Now, it’s no longer available.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Shutta Crum on A New Life for an Out-of-Print Book »

Guest Post: Deborah Halverson on Viewing Narrative Beats as “Revelatory” Beats in MG/YA Fiction

Deborah Halverson

By Deborah Halverson

We work hard to get to know our characters.

Creating bios, interviewing them, giving them personality tests. One discovery tool often overlooked in this great pursuit are the small actions tucked into the narrative beats.

Narrative beats are those little breathers in dialogue, sometimes filled simply with speaking tags like he said, she said.

Continue Reading Guest Post: Deborah Halverson on Viewing Narrative Beats as “Revelatory” Beats in MG/YA Fiction »

Guest Interview: Lawrence Schimel on The Treasure of Barracuda & The Wild Book for #WorldKidLit Month

Lawrence Schimel, photo by Nieves Guerra

By Avery Fischer Udagawa

September is #WorldKidLit Month, a time to notice if world literature is reaching kids in the form of translations. 


Read a Cynsations interview with co-organizer Marcia Lynx Qualey.


Lawrence Schimel wears many hats: translator,

Continue Reading Guest Interview: Lawrence Schimel on The Treasure of Barracuda & The Wild Book for #WorldKidLit Month »

Guest Post: Karen Kane on Analyzing Feedback

By Karen Kane

How you use feedback can make or break your story.

Which feedback do you follow?

Which feedback do you ignore?

Most importantly, how can you make sure the feedback you do use deepens your writing, and not derails it?

Here’s what I know about feedback: you are in charge.

You are the gatekeeper for your stories.

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Author Interview: Tim Tingle, Choctaw Storyteller & Author

Tim Tingle (right) with his son, Dr. Jacob Tingle,
photo courtesy Oklahoma Center for the Book.

By Traci Sorell

On April 7, 2018, author Tim Tingle received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Named in honor of an author who served as Oklahoma Center for the Book‘s first president, the award is presented annually  for a body of work contributing to Oklahoma’s literary heritage.

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New Voices: Inside Scoop on Debut Author Groups with J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Jonathan Roth & Deborah Schaumberg

By Robin Galbraith

After years of writing you finally have your very first book deal! Now what? How do you promote your debut novel? I talked to four Maryland debut authors from the Electric Eighteens to get the inside scoop on how debut groups for young adult and middle grade authors work.

Deborah Schaumberg, J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Continue Reading New Voices: Inside Scoop on Debut Author Groups with J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Jonathan Roth & Deborah Schaumberg »

New Voice: Kim Ventrella on Improving Your Writing Skills & Skeleton Tree

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Kim Ventrella is the debut author of Skeleton Tree (Scholastic, 2017). From the promotional copy:

Twelve-year-old Stanly knows the bone growing in his yard is a little weird, but that’s okay, because now he’ll have the perfect photo to submit to the Young Discoverer’s Competition. 


With such a unique find, he’s sure to win the grand prize. Continue Reading New Voice: Kim Ventrella on Improving Your Writing Skills & Skeleton Tree »

New Voice: Jen Petro-Roy on Epistolary Novels & P.S. I Miss You

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Jen Petro-Roy is the debut author of P.S. I Miss You (Feiwel & Friends, 2018). From the promotional copy:

Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister, Cilla, away to stay with a distant great aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. Forbidden from speaking to Cilla, Evie secretly sends her letters. 

Continue Reading New Voice: Jen Petro-Roy on Epistolary Novels & P.S. I Miss You »

New Voice: Jessie Janowitz on Finding a Literary Agent & The Doughnut Fix

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Jessie Janowitz is the debut author of The Doughnut Fix (Sourcebooks, April 2018). From the promotional copy:

Tristan isn’t Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he’s always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. 


But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville–a town with one street and no restaurants.

Continue Reading New Voice: Jessie Janowitz on Finding a Literary Agent & The Doughnut Fix »