Friday, March 06, 2015

Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Congratulations to Laura Ruby on the release of Bone Gap (Balzer + Bray, 2015). From the promotional copy:

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren't surprised. After all, it wasn't the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O'Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That's just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that's not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

See also a Q&A Interview with Laura Ruby About Bone Gap from Epic Reads.

More News & Giveaways 

I Was That Boy from Andrew Harwell. Peek: "...when I read a story like Shannon Hale's, it reminds me how lucky I was to find the books I needed in my life. It reminds me of how panicked I truly felt to hand something like a Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew crossover to my mom to buy, knowing that if she started reading it, she would instantly know it was a romance book, not for boys."

Interlude Press Launches YA Imprint by Sally Lodge from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "Interlude Press, founded in 2014 as a boutique publisher of LGBTQ romantic fiction, is launching Duet, a young adult fiction imprint representing LGBTQ characters."

Call for Submissions WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award for YA 2015 from We Need Diverse Books Peek: "Publishers are invited to submit eligible titles for consideration to the Walter Award Judging committee. One physical book must be provided to each of the thirteen members of the judging committee."

Real Talk: Six-Figure Book Deals by Jennifer Laughran from Jennifer Represents. Peek: "Many new authors will probably be offered $4-8,000 on a debut picture book text-only to a normal mid-sized traditional publisher. $5-12,000 on a chapter book. $8-20,000 on a middle grade novel. $12-30,000 on a YA. I'm talking average - yes, some will be higher, some lower, and no I haven't done an official poll, but I bet I'm right."

The Dangers of Storytelling by Jael McHenry from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Don’t fall into storytelling about yourself and think that working outside of the establishment paints you an automatic hero; nor does it make you an automatic failure if your query gets not a single nibble."

Character Talents & Skills: Regeneration by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...the ability to restore one’s physical condition to an optimal state, healing wounds and bodily damage at a cellular level."

Diverse ALA YMA Book
The 2015 Youth Media Awards: A Crossover Year for Diversity by Nina Lindsay from School Library Journal. Peek: "The idea that 'diverse books' limit potential readership assumes that the Newbery and Caldecott awards should, by default, reflect a white experience. Perhaps that assumption exists because, for much of their history, they have."

Interview: Marietta Zacker (Nancy Gallt Literary Agency): Agent Looking For Diversity by Lee Wind from I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? Peek: "We really do come in all shapes and sizes with a range of strengths and abilities and with various beliefs and traditions. Let your stories and illustrations reflect that."

How Does Your Novel Grow? The Writing/Gardening Connection by Katrina Kittle from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "I don’t have room for every single plant I’d like to grow, so I have to be picky. And just like with an idea for a novel, once I choose, I have to commit."

Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson from the Horn Book. Peek: "What is our mission? In addition to offering trendy titles, aren’t we supposed to do our best to house and preserve wonderful books that aren’t currently popular?" See also Selection Is Privilege by Amy Koester from Lee & Low.

Vulnerability: The Key to Compelling Romantic Relationships by Angela Ackerman from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "Because it is our business to create characters who are broken, jaded or struggling in some way. Yet somehow we must show them it’s okay to trust."

The Diversity Gap in Children's Publishing 2015 from Lee & Low. Peek: "Why are Asian/Pacific American creators so much more free to create books without significant cultural content? Perhaps it is because they don’t have the same pressure to create books that will be eligible for certain awards."

Thematic Book List: Biographies of Early Scientists (Through Newton) by Tricia from The Miss Rumphius Effect. Peek: "...a list of books on scientists before and including Newton. I've also thrown in a couple of important mathematicians. Titles are roughly arranged in chronological order."

Noir and Horror for Picture Book Readers: Two Works by Jon Klassen from Maggie Tokuda-Hall at boingboing. Peek: "I Want My Hat Back, she explained to me, was noir. This Is Not My Hat, horror."

Editor Stacy Whitman of Tu Books on Diversity in YA Lit, What She's Searching For & Her Favorite Books from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "I am looking in particular for books with a strong adventurous streak, whatever the genre, and possibly a strong romance storyline. We’re open to science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction—and I love genre mash-ups." See also Weaving Foreign Language Words Seamlessly Into English Text by Christine Kohler.

Self-Publishing Picture Books: Agents Erin Murphy and Susan Hawk Weigh In by Sangeeta Mehta from Jane Friedman. Peek: "It’s less about page count and more about making a story as tight and illustration-driven as it can be. In fact, a lot of traditionally published picture books right now are 40 pages or even 48 pages—that’s been sneaking under the radar, right?—but they generally don’t feel any more text-heavy despite that."

Writing Nonfiction Using Fiction Techniques by Carla Killough McClafferty from Teaching Austhors. Peek: "In my books, the dialogue comes from direct quotes from documented primary sources. Teachers, students and readers can go to source notes in the back matter to see exactly where the quote was found."

SCBWI Golden Kite & Sid Fleischman Awards
See honor books and more information from SCBWI.

LGBT Lambda Literary Award Finalists

Children's-YA Literature Category:

Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award 

From the Pennsylvania Center for the Book:


See also SCBWI Announces Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Poetry.

Texas Blast for the Past

Two funny middle grades (and their goofy authors) are taking a Texas road trip!

Jo Whittemore (author of Colonial Madness (Simon & Schuster)) and Cory Putman Oakes (author of Dinosaur Boy (Sourcebooks)) will be visiting four cities on their Blast From The Past Book Tour from March 9 to March 13.

Join them for treats, crafts, and fun!

See full tour schedule and details:


Cynsational Giveaways

See also giveaways of Debbie Michiko's Florence's children's nonfiction books China and Japan from her newly redesigned author website.

This Week at Cynsations



More Personally

Congratulations to Nikki Loftin (Wish Girl) & Jo Whittemore (Colonial Madness) on last week's launch at BookPeople!
See also Nikki on A Wish Come True: Wish Girl Reviews, Launch Party Pics & More.

My most heartfelt congratulations to Laney Nielson, the 2014 Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award recipient, for signing with literary agent Bethany Buck of Greenburger Associates, and my most heartfelt congrats to Bethany on signing Laney! See more information.

Seed Beads, Indian Camps and Black Indians in Cynthia Leitich Smith's Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children's Literature. Peek:

"Rereading it now--14 years after I first read it--I want to shout from the rooftops to everyone about Rain Is Not My Indian Name. If you don't already have it on your shelves, get a copy and read it. And share it. It is exquisite and has something in it for every reader." 

Note: Debbie is researching depictions of Black Indians in youth literature. She highlights a sampling of related resources.

This week Rain Is Not My Indian Name also is featured among 15 YAs That Get It Right by Dahlia Adler from Barnes & Noble.

Of late, the Austin children's-YA author and illustrator community welcomes YA author Amy Tintera and illustrator Jessica Olien!

My Link of the Week is Your One Wild and Precious Life by Anna Elliott from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Silence your inner critic, take chances, make mistakes, write whole swaths of material that you wind up having to rip out and write again."

Personal Links

One of THREE books by Patrice Barton releasing in April

Cynsational Events

Now Available
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.

San Antonio Readers! Cynthia will sign the Feral series at 1 p.m. at Costo on March 14 in Selma, Texas.

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. May 2 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.

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