Friday, September 15, 2017

Cynsational News

Chandler & Christina launch This Is Not the End (Hyperion) at BookPeople.
By Cynthia Leitich Smith & Gayleen Rabakukk
for Cynsations

Congratulations to fellow Austin author Chandler Baker on the release of This Is Not The End (Hyperion, 2017) in August at BookPeople in Austin! Note: Chandler is shown in conversation with author Christina Soontornvat. See also a video interview with Chandler about the book from Mr.Media.com.

OurStory App from We Need Diverse Books. Peek: "OurStory is a tool for kids, parents, educators, and librarians to discover diverse books. An interactive quiz helps you find the perfect book, and membership levels include access to exclusive content from authors and illustrators and materials that educators and librarians can incorporate into their curriculum and programming."

Struggling With & Regaining Your Confidence in Writing by Sara Letourneau from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "I don’t want you to give up, and I’m sure you don’t want to, either. So, together, let’s pick ourselves up, dust each other off, and lean on one another as we find our way back to believing in ourselves." See also Creation and Doubt are Conjoined Twins from Jane Friedman.

What to Do When You Realize Classic Books from Your Childhood are Racist by Grace Lin from PBS News Hour. Peek: "She offers her humble opinion on how you can keep loving your favorite classics while acknowledging the out-of-date or harmful parts." See also There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times by NCTE's Standing Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English.

Clete Barrett Smith on Writing Something Messy and Raw by Jocelyn Rish from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "My agent advised that we not follow up a humorous sci-fi adventure for young readers with such a raw, emotional, perhaps edgy book for teens like Mr. 60%. So I wrote four middle grade books...."

Your Book, The Movie: Interview with a Hollywood Producer by Sharon Bially from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "My studio receives about 25 books per month. To put that in perspective, we also get about 90 to 100 scripts a month, and produce about one movie, one documentary, and one TV series each year."

Ten Tips for Writing Realistic Dialogue by Pamela M. Tuck and Glenda Armand from Lee & Low. Peek: "In trying not to overuse 'said' we sometimes get carried away. One cannot smile or frown words. A way to get around that inconvenient truth is to make a statement about the character just before the line of dialogue...." See also Five Common Mistakes with Dialogue from September C. Fawkes.

Troubleshooting for Writers: 7 Questions to Ask When You Lose Desire to Finish Your Book by Denise Jaden from Jane Friedman. Peek: "Perfectionism equals high standards misdirected. It’s great to try to make your shoes match your purse when you’re going out or to take an extra thirty seconds to buff the hood of your car on a sunny day, but when making art, especially a first draft of art, you don’t want to lose the creative energy that births new ideas."

The Trouble with Action by Vaughn Roycroft from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "...even an Indiana Jones-like tunnel-to-cliff-to-river-rapids 'who’s-got-the-stolen-sacred-relic?' type scene can tempt me to start skimming. And the older I get, the more I skim ‘em."

What Does A Book Editor Do? Macmillan's Rhoda Belleza Has Some Insight On The Covetable Job by Kerri Jarema from Bustle. Peek: "'...I’d say everything I do falls into three major categories,' Belleza says. 'Editing the book and supporting the author; advocating for the book and author; and networking and finding new content.'" See also Interview with Candlewick Press Assistant editor Melanie Cordova by Isabella Corletto from CBC Diversity.

Telling Tales: Strengthen Your Novel Using Oral Storytelling by Christina Soontornvat from Middle Grade Minded. Peek: "I can’t write a book until I tell it out loud to someone else first."

Getting a Reversal of Rights from Elizabeth S. Craig. Peek: "If the contract doesn’t grant you termination rights, and publisher isn’t in breach, your options may well boil down to persuading the publisher to agree to termination—or waiting until the contract allows you to terminate without the publisher’s consent."

How to Keep a Short Story Short by April Bradley from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...the contemporary short story has a word count up to 10,000 words, although I’ve seen mention of much higher, and I’ve read ones with greater heft and complex effect."

All Your Questions about Gender-Neutral Pronouns Answered by Desmond Meagley and Youth Radio from Teen Vogue. Peek: "From grammar to what to do if you mess it up."

Which Childhood Experiences Are Appropriate and Says Who? by Christina Berchini from NCTE. Peek: "For my colleague, teaching a text that is far below grade level by nearly every measure was more appropriate than teaching a book that, while containing troubling content, was more intellectually challenging."

50 Years of Young Adult Literature by Edith Campbell from CrazyQuiltsEdi. Peek: "... these here, these outstanding writers? To paraphrase Javaka Steptoe, they are gold."

Author Interview: Cynthia and Sandy Levinson from The World of Peachtree Publishers. Peek: "Young people feel fervently about unfairness. They want to live in—and take action to create—a society that is just and equitable. Some aspects of our Constitution promote those qualities; other, fundamental ones undermine them."

Navajo Author Daniel Vandever Increasing Native Representation in Children's Books by Alysa Landry from Indian Country Today. Peek: "Holden, who is constantly reminded to 'fall in line,' can’t stop his imagination from transforming his bleak environment into one filled with wonder. As he progresses through the school day, Holden’s carefree spirit begins to influence the other students."

Top Six Things Not to Pack for a Writers' Conference by Vicky L. Lorencen. Peek: "I still cringe when I think about some of my behavior at my very first conference. I was so intent on fitting in and making sure people knew that I knew what they knew, that I know I must have been a pain in the bookend."

What's More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? from Jane Friedman. Peek: "What would happen if you not only built a site that strongly associated your author name with your category, genre, or work’s themes, but you also posted content on those themes?"

Rainbow Weekend Writing Intensive (for those identifying as LGBTQIAP+) from March 22 to March 25 at the Writing Barn in Austin. Peek: "Join popular YA authors and Rainbow Box Creators Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy and Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Vice President and agent Jim MCarthy for the first ever weekend intensive designed and created for LGBTQIAP+ writers of young adult and middle grade, for a weekend of lectures, connection and workshop."

Revising and Re-Imagining Your Novel or Chapter Book: an online class from Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson at Kid's Book Revisions in October-December 2017. Peek: "...beginning Oct. 3. Intended for anyone revising a novel or chapter book, or planning to get started on revising one soon, the class presents a variety of techniques to help writers both find problems and create new material. The class sessions are slide presentations with a video of the presenter, and students can discuss and ask questions via a chat room. We record all sessions and students can watch or rewatch them as needed. In addition to the class sessions, each student has a 'personal teacher,' who will answer questions, give feedback on 'homework' (trying out the techniques), and provide a manuscript consultation."

Congratulations to National Book Award finalists in the Young People's Literature category! Note, all releases 2017: What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (Carolrhoda Lab), Far From The Tree by Robin Benway (HarperTeen), All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry (Algonquin Young Readers), You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (Farrar Straus & Giroux), Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum), I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez (Knopf Books for Young Readers), Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder (Walden Pond Press), The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray), Clayton Bird Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad) and American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Balzer + Bray).


This Week at Cynsations

More Personally -- Cynthia

Kudos to Cory Putnam Oakes on Witchtown (HMH Teen, 2017)
The big news is: My Candlewick editor approved my revision, and the novel is off to copyedits! It's Native YA realistic fiction.

The new title is Hearts Unbroken, and we're tentatively looking at a Jan. 2019 publication date on the fall-winter 2018 list.

ARCs should be available in time for the Texas Library Association conference in April in Dallas, and I'll be there!

What else? It's been a week of grading and speechwriting here. I've connected with an anthologist on a poem and another to write a middle-grade short story--more on those projects to come!

Want to work with me? Consider applying for a fall-winter internship!

Congratulations to Mindy McGinnis and the other winners and honorees of the 2017 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing from Hunger Mountain: A VCFA Journal of the Arts. The competition was stiff, and it was an honor to judge the competition.

Please consider supporting the VCFA Young Writers Network and hurricane-impacted SCBWI Houston members.

Reminder: Unfortunately, I have time to read very few books for blurbs. That said, any requests should come through editors or agents, not authors or illustrators.

Cynsational Events

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith and the YA Book Club to discuss Tantalize: Kieren's Story, edited by Ming Doyle (Candlewick) at 11 a.m. Sept. 30 at Cedar Park (TX) Public Library.

Register now for The Joke’s On You: The Scoop on Humor, Middle Grade Through Young Adult with faculty Uma Krishnaswami and Cynthia Leitich Smith and special guests: author-comedian Sean Petrie and literary agents Elizabeth Harding and Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd. from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15 at the Highlights Foundation in Milanville, Pennsylvania. See also Cynthia Leitich Smith and Uma Krishnaswami: A Conversation about Humor from The Highlights Foundation.


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AICL Recommended

More Personally -- Gayleen
Chris Barton launches Dazzle Ships.

There's nothing like competition to get people involved! I suspect Chris Barton has perfected his audience-engagement skills through many school visits.

A trivia game at his recent BookPeople release party got us all thinking about history and paint patterns from Dazzle Ships: WWI and the Art of Confusion, illustrated by Victo Ngai (Millbrook Press, 2017).

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