This week we’re excited about two things: one is a book, the other an awesome opportunity.

ink_and_ashes_smallFor us readers: Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani came out this week. As a lover of mysteries as a child, I can’t wait to crack into this one!

And for us writers: the award that got Maetani published — The New Visions Award from Tu Books — also opens submissions this week! Tu Books is dedicated to diversity in genre fiction for young people and is under the banner of Lee and Low books, which publishes children’s books by authors of color. We definitely need more publishers with that goal in mind!

As I said, I loved a good mystery as a child (lots of Agatha Christie and Sammy Keyes), so it’s exciting that there is a new mystery out starring a person of color — I didn’t even think that was a thing when I was a kid! Ink and Ashes has mystery, a young female heroine, and the Japanese mafia. What else do you need to know?!

From the book’s description on Amazon:

Author Valynne Maetani

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away ten years ago. But on the anniversary of his death, she finds a letter from her deceased father to her stepfather. Before now, Claire never had a reason to believe they even knew each other. Struggling to understand why her parents kept this surprising history hidden, Claire combs through anything that might give her information about her father… until she discovers that he was a member of the yakuza, a Japanese organized crime syndicate. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed. The race to outrun her father’s legacy reveals secrets of his past that cast ominous shadows, threatening Claire, her friends and family, her newfound love, and ultimately her life. Winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, Ink and Ashes is a fascinating debut novel packed with romance, intrigue, and heart-stopping action.

Be one of the first to check out the book, available at most major book retailers, including:

Ink and Ashes won the 2013 New Visions Award, Tu Books’ annual writing contest for YA and MG novels by a new writer of color. I know there are plenty of you among our readers who have book ideas floating around!

If you’re a writer of color looking for an opportunity to get noticed, this could be just what you were looking for. If you’re interested in entering, submissions opened on June 1 and will remain so until October 31. You have to be a US citizen resident and haven’t had a MG/YA book published yet.

Manuscripts should address the needs of children and teens of color by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and which promote a greater understanding of one another. Themes relating to LGBTQ+ topics or disabilities may also be included.

We are particularly interested in fantasy and science fiction, but also welcome contemporary, historical, mystery, and suspense.

More information and any questions can be taken to the Tu Books’ website or Twitter.

There’s also an opportunity for writers and illustrators of children’s picture books with the New Voices Award.

Get those manuscripts ready!

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