Friday, June 20, 2014

Cynsational News & Giveaways

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Plotting Can Be for You by Susanne Winnacker from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "So despite the fact that I hated going into things without a plan, I tried to write my book without an outline. It would be fun, right?"

Everything Is Going to Be Okay: On Writing & Anxiousness by Leila Austin from YA Highway. Peek: "A message from the kind, sensible part of my brain to the irrational, ugly part. A reminder to let go of all the things I carry around when I sit down to write, because my brain can’t work on my novel if it's working on a hundred things which are not my novel."

To Pseudonym or Not to Pseudonym by Catherine McKenzie from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "...there are lots of people who do just that—publish under a pseudonym—for a myriad of reasons. It’s a question that’s been on my mind lately because my next WIP is somewhat of a departure for me."

Foreign Rights for Dummies by Hilary Wagner from Project Mayhem. Peek: "Now this isn't a step-by-step of the process, it's just my own personal experience, but I hope it can give a little enlightenment for anyone who's been wondering how it goes down or may be in the process themselves."

Tearing Down Walls: The Integrated World of Swedish Picture Books by Laura Reiko Simeon from Lee & Low. Peek: "...recent Swedish picture books that show ethnic diversity involve conflicts about ordinary, universal topics such as sharing." See also Making Our Own Market: Reading is Fundamental from The Brown Bookshelf.

Cover Reveal & Interview with Courtney Alameda from Hypable. Peek: "Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she’s trained to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual."

Write What You Love & Stay True to Your Passion by Katherine Longshore from Adventures in YA Publishing. Peek: "Never say never. And it can pay off to write what you love."

Worldbuilding by Stacy Whitman from The Open Book at Lee & Low Books. Peek: "...revealing enough about the world that you create interest and intrigue, but not too much."

Cynsational Giveaways

See also ARC Giveaway of Shutter by Courtney Alameda from Hypable.

This Week at Cynsations


More Personally

See the full Middle Grade Mayhem Event Report!
This weekend's highlight was Middle Grade Mayhem, a joint launch event featuring authors Varian Johnson (The Great Greene Heist (Arthur A. Levine Books)), Greg Leitich Smith (Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook)), and Jennifer ("Jenny") Ziegler (Revenge of the Flower Girls (Scholastic)) at BookPeople in Austin!

Outside The King's English; photo by Shawn K. Stout

Busy teaching, hence this more-abbreviated-than-usual Friday roundup!

It's been rainy this week at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers in Sandy, Utah, but I'm having a great time (more on that to come)! Also, the sun came out yesterday!

Congratulations to fellow Austinite Anne Bustard on the sale of her debut novel, Anywhere But Paradise (for middle graders), to Andrea Cascardi at Egmont!

Personal Links

Cover Reveal (Harper, 2015)

Cynsational Events

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will speak at the Writers' League of Texas 2014 Agents and Editors Conference on June 28 at the Hyatt Regency Austin in Texas.

Join Cynthia Leitich Smith in discussing Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) with the YA Reading Club at 11 a.m. June 28 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.

Research for Fiction, Non-fiction and Historical Fiction Writers from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 13 at The Austin Centre (3809 South 2nd St.) from Austin SCBWI. Speakers authors Cynthia Levinson and Greg Leitich Smith, author-librarian Jeanette Larson and Carolyn Yoder, senior editor at Calkins Creek Books, the U.S. history imprint of Boyds Mills Press, and senior editor at "Highlights."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guest Interview & Giveaway: Carolyn Dee Flores & Lupe Ruiz-Flores on Writing, Illustrating & Team Flores

Carolyn & Lupe AKA "Team Flores"
By Carolyn Dee Flores & Lupe Ruiz-Flores
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

LR: We call ourselves “Team Flores.”

Although my daughter, illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores, and I have never worked together on a book, we hope to someday.

We team together when we make joint presentations and provide the moral support for each other.

Carolyn Interviews Lupe

CDF: What is the most surprising aspect about being from a kidlit family?

LR: I don’t think it’s surprising at all. We love books!

Before my firstborn (you) even arrived, I spent money we could not really afford on a volume of encyclopedias that came with an entire set of children’s books.

That was one of the best investments I made.

CDF: What is the most interesting thing you have learned about illustrating a picture book because your daughter is an illustrator?

LR: I found out how hard and dedicated the illustrators work to bring a writer’s text to life. I’ve watched the enormous hours of research that go into creating just the right art, images, and scenes that will make the book come full circle.

I’ve learned that an illustrator reads and rereads the writer’s manuscript until they come up with a concept that makes the book sparkle. Then they spend months creating and recreating until they are satisfied with the final art.

CDF: How does your family (past and present) affect what you write about and how you approach your craft?

LR: I come from a large family of eleven brothers and sisters.

There was no money for books when I was growing up. But we had storytellers—my father and my grandmother.

There’s an art to storytelling, I think. My siblings and I were mesmerized on those evenings on the porch listening to the cuentos about legendary myths. The stories sparked my imagination.

I hope to create an emotional experience for the readers of my books and a chance for their imagination to soar like mine did on those magical nights. I like to think of myself as a storyteller.

CDF: What is your latest work?

LR: A YA historical fiction set in the late 1930s in San Antonio, Texas. I feel passionate about this story because it comes from my background and culture. I believe this gives authenticity to my piece.

It takes place during the aftermath of the Great Depression and is reminiscent of the Lower East Side New York sweatshops that were in operation at the turn of the 20th century. I’ve done extensive research, both primary and secondary sources.

I feel blessed that I live in the city where the story takes place because I’ve been able to physically visit some of the places that I write about in my story and conduct interviews.

CDF: What is the hardest thing about working on a novel as opposed to a picture book?

LR: With a picture book, you’re limited on word count so every word must carry its weight.

With a novel, you have more freedom to develop your characters, the setting, dialogue, etc. The hardest thing for me in writing a novel is the middle part. I have to make sure it doesn’t sag.

CDF: How are the two processes similar? How do the two processes differ?

LR: The storyline is what is similar. With only 32 pages in a picture book, you still need a story.

With a novel, you can thread your storyline with expanded scenes, action, dialogue, and character development. What matters most is a good story.

Tejas Star Book Award Reading List

Lupe Interviews Carolyn

LR: You have illustrated picture books as well as a middle-grade book about historical figures (Daughters of Two Nations, written by Peggy Caravantes (Mountain Press, 2013)). What is the difference?

CDF: Canta, Rana, Canta/Sing, Froggie, Sing (Piñata, 2013) and Dale, Dale, Dale/Hit It/Hit It/Hit It, written by René Saldaña Jr. (Piñata, 2014) are my two bilingual picture books.

Daughters is a collection of biographies about nine Native-American women and is for readers ages fourth grade and up.

I think the short answer to the question is that the pictures for each book differ in the same way that the text differs for each book. Every book is unique. In general, though, with picture books, the illustrations must be narrative, character-driven, and sequential. It’s all about the page-turn.

A nonfiction history book for older readers requires illustrations that are authentic, factual, and absolutely accurate. With teens, however, you really want to create pictures that are also really intriguing and dynamic. Something, for instance, they would wear on a T-shirt. But, still, the emphasis must always be on the facts.

With Daughters, I studied two different maps from the time period to get details for the exact placement of the houses in the background behind my portrait of Mary Musgrove - including where each gate was, and even the exact location of the flag. With Nancy Ward, I had to make sure there were no seams or stitches in her clothing, as she would've worn deerskin that was tied together.

However, you cannot copy a copyrighted art piece. If a piece of clothing has a unique pattern, or a medal worn by one of the women is copyrighted, then I have to alter the image in order to include it in the book. I did my best to retain the authenticity. But it can sometimes be a complicated process.

I focused on representing the dignity of the character of each one of these wonderful women, because I felt it was a privilege and an honor to draw them. And that led me.

LR: What is your art style? What medium do you use?

CDF: I am very conscious of my medium as an illustrator. In a way, your medium is your trademark.

I started out as an oil painter, but I use Prismacolor colored pencil for all of my illustrative work … usually. Right now, I am painting in watercolor, because it best represents the tone and the period of the book I am working on. It is more organic. But, I am very true to drawing in Prismacolor.

LR: Briefly walk us through from when you first get a manuscript to when you actually start drawing.

CDF: If it is a picture book, the answer is easy: I read the text aloud at least 30 times, before I ever start to zero in on an image, even in my mind. It can be such a mistake, jumping in and sketching, before you truly understand the text and allow it to breathe.

But the very second thing I do, for any book, is research. The day I get the contract, is the day I am off to the library. Even for a picture book, you still have to do research.

For Froggie, which was a story about an underwater singing frog, I learned as much as I could about frogs, and also, as much as I could about singers. I surrounded myself with pictures of frogs and Pavarotti in my studio for nine months. You have to immerse yourself in that world.

LR: When did you become an illustrator and why? What have you learned about the business of illustrating?

CDF: I was an illustrator and a writer when I was born, before I knew I was anything, I think. I used to draw on my mother's curtains, and I carried books around with me before I could ever read. I would pretend I was reading them - not knowing they were upside down.

Copyright © Carolyn Dee Flores 2014
The one thing I've learned about the business of illustrating is that there are many, many layers to this craft and, also many, many layers to this industry.

It is such an adrenaline rush to be creative and see where it leads. Drawing, research, narrative, storytelling, style, design, composition, listening, craftsmanship, vision, rendering. It’s all fantastic!

Ultimately, the greatest rush about working in the children's book industry is that as you work, you are always learning something new about people. There is not a day that goes by, that I don't just swoon on the new ideas I’ve discovered.

LR: Do you think it would be hard working with your mother on a book?

CDF: Since you are the one asking me this question, Mother, I'm going to have to be honest with you. It has always been my dream to work with you, Mother, on a book. We work very well together. Especially, this book that we are collaborating upon currently. I'm putting everything I have into it, because I believe in it so much!

It is about Las Carpas, the Mexican-American tent circuses of the 1930s. I am just bowled over by how interesting these people were and how visually exciting this period in time was.

We have both done a tremendous amount of research on the subject, and it has just come alive!

LR: What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

CDF: If you are older, join SCBWI. If you are a child, write your own book now.

Every writer and illustrator I know, carries around with them the book they wrote when they were in second or third grade. You will treasure it always!

Books by Carolyn & Lupe

Cynsational Note

Carolyn Dee Flores and Lupe Ruiz-Flores are both represented by Mira Reisberg of Hummingbird Literary.

Cynsational Giveaways

Enter to win an autographed copy of Lupita’s First Dance/El primer baile de Lupita by Lupe Ruiz-Flores, illustrated by Gabhor Utomo (Arte Publico, 2013). Author sponsored. Eligibility: U.S.

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Enter to win autographed copies of Daughters of Two Nations, by Peggy Caravantes, illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores (Mountain Press, 2013) and Canta, Rana, Canta/Sing, Froggie, Sing (Piñata, 2013). Author-illustrator sponsored. Eligibility: U.S.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Kristen Tracy on Can You Hear Me Now? & Writing Dialogue

By Kristen Tracy
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

When I wrote Hung Up (Simon Pulse, 2014), I knew before I typed the first word that the entire book would be written in phone conversations.

No traditional scenes. No chapters.

No physical descriptions, besides what I could work naturally into dialogue.

It was my tenth novel--the first I’d written in that format--and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was also struggling through a difficult pregnancy at the time. I guess that made the process of book-making and revising feel extra arduous. I ate so many saltines . . .

Since the book has come out, because of its format, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about writing dialogue.

Here are the four most useful things anyone ever told me about writing dialogue.

1. It’s not like real speech.

When I first started writing fiction for teens, I was encouraged by fellow writers to eavesdrop as much as I could on young people’s conversations. I realize now this was a terrible idea.

Yes, real speech is interesting, but overheard conversations are rarely going to arrive in any condition to insert into your novel. Plus, the cadence is all wrong. If you really listen, most conversations are scattered and loose and filled with pauses and “ums” and have no structure.

Dialogue is carefully composed. Every time I type a quotation mark I think, “Every word must be worth it.”

Here’s a quick anecdote. A few years ago, I was a volunteer gardener on Alcatraz. Because I spent most of my time low to the ground and beside the walking paths, I overhead all sorts of conversations. Did people talk about crazy personal things involving their medication, sex lives, and in-laws? Yeah, they did. But for the hours and hours of conversations I overheard on that island, I maybe got two small quotes worth using. Which isn’t the best return on time.

So sponging off teen conversations might help you stay current with teen slang, but I don’t think it’s helpful in crafting meaningful dialogue.

The Rose Garden on Alcatraz

2. Compression is often a great solution.

There are only three ways to revise: you add words, rearrange words, or subtract words.

When it comes to revising dialogue, I think you should aim for economy. I’m constantly looking for words to purge. (I started out as a poet; so I spent most of the 90s developing word-purging skills.)

If you want better dialogue, try having less of it.

3. Long interrupted sections of one person talking can feel inauthentic.

Dialogue is meant to go back and forth. If one person refuses to pass the ball, you risk creating a section that can feel strained, or boring, or insincere.

In Hung Up my characters do talk for extended moments, but I tried to set these up so they would read as confessions, which I think readers tend to like or at least extend more patience to.

This baby goat is Laverne.

4. Empathetic people write the best dialogue.

This is perhaps the best insight I’ve come across and I completely believe it. Because if you can accurately imagine how another person feels, you stand the best chance of accurately capturing what that person wants to say.

When generating or revising dialogue, I try to deeply imagine the characters as much as I can—where they are physically, geographically, emotionally.

If I understand how my characters feel, it’s easier to speak for them.

This baby human is Max.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win one of two copies of Hung Up by Kristen Tracy (Simon Pulse, 2014) or a copy of Lost It or a copy of Crimes of the Sarahs (all Simon Pulse). Eligibility: U.S. From the promotional copy of Hung Up:

Learn more!

Learn more!
Can you fall in love with a voice? This witty romance, told entirely through phone calls, chronicles the tale of a wrong number gone right.

It all started with a wrong number.

The voicemails Lucy left on James's phone were meant for someone else--someone who used to have James's digits. But then when James finally answers and the two start to talk, a unique bond forms between the two teens.

Gradually, Lucy and James begin to understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives. But when James wants to meet in person, Lucy is strangely resistant. And when her secret is revealed, he'll understand why...

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Guest Post: Shirley Vernick on Drawing the Line

By Shirley Vernick
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Novelists always know when to start writing. It’s when we get an idea—in the form of a voice, a setting, a conflict, or some other plot point. Inspiration strikes, and we create a new file titled something like “My Latest Greatest - Draft 1.”

But how do authors know when to stop writing? That is, how do we know where to end the story?

This is one of the most challenging questions for me as a writer.

Novels don’t usually stop at the climax. Readers want more than that big punch line—they want to know how the various plot threads will be drawn together in a satisfying, or perhaps a disturbing, resolution.

Enter the denouement, that term from high school English class, that amorphous thing of indeterminate length which lets readers walk away with a sense of closure. The question of when to end the story thus becomes how far out to play the denouement.

In my new YA novel The Black Butterfly (Cinco Puntos, 2014), Penny, the daughter of a failed ghost hunter, discovers over Christmas vacation that she’s the one with the supernatural gift, and she’s not sure she likes it. Part of me wanted to extend the story 20 or 30 years into the future, when Penny has a contrary daughter of her own. But that wasn’t going to happen; this wasn’t a multi-generational epic in the making. Next, I decided the story would encompass six to twelve months of Penny’s life, so readers could see how her supernatural gift affects her values and relationships over the medium term. In the end, the novel spans only the two weeks of Penny’s Christmas break.

Why did that feel like the right place to end the story? While it’s difficult to psych out a gut feeling, in this case, I’m pretty sure it had to do with a sense of balance.

I felt this timeframe allowed me to share enough of Penny’s personal transformation to gratify readers, while also leaving the window open for readers to wonder, to speculate, to imagine for themselves how the rest of Penny’s young-adulthood would turn out.

In my first YA novel, The Blood Lie, my earlier drafts had an additional 50 pages or so of denouement.

The Blood Lie is based on a real blood libel that happened in Upstate New York in the 1920s. I had more play with the denouement than I did with the sections leading up to and including the historical hate crime, so I went for it, following the main character to the end of his teen years and even recapping his adulthood.

It was my wonderful publisher, Lee Byrd, who helped me see that the main character’s experiences and decisions during those extra 50-ish pages could be predicted by the growth he underwent earlier. Better to end the denouement—and the novel—at the point where that growth solidified, rather than to drag the reader through the details.

I can’t deny that the cuts were painful, but I understood that I wasn’t taking part of the story away from readers; I was giving them part of the story to ponder for themselves.

I have to admit, it’s still emotionally difficult for me to leave characters hanging. I become very attached to the people in my fictional worlds, and my impulse is to see their stories all the way through.

Take, for instance, my novel Remember Dippy about an autistic teen and his cousin.

The book was released a year ago, and I’m still picturing the ongoing adventures of the two boys. But those adventures will stay in my head, where they belong (unless, of course, there’s a sequel!).

Office Mate Jiffy
Cynsational Notes

Shirley has been writing since she learned how to hold a pencil. Her first professional publication, when she was a high school senior, was a pun in Reader’s Digest. The Black Butterfly is her third young adult novel, following the award-winning The Blood Lie (Cinco Puntos, 2011) and Remember Dippy (Cinco Puntos, 2013). Her work has also appeared in Cosmopolitan, Salon, Good Housekeeping, and newspapers nationwide.

Shirley is a graduate of Cornell University and an alumna of the Radcliffe Writing Seminars. The first paranormal novel she ever read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), and it remains one of her favorites. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, and two frisky dogs.

From the promotional copy of The Black Butterfly:

Penny is furious, and who can blame her? She has to spend Christmas break alone at the Black Butterfly, an old inn at the coldest, bleakest edge of the country—the coast of Maine. 

This “vacation” is the brainchild of Penny's flaky mother, who's on the other side of the country hunting ghosts. Penny most definitely does not believe in spirits. Or love. Or family.

Until, that is, she discovers two very real apparitions which only she can see…and meets George, the strangely alluring son of the inn's owner…and crashes into some staggering family secrets. 

If only Ghost Girl didn't want Penny dead. If only George were the tiniest bit open to believing. If only she could tell her mother. Then maybe this could still be a vacation. But it's not. 

It's a race for her life, her first love, and her sanity.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Sarah Frances Hardy on Paint Me!

By Sarah Frances Hardy
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Paint Me! (Sky Pony Press, 2014) is about a little girl who begins the day painting a portrait of her dog, but she quickly discovers the joy of colors and lots of messy paint.

At the end of the day, all is well after a bath and goodnight kiss.

It's for preschoolers and toddlers who are beginning to learn their colors. And since it finishes as a bedtime story, it's a good one to read to wound-up kids at night to get them to settle in and go to sleep.

Here's the blurb from my publisher:

Red, blue, and yellow are just the tip of the iceberg when you have a good imagination. 

In this colorfully illustrated story, a young girl makes her way through the day--first painting a portrait of her dog, and then painting anything and everything she can find. 

With a simple, affectionate plot that teaches colors and embraces the "creative process" for many kids, Paint Me! offers a message of love and discovery.

Don't miss Sarah's previous book!
This book is special to me for so many reasons. First of all, when I was a toddler, I was the little girl in the book. I tended to get carried away whenever I started any art project, and I never let neatness get in the way of creativity.

Also, just like the mom in the book, my mom kept me supplied with lots of paint, and she didn't get too upset when I was overly expressive!

In fact, I dedicated the book to her because she spent a lot of time cleaning up my spilled paint (or sending me outside to work on projects!).

And since I identified so strongly with the little girl in the book, I decided to add my childhood dog Tam the schnauzer as a main character.

He lived to be seventeen years old, so he was around throughout most of my childhood. I loved being able to bring him back in my book.

Here he is on the title page!


Another reason that I love this book so much is that I had such a wonderful time doing the artwork. It's not every day that I get to channel my inner Jackson Pollock and sling paint! It's very therapeutic.

This is my favorite spread! When my daughter saw it, she said that it reminded her of when you play in the sprinkler and see rainbows in the water. What a wonderful image! "Like playing in the sprinkler with paint!"



And speaking of slinging paint .... I am fortunate enough to have a "room of my own" just off our garage. When we were working on our house, I decided to make a studio across the back of the garage where most people have a storage room. My space is small, but it works just fine. Having a dedicated work space where I can leave out my work (and yes, get a little messy) is heaven.


My art desk was my fifteenth birthday gift. I've got an easel set up behind it as well as my computer and scanner. I still do artwork the old-fashioned way--with paint on paper--but with this book, I scanned in the images and edited them using photoshop.

Working this way, I felt like I could be even more creative because I knew I could easily fix a mistake digitally without having to redo an entire painting. It allows me to do a little more playful experimentation.

These days, as well as traveling to schools and bookstores to promote Paint Me!, I'm busy working on the final artwork for my next release from Sky Pony called Dress Me! It's about a little girl who tries on lots of different outfits (and personalities) until she finds just the right one. Look for it in the spring of 2015.

Cynsational Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Paint Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy (Sky Pony, 2014). Author-illustrator sponsored. Eligibility: U.S.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Event Report: Middle Grade Mayhem

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Wow! This weekend's highlight was Middle Grade Mayhem, a joint launch event featuring authors Varian Johnson (The Great Greene Heist (Arthur A. Levine Books)), Greg Leitich Smith (Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook)), and Jennifer ("Jenny") Ziegler (Revenge of the Flower Girls (Scholastic)) at BookPeople in Austin!

What worked about this event?
  • Three authors are better -- and more dynamic -- than one!
  • With the unifying "middle grade" age category, hello crossover fans!
  • Delicious (healthy and special treat) refreshments!
  • Lots of photo ops (photo booth & readers' theater with props)!
  • A charming M.C. (Tim Crow) and helpers too numerous to list here (it takes a village, people)!
  • Three fun and funny readers' theaters to offer the audience sneak peeks!
  • Keeping it short--the whole program ran only 40 minutes, including Q&A!
  • Signing with giveaway bling (GGH bookmarks, glow-in-the-dark LGM wrist bands and mini figurines, bubble formula & wands, plus patriotic temporary tattoos)!
  • A children's book loving community and world class independent bookstore!

The new releases are loaded on the cart and ready for the signing.
Catering by Whole Foods, wedding cake provided by Jenny & chocolate chip cookies by Nikki Loftin
Varian, Greg & Jenny pose in the LGM/dance photo booth, ready for mayhem.
Austin librarian Michelle Beebower serves herself a cup of--what else?--Tang!
Pro photographer Dave Wilson; see his (much better) pics on GregLSBlog.
San Antonio author Peni R. Griffin hands out LGM glow-in-the-dark wrist bands
Austin SCBWI RA Samantha Clark (with Bethany Hegedus) scheduled a local chapter meet-and-greet on the third floor BookPeople to end right before the second-floor event.
The refreshments table (complete with flower girls' wedding cake!) is popular.
Author-librarian Julie Lake, author-illustrator Mark G. Mitchell pose with writer Meredith Davis in the photo booth.
Dallas writer Stephanie Parsley Ledyard poses with LGM and Greg.
Author-illustrator Yangsook Choi meets Cynthia Levinson
Introducing M.C. & Educator Tim Crow
The crowd gathers in anticipation.
Varian, Greg and Jenny take the stage.
Readers' theater of The Great Greene Heist (Arthur A. Levine)
Readers' theater of Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn (Roaring Brook)
Readers' theater of Revenge of the Flower Girls (Scholastic)
Jenny steps to the mic during the Q&A session.
Authors Sara Kocek & Nikki get to know soon-to-debut Chandler Baker in the signing line.
Book signing & bling giveaway (GGH bookmarks, ROTFG temporary tattoos & glow-in-the-dark LGMs)
Me with three little green men (well, sort of)

 Cynsational Notes

Author Interview & Giveaway: Greg Leitich Smith on Writing Realistic vs. Speculative Fiction from Cynsations. See also Middle Grade Mayhem Event Report from GregLSBlog.
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