Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WIFYR 2014!

The view from the Waterford School, site of the WIFYR workshops
Cyn and I are just back from WIFYR 2014 -- the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference run by the awesome Carol Lynch Williams, where we each led an Advanced Novel workshop.

My workshoppers took me out to lunch
 In the mornings, we led workshops, critiquing manuscripts, and giving and reading writing exercises.  The afternoon was filled with speeches by various faculty members, panels of authors, editors, and agents, and a keynote (this year, by James Dashner). 

Cyn and I taught it two years ago and we were delighted to be asked back -- it's one of our favorite events of its kind and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in working on their craft.  This year, workshop faculty included Ken Baker, A.E. Cannon, Cheri Pray Earl, Lisa Mangum, J. Scott Savage, Shawn K. Stout, Carol Lynch Williams, Cyn, and me.  Editor/agent faculty included John Cusick, Kristin Ostby, Michelle Witte, and Amy Jameson.

Here are some pics of the event:

Me and food at Barbwire and Lace

John and Kristin
Me during one afternoon session on Voice

Cyn and I during the signing
Ken, John, Jeff
Carol and Cyn

Cyn and me and the goat that tried to eat her dress
My assistant -- Stephanie the Awesome -- decorated the room with dinos and lgm
Some of my class
Me and Allosaurus.  Because we had to go to the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Varian, Jenn, me, and out little green friends.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Yesterday was joint launch party for LITTLE GREEN MEN AT THE MERCURY INN; Jennifer Ziegler's REVENGE OF THE FLOWER GIRLS; and Varian Johnson's THE GREAT GREENE HEIST!

In addition to a photo booth with inflatable little green men, we did a reader's theater of scenes from each of our books, complete with costumes.

The refreshments table was semi-thematic and included fruit and cheese and vegetable platters from Whole Foods; wine, water, and Tang; "wedding" cake;and chocolate chip cookies made by Nikki Loftin!  Thanks to everyone who came and bought books -- your support meant a lot to us.

Me, Jenn, Varian, and moderator Tim Crowe, performing from REVENGE OF THE FLOWER GIRLS (Hence the red hair :-)).  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Jenn, Varian, me, and Tim Crowe during Q&A.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Varian wears the little green man glasses. Photo by Dave Wilson.
At the signing table.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
The refreshments table.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Wide angle view of the assemblage.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Nikki and Cyn.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Signing Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn.  Photo by Dave Wilson.
Many thanks to everyone who pitched in and/or helped out:  Tim Crowe was sublime as Master of Ceremonies (a role he also plays in Round Rock's annual Sam Bass shootout); Anne Bustard, Debbie Gonzales, Lindsey Lane, and others were masterful supervising refreshments; Cyn was irreplaceable (but you knew that already); and BookPeople was, as always, outstanding!

Thanks also to everyone who helped carry stuff in; set up; and break down!  And to those supported us by coming and buying books! 

Awesome photos above are by Dave Wilson of Dave Wilson Photography.  Go check out his portfolio!

And see the event report on Cynsations!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I am delighted to announce that LITTLE GREEN MEN AT THE MERCURY INN is now available at bookstores everywhere!  It's the comedic story of three friends at a motel in Cocoa Beach and what happens the day after a space shuttle launch is scrubbed due to the appearance of a UFO over Cape Canaveral!

“In this gleefully absurd tale, Smith (Chronal Engine) unfurls a series of alien-inspired hijinks at a space-themed motel on Florida’s Space Coast…Arnold’s skillfully drafted spot cartoons give this offbeat story a lively layout and match Smith’s light and breezy tone, grounded by the occasional serious moment. The result is an engaging, humorous look at humans learning that they’re not alone in the universe.”
Publishers Weekly  (For the complete review, click here)

“The Mercury Inn…shelters a colorful cast of characters…in a plot that twists and turns like a roller coaster through the engaging setting. The book design and spot cartoon art with a retro space-age feel work well with the wacky characters and situations of this enjoyably beach-y sci-fi escape.”
The Horn Book

“The quirky setting and diverse characters add originality.  An accessible and whimsical read, this should have wide appeal.”
School Library Journal

Head on over to Cynsations for an interview and giveaway!

And come on out to BookPeople at 2 pm on June 14, for MIDDLE GRADE MAYHEM, when Jennifer Ziegler and Varian Johnson join me at a party celebrating all our new middle grade releases! We promise lots of mayhem and shenanigans!  And, quite possibly, an alien from outer space!

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