2015 Workshops

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Dale Bayse 2015

Dale Basye: Become a Heck of a Good Writer

Dale E. Basye— author of the Random House Children’s Books Circles of Heck series—will drag you, kicking and scheming, through the nine circles of Heck, with fun exercises along the way to help young writers hone their craft. Sure: Heck may be where the darned toil for all eternity (or until they turn 18, whichever comes first) but this fast paced workshop is sure to engage bad boys, less-than good girls, and any budding storyteller looking for pointy tips and crafty tricks to get those writing juices flowing!

childs-smTera Lynn ChildsMining Mythology – Finding Ideas and Inspiration in Classical Myth

For writers who also love mythology, whether it’s Greek, Norse, Native American, or any other culture, ancient myths provide an almost endless supply of ideas and inspiration that the clever author can use to develop and deepen their stories. This workshop will go into how to find the best story ideas and elements from ancient mythology and how to use them in modern fiction.

Kelly Milner Halls Kelly Milner Halls: Wonders of Weird

Take a walk on the weird side with nonfiction author Kelly Milner Halls as she reveals the magic and the muscle of doing reliable research.  How can you find credible evidence on Bigfoot, mummies, aliens and ghosts?  Kelly will give you some reliable ideas!

hopkins-smEllen HopkinsOutside the Box

Developing a unique voice requires thinking outside the box. This workshop gives you new ways to think about metaphor, sensory details and character development.

Lauren KateLauren KateHow Does It Feel?

You and your best friend are looking out a diner window, watching the same guy cross the street. You see a gawky dweeb who needs to stop letting his mom dress him. Your friend sees her dream date to the prom. The way each of us views the world is unique, determined by our past, our desires, and our emotions—in other words, our point of view. Find your voice—and your narrator’s voice—in this workshop on point of view led by #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Kate.

Lish McBride 2014, 2015

Lish McBride: Humor Writing – What Makes a Story Funny? And How Can You Make Your Writing Familiar?

In this workshop we will discuss humor writing and how it can help balance other emotions (Make them laugh AND cry!), make your story more enjoyable, and keep your reader coming back for more. We will look at examples
from well-known authors and do some in class writing exercises!

noel-smAlyson Noël: From High School Slacker to #1 New York Times Best Seller

A conversation with Alyson Noël. Alyson will discuss her books, her journey from high school slacker to best selling author of 23 novels, and answer your questions on the craft and business of writing.

smith-smAlexander Gordon Smith: Zombies, Slugs and Exploding Poo – The Surprising Truth About Writing Horror

Join me for a fast-paced and inspiring session about what it takes to be a horror writer! We’ll be taking some of our worst fears (mine is slugs, for the record) and using them to create stories guaranteed to give your readers nightmares. Designed to show how easy it is to be inspired, this session is perfect for new and experienced writers alike. (Warning: contains exploding cow pies, but thankfully not real ones.)

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bradbury-smJennifer Bradbury: Showing vs. Telling

Editors are always reminding writers to “Show” instead of “Tell.” In this workshop, we look at what that means, and create a character sketch to practice showing versus telling techniques.

derting-smKim DertingKeep Your Readers on the Edge of Their Seats – How to Create Suspense on the Page

From that (breathtaking!) first kiss to discovering a killer hiding under the bed, Kimberly Derting will show you how authors ratchet up tension on the pages to keep you coming back for more!

haddix-smMargaret Peterson HaddixMaking It Sound Real

From zipping herself into a suitcase to reading 600-year old documents to calling up relatively random strangers who’d visited a prison she wanted to write about, Margaret Peterson Haddix has gone to great lengths (some would say crazy lengths) to make sure her fiction is as realistic as possible. In this workshop, she’ll offer tips on doing research to make your fiction better, stronger, and at least theoretically plausible.

Terry Lynn Johnson 2015

Terry Lynn Johnson: Get Published – Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction for Magazines

So you want to be an author. That’s great! You are joined by an overflowing pot of aspiring writers. But only a small percentage actually get their work published. Learn how to start on your journey by submitting to magazines. In this workshop, I’ll share some dog sledding adventures and wild animal tales, and – oh yes, tips on how to improve your success at seeing your words in print! My very first published article was called Frozen Turd Wars. I’m certain you have something just as colorful inside you.

kibuishi-smKazu KibuishiWriting with Pictures – The Graphic Novel

Kazu will show students the process involved in creating the Amulet series, from initial sketches and concepts to
story development, pacing, plot and character development, and revision. He’ll talk about his influences in comic making, and how his background in film making translates to visual storytelling.

nielsen-smJennifer Nielsen: World Building Gone Wild

Any great fantasy/sci-fi book is going to have a world that the reader can believe. As we build a fantasy world together, let’s learn the rules of world building and more importantly, learn how to break the rules!

shusterman-smChat with Neal Shusterman

An informal conversation with New York Times best selling author Neal Shusterman. Neal will discuss his books, including the Unwind Dystology, Tesla’s Attic, Everlost, The Schwa Was Here, and Bruiser, and will discuss the craft of writing for kids and teens.

wilson-smN.D. Wilson: Ordinary Doors.

N.D. Wilson, the best-selling author of the 100 Cupboards trilogy and the Ashtown Burials series discusses the tools of magical realism, and how to wake even the most reluctant imaginations with the magic of the overlooked and everyday.

Allen Zadoff 2015

Allen ZadoffBlow It Up! How to Write a Great Action Scene (That Also Tells a Story)

We’ll read and discuss some exciting action scenes, then workshop participants will plan and write their own action scene (fight, chase, etc.) with a focus on character development and storytelling.


Kat Zhang

zhang-smpKat Zhang grew up writing scripts for her stuffed animals and asking strange questions. At age 22, she writes both scripts and novels and most of them develop from equally weird questions. Her series, The Hybrid Chronicles, all started when she asked herself “What would it be like to have 2 souls?” One of the coolest things that ever happened to her was when magician David Copperfield made her disappear (she did come back).

Learn more about Kat Zhang at www.katzhangwriter.com

2014 Workshop: The Birth of a Book

Learn about the journey of a book from initial idea all the way to when it shows up on the shelf–as well as all the different people who are involved in the process! How are covers chosen? What about titles? How much does the original story change before it’s published? And what is it really like to be an author?

Featured books:

What's Left of MeWhat’s Left of Me by Kat Zhangyoutube
Hybrid Chronicles, book #1
grades 8-12

Addie and Eva are two sisters born into the same body, and although Eva’s soul was supposed to fade away, she still lingers beside Addie’s dominant soul, until they meet someone who can change everything for the pair.

Once We WereOnce We Were by Kat Zhangyoutube
Hybrid Chronicles, book #2
grades 8-12

Addie and Eva start to wonder: “How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom?” Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

Andrew Smith

smith-smpThe two worst jobs I ever had were: 1) Working in a chemical milling plant where we manufactured electronics parts by dissolving chunks of metal in disgusting and toxic chemicals, and 2) Unloading crates of bananas from ships that came from Central America—the crates often had enormous and disgusting bugs in them.

Andrew Smith is online at ghostmedicine.blogspot.com or www.authorandrewsmith.com

2014 Workshop: Keeping it Real: When the Character Drives the Story

Where do stories come from? They start, live, and end with your characters. Learn about extracting what you know and have experienced and making these elements the air your characters breathe.

Featured books:

In the Path of Falling ObjectsIn the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith
grades 9-12

In 1970, after their older brother is shipped off to Vietnam, sixteen-year-old Jonah and his younger brother Simon leave home to find their father, who is being released from an Arizona prison, but soon find themselves hitching a ride with a violent killer.

Marbury LensMarbury Lens by Andrew Smith
The Marbury Lens, book #1
grade 11-12

After being kidnapped and barely escaping, 16-year-old Jack goes to London with his best friend Connor, where someone gives him a pair of glasses that send him to an alternate universe where war is raging, he is responsible for the survival of two younger boys, and Connor is trying to kill them all.

PassengerPassenger by Andrew Smith
Marbury Lens, book #2
grades 11-12

Jack and Conner are drawn back to Marbury to rescue other friends and attempt to destroy the lens that transports them to the alternate world.

Ghost MedicineGhost Medicine by Andrew Smith
grades 8-12

Troy Stotts, who is still mourning the recent death of his mother, relates the events of the previous year, when he and his two closest friends try to retaliate against the sheriff’s son, who had been bullying them for years.

StickStick by Andrew Smith
grades 9-12

Protected by his older brother from bullies who tease him because he was born missing an ear, 14-year-old Stark McClellan is unable to hide from his abusive parents and runs away from home when his older brother is thrown out of the house for revealing his sexual orientation.

WingerWinger by Andrew Smith
grades 8-12

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Grasshopper JungleGrasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
grades 9-12
To be released February 2014

In the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things.

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.

You know what I mean.

Marissa Meyer

meyer-smpMarissa Meyer got her start writing fanfiction for the popular magic-girl anime Sailor Moon, and she thinks it’s kind of amazing that there is now fanfic based on her own books. She also loves Firefly, any occasion where she gets to wear a costume, and tell-ing people the little-known gory versions of Grimm’s fairy tales. She lives in Tacoma with her husband and three cats. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Learn more about Marissa Meyer at www.marissameyer.com

2014 Workshop: Old Tale, New Twist

Fairy tales, mythology, classic literature – our world is full of iconic and memorable stories, and those stories often provide fodder for writers who want to create something that’s entirely their own. In this workshop, we’ll talk about brainstorming techniques, how to play around with reader expectations, and different strategies for giving new life to old tales.

“Marissa Meyers was my favorite because I felt like she was really fixed on interacting with the kids.  I love that!  Plus, the class helped my creativity flow.” ~EMS student

Featured books:

CinderCinder by Marissa Meyeryoutube
Lunar Chronicles, book #1
grades 7-10

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

ScarletScarlet by Marissa Meyeryoutube
Lunar Chronicles, book #2
grades 7-10

Scarlet Benoit and Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about her missing grandmother, join forces with Cinder as they try to stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana in this story inspired by Little Red Riding Hood.

CressCress by Marissa Meyer
Lunar Chronicles, book #3
grades 7-10
Release date Feb. 4, 2014

Barry Lyga

lyga-smpI own a bunch of yoyos, but I’m really terrible at yoyoing. I told someone this once and she bought me a book on how to do yoyo tricks. But I’m still terrible at it. I was the guy who made Free Comic Book Day happen. If you love Free Comic Book Day, you’re welcome. If you don’t even know what Free Comic Book Day is, then I guess I didn’t do my job very well!. I wrote a terrible, terrible novel when I was in high school. There is one copy of it in existence. I keep thinking I should burn it, but I can’t bring myself to. Someday, someone will black-mail me with it. They asked me for “fun, silly, embarrassing or humorous facts” for this bio, but the sad truth is, I don’t have many fun, silly, or humorous facts. And the embarrassing ones? You think I’m gonna tell YOU?

Barry Lyga is on the web at barrylyga.com

2014 Workshops: (HIGH SCHOOL SESSION) Living the Writer’s Life

Writing and Living. This will be a combination session in which I give advice to those who want to write, but rather than just discussing the nuts and bolts of writing, I will also talk about ways to prepare yourself to live a “writing life.”

(MIDDLE SCHOOL SESSION) Writing Wolverine for Marvel Comics?

We will do some fun exercises to limber up creativity. I will also answer questions about writing comic books.

Featured books:

ArchvillianArchvillain by Barry Lyga
Archvillain series, Book #1
Grades 5-7

Twelve year old Kyle Camden develops greateer mental agility and superpowers during a plasma storm that also brings Mighty Mike, an alien, to the town of Bouring, but while each does what he thinks is best, Kyle is labeled a villain and Mike a hero.

I Hunt KillersI Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga youtube
Jasper Dent, book #1
grades 9-12

Jazz learned all about being a serial killer from his father, but believes he has a conscience that will help fight his own urges and right some of his father’s wrongs, so he helps the police apprehend the town’s newest murderer.

GameGame by Barry Lyga
Jasper Dent, book #2
grades 9-12

After solving a deadly case in the small town of Lobo’s Nod, 17-year-old Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial murderer, travels to New York City to help the police track down the Hat-Dog Killer.

boytoyBoy Toy by Barry Lyga
grades 10-12

After five years of fighting his way past flickers of memory about the teacher who molested him and the incident that brought the crime to light, eighteen-year-old Josh gets help in coping with his molester’s release from prison when he finally tells his best friends the whole truth.

Hero TypeHero Type by Barry Lyga
grades 9-12

Kevin is uncomfortable with the publicity surrounding his act of accidental heroism, but when a reporter photographs him apparently being unpatriotic, he steps up to encourage people to think about what the symbols of freedom really mean.

fanboygothgirlAstonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl by Barry Lyga
book #1
grades 9-12

A fifteen-year-old “geek” who keeps a list of the high school jocks and others who torment him, and pours his energy into creating a great graphic novel, encounters Kyra, Goth Girl, who helps change his outlook on almost everything, including himself.

Robin LaFevers

lafevers-smpRobin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic. Even though she grew up in the city, she had an unusually wide variety of pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, a goat, chickens, chipmunks, a baby anteater, and, for a few short weeks, two baby bear cubs, who were VERY wild and untamed. She was also surrounded by a gaggle of brothers who taught her an awful lot about how to get into mischief of all kinds.

Robin has spent a large portion of her life being told she was making up things that weren’t there, which only proves she was destined to write fiction. Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she has been scuba diving and parachuting, which are almost as exciting.

Visit Robin LaFevers’ website at www.robinlafevers.com

Learn more about her middle school novels at http://www.rllafevers.com/Home.html

2014 Workshop: Organic Plotting

Plot is not a four letter word. Well, actually it is, but it doesn’t have to feel like one. The best plots grow directly out of the characters themselves—their strengths, their weaknesses, their struggles, and their desires. In this workshop students will learn how to fully explore—and develop—their characters and then use what they learn to create a compelling plot that is organic to those characters.

Featured books:

Grave MercyGrave Mercy by Robin Lafeversschooltube
His Fair Assassins, book #1
grades 8-12

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts.

Dark TriumphsDark Triumph by Robin Lafevers
His Fair Assassins, book #2
grades 8-12

Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation all converge in this sequel to Grave Mercy that finds Sybella having to face her duty as Death’s assassin in 15th-century France, a reality that forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped.

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by Robin LaFevers
grades 4-7


Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father is head curator, but only she sees the black magic and ancient curses that cling to artifacts. Her mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egypt amulet that threatens to destroy the British Empire and start a terrible war.

Matthew Kirby

kirby-smpMatthew J. Kirby went to three different elementary schools and three different high schools. This was not his choice. His father was in the Navy. But he loved each of the places he lived for different reasons. He is colorblind, and owns several instruments he does not play, but wishes he did. Especially the ukulele. He does make a perfect rack of barbecue ribs, though.

Learn more at matthewjkirby.com

2014 Workshop: Writing from the Beginning to the End: How to Plot Your Story

Featured books:

Clockwork ThreeClockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby, Matthew J.youtube
grades 6-8

As mysterious circumstances bring Giuseppe, Frederick, and Hannah together, their lives soon interlock like the turning gears in a clock and they realize that each one holds a key to solving the others’ mysteries.

IcefallIcefall by Matthew J. Kirbyschooltube
grades 6-8

Trapped in an icy fortress with her siblings and friend Raudi, princess Solveig anxiously awaits news of her father’s victory in battle until a series of treacherous acts reveal that a traitor is in their midst, a situation that turns everyone against each other.

The Cave of WondersThe Cave of Wonders by Matthew J. Kirby
Infinity Ring series, book #5
grades 5-8

Fix the past. Save the future.
What marvels and dangers await Dak, Sera, and Riq when they visit the Golden Age of Baghdad?

The Lost KingdomLost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby
grades 6-8

On the eve of the French and Indian War, Billy Bartram and his naturalist father travel into the American wilderness in an airship–pursued by a party of French soldiers and haunted by a terrifying bear-wolf–on a quest to find the lost kingdom of the Welsh prince Madoc.

Kevin Emerson

emerson-smpKevin Emerson once competed in a beauty pageant and lost (probably because he was wearing a suit of armor). He loves Dr. Who and My Little Pony (he has two little kids, so it’s okay, right?) He prefers his sandwiches cut in triangles (obviously). He once appeared in a Swedish television commercial, and he knows that the real hero of the Star Wars movies is Wedge.

Visit Kevin Emerson on the web at www.kevinemerson.net

2014 Workshop: Create Fantastic Worlds and the Heroes to Save Them!

In a far off land, in a strange new world, in a terrifying future… these are the words that tingle our sense of adventure! We all travel these worlds in our minds, and imagine ourselves as heroes in them. In this workshop, we’ll learn how to build those worlds on the page, and how to create the perfect character (who is sometimes the most unlikely) to save the day. We’ll discuss strategies for how to make a world and a character that are so unique that only one person can tell their story: YOU!

Featured books:

The Vampire's PhotographVampire’s Photograph by Kevin Emerson
Oliver Nocturne series, book #1
grades 5-8

Thirteen-year-old vampire Oliver Nocturne becomes involved with the human world despite himself when a human girl named Emalie takes a photograph of him and threatens to expose the existence of vampires.

The Lost CodeLost Code by Kevin Emerson
grades 7-12

In a world ravaged by global warming, teenage Owen Parker discovers that he may be the descendant of a highly advanced, ancient race, with whose knowledge he may be able to save the earth from self-destruction.

The Dark ShoreDark Shore by Kevin Emerson
grades 7-12

A follow-up to The Lost Code finds Owen, Lilly and Leech searching for Atlantis to protect it from Paul and Project Elysium, an effort that compels them to cross the perilous wastelands of a wrecked planet.

The Fellowship of Alien DetectionThe Fellowship of Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
grades 5-8

Haley’s an eighth grader in Connecticut with a theory about the mysterious disappearances she discovers on the Internet. On the opposite coast, Dodger is a confused boy who gets radio messages from the past in his head. Both kids win an “alien detection” fellowship and travel with their families to conduct field research and do deeper investigation into extraterrestrials. When it turns out that their projects point to an actual alien invasion, the two finally meet and join forces.

Matt de la Peña

delapena-smpMatt de la Peña was born in San Diego, California, way down by the Mexican border. His dad’s Mexican and his mom’s white, and he writes a lot about mixed race kids. He played basketball in college at the University of the Pacific where he studied psycholo-gy and English and tried to talk to as many pretty girls as he could. He’s very, very weary of spiders and people with big heads. He likes eating burritos.

Read more about Matt de la Peña on his website www.mattdelapena.com

2014 Workshop: Reading and Writing on the Wrong Side of the Tracks

Not everyone is born in a big house in the suburbs with shelves full of books everywhere. Some kids grow up with nothing. And their lives are just as valid and interesting, both in and out of fiction. In my session we’ll discuss writing characters who are growing up on the “wrong side of the tracks”? We’ll discuss the mistakes they make along the way, as well as their moments of grace and dignity. I’ll use myself as a case study.

Featured books:

We Were HereWe Were Here by Matt de la Peña
grades 8-12

Ordered to write in a journal while completing his sentence in a group home, Miguel expresses feelings that make others aware of the terrible living conditions he endured at home, providing valuable insight into why he suddenly felt the need to flee to Mexico to start a new life.

I Will Save YouI Will Save You by Matt de la Peña
grades 9-12

Seventeen-year-old Kidd Ellison runs away to work for the summer at a beach campsite in California where his hard work and good looks lead to friendship and love but painful past memories surface in menacing ways.

Ball Don't LieBall Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña
grades 8-12

Raised in the foster system, Sticky has an attitude that is unwelcoming to all who approach. Determined to make his way in the world, Sticky heads to the basketball court where he learns that his skills as a player and his will to succeed in life is all he really needs to find his own way in the world.

Mexican WhiteboyMexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña
grades 9-12

Danny, who is tall and skinny but has a talent for pitching a fastball, cannot seem to fit in at school in San Diego, where his Mexican and white heritage causes people to judge him before he even speaks.

The LivingLiving by Matt de la Peña
grades 7-12

Shy took the summer job on a luxury cruise liner, now he’ll be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. Everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy’s only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed. Suddenly it’s a fight to survive for those left living.

Curse of the AncientsCurse of the Ancients by Matt de la Peña
Infinity Ring series, book #4
grades 5-8

The fourth Infinity Ring episode sends time-traveling youths Sera, Dak, and Riq first back to the early days of the Mayan civilization and then forward 800 years to witness the fiery destruction of its native culture by the Spaniards. Carrying out their mission to save an ancient codex entails narrow squeaks aplenty and clashes with the archenemy, Time Wardens.

Ally Condie

condie-smpFor a long time, Ally Condie did everything in threes. She’s lived in three places (Utah, New York, and London) has had three careers (bookseller, teacher, and writer) wrote a trilogy (MATCHED, CROSSED, and REACHED), ran three marathons, and had three little boys. But now she’s writing a new book, has added an adorable daughter to the mix, and daydreams about living someplace different, so maybe it’s time for a new lucky number. She loves reading, running, writing, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.

Learn more at www.allysoncondie.com

2014 Workshop: Write for Your Life

Using stories from her own life and writing career, and from her experience running and coaching, Ally talks about how to get yourself in writing shape, how to stay motivated when exhaustion/fatigue kick in, how to use your experiences to fuel your passion, how to find the right coaches and training partners, and how the journey truly is as important as any finish line.

Featured books:

MatchedMatched by Ally Condieyoutube
Matched Trilogy, book #1
grades 7-12


Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her, so when Xander appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate–until Ky Markham’s face appears for an instant before the screen fades to black.

CrossedCrossed by Ally Condieyoutube
Matched Trilogy, book #2
grades 7-12

A follow-up to Matched finds Cassia journeying to the Outer Provinces, where she learns that Ky has escaped and left a series of clues that create doubts about everything she has ever believed, including her prospects for a new life across the border.

ReachedReached by Ally Condieyoutube
Matched Trilogy, book #3
grades 7-12

In search of a better life, Cassia joins a widespread rebellion against Society, where she is tasked with finding a cure to the threat of survival and must choose between Xander and Ky. Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life that is too confining, seeking a freedom that she never dreamed possible and honoring a love she cannot live without.

YearbookYearbook by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
Yearbook Trilogy, book #1
grades 7-12

Yearbook is a captivating story about relationships and heartaches and fears and ideas and doubts and testimonies and everything that a teenage mind and a backpack can contain. But most important, Yearbook is a novel about how everyone has something to offer and something to learn.

Freshman for PresidentFreshman for President by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
grades 7-12

Tired of not being noticed, fifteen-year-old Milo decides to run for president of the United States, and through the course of the campaign, he discovers that he–and other teenagers–can make a real difference.

Cinda Williams Chima

chima-smpCinda Williams Chima grew up with talking animals and kick-butt Barbies. She nearly failed first grade because she was always daydreaming instead of listening. By junior high, she was writing novels in class, which were often confiscated. She was also caught reading a very racy novel in Problems of Democracy class. That was confiscated, too, which was unfortunate, because it belonged to a friend of her mother’s. With a degree in philosophy and two degrees in nutrition, Cinda might be totally unqualified to teach you anything about writing. But she believes in the magic of books. Books took her from first grade failure to first generation college graduate to college professor to best-selling author. These days, she daydreams on the page.

Connect to Cinda Williams Chima at www.cindachima.com

2014 Workshop: Creating Compelling Characters

Tension in story derives from the reader’s relationship with the characters. As writers, our job is to create characters that readers care about, and then get them into trouble. In this hands-on workshop, participants will develop characters who come alive on the page.

Featured books:

demonkingDemon King by Cinda Williams Chimayoutube
Seven Realms series, book #1
grades 7-10

Relates the intertwining fates of former street gang leader Han Alister and headstrong Princess Raisa, as Han takes possession of an amulet that once belonged to an evil wizard and Raisa uncovers a conspiracy in the Grey Wolf Court.

Warrior HeirWarrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
The Heir Chronicles, book #1
grades 7-10

Fourteen-year-old Jack finds out that he is not really an ordinary teenager but the last of a line of magical warriors and a member of Weirlind, who must fight to the death to determine if the house of the White Rose or the Red Rose continues to rule the Weir.

Patrick Carman

Patrick CarmanPatrick Carman spoke German before he spoke English. He has since forgotten every word. His mother learned how to speak English by watching soap operas on television. This explains a lot. Patrick grew up loving comic books, monster movies, Star Wars, the Six Million Dollar Man, and Evel Kneivel. He once jumped over his mom’s car with his bike and lived to tell about it. There was no seat on the bike at the time, so it was a big deal. Patrick’s favorite food is frosting out of a can, preferably attached to a salty pretzel. He also likes crossword puzzles, playing basketball, fishing, and watching movies. He is terrible at golf, but that doesn’t stop him from trying.

You can get more information about Patrick Carman at his website: www.patrickcarman.com

2014 Workshop: Don’t Stand Out, Blend In!

Let’s be honest, most of us stare into screens every day of our lives. But television, the Internet, cell phones, and video games are not the enemy if we can adapt and use them to help tell our stories. Patrick will share strategies that will help you blend your stories into the wired world we all live in. He’ll also share how he came to believe that modern readers need 21st century reading choices as much as they need graphic novels and traditional books. Bring questions! You might win a signed book.

“My favorite was Patrick Carman, because he is hilarious and feels like a good friend.” ~CJMS student

Featured books:

PulsePulse by Patrick Carmanyoutube
Grades 8-12

The year is 2051 with the help of her mysterious classmate Dylan, Faith discovers that she can move objects with her mind or the “Pulse”.  Even with great talent the mind and the heart can be difficult to control.  If Faith wants to join forces with Dylan and save the world, she’ll have to harness the power of both.

Dark Eden

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
Dark Eden series, book #1
grades 8-12

When Will Besting approaches Fort Eden for the first time, he knows something isn’t right.  With more terrifying secrets at every turn, he discovers a hidden fear deep inside himself, a dark mystery a thousand years in the makin, and the unexpected girl of his dreams.  Can he save everyone from the dangers of Fort Eden before it’s too late?

Thirteen Days to MidnightThirteen Days to Midnight  by Patrick Carmanschooltube
grades 7-10


You are indestructible.  These are the words that transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding…and it changes everything.  After all, there’s something addictive about testing the limits of fear, experiencing the thrill of walking through fire, or saving your friend from a beating in front of the whole school.  But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse.

Skeleton CreekSkeleton Creek  by Patrick Carmanyoutube
Skeleton Creek series, book #1
grades 6-8

Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek…and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out and then emails the clips for Ryan to see.

FloorsFloors by Patrick Carmanyoutube
Floors series, book #1
grades 4-7


Leo Fillmore should know everything there is to know about the Whippet Hotel–he is the janitor’s son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when four cryptic boxes are left for him…boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and an unexpected friend or two.

Dark Hills DivideDark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman
Dark Hills Divide, series book #1
grades 4-7

Alexa Daley is spending another summer in the walled town of Bridewell. This year, she is set on solving the mystery of what lies beyond the walls. Legend says the walls were built to keep out an unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills. But what exactly is it that the townspeople are so afraid of?  When Alexa discovers a strange and ancient enchantment she is faces a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear.

Stephanie Bodeen

bodeen-smpStephanie (S.A.) Bodeen grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm where, among other things, she milked cows, has been covered—multiple times— in cow manure, and learned to drive a stick shift at the age of eight. She has lived in a mud hut in Tanzania and once puked near the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro during an electrical storm. She has lived in eight states, two African countries, and one insulary possession. She is a rabid Green Bay Packer fan and is not ashamed that she owns two Cheeseheads.

Read more about S.A.(Stephanie) Bodeen at www.rockforadoll.com

2014 Workshop: Squelching the Quit: Finding Your Story Even When You Think You Never Will

After learning how perseverance and revision are crucial to the writing process, participants will write and revise a short piece. (Participants are welcome to bring a previously written piece to revise.)

Featured books:

CompoundThe Compound by S.A. Bodeen (Stephanie) schooltube
Compound series, book #1
grades 7-10

After his parents, two sisters, and he have spent six years in a vast underground compound built by his wealthy father to protect them from a nuclear holocaust, fifteen-year-old Eli, whose twin brother and grandmother were left behind, discovers that his father has perpetrated a monstrous hoax on them all.

falloutThe Fallout by S. A. Bodeen
Compound series, book #2
grades 7-10
Out Sept. 24

After barely escaping from the compound where Eli’s dad kept his family for six years, they’re learning to acclimate to “normal” life—whatever that is for them. It seems like the entire world wants to know what happened to this high profile family.

The GardenerThe Gardener by S. A. Bodeen, S. A.schooltube
grades 8-12

When high school sophomore Mason finds a beautiful but catatonic girl in the nursing home where his mother works, the discovery leads him to revelations about a series of disturbing human experiments that have a connection to his own life.


RaftThe Raft by S. A. Bodeenschooltube
grades 6-10

Robbie’s last-minute flight to the Midway Atoll proves to be a nightmare when the plane goes down in shark-infested waters, but the real terror begins when the co-pilot, Max, pulls her onto the raft.

Kendare Blake

blake-smpKendare Blake writes stuff. Most of it is dark and twisted but her parents seem to like it anyway and do not at all think it relates to her mental state or how she was raised. One time, she tried to beat the closing doors on the London subway and failed. She was stuck in between sandwich-style and almost lost her backpack. It hurt. A lot.

Visit Kendare Blake’s website at kendareblake.com

2014 Workshop: (HIGH SCHOOL SESSION) Scaring the You-Know-What Out of People

Because who doesn’t like doing that? Join me for a 40 minute workshop session where we’ll play with tips for ratcheting up the suspense, how to write gore, and twisting terrible true mysteries into proper horror fare. We’ll discuss what is scary, what makes it so and create our own horrifying event. Bring your most devious ideas.

Featured books:

annadressedinbloodAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blakeyoutube
Anna series, book #1
grades 8-12

For three years, seventeen-year-old Cas Lowood has carried on his father’s work of dispatching the murderous dead, traveling with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat, but everything changes when he meets Anna, a girl unlike any ghost he has faced before.

Girl of NightmaresGirl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Anna series, book #2
grades 8-12

Unable to forget ghost Anna Korlov’s sacrificial disappearance into a Hell portal, ghost hunter Cas Lowood endures a nightmarish existence and believes he sees Anna’s tortured soul everywhere before resolving to save her.

Sleepwalk SocietySleepwalk Society by Kendare Blake
grades 9-12

This is the story of the last summer of total freedom for three best friends as seen through the eyes of one of them, Violet Monroe. It is a story that deals with change and choice. In the background looms the impact of the 9/11 attack on the United States. The year is 2002.


Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Antigoddess series, book #1
grades 9-12

Seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl. Cassandra doesn’t even know Gods exist. But she may be the key in a war only just beginning.

Josh Berk

berk-smpI’m pretty good at juggling and know at least one or two magic tricks. I was voted “best hair” in my high school senior poll. I’m afraid of all scary movies, even ones intended for children.

Visit Josh Berk’s website at www.joshberkbooks.com


2014 Workshop: Writing a Detective Story

This fun workshop includes a look at great detectives in fiction as well as lots of useful tips for writers to explore. We consider mood, character, plotting, dialogue, description, and more. Then we brainstorm as a group and come up with chapter one of a brand-new mystery!

Featured books:

Guy LangmanGuy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk
grades 8-12

Sixteen-year-old Guy Langman, his best friend Anoop, and other members of the school Forensics Club investigate a break-in and possible murder, which could be connected to the mysterious past of Guy’s recently-deceased father.


Dark Days of Hamburger HalpinDark Days of Hamburger Halpin  by Josh Berk
grades 7-12

When Will Halpin transfers from his all-deaf school into a mainstream Pennsylvania high school, he faces discrimination and bullying, but still manages to solve a mystery surrounding the death of a football player in his class.


strikethreeStrike Three, You’re Dead by Josh Berkschooltube
grades 6-8

Dreaming of becoming a sports announcer, die-hard baseball fan Lenny Norbeck wins an amateur announcer contest that awards him the opportunity to broadcast one inning of a Phillies game, but before his turn to announce, things go horribly wrong when a promising young pitcher dies on the mound under suspicious circumstances.

Robin Benway

benway-smpRobin Benway is an author, dog owner, and caffeine addict. She likes peonies, espresso, music, the sound of her dog snoring, any bookstore that has a cat, crossword puzzles, red nail polish, and the Beatles. She is scared of dinosaurs, sharks, and making eye contact with squirrels. When she’s not writing books, she’s reading other people’s books. Or procrastinating.

Learn more about Robin Benway at www.robinbenway.com

2014 Workshop: Characterizing Characters: Building Them Up and Breaking Them Down

In this session, we’ll talk about discovering your characters: how to find their voice,  discovering what they want most, and the one thing they don’t want to happen…and how to make sure it does!

Featured books:

Also Known AsAlso Known As by Robin Benwayyoutube
grades 7-12

As the active-duty daughter of international spies, sixteen-year-old safe cracker Maggie Silver never attended high school so when she and her parents are sent to New York for her first solo assignment, Maggie is introduced to cliques, school lunches, and maybe even a boyfriend.


audreywaitAudrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
grades 9-12

While trying to score a date with her cute co-worker, Audrey gains unwanted fame and celebrity status when her ex-boyfriend, a rock musician, records a breakup song about her that soars to the top of the Billboard charts.


April, May, JuneExtraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway
grades 9-12

Possessing respective supernatural abilities to see the future, disappear and read minds, sisters April, May and June work through a difficult period in their lives while struggling to protect their family from an imminent disaster.