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New York Trip Part Two: Book Expo America (with lots of pics!)

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Since my return from New York, I have of course been way behind on everything, but I am belatedly getting to one of my favorite events there--Book Expo America (BEA).

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Let's be clear--I have never been to a book event of this magnitude before. It's thousands of square feet at Javits of ... BOOKS. Yes, it is truly, amazingly booktastic, and now they open it to the public one day, so you should def check it out next year.

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But anyway, my publisher had set up a half-hour signing for me in the autographing area. It felt super official (and super nerve-wracking). You had to go sign in at this special booth and then make your way through this behind-the-scenes curtain (where they stored boxes of everyone's books) to pop out just as the author before you left and make everything look super seamless. Then a bunch of people get in line and you just sign your book to your heart's content. Since I'm such a new, unknown, I was a little worried I'd have the sad empty line, but I didn't. It was full the whole time. I met a lot of cool people, and got some great practice on my autographing skills :) It was awesome to meet people who'd seen the book in the show catalog and had marked it down as one to pick up!

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After that, the publicist swept me back to the F&W booth, where we did another impromptu signing with my tower of books. See above. (It's not really allowed, so shhh, but it was really fun.)

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All in all, it was truly an amazing and humbling experience. I felt like a real author for maybe the first time. One of the women walking by even said, "You're the author? You look to young to be an author!" I'm going to take that as a compliment.

Other highlights included cool LEGO structures and getting a glimpse of the Ron Hubbard scientology booth. See below.

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I want these.

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Really bad.

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That's right, a book really is sold every 2 seconds... If that's not terrifying, I'm not sure what is.

New York Trip Part One: My First School Visit!

Creative writing workshop for teens, author high school visit Oh man, oh man. It has been exactly a week since I returned from New York, and I feel like I'm still recovering! All in all, it was an AMAZING trip, and I seriously don't even know where to begin. So I'll start with my first school visit (and first book event) ever ... my visit to Hudson High School of Learning Technologies. And what a great first event it was!

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I met with two groups of students who LOVE creative writing to talk about The After Girls, share tips and do a couple exercises, and it was so much fun. I can't explain how exciting it is to talk to teens about writing. Speak to adults, and you get a whole slew of questions about getting an agent, getting published, royalties, advances, sales, business business business. Not to say that isn't all terribly important, but speak to teens, and you get questions about ... wait for it ... WRITING. How do you keep writing when you feel stuck? How long does it take to write a novel? How do you think up your characters? How much do you base your stories on real life? What music do you listen to while you write?

Creative writing workshop for teens, author high school visit

Needless to say, it was refreshing. It reminded me why I do this all in the first place. Because writing is a joy and a blessing--and I am so lucky to be able to share that blessing with others.

Creative writing workshop for teens, author high school visit

The best part? These bright-eyed teens were great writers! They were uninhibited, creative, observant. They were eager to learn more and to make their stories better. They weren't worried about how to get published. They were only worried about how to get down all the wonderful things they had to say.

After the workshop, I signed all the kids' books, probably the most fun of all! Above are a few photos. See them all on the school's Facebook page.

P.S. If you're interested in having me visit your school, just email me at leahkonen@gmail.com, and we'll try to work something out. I'm available in-person in many locations and also via Skype.

This Week's Events in New York City!

New World Trade Center from BrooklynAs you can see from the photo above, I'm back in the big apple. Above is a view from my friends' lovely balcony in Brooklyn, overlooking the new World Trade Center. My feelings toward the five boroughs and all their amazingness can hardly be expressed now. I'm deep in a mix of excitement to be back and nostalgia for the life I lived during the five years I was here. Thankfully, I had an afternoon of gross weather and crowded subway rides today to remind me that everything here isn't perfect all the time.

But anyway, today I did my first event for The After Girls, a school visit at Hudson High School in Manhattan (more to come on that later, but it was amazing), and I've got two more awesome events planned this week. Stop by if you can!

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Tomorrow night (Wednesday), I'll be celebrating the publication of The After Girls at Revival near Union Square from 7-10 pm. There will be books. There will be treats. I will sign your book between beers. Above is the info.

And finally, I'll be attending my first Book Expo America this year. Bloggers, book-lovers, booksellers and librarians--I'd love for you to stop by Table 18 in the autographing area at 1:30 on Friday. I'll be signing ARCs of The After Girls.

Other than that, I'll just be enjoying this wonderful city, and will post so many more pics next week.