Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thank god for ex-Good Morning America producer friends

This afternoon I read at Barnes & Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn and I was incredibly lucky that my dear friend Deb Eiseman made the trek (actually, that's the wrong word...on a warm spring day it's a trek, but in today's bitter cold, it was more like a schlep) over from the isle of Manhattan on which we live to support me.

And, you know, to make sure there was at least one person in the audience.

Not only is Deb a very talented artist -- you can see her work by clicking here-- but in a past life she used to be a producer for Good Morning America and she's still got that I'm-totally-fearless-and-have-no-problem-going-up-to-anyone-and-asking-for-anything thing going on, which meant that within five minutes she had wrangled about 10 teen girls in the store to come hear me read.

I knew there was a reason I was friends with Deb. Actually, there are many reasons I'm friends with her, but now there's one more.

And I not only remembered my camera, but I remembered to take it out of my bag before I started reading which meant that she could take pictures of me in action, so that you guys wouldn't be stuck looking at a picture of the Barnes & Noble restroom or something equally random which, left to my own devices, is the kind of lame-ass picture I would take. Unfortunately, in my excitement of looking out into the audience and seeing the shining faces of -- thanks to Deb -- a gaggle of teenage girls, I forgot to take a picture of Deb.

The last picture is of my new friend Claire, who goes to Brooklyn College and wants to be a writer herself. When she asked if I had any tips, I told her than in addition to reading, reading, reading and writing, writing, writing, she had to get Anne Lamott's book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life which you can check out by clicking here. I saw Anne Lamott speak once at Royce Hall at UCLA and it took everything in me not to throw myself at her feet in gratitude and admiration.

P.S. Apparently, upon first glance, many of you thought that the picture I posted on Tuesday was of the B&N at Carle Place rather than the train station waiting room which made me think that maybe I should organize a book tour that would be held solely in the waiting areas of train stations on rainy least I'd have a captive audience.

My idea of heaven

Shakespeare & Company, Paris

I would like to live there.
Not just Paris, but actually in the bookstore.

I saw this picture on the MySpace page of one of my new friends -- a French librarian.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Conquering the YA world one small step (and audience turnout) at a time....

Tonight I did my first-ever reading/signing. Well, my first solo reading. You know, the kind where they have a big poster with my author photo and a picture of the book and it says "Appearing Tonight Only" or whatever it is they say. Anyway, it was at the Barnes & Noble at Carle Place on Long Island which meant I got to to take my maiden voyage on the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) which was beyond exciting. What was even more exciting was the fact that when I got off the train in Garden City, there was nary a cab to found which meant that I got to walk the streets looking for one which would have been lovely if it had been, say, a sunny afternoon rather than, say, a dark rainy night. That being said, downtown Garden City seemed very charming. To make a long story short, I got a cab and got to my 7:00pm reading at 6:55.

The crowd consisted of Stephanie and her parents (Stephanie, send me that picture of us so I can post it here on my blog); Sarah and her dad (Happy 14th birthday, Sarah!!!) and a nice man named Andy who has a daughter who's also 14, and whose name is also Sarah, but she wasn't there. And Kristen, the Community Relations director of the Carle Place B&N. And another guy, but he wasn't there for the reading. He was just flipping through Elle Decor.

Not a huge turnout, I know. Kristen said maybe it had to do with the rain. I think maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm not Stephenie Meyer.

But, still, there was a turnout. And they were all lovely people and even if no one had showed up other than Kristen because she has to because it's, you know, her job to be there, I would've been beyond excited.

That being said, pleasepleaseplease check the News section of my website and come to one of my signings. I'll tell you this much--because there isn't exactly a crowd snaking around the side of the building waiting for for me to sign their copies of CE, I have the time to not only sign your copy, but write an epic inscription.

Now moving on to the photo.

I know most authors would probably have someone take a photo of them reading. Or signing. Or, if -- like me -- they're shy and hate the idea of asking anyone to do anything for them lest they then feel indebted to them for life, they'd at least take a picture of the outside of the bookstore.

Yeah, well, I decided to bypass those three and instead grace you with something far more exciting -- the interior of the waiting area of the Garden City train station. A rather pathetic memento of such a momentous occasion, I know, but a) it was late; b) I was tired because O'Neill The Cat had decided to wake me up at 5am YET AGAIN and I was crashing from the chocolate chip cookie I had gotten at the B&N cafe while waiting for the cab to take me back to the train station, and so rather than come home without any pictures, I took this one.

For good reason. Have you ever seen a waiting area with a faux fireplace? Pretty snazzy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The shriek that could be heard all the way in Manhattan

So yesterday, Lexa, Patrick and I spent a sunny afternoon strolling down Park Slope's Seventh Avenue and we stopped in the Barnes & Noble where I'll be reading this coming Thursday at 3:30. After my first non-friend-requested autograph by a lovely young girl named Lina--which, I can't even begin to tell you, was beyond exciting--we left to go in search of coffee. But as we walked out the door I let out this huge shriek because, right there in the window, was a big poster announcing my reading.

Okay, the Lina part was exciting, but the poster part? Beyond, beyond exciting.

Of course Patrick took a picture because he's good at that stuff. And of course I cribbed it from his blog because otherwise I wouldn't be able to show you what the shrieking was about.

BTW, I could so live in Brooklyn. I came to that conclusion once we found the good coffee at Ozzie's, which came after we were given was basically amounted to brown water at another place which shall remain nameless so that I don't get sued for slander because I haven't yet sold enough books to pay the legal fees.

And as we were walking, a mother called out to her little girl whose name was..... India -- like my India in the book. She also had another kid, whom she called 'Punzel, which prompted the three of us to wonder aloud whether the child was named after Rapunzel, which then prompted me to announce that maybe I'd have a gaggle of children just so that I could name them all after fairy tale characters, which then prompted Lexa and Patrick to give me a very strange look, which then prompted me to shut up.

And although I look like I'm pregnant with the first in the gaggle in the picture above, I'm not. It's just the down in the down jacket.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's now officially winter...

Yes, I realize that, it was officially winter back in December, but now it's officially winter according to me. Because, as you can see from these beautiful photos TAKEN BY MY FRIEND PATRICK (note the caps and bold so there's no way I can be accused of trying to pass them off as my own handiwork) we finally, finally got some snow that matters rather than a light dusting that disappears faster than a Billy's Bakery cupcake once it lands in my hands.

When I woke up yesterday morning and looked out the window and saw the snow, I planned on running outside with my camera and snapping away (after I threw on sweats and boots, that is) but that brilliant idea disappeared by the time I made it to the kitchen to make coffee and realized I was way too tired (and lazy) due to the fact that I've been working my ass off lately.

And then I thought, I'm sure Patrick is out there snapping away, because Patrick's just that kind of guy. (If you click here and read his blog, you'll see what I'm talking about.) So last night, when I went to meet him and our mutual friend Lexa who's in town from L.A. (see non-snow picture above -- the one I allowed to be taken of me POST-FACIAL because I knew Patrick was going to insist on that for his blog -- who on earth lets themself be photographed sans makeup, post-facial?!) I found out that -- yes, indeed -- Patrick had taken photos.

So, like an underachieving high school student, I asked him if I could just "borrow" his for my blog. I did say I'd give him credit, though. And because he's so sweet, he said yes.

So these are photos from my first NYC snowstorm. It was great. The whole day was great -- especially hanging out with Lexa and Patrick and going to see Sarah Ruhl's new play Dead Man's Cell Phone starring Mary-Louise Parker, which was quirky and fun. (Due to the fact that I've only ingested the first quarter of my cup of coffee I'm not in the space to be reviewing a 34-year-old Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright's work without risking projecting lightning bolts of envy...even if they are cloaked in breezy, passive aggressive prose).

So, yes, snowstorm = very exciting.
Lexa being in town = even more exciting.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How I Spent My Senior Prom by Robin Palmer

So a few weeks ago I was asked if I had any interested in writing an original essay for

Um, yeah.

I was told that it could be about anything, and seeing that Cindy Ella takes place during prom time, I decided to write about my own own even though it was a million and a half years ago. So, with flashbacks to high school English class, I hunkered down in my bunker (a.k.a my Upper West Side apartment) and wrote this.

After I was done, I had one of my Clever And Witty Moments, where I came up with the idea that it would be fun if they posted my prom picture with the essay. You know, next to my RECENT author photo, so people would see that I wasn't some weird authoress with frosted blonde hair who refused to let go of the '80s.

Maybe the including-the-RECENT-author-photo part got lost in translation/cyberspace, but it's not there. Which means that as far as the people who read the essay on are concerned, I'm this weird authoress with frosted blonde hair who's refused to let go of the '80s.

Yes, I'm being vain. I know. But I'm allowed a few of those a year. As an L.A. resident you're allotted ten. Here in NYC, you only get five and I've only used two in the six months I've lived here.

This woman here...

...has been my friend since fifth grade. I've known her since fourth, but we weren't in the same class until fifth, which is when we became friends. Her name is Kellie Keane and she's one of the sweetest, most considerate people I've ever met and I'm so glad that she tracked me down via email a few years ago after we had lost touch, which happened back in college.

When we were young, we used to hang out in her basement and watch THE OUTSIDERS and talk about going to parties in Hollywood wearing little black dresses. Her Aunt Nicole used to live on the Upper East Side here in Manhattan and one weekend we went and stayed there and saw Andy Warhol getting out of a limousine, and went to the Peppermint Lounge.

It's funny how there are some people who, if you don't talk to them on a daily basis, the friendship just dies, while there are others who you can just pick up with again no matter how much time passes in between. Kellie and I have been having a 30-year conversation. Sure, there have been a few gaps here and there, but it never feels like that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How exciting is this?!

So I just found out that the Los Angeles Times will be reviewing CE (that's how those "in the know" refer to Cindy Ella. Okay, well, not really -- that's what I refer to it as because I get too lazy to type the entire title out)

I probably shouldn't announce they're reviewing it because if it turns out it's a bad review, it's not like I want to be advertising it or anything, but a) I'm super excited and b) as my dear friend Julie Golden says, "I got nothin'" Nothin' to write about, that is. I've been too busy w-o-r-k-ing. I'm very grateful for the work, but it turns out I sort of forgot what it's like to be so busy. I used to love being busy -- mostly because it helped to lower the volume on the chatter in my head. Now? Not so much. Both on the loving-being-so-busy front (no longer a fan) and the chatter in my head (down to a very dull roar). Maybe all that yoga I've done over the years has done more than just strengthen my triceps.

So between the impending LA Times review, and all this work, and a bunch of other things that I won't go into at this moment, life is good.

Really good.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I want this girl...

I mean, I want the painting or the print or whatever this is. I saw it on my new MySpace friend Violet The Bookworm's page but she doesn't know where it came from either.

I also want to buy some of these fantastic photographs from an old friend of mine named Sue Burnstine. If you click here you can see her work. Very dream-like, which I love.

Can you tell I really don't have much to talk about today?

Friday, February 15, 2008

These aren't even my own personal copies....

I swear. They were there on the shelf of Borders at the Time Warner Center. And the nice lady working there even let me autograph them which means there are now six copies of Cindy Ella floating around in the world that can never, ever be returned. Actually, there are 11, because the nice women at the Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway let me autograph the ones there as well.

At this rate, If I keep autographing copies I'll be able to afford that second home in the Berkshires before I know it.

I was going to ask the nice lady at Borders to take a picture of me pointing to the books, but seeing that I've had this horrific cold all week, I look like death warmed over and I'd like to keep the fantasy going just a little bit longer that I look as great as I do in my author photo 24/7.

Plus I'm shy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Meet My Valentine

Meet Pete, my doorman.

Not only does Pete sign for my FedEx packages and hold on to my dry cleaning for me, but he also doles out very sage advice in regards to matters of the heart. Tonight Pete told me that while he thinks I'm a very stunning woman, sometimes -- "and don't take this the wrong way," he made sure to preface the next part with -- sometimes I'm a know....plain and could stand to do my hair up and wear some makeup -- not that I need to wear it, mind you, he added , but just, you know, on special occasions and stuff.

Read: when I'm with a guy.

Oh, and I should wear high heels.

Okay, yes, I could probably spend a little more time with the blowdryer in the morning, I'll give him that. And, yes, lately I've been skipping the eye shadow and seem to have misplaced my lipstick, but high heels? In Manhattan? When I walk approximately 80 blocks a day?

I'm thinking the answer to that is...NO WAY IN HELL.

I love Pete, and tonight I asked him if he would be my valentine, but although I'm a bit challenged in the ability-to-keep-firm-boundaries department, there are some things I just refuse to do. I stopped wearing high heels in Los Angeles years ago, even though the longest walk I made on a daily basis was from my apartment to my car.

Pete and I may have a very intimate doorman/tenant relationship, but he obviously does not know me as well I thought he did, because if he did, he'd know that I'm strictly a flip-flops kinda girl.

And red cowboy boots in winter, of course.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

No glass slippers here...

Click here for a link to another review -- this one by Little Willow (I know it sounds like I've made some sort of deal with her, but I swear I haven't -- she just happens to be super smart and very tied into the YA world and an incredibly astute reviewer).

I'm thrilled as I feel that the review really gets at what I was trying to do with the book.

Yay Little Willow! Yay Cindy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I swore I was going to wait...

...until I saw Tom Collins, my prom date, again at my reading at Barnes & Noble in Freehold, NJ on Thursday, March 6th ( click here to see a list of my upcoming appearaces) where I was planning on taking a "now" picture and posting it along side this one, but I'm way too much of an instant gratification junkie to wait that long.

Plus I have nothing else to write about today because I have a god-awful cold and can't think straight because my head weighs nine million pounds.

But back to the picture.

So as Cindy Ella is about the prom, I thought that not sharing a picture of my own prom would be a sin of omission, even though every time I look at it I cringe and turn red, even in the privacy of my own apartment.

FROSTED blonde highlights?! What was I thinking? That being said, it was 1986. And it was New Jersey. 'Nuf said.

So that's me and Tom, who, in addition to being my date was also my boyfriend, except we used to break up every other day because we fought ALL THE TIME. But even now, all these years later, I still consider him one of the funniest people I've ever met.

I got an email from him a few years ago and it turns out he's divorced with two daughters and now living back in Ocean Township, which is where we went to high school. I happened to be living in New York that summer so I took the train out there for the day and we had lunch and it was so much fun. And we didn't even fight.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This boy knows what he's talking about...

Click here to read Book Chic's review of Cindy Ella. I love that he mentioned the scene at Loehmann's because that's my favorite scene in the book. And I know my editor Jen Bonnell will be thrilled that he mentioned the sparkly cover because she's all about sparkles.

Inteview with Little Willow

Click here to read the interview I did with YA/web goddess Little Willow.

It turns out we both have Alice t-shirts.

I can't wait until it gets warm enough to wear mine again. It's a whopping 12 degrees today -- but feels like below zero with the wind chill. I'm thinking I might need to wear a sweater.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I wish more people understood this.

And we're live...

So I had this whole saga a few months ago where I hired this guy to do my website and then he fell off the face of the earth before it was done. Then I got busy with other stuff -- little things, like paying the rent -- and "Find new website designer (preferably one who won't fall off face of earth)" kept falling farther and farther down the list until somehow it fell off completely.

Enter the wonderful world of MySpace.

So I posted a blog entry on my MySpace page about my web woes and this lovely YA book reviewer named Book Chic suggested this other lovely YA book reviewer named Little Willow, who, in addition to reading/reviewing, also designs websites.

Okay, can we talk about how awesome Little Willow turned out to be?

Not only was she insanely reasonably priced, but she had the whole thing designed and up and running in LESS THAN 24 HOURS!!

Here's the home page...fab, n'est-ce pas?

You can click here to go to the site itself where you can see when/where I'll be reading/signing as well check out the reviews of Cindy Ella (okay, well, the one review so far) and interviews I've done (okay, well, the one interview I've done so far).

I'm so glad that web guy went MIA so I got the chance to meet Little Willow. I'm telling you--if you need a site, she's your girl. Literally -- "Your Girl" is one of the pages on her site. Click here to check it out.

I tell you, sometimes the Universe really knows what Its doing when it comes to that "When one door shuts, another door opens" thing.

It's the little things in life...

When people ask me if I miss L.A., I tell them no because I don't. After 17 years of not being able to tell whether it was November or May, it was time to leave. Usually they give me a weird look, like I'm some sort of sociopath with the inability to bond, and then they say. "Really? You don't miss anything about it?" Which is when I then say, "Okay, yes, there are three things I miss -- my washer and dryer and...Target."

People say that Disneyworld is the happiest place on earth, but they're wrong. Target is. I find the fact that you can buy a mop and , a gallon of milk, and an absolutely darling navy-blue-with-pleats Issac Mizhari dress in one single credit card transaction incredibly soothing.

I know there are Targets in New York, but there aren't any in Manhattan proper even though there's a giant neon Target sign in Times Square which makes absolutely no sense to me. There's one in Brooklyn, but too many people told me that a Target-lover like me would be sorely disappointed in it and therefore it would be better to steer clear of it. I had also heard there was one in the Bronx, and that it was decent -- much more decent than the Brooklyn one -- but there were rumors that once you got off the subway, you then had to take a bus, and even though I would do anything for an Issac Mizrahi dress, a two-tiered public transportation outing felt excessive.

But yesterday morning, after I had officially been self-diagnosed as brain dead after working on this Powells essay, I was overcome by an incredibly powerful PMS-induced Target craving. So I looked up the address of the Bronx Target
and then I went to , which is like Mapquest for subway directions, and I saw that not only was it a straight shot up the 1 train, but -- here's the best part -- there were no buses involved.

So despite the rain, and the impending cold that would later come over last night, I hauled my butt out there and it only took 20 minutes.

Sadly, my book was not yet on the shelves, but just being around the comforting smell of plastic soothed my PMS-addled soul.

But then the weirdest thing happened:

I couldn't find anything to buy.

Okay, yes, I bought Target brand garbage bags, and wrapping paper for my niece's birthday gift, and a three-pack of Eclipse wintermint gum, but that was it.

I'm telling you -- I never get out of Target for under $75.

But I did.

Then, when I got back on the train, that's what it looked like, which was reason alone to have made the trip. I mean, an
empty subway car? Come on.

And then I got home and waited for the cold to take over.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Seven Words No Codependent Ever Wants To Hear

So this morning while out buying kitty litter--which is just one of the many glamorous things that I get to do now that I'm a published author who resides in New York City--I stopped into Morningside Bookshop, which is up the street from me on Broadway and 114th and I saw this:

It's a line from this beautiful poem by Kahlil Gibran that I used to keep on my refrigerator in L.A.:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

--Marriage by Kahlil Gibran

I really have no idea what any of this has to do with anything, but seeing that I've taken to carrying my camera around so I can take pictures of random things and then post them here lest I run out of stuff to say, I thought the fact that this was hanging up in a bookstore that doesn't even have a Self-Help section was interesting.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

So I came home to find these waiting for me on pub day...

Well, the cat's always waiting for me because he's an indoor cat and hasn't yet figured out how to unlock the door, but the four exquisite bouquets of flowers? Not really a daily occurrence.

So today was the day -- the pub day of Cindy Ella. The whole thing has been so surreal that I don't quite know what to say other than...the whole thing has been so surreal.

Seriously, I think it's safe to say this is the happiest day of my life. Sure, a large part of that is because A BOOK WITH MY NAME ON THE SPINE IS IN BOOKSTORES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY (actually, no, not really, but more about that later) but, to be honest, the reason I'm so happy isn't even about the book. I mean, it is, but in a roundabout way. The reason I'm so happy is because all day I've been getting the sweetest emails from people from all eras and aspects of my life..all the way back to people I've known since fourth grade, to friends of my dad's whom I've never even met.

Honestly, that's the part that is just so incredible -- this overwhelming sense of gratitude for all these people who have been so supportive of me and my writing these last six years since I left my expense account-Manolo-Blahnik-shorn existence and believed in me on the days when I didn't believe in myself.

I'm telling you -- I'm the one who feels like a princess today.

Okay, so I was hoping to put a picture of my book on the shelves of my local Barnes & Noble up here today, but it's not in the stores yet -- at least not in the three Barnes & Nobles I went to today, so I can't do that. I guess I could if I went in there and put my own copy of the book on the shelf when no one was looking and then took a picture but that would be cheating. Not to mention kind of pathetic.

But people ordered it today on Amazon which was just so cool.

I'm running out of steam here but I'll tell this story before I float off into my bedroom and go to sleep (as if I'll be able to come down from all this adrenaline any time before 2:00am!):

So I get home and all these flowers are sitting there next to Pete, my most favorite doorman in the whole world. As we're oohing and aahing over how pretty they are, this woman who's a true New Yorker of a certain age (read: like 65ish) waddles into the lobby and in her New York-tinged/not-meaning-to-sound-annoyed-but-sounding-annoyed-anyway accent says "Oy, you're going to tell me that someone ELSE died?" (I did not know this, but apparently two tenants died in the last two weeks which would be alarming if they hadn't been super old) and Pete (who, although he's a hot-blooded, macho Latin man, tends to get as emotional as I do when I'm at the height of my PMS) says "No! These are HAPPY flowers!" To which the woman of a certain age and a very different generation lights up and says "Ohhh...did you get engaged?" To which I, a woman not yet of a certain age and of a whole other generation, say "No--I had a book published today!" Which I guess wasn't nearly as impressive to her as an emerald-cut diamond because all she said was "Oh" before she waddled towards the elevator.

It was all very New York.

I'm thinking it's not reading as funny on the page, but when I told my friend Amy it was.

As was the fact that Pete and I aren't exactly sure if the daffodils belong to me. The other three arrangements do, as they had cards that said "Dear Robin" but the daffodils are a mystery. And Pete said "Go ahead and take them -- if it turns out they're for someone else, you can just bring them back down and return them."

So as I write this, one of my cats is chewing on the leaves of an arrangement of daffodils that may or may not be mine. For some reason that also strikes me as very New York, although I can't for the life of me tell you why.

And now I'm going to bed. I'm too tired to even write about the reading at NYPL last nite. Tomorrow I'll do that.