Friday, March 28, 2008
It's been an entire week since my last post.
To be honest, I thought it more like two weeks, so now I feel a little less guilty. But because I was raised Jewish, I can't not feel a little guilty. About anything. Or everything. Depends on the day.
Anyway, the reason I haven't written here is because I've been busy writing elsewhere -- namely working on the revision of my second book. Hopefully I'll be posting a picture of the cover (designed by the incredibly talented Kristin Smith, who did CE as well) soon. It's super cute.
I use a lot of birth metaphors when I talk about writing, and I was thinking about how each book really is like a kid. With CE I felt like I had all this time to...prepare. And I did, because I didn't have a lot going on. But now, in addition to writing the second one, I also have a close-to-full time job at MTV (Did I mention that? I can't remember. Well, I do. I develop the original movies) and I'm busy promoting CE. So now I'm that frazzled working mother who feels guilty (there's that word again) that she's not giving the kids enough attention and worries (another byproduct of Judaism) that they'll begin acting out in inappropriate ways and end up having Lifetime Original Movies based on them.
Hopefully not. Hopefully they'll remain upstanding, well-written citizens and everything will get done and everything will be fine and I can stop worrying.
At least that's what people tell me will be the case. I don't really believe them , but just for today I'll nod and smile and pretend that I do.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Next month I'll be going back to L.A. for the first time since I moved to NYC and in addition to taking class with my favorite yoga teacher Lucy Bivins and eating as much Red Velvet Cake as possible from Doughboys Bakery with Amy, I'll be doing some bookstore signings/appearances...so if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by.
Saturday, April 19th
126 Larchmont Blvd. (the very street where a lot of CE takes place!)
Sunday, April 20th
12348 Ventura Blvd.
Thursday, April 24th
Barnes & Noble
7881 Edinger Ave.
Saturday, April 26th
Los Angeles Times Book Festival
Penguin Young Readers Group/Mrs. Nelson’s Toy & Book Shop
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Okay, not really, but a girl can dream.
Before I moved, all I heard (from ex-NYers) was "Sure, you'll like New York--but let's see how you feel in February, when it's cold and rainy." And I'd just smile and say "Yeah, well, I grew up in Boston and remember the Blizzard of '78, so I think I'll be okay." And I have been okay. In fact, I haven't complained AT ALL about the weather.
Okay, not exactly true. I didn't start complaining until a week ago and that's only because everyone else started complaining--we're talking native NYers--and therefore I thought it would be okay if I started chiming in.
It's not that the cold is bothering me--it's that it's been going on so long. And the fact that every store window has cute little sleeveless sundresses isn't helping the situation.
So, yes, I'm ready for spring. I'm ready to start wearing flip-flops.
And I won't complain the heat either.
As you can see, I'm really stretching here with stuff to write about. That's because I highly doubt you want to hear about how I spent most of the weekend doing my taxes and working on my rewrite on the second fairy tale.
Oh! I almost forgot. How on earth could I have forgotten this?!
BIG BIG NEWS...
On Saturday I discovered Pell Street in Chinatown. More specifically, I discovered the hair salons there. Where I can get my hair washed and blown out for $15.
This discovery officially made my year.
So as I am writing this, it's with my sleek, soft, straight hair.
I'm officially addicted.
Because if I'm going to be wearing cute little sundresses and flip-flops soon enough, I need to have pretty hair.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Okay, here's the deal -- I've been way too busy working the last few days to have much of a life. Not that I'm complaining though--seriously--I'm so grateful for the work. But unfortunately that means that I don't have a lot to write about.
(Meanwhile, I'm watching the news about Governor Spitzer. I mean, come on, man -- what on earth were you thinking?!)
So, anyway, for your reading pleasure, here are 10 things about Cindy Ella--the character and the book--that you may not know.
(Meanwhile, how cool that the (most likely) new governor of NY is blind?!)
Okay, so back to the 10 things. Here they are:
1. Cafe Du Village, where Cindy and Noah have lunch, really does exist. And it really is on Larchmont Blvd. And they really do have great fries.
2. I wrote a lot of the book while sitting at the Starbucks on Larchmont Boulevard.
3. Cindy's English teacher Ms. McManus is named in honor of my high school friend Dawn McManus who teaches English at Monmouth Regional High School.
4. It took almost one year to the day from the time I came up with the idea for the book to the time my fabulous agent Kate sold it to my fabulous editor Jennifer.
5. The day Kate sent the book out to publishers I started crying during yoga class because I felt like I had sent my kid out into the world and I could no longer protect her.
6. I used to own tons of expensive high heels but I had to sell them on eBay to pay my rent because that's the kind of thing struggling writers have to do and now when I put a pair on, I find it almost impossible to walk in them, which is why I wear either flip-flops (summer) or red cowboy boots (winter).
7. The reason Cindy wears the t-shirts in the book with the funny sayings is because I always wanted to make them and sell them, so instead I gave them to her. But I am in the process of making some up to sell on my website.
8. I am so not organized like Cindy is.
9. I used to work in the movie department at Lifetime Television, and a lot of the movies I mention in the book were ones I actually developed.
10. Michael Rosenberg is based on my friend Michael Rosenberg and he's more than willing to sign autographs.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Yesterday I spent the day with Cami Lavoie, her six-month-old sister Ellie, and their mother Joli Gross, who was one of my college roommates. As Cami already has a godmother, I am her official fairy godmother, which obviously makes sense considering what I write.
As was appropriate for a fairy godmother/goddaughter outing, we went to Serendipity for lunch (well, really, we went for the frrozen hot chocolate, but seeing that that's not exactly a healthy lunch, we coated our stomachs with food first). Cami will be nine in a few weeks, so I got her some Judy Blume books and an origami kit, and she made us matching friendship bracelets which include a sparkly shoe (natch), a taxi (because we met in NYC), an I Heart Dogs(because we like dogs), and a Best Friends Album. It has officially become my most favorite piece of jewelry and I am wearing it as I type this.
During lunch when I asked Cami what she wanted to be when she grew up she said she wanted to be famous. Thankfully Cami is incredibly smart and precocious and funny and kind and as 9-going-on-30, I have no doubt that she will achieve her goal of making an indelible mark on the world that is more in line with coming up with a cure for cancer rather than ending up on Page Six for being seen at the Beatrice Inn.
That being said, her birthday invitation says "Come dressed as a rock star or in your favorite outfit to stroll down the red carpet."
Friday, March 7, 2008
What a fab, fab day.
Rented a car and drove to NJ (who knew driving could be so fun when you no longer have to do it on a daily basis?!) and spoke at my alma mater Ocean Township High School to a bunch of Creative Writing and English class students, which was organized by the absolutely lovely librarian Donna Emeric.
The kids were so great -- asked terrific questions. I don't remember our class having such a high percentage of good looking kids. And all really sweet. Lots of Jordans. And Taylors. I think I'll need to put some in my next book.
Someone asked me who my teachers had been while I was there, and I said that I couldn't remember a lot of them, but that my favorite was my AP English teacher George Ripley, to which a girl said "That's my dad!" It turned out Mr. Ripley (I know I'm 39 and should be able to call him George, but I just can't get myself do it) retired two years ago, but he still helps out with the theatre stuff and after I was done, he SHOWED UP! It was great to be able to tell him in person how much he had inspired me -- even if he did make us read Madame Bovary, which I didn't end up reading until the night before the test.
After that met my prom date Tom for coffee and then headed over to the mall where I had dinner with one of my dearest friends from high school Dawn McManus-now-Collett who teaches at Monmouth Regional High School, which is right near where we grew up. I haven't seen her since I was in college and it felt like absolutely no time had passed.
After that we made our way over to Borders and I felt like all that was missing was the marching band and balloons. Seriously, those guys went to town -- you couldn't swing a cat without hitting a copy of CE which was amazing. I felt as famous as a reality show star. Really.
Tom showed up with his two daughters Allie And Abbey, which was great. And then my old friend Paul Abrams showed up with his wife and two kids. And Jen, my lovely and fabulously talented editor even came by.
What a great, great night.
Sadly I was too tired to take advantage of the Freehold Raceway Mall -- and it was HUGE. I did, however, find myself quite soothed by the amount of strip malls on Route 35 as I drove around all day.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Okay -- now this is going to get really fun.
So while the woman at the nail salon was cutting my nails down to the quick tonight, I came up with the idea that I think we'll have a contest. And the contest will go like this:
If you click on my How I Spent My Senior Prom entry, you'll see my prom picture and you'll probably laugh (or at least cringe) as you look at my frosted blonde hair. So I was thinking that there's no reason why I should be the only one to humiliate myself on this thing -- and therefore I invite YOU to humiliate yourselves by sending in your prom picture as well -- you know, one where you're either wearing a completely over-bedazzled dress, or have super big hair. And, if you're still in high school and therefore either a) haven't gone to the prom yet or b) your picture isn't all that funny because it was just taken last year and therefore you look, like, normal, then -- I don't know -- ask your mom if you can submit hers. But ask before you do because I don't want to get sued or anything, okay?
Anyway, once I narrow them down, I'm going to post them and then everyone can vote on the Most Critical Fashion/Beauty Emergency one. (Did you know you can set up little polls on this thing and have people vote? How democratic of the blogspot people). And the winner will get a signed copy of CE.
So start sending them -- to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm so excited.
P.S. Please be aware that this is NOT an example of a hideous prom dress -- in fact, when I first saw Molly sewing away in Pretty In Pink I would've sold my baby brother Josh to the gypsies if I could have had this dress. I LOVED this dress. Now, not so much, but back then? Oh yeah.
P.P.S. Julie Dubensky, you better send yours in...
Okay, maybe not nightly. Maybe just one night.
And that would be tomorrow night -- Thursday March 6th at Borders at 7:00pm.
When I think of New Jersey, I think of malls. In high school I worked at the Bambergers (before it was bought by Macy's) in a NJ mall. Not this mall -- the Monmouth one.
I love malls. They make me feel safe.
Weird, I know, especially since the chances of a crazed gunman coming into a mall and opening fire are a lot greater than having one come into my apartment, but whatever, it's true.
Anyway, if you live in NJ -- or even if you don't, and you just feel like hopping on a plane and coming to NJ for the evening -- please come see me there. I'll have just come from speaking at my high school and hopefully I won't be too depressed because I will have realized that it's been 22 years since I graduated and that's a bit of a buzzkill no matter how great my skin is looking since I switched moisturizers a few weeks back.
P.S. This is a picture of the mall. It's nice, no? So not only can you come see me read, but you can do buy yourself a new spring wardrobe.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
....according to Northshire Bookstore in beautiful Manchester, Vermont.
You can click here to see the list.
It looks like an amazing store. And who wouldn't want to be on the bestseller list of a place that was called "Bookseller of the Year" by Publishers Weekly and "Best in New England" by Yankee Magazine?
How very, very exciting. Even more exciting than the Old Navy caftan I bought today because I was in need of a bit of retail therapy.
I just sent them an email asking them if I could do a reading there. The bookstore -- not Old Navy. I've been looking for a legitimate excuse to get out of Manhattan and that would certainly be a great one. I've been to Manchester before and it's gorgeous, especially the Equinox Resort & Spabut I haven't sold enough books to stay there yet. Soon, though.
I love Vermont so much I'd stay in my rental car.
Um, no I wouldn't. It just sounded good.
I would, however, stay in a Super 8 Motel.
P.S. I couldn't find a picture of the exterior of the bookstore, but apparently this is the Spiral Press Cafe inside the bookstore. Which you know I would be hitting while I was there.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
And how do I know it was worth it? Not because I can see my book on the shelves in B&N or Borders. Not because I can find CE on Amazon.
I know it was worth it because Lianne told me so.
So this afternoon I took the train out to Stamford, Connecticut (had to take some pics of the waiting area, natch), and then took a cab to Borders for my reading/signing.
The thing is, no one showed up.
Now I had been been prepared by many people who know this drill that this type of crisis might occur. And that if it did, I should remain calm rather than thinking it's an opportunity to take to my bed and curl into the fetal position and stare at the wall for a week.
I'm proud to say I remained calm. That being said, I did decide that even though I had already had a black & white cookie for dessert at the deli next door a half hour earlier, the minute I got away from my non-existent swarm of fans, I was going back there to get a coconut cupcake to drown my sorrows.
And then, just as it looked like all was lost, Lianne showed up.
Lianne is a sixth grader from Mahopac, NY and, with her twin sister and father trailing behind her, she marched right up to me (through the non-existent crowd) and began to tell me how much she loved CE, and how great it made her feel because Cindy was such a real character rather than a mean popular girl, and how excited she was when she found out I was going to be here today, and how she checked my blog every day, and how thankful she was that I signed her book and took the time to talk to her, and how she couldn't wait to go to school on Monday and tell her English teacher that she had met me.
When I told Lianne that if she didn't stop, she was going to make me start crying, I really did mean it.
And when I told her that she had just made my year, I meant that, too.
Maybe I just haven't found the right balance yet, but as far as I'm concerned, being a writer is one of the weirdest lifestyles you can choose. In fact, I don't think you choose it -- the longer I do this, the more I feel that it chooses you. All I know is that over the last six years I've spent many, many days alone at my desk in my nightgown until it was time to go to yoga at 4:30, not talking to anyone/thing other than my cats, creating this world and these characters who -- although I found them interesting -- might have only been interesting to me. And then, yeah, my agent Kate said she liked them, and then my editor Jen does, too, and then actually goes and pays me money for it and publishes it, but while I love the two of them like sisters, the truth is they're both in their 30s and it's been a while since they've been the targeted demographic for YA books.
So to have this sweet, dear girl -- who I could tell within two seconds of talking to her was so smart, and so cool, and so well-read -- to have her say that my book had made her feel that everything was going to turn out okay if she just kept being herself, even though it was hard at times because she isn't popular and she definitely marches to the beat of her own drum...I'm telling you, that meant THE WORLD to me.
Because that's EXACTLY what I had hoped to do with this book -- let girls know that if you're true to yourself, then you'll always find a happy ending -- even if it doesn't come until long after you're out of school.
Sure, it would be great to sell lots of books, and to have people show up at signings, but, honestly, I feel like if none of that happens, it doesn't matter because next to the morning that Kate called me to say that Jen and Penguin wanted to publish CE, I think the conversation today with Lianne was the Second Best Moment Of My Life.
Forget winning a Pulitzer or a National Book Award -- my book now has a spot on the "Most Special Books" shelf of Lianne's bookshelf. Which, as far as I'm concerned, is way cooler than a prize.
Thank you, Lianne, for everything. You seriously did make my year. And because of that I promise I will continue to spend more nightgown-clad days alone in my apartment not talking to anyone but my cats so that I can write more books for you to read.