Sunday, April 17, 2011

Caution: Sick Girl Writing

I held out as long as I could. I made it through I don't even remember how many storms this winter. I shoveled my car out of countless piles of ice-cold snow, some of it finding its way into my coat sleeves. I sat on a ridiculous number of trains next to people who were hacking and coughing and sneezing, almost never covering their mouths to keep their germs to themselves. I have left my umbrella at home, only to find myself running in the rain to the subway station. I've bypassed the OJ in favor of tea. And yet somehow, I never got sick...until now.

Really, I hate to even admit it because it has always seemed to me that once you actually acknowledge a cold, it only gets stronger. Like saying "I'm sick" out loud feeds the cold's power somehow. Well, not admitting it didn't stop me from coughing myself to sleep last night or constantly feeling like I had a lump in my throat. Ah, well. It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I guess I should just be grateful that it's happening now and not next month when things are really going to hit the fan for me. I already told you about the mother/daughter book club I'm doing at the Montclair Public Library on May 14 and the story meetings I'll be doing every two weeks from now on. (I had the first one last week and it went well. I pitched an idea that got pretty good responses. We'll see if it goes anywhere.) Now I've also been asked to participate in Career Day at an elementary school in the Bronx on May 18. And then there's the following week...

I assume you guys have heard of American Idol, yes? Well, guess who's going to the finale? THIS GIRL! I actually won two tickets (including airfare and hotel) to the finale shows on May 24 and 25 in Los Angeles. Did I or did I not tell you in an earlier post that I win stuff like this all the time? Seriously. I think the only reason I haven't won the lottery yet is because I hardly ever play. And believe it or not, this isn't even the first time I won a free ticket to L.A. When I was in fourth grade I entered a United Negro College Fund essay contest and won two tickets to anywhere in the world that TWA flies. Anywhere in the WORLD! Of course, if I won that today, I'd be off to Australia or New Zealand or Japan or something. But back then, I had just moved to New York from Los Angeles and had never even gotten to say good-bye to my friends. I was 9 years old and homesick. So Los Angeles it was. My dad came with me, and later on my mom had to go to L.A. for work, and we were all there at the same time. We had so much fun going to Venice Beach, Sea World, Disneyland, our old neighborhood... The only thing missing was my brother. So this time I'm taking my brother with me.

By the way, I'm really hoping one of the ladies wins it this year. I'm pulling for Haley or Lauren. Although I wouldn't be too upset if Casey took it home either. And how is it that they're letting Scotty get away with singing a country song every single week? I'm just saying. That would never fly if Simon was still around.

But I digress... I'll be in Los Angeles for five days. As you can see, it'll be a busy, busy couple of months for me, so you may not hear from me much, but I'll try.

In the meantime, send me any and all advice you can give me for that book club thing. It'll be my biggest crowd yet, and I'm nervous. Gulp. So tell me what you would want to talk to me about if we were in a Your Life, but... book club together. Also, congrats to the three winners of my books in Princess Bookie's Contest Craze. It's so nice to know that I've got fans in Texas and California. You'll receive your prizes soon!

All right, I'm off to my parents' house. I'm hoping they'll feed me and give me orange juice and a warm blanket. You're never too old to be babied when you're sick, am I right?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Long Time, No See

Hey, everybody! Once again, sorry for being such a stranger. But I have good reasons, I swear.

For starters, I've been waaay too busy reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Oh my God, so good! If you haven't read these books yet, get on that immediately. Not since Harry Potter have I read a series of books that I literally could not put down. Fair warning: Steer clear if you're squeamish. It can be pretty violent. Also, don't start reading them if you have something more important to do, like sleep.

Let's see...what else have I been up to? Oh yeah. I went to Barbados! Hey, a girl can only take so much snow and rain and bitter cold before she has to pack her bags and head with some friends to an island paradise for a few days.
Looks like a postcard, right? 
Yours truly in paradise. At this point, I was seriously considering
ditching my life in NY to move here and sell oil paintings by the beach.
Now, if only I knew how to paint...

Flying fish, macaroni pie, rice and peas, and salad at the Oistin's fish fry.
Yum yum yum.

There were a few stray cats who basically lived at the resort where we stayed.
One of them had three little kittens. Look how cute!

Here I am at the little marketplace at Oistin's. The bowl I'm holding is partially
made from the gills of a fish that is native to Barbados. 

This dancer was part of the entertainment at the resort. He is
representing the spirit of life. 

Some delicious banana dessert I had at Pisces Restaurant.

The rest of the time, I spent on the beach, on a catamaran cruise, snorkeling with sea turtles, kayaking, and just generally having a great time with my friends. So yeah, Barbados was amazing. (Okay, so I'm leaving out the part when I almost lost my laptop at the airport, and my friend got stranded in Barbados since she was flying standby, and I left my coat--and house keys--in the hotel room, and we almost missed our flight... But those are just details, details...)

Anyway, as soon as I got back, it was back to the cold, and back to work. (Hey, these trips don't pay for themselves....) 

I'm still spreading the word about the Your Life books. On May 14 they'll be the subject of a mother/daughter book group at the Montclair Public Library. (Thanks to Tonya Johnson, who recommended me to the head librarian there.) And I've been invited to participate in BooksNJ2011--a book festival sponsored by the Paramus Public Library, celebrating books and the readers who love them. It sounds like I may even be on another panel of some kind. I'll give you more details when I have them.  

Also, if you haven't heard about the blogger Princess Bookie's Contest Craze, get over to right away. She'll be giving away a bunch of books (my own included) to some lucky winners. But the contest ends on April 10, so hurry up! 

Finally, a bit of sad news has lead to some good news: My editor on the Your Life books, Stephanie Elliott, has left Random House. Even though she left because she got a great opportunity, I was sad that she wouldn't be around anymore and we wouldn't be working together. But she invited me to be part of a brainstorming group there to generate ideas for new books and series. Exciting! Not only do I get to do something creative and fun, but I get to work with my friend again. Can't wait. And who knows? It could lead to even more writing opportunities. If there's anything I've learned through this process, it's that you should take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way because you never know what door it might open next. 

Oh, and Samaya, who I met at the Columbia University Bookstore, has actually kept in touch with me. (Hi, Samaya!) 

Well, that pretty much catches us up. I'm off to go work on what really pays the bills around here: proofreading. I've got two books on my desk, and now that I finished The Hunger Games, I can actually concentrate on them! Until next time...