cosmogirl contest

So I was flipping through my September issue of CosmoGirl and what did I find on page 49?  A contest to win copies of my books!  What a cool surprise.  I knew the Take Me There ad was going to be in the August issue, but I didn’t know about their contest.  Here’s how to enter:

Text SUSANE to 467467 to win one of these books!  10 lucky winners will receive Take Me There and 15 lucky winners will receive When It Happens.

I think the deadline is September 5.  Enjoy the long weekend!

people in the neighborhood

Here in New York, teachers went back to school today.  Kids don’t start until the day after Labor Day, but teachers are having meetings and getting their rooms ready.  This is the second year I’m not going back to school with the other teachers today.  Which is okay, because there’s no way I could be on my new schedule of having one book published per year for the next few years if I were still teaching.  I know a lot of authors manage two full-time jobs, I just don’t know how they do it without being totally exhausted.  They amaze me.


I miss working with the neighbors (i.e. my students), but there are other neighbors to talk about.  Like Godfrey.  He’s my fave comedian (tied with Demetri Martin) and we went to see him last weekend.  He is so freaking funny you are on the floor laughing.  When I saw him last summer, we were having these nasty heat waves where it was like 116 degrees with the heat index (another reason I’m loving this gorgeous August – it’s been in the 70s with low humidity almost every day) and he did the funniest rant about life at extreme temps.  I was bent over crying from laughing so hard.  This time, his best rant was about Olympic gymnastics.  These athletes do the most amazing routines, but then if they don’t stick it on the landing points come off.  He was like, “Really?  Did you not see all the helicopter flips I did up there?  That’s just how I land – who cares?!”

Then I met Krista, who is a total cross between Pam from The Office and Chloe from 24.  If I wasn’t so obsessed with those shows, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the resemblance.  This photo maybe isn’t the best example of my observation, but that’s because digital cameras can be weird.


Okay, Waiting for You is waiting for me to get back to revising it.  I may not be a teacher anymore, but I’ve still got the corny jokes.

the latest

Last night I had this scary but thrilling vampire dream.  Where a vampire was after me.  Or something.  I can’t really remember.  It must be Twilight calling me.  I’m so easily freaked out, though.  Especially since my stereo is possessed.  I’ll be listening to NPR or John Mayer or whatever and all of a sudden the volume will go from 9 to 1.  Today the volume suddenly jumped from 9 to 25!  This better not be the work of a vampire.  Do they even have powers?  I mean, other than being dead and, um, sort of alive simultaneously?

The Book Girl is a new book review site that recently interviewed me.  Renee asked some fun questions, so you can find out what I would take with me to chill on a desolate island and all about the first story I ever wrote, “The Carrot and the Rabbit”.

My latest Degrassi excitement:  Caitlin and Joey are back together!  Yay yay yay yay yay!  I’m only on season three, so please don’t harsh my mellow with any kind of news that something tragic happens to them in the future.  I may have to temporarily break from my Degrassi marathon because:

1.  I just got my line edits for book three and this revision is priority one.

2.  The couple I adore the most is Jim & Pam and season four of The Office comes out on DVD one week from today.

E. Lockhart is one of my fave young-adult book authors.  I loved The Boyfriend List to pieces and was so excited when I got to read with her at June’s Teen Author Reading Night.  The excitement continues with the rad review of her latest novel, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, in the New York Times.  You go on with your fine self, E.!

And now for your Moment of Zen:  cool photography by Sabine Wild:

Sabine Wild photo

degrassi then & now

I adored Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High when they were first on.  They were edgy and motivational and dorky in the best possible way.  I loved how the characters talked about such painful issues.  They were, for the time, shockingly uncensored.  In 1987, I met some of the actors when a few students from the tri-state area got to come to NYC to screen episodes and provide feedback on the show.  Those characters helped me through some hard times and I am forever grateful.

That’s why I’m so excited about Degrassi: The Next Generation.  I’m only on season three, but I can already tell it’s going to go places the original series wanted to but couldn’t.  Since it’s twenty years later, the show can be edgier with a lot of the same issues.  Like when Marco got attacked by those idiot gay bashers.  Or when Craig’s dad busts through his door with a golf club.  The scene where Craig gets beat up on Next Generation is just as intense as Rick’s dad shoving him on Junior High.  Even though the show is more graphic now, it feels just as risky as it did when I first watched it.

My fave characters were Joey and Caitlin:

Degrassi Junior High, Joey and Caitlin

So having them back in Next Generation is beyond exciting.  And having Spike’s daughter Emma be the central character is totally brill.  Whoa, Spike and Snake get married!  Here they are with Joey and Caitlin today:

Degrassi: The Next Generation

I’m loving the connection between the old and new characters and how the old characters are integrated into the story line.  If you haven’t seen the original series, it’s impossible to understand the enormity of Wheels showing up when Snake has cancer in season three.  That blew me right out of the chair.  But the show does a good job of showing old photos and yearbooks and stuff.  Or the reunion in the first ep of season one.  I couldn’t understand what Lucy was saying about being in a car accident with Wheels or whatever happened between Joey and Caitlin.  Degrassi High ended right when the older kids finished 11th grade, so I was like, Why are there pictures of everyone graduating?  Amazing discovery!  There’s this film called School’s Out I found on YouTube that takes place after graduation which explains everything.  If you’re a hardcore fan like me, get over there and watch all 12 parts (Wheels kills a boy!  Joey cheats on Caitlin!).

Exciting news:  In October, we’re going to a wedding in Toronto.  Where Degrassi is filmed.  Where SP’s good friend works on the set.  You’ll know if I get to go watch the filming.  I’ll probably be renting a blimp about it.  Actually, I can’t, because I promised I wouldn’t take a spaz and disturb the actors.  So I need to chill.

One thing that always bugged me about the original series was that Joey’s band (The Zit Remedy, before Joey changed it to The Zits) played only one song.  Which they sang over and over.  It was like, dude.  Get a new song.  So now it’s hilarious to see that in the new series, they’re still singing that same flippin song, “Everybody Wants Something.”  Of course that song never gives up!  Here’s the original video that Joey, Snake, and Wheels made back in the day:

in your face

I went over to SP’s last night to watch the Olympics and see what all the hullabaloo is about.  The athletes are amazing to watch.  And I was shocked to discover that speed walking is an Olympic sport.  I was also shocked (but not in a good way) by how intrusive the interviewers were with athletes who had just lost their event.  It was like:

Interviewer:  Your Olympic dreams were crushed out there.  How does that make you feel?


Interviewer:  You’re crying.  What’s making you feel so emotional?

Um…yeah.  Really?  Do you really not know?  Oh, and hey, could you not shove a microphone in the face of someone who’s worked their whole life for this moment and just saw their dreams shattered?  I can’t think of a worse time for an interview.  The person needs a minute.  Give the person a freaking minute.

Getting to SP’s place wasn’t easy.  His whole street was blocked off with a zillion people everywhere.  You weren’t allowed to walk down his block unless you lived there or were visiting a resident.  I had to prove where I was going.  This kind of fuss usually means a movie is filming, but it was actually the grand opening of Nike’s Soho store.  The scene from his neighbor’s window looked like this:

Nike Soho store opening  Nike Soho store opening

Dang.  The last line I saw that crazy was for the new iPhone.

what’s good

This August has been the most gorgeous ever.  Usually August in New York means an excruciating wall of heat and humidity you have to slog through.  But this August has had cool summer breezes and decent temperatures almost every day.  It’s only supposed to get up to 76 degrees today!  And the breeze coming through my bedroom window was crisp all night.  I was even under the covers (an unprecedented August event!).

Netflix recommendation:  In the Land of Women.  When this movie came out two years ago, I really wanted to see it.  But I was way too busy and then it was gone and I was sad.  Netflix to the rescue!  It’s a sweet film with super talented neighbors like Kristen Stewart (who rocked in Speak and The Safety of Objects), Meg Ryan, and Adam Brody.  We all know about my Seth Cohen obsession.  However, Adam Brody is amazing in everything, not just where he’s feeling depressed with his emo self, all listening to Death Cab and contemplating why life is so unfair.  He was awesome in this.  So was everyone else.

Here’s an example of how Sesame Street is keeping it real.  It’s good to know that Ernie and Bert won’t be going the way of Mister Rogers.  One.

music you love

Your TGIM Thought of the Day is brought to you by my good friend and soul sister, Michelle.  She showed me Pandora.  Do you know about this?  Dude, it’s a free music site that only plays the music you love all day long.  You could have it on at work and improve your mood by several degrees.  How it works is really simple.  You just select an artist or group, and Pandora plays songs by them, plus other artists that play similar music.  It’s awesome to hear all of your faves and more obscure songs that might not be on your iPod.

I plugged in Paul SImon and Pandora began playing “Kodachrome.”  I’m kind of sick of that one, so I just pressed the forward button and it went to the next album, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits.  Pandora selects one song randomly from each album and then moves on to the next album when that song is done.  Other albums on Paul Simon radio were by the Beatles, Cat Stevens, Fleetwood Mac, CSN&Y, and the Police, with other Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel in between.  It was just like my CD collection, but cooler.  It’s also like an iPod shuffle, but it grabs music you may not have and related music you may not know.  And did I mention it’s free?  Enjoy!

all aboard

Sometimes it takes me a while to join the rest of the world.  I’ve never owned a cell phone (although the sexy new iPhone is calling my name from Shiny Happy Apple World, where everything is shiny and happy).  I’ve never owned a TV.  And I’ve never read a Harry Potter book.  I’m just not that into fantasy.  The more real a story is and the more I can relate to it, the more I love it.

But I’m thinking of getting on the Twilight train.  As if I need another obsession.  I’ve been avoiding the saga due to my acute aversion to vampires.  They are really scary.  However, from what I hear it’s kind of like the whole Friday Night Lights dynamic, where there’s a group of us all like, “No, really, it’s not about football!”  If it were about football, I wouldn’t be loving that show.  So is the Twilight series the same way?  That it’s more about forbidden love than vampires?  My theory is that the concept of forbidden love makes the plot way more intense.  I’m calling all Stephenie Meyer fans to recruit me.

One train I won’t be riding:  the new Facebook.  Is it just me, or does the format totally suck?  I’m sticking with the old Facebook, at least until they hire someone with an eye for design to whip that scene into shape.  Thankfully, the old stuff is still around, including my favorite fuzzy hug.  Hugs for your weekend!

Fuzzy hug     Fuzzy hug

gag me with a spoon

Jenny Pollack is multi-talented.  She rocks at the following things:  performing, public relations, being a mom, and mentoring.  She’s a mentor in my book because when I was new to the YA scene, Jenny gave me great advice and was always super helpful.  Our first books were released around the same time.  I knew nothing about this world, but Jenny was already an expert.  Because she has skills like that.

So when Jenny came to have an icy drink with me, I was stoked.  She’s the author of Klepto, which was inspired by her own experiences and set in the 80s.  The fun part is that you get to hear that hilarious 80s slang all over again, like “gross me out the door.”  Jenny is working on another manuscript, but it is top secret and thus I cannot share any details with you.  Let me just say it sounds really good.

I have this thing with yogurt.  Specifically, I can’t stand the taste of it.  But I know it’s good for you.  There was a time in my life when I would force myself to eat yogurt for breakfast just because it’s good for you, hating it the whole time.  That was stupid.  Anyway, I like frozen yogurt.  But the only fro yo I like is the kind that tastes like ice cream.  Example:  Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt.  Now we’re talking.

When Jenny wanted real frozen yogurt (the healthy kind that tastes like, um, yogurt), I knew I didn’t want any.  I went with her anyway to try some.  It’s always good to try new things.  That way when you say you hate it, you know for a fact that you actually do.

At first, Jenny was daunted by the choices at Yogurtland. Then Jenny made her decision:

Jenny Pollack

I tried the green tea flavor.  Let’s just say I won’t be craving this kind of fro yo as much as the Ben & Jerry’s.