house of penguin, another day

Oh, did you think the Waiting for You release date was May 28? Psych! It will now be released on May 14, 2009! That means even less waiting for me. I’m so excited to see three of my books on the shelves. It also means moving up all the cool marketing stuff that Penguin has planned for the book release, so you should be hearing about fun things soon.

Speaking of my awesome publishing house, I spent some time at the House of Penguin yesterday. I met with my new publicist, Samantha, who is very sweet. Then I met with my magnificent editors to discuss the next revision of Something Like Fate.

Kendra Levin, Susane Colasanti, and Regina Hayes

These are my editors, Kendra Levin and Regina Hayes. They are a most excellent team. Regina is the president and publisher of Viking Children’s Books (my hardcover imprint at Penguin) and responsible for discovering lots of amazing authors, like Ambassador Jon Scieszka. I am incredibly honored to be working with her. When we went to lunch after, Kendra spotted Dan Rather right away. She’s swift like that.

Laurie Halse Anderson spent some time at the House of Penguin earlier this week. She left this for me:

Wintergirls

A signed copy of Wintergirls! I could not be more excited for the release of Wintergirls. This book is just so beyond outstanding. And it will be released the day before the vernal equinox! Seriously, there are no coincidences.

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boys & girls

I was answering some interview questions recently about Waiting for You and wanted to share my response to this one:

In When Harry Met Sally, the big question is whether men and women can really be friends with each other. This is also addressed in Waiting for You. What do you think – can boys and girls be friends? Why or why not?

It all depends on whether the girl and boy are attracted to each other. If there’s attraction on both sides, they will always want the friendship to be more than it is. That’s no fun. Eventually, their friendship will become an intimate relationship. If the attraction is one-sided, that’s a painful, lonely road to travel, ultimately resulting in the destruction of the relationship. Unless the person attracted to the other person never tells them. But then the friendship is a lie.

If there’s absolutely no attraction between a girl and a boy, then yes, they can be friends. Except this can also get complicated. Boys usually know right away if they’re physically attracted to a girl and that initial feeling probably won’t change. It doesn’t work this way for girls. A girl can think that a boy is totally unattractive, but then gradually find him cuter over time, as she gets closer to him. Girls’ emotional connections enhance their feelings of attraction.

In the case of a girl and a boy being friends while also each having a boyfriend or girlfriend, this friendship can last. As long as they’re not attracted to each other. Because then their respective relationships can unravel as their boyfriend and girlfriend realize that the friends like each other as more than just friends.

So I guess my conclusion is this. Boys and girls can be friends as long as no physical attraction is involved. It would also help if one or both of them were in an intimate relationship with someone else.

I’d love to know your thoughts about this. What do you think? Can boys and girls ever be just friends?

scrunched m’s

The first book blogger review of Waiting for You is out! Here’s what the Compulsive Reader thought about it.

Dedicated readers of this blog know that I like to keep it old school. This proclivity applies to handwriting. Spending way more hours in front of the computer and less time writing on actual paper has disturbing consequences. I’ve noticed that my m’s are, alarmingly, all scrunched. It’s a sudden change that I’m consciously working on reversing every day. Kitty Burns Florey explores the lost art of penmanship in Script & Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting. When’s the last time you saw someone write in script (besides signatures)? I don’t even think kids learn it in elementary school anymore. I worry for script. It may become the next duckbilled platypus.

But today, I’m doing a happy dance. In less than a month from now, it will be spring. I even heard a mourning dove the other day. There are green spaces in sunshine waiting for you at the end of the windchill factor. Cheers.

zen retreat

For the past two days, I’ve had zero computer time. It’s refreshing to take a zen retreat now and then, where you can just unplug, unwind, and do all of that quality stuff we used to do more of back in the day. Like reading. And interacting with other people in person. I caught up on my scrapbooking. I even had a one-hour massage yesterday.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I imply that this was a voluntary retreat? Yeah, no, my DVD drive stopped working, so my computer was in for repairs. Apparently, when your computer is 3.5 years old and you use it for all of your show watching, wear and tear happens. Now, it’s one thing to go on vacay and leave the computer behind. I can be away from my iBook for a week and it’s totally preferable if I’m relaxing with the palm trees somewhere exotic. But if I’m still here in my apartment? The spontaneous zen retreat made me realize the following things:

1. I spend about 12 hours a day in front of my computer.

2. I have loads of free time without it.

When I took my iBook in, I was originally told that it would take almost a week to replace the DVD drive. That would have been a problem, since I’ll be starting the second revision of Something Like Fate in a few days and I want to get to a certain place with book five before then. So we were at dinner that night and I was talking about what happened, when an extra friendly neighbor got up from the next table and came over. Of course he was the owner of the repair shop! I gave him my info and the job was done right away. Sweet!

Karma has been smiling at me all week. You know what that means. Time to go pay it forward…

warm fuzzies

Congrats to last week’s contest winner Ashley T.! She will be receiving a signed copy of When It Happens.

Remember Taylor’s amazing bokeh photos? Well, I received a most excellent gift. Taylor sent me a few prints, including my favorite one. I’m still searching for the perfect frame.

Bokeh

It’s obvious from your comments that Veronica Mars should be the next show in my Netflix queue. I’ve heard so many people rave about this show with total fanaticism. I’m all over it.

Karma shined its light on me yesterday. After years of going to mean doctors who are so rushed they don’t let you ask questions, I found the best doctor ever. His nurse is also the best. Even the receptionist rocks. I just felt so good, having my annual checkup without the drama. It didn’t even bother me when they took blood, the way it usually does. It’s a sad commentary on the state of health insurance in this country (because the quality of your insurance usually determines the quality of in-network doctors available) that I’m excited to finally receive basic care. Without anyone yelling at me.

I’ll leave you with this warm fuzzy from Crumbs, which is expanding locations at warp speed. Their Valentine’s Day cupcakes were just as cute and tasty as you’d expect.

Valentine's Day cupcake from Crumbs

worshiping at the altar of paul simon

Paul Simon at the Beacon Theater

Time it was and what a time it was. Paul Simon played two concerts to commemorate the grand reopening of the Beacon Theater. Art Garfunkel showed up the first night for a surprise reunion. I’m still furious that I went the second night instead. You know how sometimes you get mad at yourself for not doing something you didn’t know you should have done in the first place? That was me all weekend.

The last time I saw Paul Simon in concert was during his Graceland tour. I was about 13. It was me, two friends, and a parent. Our seats were really far up and we couldn’t see much, so we spent half the time trying to get backstage. Not that we even remotely knew where to go. Around that time, my obsession with Paul was at its strongest. I played Graceland so many times my cassette tape practically combusted. I have many Paul Simon CDs now, but not Graceland. I feel like every song is burned into my brain and I can play it there any time I want. At this concert, Paul did a lot of songs from Graceland. I still knew every word over 20 years later, even though I hadn’t heard most of those songs since then. Memory is a fascinating thing. I remember every lyric of every song, but I can’t remember most of high school or college. Fascinating.

Paul Simon at the Beacon Theater

I like Paul’s 70s music (plus or minus two years) the best. He just had this sound with Hearts and Bones and One-Trick Pony that is transcendental. So when he played “Train in the Distance” and “The Only Living Boy in New York,” I really thought I would have an emotional meltdown. “The Boxer” was also intense. Paul is extremely graceful. I was in a total trance, watching him bend and sway with the music. Every move he makes is so fluid. He uses lots of elaborate hand gestures. He is pure rock star.

In other musical news, Steve Martin has a new banjo album!

3, 23, 33…next?

Yesterday was a day of awesome. It was over 60 degrees here. So refreshing! Walking around in February without a coat and scarf and hat and gloves is badass in the best possible way.

During my excited fit of walking around, I stopped by Circuit City to pick through the carcass. How sad is it that they’re going out of business? At least we still have Best Buy. I cannot imagine paying full price for CDs and DVDs, or even things like my Nikon Coolpix. I only pay full price when I really want something that’s not at the discount places. So I found a James Taylor CD for $4.19 and finally got Dan in Real Life. I also snagged Garden State. Not because I don’t already own it, because of course I own my favorite movie. This one can be a gift. Or just, like, backup.

Which reminds me. I have to make an executive decision about what show to watch next. I finished One Tree Hill, which turned out to be so freaking good in the last few seasons. Plus, I have a new fave character:

Jamie and Chester on One Tree Hill

Chester! He is so fluffy and fat! Fluffy Chester! And Jamie could not be cuter. When he draws that picture of him and Nathan at the beginning of season five and gives it to Nathan? Heartbreaking. I also loved how OTH skipped ahead four years. What a totally brill way to avoid the whole Now It’s Time For Everyone To Go To College But How Do We Keep Them Together? part of things, which usually ends up being desperate and fake. It’s sad when you get into a show and then one day you look up and there are no more eps left. Time to move on. Here are the top three choices from my Netflix queue:

Veronica Mars
Gossip Girl
Mad Men

I’ve heard good things about all of these shows. Which do you recommend? Other show recommendations are also welcome.