the haps

Have you been waiting for Waiting for You to come out in paperback? If so, your waiting is almost over. Waiting for You will be released in paperback on April 6! Which I can’t believe is next week, but there you go. Added to entry: You can win a copy at TRT Book Club just by leaving a comment there today! I’ll also be checking in throughout the day to answer your questions.

In other book news, a new review of Something Like Fate is up at The Unprofessional Critic. Lauren even cast characters for the movie adaptation. She picked Zooey Deschanel to play my main character, Lani. That rules. I love Zooey! And casting book characters is always super fun.

Before I started this blog in 2007, I read lots of other authors’ blogs so I wouldn’t be entirely clueless. Now there are only a few other blogs that I read on a regular basis. At first I felt guilty that I wasn’t reading everyone’s blog all the time. But then I thought about how much time I spend online every day and…well, I don’t feel guilty anymore. One of the blogs I still read is Meg Cabot’s. She is always so fun and informative and inspirational and just freaking amazing. A few days ago, Meg wrote about writer’s block. She said how if she feels stuck because she can’t figure out where she took a wrong turn, she’ll think about the problem before going to sleep. In the morning, she usually wakes up with the answer right in front of her. This is an excellent example of how communicating with our subconscious can reveal all sorts of life-altering things. I’ve had dreams that revealed critical plot points of my books. This is why I keep a notebook and special stripy pencil on my nightstand – you never know when a brilliant idea will strike. I’ve heard other authors say that their book ideas came to them in dreams, too. There’s so much we don’t yet know about dreams, but one thing is clear. They have the power to enhance our lives.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I’m obsessed with The Office. Remember when Jim and Pam slept over at Schrute Farms and then rated it on TripAdvisor? It turns out that there’s an actual listing for Schrute Farms on TripAdvisor! They set it up as a hoot when the ep first aired and then decided to keep it. I’m having the best time reading people’s reviews. It’s awesome when fiction finds its way into real life.

Something less awesome? Trying to get into a healthy habit that’s just not sticking. A while ago, I mentioned how I wanted to start taking Omega-3. The problem is that I can’t get over the whole fish oil thing. I have these orange flavored Omega-3 packets that are supposed to be for kids. They don’t taste too bad, it’s just knowing that fish oil lurks within completely repulses me. In the meantime, I’ve been drinking Acai berry juice. It’s an acquired taste, but definitely worth getting used to. I won’t give up on the Omega-3, though. Disguising the taste with animal crackers might work. Yeah, I know I’m supposed to be a grownup. I just haven’t gotten the official memo yet.

throwback moment

When I was in high school, I used to tape Late Night with David Letterman (on this total dinosaur of a VCR) and watch him after school. Dave has always been a weird guy and I was a weird kid, so it was easy for me to recognize him as a kindred spirit. I was 12 years old when I first saw him throw a pencil through his window, and ever since then I’ve been hooked. As with all of my shows, it’s not easy to keep up with things without a TV. High school was the last time I lived with a TV and I don’t regret our divorce at all. But I have missed Dave. Imagine how happy I was to discover that I can watch him online without it looking too fuzzy. It’s comforting to see that Dave is still the same wacky dude he’s always been.

The other night, Dave had Jamie Oliver and Justin Bieber on. I’ve been hearing stuff about Justin. When I asked my Facebook friends to tell me what they think about him, I had seven comments just within the first three minutes. Justin clearly touches a lot of nerves, one way or another. After watching him on Dave, I’ve concluded that Justin Bieber is all of the New Kids on the Block filtered into one kid, 80s vibe and everything. For the record, I was a NKOTB fan, so this is not necessarily an insult. Although it is kind of mortifying to admit that.

Jamie Oliver impressed. His initiative to teach people how to cook healthy meals and get the junk food out of schools is awesome. The best part of his visit was Dave’s rant about how we can eat all the sea grass we want, but when we encounter 160 different kinds of cookies in the grocery store we’re powerless. Here’s the rant, followed by Jamie trying to teach Dave how to fry an egg:

Dave makes an excellent point. Diets do not work long-term. For long-term results, one’s lifestyle must change. This is true for just about anything: weight loss, workout routines, establishing healthier habits. If there’s something you want to change in your life, think long-term by creating a new lifestyle – a new way of living you can establish by making small, permanent changes every day. The first step is always the hardest, but once you start moving you are already on your way!

collective mind

It looks like I have some more news about last week’s NYC Teen Author Festival. La Femme Readers were in the house! Much footage was documented during the big symposium day. I was on a panel called The Boy You Can’t Have with some other authors who have written about this conflict. It was a blast because Elizabeth Scott, Robin Palmer, Melissa Walker, Maryrose Wood, and Elizabeth Eulberg were on the panel, and they are all such amazing readers. The video footage is here, including clips from earlier panels that day. If you scroll down to the last video, you can see me reading from Something Like Fate and Elizabeth Scott reading from The Unwritten Rule.

When Elizabeth was in town last year, we were hanging out and I asked what her next book was about. She said it was about a girl who falls in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. I was like, “Get out! That’s what my next book is about!” And then we marveled over the coincidence. Actually, there’s a quote in Something Like Fate that says how there are no coincidences (if you agree that everything happens for a reason and everything is connected), so I see both books coming out around the same time as a good thing. It gives everyone who loves to read about relationship drama even more to read. What’s not to love about that?

This non-coincidence is an interesting example of the collective mind. When I first starting writing books, I’d get worried about using an obscure reference that I’d later find in another author’s book. I didn’t want the other author to think that I stole their reference. But then I was like, Please. As if they’ll even read my book. Now I understand the power of the collective mind. My fellow YA authors are sort of like colleagues to me. We’re united by a common goal. So it makes sense that in working toward our common goal, we sometimes come up with similar ideas around the same time. I find this fascinating. Only…I just want Blake Nelson to know that I didn’t steal the name of your girl from Destroy All Cars. I started writing my new book before I read yours, I swear!

Getting the party started for the Something Like Fate pub date (May 4!), I’ve posted an excerpt on my website. And now I have to get ready for the author video we’re filming today. We were going to film in Central Park, but of course after days of gorgeous weather it’s cold and rainy. But it’s all good – we’re filming in the best Penguin office ever. As far as magical places go, I couldn’t ask for better energy. Yay for non-coincidences!

spring things

It’s officially Spring! Oh, how I missed you, season of warmth and new life. There’s just something so refreshing about officially putting my boots away and walking around in a tee and sneakers. Okay, so maybe I’m not walking around in a tee today – we were spoiled by some really warm weather last week – but I will be again soon enough. Emerging from beneath the layers is the best kind of spiritual renewal.

This year, I decided to celebrate the vernal equinox upscale style. First there was a sunset walk on the High Line. It was reassuring to see some early buds on the trees. There were even a few flowers blooming. Then we had a fancy dinner at Charles (which, by the way, is not on Charles Street). Fancy restaurants have been doing this thing lately where they’ll take some kind of basic comfort food and give it a gourmet twist. It’s fun. So I was excited about the truffle grilled cheese. But wow, I did not expect such excellence. This truffle grilled cheese was, like, one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, if you’re in the New York area you need to get yourself to Charles immediately. Or Crumbs, for this pretty spring Cupcake of the Week:

Cosmo cupcake at Crumbs

Improvements in weather also inspire me to go shopping for pretty spring things. I’ve found a few new shirts for my upcoming book tour at Forever 21 and such. There are so many gorgeous floral prints right now! Sometimes they psych you out, though. Like I’ll see the most amazing jacket and turn it around and there’ll be this big honking bow on the back. Why?

I’ll leave you with these links to an interview with me at The Unprofessional Critic and this review of Something Like Fate at The Truth About Books. I was so impressed that Tricia got an ARC at the Books of Wonder signing, read the whole book, then whipped up this review all in the space of two days. That’s dedication, yo.

signing of wonder, 2nd ed.

What an amazing week! The second annual NYC Teen Author Festival was a blast. I love events like this because I get to visit with my readers in person. You are why I write. You are who I want to see.

My first event was reading at the Seward Park NYPL with Gayle Forman, Daphne Grab, Matt De La Pena, and Cathleen Bell. But I was lame and did not take any photos. We found out some cool things, like that Gayle was motivated to write If I Stay by an accident that happened to a family in real life and that Matt scored a TV spinoff of his movie. Sparkly confetti for Matt! Next up was a symposium where my spectacular publisher and editor, Regina Hayes, was honored. If anyone deserves infinite honors, it is Regina. I’ve been working with her since my first book and am a very lucky girl. Regina is also Sarah Dessen’s editor, so Sarah was there to say lovely things that perfectly captured the magnificence that is Regina.

The festivities ended with a massive signing at Books of Wonder. It is seriously impressive whenever tons of YA authors gather in any one place, but it’s particularly impressive when David Levithan arranges things so that everyone has a chance to talk with everyone else. More sparkly confetti for you, David! It was really fun for me to meet and reunite with some of the book bloggers that help spread the word about my books. Tricia of The Truth About Books traveled a very long way for the event. That’s dedication:

Books of Wonder ginormous signing

Other dedicated friendly neighbors in the house were Renee of The Book Girl Reviews and Mitali of Alley of Books (please send me your pics, girls!). They are mad professional about documenting everything. And you would be completely jealous of their book hauls. These girls have, like, every known book. I would also like to give a shout-out to Renee’s mom for guarding my stuff. She is a really good stuff guarder.

Michael Northrop was a complete gentleman and signed my copy of Gentlemen. I cannot wait to read this book. Every time I see Michael, I’m always making Gentlemen jokes. I might be like, “Only a true gentleman would say something that profound,” or “Stepping out to the gentlemen’s room?” I know, I’m so original! Michael never gets tired of my jokes.

Michael Northrop and Susane Colasanti

What made the massive signing even more special was that it was Coe Booth‘s birthday. She was presented with a delicious cake:

Coe Booth

Even Carolyn Mackler was in the house. In the YA lit world, she is pure sunshine. Carolyn is so warm and friendly and she’s usually surrounded by a swarm of adoring fans, but I was able to finally document us with her latest book, Tangled:

Carolyn Mackler and Susane Colasanti

Ooh, and Rachel Vail was there! Don’t you love her? She’s totally sweet. And she was wearing a cute necklace with a blue star. Here’s Rachel signing copies of Gorgeous:

Rachel Vail

The cover is gorgeous. See, there I go being original again.

If you didn’t make it to the Festival this year, here’s a dose of good news: We’re doing it all again next year. So tune in, check back, and hopefully I’ll see you next time around!

festival time

The party has started and it’s a rager! That’s right, the NYC Teen Author Festival is in full swing. As a bonus, the weather could not be more gorgeous – it’s supposed to be in the 60s (70 on Friday!) and sunny all the way through Saturday. What a perfect way to welcome in spring.

Here’s where you can find me this week:

Thursday, March 18, 2010, 10:00-11:30
Reading from Something Like Fate
New York Public Library, Seward Park branch
192 East Broadway (at Jefferson Street), New York, NY 10002

Friday, March 19, 2010, 4:15-5:00
The Boy You Can’t Have, reading and panel discussion
New York Public Library, 42nd Street branch, South Court
476 5th Avenue (at 42nd Street), New York, NY 10018

Sunday, March 21, 2010, 2:00-2:45
Biggest YA Author Signing Ever!
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues), New York, NY 10011

More bonus: Even though Waiting for You won’t be released in paperback until April 6, paperbacks will be available at the massive Books of Wonder signing on Sunday! Sweet!

Hope to see you sometime this week, friendly neighbor!

next phase

Gearing up for the May 4 release of my fourth teen novel, Something Like Fate, while I was working on a revision of my fifth book was a bit strange. Sort of like I was straddling the Equator with my feet in different hemispheres. But now that I’ve submitted the revision to my editors, I can move into the next phase of Something Like Fate festivities. Right after I’m done with such glamourous tasks as laundry and dusting, that is. Whenever I’m close to a deadline, everything else just has to wait. Now the waiting is over and it’s time to shine.

First up is NYC Teen Author Festival week. I’ll be participating in events this week on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Here’s a complete listing of events and authors who are participating. Some of you have asked if I’ll be signing on Friday after my panel discussion. There’s actually an hour break after my panel, so if you can’t make it to the massive Books of Wonder signing on Sunday I can totally sign books on Friday. I’m really looking forward to meeting you guys in person!

I’ve also been asked by some book reviewers who’ve received ARCs of Something Like Fate when you can post a review on your blog. You may post your review anytime you’d like! Closer to the pub date is always best, but we’re only about six weeks from May 4 so anytime between now and then would be awesome. Here is an early review by So Many Books and another review by Jeni Bell.

Even though we “lost” an hour yesterday (which was Pi Day and also Einstein’s birthday, as there are no coincidences) due to Daylight Savings, sunset is now at like 7:00. Which is righteous. I am inspired. So as I’m working on happy book release things, I’ll also be planning a vernal equinox celebration. It’s all about welcoming the light. Shine on, everyone!

ramble on

The other day I was in the deli and this lady in front of me bought some gum. When the cashier asked if she wanted a bag, she said yes. I really wanted to inform that lady that the correct answer was, in fact, no. No, you do not need a bag. For a pack of gum. Especially when you’re already carrying a bag. Oh, and also? You don’t need a pile of napkins for a bagel, in case you were wondering. A hundred years from now, people will probably look back on our wasteful ridiculousness and shake their heads. At least, that’s my hope.

I wasn’t in the deli to buy gum. If I chewed gum, it would stick to my Invisalign and be impossible to chew. Not that I was much of a gum chewer in my pre-braces life. Most of the time I didn’t get the point of gum. Like, you just chew it? And? I guess it’s a handy way to freshen up breath, but isn’t that what mints are for? Anyway. No, I was stocking up on my new preferred snack, Popchips. These things are genius. They’re a tasty alternative to evil potato chips, made from real food and without tons of calories. I’m sensing a new addiction looming on the horizon.

Besides people taking plastic bags when they don’t even need them, here’s something else I don’t get. My current Netflix adventures involve all five seasons of Ally McBeal. Only, I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue. The first season was awesome. Ally starts working at this law firm. Then she finds out that her ex (who also happens to be the love of her life) works there. Then she finds out that his wife works there, too. It was perfect. Ally and Billy would realize that they’ve never stopped loving each other, that they’re soul mates, that they have to be together…I couldn’t wait for the story to play out. But that’s not what happened at all. Instead, there were some lame excuses about why it could never work between them and the passion just fizzled out. Oh, and then Billy dies. Out of nowhere. What am I missing here? Wasn’t the whole point for them to be together? Although I have to say, now that Robert Downey Jr. has entered the scene, I am liking things a lot more. I mean hello, Wonder Boys? Love him.

Today I was researching the Hudson River Park piers and guess what I found out? One of the piers in Tribeca is going to have mini golf! That’s only one neighborhood below mine! I swear, this made me so happy. If they decide to add Skee-Ball, I will be ecstatic. I’m not sure if the construction will be done this spring, but here’s more good news: Spring is only eight days away! Par. Tay.

the sky is everywhere

Which book am I kissing this week?

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson! This is one of the best teen novels I’ve ever read. It’s such a beautiful, touching story. Jandy is immensely talented – she has a gift of making prose sound like poetry. Sky is her debut novel and it’s in stores now. If you’re looking for something fresh and true in YA lit, this is the book for you. Even the cover is the most gorgeous thing, like, ever.

I had the honor of blurbing Sky. My blurb:

The Sky Is Everywhere evokes the intensity of desire and agony of heartache with breathtaking clarity. This beautifully written story will leave an indelible impression upon your soul.”

You can read chapter excerpts or watch a trailer here.

Congrats to Jandy Nelson on her amazing achievement!

coffee talk

Although I love working at home, sometimes I miss going back to school on Mondays and hearing about how everyone’s weekend was. Mondays were when I’d do my whole hyper TGIM thing and my students in first period would be like, “Um, are you sure you don’t drink coffee?” It felt good to reconnect with my kids and friends, even when the weekend seemed more like five minutes than two days. Transitioning from a work environment where I was surrounded by people pretty much every second to being by myself all day has been an interesting ride. One thing I’m thankful for is all of you. You read my ramblings here, and for that I am immensely appreciative. Because of you, I feel like I can sort of have my coffee talk time at work. It’s like buttah!

I’m actually writing this on Sunday night while the rest of the world is watching the Oscars. I was going to raid SP’s television to watch because I absolutely adore Steve Martin. But then I was like, What’s the point? Up in the Air won’t win. Avatar will hog all the awards. I have no desire to see Avatar. And I know I’m not the only one because a bunch of my Facebook friends commented that they didn’t want to see it, either. Sometimes I just don’t understand what all the hoo-ha is about.

Something I am excited about is that Brilliance Audio is recording all of my books! Right now they’re working on Something Like Fate with the same narrator who recorded Wintergirls. I am so psyched about this. I’m also psyched about my new author video that we’ll be filming soon. We’re trying to think of a good setting that relates to Something Like Fate. If you’ve read an ARC of the book, what sort of setting would you suggest? Since Lani is an environmental activist, I’m thinking somewhere like a greenhouse or atrium or open indoor space with lots of natural light. Please let me know if you have other ideas. I do want to stay indoors because last year we recorded outside on what was a really nice day at first, but by the end I was freezing. You can totally see me shivering in my Barnes & Noble video.

Of course the one thing I’m most looking forward to is meeting some of you next week. I’ll be participating in the NYC Teen Author Festival, which includes a ginormous YA author signing at Books of Wonder on Sunday, March 21. This complete listing of events tells you where and when you can find me, as well as all of the other authors who will be participating. See you soon, I hope!