librarypalooza 2012 – that author thing

Of course I had to fly to San Antonio to meet a woman who lives two blocks from me. In a house I drool over every time I walk past it. Who else would be sitting next to me on the plane?

We had the best conversation. She told me all about our neighborhood back in the day when it was primarily Italian. These three old guys would sit outside on the stoop next to hers and give her the scoop when she got home. They’d tell her that her husband just left with the kids or that her housekeeper just came back with groceries. She also told me about this team of urban archaeologists who excavated all this cool stuff from her backyard. In the mid-1800s, the people who lived in her townhouse threw their garbage out back. She now displays those kitchen utensils and toys – even a revolver – on her wall. The best part is that she invited me over to see the artifacts. And all because of LibraryPalooza.

Let me just say this: Sheryl Stoeck rules. She’s the amazing librarian who organized this event. She booked me back in 2010. That’s how organized she is. It was a super fun day of Q&A with all the authors, then break-out sessions. I was happy to see lots of friendly neighbors at my presentations:

LibraryPalooza breakout session

During the part of my presentation that focuses on identifying goals, I ask everyone to write down the three things they want the most. Tanya showed me how her goals all relate to each other:

LibraryPalooza goals

Getting a book published would lead to visiting many different places. And traveling would bring more opportunities for meeting a boyfriend. Yay connections!

Everyone was so adorable and polite. These readers were really interesting, with names like Gage and Momo. Both a Beatles bag and shirt were spotted. One extra cute girl even had a typewriter necklace:

Typewriter necklace

Several girls told me that I looked like Chloe Bridges. See how polite they were?

The other authors were mad impressive. Shout-outs to Terry Trueman, Svetlana Chmakova, Ellen Schreiber, Ryan Smithson, and Varian Johnson. A special shout-out goes to my student escort, Tori. She took such good care of me all day. She even sat through my presentation three times and did not complain. Tori, you are a rock star.

Thanks to everyone who came out for this incredible event. You made the day one I will never forget!

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happy things

When was the last time February had me smiling all month? Never, that’s when. February is usually the month I am in full hunker down, focusing on work and avoiding winter as much as possible. But not this February. This February has been warm and welcoming. It does not bite your head off the second you go outside. It does not freeze you so horrifically that your teeth are numb. My meteorologist side is thankful for three main factors joining together to create a mild winter (La Nina, the North Atlantic oscillation, and normal temperature variations against the backdrop of global warming; note: I am not thankful for global warming).  My soul is thankful for open windows and refreshing breezes.

So yay. However, it is still February. Which means I am still resorting to my typical coping mechanism of focusing on happy things to get me to spring. Here are some recent ones:

StreetEasy emailed me a listing update about an apartment going into contract. Dude. It was my apartment! It was MY CONTRACT! I cannot tell you how long I’ve been waiting for that email. Actually, I can. Sixteen years. I’ve wanted to own an apartment here since day one. Stoked out of my mind.

Demetri Martin had a live taping for his upcoming Comedy Central special and I got to go! It was my third time seeing Demetri (aka Funniest Person in the World). He brought his Large Pad. He brought his harmonica. I was a happy unit.

This springlike weather has inspired mourning doves to hang out. I heard the first one hooing a few weeks ago. I’ve always had thing for mourning doves.

“Man or Muppet” is up for an Oscar this weekend. Plus I heard that Kermit and Miss Piggy will be presenting. I would totally be inviting myself over to a friend’s to hog their TV right about now, but I’m going to be in San Antonio for LibraryPalooza this weekend. “Man or Muppet” (aka the best song from The Muppets) gives me chills every time I hear it. Fellow Flight of the Conchords fans will appreciate that “Man or Muppet” was written by Bret McKenzie. Check it out:

Thinking about movies reminds me that The Hunger Games comes out one month from today. March 23 has been burning a hole in my day planner. I can’t wait to see how – OMG. A mourning dove just started hooing. It’s totally a sign. 2012 continues to bring the happy things. Enjoy them 🙂

librarypalooza

Greetings, rad reading state of Texas! Did you know that LibraryPalooza is this Saturday in San Antonio? I can’t wait for this event. Meeting readers is the best part of my job and I am looking forward to chilling with my people. Here’s where I’ll be:

Saturday, February 25, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Brandeis High School
13011 Kyle Seale Parkway
San Antonio, TX 78249
Event info: 210.397.4834

These awesome authors will be rocking the house:

LibraryPalooza 2012: That Author Thing

We’re planning a super fun day complete with Q&A, break-out sessions, and book signings. You can find the complete schedule here.

If you’re in the San Antonio area, I hope to see you this weekend!

best. v-day. ever.

Since I write novels about soul mates, you might expect me to get all excited about Valentine’s Day. Not so much. I mean, I’m a fan when I have a boyfriend. Who doesn’t enjoy celebrating the day of love with the one they love? But V-Day always seems to have this undercurrent of high expectations. Which often leads to inevitable disappointment. What should be a chill day gets whipped up into a frenzy of pressure. Boys running around grabbing at overpriced roses and prix fixe menus containing zero vegetarian options and outrageously fancy chocolate that is so fancy it fails to taste good. Give me Godiva and I’m a happy girl. Preferably their Ultimate Collection. What’s so hard about that?

Godiva Ultimate Collection

Clearly, I am the one with high expectations.

That’s why this V-Day was the best one ever. Not only were my high expectations met. They were exceeded.

I’d been waiting for the phone to ring all weekend. Isn’t that the worst? When you’re waiting for the boy to call and he doesn’t call and you’re like, “Why isn’t he calling? Why isn’t he CALLING?” In my case, I was waiting for news about the boy. I have a new bf (aka the apartment I am purchasing). The search is over. Can you believe the first time I saw him was less than three weeks ago? And now look. I feel like Charlotte in the coffee shop all like, “I’ve been dating for 20 years, I’m exhausted, where IS he?!” And now he’s here.

Heart chocolates

Note: Of course I would like to find my actual soul mate in the form of an actual boy. One thing at a time.

After waiting by the phone like the 16-year-old I am, my broker called late Monday night with the good news I’d been waiting for. We were going into contract! All of that running around and writing letters and filling out forms and having meetings and getting my taxes done two seconds after my financial documents were all in place was paying off. I’m happy to report that I signed the contracts at my real estate attorney’s office today. There’s nothing like forking over a big fat check to make you feel like a grownup!

I spent Valentine’s Day afternoon doing mortgage paperwork. Which was the perfect way for me and my bf to celebrate getting serious. At first he wasn’t sure about taking things to the next level. That was excruciating. But underneath the fear and doubt, I knew we were meant to be together. And now one of my biggest dreams is coming true.

That’s how it is when you have burning passion for something. You can make anything happen. If you’re waiting for your life to change, start making that change happen. You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

the real deal

TGIM! Not only is the calendar showing off a shiny new week, but it’s telling me that we only have four more months to go until Keep Holding On is out in the world. I have a new publicist and lots of funtastic plans for this book release. So exciting.

My new publicist is amazing. She’s so amazing that she set up our meeting at City Bakery specifically because their 20th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival is in full swing. Considering what a fan of chocolate I am, you’d think that I’d be more into hot chocolate. I wasn’t before encountering the real deal. I’d mostly just had the instant kind, which never tastes good. But then I tasted real hot chocolate with fluffy homemade marshmallows at City Bakery. Now I understand how hot chocolate was meant to be. And there’s no going back.

20th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery

Best. Thing. EVER.

I’m already strategizing my return to City Bakery. Not that I need much strategy. It’s a short walk from my place. But given the above documentation, I’m sure you can understand why I’m not there every day. We have health issues to consider. Only…see that chocolate chip cookie? It was fresh out of the oven. The chocolate chips were gooey, people. Must return soon.

In other sweet news, I have a new eye doctor who doesn’t do the air puff thing. The air puff thing always freaked me out. They used to have to hold my head in place for it when I was a teenager. The anticipation of that air puff coming straight for my eye any second now made me jittery. But my new doctor is awesome. I couldn’t believe his technician when she sat me down in front of the first machine.

Me: This isn’t the air puff thing, is it?
Her: No, we don’t do that here.
Me: Sweet! What do you do instead?
Her: We poke you in the eye with a pen.
Me: Ha ha har!
Her: [serious]
Me: Wait, what?

Turns out that the alternative to the air puff thing is getting two sets of eye drops and then being poked in the eye. The eye drops majorly dilate your pupils and leave you with blurry vision for the next two hours. True, I didn’t feel the pokes at all. This eye doctor is one of the best. But with the blurry vision afterwards, I’m wondering if the air puff thing really is that bad. Sometimes it takes experiencing something worse to make you realize that the first thing was’t as bad as you thought.

On a final TGIM note, I’ll leave you with this recent comment from Nicole:

“Reading your blog posts always gives me that little extra boost to believe that my own dreams can become a reality if I follow my heart. Putting good vibes out into the universe and believing that things will work out as they should is some of the greatest advice you have given us readers. So thank you for always giving us that encouragement.”

That’s why I’m here 🙂

quick things

Woo! This apartment buying whirlwind is intense. I was up until 2:00 in the morning Thursday night doing paperwork. Friday was a calls/meetings/numbers/subways/papers frenzy that started the second I woke up and didn’t end until after 8:00 that night. I think I got a chance to eat something around 4:00. It was good to have the weekend to recharge, because this week will be super hectic as well. New York City real estate is sort of like a contest called Who Wants It More? Clearly, I do. And I cannot wait to be the winner.

In the midst of the exhaustion and exhilaration, I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you five quick things:

1. I Am a Reader, Not a Writer interviewed me. Bonus: they’re also hosting a giveaway to win an ARC of Keep Holding On!

2. Friendly neighbors in Texas! LibraryPalooza is coming up. This event seemed so far away when we scheduled it back in 2010. Now it’s almost here! The festivities will be held in San Antonio on Saturday, February 25. Please join me and these awesome authors if you’re in the area. You can stay updated at LibraryPalooza’s Facebook page.

3. Interested in getting paid to think up cool stuff all day? You might want to consider a career in imagineering.

4. Interested in getting published? Check out Jane Friedman’s excellent post explaining how.

5. I cannot WAIT to play board games again this weekend with my board gaming group. Just FYI.

Of course I’ll keep you posted on my new boyfriend (aka apartment). TGIM 🙂

the search is over

As you probably know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’d been searching for my dream home for a long time. I moved to New York City with big New York City dreams. One of my biggest dreams is to own an apartment here in downtown Manhattan. I’ve lived in my dream neighborhood, the West Village, for going on nine years now. The energy makes me feel alive. Owning a place here would be the ultimate dream turned reality.

Which is where reality comes in. The West Village is the most expensive, coveted neighborhood in New York. It’s extremely difficult to find an affordable apartment to rent here, much less one to own. Three kinds of people live in the West Village: 1. Vintage neighbors who’ve been here for decades, chilling in their rent-controlled gems. 2. People like me who pay way too much rent in exchange for living in the best location ever. 3. Celebs. Buying an apartment here with all of the features I want (light, views, and space) would be super expensive. Not that I let that stop me from searching. But after searching for so long, I learned that a West Village apartment would be about $150K more than a comparable apartment in a nearby neighborhood. So I expanded my search parameters to just outside my nabe.

Looking for an apartment is like looking for a boyfriend. Neither will have everything I want. But if my heart is happy, I’ll know it’s right. I kept this in mind as I searched nearby neighborhoods like Chelsea, Tribeca, Flatiron, and Gramercy. They’re all downtown and within walking distance of the West Village. Once I accepted how close those neighborhoods really were, I opened up the door to amazing possibilities. Like the views from this place on the 27th floor in Gramercy:

New York City dream view from the 27th floor

Seriously? Could that view be any sweeter? And I could actually afford to buy this apartment. The space was decent, but my home office would be a bit tight. The kitchen was small. It would need some major renovations. In my heart, I picture myself on a high floor enjoying a view just like this one. But I had to decide what was more important: a sweet view or a sweet home office. I decided what was in the apartment was more important than what was outside. Plus I could always go up to the roof for insane views if I found a place in another full-service building. But oh how those views were hard to leave behind:

New York City sunset view

There was an open house at another place in Gramercy this past Sunday. It wasn’t just any apartment. It was an apartment I was interested in several months ago. But when I called the broker back then, he told me it was in contract. How stoked was I when the listing came up again? Turns out that the potential buyer was rejected by the co-op board. I would have a chance at the apartment after all.

With each apartment I’ve rented, I have always felt the Knowing as soon as I walked in. Sometimes I’ve even felt it from outside the building, like with my current place. The Knowing is a strong sense of clarity. The Knowing is never wrong. It told me this was where I was meant to live every single time I’ve rented an apartment. No Knowing, no renting. I really thought I’d feel the Knowing again when I found the place I was meant to own. I didn’t really feel it at the open house, though. So I left assuming that the search would continue.

Then a strange thing happened.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the apartment. I was obsessing over it all Sunday night. You guys, it felt like I was falling in love. All I wanted to do was think about the apartment. All I wanted to do was talk about the apartment. The more I visualized how my built-in bookshelves and office space would look, the more in love I fell.

It was a whirlwind romance.

Yesterday I returned to the apartment with my broker and architect so I could talk about the cute boy apartment some more. What my architect can do to the space is unreal. It already has the most important things I’m looking for: space, light, and views in a full-service building. The renovation we planned is going to transform the space into a gorgeous home. My look is minimalist with smooth, clean lines. My architect is totally on the same wavelength. Visualizing myself living and working there was easy.

So I made an offer. We negotiated. And…it looks like I’m buying this apartment! After searching for so long, it’s pure euphoria. Just like with the boy search. It’s a long process; there are lots of steps ahead. But my broker thinks everything will work out. I do, too. Because it is time for me to be a home owner!

I can’t wait to tell you more. Sharing this story makes my dream home feel more tangible. And of course I’ll post photos of my place when the renovations are complete. I cannot WAIT.

Here’s to even more dreaming big…