Going to BEA this week? I will totally be there.
Everyone who comes to my signing will get a hardcover copy of City Love for free!
Where: BEA, Autographing Table 14
When: Thursday, May 28, 11:00am
Hope to see you there 🙂
It all started with a pencil.
Twelve was an extremely difficult age for me, but it was also an age when I figured a lot of stuff out. I knew I wanted to be a science teacher when I was 12. I knew my purpose in life as a grownup would be to help teens in any way I could. And I knew that I didn’t belong in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey, in a small town at a school where I was bullied every day for being an outsider. My true home was out there somewhere. Not stuck in the middle of the woods, completely isolated and feeling so alone. I was determined to find the place where I truly belonged.
I stayed with my grandparents most summers of my teen life. The summer I was 12, I was staying up late watching The Tonight Show with Gram. Gram understood that I was a night person. After Johnny Carson said goodnight, a show called Late Night with David Letterman came on. I asked Gram who David Letterman was. She said, “He’s kind of like Johnny, but wackier.” Anyone who was wacky, zany, dorktastic, a hardcore nerd, or proud to be original in their own quirky way was a winner in my book. So I kept watching. Dave threw a pencil at the camera. He made weird faces. He threw a pencil at the window behind him with a sound effect of glass shattering.
David Letterman instantly became my hero.
I obsessed over Late Night that whole first summer, learning Dave’s tricks and idiosyncrasies. Connecting to things he said in a way that made it clear he was my people, and gave me hope that more of my people were out there. The energy of New York City was palpable. It was an energy that radiated from the screen, an energy that made me feel alive. New York City was clearly my destiny. It was my true home. It was the place where everything that made me different would make me shine. The New York City energy Dave showed me was a drug that kept me going all through high school as I carried hope in my heart that one day I would live there. I looked forward to the time when I could be free to be the best version of myself. As a reminder, I put a Late Night tee on my koala bear Chez, who is featured in When It Happens in the same tee. Chez is an attention hog who has photo bombed several book giveaway pics over the years:
I taped Dave’s show every night. The first thing I did when I got home from school was get my Late Night notebook, rewind the tape, and watch Dave show me more of what I had to look forward to. For the length of his show, I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore. I was in on the joke. I was one with Dave’s community. I wrote down the title of every Top Ten list, every description of “And now, a man who…”, and lines that made me laugh. One was, “I’ll give you 500 dollars if you let me take my teeth out.” I don’t know why that line resonated with me. Probably just because it was so weird. I wrote it on the top of an algebra quiz in 8th grade because my 8th grade algebra teacher seemed like the kind of dude who would watch Dave. Dave’s lines became like this secret language I could use with certain grownups to make me feel included in something. But my teacher didn’t get it. He gave the quiz to a guidance counselor who called me into her office and asked if I was okay.
Of course I wasn’t okay. I was miserable. But every day was one day closer to living in New York City. One day closer to when I could create a happy life for myself and start turning my big dreams into reality. And that made surviving worth it. When I say that David Letterman is why I’m here, I don’t just mean here in New York City. I mean here. Along with the books that saved me, he helped me survive the worst time of my life. He showed me a reason to keep holding on.
When I was fourteen, I sent a postcard in for Late Night tickets. They said it would take like a year to get your tickets. The first tickets I received were for April 24, 1989, one week before my 16th birthday:
As you can see from these Late Night tickets (which are so vinatge that the NBC building wasn’t called 30 Rock, or even the GE Building, but the RCA Building) , anyone under the age of 16 would not be admitted. But there was no way I wasn’t getting in. Fortunately this was back in the day when ID wasn’t checked. They let me and my friend in and it was a completely overwhelming experience that made me even more determined to live in New York City.
I became obsessed with New York. The opener of Late Night started by zooming in across the water to the Twin Towers. The Twin Towers became a symbol of hope for me and the focus of every sketch, painting, clay impression, collage, and photographic paper etching I made in art class. I would go to the library at lunch and research New York, learn its buildings and streets, draw maps of the Village. Also in that Late Night opener was a part where the camera zooms through Old Town Bar. Of course I now live on the same street as Old Town Bar. Love that full-circle non-coincidence.
My inspiration for writing So Much Closer came straight from all of this. So Much Closer is the story of Brooke, a Jersey girl who dreams of living in New York City and finally has a chance to move there. This is why I acknowledged Dave in So Much Closer. Brooke wears the same Late Night tee Chez does and nails a Letterman question at trivia night. My publicist sent Dave’s personal assistant a copy of the book. She also included a letter from me in which I thanked Dave for changing my life and making the world a better, smarter, kinder place. See that Late Show ticket from May 4, 2015? Dave’s assistant remembered me from So Much Closer and was super generous in giving me tickets for his final month of shows. I was nervous about picking which day I wanted because it was impossible to know who would be on. But it turns out that I picked the best possible date. Because who was Dave’s guest on May 4?
Oh, you know. Just President Barack Obama. The Universe was totally on my side.
One of the things I respected most about Dave is his passion for improving public understanding of science, particularly with respect to global warming and environmental preservation. Dave had on physicists, environmentalists, and climatologists in an effort to help his viewers understand the detrimental effects we are having on our planet and how we can all be a part of the solution. Dave even had on my old boss from NASA, Dr. James Hansen, who was rocking the same Birkenstocks he always wore to work. But that’s what was cool about Dave’s show. It wasn’t about glitzy appearances and superficial interviews. It was about the heart and soul of us. It was about the truth, and innovation, and making a difference. David Letterman made this world a better place. And I know he will continue to do so, whichever path he chooses to take next.
This is how a guy as weird as I was showed me where I belonged. By dropping watermelon off the roof, crushing car doors in a 90-ton hydraulic press, with “I be hypnotized” and asking what else Just Bulbs has and rocking those Adidas with blue on the back and whipping all of those pencils at the camera. David Letterman showed me that it is okay to be exactly who you are. More than okay, actually. He showed me that by being exactly who you are, you can inspire more people than you’d ever dreamed and help others in ways you can’t even imagine.
Thirty years ago I was a 12-year-old outsider searching for my true home. David Letterman showed me that New York City was my destiny. Thanks for showing this lost girl where she belonged, Dave. Thanks for helping me survive the worst time of my life. And thanks for showing all the outsiders that they are not alone ❤
TGIM, friendly neighbors! I hope your shiny new week is off to a good start. Summer vacay is starting around now for some of you. Cheers to that!
The last stop on my City Love tour was the RT Booklovers Convention. This was my first time at RT, a convention for lovers of romance novels. Which you could tell from the cute swag on my trivia table at one of the trivia events. I am not ashamed to admit that I might have swiped one too many bangles from the table. They were too cute to resist!
Some super friendly neighbors came by to visit me. Jessica of The Psychotic Nerd dazzled with her killer style. She is my new style icon and I heart her confidence.
Speaking of style, Meg Cabot tweeted me this after I saw her at RT:
So yeah. That happened.
As did chilling with Kiera Cass, who knows her way around a tiara.
When Brec rolled up in his Dunder Mifflin tee, I knew exactly who he was. Brec is one of my super dedicated readers who has been such an incredible supporter of my books over the years. I’d known him from social, but we’d never met in person. Until this:
One reason why doing book events is my fave part of this job is that I get to meet readers in person who I already feel like are my friends from online. Connecting with you guys on social means so much to me, and it’s monumental when I get to meet you in person.
Other Jessicas representing included Jessica from the mega popular Stuck in Books. She had that quirky cool positive energy the most adorable book nerds do.
Becky was there with her mom. They were adorable. It made me happy to see all the moms with their girls on Teen Day. Boys were also in the house and that freaking ruled. Becky agreed to hit the photo booth with me at the Teen Day party. You know I cannot resist a photo booth. This photo strip perfectly encapsulates the energy of RT. And it is clearly the best. photo strip. ever.
Thanks for kicking it old-school, Epic Reads!
Now I’m back home in New York City. Getting back into the swing of things. Anticipating a tight revision deadline followed by some time off to chill on the sundeck. But before the sundeck comes BEA! I’ll be signing at BEA on Thursday, May 28, 11:00am at Table 14. Hope to see those of you going to BEA there.
Spring is my fave season. May is my fave month because May feels like spring the most. This year May was kind of a whirlwind…and now summer feels really close. I didn’t really get to absorb spring like I wanted to. But that’s cool. It brings us closer to flip-flops and endless summer nights, shaved ice and sunshine, with the possibility of new romantic adventures around every corner. New York City is buzzing like neon already.
Happy almost summertime, everyone. I hope this is your best summer ever ❤
TGIM, friendly neighbors! It’s a fresh new week filled with infinite possibility. Let’s work it and own it.
1. Are you in the Dallas area? The RT Booklovers Convention is finally happening this week…and I will be there! I am psyched out of my head to be participating in what I hear is the most epic romance novel lovers’ convention in the history of ever. Saturday, May 16 is Teen Day. I’ll be doing three events on that day, plus events earlier in the week. Here’s where you can find me. Hope to see you there, Dallas party people!
2. Speaking of epic events, the Epic Reads Spring Tour with Katie Cotugno and Maria Dahvana Headley was so much fun I almost didn’t even mind the weird effects of my prescription motion sickness patch (dizziness and blurry vision, anyone?). Normally I would avoid heavy meds, but five flights in five days demanded busting out the big guns. Our publisher freaking rules for treating us like rock stars. We even got to stay at Trump International in Las Vegas! Look how glittery the lobby was:
Maria and Katie are seriously adorbs, right? Book tours in a group are always more fun and I was thrilled to be sharing the experience with these two beautiful authors.
3. Of course getting to meet readers is way more thrilling than any jacuzzi tub or spectacular view. That’s why doing events is my favorite part of the job. I love love LOVE my readers so much that I cannot contain my excitement when I have the opportunity to meet them. And why should I? Especially when you guys impress me with how much we’re like BFFs. Longtime dedicated reader Diana surprised me at A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland, CA (holla back, Kathleen!) with this wonderful gift bag of birthday presents:
How is she inside my head? She knows everything I like! And then rockstar reader Anna drove 6.5 hours each way to come see me at the Brentwood, TN Barnes & Noble with super fancy birthday cupcakes. Maria also surprised me with birthday cupcakes from the same bakery, so you know that particular bakery is what’s up. The best birthday present I could ask for was spending the day on tour meeting readers. And eating cupcakes. And generally feeling the city love. Like being reunited with radiant friendly neighbor Ronni in Chicago. Ronni has been reading this blog for so long she deserves a prize. Gold stars for everyone who came out to see us on tour!
4. Did I treat myself to a birthday present? Hells to the YES. It was waiting for me when I got home:
Meet the Runway Gym Bag by Victoria’s Secret. Holographic outside, patterned inside. Two big outside zippered pockets, five inside pockets, and shoe bag. Oh yes. I had been drooling over this gym bag forever and a day. We were meant to be. I mean almost all of my other gym gear is VSX, so this bag was pretty much my destiny.
5. Fantastic Book Review did this character interview with the girls of City Love. It’s a cute way to meet Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna. And find out who snores (although she totally denies it).
Here’s to a shiny new week! Show your #citylove ❤
Now and Forever is out in paperback today!
In case you missed the Now and Forever book trailer, you might want to go ahead and watch it. But be warned. This video is so hot your screen might burst into flames.
Shine on, rock star!