One Upon a Bookcase guest post!

I'm over at Once Upon a Bookcase this week, with a guest post  about writing SKIN, and how sometimes characters barge their way into books and won't leave.

And, on a totally unrelated note, does it bum anyone else out that everything good on TV happens on Sunday night?  Mad Men, True Blood, Entourage.  What about the rest of the week?  A DVR of Sunday night's goodies can only last so long!  

So maybe it's time to Netflix some new shows?  We did The Wire last summer.  What other shows should we watch from the beginning?


Still basking in the glow of lobster rolls and steamers

Wait, can you bask in the glow of a lobster roll?  That makes sense, right?  A little bit?  Maybe if it were radioactive.  Or on fire.  Or, in this case, glowing with deliciousness.  

We were on vacation last week, up in New Hampshire (crickets, green green grass, cold watermelon, tiny frogs, and a visit to the 'Swap Shack' at the town dump) and Maine (lobster rolls, shell collecting, steamers, more green green grass, and sand castles).  I had so much great hang-out time with my folks, got to see my grampy and my grandma, cousins, and aunts.  It was so clean, and quiet, and peaceful.  And then we came back to Brooklyn, and something that was not an animal had taken a poop on the subway platform.  I'm not easily skeeved out.  I've seen lots of things here, but the pile doo doo on the subway platform was almost enough to send us packing back to the land of cricket songs and lobster rolls.

It's a good thing we love Brooklyn but man oh man is our love being tested.

I'm happy to report that I finished the next draft of the fetchingly titled UNTITLED NYC MYSTERY, but now I am in that nether-world where I'm waiting for the editorial letter, half missing the world of the story, and half not ever wanting to see it again.

And now I MUST go drink some lemonade before I completely evaporate.


Will Grayson/Will Grayons/Gigi Lane?! Monday night at Borders!

Guess what?!

No, no, I mean besides the fact that the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory in Greenpoint opened for the season.

This is even BETTER than ice cream -- I'm opening for David Levithan and John Green Monday night at Borders!

They'll be reading from the amazing Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I'll be trying not to pee from nervousness.  Oh, and also I'll be reading from the Exile of Gigi Lane.

Kind of freaking out here,

Monday, April 12th
7PM (they recommend you come early)
461 Park Avenue


The Exile of Gigi Lane is out today!

It's out, it's out, it's out!!  In actual bookstores, like all those other real books!

And if you live in New York, please come to the book launch party at 7:30PM tonight at
Word bookstore in Greenpoint!  There will be cupcakes, and giveaways, and general happiness.



How does your garden grow?

 So, last year our porch became an 'outdoor room', thanks to the new building that went up next door and walled in our precious outdoor space, leaving only a patch of sky.  All last summer the flowers I'd planted, the thrift-store chair finds, and the cute green watering can I'd gotten for the little one became covered in dust, splattered with plaster, and riddled with nails and other random construction site garbage.  It was a bummer.

 But the guys who built the place next door came over when they were done, cleaned up our porch and painted the wall so it now is actually really pretty.  And now it's ready to be completely redesigned with my unlimited budget and unlimited gardening and exterior design skills.  I'm thinking a fountain, and an arbor, and a trellis climbing with magical flowers that bloom only in the shade.  Also, a hammock and a porch swing and a grill and most likely some sort of porch garden fairy.  

There is a SLIGHT possibility that I may have to scale back my plans to include some really pretty shade-loving plants, a Craigs List or dumpster dive table, and some twinkly lights.  Either way,  I can't wait.  I do have to get a body bag for the poor potted Christmas tree that I thought could enjoy winter outside but sadly instead turned into a tumbleweed.  

We're off to Chinatown for veggie dim sum!  And then I'm going to make a t-shirt that says GET SUM VEGGIE DIM SUM! And then we're going to watch the Academy Awards and eat sooooo many snacks we think we might croak.

NYC Teen Author Festival!

Oh my head!*  It's been so long since I've posted.  Last time I wrote I was risking life and limb at Kindling Words in Vermont.  That was in JANUARY!  That's practically last year!

And now it's this year, which means that my new book is finally finally finally finally coming out.  THE EXILE OF GIGI LANE hits bookstores (don't you just picture someone driving by in a beat up Corolla, hurling copies of my book at bookstore windows?  No?  I guess it's just me then) on April 6th!  Which happens to be the exact date of my book release party at WORD bookstore in the best neighborhood in Brooklyn -- Greenpoint! More on that soon, I promise.  Just know that I would love love love to see you there.

But before the book is even officially on shelves, I'll be reading and talking about GIGI at the NYC TEEN AUTHOR FESTIVAL!  Holy crow, there are going to be so many amazing authors, and so many amazing events, I CANNOT WAIT!

Here's my own schedule, and
here is the full list of events.

The NYC Teen Author Festival! 
More teen authors than you can shake a stick at!
March 18th Five Borough Read
Central Branch, Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck  Auditorium , 10 Grand Army Plaza
10AM Emily Horner
Melissa Kantor
Matthue Roth
Siobhan Vivian
Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Melissa Walker
Robin Wasserman
March 19th NYC Teen Author Festival Symposium
South Court, 42nd Street, 2-5 and 7-9:30
6:45 – 8:30 PM:  
What it Feels Like for a Girl – Writing in a Teen Girl’s Voice
Jessica Blank
Eireann Corrigan
Sarah Dessen 
Jenny Han
Terra Elan McVoy
Siobhan Vivian
Adrienne Maria Vrettos
Jacqueline Woodson

Books of Wonder Author Signing
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 989-3270
Gazillions of teen authors!  
I will be signing at 5PM 


*There was a kid fifth grade who used to say 'Oh my head!'  I thought he was dreamy.  But then I discovered he liked to sniff his own, erm, gassy bi-products and our one-sided love affair was over.


How I almost became a popsicle.

Here I am in beautiful Essex Vermont for a writing conference!

Here's my adorable room:

I got here early in the day, things don't kick off until 5PM or so, and I decided to go meet my good friend Dave for lunch. It was a $20 cab ride, though well worth it to spend an hour chatting with one of the best people in the world. I decided that, since it was a beautiful sunny day, that I would just navigate the bus system back to the Inn to save some money.

Have you ever been to Vermont?

If the answer is no, let me tell you something. The weather can be sunny, you can sneeze, and by the time you open your eyes there will be a blizzard that is more blizzardy than the blizzard in Little House on Prairie.

That's exactly what happened to me. One minute I'm happily riding the bus, "Oh look, it's St. Michael's college!" and "Oh look, what a cute Amtrak station, this is where I transfer to the other bus" to.... "Oh my God."

The "Oh My God" was because the bus driver had dropped me off at this cute little outlet mall/movie theater (weird, only in Vermont can an outlet mall be cute). He said that the Inn was just down the road an across the street. But that was before the BLIZZARD OF 2010.

Seriously, it's like he drove away and the sky opened up and then I was walking down the side of a road in a white-out. Could not see ten feet in front of me. Could not see where I was going, or where I'd been.  How long had I been walking?  Days?  Weeks?  Seven minutes?   Would I have to eat my wool clogs to survive?  Is wool even edible?  Why do I think it's edible.  Must google, if I make it.  Would i need to fashion some sort of snow shelter, and create fire using the wool clog I don't eat?  Are they edible AND flammable?  Does the guy that does that wild man survival show know about clogs?  They could save his life!

Obviously, hypothermia had set into my brain.

Here, this is what I looked like (and yes, I would be the person found with silly self-portraits on an iphone frozen to my hand)

My hat does not have ear-flaps. That's actually snow frozen to the side of my face.

This will not be a surprise to people who have been in a car with me.  I am the person that would be found frozen in a snow drift, ten feet away from a coffee house.  Also, it will not be a surprise to those who have seen the scar on my leg from the Adrienne vs. Automobile incident of 1995 that I do not well in situations where cars may skid out of control and kill me dead.

Somehow (by walking 200 yards) I made it to a little movie theater and blustered into the lobby, stamping snow off my feet, steaming up my glasses, and basically acting like I had just tunneled through the snow from Canada.

This was amusing to the nice gentleman and his adult son who were standing in the lobby, talking about the surprise snow storm.

Now, if my mom and dad are reading, I ask them to please stop.

Because what happened next could have ended up the sort of cautionary tale that, well, you'll see.

I sputtered out something through frozen lips that sounded something like "My friend David Bus So Cold Got Lost Inn at Essex The Snow Dear God The Snow!"

They gave me a ride. They'd just seen The Tooth Fairy and recomended it highly.

To make me feel better, the dad assured me that this was too much of a freak blizzard for me to walk ten minutes in, and he never would have forgiven himself if he read in the paper that I'd been found frozen by the front door to the lobby, just feet away from sweet safety.

Of course, by the time we pulled into the Inn, the snow had cleared, everything seemed much less dire, and the feeling was working its way back into my frozen face.

And now here I am, recovering from my ordeal:

The conference hasn't even started yet, and I'm ready for a nap.

I love Vermont, even with its crazy weather. And I really, really love Vermonters.


What to do with memories that make you cringe?

On Sunday the little one and I went on an awesome girls' date to my friend Tara's place to watch FAME (I'm gonna live forever!). LO played with the cat toys, ate lots of apple slices and spit out the peels, and repeatedly tried to get the cat to play a game on my iphone. The cat wasn't into it.

Tara and I started talking about what we'd focus on if we got to go to a performing arts high school now (theater for her, voice or dance for me), and I flashed back to my ... erm..."previous dance experience".

It was fifth grade. I suffered from that charming sort of crippling shyness that leads to selective mutism, a marked lack of first kisses, and a future career as a YA author. Anyhoo. I signed up for an after school dance class with some girls that I desperately wanted to be friends with. One of them was super good at the head moves that went along with Walk Like An Egyptian. I thought the worst part of class was when we had to leap one at a time across the dance floor. I wasn't a leaper. I sort of hopped once, and then scurried like a mouse looking for its hole. I was wrong, though, because the worst part of the class happened when the teacher sprung it on us halfway through that we were going to have to perform. On stage! How could she not have mentioned this on the first day so I could have promptly dropped out? She kept it a secret. A cruel, shy-kid targeting secret. I informed my mom immediately upon pick-up that I would NOT be performing in the recital.

She disagreed.

I contemplated faking small pox, but lost my nerve.

Our outfits for the recital were lime green spandex biker shorts with sparkly suspenders. And we weren't allowed to wear underwear! OR a bra! The horror, I tell you, was profound.

If the recital took place in a book, instead of in real life, it would have gone like this --- girl shakes her shyness, takes the stage, performs beautifully, standing ovation ensues.

Instead, it was more like -- shy girl messes up the steps, someone on her left hisses "What are you doing?!" after being stepped on by shy girl, shy girl prays for alien abduction.

I was so embarrassed that I rode home in the trunk. It was a hatchback, so it wasn't like I was going to suffocate, but it felt like a sufficiently terrible place to start serving my term as disgraced junior dancer. I watched the moon and stars through the defrost wires in the back windshield and told my parents that I was definitely coming down with something, and definitely needed to stay home sick the next day. Which I did, totally ashamed and feeling very much alone and oh woe was me.


What the heck do you do with a memory like that? I mean, it's not even so terrible --- I mean, no one died. I didn't lose a limb or a loved one. But still, it nicks at my insides. So what do I do with it? I mean, besides tell my friend Tara and then blog about it? Do I need to do anything about it at all?

Of course, the writerly answer would be to put it in a book. But really, I wouldn't want any of my characters to go through the horror of a lime green bodysuit with no underwear. I could change what happens of course, but that feels like a betrayal of my former self, the one who made it out of grade school and lived to tell [blog] the tale.

What do YOU do with the memories that make you cringe?


Talk to me.

I'm having the damndest time hearing my main character's voice. It's like tuning a radio, but all I can hear is static. Occasionally, a station breaks through. First, a film noir radio mystery. Fantastic! But then I lose that and in comes a morning show with a raunchy female host. Okay, I can try to work with that. But then comes NPR, This American Life, with a sixteen-year old, voice all up in her head, like she's talking to herself, instead of to America, about her life and these things that have happened to her. But then I lose that voice too, and there's just static. I know the voice I'm trying to find is some sort of mash-up of all three. It's just finding it that feels impossible right now.

Do you ever write a line that sounds so right to you, that you google it because you imagine it sounds so right because someone else must have already written it?

Just wondering.


It's you, it's really really you

And by 'you' I mean 'the weekend!' because this was one of those weeks that was at least thirty-three days long. Just me, or anybody else? For us it started with a toddler with a tummy bug, then a husband with The Cough That Rattled The World, and ended with the sole of my beloved ugly-clog coming unglued. Stupid clog. If it wasn't so warm, I'd kick it to the curb.

But the weekend is here, really truly, and that means no more work and hopefully a little writing time and hopefully a lot of family time.

Tomorrow the little one and I will take a loooong bus ride to see my dear friend and mentor, Miriam. Is it weird to care so much about somebody you can't even really blog about them because nothing you write seems like it's really saying enough? Well, that's how I feel about Miriam.

I haven't seen her since the fall, and she hasn't seen my little one since she was barely crawling. I'm packing lots of stickers books and little animals and other things that hopefully will ensure a fun bus ride, and enough distraction to buy me and Miriam enough time for some good conversation.

And I'm totally late on this, but did anyone watch the People's Choice Awards? I have a really high tolerance for awards show bs, but the whole thing felt like a really long commercial interrupted by other commercials, even if it was hosted by the Queen (U.N.I.T.Y!)

Happy, happy weekend everybody!