Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's Not Friday, but...

--I'm hopelessly behind, so:

1. I've consumed more calories and alcohol in the month of June than I have all year. Partly because in the past week alone I've eaten out 5 times. Twice in one day.

2. I had a wonderful time on the dinner cruise Thursday night, and the weather was great except for the fact there was NO sun whatsoever and my pics turned out like crap. I got a plaque congratulating me for 25 years of "association." Not that I care for the word "service." In fact I hate when patients say, "I've gotten such good service." You don't get "good service" in a hospital, you get--I hope--good care. If I'm not in a crabby mood, that is, because sixteen new admissions dumped onto my shift within a forty-five minute span.

3. People are buying my book! I'm nowhere near anybody's bestseller list, lol. I'm not even in the ballpark, and the ballpark's not even in the same county. But people are reading it! One little girl told her mom she liked the book much better than (two VERY well-known teen bestsellers which shall remain unnamed). Can you even imagine what a thrill that is? Forget the so-called official reviews. THIS is what I so love to hear. :)

4. I have business cards now. I put off getting them for months. I ordered them from VISTA PRINT--full color and very reasonable. The background is a closeup of a stringed instrument (I thought was a cello, but then I noticed the chin piece) and there's the title of my book, my name, publisher, contact information, and a special blurb for the Class of 2k7. Pam will be happy to know I no longer have to sign I-Hop napkins.

5. Today I revised at Borders from 9:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. I added a new character, which may or may not be a good thing--a frighteningly handsome Arabic boy in Shawna's art class. Good because he may add a romantic zing. Bad because I don't need to "up" the word count. I need a cool Arabic name, not the usual Ahmed or Mohammed.

6. Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris, Paris, blah-blah-bla-a-ah, oh, SHUT UP ABOUT PARIS! By the way, did you get a load of the CRAP she got to munch on behind bars? I thought you were supposed to, like, suffer in jail. French vanilla coffee? Toffee peanuts? OK, think about this: once you get past the strip search, you get a private cell, you're only allowed out of it once a day, and you get coffee, granola bars, and banana nut muffins. JUST THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH WRITING YOU'D GET DONE!

7. I found a massive, mangy, creepy gray furball squished into my family room carpet. It sat there for days because I thought it was a sock. How could that much fur fall off one single cat? And why do I have to be the one to, ick, actually touch it?

8. Grandma likes to stroll around outside, and they got concerned because she'll even take a walk down the street. Well, when they told her not to go outside alone anymore, she totally flipped! Cussed 'em out, threw her walker, carried on and on, not to mention the nine screeching messages she left on my machine. I said let her go out for now. I mean, sheesh, she's been walking outside by herself for a year. Is it worth the aggravation? Physically she can do it, but I think they're a bit afraid she won't come back--or, more like, won't remember her way back. Sigh. So I'm still mulling this over.

9. I've been off for a week. Back to work on Monday. Or is it Tuesday? I should probably find out.

10. There is no number 10 other than to say I'm trying really, really hard to catch up on everyone's blogs!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Page One!

I am on PAGE ONE of The Sun Star, our suburban newspaper--complete with photo!--in an article entitled "Author Happy to Finally See 'Somebody'"! A great big THANK YOU to wonderful staff writer Debbie Palmer. I bought six copies, lol.

I spent the day at Borders busily working on revisions and waiting for my stupid car to be fixed. Yes, it was the battery, thank God. And while there I ran into Cinda Chima, author of THE WARRIOR HEIR and the newly released THE WIZARD HEIR. Yes, we're practically neighbors. It's so cool to talk to someone who's already been through everything I'm experiencing now. I can't help but think, Hopefully this'll be me in another year or two. :)

It's hot and muggy and verrry overcast, and I'm off on a dinner cruise tonight. I hope it clears up so I can get some pictures of the city. Plus I promise to post a picture of the great gift I received from my wonderful A-Team: a glass mug with the title of my book and my name engraved.

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The A Team: Elca, (me) Jan, and Tange

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Launch Party SUCCESS!

If the success of a book signing can be measured by how many books you sell...well, Borders SOLD OUT!

I didn't get *that* many pictures, but first, here is the surprise sent to me by my stepmom, et al yesterday morning:

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Pam met me at Borders at 6 where we set up the refreshments (cookies, brownies, donuts, kolachkies--or however you spell that--and punch) and she managed to keep me distracted enough NOT to freak out. Her daughter Ashley, Beth, and Beth's friend Ashley also helped out!

LOTS of people (they ran out of chairs):

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I gave a small talk, read a passage, answered questions, drew names for door prizes (cello CDs, Elvis, and a Dr. Grip pen, lol--those of you who read the book will understand the signficance of that) then signed books. The clerks were scrambling the shelves for additional copies because they hadn't put enough out--and there were none to be found:

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In the midst of it all, I got an Eastern Onion telegram!

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Pam and me:

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So yes, it went GREAT--and I came home, collapsed on the couch, and slept in my clothes. Today I did nothing but sit around and watch movies. Now I just tried to leave to pick Beth up from work--and my damn CAR won't start! So much for heading back to Borders to get any work done. Maybe this is a sign I should do nothing today!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Laura Bowers will be proud of me--I GOT MY FIRST MANICURE IN 20 YEARS. Of course I smudged my thumb before she was even finished. The Asian manicurist blabbed to me the whole time and I couldn't understand one--single--thing she was saying. I think it was "Keep your hands still, you idiot, you're gonna smudge!" in Mandarin.

I finished my speech. I've been told to use note cards rather than get up there and read but I don't think that's possible. Maybe after I do this a few times. I need to tell Pam that she's been duly appointed to sit nearby and take over the show if I fall on my a$$ or lapse into catatonia. The more I think about being nervous, the more nervous I get. I am NOT OBSESSING. I am working through my emotions.

I found another pair of Birkie sandals to wear, a white leather pair I haven't seen in 2 years. I thought I'd left them behind in Belize.

I have a brand new juicy zit right next to my nose. Well, of course! Just like in school on picture day. No zits in four months since I gave up the chocolate and now one erupts right out of the blue. Thank you so much.

I stopped at Borders. There are empty spaces where my book used to be which means somebody is buying them!

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

Crisis! My right blue Birkie sandal broke. BROKE! I'm sick about it. I lived in those shoes. Yes, they ripped up my feet in New York, but, but, but they were my favoritest shoes! My sister gave them to me. My toenails matched the color. Now what'm I supposed to wear to my signing on Tuesday, my freaking clogs? OK, my clogs are cool (though the Prince, who thinks I should be traipsing around in Prada stilettos, would disagree) but--wahhh!

Mary spent 3 hrs printing out bookmarks for me Friday (smooch!). So I go to Staples on Saturday to buy a laminator and figure out that, by the time I buy the machine and enough of the pages, I can have Staples do it for me. Except cutting them costs another arm and a I spent 3 hrs there Saturday morning cutting them out, left them to be lammed, and went back yesterday to spend another 2.5 hrs cutting them out AGAIN. I see now why they charge such a fortune. It's time consuming, and I can't tell you how close I came to severing a finger. My dad was a paper cutter so I, um, really got into it. Enthusiasm can be deadly.

Re Tuesday: I have party supplies. I have goodies. I have door prizes. I have two excerpts to read. I have 2k7 information sheets. I have Alateen information sheets. I have something to wear (sorta). My roots have been touched up, my split ends trimmed. I have everything, except for a speech, lol.

On the Grandma front: She has a very good friend (let's call her Ruby) at the nursing home. They're like fricking Siamese twins joined at the walker. They'd go outside, sit in the garden, blab, gossip, make goo-goo eyes at the workmen, raise hell, et cetera. Ruby is Grandma's first "real" friend in a very long time. I can't stress that enough. Like Grandma she seems perfectly fine...for a minute or two.

A couple weeks back, Ruby moseyed outside, climbed into a stranger's waiting car, and huddled down in the back seat. No small feat for an 80 yr old chick, and God knows what she was thinking. The driver came out, got in, and drove right off. He didn't even NOTICE till he'd gone a few blocks. Ruby was returned unharmed, but the nurses, of course, slapped an ankle bracelet on her, one that blasts an ear-splitting alarm if she gets within 3 feet of a door. Ruby's officially on House Arrest (as Grandma was--till she got hold of a scissors, chopped hers off, and threw the "G-damned thing" at an outraged nurse. At >200 bucks a piece, they decided not to risk a second one. Anyway, nobody who values their own life would dare drive away with Grandma).

Well, last week Grandma snuck into the main office (how? who knows???) where they caught her rooting around in the desk drawers. Her mission, which she freely admitted, was to find another pair of scissors (because they confiscated hers) so she could cut off RUBY'S alarm, dammit.

I love that woman.

I think I'm blathering to keep my mind off of Tuesday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Into the Wild

OK, I could not NOT pop in to announce the release of another Class of 2k7 book-- Sarah Beth Durst's INTO THE WILD

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From AMAZON: "Twelve-year-old Julie has grown up hearing about the dangerous world of fairy tales, 'The Wild,' from which her mother, Rapunzel, escaped. Now The Wild wants its characters back. Julie comes home from school to find her mother gone and a deep, dark forest swallowing her hometown. Julie must fight wicked witches, avoid glass slippers and fairy godmothers, fly griffins, and outwit ogres in order to rescue her mom and save her Massachusetts town from becoming a fairy-tale kingdom. Sarah Beth Durst weaves a postmodern fairy tale that’s fresh, funny, and sweetly poignant."

Go, Sarah Beth! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hi and Goodbye

I've been off for a couple of days and now I plan to be off again--just WAY too much stuff for me to do between now and Tuesday. The signing is next week, I have nothing written and I don't even know what passage to read. Whichever one I read, I'm sure I'll have to PG it down. Damn, who'da thought I'd have so many swear words?

2k7 Release: BAD GIRLS CLUB

Congratulations to JUDY GREGERSON and the release of BAD GIRLS CLUB!

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From AMAZON: "Destiny has a secret. She's been told not to tell anyone what happened to her, her mom, and her little sister at Crater Lake. She also can't tell anyone that sometimes her sister is covered in bruises. Her friends all want her to report her parents, but Destiny won't tell the school counselor. If she does, it could cost her little sister's life or possibly her own. When the secret becomes too much to carry and the truth she knows becomes a lie, Destiny has to make a decision. Will she find the strength to speak the truth or will she drown in the lies? Will she discover her own worth and the voice she needs to cry it out, or will she remain what her mother has always called her -- a bad girl?"

YAY, JUDY!!! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Few Pics--

Of Matt and Molly's wedding.

The Wedding:
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Molly and Dad:
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The Vows:
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The Kiss:
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The Bride:
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The Groom:
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Bridesmaids and Flower Girl (Leah and Lydia in center)
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Junior Bridesmaids Sophia and Genevieve:
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Traveling in Style:
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Karen and Paul (groom's parents):
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The Cake:
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The Chicks:
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Me, Mary, Grandma Mary, Karen, Beth

The Sisters:
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Leah (Matt's sister):
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Gail (very good friend) and Kenneth (my brother-in-law):
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Kenneth and Corey:
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Aaron (Matt's brother), Karen, and Nate:
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Chuck, Nate, and Beth:
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Hubby and Me:
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday 10

1. Picture someone shoving your whole body into a smoking hot oven for 15 seconds. Then picture them hauling you out and tossing you into a freezer for another 15 secs. Picture this happening about 50 times over a 24 hr period. Sigh. I am saying nothing else.

2. I dropped the F-bomb in an earlier post--and when I tried to check out LJ from work last night I got a screen that screamed: ACCESS DENIED! Oops. I will go back and edit. I don't blog from work because A, it's uncool and B. who has the time? But I like to check my comments from time to time.

3. I hate ants. I'm actually kind of scared of them. I got bit by one when I was seven.

4. I'm listening to the Beatles singing "My Love" which has to be one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded.

5. I've been at my place of work for 25 years and in a couple of weeks those with 5-10-15-20-and-25+ years of service are going on a dinner cruise on Lake Erie. People with 25 years and up get chauffeured to the dock, possibly because they're afraid we're too old to find our way there on our own?

6. Total weight loss since February: 19 pounds. But now I've discovered Karr's Sweet and Spicy Mix. Suggested serving: 3 tablespoons. OH YEAH RIGHT!

7. I still have to figure out which passage to read for my signing. I had no idea how many swear words I used. Oops again.

8. My interview for our suburban newspaper will be out on June 28th issue. My photo didn't turn out so they're reshooting me on Sunday.

9. The worse thing about having a deaf cat is that they no longer respond to the word "NO!" With no auditory clues, they become completely demented. Max jumps up on us as we're eating dinner and rudely eats off our plates. Swipe a pork chop with a paw. Snag a broccoli spear right off our forks. Then he gets offended when you shove him away and is back in your face a second later. He's the Helen Keller of cats. Highly annoying!

10. I have a week off at the end of the month. My goal is to finish my revisions. If that is ALL I do each day, every day, there's no reason why I can't get it accomplished.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Home Run Catch!

Shots of nephew Matt CATCHING a home run hit by Casey Blake. (He was even wearing a Casey Blake T-Shirt).
June 2, 2007, Indians vs. Detroit. (Thanks, Molly)

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I'll post pics of his wedding as soon as I download them. It was beautiful!

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful I'm not famous.

Not just because I'm afraid I'll pull a Britney and climb into a limo with my thong fully exposed in front of a media blitz. I don't wear thongs, anyway. And not just because I don't want to be like Dolly Parton who has to put on full makeup, a wig, and dress to a T before she dares venture outside to pick her newpaper off the porch. Though it has occurred to me lately I may not want to flop around braless at the grocery store any more.

I'm a private person. Until the past few of months only my very closest friends knew I'd even written a book.

Sometimes this all gets to be a bit too much for me--people asking about my book, making comments about going on Oprah (ha-ha, this is SO getting old) and simply asking a thousand questions every time they see me. I know they mean well and I love them for it. They're interested! I'm happy they're interested. It's almost as exciting for them as it is for me. And it's MY fault anyway--I'm the one having a book signing, right, and of course made sure everyone knows about this.

Sometimes I wish I could get through one day without any of the above. I know I could never, ever tolerate being any kind of real celebrity.

Sometimes I miss the old me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Still 2 Weeks to Go--

--and yet here she is!

At Borders.

In her OWN display.

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And also here--where, as you can see, Harry Potter himself is announcing her presence:

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Words, for once, are completely insufficient.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Somewhat Sucky Review

OK, my first slightly-crappy review and it's from Kirkus of all places, although Kirkus is NOT known for being "nice." And no, not everyone will love my book. That's a given, and that's okay. I guess I'm tougher than I thought because (after the initial twinge of outrage) I'm not all that disturbed. And because Kirkus doesn't review "everybody" I should actually feel honored.

They began the review by recapping the whole story. I mean the WHOLE freaking story. Why bother buying the book, guys? Just go read the review.

It ends with: "The first-person narrative often tells rather than shows, and Martha’s accounting of her atrocious behavior without comprehension of her own culpability (hello, she's 14 years old?) frequently renders her unsympathetic. Despite these flaws, though, this gritty story has great appeal."

Well, at least I can quote those last few words. Personally, I don't read Kirkus Reviews because I know they're often unsually harsh. I rarely buy books based on reviews, anyway. I pick them off the shelf, skim through the pages, read the jacket, and make my decision.

My editor said she felt they didn't "get" the book. Personally I feel this reviewer simply dislikes the first-person narrative. First person is difficult because it IS so limiting, and yes, certain events simply have to be told. But I've never been accused of being a "passive" writer. Quite the contrary.

Anyway, enough anal-lyzing. Just wanted to share. :)

P.S. Oh, and they made a major typo in the body--HAHAHAHAHA!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New 2k7 Release: Wicked Lovely

Congrats to Melissa Marr and the release of her novel WICKED LOVELY:

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"Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires. Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything. Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale."

When I brought this book back from BEA, Beth took one look, snatched it up, and I haven't laid eyes on it since. YAY, MELISSA! (sure hope *I* get to read it!)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Good-bye, New York

The thing about NYC is, even if you've never been there before, you think you've been there before. Everything looks familiar! The crowds were a bit overwhelming but I expected that. The biggest surprise was the "non-parallel parking" lots where they stack cars on TOP of each other with this forklift-like-thingy. And yay, there's a Starbucks about every 3 blocks. Get a clue, Cleveland!

So on my last evening in New York, to say good-bye to the city, I walk--

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--and walk--

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--and walk--

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--and walk--

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--and walk all the way down to Times Square--

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--and walk--

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--and walk and walk some more--

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--and then turn around and limp all the way back. Forty blocks in the same sandals I've been wearing for years, but you'd never know it by my bloody feet. After a quick trip into a drug store for bandaids, it dawns on me I'm starved and that I only want one thing, something you just can't find in my neck of the woods: a bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion.

I stop at a deli where they throw together a HUMONGOUS sandwich (it's after 8 p.m. and the last thing I ate was some Chinese at the BEA where I poked myself in the eye with a chopstick) and then head back toward the hotel, now dying of thirst...

And what's the best thing to drink with a bagel and lox?


I wander into one place that turns out to be strictly a liquor store. Oops. I try to back out discreetly but I'm stopped at the door: "What are you looking for?"

"A beer."

"We sell beer."

I know, I saw it: packs of six, twelve, and twenty-four. Hello? I already have 180 pounds of books to haul back. I am not schlepping beer. "I only want one," I confess.

"One beer?"

"One beer."

He jerks his thumb. "Two doors down."

Jackpot! I buy a single can of Coors (wrapped discreetly in a brown bag) plus a bottle of water so I don't come off as a hardcore lush (like they care). Mouth watering from the delicious aroma of fish and onions, I drag my filthy, sweaty, exhausted self back to the Holiday Inn, spread my feast on the bed, and happily dig in. I can honestly say that THIS was the best solo meal I've ever had in my life.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

More BEA

The Jacob Javits Center, NYC:

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View of the main lobby from the upper level:

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Friday morning I met up with Jill and a few other Bloomsbury chicks--

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--for Childrens Authors breakfast. Speakers included Jacqueline Wilson (CANDYFLOSS) Mo Willems (KNUFFELBUNNY) and the amazing LIBBA BRAY who truly deserves her own sitcom.

Later, I stopped at the Bloomsbury booth for a quick pic (yes, yes, that's my book on the wall!):

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Not only did I get to meet fellow 2k7-ers Paula Chase, Sarah Beth Durst, Tiffany Trent, and Rose Kent--but I also ran into Richie Partington of Richie's Picks who gave me my FIRST (wonderful!) review, and CBWI's Alice Pope who not only was kind enough to mention me ON HER BLOG...but I must tell you, Alice once critiqued the first few pages of BEFORE/AFTER years ago at the Columbus Writers Conference!

With over 30,000 people over 3 days and minimal air conditioning, when I wasn't stalking authors and celebrities for photos, I hung around outside and gazed at the Empire State Building in the distance--

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--guzzled iced coffee, saw some very interesting people--

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--and fell absolutely in LOVE with this car:

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Speaking of cars, this story just PROVES TO YOU ALL what a hopeless midwestern h-i-c-k I truly am:

OK. I was pretty damn proud of myself that I learned how to hail a cab. See, around "here" if you need a cab, duh, you pick up the phone and they send one to YOU. It magically appears in your driveway, or wherever. You don't have to risk life and limb chasing them down through the streets.

So there I am at the end of the BEA, loaded down with all my luggage, including 180 pounds of books and other freebies, and there's like FIFTY people waiting in line for a cab. As I'm standing there, melting in sweltering heat--not only am I exhausted, and desperately dehydrated because I grew weary of spending $3 for every bottle of water, but my feet are shredded from trudging to Times Square the night before in plastic sandals (don't ask)--and seriously wishing I could whip out a handy-dandy red-tipped collapsible white cane--some dude yells out: "ANYONE GOING TO LaGUARDIA?"

Nobody else in line moved. That should've clued me in.

I flag him down. He smiles. He speaks English, which should've been my second clue. He TAKES MY BAGS (wow!) and leads the way down the street--past, I note, several OTHER cabs waiting at the curb. Nope, not that one...nope, not that one...

Hmm, I think. So this is it. My luck finally ran out. I made it through 3 days in NYC without being mugged or murdered--and of course I left my pepper spray at home because, ya know, Homeland Security and all. I can't run away. He has my freaking BAGS.

Then I see it: a black Lincoln Town Car. I trip to a halt, the lightbulb exploding. Of course! How could I not have known? In NYC cabbies don't seek YOU out! Mentally, I: A. wonder how to gracefully get out of this, and B. try to calculate my remaining funds...

And then I think: Screw it.

Limo service drivers, I found out, drive as crazily as cabbies--but at least in a Town Car you can't feel the jolts of all the curbs you hit, or hear the screams of the pedestrians as they hurl themselves out of your way.

50 miles an hours through narrow, jam-packed, one-way streets till we hit the freeway. But the seats were leather, not cracked, suspiciously stained plastic. And the interior was air-conditioned to the point of frigid--no little fan in the back seat blowing toxic fumes up my nostrils.

I looked like hell. I probably smelled even worse. But I rode to the airport in luxury, feeling like a (very broke) celebrity!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

BEA Photos (and a couple celebrities thrown in)

Since I'll have to blog my BEA adventures in increments, I thought I'd start with the author photos first.

Yes, I have their books. Yes, they were free! And signed! I'm so-o-ooo in Book Heaven.

First, the 2k7ers:

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And the rest in no particular order:

S. E. Hinton: THE OUTSIDERS (40th Anniversary Edition)
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Scott Westerfeld: EXTRAS
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Valerie Tripp: MEET MOLLY (American Girls series)
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Karin Slaughter: BEYOND REACH
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James Patterson: YOU'VE BEEN WARNED
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Holly Black (and me): IRONSIDE
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