I'm back! I only got 500 e-mails while I was gone -- I'm working through 130 starred ones right now, so if you've e-mailed me and I haven't said anything yet, that's why.
Our cab driver has a very heavy accent and doesn't speak a ton of English, but he speaks enough to tell us "lots of pedestrians die here."
Welcome to New York City.
We get to our hotel without hitting any pedestrians, however, and once we get over the aforementioned shock of realizing that we were looking right down into the hole where the World Trade Center used to be, we hit the town. We have dinner with some friends who oh-thank-goodness not only know New York but want us to know New York and then catapult directly from the swank Soho House to Max Brenner's to meet editor Abby over chocolate.
Abby is cool, fun, and 8 feet taller than me. Actually, see that photo of me to the right, standing in front of Madame X? That's sort of the scale of me and Abby.
Then we hit the Strand Bookstore (18 miles of books!) and, coupled with the experience of meeting Abby and eating hot chocolate lava cakes just moments before, I feel rather faint and Victorian. Okay, not really. But I am compelled by some supernatural force to buy 10 YA and picture books. Abby wishes us good night and kindly does not mention that I smell like three hours of airport. We return to the hotel and I discover that LAMENT has just gotten a starred review in Booklist. Agent Laura also calls and delivers the final verdict on the auction for SHIVER's audio rights sales. And it pays for my Camaro.
There is, as Monty Python would say, much rejoicing.
Thursday. Having washed the airport off myself, we head out for pastry. Abby had mentioned Black Hound pastry shop to me, which was 100% natural and thus 100% guaranteed not to make me fall down and die due to preservatives, so we (meaning Lover and I) went in search of it. It was everything I'd imagined a pastry shop to be, and so I snorfled the entire counter. No, not really. We did buy four different things for breakfast though. I got a weird little strawberry thing which was somewhere between orgasmic and transcendent (you can see it in the bottom of the next photo of my Lover smiling a me over a giant cafe breakfast).
Having swallowed about 3,000 calories in two seconds, we decide to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art and avoid the rain. I've heard rumors that John Singer Sargent's Madame X is there and feel like the hour long cab drive through cab-infested waters is worth it. Now, I think I've mentioned before that if I wasn't married and John Singer Sargent wasn't dead, that we'd so be an item, such is my love for him. Well, not only do they have Madame X, they also have four or so other pieces and I am in heaven. See that dorky smile there? That is because I am in heaven, and in heaven, dorky smiles are okay.
So. Having conquered the Met Museum, we meet my friends for a comedy sketch-thingy they've gotten tickets for (Mike Birbiglia). It's in a small club and the people there all look very posh and New York and the guy is actually really funny. So it's all good (thanks, Donna & Mike!) Oh, and insert a lot of walking and shopping and general drinking of water and eating of croissants in there.
Which brings us to Friday. Friday is scary because I'm meeting editor Abby and editor David Levithan for lunch and then I am going back to Scholastic to meet lots of Scholastic-types. I'm not so afraid of Abby and David (though I am filled with fan-girl glee at getting to meet David in person), but I am afraid of vomiting pastries on other Scholastic folks who don't know me as well.*
*Please note I have never actually vomited on anyone or in fact ever vomited out of nervousness, but the possibility of it happening is terrifying enough to make it loom, a terrifying archetypal vomit predator, when these situations arise
Anyway, I have lunch with David and Abby (they've picked yet another restaurant without preservatives so once again I avoid falling down dead, which is another recurring fear) and we talk about Yugos and multiple points of view and advanced review copies and eat apple crostatas.*
*I do not entirely believe that's how you form the plural of "crostata."
Then we go back to Scholastic and I meet oodles of Scholastic types. I know they call a bunch of horses a herd and lots of crows a murder, but I'm not sure what they call a lot of Scholastic marketing/publicity/ foreign rights types all thrilled about my book except for surreal. They've all read SHIVER and they're all excited and that makes me excited and there's lots of jumping up and down and I may or may not have told the cover designer that I loved his cover so much that I was going to make out with him.
I think it went well.
We shop some more and eat more foods without preservatives and return back to the hotel room to discover that LAMENT has just gotten a starred review in KLIATT. At this point, I start blinking and smacking myself, trying to wake up. And apparently, I am awake, just living a very suddenly weird and amazing life involving stars and books and pastry.
This surreal life and the rain carries over into Saturday, which is all about spending way too much time in an airport and Sunday, which is all about driving the nine hours home from my mother-in-law's. And now I'm home and have about 65 starred e-mails to follow up on after a day's worth of chipping away at them.
I will leave you with a photograph of a sniffy commercial-filming girl whom I heckled and then photographed.