Friday, November 16, 2007


Wow -- I've been a HORRIBLE blogger lately. But I just don't care. Life has been too busy for me to even think about blogging and while I miss it and want to come back to it, I don't have much to update everybody on. Well -- I do, but I'm not sure if it will interest the kidlit crowd.

My roommate, Maranda, got engaged in mid-October and promptly moved out. I had two weeks to find someone new, but luckily she left me with the sweetest apartment I've ever lived in. I met a bunch of people off Craigslist but in the end, the first guy to come by was the best and he is now officially moved in. We're getting along really well so far and I could see us being buddies too, and not just roommates. We've already cooked dinner together (I taught him a Giada deLaurentis recipe that I hadn't had in a while) and discussed our jobs and families and stuff.

Work has been crazy busy (as per usual) but nothing bad. Moments of stress but nothing that could be considered a full-blown event. A lot of rush reading (more than I've ever experienced before) but somehow I've managed to stay cool under pressure. Or cooler than normal. And of course all the good news, with our National Book Award nominations and Sherman Alexie's win. I heard he gave me a shout out in his acceptance speech, which is exciting but also just means a lot. What an amazing honor. Congrats to him and to Sara Zarr, who is not only a finalist with her debut novel, but who is also just an all around shining star. We've become friends and as a reader, she has also become one of my favorite authors, both through her writing and her amazing personality, and I can't wait to see the places she will go. And, of course, congrats to the other three finalists, who are also amazing and who did great jobs at the Finalist Reading on Tuesday.

Thanksgiving and the holiday break are coming and while I am thrilled and know I need the time off, I also am completely annoyed that my work-flow is being interrupted at the moment. I am going to try and take these two breaks to try and read a few adult books, but I have no idea which ones. Christmas is going to be Kavalier and Clay, since I read a ton and was enjoying it, but never finished. I have a huge pile on my bookshelf at home, but I don't know if I should read the next Kitty book by Carrie Vaughn (I have the galley), or read something more substantial, since I know I could read Kitty in a weekend. I'll have to weigh my options and if I can't find another adult book I feel justified in reading over my free time, I may take home a kids book I don't think I'll be able to get to during regularly scheduled programming.

I had been working with my writing group and wrote a great first chapter to my dark urban fantasy novel, but now it seems my muse has other plans. I will be switching to a new middle grade idea that has decided to live inside my brain. Hopefully it will go well. I've shared the concept with a few people so far and they've all had very positive reactions. So here goes nothin'.

I guess that's it with me lately. I'm sorry to all my fellow bloggers who I have been neglecting and not reading or commenting on. I hope you'll forgive me and not stop reading me (when I update). Maybe blogging more will be my New Year's resolution. For now, I should get back to work. It may be Friday, but I have some stuff to take care of before the weekend arrives.

Oh---and I've finally become a Grey's Anatomy fan. All who have been awaiting this moment, please feel free to rejoice. All who are inclined to boo or hiss...well, I can only imagine that you have no idea how great this show is because I had no idea either and now I'm absolutely hooked.

The End (until my next post)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let's talk about books

Do we ever talk about anything else?

I am currently in the middle of my "award-winning middle grade" education. I kinda skipped over that area when I was a kid, since, by the time I was old enough to appreciate the award winners and had read all of the Ramonas and Fudges, I was jumping to adult books. I still read YA and middle grade but I really missed out on a big chunk. So I'm going back and reading what I missed. Right now I'm on hiatus as I read a few urgent manuscripts and get through some of the submission pile, but my next venture is The Giver, followed by Holes.

What is everyone else reading? I want to know.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kidlit Drinks and other miscellany

I went to my first Kidlit Drinks night tonight. Finally! I've missed a bunch of them, for various reasons (from having other plans, to laziness, to being sick, to just plain forgetting) and I finally made it to one. I had forgotten it was tonight and I had some reading to do for tomorrow's editorial meeting, but Alvina asked if I was going and I said "screw it, I'm not missing another one" and I went.

It was great to see and talk to Betsy Bird, aka the lovely Fuse #8. I also finally got the chance to meet Cheryl Klein in person. We've interacted via our blogs and over email, and we have a few mutual friends, but since I kept missing drink nights, we only just met. She is awesome and very friendly (but I already knew that).

I also re-met Jenny Han, author of Shug, and was introduced to her fellow Longstocking, Siobhan Vivian. They rocked my world with compliments and hilarity and I had a blast. I mean, c'mon, who doesn't love being told they have great skin?! I mentioned the supreme curse that hangs over my head (you know, the heterosexual bubble that holds in all the straight men and unavailable/not-my-type gay men and deters all of the potential loves of my life) and they were SHOCKED. I mean, they were like "hell no, you rock!" And seriously -- who doesn't love compliments? So I gave them a mission: find me a guy. All I gave them in terms of "my type" were "I like a guy with a baby face but it's not a deal-breaker." HAHA! Oh and I also said if they could find Orlando Bloom or Zac Efron, that would be the best thing ever.

I was glad I went tonight. I had some great conversations, had some book-angst validated, and met (and re-met) some groovy chicks. And afterward, I was de-virginized to the Pinkberry experience. And let me just say, YUM! Tastes like vanilla yogurt, looks like fro-yo, comes with fresh fruit and/or cereal toppings. DELISH!! Thanks ladies, for a wonderful evening and for introducing me to such yumminess!

below this line is me blathering on and on about what types of books I like to read/would like to acquire. You can stop reading at this point if you don't really care.

Later tonight, while I should be reading for work tomorrow, I got to thinking about other things. I have an agent lunch tomorrow (which reminds me, I wanted to post about agent lunches -- well, some other time) and my boss and I were talking about how to pitch to agents the kind of books I am interested in. So now I've been thinking about what I actually AM interested in. I mean, I always had a pretty good idea but I never really went deeper, with examples. So what do I like? Well, I want to work on books that I would enjoy reading if I picked them up in the store. The reason I wanted to be an editor is because I wanted to bring to children what books had brought to me. It's also (one of) the reason I want to eventually have my writing published.

So what do I like? What am I looking for in terms of submissions? Well I think I'm pretty open. I was told when I started my editorial job that I was "the sci-fi/fantasy guy" because I was the only person who really read genre books for pleasure. But going deeper, I don't love all sci-fi/fantasy. I'm open to the lot, but the more hardcore genre stuff can be tricky and its easier to convince the committee to publish something if it has potential to cross over to a non-genre reader. In terms of fantasy, I love dark urban fantasy (DUF) and I think there is a definite audience for that in the YA market. Folks like Holly Black and Stephenie Meyer have proven that. I do love some high fantasy but it definitely depends. A lot of the high fantasy that I've read (aside from classics) have been very special to me, and very random selections. And it seems they are often adult. For instance, Lynn Flewelling's Tamir Triad, or Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald-Mage Trilogy. Though I do love me some Tamora Pierce (Magic Circle/Circle Opens). Sci-fi...that's tougher. I've always had a fear of outer space but books are different -- I guess I prefer more dystopian futuristic stuff than I do space operas, though I still need to figure out what is out there in the children's world. Any book suggestions (aside from Ender's Game which I know I need to read) are greatly appreciated.

The one area I always seem to forget is paranormal/horror. Paranormal can sometimes be covered under DUF, but I always forget horror. I LOVED R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike growing up, and I'm a huge fan of Darren Shan's Demonata series now. Books that really scare you are a real job and I don't think there is much out there. I wonder sometimes if horror has been eaten by the DUF craze, but I don't think it is entirely dead. There's got to be some way to resurrect it.

And literary YA -- ah literary. I never considered myself a literary reader, but it is YA authors like Sara Zarr and Julie Anne Peters who have really opened my eyes to this type of writing. I love books that really cut to the core of humanity and emotions...and I love it when they make me cry. And in the case of Julie Anne Peters -- GLBT literary YA is something that really hits home because it is something I wish I had more of growing up.

And then I get to middle grade and new options just open wide up. One thing's for sure, I love boy-targeted action/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy. Even before I was in editorial, I have been obsessed with MG boy stuff. Not just Harry either. AniMorphs was one of my favorite series and it came out when I was high school (through college -- and I read every single book, including all of the offshoots). Stuff like Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale and Gregor the Overlander really thrill me and I'd love to acquire something like that. And I guess, being the only male editor in the children's dept, they're looking to me to be the guy who knows boy-stuff. That I can do. I'm currently trying to make my way through boy fiction that I have yet to read, just so I know what is out there.

So what do I say to agents when I'm talking about what I like? Well I guess I have my examples. DUF, but I'm not going to shy away from the challenges of a more classic fantasy and sci-fi...if it is worth it, it'll show. Paranormal, horror, literary YA, GLBT YA, middle grade boy-oriented action/adventure with fantasy/sci-fi elements. I don't know why I felt the need to blog about all of this. I guess because it's me, talking about books that I love, so I wanted to share the types of books I love. And my hopes and wishes about what I'd love to acquire. I'm still looking for my first acquisition, and once I find it and it's all official, you know I'm going to have to post about it. When it happens. And in the meantime, I will just keep reading what I love and looking for projects that I will love just as much.

And as I said, if anyone has any suggestions for books I should be reading/have read in these categories, please feel free to let me know. I am frequently shocked by what I should have (but sadly haven't) read and am not afraid to admit that (because I have read a lot in my life and am working to correct my oversights). So suggest away. If I've read it, I'll say so. And maybe one day, if I can figure out how to do a cut tag like they have on LiveJournal, I may share my "Books I've Read" list so others can get a glimpse into T.S.'s reading background. That's right -- I'm a huge nerd and I keep a list of all the books I've read (and finished - partials don't count) in my lifetime (though I'm sure some are missing and I continue to add as I am reminded, as well as when I finish a book).

Ok, back to reading this manuscript. Cola can only keep me awake so long before my body shuts down and I screw over a fellow editor with sloppy feedback, so I better stop procrastinating. G'nite folks!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Percy Jackson and the Signature of Doom

In my quest to expand my knowledge of the children's book world, I've been trying to read a slew of books that I keep hearing about, that I know I would love, but that I haven't read yet. One of those books was Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief. I'd heard great things about it and when it first came out it had greatly intrigued me -- but I had only ever managed to get my hands on a mangled version of the galley (while I was still working in marketing) which I quickly discarded, assuming I could find someone with the connections to get me a finished copy. It never happened so about three weeks or maybe a month ago, I was at B&N and I impulse bought it.

It is one of those books that I knew I would love and one of the types of books I hope to find and acquire one day. I love boy-oriented action-y, adventure-y middle grade that has a fantasy/sci-fi twist somehow. I read AniMorphs from start to finish when it came out, even though I was in high school and later college, and when I'm in the children's section of the bookstore I gravitate toward books like the Pendragon or Gregor the Overlander series.

(warning, this post may contain spoilers from here on out)

I ended up lending Percy out right away, because I knew I wouldn't have the chance to read it and the person I lent it to was a quick reader. Well she got it back to me post haste, but there was a problem. Quite close to the end there was a signature that repeated. Oh no! She was eager to finish it and I knew it had to be remedied because I had actually paid money for this book. That and I would eventually want to read it myself and I couldn't do so with a mixed up signature. So this Friday was the first chance I had to get down to the B&N in Chelsea and exchange it. And since it was a long weekend, I decided to start reading, figuring I'd get some manuscript reading in on Sunday and Monday and finish whatever was left of Percy on Tuesday.

Well I'm done already and I loved it! I absolutely loved it! There were some parts that seemed SO derivative of Harry Potter, which I will list below, but the story had so many unique, fun elements that it really didn't matter to me. And I suspect that it matters even less to the young readers who are devouring these books like candy. As someone who was obsessed with Greek Mythology when I was a kid, this was a real treat, and I was really glad that Percy ended up being the son of Poseidon and not Zeus. I definitely predicted it WAY before it was confirmed (what do you want? It is a kid's book and I'm a Greek Myth nut) but I am glad they didn't go the obvious "son of the king of the gods" route. I also really enjoyed how Riordan wrote Percy's interactions with Poseidon. I felt a little tingle when the Sea God said "Whatever else you do, know that you are mine." It was such a great way to express that paternal love without showing favoritism (which is forbidden to the gods).

I am a big Percy Jackson supporter now and can't wait to read the next one. The Potter similarities eventually slipped away as Percy's quest unfolded but I will list them so others may comment on them or add more that I might have forgotten or missed:

Harry goes away to Hogwart's
Percy goes away to Half-Blood Hill Summer Camp

Harry's parents are killed and he is raised by the horrible Dursley's
Percy's father is absent and he is raised by his mother and horrible stepfather Smelly Gabe

Hogwart's students are sorted into four houses (representing the four school founders) and Harry is sorted into chivalrous Gryffindor
Half-Blood Hill campers are "sorted" into twelve cabins (representing the twelve Olympians) and Percy is "sorted" (eventually) into one of the "top three" cabins

Hogwart's has a bad house -- Slytherin
Half-Blood Hill has a bad cabin -- Ares

Harry shows great skill at broom-riding and leads his team to victory during a Quidditch match
Percy shows great skill at combat and leads his team to victory during Capture the Flag

Harry has a comedic, somewhat awkward, funny-haired best friend named Ron Weasley
Percy has a comedic, somewhat awkward, funny-haired best friend named Grover

Harry has a female friend who is arrogantly intelligent but means well -- Hermione
Percy has a female friend who is arrogantly intelligent but means well -- Annabeth

Harry has a kind headmaster (Dumbledore) but a grumpy teacher (Snape)
Percy has a grumpy camp director (Dionysus) but a kind teacher (Chiron)

Harry is hunting for the Sorcerer's Stone, which his enemy also seeks.
Percy is hunting for Zeus's Master Bolt, which his enemy has already stolen.

Harry faces a three-headed dog to get his item
Percy faces a three-headed dog to get his item (although, to be fair, Cerberus is part of the Hades mythos so he kinda HAD to be there)

Anyway, despite the fact that I made a list, I highly recommend these books to kids and any readers who enjoy middle grade boy adventure-fantasy. It is obvious that Rick Riordan knows his Greek Mythology, or did a lot of research. How else would he have been able to come up with all of the great ways to blend the legends and the creatures into the modern world? Pick up this book if you haven't already. So very worth it!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's my bandwagon -- feel free to jump on but don't forget who it belongs to

So finally I hear that others are starting to agree that Zac Efron would make a great Edward Cullen. Just remember folks, you heard it here first. And by here, I mean with me, not on this blog, cuz I've been saying Zac Efron = Edward since Book 1.

And for those of you who haven't checked out the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, you should be reading that instead of this. It is SUCH a better reading experience than this blog. :-D As a fan of vampire fiction and dark urban fantasy, I highly recommend the series.

...Team Jacob 4 life!

And yes, I will be writing a real post soon. Lately when I've been writing, I've been working on my novel, so I have a good excuse.

(by the way, speaking of Zac -- go see Hairspray. I am now OBSESSED with that movie/show/soundtrack)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Writing the night away

Hey dudes and dudettes. Sorry for not updating lately. All of my free time has been spent lately trying to work on my novel. My writing group meets tomorrow and I wanted to have something of substance for them to critique. Before that, I was reading The Golden Compass, and it temporarily took over my Central Nervous System. I will blog about that experience soon, and I also want to write a post about agent lunches (inspired by Alvina's anniversary look-back).

In the meantime, I must return to my writing. I've come to accept that my three main oppositions are:

1 ~ Procrastination: This is the worst because it means I am sitting here, I know I have to write, but I'm not. I'm doing other things because they're easier and that's not cool. Anything in life worth doing is going to involve hard work and the more I write, the more practice I am giving myself and the better I'll get. I know I'm a good writer, but I can only maintain that status if I continue to write.

2 ~ Being busy: This one is a little harder to combat because it means I am being held up by other plans, higher priority work, and I just haven't been able to find the time to sit down at my computer and write. Of course, it doesn't help that on the weekends, when #2 is often not a factor, #1 and #3 kick in.

3 ~ Distractions: This could easily fall under procrastination but I feel it is different. This means that I am trying to write and I am literally sitting at my computer with the Word document wide open, and I have YouTube going, or I'm checking my email, or I'm chatting on AIM. And it's horrid because I know I should just ignore all of that but I don't. It's one of the things I just need to do, and it requires discipline and self-control, but if I want to be a writer, those are two things I am going to have to have.

Anyway, back I go to my writing before it gets too late. Those three things usually mean I am writing everything at the last minute before my writing group meetings and then I stay up way late the night before and am exhausted. That happened last night and I am hoping it won't happen again tonight, so off I go. This blog would be #1 AND #3 but mostly #3 because here I am and the Word doc is staring me in the face. As are the blinking orange AIM windows that I need to say goodbye too.

Off I go.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm reading Eclipse

I don't care what anyone says, Zac Efron IS Edward Cullen to me. I've thought so since Book 1, since before he was famous. And now he's a stud and everyone wants to see shirtless pictures of him. And by everyone I mean all the gay men, of course!

The minute I started reading Eclipse this afternoon, I subconsciously started picturing him as Edward, without even thinking about the fact that he is Mr. Bigshot High School Musical guy now.

He's SO Edward!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Novelization of My Life

Writing is HARD!

Yes, I am whining. I am allowing myself just that one moment before I shut the hell up. This marks the moment when I start my novel...finally. I can delay it no longer. I have formed a writing group (I think we're sticking with the name The Midnight Pages) and we are meeting to exchange our work tomorrow. Right now I have a tentative title (something along the lines of "TS Untitled Book One") and a header with pagination. The first line is killing me. I need to get past that hurdle and then it's smooth sailing.

I need to write Chapter One tonight. 10-12 pages minimum and we'll see how it goes from there. But right now, my biggest obstacle is that first line. A good opening line is crucial and while I could write a mediocre line and come back later to edit it into something fantastic, I find that my opening line is just as important to me, the writer, as it will be to the readers. It sets the tone, it gives you a first impression of the narration (and in this case, the main character). And as we all know, first impressions count. So I want to start off right. I'm certainly not doing so by blogging about it, but I thought maybe I'd get the writing juices flowing. Maybe it would inspire me. I have the whole scene in my head -- now to put it onto paper.

God, you authors out there! How do you do it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Steam Pipe - Alvina's Story

Hey everyone, check out Bloomabilities for Alvina's version of the steam pipe explosion. Hers is a much calmer and much-less freaked out version than mine and it also includes a picture (which is really why I am sharing it).


By the way, I am extremely covetous of peoples' digicams. If anybody wants to buy me a digital camera for Christmas, I won't object. Better yet, make it a Labor Day present and I'll love you forever. HA! So begins my Christmas list (no I don't usually start making one so early, or at all unless otherwise requested). But since the opportunity is presenting itself, sure why not.

Christmas List (so far):
*Digital camera

*A cute booknerd to cuddle with
*A 13th hour that I can use for sleeping (midnight +1) or reading (noon +1)

I'll just have to remember to come find this list a little later

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Spoilers

Who all read Harry Potter over the weekend?

Let's discuss in the comments so as not to spoil anyone who hasn't.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A hole in the world

Those of you who have been paying attention to the news are probably sick of hearing about this by now, but I'm blogging about it.

This afternoon (or early evening -- it was after 5:30, as I was well aware I was already staying late) a steam pipe exploded on 41st and Lexington Ave. in Manhattan. That is 4 blocks away from my office. I'm not ashamed to admit that I was absolutely terrified.

I was standing in Alvina's cube when we hear this rumble, like thunder. Only it kept going, lasting far longer than thunder should last. Then the lights started to flicker. I think it wasn't until after the lights started flickering that we noticed the rumble was still going. My overactive imagination had me already panicking a bit. I kept envisioning an airplane flying right toward our windows. I was getting jumpy and my heart was racing. Then the fire alarms sounded and the fire warden came on the loudspeaker. I don't even think I heard what he was saying, I was so busy flipping. I grabbed my bag, threw a book (Stray by Rachel Vincent -- represented by the fabulous Miriam Kriss), my MP3 player and my cell phone into it, and hightailed it to the fire stairs. I was soon joined by most of the people who were still in the office.

The fire warden had said something about a fire on the third floor but we didn't want to wait for instructions because one of our editorial director's is about 8 months pregnant. We were NOT waiting. We started filing down and other floors were doing the same, so we kept heading down. Around the 5th floor, it started feeling hotter. I got freaked and my fellow ed. asst. Lauren had to grab my arm to calm me. She could tell by my face that I was flipping out. I hadn't reached verbal flip-out level yet but I was close. And I was getting frustrated. People were slowing down and just standing in the stairwell. All I could think was that there was a fire on the third floor and that something was going to explode and we had just herded ourselves down to be right near it. I envisioned walls collapsing, I envisioned planes hitting the building and hoping it wouldn't hurt if I was decapitated by debris. My mind screamed, "MOVE PEOPLE!"

Finally we get to the third floor and people are filing off from there as well. We can clearly see there is no fire, so I calm a bit (but not much). We finally make it into the lobby and out of the building and all I can see is smoke rising from beyond Grand Central Station. I looked at Andrea, our editorial director, and said "I'm heading north." She nodded and a bunch of us, including all three editorial directors, our publisher and a few assistants, started walking north on Park Avenue. I was terrified. I kept looking back, looking up, picturing horrific things. I called my mother to see if she had heard anything on the news, but when I finally got through the damn phone traffic, she hadn't heard a thing. Buildings for blocks and blocks were evacuating, people were standing on the streets looking terrified and confused, concerned but curious. Car services had their windows open and their radios turned up as loud as possible so people on the street could hear news. I called my roommate who works at the NY Post in Midtown West and she hadn't heard anything about it. She was shocked when I told her places were evacuating.

Luckily one of our ed. directors is engaged to a firefighter and by the time we had reached the low 50's, we knew it was a steam pipe/transformer explosion. However, a lot of us were still pretty rattled and there was still a lot of confusion. I ended up walking to my friend/coworker, Carolyn's apartment and watching the news for a while. I spoke with numerous family members and friends who might watch the news and freak out, and when we had all heard the same steam pipe story over and over, I started to calm down. Carolyn was kind enough to pump me full of caffeinated soda as we watched TV for updates and flipped through her PostSecret book.

Finally I calmed down enough and had updated enough of my out-of-city loved ones that I started thinking about the coworkers that didn't walk our way when we exited the building. I called Connie (Alvina's assistant and my buddy) and a bunch of our group had migrated to her apt. in Chelsea. I called my boss, who had left shortly before all of this occurred, to make sure she was ok and hadn't been near Grand Central when all of this happened. She texted later to let me know she was ok. At around 8:00, I grabbed my bag and headed to the Q101 to take the bus back to Queens. Thank god someone showed me how to use the bus recently, because I had no desire to go into underground tunnels when an underground pipe had just exploded, spewing hot steam and possibly asbestos. A few of my new bus friends and I had a good vent session as we waited for the bus driver to take a much-needed break (it took him 1 hour to do one round of stops -- he said he can usually do three rounds in that time -- I'm not sure if I believe that but that's what he said). Once I got off in Astoria, I gave a long, loving glance to the oh-so-familiar-and-safe Rite-Aid on the corner and trooped back to my apartment.

If you want to read a news article about the whole thing,
go here. Thanks to KTBuffy for the link.

Looking back on this whole thing, I was absolutely terrified. My mind was going to places it never wanted to go, I feared for my life, and I feared for the lives of my coworkers and bosses who looked just as terrified as I did. My heart goes out to those people who were injured or killed, and to their families, but I am so glad this wasn't an attack. I love New York City and I love my job, but I don't know what I would've done if this had been something worse. And that thought alone is enough to send shivers down my spine.

A truly trying day to endure after two days in bed, sick. I'd be happy with never having to go through something like that ever again! For now, I'm off to bed, to console myself with my book and another glass of my roommate's sugar-free fruit punch that I need to replace (it's so good AND SUGAR-FREE, I can't stop drinking it -- I need to order a case off the internet or something). And to leave things on a positive note, since I'd rather not wake up with a cruddy attitude (especially if I have to deal with the train situation tomorrow), I found a new blog to read. -- it is HYSTERICAL! Go read it ASAP!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I've fallen ill

I'm sorry I've fallen off the face of the planet yet again. I had a few blogs I've been planning, and I was also supposed to be starting my novel, but unfortunately I've fallen ill. Yes, sometime on Saturday I started feeling really crappy. I thought it was just a migraine, and I spent all Sunday in bed feeling rather unproductive. There were a few unpleasant incidences that I won't go into detail about. I woke up ridiculously early today and realized there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to make it to work.

Now I should mention -- I HATE calling out sick. I hate it. I used to LOVE calling out sick because it meant I didn't have to go into work. That was back when I hated my jobs. Now I actually like my job and I'm emotionally invested in the work I do. Staying home sick feels like I am leaving my baby on a subway train or something. I feel like something is happening I should know about, or that I am missing a deadline I can't remember because I don't have my Outlook calendar to remind me, or that someone is mad at me for not being there. I hate this feeling...almost more than actually being sick. If I could've lifted my head off the pillow for longer than it took to call out, I would've gone in. But it wouldn't have been a pretty sight.

Now my sleep schedule is all thrown off because I was in bed all day, and I still feel pretty crappy. I'm about to get in bed, but somehow I feel like I am still not going to feel up to snuff tomorrow. I HATE this! There was a time when I never got sick while I was at work, or at school. I saved my "sick days" for mental health days or for classes I knew I would hate because, somehow, I never got sick. I wouldn't fall ill until I got home for Christmas break. Then, suddenly, I would be bedridden for most of the holiday. I missed a good number of family parties because my body saved up the sickness until I had time off. But now that I actually like my job and don't want to call out sick? It's like my body doesn't remember it's little trick.

I hate this! And I hate it even more because, at least when I would get sick over the holidays I had family to take care of me. I hate being a grown-up and having to take care of myself when I can barely function. I'm lucky I was able to summon up the strength to throw a bedsheet over my bedroom window on Sunday, before I got really sick, so that no excess sunlight comes in and makes me want to die.

Send me get-well vibes. I need to be back in by Wednesday or I am going to pitch a fit! If not from OCD-workaholic syndrome than from sheer boredom. And while my head is slowly starting to feel less and less like an overripe grapefruit, my chest and lungs are beginning to rebel. I feel like I just smoked a carton of cigarettes and then ran a marathon. And my back is starting to kill from laying in bed all day. This is, hands down, the #1 reason why I need to find a doctor who isn't in Manhattan. I am in no shape to haul myself to the kitchen to make some soup, let alone to an appointment in Midtown.

Ok, enough bitching. Off to bed. Pray I wake up and have miraculously healed myself.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

You can have a lot of fun in a New York minute

So, unless you count the presents that my parents will undoubtedly bring when they come to help me move in this weekend, the time for celebrating my birthday is pretty much over. Unless you count the party I may never throw because I've been too busy to think about what I want to do.

I did receive one present that really meant a lot to me this year, and of course I have to blog about it. Recently I've had the honor of working with author Julie Anne Peters, who I had already begun reading and respecting long before I got my editorial job. When Little, Brown agreed to donate some GLBT-themed/friendly books to Live Out Loud to go into a gift basket at their annual Gala, Julie agreed to sign a set of her books for them. I joked that I wanted to steal them for myself. Julie, who has a great sense of humor and is just as fabulous as you might imagine, asked when my birthday was (as in "well maybe I'll send you a signed set of your own").

I thought she was kidding or that we were just having a silly conversation, but a few days before my birthday I received a package. Inside were 4 books, each with a different colored ribbon tied around them, and autographed. They were accompanied by a card that sang Down on the Farm by Tim McGraw and made the entire office look when I opened it.

It was such a great birthday surprise, since I had forgotten about that conversation. To receive a set of signed books from an author I read and respect made me so happy, and the fact that she remembered my birthday when some people didn't (my best friend included*) meant a lot. I've never been more excited to send a thank you note in my entire life. HAHAHA!

Oh and since we're discussing what a fabulous author Julie is, I should tell everyone to check out her latest project, coming out in September. It's called grl2grl and it is a short story collection about lesbian teens (and one FTM transgender) as they mature and begin to explore their sexuality. It's amazingly written and so true to life. There were moments in these stories, as there have been in her other books, where I have been transported back to my own experiences, coming out and dealing with being a gay teen. She's a great author and as you can see here, she's also incredibly thoughtful and giving.

YAY for turning 26** and YAY for Julie Anne Peters!

*I forgave my best friend, since she was in bed, sick, all day.
**read: survived 25

Friday, June 29, 2007

Do you like my new shirt? It was written by Stephen King.

Packing boxes really makes me realize something that I never realized before...

...I have more books than I do clothes.

Seriously, I never thought about it before but I have two bookshelves and they are both overflowing, not to mention a full half-bookshelf at work that is holding most of my books (I didn't count the shelves that have work-owned books).

Books rule my life! :-D

When do I start vomiting split-pea soup?

Ya know how, on the day before you take a vacation, you end up staying at work so late it almost seems like the vacation wasn't worth it? Yeah---I was at work until 12:30 tonight. AND I came in this morning at 8:00. That's SIXTEEN HOURS. I was at work for 3/4 of the day! (is that correct math?)

Though I gotta say, I feel like I got some good stuff done. Or at least I got to a place where my desk isn't so spaztastically messy and things won't blow up while I'm gone. I feel bad for Jennifer (my boss) though. She's gonna get into work tomorrow and find a huge pile of stuff on her desk, all with little post-its saying "this is this and that is that and this is what to do with that." That's what I do when I know I'm not gonna be around.

I dunno, I'm weird! I am going to enjoy this vacation A LOT but at the same time I hate being away from work and not knowing what is going down. I think I'm a closet control freak and now that I actually have a job that I love and care about, that side of me is rearing its ugly face. What if something needs to get done while I'm gone? What if something comes in that I need to take a look at? What if my head explodes because I'm neurotic? :-)

No, but I'm seriously going to take the time to enjoy this vacation. I'm moving to a new (better) apartment, my mom is visiting with birthday presents and lots of groceries, I get to read adult books without feeling guilty, and I think my best friend Jess is visiting at the end of the week or next weekend. Aside from that, I plan on laying around like a bum. And speaking of which, I'm gonna go lay down so that I can actually function tomorrow morning when I need to do a katrillion move-errands.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

26 feels the same

Well I made it through my 26th birthday just fine. I worked late like a big dork but that's ok. I'll have some fun next week when I'm on vacation, in my new apartment, which I am moving into on Sunday. WHEE!

To those who wished me a happy birthday, I thank you. To those who didn't, boo hiss! And to those who didn't're forgiven. :-D

Ok, gotta get up early tomorrow so I can prepare for a big meeting with all the intimidatingly important and inspiring people at my imprint. A MEETING THAT I HAVE TO RUN! Then I'll probably be working late again, since I'm not in on Friday. But then vaca! I can't wait to sit on my rump all week. And don't forget, there will be updates on the books if I ever get to read them. Also, I do not have Ender's Game yet, so if someone has it and can lend it to me, please let me know soon or else I'll be forced to read one of the many MANY books I already own and have not read. Kthx!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why I love Lily Allen

My posts have been rather boring lately, so here I am with some visual aids. Alvina already posted about the Lily Allen concert in Brooklyn, but here's my go at it.

Let me first say that Lily is freaking amazing! The songs are fun, the lyrics are meaningful and relatable, and her personality is absolutely incredible. She's so in your face and sassy and hysterical and I loooooove her! I met up with Alvina and a few of her friends (including author
Meghan McCarthy), as well as my cube-neighbor and fellow editorial asst. Connie (who works with Alvina) and her boyfriend Matt. It was a blast!

So in the spirit of not being boring, here are some videos from the actual concert we were at:

Singing LDN

You can't see much but this is a great intro to the song Not Big

And this isn't from the concert, but this is probably one of my favorite songs that I've heard Lily's not on her CD but she sang it at the concert. For some reason I thought she was saying "I wish my life was a little red CD" but the line is "I wish my life was a little less seedy." LMAO!

The song is called Cheryl Tweedy

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Why am I still awake?

I am on the brink of forming a writer's group. A few of my friends (who also happen to be agents) also write fantasy, sometimes dark and/or urban, and we all want that extra motivation to actually sit down and write. I think I especially need that extra push, since I'm always giving myself excuses (I'm too tired, I'll do it tomorrow when I have more time, I don't feel inspired right now, etc. etc.) They're all lame so I am going to attempt to crack the whip and start writing.

I've decided to go with my dark urban fantasy novel/series idea because I've been working it over in my head, evolving and adapting it, and getting to know the characters since I was in college. Since then the MC has changed (for the better). She originally started out as a love interest for the former MC, but she was so interesting and powerful in my head that she immediately took over. Since then she's grown so much in my brain and her personality has shifted like the tides. I need to write her story. It's aching to come out.

My biggest problem is that I'm great at beginnings, iffy on middles and not so great with endings. The creative vision just doesn't extend that far. I need to just start writing and let it come to me but for some reason the open-endedness has always turned me off. But like I said, cracking the whip, so maybe this story will finally become reality. Words of encouragement and motivation are welcome and encouraged. :-D

Storytime with Grandpa T.S.

Kids, grandpa broke his hip! Seriously, I know I'm only 26 (or will be next week -- WOOHOO) but I feel OLD! I am in severe pain.

Yesterday (Thursday) our company had an all-staff outing in Central Park where I participated in double-dutch (yes, I still remember how to do it from the 4th grade) and kickball (I still don't know how to kick anything but pop-ups, after all these years). Despite the energizing desserts from the bake-off and the ridiculous amount of tequila that was pumped into my system from the margarita-happy hour afterward, you'd think I'd be feeling A-OK, but no. Every muscle I can think of is in pain. I even managed to twist my ankle during double-dutch so I've been hobbling a bit.

Then today, after staying a bit late on half-day Friday, I meandered down to Brooklyn Heights for a rooftop karaoke party at the apartment of one of our art directors. I had a total blast but walking there from the subway, standing most of the time (with dancing) and then walking back caused me to add the soles of my feet to the injured list.

Tomorrow I am being picked up by Melissa from Long Island and we are driving to Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx where there will be a BBQ thrown by a bunch of people who are related in some way to our friend Jacinda. Jacinda was a grad student when Melissa and I were undergrads and now she's stupid and lives in Boston. Booray! So we're taking the opportunity to see her while we can, even though we're both wiped out. I think I may die before the end of the weekend.

Somebody call a medic!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The ants go marching

**Don't read this post if you aren't comfortable reading about insects 'n' stuff.**

A few weekends ago, walking home from dinner with an out-of-town friend, I saw five HUGE cockroaches walking around on the sidewalk like it was the normal thing to do. The weirdest thing is, they were all in different areas on my way home, not close to each other at all, and most of them were in spots were I've never seen roaches before. It was strange and gross but I just shrugged it off. But then...

...last night I decided to walk home from my friend (and future roommate) Maranda's apartment (soon to be known as my new apartment) instead of taking the subway, and I noticed SIX swarms of ants coming from cracks in the sidewalk. And once again, they were all on different blocks, far enough away from each other where they wouldn't be connected. There was no food on the ground for them to be going after, and they didn't even seem to be moving in any type of logical pattern.

These weren't just gross occurrences. They freaked me out. What's with these strange insect activities lately? I don't know if it is the weather or what, but I'm having flashbacks to all of those insect swarm horror movies I was subjected to as a child. Now, I know it's ridiculous warm this summer but its definitely not as hot as it was last summer and we've had some cold spells too. Why are the insects acting weird? Make them stop!

I'm off to google the phrase "strange ant behavior." Maybe they're signalling some sort of natural phenomenon that we should know about. Maybe I'm paranoid. And itchy...yes, thinking about ants definitely makes me itchy. Sorry if this post did the same to any of you.

Oh yeah...

I absolutely forgot that Kelley Armstrong's next Women of the Otherworld book, No Humans Allowed, is now out. That is definitely going to be one of the three books I read while I'm on vacation. I picked up a copy while I was out book shopping on Friday (I hit more than just Book-Off).

So we have Speak, Women of the No Humans Allowed and possibly Ender's Game. I've been told I should read it by...4 or 5 people now (on and offline) so I think it's the winner by a landslide. By the way, I may need to borrow someone's copy, since I don't seem to have the copy that was living on my desk for the past year or so.


The other day I found myself in Book-Off, the Japanese bookstore right near the NYPL. They have a great American used-books section and I managed to score some really great finds for only $1 each. My finds included the Fear Street Cheerleaders trilogy by RL Stine. This was a very exciting find for me because these were the books that got me hooked on Fear Street when I was in middle school. Love them!

I also found a few classics that I still haven't read that are on my list:

*From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
*The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
*The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

And I picked up The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis-Klaus for only $3 too. I figured I should pick it up, since I loved Blood and Chocolate (also written by her).

Book-Off is great! I'm not sure how I feel about sharing my place. I love it when a place feels like it is your little secret. But hey, I'm sure everyone already knows about it anyway cuz it's so great, and the more people who bring their used books, the more there are for me to find. :-D

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ohmuhgod, I'm opening the floodgates!

Before I end ye old lunch break (must mention that I am on lunch break -- don't want to get in trouble for blogging at work) I must post this.

I am taking a week off in early July, right after I move into a new apartment. In the time when I am not finishing my unpacking and reorganizing (not to mention feeding the Netflix addiction), I plan on doing some non-work related reading. I think I can probably get through 1-3 books in a week's time, if I don't get distracted and if I really get into the stories. I also think one of those books is going to be Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I know---I can't believe I haven't read it yet either. It's one of the books on my Children's, YA and (all-age groups) Fantasy/Sci-Fi must-read list.

Any suggestions for the other two? I'm thinking I'll probably want to read at least one adult book...probably something dark fantasy-ish. The third one can be a random. But I'd like to open the floor up to suggestions and then, because we're all booknerds here, I'll post my thoughts on each book when I'm done. Doesn't that sound like fun? Well we'll see.

So...any ideas?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Day Watch

Guys, I'm really excited. I just found out that Day Watch is finally out in the states. Day Watch is the sequel to the Russian blockbuster Night Watch. They are based on books in a dark urban fantasy trilogy written by Sergey Lukyanenko. The first one was really amazing and I absolutely cannot wait to see this one. Check out the link above to see a trailer and anyone in NYC is interested in seeing it with me, let me know.


I bite my nails. I bite them BAD. So ever since I've had teeth, I've had NO nails. Nubs if you will. I've tried to stop numerous times over the years but it hasn't happened. I always end up declawed. Well I'm trying a new tactic this time around. I'm going at this one finger at a time. Starting with the pinkies (aka Most Likely To Be Overlooked), I'm going to stop biting. I'm going to let myself get used to having a fingernail on each finger until there are no nubs left. This way, I get to keep biting while I break the habit. It's a weaning process. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 01, 2007


I missed KidLit drinks again tonight. That ticks me off something fierce, at myself and circumstances in general. I had planned to nap for a bit after work, since I was exhausted, and wake up in time to go---but when I got back to Queens, I was feeling way too awake. So what does a booknerd do when they have some time to kill...I decided to read. The next thing I know, I'm waking up and it's almost 6:45, I'm dizzy and I have a killer neckache. What I call a "nap-headache." I managed to recover enough to text message Alvina and let her know why I wasn't going to make it and fell back into a half-sleep.

I'm mostly-recovered now, thanks to 2 Tylenol Extra Strength Gel Caps and some sustenance. Hopefully I'll still be able to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, despite my recent coma, because I am meeting my boss and one of our authors tomorrow to go to BEA. Gotta stay fresh for all the books 'n' stuff.

Anyway, sorry to everyone I was going to see tonight. I WILL make it to one of these things soon. And if you're going to BEA, give me a call (if you have the #) or if you see me (and know what I look like) flag me down and say hey.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Finding the balance

Over the past year, I really haven't read as much as I used to. Part of that is because I'm in editorial now. Editors (and their apprentices) don't have the privelege of reading for pleasure as much as your average booknerd. But I've also been neglecting that side of me as well. When you read so much for work, it's hard to make the time for non-work reading. With a lot of my favorite adult authors coming out with books again (it's about that time of year, eh?) I am reminded that I have to give some time to this side of my life. I miss those authors who make me squee with booknerdiness: Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris, Lilith Saintcrow (hi Lili), Tanya Huff, Sharon Shinn, Christopher Rice, and the like.

Now don't get me wrong...I love every single book I have worked on since I started at Little, Brown. I'm very lucky in that sense -- Jen and I have similar (but very broad-ranging) tastes when it comes to books for young readers. But in order to feed the book-loving soul, you have to read some non-work-related stuff, whether that means gory/cheesy true crime novels, Pulitzer prize winning literary fiction or (in my case) dark, urban fantasy. You need to nurture both sides of the fence and not push too much on either side, or things go out of wack. Burnout can happen, or you can fall behind on submissions, or you can miss deadlines. I guess the moral of the story is that you have to make time for the books you really love, because if you don't nurture your passion, it may desert you when you really need it.

Me? I've clearly chosen the workaholic route. My goal going into my second year is to continue working hard, but to not let myself forget about my life outside of work either. I've lost touch with a lot of good friends and a lot of great books because I was so focused and while I want to keep achieving and excelling, I also want to put some life back into my personal life.

I also need to start writing again, but that's a whole 'nother matter entirely...

Happy Job-iversary

I can't believe I didn't blog about this last week! Well...I'm about to submit another post but before I do that I have to mention this:

Last Tuesday, May 22nd, was my 1 year anniversary working in children's editorial! WOO!

I make reference to that in the post that's coming right after this, so I figured I should fill everyone in. Also, this deserved it's very own post.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Man caught hiding in plain sight at women's media function

I forgot to mention last night that I will be attending the (takes a deep breath) Women in Children's Media's Children's Book Publishing: Panel and Networking Event on the 31st. Now I know what you're thinking. But T.S. ---you may work in children's media, but you're not a woman." Well yes, this is true, despite what you may have heard, but I was assured by my boss, the lovely Ms. Jennifer Hunt, that I would not be the only male in the room. I also want to go and root for Jennifer and Alvina, who will both be on the panel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

And who might you be?

You know how sometimes people start seeing a new boyfriend or girlfriend and completely disappear? Yeah, I wish that's been the case with me. Unfortunately, it's not. I've just been busy and/or lazy and/or had nothing to say.

I've been working on some fun projects lately, despite feeling stressed and busy. This was a good week and it ended even better. Today was the first half day of the summer and the kick-off to summer hours. I love half-day Fridays---publishing has such great perks. Anyway, a bunch of us folk from Young Readers hopped on a train and made our way to the South Street Seaport. We sat around chatting, cracking each other up, eating from the food court, looking out at the water and just having a good time. After a while, the few of us who were left decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge before we headed our own separate ways. It was one of the best days I've had in a while. I got out, had fun in a comfy environment, and really enjoyed the nice weather. Then I slept the entire subway ride back from Brooklyn. HAHAHA!

Not much else to say for now. Life is good. I'll try not to be a face on a milk carton anymore. Happy looming summer!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Living in New York is so great! Where else would you read a quote from a gay man about all the eye candy in a comic book store.

Chuck McKinney, 41, a voice-over actor and Web cartoonist, loves Midtown Comics. “The store is big, clean, well stocked and organized; and everyone gets a discount,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “And best of all there are lots of hot, ethnic straight guys to check out while I’m buying my comics.”

And speaking of gay comic book nerds, I am clearly becoming addicted. It all started with the new Buffy comic, which led to a recent purchase of the first Joss Whedon-penned Runaways comic. This, unsurprisingly, led to the purchase of four (count them, FOUR) Runaways back-issue graphic novels (so that I could catch up on the storyline, of course). And now it's looking like I'm about to pick up the first two issues of Loners, which is a new series inspired by a few issues of Runaways.

I clearly have problems. Are there any gay comic book addict groups I can join to help me with this problem? Hey, maybe I'll meet a cute comic nerd at my 12-step program and we'll fall madly in love and have to live in a series of interconnected cardboard boxes under the Verrazano Bridge because we've spent all our money on comics. Or maybe I could just meet a cute Marvel employee and kill two birds with one stone. Note to self: get on that immediately.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Art and alienation

Sara Zarr wrote a really great post here about teen alienation and how books can touch those who might otherwise feel alone in the world. I can't help but think how true this is. Books were there for me when I was a nerdy, socially awkward, outcasted child. I felt like I had friends who were always there, as long as I kept flipping the pages. No matter how alone I felt, there was always Harvey from Clive Barker's The Thief of Always, or Ramona Quimby, or the motley citizens of Pier's Anthony's Land of Xanth. Now that I'm a (cough) well-adjusted (cough) adult, I'm proud to be a part of the behind-the-scenes world of books. I can't help but think that, as an editor (or an editorial assistant...whatever), that I can potentially be something of a hero to someone, just like the editors and authors of my favorite books were for me.

Go read the post. It's really good (just like everything Sara writes -- call me a brown-noser all you want, but it's true).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Darren Shan

We interrupt this regularly scheduled workday to inform you that I met Darren Shan today. Darren is the bestselling author of the Cirque du Freak and Demonata series which we publish and I have been a big fan of his since before I started working here. I was lucky enough to be able to have my copy of Bec (Demonata #4) signed, and Cindy Eagan, his editor here, introduced me as a potential stalker (which I hope Darren found hilarious).

I felt so lame. I was shaking and nervous. I get really nervous when I am meeting someone I really admire. And I love Darren's books. It was a great experience though. He had a blood plastic hand which he posed with, and he read from Demonata #5 (Blood Beast) which sounds just as great as the others. I CAN'T WAIT!

If you haven't picked up Darren's books yet, go do it now. They're gorey and full of action, demons/vampires (depending on series), bugs, and death. My kind of books! I highly recommend these titles -- not only as a member of the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers editorial department, but as someone who was a fan long before I started working here. Go get these books!


This is cheating a little bit. I posted this in my LiveJournal a little while ago and thought, damn this would've made a great post for my new blog. I wish I had set it up. So now I'm reposting it, since I haven't had the chance to sit down and really write anything worthwhile in the past few weeks.

It's amazing how music can bring us back to a certain moment or memory. When I hear John Mayer's Clarity, I am once again walking past Macy's to get to my internship at Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group in 2003, my first year in New York City and my first semester in grad school. When I hear anything from Spiceworld by the Spice Girls or the first Backstreet Boys CD, I am back in my bedroom in Connecticut, it's winter of '97/'98, and I am playing Final Fantasy 9. It is the part of the game with the Festival of the Hunt in Lindblum and I can see Freya standing on the streets with her lance held, ready to fight. That was the winter I came out of the myself, my best friends, and my mother.

It's funny what memories music can invoke. Anyone out there have any music-inspired memories they'd like to share?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Binge and Purge

Well today was purge day at work. We're moving from the Time & Life building to Park Ave, right next to Grand Central, and so naturally we all have to decide what stays and what goes. This has been extremely hard, as you can imagine, since a lot of "stuff" builds up over the years. Add onto that the fact that T.S. is a packrat and things get wacky.

I am happy to announce that my desk is...slightly less of a landfill than it has been in the past. I've been able to convince my boss to let me throw out or donate things that have been here since before I started (we're both packrats -- it's so bad), I've filed away papers that have been patiently waiting for me to do so, and soon I will be sending out a whole mess of "stuff" that has been piling up. I've also been a bit behind on my decline letters (sorry agents/authors) and that job will be tackled tomorrow. Yes tomorrow. But I won't be alone if I can help it.

Wish me luck and hopefully soon you'll get another real post instead of these strange glimpses into my neuroses (a la orange bear collections and such).

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Confession Time

Starting the summer after I graduated from high school, I have been buying orange teddy bears and giving them to my best friend. It took me until a few months ago to realize that it was really my collection and not his. So I've reclaimed it. I re-counted and I currently have 28 orange bears. This does not include the orange bear slinky that Steve lost at some point in the past 8 years.

The whole thing started because of an inside joke, and I guess I kept it going because it was so weird and because orange bears are just the right amount of rare. You'd never think you would find many orange teddy bears, but there are more than you think too. But green, purple, red teddy bears -- those are really rare. On St. Patrick's Day you might find one or two green bears but they're usually just brown with green t-shirts or hats. Same thing with red bears on V-Day. But orange bears can be found in almost any crane game if you look hard enough, and they are all over the place on Halloween. For some reason, it intrigues me just the right amount.

Heres the collection:

Notable bears include: Laugh-a-lot Carebear, two ghost-bear Beanie Babies (twins), three Puffkins (one regular, one reg. w/ mask and one little), a pencil topper (with bowtie), a Grateful Dead bear, and a Build-a-Bear with a Red Sox t-shirt that I made Steve create.

I know...I'm a strange puppy. But I admit it and it's kinda funny being strange sometimes. :)

Edited to add: Someday soon I NEED to get my hands on the subway bears for the B/D/F/V line. I have no idea why I STILL have not bought these obvious purchases.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Work has been keeping me busy lately, partially due to my own newly-formed workaholic habits. Things have been winding down a bit lately, as the seasons begin to change, but I have continued to push myself. This can lead to dire consequences, especially when I stay up late reading and end up a zombie the next day.

Today I needed a real pick me up and decided, as I was walking past FYE on the way back from lunch, that what I needed was some music therapy. I get into musical obsessions where I find new music, listen the crap out of it, memorize it and then eventually get sick of it and stop listening to it for a "recovery period" before adding it back into my musical backlist (gotta love using publishing lingo in other situations).

I wasn't sure what I was going to buy, but the minute I walked in I was confronted with a giant poster of Elliott Yamin, the #3 contestant on American Idol 5. I had heard his first single and really enjoyed it, but had forgotten that I wanted to get his CD. Well I promptly bought it and I must's really good. He's got a great, soulful voice. He's pretty amazing for someone who is 90% deaf in one ear. Some of my favorite songs are Movin' On, Wait For You, and Train Wreck.

After work, I gave myself another treat. Buffy: Season 8: Issue 2 came out yesterday, so I stopped by the comic store that is so conveniently located right off the subway in Astoria and promptly bought that as well. These issues have been great so far, but I gotta say, I don't think I can handle this---ya know, with the shortness and the monthly. I want more, and I want it NOW! And Issue 3's cover looks AMAZING! Willowy-hotness all over the place. How am I going to wait an entire month? I've gotta make friends with someone at Dark Horse!

Tomorrow I will be treating myself to a train ticket home to Connecticut. I have mixed feelings about going home right now, since things aren't exactly going well in my hometown, but the holidays are a time for family (including good friends) and so off I go.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So you want to work in publishing...

The other day I was asked for some tips on how to get a job in the book publishing industry, and since it seemed like a feat comparable to climbing Mount Everest for me and my friends, I thought I'd post some tips.

These are only observations from my own experiences, and everyone's story differs, but here goes:

First I should say that getting your masters in publishing is not always the answer. You have to decide if it is right for you. My experience with graduate school was frustrating, at times infuriating, and I felt like slamming my head against a brick wall. However, that was mostly due to the program and school I was in, and it wasn't all bad. I did leave with a masters degree to slap onto my resume, I had a basic understanding of the publishing industry and every area I could possibly think to go into (editorial, production, marketing, design, finance) and most important, I had a great group of friends who were in the same boat I was. That support group got me through the job search nightmare and it was always nice to have a bunch of booknerds to talk to and go book shopping with when things got tough. Oh yeah, and I also left with a job lined up, thanks to one teacher who actually cared enough to put in a good word for me.

So you're at the point where you're ready to apply for a job in publishing and you want that extra edge, or you're having trouble getting past the online application process? There are some tricks I've learned in the past (almost) four years. First, you may not want to get your masters degree, but there are plenty of certificate programs or summer institutes to attend that don't cost as much and will still give you the basic knowledge and networking opportunities with actual publishing professionals. NYU has one of these summer institutes, among others, and if you're willing to travel, there's even one in Denver, CO. This site has a great list.

Another good piece of advice is to network. Sure, it's harder for those who aren't yet in the publishing industry, but there are ways. Meet assistants and junior staff on MySpace, craigslist, LiveJournal and other online communities if you don't already know someone in the business. Be creative. Find ways to meet people, have them introduce you to people they know and then have those people introduce you to the people they know. Sooner or later, you're bound to meet someone who knows of a job lead, or who will refer you for an assistant position. Just don't be too pushy, clingy or fake. No one wants to refer someone if they think they are being used to get a job. Be genuine and people will want to help you even more. And even if they can't help you, you've made a new friend in the industry. Remember that support system I mentioned earlier.

If you are in the industry and you just haven't broken into the right area (editorial, most likely), then introduce yourself or have your coworkers introduce you to people in those departments within your own company. If you want to be an editor, find the people who work on the books you like to read and offer to read for them and give feedback. Editors love that, especially since the submission piles can get really intense at times, and it will give you more experience to throw onto your resume. And there is another connection (or two if you count their assistant) that you've just made in the right direction. Also think about joining and attending events with the YPG or Overtime. I was introduced to YPG when I first started in the marketing department of my company 2 years ago and was recently asked to join the Planning Committee. It's been a great experience and I've met a lot of great people in all different areas of publishing, from many different companies.

Other than those networking tips, the best thing I can tell you is to work with books as much as you can. Work at a bookstore, volunteer at your local library or literacy center. If you want to be an editor, do freelance work. There's tons of freelance jobs out there, including tons of writers on Craigslist looking for someone to help them edit their work. If you're still in school and have time, think about applying for summer internships in the city or working on your school's literary journal. Do whatever works best for you, but do as much as you can to fill your resume with experience that shows you are serious about working with books. We're an industry of booknerds and we are eager to hire our own.

After that, it's the same as any job hunt. Make sure your resume is in tip-top shape, practice your interview skills and go get 'em. OH! And the most important piece of advice I could give you. Don't despair! It can be a long, hard road to finding the job you want in this industry and you have to remember that these are big media companies you are applying to. This isn't Best Buy or the local insert-company-here you are applying to. It's a huge industry and there are a lot of people applying. The worst thing you can do is give up because you aren't finding something. I was lucky enough to have (apparently) done everything right, but I also had to work my way through a nightmare job. NOW I'm in a position that makes me truly happy, but there were times when I never thought I'd make it. There were so many days when I thought I should just give up and move back to my hometown. But it's been almost a year now and I've enjoyed it so much that the time has just flown by. If I can get here, so can you.

And for those people reading this -- if I missed anything, feel free to add your own two cents.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Brand New Venture

Well, I guess I should go ahead and christen this blog with its first post. For those who are new to my blog, I am a 25-year old editorial assistant working at a dream job in children's book publishing. I've been blogging for 5 years now (god, I can't believe it's been that long now) and I thought it was high time I made the switch from the not-so-private diary format that I'm used to, to a more journalistic, public style of blogging. So here I am, coming out from behing the filters and starting a blog where I have to think before I speak, where I am forced to post intelligently because the whole world is watching. It's an exciting concept and I'm looking forward to it. And of course, I'll always have my old filters to go back to when I need them, but for now I'd like to raise a glass to the start of a brand new blogging adventure. I just need to find myself a glass

...and some champagne