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I am a 25-year old editorial assistant working at a dream job in children's book publishing. These are the musings of an out and proud booknerd as he explores the city, makes his way in the children's book world, meets new friends and (hopefully) survives the wonderful world of dating.
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26. PLA 2008 - Minneapolis

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Public Library Association's 2008 Conference in Minneapolis, so I thought I'd share with all of you.

Now, I had been to ALA Midwinter in Philly, so I knew what to expect from the conference, but I have only flown twice before (round trip to Florida to visit my aunt) so I was a little nervous about that. Luckily I was on the same flight as our lovely Library Marketing Manager, Victoria Stapleton (gotta give her a shout-out) and she walked me through the whole security thing and all the scary-new stuff.

Once we were on the plane, we were separated, but that was totally fine because I had brought a book to read. An adult book (ooooooooh) which I knew I would never get to read if I didn't bring it. It was Blind Fall by the wonderful Christopher Rice. I'm such a huge fan of his work and this one did not disappoint. Not my favorite of his four books, but still very good nonetheless.

Once we arrived in Minneapolis, it was a work-extravaganza. I was lifting boxes and moving tables and building pretty stacks of Advance Reader Copies. But ya know what -- I had a blast. Victoria is so sharp and hilarious, which our authors know full well from their times with her, and which I knew as well, but appreciated experiencing on a whole new level.

We were there Tuesday through Friday and it was really wonderful to be able to walk around and see all the books that everyone has coming up. Because I had been to ALA, I recognized a lot of them, but I was still able to get some freebies that I hadn't been able to get in January.

One of the highlights of the conference was making friends with the Hyperion folk in the booth across the way, Angus and Hallie. They helped make the week very memorable, adding to the hilarity that was ever-present in our general booth area and teaching me many things about library shows. And they were hosting a signing with Brian Selznick, which was pretty cool too. I went over and introduced myself and got a book signed. Very exciting. Also exciting was meeting and attending a fantabulous dinner with Victoria, my new Hyperion friends, some exceptional library folk from Penguin, and Jon Scieszka. Who is also hilarious. I suppose I should note that EVERYONE was hilarious at PLA. I mean, seriously, children's book people (and maybe library folk especially) have a GREAT sense of humor. And I was total taken in by it all. Very good times.

It was nice to also find time to hang out with my friend Mike, who is also a library marketing person. We grabbed drinks on Thursday night after all the craziness had died down. And after I had treated myself to some fondue at a nearby restaurant. And let me tell you -- eating alone, outside of New York, at a NORMAL, non-dinery restaurant. It feels WEIRD! But the food more than made up for it.

Anyway, good times all around. This post was somewhat scattered. This is what happens when I wait too long to blog about things I need to blog about...and when I take a break from doing work to blog without letting my brain take a break as well...and when I'd rather be listening to music from Disney's Enchanted. It's great! If you haven't seen it, go rent it right now!

Ok so that's it for my ramble. Stay tuned for more coherent posts and some good news that I'm waiting for the right time to share.

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27. A Rose By Any Other Name

I've always hated my name. My real name, that is. Ever since I was little boy, I would cook up new names for myself. At one point I wanted to change my name to Trent Archer because I thought that just sounded like the coolest name EVER. It got worse when I got to high school and suddenly I went from Tommy to Tom. I hate being called Tom. Tom is my dad and I am not him. But somewhere around college I realized I couldn't just change my name. I had lived with it for 2 whole decades. Even if I could get everyone to call me something different, it would still feel weird to not be...me.

Then one night I was watching Mallrats in my dorm room and I thought, "I really love the main character's name (T.S.) and I wish I could change my name to that." It took a few seconds before I realized that my first and middle initial were T.S. And then I got REALLY excited. If I could get people to call me T.S. then I could change my name without really changing it. That would be GREAT!

Easier said than done. My closest college friend was STUBBORN! And we were practically attached at the hip. We were TomandShara or SharaandTom. So when she decided she wasn't calling me T.S., the rest of my friends didn't have much motivation. I stopped trying and eventually ended up in New York for grad school. And then one night while I was home for Christmas break, I watched Mallrats again and I realized...I'm in a new city, with new friends, practically a new life. I could be T.S. And thus started the transition. It wasn't easy, since I had already known these new friends for four months already as Tom. But as the second semester started, we made new friends who only knew me as T.S. And teachers called on me in class as T.S. And it just became the only name they heard in reference to me. Thus they were easy slates to clean. It took a little more effort with my older friends. Some of my closest friends have known me for over a decade and it wasn't so easy for them. But with a little tough love and stern repetitions of "that's not my name" they eventually got used to it. Though it was funny to see how visual memory came into play. They would call me T.S. fluently over the phone, but the minute they saw my face they instinctually reverted back to Tom. It took them a LONG time to transition. In fact, Jess still slips up maybe once a year. And Shara...well, she still refuses. But she's always been a stubborn one.
----------------------
Anyway, all of that backstory (and I am the king of blathering backstory) is leading up to a point. The point is, I've worked so hard to establish this new name that I never foresaw that it would come with it's own can of worms. They're definitely worth dealing with, but I just think it is amusing that I wanted a more original name, a more memorable name, and it jumbles people up.

The first problem I ran into actually came about via celebrity. A friend from grad school had started an official fan club for Kristen Chenoweth (broadway star, Olive on Pushing Daisies) and I was able to go backstage and present her with a Valentine's Day card to let her know we had raised a ton of money in her name for the BC/EFA charity. She shakes my hand, leans in (and up, since I'm so tall) and says "T.S. how do you spell that?"

My jaw almost HIT THE FLOOR! I didn't know what to say. How did I answer this without making Kristen Chenoweth feel foolish, or without sounding snotty or impertinent. I looked at my friends and got blank stares, so I turned back to her and said, "Um...T period S period?" She laughed! "I thought it was something exotic, like T-i-a-s." She looked to my friends for approval and they just smiled and nodded. It was a good laugh for a while, and we chocked it up to a Cheno blonde moment. But it wasn't just her. A LOT of people have asked me if T.S. is a foreign name, or something exotic. Or they'll say, "wait, say that again" like they don't exactly get it. They're not alone.

I've found a good way of responding to this one after a few years of fumbling. I just say "like T.S. Eliot." If they still don't get it after that, I know I tried my best.

The other thing I get a lot are people calling me by different initials---which I'll say right now, I DO NOT understand. What part of me strikes ANYONE as a T.J.? Especially when T.S. is so distinct and random and (not that I planned it this way, but) literary. The other one I've gotten, which I REALLY don't get, is T.C. How people go to T.C. from T.S. I'll never understand, but it's happened more than once with different people.

And third, I get A LOT of people, especially through work and most especially via email, who seem to think I am being vague and just giving initials to be elusive, or who aren't sure if that is what they should call me (because in all likelihood, I could just be lazy and not want to write out my whole name). Those are the moments I feel most awkward and a little guilty, but I have to remind myself that not only am I signing T.S. to my emails, but my auto-signature says "T.S. Ferguson" in it, and my work email, which is first name.last name uses TS as well.

These are just little bumps in the road, little karmic bird poops for venturing away from my birth name. But they're all totally worth it, because now I love my name. I just think some of these things are amusing, given that I was plain old Tom for most of my life. I could've taken the easier course, but it wouldn't have been as fun.

That actually reminds me of Robert Frost. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference. Story of my freaking life.

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28. Good Things Come to an End

I finished Godless over the weekend and am now moving on to Alex Rider #1, amongst a bevy of submissions that I want to get through this week. But Godless -- I really liked it. I thought the idea of a kid who is questioning his faith, in God and in the adult authority figures in his life, creating a new religion based around the town water tower. I love that it was the water tower. Water towers and underground tunnels and abandoned cabins in the woods always give me this feeling of adventure and parent-less mischief. Maybe because it brings me back to when I was a kid and I would explore all over my town with my friends, going into abandoned water pipes, under waterfalls, through random woods and over train tracks that cross ridiculous high over a very shallow river. So reading about these kids climbing a water tower, opening it up and swimming in it...it brought me back.

I also really loved how each person in the religion took on a different personification. The zealot, the religious separatist, the person who only joined because they wanted to feel included. And then there's the main character, trying to keep order despite his ridiculous, made up rules for his ridiculous, made up religion. And I love how this plot is tied into the concept of faith and teens questioning their faith. This kid thinks religion is a sham, made up and followed by people who are clearly sheep. But then he makes up his own religion and people start following it like sheep, even though they all know it is completely made up. I love the mirroring and the thoughts if provokes.

---

In other news, the dating is over (at least with the one guy I was referring to in my most recent posts). He had everything I could've wanted...but there was no romantic spark. Try as I might, I just wasn't feeling it. So I broke it off tonight. It was painful. I know he liked me and he was a genuinely nice guy. I hate thinking that I hurt someone, even just a little bit. He was totally cool but I could hear the disappointment in his voice. It didn't feel good at all. But I know I did the right thing in the end -- it would've been worse if I had ignored it and ended up in a relationship with him, and then said something after months and months of dating. That wouldn't be good AT ALL.

So I'm fresh off of a book and fresh off of a boy. Time to start anew. Next stop Stormbreaker and on the guy front...we shall see.

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29. Updates for the sake of updating

Reading:
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
The Spiderwick Chronicles #1: The Field Guide by Tony DeTerlizzi and Holly Black
Godless by Pete Hautman (currently reading)


Watching:
I just saw Juno last night. I was able to borrow a preliminary DVD copy from a friend. I really enjoyed it, mostly for Ellen Page. She's just phenomenal. But then, I knew that when I saw her as Kitty Pryde in the third X-Men movie. Also incredible was Jennifer Garner. I was shocked by how well she was able to portray a fragile and emotionally vulnerable infertile woman with just a look. I really believed she knew what it was like to not be able to conceive.

Some parts were eh. Jason Bateman, pretty as he is, was working with an underdeveloped character. Michael Cera, while good, played the same part he played in Arrested Development and, I'm scared to confirm, probably in Superbad too.

I gave this movie 4 out of 5 stars on Netflix, because I really did like it. There were parts I would've changed or expanded on, and maybe I'm blinded by my awe of Ellen Page, but I genuinely enjoyed watching.

Next from Netflix -- Ben 10, Season 1. Anyone seen? I <3>

Dating:
I've been on two dates with Michael now and we're going on a third this weekend. It's tough dating someone who lives in NJ though, since it limits the time we have with each other. I don't get out of work until a certain time and he has to make sure he's on the last bus so time really matters. But we have fun and we have a lot in common, so things are going well so far. There was a minor bump in the road, which we had to have a conversation about, and yes I'm being vague, mostly out of respect for him and because I doubt people care about the dirty details (ok they're not really dirty but if you really want to know, email me).

Music:
I've been listening to Vanessa Carlton's recently released third CD (called Heroes and Thieves) a lot lately! I'm really enjoying it and there are some songs that are, as my best friend put it, "classic Vanessa." Check her out. If you enjoyed her first CD, you'll most likely enjoy this one.

I also acquired Natasha Bedingfield's new CD (Pocketful of Sunshine) and I have to say, I'm not thrilled with it at the moment. It seems to have a lot more hip-hop-lite (Natasha-style) and the rest of the songs just sound blah to me. I do enjoy Freckles but I'm not compelled to relisten to any of the tracks.

Next on my musical list is Jordin Sparks (from American Idol). My friend gave me a copy of her CD and I like the single (Tattoo). We'll see. She may be overshadowed by my purchase of the new Idina Menzel CD which just came out recently. I'm buying that once payday hits. WOOT!

Writing:
Oh writing. Sometimes I think I have given up on my writing dream in lieu of my editing dream. Pursuing my editing career hasn't been easy, but I really wanted it and I got it. I really want to move my way up the editorial ladder, so I'm working my butt off for it.

Writing is similar. It's something that I want, that I know I'm good at, but it's a lot of hard work. But for some reason, I am blocked. I have story idea after story idea. I have AMAZING first chapters. I have great hooks. And then i just...don't write. Maybe I'm trying to force something that isn't meant to be quite yet. Blogging comes so natural to me. I can write flap copy and catalog copy and factsheet copy. But writing a novel continues to elude me. So maybe I need to take a sabbatical from that dream. Maybe the dream, wanting it so badly, putting all the expectation on myself to be an amazing writer...maybe it's stifling me. Maybe it's holding me back or putting too much pressure on me. So I'm just going to stop pushing so hard and maybe some day, when it's meant to be, it'll come to me. My writing group is not going to be happy. But hey, better that than end up like the Jack Torrance in The Shining.

So that's all for now. I've had some deep thoughts that I may or may not share, but those were the updates that were bugging me to come out, so here they are.

Until...

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30. Once Upon A Time

Tonight, after karaoke, I bought my first Fables trade paperback and I think I'm love. For those not in the know, Fables is a graphic novel from Vertigo about characters of fairytale and classic fantasy legend (i.e. characters pulled from the public domain) who have been exiled from their Homeland and have created an underground community in New York City, with Old King Cole as their mayor-for-life and a bitchier, more bad-ass version of Snow White as his 2nd in command. Me likee!!

In other news, I'm trying to organize a group from work to go see the Spiderwick movie when it comes out. I'm ridiculously excited to see it. It is going to be AWESOME!

And tomorrow I have another date with Michael, who I mentioned previously. I guess that gives some indication as to how the first date went. I'm not one to kiss and tell, but I guess that says it all. ;-) We were originally going to have our second date this Wednesday, but I fell ill earlier in the week so we pushed it back. And we were actually going to do something during the day tomorrow but now we've pushed it back again, since he wanted to take me to a show his friend will be in. So dinner and a show in Williamsburg. Wish me luck (again) and pray for no rain.

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31. Coffee Date

Since this blog is supposed to be about books, friendship and dating, I suppose I should blog about something other than books. On that note, I have a date tonight. It's a coffee date and I have to leave for it in a few minutes. I'm excited -- we seem to have a good amount in common. I'm also a little nervous, mostly because I don't date much. But we'll see how it goes. If we click, we click and I'll have more to share (though be forewarned, I will probably be very light on the details, for discretion's sake).

Off to coffee.

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32. A goal list for 2008

I've been a bad blogger, mostly because I haven't had much to say lately. Well, and the things I've had to say have been kept behind the filter on my other (more private) blog. But every time I have a book nerdy blog idea, I inevitably return here to share it.

I was just reading my LJ friends list and realized I wanted to keep track of the books that are on the top of my list to read. It seems, with all the books flying around in the publishing industry, that it is easy to get sidetracked, and I read a pitiful amount of books in 2007. So here's a goal list. I'll check back throughout the year to see how I've done and I'm positive I'll read books that aren't on this list. But here are the ones that are on the top of my head as "must reads" for 2008 (with commentary).

*Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko -- I'm in the middle of this one right now. We're doing a book club at work for all of the junior members of the kid's department, so we can make sure we are in-the-know about all the hot books on the market lately. This month is Newbery winners and honors. This is my choice and I'm loving it so far.

*Godless by Pete Hautman -- This one is going to be my pick when we do NBA winners and nominees. I've already read a few: Sherman Alexie and Sara Zarr, obviously, Luna by Julie Anne Peters, Inexcusable by Chris Lynch and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson -- and I love them all. Godless looks REALLY good and I am sure I will enjoy it just as much as all the others.

*Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks -- This is just the type of boy-oriented middle-grade I know I'll love. I can't wait!

*Blind Fall by Christopher Rice -- I've loved all three of this author's previous (bestselling) works and his new one is coming out in March, so I'm really excited.

*Personal Demons by Kelley Armstrong -- one of my all-time favorite dark urban fantasy authors (though I think I hate the cover for this one). This is her latest Women of the Otherworld novel and it also comes out in March. YAY!

*Shadows Return by Lynn Flewelling -- one of my favorite high fantasy authors and she is coming out with the next book in her Nightrunner series, right around my birthday.

*Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child -- Preston and Child are two more of my favorite adult authors and I STILL haven't read their latest release. I feel awful, especially since I am also friends with their editor, but most of all I just want to know what happens before the next one comes out.

*Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4: The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan -- oh you know it!

*The Spiderwick Chronicles #1: The Field Guide by Tony DeTerlizzi and Holly Black -- I adore Holly Black and there is no doubt in my mind that I will be seeing the Spiderwick movie when it comes out, so I have to read the book first.

*Moon Called by Patricia Briggs -- I've been meaning to read the first book in this series for a while and now that a third has come out, I really feel the pressure. This seems very different from what I've seen in the dark urban fantasy genre, and that entices me.

*Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn -- The fourth book in the Kitty series, which is definitely a different spin on the typical dark urban fantasy novel. I love that Kitty is not an alpha-werewolf and I really enjoy her voice. Also edited by the same friend who edits Preston and Child.

*Demonata #5: Blood Beast by Darren Shan -- Love this author, love this series. Need to read this one so I can be ready for #6 when it comes out.


*Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer -- Middle-grade boy fiction + vampire. SO up my alley!

*Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti -- This book got put on my radar when Deb gave a great quote for Sherman Alexie's book (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian). I've wanted to read HBS ever since. I think 2008 is the time to do so.

*Pendragon #1: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale -- This was going to be one of my final reads for 2007 but I didn't quite make it before New Year's. Then I lost steam. So this is a must-read for 2008. It also fits into that middle-grade boy-oriented type of stuff I really love.

I'm sure there are more but I didn't think this through before posting. There's a whole pile of books on my shelf at work that will probably need to be added once I'm there to remember them. But for now, that's that.

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33. Books I've Read -- 2007

Ok, this is a pathetically short list but here are the books I reade in 2007.

I should mention that I only list books if I finish them, and for manuscripts, only if they are done being edited or close enough that they are pretty similar to what they'll be at publication.

I still feel pathetic that it is such a short list though
1. Magic’s Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
2. Magic’s Promise, Mercedes Lackey
3. Magic’s Price, Mercedes Lackey
4. Arrow’s Flight, Mercedes Lackey
5. Arrow’s Fall, Mercedes Lackey
6. Kitty Takes a Holiday, Carrie Vaughn
7. Sweethearts, Sara Zarr
8. Demonata #4: Bec, Darren Shan
9. Grave Surprise, Charlaine Harris
10. Crystal Doors: #3 Sky Realm, Rebecca Moesta & Kevin J. Anderson
11. The Enormous Egg, Oliver Butterworth
12. No Humans Involved, Kelley Armstrong
13. Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
14. Fanged & Fabulous, Michelle Rowen
15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
16. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
17. The Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman
18. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1: The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
19. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2: The Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan
20. Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3: The Titan’s Curse, Rick Riordan
21. Inexcusable, Chris Lynch
22. The Devouring: Sorry Night, (unsure of the author's name at this time)
23. Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade), Denise Vega
24. Access Denied (and other eighth grade error messages), Denise Vega
25. Holes, Louis Sachar
26. Gregor the Overlander, Suzanne Collins
27. Fortune’s Magic Farm, Suzanne Selfors
28. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg

The list is mostly chronological, except where I read books by the same author. In that case, I group them together and the first one is the only one that is chronologically accurate (for instance, I read Percy Jackson #3 and Arrow's Fall over the holiday break, but they are listed higher up. Mixed-up Files was, however, the last book I read in 2007.

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34. Update

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)

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35. 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.

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36. 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!

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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!

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37. 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!

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38. 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)

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39. 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.

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40. 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!

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41. 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?

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42. 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).

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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

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43. 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.

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44. 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 sing...it'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

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45. 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 know...you'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!

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46. 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.

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47. 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

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48. 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

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49. 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.

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50. 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. Mycrazyroommate.com -- it is HYSTERICAL! Go read it ASAP!!

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