Hair salon follow-up & PROM in the UK

OK, here is how it happened. The lady who does my hair (with my permission) told these families when I would next be getting the white stripe down the middle of my head removed. But I thought they’d be coming AFTER I looked human, not when I was in full-alien get-up, complete with foil. It turned out to be a lot of fun. It also turned out to be a “unique” experience.

Had a blast at Murray Ave. The snow did close school early, which meant I gave four presentations in a row. You’d think that the impending early release would have made the place a madhouse, but it was all good. There was a moment of exuberance when the official announcement was made (understandably), but the kids were terrific. They had extremely good questions and positive energy which made my job easy. Many thanks to Julie Antoni for the juggling necessary to squeeze an author visit into a snow-shortened day. Thanks for the pretzel, too, Julie!

I think soft pretzels are a Philly-area thing. We didn’t have them in Syracuse. Lots of the schools in SE Pennsylvania have a Pretzel Day once a week, when kids can buy a big soft pretzel for a quarter. When my daughters were in elementary school, Fridays were always Pretzel Day. Around here, us civilized folks put mustard on these pretzels. Yummmmmm….

Snow days call for soup, so I thawed out my leftover turkey stock and made turkey soup for dinner. I don’t have any school visits tomorrow so it can snow all it wants. My job for the next three days is to hammer on the revised text for the historical picture book. I’d like to turn it in to my editor on Monday.

I’m glad you liked PROM, Barry! I believe that Hodder is set to publish PROM in the UK this July.

Rambling in a minor key

Basketball update: Chris Webber is coming to the 76ers (gasp) and Villanova continues to kick butt and takes names – they stomped on Boston College last night. I didn’t see the game, of course, because I am a big lam-o and was snoring by 10 pm last night.

The South Dakota videoconference was interesting. The technology worked like a charm (used an Internet 2 connection, for those of you who know what that means), but I must admit I missed not being up close and personal with the students.

Here’s an entry for the Strange But True Fan Sightings: while I was getting my hair colored yesterday (thank you Halse ancestors for the genetic quirk which blessed me with white hair before I was 25) a couple of girls who like my books turned up with their moms: Jenny and Kristen from Cheltenham. I may have scarred them for life, because I am not a pretty sight with all those chemicals and foil and whatnot in my hair, but they did not run out shrieking. They hung around for an hour and I signed their books. As they left, I gave thanks to all the gods that they didn’t bring a camera.

I leave for Murray Avenue Middle School in an hour. I hope I can get all my presentations in before the snow hits and school is dismissed early.

I need coffee.

PROM comes out in less than a week.

I need coffee and Tums.

(later) – I almost forgot! best thing that happened yesterday: I saw a pair of red-winged blackbirds in the cattails.

South Dakota

I’m off to do a videoconference with some college classes in South Dakota. No, I’m not going to South Dakota. I’m going to a local college where I will stare into a videocamera and pretend I am in South Dakota. I have visions of that scene in Willy Wonka where the obnoxious kid in the cowboy outfit (Mike?) is transported into a television set.

If I get stuck, send chocolate.

PS – Book section has a great article about Francesca Lia Block. I love her books!!!

This is a first… and a question for all of youse guys

I am at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, DE and I am updating my LJ. (Never did this before!) The way the schedule worked out, I have a long break right now, and Jamie the Nice Librarian was kind enough to get me on the Net. Having a blast here (awesome auditorium which makes the speaking part easy – voice is still raw from last week). Waiting for the pizza to arrive to I can eat and talk to some of the high school kids about Speak. Tough life.

Weird experience of the day: their substitute librarian, Kristine, babysat for me when I was a kid in Syracuse. She was a student at the university where my dad was a chaplain. It has been fascinating to hear her talk about how those years (we’re talking life on a college campus in the late ’60s and early ’70s) felt to her. I’m going to get her in touch with Dad – he will be stoked.

Max wrote and suggested that I put some deleted scenes from my novels on the website.

That’s actually in my long-term plan, Max. (Brilliant minds think alike, eh?) I don’t think I’ll get to it until later this summer, though. Depending on how the writing goes, it might be the fall before I can give major attention to the website again.

Which brings me to my question:

What would youse guys like to see on my website that is not there right now? Theo is working on a non-flash version for those of you with slower dial-up connections. There are a few minor tweaking things to do, but before he gets going on someone else’s projects (or his own), I want to make sure I have a rock-solid web foundation that we can add to as new books come out. What information is missing? What pages do you think are the most important? Should we add a site map?

Lunch with Allison

I just got back from a fun lunch at Donato’s with Allison Charles, who goes to Upper Dublin High School. Allison’s parents won the lunch with me at an auction to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. My mom, my aunt, and one of my cousins are all breast cancer survivors, so it is a important cause for me. We had a blast and took the cheesy photo, below. Thank you, Allison!!!

Went to the movies last night with Mer, Alli (a different Alli!), Shelley and Mike. We saw Constantine, with Keanu Reeves, who in my humble opinion is a much better actor when he keeps his mouth closed. Not a great movie, not even a good movie, but we had laughed a lot, and I found myself thinking about it today which must mean something. I really liked the Angel Gabriel’s outfit. Satan was played by an actor who was a bad guy in Fargo (I loved that movie because I am a drooling William Macy fan), and I had a hard time believing him as Satan. But all in all, it was a good night. Mer and I are annoying people to watch movies with because we both have the Tragic Cycle down cold and we can see most plot points well before they unfold. But we amuse each other.

I forgot to mention two things about my Central New York week. We spent one night watching old Popeye cartoons. Haven’t done that in a long time. I had another blast from the past the day I visited Solvay High School. A deli near the school advertised bread from the Columbus Baking Company. This bread is a sacred food from my childhood. My dad, who always refers to himself as a peasant, is nuts for real, fresh food: bread, cheese, tomatoes, meat cooked on an open fire, etc. So every weekend we’d stop at the bakery for a couple of flat, round, heavenly loaves to eat up at camp.

Bread is good. No-carb diets are evil.

I forgot to say thank you to Ms. Benson’s class (Hi Alex!) and the girls at Maryvale Prep for completely stuffing my mailbox with your thank-you letters. I’m having fun reading them.