Forgetting yesterday, begging for music

Next time the dreaded Monday the 16th rolls around, I’m staying in bed.

It started out with Meredith getting a flat tire in the parking lot of our apartment complex. A pain in the butt, but not a disaster because Mer is incredibly competent. I stood in awe as I watched my daughter change the tire by herself. My role was limited to offering cheerful and useless advice. No, wait – I had to write a note explaining why she was late for school. So I wasn’t totally useless.

I was in my car (no flats, thank you) by 8:00 am, headed for an elementary school in Royersford, PA, my last school visit of the season. This is normally a 45-minute drive for me, but because of traffic, I gave myself an hour to get there. I got on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and, along with tens of thousands of other commuters, sat. The 45-minute drive took two-and-a-half hours. I kid you not. Some moron with a piece of construction equipment pulled down wires across all lanes of both directions. A section of the turnpike (the section I needed to use) was closed in both directions for six hours. Thank goodness for cell phones and flexible teachers. They were able to rearrange the schedule so the day wasn’t a total disaster. Have I mentioned recently how much I hate the traffic around here? Grrrr…..

However, note this phrase in the previous paragraph my last school visit of the season.

*dances like a wild woman around the computer*

I get to write, write, write, write for the next four months!!!!!!!!

Which brings me to this request: recommend me a song, please. I need some new music. I am a classic rock fan, but I also like country, some alternative, and some mild head banging music. (Linkin Park OK, Korn, not). (I’ve been listening to Incubus, The Eagles, and Sarah McLachlan a lot this week, if that helps.)

What song that came out in the last 5 years should I be listening to as I work on my new book?

Report on Philly Day

The Rowdy Mockingbird showed up at 2:17am this morning, but I slammed my window so loud I think he got the message. He flew off to woo elsewhere.

Yesterday was a great day to be in Philly. Perfect weather and not too many tourists. Many, many thanks to Christian Varquez, director of Friends of Independence for arranging the whole gig, and for all the nice people who came out. We spent time at the Powel House, the Todd House, and the garden where Benjamin Rush’s house used to be. Before and after the presentation I wandered through the area, focusing on what the city was like in the Revolutionary and Federalist eras. My next novel (after the YA I’m working on now) is another historical fiction. I’ve already started the research and pondering for it, so the walk was fun and helpful.

Image hosted by Here is the awesome Mother-Daughter Book Club who came out to hear me. Thank you, ladies!

For some reason the asthma beast is kicking my butt today, so I’m going to lay low and work on the new book. I have a rough sense of what happens when, a clear sense of my main character and his buddies (and enemies), and now I’m plowing through scenes one at a time, trying to bring vague ideas to life on the page. I should be able to get a respectable hunk of work done today. Mer and I cleaned the apartment yesterday and we actually bought groceries (shocking), so I’m all set.

Here’s a fun quiz: which science fiction writer are you? Turns out I am Robert Heinlein, which made me smile.

I love pie

I am not a cake fan. I love pie. And now I know that pie is another reason to visit England. (Note – these are pies you eat for dinner, not dessert.)

After holing up like a crazy writerlady all week, I did a truly social thing last night and left my apartment for dinner with friends. We sat out on their deck all evening and watched the fire burning. I love the smell of wood smoke. I didn’t shower when I came home so I could smell the smoke in my hair as I was falling asleep. Now I have to wash my sheets and blankets in addition to my hair.

I’m off to Philly to talk about FEVER 1793 for the Friends of Independence Park. Then I have to buy groceries and clean the apartment. It looks like someone is trying to write a book in here or something. Feh.

Calmer neighborhood and PROM notes

The Casanova of Mockingbirds who lives outside my bedroom window stayed in last night. It might have been the weather. The temperature dipped down to the high 30s. He seems to be more of a hot night kind of guy. I wasn’t woken up until 5:15, which is a little earlier than I’d like, but infinitely better than the previous two mornings. Here’s hoping for frost tonight.

The writing was slower yesterday, but I knew that would happen. Mon-Wed I wrote with a speed and concentration I’ve never had before. Yesterday I focused on a very small piece of the Work In Progress, instead of sprinting. Today will be more of the same, I suspect.

Mer’s prom is in one week!! In honor of that, I’ll update you on PROM (the book) news:

PROM made the Booksense Children’s Picks Top Ten List for Summer 2005!!

It has been on The New York Times Bestseller List three weeks (my first book to ever make The List in hardback). This is the accolade that my father really, really, really cares about. It was a magical moment when I was able to tell him I made it. Deep and humble thanks to everyone in America who helped make that happen.

I’ve been receiving lots of nice notes from friends and total strangers who enjoyed the book. Special thanks to Coleen Paratore (check out HER stuff), Jackie White in Kentucky, Susan Mowery from Upper Dublin, Rachel, Sarah, and everyone else.

When I started to brainstorm PROM, I came up with the idea of having the teacher/prom adviser steal the money right away. Then I researched to see if this had ever happened, or if it was an absurd idea. It took me five minutes on the Internet to find a newspaper article that described exactly that scenario. Once I knew the story was grounded in reality, I never looked back.

Then last week Julia, a friend of mine up in Syracuse, emailed me an article about West Genesee Senior High School. The teacher adviser left $14,000 in cash and checks in a locked cabinet in a classroom. The keys were left in an unlocked drawer in the same room. The money was stolen. District officials speculate it was an employee. “There is a thief amongst us,” the superintendent said. The good news is that the district has an insurance policy that protects against this kind of loss, so the prom will go on as scheduled tonight at 6:30 pm.

And they say we make this stuff up…

Good news/bad news

Good news: The writing is flowing well. So well that I don’t want to talk about it for fear I’ll jinx the story.

Bad news: That stupid bird squawked outside my window again last night, from 1am-4am. It has to be a mockingbird – it had an incredible range of songs and didn’t ever appear to repeat itself. But why the hell is a mockingbird awake at 1am? Do I live next to the only hard-partying mockingbird in North America? Doesn’t it have a job or school to go to during the day?

I used to love birds.