Mememememe

I got tagged on Facebook with this meme by four different people, so while it’s not in my nature to post notes on Facebook (I like to keep it simple on that thing), I thought I’d post it here so that everybody can enjoy it. Honestly, I can’t think of 25 people to tag, so I’m going to go with: Kim, you should do this. Also, everybody else on the whole Internet.

Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click post.)

1. I was a competitive swimmer for several years and I was my strongest and fastest junior year of high school. Last night I went to the Y to swim laps and 1,000 yards really tuckered me out. This is so sad. But, then again, 1,000 yards!

2. I also played water polo at the hole position. I was even sort of okay!

3. I really like public transportation. Subways, elevated trains, trams, buses, commuter trains, ferry boats…I love it all. My dad is a transportation planner and has been since I was little, so maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s genetic.

4. However, I also love driving. That is genetic. My dad loves it, too.

5. Like Sara Bennett Wealer, I was a Kappa Alpha Theta in college and I really loved it. I even signed my contract in my favorite set of letters. I really admire my chapter and my school’s Greek system for sticking together and growing when there were all manners of obstacles in their way.

6. Apparently I’ve just signed away fourteen Mondays of my life to play in an amateur dart league. The truth is, though, that I’m not very good at darts.

7. I based the town in my debut novel, All Unquiet Things, on the town my family moved to when I was sixteen. Or, rather, the towns. It’s an amalgam.

8. I double degreed in English and political science in college, which is different than double majoring–I got two pieces of paper, one that says Bachelor’s of Arts and one that says Bachelor’s of Science. I had to take forty extra units to score that second one, which seems kind of excessive, but I couldn’t not do it. As a result, I overloaded almost every quarter for four years. It was quite a slog.

6. I’m addicted to Diet Coke. Well, maybe not, but I do really like it and have one or more every day.

7. I really love romantic comedies, and I was just telling a new friend yesterday how they sort of help me through writer’s block because they require almost no cognitive ability to be enjoyable, so the back of my brain can work out problems while the front of my brain thinks it’s relaxing and being entertained (science!). Anyway, Sweet Home Alabama is one of my favorite romantic comedies, and last night I was in our bar playing trivia and a guy came in with a baby strapped to him and I actually had the opportunity to say “You have a baby…in a bar!” when it’s appropriate, not just when I think it’s randomly funny, which I often do.

8. I make it a personal goal to read fifty books a year. I’ve been doing this for three years now (and counting) and I’ve gotten to at least 60 every year. I’m at six as of now.

9. I like savory more than sweet, but I am a sucker for Kit Kats, Snickers, and peanut butter M&Ms. This is why I don’t keep them in the house.

10. I don’t have television. I have a television in my apartment, but the only thing it’s hooked up to is a DVD player. This is not a quasi-hipster or Madonna-esque protest against the boob tube, but is in fact the result of a combination of poverty and laziness. That’s okay, though. You can watch almost anything online. And I do.

11. I’ve recently discovered that I’m way more like Blair Waldorf than is probably good. One essential difference between us is that she owns more headbands. I’m working to remedy this, although I will probably never catch up.

12. I love Hanson. You knew this, but I think it’s important enough to mention again.

13. I’m Polish.

14. I’m unofficially obsessed with the Mitford sisters, particularly Nancy Mitford, the author of two of my favorite novels: The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate.

15. I moved to California after getting my driver’s license in Illinois, and I waited a year and a half to get a California one because of a law in California saying that you have to retake the driving test if you’re under eighteen. Too bad there’s another law that says you have to get a new driver’s license 10 days after moving to California. Whoops! I actually did get pulled over once, not because of anything I’d done, but because my brother, who had insisted on pumping the gas because “you don’t know how to do it” (??), had left the gas cap on. The cop pulled me over to tell me, but he did look at my license and ask, “Did you just move here?” I was like, “Yeah…” even though we’d lived there a year at that point. We even had California plates! It was pretty dumb all around.

16. I don’t have any pets of my own in NYC, but my family has a dog, a beagle named Valentine. We call her Val. She doesn’t know that she was thisclose to being named Cubone or Growlith or something (thanks to my sister’s Pokemon obsession).

17. My favorite song on the new Andrew Bird album, Noble Beast, is “Not a Robot, But a Ghost”. “Anonanimal” is pretty great, too.

18. I saw Titanic four separate times in theaters when it came out in 1997 and then not once again in its entirety until 2008, even though I owned the VHS tapes and now own the DVD. I still love it.

19. In fact, Kate Winslet is probably the only Hollywood actress I care about at all anymore. I just feel like she spends time making worthwhile movies and not alternately courting and then complaining about the paparazzi. She doesn’t make a spectacle of herself, she’s talented, and she seems very good-natured. That’s really all I ask for in a performer or artist of any sort.

20. I make a playlist on my iPod for every season and every novel.

21. My favorite color is blue.

22. My eyes are green (I’m running out of steam here).

23. I dyed my hair red for years, and it actually looked really good on me. But red fades faster than any other color and it’s expensive to keep up, so I’ve spent the last two years growing out my natural hair color, which is like a dirty dishwater blonde-brown and is completely unremarkable. I still haven’t grown it all the way out yet, which is annoying, and I’ve told myself that once my hair is completely natural again I have to wait a year before dying it red again, if I decide I want to.

24. I just started a Tumblr exclusively for uploading the music that I’m listening to, especially the music that’s influencing my work at the moment. It’s called aTunes, because that’s how I roll. Checkitowt! (I can only post one song a day on it, so right now all that’s up there is Andrew Bird’s “Not a Robot, But a Ghost”, which I talked about above.)

25. One of my bigger regrets was that I never studied abroad in college.

Phew! That’s probably too much information about me for people to stand, but it just happened. I need to leave my house. I’m feeling a little jumpy. I also need to work. Maybe I’ll take Viola out into the world.

Tired

Oh God, you guys, I am so tired. I don’t know what’s going on. I usually have a lot of energy, and even when I don’t I pull it together and least make it seem like I do. But man, this week: woof. It’s really just been the last few days, though. On Wednesday night I went to bed before midnight, but I woke up at 4 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep until 6 AM, which is fine if the next day is Saturday but when the next day is Thursday and your alarm is poised to go off at 7:30, losing two hours of sleep to sudden onset insomnia and also heat stroke (my apartment is like a sauna, which, considering we only have one radiator and it’s pretty much as far from my bedroom as you can get, is pretty amazing) is not the recipe for awesome.

I went through yesterday like a total zombie, and it just got worse as the day wore on, which it did, SLOWLY and TORTUROUSLY. I came home early last night from a coworker’s send-off party and crawled into bed at 10:45 after Big Love stopped working 11 minutes into the episode. It took me a while to get comfortable–my light down blanket wasn’t enough, but my comforter with the soft chamois duvet was too much–and just as I had drifted off to sleep I got a text message from my sister. When I woke up to it, I was like, “Fish, WHY ARE YOU TEXTING ME AT 2 IN THE MORNING” and then I looked at the clock on my phone and it was 11:15. I’d only been asleep for about twenty minutes.

She’d asked me a question about what Chinese restaurant she and I had gone to while she was here for film camp in the summer, and not only was I totally out of it so it was difficult to remember what she was talking about, I’m not quite sure I would’ve immediately remembered even if I wasn’t half asleep. I’d totally forgotten we’d gone to a Chinese restaurant while she was here, and I was wracking my brain to come up with it (“Did I take her to Chinatown? Really? I don’t even like Chinatown that much!” I kept thinking, sleep-addled, to myself). I even wrote back to her, “Sleeping, can’t think, tell you tomorrow” or whatever, but as soon as I sent that message I remembered: Ruby Foo’s*. It was delicious, too.

But then, of course, I couldn’t fall asleep for another hour, and getting up this morning was so hard. I have plans tonight so I can’t go home and pass out, but this weekend is about two things: sleep, and MB. Getting my cover (BTW I GOT MY COVER IT IS AMAZING BUT I CANNOT YET SHOW IT TO YOU I WILL AS SOON AS I CAN I PROMISE!) reminded me that I’m, like, a writer and I have things to work on. I’m going to do some finishing touches on MB so it can go to my editor as soon as she’s ready for it, and then I’m going to get to work on GR. See, the thing is, I was really in a groove in the first chapter of GR, which I finished a few days ago. Now that I’m at Chapter Two (or, as I’m calling it, Day One – 2; this MS is all kinds of different from the other two), I’m stuck. This is a sign that it’s time to stop writing and start plotting, which is important for two reasons: 1. I need a synopsis to turn in to my editor to fulfill my option after MB is accepted, and 2. I need a synopsis to write the book. This is how I get around writer’s block–there’s always something else to do.

*I just Googled it to link you, and it turns out that the Upper West Side Ruby Foo’s is closed! The Times Square one is still open, though, but, while it was delicious, I would rather stick chopsticks in my eye than go to Times Square voluntarily, so…good-bye Ruby Foo’s-day. (GEDDIT? Like “Ruby Tuesday”? Forget it.)

My first post is up at the A Team blog

I think the title of this post says it all. Come on over to the A Team blog for my introductory post, which is full of ruminations on why I picked All Unquiet Things up for the second time, and also includes an A Team catch phrase (see if you can find it!) and a link to one of my favorite SNL skits. Enjoy!

Little things to get excited about

J and I heard back from my editor today and she’s happy with my AUT edits. It seems like all the big stuff is fixed and something that has been a major obstacle throughout has been surpassed, which is such a relief to me. It also seems like the fifteen or so pages that got added in the revisions aren’t a big deal, length-wise (I worry about the smallest things sometimes). Now my editor is going to go through and do another line edit (I got a marked-up manuscript with my revision letter, so this’ll be the second time we do line edits, which is really good because I would feel weird if we went straight to copy edits without having at least the new stuff line edited first) and then I can make those changes and then…I’m guessing copy edits!

Also, we’re supposed to see a cover treatment tomorrow, although I’m sure I won’t have permission to share the cover on this blog for many, many months so I’ll just put that out there right now. I will want to, but I will refrain. I’m excited to see it (obviously) because my editor went over their ideas for the cover with me several months ago but I’ve never seen any art or the results of a photo shoot or anything, so it will be completely and utterly new to me. I’m going to write more on this subject over at The A Team blog later, but for now I just wanted to share the thrill. Oh, and I’m going to post over there tomorrow, too, just about my journey to where I am now. I’ll link to the post over here.

Big plans on my end tonight. I’m going to swim laps with my friend Alex at my new! gym! and then if I’m not too exhausted I’m going to go grocery shopping and then cook some lazy chicken cacciatore after I do the massively piled up dishes. Lazy chicken cacciatore (or, as I sometimes say it, “kitchen chakitory”) is one of the many lazy dishes that I’ve discovered over the years that resemble things I ate as a kid but are a lot less work.

Lazy Chicken Cacciatore:

1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 an onion, sliced
.8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (I always buy the prepackaged stir fry strips because, yes, I am THAT lazy; I cut them up into little cubes)
1/2 jar pasta sauce (I used Brad’s Organic reduced fat garlic flavor, but that’s up to you)
a pinch of minced garlic (from a jar, obvs)

Put some olive oil in a pan and then add the green peppers, onions, chicken and garlic. Simmer (on high heat if you’re really impatient like me, but don’t let it burn!) until the chicken is cooked through (everything else should be cooked by then). Once it’s done, turn off the heat and pour pasta sauce over it. I serve it over whole wheat rotini or penne and it makes about four servings. So easy, right? I know. Next time I’ll give you my recipe for Annachiladas, which are nothing like real enchiladas, but is also a lazy recipe especially if you don’t bake them because you don’t have a functioning oven!

Edited to add: I told my coworkers I’d be seeing a cover treatment tomorrow and my friend Mary sent me this:

bomb-dot-com

You’re welcome.

The world just got a little more blog

Now, I know my audience. Most of y’all just come here for the Twilight talk, and I respect that. I also exploit it. HOWEVER! I have to imagine that some of you, if only a little slice of my readership, are writers, possibly aspiring, possibly newly contracted, possibly published, although that might be flattering myself.

Anyway, I talk about my amazing agent Joanna sometimes, so you know who she is. A couple of months ago she emailed me and asked if I wanted to start a blog with her about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of debuting into the vast YA universe. I said yes, of course, because I can’t stop talking and what is a blog but a vessel for endless chatter? So we’re doing it.

Or, rather, we’ve done it! The A Team, which stands for agent and author (because we’re clever like that), launched today with J’s first post, with my first post to follow soon. I don’t know at this time how different the content will be, and I’ll always let you know if there’s a post on The A Team with information not on this blog, but I won’t be cross-posting. My instinct is to say that The A Team will be more publishing focused, but I can’t promise we won’t get on every once and a while with some thoughtsicles about TV or movies or that sort of thing. Plus, I plan to do a lot of in-depth talking about AUT, because, at least for this year, the blog is all about AUT in a sense. So come visit us there!

Meanwhile, I’ve started working on GR because I think MB is almost ready to go. I’m trying out Scrivener, which seems to be good so far, although there don’t seem to be any formatting options? The learning curve is a little steep for me right now, but I’ll probably eventually teach myself to use it, and GR is a good book to do some experimentation on. Wish me luck! And if you’re familiar with Scrivener, give me tips.

At least she’s got that dead-eyed stare down

My blog stats are taking a nose dive, and you know what that means! Time to start talking about Twilight again. What? It’s not like I didn’t warn you that that’s my strategy. Haters to the left.

344802103_1edeec9687When I first heard rumblings that they were going to cast Dakota Fanning in New Moon, I was all, “What is this noise? Who would she even play? It’s not like there are any preternaturally intelligent creepmaster flash children in this series.” At least not until Breaking Dawn. ZING! I’ll be here forever. Try the stuffed chicken breasts. (Okay, you’re right, that was not a zing.)

First of all, fun fact: after being ten-going-on-eighty-seven for the past, oh, century, apparently Dakota Fanning is almost fifteen now. Speaking of vampires, I always kind of thought of her as a real-life Claudia from Interview With the Vampire. Now that theory is ruined, although we’d really have to test her DNA to be sure.

Second of all, funner fact: people are saying that they’re going to cast her as Jane in New Moon. Personally, I think this casting choice, if indeed it is true, which, shouldn’t this all be settled right now? Don’t they have to start shooting this movie two weeks ago if it’s supposed to come out before the end of the year? Or are we in for yet another faithful but soulless adaptation, complete with clumsy editing and a terrible soundtrack, because nobody seems even remotely capable of planning ahead and the whole thing gets rushed? At least they’ve got more money this time around, so maybe the Volturi temple of doom set will be kick ass.

What was I saying? Oh, this casting choice is dead on. I barely remember Jane, but what I do remember was that she was small and creepy and had truly terrifying mind powers–I think maybe she was able to make people feel excruciating pain they weren’t really experiencing? That’s bananas. Which leads me to a question: Aro is, like, totally power hungry and yet he and his posse of ancient bloodsucking lunatics have absolutely no desire to maybe take over the world? Why don’t vampires rule the universe, if indeed they’re so impossible to outwit or defeat? Why are they afraid of being revealed to the world by mad hoards of newborn vamps or Edward stepping into a crowded Italian piazza and *~*SPARKLING*~*?

I think about this way too much. Time to get a life.

Shout out!

I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to my very very very good friend Kim, who recently started a new blog and is looking for readers! (Yes, this is a blatant request for people to read her blog because I love her and she is awesome. So what?) Kim often talks about cooking and books and movies and television, so if that’s your thing, head on over. Like I said, she’s pretty awesome.