“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember
Crazy Week in New York
November 20, 2010
Originally written in November 2010 by Colleen Houck
Hello Everybody,I just got back from my prepublication tour. Some of you have wondered what that is so I’ll tell you. It’s an opportunity for me to meet with librarians, bookstore owners, and events coordinators before an actual tour happens. We can plan fun events together and they can get to know me a little bit before the frenzy of a tour. A local picks me up at the airport, drives me to different venues, makes introductions, and gives me advice on what’s going on in the local book world. This person is called a Media Escort or, sometimes, a Literary Escort. They keep the tour running on schedule, take pictures, and make sure I eat something. I think that would be a fun job. I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and here is part three, the finale of my New York blog.
Friday, October 15th
I had a breakfast meeting at the Maialino restaurant. When you walk in, you can actually taste the butter in the air. I had Ricotta pancakes with plum compote and maple syrup and we shared cream filled doughnuts, candied ginger scones, and flaky chocolate croissants. If you ever find ricotta pancakes on the menu, try them. They’re like cheesecake pancakes. At breakfast I met the Author Events Coordinator for Barnes & Noble and had my two new friends, Derry and Shimul with me. I asked lots of questions about the book signing tours and how they would choose which stores I would be going to.
Next, we went back to my hotel, picked up my mom and my husband, dad opted to stay in the hotel room and read, and met a new friend named Frank who is a sales rep in New York City. His job is fascinating. He said he loved Tiger’s Curse but since he’s a guy I tested him. “What’s your favorite part?” I asked. “The jump in the Cave of Kanheri over the chasm,” he replied smoothly. So it’s official. There is at least one guy out there who likes my book.
We went around to some of the big bookstores in NYC, The Bank Street Bookstore, Books of Wonder, and McNally Jackson Books. Each place is amazing and has its charms. The Bank Street store is a children’s dream and it’s full of products for teachers too on the upper floor. It has a really lovely polished wooden staircase and the owner is passionate about independent bookstores remaining community fixtures. In Books of Wonder they specialize in carrying autographed copies and have lots of book signings. Very fun store to browse and the bonus feature is they have an indoor cupcake shop where you can order hot cider and hot chocolate with your muffin or cupcake. At McNally’s we got the most wonderful reception in the Young Adult section and talked for a long time about favorite YA authors. Very knowledgeable staff there.
After our visits, we said goodbye to our new Sterling friends and met up with Raffi and his girlfriend for dinner at an Italian restaurant. Raffi had to get the craziest thing on the menu which was giant calamari. Seriously, I’ve never seen them that big. I think it must have been Kraken calamari and it wasn’t fried either so I could picture the Kraken in all its rubbery glory. Fortunately that was just the appetizer and we had a delicious meal then he had a surprise for us and took us to Max Brenner’s chocolate restaurant. The official name is Max Brenner-Chocolate by the Bald Man and to say by entering you’ve died and gone to heaven is probably not giving the place enough credit.
I’ve read an article about the place that says if you are a single man in your 30’s and your date is going well, you probably take your date here for dessert. Raffi must have thought his date was going really well to take all four of us and his girlfriend. Somehow with an hour wait and no reservation he was able to get us a table within five minutes. Now I don’t know if he slipped the hostess some cash or if the role of Kelsey has been filled now, but that’s a man with some skills.
We ordered chocolate crepes, lava cakes, spicy hot chocolate, a giant chocolate and peanut butter pizza, s’mores sundaes, and the chocolate tasting platter which included a banana split waffle, chocolate sponge cake, a chocolate egg roll, which was spicy, chocolate wafer balls with chocolate sauce and a chocolate fondue with fruit and marshmallows you could toast over your own personal tiny flame. Seriously read the menu and tell me why this place isn’t franchised all over the United States. It’s just not fair!
After the taxi driver used the jaws of life to pry our plumped bodies from his cab and rolled us in the direction of our bell boy, he drove off and left us to stumble to our rooms moaning about chocolate overload. Raffi said that he had picked the place with mom in mind and she was very impressed. Guess who gets an invite to Thanksgiving dinner this year. Move over, son. Raffi’s my new favorite. We had a great time with him and his girlfriend who we found delightful. Saturday, October 16th
This was my day off. A photo shoot had been scheduled but the photographer couldn’t make it so I got the day off and spent most of it with my mom. We headed to Times Square and went shopping for all her friends at work and browsed all the cool stores, saw the New Year’s Eve Ball and Times Square Historical Museum, shopped the M&M store which we could easily have spent another hour in, then we went to see The Lion King and had a fabulous time there. That is one amazing show and another one that gives me goose bumps when the music starts. The costumes were fantastic and the actors were fabulous. Our husbands met us outside the theater and we went to Central Park and took a buggy ride through the park with a charming driver. We had our last dinner near our hotel and asked if they happened to have cheesecake. They did. It was light and lovely and delicious. We checked off that last item on our list and retired early.
Sunday, October 17th
A driver picked us up and took us back to the Newark, NJ airport. The streets were dead quiet. It was eerie almost like in the Will Smith movie I Am Legend. The driver said, “Of course. It’s Sunday.” After all the noise and waking up to multiple honking cars and garbage trucks beeping as they picked up their loads, the silence was a little strange. The flight was nice and I ended up watching Avatar on my laptop and finishing a book.
That’s it for my crazy week in NYC. Now I have to go step on the scale and assess the damage. =) Colleen
My name is Suki and I am married to Colleen's youngest brother and have one daughter and two cats. It's exciting to get to work with Colleen and see all the fun "behind the scenes" stuff. I love to sew, crochet, and paint the walls of my home. I love to dabble in nearly everything much to the dismay of my husband. I just began to learn wushu with running and strength training completing my weekly workouts. My known favorites are... color: turquoise... genre: fantasy... author: Robin McKinley... food: chicken lettuce wraps from our favorite Chinese restaurant here, Molly Woo's (good thing I can replicate them at home!)... place to live: Oregon... season: spring and Christmas. My dislikes include spiders, wasps, ticks (okay yes, bugs in general), sweat, caramel, roller coasters and trampolines (for the same reason), and being late.