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Back from New York!


Spent the weekend in New York, courtesy of Dial books, who flew me up to do a little media training in prep for a book tour later in the year. (I am apparently doing a book tour this fall!) I’ve never been to NYC before, and brought Kevin along to keep me from getting lost or being eaten by wolves. (He used to live in Queens.)

It was pretty awesome. I don’t think I could live there, but still some amazing stuff to see. We went to the natural history museum (greatest thing ever!) and then the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Probably we shouldn’t have tried to do both of those in one day, as I spent the rest of the weekend with feet like hamburger, but it was still worth it!

Our hotel room was approximately the size of a shoe box and it was WHITE. White walls, white marble, white furniture, white curtains. And blue carpet, which only made everything whiter. It was a sort of 70′s vision of the future, ala Sleeper.  Great bathtub, though.

The food was amazing. (The cost of drinks was…equally amazing, although not in a good way.) We hit a couple of the required tourist spots. We went on the subway and were smooshed in crowds. Crazy people yelled obscenities at us. (I am told that this is all part of the authentic NYC experience.) We did some recreational shopping. I bought a beaver skull.

It was particularly awesome to meet my editor at long last–eight years we’ve been working together!–and my art director, who does all the Dragonbreath layouts, and the whole crew at Dial who make it all happen. (The number of people required to make a children’s book as absurdly successful as Dragonbreath will fit into a conference room with free muffins, but only barely!) I got to meet all the people in marketing who handle the Dragonbreath account and the salespeople who sell to Barnes & Noble and Amazon and the indie bookstores. A couple of Penguin VIPs even showed up to say hello and to get books signed, so that was pretty awesome too.

All in all, great trip. I’d love to go back, since there’s so much more in NYC to see, but I was glad to get home to Ben and the beagle (one of whom is sleeping and one of whom is currently clawing at a plastic bag to try and get my attention.)

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

"I bought a beaver skull."
And this is why I love your posts. You always bring the whimsy and I am damn glad of it!
Thank you.

I want to say that you've got to be the only person who goes to NYC and buys a beaver skull except ... well... you found a beaver skull to buy in NYC. So now I'm wondering - is that something that everyone does but no one talks about?

the mind boggles.

There is this nice little shop called "Evolution" just west of Broadway on the south side of Spring St. Think of them as the shop from "Oddities" with a little more class, and none of the media hype.

I almost blew the bank on a cave bear skull.

Doing NHM and The Met in the same day is totally worth it! You get dinosaurs AND arms and armor through the ages! :D And a bunch of other stuff that 12-year-old brain refuses to register as anywhere near as important...

Fall will be a perfectly fine time to be back! Long Island seafood will be doing great, and the farmer's markets will still be in force at Union Square (if you have time for such things).

And do birds in zoos count for life lists? Because, dude, Bronx Zoo. (Yes this may constitute an all-day affair, but you can totally get two of the smaller zoos [NY Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park/Brooklyn Zoo, and Queens Zoo] knocked out in a day with time to spare. :D )

Any projected dates for the tour yet?

Birds in zoos don't count unless they're not part of the zoo. Sadly. Or she's have one hell of a life list....

The beaver skull could only brighten up the decor of the hotel room. Now you have got said skull what are you going to do with it?

Hang it on the wall with the other skulls, I imagine...

All I know about the Metropolitan Museum of Art I learned from the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler...

And I thought of that when I went to use the restrooms!

Would that book tour happen to include a stop at this year's Worldcon? I noticed Sofawolf Press on the dealer room list.

Re: Somewhat off-topic

Well, I'll be at Worldcon, but as me, not as Respectable Children's Book Author. *grin*

Reading too fast ...

A couple of VIP penguins ...

Thing is, in one of your posts, this would be *normal*.

See any interesting birds?

I'm heading out next week for 48 hours in the city. My final exam in advertising is to pitch (NDA-redacted) to Edelman and one of their national clients.

If I can steal 15 minutes away, I hope to see Colleen AF Venable at First Second Press.

Oh, I hope you'll be within driving distance of Philly. The kids would plotz. (To be honest, so would I. Also, muffins.)

I recall my room at the Pickwick Arms being quite tiny, the bed was against the window and opening the door practically scraped against it.

Of course, it's cheaper to rent by the month... http://theworstroom.tumblr.com/

Pickwick Arms is now the Pod Hotel still with small rooms though very modernized. It's advantage is that it's relatively (note I said relatively) inexpensive and in a great location in midtown Manhattan.


I hope that you make it up to Boston. I'm sure that I would find the time and some friends to take you out to dinner or something.

Plenty of fine museums in Boston and environs to see. Not to mention all the tourist traps. If you are into machinery, the transportation museum is worth it. Art has the Isabella Stuart Gardner museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, conveniently located across the street from each other. The glass flowers exhibit at harvard University is mind-bogglingly amazing. At harvard medical school, in the library is the medical oddities exhibit. Not a museum per say, but it has the skull of a man who had a iron bar blown through his brain, and survived many years to tell the story. (the iron bar is there too. )
For arms and armor, the Higgens Armory Museum in Worcester has the best collection of medieval arms and armor in north america. (It is closing in december, worth the trip. ) While in Worcester, the Worcester Art Museum is also worth a visit. There is harvard Square, which is an experience by itself. A summer weekend when the weather is nice will show you all kinds of odd street performers doing, umm.. stuff. ranting street preachers, the player piano folks, jugglers, beggars and more. The oddball little shops that gave harvard square a lot of it's personality are being priced out by national chain stores with deeper pockets, but many are still around.
The MIT museum is full of techy goodness. The masonic museum is in lexington, about half an hours drive out, and has an interesting interpretation of american history.

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.”

-- Tennessee Williams

As a lifelong resident of L.A., all I can say is that Tennessee Williams can kiss my pucker. (And given his help with that classic flop "Boom!", he must have had SOME love for Hollywood excess.)

Next time you're coming this way, let me know!

The more I read your journal the more I want to be you when I grow up (whatever growing up means). Your art is beautiful, your stories are fantastical, and your blog writing is hilarious. I think someone already said you always bring the whimsy, but it's true. Ursula, can I be a whimsical self-employed artist with a relatively useless degree in anthropology too? (I seem to recall you saying you studied that in college, correct me if I'm wrong.)

Any book tour that bypasses L.A. is going to be a failure. Therefore, I look forward to seeing you here later this year. =};-3