The Friday Five!

1. Hi there.

Okay, so I’m home, after that blur/whirlwind that was the week long paperback tour for WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE. Good gracious. I had no idea how tired I was until I hit my own bed, and I’ve done pretty much nothing since but stay there and plan when I can get back in it when I DO actually have to get up. What a great trip, though. I mean, there were the crazy wake-up calls (one night, in Seatttle, I went to bed at 10pm and had to get up at 2:30am, whoa) and some running for planes (I was SO glad I finally started wearing flats when traveling) and more turkey sandwiches/wraps than I can count (they are my go-to when traveling, as they are at every airport/hotel and hard to mess up). But there were also SO many great and enthusiastic readers, people who waited in line and brought me potato chips and sweet letters and just made every bit of the trip so amazing. I have said it before: I have the BEST readers. You guys rock.

2. Last week’s Five I wrote in the car going from Chicago to my hotel in Naperville, IL. This one, I am back at my satellite office, i.e. the fellowship hall of the church where my kid goes to preschool. After my event at Anderson’s in Naperville (which was FANTASTIC, even if it was actually—gulp—snowing when we left, what the heck?) we headed off to sunny CA to an event in Huntington Beach. This one was especially cool because my brother, sister-in-law and nephew were in attendance, and I’d been gone long enough to be SO happy to see some more family. I had a great crowd, so many amazing girls, as well as a few boys. One was Alex, who patiently attended with his girlfriend and some other friends and toted their books:

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Also in Huntington Beach, I finally got to meet the fabulous Jessi Kirby, fellow YA author (MOONGLASS, and soon to come, GOLDEN). We share both an agent and a love of wine and potato chips, and she brought me an AWESOME care package, which I pretty much scarfed down as soon as I got back to the hotel. I love meeting  Twitter friends in person!

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3. Then from HB it was off to LA for the LA Times Festival of Books. I LOVE this festival, as it is so fun AND a great place to scope out celebrities (which regular readers of this blog KNOW I love to do). I was keeping my eyes peeled, to put it mildly. Right after I arrived in the greenroom, I saw Maria Semple, author of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, a book I read recently and loved SO much I’ve basically become a zealot about it. I did not want to embarrass myself…but I had to go up and gush. So I did. Was not bold enough to ask for a picture, so you’ll just have to imagine me all flushed and stammering. I’m sure it’s not that hard to do. Also spotted in the greenroom: Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding AND—wait for it—Molly Ringwald. I pretty much died when she walked behind me, with one of her little boys in tow. Later I ended up in the bathroom at the same time they were there and I complimented him on his shoes. He was very polite. I was pretty much dying. I mean, MOLLY FREAKING RINGWALD? Whoa. I was MOST excited, however, about finally meeting The Fug Girls, Heather and Jessica. If you’re a fan of their site, Go Fug Yourself, you know how truly awesome and funny they are. We’ve been Twitter friends for ages, but again, it was AMAZING to meet in person. Although I was a little nervous about what I was wearing:

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That’s author Abby McDonald on the left, and the Fugs on my other side. SO FUN!

I had a great panel with some awesome fellow YA writers, then went off to two signings in a row. When I was done, I had to bid farwell to my publicist Elyse, who had been traveling with me from Chapel Hill onward. It was hard! She’d been my partner in crime (and turkey sandwiches)!

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I’m beginning to realize how tired I look in a lot of these pictures. Haggard is another word that comes to mind. Oh, well.

Before I left LA, I HAD to make one more stop. I’d heard the hype, and wasn’t sure it would live up to it. But I was NOT disappointed:

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Yes, friends, I finally got to try In-N-Out. It was AMAZING. I had a cheeseburger, animal style, and wolfed the entire thing down in about two seconds. Pure bliss. Hooray!

4. From LA it was onto Seattle, where I did a great school visit and met some of John Green’s biggest fans. Literally: when I mentioned his name, they gasped, audibly. Luckily, they liked me, as well (and I kind of envied their uniforms, in all honesty):

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I had a little bit of time to walk around downtown Seattle (and had an amazing apple from the Pike Place Market, delicious) then it was off to an evening signing at Third Place Books, where I had two readers show up in the coolest t-shirts ever:

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I think I need one of each. Just saying.

5. The next day was my 2:30 am wakeup call, then a flight to Austin via Phoenix. When I landed in Texas, I headed to my last school visit. I’d like to just say this: everyone should, at some point in their lives, be greeted with a sign like this one:

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I did a great meet-and-greet with a small group (there was ice cream!) and got some awesome questions. Again, envying the uniforms:

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Then it was off to speak to a bigger group, and by big, I mean HUGE. I had to use my panorama function to really do it justice (and you can see my fab Penguin rep, Jill, in the corner);

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From the school, I had a bit of downtime, then headed to Austin’s famous BookPeople for my last signing. I have no pictures, but only because I was too tired to even work the camera function on my phone. Take my word for it: it was GREAT. And then I was done! I had planned to go out in Austin for a celebratory margarita and some Tex-Mex, but instead I went back to my hotel, ate a turkey wrap and fell asleep with the TV on. Ah, so glamorous.

The next day, I headed HOME, via Atlanta. As I got closer and closer, I could barely stand the fact that I’d be seeing my family again so soon. Sitting in Chapel Hill rush hour traffic about ten miles from my house, my husband sent me this picture, proving I was not the only one waiting:

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She’s pretty much not let me out of her sight since. I feel the same way, though.

And there you have it! I know I am forgetting names and some places, but forgive me: as I said, I am TIRED. Hard to believe I’ll be doing another week in June. I think I should start banking sleep, like, yesterday. Better get on that.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made me feel at home, even when I was so far from what I know. You guys are the best. Have a great weekend, everyone!