Tag Archives: New York

Magic Laptops and Traveling Suitcases

Two of my favorite things

Not long ago I was thinking about favorite things and I wondered what mine are. It took a lot of mulling it over before I realized mine are a little unusual. Set aside all the memorabilia like family photos and keepsakes, of which I have too many, and it boils down to two things.

My laptop. Seriously. I love my laptop. I grew up before it was common for every college student, let alone member of a household to have a laptop, cell phone or tablet. Buying my first laptop was like a decadent splurge that left me giddy.My laptop

I’m on my second laptop now and I love it. No one else in the family is allowed to touch it as it’s my “work”, but it’s also where I create new worlds and characters that I fall in love with. I’ve traveled to distant places on this machine, experienced euphoria and tragedy as my characters find their way in life.

My laptop is so precious that I hide it when I have to leave town. Yup. Silly, I know, but if my house were ever robbed, I’d be devastated to lose it.


My suitcase is the second super favorite thing on my list. It’s purple and becoming quite worn over the past ten years. My suitcase represents travel, new experiences, and fun! Saying I love to travel is an understatement.Ah, a purple suitcase!

This coveted suitcase has traveled to Europe as I wrote Royally Lost, it’s been to writing conferences in New Orleans, New York, and LA. It’s joined me at book signings in Minneapolis, Orlando, and Las Vegas. It’s vacationed in Whistler, Charleston, Alaska, and New York. Have I mentioned how much I love New York more than probably any other place? But that’s another story. I love to travel and my purple suitcase has been with me every step of the way.

What are some of your favorite things?

New York City, Harper Collins, and my Aching Feet – Day 2

I’m tired. That sums it all up. Navigating this city, facing the big scary subway and walking for miles when my feet are used to being up is exhausting.

My day started with a visit to my publisher, HarperCollins. What an entrance!


I met an amazing team of women who are all working hard to get my books out. One might think it would be intimidating to sit in a meeting with seven publishing professionals, but not for me. Nope. I start blabbing about my near death experience on the subway, facing my first rat and they knew I was one tough cookie. Okay, maybe they figured out that I was a total fruit loop. Anyway, they laughed. I hope it was with me and not at me, but one never knows for sure.

And for those of you wondering where my next book is, I found it! Ta da! I think it needs a little more work before it hits the shelves.

Harper book

After I left the hardworking HarperCollins ladies behind I snuck into a restroom, changed out of my dress and heels, and into jeans and sport sandals. Problem is, my fancy shoes had rubbed my heel raw, so I readjusted the sandal strap so I was walking on it. That was fine for the first half mile, but after that my whole foot hurt and it was only 2 pm. I gimped through my tour of the majestic New York Public Library and then the ten blocks to the TKTS line to buy tickets for another show.

The ticket line was long, how long? How about two hours long! On my sore aching feet. But a bit of a miracle happened while I was in that line. A friend found me. And not just any friend. A fabulous woman from Australia, who I  know from a Facebook group, and had never met in person, author Karly Blakemore-Mowle. We knew we’d both be in the city at the same time, but what are the odds that we actually found each other and in Times Square!

Karly & me

After a nice visit and a great show,

Jersey Boys

I hopped in a cab for a quick roller coaster ride back to my rent a room. But there’s one little thing about cabs. They want the address you’re going to. Hmm, kind of forgot that. I’m renting a room, not staying a hotel. I knew it was 27th Avenue and 6th Street. Or is it 6th Avenue and 27th Street? Which was the avenue and which was the street? I told him to drive south, but he didn’t seem happy about it. It’s on the corner by a Starbucks. Gee, that didn’t help either.


After a quick call to my lovely hostess, I was able to give him an exact address and poof I’m back. With my feet up!

New York and Pushing My Edges – Day 1

When I planned this trip, I thought I’d find a great deal on a hotel through Priceline.com, but nope. I picked one of the busiest weeks in NYC. Apparently there some huge U.N. thing going on. So, in my first act of pushing my edges and living outside my comfort zone, I booked a room in someone’s apartment. Yup. Sounds crazy. I agree. But a crazy friend of mine suggested it, (ahem, Killian McRae) and I checked it out.

So after waking at 4 am I landed on the doorstep of a lovely young Russian woman. At least I think she’s Russian, based on the books on her bookshelf that I can’t begin to decipher. She has a gorgeous apartment in midtown and the view from the rooftop is spectacular!

NY skyline

After debating whether to walk or cab to my lunch meeting with my agent, I opted for the ease of a cab. Heck, I was wearing a dress with a spanxy kind of slip underneath and a pair of low heels. Both these items are foreign to me. My normal attire consists of faded brown capri pants and whatever t-shirt my hands land on first. Anyway, my agent, Jane Dystel, was fabulous as were her colleagues who joined us. I truly believe I hit the jackpot with Jane and her team.

When our lunch was over, I snuck over to Union Square where an outdoor farmers’ market was going on and slipped  sport sandals out of my over-sized handbag. It didn’t look classy, but I could walk comfortably. Except that my spanxy slip kept riding up my legs and threatened to hike up my hips. I was continually scooching it down on my mile plus walk back to my rented room at the apartment.

After a well deserved nap and a short wait in the TKTS line, I scored a ticket to Pippin! When I watched the Tony’s I was mesmerized by the lead guy’s voice. OMG! Seriously, this guy has stage presence and a voice that melts, well, anything. The show was amazing, unique and different than anything I’d seen. It’s definitely in the “I recommend it” file.

Now the big dilema. It’s 11:00 pm in New York City and I’m on 45th Street. I need to get to 28th Street. I’m feeling kind of cheap after two cab rides in one day already. So I ask three of New  York’s finest if I’m safe to face the terror of the big city subway. While they wouldn’t guarantee  that I’d live, they assured me it was generally as safe as crossing a city street. Again. I’m in New York City! Hello! People! Let me catch you up.

My first half dozen experiences in NYC while wonderful, happened long ago when the city wasn’t like walking into Disney land. While my friends and I never had a mishap, I saw more than my share of drug dealers, pimps, homeless people, and prostitutes. That was a very long time ago, but I have been scarred for life.

Well, tonight I took those cops advice and decided to follow the crowds to the subway station and push the edges of my comfort zone. Boy did I ever. I already had my Metro card and I didn’t embarrass myself sliding it through the slot. I smoothly entered the subway car and sat down only to look up and realize that I was on a line that didn’t stop at 28th street, my stop. Oh shit!

It’s after 11 pm and I’ll have to walk seven blocks alone in the big scary city by myself! So I get off at the next stop and decide not to panic. I realize that I can wait for the next subway train and  it’ll stop at 28th. Great. There are a couple other women waiting, so I feel sort of safe. Then I look across the track and see a sign taped to the wall about treating for rats in the subway. Ha! Isn’t that funny? You always hear about rats in New York, but thank God they don’t exist. Thank god they treated to get rid of them.

Rat sign NYC

But as I stood waiting that long ten minutes for the next subway train, I glanced down, and A RAT SCURRIED DOWN THE TRACKS!!!!! O.M.G.!!!!! I really did want to run the last seven blocks to my cute little room with the pretty view in some lovely Russian woman’s home. But I didn’t. Because I figured in the subway, they might stay down by the tracks, but up on the street they might run out in front of me. Eek!

Long story short. I lived. No one mugged or killed me. I am safe in my bed listening to the traffic, horns and sirens out my window and hoping I don’t dream of rats.

I love New York.

I ♥ NY

I heart NY

Next week I’ll be traveling to New York City to meet with my agent one day and with my team at HarperCollins on the next. I’m so excited as I’ve been working with people I’ve never met and I always feel that knowing someone in person is best.

New York City is one of my favorite places. When I was seventeen I spent a summer with my friend Sue who lived nearby in Parsippany, New Jersey. Her mom took us to the city several times that summer and more specifically to Broadway.

Sue, a girl from the show, and me!

Sue, a girl from the show, and me!

My first Broadway shows that summer were A Chorus Line and 42nd Street. After the shows we raced to the stage door like Midwest fan girls, took pictures and begged for autographs. It remains a favorite memory.

42nd Street playbill

Over the years I occasionally dig those programs out and take a peek. While I haven’t saved all my programs, here is a lovely selection. Even though there are duplicate programs, they are all from separate viewings.


Clearly, I love Broadway shows. I’ve compiled a list of the shows I’ve seen. At least the ones I remember. These shows were all either on Broadway or Broadway touring casts in Chicago or Madison.

  • 42nd Street (Starring Jerry Orbach, he’s known as the dad in Dirty Dancing)
  • A Chorus Line
  • Annie
  • Avenue Q
  • Book of Mormon
  • book of morman
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Cats
  • Death Trap
  • Evita
  • Godspell (Starring Hunter Parrish! And Telly Leung)

    Me after waiting in the cold 30 minutes & Hunter Parrish

    Me after waiting in the cold 30 minutes & Hunter Parrish

  • Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (Eric McCormack, James Earl Jones, Candice Bergen, John Larroquette and Angela Landsbury)
  • Guys and Dolls (Starring Nathan Lane, Peter Gallagher and Faith Prince)
  • How to Success in Business (Starring Daniel Radcliff and John Larroquette)
  • Jersey Boys
  • Jesus Christ Super Star
  • Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat (Starring Donny Osmond)
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman
  • Les Miserables
  • Lion King
  • Mama Mia
  • Mary Poppins
  • Miss Saigon
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Priscilla Queen of the Desert
  • Rent (Starring TV Carpio, Frenchie Davis & Telly Leung)
  • Rock of Ages (Love this show!!)
  • Rock of Ages
  • Spamalot
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • Wicked (Ana Gasteyer from SNL fame, Telly Leung)

I love to try to figure out if I’ve seen the same actors in lots of shows. Turns out I’ve seen John Larroquette in two shows and Telly Leung in three. I saw Telly as Boc in Wicked – Chicago, in Rent, and in Godspell. Telly has also appeared on Glee.

So what do I want to see when I go to NY? Everything! Actually I’d love to see Pippin, Newsies and maybe Once. Repeats I’d like to see? Definitely Rock of Ages.