Logistics of New Visions due to Hurricane Sandy

I have just weathered the hurricane in relative style—thankfully, my neighborhood came out relatively unscathed compared to other places. I still have power and internet (mostly, though some flickers), and I live on high ground. A friend and I just took a walk around the neighborhood, and the worst most of us got here were some downed trees and branches and some business canopies half-torn off. Down by the river, it’s still high, but thankfully in this neighborhood there’s not much down by the river except a park.

Further downtown it’s not such a bright tale, especially down by the waterfront here in Manhattan and in Brooklyn and Queens, and particularly over in New Jersey, which seemed to have gotten the brunt of it. From the press conference I just saw with Greg Christie, it’s going to be a while for New Jersey to really recover from this. The word “unprecedented” keeps coming up—this was a storm like no other on record in this area. It looked like a Cat 1, but the winds and the storm surge acted more like a Cat 3 or 4, from what I hear.

What that means for the New Visions contest, since I’ve gotten a lot of worried emails in the last couple of days from people worried about their entry either being received on time, or people in the path of the storm who haven’t been able to get out to mail their entries:

The deadline is a postmark deadline of Oct. 31, not a receipt deadline. So as long as you’re able to mail your entry by tomorrow, you’ll be fine.

However, particularly for those in the path of the storm, I understand that you’ve got a lot more on your mind right now than writing, and we don’t know when full services like the subway and the post offices will be back to normal. For today, I’m just going to encourage those of you who can to mail your entries by tomorrow. Tomorrow we’ll probably know a lot more about the assessments of damage and timelines and such, and I’ll know whether I can even get in to the office this week. So tomorrow once we know a little more, I’ll announce if we might be able to allow a small extension, particularly for those in the path of the storm, in the greater New York/New Jersey area particularly. I don’t know yet, but I wanted to reassure you that we understand and sympathize, as we’re dealing with this storm as well.

For now, if you can make it to the post office by tomorrow, just go ahead and send your entry that way. No need for any special delivery services like FedEx or UPS—in this situation, it will be *harder* for them because they don’t know when they’ll be able to get back into New York City, so from what I understand they’re not taking packages. The post office will go ahead and take your package, and they will deliver it when they can. As long as the postmark is Oct. 31 or earlier, you’re fine.

Thanks for your patience as we figure out what’s going on in the aftermath of this storm.


Street fair youth fundraiser

I’m going to be out of town at NESCBWI this weekend, which means that I’m going to miss the street fair they do every year on the Upper East Side to raise money for the young women and young men in my church here in New York. The funds raised from the tag sale and carnival will go toward paying for summer camp and other activities throughout the year for the kids whose parents can’t afford it. The kids involved are from all over Manhattan, from the Financial District to Chinatown to Harlem to Inwood. Some of them won’t be able to afford to go to camp—and to experience their first time away from home in a “nature” environment—without help from these funds, and they get to provide a service to the community through their street fair booths to earn it. I didn’t make it down there last year, but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun.

If you’re in New York this weekend, you should drop by. The girls from my congregation will be running the face-painting booth, and I believe that my previous congregation from Harlem are in charge of manicures again this year. Someone’s going to be making homemade tortillas, too, which I think I’ll miss the most! There’s also a huge tag sale, for which they specifically asked for new or gently used professional clothes (so it might be a great place to get a deal on work clothes), books, and household items.

They’re also looking for volunteers, so if you feel like getting involved, there’s a contact email below.

Here’s the announcement:

Saturday, May 14 ยท 10:00am – 4:00pm, East 87th Street (btwn 2nd and 3rd). Annual fundraiser for the NY, NY Stake Youth. We had over 3,000 from the community attend last year, so we can always use extra volunteers . . . but please just come and enjoy! Video from last year’s event: http://vimeo.com/22496078

This year includes:

– Tag sale (donations still accepted at each LDS church), BBQ, Live music, Bake sale, Art show, Carnival-style booths, Provident Living Fair, Shaved Ice/cotton candy, Homemade tortillas

We need:

Volunteers (either the day of, or before), People to share/promote the event on blogs/social networks/etc, and Tag sale items (you can drop off at any chapel as each has a designated room)

Please contact Mike Matthews with any questions or ways you can help: michaeltmatthews AT gmail.com OR Jay Salmon jaysalmon at gmail.com, Erik Orton erikorton AT earthlink.net or Andrea Homer-Macdonald homermacdonald AT gmail.com with any questions or help you can provide.

Can you believe it’s been two months?

Spring is in the air. It’s been raining for the last several days, but it seems to be clearing up.

While there hasn’t been much to post about, I’ve been quite busy behind the scenes. The nice thing about starting a new imprint is the lack of interruption. I can read and read and read without worrying about copyedits, covers, marketing meetings, and other interruptions. However, that also means my day looks the same day in and day out for right now, which is rather boring for blog consumption. And sometimes you like your day being a bit broken up. It’s great to have all this time to read, but it’s also nice to have books in various stages, allowing you to switch up your day when one thing becomes too fatiguing.

So my days have mostly been read manuscript, write editorial letter, rinse, repeat. I’m slowly working my way through full manuscripts that I’ve requested, reading new partials, and hopefully working toward those first acquisitions. (By the way, if you haven’t heard back from me and have been wondering why, you’ll want to know that Lee & Low’s company policy is to only respond to submissions if we’re interested. I’m afraid the volume of submissions is such that it’s the only way to keep the workload manageable.)

Edited to add: Here’s a great illustration of what my days tend to look like to an outsider!

I also find it easier to post quick thoughts on Twitter rather than putting together full blog posts nowadays. I’ll continue to blog—and once we have acquired a book or two, I’ll definitely want to talk about them more in depth!—but if you want to have more frequent updates, you’re welcome to follow me on Twitter. I’m more likely to share publishing-related links there, because that’s where I often find them (and it’s quicker to retweet something in 140 characters or fewer via Tweetdeck than it is to go to the blog, sign in, click “new post,” figure out what commentary I might have on it, figure out what category it might fall under, and post a blog post). Of course, I might want to do that for a number of things, but posts that were link-heavy have mostly migrated to the Twitter form, at least for me.

Speaking of reading and reading, I just finished reading an awesome manuscript and needed a rest, but now it’s time to dive back into the piles of paper on my desk. Or back into the Sony Reader (which I should post about at some point—that’s something new for me that I haven’t mentioned here!), depending on which book I’m going to read next. I need to let my thoughts percolate a little while before diving into my notes for the previous book.

How are things in your neck of the woods? I haven’t been on LJ lately to read friends’ posts and I forget to read my RSS feeds often, so I’m afraid I’m quite behind on everyone’s doings! It’s hard to believe I’ve been in New York two months already, and it’s made me realize how tunnel-visioned I’ve been lately. But it’s been a good tunnel vision—I’ve had some really awesome books to read lately.

Books for NYC Schools, School Library Month, and kimbap

Dropped in on the Books for NYC Schools event to see Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier read. But the trains were running late, so I missed their part of the reading, and forgot my copies of Leviathan and How to Ditch Your Fairy at work, so I pretty much listened to Bennet Madison and Cecily von Ziegesar’s part of the reading–and I’m so glad I did, because I haven’t read their books and really enjoyed hearing their work–and said hi to Scott & Justine, just getting my copy of Specials signed because that was the only one I had at home. But I was able to donate several books to the event, which was the most important thing. I love that they did this, and it looks like it’s an ongoing non-profit project sponsored by ReadThis and The Center for Fiction, so you might be able to find ways of helping out even with the event over.

Even if you can’t help NYC schools, remember that most school libraries are suffering right now because of local and state budget shortfalls. April is School Library Month, and there’s a lot you can do in your own neighborhood, city, and county to get involved and make sure that kids in your own area have the tools they need to get a good education. A huge part of that education is access to a library–and librarians to staff those libraries. Laurie Halse Anderson is this year’s spokesperson and she has a video over on her site talking about why school libraries in particular are important. Pull quote:

On the fact that math scores are up across the country, but reading scores are not: “We haven’t asked parents to volunteer to teach our algebra classes… we haven’t fired math teachers and let kids to figure it out on the Internet, but we’ve closed libraries and fired librarians, who are the central figure of literacy in any school.”

After that, I was on to run a few errands near work that I forgot to do yesterday evening, which put me in the neighborhood of a kimbap cafe across the street from the Asian market I needed to pick a few things up from. I saw it yesterday on my way back to the office from picking up japchae at a Korean restaurant on the same street, but it didn’t register until I got back to the office. I love kimbap–but it takes forever for me to make it just for me, and I always end up with too much. So just over $5 for a roll all for myself? YUM.

New York, New York

I’ve been meaning to post pictures to Facebook of all the things I’ve been up to lately (including pictures of my CUTE nephews from my visit as I drove through on my way to New York), but I can’t seem to find my sync cord for my camera to my home computer. I was able to upload the pictures to my work computer via a borrowed card reader, which means I can now put them on my jump drive and take them home, but I keep forgetting to.

So, while I kill an hour before meeting a friend for dinner—not enough time to go all the way home to Harlem—I thought I’d post a few pictures that I’ve taken around the city and on my way here. It’s been too long since I shared my photography (too long since I took pictures on a regular basis!). I found pictures from LTUE in February that I’ve been meaning to post for about a month or so, as well. But I’ll do those in a separate post, because I have enough from New York to fill one post.

Some pictures of a recent trip to New York before I moved. Apparently I forgot to get the camera out except for at the top of the Empire State Building—my first time up there despite many trips to NYC by that time.

View of the Chrystler Building and the Queensboro Bridge (I think)
View of the Chrystler Building and the Queensboro Bridge (I think)

View of southern Manhattan, with the Statue of Liberty just barely seen silhoutted in the distance.
View of southern Manhattan, with the Statue of Liberty just barely seen silhoutted in the distance.
The Flatiron Building and just a little bit of Madison Square Park. I work about 3 or 4 blocks north of here, and on nice days it's nice to go down to the park at lunchtime.
The Flatiron Building and just a little bit of Madison Square Park. I work about 3 or 4 blocks north of here, and on nice days it's nice to go down to the park at lunchtime.
Me, at the top of the Empire State Building
Me, at the top of the Empire State Building

A dizzying view of the streets of NYC from the top of the Empire State Bldg.
A dizzying view of the streets of NYC from the top of the Empire State Bldg.

The fashion report, New York, and cameras

I’m sitting in my friend’s New York apartment having just finished a rousing discussion on each of our personal existential crises. There’s always something that makes you think, "What do I *really* want to do when I grow up?" isn’t there? As things change, you have to adjust, and there’s always some negotiation as you figure out how you fit in the bigger plan.

Also, I’m making chocolate chip cookies.

And finishing a critique (you know who you are! almost done!).

I was going to spend the afternoon at a museum or something, but it’s rainy and slushy out, and I decided it was time to just sit and not be running around. Plus, the heel part of the sole came separated from the leather one of my shoes as I was taking it off last night. Random. But I th
ink it’s fixable. I just need to find a good shoe repair place at home. They’re much less common in Orem than they are in bigger cities.

So as I was heading back to my friend’s house from a quick visit to Alvina’s office this morning, I stopped by at a Payless and found a cute pair of boots on sale, which makes me happy because I’ve been looking for boots. The shoes that broke are Mary Janes–cute, but impractical even if you’re just running through the snow from the car to the house and vice versa, and even more so while running around New York in the slush.

But obviously they’re new boots, and they have a little bit of a heel, so they need some breaking in to be comfortable for everyday wear. It was either them or a pair of flat white suede boots with really weird leather fringe trim, and that was just not happening.

But I’m happy to have some cute boots before I head up to Vermont, even if it’s not the most practical thing to have un-worn-in boots, because they’re calling for snow and I think I want to go out on the snowy trails. I wonder if there’s snowshoe rentals up there? I had a great time earlier this month going snowshoeing with my friend in Utah. I don’t believe I ever shared anything about it on this blog at the time, because I was still trying to figure out how to get the pictures off my phone. Well, here you go:

Yes, that is me falling over. It happened several times. Have you ever tried standing up again from snowshoes in five feet of snow? That tree behind me? It’s the top limbs of the tree I fell in. It’s normally at least 10 feet tall.

But that won’t stop me from going again. It was a great workout–very invigorating. When I wasn’t feeling how impossible it was to get back up from falling.

Also, while I’m at it, a fun shot I took with my cell phone at the Salt Lake Library. Boy, do I miss my good SLR! But it’s fun to get some nice shots out of a little 2 MP camera.

If you ever get a chance to see the Salt Lake Library (the downtown branch), definitely check it out, by the way–it’s gorgeous.

I just found a great point-and-shoot camera (Sony Cybershot, 8.1 MP), so at least I’ll be able to get my snapshot fix while I work on replacing the good camera (and actually, the shoe and cookie shots are made with that camera). But I’m still sad and going through photography withdrawal.