Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Drive-In Movie & Selena Gomez Concert

Every summer, JoanMarie and I get to have our niece and nephew stay with us for a week. It rains a lot where they live, so we pack the week with activities designed to ensure they'll want to return to The Golden State year after year. We always take a trip to the waterslides and camp for a few days, but we also like to mix things up. This year, Isaiah was a big addition to the mix. Seeing him play with his cousins has been so much fun!

On their first night in town, we saw Zoo Keeper at Sunset Drive-In.

I don't know who came to the movie in a limo, but that's not a bad idea for next year!

Not to brag, but I think I'm a fairly cool uncle. Still, it's nice to impress my niece and nephew every so often. For that reason, it would've been awesome had they been in the snackbar when three readers who love Thirteen Reasons Why recognized me. Thankfully, Hannah Lee, Cassie Roach, and Kristina Roach wanted a photo. So I had proof!

Then came Day Two. We all went to the MidState Fair, where it's scorching hot every year. Isaiah even learned to use a straw for the first time to keep cool.

Why did we brave the heat? Because that night's main grandstand performer was Selena Gomez & The Scene. And this time, before the show began, Fairly Cool Uncle Jay showed off a bit and introduced Genevieve and Ellory to Ms. Gomez!

I've seen Selena several times, and JoanMarie met her last summer, but this was Isaiah's first time meeting her.

When people find out I know Selena (in case you're new here, she's playing Hannah in the Thirteen Reasons Why movie), the most common question I get asked is whether she's as sweet as she seems. And yes, she is. Her whole family is! When we found out JoanMarie was pregnant, the first bouquet of flowers we received was from them. So it was nice to finally introduce her family to the newest member of our family.

We brought even more family and friends backstage with us to meet Selena. My brother pulled out his camera and recorded Selena and me discussing Thirteen Reasons Why. Thankfully, the audio's not great, which is probably good. Universal Pictures would've been so upset because we accidentally slipped and revealed the actor who'll be playing Clay, which we're not allowed to talk about yet. So try not to listen too closely.

Just kidding! That's not the kind of info we'd divulge, not even accidentally.

Before we headed out to our seats, Ellory asked Selena for her autograph. And he wanted it in a place where everyone sitting around us would know he'd just met her.

The concert was packed, which always makes for a more enjoyable (and loud!) show.

My camera took horrible pictures of the concert itself. The clearest shot I got was of a big screen to the right of the stage. (For better pics, check our local newspaper's gallery.)

My favorite song on Selena's new CD is We Own the Night.

They also played her huge recent hit, Who Says.

And now, we're heading into the second half of the week. First up: waterslides!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Movie Talk

Last weekend, I drove down to L.A., braving what had been termed Carmageddon. A 10-mile stretch of the busiest highway in the U.S. was being temporarily closed. There were signs up and down California warning drivers to stay away from L.A. (I suppose Carmageddon is much less offensive than Stay Away From L.A.) Because so many people were afraid of the potential traffic nightmare, it turns out there wasn't one. So my drive was rather pleasent.

But even if I knew the traffic would be horrendous, I would've made the trip. I was going out to breakfast with Jennifer O'Kieffe, the screenwriter for Thirteen Reasons Why.

The first time I met Jen, she was interviewing for this screenwriting job. A bunch of us were sitting around a large table in a fancy L.A. office. Selena Gomez was seated to my left, and Jen was on my right, telling us her ideas for adapting the book.

And now she's in the middle of writing that adaptation. Our breakfast was basically a low-key opportunity for us to chat and get to know each other better. We talked about our families, movies, books, and our shared excitement for this particular project.

After breakfast, since we were so close to the park that inspired some scenes in Thirteen Reasons Why, I took Jen to Eisenhower Memorial Park. (No, I wasn't very creative in renaming that park in my book.)

There, we talked a bit about some specific scenes in the screenplay. Mostly, it was me saying things like, "That's genius," and, "I am seriously getting goosebumps now." It's odd to think that my book gave Jen goosebumps when she first read it, and now that she's in charge of Hannah and Clay, her ideas are giving me goosebumps.

Of course, that's why we wanted her!

And when the movie comes out, I thought of something that'd be fun to see at the very beginning. Have you noticed that some studios tweak their logos for certain movies? I love it when they do that!

So here's my idea...

Cool, right?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


In May, Carolyn Mackler and I were shown several cover proposals for The Future of Us. It was fun to see the different interpretations different designers had for this book. But one cover immediately stood out as the favorite for everyone involved. With the binary code overlay, the coloring, the font, and character-specific details, we love it!

Thank you, Emily Osborne, for a great cover!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Very Yummy Book

When Carolyn Mackler and I first began writing The Future of Us, not even our agents knew about it. We didn't tell anyone until we were certain the collaboration was going to work. When we finished writing the book and began editing it, we still told very few people. It was our fun little secret! But since I live in California and Carolyn lives in New York (and since I focus best at night), I often pulled all-nighters to get my chunk o' writing emailed to Carolyn before she woke up. Sometimes I would work until 3:30 in the morning, send it off, and then Carolyn would wake up and begin working on it within 30 minutes, just as I went to bed.

When I write that late at night (or early in the morning), I can't work at home or I'll fall asleep. The only places still open at those hours, though, were either Denny's or SLO Donut Company. That donut shop has some very creative and yummy donuts, and I often posted photos of them to my Facebook page moments before devouring them. Not being able to talk about what I was working on, most of my friends thought I simply got unhealthy cravings in the middle of the night.

Well, now you know the truth. I was working! (And I was using the excuse of working to satisfy my unhealthy middle-of-the-night cravings.)

For those of you not on Facebook, here's a sampling of what got me through writing and editing this book:

Oreo donuts, Cap'n Crunch donuts (with Crunch Berries)...

...s'mores donuts...

...Cocoa Puffs donuts...

...jelly donuts...

...Fruity Pebbles donuts...

...peanutbutter donuts...

Lucky Charms donuts (usually with many more marshmallows than this)...

and one bacon donut (could never bring myself to sample more than one of these).

And after downing all those donuts, that is when I found out Entertainment Weekly wanted to do a photoshoot.

Of course!

But the book is all done now and the donuts have become a rarity again. And now, finally, Carolyn and I can talk about it!

Friday, July 01, 2011