Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Longing for summer

OK. I'm over it. I'm sooo over it.

I'm over the fur-lined boots and the down coats and
the fuzzy hats and the New York City slush. I'm over everyone sneezing on the subway and me shivering under my covers at night.

Around this time of year, I always start to lose my patience with winter. And March is simply cruel -- there's hardly any relief there. Last year, I went to LA at the end of March, and the year before that, to Paris, but this year I won't be traveling anywhere because I have a tight-tight deadline to finish my latest novel for Scholastic (just titled!The Year My Sister Got Lucky. Cover to be posted soon).

So all I can do now is dream of summer. Sultry mornings and iced lattes and flip-flops and the hum of air conditioners. Last summer, I took a trip with my sister, her husband, his brother, and their baby to a small lakeside town in upstate New York. That's me, by the pool, with my nephew (can you tell I'm obsessed? I posted another picture of him once before!). I remember feeling so carefree that day, with no writing to crank out, no heavy scarf to wrap around my neck, just the question of what chilled white wine to pair with dinner that night.

Since last summer was all about the lake, I'm thinking I want this coming summer to be a beachy one. The Hamptons are such a scene, but Montauk is quite lovely. Of course, I should be writing now, but a little long-term vacation planning never hurt anyone... :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Buona Sera from Rome!

This is being posted from my hotel in Rome. Talk about a romantic city--I just got back from an incredibly relaxing long evening sitting in a piazza listening to a street musician, sipping wine, eating home made spaghetti, and watching the ultra-chic Italians walk by. I wish I could stay forever.

It's amazing how beautifully European women dress. There's a sense of style here that blows me away. It's not like they're all bopping down the via this or via that in Versaci or Fendi or anything. It's more the accessories--a scarf here, a leather bag there, a gorgeous pair of earrings--that separates them from a mere fashion mortal like myself. (Of course the guide book, camera, and black diesel sneakers are also a dead giveaway that an American is in their midst).

I hereby vow to accessorize more when I return home--it'll be my way of beautifying the streets of New York.

Arrivederci for now!



Thursday, February 22, 2007


To celebrate the release of my new romantic comedy, PROM CRASHERS, I am giving away signed books!

Yay, free books!

Here's what you have to do to win...

Email me at erin @ erindowning.com and tell me something funny, embarrassing, or sweet about your prom (keep it short...no novels necessary). Haven't been to prom yet? Make up a short story - your story can be either fact or fiction! The cleverest five people will win a signed copy of either Dancing Queen or Prom Crashers...it's your choice!

Send me your stories by March 15 and have fun!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Love of Reading Week just concluded, and I spoke at several schools and a public library. (I know I should figure out how to post my appearances here.) Like every writer, I get asked "Where do you get your ideas?" Often I give the usual answers, because they're all true. But I don't say how often my ideas come in dreams. Do other writers find inspiration in dreams? I suppose most of my nightly imaginings are the usual grab-bag of mundane details mixed with confusing symbolism and people I know. But every now and then, I get a full-blown gift from the subconscious -- an idea that ought to work perfectly well as a book, epic poetry, or something.

This happened to me just the other night, with a full-blown movie dream full of fantastic special effects and a dandy plot. Unfortunately I always realize I'm dreaming -- and begin to exert conscious control -- before my subconscious has a chance to end the dream on its own. When you know it's a dream, it's hard to keep dreaming, right? Sometimes these gift stories don't fall into a genre or format I can conveniently use, but I dutifully write them down anyway. Then I feel guilty if I don't put the dream to use. Of course, I might need that idea ten years from now, or it might morph into something completely different and more practical. I'll be interested to see if that's the case with this last one.

I can't be the only crazy writer who listens to dreams, so I'll end with my favorite quote about those vivid messages from the subconscious mind. Unfortunately, I can't remember who said it, but here it is:

"Dreams are real while they last. Can we day more of life?"


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Post-Valentine's blues

Okay. See, I'm of the belief that one should really be spreading warm fuzzies to one's extended beloveds throughout the year, and not only on a Hallmark-sanctioned "holiday." That being said, I am a FREAK about thematic stuff; ie: I go completely spazzy about red and green m&m's at Christmas, consume inappropriate quantities of candy corn during Halloween, and use Valentine's day as an excuse to pig out on Reese's candy hearts (thanks, Niki!). So obviously, last night, Noah and I toasted with pink champagne, and made s'mores with our little table-top kit while we watched snow, ice, and sleet slowly blanket the streets outside.

Yes, it was romantic (and yes, I have a little bit of a tummyache this morning). But does that mean that we're not allowed to be romantic with each other for the rest of the 364 days in the year?

Noah says of course not. Which is a huge relief, because Miss Bridget Jones really does look adorable in her red Valentine's sweater.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Romantic Comedy Night in Brooklyn!

Do we look like we're having a great time, or what? This pic was taken by David Levithan (and if you haven't read his books, you should!) From left to right, this is Nancy Krulik, me (Niki Burnham), Aimee Friedman, Micol Ostow, Erin Downing, and Suzanne Weyn. (Tip: to see a bigger version of this pic, just click on it.)

We all read from our books, answered questions about our upcoming projects, then signed books for everyone there. If you missed the signing but live in the area, check out the table at the bottom of the escalators--we all signed a ton of books and put them there after the event ended. There should still be plenty of copies available.

And yes, that is a ton of Reese's peanut butter hearts on the table. And (like this is a big surprise) at the end of the night, they were all gone!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Last night's reading was a huge success! Tons of people showed, Niki brought little bags of Valentine candy, Erin's adorable daughter was cooing, the mood was festive and fun...More details to follow, but I wanted to post this awesome picture taken by Micol's boyfriend.
That's (l-r): Nancy Krulik, Niki Burnham, me (Aimee Friedman), Micol Ostow, Erin Downing, and Suzanne Weyn.


Friday, February 09, 2007

And the winner is...

We have FINALLY titled my fall '07 ro com: Crush Du Jour.
I'm into it.
Thanks to everyone who weighed in during the lengthy titling process.
And here's a super-sneak peek at an early version of the cover.
Of course, now I'm hungry.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

We Heart You

Speaking of adorable romantic gestures, check out the lovely little Valentine that Noah created for our reading and signing Monday night. I'm so excited to meet other ro com writers from the area! And we will raise a box of chocolates in honor of everyone who can't be there...XXOO

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Monday's event

I'll bring the candy conversation hearts!

Lettuce: A Love Story

I had some great boyfriends in high school. I tended to like artistic types who would slip drawings into my locker of Comrade Hitson the Russian teacher, penguins wearing hats, etc.

But the sweetest thing a boyfriend ever did for me was this. When we were seniors, I’d been dating Joey for a few weeks. I was drum major of the marching band, but he had to miss our halftime show one Friday night because he was working at the grocery store across the street from the stadium, restocking the produce department.

He was friends with the guy who dressed up as the school mascot, a wildcat. During third quarter I was surprised to see the wildcat sauntering up through the band bleachers. He handed me a love note from Joey, scribbled in Sharpie on a lettuce leaf.

I fell in love.

Sadly, Joey and I broke up a few weeks after that. It took us thirteen years to get married.

What’s the sweetest thing your boo ever did for you?

Cupidity goes to Hollywood

This is exciting news for me, and I can't think of a better place to post it first than here. I just signed an option/purchase agreement with Hollywood for my RoCom novel, Cupidity, with the Jim Henson Company (of Muppet fame). Henson has got 3 years to turn it into a movie, TV show, or the like, and I sure hope they do. I know Cupidity is different from most of the RoCom novels in that it's a fantasy (hard to do a realistic story with Roman gods), but I think this bodes well for the entire line. Anyway, I'm jazzed!


Sunday, February 04, 2007

San Francisco, Redux

I went to San Francisco last week. My daughter lives there and she was having surgery to remove a tumor from her leg. So, not the greatest reason to go to SF, but still, coming from snow and cold, it was something to look forward to.

My youngest sister also lives in SF, so she picked me up from the airport. I spent the first day at her condo in Marin, chilling (and revising the upcoming book SHE'S A WITCH GIRL, out in August). Then I went into the city proper to stay at my daughter's totally cute apartment. She was only three blocks from the hospital so we got up at dawn and walked to the hospital for her 6:00 a.m. call. Her part of the city felt totally safe to walk through and I am vastly relieved to know that where she is living is safe (where her job is moving? ...eh, not so much).

Early a.m. conversation between daughter and me as we watched interns and nurses swirl around at a very busy hospital:
DD: Just so you know, I have $50,000 life insurance.
Me: I can't handle this convo.
DD: Still, just in case.
Me: Good to know. You're going to be fine. Are you cold? (She was wearing hospital gown, but had no blanket.). If you're cold, it's okay to put a blanket around you (She did...we were both instantly warmer).

They pumped her for info, then pumped her full of drugs (two IVS!), then took her away. I went to regular waiting room, and then to Starbucks (I'm a Starbucks slut). My sister joined me about 10 a.m. and we shortly thereafter went to hospital waiting room. Dr. called me (seriously, on the waiting room phone...wtf?!?) He shared a name with a famous horse...but I shall not say more because he did a miraculous job on my DD's leg. Tumor is gone, no numbness, no drop foot. There's an 8-inch scar, with Frankenstein like staples, but that will heal.

I'm home now, and my daughter is going to be on the short end of the 3-4 week recuperation (she's my mother's problem at the moment :-)
I love SF. It's warm (for winter) and cool (for summer). Sausalito is the bomb for late evening strolls and in SF there are doctors that give reality to the dreams of young women who would like to walk the eminently walkable San Francisco without pain.

Only downside? It's cold at home.

I wish I was back in SF.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Books and a New Site

It has been a great week. First, my very first copies of Prom Crashers arrived on Monday! That means it's finally a real book, and will be in stores so, so soon (Feb. 28 officially, but sometimes they sneak them out a little early). I really love this book, and can't wait to hear what people think. I will, of course, let you all know when I first see it in stores - if you see it before I do, please let me know where you spotted it!

Also on Monday night, I launched my website redesign! I posted a fun poll (it's not all-inclusive...so don't be sad if your favorite Ro Com isn't on this list), some links to some author friends' sites, and an excerpt from Prom Crashers on the Books page - please swing by and check it all out: www.erindowning.com!

Finally...just a reminder that a bunch of us will be at the Park Slope Barnes & Noble on February 12 - come say hello!