Monday, May 30, 2011

Pick A Number (Almost) Any Number

Every time I sign in to Blogspot to write an entry, it informs me of how many people follow this blog. Follow, by the way, seems like a very weird word to me, but it's the one that gets used here and at Twitter.

Anyway, I've been noticing for a few entries, that this blog has 100 followers, and I've been meaning to thank all 100 of you for showing up, or at least being told when there's a new entry, which I assume is the benefit, such as it is, of following. My Twitter account has 116 followers, and I have minimal idea why, since I still haven't mastered the fine art of Twitter.

So there are 2 numbers right there- 100 and 116, both subject to change.

1 is always a good number. In this case it's for 1 new interview with me, this time on JMCooper's blog.

I also meant to announce when Life As We Knew It got its 200th review on Amazon, but that came and went as well. I think it's at 204, and since I don't read them, I can delude myself into believing all 204 are raves (although some are most likely raving; LAWKI inspires that kind of response as well).

And speaking of numbers, yesterday I finally analyzed my royalty statement (as opposed to depositing the check which I did instantly), and after adding up the numbers and doing some division based on something I was told by one of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt people, I can announce that approximately 1/4 of the sales of all three moon books were made by Barnes & Noble. So grateful authorly smooches to them.

Another number in my life these days is 8. That's the number of versions of The Dead And The Gone (do you notice I'm capitalizing that these days? It's because I realized that HMH put This World We Live In in small letters without asking me, so capitalizing D&G is my new form of rebellion)I now have, since I was sent the German audiobook version (aka the German audiobook version of Die Verlorenen Von New York).

And here's Scooter chewing things over:

Here's a series of numbers for you: 4, 2(1.5), 4.5, 8. The 4 represents the 4 fan letters HMH forwarded to me that arrived on Saturday. Two of the letters had been sent me mid-April (a month and a half ago). One letter was from February, four and a half months ago, and one was from October, eight months ago. I answered all four letters yesterday evening and made a point of mailing my responses this morning, but this particular quirk of HMH drives me crazy. How much effort can it take to forward a letter? Kids write them, for goodness sakes, and who wants to disappoint a kid? If there are any teachers out there, please understand that publishing houses can be absolutely awful in forwarding letters (or at least HMH can be; I don't remember things being quite so bad at other publishing houses), and consider letting your students email formal letters to me instead. When I'm on top of things (which I grant you, I haven't been lately), I answer emails within a day or two, but at worst they get answered within a week. None of this 4-8 months business.

One final number, 5. That represents 5 AM, my new wake up and think about The Shade Of The Moon time. I can't even blame Scooter, who isn't waking me up. Nor can I blame HMH, which certainly has offered me no assurance that I should be thinking about it, rather than sleeping until a far more decent hour. It's all my imagination's fault, and my imagination and I would both appreciate getting definitive word from my editor, so I'll know whether it's useful for me to be using my brain or whether I should simply turn over and sleep the happy sleep of the semi-retired.

Otherwise, instead of being semi-retired, I'll just be semi-tired. Not knowing is clearly doing a number on me!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And When, You Wonder, Will We Hear About The Shade Of The Moon?

If I had to guess, we'll hear whether Houghton Mifflin Harcourt wants The Shade Of The Moon (aka the fourth moon book) before I finish exercycling to Season 1 of The Facts Of Life.

I did make it through another two episodes yesterday morning (Mrs. Garrett's first and I guess only husband shows up and teaches all the girls poker, and Tootie finds out all the girls' IQs and much soul searching ensues) and they remain dreadful. Which begs the question why I'm watching Season 1. Well, I'd thought it'd be kind of interesting, since I only started watching in Season 2, which I hope will live up to my memories of same. Today I exercycled to an Edward G. Robinson movie that TCM showed last night, definitely an improvement.

Meanwhile, back to my publisher, who, as a general rule, I'm very pleased with. But I don't think it should take five weeks to decide Yes or No to a two sentence synopsis. At this point, they should know me, they should know my books, they should be able to figure out without too much trouble whether a fourth moon book will make them money (in which case Yes makes sense) or won't make them money (in which case No makes sense).

Having not heard anything by the end of last week, my agent was told the earliest we'd hear would be the end of this week. Technically speaking, that's tomorrow, but tomorrow, for those of you keeping score at home, is Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, which means in the publishing industry that the end of the week is today, only there's no way I'm going to hear anything today because the publishing industry thinks the end of the week is Friday at 11:59 PM. Or Saturday at 11:59 PM, or three weeks from Saturday at 11:59 PM, or possibly a year or two from now, give or take, but in the PM.

Or when I finish Season 1 of The Facts Of Life.

I figured out this morning that assuming HMH decides Yes, and I decide Yes, and I write The Shade Of The Moon and they publish The Shade Of The Moon, then The Shade Of The Moon will come out when (are you ready for this) I'm 65 years old. Gack, gack, and double gack. 65 is really old, although I do socialize with people who are that age or older, and my mother is 99, so in comparison 65 is as young as the girls on The Facts Of Life Season 1.

By the way, I love Charlotte Rae, but I think Mrs. Garrett wore a wig.

Where was I? Oh yeah, 65 years old, and if I get any kind of advance (and if HMH doesn't offer me any kind of advance, then my Yes will become my No so fast it'll make your head spin), then even if the advance earns out from the sale of the hardcovers (true for Life As We Knew It, The Dead And The Gone, and This World We Live In), I won't see any royalties until I'm 67 years old, otherwise known as The Golden Age Of Getting Social Security.

You know, it's possible most writers don't blog about money and when they'll earn it and The Facts Of Life Season 1. One or the other, but probably not both. Other writers have standards, silly them.

As you can probably tell, I didn't sleep too well last night, and once again it was The Shade Of The Moon that woke me up and kept me up. Not stress about whether and when I'll hear from HMH (which irritates me, but isn't particularly stressing me out). Just working on the plot. Working out a nifty little section involving body parts. The kind of thing that when I start thinking about it at 4 AM, the next thing I know it's 7 AM, and I'm starting the day out tired and cranky.

Oh well. Whether I hear from my agent or not, and whether she hears from HMH or not, it's going to be a lovely Memorial Day Weekend. Saturday I'm going to New Paltz Crafts Fair, and Sunday, just maybe, I'll start clearing out my outside storage closet, which has been on my to do list since last summer, when I guess I didn't done it.

Hey, with a style like that, maybe I can understand why HMH is delaying making a decision!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sick (And Tired) Day...Okay, Just Tired Day

This morning when I exercycled, I was too exhausted to watch an episode from Season 1 of The Facts Of Life DVD. Actually, it takes a lot of energy to watch episodes from Season 1 (at least based on the two episodes I've seen) because it's pretty dreadful and thus seriously energy draining. It'll pick up once Season 2 begins, but right now I don't have the mental fortitude to think that far ahead.

So instead of plowing my way through the DVD, I channel flipped, ending up, as I always do, on Lifetime Movies. And who should I see there but Tori Spelling. It took me a few moments to confirm the movie was Mother, May I Sleep With Danger, the made for TV movie with the all time best title ever of all time, in no small part because of the perfection of its iambicdom.

I'd tell you how it turned out, but I flipped over to CNN at 9:00, so I'll never know.

Naturally I was curious about why I was too exhausted for The Facts Of Life Season 1, so I looked at my calendar and my date book to see what I'd been up to.

It started, as all high stress periods do, with taking Scooter to the vet. Then I took me to Connecticut, upstate New York and Tennessee for school visits, to Rockland County (one county down from me) for 3 libraries in an afternoon, 1 quick local library visit, and Arizona for a school visit. I moved my mother into enriched housing and moved her out of enriched housing. I finished writing and rewriting The Offering and sent it to my agent. I determined that my publisher was interested in a synopsis for The Shade Of The Moon, wrote a 12 page one and sent that off, then at their request wrote a 2 sentence version of same and sent that off. I devoted extraordinary amounts of brain cells, at the cost of many normal nights' sleep, to working out a plot for The Shade Of The Moon. And this weekend, I had houseguests (but no world ending rapture, alas).

Want to know how I've gotten through all this? Candy and cookies. Lots of candy and cookies. Maybe some cake I no longer remember, but definitely supplemental ice cream.

Since I've yet to hear from my agent about The Offering or my editor about The Shade Of The Moon, and I've run out of candy, cookies, cake and ice cream, I intend to take to bed. I'm not even going to ask my mother permission to sleep, with or without danger. I'm just gonna.

Who knows. Maybe after a day of doing absolutely nothing, I'll have the strength tomorrow to exercycle my way through an episode or two of The Facts Of Life!

ETA: I may be doing nothing today but my beloved Google Alerts is keeping busy sending me this fabulous link.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's A Date

April 50th came early this year. My royalty check arrived in today's mail, and it was actually quite a bit larger than I'd anticipated.

My bad mood of last night evaporated pretty quickly, even before the check arrived. I haven't had the TV on today, so I don't know if I still have the hi def stations, but with the way it's raining, most likely all the east coast baseball games will get rained out anyway (and the Yankees won last night, so all is forgiven).

In between the showers and storms, I bought impatiens plants and got them planted, some in the little tiny patch of land to the side of my front door, the rest in the patio window boxes. Neither spot gets much sunlight, so impatiens work best there (so do coleus plants, but for some reason they're not as easy to find as they used to be).

Morgaine, in a comment to last night's grumpfest, points out that today is May 18, and that's the day the meteor hits the moon in Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone. You'd think I'd know that, and thoroughly enjoy getting my royalty check on that very date, but I thought I killed off all humanity on May 20, aka April 50th.

Apparently it's a moot point, and I'm not going to be around much longer to enjoy the money anyway. I just read an article saying the world's coming to an end on Saturday. Of course with interest rates what they are these days, it doesn't really matter if I deposit the check or merely cash it and hide the money under my mattress (it's probably safer under the mattress; I have one of those really big heavy mattresses), but I would like to have the sensation of money in the bank (or under the mattress) for more than three days.

Conversely, if the world is coming to an end, it'd be nice if it came to an end on May 18, because then people would be very impressed with my psychic powers and I could maybe get a TV series out of it (or at least an appearance on Jerry Springer). And since I'm scheduled to move my mother back to her apartment tomorrow, if the world comes to an end tonight (it being 6:17 PM Eastern Time as I type), I wouldn't have to pack and unpack all those books all over again.

I have two chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. What with the world coming to an end any minute now, I might as well eat them. After all, the dead don't diet (now there's a name for a noir).

If it turns out the world isn't coming to an end sometime between today and May 21, I'll see you all on May 22 (give or take). By which time the cookies will long be gone and there'll only be three (I think) days before we'll know who won American Idol.

With that to look forward to, I hope the world lasts just a little bit longer!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spoiled? I'm Not Spoiled. I Simply Want Everything Exactly As I Want It Right Away!

Some days are easier than others. My guess is you know that from personal experience.

April 50th has not yet arrived, and what is an even more ominous sign (or lack thereof), I exchanged emails with my agent this morning, and she didn't mention how my royalty check was on its merry way. Usually when I email her and there's a check on its way, she informs me as a distraction (a technique I know well with Scooter, who can sometimes be convinced not to bite me if I toss one of his toys a safe distance from my ankle). I think however, if I read between the lines correctly, she has noticed I sent her The Offering. I wouldn't want to swear to it though.

It is a sad commentary on my everyday life that I'm not even all that upset about the slow motion of my career. Underlying everything is my concern about my mother and her move back to her apartment. It's scheduled for Thursday, and my guess is I'll feel better once it's done, but it's still worrysome. If my brother and I hadn't felt she needed more help, we never would have arranged for the enriched housing room.

Hmm... Either spellcheck isn't working, or it really is spelt "worrysome." I thought it was worrisome.

Google says it's worrisome. I am not surprised.

Back to complaining (and not even complaining about spellcheck not working). Yesterday morning my smoke detector started chirping. Marci and I had lunch today with my mother, and it turns out Marci can do a fabulous imitation of a chirping smoke detector. For those of you who've never heard one (or heard Marci's imitation), it's like a castrati bird on steroids.

Double hmm. After four years of high school Latin, I have my doubts that castrati is a singular. Castratus? Castratum? Or is the word Italian, which I don't know one bit of. Triple hmm.

Anyway, I couldn't get the smoke detector to stop its high pitched song of love, so after several hours (some of which, I grant you, I wasn't home for), I disembowled it. This is trickier than it might seem because my apartment has very high ceilings and I'm not getting any taller. Eventually I pulled two out of three smoke detectors off the ceiling, and yet it still kept chirping. Finally I hid them in my outside storage closet, but this morning when I pulled them out so they could be fixed and put back in place (the advantage of apartment living), one of them continued to chirp. It was very Twilight Zone.

My friend Pat, who heard the chirping even though she lives 3000 miles away (the telephone is really an astonishing invention) suggested attacking the smoke detectors with a broom handle (her system). Frankly, if I'd had a baseball bat handy, that's what I would have used. Instead I used my big ladder and my bare hands and the outside storage closet.

I came back from lunch to find the smoke detectors in place and fabulously silent, only to have aspects of my cable stop working. I lost MLB Extra Innings (which couldn't happen at a worse time, since baseball is a huge stress reducer for me, not to mention that this is not the best moment for a New York Yankees fan to be watching New York Yankees games) and a variety (like almost all of them) of the high def stations I get on my fancy high def TV.

Yes, I still get a whole lot of TV stations. And if the Mets don't get rained out, I can watch the Mets and the MLB Network is showing the Phillies/Cards game, which is what I'd be watching anyway, although it's way prettier in high def. I know all that.

The cable repairperson will come Friday between 11-2. And I'm supposed to be grateful I don't have to wait until next week.

Then there's the weather. Have I mentioned the weather? The endless endless endless dreary rainy days? The only nice weather the northeast has had was when I was in Arizona (where the weather was lovely, but I was mostly in an airplane flying there and back). I read the 10 day weather forecast which said it's going to rain until Sunday when suddenly it's going to be sunny and 85 degrees for the next week, which means we're skipping spring altogether and going from March to July. Which, now that I think about it, may well mean April 50th will never arrive.

Now here's the thing (see, wait long enough, and the thing eventually arrives). I wrote Life As We Knew It.* I gleefully deprived my characters of food, water, heat, sunlight, clean air, televison, the internet, friends, family, safety, electricity, transportation, and probably lots of other stuff. I killed off entire countries (I still feel a little guilty about that). Throw in the characters from The Dead And The Gone* and This World We Live In*, and we're talking about a lot of pain and suffering and loss and pretty much everything except locusts and the death of the firstborns.

I remind myself of my characters' suffering whenever lunch is a little late or I can't get my baseball games or it drizzles outside, and you know what? I don't care. I still feel sorry for myself.

Then again, none of my characters ever had to put up with a chirping smoke detector, so what do they know of true suffering!

*Apparently not only is spellcheck dead, but I'm no longer allowed to italicize.

ETA to announce italics have returned, my cable has miraculously healed itself, MLB Extra Innings is back, and all the games are rained out, except, of course, for the Yankees.

I am going to eat supper and ponder all this irony until April 50th rolls around.

ETA Number Deux: It's castrato (and it is Italian).

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Bolivian Hat Has Spoken

First thing on a Monday morning at that.

I've pulled the four names out and sent the appropriate emails. So if you haven't gotten one, it means, alas, the Bolivian hat has failed you (it probably failed a Bolivian or two in its day).

I'll try to convince my publisher to send me more ARCs, and if I succeed, all your names will return to the hat for another drawing.

In any case, thank you for expressing your interest in Blood Wounds. Let's hope it meets with people's approval!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

He's Cain And I'm Able (I Hope)

I am currently reading a biography of James M. Cain by Roy Hoopes. I'm on page 102 and it's going to be another 10 years and who knows how many pages before he writes anything I've heard of, but so far it's an easy read and I'm enjoying it.

Meanwhile, when I'm not reading about James M. Cain, I'm bouncing around between reality and whatever the alternative to reality might be. My current reality is that after a week in enriched housing, my mother declared she wanted to move back to her apartment. I can't say as I blame her, but I'm not really looking forward to packing that bookcase of my father's books, my brother's books, and my books all over again.

It's a good thing I didn't give her one of the ARCs of Blood Wounds, since that would be one more thing to pack (and just a reminder- the Bolivian Hat Blood Wounds drawing remains open through Sunday night if you haven't yet emailed me for a shot at it).

I still haven't heard a thing from my publisher about whether they're going to want a fourth book, or from my agent about The Offering. I didn't expect to hear from either one on a weekend (I'm egotistically obsessive, but not that egotistically obsessive, believe it or not), but it still would be nice to have heard something. Of course I haven't gotten my royalty check either, but April 50th is right around the corner, so I expect that to show up within a week, give or take (and I would prefer to take).

Not hearing from my publisher about a fourth book hasn't stopped me from plotting like crazy, although a couple of days ago, I did tell myself to stop until I had definite word. That resolution lasted about three minutes, because the truth of the matter is I love plotting The Shade Of The Moon, and given that the alternative usage of brain cells is thinking about my mother back in her apartment, it's off to the moon I go.

Last night, right before falling asleep, I came up with an new plot story for Meggie, Miranda's daughter by Richard (I feel like I know Richard pretty well, although you've never met him). I liked the idea so much that it cost me a quarter of a sleeping pill at 4 AM to keep me from developing it still further then and there. Instead I held off until Scooter woke me at 7:00, and I kept at it, exercycling to The Golf Channel without any sound, so I could think some more.

Someplace between last night and a bogey, I thought about The Shade Of The Moon in a kind of Gone With The Wind sort of way (not that I ever read Gone With The Wind, although I did see the movie and the classic Carol Burnett takeoff). You know, big and sweeping, but mostly big. Then I said, well maybe if I'm planning on a GWTW big sweeping kind of novel, it shouldn't be first person.

This was actually quite an interesting possibility to me, since I've been having trouble picturing Juliet (Mom's daughter with Charlie) sitting down and writing all the stuff I have going on. In particular there was one scene in my mind where tons of interesting things happen but she wouldn't have the chance to put anything on paper for a couple of days, and when she did, it would be 30-40 pages, which handwritten is a lot of paper and a lot of work. Third person would solve all that.

So then I thought about the problem I always have with third person which is what do you call the parents. In this case, there's only one parent, Mom, so I said to myself (while some golf balls ended up in water, where I don't suppose they were meant to go), I could just call her Mom and the heck with it.

But then I thought, well what if I kill off Mom, and then I wouldn't have to worry about it. And I pondered just what Mom's been doing in The Shade Of The Moon as it is currently constituted, and mostly Mom exists so all the other characters can say, "Don't tell Mom." I did come up with possibly the best line of dialogue I ever won't get to write, which is Miranda, after saying "Don't tell Mom," to Juliet for the zillionth time, declaring, "That should be on my tombstone: Here Lies Miranda Evans. Don't Tell Mom." It's that play on words of "lies" that I find particularly delectable.

But other than being constantly deluded, Mom didn't seem to be doing all that much, so this morning as I ran errands, I held Mom's memorial service. If I do it (and there are so many "if"s in that "if"- like if I kill off Mom, and if my publisher even wants me to write the book), I'd start the book with the memorial service, maybe not even from Juliet's point of view, but more like a prologue. I once read a book about soap operas, and the author pointed out that one of the ways soaps use weddings is to get all the characters with all their storylines under the same roof at the same time. Mom's memorial service could function that way as well (although, sadly, neither Matt nor Jon would be there).

So that's where things are right now. Apparently, not satisfied with killing off all humanity for a fourth time, I'm intent on killing of a character I absolutely love, and a mother at that.

Hmmm. I'd better warn my mother to keep away from me while I'm repacking her bookcase. I think death by deluging books could merit double indemnity!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blood Wounds ARCs

As best I can tell, the blog entry I wrote yesterday offering all of you a chance to get one of four advanced reading copies of my new novel Blood Wounds has completely disappeared.

Given the quality of my life right now, this disappearing act fits totally in place. It's definitely Let's Make Life More Difficult For Susan time.

Anyway, if you didn't read yesterday's entry (or admire the extremely cute Scooter picture that went along with it), the gist was I've been sent 4 ARCs of Blood Wounds to share with my blog readers, and if you want a chance at one of them, email me using the address in the upper right corner with the phrase ARC or Blood Wounds or Bolivian Hat or anything else you might think of, between now and Sunday night, and on Monday morning I'll put all the emails of everyone who has asked in my Bolivian hat and pull out four and email those people to ask for their names and addresses and then I'll send them an ARC. Also it doesn't matter where you live, this chance is open to all of you.

My apologies to any of you who read yesterday's entry and can't figure out why I'm telling you stuff you already know.

Now if the world will just apologize to me, everything will be right where it should be!

ETA: The blog entry may have vanished, but your emails haven't. So if you've already emailed me for a chance at an ARC, don't worry. The emails are waiting for me at AOL, right where you sent them.

Double ETA: Yesterday's post has miraculously reappeared, although the comments (which are always the best part) are still missing.

But now you have many Scooter picture options, which is probably good for something in this world!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Four ARCs, Four Days, One Hat and One Cat

I came home last night from doing a school visit in Arizona (where everyone was extremely nice and the landscape looked like New York after an exceptionally dry summer only with mountains instead of hills) to find a package with five Advance Reading Copies of Blood Wounds waiting for me.

Actually, Marci, who came to visit Scooter and bring me lilacs, found the package and brought it in. But I opened it.

So here's the deal. I'm keeping one ARC for myself but I'm not giving one to my mother, because now that I've packed and unpacked all my father's books and my brother's books and my books, I'm not that eager to give her anything more than is absolutely necessary. And Blood Wounds isn't dedicated to anyone I actually know, so the four remaining copies are meant for people who read my blog.

My guess is more than four people read my blog, and four doesn't seem like a lot of copies to me either. I'll do some begging and pleading and maybe my publisher will find a few more copies for me to send out, but in the meantime four is what it is.

So here's how it works (on the assumption more than four of you will want one). Email me using the email address up top and say you want to be in the drawing for an ARC. It'd be super great if you head the email with something like ARC or Blood Wounds or Bolivian Hat, but I'll open all the emails anyway and figure it out.

Then I'll put your email address in the Bolivian Hat (removed from its spot on the bathroom wall just for this occasion) and pull out four addresses. I'll send an email to each of the four pulloutees (there's a word Blog Spot ain't gonna like). So if you don't hear from me, it means your name wasn't pulled out.

Because there are only four copies, I'm going to give this only four days, and will pull out the names Monday morning (this being Thursday morning). This drawing is open to anyone on this planet, so if you don't live in the USA, feel free to email me for the drawing anyway. I'll pay the postage wherever you might live.

But since there are only four copies, I'm going to ask the following of you:

Don't tell anyone else about the drawing. Let's keep this one to readers of my blog (all probably more than four of you).

If there's a chance you could get an ARC at ALA or the suchlike, then please don't email me, because four is such a tiny number (bigger only than one, two, or three). I'm quite confident my publisher will have ARCs for distribution at the major conferences because it says so on the back of the ARC and why would they lie?

If what you like about my books is the sci fic/post apocalyptic aspect, and you really aren't interested in realistic YA fiction, then don't email me. My feelings won't be hurt. If you love me but not the subject matter, then you can always wait until the book is published in September and take it out of the library.

Here's the official publisher's description so you can decide your interest level for yourself:

Blood can both wound and heal . . .

Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother. Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harbored secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? But as Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she also keeps her own secret—one that has the potential to tear apart all she holds dear

To sum it up: If you're interested in a chance at an ARC of Blood Wounds, email me by Sunday night to say so and on Monday morning, I'll draw four email addresses out of the Bolivian Hat and email each of the four to get names and addresses to mail the ARC out to.

You get the ARC. I keep the hat and the cat!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Super Early Announcement Of Something I'm Super Pleased About

A few months back I was invited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling to submit an original short story for an upcoming anthology of YA dystopian fiction, to be called After and to be published by Hyperion.

I am pleased to be able to officially announce that my story, "Reunion" will be included in the anthology along with original stories by (among others):

Genevieve Valentine
Cecil Castellucci
Carol Emshwiller
Katherine Langrish
Richard Bowes
Matthew Kressel
Beth Revis
N. K. Jemisin
Carrie Ryan
Steven Gould
CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
Susan Beth Pfeffer

I will tell you more (like publication date) when I learn more. I can tell you that the above list is not all inclusive.

And it certainly reveals no spoilers to say when I started thinking of the idea for "Reunion" I imagined a happy friendly heartwarming story and I ended up instead with an unusually dark (even by my unusually dark standards) kind of nasty story instead.

Well, you all know me well enough not to be surprised by that!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lots Of Things Happening (But All With My Mother)

When last I left you, I was waiting for an ARC (or ideally ARCs) of Blood Wounds from my publisher, word from my editor about whether they were interested in a fourth moon book, and acknowledgement from my agent that I'd sent her my manuscript The Offering.

Oddly enough, I haven't received or heard a thing since. Well, I got my phone bill and my car insurance bill, but neither came from my publisher, my editor, or my agent.

I certainly had other things to keep me busy though. My incredibly cute 99 year old mother is trying life at the enriched housing section of her retirement complex. For the past fifteen or so years she's had an apartment there, but my brother and our friend Marci and I all think she needs more services than she's getting. So I've spent much of the past week packing her things and buying her what she'll need and moving her into the enriched housing (which is one floor down from where she'd been living). If my mother likes it, she'll stay. If not, she'll move back to her apartment.

All moves are difficult, although this one had the great advantage of help from the maintenance staff, who did all the heavy lifting (and hung the pictures). But I had decided my mother should have familiar things with her whether she stayed or not, and that meant packing and unpacking the bookcase, which holds my father's books, my brother's books, my books, and any books my mother might feel like reading someday.

My father wrote fewer books than me, but his (and my brother's) weigh more than mine. So do the large print books, which are really heavy.

Still, having lifted and packed and lifted and unpacked, I have to give very serious consideration to the possibility I've written way too many books.

I wonder if my publisher and my editor and my agent think the same thing!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wait Till The Sun Shines Susan

See how happy I look? The picture was taken at the Nyack Library, where I saw the only known advanced reading copy in captivity of Blood Wounds. My own ARC (or ARCs as the case may be)is but one of several things I'm currently waiting for. But since I am an extremely impatient person, it's the thing I'm currently waiting for whose lack thereof irritates me the most.

Not that the lack thereof of the other things I'm waiting for won't irritate me soon enough, and probably even worse.

Let's see. First off, I'm waiting for the sun to shine. This has been the worst spring ever and since it follows one of the worst winters ever, it's especially annoying. Three solid months of January followed by three solid (or really liquid, the way it keeps raining)months of March. I am not, by the way, the only person who's noticed this, but if everyone else wants to complain, let them complain on their own blogs (ooh, I love it when I'm whiny).

Then there's my royalty check. Now my royalty check will come, and since I have a very approximate idea how much it'll be, it's more amusing that irritating that it hasn't come yet. Amusing because my publisher, who generally speaking is wonderful, seems to think the month of April lasts 45 days, which at this point I wouldn't mind, since 45 days of April would be an improvement over 90 days of March. Anyway, the check will arrive circa May 20, since that's the circa it's arrived on the past couple of years. Just think of it as April 50th.

Another thing I'm waiting for from my publisher is a decision about The Shade Of The Moon. You wouldn't think it'd take them too long to read a two sentence synopsis, but I did cram a lot of words into those two sentences, and maybe they had to look some of them up in the dictionary. Oh well. That decision involves the spending of money on the publisher's part, and that always slows things down (which is why they think April has 45 days).

Lastly, and this one is going to take forever, I'm waiting to hear what my agent has to say about The Offering. I gave it a final polish yesterday and emailed it to her. But given that the two previous times I mentioned The Offering to my agent, she never responded (not even with a "You're crazy," or "Well, that's gonna be a stinker"), I can't even fantasize (and I'm naturally gifted at fantasizing) that she's going to drop everything to read it. Or drop anything. Or read it before the sun shines, assuming the sun ever shines again, which it won't so she won't.

I tell you, if there was a Nobel Prize for crankiness, I'd be a multiple winner!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Foreign Relations

This time of year, writers don't stay home much. We're invited to schools and libraries, where we get to meet really nice people who actually encourage us to talk about ourselves.

So far, I've been to Connecticut and upstate New York and Tennessee and downstate New York. I still have a local library to visit and a school to go to in Arizona. Scooter, by the way, has not liked any of this, and really gave me a talking to when I got home yesterday evening.

While I certainly listened to his complaints (I didn't have much of a choice in the matter), I was also occupied with opening a box that had come from my agent's office. In it, I found four copies of Die Verlorenen Von New York, aka the Carlsen (German) version of The Dead And The Gone.

It's a very striking cover, and a lovely addition to the non-USA versions of the three moon books.

At one of the libraries I visited yesterday, I saw an advanced reading copy of Blood Wounds. It truly was advanced, since I have yet to see one. I assume at some point my publisher will send me one or more copies, but apparently I have to request them, which I'll do tomorrow. If they send me enough that I can spread them around here, I certainly will. My publisher has been very generous in the past, so I can only hope.

Another thing I can hope for is that the Susan Beth Pfeffer Every Book I Ever Wrote And Then Some Bookcase will miraculously expand. It's going to have to, since I already know of fifteen more books and audiobooks that will arrive at some point in this decade.

As my mother always says, this should be the worst problem I ever have!