Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rafael Nadal's Biceps Fall Into The Great Interest Category

Since last I wrote, I have found out the amount of my belated German royalty check (less than I'd hoped for,   le German sigh), and that the library festival I was invited to, I'm still invited to (details to come, when I have some).

No word yet on The Very Last Attempt I Will Ever Ever Make On The Shade Of The Moon Ever. No word on why there's no word. Not even a hint of a word on why there's no word. But I'm choosing not to worry.

However, my mind always needs something to obsess over. I want to make it clear, though, that there's a real difference between obsession and great interest. For example, I have great interest in the New York Yankees (who happen to have the best record in baseball, at least for this moment, but if they lose today, they probably won't anymore). I have great interest in figure skating (of which this is the off season). I have great interest bordering on obsession with my weight loss (if I were obsessed, I wouldn't have bought that bag of miniature KitKat bars, but if I didn't have a great interest, I would have bought the full size bars and maybe some Butterfingers also).

What currently obsesses me are summer reading lists. Not any old summer reading lists. Summer reading lists that require poor innocent school children to read my books. Mostly Life As We Knew It but that's fine by me. I'm not fussy about which book of mine poor innocent school children are required to read.

Thanks to our friend Mr. Google (smooches to you, Mr. Google), I can find lots of summer reading lists that list Life As We Knew It. I spend many happy hours perusing and reperusing and rereperusing those lists, just in case I miss one. I've gotten pretty knowledgeable about it. I don't bother looking if the list has me as Pfeffer, Susan Beth, or mentions another book right after mine. That's just a listing kind of a list. I like the required kind of listing a whole lot more.

The best kind of obsessions spread out, and so has this one. I've noticed better Barnes & Noble and Amazon rankings for LAWKI, so now I have to check them out hourly. Okay, every 45 minutes. And then I have to print the best of the best ranking pages.

Notice how I dated it, so I'll know forever when 708 happened.

I've been obsessed with royalties since I sold my first book. I knew what royalties were, because my father had written a number of books that earned royalties, although I don't remember him being obsessed over them, although he certainly was obsessed over other things, like ending the war in Vietnam, but I definitely got my obsessive nature from him. I just chose to obsess over royalties, putting ending the war in Vietnam in the great interest category.

Obsessing over royalties, as I do, I scurried over to Amazon's Author Central and examined the current and past history of LAWKI sort of (I don't think their numbers include institutional sales, and I know they don't include e-books). First I saw how LAWKI had sold in the past 4 weeks.

Then I looked to see if summer reading lists had been my friend over the past two years as well. And they had. This chart isn't of my heartbeat (thank goodness), but the sales patterns of LAWKI from July 2010 through June 2012. See how high it gets in June and July, and how tragically low it gets in January and February. Guess which months are my favorite (you guessed wrong- February is because of my birthday being there, although I don't have much good to say about January).

So that's how I'm spending my time these days. As obsessions go, it's fairly harmless.

But this afternoon, I'll indulge myself in watching the Yankee game and eating KitKat miniatures.

Some days are simply meant for great interests!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Two Four Six Eight! All We Do Is Wait Wait Wait!

You think I'm just waiting to hear from my editor about The Shade Of The Moon The Absolutely Final Attempt?

Sadly, that's one of at least three things I'm waiting for or about or something. Four things if you include waiting for thunderstorms to break this late June heat wave. Five, if you add waiting for Scooter to stop thinking of me as a cat toy.

Professionally, I'm waiting for confirmation for a library event next fall. I was invited months ago, and haven't heard a thing since. It's on my calendar, but I'm not sure I'm on theirs.

I'm also waiting for my German royalty check, which is two months overdue. I'm relieved to report I don't need the money, since I bought a great deal of cat food when it was on sale, which is the only thing Scooter cares about at least. But I'd really like to know how much the check will be for, should I ever get it.

I even had a dream about it last night, only the check was less than I've been hoping for. It would clearly do my subconscious a world of good to have that check already.

Non-professionally, I'm waiting for the Yankees to break their two game losing streak, which Todd Strasser and I are completely responsible for. We had tickets for Wednesday's game (we go once a year; it's a tradition), and the Yankees had a 10 game winning streak going into Tuesday's game, so we both decided it would be better if the Yankees lost on Tuesday, because you can't really count on a 12 game winning streak and we wanted to see them win.

So the Yankees lost on Tuesday but then they lost on Wednesday, even though we were there cheering them on. And now they're going to play the Mets, and it's always so embarrassing when they lose to the Mets (although Todd and I are now both R.A.Dickey fans, so we won't mind so much if the Yankees lose to him).

In addition to Todd being totally responsible for the Yankees' 2 game losing streak (I've decided I'm blameless after all), he also failed in his manly responsibility of noticing I've lost weight. I even gave him some help, by pointing out to him that I had, and he still didn't notice.

Here are two portraits I posed for, just so you can see the difference. Notice how much shorter I'm wearing my skirts these days, now that I have such svelte gams.

I also got a haircut.

Oh well. If I ever hear anything about anything, I'll certainly let you know. 

In the meantime, you'll find me on my scale, waiting for the weight to fly away!

ETA: I really hate Google Chrome.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just In Case You Ever Wondered What I Do While I'm Waiting To Hear From My Editor

I dawdle!

I play tons of FreeCell. My winning streak is now 1261, thanks, as always, to cheating.

I go over to Amazon and Barnes & Noble to see what my Life As We Knew It paperback rankings are. Currently, they're 1093 and 426, but a few minutes ago, B&N LAWKI was 373, which I prefer.

I dust bookcases. Not books, which is too much work, but bookcases. I dusted every shelf in the den. See how they shine.

I also rearrange the books on the shelves that hold my books, so there'll be room for the 16 copies of my books I know will be coming over the next few years. That's 1 paperback of Blood Wounds, 1 German hardcover and 1 German paperback, 2 Polish, 2 Chinese, 3 Brazilian, 3 Lithuanian, and 3 Bulgarian versions of the moon books.

I have lunch with Marci at Charlotte's Tea Room. I should have gotten the asparagus quiche (Marci let me have a bite of hers and it was delicious).

I imprison Scooter.

I'd better go and clean my coat closet right away, before I discover my Amazon ranking has gone up.

Have an excellent, stress free weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Shade Of The Moon Number Three Is Now In The Hands Of Editor Number One

Actually, it's not in anybody's hands, since thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I simply zapped it across the airwaves into the editor's computer. For that matter, she's not Editor One, since I had a different editor for Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone. So the entire title is a lie, or at least a prevarication (which, I think, means lie, but with multiple syllables).

I just checked over at and yes, it's a fancy way of saying lying. I thought it was very funny that when I checked, it offered me, in one of its many ads, a free Christian dating service. I don't even date expensive Christians.

Back to literature, or what passes for it in my computer. Well, literature with complaining. I love the word processing gizmos, but they have their limitations. Remember Jon's friend Tyler? I gave him a last name in the first draft, but decided for reasons that totally escape me that he should have a different last name. So I went to that fabulous Replace button, and replaced the first last name with Ames. Only then, for reasons that also totally escape me,I decided that his last name shouldn't be Ames.So I went to that fabulous Replace button, and substituted Hughes for Ames. Tyler Hughes. Fine name.

But then that nasty little Mistake! Mistake! button started going crazy, so I looked to see what the problem was. Well, the problem was when people had names, they now had nHughes, and when they played games, they played gHughes.

Then there was the minor character Brian. He was definitely not a Brian, so I went back to my beloved Popular Baby Names  and discovered that the 396th most popular boy's name in 1970 was Virgil. Having taken four years of Latin in high school, I have a great fondness for Virgil, so Brian got replaced with Virgil.

Sadly though, that meant that Alex's sister Briana, mentioned once in the book, became Virgila. The Mistake!Mistake! button went crazy over that as well.

I thought the manuscript was perfect when I zipped it off, but in my search for a celebratory 2 pages to scan over here, I found that Jon took a book of Plato out of the library, but ended up reading Aristotle instead. Oh well. If manuscripts were perfect, editors would get very bored.

What we all should remember, as we think about the editor, is there's no contract for The Shade Of The Moon Attempt Number Tres. So the editor might not get bored, thanks to my catchy mistakes, but might not like the book either and turn it down, and all you'll ever get to read of it is the four pages I put on my blog earlier and the two I'm about to put on.

It's very tricky, by the way, getting two pages that don't give away too much of the plot. It's a book with a lot of plot, and every time I looked for two pages to put here, there was always too much information to reveal so casually.

The two pages I finally chose are about Miranda and Alex. So if you don't want to know what's happening with them, don't read the pages. Consider yourself warned.

Oh, I know what I'll do. I have an excellent picture of Scooter I've been looking for an excuse to plop here. If you want to stay completely unspoiled about Alex and Miranda, then admire the picture of Scooter and move on.

I'll say goodbye here just in case. Now that I no longer have the manuscript to write or rewrite, the focus of my life is on naps!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Meet The Newest Members Of The Life As We Knew It Family

Our number has increased by two.

Yesterday, my mail carrier was kind enough to bring me CHRONIQUES DE lA FIN DU MONDE Les Survivants. Or as we in the United States think of it- the French version Of This World We Live In.

First I reunited it with its French relatives.

Then I introduced it to its American and British cousins.

Today 殞月之城  arrived.  That's the Chinese version of Life As We Knew It. Here's some badly translated by Google information about it (along with a nice picture of the cover).*

Since I just happened to have my camera out, I brought in all of 殞月之城 's first cousins, so they could get acquainted.

As we all well know, Scooter can't resist a party.

In case you were wondering, 殞月之城 is all in Chinese. But there are five footnotes for terms its readers might not be familiar with: West Nile, Ina Bauer, The Sound Of Music, Wishbone, and Date. To prove my incredible creativity in English, here's a sentence using all five:

After we broke the wishbone on our dinner date, Ina Bauer and I went to the West Nile Theater and saw The Sound Of Music.

Okay. I'll stick to photography and Scooter wrangling!

*If you press the third button on the top, it takes you to their The Dead And The Gone page.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Know I Should Be Working On My Rewrites

But they just announced that the 2014 US National Figure Skating Championships will be held in Boston!

In honor of the announcement, I tried very hard to get Scooter to pose with the figure skating bunny rabbits, but as you can see, he wasn't interested. Actually, he was kind of annoyed because I closed the closet door, which he was considerably more interested in than triple lutzes and the suchlike.

Spellcheck, by the way, doesn't approve of lutzes or toeloops, or axels. Guess what. It doesn't like salchows either.

Flip, flip, flip. Finally, a jump it accepts without question.

The last US Nationals held in Boston was the best Nationals of all, ever, without question (okay, you can question) because the skaters and coaches and us folk rode on the same buses together, and to make sure the skaters and coaches got to competitions on time, we had actual police escorts. I know this won't happen again, because they no longer allow the fans to ride on the competitors' buses, but it's one of those memories you cherish forever. As opposed to the memory of rewrites, which I will never ever cherish ever.

When I finished work on Sunday, I used my handy dandy calculator to determine that I was 44% finished. Sadly, I am still 44% finished, or maybe even less, because I decided I needed to add another tiny scene, which somehow I didn't get around to writing yesterday or today.

I didn't write yesterday, because I spoke to the librarians of Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties, and had a fine time doing so. Remember how I was going to make them work on a new book idea I came up with last week? Well, I didn't, not out of the goodness of my heart, but because I worked the whole thing out myself. It cost me a night's sleep, but I did it. I actually think I'll write the book later this summer (assuming I ever get  56% more rewrites done). It should be short and I know the beginning and the ending and a sufficient amount of the middle. Basically, it's 3 novellas that take place on the same day, which will be a great relief after all these moon books that take place over months and months and I have to remember the dates and add endless tiny scenes in between the dates I've already written scenes on.

Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of my father's death (Spellcheck doesn't like 19th either, which is really kind of ridiculous). My brother is coming up, and we're taking our mother to the cemetery and then out to lunch. So I don't see that as a big work day, or even a little work day.

I guess I'll get back to serious work on Thursday and plow my way through until the middle of next week, when I'd better have all 100% done. Of course, there's the French Open to watch. I do want to root Rafael Nadal onto victory. Spellcheck doesn't like Nadal either. Hmm. How will it feel about Federer? Okay, I'll try Murray. Murray it likes, but I'm rooting for Rafa (it hates Rafa) anyway.

You should see this thing. It's red line after red line.

All right. I'm going to celebrate some more, and then come up with another excuse not to work. I'll let you know when the rewrites are finished and I've mastered that quad loop triple loop combination!