Friday, July 27, 2012

I Just Blogged To Say I Thank You

I don't know if I say it enough. At least not to you.

Blogging is a strange beast. I talk about myself, my work, my family and friends, my cats, my complaints (and yes, I'm good at those), trying to make it interesting, if only to myself. Then I press the Publish button, and off my entry goes to be read by a handful of my friends and an unknown number of strangers.

In real life, I've met a handful of you strangers. I've exchanged emails with a few more. But mostly I know you from the comments you leave (and I'm sure there are many of you who haven't left comments, and that's fine too). Some of you use names that might actually be your name. Others use make believe names. And of course there are the Anonymouses who stay Anonymous and those who add real names or make believe names to their comments.

The blog entry that got the greatest number of comments was one I wrote a little over a year ago, asking if there should be a fourth moon book. There are 126 comments, and they continue to come in.

And so, with your encouragement, I wrote a fourth moon book. And then I tried a different approach to a fourth moon book. And then, finally, I wrote a fourth moon book and got it right, in my eyes and the eyes of my publisher.

I wrote about all those efforts and you stuck with me. You encouraged me. You sympathized and empathized. You were on my side. Or if you weren't, you kept your thoughts to yourself, which I also appreciate.

Since the end of December, I've kept a gratitude diary. Every Friday I write down five things I've been grateful for during the week. Some weeks I have a lot more than five things to be grateful about, so I shove a few together. Some weeks it's a struggle to come up with five things, but I think about it, and end up with five   real things.

During the week, I think sometimes about what I'll put in the diary. Last night I thought about it. I knew the first thing I'd list was my publisher accepting The Shade Of The Moon.

But then I thought I should list how much I appreciate your comments. And I decided while it would be fine to put that in a diary only I read, I should let you know as well.

So thank you. Thank each and every one of you. Thank you more than you can imagine.

Oh, and if you can think of three more things I should be grateful for this week, I'll be even more grateful!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bad News/Good News

The bad news is since I made that resolution not to complain, I won't be able to complain when I have to do rewrites on The Shade Of The Moon.

The good news is I'll have to do rewrites on The Shade Of The Moon because Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has accepted it for publication!!!

I don't have a publication date yet, having only gotten the acceptance email a couple of hours ago, but until I hear otherwise I'm going to assume it will come out in the fall of 2013. Which is really hardly more than a year from now.

However, a year is a long long time to leave all of you in the middle of a sentence, so I'm going to put the rest of Chapter 1 in this entry. It's a long chapter, and will probably take you a year to read, so that should work out just fine.

First though, I'll put the links to entries where I put arbitrary pages of manuscript. After you finish reading Chapter One In Its Entirety, you might want to read the pages, since you'll be more familiar with the characters and situation.

Okay. Here's link one and link two. I'm too lazy to see which order they should be read in.

Now here's the link for the beginning of Chapter One.

Here's the rest of Chapter One. I hope you'll enjoy it. If you don't, well, if I can't complain, neither can you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Not Even Going To Wait For Rosh Hashanah To Make This Resolution

Purely by chance this afternoon, I was googling about and noticed that quite a number of my blog posts have gentle hints of complaining. Well, actually a lot of complaining. Double actually, my guess is my blog posts (and there are many) fall into two categories: Bragging and Complaining.

So I have decided to stop complaining (stop laughing; I can hear you way over here). Okay, maybe not stop altogether, because I happen to think I'm very cute when I whine, but I'm gonna cut down.

For example, I will no longer complain about my German royalty check not coming. Granted, since it came today, it might be hard to find reasons to complain about its not coming, but when has that ever stopped me?   I've never been one to dodge a challenge when a good kvetch was at stake. But not today. Never no more today.

Also, I'm not going to complain about not hearing from my publishing house about The Shade Of The Moon Yet Again. I'm sure they have a very good reason for keeping me from knowing their decision. My guess is my publishing house has moved to Mars and it's a well known fact there's no Wi-Fi on Mars. The odds are they moved to Wi-Fi free Mars to avoid hearing me complain, but who can blame them? Not moi.

I'm not even going to complain that Spell Check refuses to acknowledge Rosh Hashanah, googling, and Wi-Fi  are actual properly spelled words. I find it amusing that one of their alternatives for Hashanah is Hashish. Others might complain about this classic example of blatant anti-semitism, but not the new improved me. I won't even murmur a complaint that one of Spell Check's alternatives for semitism is Smuts. I'm sure Spell Check has its reasons.

As we all know, Google is kind enough to send me links to all kinds of things that mention my name. I don't read the fanfic  (alternative spelling possibility- fungi) although I love the fact that people write it, and I don't usually check out the You Tube book trailers, although I marvel at people's skills in creating them. But I did go to this link and found a 10 minute long LPS version of the beginning of This World We Live In, made by a 14 year old girl. I love it. I have four favorite parts. There's Miranda and Matt hugging, and Matt announcing that he's going to bed with his wife, and a nightmare sequence with Mrs. Nesbitt. And there's this little moment where Mom kind of complains. Not unlike her creator.

Only not anymore. Mom can whine forever on You Tube, but I will never ever complain again.

Until the next time!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guess What I Got Without Ever Nagging Not Even Once

Not word about The Shade Of The Moon, which I'm sure I'll hear about in my lifetime, since my mother is 100 years old and genetics must count for something, and not my German royalty check, which I'm sure I'll get in my lifetime, since my mother will be 101 years old in six weeks and genetics must count for something.

Nor was it this beautiful set of salt and pepper shakers, which I bought at New Paltz Crafts Fair Memorial Day weekend, and have gotten many compliments over. I posed them with a matching African Violet that I was given  for my birthday and I haven't killed yet.

I haven't killed Scooter yet either.

No, what I got was the Chinese version of The Dead And The Gone.

I promptly introduced it to its Chinese sibling.

Then, I held a small party so 危城求生 could meet its mostly green cousins.

Scooter can't resist a good party.

But I guess he realized he wasn't green, and felt like a wallflower.

But just now, he decided to get to know 危城求生 better. Maybe he and 危城求生 could be friends after all. If not, 危城求生 could be dinner!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scooter Was Too Busy Bed Hopping To Give Away The Surprise

I don't want you to think I've merely been twiddling my thumbs waiting to hear if my publisher is going to accept the This Is It Never Again Shade Of The Moon Version Three. It's true, my thumbs have been twiddling rather more than usual, but that's because thumb twiddling is a well know aerobic exercise. My thumbs now have an extremely healthy heartbeat, thanks to my publisher.

Actually, I've been quite busy the past 10 days or so. There's the obsessive checking of Life As We Knew It    Amazon and Barnes & Noble rankings. They change hourly, you know (well, B& N only changes hourly if the ranking is under 1000, but lately it has been so it has been), and there are two of them to check, so that takes up quite a lot of time.

But when I'm not running to the computer and pressing those magic connection dots, I've been social. Very social. Far more than I usually am, which is really not a lot, given that I live alone and work alone.

First my friends Joyce and Lew came for the weekend. We ate chicken and corn salad and saw Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter in 3D, which was 2D too many. Since the apartment lacks a guest room, I slept on the air mattress on the living room floor.

Then Monday night, my friend Linda stayed over. This time, I slept on the fancy air mattress in the den.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, no one slept over, and I was back in my bedroom. But Thursday night, Linda slept over again, and it was back to the fancy air mattress in the den.

Scooter likes both air mattresses, but he's particularly fond of the living room one.

What Scooter knew but Linda didn't, was the plan for a surprise retirement party Thursday night. Linda's final day of work was Friday, so I invited four mutual friends, and we surprised her. At my insistence, we even yelled "Surprise!"

We had Ronda Jo's tuna salad, and corn salad (hey, it's an easy recipe) and Cynthia made a green salad, and Pam brought fruit, and Janet made this incredibly delicious chocolate thing, which we topped with vanilla ice cream. Geri brought the retirement card for us to sign.

Here's the basic idea of Ronda Jo's tuna salad. It comes from the classic America COOKS cookbook.

A can of tuna
red apple (I used an obscure tart one)
pecans (which I prefer to walnuts)

We have no idea who Ronda Jo is, but she's legendary in my social circle for her tuna salad.

Oh, the corn salad recipe comes from Woman's Day, and it pretty much goes like this:

Corn (I used frozen because I'm lazy)
cherry tomatoes
olive oil
lime juice

The lime juice is what makes it.

So the surprise party was a great success and I really think Linda appreciated it.

Then Saturday night, my friends Geri and Paul and Pam and Bruce and I went to the annual New York Philharmonic concert + fireworks at Bethel Woods. This time Geri and Paul brought the supper (turkey sandwiches and potato chips and cookies) and Pam and Bruce brought veggies and cherries, and I supplied left over vanilla ice cream.

The concert was great and the fireworks were the best ever.

I got home after midnight, and thanks to my gloriously obsessive nature, I checked the Amazon and Barnes & Noble rankings before going to sleep. Am I glad I did. My B&N ranking was a personal best (the likes of which I'll never see again).

Sunday I spent doing nothing, except checking to see if the fruit flies have come back (they haven't. but something is biting me, so I am now terrified I have bed bugs). Today I bought groceries and twiddled my thumbs.

Good thing thumb twiddling is aerobic. I've got to burn off all that cake, ice cream and chips!

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's War (and Peace)

The fruit flies are back.

At least I assume they are. Small and nasty insects are flying around my apartment, but for a while I hoped they were June bugs, except now it's July, and they're still here. Or maybe they're gnats, since something's been stinging me, and my recollection is last year's fruit flies were vegetarians.

My big concern, actually, is that the fruit flies married some gnats and birthed little frat flies. I dread the thought of insect toga parties all over my home.

Since I have no positive feelings about fruit flies, even if they don't bite me, I decided to do some research on   the dumping thereof. Naturally I went to my pal Mr. Google to see what I could find.

Right off, there was a lengthy piece about ridding one's home of fruit flies. A lot of it was pretty funny, since it  offered many suggestions of letting fruit flies out into the wild. I am not about to play catch and release with fruit flies. I'm not that softhearted.

But there was one piece of information that took me by surprise. Fruit flies hate fans.

Personally, I love fans, and I like to think I have one or two perhaps even lurking around here (and waiting, no doubt, to sting me). But it turned out fruit flies, while having no objections to giving autographs, don't like fans of the electrical variety.

As it happens, I have three electric fans in my apartment. So I moved all three of them into the kitchen and turned them on full blast.

And it worked! It's been particularly effective around the kitchen sink, which was always fruit fly heaven. I left one fan on all the time, and I haven't seen a fruit fly in the sink or even the cutting board (they used to hold their wedding receptions on the cutting board). Of course they're all over the garbage can, but I refuse to put my garbage in the freezer as was suggested, and it's hard to put an electric fan in the garbage can, especially since there's no outlet on that wall.

But for the moment, I'm thrilled with the lack of fruit flies around the sink.

Meantime, I'm pleased to report that my editor sent me an e-mail explaining why I haven't heard anything about The Shade Of The Moon The Last Version Ever Ever And I Mean Ever. Everyone's been busy. Well, that's fine. I've been busy too, ridding my world of fruit flies.

Sadly though, my editor explained, the publishing world is going to continue to be busy for quite a while to come. There's the 4th of July, and John Quincy Adam's birthday, and Bastille Day, and the summer Olympics, and the anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon, and Benjamin Harrison's birthday, and Labor Day, and the Jewish holidays, and the World Series, and Halloween, and Election Day, and the Macy's Day Parade, and Pearl Harbor Day and Beethoven's birthday, and the Christian holidays, assuming the Mayans were wrong, and if the Mayans were right, well, the world will come to an end before the Christian holidays, and all those gift cards you bought for your nieces and nephews will never get used.

She did reassure me that if the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn't come to an end, there'll be plenty of other things to keep the publishing world busy, and it will probably be two to three years before they can make up their minds about my book. By which point the fruit flies will figure out how to unplug the electric fan and take over my apartment, while expecting me to pay the rent.

Le sigh. At the very least, I hope they invite me to their toga parties!