Tuesday, August 30, 2011

L'exil (The French Version Of The Dead And The Gone) Finally Has A Cover

It's probably had a cover for a while now (since its publication date is Sept. 1) but now I can look at it on French Amazon.

I love how the Harcourt designed covers look with French words on them. Tres elegant!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Very Short Post Irene Report

Scooter and I and the apartment we share are fine. One small unattractive tree that I can see through the window is sideways, probably not the best direction for a tree to be.

My little impatiens garden, which earlier this summer suffered a vicious groundhog attack, got battered by all the rain.

My brother and sister-in-law, who live in New Jersey, didn't have electricity for much of yesterday, but it's back on.

My mother's nursing home has lost telephone service, so I haven't spoken to her today. I'll be seeing her tomorrow and Wednesday and Friday, so (bad daughter) I'm not driving over today to reassure her.

My flashlight, which I didn't have to use, is still working. I have lots and lots of batteries, except Ds, which for some reason are hard to find. I did buy a couple of those weird square ones, in case I had a desperate need to weigh myself in a blackout.

My kitchen seems to have been declared a fruitfly evacuation center. My hope is when they find out they can go home again, they'll pack their bags and get going. Neither Scooter nor I will miss them!

Friday, August 26, 2011

I've Got A Working Flashlight. I've Got A Radio With Batteries.

I've got a completed manuscript.

Yes, in honor of the upcoming Hurricane Irene, I finished The Shade Of The Moon and sent it off to my editor approximately 8 minutes ago.

There's nothing like an impending hurricane to make you beat a September 1 deadine.

Have a good and safe weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blood Wounds Doubled Its Sales!

Thanks to Amazon's Author Central, I can proudly announce (and show you) that my not quite yet published novel Blood Wounds doubled its sales in a single week.

See. It went from 1 book sold! to 2 books sold!!

If Blood Wounds continues to double its sales every week, my estimate is I'll be able to buy the New York Yankees in 27 years!!!

Watch out A.J. Burnett. Your 9,855 not including Leap Years days as a Yankee are numbered!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thirty Two Days Has August

Those of us in the northeast think it's very kind of January to sacrifice one of its less necessary days to August, which on the whole is a month that can use a bit of expanding.

At least I feel that way as I come up against the infamous September 1 deadline for The Shade Of The Moon.

The first draft is actually completed and on Sunday, I edited/polished/rewrote the first 62 pages (the length of the book keeps shifting but it was at 293 pages when last I looked). Perhaps because of my current Hurricane Irene obsession, I've decided to add a weather element.

It gives away no spoiler information to say The Shade is written in two parts, Part One and (you'll never guess it) Part Two. Even I thought those parts would look nicer if they had names, so one of the first jobs I'm going to do today (after I play Free Cell a few more times and eat some more) is going to be naming them. Part One will be named something like The Faint Glow Of Sun, but Part Two's name I know: West Winds.

Alas, after I name Part Two, I'll have to put some west winds into the book itself. Le creative sigh.

Speaking of names, and speaking of reasons I'd actually like it to be September 1, Google was kind enough to tell me (no one else has bothered) that the French version of The Dead And The Gone is scheduled for a Sept. 1, 2011 publication, which the last I looked is a little over a week from now, whether I want it to be or not. I'd love to know what the cover design is, but since the design they gave Au Commencement was the Harcourt cover for Life As We Knew It only with a lot of classy French words,

probably the cover for d&g will follow suit.

I do admit to finding the Google translation of the information a bit disconcerting.

Here's what it says in French: L’exil, le second tome de Chronique de la fin du monde de Susan Beth Pfeffer, le 1er septembre

And here's what Google translation claims it says: Exile, the second volume of Chronicle of the late Susan Beth Pfeffer World, September 1

I really like the L'exil/Exile part of it, but the not quite late yet Susan Beth Pfeffer would prefer to stay that way, at least until August 33!

ETA: I felt the earthquake. I was sort of hard at work on the rewrites and the computer monitor shook a tiny bit and my chair shook a tiny bit, enough that I looked beind me to see if Scooter was using the chair as a scratching post. I had a Cleveland Indian baseball game on TV and they felt it and were wondering what happened, and then they said it was an earthquake. So now I'm watching CNN and not getting any work done.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blood Wounds Sold Its First Copy!

Yes, I should be starting the rewrites on The Shade Of The Moon, and I have an embarrassing number of emails I need to answer, and the fruit flies are back (trust me, I didn't invite them), and the apartment is one week overdue for a cleaning, and Scooter remains Scooter,

but I'm ignoring all that to announce the sale of the first copy of Blood Wounds.

I'd tell you who bought it, but I have no idea.

This is how I found out. Amazon, bless its sweet little heart, has this thing set up where writers with a healthy (i.e. obsessive) interest in their book sales can go on Thursdays to find out how their books sold the previous week.

I put in my fabulous secret password, and Author Central lets me in. It claims it knows 75% of all the previous week's book sales, only I don't think it includes ebooks or institutional sales, but what do I care. A number is a number.

Since the vast vast extremely vast majority of the collected masterpieces of Susan Beth Pfeffer don't sell anything, I only look at the three moon book titles. Then I add their sales and divide it by 2 and create a make believe royalty number (it's make believe because royalties aren't based on how many books actually sell in bookstores but by how many books bookstores buy in the first place, but I never allow reality to get in the way of a good Ooh I'll Be Able To Retire! fantasy).

Of course I don't only check on Thursdays. Up in the right hand corner, the sweethearts let you know if the book's Amazon ranking has gone up (pretty green numbers) or down (nasty red numbers)in the past hour.

But Thursday is the big day. They even sort of tell you where in the U.S. of A. the copies are marching out of bookstores (or in this case the copy is marching out of a bookstore). They have it sorted by 99 major American locations and everyplace else, which they call Combined Areas.

The very first sale of Blood Wounds happened in Combined Areas, my new favorite part of the country.

Oh, and see that big blue bar towards the bottom of the page? The graph runs from 0 all the way up to 2, and since Blood Wounds has now sold 1 copy, that bar goes exactly half way (my guess is James Patterson's graphs don't start at 0 or end at 2, but then again James Patterson probably doesn't have the harsh reality of fruit flies to deal with, nor most likely does he have a really ugly black spider in the middle of his shower curtain and even if he does, I prefer not to imagine how he looked when he discovered it).

I wouldn't mind the spider nearly so much if it were eating the fruit flies.

But back to Blood Wounds and its many sale. According to my conveniently located calculator, Blood Wounds now only has to sell 11764 copies (down from 11765) to earn out its advance and start paying me royalties.

Now if I can only convince Scooter to move, maybe I'll start working on those rewrites!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guess Who Finished The Shade Of The Moon

If you didn't guess me, you must be looking for some other Susan Beth Pfeffer.

That reminds me of a little known (or remembered, since I almost forgot myself) fact about Susan Beth Pfeffer (aka me). Way back, I lived in New York City and one reason why I moved away was because another Susan Pfeffer moved in. This is all extremely hazy in my mind (it having been the 1960s), but I think I got a phone call or two from guys looking for her, and I didn't approve of them (they worked in the stock market or something else far too respectable for my 1960s taste). Anyway, I felt NYC wasn't big enough for two Susan Pfeffers, and rather than having a shootout, I packed my bags and my cat and left.

All of which has nothing to do with the fact that I finished The Shade Of The Moon Saturday night, and except for rewriting a small section Sunday morning (which I intend to unrewrite), did nothing Sunday except kill one of two Piles That Will Not Die (the kitchen counter pile; this afternoon I killed The Pile That Will Not Die in the den).

Oddly enough, no matter how often I kill The Pile That Will Not Die, another one takes its place. But for the day or two that my kitchen counter is clear, it's very exciting.

Today I did something planned for Wednesday and read The Shade Of The Moon from page 1 (which I offered up here a while back) to page 289, which you'll have to wait to read until the book is published a year from now. The biggest problem is some chapter or another (I'm far too lazy to look for its number; this is a book with a lot of mostly short chapters) which I completely rewrote and now I have to return to its original form, which is probably in a file somewhere, allowing me to cut 'n paste (my best skill) back in place. Even if I can't find it, I can rewrite it pretty much from memory, so it doesn't really matter, and what makes me glad is I can now use the chapter that follows which I had to eliminate because of the soon to be unrewritten chapter.

If you couldn't follow that, ask the other Susan Pfeffer.

Speaking of page 289 and what precedes it, after I finished the book, I called Princess Summerfallwinterspring, who was so stunned by the sound of a ringing telephone that she forgot to answer in Romanian. I told her the ending I'd worked out and she liked it a lot. Me too, which is a great relief all around.

There are rewrites to do, but mostly of a polishing nature because I really worked on this book (as I'm sure you know because I've whined about it for months now), and then I'll magically transport it to my editor and to my agent, well before the September 1 deadline, which just goes to show something, although I don't know what.

Oh and it's not any kind of spoiler to say that one of the main characters in the book is named Keegan (Connor in the brilliant 12 page synopsis, but changed to Keegan before I began writing because a very big word in the book is community and I didn't want a Connor and a community fighting it out) and yesterday a golfer named Keegan won some big golfing tournament, and if that isn't a good omen, I don't know what is.

The character was much nicer in the synoposis when he was named Connor than he is in the book when he's named Keegan, but such is life.

I'll probably begin the rewrites on Thursday and get them finished by early next week because sometime next week there will most likely be the Official Meeting about my mother and the day that meeting happens, the 30 days to clear out her apartment clock starts ticking.

I admit to being curious about some boxes that have been sitting unopened in my mother's bedroom closet since she moved in to the apartment 15 years ago.

Who knows? Maybe I'll find proof of even more Susan Pfeffers in them!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things Should Calm Down Around October 22

Or so I keep telling myself.

My mother is now genuinely semi-officially a resident of the Health Center, where she gets a lot more attention and three meals a day brought to her room. In two or three weeks there'll be papers to sign that will turn semi-official into official, and the minute the papers are signed, we'll have 30 days to clear out her apartment.

I'd tell you what a mess my apartment is but you don't want to know.

Clearing out my mother's apartment won't really take 30 days (I hope), but it could be a little tricky working on it while finishing up The Shade Of The Moon. So my hope is the 30 days will start at the earliest as soon as I finish the book, and ideally a day or two later so I can breathe for a moment before tackling the next big job.

I like breathing. I used to do it quite regularly.

Meanwhile The Shade Of The Moon is moving along. Sadly, I think it might have cost me my friendship with Princess Summerfallwinterspring. After I worked out seventeen different versions of the ending with her, all on her phone bill, and in spite of her battling double pneumonia and triple digit temperatures (both hers and the climate's), she's taken to answering her phone with a thick Romanian accent, saying, "Ve provide no book writing helping here!"

I suppose I could be getting a wrong number. What's the area code for Romania?

Anyway, to distract you from the fact that instead of writing, I've discovered the joys of Undo on Free Cell and am winning, winning winning, I'll include the links to a couple of New York Times articles.

This first one is about improved book sales (thanks in part to YAs).

The second is about the Hobbit House, a guest house in Montana (where all the best hobbits stay).

I'll now win another game or two of Free Cell and return to work. Either that, or I'll have to move to Romania!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Little Bit More About Blood Wounds

I just discovered Blood Wounds will be available both for Kindle and NOOK readers.

Barnes and Noble was also nice enough to include a reasonably good School Library Journal review (don't read if you don't like spoilers):

School Library Journal

Gr 7 10—"We're a happy family. But we're not identical to other happy families." Willa is one of a family of five—her mother, stepfather, and two stepsisters, Brooke and Alyssa, who are supported generously by their wealthy mother. But the McDougals' happiness is shattered when Willa's biological father kills his current wife and daughters and then embarks on a cross-country trip toward the McDougal home. The police insist Willa and her mother go to a hotel to hide, just in case Budge Coffey goes to their house. When he does show up, he attacks a policeman and is killed, and the lives of the McDougals are changed forever. Despite her mother's objections, Willa insists on going to her father's funeral so she can learn about him and his family, not the most popular people in their small Texas town. From Willa's secret cutting to the discord of custody arrangements within a blended family, all the topics that the family usually tiptoes around suddenly explode and are brought out into the open. By the end of the story, the once-taboo topics result in full discussions, and the McDougals do seem to be a more functional family unit. As in Life as We Knew It (Harcourt, 2006), Pfeffer uses enough realistic detail to make the story believable while adding a good dose of teen angst. The novel ties up all the loose ends a bit too conveniently but not enough to ruin the story. A good read that should appeal to those who want realistic fiction.—Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX

Friday, August 5, 2011

My First Copy Of Blood Wounds Has Arrived!

My dear sweet UPS person delivered my first copy of Blood Wounds yesterday.

Here it is.

Its back is all about the Moon books.

For that matter, so is its back inside cover.

Scooter chewed over whether to read it.

He then settled down with it for a good read.

He found a lot to think about as he read.

I must say Blood Wounds looks very good on my bookcase.

I hope someday it will look very good on your bookcase also!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fruit Flies Don't Bother Me

Yes, I know I should be working...

But I'm sure you're breathlessly awaiting the latest fruit fly bulletin. Actually one just flew past me, so I guess the fruit flies are awaiting the latest fruit fly bulletin as well.

A couple of days ago, Begins With M, after consulting with her mother, suggested placing a banana peel in a bag and tempting the fruit flies with that. My immediate and ridiculous response was I hate bananas (well, I do, I mean really really really hate bananas).

But the next morning I came to my fruit fly senses and realized one fruit fly's banana peel is another fruit fly's mango peel. I have plenty of those. So I placed a mango peel in a plastic bag, and the fruit flies loved it. Just as much as they would have loved a banana peel (bananas get a real bad rep when it comes to fruit flies; most everyone I've mentioned the fruit fly issue to have responded, Oh Bananas!).

I have a feeling bleaching the living daylights out of Cujo The Garbage Pail probably helped as well. It's back in the kitchen and so far seems uninfested.

I took yesterday's mango peel bag and put it on the patio. I'll try to remember to throw it out when I go for my mail. I put a brand new mango peel in a brand new plastic bag (I have finally found a use for the plastic bags my newspapers are delivered it), and left it on the kitchen counter as an enticement, but when I checked a couple of minutes ago, it was fruit fly free.

Then again, since I did see a fruit fly by the computer just now, maybe they've all migrated to the den in search of new excitement.

They can search to their hearts' content, but they're not going to find any bananas!

Monday, August 1, 2011

In August A Freelance Children's Book Writer Buys Bleach And Writes Books

Not even in that order. I went back to writing The Shade Of The Moon yesterday afternoon, spoke to Princess Summerfallwinterspring at great length last night, and scurried over to Price Chopper this morning to buy the bleach.

At some point today, I'll venture onto the patio and bleach down Cujo. This will involve throwing out the bag of garbage that's currently in there, and I don't know who'll find that job more distasteful, me or the fruit flies. But it must be done, le fruit fly infested sigh.

Generally I feel about August as I used to feel about Sundays- I love not being in school but I hate the knowledge I'll be there in a day (or month). But since July ended on such a note of difficulty (actually more like a symphony of difficulty), I'm willing to embrace August with open arms and typing hands. And no matter what, I don't have to go to school in September. So three cheers for August.

Another nice thing about my new favorite month is it inches the publication date of Blood Wounds ever so much closer. Amazon noticed that also, and asked me to write a Dear Amazon Reader for their Blood Wounds page.

All right. I'm off to work myself into a pre-writing frenzy by playing Free Cell and eating lunch. Then back to The Shade Of The Moon I'll go.

Since the alternative is throwing out garbage and bleaching the trash can, my guess is I'll get a lot of writing done today!