Thursday, August 29, 2013

Decautur Book Festival Here I Come

Actually, I won't be going until Saturday, so the heading is a tad premature, but that's what excitement will do for you.

But before I tell you all about the Decatur Book Festival, here's a link to an interview I gave concerning e-books, a topic about which I know close to nothing. As we all well know, that's never stopped me from pontificating. This is an especially fine interview because it mentions that Life As We Knew It was on another best seller list. I love being a best selling author, even if it doesn't happen very much (and in this case it did because my publisher slashed the price of the e-book).

Back to Decatur. Oh, before we go back to a place we've never been (editorial we- for all I know, you've been there many times), I want to assure you that even though I've given up working (can't say as I miss it), I came up with an entire plot for a Lifetime Movie last night, so if you know anyone in need of one, have them call me. I have the whole thing, twist after every twist. The only thing I'm missing is a shootout in a warehouse (Lifetime movies love shootouts in warehouses), but that's what happens when part of the movie is set in Bolivia (a country which I'm sure has lots and lots of lovely warehouses, but none of them fit into the plot). But there's kidnapping and insurance fraud and murder and no good husbands, and what more does a Lifetime movie need, except maybe a script.

Don't bother suggesting I write the script. TV movie scripts involve all kinds of skills I don't have and don't care to pick up. And don't think of suggesting I write it as a book, because even though the plot is fabulous and would work as a fine trashy novel, I'd have to learn things about insurance and Bolivia and I don't wanna. Which is pretty much my attitude about work these days anyway.

The Decatur Book Festival, while technically work for me, looks to be so much fun, I won't hardly notice I'm working. As best I can tell, it's absolutely enormous. Here's the list of just the exhibitors. Since my presentation is at 3 PM (followed by autographing), I'll have plenty of time to walk around and see what they're all about.

Well, maybe not all that much time, since the one program I'm determined to see is at noon on Sunday.

Marriott Conference Center Ballroom B

12:00-12:45: My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs featuring Brian Switek

My plan is to read the book before I get there (although I don't have a lot of time between now and then, what with getting my hair cut and visiting my mother and cleaning the apartment and watching the US Open every chance I get), so when Brian Switek talks about dinosaurs, I'll know which ones he means. Apparently brontosauruses don't exist anymore, but since I still regard Pluto as a planet (and my favorite one at that), I figure if I know and love brontosauruses, then by gum, they still exist (well, except for extinction and all that).

Don't worry about Scooter while I'm gone. I don't think he's going to notice. His new obsession is sleeping under the chair in the den, and since that's a place I don't tend to hang out in, he won't be expecting to see me.
All right. I'll tell you everything about the Decatur Book Festival after I get home. Until then, have a great Labor Day weekend, if you're in a place that celebrates Labor Day weekend, and if not, have a great weekend anyway.

I know I will!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Napping Hard, However, I Could Handle

Quite a number of years ago, I accused my then agent of wanting me to work hard.

It stood to reason that she would, since the more I worked, the more money she earned off of me.

My then agent gave me one of her patented staredowns.

"I want you to work hard and to play hard," she informed me.

I didn't tell her, because she scared me, but playing hard wasn't much more appealing than working hard. It had that rock climbing, paragliding, surfing with sharks sound to it. Then, as now, I'd rather just watch an old movie.

But the last couple of weeks, while I haven't exactly been playing hard, I've definitely been playing harder. It's a combination of summertime and not working, and frankly, it's left me exhausted.

Between a week ago Monday and day before yesterday Monday, I've seen 18 members of my extended family, 9 on my mother's side and 9 on my father's (age range under 2 to over 70). My mother's side of the family came up to see my mother; my father's side of the family I had to drive to Great Neck to see.

Friday, I went with a friend to Bethel Woods, for a quick trip through their museum and a concert. The weather was perfect. Here I am standing next to a peace bell, or some such thing.
Saturday I drove to Hartford and met a different friend for the United States Gymnastics Nationals. We had a great time. Saturday night we saw the women's finals and Sunday afternoon, we saw the men's. Neither one of us had ever been to a gymnastics event (we've gone to a number of figure skating competitions together) and didn't know quite what to expect.

The women competed one at a time, which was fine, but the men competed six at a time, which was fabulous. Here's sort of the view we had for the men (what you can't see is we were very close to where the gymnasts landed their vaults).
Yesterday, I drove down to the Hideous Mall In Nyack for lunch and movies (Blue Jasmine) with still other friends. Blue Jasmine will play where I live eventually, but I already had that date scheduled to see my friends, so it made sense to drive the extra hour. Besides, The Hideous Mall has a Barnes & Noble, so I got to see their 5 copies of The Shade Of The Moon.
When I haven't been driving all over the place to see famiy and friends and concerts and movies and gymnastics, I've been reading. I've even been writing about what I've been reading (although truth to tell, I've already finished reading that book and a few others since then).
For the next week or so, I have nothing on my calendar more strenuous than buying groceries. Then it's off to the Decatur Book Festival.
But more about that next week, when my energy level returns to normal!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy The Shade Of The Moon Publication Date!

I know it must be the official actual publication date for my brand new (and as far as I know totally last) moon book, The Shade Of The Moon, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (they're raffling off ten copies if you want to try for one,).

I know it's the official and actual, etc. because Amazon, which has been telling me so for months, now says it'll have copies in by Friday, which is practically Tuesday in some parts of the world. Also my editor emailed to ask if I want "the foul matter," which is such an enchanting phrase if you like to associate the word "foul" with a book you gave your heart and soul to. My editor claims "the foul matter" is really just the copyedited manuscript, but I understand that this term was created to make us writers feel just a little less human, and is quite successful in its intent.

I can also tell because the countdown clock over on the right is now going in a different direction. I guess I'll keep it there for a few days until we all get bored watching it go forwards.

I had thought about going to the nearest Barnes and Noble, which is about a half hour from here, to see if I could see actual copies of The Shade Of The Moon (other people have, but not necessarily at that particular Barnes and Noble, so there would be an element of risk), but it's raining and I woke up at 5 AM with a doozy of a migraine.

I may have to ignore the rain to scurry out and buy groceries, and the migraine is under control, but I'm so excited about why I got the migraine that I have to tell you.

At 5 AM, thanks to a dream, I came up with a hobby!

The dream itself was a primitive version of the hobby, so here's the actual hobby idea.

I'm going to take old calendars and shred them and cut them into little pieces, and then I'm going to take a picture from a calendar and paste all the shreds and little pieces on top of it to recreate it in calendar collage form.

Okay. Let me explain it again. Let's say I take a page from a calendar that's a picture of a landscape of North Dakota. I'll then take shreds of other calendar pictures, and some shapes I'll have cut out as well, and I'll paste them on top of the picture of North Dakota. So the shreds could come from cat calendars or movie star calendars or calendars of states with more liberal policies but lower reading scores than North Dakota. You know how on the back of calendars they show what each month's picture is? Well, I'll cut that out and paste it somewhere on my recreated piece so you'll be able to see what the picture is actually supposed to look like.

I went through ten pages of artwork on Etsy, and it is possible I have invented this fabulous art form.

Here's what I'm going to need to make this hobby work:

Old cheap calendars (available at and if I spend $25.00 I get free shipping).
Really good scissors and paste.
Tracing paper (so I can trace the picture I'm going to be recreating, to give myself a better sense of what size and shape shreds I'll need).
A compass (so I can cut really round pieces) and a cutting edge (I'm not so hot on straight lines)
A hobby for Scooter, because whom are we kidding, he's going to think this is irresistible.
Oh, and a 57th Street Gallery for my first showing. But that should be no problem.

The great thing is if I start right now, I'll have enough of these incredible pieces of art for Chanukah and Christmas presents for every single person I've ever met and a few I've only heard about through rumor and innuendo.

I understand that now that I've put this great idea out on the Internet for the entire world to see and steal, I could end up with a, in the immortal words of Gertrude Stein, "We did it first and then they did it pretty," situation. There are artistes out there who are better at cutting straight lines than me.

But what the hey. As long as they don't plagiarize The Shade Of The Moon, I'll be happy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Shade Of The Moon Has Arrived!

My first copy arrived today.

Priority mail too. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt loves me.

I know you know exactly what The Shade Of The Moon looks like, but here's what it looks like on my dining room table.
Here's what it looks like meeting its fellow Houghton Mifflin Harcourt moon books.
Although Scooter had many opportunities to read the book on my computer, he held out for the hardcover.
Whilst spoiled himself, Scooter does not like spoilers.
Since The Shade Of The Moon will be coming out in paperback and Chinese and audio, I felt it should get together with Life As We Knew It, The Dead And The Gone, and This World We Live In in hardcover, paperback, Chinese and audio.
Then I remembered The Shade Of The Moon Survival Kit Houghton Mifflin Harcourt had created.
And while Scooter enjoyed the book itself, the Survival Kit green whistle was a lot tastier.
I hope on August 13, you'll like The Shade Of The Moon as much as you'd like a green whistle!