He, in turn, envied Ann's and my boxes of chocolate.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
He, in turn, envied Ann's and my boxes of chocolate.
Monday, April 27, 2009
This morning I had no problems guessing what wonderful things would happen during the week, since a couple of them are already scheduled. On Wednesday, I'm going to the New Jersey Library Association Book Award Luncheon, where Life As We Knew It will receive the 2009 Garden State Teen Book Award (Grades 6-8), which I will proudly display on the Wall Of Ego. Then on Thursday, I'll go to New Haven to speak at the Connecticut Library Association Conference.
Both these events will be more fun than taking my mother to the dentist tomorrow to get her two cavities filled. Although even that will be more fun for me than for her.
But this week started off very nicely on its own. For those of you who enjoy reading interviews with me (a select group consisting of my mother, to whom reading an interview with me is preferable to getting her cavities filled), there is a brand new one at Inkweaver Review.
And this morning, while doing my now once every two weeks or so Googling, I discovered that LAWKI is nominated for the Green Mountain Book Award in Vermont. That makes it 27 individual state awards it's been nominated for.
Speaking of awards, I received one yesterday as the Friends Of The Middletown Thrall Library Volunteer Of The Year. As it happens, I couldn't attend the luncheon, so Marci accepted for me. She said I got a certificate, so maybe the Wall Of Ego will have yet another thing to show off. And speaking of Marci, she came over on Saturday to meet Scooter. She agreed that he was very cute, but she says his beard makes him look like Maynard G. Krebs.
At some point in the not too distant future, the new editor will send me This World We Live In, with all kinds of notes and suggestions for rewrites (or as Maynard G. Krebs would put it- WORK!). But until she does, I can spend the week looking forward to all the good things that are going to happen, and watching Scooter chase his tail.
Now that's something Maynard G. Krebs couldn't do!
ETA: While I was answering comments from NathanKP and Glen, Scooter was proving very distracting!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Life As We Knew It is the first winner of the Truman Readers Award, selected by students sixth through eighth grade in Missouri. Notice how the link doesn't take you to some official announcement place. That's because I can't find an official announcement place. Actually, the place Google took me to last night was a blog by a librarian who didn't like LAWKI. So I waited until today to make the official (by me at least) announcement, by way of a librarian who is at least neutral on the subject.
I love that LAWKI is the first Truman Readers Award winner. It will always be the first (or last) book on the Truman Readers Award lists.
I hope students sixth through eighth grade in Missouri and elsewhere read French. Because my other piece of good news is that Pocket Jeunesse in France (bonjour France) will be publishing Life As We Knew It, The Dead And The Gone, and This World We Live In.
This is one tres excellent day!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I took Scooter to the vet today, to make sure he was a healthy kitten, and indeed he is. He weighs 1 pound 4 ounces, has a normal temperature, and may be less than 8 weeks old, which would help explain his meowing whenever I'm not right by his side. Although I think he's meowing less (or else it's turning into white noise, I've gotten so accustomed to it).
I promised Scooter if he did something sufficiently cute, I'd post a video along with this report. I put one of his toys out for him, but naturally that was of no interest to him.
Instead he found two other things to play with, neither one of which would have been my choice. The bag was a gift from one of the schools I visited this fall. The mini carnation was in a vase on the dining room table. Soon Scooter will be knocking over vases, and I won't think he's nearly as cute as I do now!
Monday, April 20, 2009
The ticking sound in the background is the toaster oven.
Scooter is now climbing on my back and purring. He's really a sweetheart, but a very noisy one!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I have a kitten on my lap. After an acquaintanceship of a mere two hours, Scooter understands how important it is to sleep on my lap.
Friday, April 17, 2009
It used to be the credits were short and sweet: Produced, Directed, Written, and Starring Orson Welles.
Nowadays the credits run forever, and include all kinds of jobs and responsibilities I never associated with movies (second assistant greensperson and the suchlike).
So while I continue to wait for a kitten and a rewrite, I thought I'd give the credits for my upcoming production of This World We Live In (all these credits, by the way, would be identical for Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone).
Harcout Houghton Mifflin And Susan Beth Pfeffer Present
Susan Beth Pfeffer's
THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN
Written And Directed By: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Produced by Harcourt Houghton Mifflin
Executive Producer: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Edited By: The New Editor And Susan Beth Pfeffer
Copy Edited By: The Copy Editors
Assistant Copy Editor: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Cover Design: The Cover Designer
Titles: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Research: Google, Wikipedia
Head Researcher: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Marketing And Promotion: Harcourt Houghton Mifflin, Susan Beth Pfeffer
Catering: Lean Cuisine, Not Just Bagels, Susan Beth Pfeffer
Second Assistant Greensperson: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Electricity Provided By: Orange And Rockland Utilities Inc. (Bill Paid By Susan Beth Pfeffer)
Best Boy: Definitely Not Susan Beth Pfeffer
Best Mother: Freda Pfeffer
Special Thanks to:
No Animals Were Hurt In The Production of This World We Live In. However, Any Number Of Trees Sacrificed Their Lives For The Sake Of This And All Other Books.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Can you see the drawing to the left of Groucho Marx? It's a certificate my goddaughter made me when she was seven years old. It says (and I quote with great pride): Susan Beth Pfeffer is a very good person. But tonight she was a very, very good person.
Right below it, is a proclamation from the town of Winfield, West Virginia of Susan Beth Pfeffer Day, which turns out to be April 30, by which point I will certainly have my spring cleaning done.
See the letter matted in blue, under the Sequoyah Children's Book Award (in the shape of Oklahoma)? It's my very first acceptance letter, from Grade Teacher Magazine, for a poem I wrote in fifth grade.
Oddly enough, I never framed my first rejection letter, although I could easily paper The Wall Of Ego, the rest of my apartment, and Buckingham Palace, with all the rejections I've gotten.
Another thing I'm waiting for is a kitten. I would have taken one home on Saturday, except the one I wanted (an extremely cute calico) had already been adopted. I was told some black and white kittens will be showing up on Sunday for adoption, and I intend to get there early this time. I bought a kitty litter pan this morning, and I'm hoping it will be getting some use by Sunday afternoon.
By which point, of course, I will have finished spring cleaning.
Finally, I'm waiting to do editor requested rewrites on This World We Live In. The editor originally assigned to the book couldn't work it into her schedule, so a new editor had to be found. Last week my newest editor requested a blurb/summary of B3 for the sales and marketing people. For those who are interested, I've posted what I sent her over at thirdmoonbook.
Although switching editors has slowed the process down, B3 remains on target for a Spring 2010 publication.
By which time, I'll definitely have finished my Spring 2009 cleaning!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Read A Lot: There's no easier way of absorbing writing skills than by reading. Don't limit your reading to novels. I used to read plays all the time in junior high and high school, and learned a great deal, without realizing it, about dialogue and structure (I learned a lot also from watching old movies). Poetry teaches you style and vision. Biographies (which I read a lot of as well) teach you about how people, and not just famous ones, behave and grow. Newspapers, magazines, and the internet, show what people are interested in.
Write A Lot: Not just the stuff you have to write for school. Write for your own pleasure. Writing is the same as skateboarding or playing the piano. You get better through practice. William Shakespeare knocked out a lot of plays before he could write King Lear.
Learn Grammar And Spelling: They're boring, but essential. And don't count on the computer to know everything for you. A sentence like: There, they're their own worst enemy, can give even the smartest computer a migraine. For that matter, so could: It's its own worst enemy. So don't be your own worst enemy, by trying to get away with mistake ridden manuscripts.
Pay Attention To People: Watch your family, your friends, your teachers, anybody you have contact with. Ask yourself why they behave the way they do. The better you understand people, the easier it is to create characters. And even if you decide your life work is to write textbooks about rocks, people will be your target audience (so few rocks read these days). The best non-fiction writers know how to make their subject interesting to people, just the same as fiction writers.
Listen To Praise And To Criticism: You can learn from both. Don't assume all praise is accurate or all criticism is. But don't reject praise or criticism automatically. I've learned from people who like my writing, and I've learned from people who don't.
Try To Get Published: Getting published doesn't necessarily mean getting your novel published by a big time publishing house. That's hard under any circumstances, and big time publishing houses these days are struggling, the same as many other industries. But if your school has a paper or a magazine, or your local newspaper has a teen section, or you know of a magazine (print or online) that is looking for submissions by younger writers, go for it. There's something very encouraging about seeing your name in print.
Write About What You Like Best: If you love to surf, then write about surfing or surfers or ocean waves. If you love fashion, then write about fashion or people who love fashion or people who don't love fashion. If you're like me, and what you love best is figuring out how families would behave during hard times, then write about families in hard times.
Write About What You Know Best: Maybe what you know best is surfing. Maybe what you know best is fashion. But maybe what you know best is how sisters or friends or parents fight. Maybe what you know best is how you feel when you fight with your sister or your friend or your parent. You can know feelings just as well as you can know facts, and they're both great starting off points for writing.
Be True To Feelings, Not Facts: When I was a kid, I was scared of going to the dentist. When I was a grownup, I wrote a book called What Do You Do When Your Mouth Won't Open, about a kid who was scared of speaking in public. I've never been scared of speaking in public, but I understood irrational fear. So I took feelings I'd had and gave them to my heroine. The great thing about fiction is you can put your characters wherever you want them, but wherever you do, you must be sure their feelings will seem real to your readers.
Have Fun With Your Writing: I always tell people, I'm my own biggest fan, because I write the stories I would most enjoy reading. There's not much point being a writer if you don't have fun with it. But if you do have fun, then it's a wonderful job, or hobby, or stepping stone to whatever the next step in your life will be.