Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Anyone Want A Bookplate (Or 3)?

The bookplates have arrived.

You may notice I went with a slightly different approach this time. The designs are identical (all waxing moons), but I chose different colors for each one. Always Have Hope kind of matches the cover for Life As We Knew It and Never Lose Faith kind of matches the cover for the dead and the gone, and Trust In Tomorrow has nothing to do with the cover of This World We Live In (I didn't like the idea of a grey bookplate and the yellows were too garish).

You may also notice that I experimented with different color inks for signing each one, since red wasn't going to work with the Trust plate, and red and green seemed too Christmasy for my tastes.

Having experimented (the things I do for you people), I decided to stick with black for all of them. I own lots and lots of black pens.

I also own lots and lots of stamps, since I bought many sheets just in case. While I was buying stamps, I bought the kinds that can be used to mail things to different countries. So if you don't live (I typed that as like, rather than live, a leftover from the Bush days I suppose) in the US, don't be shy about asking for the bookplates. Except for envelopes, which I keep forgetting to buy, I am prepared.

So here's all you need to do. Email me at the beloved address and tell me what you want. You can say you want one or more of the Always Have Hope plates, or the LAWKI plates or the blue plates (and you can do the same for the other two as well, but it would be tedious to go through all that for each one). I ordered 500 of each plate, and have 499 of each available, so it's going to take a while before I run out. The offer, therefore, will be good until I do (I'll continue to link to it on the right side of the blog. That reminds me- there's a new interview with me over to the right as well). Ask for as many as you need (in the past, library discussion groups and school classes have asked for and received multiples).

There's no charge (well, CVS will charge me for the envelopes, assuming I remember to buy them while I'm there, but there's no charge to you). And if you've already emailed me to ask about the plates, email me again. Include your name and address, which plates you want and how many, and then I'll know what to send you and where they should go. Then I sign my name, in tasteful black ink, and mail them off.

Assuming I remember to buy the envelopes!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Hope The Last Survivors Last A Long Long Time

One of the pleasures of being self-employed is you can look forward to Mondays.

I like Mondays because sometimes I get a check on Monday (and today I did, the advance money for the French rights to This World We Live In, ooh la la).

But I got something else in my mail today. My UK publishers sent me their special order form for The Last Survivors (aka Life As We Knew It, The Dead And The Gone and the aforementioned This World We Live In). This form is for bookstores to order what I hope will be many copies of the books.I love all the different approaches that are being used for the books, and I have a particular fondness for this version because if it hadn't been for a good old fashioned (well, good may be overstating it) disaster movie, Meteor, being on TV one day, I never would have written LAWKI in the first place. And when I wrote LAWKI, I thought of it as a family problem story with a disaster story setup. Or something like that. Mostly I thought of it as a lot of fun to write.

It's a little scary for me to think what the past five years of my life would have been like if I hadn't watched Meteor that afternoon and been inspired to write LAWKI. Maybe I would have written something completely different and maybe it would have done just as well. Or maybe I'd be sitting alone in my apartment, staring out at a January landscape, obsessing over figure skating and Adam Lambert.

Wait a second. That's exactly how I spent today. And I had a great time.

Of course it didn't hurt that there was a check in the mail. Ooh la ooh la la!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wake Me Up When It's Eastern Standard Time

For someone who has no life (i.e. me), I'm very busy these days. No, not working. Following figure skating and tennis.

This week is like eating a hot fudge sundae and apple pie a la mode simultaneously. Only because everything is happening far from where I live, I think I'm eating them for breakfast.

I've been watching the European Figure Skating Championships online, on a combination of Estonian and Turkish television (when the Estonians freeze up, I hop over to the Turks). The picture is approximately 4 inches by 6 and the commentary is consistently in a language I don't understand (in times past, when I've watched via Italian TV, I really like it when the commentators say Mama Mia).

I have minimal problems with watching skating in a tiny picture and foreign language commentary. I'm a pro. I can recognize a fall in any language. No, the issue for me is Estonian military time. If the schedule says the men's free skate is going to start at 18:45, when the heck is that?

You think judges need calculators to figure out scores? I need a calculator to figure out the time.

Then there's tennis. This week and next are the Australian Open. I could probably track that down on the internet, if I were so inclined, but instead I leave it to ESPN2 to show me whatever they want. They repeat some of it from 3-7 PM (how I love AM and PM), and then they show some more at night, depending on what they're in the mood for. But mostly I sleep through that coverage, which is easier than subtracting, or adding, or whatever it is I would have to do to find out what time it is over there.

To add to my befuddlement, the US National Figure Skating Championship is rolling right along. For that, I have a combination of internet and two different TV stations. And it's on Spokane time, which at least isn't military time, but is, for the most part, after my bedtime.

Sasha Cohen will be skating her short program tonight, but she's skating 15th out of 23, which I think means she'll be skating around 1 AM, which, technically speaking, is deep into my second REM cycle. We won't even discuss Ashley Wagner's ETA, since she's going to be last to skate.

Tomorrow morning will be the women's short program over in Estonia. If Scooter plays Purr On The Neck early enough, I should be able to catch the Russian national women's champion's skate (my very rough ETA for her is 7:30 AM Susan time). You may wonder why I care about the Russian national women's champion, but it turns out she goes to high school in Newburgh, NY, about half an hour from where I live. Which means she lives a lot closer to me than any of the girls/women who'll be competing in Spokane tonight.

Meanwhile, in between European Original Dance and Men's Freeskate (the final flight of which includes Plushenko, Joubert, and Lambiel), I redecorated the blog. I have to pretend I'm working, after all. I changed the colors so it matches the cover of This World We Live In. It's kind of like the Empire State Building, which changes its lights for special occasions.

And speaking of TW, it's up to 18 blog reviews (check on the newly redecorated right side of this blog for a link to the list). There actually are 19 reviews that I know of, but I didn't like one, so I managed to forget to include it.

All right. I only have 27 minutes or 1 hour 27 minutes or 2 hours 27 minutes to get everything I need to get done before the European men start skating.

Good thing the only thing I need to get done is take a nap!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Without Google, I Would Know Nothing

Lately Google has felt the need to email me every time one of my books is available on eBay. Oddly enough, I have less than zero desire to know about this, but you know Google. Once it gets it into its thick little skull that I'm interested in every single thing about me, it feels the need to inform me of every single thing about me.

That Google has no sense of discretion. I will never ever ask it if my outfit makes me look fat (actually none of my outfits make me look fat, since I look fat just fine without any help from my outfits).

Yesterday was the official publication date of the paperback of the dead and the gone, which would have had more significance if copies of it hadn't been on sale for weeks already. Although I do have to say today is the official date of the Kindle release of d&g, and Amazon held to that date. So happy National Kindle Release Day one and all!

Anyway, in honor of the official paperback publication date, Google sent me a link to Deep Discount's d&g page. Hot diggety. I'm making money off of Deep Discount instead of vice versa.
I pulled out my calculator, and figured out that based on a royalty of 48 cents a copy, Deep Discount will have to sell one kerzullion, nine hundred twenty two zillion and thirty seven copies for me to get half as much money from them as they got from me since April.

That seems doable.

I also got a very interesting email from Google to a blog entry about the UK book jackets for Life As We Knew It, the dead and the gone, and This World We Live In. This was the first I'd seen of the TW UK jacket (I'm not kidding when I say without Google I would know nothing).

I like the way all the jackets are lined up for an easy compare and contrast. That kind of thing is way beyond my blogging skills (which reminds me- be sure to admire the new Scooter picture I put on the right side of the blog).

All right. In honor of National Kindle Release Day (have you noticed, there's no mail delivery today? That's why you need Kindle), I'll be going to my mother's in a few minutes. Usually, when I go there, it's to set up her pills for a couple of weeks, and pay any of her bills that are lying around. Today I'll be doing both those things, and searching with her for witnesses because she'll be signing her revised will. In other words, today is devoted to pills 'n bills 'n wills.

I'd love to know what's in her will, but Google won't tell me!

ETA: Thanks to Google, I found this description (with jacket) of the German version of LAWKI.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have a peculiar relationship with disasters.

On the one hand, I am riveted by them. Many people are. There's the rubbernecking aspect, the simple desire to satisfy curiosity. And there's the element of shared experience. A shared experience doesn't have to rise from bad news. It's one reason why the Olympics have lasted as long as they have. But there is an aspect of a catastrophe, natural or man made, that makes its observers part of a bigger whole.

How I differ from other people when something truly awful happens is I benefit from it. It's a small indirect benefit, but I have to acknowledge that I do. I was inspired to write Life As We Knew It from a crappy movie I watched on TV one day. It's a piece of fiction birthed from another piece of fiction. But it sold shortly after Hurricane Katrina and I'm certain that particular disaster affected how people responded to my book. LAWKI isn't an adventure book. It's about the everyday necessities of survival. Katrina wasn't an exotic disaster in some faraway country we know about only from geography. It was right here in one of our fifty states. Its people were our people.

I can't write adventure books. They're beyond my capabilities. I can only write about people I can understand in situations I can understand. Miranda and her family, Alex from the dead and the gone and his family, are our people. Only they're fictional stand-ins for real human suffering.

I had two other ideas for this blog entry, but both can wait, and it seemed wrong to write about other things. I even thought about writing an entry on Pat Robertson and his particular brand of evil. But even that seemed frivolous.

Ironically, I got a partial payment for the French rights to LAWKI and d&g in the mail yesterday. I tithed from it (something I never do) and sent the money to UNICEF. It was a very small drop in a very big bucket, but it's money that wouldn't otherwise be going to Haiti.

Here's the list from CNN of organizations that are helping out. I'm sure anything you give will be appreciated. And if you can't afford to give money, then give a helping hand to someone, anyone, today. Goodness has a ripple effect. It becomes part of a shared experience.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Names And Numbers

The countdown has begun!

Of course, since the countdown is in German, I'm not sure what we're counting down to. But whatever it might be, I'm very excited that it's begun.

I have a particular fondness for countdowns that end with ice cream, cake and fireworks. None of which I'll expect, especially because if the countdown does end with ice cream, cake and fireworks, they'll all be in Germany and I won't.

I took a train ride in Germany a long long time ago, during my cute years, and the customs inspector, or somesuch person, tried to seduce me. He positively leered (my recollection of the dialogue was something like my saying, "I'm cold," and his saying, with a leer, "I'll keep you warm." Which he had to have said in English, since the only German I know is pfeffer. Also, I shared a compartment with an actual smuggler. What a trip).

On a totally different subject, I really wish my three books, Life As We Knew It, the dead and the gone, and This World We Live In had a unifying label. Amazon has taken to calling TW,
The Last Survivors, Book 3 (Hardcover). The Last Survivors is the UK title for the trilogy. Amazon calls the hardcover of d&g The Last Survivors, Book 2 (Hardcover). In paperback, it's just The Dead and the Gone (Paperback). LAWKI, in hardcover and paperback, doesn't rank as a survivor first, last, or always.

Meanwhile Barnes & Noble thinks of LAWKI paperback as Life As We Knew It Series #1 and d&g paperback as Life As We Knew It Series and TW as nothing but This World We Live In.

To further muddy the waters, Wikipedia refers to LAWKI and d&g as being part of the "Moon Crash Trilogy." That's the name I came up with, but I absolutely swear on heads of German customs inspectors that I didn't write either article. I didn't even ask anyone I know to write them.

And some people just call the books, "the moon books" or "the moon trilogy." Or don't call them anything at all.

Speaking of names and numbers, thanks to all of you who've answered my poll questions about bookplates. It's looking like I'll be ordering more plates, but I won't make the official announcement until I have them to mail out (and that will take a little while). So hold off on the email requests until I have something to send (and the stamps to send it with).

I am now going to return to my very own countdown and guess some more about what it's counting down to. If ice cream, cake, fireworks and pfeffer are involved, I'll certainly let you know!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Blue Plate Special

Over in the New Year's wishes comments section, Fear Death By Water asked about autographed copies of This World We Live In. In lieu of answering directly, I set up a poll.

What I did for Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone was have bookplates created and printed, which I signed in red ink for anyone who wanted one. I distributed more than 2,000 of them and sent them all over the world. Most went to individual owners of the books, while others were given to book discussion members or placed in copies for sale at independent bookstores or given to classes who read one or the other book.

I have to order them 500 at a time. I did a couple of re-orders and then I stopped.

But now with d&g in paperback and This World We Live In soon to come out, I'm giving serious thought to reordering plates for the first two books and getting a new one designed for the third. The latter will probably say Trust In Tomorrow. I don't know what the moon will look like though, but of course there'll be a place for me to sign it (in red ink).

The way it would work is that you would email me if you want one or more of any or all of them. Then I sign them and stick them in an envelope and put on the appropriate amount of postage and off it goes.

Once you get the bookplate(s), you do whatever you want with it, which could include putting it in the book it was designed for and thus making it a pretty much autographed copy.

But I have no way of knowing if there's an interest in any of this, which is why I put the poll up. Like all my polls, it's totally non-binding, and there's no need for you to email me just yet, especially since I don't have any bookplates to mail out right now. The poll is there to guide me in my future plans.

You let me know what you want, and I'll have a much better idea of what to do!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Scooter and I want to wish a happy, healthy, prosperous and productive new year to abbyscam3, Alex, Alice, Amanda at WEL Anande, Anne, Anne M, Ann Marie, Anonymous, Anonymous Person, Anonymous Santa Fe, Aoife (aka wild-force 71), April, April Henry, ashlee marie ;), Ashley, barking owl, Becky, bestbookihavenotread, Bethany, Billy, Brenda Nepomuceno, Bri, Bryce (anon), Candice, Caroline, Carrie, Charlotte, Cindy, Chris, C.K., Corey B, Courtney, Courtney Milan, Crystal, Crystal (anon), Cynthia V, Dawn, Debra Moffitt, Derrick, DeviouslyCartoonified, donna, Donna M., Donura, Elaine Marie Alphin, em.ily, Emily, Emily (anon), Emily Koskey, Erin, Esoterica, Fear Death By Water, forever2693, Gabby, Gary, Glen, Gretchen, grrlpup, Hailee, Hall Monitor, Heather, Heather Doss, heather t, holdenj, Janet, Jean, Jean (anon), Jen, Jenna, Jenni, Jenny, Jen Robinson, Jen's Quilts, Jessica Claspill, Jill, jmaster1324, johnsol, Jon, Judi, Judith, Julie Robinson, Karen, Karen Strong, KATE COOMBS, Kathy, Katie C., Katie Oz, Kats,Kelly (anon), Kelly G, Kelly Geraghty, Kelly S., Kelsey, Kelsi Parker, Kenzie (anon), Kerry S., Kirsten Hubbard, K. L. Howard, KMV, Kristi Nommensen Dorson, Kristina Springer, Laura Ludwig Hamor, Lee, Libby, Librarina, Library. Lil, Linda Jacobs, Linda Joy Singleton, lisa-marie, Livz ], Lizzy, Lorelai, M., M. (anon), Maddy Myers, Mady, Mallory, Marci, Maria (anon), Mariana Soffer, Marianne, Maria T (anon), Maria Touet (anon), Mariel M, Maryann, Marry, Meagan (anon), Melissa @1lbr, Melody Marie Murray, mikaroni, Milka, miranda (truly and honestly), Misrule, ML,Mr. Cavin, Mrs. Corbett, Ms. Vasani, Nancy, nate 04, nateh, Nathan KP,Niko (anon), Nina, Nora, 100% Pure, Otessa, Ozziegirl, Paige, Paige Y., Pam M,, Paula, pdj, Phebe H. L., PiLibrarian, Ranson (anon)Rebecca Herman, readerchick12, Reading Fool, Ryan (anon), Sammy Belliard, sakio525, sarah, seyoung777, shelley, S.M.D., Stephanie, student, Susan, Syd, Tennislover, Texas Pixie, Tez Miller, thereadingzone, todd, Tomer, tOty (anon), Vanessa, Wanda V (anon), Wendy, writerross, W. Slezak (anon), XMas Giggler (anon), Yvette, :), and everyone else who has popped in on this blog or thirdmoonbook over the past year-

We hope to see even more of you in the year to come. Happy New Year!