Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Passover, Etc.

That Etc. is there to cover a multitude of holidays, but mostly Easter, in case I don't blog again this week.

None of these spring celebratory holidays should be happening so early and in such a wretched miserable awaiting still more snow March like this one.

But I don't make up the calendar, and in spite of what you might think, I have no control over the moon.

Speaking of the moon, the one fact I've learned this dreary winter is that February can't have a blue moon even in a leap year. Talk about unfair (and as a younger child, I frequently do).

I'm still trying to figure out how to inscribe the upcoming copies of The Shade Of The Moon. Thank you all who have offered opinions, in comments or emails or by voting in the poll.

My current thought is You are the future. I like it for a few reasons. It's pretty easy to remember, and since the vast majority of the books I'll be inscribing are for people younger than moiself, it'll be true. Technically, I, a quintessential baby boomer, am the future and all of you will be paying for it, but it's better if I don't point that out on a regularly inscribed basis.

The only problem with You are the future is the "the," which remains a word I handwrite funny. But I might be able to keep that under control if I'm not in a hurry, and if I am in a hurry, it'll mean there's a long line of people waiting for me to inscribe copies of the book, either at IRA or ALA or the Decatur Book Festival, and long lines of people will make me so happy, I won't mind that they're going to have to figure out what my "the" scribble actually means. Which they should be able to from context, and a nice little puzzle like that will exercise their brain cells and guarantee them a happy old age.

So the inscription would go something like this:

To _______________

You are the future

Susan Beth Pfeffer

_______, 2013

It makes as much sense as Trust In Tomorrow, which I just realize I capitalize. Hmm... If I capitalize You Are The Future, I might not have that "the" issue. And it looks very profound, all nicely capitalized. It's easier to write without caps, but it might be worth the extra effort.

Ooh, ooh. And it would be an act of rebellion. Remember Life As We Knew It? It has perfectly nice capital letters, like titles generally do. Then came the dead & the gone, and I favored small letters for that one. But without asking my permission (or if they did, I've forgotten), my publisher went with small letters for this world we live in, when I would have preferred the traditional capital letters. They're doing the same for the shade of the moon, and the next paperback reprinting of Life As We Knew It will be life as we knew it.

So every time I'd inscribe The Future Is Yours, it'd be my way of saying, All those titles should have capital letters.

It's a shame no one is ever going to write a biography of me. Because all this inscription business is worth at least two chapters.

Meanwhile on a completely different and much better subject, my goddaughter and her wonderful cheese company Lakin's Gorges Cheese, got a great writeup.

I can only hope the reviews for The Shade Of The Moon, whatever its inscription, will be half as good!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

World's Semi-Easiest Poll Question To Your Right*

Last night, instead of sleeping, I pondered inscriptions for The Shade Of The Moon. I still have about a month before I'll be going to San Antonio for the International Reading Association convention, which will most likely be my first opportunity to inscribe copies (in this case, ARCs) of the book.

But I'd like to get some sleep during that month.

Anyway, I came up with The future is yours. There are some specific good things about it. I can write the word The with a capital "T" and it looks like The. My small "f"s are respectable, and my small "y"s are practically my favorite small letter to write ever. My absolute favorite small letters to write are "usan eth feffer" on the backs of checks I'm depositing, but that's neither here nor there. And I like the little do it yourself grammar lesson- no apostrophes in yours- just a simple "s" right where it belongs.

I got out of bed and wrote "The future is yours" a couple of times, to make sure I wouldn't forget it. This morning I looked it over checking my capital "T"s a few times. But then I thought, Maybe it should be "The future is ours." That's friendlier, and it's a little more in keeping with the book.

For those who've forgotten, I've inscribed the previous three books this way:

Life As We Knew It: Always have hope

The Dead And The Gone: Never lose faith

This World We Live In: Trust in tomorrow

So "The future is yours" or "The future is ours" should fit in reasonably well.

Let me know which you think is better. Or if you prefer, send me a check, and your bank will show you my "usan eth feffer" just as soon as I deposit it!

*The world's easiest poll question would be: Who is the bestest author ever? with only one choice.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I Wouldn't Mind If April Got Moved Into March Either

Under any circumstance, March is my least favorite month of the year, but this March is just ridiculous. It's like the calendar got stuck somewhere in January. There's snow, followed by the beloved January thaw, followed by more snow, with a little sleet thrown in for good measure.

The beloved January thaw is a little less lovable in March. As are the snow and the sleet.

As you undoubtedly recall, since you remember every single word I write and if not why not, I reported before the January thaw that Amazon had The Shade Of The Moon available for pre-order, with a publication date of September 3. On the off chance you've forgotten the exact wording, here's my entry with the exact wording.

Yesterday, I got an email from my publisher asking if I would like to participate in the Decatur Book Festival. You betcha, replies I, delighted at the opportunity.

But there's a little oddity in the email invitation. My publisher mentions that The Shade Of The Moon is coming out in August.

The last I'd heard, August and September were two different months. Of course I used to believe the same of January and March. So I did what all up to date writers do. I zipped on over to Amazon and Barnes and Noble to see when my book is scheduled to come out. And while there isn't much they agree about, they both felt strongly that The Shade Of The Moon has an August 13 publication date.  See? See see?

I have no idea why my publisher has moved the publication date up by three weeks. Maybe it's because they're so darn excited about the book, they can't wait to have their very own copies. Or maybe they're so darn concerned about the book, they want to get it out there in August when no one is around to notice. Or maybe they did it simply to confuse me.

Whatever their reasoning, it's a good thing I never got around to putting a countdown clock over on the right side of the blog. Although now that I've learned three weeks can vanish in the blink of an email, maybe I'll do it now.

It might help April get here a little sooner!

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Shade Of The Moon Is Going To Get Its Very Own Family Reunion

I got an email from my agent, which conveniently arrived after the Pairs championship ended and before the Men's began, saying Sharp Point Press, publisher of the three moon books in Complex Chinese, have made an offer to publish The Shade Of The Moon.

Needless to say, I accepted. I accepted faster than a Patrick Chan quad toe loop.

So at some point, American The Shade Of The Moon will get to party with Complex Chinese The Shade Of The Moon.

And no doubt, Scooter will crash the party!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Without Zamboni Breaks, I'd Get Nothing Done

Even with them, I'm not getting much done this week. It's World Figure Skating Championship time, and while I don't have access to watching them on American TV, it turns out Latvian TV is showing them in their entirety.

We're talking about 35 women's short programs. Well, I'm talking about them, but not to you.

Anyway, it's Zamboni time for the short dance programs, so I figured I'd pop in here and give you links to the work I did last week.

For starters, here's a whole bunch of writers talking about the appeal of post-apocalyptic fiction. I think it's safe to say the whole bunch of writers know considerably more than I do on the subject, but I go first, perhaps because my entry is the shortest, or more likely because I submitted mine first because it was the shortest.

Oh, maybe it's because I'm the oldest. It's certainly not because I'm the best speller (heck, I'm probably not even the best seller). I had to go back to find out how to spell post-apocalyptic. The "post" part I was pretty sure of, but "apocalyptic" renders me apoplectic.

Meanwhile, in preparation for my upcoming visit to the International Reading Association convention in San Antonio, I wrote a guest blog post about my dream panel. See all the pretty pictures? Not the one of me. The other pretty pictures. I learned how to put pictures into a Word doc just for them.

Okay. Enough of last week's accomplishments. I hear Latvian in the background. The third flight of ice dancers is about to Yankee polka their way into my heart.

I sincerely hope I'm already in yours!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bits And Pieces

I figured while we're waiting for smoke from the Vatican, I'd catch you up on various things in my life. I'm on call, in case the cardinals decide to go out of their comfort zone and name me pope so I have plenty of time (probably a millenuium or two) to kill.

Shiny New TV Set: I treated myself to a shiny new TV set for the den. It came this morning, and in fact, I have it on right now, since I'm on smoke alert. The only way there was room enough for the shiny new cable box is to put the shiny new TV set on top of it. Let's hope Scooter never discovers this.

Insomnia: I've cut down substantially on my sleeping pill use. I've discovered if I turn off the computer, read something not particularly fascinating for about 20 minutes, go to bed, breathe deeply saying, "Sleep, Sleep" in my mind, I fall asleep pretty fast, just as long as Scooter is resting next to me. I don't know what will happen when the weather warms up, and Scooter returns to sleeping on the living room sofa, Maybe I'll buy a stuffed cat, wrap it in a heating pad, and see if that will fool me.

Scooter: Last week, for reasons best known to him, Scooter thought 4 AM was the ideal play time. He attempted to convince me by knocking over a little glass bowl I'd bought in Paris in 1984. Sadly for him, the sound of breakage didn't convince me. Sadly for me, the sound of breakage was because the bowl broke. The stuffed cat with the heating pad is looking better and better.

My Career: I was kept busy last week, being Author Of The Week over at Bookiesfan. I also wrote a guest blog for one place and wrote about my high school library for another, and answered emails and the suchlike. Oh, and I did the "first pages" which used to be called galley proofs for The Shade Of The Moon, looking for typos. I caught one mistake I'd made. I had Alex say something to Jon early on in the  book, and then I had Jon remembering that Mom had said it to him. The galleys took two full days of intense concentration, and the high point was cleaning up that Alex/Jon/Mom business. A writer's life is not always glamorous.

The Shade Of The Moon Inscription: Despite all your assistance, I remain undecided. I don't know if I want to use Fight For Your Future, even though Jon actually does say something like that. Capital F is not one of my better letters (as opposed to small y, which I write fabulously, which is why I selected Always Have Hope for Life As We Knew It inscriptions), and Fight For Your Future sounds a little weird and presuptuous on my part, especially if I'm signing copies to grownups, who've probably done as much fighting for their futures as they care to. So I'm still open to suggestions.

What I'm Currently Reading: Mother Finds A Body by Gypsy Rose Lee, as part of my This Book Has Been On My Bookshelves For Decades And It's About Time I Read It program. The book I just finished reading, The World War II Combat Film by Jeanine Basinger fell into the same program, but the book I read before that, Catherine Howard by David Loades was brand new.

My Thyroid Or Lack Thereof: The good news is I don't miss it. I'm also cautiously optimistic the scar won't be particularly glaring (I'll know better when I work up the courage to change the bandages and see for myself).The bad news is some of the weight I'd lost is returning to its natural habitat. I went online this morning to read about weight gain following thyroidectomies and learned the only way to prevent it is to give up eating every single food I like. Instead, I'm looking into a thyroid transplant.

My Mother: She remains in good health, but she says being old is hard. Her willingness to listen to my babbling ("Should I get a new outfit to wear to IRA and ALA?" "And then Scooter broke my bowl...") is close to saintly.

Hey, maybe those cardinals should name her pope!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I'm The Author Of The Week

Well, I am at Bookiesfan over on Facebook.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a great honor. Expect me to commemorate it for decades to come. I still celebrate April 30, aka Susan Beth Pfeffer Day in Winfield, WV back in 1986, and a week lasts a lot longer than a day.

Bookiesfan is really an interesting place, with or without me. With me, there's a giveaway (I'm doing the giving). You have a chance at either the audiobook of This World We Live In (read by the wonderful Emily Bauer, who also read Life As We Knew It), complete with a signed bookplate, or a copy of Blood Wounds, also with a signed bookplate. I sure hope people win these things, because they're sitting on the sofa table in my living room waiting for good homes.

Also on Friday, I'll be answering questions over there. I hope there are a lot of them, because I happen to know an extraordinary number of answers. Here's just a handful of them for future reference:


The capital of South Dakota

Regan, Goneril and Cordelia

General Joseph Hooker

8 + Pluto and a whole bunch of others that don't have cute names like Pluto, which will always be a planet to me (I deserve extra credit for that one)

So look us over at Bookiesfan and have a good booktime while you're there!

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Quick Easy First Thing In The Morning Poll Question

Last night I realized if I'm going to be signing ARCS of The Shade Of The Moon at IRA in San Antonio and ALA in Chicago, I'd better have a short catchy phrase to inscribe in each copy.

For Life As We Knew It, I sign, Always have hope. For The Dead And The Gone, I sign, Never lose faith. For This World We Live In, I sign, Trust in tomorrow. That way I never have to worry about what to sign, and I can avoid those With Best Wishes kinds of things.

My first thought, given that nice big hunk of fire on the jacket was. Don't play with matches, but I decided against that pretty quickly. Then I thought about Fight For The Future. Granted it was four words, while the others were three, but it seemed decent enough, so I wrote it out a few times on the back of an envelope, to see what it would look like.

Sadly, it didn't look like much. My capital "F"s are serviceable and my small "f"s are okay, but my "the"s have always been problematic.They look like soft sloopy capital "X's with an "e" attached. They've looked that way since junior high, when I probably thought it was a charming affectation. Now it's just how I write the word, "the," which is the kind of word one writes a lot, even first thing in the morning.

So when I woke up this morning (less than an hour ago, and definitely at the insistence of Scooter), I came up with: Fight to believe and Learn to believe. No "the"s in either one. I did, when I handwrote them out, leave the "i" out of believe, but I'm confident I can remember to put it there smack where it belongs when I'll need to. I really do know how to spell "believe."

IRA is mid-April, so I still have 6 weeks to solve this dilemma. But I'll start by throwing myself on your early morning mercies. Let me know, by way of polling, if you have a strong preference for Fight or Learn, or if you have an alternative suggestion or you have confidence someone else does, even if that someone else might be me.

Just try to leave the word "the" out of it. And thank you in advance!