Wednesday, October 23, 2013

To Make A Long Story Short

I received in the mail the other day the paperback version of After, an anthology of nineteen stories of apocalypse and dystopia, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. I have the pleasure of being one of the nineteen.

The paperback comes out on November 5, and is available for pre-order at independent bookstores, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Ooh. According to Spellcheck, dystopia isn't a word. It offered "dustpan" as first alternative.

Clearly Spellcheck has been hanging out with some of my critics.

I decided the arrival of paperback After was a good reason to hold a reunion of all the anthologies I've been published in. So I gathered up the hardcovers and the paperbacks and the audiobook and the French translation and brought them over to the dining room table for them to party.

I invited the October 1976 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine as well, even though it's not really an anthology. It's the least likely place to find a story by me, but there's definitely one in there. My recollection is I got paid $100.00, which went further in those days than it does today, but still didn't go all that far.

As we all well know, Scooter is always happy to pose with my books, but not this time.

My guess is he looked up, saw The Dogs of Our Lives,* and refused to join in on the fun.

Instead, he decided to hang out with the dustpan, with its endless assortment of laugh out loud stories!

*You may wonder why I, a cat person through and through, would have a story in an anthology devoted to dogs. Actually, I have five stories in there- Five Brave Dog Fables. Here's one, in its splendid entirety:

Chi Chi, a dachshund, was attending a party where she knew very few of the other guests. They all seemed much smarter than she, and more socially skilled.

She wandered over to a group of people who were talking about the latest nonfiction best-seller, a book about the coming economic crisis and how it would affect wheat prices in Mongolia.

Everyone agreed it was the most brilliant book they'd read in a long time.

"Excuse me," Chi Chi said, "but I thought it was terribly boring, and couldn't get past the second chapter."

"Neither could I," all the other guests said in unison, and they laughed at their own pretentiousness.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Organizational Matters Because Organization Matters

Last week, when I felt my life was spinning out of control (as opposed to this week, when I know my life is spinning out of control), I decided to focus on the important things and organize Scooter's cat food. I took each and every can out of its plastic shopping bag and piled them by flavor.

At first, Scooter was a tad doubtful,

 but then he decided food was food regardless of whether it came from pile or plastic.

This week, I've been focusing more on my career.

The Hartford Courant ran this excellent article about my excellent visit to the excellent Academy of Aerospace And Engineering Middle School, with many excellent quotes from my (I'm too modest to describe it) blog. Google was so excited about it, it sent me three links to the exact same article.

Twitter was all atwitter to post a link to a blog entry I wrote for the WOW Wednesday column in Adventures In YA Publishing.

My editor isn't as excitable as Google or Twitter, but she was pleased to send me a link to this mention of The Shade Of The Moon.

This morning, she was every bit as pleased to tell me that Mashable listed Blood Wounds as one of 11 Young Adult Books Sure To Make You Cry.

Oh, and by extraordinary coincidence, my agent called me Tuesday afternoon, proving there are 11 stages in life with an agent, and  number 11 is not one sure to make me cry!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Ten Stages Of Life With An Agent

I have lived through each and every one of this stages and have the battle scars and cholesterol readings  to prove it.

1. You email your agent and she emails you because you're getting to know each other and you both want to make a good impression.

2. You email her and she emails you but it takes a day or two because she's no longer quite as interested in making a good impression.

3. You email her and she doesn't email you so you email her again to ask if she got your email and maybe she emails you back to say she did and maybe she doesn't and you'll never ever know and you eat more donuts than usual.

4. You email her even though  you know she won't email you back because self-flagellation is so much fun.

5. She emails you. You email back because you can't believe there's actual good news and she emails you in return with a :).

6. You email her with a question and she emails the answer right back even though she's away from the office.

7. You email her and get one of those I'm away from the office responses but her assistant emails you back, albeit not instantaneously.

8. You email her and get one of those I'm away from the office responses, and she emails you back days later when she returns from wherever she was hiding.

9. You email her and you don't get one of those I'm away from the office responses but it takes her as long to answer your email as it would have if she had been away from the office.

10. You email her and a week passes and she doesn't email you back, but life is short and you have money in the bank so instead of emailing her to see if she got your email, you chuckle and write a blog entry. Oh, and eat a donut!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dreams Come And Go But The Spin Cycle Is Forever

Quite a number of years ago, my Cousin Ellen mentioned her lifelong dream was to be a clue in a crossword puzzle. I, in turn, said my lifelong dream was to receive an honorary degree.

Shortly thereafter, my Cousin Ellen did become a crossword puzzle clue (Sunday New York Times Magazine Section, if memory serves). And thanks to my describing my lifelong dream to someone who knew someone, I received an honorary degree from Mount Saint Mary College.

That's the honorary degree in the upper left hand corner
You would think having achieved my lifelong dream, I wouldn't define my existence as one load of laundry after another. But while I can't speak for my Cousin Ellen, lately my life seems to consist of little more than rinse 'n dry.

In my search for Something More Meaningful, I've reacquainted myself with Akinator The Web Genie. We're spending many happy hours together, with Akinator, for the most part, dazzling me with his ability to read my mind.

He's had no trouble figuring out that I'm thinking of Louisa May Alcott or Moe Berg or the Phillie Phanatic. And I've taught him about Clifford Odets and Queen Marie of Romania, neither one of whom is a member of One Direction (Akinator loves One Direction).

While it's true I have an honorary degree and a robust ego, I never thought Akinator would know who I was, and I was right. This morning, to confirm that he didn't know of me, I introduced myself. So now, along with Clifford Odets and Queen Marie Of Romania, I reside in his memory bank.

But the other night, not wanting to confirm Akinator's lack of knowledge about me, yet having that tongue at the toothache lingering need, I decided I would be Miranda of Life As We Knew It.

And he guessed me! He knew Miranda! Other people, strangers to me, had already played her!

In a fit of writer frenzy, I played Alex of The Dead And The Gone. And he knew Alex too!

No fool I, I quit right there. A taste of immortality was more than enough for me.

That, and another load of laundry!