Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Great Haircut! And Speaking Of Words That End In Cut...

I am not a boastful person.

I know this because when waitresses ask me how I'm doing, my answer never lasts longer than eleven minutes, thirty nine seconds (I carry a stopwatch just to make sure).

If you, oh skeptical one (I never overestimate the number of people who read this blog), have any doubts, then consider this: I have yet to boast, in public at least, about the two pounds I've lost (four if I stand on the scale a seventy five degree angle), or that I'm still on budget in my clothes shopping mania (in spite of the adorable brown jacket, the three darling sweaters, and those nine positively cuddly pairs of socks).

All boastworthy accomplishments, I'm sure you'd agree.

The other day, while taking a break from my obsessive googling by obsessively yahooing, I discovered that The Extremely Great State Of Connecticut was offering a one half credit course enticingly entitled "Modern Literature Session 2" in its adult education high school diploma program.

Why, oh skeptical one asks, should I care? Because the first half of this six week course, three whole weeks, is devoted to the study of Life As We Knew It. Meaning, The Extremely Great State Of Connecticut thinks my very own LAWKI is worth one entire quarter credit!

Since I'm such a failure at boasting, I've been working on other means of informing all humanity of this extraordinary fact. Thus far I've worked out three exceedingly subtle approaches.

Approach Number One: Making Use Of My Film History Degree

So I see Turner Classic Movies will be showing that wonderful Barbara Stanwyck comedy, Christmas In Connecticut. Speaking of Connecticut, did you know that The Extremely Great State Of Connecticut is offering a one half credit course called Modern Literature Session 2, with the first half devoted to studying Life As We Knew It?

Approach The Second: Current Affairs

No matter what I think of the man, I truly believe George Bush deserves full credit for what's happening in Iraq. Speaking of full credit, did you know The Extremely Great State Of Connecticut is offering a one half credit course in Modern Literature Session 2, with one half of that one half credit going for study of Life As We Knew It?

Approach Da Toid: Other Greats Of Literature

Boy, they sure don't make them like Elinor Glyn anymore. What a writer! Classics like Beyond The Rocks and Three Weeks. Speaking of three weeks, did you know that The Extremely Great State Of Connecticut, in its fabulous Modern Literature Session 2 course, is devoting three weeks to studying Life As We Knew It?

Now if I can only work out a connection between studyingLife As We Knew It and lewd behavior in the men's room of the Minneapolis Airport, well then I'd truly have something to boast about.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Breaking News!

Alberto Gonzales has resigned.

And Emily Bauer, who did such a wonderful job as the reader of Life As We Knew It posted a comment on the blog entry, "Hope Is A Thing With Tar And Feathers."

An entry which starts out with a reference to Alberto Gonzales.

Coincidence? I'll leave it to you to decide (I'd decide myself but I gotta turn on CNN).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mother Of Mercy Is This The End Of Little Brain Cells?

I know a woman who has many interests. She cooks, plays bridge, does volunteer work, travels, goes to cultural events, takes classes, and collects miniature books. I probably have left one or two things off her list.

This woman, who I respect enormously, inspired me to create a points system. For every interest I have, I give myself at least one point. Work, family, and friends don't count, which is a shame because it means no points for obsessive googling (at least for me, although if any of you want to take it up as a hobby, I strongly recommend "Life As We Knew It" Pfeffer as a Google destination).

I updated my points list a couple of days ago, and was relieved to find I still had some interests and hobbies. There was (in no particular order): American Idol, figure skating (two points for that, one for following the sport via TV and internet, and one for attending skating events), volunteer work, movies, French and British history (up until the part I find boring and always including sex), current politics (an interest beginning Nov. 2006),decorating, baseball and tennis (both of which I only watch, although I did give Bobby Brown a black eye with a baseball bat back in fifth grade).

Alas, all these high class and intellectual interests are fading away, as I pursue my latest obsession. Shopping! For Clothes!!

Up until about a week ago, Shopping! was for DVDS!! which I have enough of to build an attractive and colorful seven room colonial with two and a half baths, an attached garage, and a turret. And that's just with the packages. The DVDs!! themselves can roof the house, pave the walkway, and be used for intimate dinner parties of four hundred (if I serve very small food).

But none of that matters. Instead all I care about is Shopping! For Clothes!!

I began my latest and best dressed obsession with a new pants suit to wear when I do my hour of autographing at NCTE. It's black with a dark red pinstripe. I wanted to look like Hilary Clinton, but alas, I look more like Edward G. Robinson.

Then I bought four pairs of slacks (blue, grey, black, and brown) at Macy's, because I decided I'm too old to wear nothing but blue jeans. This was followed by two pairs of pantyhose, which so excited Mr. J.C. Penney himself that he practically demanded I fill out a consumer survey and thrust a 15% off my next purchase coupon at me. Guess where I'm going today. Wearing my brand new, very mature,slightly itchy, blue slacks.

It's true that Shopping! For Clothes!! has completely taken over my mind. I'm currently reading Big Beat Heat, a book about Alan Freed (I have an interest in early rock & roll history, but not enough to give it a point).Last night I read the first sentence in Chapter 10, promptly put the book down and began perusing this week's J.C. Penney's flier. In spite of the fact that Alan Freed was a very snappy dresser.

Meanwhile, the paperback of Life As We Knew It is tentatively scheduled for May 1, 2009, and the dead & the gone is now scheduled for June 5. Both of these dates are Thursdays, meaning the books have far to go. Which, I hope, also means they'll go far.

But either way, I'll definitely need to go Shopping! For Clothes!! for next spring. Oh Mr. Macy! You too, Mr. Penney! Make me an offer I can't refuse!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It Will Be Even More Depressing After It's Splatted

Once again, I've made some changes to the left of the blog.

For starters, my upcoming appearances is down one. I visited the Cornwall, NY library last week, and had a terrific time. My friend Linda runs the book discussion groups there, and obviously is superb at her job.

I've also added a whole new category to the list. For lack of a better term, I'm calling it Media. Thanks to my editor who taught me how, I put a couple of links there, and having tested both of them several dozen times, I can report they actually work.

The first of the links is to an interview with me on The World in the Satin Bag blog. For those of you who just can't get enough of me (a list so short I don't even think my mother is on it anymore), you can now get more of me. The questions were very intelligent, and I enjoyed answering them.

The second link is to a new award nomination. Well, sort of.

I got an e-mail last week from Scholastic, telling me that Life As We Knew It will be one of the nominees in the Simply the Book category of the 2008 Coventry Inspiration Book Award. That's Coventry, England, a whole other country, further away even than Nevada.

Thrilled though I am to have LAWKI nominated, the Coventry Inspiration Book Award has a humiliation quotient that puts it in a league all its own. Each week, anyone who wants can vote over the internet for one of the books that's been nominated, with the two books getting the fewest number of votes being eliminated, until the last book standing wins.

And how can you tell a book's been eliminated? The kind folk in Coventry paint a splatted tomato on the rejectees. If you don't believe me, follow the link and see for yourselves.

When the time comes to vote, I'll be begging everyone I know to do so, in a desperate effort to keep the tomato at bay for as long as possible. Actually, since pride ain't my strong suit, I'll beg people I don't know to vote also.

Be prepared.

Meanwhile, over at Amazon, LAWKI is up to 35 reviews (poor old War And Peace remains stuck at 276). The most recent of the reviews gives LAWKI four stars and says it is, "possibly one of the most depressing books of all time..."

Drat. If I had just left out that jolly Christmas scene, it would have been probably one of the most depressing books of all time, and it might have gotten five stars.

Oh well. As Leo Tolstoy once told me, "Better four stars than five tomatoes."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Because It's Attached To The Sky With Fishing Wire

I had a wonderful time at the Flying Pig Bookstore, in Shelburne, Vermont.

First of all, its co-owners, Josie Leavitt and Elizabeth Bluemle, were great- knowledgeable, professional, and tolerant. I had the unexpected pleasure of being there when Elizabeth received her 2007 Wanda Gag Award for Best Read Aloud Book, for her book My Father, the Dog.I trust the kabuki makeup I had on kept her from noticing that I was green with envy.

The crowd at my presentation was small but very high class. The gruesome Yankee Stadium scene from the dead & the gone held everyone's attention. I know this because they didn't throw spitballs at me, or if they did, their aim wasn't very good.

While there,I discovered that Life As We Knew It is in its fifth printing. I base this on my shrewd grasp of the alphabet. My copy has a little letter "A", and the ones I signed at the Flying Pig had little letter "E"s. I've seen "B"s and "C"s before, and I'm taking it on faith that there's a copy with a "D" floating around somewhere.

I have no idea how many copies are in the post "A" printings, but since I've written books that were remaindered on publication day, a fifth printing of any size delights me.

One of the women at my presentation mentioned that students at her school would be reading Life As We Knew It during the school year, and that it was at the suggestion of the school's science department that LAWKI was chosen.

If you think all this would be gratification enough for me, you haven't been reading this blog very long. The second minute after I got home, I raced to Google. And once again, Google didn't let me down. I discovered a place called calcurriculum, which is a pbwiki.com, whatever that means. And somewhere within it, it had a dozen suggestions for teachers, and Number 12 was for students to go to Sciencehack and find a video called "Why doesn't the moon fall down?" and then read Life As We Knew It.

Ha! I'm a science project! And deservedly so. Not only did I watch every single episode of Cosmos on PBS, but I even bought the book. And not at a yard sale either.

I'd been pretty sure that I'd mastered the fiction part of science fiction, but now that there's evidence I'm a Great Scientist as well, whole new career paths are open to me. Writing op-ed pieces for the New York Times. Testifying before Congress. Sitting on committees. Winning Nobel Prizes for Literature and Physics and any other ones they feel like giving me.

See you in Stockholm. I hear it's almost as pretty as Vermont!

Monday, August 6, 2007

This Really Isn't A Blog Entry Either

The August VOYA has a column devoted to audio books and it reviews Life As We Knew It. Here's what it has to say about Emily Bauer:

Narrator Bauer does a commendable job showing Miranda's growth from a rather whiny girl who complains about the spare diet that she must endure to a more mature young woman who knows what she must do to help her family survive. This transition is easy to spot while reading the text. It takes an accomplished reader to do the same in her vocal portrayal of Miranda.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

This Only Looks Like A Blog Entry

It really isn't one.

It's an announcement that Listening Library's version of the dead & the gone has its very own ISBN (which does not stand for Is Susan Beth Nuts, in spite of what you've heard), the beautiful and resonant 0739363662 and publication date, the beautiful and resonant April 22, 2008.

Wasn't it sweet of Google to tell me!

Expect an actual blog entry (stop salivating on your keyboards)tomorrow or Tuesday, dependent on when my mother gets her emergency dentist appointment (a son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter's a daughter as long as she has a driver's license).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Old, Apparently, Is Not The Same As Mature

All my life, I've wanted to be a grownup.

Now I don't want you to think I'm the sort of single minded person who had but one ambition and sacrificed everything to achieve it. Not only do I have serious doubts that I have achieved it, but I've had any number of other hopes, dreams, and aspirations. In chronological order, I also wanted to be a cowgirl, a writer, a movie star, a Great Film Director, and Queen Of The Universe.

Notice how the older I got, the greater the need for capital letters.

From my earliest days, I knew the advantages of being a grownup. No school. No homework. No mandatory bedtime. And my ultimate hope/dream/aspiration- my own bathroom.

In spite of my "I wanna be a grownup" ambition, I ended up in a field where my job was to entertain kids. There were any number of reasons for it. I outgrew my cowgirl outfit and my mother saw no reason to replace it. I never got discovered by a Hollywood producer (their loss). I barely passed my film classes at NYU. As far as Queen Of The Universe goes, well I'm still waiting.

In addition, writing for kids worked nicely with my personal limitations. A vocabulary level that ends at 5.6 on a good day? Perfect for writing for kids. An attention span that lasts at longest a month? Kid books are short. No interest or ability to write descriptions? Less stuff for the kids to read.

The other day in my obsessive googling, I found a newspaper that listed upcoming library events, and it said a certain library had scheduled an adult book discussion of Life As We Knew It.

Adult! Adult=Grownup.

Naturally I dug further to locate this incredibly sophisticated and lovable library. I located it, in a state ending in the letter "A." I then searched its calendar of upcoming events. And searched. And searched. Maybe, although my memory is as shaky as Our Attorney General, I may have searched again.

The library had no such book discussion group scheduled.

You'd think I'd be disappointed, but pathological optimist that I am, I just figure the newspaper got the date wrong. The Adult Book Discussion isn't scheduled for August 2007, but August 2008. After all, it takes adults a long time to read, mull over, reread, and remull any masterpiece, except maybe The Dream Life Of Balso Snell, which can be read and mulled in an hour, and 45 minutes of that is for mulling.

Le sigh. Being a grownup is clearly going to have to wait. In the meantime I'm off tomorrow to the Flying Pig Bookstore, in Shelburne, Vt. (I sure hope cat burglars don't read this blog), where I'm going to read the first day of school section of LAWKI, followed by the gruesome Yankee Stadium scene in the dead & the gone.
I'll let you know if any grownups show up If nobody shows up, always a possibility, I'm not going to tell you a thing.

And while I'm gone, if TPTB of the Universe are interested in offering me the Queenhood, my e-mail address is to the left. My only requirement is that I have my own bathroom.