Monday, March 24, 2008

Stripping The Light Fantastic

Don't we look swell! I decided it was time to give my beloved blog a little template work, and I swear it looks ten years younger.

Everything in life should be that easy.

While I was sneaking around improving appearances and the suchlike, I added a couple more locales to the Places Where LAWKI Is Nominated list. Paige Y. was kind enough to let me know that Maryland had included Life As We Knew It on its list, and Google was organized enough to inform me about the Pacific Northwest nomination. That one is actually multinational, since the area it covers includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington in the U.S. and Alberta and British Columbia in Canada. That's a whole lot of acreage.

Meanwhile, the dead and the gone is starting to get noticed. Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf online section had a piece by a librarian about upcoming books, and she gave d&g a wonderful review. Here's the link:

And here's how the review ends:

It won't matter if you've read the first book before you read the companion; both books will leave you with that "what would we do if this really did happen?" sensation that makes you want to go out and stock the pantry and prepare a survival plan, and do it now!

I hope a sequel is in the works, for I want to know what happens to Alex and his sister, just as I want to know what's happened with Miranda and her family. They're survivors, but in what kind of world are they surviving, and what kind of future will they have?

Poor old Harcourt. We're going to bully them into submission (or at least into reading my submission).

Speaking of which, the Possible Third Book (aka P3B) now has its official working title, Since The End Of The Time Before. I continue to be very fond of that title, but I wish I'd thought about what a nuisance it would be to type, and how hard it would be to nickname. I kind of like S'end4, but that would be even harder to explain to someone who stumbles onto this incredibly good looking blog than Bolivian hat, or slowly gained readership, or bleakity bleak. So I think I'll keep referring to it as P3B, at least for the time being (but I'm going to figure out how to change a heading, and put Since The End Of Time Time Before on the manuscript itself if and when it ever becomes an actual manuscript).

I am almost sort of finished with P3B. I think I am finished with the writing, although my brain continues to come up with new scenes. I had one of those oops moments when I realized that Caitlin, my poor suffering drog (I guess drog is also something that anyone who stumbles onto this incredibly good looking blog might not understand), gets to hear the life stories of only two other characters (the troupe has a rule that forbids its members from talking about their past), one of those characters being Jon from LAWKI, and the other a character from d&g, and that somewhere, if the book ever got published, a reviewer would say nasty things about that itsy bitsy coincidence (maybe even calling it contrived). So now Caitlin gets to be in a room when Tyler (one of the boys in the troupe, and the one who is forever trying to have sex with Caitlin, who in spite of the extraordinary odds against it, remains a virgin throughout P3B) gets a visit from his father's widow.

It's a nifty little scene, especially since it shows Tyler being vulnerable, which I like because even though he's a terrible person, he's one of my favorites in the book. But the problem with it is there are references to people getting "across the river," which to me means across the Mississippi, where apparently things are very different. Which is catnip to this excessively fertile brain. Although I suppose if I wrote P3B with no assurance that it would ever be looked at, let alone published, I could write P4B and P5B and P138B just for my own entertainment. Or at least to find out how things are across the river.

But it doesn't matter which side of the river Caitlin is. I have given in to peer group pressure, and she's no longer a stripper. She now does her halftime shows in a perfectly respectable tank top (with rows of black beads), cut off denim shorts and high heels. Granted, her act is basically vertical lap dancing, but she's quite decent now. And while it's true, Jimmy (who's even worse than Tyler, and I love him so) agrees, in exchange for a bag of potatoes, a cabbage, and some carrots, to let the top come off during the performance, it's just to rile the drogs in the audience so they'll rush onto the playing field and the guards can kill them. Apparently there's quite a lot of betting about how many drog bodies there'll be at the end of the last football game of the season.

I'm sure things are much nicer on the other side of the river.

However, if Harcourt turns down P3B because Caitlin isn't a stripper, and they're only interested in books with heroines who take off all their clothes for the sake of their art and the occasional bag of potatoes, I will hold you personally responsible. Of course, since you're all named Anonymous, it may be hard for me to actually find you.

Regardless of what happens to P3B, I've had so much fun writing it that I regret nothing (well, I regret all the stuff I haven't gotten done since all I do is write and rewrite and rewrite some more). While the writing and the rewriting does appear to be mostly finished, I've discovered from endless perusal, that every third word in the book is "just." Things just seem to happen all the time, or people are just in a hurry, or things just stink. So I just may have to do some polishing before I let another human being read it.

And if no one ever does, well that's just too bad!


Anonymous said...

If P3B is sucessful do you plan to continue writing these sorts of stories? or maybe writing them from diffrent countries like Australia or Britain or something?
p.s (the site looks cool!)

Anonymous said...

And, here's the burning question, if Harcourt doesn't buy it, is it possible you will post it somewhere for your adoring fans to adore?


Dawn said...

Sounds super fantastic! Now I am intrigued about life on the other side of the river. Sounds to me like a P4B is the next evolution of this series. I can not imagine why Harcourt would not want to jump on board and get as many books out of you as possible! :-)

Thanks for the update!!


Mr. Cavin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marci said...

Uh oh, I was in the anti-stripper camp and you KNOW where to find me.

Harcourt will publish P3b. And if you can get your characters across the river, they'll publish P4b too. The Queen of the Universe is destroying the world, one book at a time. Cool!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Leah (nice to see you away from Yankee Stadium), Glen, Dawn, and Marci-

Awhile ago, I had this nifty idea about franchising my end of the world concept, and having writers from different countries use the same setup to tell completely different stories. Oddly enough, no one else thought this was worth doing. So my guess is there won't be any Australian or British or Japanese versions. Which is a shame, because I'd enjoy reading them.

I have no idea what I'll do if Harcourt declines P3B (which is always a real possibility). I mean, I'll keep on with my life and feed the cats and suchlike, but whether P3B and the roughly 22 follow up novels I thought of this morning will ever see the light of day (or the dark of night) is very much an open question.

I'm not worrying about it. I've had so much fun writing and rewriting and putting clothes on Caitlin that no matter what happens to the book itself, I'll never regard it as wasted time and energy.

It's wonderful to be at a point in my life where writing is just fun. Although, of course, if Harcourt's rejection reason involves lack of stripperhood, I do know where to find Marci!