Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anyone Have A Good Name For A Trilogy?

I got an email today from my wonderful UK publisher. I'd think she's wonderful under any circumstance, but since she said the following in her email, I think she's both wonderful and incredibly insightful:

I think you’ve done a brilliant job in it of combining the characters from the previous two books, and succeeding in ramping up the tension to near-unbearable levels for the third time. This is an awesome achievement. I am very excited about our plans for the trilogy.

When I wrote Life As We Knew It, I didn't know there were going to be two other books to follow, and when I wrote the dead and the gone, I didn't know there'd be another book to follow, so This World We Live In is kind of the unanticipated third volume of an unnamed trilogy. I've taken to calling it the Moon Crash trilogy, but that's very much an unofficial name.

My UK publisher is considering calling it the Survivors Trilogy, but is open to other ideas. So I figured I'd ask all of you. Should your suggestion end up being used in the UK (or anywhere else for that matter), you'll get no credit and no money and since most of you are called Anonymous, most likely I won't be able to thank you by name here.

But I'd be grateful for your thoughts and ideas. And that should count for something!

ETA: If you're shy, use the darling little email link to the right.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scooter Has His Surgery

He'll never be the daddy of little baby Scooters .

For those who want to see how much he's changed since entering Jake Barnes territory, here's Scooter before and Scooter after.
Bring on the bullfights. Scooter is ready!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why I'm Glad I'll Be Retiring Soon (More About Money)

I'm one of the few people around who likes Mondays.

Since I'm self-employed, I choose when I'm going to work, and therefore Monday isn't necessarily the start of a workweek for me. I've been known to plow through a weekend, just so I'll be finished by Monday. Or I could start a job on a Tuesday. So there's no reason for me to dread Mondays.

I've been represented by two literary agencies in my career. The first took care of me from my 4th book through my 73rd; the second for the three books that followed (the ones that are currently earning me money).

The first agency always mails its checks out on Fridays. While this doesn't mean every Monday I'll find a check in my mailbox (I wish), it does mean should they send me a check, whether I'm expecting one or not, it'll show up on a Monday. And thus, I am very sentimentally attached to Mondays (and to my mailboxes).

I get very little money from books 4-73. What money I do earn pretty much comes from three titles, Kid Power, The Year Without Michael, and Courage, Dana. Last year, out of curiosity and an intense desire to predict my future, I added up how much Monday money I've gotten over the past few years. It turns out to range between $3,000 to $5,000. Not enough money to live off of (obviously), but a pleasant little supplement. One of the benefits of being a self-employed freelance children's book writer, as opposed to many other self-employed careers I could have stumbled into. My hope (and it can only be a hope) is that Life As We Knew It, the dead and the gone, and This World We Live In will each chip in a thousand bucks or so per year for many years to come. I'll never be able to count on it (as opposed to Social Security, which I'm choosing to believe will last my lifetime), but whatever comes comes and I'm sure I'll find a way to spend it.

Google, as you know, takes great pleasure in telling me what's going on with my career, and over the past couple of weeks, it's led me to places where LAWKI can be downloaded for free. Someone, somewhere, has taken the time to illegally upload it, and then cheerfully informs people who might be interested, that it's available for them. It's possible Google itself has done this; there's some kind of writer/Google copyright conflict that I'm supposed to understand, but no matter how hard I try, I can't figure it out.

For the most part my attitude about all this copyright violation is that it's gin joint, as in the line from Casablanca about all the gin joints in the world. I figure LAWKI isn't the only book being so offered, and that with all those other gin joints around, the damage to my income from the illegal downloads will be minimal. To me, this is the advantage of not being a super duper best selling author. People are much more likely to look for and find the super duper best selling authors' gin joints than mine.

But I really don't know how writers starting out now and writers who are just on the verge of starting out are going to survive this kind of theft in years to come. I'll be living off the money I've saved and Social Security, and the thousand here and the thousand there, until those thousands stop drifting in. But those other writers, those new kid writers, are going to be starting off in a world where their royalties could be seriously affected by this unthinking thievery. The people who are stealing my works may well just be kids; they don't understand that what they're doing is as morally wrong as stealing my wallet. And in days, weeks, years to come, there'll be more and more of those kids, and more and more grownups, who will post other people's books because they want to share what they've read, or share what they're thinking about reading, or share for the pure joy of making new friends. I'm willing to believe there's no malice involved, just ignorance.

I should be fine, although annoyed, the way you feel when you're bitten by a couple of fleas.
But all the new writers are going to have their incomes leached away from them, and I really don't know how they, and the whole publishing industry, will handle it.

I wish them luck. Because it's not going to be easy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

And Now A Brief Commercial Message

I was going to write a cogent, thought provoking blog entry about money, but the heck with all that. I'd rather spend it than think about it.

There was a message waiting for me when I got back from getting my teeth cleaned. My beloved Deep Discount called to tell me they're having their semi-annual 25% off sale on their DVDs.

Type in the code word Blue. Generally speaking, they only let you do one order at the discount price, but they also frequently have ads with different code words if you know to look.

The sale ends August 2. I anticipate having considerably less money by then!

Friday, July 17, 2009

He Knew How To Pronounce "The Year Without Michael" Also

I had the pleasure last night of meeting James Patterson. Jim (or as I prefer to call him, Mr. Patterson) introduced me at a fundraising dinner where he was the headliner and I was the person who spoke after him.

I pulled out my handy dandy camera and filmed him introducing me, but the sound didn't turn out very good. You can hear him say "Susan Pfeffer" (pronouncing my name correctly, I'm delighted to report), but that's about the only thing you can really make out, so I'm not going to post the video here.

There are pictures though, in which neither of us looks too fabulous (he's a terrific speaker, by the way). I had planned on posting other pictures today, so I'll include one of them, and you can just imagine him saying, "Susan Pfeffer."

The other pictures will include one of Scooter sleeping, which he does very well, and my mother at the Orange County Arboretum (we went on Wednesday) and flowers at the Arboretum. I absolutely adore flowers, but I haven't mastered the art of taking good flower pictures. The one I'm going to post is the best one I ever took, and I magically plopped it onto my computer screen, so it greets me every time I turn the computer on.

So with further adieu, I'm off to post the pictures and fantasize about other famous people introducing me. Then I'll eat some cookies.

It's a good life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Numb With Numbers

I got an email this morning at my lovely new AOL address, telling me that my blog was ranked #192 at and that this was a particularly spectacular accomplishment. They congratulated me and everything and told me if I slipped some magic invisible formula into a brand new blog entry, even greater things would happen.

I could never resist invisible. My brother used to write with invisible ink and I always wanted to know what he'd written (nothing good about me, I'm sure). So here goes with the invisible code:

Well, I can see it. Actually it bears a resemblance to an old phone number of mine, but with a different area code and different digits. Now that I think about it, it's not much of a resemblance.
It's been an interesting few days for numbers. The other day the New York Times had an article about I hadn't known it existed, but once I saw it did, I scurried right over and looked up "Susan Beth Pfeffer." Hey, it's who I am; it's what I do. had 2,000,000 listings for "Susan Beth Pfeffer." Which bears no resemblance to any phone number I've ever had.

Being an educated consumer, I made haste to my beloved Google to see what the "Susan Beth Pfeffer" number was there. Sadly, it was a mere "about" 92,300.

Now it could be that "about" means 1,907,701, which would give Google one more "Susan Beth Pfeffer" listing than that upstart Bing. Or it could mean Bing loves me a heck of a lot more than Google does (which could explain why even though I sent Google a Valentine's card, it ignored me then and on my birthday, and all the other 363 days of the year. 364 in a leap year).

We'll see what Bing does for my birthday.

Yahoo, by the way, loves me three times as much as Google does ("Susan Beth Pfeffer" is worth 281,000 mentions there), but just a bit more than 10% of Bing. Bing must really adore me, and unlike Scooter, it doesn't purr on my neck at 6 in the morning and bite my toes with madcap abandon.

Speaking of numbers (ha! you thought I was going to speak of Scooter! double ha!!), This World We Live In got its first Amazon ranking number yesterday. Not that I've been checking obsessively, nosireebob. I don't even know when the number came in, because I spent much of yesterday taking my mother to Dr. Doctor for her annual physical (as opposed to her other three visits a year to Dr. Doctor). I found the ranking number after I got back home. It was a robust 271,527. I know because I emailed Marci right away to tell her and she very kindly emailed me back congratulations.

Today, TW's Amazon number is a bit more sickly 393,277, but given that the book isn't going to be published for another 260 days (good thing I have that countdowner, or else I wouldn't know), I'm delighted it has any number at all.

Now if I could just get the numbers in my savings account to go up and on my scale to go down, I'd be a truly happy woman!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We Have A Cover!

Because I don't know how to attach a PDF (or what a PDF is for that matter) to my blog, I printed the cover on my dandy printer and attached it with needles (I couldn't find any pins) to my green chair and took photographs of it.

I know how to attach photographs, with and without needles.

The odds are when the book is published, the cover may look a little, oh I don't know, slicker, but in the meantime, I'm thrilled and can't wait to show it off.

So here's the cover for This World We Live In (by New York Times Best Selling Author of Life As We Knew It-Moi)!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Joys Of A Holiday Weekend

No one is home, so I can do whatever I want with my blog.

Which is to post this fabulous video of my fabulous kitten.