Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Get Mentioned In The New York Times (And Nobody Tells Me)

The New York Times has a front page article today called Students Get New Reading Assignment: Pick Books You Like. It's a very fine article and is currently the most emailed article from today's Times.

The article doesn't mention me, but it's worth reading anyway.

Here's where The Times does mention me. There's a list of one class's favorite books and one of them is Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (that's me).

Okay, technically they call it Life as We Knew It, but it's still me.

Now it's not exactly the same as winning the Pulitzer, but a mention in the New York Times is a mention in the New York Times, and that happens to me, well, not very often. This is the first time in 2009, I'm pretty darn sure. The second, maybe third, time this century.

So you'd think people would congratulate me. My agent. My editor. My former editor. My brother. Any of my New York Times reading friends and family. One of you. Google. Somebody.

Ha! If I didn't read the Times myself, I still wouldn't know.

The only person who came even close to congratulating me was Todd Strasser, who sent me an email that said "Congrats." But since I hadn't read today's Times then, I had no idea what he was congratsing me for.

Now I know. And in my opinion, the century has definitely taken a turn for the better!

Friday, August 28, 2009

This World We Live In ARC Update

I've been harassing those nice people at Harcourt for information about the status of This World We Live In advance reading copies (aka ARCs), and now I have some (information, not ARCs).

The ARCs will be published circa Oct. 12 and they'll be sending me a box of them that week.

From the sound of it, I'll be getting more ARCs than I'll need, and if that's the case, I'll be sharing the extras with people here. Assuming, of course, that people here will want one. If not, I'm sure Scooter will be more than happy to shred them all over the apartment.

When the ARC box arrives, I'll let you all know. Well, all of you except Scooter!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summertime And The Living Is Easier

Somewhere in the vast publishing industry that is known as The Vast Publishing Industry, some work must be getting done.

But if it is, nobody is telling me about it. Not that I'm asking.

My mother, brother and I met with the staff at the health care center, and we all agree that my mother's place is back in her apartment. The staff wants her to stay at the health care center another week or two, to make sure she's 100% strong and stable when she returns. Or it could be they want her to stay a bit longer because she's so nice. Either way, she'll be going home soon, maybe in time for her 98th birthday on Sept. 5, or maybe a day or two later.

I'll be celebrating her birthday with a trip to New Paltz Crafts Fair, even though I have no room for anything new in my apartment. Somehow that never stops me.

Scooter is pushing into 6 months old, and as you can see from the new picture on the right side of the blog, he's been doing a lot of growing. He's at the rip everything into shreds stage, which I hope he'll grow out of sooner rather than later. For some reason, toilet paper is of no interest to him (toilets certainly are; fresh flushed is his beverage of choice), but everything else is fair game. This morning, for reasons I hope I'll never understand, he ripped and ate the shower curtain.

Five years ago, when I sold the big big house that was far too big for me or my money, I went through every book I owned (which was quite a lot) and sold or gave away the vast majority of them. Then when I moved to the apartment, I unpacked all the books I'd kept and shelved them. Sometime during the past five years, I've dusted every book. When I downsized the den last spring, I went through all the books again and gave away a whole bunch more. Then I reorganized and reshelved all the books. And, of course, I've been known to look at the books I own, maybe even take one off the shelves if the mood strikes.

So how is it I didn't realize until this morning that I owned two copies of The Twilight Zone Companion? Both second editions too.

Oh well. I'll give one away (don't tell Scooter), and then I'll have more room for whatever I buy at the Crafts Fair!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Catchup Day

I'm taking a couple of days off from visiting my ever healthier mother, and today I'm playing catchup, which includes paying a visit to my blog (hi blog) and letting everyone else who visits here (hi everyone else) how things are going.

We'll start (that's the regal we) with my ever healthier mother. She can get out of chairs all by herself and use her walker to get around and generally seems to be in fine fettle. There's an official talk about her future meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning, and I'd be surprised if the consensus isn't that she should return to her apartment and her life. That's certainly what I want the consensus to be. When I was visiting her yesterday, she got a lovely little present from my goddaughter and her mother in the mail, and an unexpected visit from Marci, who brought beautiful flowers.

My mother asked me to thank all of you for your get well wishes, here and in emails. She's really appreciated all your good thoughts.

I have a small amount of career news. First off, Life As We Knew It has passed the 100 Amazon review mark, making it all the way to 101. The little stars of approval have been going down though, so I haven't read the past few reviews, taking pleasure in the quantity if not the quality.

Speaking of LAWKI, I learned earlier this week that the German audio rights have been sold. My share of the advance goes to lower the book advance, so I won't be seeing any Euros from it (at least not directly). But this is the first time a novel of mine has been recorded in a language not my own, so I'm naturally quite excited. And since Pfeffer is a German word, I'm not concerned about mispronunciations (although now that I think about it, they could screw up Susan and Beth. Le multilingual sigh).

I got an email yesterday from my editor saying that whoever makes these decisions (not her, not me) has agreed to use the scene I want as the tease for This World We Live In in the paperback of the dead and the gone. I posted that scene over at thirdmoonbook for any of you that are curious.

I have a very busy autumn ahead of me, with trips to Virginia, Massachusetts, Illinois. Texas, and Connecticut (plus a family weekend in South Carolina) in store. I am a very small part of the Fall For The Book event in Fairfax County, VA. If any of you live around there, you might want to go to some of their many programs.

I went to the movies for the first time in forever and saw Julie and Julia. I really enjoyed it, more for the writing a blog part than the cooking up a storm part. My idea of cooking is to put frozen fish in the oven and frozen vegetables in the microwave and have them both for dinner (I did that last week, a personal best). But I guess the cooking part of the movie inspired me also, since I bought new dishes (which turned out to be a celebratory German audio rights purchase, only I didn't know I'd sold the German audio rights when I bought the dishes, so I guess it was a prescient celebratory purchase, which is practically the best kind). The only problem with my new dishes is they're bigger than my old dishes and too big to fit into my kitchen cabinets as they're now arranged, so I have to rearrange my cabinets, which I've been meaning to do ever since I'd had the revelation that the vast majority of my spices are over five years old and never used and thus taking up a lot of unnecessary cabinet space, which is how I differ from both Julie and Julia, who most likely wouldn't have bought little jars of spices from the supermarket anyway so what do they know.

So now that I've caught you up on everything (except Scooter, who is extremely cute, and has gotten much better about letting me sleep in the mornings, although he still does like to attack my ankles and drag my underwear around the apartment and rip papers on my printer), I'm off to throw out unused spices and see if I can get the new dishes to fit in my cabinets.

Life certainly is easier without crises!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Even Quicker Mother Report

My mother's been in the health center (we're not supposed to call it nursing home) attached to her assisted living place since Tuesday.

When I visited her today, I asked her if she could get out of her chair by herself. And she could. Not in a simple easy single movement, but she definitely got out unassisted. Then she and I took a short walk together.

Her spirits are great, she looks wonderful, and I'm extremely optimistic that she'll be back in her apartment within my lifetime!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quick Mother Update

My mother spent the weekend in the hospital. She was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, which was treated with antibiotics.

I took her home Sunday afternoon, but yesterday she was too weak to manage on her own. So she was checked back into the hospital (a room was waiting for her, so we didn't have to go through eight hours in the emergency room again).

Her spirits are fine, she was very apologetic about being a pest, and my guess is she'll make a full recovery a lot sooner than I will!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nothing Is Gonna Keep Me From Seeing Adam Lambert

I mentioned in my last hasty blog post that my mother was having a mini-crisis. She still is.

Maternal mini-crises are very time consuming. I visited her Tuesday and threatened to take her to the hospital, and I visited her Wednesday, on my way to New York City to see my friends Christy and Joyce (the three of us talked little but mother issues at dinner) and demanded that she eat lunch (which it turns out she didn't), and then yesterday morning, as the mini-crisis escalated, I took her, at her doctor's suggestion, to the emergency room, where we spent 8 delightful hours. Here are my favorite lines of dialogue from that visit.

Me: This is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.
My Mother: I'm not that keen on visiting either.

It took a nasty exchange with the doctor to get the hospital to admit my mother as a patient (she was literally too weak to get out of the chair she was sitting in; how did they think she was going to manage on her own at home?), and several of the eight hours were spent waiting for the paperwork to be completed, the room to be readied, and a staff member to be available to take her from one end of the hospital to the other. During which time the only food my mother had to eat was a turkey sandwich (she ate half), and that only because I practically begged for some food for her (she'd been sitting in the emergency room for 6 hours at that point). The only alternative was a ham and cheese sandwich, which, since my mother keeps kosher, was completely unacceptable. I suppose they just let vegetarians starve to death.

Some of the nursing staff was extremely nice, but on the whole, the experience was less than fabulous.

I just spoke to my mother, who was eating breakfast and complaining her eggs were cold and she never eats eggs for breakfast. Since the problem has been that she's stopped eating the past few days, I told her she had to eat the eggs, like it or not. With any luck, my adoring but threatening voice was enough to convince her to devour her meal.

I don't know how long she'll be in the hospital, since they weren't all that eager to admit her in the first place. What I do know is my American Idol concert ticket is for Saturday night, and I really really really want to go.

Not that I don't love my mother, mind you. I mean, if I were on a sinking ship with her and Adam Lambert and I had to choose which one to save...well, I can't swim, so Adam Lambert had just better save both of us. On occasion, it's more fun to be rescued than to rescue.

On that profound note, I'm now going to eat breakfast and answer all the emails and blog comments that I haven't had a chance to respond to over the past few days. My brother is taking the day off from work, so I'll see him as well as my mother. Maybe we can tag team bully my mother into getting some nourishment in her system.

As my mother says, we're charter members of the Never A Dull Moment Society!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Short, Albeit Not Necessarily Sweet, Post

I spent the day going through the copyedited version of This World We Live In, my least favorite part of writing a book, and no sooner had I finished, then I had a mother mini-crisis to deal with. I'm going into New York City tomorrow to see my friends Christy and Joyce. We've been best friends since freshman year in college, but Christy lives in LA, so it's rare for the three of us to get together.

That's to explain why I may sound cranky and why I won't be posting tomorrow when I wouldn't be quite so tired.

My UK publisher was very appreciative of all the trilogy titles you came up with, but they've decided to go with The Last Survivors. I'm very appreciative also, and loved many of your suggestions, so thank you again.

I posted a new entry over at thirdmoonbook. Harcourt is prepping the dead and the gone for paperback publication and wants to use a little bit of TW as a tease (just as Life As We Knew It has a little scene from d&g in it). I let my editor know which scene I wanted as the tease, but I guess I won't know until I get a paperback in January whether the scene I favor is the one they use. If you don't want to wait until January to read the scene (and that is, of course, assuming they use the one I want, which they may not, because it might be too short), then hop on over to thirdmoonbook and read it there.

Scooter is currently gnawing at my ankle. You have no idea how I fantasized about letting him loose on the copyeditor!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Come Visit Me At Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem!

I have the privilege of guest blogging at a great site, Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem today.

Mostly I talk about how I try hard not to work on weekends.

But alas, today is Monday, and the copy edited version of This World We Live In is currently sitting on my kitchen counter, waiting for me to deal with it.

By the time I've finished, I'm sure I'll feel like mayheming the copy editor!