Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Piece Of News That Makes Me Very Happy

I am absolutely delighted to report that Emily Bauer who did such a wonderful job reading Life As We Knew It is the reader for the Listening Library version of This World We Live In.

I'm so happy about this I'm going to boldface her name.

I've been really eager to hear it, and now I'm even more impatient. I know she's going to do a great great job with Miranda and all the other characters.

Yay for Emily Bauer! Yay for Listening Library! Double Triple Yay for my great good fortune!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Nice Piece Of News To End The Old Year With

I know 2009 has been a very difficult year for most of America, but for me it's been pretty wonderful.

As penance, I spent most of yesterday doing tedious but necessary jobs. Post office/motor vehicle/bank/supermarket to use up about to expire coupons. And that was just before lunch. In the afternoon I went to the Village of Goshen town hall to renew my mother's handicap parking permit, only to discover her paperwork was at the Town of Goshen town hall. Lucky for me, the Village and the Town both have very nice people working there, and the necessary papers were faxed over and the permit renewed for another five years, at which point my mother will be 103.

I also made a number of boring phone calls yesterday to let various businesses know my charge card expiration date had changed, and I found out what to do about the dvd of The Dead I'd bought in November. The Dead, which is one of my favorite movies ever, is 83 minutes long, but the dvd was only 73 minutes long. Sunday's New York Times reviewed the dvd, and while I didn't much care for the review, it did say the manufacturer of the dvd had learned of its mistake, and had reissued it with the missing 10 minutes and here was the phone number to call. Which I did Monday, along with all those other phone calls and tedious errands.

If doing boring jobs qualifies one for sainthood, I should be polishing my halo.

Last night, as a reward for getting so many things accomplished with a minimum of whining, I bopped around the Google listings of Pfeffer "Life As We Knew It" . And it was a good thing I bopped, because I discovered that the state of Idaho has named Life As We Knew It as their 2010 Idaho Kids Read The Same Book teen selection.

Naturally, I am thrilled about this. But I waited until this morning to tell my mother. I figured she'd had excitement enough yesterday learning her handicap permit had been renewed!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I Read In 2009

Scooter's only been reading for a couple of months now (and already he's picked up that nasty habit of licking a page before turning it), but I've been reading for a whole lot longer.

This year I kept a list of the books I'd read, something I hadn't done for decades. I don't remember what my reasoning was (maybe that I'd read more if I wrote everything down), but regardless of motivation, this was one resolution I stuck with (what a shame that eating too much and wasting time weren't resolutions, since I had great success with both).

There's a chance, of course, that I might read another book between today and Friday, but on the assumption that I won't or that it won't matter if I do, here is the Susan Beth Pfeffer 2009 Reading List.

(n) stands for non-fiction, (f) for fiction (I bet you would have figured that out all on your own). A handful of books on the list are rereads.

Oh- I did reread This World We Live In, but it's not on the list. I had intended to reread Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone first, but I'd gotten so impatient waiting for the ARC that when it finally came, I skipped straight to it. At some point in 2010 I'll reread all three in combination.

Another thing- this is not the most impressive of lists, in quality or quantity. Then again, it's not like you have any illusions about me.

Without further ado (unless I can think of something to ado over):

1 The Great Pretenders- Jon Bonderson (n)
2 Bone By Bone- Carol O'Connell (f)
3 The Associate- John Grisham (f)
4 Murder of a Medici Princess- Caroline P. Murphy (n)
5 Sins of the Fathers- Susan Howatch (f)
6 The Great Crown Jewel Robbery of 1303- Paul Doherty (n)
7 The Water's Lovely- Ruth Rendell (f)
8 Society's Scandals- Bridgeman and Drury (ed) (n)
9 Devil's Gate- David Roberts (n)
10 Nathan Hale- M. William Phelps (n)
11 Testimony- Anita Shreve (f)
12 Mistress of the Monarchy- Alison Weir (n)
13 Cashelmara- Susan Howatch (f)
14 The Killings on Jubilee Terrace- Robert Barnard (f)
15 Emily Post- Laura Claridge (n)
16 Pauline Bonaparte- Flora Fraser (n)
17 The Longest Second- Bill S. Ballinger (f)
18 Vanished Smile-Mysterious Theft Of Mona Lisa- Scotti (n)
19 The Murrow Boys- Stanley Cloud and Lynne Olson (n)
20 Bracknell's Law- Wallace Hildick (f)
21 Thunderstruck- Erik Larsen (n)
22 The Deceivers- Egon Larsen (n)
23 The Wrong Mother- Sophie Hannah (f)
24 Devil In The White City- Erik Larsen (n)
25 Children's Party- Arthur Lewis (f)
26 What The Dog Saw- Malcolm Gladwell (n)
27 The Sisters Who Would Be Queen- Leondra deLisle (n)
28 Into The Wild Nerd Yonder- Julie Halpern (f)
29 Hound Dog- Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (n)
30 Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult (f)
31 Edge Of Evil- J. A. Jance (f)
32 The Hour I First Believed- Wally Lamb (f)
33 This Republic Of Suffering- Drew Gilpin Faust (n)

The most interesting of the books for me is Children's Party. This is a very short novel from the 1970s that I'd read a very long time ago (probably in the 1970s). It stuck with me (or at least the premise did), and I was thrilled to stumble upon it at The Friends Of Middletown Thrall Library Used Bookstore, where I used to volunteer (along with Marci and Carol, who still do). I took it home and kept planning on rereading it, until finally on one of my fall trips, I threw it into my pocketbook for an easy airplane read.

It's about a man who overhears the sounds of a children's party in a place where there don't seem to be any children. He takes it upon himself to solve the mystery, and in doing so, learns about people he'd known once and what had become of them. It's kind of a realistic gothic psychological traveling ghost story of its time, and it remains an effective and haunting (and perfect for airplane) read.

My goal for 2010 is to read 36 books, since that would average out to 3 books a month, which sounds better than 2.75 books a month. Of course I also want to read less fiction, since it almost invariably disappoints me, but fiction does read a lot faster than non-fiction, so I don't know.

Once Scooter finishes reading How To Take Over Teh World, by Professor Happycat and, he's planning to start Dickens. He's particularly interested in A Tail Of Two Cities!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Because Nothing Says Christmas Like The Dead And The Gone

I'm happy to report that Amazon has the paperback of the dead and the gone available for purchase and shippping.

I assume if it does, other places do too.

Scooter will be very excited!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The World Comes To An End In Two Languages

Things have been pretty exciting around here.

For starters, I got my copies of the dead and the gone in paperback.

As you can see, it is quite lovely.

I am concerned though that I may have to get Scooter reading glasses.

I also got an email yesterday from my agent's assistant about the German edition of Life As We Knew It.

Carlsen, the publisher, is doing a lot of promotion. Here's a link to the website. I was particularly excited to see Marci was given full credit for the picture she took of me (I had lunch today with Marci and my mother, and Marci was pleased with the credit also).

Carlsen also ran a two page ad plus a cover ad for it in a German bookselling magazine.

I got Google to translate "bestsellen" for me fourteen times, and it never came out as "best selling." I even had Google translate "best selling" into German on a what the hey basis, but it didn't come out "bestsellen."

Then again, what does Google know. In the international language of Susan, there's only one meaning to Bestellen!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New And Improved

I have a new computer and a new monitor, and since I got a new printer within the past month or so, you could say I have a new printer as well. So far, everything is working (well, I haven't tried the new printer with the new computer yet, because there's only so much so far I can take).

My mother got both her flu shots yesterday. I haven't gotten either of mine yet, but first things first.

Scooter threw up all over the apartment yesterday. I mean all over. I've had cats for decades, and cats throw up (it's not one of their more endearing behaviors, but it's part of the package), and I've never seen a cat throw up in so many different places. There are at least a dozen spots (all on carpet, of course). I dampened each spot with water and poured salt on them, and at some point I'll vacuum all the salt piles and see if the carpet has gotten clean. In reality, the carpet is filthy anyway, and I'd ask my landlord for new carpet except that would mean moving all the furniture off the carpet, and that seems entirely too daunting. Of course now that I have a cat that throws up everywhere, there's no point asking for new carpet.

Maybe I should ask the landlord for a new vacuum cleaner instead.

In the midst of all this chaos, my UK publisher sent me the designs for their upcoming reissues of Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone.

I think the d&g cover is particularly striking.

Elaine Marie Alphin has written a lovely blog entry about reading and writing and friendships (and me).

It's been a while since I posted a Scooter video, but I love this one from a few days ago of him and his food bowl.

All right. I'm off to vacuum salt piles and light Chanukah candles and watch Adam Lambert.

Two out of three ain't bad!

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Have A Far Better Chance Of Winning Than I Do

As you can see, Scooter and I are hard at work in preparation for the holidays, but that didn't keep Google from letting me know about a couple of wonderful things.

First of all, the dead and the gone has been nominated for its first statewide young reader award. I'm delighted to report that it's my state, New York, that has put it on its teen 3 Apples Book Award list. I'm always thrilled to be nominated, and I'm even more thrilled when I win, but with this one, the nomination will have to be thrill enough. I'm just glad I'm not going against The Cat In The Hat.

Secondly, the Book Butterfly blog has a contest with two ARCs of This World We Live In as the prizes. There's a nice long interview with me there (I do like talking about myself) as well.

Scooter's already gotten his Chanukah present, his very first catnip toy. My Chanukah presents are my career, Scooter, and all of you.

We're both very happy and extremely grateful!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ah, But I Love Butterfingers Also

And Kit Kat bars. And Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And Nestle's Crunch.

I spent part of yesterday answering seven interview questions for read-it-now. Question number five was what is my favorite candy.

As you can see, I had many options. None of which I have in the house. I've spent the past six months or so eating entirely too many sweets and, perhaps not coincidentally, I've gained a few pounds. Worse still, I see my doctor in a week for a checkup, and the odds are her scale will notice the weight gain. Whether my doctor will or not is a whole other question, but if she does, I know what I'm going to tell her, which is I'd been eating foolishly and I don't like gaining weight and therefore I am eating considerably less foolishly now.

Maybe she won't notice.

One thing you might not have noticed is I'm keeping track of the blog reviews of This World We Live In, and putting in the number over in its own little link area on the right side of the blog. It's up to six now, and if you follow the link, it'll take you to thirdmoonbook, and you can link to any or all of the reviews there.

I'd been holding a few copies of the TW ARC in reserve, and today I pulled five names out of the Bolivian hat and emailed the people to let them know. It's not looking too promising for more copies, but Harcourt knows I want them, and maybe a few will show up.

Chanukah starts Friday evening and I anticipate it being a fairly stressful holiday. Those of you who've been reading this blog since the getgo may recall that my late cat Alexander caught on fire from a menorah candle. Scooter has been quite intrigued by my Sabbath candles, and I'm concerned the menorah candles will be irresistible to him. They burn pretty fast, but so does cat hair. Chanukah lasts eight days, starting with two candles, and then adding one a day, so Scooter is going to have lots of opportunities to play Joan Of Arc (I figured I would cleverly switch religions).

For anyone out there who celebrates Chanukah, have a happy one, and I hope your pets don't catch fire!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Bet Tudor Family Reunions Were A Real Delight

I spent a delightful Sunday reading Into The Wild Nerd Yonder, by Julie Halpern. I won't tell you what it's about (because that would be spoilering), but its plot includes Dungeons and Dragons, sewing and sex. Not necessarily in that order.

Saturday, I finished reading The Sisters Who Would Be Queen. Poor Lady Jane Grey had her head chopped off (well you knew that), but oy, what happened to her sisters was almost as bad. Both of them fell in love and got married without that nasty old Queen Elizabeth's permission, and that nasty old Queen Elizabeth (who saw to it that her cousin Mary Queen Of Scots got her head chopped off) imprisoned them and their husbands, who they never got to see again (well, Katherine Grey spent one more night with her husband while she was in prison and got pregnant a second time and then never saw him again).

I'd explain to you how the Grey girls were related to Queen Elizabeth but I couldn't quite follow it myself. But they were, and I bet they wished they weren't. It's like their whole lives were Dungeons and Dragons.

I went to the library on Monday to return The Sisters Who Would Be Queen and resisted taking out a biography of Lady Jane Grey and one of Mary Queen Of Scots. Instead I took out Hound Dog by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, which is definitely my kind of book (big print, huge margins and lots of photographs, and not the kind that are all on shiny pages that don't count, but are interspersed with the big print and huge margins).

Scooter and I have the same taste in books- lots of pictures and very little text.

My computer is having emotional issues. For reasons best known to it, it refuses to go on until 10 AM. If it didn't go on at all, I'd accept that it doesn't work and buy a new one, which I'm prepared, albeit reluctantly, to do. But then, just when I've decided it's stopped working forever, it turns on. I have no idea why this computer, or any other, would want to be a late sleeper, an option I don't have, since Scooter wakes me up at 6:55 every morning to play Purr On The Neck.

Which reminds me. I had a very long weird dream last night, which I'll spare you most of the details of, but at one point people were shooting at Canadian geese in a suburban area, and the geese got very upset and flew into a house and demolished it with their wings. The house collapsed from goose attack. This may be the single best visual I've ever had in a dream, and I bet if Alfred Hitchcock were still alive, he'd steal it from me.

For those who are interested, a list which would not include Queen Elizabeth 1 or 2, Jane, Katherine and Mary Grey, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, or Alfred Hitchcock, I set up a section over at thirdmoonbook, where there are links to blog reviews of This World We Live In. Anyone who wishes to make comments about same is invited to, if they do so there and not here. All this is in deference to those who wish to remain spoiler free and yet are willing to read about what I'm reading and the suchlike.

In the beginning of my career, my books would get reviewed in newspapers and magazines right around the time the book was published, and then as my career went on and on, there were fewer magazines and newspapers to review the books, but what there was reviewed it right around the time the book was published. But now the reviews start months before the book is published and continue, as best I can tell, forever. I still see blog reviews of Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone. There'll probably be more of the latter in the months to come, with its paperback publication in January. And I still get a little nervous whenever I see a review, although not as nervous as I will be the next time I see a gaggle of Canadian geese!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Now Comes Naptime

Granted, for Scooter, naptime is pretty much anytime. And I'm not about to take a nap, because I have a library book (The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leandra de Lisle) due back on Monday, and I hate having overdue books (Lady Jane Grey is going to get married pretty soon, and not to that nice young King Edward either). So, instead of napping, I'm going to be reading.

But I'm through with business travel (or the road, as I call it). My last appearance was last night. My friend Cynthia accompanied me to Fairleigh Dickinson University, in Teaneck, New Jersey, where I spoke at the Decemberfest meeting of the Knightscapes Literary Magazine. I told them about how I got my first book published, a story I'll tell all of you someday when I have the energy.

In between trips to Teaneck, I've been going to the post office to send off ARCs of This World We Live In to the Bolivian hat selectees. I'm still waiting to get names and addresses from a handful of people, so there'll be another trip there next week (and I'm still begging Harcourt for more copies to send to you).

But basically I'm looking at a stretch of four months with next to no obligations. I'm not working on anything, my mother has no doctor appointments until the end of March, and I don't travel anywhere, for fun or business, until mid April. Starting this weekend, I'll be devoting all my time and energy to football, figure skating, and fandom.

Plus reading and naps. And playing with Scooter. And writing blog entries. And answering emails. And whatever else comes along.

But now it's time to read about the Grey Sisters, Lady Jane and Mary and Katherine, who I keep calling Agnes. I'm so tired, I'm getting the Tudors and the Brontes mixed up!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Look Who's Reading!

The ARCs for This World We Live In have arrived!

There are 180 names in the Bolivian hat. Scooter and I will be picking 30 at random, which gives each of you a one in six chance of getting an ARC.

I'll be sending emails to the names that get selected to ask for your mailing address. My plan is to do that this afternoon, and start making the trips to the post office tomorrow.

My guess is I'll have a few more ARCs to distribute over the next month or so. I'm holding a handful in reserve, and maybe Harcourt will send me some more, if they have any leftovers. So even if you don't hear from me today, you may still end up with an ARC.

Should you get one, there are only two rules. They're not for sale, and they're not to be put into a library system, in lieu of an actual copy of the book. Beyond that, they're yours to do with as you wish.

After you've read the ARC (assuming you do read it and don't just use it for a doorstop), if you want to comment about it, please do so at thirdmoonbook. I'll be setting up a comment zone there. Should you forget and comment here, I'll move your comment over and erase it here.

You can also write about it on your blog or at anywhere that might be interested. I'll trust your discretion not to give away the fabulous ending (or anything else fabulous you bump into along the way).

I want to thank all of you for your interest in This World We Live In and for your patience. I am extremely grateful for both.

Okay. If I can get Scooter away from his book, we'll start on the next step of this process. Bolivian Hat, here we come!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The ARCs Are (Gonna Be) In The Mail!

I started Tuesday morning off with a well placed whine/kvetch email, and was told that the carton of ARCs for This World We Live In will be sent off today.

Today is not as good as last week or two weeks ago or October, but hey, it's better than next year.

Meantime, Scooter has decided to use the Whole Language approach for learning how to read. He's selected the book of interest to him, probably because it has lots of pictures of his distant relatives.

I'll let you know when he starts reading it or when the ARCs arrive, whichever comes first!