Monday, March 29, 2010

PSA For Writers And Agents

I just mailed off my contracts for Blood Wounds and there's a clause in there that I requested that other writers and their representatives may not have thought of.

Life As We Knew It has been nominated for young reader awards in over thirty states. Each time I duly informed my editor and anyone else who might listen. And each time I was duly congratulated.

Writers (as writers and agents know) equate money with love and vice versa. So I decided Harcourt should prove its love for me by giving me a little bonus should Blood Wounds be nominated for twenty different young reader awards. I asked my agent, my agent asked Harcourt, and Harcourt said yes.

It could well be other writers and/or agents have thought of this splendid clause on their own, the way movies and airplanes were invented by different people simultaneously. But just in case I'm the first one to think of it, I claim naming rights.

Just as skating has terms like lutz and axel and chack, named for illustrious people (actually, I'm not sure who the lutz was named for, but it sounds a lot more illustrious than toe loop), so too the bonus for state young reader nominations should be named for me. Only, realist that I am, I know the Pfeffer Clause doesn't sound nearly as memorable as lutz or chack.

So I hearby name the state young reader nomination bonus clause the LAWKI Clause.

Long may it prosper, and us right along with it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I Anticipate An Epic Battle Between The University Of Southern North Dakota At Hoople and Wassamatta U

My father loved baseball and football and tennis and boxing and figure skating. He and my mother even used to watch wrestling (they both loved Hatpin Mary).

But I don't remember my father being a big basketball fan. My brother liked basketball. He used to try to teach it to me, and while I was pretty good at dribbling (at least if no one else was playing), I never could get the ball into the basket. Never. Not once. And if you can't get the ball into the basket on your driveway/garage court, you certainly can't at school, where once or twice a year, the gym teacher would personally humiliate me by making me try.

Yes, the gym teacher made everyone else try at the same time. But it felt like a personal attack. And it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I realized none of us were good at getting the ball into the basket. Most likely, the vast majority of my classmates felt like it was a personal attack too.

From my father, I got a love of sports (except for boxing; I really hate boxing) and a love of rooting. Put me in front of any competition, and I'll find someone to root for. Miss America, spelling bees, presidential races, I don't care. I'll choose someone and be happy if they win, sad if they lose.

Even though I don't care about basketball, I do have an awareness of March Madness, which always ends in April (now that I think about it, This World We Live In has an April 1 publication date, but came out in reasonably early March, so perhaps March and April are simply one big month- Mapril). I couldn't tell you all the colleges that have played or how they got into the tournament, but I can tell you this:

My goddaughter graduated from Cornell.

My father's papers are at Syracuse University.

My father had a longstanding relationship with Baylor.

Sense a theme here? Then let me prevent you from heartbreak and misery and losing bets by pointing out that the Mayor of Winfield, West Virginia proclaimed Susan Beth Pfeffer Day on April 30, 1986 and while I haven't been back to Winfield (or anywhere else in West Virginia) since April 30, 1986, I'm sure they still celebrate it annually.

So don't count on the University of West Virginia. I'd tell you not to count on Duke either (my brother knows someone who teaches there), except they're playing against each other, so the odds are one of them will make it to the finals. At which point, they'll lose to either Michigan State or Butler, since I have no connection with either of them. To be honest, I don't even know where Butler is, although I assume Michigan State is in Michigan somewhere.

A couple of my blog reading friends have noticed that I haven't written an entry in almost a week, and deduced from that that I've been busy writing. Le Ha! Or should that be La Ha! since Ha! is most likely feminine. Either way, Ha! I was doing exactly what I proclaimed I'd be doing, watching the World Figure Skating Championships. Some mornings they'd start before even Scooter woke up and they'd go on and on and on until dinner time.

And with all those triple axels and side by side twizzles to watch and evaluate, I could hardly be expected to write. Or even think about writing. So I didn't.

Now, alas, the skating is over with. But my excuses linger on. How can I be expected to work with Passover coming? An entire holiday devoted to the liberation of slaves, and you expect me to work? It'd be positively un-american. I get enough grief about my portrayal of the President in Life As We Knew It without risking further wrath by working during Passover. Which, fortunately for me, is eight days long.

And when Passover ends, Taking My Mother To The Doctor season begins. All the more reason not to work.

At some point, I'll get back to writing Blood Wounds. Right now, I'm still working out the ending, and reevaluating some of the beginning. The contracts have actually arrived, so Harcourt is expecting a manuscript and I'd hate to let them down.

But in the meantime, Happy Passover to those who celebrate, and a meaningful Holy Week, followed by Happy Easter, for those who celebrate, and Happy Anything Else That Keeps Me From Working to those who celebrate (which, quite possibly, is just me).

And, of course, the happiest of Happy Susan Beth Pfeffer Days. The best reason ever not to work!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Where Endings Go To

I spent the weekend working on Blood Wounds and finished it at some point last night.

The book is about 250 pages long. My guess is the last 50 pages (aka 20%) will have to be seriously rewritten. Major major revisions.

Without having read it, my perception is my characters do a lot of talking during those last 50 pages. Fabulous talking, I'm sure, but as Gertrude Stein said, "Remarks are not literature." On the other hand, she said it about Hemingway, and maybe my remarks are literature. But I have my doubts.

Scooter played Purr On The Neck starting at 6:30 this morning, and since I refuse to get out of bed before 7 (I'm self-employed after all), I had some time to think about the ending of the book and what it needs to work. I immediately came up with some alternative approaches, so I'm not concerned about it.

Nor do I feel any great pressure to return to it. Tomorrow I'm visiting a school in New Jersey, and then I'll spend a few days glued to my computer and TV, watching the World Figure Skating Championships. A year ago, I was at the World Figure Skating Championships. Then again, a year ago so was Evan Lysacek and this year he's on Dancing With The Stars. Which makes this one of the few blog entries in history that refers both to Gertrude Stein and Dancing With The Stars (I bet she would have been on if anyone had asked her. Gertrude Stein was fun).

So I'll let my brain cells relax for a bit, and then I'll read the book and figure out how to make the last fifty pages worthy of the first two hundred.

Goals are important in life. So are good endings. And so, according to Gertrude Stein, was a high quality cha cha.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Where Endings Come From

Last night, Lupe posted this comment on yesterday's blog entry (I'm averaging one a day this week, although that will probably calm down once the book is finished and I don't need any excuses for not working, not to mention no more apartment flood crises, I sure hope).

Where was I? Oh yes, Lupe's question:

How do you visualize the ending? How do you know what the ending is going to be before you even know the middle of your book?

I've been frustrated by this everytime I write a story...I know my plot, the story, but I can never visualize my ending.

All right. A couple of things.

First of all, there is no right way and no wrong way to write a story. Lots of writers start with the most basic of ideas and develop it as they write their first draft. They're comfortable dealing with dead ends, and are willing to toss and rewrite as they go along.

This method wouldn't work for me because I really like to get my work done fast, since I prefer not to be working. And given that I'm not a great judge of my own writing, I can fool myself into thinking a mistake is a masterpiece. It's simply better for me to pre-write and solve the problems, thus avoiding the mistakes, before I begin the real writing of the book.

Secondly, I don't visualize. This also falls into the category of different people work (and learn) different ways. I'm an auditory person. I hear lines of dialogue. I hear the characters talking. In a first person narrative, I hear the main character reciting what happened. For much of my life, if a stranger told me their life story (which strangers did; I have that kind of face), I could remember the details for years thereafter. But I once didn't recognize my best friend when she walked down the street.

I would have made a great radio writer.

I think it's easier for me to work out the endings of my book in process because children's and YA books have certain restrictions (at least as far as I'm concerned they do). I believe children's/YAs should offer at least a little bit of hope. Which isn't to say they can't be moderately desolate, but not 100%. And in the case of younger children's books, lots and lots of hope and happy endings.

When I'm working out the story, which I do by a series of questions (Who is the main character; who is her family; how old is she; who are her friends; where does she live; etc.), I also try to determine where she's going to be at the end of the story. If I know that, I can work through most of the middle (I never know everything; I'd really get bored if I did) to get there.

Things do change, but the basic where is the main character going to end up stays pretty much the same. For example in the dead and the gone, I knew the book would end with Alex out of New York City. Originally I thought there'd be an extended section of his traveling (I had thought I'd get him somewhere near where Miranda and her family were, which is one reason why there are references to Alex and his sisters being Fresh Air Family kids; I'd thought maybe I'd get them there).

But then, maybe before I began writing, or maybe while I was writing it, I rediscovered that there had been two snowstorms in Life As We Knew It. I remembered the blizzard, which I knew I could use in d&g, but I forgot about the second storm that causes the stove to backfire in LAWKI. And I just couldn't deal with a second storm in d&g. So I cut the book short. It still ended with Alex escaping from the city, but at an earlier time (before New Year's rather than in March, the result of which was I had to do a lot of tapdancing to figure out how Alex and Miranda meet in This World We Live In).

The important thing wasn't when was Alex getting out. It was Alex gets out. And since I knew that was where the book was going to end, I adapted the middle to make it happen. Somewhere there's a blog entry where I have the ongoing outlining process for d&g. I haven't read it in ages, but I think I've reconstructed the events accurately.

Or take This World We Live In (although I'd rather you paid for it). I knew the ending had to be Something Big. I'd killed off most of humanity, so there was a real risk of an anticlimactic ending, and I needed to avoid that. I went through a number of possible endings, but the basic idea of Something Big stayed with me, and it was just a case of figuring out which version would put Miranda in the center of the action.

So for me, what works is to know the ending before the middle is firmly in place, and then I can manuever around the middle to get to the ending I've predetermined.

Once again, there's no right or wrong. This is the method that works for me.

Speaking of work, I really ought to. If what I've written here doesn't make sense or if there are any other questions, comment away, and I'll try to do a better job of explaining.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Putting The Focus On Focus

As you know, because I've been shrieking about it for two days now, things here have been a bit chaotic. My toilet overflowed, my carpet got soaked, a giant noise making drier got placed in the bathroom doorway, and my carpet danced in the breeze, leaving me ever so slightly seasick.

Then, presumably because of bunny rabbit overload, my camera died. I immediately ran out and bought a new one, since Scooter can't go unphotographed for more than twenty minutes at a stretch.

The drier kept running non-stop for 36 long wretched hours. It was like living on a LaGuardia runway. Finally, I turned it off this morning, and just now they came and took it away.

In the midst of all this, I bumped into a problem with Blood Wounds. In spite of my heroic commitment to dawdling, I'd gotten a lot written over the past week. The scenes I'd figured out were now on paper (or in the computer somewhere). I knew how the book was going to end; it was just a question of having the time to get the characters where they needed to be.

But then I realized I didn't know how to get them there. I'd used up the scenes I'd already planned, and didn't have anything to happen next. I was missing the transitional stuff.

I've been doing an excellent job of not telling you what Blood Wounds is about, and I intend to continue with that policy. But it gives away essentially nothing to say it's a family novel, as opposed to a school or friend or a boyfriend novel. Most of my books are family novels, and to keep the focus on family, I usually set my books in the summertime, or have the moon move closer to earth. Clever writer tricks I learned at Clever Writer School (I majored in Tricks).

But Blood Wounds takes place in November. I forget why, but I'm sure I had a good reason at the time. And the funny thing about November is people who go to school go to school then. I managed, thanks to one crisis after another, to keep my heroine out of school for the first 200 pages, but now the crises had passed and there was no reason why she shouldn't return to French class. And see her friends. None of whom I had even bothered to name, since they had nothing to do with the story.

I had intended to do a full day's worth of dawdling and writing yesterday, but both were pretty much impossible with the great noise machine roaring throughout my four room apartment. Usually when I'm stuck with a plot point, I lie down on my bed and ponder. But I didn't want to do that, since I didn't know when the carpet folk would return to check out moisture. Besides, it's not all that relaxing to lie down on a LaGuardia runway. I knew I wouldn't be working today, and I was concerned that the book would just die on me. One reason why I work in such intense concentrated doses is because I'm always afraid if I stop for any extended period of time (like more than a day), I'll never go back to it.

So there I was, in a noisy state of panic. And then, while playing one of the really dumb games the internet offers as prime dawdling material, I began to focus.

I'd been trying to work out a school scene because my heroine would be in school and I didn't know what else to write about. But the story wasn't about school. I needed to remind myself just what the story was about (family) and think about the characters (members of her family) and come up with a scene that would let my heroine get where she needed to get to, emotionally and physically.

And once I realized what the focus was, I was able to focus. I worked out a scene between my heroine and her stepfather that would take place Tuesday evening. And after that was figured out, I came up with a tiny but telling school scene to be written next. My heroine sings in the school choir. Singing is an integral part of the novel. She goes back to school on Monday, to which I'll devote a paragraph or two, without mentioning friends by name. She goes to choir rehearsal after school, and is relieved to find that even though she's missed over a week of school, she will still have the solo she mentioned way back in the very beginning of the book.

Then she'll have the scene with her stepfather, and we'll pretty much be on the way to the ending of the book. Which I actually have now changed, to include the choir recital.

This is my favorite part of the writing process, figuring out just what the story is and how to tell it. The putting it down on paper/computer can be very involving, and there's a real pleasure in coming up with a great line or a good characterization (in Blood Wounds there's even some description). But the problem solving is what I love the most. It's why I do so much pre-writing and mental outlining. Because there's always a solution, if I just think hard enough (and play enough dumb games).

So if you're asking yourself, why I'm not writing now, well I have my dawdling excuses in place. First of all, I ran some errands today with my mother. Secondly, the carpet may be back to normal, but I have photographic evidence that there are still things to be put away (those are all my books, which I keep in mostly chronological order in the bookcase, so it's never fun when I have to reassemble them).

And best of all, Scooter's taken over the desk chair.

Not even a problem solving trickster can write a whole book standing up!

ETA to show an empty bookcase and a full chair.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Video Is Rated R (For Rabbits In Action)

Part One: Figure Skating Bunny Rabbits In The Throes Of Passion

Part Two: True Love Triumphs

Soon You'll Be Clamoring For Me Never To Write Again

A few days ago, I blogged that writing fiction gives one control. Alas, I was unaware of just how much control fiction has over real life.

Over the past couple of weeks the following events have happened.

There was a series of snowstorms, including a blizzard.

Electricity was gone for the five hours before the women's freeskate at the Olympics.

Cable TV went out for the exact six hours that an Olympic figure skating retrospective was scheduled for.

A torrential rain and wind storm knocked out a window in my dining area.

My toilet flooded, causing damage to the apartment downstairs, currently occupied by my fabulous new downstairs neighbors who I adore because I hardly ever hear them.

The flooded toilet happened last night. It took me entirely too long to figure out how to stop the flooding, and it took even more entirely too long before someone came to help with the situation (my frantic phone call to the landlord was either ignored or mishandled or something). I went through two rolls of paper towels (the kind no trees die for) to sop up most of the water on the bathroom floor (a situation Scooter found particularly entertaining; he's one of those cats who both loves water and loves being exactly where I don't want him to be, and if he gets typhus, it's not my fault).

After the stopped up toilet got unstopped (which I, in spite of several hours of effort, had been unable to achieve), it was decided the carpets, which were sopping wet, needed to be cleaned and dried out. So at 8:30 last night, two men came over to do that job. They brought with them this neat machine that beeped wherever things were wet, which was pretty much everywhere. They made me take all the books I'd written and put them on a dry part of the floor (they wanted me to move my file cabinet also, and I flat out refused). They then shampooed the carpet and then set up a giant carpet drier, which had to run all night long (it's still running, since they haven't come back for it yet).

When all this began, Scooter hid under the bed, but after the men had been gone for a while, Scooter emerged. The carpet drier scared him too much and he ran back into my bedroom. I picked him up and carried him out. In a short while Scooter adjusted to the noise and the smell, and at one point he laid down on the carpet like it was one of those magic finger beds truly classy motels have.

I, on the other hand, got seasick from watching the amber waves of grain.

The worst thing about this particular misadventure is that I was so drained from the experience the only thing I had energy to watch last night (other than the carpet) was American Idol. I've been doing so well biding by my resolution not to watch, but what's a woman to do? In my defense, I watched a fair amount of it (three or four singers) with the sound off, because that's when the carpet was being cleaned, but I gather they were in the mediocre middle anyway. So I probably saw all of the front runners making their way through Rolling Stones songs.

I won't watch tonight. I swear I won't.

Oh, back to why I'm never writing another book again. All those disasters I mentioned- blizzards, loss of cable, loss of electricity, they all happened in Life As We Knew It and the dead and the gone. And while no toilets overflowed in This World We Live In, there is (without giving away hardly any plot at all), a flooding scene and a torrential rain/windstorm scene.

Now what if I were to write a fourth book? You think things would suddenly get better? Sun shining, happy folk, daisies and buttercups? I think not. I think there'd be more pain and suffering and disaster and millions watching Idol. Oh the humanity.

If I had to track down that one moment when things began to shift, I'd attribute it to my character Miranda coming to life in Germany and having her own Facebook page and friends. Before then, I was in control of my fiction. Now my fiction is in control of the planet.

So now, not only am I permanently and solemnly renouncing all intentions of writing a fourth book (just as permanently and solemnly as I renounced ever watching American Idol again), I'm seriously considering rewriting the 205 pages I've written of Blood Wounds, which, without giving away any plot whatsoever, has blood and wounds in it. A book about daisies and buttercups sounds a lot safer right now.

I owe it to the world to spare it the blood bath my writing might engender. I'll sacrifice my chance at the Nobel Prize For Literature.

I will happily accept the Nobel Peace Prize, however. As soon as the carpet finishes drying!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's A Good Thing Dawdling Is An Essential Part Of The Writing Process

Because otherwise I might not have checked my emails and found the one from my editor, quoting a very favorable review of This World We Live In in School Library Journal.

The majority of the review is a summation of the plot, so I'll spare you all that. But there isn't a single "but" in the entire review (always a relief).

My editor highlighted the last part of the review:

It is a testament to the author's skills that This World We Live In can be read as a stand-alone novel. In fact, new readers might not even realize that the earlier titles exist. Fans of Miranda and Alex, however, will keep this installment flying off the shelves, and the ambiguous ending will make them clamor for a fourth book.

All right. All you fans of Miranda and Alex can go clamor away. I, on the other hand, had best go back to writing Blood Wounds. Or at least doing some essential dawdling!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Based On A Black And White Version Of A Very Pink Cover

Google (which loves me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) just sent me a link to something Scholastic Book Fair has put out (and seems eager to have distributed everywhere), a discussion guide to Life As We Knew It, which is one of its Book Fair books.

For those of you familiar with LAWKI, but new to the entire Great Life As We Knew It Cover Saga, here's a link to an explanatory blog entry from quite a while ago. I found it by way of that cute little search the blog feature way down on the right side of the blog. To be honest, I'd forgotten about it, and was reading through the complete list of blog entries, but then I remembered, and typed in Cover Story, and poof, there it was.

Scooter and I are both having lots of trouble adapting to Daylight Savings Time, although he probably would have remembered about that search function faster than I did.

Anyway, I'm always pleased to have more discussion questions and program possibilities for LAWKI or any other of my books. I haven't read this new set all that thoroughly. However I must express my doubts about the students having Y2K memories, since they would have been at best pre-schoolers at the time. Unless these activities are intended for PhD candidates or residents at assisted living complexes.

But I suppose these activity guides exist as starting off points for teachers, and since nothing makes me happier than the thought of LAWKI in school systems (really, now that Shen and Zhao have won the Olympics, nothing does make me happier than the thought of LAWKI in school systems), I'm simply going to rejoice that this Monday morning has begun with a whole new, and I trust highly appealing, reason for that to happen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Could We Please Hold Off On Daylight Savings?

I really don't have the time for it just now. The very thought of losing that hour makes me feel even more frantic and overwhelmed.

My recollection of how I used to write books is I'd sit down and write and a few weeks later (as few as possible; I've never been that in love with working), I'd get up and the book would be finished. I used to have a wonderful writing schedule of Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday because my local movie theater had afternoon showings on Wednesdays (don't ask me why I didn't work in the mornings; this was decades ago and I've forgotten my excuse). Then, for many years, I did my volunteer work on Wednesdays, so I stuck with the same two days on, one day off, two days on schedule. And the books got written.

Yes, it was a good life, and yes I did appreciate it, and I never claimed to work very hard. I found plenty of other things to whine about, but overwork was rarely in the mix.

I have gotten some writing done in the past couple of days. But I start later in the day than I think I'm going to, and that's what's throwing me off. If I could simply get into a rhythm, I'd feel better about things and more in control. The whole point of writing fiction is having control. Unlike the real world, nothing happens in one of my books unless I want it to happen.

I have a good sense of where Blood Wounds is going, but I don't have any sense of how long it's going to take to get there. I don't just mean how long is it going to take me to finish the first draft (I have no sense of that at all). I mean, how many pages will it take for me to get from Point A to Point B. And that's unusual for me.

Yesterday I began work on a scene that is intended mostly as a setup. My heroine goes to a house where she doesn't want to go to look for things she has no interest in. While there, she meets a character who'll be important in the rest of the book. And to some extent the going and the searching will be reflected in more important stuff later on in the story.

So the scene, up until meeting the other person, should take two, maybe three pages. But I started writing it and it's going on and on and on. There's description. There're flashbacks. There's emotional response. There's ten pages and she still hasn't met the important character.

I'm not saying this isn't good. All I'm saying is it's time consuming.

On the other hand, my mother isn't taking much of my time these days. Mostly I've been buying her marshmallows. My mother loves marshmallows, and it's very hard to find kosher ones around here, except before Passover. So I've bought her a dozen bags, and now when she asks for a bag of marshmallows in July or October, I'll still have some to bring her.

My mother thinks this is wonderful, but did express concern that Scooter might find them. My mother is a very practical person, especially when it comes to sweets. I assured her they were well protected from Scooter, shoved into a cabinet he has no interest in. Although my guess is by the time she gets the last of the bags (which should be right before I replace them next Passover), that cabinet is going to be so sweet smelling, I'll need insulin just to open the door.

Meanwhile, when I haven't been working or buying marshmallows, I've been taking important tests on the internet. I took this one which lets you know if you have more of a male brain or a female brain. I always thought I had more of a male brain, but it turns out I'm a hermaphrodite.

Part of the test is to fold your hands and see which thumb is on top. Not only was my left thumb on top, I was stunned to learn you could have your right thumb on top. Apparently this means I'm right brain dominant. Or maybe it means I have no brain at all.

I'd try to find one on eBay, but I really should be working!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's Off To Work I Go (Tomorrow)

There was a time (a week or two ago) that I thought I'd get back to writing Blood Wounds as soon as the Olympics ended. Of course there are some people who maintained their careers in spite of the Olympics, but they're not me.

Then the Olympics ended, and I decided I needed some post Olympic time to get my life in order before resuming writing.

In my defense, because frankly if I don't defend myself no one will, although I'm sure Clarence Darrow would have, were he still around, because he defended whole bunches of people who did a lot worse than not getting back to work, when I'm writing a book (I actually had to pause there and figure out where I was going with this sentence, I got so involved with Clarence Darrow and what a great name for a cat Darrow would be), I don't get much else done.

For example, today I was at the library and I saw a brand new two week only biography of Louis XIV's second wife, a very interesting woman, and I didn't take it out. I said to myself, no, no, I'll be working and won't have time to read it and it'll still be in the library whenever I get through with the first draft and I can take it out then.

They're used to me talking to myself at the library, so hardly anybody blinked an eye.

All last week, I thought I'd get back to work today, even though I knew I had a meeting of my good deeds organization at 2 this afternoon (at the library). I figured I'd work in the morning and meet about good deeds in the afternoon.

But then on Friday, I thought, well I'll finish gathering my financial stuff to send to my accountant Mr. Imagination this weekend and then on Monday I'll go to the post office and while I'm at that end of town I'll go to Hannafords.

To my horror and amazement I remembered I was supposed to be working on Monday. No time for the post office. No time for Hannafords.

I weighed my options. Work. Hannafords. I decided the most important thing was getting my financial stuff sent off, because April 15 will be here before we know it. And since I wasn't going to get any work done this afternoon, I might as well not bother working today at all.

Now this is a step in the right direction, given that I didn't work last week because I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Tuesday. This time, at least, I didn't say, well if I can't work on Monday, what with the post office and Hannafords and my good deeds meeting, then why work at all this week.

Well, I haven't said it yet, at least. You might want to ask me again on Tuesday.

Actually I did do some work. I reread the hundred or so pages I've already written in Blood Wounds. I read it in between Hannafords and the library. So tomorrow when I get back to work, I'll have what I've already written fresh in my mind.

Saturday my brother and I had lunch with our mother. I had decided I needed some more manila folders, one for Blood Wounds and one for the various foreign rights contracts I've been getting for Life As We Knew It, the dead and the gone, and This World We Live In. I ransacked my mother's file cabinet for a couple she could spare.

It turned out she had a folder devoted to my brother. Not that she loves him best, mind you. I found this wonderful photograph as I was tossing stuff out of the folder and taking it for my own.

Somewhere in that crowd is Eleanor Roosevelt. I guess the photographer didn't think she was worthy of including. On the other hand, that exceptionally adorable little girl in the background is me.

See that sweet Innocent expression on my face? Even then I was thinking, hmm, I wonder if I can get out of working this week!

Friday, March 5, 2010

April First Is Early This Year

Amazon says This World We Live In is in stock.

Or at least sort of in stock.

And they're looking for reviews.

Not that I'm hinting!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

CSI Scooter

I saw many beautiful flowers at the Philadephia Flower Show.

Scooter was a lunatic when I got home last night, but I assumed he'd be calm by the morning.
Alas, this wasn't the case.
Scooter helped track the evidence.
I found eyewitnesses had been intimidated into keeping silent.
Then, like so many master criminals, Scooter returned to the scene of the crime. He was caught red pawed.
Although wild eyed, Scooter made no attempt to resist arrest.

Another case solved. Another mess left to me to clean up!

Monday, March 1, 2010

All Distractions Should Be So Good

I was going to write a blog entry about being distracted, and then (because irony is my middle name) I got distracted.

The plan was to write about how I need to start concentrating on Blood Wounds if I actually intend to get it written. Originally I'd planned on getting back to work today (ha!) but I realized I have a date for tomorrow to go with my friend Pam to the Philadelphia Flower Show, so there was no point starting on Monday and then taking Tuesday off.

In fact, I decided if I couldn't work on Tuesday, there wasn't much point in working this week at all, especially since I have bunches of other things (like preparing my tax information for my accountant, Mr. Imagination) that need to get done.

Then there's the perpetually distracting Scooter. Today he knocked over his water bowl, and I said to him, "You made the mess. You clean it up."

He didn't even hand me the paper towels.

Scooter's insistence on waking me up each morning with a rousing game of Purr On The Neck is proving helpful. Ever the optimist, he hops off the bed in search of fresh food, while I stay there for a few minutes longer and think about the book. A few more days of that, and I should be ready to return to writing.

A good thing too. I moved my calendar from February to March this morning and found the first of my mother's springtime doctor appointments is a mere three weeks away. And I've yet to figure out how I'm going to write and watch the World Figure Skating Championship online, given that it's being held in Torino, Italy, which means it'll be on all day every day for a few days, right when I'll be in the middle of my heroine's greatest pain and suffering.

I'd been hoping the championship would be in Japan or Korea. Then I could get out of bed in the morning and find out what the results were without having to spend actual time watching.

Oh well. The book will get written. They always do.

Meantime, the distraction du jour came in the form of an email from my editor. This World We Live In got a starred review from Publishers Weekly. I'd quote the review, except Blogspot has gotten very cranky about cutting and pasting of late. So if you want to see it, go to the link and scroll down aways, and there it is, with its lovely star.

If you prefer your reviews shorter and more poetic, emilyreads has written a lovely haiku.

All right. The time has come to focus on supper and a Skype rehearsal.

I have no desire to be distracted from either!