Friday, September 28, 2012

Title Crisis! Title Crisis!!

Okay. It isn't really a Crisis! And it certainly isn't a Crisis!! I guess it's more like a crisis. But I wanted to get your attention without screaming CRISIS!!!

As always I am extremely proud of myself for figuring out a new visual for the blog. Adorable pictures of Scooter can only go so far (don't tell Scooter that).

Where was I? Oh yeah, problems with the title for the fourth moon book.

Wednesday night, after 25 hours of fasting, I came up with a few really lovely titles for said book. But today I got an email from my editor rejecting all those lovely titles for being too lovely. She pointed out, in a firm but kindly manner, that none of the other moon book titles are especially lovely, so why should this one be.

She still likes "Shadow Of The Moon." That one won the poll (over to the right), and it certainly is a nice title. It's been a nice title whenever anyone has used it, which is why quite a number of people already have.

While I'm not opposed to moving away from the 5 single syllable word format I've used for the other three moon books (one should always be open to change, like the fabulous ways I've changed font size in this very entry), if I'm gonna move away from it, I'd like to at least move away from it in a more original manner.

So I'm asking (begging) for your help. I cleverly told my editor to give me the weekend to come up with some new title ideas. And I will think about them, I promise I will. 

But why don't you think about title ideas also? Or not even think about them, but send me some title ideas, either as comments, or as emails (see the email address to the right [that's twice I've suggested you move to the right, and trust me, that's not a suggestion I usually make]). 

Keep the following in mind:

It doesn't have to be 5 single syllable words.

It doesn't have to have Moon in the title.

It shouldn't be too lovely. The book is about Jon, and he's a boy, and not a particularly lovely one at that. 

Without giving away too much of the plot (no more than I've already given away), there are some fires scattered around the story, and Fire, Flame, and Blaze are all single syllable words (and I think a cover design with buildings on fire would be extremely fine, not that anyone consults me about these things, which they don't, in case you ever wondered, and even when they do, they don't listen to what I say, so I don't know why they bother pretending to consult, and I'm not even putting all this in teeny tiny print, which would be the discreet thing to do).

If your title suggestion ends up as the actual title for the actual fourth moon book, you'll win the personal satisfaction of knowing you came up with the actual title for the actual fourth moon book. You'll be able to go to bookstores with friends, relatives, acquaintances, enemies and total strangers, and point to the actual fourth moon book, and say, "See that actual book over on that actual shelf over there, where it's not really displayed very well, so I may have to rearrange the display just a tad, so people can see the book and actually buy it? Yes, that one, hidden on the lowest shelf, where only teeny tiny people can see it? I named it. Yes, I did, and New York Times Best Selling Author Susan Beth Pfeffer would tell you the exact same thing, except she thinks my name is Anonymous."

Hold on. I want to try something else.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

And just because I now know how to: Thank you!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

While We Wait To Hear From My Editor About What The Shade Of The Moon Will Be Called

Which could take a while, so here's a distraction.

While culling magazines the other day (it's been on my to do list for a while now), I located my previously missing but I wasn't really worried about it because I knew it was around here somewhere junior high school yearbook.

I'd wanted to find it because I've been thinking a lot about my 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Smitten, who I liked so much I considered naming my kitten Mrs. Smitten if my kitten was a girl kitten (I also considered naming the kitten Mrs. Minster, for my 3rd grade teacher, but as we all well know, I adopted a little boy kitten and named him Scooter).

 I didn't know what Mrs. Smitten's first name was, and let me tell you, you google "Mrs. Smitten" you're not going to find out. But my guess was her first name would show up in the yearbook, which was why I wanted to locate it, and by golly it did. Now I have to decide if it's good manners to write her a letter to say what fond memories I have of her. My guess is she has no memories, fond or otherwise, of me.

The yearbook's kind of on the scrawny side (something, sadly, that will never be said of me), but it did include a Last Will And Testament. I don't think it has all the kids in the 9th grade class, but it certainly has a lot of them.*

To keep you occupied while we await word about Who Knows What The Title Will Be, I offer you the challenge of finding:

The sportswriter and TV personality who was surprisingly friendly at our last reunion.

The Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker who seems to think Jeffrey MacDonald is innocent.

The songwriter who's written hit songs for Meat Loaf, Celine Dion, Bonnie Tyler and Air Supply among many others.

The science fiction writer/editor who I had a crush on from 9th-12th grades.

The New York Times Best Selling Author Who Didn't Name Her Cat Mrs. Smitten

And for bonus points, the actor best known for playing the Con Edison Man in Ghostbusters.

Since I know all the answers, I'll go check my emails, and see if the fourth moon book has a title!

*There's actually one more page, with 5 names on it, but I left it out to make things easier for you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

And The Name Of The Fourth Moon Book Is...


Well, it would be tbd if it were in the middle of a sentence and not the very beginning of this entry.

Thank you one and all for voting on the poll and for your comments as well. You gave me a great deal to think about, and I gave my editor the same, by reporting the results.

In the early middle of last night, after making my traditional early middle of the night trek to the bathroom, I stumbled my way to the kitchen where I scribbled a couple of sentences to add to the end of the book. Then this morning, while exercycling to Harry O Episode 3 Of The First Season DVD I thought about those scribbled lines and how if I added a little of this and a little of that, there might be a completely different title possibility.

I emailed my editor about that possibility, but haven't heard back.

So to emphasize the importance of this all, I emailed her the entire revised manuscript. Yes, the rewrites are complete. I finished them Thursday with the assistance of a box of donuts, and then I finished them again Friday morning, and then I finished them for the third (and I hope final) time a half hour ago, after which I sent them off to my editor, along with a friendly reminder that the title is an open question.

I'll celebrate the completion of the rewrites by going to the movies tomorrow to see The Master. Then on Wednesday I'll atone for those donuts.

When I learn what The Shade Of The Moon's tbd title is, I'll let you know!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not All Polls Are About Politics

Some are important!

I just got an email from my editor asking what I thought about changing the title of the fourth moon book to The Shadow Of The Moon.

Well, I don't know. My life consists of rewrites and avoiding rewrites. Who has time to think about titles?

I'm hoping you do. So I've put a 5 day poll over on the beloved right side of the blog. Gave it prime real estate too. I threw Shadow Of The Moon into the conversation because polls are free and why not.

So let me know what you favor. I'll pretend I didn't get the email from my editor until Monday. In the meantime, I'll see if there's a strong consensus amongst you for one title or the other or the other.

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Before I Jump Back Into An Ocean Of Rewrites

I want to wish each and everyone of you a happy and healthy new year.

Oddly enough, I wish the same for myself, but I'm throwing into the wish mix a completed set of rewrites.

I've made it to page 95, and I think I only have one more scene I have to rewrite pretty much in its entirety (which reminds me- I have a small change to make in an already rewritten scene). The remaining 200 or so pages (gack!) should mostly be following my editor's suggestions for small changes and making sure all the new stuff I've written pages 1-95 isn't contradicted by anything in pages 96-295. Or something like that.

Oh well. Work and many more games of FreeCell await.

May the year 5773 be full of peace, prosperity, and election results that won't render me suicidal!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The World Would Be So Much Better If September Had 35 Days

I mean, what's the hurry to get to October?

I ask this perfectly sensible question because I seem to have a September 30 deadline for completing the rewrites of The Shade Of The Moon.

Oh heck. I do have a September 30 deadline, and unlike practically everything else in my life, this one is all my fault.

First of all, one should never write a book in the springtime because then the publishing house has to read it in the summer, and nothing happens in the publishing industry in the summer. To be honest about it, very little happens in the publishing industry in any of the other seasons, but it's even worse in the summertime.

Back in the days when editors had to read actual manuscripts, I heard about one author whose manuscript got left on a beach by her editor (this did not happen to me, but it still puts chills down my spine, which is kind of handy on a hot summer's day).

The next foolish thing I did was insist on a Fall 2013 publication date for The Shade Of The Moon. I am a very impatient person, and in this particular case, I'm super duper impatient to be actually retired. I figured if the book was published in the Fall of 2013 (aka a year from now) then a year and a day from now I could be actually retired. But if I said, No let's wait, no hurry, Spring 2014 will be just fine, then I wouldn't be actually retired until Spring 2014, which is a good six months after Fall 2013, regardless of how many days there are in September.

My editor, with a smile on her face and malice in her heart*, said, Yes, that's fine, let's do it, and here is my long well thought out list of every single thing you have to change in the manuscript, the big things, the little things, oh why not change everything while you're at it. No hurry. October 1 will be just fine.

Naturally I agreed, since I was under the impression September had at least 33 days, or maybe as many as 37, given how early Columbus Day weekend is this year. That left me tons of time to watch every tennis match at the US Open and  go to New Paltz Crafts Fair and read Meat Loaf's memoirs and vacuum and have house guests and celebrate my mother's 101st birthday and mourn over the demise of my beloved New York Yankees (stop snickering, Red Sox** fans).

Well, the tons of time is now over, as is nearly half of September. To make things just a tad worse, I'm going away on a fabulous 2 day vacation (please don't tell the burglars). I'm going to see a Phillies game (I should be pretty easy to spot, since I'll be wearing a red shirt) and then stay at a nice hotel and then the following morning go to the Barnes Collection, which I've always wanted to see. I should be pretty easy to spot there as well, since I'll be wearing a black shirt.

But sadly, during this itsy bitsy vacation, I won't be working on rewrites.

As of the moment, I have done 29 pages, which is approximately 10%. This would panic me no end, except that I figure if I do 10% a day, I should be able to finish and still take Yom Kippur off for fasting and atoning and the suchlike. Doing rewrites is a form of atoning, but fasting makes work a little harder.

And the first 29 pages were the hardest, since my editor's suggestions (she found all the weak spots in the manuscript, and a few that I don't even think of as weak) mostly focus on the beginning of the book, making  that the spot that takes the most time to correct. And I've worked out just about all the changes in my mind, so it's more a question of getting them into the manuscript than anything else. I even wrote them down on paper, so I won't forget what I'm supposed to do.

Don't worry about spoilers, since my handwriting is impossible to read and I changed a few things anyway.

So that's what I'm up to, or almost up to, or hoping to be up to by the end of September.

I guess all I have to remember is every day of rewrites brings me one day closer to retirement!

*Total non sequitur (which Blogspot refuses to acknowledge is an actual word, forcing me to check the spelling 3 times on Google), but they found bones they think might be Richard III, and they're running DNA tests of them to find out. For some reason, I find this absolutely fascinating.

**Ha! Blogspot doesn't believe Sox is a word either!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Year Ago Today...

My mother turned 100 years old.

So today she turned 101.

When I visited her yesterday, she said she never intended to live so long. I told her I doubted anyone did, but I was certainly glad for every day that she's in my life.

I visited her again today (she lives 15 minutes away, so it's not that hard) and then I had lunch with a friend. When I came home, I found a note saying a florist had tried to deliver flowers. I called the florist and told him to deliver the flowers to my mother directly. Then I asked who had sent the flowers.

The florist checked. They were sent by the president of a organization where my mother gets a pension. I said, Wow.

I called my brother and told him the story. He said Wow. Then I pointed out he'll be getting a pension from the same organization, so they'll send him flowers when he turns 101. He said that gave him reason to live.

Since you probably want to see the difference between 100 and 101, here's a picture I took yesterday. For some reason, she didn't feel like getting out of bed.
When I got there today, she was in exercise class, She also had a haircut yesterday afternoon, but she had an emergency shampoo this morning.

Oh yeah. I have rewrites to do on The Shade Of The Moon, but they can wait. Today is for celebrating my mother's long and wonderful life!