Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Surgeon Must Love Me

Because he gave me new bandages and told me to come back in a month.

And Dr. Thyroid must love me because he made an appointment to see me tomorrow and talk about my calcium levels.

And my friends (including you) must love me because you listen to all this incredibly boring medical stuff.

And Scooter must love me because every morning he finds just the right spot on my throat and steps on top of it.

And my Chinese publisher must love me because I got my very first royalty check from them for Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone.

And my publisher must love me, because they just invited me to autograph The Shade Of The Moon ARCs at ALA this June.

It's wonderful to be loved!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thank You For Your Well-Wishes

I see the surgeon on Wednesday, presumably so he can admire his handiwork, but I called his office today to get the results of the biopsy they did while removing my late lamented thyroid.

The result was benign. My kind of result.

I'm definitely on the merry road to recovery. I didn't even feel the need for a nap today and it hardly hurts when I swallow. In fact, the only way you'd know I had surgery is my neck bears a strong resemblance to that of the Bride Of Frankenstein's. I'm hoping that's not a permanent condition.

I got an email this evening from my editor asking me to reread The Shade Of The Moon (the equivalent of galley proofs, I guess, only without actual galleys) by March 11. This is something of an improvement over their asking me questions about copy for the front flap on the day of my surgery.

My thyroid may be gone, but my ability to whine and kvetch remains as strong as ever!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday was my birthday, and I had a wonderful time.

I went to brunch with some friends at Nina, and then we went to see the American String Quartet perform. Good friends, good food, good music, and except for the howling wind, good weather. The best birthday I could hope for.

Today I'm keeping busy doing some unexpected writing. I got an email from my editor on Saturday saying they'd just discovered The Shade Of The Moon was going to have five empty pages at the back, and could I do something to fill those pages up?

One would have thought (and one speaks for all humanity) a publisher could have foreseen this particular issue before those five empty pages began looming. But what does one know?

Now, as it happens, I'm feeling kind of fond of my publisher these days because they decided the next time they reissue the moon books in paperback, they're going to put my discussion topics for each one in each one. I think this is an extremely high class thing to do, so smooches for my publisher, even if they didn't realize there'd be five empty pages at the end of The Shade Of The Moon.

So this morning, before I scurried over to my mother's to pick up her not one but two loads of laundry (the first of which is making merry in my merry old washer even as we speak, well, we're not speaking, but if we were load the first is in the washing machine), I came up with five discussion topics for The Shade Of The Moon, to occupy one of those five empty pages. This was actually trickier than I'd anticipated, since I didn't want anyone scurrying to the back of The Shade Of The Moon and finding out various plot twists by reading discussion topics. But I think I came up with some good book-specific but not spoileresque things to discuss.

My editor suggested I write an author's note to take up some of those empty pages, and that seems like a fine idea to me, since I'm the author and I know how to note. So after I finish this entry, I'm going to put my recycling in my car (I couldn't recycle today because it's a national holiday in this nation at least and this is the nation where I do my recycling) and throw out my garbage, and then I'll write a fabulous four page author's note all about The Four Little Moon Books And How They Grew.

The reason I'm trying to get all this stuff done today is because tomorrow morning (after, I hope, I do my recycling and get my mother's clean clothes to her) I'm zipping over to the hospital to get my thyroid yanked.
I'm told the technical name for this surgery isn't getting your thyroid yanked, but as a Yankee fan, I find that name kind of comforting.

I'd never given my thyroid a lot of thought, but apparently, during the long years of neglect, the thing's been growing nodes. Big nodes, little nodes, all kinds of nodes. They never bothered me, let me tell you, but the entire medical community thinks I'll be better off thyroid (and therefore thyroid node) free.

The most exciting part about this is I get to stay in the hospital for 23 hours (after which, presumably the insurance company comes to throw me out). I've never stayed in a hospital overnight before. My mother was in this hospital one night, and I really really liked the painting they had on her wall, so I'm hoping every room has the exact same painting and I can steal it. It was a scene of a park on a rainy autumn day, and I've thought about it wistfully for quite a while now.

After the 23 hours are finished, I go back home (my saintly friend Marci is taking me there and picking me up) and take thyroid pills for the rest of my life. This is not what you call life changing surgery, but it is making me get my recycling done and the suchlike, because I won't be able to lift anything heavy for a while, and I read a lot of newspapers.

Since I don't know how long it's going to take me to recuperate, I don't know when I'll feel like blogging or answering emails or behaving like a normal social human being. So if I don't answer your Happy Birthday Get Well Soon comments or emails, please know I appreciate them and will be glad to let you know how things are going when I feel up to it.

And now, I must move my mother's first load of laundry out of the drier and plop the second load in and prepare the newspapers for recycling and the garbage for throwing and write a four page author's note, while I still have a thyroid to call my own!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two More Of My Titles Are Now Available As E-books

Last spring I put up three of my older titles (The Year Without Michael, Evvie At Sixteen and The Ring Of Truth)  onto Kindle and Nook. While it doesn't cost anything to do the listings, I paid the excellent  E-Quality Press to do the actual labor.

Then I sat around, wrote The Shade Of The Moon, played vast numbers of hands of Freecell and waited to earn out my investment.

Well, I finally did. Or more accurately, The Year Without Michael did. It's not surprising it's proven to be by far the most popular of the three titles, since it was by far the most popular of the three titles when they were first published.

So thanks to Michael, and with the help of E-Quality Press, I've put two more books up, Thea At Sixteen and Claire At Sixteen.

The publishing world sure is an interesting place. I wrote Life As We Knew It and it sold quite nicely, but even so I had to beg and plead to get my publisher to accept The Dead And The Gone. The Dead And The Gone sold quite nicely, but even so I had to beg and plead to get my publisher to accept This World We Live In. This World We Live In sold quite nicely, but even so I had to beg and plead to get my publisher to accept The Shade Of The Moon.

But back in the day, I had lunch with my then editor and I said, "I'd like to write a five book series about four sisters when each one is 16 and then a fifth book about their mother when she was 16," and my editor said, "Great. I'll have the contracts for you by dessert."

Possibly it wasn't that speedy, but there wasn't any begging and pleading either. I got to write the five books as a cohesive unit, a family saga novel divided into five parts. And I loved it. It was one of my favorite writing experiences. I loved the characters. I loved their interactions. I loved getting each of the books to start with Claire saying, "What a dump." I loved a setup in Evvie At Sixteen paying off three books later. I loved figuring out after the books were published that Character A wasn't in love with Character B all that time, but with Character C instead.

I don't have a lot of fantasies that the e-book sales for Thea At Sixteen and Claire At Sixteen are going to pay for my rapidly approaching retirement. My hope is that they'll sell a few copies and The Year Without Michael will continue to sell a few more copies, and then if all that adds up to enough money to earn back my investment, I'll put up Sybil At Sixteen and Meg At Sixteen.

At this point, these e-books are pretty much vanity press options for me. But I really love The Sebastian Sisters and it makes me happy to add their links to my blog.

Thea At Sixteen can be purchased for your Kindle and your Nook.

Claire At Sixteen can be purchased for your Kindle and your Nook.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Die Welt Wie Wir Sie Kannten Is Now Available In Paperback

According to German Amazon, it has been since October.  I had to do a little bit of prodding to get my copies, and then it took a few weeks post prodding for them to get here, and then I admit to having been distracted by various other things before staging the Welcome To Your New Home Oh Little Die Welt Wie Wir Sie Kannten Party this afternoon.

But stage it I did.

First I cleared off the table. That was enough to get Scooter interested.

He checked things out impatiently, but the party hadn't begun.*

Then I introduced little Die Welt to its Buxtehude Bulle Award winning Die Welt big brother.

A well attended German Moonbook family reunion was next.

Little Die Welt was eager to meet the rest of the international Life As We Knew It clan.

Scooter, happy the festivities had begun, checked things out.

But rather than seeing the guests off (and helping the hostess carry them back to the den), Scooter withdrew for a quiet nap.

Not a bad idea!

*Actually, the camera went off by itself and the picture is out of focus, but Scooter is so cute I decided to post it anyway.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Power Of Positive Kvetching

I got an email the other day from my editor with the copy they're going to use on the back of the advance reading copies of The Shade Of The Moon.

It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?
Don’t miss the first three books in this riveting series!
[Show small jacket shots of the first three books]
“Absorbing from first page to last.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“You will read it in one sitting, fighting back tears as you bite your nails.”—
“Everything Pfeffer writes about seems wrenchingly plausible.”—Booklist (starred review)
Since this is the copy that I wrote for the book (except for that "riveting" part, which I think is quite dandy), I think it is very fine copy indeed.

I'm also pleased to say I'll be signing some of those ARCs at the International Reading Association's Annual Convention  Sunday April 21, in San Antonio, TX, at the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt booth. I will be on a panel discussion of dystopian lit that day as well.

'll try very hard to be riveting at both!