Since many of my readers have questions about where the book is, why they don’t have it yet, when it comes out in X country, where I’m going, why I’m not going to their home town, how long it is, etc. I’ll be posting twice a month to tell you EXACTLY where the manuscript is RIGHT NOW and what plans have fallen into place.

Right now, THE BOOK OF LIFE has been edited by my editor, Carole–who reads the book for plot, character, and all the mysterious and amazing elements that make a book sparkle–and is with my wonderful copy editor. Maureen is the person who makes the book consistent with the last one in terms of spelling and style, makes sure that I haven’t changed anybody’s eye or hair color, goes on fact finding missions (like calling La Guardia to make sure private planes from Europe can land there…), and in general gets the book ready for the foreign editors all around the world who need a clean text to translate. In other words: there aren’t ANY publication details yet for countries that require the book to be translated.

Maureen also catches repetitions and when I use a distinctive word three times in a single page. This is important because we can’t ask Jennifer Ikeda (the same narrator for the previous audiobooks) to record it (and that’s more than 20 hours of reading aloud, sports fans) until the text is clean. Ms. Ikeda has to record the book before it can be released because the audiobook releases the same day as the hardcover and paperback in English-language markets, i.e. July 15, 2014.

Maureen’s work is really important, time-consuming, and precise . Yes, Maureen also proofreads and cleans up my grammar but she does *so much more* than that. She’ll have the manuscript for weeks before I see it again to go over those edits.

In offices at Viking, Penguin Group USA, people are beginning to plan out how to take my typed book and turn it into the book you will actually read. My gifted book designer, Francesca, will read the book and come up with all the special elements US readers admire between the covers, like the stamped gold and silver elements on the inside cloth cover, the graphic endpapers, the fancy scripts in SHADOW, etc.

In still other offices, the publicity and marketing teams are planning out my schedule for the next seven months: where I’m going, what I’m doing, who I will be talking to from the press, and how I’m going to do it all logistically. Once their work is done, I’ll announce the plans on my Facebook page and here, on my website.

And, across the Atlantic, my publisher in England just released the cover that will appear in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Commonwealth/Former Commonwealth countries. They also redesigned new paperback covers to harmonize with the cover for THE BOOK OF LIFE. Soon they will have the text, which doesn’t need translating but does need to have the spelling Anglicized for readers. In the Headline/Hachette office, a team is working out plans for a UK visit and figuring out how to coordinate it all with the US plans.

All this happened since January 3. And there are about a million other things that need to happen here and all around the world before you get your books. I’ll be back at the end of the month to fill you in on where things stand.