Those of you who have been following my blog for a few years may remember my postings about a book I was writing. At the time the book was called Omar’s Snake or The Snake. I forget which came first. I’m terrible at titles. The title is usually the last thing I think of. I usually have to call on friends to help me. “What’s a good title for this book?” Their ideas are always better than mine.

As I wrote the story chapter by chapter, I blogged about what was going through my mind. I talked about the questions I had to answer; how I had to figure out whom the characters where and what motivated them. Writing a book is a long process. You spend far more hours thinking than you do writing. A number of fans wrote to say how interesting they found my “thinking aloud.”

Of course, all of this becomes just another exercise unless the story finds its way into print. That can be hard and it might take years. It did in this case. I believe three or four years have passed since the time I first sent out the manuscript. But now I have something to report. My editor at Holiday House, Mary Cash, and I have almost finished the revisions. Mary really pushed me into considering a number of issues in the story that I had either glossed over or never noticed. That’s the value of a great editor. A good editor forces you to become a better writer. Thanks, Mary!

The manuscript is on its way to the copy editor, who checks EVERYTHING. The book is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2012.

And, wouldn’t you know, the last thing we needed to get straight was the title! I gave up and asked my Facebook friends. They gave me some really good and some really funny suggestions. When in doubt, ask your friends. Especially writer and artist friends.

Mary and I finally settled on H-i-s-s-s-s-s! I think minimalist titles work better. I still think that the marvelous cover for Twilight was responsible for the success of the book. Mary wondered if H-i-s-s-s-s-s! might be too much like a Carl Hiaasen title. Perhaps. But then maybe people will think it’s a Carl Hiaasen book? I wouldn’t mind if a little of his success rubbed off on me. Besides, I love the wonderful tropical weirdness of his novels.

I can’t wait to see what the cover looks like. Once I see the cover, then I can finally believe that the book is real.

I promise to post the cover as soon as I can. Meanwhile, mark Fall, 2012 on your calendars. I’ll let you know when the book is available.

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