05 September 2009

100% delivery

Well, I made it - just. 100% delivery with 15 minutes to spare. That milestone was 4 am on Friday morning (2 pm on Thursday for my editor). I worked 21 hours straight that last day (7 am Thursday to 4 am Friday) - and spent all of yesterday in bed recovering! I think I've worked around 250 hours in the past fortnight.

The killer was that I thought I'd finished all the puzzles on Wednesday night, only to wake to an extremely apologetic email from my editor saying the decision had been made to add another 50 puzzles, all of which had to be supplied that day, along with all the Hints, Answers, and edited text chapters. They were all anagrams and cryptic clues, thankfully (quicker to write), but still - I only barely made the deadline.

There is still a week of editing and proofreading ahead, also on a compressed time line, but I've got the whole weekend off (bliss)!

The book should be out in November - a super fast turnaround for all concerned! A book like this would normally take 7-9 months from start to book on the shelves, not 2.

The title? Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (ISBN: 978-0-470-59100-0). With a theme of conspiracies, the Freemasons, and secret societies. This book is very cool – my coauthor Mark wrote three conspiracy stories, and I encrypted the stories into a whole slew of different types of ciphers (letter substitutions, real Masonic ciphers, Caesar shifts, Rail Fence ciphers etc). So to read the stories you've got to crack the ciphers! There are also heaps of quotations as cryptograms.

Wiley have also asked for another 50 puzzles, which will be used in marketing the book and on the Wiley web site, so that's pretty excellent too - no mad deadline for those, we've got til the end of the month (I think my brain would have exploded otherwise).

The reason for the INSANE schedule? Wiley want to 'ride the wave' of interest in Freemasonry and cryptograms which is likely to be generated by the release of Dan Brown's next offering, The Lost Symbol, on 15 September. It's rumoured to be about the Masons...

You know, I've never read any of his books ... LOL.


  1. My brain just wants to implode when I merely read what you have/are/will be doing. Amazing!! Pats to Petal.

  2. I thought only college kids pulled all-nighters. Bravo!!

  3. Whoa, woman. Good for you! Sounds like a really cool book, too!

  4. So . . . 50 more puzzles in one day?

    Crivens, woman!

  5. Congratulations! That schedule (with the surprise 50 more in one day) is INSANE! (a bit like the DB books...)

    (it'll be too bad if the book is about, um, girl guides instead of masons. Actually, that'd be pretty interesting to see how he'd make the links!!)

    Hope you've had a lovely weekend!

  6. God you have worked so hard. Well done! It's a fascinating concept!

  7. Congratulations! What an unbelievable schedule! And what a cool book.

    About Dan Brown's books, well, you're not missing much.

  8. Can't believe you've survived such a punishing schedule - how one arth could you have written 50 extra puzzles etc after you thought you were all done? I would have cried .... and crawled into a corner ... and cried some more....

  9. I've not managed to get through even one of Mr. Brown's books. Your new book sounds cool. I love cryptograms and one of the few things I miss about the daily newspaper is the cryptogram and crossword puzzle.

    What a mountain of work you accomplished.

  10. I haven't either and I don't regret it a single bit. good work... now time for birthday planning.

  11. Well, I for one like Dan's books and yes, they all revolve around Codes and Cryptograms, so now it makes sense why they pushed you so hard. This book will be a winner. I have my audio book pre-ordered. Don't have the time to read but spend enough time in traffic here is the Washington DC metro area.


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