Writing, Skyping, Encouragement and More

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I’m back! I had an amazing editing/writing retreat last week. Claire Fayers, who is both a wonderful writer and a wonderful friend, invited me to stay in her house for the 3-day retreat. She and her husband generously supplied me with delicious food, sweet cats to pet, and fantastic conversation in-between editing sessions – and within less than 72 hours, I got through over 13,000 words of intense rewrites on my MG spies-and-fairies book (including 6,000 brand-new words in the new plot arc I’m working on), which…well, it’s basically a miracle by my usual standards of writing speed! I am VERY lucky in my friends. :)

But oh, did I miss my family! Thank goodness for Skype, which makes so many things easier – I got to skype with the kids every morning before they went to school and again before bed (if not more, depending on the day) – which made the retreat so much easier for all of us. Skype is my very favorite modern development! As someone who moved to a different country as an adult, it has made SUCH a difference to me to be able to skype with my family and friends back home, and it means my kids can build their own relationships with their American grandparents every week, having real conversations (and playing silly 3-year-old games, too!) with them despite the distance.

One other thing that makes things easier: if you’re facing something intimidating right now, or know that you’ll be having a hard week sometime soon, I highly recommend subscribing to Esmé Weijun Wang’s Encouragement Notes. They go out once a day for a week, and honestly, starting each day of the retreat by reading that day’s note helped a lot with my courage as I faced the challenging goals ahead of me.

Now I’m back…and unfortunately, after spending Friday night awake for most of the night nursing my poor 8-year-old through a nasty stomach bug, I succumbed to the bug myself the next day. Alas! So it turned out to be a weekend of sick days. Oh well! Pebbles purred on my chest, I watched silly happy movies (My Big Fat Greek Wedding and its sequel – perfect sick-day viewing!), and we all got through.

And! I need to remind you guys: there are three days left to win a print of Leesha Hannigan’s gorgeous cover art for my upcoming romantic fantasy novella for adults, Snowspelled. I love it so much!

The novella itself is available for pre-order now at Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords. Less than two months to go!

I just saw this first photo of it (in e-ARC form) out in the wild, sent in by one of my newsletter subscribers who’d gotten an early copy, and it made me VERY happy. :) (Actually it was then followed by a second reader photo that showed a lovely rabbit next to the e-ARC…so now I’m kind of fantasizing about building a whole photo gallery of cute pets with e-readers showing Snowspelled, as an “extras” page for my website! I can always dream… ;) )

In other words, if you have any photos of your own pets near any of my books, I am ALWAYS in the market, because it’s pretty much designed to make my heart melt. :)

Happy Monday!

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