We’re Back! (With a Helping of Good Stress)


So…we’re back! We flew back to the UK last week, actually, but as I’ve learned since my first trip with the kids to America last year, jet lag as a childless adult is NOTHING to the experience of jetlag with two little kids who are each experiencing their own jetlag, too! Ahhh, no fun whatsoever…but as of last night, I think both kids are finally back on their UK sleep-schedule, just in time for school to start. Whew! So, now, I can (I hope) finally catch up on my sleep, too. (Knock on wood!)

It’s grey and rainy here in Wales – I went through climate shock last week as I adjusted from wearing a skirt, T-shirt and sandals every day to wrapping up in thick cardigans and jeans. But the mountains are gorgeous, green and forested, rising all around our house. I can almost imagine dragons sleeping under them! And our own Maya-dog is sleeping in her bed downstairs as I type this now. All in all, it feels really good to be home…especially since I know I’ll be back in America next summer. It’s the right balance for our family right now.

And speaking of balancing acts…this year it looks like I’ll be trying something I haven’t tried for a long time, which is writing two books at once (one adult book and one MG). Please cross your fingers for me! Right now I’ve only written the openings of each of them, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten, because one of them needs a ton more research before I can really settle into it, and the other one needs a lot more planning time and creative play to work out exactly the right voice and story for the heroine…but tentatively – very tentatively! – it looks like I’m going to be trying to write them both over the next year or so. We’ll see! I’m nervous but excited about them both, so I don’t want to drop either one of them.

It’s been a funny last month in terms of writing. I had great plans to do lots and lots of writing over the summer, and I really did spend the first two weeks writing and revising with all my might to hit a freelance deadline…but then, over the last four weeks of our summer holiday, I only ended up writing down four different story openings (one short story, one Kat novella, and two novels, all of them pieces I’d like to pursue at some point) without really settling into any of them. Part of it, honestly, comes down to the fact that I’d been driving myself SO hard for so many months beforehand, filling up every free moment with my writing goals. As both Patrick and another one of my smart writer-friends pointed out, creative breaks are actually NECESSARY sometimes, not just optional, to refill the well! So there is that. The truth is, I really did need a break, and it was probably good for me as a writer to take one. (…At least inasmuch as 4 weeks full of childcare can be called “a break.” But – you know what I mean!)

And then there’s also the fact that, behind the scenes, a lot of publishing decisions that are going to significantly affect my career are being made right now in London and New York. So far, every single bit of news I’ve gotten has been amazing, and I’m really excited about all of it…but nothing’s absolutely settled yet, which is why I’m not posting any of that news here. And that’s a really jittery, unsettling feeling to experience, even when all the news is good! (As that same smart writer-friend pointed out in an email to me, “Good stress is still stress! It still has the same result.”) So, it’s been hard to settle into writing while I’m waiting for firm decisions and resolution all round.

House of Shattered Wings photo Anyway! In the meantime, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I spent all of my free time on our international plane ride reading my new hardcover copy of Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings, which was AMAZING. It’s a postapocalyptic fantasy novel for adults set in Paris, and I’d read an early draft a year or so ago, which I loved…but the final, published version just blew me away. You can read my full Goodreads review here.

And when we got to Wales, I found a copy of Felicia Day’s fun, funny, and genuinely wonderful memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) waiting for me (I had won it in a giveaway), and I was genuinely shocked by just how much I loved it. (You can see my Goodreads review for that one, too!)

Tomorrow, school starts again, here in Wales. Normal life is about to begin again. And yes, I am going to dive back into being a professional writer as well as a mom again…even if it’s a bit of a jittery adjustment along the way! ;)

What about you guys? What are your favorite reads from this summer? And if you had big goals at the beginning of the summer, like I did…did yours get amended, too? Or did you cheer your way to the end? I’d love to know!

(Note: you can read comments here or on my LiveJournal.)


  1. I always have big reading goals for the summer, but somehow they get squashed in between laundry, work, looking for other work, and falling asleep while reading! That said, one of my favorite books this summer (which isn’t new, but new to me) was Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (who wrote teleplays for Arrested Development, among other shows – and that type of sparkling wit shows through in this book). I’m actually hoping to get more reading done when the weather cools down, because then I won’t feel guilty about not doing outdoor stuff instead. :)

    • Personally, I think reading is even more fun when you’re curled up inside in cooler weather! :) And I’m glad you said that about Where’d You Go, Bernadette – I actually have a copy but hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet, so your description just pushed it up my TBR list!

  2. So glad everyone’s (nearly) adjusted back to local time! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your writerly news. I’m not so sure that limbo – even happy limbo – counts as good stress. Good stress would be something you could be proactive about (deadline), whereas this sounds more like waiting it out. However, I know that you’re up to writing your two simultaneous novels! Sounds like they’ll be an excellent study in contrasts. And I’m off to preorder _Masks and Shadows_ now!

    • Aw, thank you so much for the pre-order, the confidence, AND the crossed fingers, Ying! And ha, yes, I think you may well be right about that good stress-versus-limbo/waiting it out distinction…I am just going to be pretty jittery for the next few weeks!

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