We made it! We’re back home in the UK…and oof. It was a rough re-entry, since my older son came down with a terrible case of the rotavirus (stomach flu) on our first night back. We’re all still pretty jetlagged, and I’m dealing with with a serious post-travel M.E./CFS crash, but I’ve also been spending time in our beautiful garden, my parents are here giving us an enormous amount of help during this first week back, and it’s really good to be here again. I do love our house and the beautiful mountains that rise around our town. Seeing them again for the first time as we drove back last Thursday was the moment when my shoulders finally relaxed (after our veeeery long trip) and I thought: Oh, I really am home!
There was another wonderful welcome-home moment just a couple of days later, when my first British ARCs of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart arrived! Eeee!
(My editor’s note said “EXCITING POST!!!” and she was so right!)
Again, this isn’t the final cover – this image is just one part of the final back cover! – but I absolutely love it. And then I opened the first ARC up to Chapter One, saw this beautiful header there, and got completely over-emotional:
(Each chapter has a different header image, all by the wonderful Freya Hartas, who is also the cover artist for the UK edition. The US edition has a different – also wonderful! – cover artist, but I think it will also use these gorgeous chapter headers. Freya actually mailed me the original sketch for this particular header, very generously, so I have it framed in my room and I look at it all the time! I love it so much.)
Better yet, this Thursday I’ll finally get to share the final covers for both the UK and the US editions with you guys! They’re going to be revealed over at The Book Smugglers, and I can’t wait. They’re each very different from each other, but I love them both.
I also had lovely news about other books this past week. Kirkus Reviews – which is notoriously harsh – actually (mostly) (and miraculously) liked Congress of Secrets! Woooot! The last lines of their review say “Burgis paints an engaging cast and has a fine eye for the details of 1814 Vienna. History buffs will find this to be a tasty, if airy, bit of strudel.”
I am now, of course, planning to refer to Congress of Secrets as “a tasty bit of strudel” at EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY. ;) (I’m having to restrain myself from referring to myself that way too!)
And then last night, just when I was really struggling with the M.E. crash, pure exhaustion, and the kids’ ongoing, jetlag-fuelled refusal to just get to sleep at a reasonable hour, I saw this beautiful review of Masks and Shadows, and it actually made me tear up – it was just exactly the right moment to see it.
So! There’s been lots of wonderful book-stuff over this past week to counteract my post-travel issues. Now I’m going to go make lunch for the boys, and then this afternoon we’ll meet up with friends at the beautiful vineyard near our house, where the kids will eat ice cream and play in the stream and the adults will chat and catch up after the summer holidays.
It’s good to be back home. :)