Happiness, Good Quotes, and Reading Recs

- 0 comments - Reading, writing

Whew! I finished Draft 1.1 of my MG spies-and-fairies book on Wednesday, and I heard from my lovely agent today that she likes it! Double-WHEW. :) I am feeling so happy and relieved right now.

Will there ever be a time in my career when I stop feeling so nervous every time I send off a new book?

I had a really good Twitter-conversation earlier this week with another writer whose work I love about ways of getting the work done. One of the things we talked about was how we both use inspirational quotes to get through the times when we’re struggling (whether that’s because of health, confidence, or any other issue). Coincidentally enough, we’ve both used book-money to commission jewellery with the mottos that personally inspire us. (So now I wonder: How many other people have done that, too? Have any of you guys? If so, I’d love to hear about it!)

Her beautiful motto is Post Tenebras, Lux (After darkness, light); mine, for a long time, has been Invincible Summer (from Camus’s quote “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”)

What about you guys? Whether or not you’ve ever put it on a piece of jewelry, do you have a motto that you come back to for inspiration?


In terms of a different kind of inspiration, I’ve been reading so many good books over the last few weeks! Ronald Smith’s Hoodoo has one of the best narrative voices of any MG novel I’ve read in a long time. It is gorgeously creepy and magical! In fact, it’s so creepy that at one point I had to set it down because I was getting shaky just reading it! (I am a horror wimp.) But the story was so compelling and the magic all felt so real, I HAD to come back to it even as a horror wimp – and I absolutely LOVED it. :)

Natasha Farrant’s Time for Jas is the fourth book in her Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series, which is one of my very favorite MG series ever. The series is about a quirky, sometimes-dysfunctional, always-loving family in contemporary London, it’s all enormously funny and sometimes incredibly heart-wrenching, and this fourth book was just perfect. I cried at the end, in the very best way. You could probably start with this book and enjoy it just fine (and it was in fact my favorite book in the whole series), but why not start at the beginning with After Iris and get to enjoy the whole course of the family’s journey? (I re-read After Iris immediately after reading Time for Jas, and I loved it more than ever.)


I’m halfway through Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Bayou Magic, and it’s a wonderful contemporary MG fantasy set in Louisiana, full of family, fireflies, mermaids, love and magic. It’s so beautifully written and so full of warmth that reading it feels like getting a big hug! I’m forcing myself to move slowly through it, so I get to enjoy it for as long as possible – and I feel happy every time I read a new chunk of it. :)

I’ve also just started Robin Stevens’s Murder Most Unladylike (a.k.a. Murder is Bad Manners in the US/CA) – the first book in the Wells & Wong series of British schoolgirl mysteries set in the 1930s – which is SO MUCH fun, I’m kicking myself for not reading it two years ago when it first came out! Then again, that means I can devour the first four books in the series (along with two bonus stories!) all at once now. So: that’s an excellent consolation! :)

And the wonderful Ying Lee just interviewed me over at The History Girls about my own book Masks and Shadows. The questions she asked were so thoughtful and in-depth – they were really fun to answer! You can read the interview here.

Happy Friday!


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