Catching A Breath

There are some days when it feels easy to live in the moment, to appreciate little things like the sound of your heartbeat or the squirrel throwing acorns at your second-story window. And there are other days, days when you feel like you’re always running a few minutes late, days when life is good and full and busy but it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the goodness and fullness and busyness. You rush forward as quickly as you can and hope you’ll have a few moments sometime soon to stop, look around, and catch your breath. Hear your heartbeat again. Notice that squirrel.

I’ve had a spring and summer full of goodness and busyness in equal measure. My husband and I spent most of July and August moving into a new house, and I developed consuming passions for really dull things like light fixtures and sewer pipes. I finished a draft of the third and final book in the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series. Then, surrounded by piles of moving boxes, I revised it. Then I revised it again. I spent a few nights with my author buddy Kristen Kittscher in a haunted house in Ohio, drinking wine and reading James Thurber aloud in the parlor where he once lived. And somewhere in there, I sold two new books I completely forgot to tell you about! The first is a middle grade mystery called The World’s Greatest Detective that I’ve been itching to write for nearly three years now. The second might be about the end of the world. I’m not sure about that one yet. Both books will be published in the unimaginably distant future (2017 and 2018?) by the same team at HarperCollins who’ve been so good to me and my first three novels.

TerroroftheSouthlandsLife’s been rushing forward and hasn’t been inclined to stop, but I’m forcing myself to pause and catch my breath because my second book, The Terror of the Southlands, is on bookstore shelves today. This wasn’t an easy book to write, craft-wise or emotionally, but now that I’m two years’ removed from the drafting of it, I feel really proud of how it turned out. It’s a mystery (sort of) and an adventure (definitely) and maybe a little darker than the first book in the VNHLP series, but still plenty of fun. It is full of philosophical meditations on social issues (sort of) and snarky gargoyle observations (definitely), and it will teach you how to duel while wearing a frilly green ball gown. I like it a lot. I hope you will, too.