Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Love Autumn

1. Cooler weather. After the last week of September in the 90s, we've finally fallen into the appropriate temperature range for autumn. (And though it may sound heretical, I love that it's rained off and on. What can I say? I belong to Seattle/Portland/London at heart.)

2. Holiday anticipation. Christmas is love and family, Thanksgiving is friends and food, but Halloween is imagination and creativity. And for the first time in four years I have the energy and enthusiasm to make some beautiful costumes. Let me be clear--I love to sew, but only if it's impractical. I have a lovely collection of costumes in all sizes from years past, all of which I made: Elven dresses, Jedi knights, medieval kings and queens, pirates. This year? A velvet dress for my daughter (the Fallen Star) and a linen skirt and brocade top for me (as Inara from Firefly).

3. Road trip. Last October I drove to Colorado to surprise my friend, Becca Fitzpatrick, at the book release party for her debut novel--HUSH, HUSH. Next weekend, I'm off to Portland to see Becca at Wordstock (since I can't make it to her two-week tour of the UK later this month for the release of her sequel, CRESCENDO). As much as I'm looking forward to Powell's and Burgerville and a city I love, I'm equally excited to the 12-hour drive each way with my best friend. Katie and I share a love for Diet Coke and wax donuts when we're on the road. And when our voices begin to fail from hours of talking, we have an audiobook to look forward to: Cassandra Clare's CLOCKWORK ANGEL. What's not to love?

4. College Applications: For my oldest son. I'm not sure this falls into the category of Things I Love, but I'm trying :) What I do love is my heightened awareness of how precious our time is together. I've warned my family that I will likely weep at unexpected moments this holiday season when I remember that after this year, though we will often have Matt with us in the years to come, it will be as a visitor who will have to return to his own life apart from us.

I can't leave it on that maudlin note, so allow my mother pride to flourish for a moment: It is exhilirating to go to the mailbox or email inbox and find such names as Wake Forest and the University of Chicago and Vanderbilt and MIT. MIT! You know darn well that MIT letter wasn't coming to Matt because any genetic material I provided, but still . . .

I am now forcing my pride back into its proper societal restraints. You may read on.

5. Writing: It's been six months since SORROWS went out on submission. Still waiting. But not just sitting around--I'm nearing completion on my latest draft of my mind-reading medieval Welsh heroine. And with my agent's encouragement and help, I'm taking my favorite book and turning it into a trilogy. It's an alternate history of Tudor times, in which Anne Boleyn gave birth to a healthy son and that son comes to the throne after Henry VIII's death. I was gratified that my instincts were sound about this being my strongest story and writing, and delighted that Tamar loved it as much as I do.

But I'm most grateful that Tamar is in this for more than just a quick sale--something I've clearly not delivered.

I only hope one day I justify her faith in my stories.

(Okay, I also hope that I justify that faith really, really soon.)

Happy Autumn!

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