Just a quick post today. Over the weekend, I hit 200 followers. Thank you so much for reading! I’m so grateful and this is an awesome community to be part of. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and for your support!
I’d shared some weeks ago that I’m planning to do a Q&A post soon, so I thought I’d make one last call for questions, since I do have some new readers (welcome and thank you!). So, if there’s a question you’d like to ask me, comment below! And in the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some As to your Qs. 😊
Y’all! I am so excited to share this! A friend of mine published his first book, Thomas Creeper and the Gloomsbury Secret.
The official release date is Sunday, March 21st, but I preordered several copies (one for me, one for Graham, one for the cat, one for the dog, a bunch for friends and family…), and they arrived today.
Yes, I have already read it cover to cover.
This book was so delightful and fun and just absolutely the perfect read for kids (and adults!) who like mysteries, spies, secret codes, ghost stories, pirates and submarines, history, magic, and unlikely teenage heroes. Yeah, J.R. Potter managed it all of that stuff into one fantastic little book. And he created all of the illustrations, as well.
Here’s the jacket summary:
Thirteen-year-old Thomas Creeper hasn’t been dealt the best hand. He lives in the seaside town of Gloomsbury—a damp and miserable place overrun by scabber weed, where the sun shines for only a few days each year. With the inexplicable death of his older brother, David, Thomas becomes heir to Creeper & Sons, the family’s funeral business, and his place as a mortician’s apprentice seems set. Thomas, however, dreams of a different kind of life (as a code-cracking spy) in a different kind of place (anywhere but Gloomsbury!).
When a body arrives on the doorstep of Creeper & Sons Funeral Home with signs of foul play, Thomas and his smart-as-a-whip sidekick, Jeni Myers, are thrust into the middle of a terrifying mystery, one which will reveal the link between Thomas’s family and the dark secret of his hometown. Joining forces with the motley crew of the Conch Whistle, a high-tech submarine that hides in offshore waters, Thomas and Jeni must rely upon their wits (and a few magical devices!) to defeat a powerful and horrifying foe.
I’m so proud of my friend and so happy for him! And the book is really, really, really good. It’s even won an award already – the 2019 Kraken Book Prize for Middle-Grade Fiction.
On this day, two years ago, we’d made our way to Vík, Iceland.
A night later, we’d see the Northern Lights for the first time.
On this day, last year, we sat at home, wrapping our minds around quarantine and social distancing, with barely an inkling of just how much the world was about to change.
Today, I’ve spent the day plugging away on my laptop, and so has Graham. He’s outside now, trimming back a hazelnut bush in our front yard. In his pajamas. And I’m still on my laptop. Also in my pajamas. No itchy business casual attire for me, here in my house with only my cat to critique my lack of style.
I wonder where we would be right now if not for the pandemic. I’m sure I’m not alone. And I’m not impatient. Safety and health are never far from my mind, and I will wait this thing out in my house in my pajamas for as long as it takes. I’m grateful that we’ve not gotten sick, that our families are safe and healthy, that we have money coming in and a comfortable place to live and pretty much all of the creature comforts anyone could ask for. I am so grateful, in fact, that I sometimes feel overwhelmed and undeserving. How lucky we are. I never forget.
But I do sometimes find my mind wandering. To places we’ve been. To places we’ll go. Right now, I’ve mind-traveled to Japan, where I’m enjoying a big bowl of miso ramen with corn and butter on the island of Hokkaido.
One day, we’ll get there for real. For now, though, pajamas and home and the familiar clack of my laptop keyboard it is. And that’s okay.
I spent most of yesterday staring at my computer screen, absolutely distracted by the gorgeous weather outside. Sunshine, a light breeze, warm air – the kind of gentle reawakening you expect after a long winter.
I try to be pretty disciplined in my work day. It’s crucial to me, actually, since I work for myself, that I set deadlines and stick to them, that I schedule my time and take that schedule seriously, and that I hold myself accountable to getting tasks done. Otherwise, I WILL just read books, take naps, daydream, and spend time with friends. (All good things, to be clear. But the writing still has to get done.)
Yesterday, though, I just had to get outside and play. An impromptu visit from a friend got me out of my pajamas and into the outside, and I’m not mad about it.
We walked around the back garden for a bit as the sun was just starting to set behind the willow tree.
Everywhere, there are little signs of spring.
It’s exhilarating to see the earth coming alive again.
And just as we were about to head out for a quick drink and a bite to eat (outdoors, of course), we spotted it:
This lovely little crocus is the first flower to bloom in our yard this season. More will follow, but I’m glad we happened upon this little beauty leading the way for them.
I love winter and snow, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not excited for spring.
I carry it with me, this bag of bones, of broken down building blocks. These I have gathered, these moldering bits of a million little memories, times and places and people, thousands over the course of a life, tucked away for safekeeping. It drags behind me, clatters and clacks in a diabolical cacophony. Always I carry this calcified collection, but only a few can see, and those few know the weight of it themselves. They carry their own bones in sacks, dangling from weary hands. Why is not the question. It is when. When to open it? And which. Which to choose? And how. How to fit that one fragile bit into the puzzle just so. Oh yes, the burden is heavy, and every day it grows. But for those who carry the bags, curate the bones and create new skeletons, there is no greater treasure.
I suppose the poem I posted last week for Women’s History Month would have been perfect for today, International Women’s Day. And honestly, I don’t really have much to add.
But I’ll say this:
I am grateful for the brave, strong, smart, powerful women who’ve made this world a better place for me and all of the women who will come after me.
In my life, I am thankful to be surrounded by women who build me up, who support me, who laugh and cry with me, who make my every day just a little brighter.
I am proud of them, and so, so happy to live in their light, in their radiance, in their love.
If they never change THE world (and they’re brilliant, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did), I want them to know that they’ve changed MY world.
My friends, you incredible women, know that I love you, always, always, always.
And to the women out there reading this:
You are strong, brave, smart, creative, powerful, capable, and worthy. You have the right to take up space. You deserve love, kindness, respect, and a seat at every table. You are enough. You are fundamental. The world is more whole because you are in it. Speak, stand, create change, move mountains, shine. Make your dreams real. I am with you, for you, and forever cheering you on.
To you, the women, the warriors and weavers and witches and wanderers, the brave and bold who came before, I promise this:
My light will magnify your light. I will shine because you reached for the sky and grabbed the sun and moon and stars to fight the darkness.
Your words, your courage, your heart, your home – the one you made with your own hands – will live on in me.
I will stand and speak. My voice will carry as yours, over the mountains you climbed, across the sands of time and the pillars and platforms you built. I won’t make myself small just to fit into the corners of a world made and sustained by mothers.
I cradle your wisdom in my soul because you carved a place for it. I will keep that place sacred and whole. I will nurture the fire you lit and pass the eternal torch.
Leonine you are, we say, but today, only light – winds, clouds, gray, mild sunshine, and a breezy chill in the air. Perhaps you’re saving energy, waiting for better prey – a colder, wetter, wilder moment, a time to truly roar, to give a little more of your royal self. You’ll pounce then, claws and jaws and teeth and trouble, and surprise us all.