(oops, sorry about that HUGE jpeg that ate the internet–I think I have fixed that.)
Do you remember that first taste of freedom when you’d been in school forever and ever, amen, and finally… finally… it was summer? I had it all planned: going barefoot, toes in the grass, blue sky overhead, climbing trees, riding bikes. Magic in the night. There was homemade ice cream, lazy mornings, no homework, and adventures to be had running with the feral pack of kids that made up our neighborhood.
Mostly, though, summer meant reading binge. Going to the library, checking out as many books as they’d let me, then huddling under the sheets into the wee hours of the night, reading. Snapping off the flashlight whenever dad’s alarm went off, and waiting (not very patiently), until he finally drove off to work. Mom getting dressed to go to her job, and you knew you had to wait ‘til she cracked open your door to make sure you were sleeping? You learned to face the wall so she couldn’t really see your face, and you waited for the almost silent schnick of the bedroom door as it closed. (And, if you were me, you knew that after she’d caught you reading a few dozen times at six a.m…. having had no sleep… she’d wait a few seconds and peek again, to try to catch you reaching for your book—because she wanted you to be at least part-human the next day instead of a sleep deprived growling grouch. You waited for the double-fake-out before moving.)
Even as childhood morphed into adulthood, summer held this shimmering lure, an oasis of potential. Even with all of the kids’ activities, there was less pressure and more focus on fun. Stretching out on a canvass chair, watching the kids play while I read a book. We didn’t have much of a chance to travel when they were younger—money, scheduling nightmares between this one’s baseball and that one’s karate, our own work commitments all meant we were more or less homebound.
I didn’t mind. I got to read. I was a pirate, a chef, an international spy. I beheaded monsters, traveled through time, and flew a spaceship. (I was quite a good pilot, let me tell you.) I solved mysteries, had romances, danced in ballrooms, and handled a sword with an expertise that made me crave lessons. There were times that I was a superhero (never appreciated) and other times I solved mysteries and thwarted villains.
I love the summer. I especially loved, at that time of the year, finding stories that were larger than life, transporting, fascinating adventures into a world I hadn’t yet seen. Maybe it was even the world right here, but with details that were just beyond my vision. I loved being more than just me, more than just this girl right here in the deep south, with my small collection of life experiences. There weren’t enough years to cram in everything I wanted to do… but I could live it, through books.
So this is my love letter to summer, and to books. To librarians and booksellers and all of the writers who gave me such joy. This is my love letter to my parents, who carted me to the library or the bookstore and read constantly themselves and never once seemed to think it odd that their kid was constantly walking around in a haze, halfway living in some other world somewhere. (Not that they didn’t think it odd, mind you, that they had to say my name sixteen billion times if my nose was in a book before I’d even hear them.)
And now, how about you? Do you love the summer? Does it mean more time to do the things you enjoy? Are you going to go on vacation? Read? Play? What’s up with you?
p/s… Charmed and Dangerous is out on Tuesday! Here’s the new cover:
And yes, this is BOOK ONE of the Bobbie Faye trilogy—all out this summer, back-to-back. Yep, that is a new title and design. I’ve gotten quite a few emails which have ranged from, “love the new look” to “OHMYGOD, ARE YOU ON CRACK, WHY THE HELL DID YOU CHANGE THE COVERS AND THE TITLE, BOO” and a large number of “what’s going on?” questions. The short answer is that when St. Martin’s Press wanted to re-release the series in mass market, the realization that shrinking down that original cover plus title plus my name was going to make the cover of the book look like a bunch of text. Bobbie Faye’s Very (very very very) Bad Day + Toni McGee Causey…. Hard to read on the front of a smaller format. It also didn’t help that, once reduced, the crawfish started looking like a spider. Also not good.
I’m thrilled with the new covers—I think they have a certain danger (the gun) and playfulness (the smiles, the taglines) that indicate that this is an adventure—a romp—within the suspense/thriller genre.
WINNERS FROM MY CONTEST two weeks ago for Allison Brennan’s last book, SUDDEN DEATH were announced in the comments section of Allison’s blog last Sunday. If you haven’t claimed your prize yet, contact me and I’ll get your prize out to you right away.