Friday Five – the Healdsburg Edition

No, this is not Healdsburg.
This is a field I saw on the drive over, outside St. Helena, forty minutes away.
I found out recently that the yellow flowers are wild mustard.
Feel free to drool over the pretty. 😛
1.
I did a vlog last week, to share two very important pieces of info with you. But I haven’t edited it yet, so I can’t post it. I will tell you the lesser of the two news bits: The Ever Afters 2 is in!

I felt a little bereft after I sent it. After all, that book has been a major pillar in my life since July, and it feels strange to have it missing.

But Courtney, my talented and savvy editor, has it now. My brain feels loose and free.

2.

This recent relaxation has been nice, but I’m afraid it has resulted in a Cold to End All Colds. Seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve been reduced to a sniffly, coughing, tissue-laden mess. (This may explain why I haven’t found the time to edit that vlog.)

Don’t worry, my friends. I’m combating it with chicken soup, rest, and my weight in honey-sweetened lemon tea.

3.

This month, I’m living in Healdsburg, CA – which is part of the Russian River wine country. You know Napa? Well, I’m kind of right above it. For cold reasons, I have not yet visited any of the wineries, but I have partaken of the awesome food.

And I’ve visited the library. Because obviously, that’s what I do. They have a cool wine library, full of books on grapes and vintages and history. And a case of old wine-making equipment.

4.

I’ve realized something recently: I really love books.

You would think that this is obvious, considering that I spend the majority of my days with them, either the reading of books or the writing of books or the revising of books, but it struck me recently, hard and sharp like walking into a ladder you didn’t notice (I know exactly what that feels like; I’ve done it). This love has structured the fabric of my life, enriched it, and comforted it. If I was bereft when I sent The Ever Afters 2 off to Courtney, then life without books would be so much different, so much emptier.

Without books, with the words on the page that become stories in the brain and characters in the heart, my life would be hollow.

Is that a terrifying thing? I suppose it is a terrifying thing, to look at it that way. It might even be hyperbolic to some people. But in a weird way, I’m grateful for it. Some people live their whole lives without a passion like mine for books. It’s a gift to love something so much.

(Illness and reading have clearly turned me into a contemplative, tissue-laden invalid. :-P)

5.

A couple books I have enjoyed recently (I’m on a YA kick):

 

Under the Never Sky,
by Veronica Rossi
This is the most hopeful dystopian I’ve read – ever, I think. It’s kind of got that Romeo-and-Juliet/Savage and Sheltered Singer thing going on, but it’s also about being alive. Being fully alive, and taking your own destiny back in your hands. The love story gave me tingles.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer,
by Michelle Hodkin
Paranormal + a teen with post-traumatic stress disorder = a page-turner that seriously keeps you guessing. ALL the clues are there, but you don’t trust them. You don’t trust them, because Mara doesn’t trust her own mind. I was blown away. Like totally stunned, mouth hanging open, desperate for Book 2.

Why We Broke Up,
written by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket),
Reading this one now, but I just found out it was a Printz Honor book. That made me smiley.
Oh, to have your heart good and thoroughly broken. This is just so gorgeously done – one of the few that depict how the bad things sting after a relationship ends, but it’s the good parts you remember that fracture your heart the most. I often come across a passage, and the writing is so good I want to cut it out and keep it forever.
If you’ve had your heart broken recently, I recommend reading it with tissues.
Okay, my friends – I will get that vlog up soon. I’m aiming for Tuesday, but it really depends on my poor muddled head.