Stephanie Burgis
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Chocolate, mysteries, and pillows
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I had a wonderful surprise last night - one of my old coworkers had gone to Edinburgh, and while she was there, she visited my favorite chocolate shop in the universe, Plaisir du Chocolat, on my recommendation, and then she brought me back a little package of my very favorite kind of hot chocolate in the universe - their Tanzanian hot chocolate. Ohhhhhh, so good. Patrick made me a cup of it last night, and I just basked in it. Then today, my head was feeling really gross, and I thought - why not? Indulge yourself! So I used up ALL the rest of the chocolate in one big cup of really rich hot chocolate. Aaaaand then I figured out why that hadn't been such a good idea. Oops. Too much chocolate, and suddenly my stomach was feeling worse than my head...but oh, it was so good, I almost kinda don't regret it. Almost!

Before the hot chocolate fiasco, though, I wrote the first 1100 words of Chapter Ten of Kat by Moonlight, and then took care of some necessary stuff like putting in a load of laundry, showering, and taking Maya to the grass. (Yeah, of course my day was exciting. Can't you tell?) I finished reading Peter Dickinson's The Lively Dead, which just amazed me with the 3-dimensional solidity - the utter real-ness - of his characterization, especially of the protagonist, Lydia. Dickinson writes with a beautiful kind of understated style, and it actually made me forget, several times, that the characters and events weren't really real - that it was "only" fiction. There were parts when I gritted my teeth with the effort of urging Lydia not to do that ("nonono, don't be pointlessly rude to the police detective - how stupid is that? Stop it!") - and yet I always, always believed in what she was doing, because that was Lydia, that was who she was, and I wouldn't have believed it if she had reacted in any other way. And because of the realism of the whole book, the way the story slowly builds over a course of inconsequential daily routine and gossip and inexorably growing tension, the final climax feels just terrifying - I absolutely believed in the danger, felt Lydia's fear and anger and her physical reactions, and closed the book with the after-effects still rippling through me and a feeling of total satisfaction. What a wonderful writer. I've read several of Peter Dickinson's kids' fantasies, which have all been really good, but this is the first mystery novel of his that I've read. I'll definitely look for more.

And I was very happy to see a really lovely review of "Crow" up on Tangent Online. It's always great to have a reviewer completely "get" your story. Reading the review left me humming with happiness.

Now Maya's lying on the couch on top of all the pillows, and I'm debating whether it's time to pull off a coup d'etat...

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