It’s been an insanely busy time here at Casa Peeler, as usual for my summers. The thing with academia is that we have the summers off, yes, which is awesome. But we have to cram our summers full of all the things–especially the writing–that we can’t do during the semesters we’re teaching. For me, there are also a lot of big conventions and conferences that are a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. So every time someone gives me a blank stare and says, “But you’re on vacation!” I kind of want to bite through my own wrists.
But it IS summer, and I am getting to do all the things I love, like write and travel. A few weeks ago, my friend from York came to visit, which was so much fun. I ended up really taking the five days off, which was amazing. I normally do some work every day, so to take a real vacation felt both very scary and very awesome. But I think it came at exactly the right time, as I really needed some distance on a few things I’d been working on (especially book six edits), that I wasn’t allowing myself by working all the time.
So he flew in and we mooched around Greensburg and Pittsburgh, a bit. He declared the comic store Phanton of the Attic, in Oakland, one of the best in the world, beaten only by Gosh, in London. So if you’re in Pittsburgh or from the area, and haven’t checked it out, there’s something to put on your list.
Then I surprised him with a trip to DC. It was, of course, very hot, but we had a wonderful time. It’s the perfect city for a few days of exploration, even though it has enough in it for a solid month of nonstop tourism. But what’s great about DC for a short break is you can park your car at the hotel (granted, for roughly a gajillion dollars) and then you can walk everywhere. Which is exactly what we did. And there’s nothing like seeing those iconic monuments in person. How many times have we seen them in the news, or destroyed in Sci-Fi movies, or setting the stage in history textbooks? Even visitors from other countries, like mine, has grown up with images of them, and it’s so fun to see them in person.
DC’s also a hip, happening city, with tons of free stuff to do. You can also get GREAT weekend rates at hotels. It’s one of the only cities that cheaper at the weekend, as all the legislators and their staff go home.
But I think the best thing we did was the Spy museum, which was an absolute blast. I’m always leery of kitschy museums, but this one was well worth the 20$ admission. It was a great blend of fun and fact, and did a great job of reminding its visitors that spying isn’t really “cool.” It’s playing with the lives of not only the individual spies, but the people impacted by their machinations. I had a great time, and really recommend it. Here’s a few pics from our visit.
We kept thinking everything was the White House, until we finally saw the White House. All the buildings are so iconic, but it was still embarrassing for me, as the American of our pair.
“Oh, right, THAT’S the White House…”
The Lincoln Memorial is probably my favorite, for a lot of reasons.
One of our best memories of the day was spending a good hour with our feet in the fountain at the Sculpture Garden. It was very hot, we’d been walking for absolutely hours, and our break was well deserved.
So that was DC! Then we came back here for a few more relaxing nights, then he left and I launched myself back into work. I finished my edits for book six last Monday, and then on Tuesday we launched into our MFA Residency. That was a blast, as usual, and it was great to see all our graduates walk across the stage on Sunday. I learned loads, as I always do, and I loved sitting in on a module taught by Victoria Thompson, about building a mystery world. It was so fun, and had loads of great advice applicable to all genres.
All in all it’s been a super crazy month, and it’s only kicking off my summer. The next two months will see me in Chicago, London, York, San Francisco, Anaheim, and New Orleans. Then another semester begins.
But in even bigger news, and probably what most of you are reading this post for, is news on book five, Tempest’s Fury. It’s out tomorrow!
Which means I MUST hold a contest, right? Of course. I haven’t had time to organize one of my usual gift baskets, so this release’s prize will be any FIVE mass market paperbacks (the books that cost $7.99 or less on Amazon) of your choice.
What’s the contest? Just comment below about why you like the Jane True series. I’ll pick a random winner on Friday, July sixth.
So that’s comment below about why you like the Jane True series and you can win five mass market paperbacks of your choice. And that’s all! Looking forward to hearing from people what they think of the book and can’t wait to hear what you think of the series!