Actual transcript of actual conversation that took place this morning between me and roommate:

Me: I have great news!

Roommate: What?

M: Thorns and Fangs is coming out in print August 10th!

R: That’s great! [Beat.] That’s–

M: The day I arrive back in New Zealand.

R: That’s terrible news! How are I going to make you sign my book if you’re not here?

June has been a month of personal highs and global lows. Part of me feels very selfish for writing at all with so much going on but I’m realizing how much I need an escape in times of stress. As my time in Japan draws to a close, I am going to be making an effort to spend less time on social media, more time getting things done, whether preparing for the move, writing–or reading.

I decided June was going to be an all-writing month, and that I wasn’t going to read. It didn’t speed up my writing process any. In fact, I ended up getting stuck at all the usual points in the drafting process, and ended up reading anyway. Each time I read, I noticed an increase in enthusiasm and creativity. Of course, I was reading during times when I needed to pause and allow the next part of the plot to solidify, so I can’t simply credit reading for the writing boost … but it wasn’t taking away from my writing time like I’d assumed. Anyway, The Junk Mage has been burning a hole in my virtual bookshelf long enough–I’m going to treat myself and start reading.

In the meantime, I am really happy with how Uprooted is progressing! I’m going to share an excerpt under the cut: Ben spending some quality time with Nate’s brother, the elusive Ethan.

Ben took his eyes off Ethan to glance at the trees. They weren’t big, not like the oak in Mason’s Park, but their trunks were twisted and wrinkled, putting Ben in mind of a stooping senior citizen. “Um… Thirty years old?”

“Seventy. Planted by our grandfather.” Ethan rested his hand on the trunk of the tree beside him. “How many seventy year olds you know who are still growing?”

“That is—” more words than Ben had ever heard Ethan say “—impressive.” Ben gave the surrounding apple trees a considering glance. “And they still produce fruit?”

Ethan smirked. “More productive in one season than some people in their entire lifetime.” He smiled at the tree, giving it an affectionate pat before bending to pick up his bucket.

When Nate said his brother liked plants, he meant really liked plants. Ben couldn’t help but be amused. Ethan’s a geek for plants. Finally, something Ben could relate to. “If they still produce apples, why are you grafting?”

Ethan scowled. “Heard of winesap?”

“Is that an emulator?”

“Type of apple. Popular seventy years ago.” Ethan waved his hand in the direction of the road. “Used to be this valley was full of orchards.”

Ben winced. Ethan’s scowl gave him an inkling where this conversation was going. “Now not so much?”

“Apple trees live to one hundred. But they just cut them down. Perfectly good trees, gone.” Ethan took the secateurs up, clenching them tightly. “Grafting is easy. Saves the tree, grows different apples to sell. Win-win. But they don’t care. Just chop down the entire orchard. Know what they replace them with?”

So much for thinking Ethan lacked emotion. The heat in his voice coupled with the angry rise of his chest was bringing home his relationship to Nate in a very immediate way. Ben swallowed. “I…don’t know?”

“Christmas trees.” Ethan punctuated the sentence with an angry snort. “Grown just to be cut down.” His scowl deepened. “It’s a criminal waste of resources. Lots of people don’t earn their keep. But no one chops them down.”


Ethan shot Ben a raised eyebrow, and turned back to their tree in front of them.

Ben’s smile faded. Ethan’s face was completely flat, wiped clean of the emotion of a moment ago… He’s not serious, is he?

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