We had a glorious summer this year. And a full one, with visits with much-loved grandparents, days spent in Oxford with dear friends who we hardly ever get to see, trips to Bath and Chesil Beach….

Chesil Beach on a sunny day

Chesil Beach on a sunny day

...and on a stormy one.

…and on a stormy one.

It was also the summer I learned I was a celiac. Which meant changing my diet completely and learning to love quinoa. (Fortunately, I quickly realized that quinoa is GREAT.) We ate a lot of cake while I worked out a whole new way of baking,

Red currant cream cake (gluten-free, but you'd never guess)

Redcurrant cream cake (gluten-free, but you’d never guess)

And now it’s fall (an American word that stays with me, though everyone here calls it autumn). We’ve had a lot of chilly weather this September, which has been great for writing. I wrap myself up in my writer’s cape and spend my days deep in the third Chantress book.

But this week I’ve had to set the new book aside because the page proofs for Chantress Alchemy have come in. I am always tempted to skimp at this stage, because it takes enormous effort to read it for the umpteenth time, word for word, knowing that you can’t make any big changes. But as always, I’m knuckling down and doing the work, because there’s always stuff I catch at the end: little things like a missing “the,” and bigger things like copyedits that have fallen into the wrong paragraph.

One good thing about page proofs is that you finally see your words as they will be in the book, all beautifully laid out. This is the stage where I look and say, “Wow! It’s going to be a real book!”

Title page of Chantress Alchemy

Title page of Chantress Alchemy

***One last bit of news: I learned this week that an ALA Teen Tastemakers panel for Simon & Schuster chose Chantress as a favorite read. Which means S&S is offering everyone the chance to read the book for FREE on their PulseIt site until September 29th: http://www.pulseit.com/chantress