It’s been deadline city here this month, and mostly I’ve been happy with that. I  love being completely immersed in writing. This month, however, I hit a big bump. Just as I reached the final lap for SECRETS & SPIES (due this month to my editor!), the page proofs for RA #3 came in.

Proofs are never one of my favorite stages, and I had absolutely no energy left for dealing with these. I was in danger — as an old French acquaintance of mine used to say — of “losing my quiet.”

In short, my friends, I hit a wall.

Luckily, my wonderful niece Ruth came to my rescue. She had a surprise for me, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Underneath the bulky packing, here is what I found:

It’s a life-sized Ra! And Ruth made him all by herself. Just look at those wire whiskers. And Khepri is there, too — made so that he can twirl around on the top of Ra’s head.

Aren’t they amazing?!

Of course, what’s truly amazing is my niece. Ruth has always been a gifted artist, and now she works in a sculpture studio that makes props for some very famous places. I’d love to see her go into business for herself someday!


I took dozens of photos, then buckled down to those page proofs, with Ra standing guard over the work.  I smiled every time I looked up and saw him.

Now that the proofs are in, he has pride of place on a favorite bookshelf — the perfect place for a book cat.