Return of the J.K.: Crazy Year, But Still Here

When we last left our heroine, she was trapped in lockdown limbo. House sold in expectation of an overseas move, but stranded under pandemic travel restrictions, she and her Laddie were living out of their suitcases in an AirBnB. Did they ever escape to their new home? Or are they still barricaded in the basement, wearing the same few pairs of now-threadbare socks?

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Although the conclusion of this saga seemed delayed longer than the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, good news: unlike Martin’s epic, ours reached a happy ending. After several months of refugee living, we finally managed to get on a plane. Masks pressing purple bruises into our noses, we braved a surreal journey through deserted dystopian airports. All that confinement proved to be good practice for two weeks of hotel quarantine. I coped by imagining that my Laddie and I were aboard a cramped spacepod, voyaging to a new world.

The fantasy wasn’t far off. Australia often looks like an exoplanet to my northern hemisphere eyes, simultaneously Earthlike and alien. But it’s also wondrous. Kangaroos now graze beside my running trails instead of white-tailed deer, and birds I’d only ever seen in pet stores now casually poop on my (right-hand drive) car. Despite the ongoing ordeals of COVID-19, I’m enjoying life in the Land Down Under.

Settling into a new place and new job brought an unintentional hiatus from my author platform. I can’t believe it’s been a year since my last communique! However, going offline gave me much-needed time to focus on writing without the pressure of consistent social media engagement. A story I wrote during our interim period prompted introspection about the larger creative direction of my work. Epiphanies engendered experiments, and I finished a second novel manuscript this past weekend. Now, reinvigorated, I’m ready to rejoin the reading and writing communities. I look forward to reconnecting with all of you, and hope you’re adapting to this brave new world. Get vaccinated. Support one another. And if you’re not quite ready to dive back into society, that’s okay–there are plenty of good books to keep you company at home!

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