"How did you spend your vacation? Did you even take one?"
The last time I had a proper holiday - by which I mean two weeks away, not working, email auto-responder switched on - was 2012. (I just can't get my head round the workaholic US notion that three of four nights away from home is a vacation.)
But in two weeks' time, after this book is handed in, after Bloody Scotland, after Bouchercon, when I leave the Sisters in Crime board, for the second half of September, I'm doing it again.
I don't know where I'm going (it's a surprise) but I've been amassing the reading pile for months. The reading pile is one of the four pillars of a perfect holiday for me: books, a quiet beach with warm sea, an isolated cottage with no telly, good seafood you don't need to dress up to eat . . . bliss.
What's on my reading pile? Well, it's got books on it that I'm not reviewing, whose authors I'm not interviewing, whose contents are not the basis for a panel I'm moderating. But I can't remember them all because I haven't seen the pile for six weeks. Stephen King, for sure. Curtis Sittenfield, I think. I posted the new Mark Haddon home a couple of days ago to be added to it.
Let me come clean. The sob story about never having a holiday ignores the fact that I've been in Scotland since mid-July (and Yorkshire, and London, and Galloway)
Poor Cinders, eh? Here's a wee selection of some of the hard slog I've put my shoulder to:
maintaining professional relationships
(aka hanging with Erin Mitchell at Harrogate)
Three long nights here researching a setting