It's been a looooong time! About a year, to be exact, since I last posted here. I really didn't mean to be away so long; not sure what happened, except that the last few months of 2014 and the first few months of this year were punctuated by some serious and unexpected family/personal health issues, aging parent issues, and life events that conspired to derail my best writing intentions more often than I'd ever expected. Sometimes, as my super-understanding editor told me, you just have to deal with life and family first, and let the writing life take a temporary back seat.
But I'm back to say that Chocolate: Sweet Science and Dark Secrets of the World's Favorite Treat is out in the world at last! Its birthday was actually last month (April 7). I think it looks pretty great, mostly thanks to that awesome editor, Cynthia Platt, and my most excellent publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's garnered some lovely reviews and "best" picks in these early weeks. For example, Kirkus—Kirkus!—called it, "a deliciously informative, engaging and sweeping chronicle of one of the most popular treats in the world." School Library Journal called it "deep" and "multifaceted," and judged it "engaging—even witty in places—and enlightening." Publishers Weekly weighed in with "fascinating, fast-moving narrative," plus, there's a growing collection of lovely reader reviews up at Amazon. The book also picked up a Junior Library Guild selection honor and a "Richie's Pick," among other happy surprises. It's officially a YA (12-up), but I think readers of any age who like chocolate and want a little history and science with that deliciousness will find it worth a read. Also, kudos to the HMH design team for this amazing cover! (I never expected to see my name writ in chocolate, but here it is.)
So I'm now in the middle of revisions for my next book for HMH, A Dog in the Cave: Coevolution and the Wolves Who Made Us Human. As is pretty obvious from previous posts here, I'm crazy about dogs, and I'm really psyched about this subject. It encompasses so many of my favorite things, and my office staff is working hard to keep me inspired every day as I work:
We made it through a long, hard winter. Spring is here, the creek is calling to the pups, the grass is up in the pastures where newly-sleek horses nibble voraciously and feel the sun and the breeze on their bare backs at last. I'm feeling hopeful and energized.
Back soon, I hope.