Is anyone still here? I’ve been a neglectful host, somewhere along the lines of one who promises a feast and leaves everyone in a cold dusty house with two rusty springs and a one-eyed cat for entertainment, and a cupboard full of dubious canned goods to eat. Possibly without a can opener.

(Give me a moment to ponder that thought. It does kind of beg a full story, doesn’t it? Only it would probably be middle grade, so I’m off the hook. No one would put me in charge of writing for small children, unless they were hoping the children would grow up depressed and prepared for apocalypse at every turn.)

Anyway, I’ve been bad, I am apologetic, and I hope your time has been spent reading fabulous stories and eating carrots fresh from the garden.

I owe a few people thank yous. I’m not going to say your names, mostly because I’m not really sure who likes to have their name, even a user name, splashed over a blog post and who doesn’t. The thank you runs like this: I finished Crossroads! Mostly! It was an incredibly long trek, and I got stuck in Minnesota and thought I’d never make it out, but I did. And those of you who responded to my request for information long, long ago, you were there with me. Not in Minnesota, necessarily, I wouldn’t make you join me there in winter, but I thought of the things you shared with me as I wrote, and I liked to think of you as traveling companions at times. Thank you for the comments, and the emails, and the camaraderie.

Just to confirm, yes, I finished it. Yes, it took a while. It was a bit of a challenge to write. There were a few points this year when writing took a backseat to other things. There were other points where I realized I’d left out crucial pieces and scrapped large sections and rewrote others. The farther I get from writing about the reality of this world, the freer I feel and the faster I go. Crossroads is very much in the here and now. I’m very grateful to Agent Alice for her patience. I was a bit like a magician who kept shaking her sleeve and saying “I could have sworn there was something up it.”

But, done. Happy. A little lost. A touch of the bends from rising out of story world too quickly. Looking at my short story files, thinking about what just needs polishing, what needs finishing, what needs a complete overhaul. Considering the work that The Lost needs to bring it to the place I want it.

Oh, and winter. Thinking about that a lot too. It’s raining today, and the yellow leaves are beginning to fall all across the lawn. Time’s rolling around again.

Tell me how you are. Let me be a better host.

ETA: Step one to being a better host is unlocking the front door. Comments are now allowed.