I don’t know whether my tastes in vacation have changed, but I’m beginning to differentiate vacationing from traveling. When I went to Europe a few months ago, I had a blast getting to see a lot of cool places, but it was as far from a vacation as you could possibly get. I was stressed out of my mind for the entire two weeks I was gone, worrying about getting from one city to the next, about the friends I was with and whether they were having fun, about the next AirBnB and if it was going to be clean, and a million other things.

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Janella’s house was definitely better than all the AirBnBs in Europe. Rootbeer floats! Pirates! Cleanliness!

But this Boston trip was everything I could possibly want from a vacation. It was relaxing, it was fun, but we also did a lot of things. It wasn’t that I didn’t work—I worked a lot actually—it was that I could put aside my job and daily obligations and errands and step away to clear my head. I came back from my trip so recharged and ready to dive into more work.

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Quite possibly the best breakfast I’ve ever had

And of course the best part was that I got to spend a whole week with Maddy and Janella, even if that week went by wayyyy too quickly. It was so wonderful to just watch a ton of movies and TV shows and talk about books and life. The last time we hung out, we were in a cramped hotel room with no means of transportation and had a crazy packed schedule. This trip was so much better because we could spend half the trip in PJs and watch movies and eat a lot of cheese and guacamole and drink wine out of princess glasses (which is exactly what we did).

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Pictorial evidence of the cheese and guacamole and wine in princess glasses

We did get to go to Mackenzi Lee’s launch party for THIS MONSTROUS THING where we learned a lot of very interesting things about Mary Shelley. And I finally got to meet two of my writing friends that live out in the Boston area that I hadn’t met before!

At the TMT launch with fierce Janella and our signed copies
Our signed copies of TMT with fierce Janella, Maddy’s half-open eyes and my weird hair

And of course, the main reason we’d planned our trip for this week was so we could go to the Boston Teen Author Festival, hosted by the wonderful Renee Combs, and that was incredibly fun. We had a blast getting to hang out with a ton of authors and sit in on some wonderful panels. One of the best books I read this year was Melissa Grey’s THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT (seriously, it’s beautifully written) and I was so excited to get to chat with (read: fangirl over) her for a bit as well.

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The only picture of the three of us from BTAF (and Adam Silvera, who called me both an unwanted shadow and a creepy CP so there is that)

One of the highlights was getting to see Sara Raasch again and snag an early copy of ICE LIKE FIRE, which I’m SO excited to read! You can see me holding my copy below because I actually didn’t let it go the whole day (but really, I’m pretty sure I would have fought anyone who tried to take it from me).

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Discussing fountains and trees at Harvard while we give Sara an unofficial tour

But the true best moment for me was getting to meet Becky Albertalli. Another of my favorite 2015 books was SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. It’d been on my reading list for ages but I knew Becky Albertalli would be at BTAF so I decided to buy the book ahead of time, just in case they sold out of copies at the festival.

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An Unlikely Story: broomsticks and flying books!

I didn’t even leave the bookstore—I read the whole thing in like three hours sitting in one of their super comfy chairs while Maddy and Janella did productive things like revise their manuscripts. And oh my gosh, SIMON was so perfect and fluffy and happy and just the feel-good book I wanted it to be. And while I teared up reading the book, I totally didn’t expect to start bawling my eyes out when I met her. But Becky was the absolute sweetest and drew me a cute doodle of my oreotears and was just so lovely.

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All the oreotears!!
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Me and Becky Albertalli after I cried all over her

And then after BTAF came the best part of the trip: a mini writing retreat in Vermont. One of my favorite things about getting to meet a lot of authors is that I always come away feeling so motivated, and BTAF was no exception: I felt so ready to dive into my manuscript. I’ve never been to Vermont before so I was honestly entirely unprepared for how gorgeous of a state it is. The drive up was stunning while we blasted travel montage music. There was just so much open area and light and it was cold and rainy and perfect writing weather. We drank so much tea and spread out all throughout the house and spent most of the day working in silence.

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My ACTUAL view as I was writing
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Vermont is beautiful. The end.

I got so much more done there than I’d managed to get done in weeks. I’m not a big believer in inspiration—the way books get written is by showing up every day and writing—but I swear there was just something in the air there. I managed to work on a project I’d been struggling with for a couple of months and managed to fix so much of the plot. I write fantasy because the world we live in lacks magic, but if I lived in a cabin in the woods in a place like Vermont, perhaps I wouldn’t.

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Shamrock the unicorn

2 thoughts on “A Week in Paradise

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