It’s been a weird week, hasn’t it? I mean, “weird” is a sort of chickenhearted way of saying “terrible,” and there has been a lot of terror: just for one thing, the horrific shooting in Las Vegas and Congress’s absolute refusal to consider that gun control laws could help. (I was out of town this weekend, so I wasn’t actually going to post a comic this week at all. Until I saw the news on Monday and I just…wanted to draw something soothing.) And then there is the criminally unfeeling 20 week abortion ban that just passed the House.

Listen: if you have never met anyone who’s had a late-term abortion, maybe you don’t know what they’re for. But they are almost never, ever, ever for the elective end of a pregnancy. A woman who’s having a late term abortion has almost certainly already been dealt the devastating news that her wanted pregnancy is no longer viable – either the fetus died, or will die, or cannot live outside the womb. Most likely, the mother’s life is also in danger. And it isn’t easy: really, a “late-term abortion” (often) means that a doctor induces early labor: you still have to give birth, going through a not-insignificant physical trauma that compounds your already-too-present grief, with the sole object of saving your life and perhaps your ability to conceive in the future. Making this necessary medical procedure illegal is an unthinkable cruelty to families who are already going through hell. Pretending that women do this lightly is a vile lie.

DEEP BREATH.

Ok. But the reason I say this week was weird instead of just bad is that other things happened too, as they tend to. For one thing! This past weekend I presented at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word in Silver City, New Mexico, and let me tell you: it was fantastic. The festival is small, free to the public, and very well supported by the community. Everywhere we turned, someone wanted to talk to us (the presenting writers) about our work, or offer us coffee, or cook us dinner. The events were well-attended, and people in the audience asked great questions and also bought books! I have rarely felt so welcomed and appreciated at a literary event, so: score one for small festivals. I loved it. (Plus I got a chance to hang out with fellow Arizona authors & all-around great people Matt Bell & Julie Iromuanya.)

Also, this week I finally got to reveal the outstanding cover that Katya Mezhibovskaya at Bloomsbury designed for my new novel, Invitation to a Bonfire (click through to see!) I can hardly describe how happy this cover makes me: it’s perfect for the book, bold and gorgeous. I hope you all love it as much as I do, and that you love the book just as much when it comes out June 5, 2018. Galleys are coming soon! I can hardly wait!

So you see, it’s a strange week. The world tries to pull us all to pieces, but there are also things that are holding us together.

(If you want to help hold someone else together, consider donating to a relief organization in Puerto Rico, where conditions post-hurricane are still very bad.)