Doing a lot of that now with the summer travel behind me. Lots and lots of fun had by all, and now it’s time (or almost) to dive back into routine.
We finished up the summer travel with an earlier-than-usual trip to NYC. With Kat due next month, we moved that fall tradition up. And were gifted with my kind of weather. Hot and sunny!
Hot and sunny didn’t stop me from the hunt for more Christmas presents. I did pretty well on that front. It also didn’t stop me from indulging my weakness for boots. Mmm, boots. The best thing about cold weather, imo.
BW and I hit a street fair the day we got in–and there I scored some adorable onsies for you know who. Later in the week, Jason and I hit The Gap, naturally ended up in the baby section. TBD (they haven’t settled on his name) can now celebrate his first Halloween as Chewbacca (cutest little one-piece, winter weight deal) or a cat (adorable cat hoodie with little ears!)
More fun for me to see how into the baby clothes my baby boy was.
Spent a great day shopping and hanging out with my fabulous editor and amazing agent–so we, too, were able to catch up in person. We had Waitress picked as our Broadway night, but said amazing agent was able to score Hamilton tickets.
Wow. Just wow. A stupendous show. Glorious. Oh, the voices, the music. The energy. We just loved it.
Temps dropped and rain moved in as we packed up last Sunday. We figure this is the last trip with Pregnant Kat. Next time: BABY!
Our girl is doing great, looking great as she comes down the last leg.
Back home to delighted dogs.
Really happy to get back to work last week, to dive into that routine.
Kept a close eye on Florence as she pushed her way toward the Carolinas. Scary and awful, and I’m hoping any of you who might have been in her path got to safety. Heart-breaking to see the damage she’s done.
Here, while we had rain, rain, rain last weekend and into the start of the week, it went back to warm and sunny. Warm, sunny–and very humid for yesterday’s booksigning. But that didn’t stop readers from traveling to Turn The Page, and helping make it a really fun day for everyone. My favorite visitor was a young boy who came with his mom and some friends. He wanted to know if I was His Grandmother’s Author, and was skeptical at first because I wasn’t wearing the same earrings I wore on the book jacket.
Another fave brought their aunt in Puerto Rico to the signing via FaceTime. Now that’s fun!
It’ll be back to routine for me on Monday, and I’ll have a good, solid week of work before the weekend. And . . . Kat’s baby shower next Sunday. Seriously can’t wait. We’ll have friends, family, games, (sorry, Laura!)* prizes, all those adorable baby things for Mom-To-Be to open, good food, wine–and an amazing cake. We’ll be sure to take some pictures.
The day Nora and family headed home from Montana, I moved my office to the beach for three weeks. While Nora settled back into her at-home routine, I’d pick up where I left off last year. And start with the sunrise:
Our little place is right on the ocean with steps down to the beach. My favorite part of the outdoor space is the spot at the top of the dune with chairs and a view.
The days at the beach have a basic framework: sunrise watch, work, workout, work, end the afternoon with a book* and a cold drink, watch night fall after dinner. Since I’m not my pal Nora, I head to the nearby Y to workout with other members of humanity. Just before we got here I was released from the post-eye-surgery workout restrictions and I needed to bench press something heavy and sweat through spin.
Two days in, I had the happiest email from Nora. The grandkids came up for dinner the night after they returned for a joyous reunion. Nora swore Logan grew another inch as he swooped toward 9th grade, Kayla had three weeks of cross country practices under her belt and Colt was ready to discuss all the books he’d read in the last three weeks. She spent time in the gardens, baked some bread, shook off the travel fatigue and couldn’t wait until Monday to get in some solid work on In Death #49.
Labor Day meant our kids arrived for the holiday weekend while Nora and BW packed up again for a week in NY. I think I mentioned it’s early this year to clear the decks for Master Yet-to-be-Named Wilder Pong Aufdem-Brinke’s arrival.
The NYC reports included days of hiking in search of remaining Christmas gifts. On a trip to find a new puzzle for Kat, Nora stopped by the Fifth Ave Barnes & Noble on Leverage in Death release day. She surprised (and thrilled) the staff there by signing stock. They shared on all their social media here. I shared it on the various Nora/JD social media as well.
I missed the annual shop and theater trip with Nora’s agent and editor, but Leslie kept me in the loop with photos of footwear Nora found. They saw Waitress, but I’ve yet to hear a review.
In the meantime, I kept to routine.
Nora heads home tomorrow and, other than baby showers, baby arrivals and signings will happily stay put until after Halloween. I have a few more days here, then head home Thursday so I’ll be at Nora’s side at the TTP signing next Saturday.
All signs point to mid-week as the best time to leave because after 18 days with no rain, Florence lurks in the Atlantic:
In the meantime, I’ll watch a couple more sunrises and breathe in the salt air.
* I also read Nalini Singh’s Rebel Hard, Illona Andrew’s Magic Rises and Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians.
One week to go until Leverage in Death is in your hands! As is tradition, I’m going to share some gentle teasers — little things to look for as you race through the book. No plot points, no major spoilers, just a little extra eye on details. I’ll add a new one each day from now until Friday (8/31) to whet the appetite a little bit more.
But first, the book description.
What would you do to protect your family?
Leverage in Death opens with a bizarre suicide bombing in a Wall St. office building. As airline executives finalized a merger that would make news in the business world, marketing VP Paul Rogan walked into the plush conference room, strapped with explosives, and destroyed the room. Headlines spoke of death and destruction, but Eve Dallas confirmed that Rogan was cruelly coerced by two masked men holding his family hostage. His motive: save his wife and daughter. But what motivated the masked men?
Now Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.
Teaser 1 — Tuesday 8/28
You will never look at soup the same way again.
Feeney has an eye for relationships.
Baxter has some deep pockets.
Teaser 2 — Wednesday 8/29
Eve considers the various levels of scary Roarke.
A dinner conversation ranges from firsts to fathers to friendship.
Waffles or oatmeal? An eternal question.
Teaser 3 — Thursday 8/30
Peabody is bilingual.
Roarke continues to understand all manner of e-speak no matter the age of the e-geek. (Got the cranks, ha!)
Eve comes into some original art.
Teaser 4 — Friday 8/31
Eve and Feeney head a host of pals who make a dream come true.
A new phrase: “Pull a Roarke.”
Eve and Roarke still know how dance around lines in the sand. And be pissed about it.
OK, that takes us through about three-quarters of the book. The rest needs to flow through the end of the case.
But stay tuned through the end. Every once in a while there’s an epilogue.
I’ll open the discussion thread bright and early Tuesday morning.
I know, I know, you’ve been waiting to learn what happens next in The Chronicles of The One. I’m so happy to share with you the excerpt from Of Blood & Bone.
Here’s the jacket copy:
An epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives.
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before―the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted―and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
The excerpt won’t answer all your questions but should answer some.
Of Blood & Bone is out December 4. Your first look is here.
Our last day starts cool and misty. That mist adds a nice, secretive quality to the forest, and the deer that graze through it.
Since we’ve got a trail ride midday, we opt to clean up the grub we have in the cabin. I’m not after much as I feel like I’ve grazed like a deer since we got here.
BW comes back from a drone excursion with a story. He met Kyle, a rancher, and the buffalo (bison if you’re technical) are his. The big black steer who hangs with the white steer and other cattle is Tyrone, a beefalo. Tyrone was the result of a buffalo and cow getting through the fence to each other (true love!) and mating.
I’d never heard of a beefalo, but apparently it happens. Hey, you love who you love, right?
It feels cool enough, not unpleasantly so, for layers for that afternoon ride. But by the time we walk down to the big paddock for our horses and wrangler, it’s warmed enough I tie my jean jacket round my waist. Jason does the same with his hoodie, and BW ditches his vest.
Evan will be our guide, and after a few minutes of getting-to-know-you, and asking about our riding experience, he chooses our horses. So many pretties hanging out by the paddock fence, most just dozing the afternoon away.
BW gets Traveler, a big white dude for the tall dude. I get Doc—another white but not so big, and Jason gets the pretty paint, Lonnie. Right before I mount, Evan let’s me know Doc has a heavy mouth and likes to eat on the trail, which means I’ll have to haul his head back up.
I discover truer words.
Mounted up, we head out, and Doc lets me know pretty quick he wants snacks as we ride. I let him know pretty quick that’s a no, I’m going to haul him up. We have this little war of wills throughout.
Other than that issue, Doc is as comfortable a ride as I could ask for. Sure-footed on the narrow, rocky, often steep trail, and steady as he goes. I start out beside Evan as Doc would like to be lead horse—nope, I say, settle for second place.
It’s warm and beautiful out as we cross the road, head up, up, up into the forest to wind through it. Evan, like everyone we’ve met on the resort, is knowledgeable, friendly, helpful. He works here summers, so will—like many others—be leaving Monday to go back to college in Missoula.
Our horses are really sweet and sturdy—Doc and I continue to pit my will against his greed for grass. He’s a strong one, so I feel I absolutely got my resistance training in. Jason’s Lonnie plods along, a bit slower than the rest. At one point Jason said he wondered if Lonnie went to sleep climbing up a slope.
We can see parts of the ranch below, smell the pines surrounding us. Steep climbs up, steep climbs down.
Halfway through I switched from Western style one-handed reins to English so I could use both arms to drag greedy Doc back up. I had a lot better luck.
We ride down to a pasture where a mama and her new foal graze. Our mounts either like to visit or know they’re soon heading back to doze as they all break into a trot.
We’re not to let our horses get too close to the fence, Evan tells us. Mama won’t like. But the baby seems happy to see us, whinnies even as he sticks close to Mama.
A more level ground ride now, warm, sunny, picture perfect. Traveler has edged Doc out of second place. And Lonnie is content to bring up the rear.
At one point Doc tries to nibble at a rock. I point out to him, That’s a rock. His answer is to turn his head toward me and try to nibble on my right boot.
I think he grinned.
Back we ride, with everyone but Doc stopping by the water troughs to drink. He just wants to get back into the paddock.
When I dismount, he’s content to let me pet him until it’s time for Evan to lead him away.
In the paddock now are two kids—a girl of maybe eight or ten, a boy surely no more than five or six. Both are mounted and know what they’re doing.
The little boy’s horse wants to go to the fence, but his pint-sized rider just pulls him back.
We take more pictures, bid the horses goodbye. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of this beauty that belonged to one of the wranglers. When I commented, Evan said it’s called a Gommoragh (sp) Paint.
We walk back home to relax a little (or pack a little) before our last dinner.
Experience tells us it’ll get cool—very—before the meal’s over, and since we’re going to eat outside, to bring jackets.
Alice is our server again tonight, and has reserved a pod (cabana) for us with nothing but that beautiful view in front.
After we order, we decide to try one of our family panoramas in The Yard. A little staging, a bit of blocking, and we have another tradition in our bag.
Dinner, wonderful as always with a sky that finally gave us at least a little of the fabulous Montana sunset.
Now it’s cold, even with the heater in our pod. Inside we go for all—but me—to order the final dessert.
No one leaves hungry or disappointed.
A ride back under a 3/4 moon.
More packing before bedtime.
No working out in the morning on departure day. More packing, checking, organizing, packing. We’re leaving with more than we came with—and I’m astonished when I find I can actually pack my new boots.
We opt to take the evil puzzle apart and leave it for the cabin or the staff.
Kat and BW have their last breakfast, bring back some bacon. I do the Mom Check on the cabin probably a dozen times. Pretty sure we left nothing behind.
The driver and the transportation supervisor (she needs a ride into the airport to pick up a van) arrive so we can load up. LOTS of loading.
Another pleasant, informative trip to the airport. We learn for Christmas, the resort goes all out, even putting antlers and a red noses on the Kias, Christmas trees in every cabin, white lights on the outside trees.
That’s the spirit!
Unload at the airport, load onto the plane.
We’re flying home as I write this, should land in MD in about two and a half hours. Supposed to finally be clear weather at home. Reports are that it rained nearly every day while we were gone.
It’ll be great to see our dogs—and I know Kat and Jason missed their cats. It’s always nice to settle in at home again, even after an absolutely terrific vacation.
I expect one last Montana wrap up post in my inbox today or tomorrow. (There were 20 new photos in the shared album when I got up this morning — the usual indication of a great day.) But since our intrepid travelers gather their gear and head east today while I move Control Central from Maryland to the beach this is a quick break.
Nora could stick to her habit and write up the post before they leave, but I’ll be on the road for six hours starting at 10 am my time so the likelihood of a Montana Day 17 post is tomorrow.
While it’s hard to get over post vacation blues, the fall swings into action with Leverage in Death (and Nora’s fall trip to NY) and doesn’t stop until Of Blood & Bone is in your hands. And, of course, in between the two we’ll meet Young Master Pong Aufdem-Brinke.
I’ll pop in with some beach photos over the next few weeks along with regular updates on books and such. If you’re curious about what I do when Nora’s not around you can follow me on Instagram here. BTW, don’t forget we now have official IG accounts: Nora Roberts and JD Robb. I’m having great fun regramming readers photos of books and where they read them on both pages.
Plus, coming really, really soon: the Of Blood & Bone excerpt.
See you on the beach side! (I’ll be working in the chair to the right.)
Brisk morning, chilly enough for a fire. And a wise decision to postpone our trail ride. The rainy day cleared the haze and put the mountains in sharp relief again.
Since it’s chilly, and we’ve got that lovely fire, Kat and I tackle the evil puzzle. We can’t let it win! We break for lunch, sort of, here in the cabin. Vacation time’s winding down, so let’s eat what’s in the fridge.
And at last, even through all the dark moments, we have victory over this *&%%$!sonofa&^##!! Puzzle.
It may be evil, but it sure is pretty.
Time to kick back—and time for Kat to work on her cow painting—before it’s time to clean up for our last barbecue in The Yard. It’s still chilly by my standards so I layer it up, pull on warm socks and boots.
It may be brisk, and the sky layered, but the air’s clear and sharp so the view’s like a painting. And we have Mudslide Charlie for entertainment again, and that’s a definite plus.
Food, food and more food, but jeez I’m not used to eating all this food! I have to lay back a bit tonight, enjoy some wine, the music, the view—and the heater the lovely Alice—our waitress- sets up by our picnic table. Ahhh.
While we sit, a couple of cowgirls gallop by in the near field, one leading a third horse. Man, that are beautiful to watch, riders and horses. They end up riding right through The Yard, to the delight of all (especially the kids), then tethering the horses on the other side of the fence.
Eventually I walk over to say hi to the horses. One just stares at me like: Whattaya want? The second—with an amusing to me 57 tag on his bridle—allows me to scratch his head, pet his flank. The last gives me a well, maybe glance, and is fine with stroking on his pretty neck.
As the band rocks, the paella guy is grooving whenever he’s not dishing it up for guests. One of the cowgirl leads one of the horses by, and a little girl with equine fever all over her joins her. I can tell they’re having a serious horse conversation.
A smaller girl stands in front of the stage, staring at the female singer—I think imagining herself in the spotlight. Then she happily dances.
We’d hoped for a sunset, but it doesn’t look promising—and its getting cooler yet. We head back to our fire, have a quiet rest of the evening.
Workout’s done. Must start to organize soon as this is our last day. All but Kat will hit the trail this afternoon, and we’ll have one last dinner at the main resort.
Warmer today, but I think fall’s coming early to Montana.
Back in a former life, I was into crafting. I sewed—even made little overalls, with flies, for my boys—I embroidered, did crewel and needlepoint. I did macrame, canned jellies, refinished furniture. I was, basically, insane.
My theory is I was searching for my creative outlet, so when I found it in writing, I gave all the other up without hesitation.
But hey, vacation here, and they offered an apothecary class. Kat and I jumped in!
We walk down to the yoga studio at Spa Town—nice walk, cool morning—where Simone (of the glorious facial) would guide us through the creating of fragrant lotion bars, lip balm and body scrubs.
Just Kat and me in the class in the glass-walled studio.
We pick molds first, and both of us go for the rose pattern for the lotion bar. Pretty! Since it’s just the two of us, Simone has us double the recipe, then we can add color—Kat and I both combine the blue and red, hers for a lovely lavender purple, mine more pinky, then scent. So many delicious essential oils to choose from. I can’t resist the blood orange. Then, once Simone melts the mix, we have choices of pine needles, lavender, rose hips to crumble in, stir up before we pour into the mold.
Fun! And into the freezer with our creations.
Now we have a recipe for lip balm and little clear tubes, a little metal box. More color—we both end up with a kind of blush that looks pretty in the bowl, more essential oils. Melt it up, into a little lipped beaker to pour. While these set up, we’re onto body scrubs.
All the while, that view’s right out there through the wide glass walls.
Fine, fine sugar and salt, lots of those herbs for the scrub. I stick with the lavender and rose hips, Kat adds some pine needles. Stir, stir in a little white bucket, add more as you wish. Then the oils.
Here I reach for what I thought was the blood orange, but whoops wintergreen. Whoa, that’s pretty minty. Simone helps me tone that down with the orange, some lime, tangerine, grapefruit. It’s still minty, but now more interesting. And definitely what I’d call alert. Kat’s is lavender, and very soothing, relaxing.
Into little jars, with a label on top for the name.
In an hour, we’ve made lotion bars, lip balm and body scrubs—so much fun, and easy if you just have the ingredients.
Everything smells so good! We walk back pretty pleased with ourselves, even though it’s starting to rain a little.
We meet up with the guys for lunch. Raining more seriously now, so Jason skips his walk and we get an inside table. Good thing as the wind picks up, and the rain beats. They’re got a fire going in the dining room, and the buffet holds many choices. Fish and chips for me! And an arugula and berry salad that was mighty fine.
Hot chocolate’s pretty popular on this damp day where the temp’s barely nudging 60.
We—or should I say the intrepid Kat—builds a fire back in our cabin. It’s a snap and crackle comfort as Kat and I attack the evil puzzle. Slowly, slowly, progress is made.
Mama-to-be breaks off for a nice long bath with her own body scrub. Time to just relax by the fire, let the rain and wind have their way.
Dinner time, so I need to figure out what I have that’ll be warm enough to step outside again. Why not make use of Old Gringo Lavender boots? I wear them with warm, soft socks made by the creative Kat for me last Christmas. Cozy feet always make a difference.
Big fire in the big hearth in the dining room. Wine, soup, salads, eggplant parm special for BW and Kat, chicken fingers (GREAT bbq sauce) and fries for me and Jason.
I can’t handle dessert, but others can. Kat makes a special request. The baby is craving the world’s smallest sundae. And they come through with a little scoop of vanilla in a sorbet cup, chocolate sauce, whipped cream. And a cherry on top!
Back home and into pjs. Puzzle is definitely coming along, but it’s got a long way to go! I finally give it up, but Kat’s still at it.
And this morning I see the separate work she’d been doing, big chunks, finally found their connection to the whole. Whee!
We had horseback riding for those of us who aren’t pregnant scheduled for this morning, but it’s too cold for us greenhorns. We’ll change that to tomorrow when it’s warmer.
Workout’s done, and ended with my man Rodney Ye and some lovely yoga. I’m going to join Kat at the puzzle for a bit. If I get caught up so be it. If not, I may write for an hour or two.
Our last barbecue in The Yard tonight.
In today’s #randomkatness
Note from Laura: For those of you who mentioned the misaligned photos and captions in the posts, my first suggestion is to see if there’s an update for the WP app for your device. The main complaints have come about devices, but not just ipads or Androids. My guess is that as WordPress updates the platform, some of the apps may be lagging behind. I will continue to monitor comments and see what I can learn from the WP community. Stay tuned.
A late start (what will be Day 15), at least for me. Waking up just past eight is like the middle of the day! Part of the reason was processing Infinity Wars, but that’s for later.
Kat and I decided to hit the Outpost to finish off a little shopping in the morning. A nice day, a bit hazy so the far mountains rise under a thin curtain. We walk over—or mosey at that’s our girl’s speed right now. Only more pleasant. BW heads over to work out, Jason finishes up some stuff at the cabin—and we’ll all meet up.
We pass the horses—and a rooster crows. Hey, a little late today, pal. Gorgeous black horse, sweet, sleepy dog, strutting rooster. An entertaining stop on our walk.
They have new stuff in the shop, so we must see everything! Kat’s mission is boots, but alas, swollen pregnancy feet cause a serious issue. Even with short boots, zippered boots, larger size boots, though the girl who helped us tried really hard. Best to wait on these until after baby. Which is a shame as several pair were pretty terrific.
I’m not after boots. I have a pair of cowboy boots I’ve had for years that serve very well for those rare occasions I want them, and are wonderfully comfortable.
But…..When there is a pair of cowboy boots in a color billed as Old Gringo Lavender—and the display pair is MY size, what can I do? It’s almost an obligation, really. So what I can do is buy a pair of Farm To Feet socks (adorable and warm and comfy) to check them out.
They soon become mine. [See note from Laura.]
I also find (or Kat finds for me) a cute little dress, with pockets! Too short for a dress for me, but as a tunic over leggings, wonderful.
We have a good time looking at the leather cuff bracelets, and Kat finds one that fabulous for her. Search for a couple of gifts, and find those.
Then the guys show up, so it’s time for lunch.
Lunch this time out means a Huckleberry margarita, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds. So I have two before lunch is over. Another grilled cheese for me. Nice and sunny and warm on the porch.
Jason gets his walk back, but I’ve hit my goal and ride.
Now there’s porch sitting time, and puzzle (evil puzzle) time. A lot of doing not much of anything for the rest of the afternoon.
BW shows off his pictures of a doe and her fawn who came right up to the glass walls of the gym while he worked out. We spot a few more just grazing in the high grass beyond the cabin. Then I see one bounding—God, so pretty—just bounding along too fast for me to fumble out my phone for a shot.
I hear a hawk call—something else we hear off and on during the days here.
It’s dinner and a movie night at the cabin. Lots of left-overs to be heated up, dished up for a nice meal on the back porch.
Our tech guys (J&K) are hooking up a laptop to the loft TV to stream Infinity Wars. J&K have already seen, but Kat is anxious for my reaction and take once I have.
We have big chairs, big sofa up there, so it’s really comfortable.
I don’t want to do spoilers, but I thought the movie rocked (huge Avenger’s fan, and comic book reader since childhood here), and the ending was WHAT??? But actually not only made sense (there was definite foreshadowing) but made a really brilliant story arc from the very first Avengers movie.
I’m very anxious to see where they go (I think I know) from here. Have to wait till next summer.
Due to processing the movie, it took me awhile to fall asleep. Probably why I slept late.
Got a solid, slightly shorter workout in as Kat and I had an Apothecary class over in Spa town.
I’ll detail in the next blog, but will say we had a great time.
Cold and rainy today so writing this (after lunch) in front of the living room fire.