Farewell February

We won’t miss you.

For the shortest month, February really wanted to leave its mark. We had lows of -5, highs of 11, far too routinely. And I’m thoroughly sick of this view out my office window.

hillside 1 hillside 2

I’m prepared for March to come in like a lion, have no real hope it will go out like a lamb, but it has to be better than February.

I long to see grass, and bulbs popping, buds burgeoning. I’m half mad to open my windows and feel air that doesn’t numb my fingers.

It’s coming. I had a sign on Friday morning when, as happens now and then, a bird bumped into my office window. Then only seconds later–which doesn’t happen now and then–a second bird followed suit. I glanced out, saw several birds on my various rooflines, had a instinctive Hitchcockian shudder.

Then a flock buzzed by. What the hell’s going on?

I looked closer at the couple just below my window.

Robins.

And since they weren’t trying to break through the windows and Tippi Hedren me, I’m taking this as a sign spring will come.

Later in the day, my granddaughter came over, and through the back kitchen window we spotted a deer–a young one–grazing along on the ridge. Not long after my grandson joined us–and pointed out the side window. The young deer had been joined by a sibling, and they were working their way down, casually grazing on whatever popped up through the snow.

I decided that’s yet another sign–and it won’t be long until I’m chasing them away from my flowers instead of snapping their picture.

I look forward to the chase more than I can say.

Nora

Note from Laura:  When I had a chance to read The Liar in January all I could think was the book gave me spring.  I still think that.  And since spring is less than three weeks away and The Liar will be in stores in 45 days, it’s time to share an excerpt.  Enjoy!

 

Friday roundup

Time for some Friday updates to posts on this blog and around social media.

— Nora finished the One More Room last Sunday, but sadly decided to forgo reading since she was more tired than she expected.  She DID have the glass of wine to celebrate.

photo 3 omr nearly done omr done

 

 

— The By The Book column in the New York Times Sunday Book Review last weekend featured an author we all know and love.

— We discussed book covers on Facebook, specifically the covers of Sacred Sins that spanned nearly three decades.  I asked which cover would draw a reader in if they looked at all three on a shelf.  Many commenters said they buy based on Nora’s name, but I think that was a given.  It was more about which cover attracted your eye.  I like the original.  Which do you prefer?

sacred sins cover

1987

ssacred sins cover 2

2000

sacred sins cover 3

2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— Last, but definitely not least, a reader asked for suggestions for series of books that follow a couple (married or long term) a la Eve and Roarke.  I answered Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series (Nalini answered Eve and Roarke).   Share your own suggestions in the comments.

Stay as warm as you can if you are in the eastern half of the US!

Laura

Hibernation

As you read this, keep in mind I’m posting this for Nora while staying in a hotel in Long Island where the winds are up and the temps are down. I like her anyway. ~Laura
One of the biggest perks of being a writer is working at home. Even bigger is working at home when the thermometer reads one frigid, bitter, ridiculous degree. While I always do a February signing, I try not to venture out otherwise during this short, nasty little month.
 
I love hibernating. I’m an unsocial, solitary creature by nature, and winter gives me the perfect excuse to say: No thanks, not going anywhere. Mostly, I can always come up with an excuse, but winter builds one in for me.
 
There was a time I worked every day–a little less on weekends, but every day. Now it’s mostly a five-day week, but depending on where I am in a book there may still be some writing on weekends.
 
So that’s not an excuse, but a reason not to venture out. Hey, working here! I pull that reason out of my hat regularly. People who know me don’t ask me to meet them for lunch or go out to dinner or attend an event. People who don’t know me get the reason or the excuse.
 
A lot of them are sincerely baffled. My husband gets it, but there was a time. Several winters ago he said: You haven’t been out of the house is like six weeks. My response was: And your point is?
 
I understand perfectly that many people enjoy socializing regularly. My husband’s one of them. He went out in this deep-freeze yesterday to visit some pals. I stayed home, did some basic domestic stuff, baked bread and made an excellent pot roast–and got a solid workout in.photo 2
We were both happy.
 
Today the wind’s howling and I’m not going to even look at the temperature. I won’t be writing, because after all the shifting of books and files and clothes and shoes, our One More Room is a pure disaster. It’s the last on my purge list, and it’s getting the Big Treatment today.photo 3
 
After that’s done, I’ll get my workout in, then it’s time to pick a book off my TBR pile, pour a glass of wine, cozy up in front of the fire and go into someone else’s world for a couple hours. I hope it’s warm there.
 
Wherever you are–in the frozen tundra or some sunny spot, try to do one thing this weekend that makes you happy.
Nora

Some questions/some frank answers

Some non-story reader questions popped up during days leading to Obsession in Death.  Now that it’s in stores, I thought I’d address some of them here.  Nora adds her own thoughts at the end.

The wait between books

Nora addressed this perfectly in this post about trilogies (http://fallintothestory.com/quick-note-from-nora/) but since the first question about the fall In Death release (Devoted in Death out in September) appeared a mere 24 hours after Obsession hit stores in the US and Canada, it bears a re-read.

Waiting is part of the game of being a reader, isn’t it?  And Nora’s one of the most gracious writers out there in that she doesn’t make her readers wait all that long between books.  (Please see George Martin.  Or Harper Lee.)  I’m always honestly stumped by people who say they spend the six months between In Death entries re-reading the entire series for the X amount of time.  Or readers who favor Nora Roberts books saying they only read her over and over.  We have a limited time here on this earth and, for me, not exploring other reading options seems to be setting limits on your fun.

So I will post the “what are you reading?” threads a little more often as we wait for the next Roberts or Robb so we can all share in the fun.

Releases outside the US/Canada

Much as I’d love to say that a book is a worldwide release on a particular day, that’s not going to happen.  Nora has over 20 different publishers worldwide and they dictate what will be released and when based on reader trends in their country.  For example, I know that Brazil only released The Bride Quartet in the last year – to great enthusiasm from readers there.

Little Brown UK has worked hard to have releases in the UK, Ireland, AUS, NZ and SA nearly simultaneous with the US.  Germany lags just a bit behind.

I only hear about those publishers’ plans when they have a need to interview Nora.  If I have a decent amount of head’s up time, I’ll post it here.  But let me be frank:  Nora is a writer based in the US and most of the information I provide will be US-centric.

Pricing/availability/formats

There are readers who feel that the author – or an author of Nora’s stature – can influence any and everything that has to do with her books beyond the writing of them.  That’s just not the case.

I know of authors who need to approve everything from covers to publicity campaigns.  I also know that those authors don’t produce books for their readers nearly as often and as well as Nora does.

Nora writes the books, it’s just that simple and complicated.  And I know from experience that she will hand in a book to her publisher then get to work on the next one within 2-3 days.

And since the result of her focus on the work means we have books to anticipate up to 5 times a year, I think it’s a win for everyone.

From Nora:

On the questions/complaints about formats/ scheduling here in The States, in Canada, in Europe and pretty much everywhere:  I understand the cost of books can be an issue, and God knows I love a sale as much as anyone.

Some readers believe I can influence when a book comes out–wherever–and in whatever format. I can’t and don’t. I write the book–it’s just that simple and straight-forward. It’s what I do, it’s my job. It’s the publisher’s job to publish it, to schedule it, to design the cover. I work hard at my job and leave everything else to the people who work hard at theirs. I don’t know how to do their jobs (and really, really, REALLY don’t want to know). They don’t know how to do mine. So it all works out for everyone. 

On pricing: The publisher publishes, and the venue–bookstore, Amazon, iTunes, WalMart, etc, can discount the publisher’s list price, or not. They can run specials, or not. I’m in no way involved in that process. Writers write. Bookstores sell.

I have absolutely no control over what Amazon or B&N or Target or your local indie bookstore sell my books for.

Bottom line: In a way, it’s flattering that some readers think I have that much power, and such varied skills, and that much time and energy. But the simple fact is, my power, skills, time and energy go into writing the book.

It’s not only all I do, and all I want to do, it’s all I can do.

 

Fun and Fabulous February

Mostly I tolerate February. It comes after January, which is something, and it’s short. You have to get through it to hit March, and once you get to March, spring’s coming right up. Plus spring training starts so baseball isn’t far off. 

This particular weekend in February was more than tolerable. It was indeed fun and fabulous starting for me on Friday evening when my son delivered my bestie Ruth Langan to the door. IMG_122620150207_112412 galaxy 387

Everything is fun and fabulous when Ruth’s around. 

I took most of Friday off to make lasagna, and a coffee cake for the mornings, one I know Ruth especially enjoys. Bubbly and hangout time for me and Ruth after dinner before we all tucked into bed to rest up for Saturday’s signing. 

On Saturday morning Laura arrives just after BW, Jason and Kat leave for TTP. A little girl consult over which jacket I want over my signing dress, and we’re off. 

It’s cold — one of the reasons I mostly tolerate February — but clear. And we’ve got a stellar signing line up. Ruth and I, with Laura’s and TTP Janeen’s help, hit the pre-sells and the virtual signing books. 

20150207_163547

Nora and Sarah Addison Allen

And I’m especially thrilled to meet Sarah Addison Allen, whose books I simply adore. 

Due to good weather and that stellar line up we have a four and a half hour signing — over 300 people came through the line! But I can honestly say I can’t remember ever having a happier group of authors, or a happier group of readers. The bookstore rang with voices and laughter all day –and the strong, cheerful energy sang everywhere. 

20150207_115714

Our Laura is only days into recovery from knee surgery, but she trooped through, taking photos, chatting with readers. And, as always TTP treats its authors right. Pizza in the backroom, and at the second quick break a bottle of champagne to share to keep that happy energy going. 

I sincerely want to thank all our authors for the happy, and all the readers who waited, stood in line, and remained cheerful. It was a really, really good day, on every level. 

It didn’t end there for me or Laura, for Ruth and our Kat. Home again where some pals waited — with food and drink. We topped that off with an amazing cake for Ruth. 

She’s hit 100. Publications, that is. Yes, that’s 100 books, and that kind of milestone deserves an amazing cake shared with pals who love you. Congratulations, my darling Ruthie! 

Afterward, we had a fun and fabulous time tearing through all those bags I’d purged from my closet. Nothing much more fun and fabulous than a group of good girlfriends stripping down, trying on clothes and shoes, finding things new to them that fit and look great. 

Nobody left empty-handed. 

This morning we had to say goodbye to Ruth–and Kat who took her to the airport on her own way home. And to Laura who headed the much shorter distance home. Ice that knee, Laura! 

Lots of good memories to keep (and far too much cake to tempt me). 

If you’re tolerating February, I hope you can do something fun and fabulous to make the cold days pass with some happy. I promise it’ll make spring come quicker.

Nora

Note from Laura: Thanks for all the well wishes yesterday.  I’ve been diligent about the icing since yesterday evening.  It was hard, but I did my best to let everyone else fetch and carry once the signing was over.  

Obsession in Death teasers

obsession small - Copy - CopyWe’re six days out from the Obsession in Death release and I thought I’d share some teasers about the book.  Not outright spoilers, but things to pay attention to while you devour Obsession.

I’ll add to this post on Friday (2/6), Sunday (2/8) and Monday (2/9) so stay tuned.  ~Laura

 

Wednesday, February 4:

We learn Eve gets fan mail — and did so even before the media storm that was the Icove.

Candy and coffee are two different things in Eve’s mind.  And Feeney is a crafty man with his own cache of one of those things.

When Eve’s squad closes ranks, they dig down deep and sacrifice.  You’ll be surprised.

And I’m going to borrow Peabody’s quote about working with Eve Dallas for the next time someone asks me about working with JD Robb.  “I’m living the dream.”  :)

Friday, February 6

Remember, these are just some things (with my interpretation) to look for as you read.

We see a completely off-duty Nadine.  Eve has an apt name for Nadine’s time off.

We learn that Roarke is working on Eve’s fear of cows.

We revisit one of my particular favorite people.

Sunday, February 8

Det. Carmichael has an interesting way to stay motivated in her fitness during the holidays.

Eve shares a small part of what pushed her to be a cop with Peabody.

Sexual-free-for-all comes up in an interesting context.

Bella wants a new toy.

Monday, February 9

The teasers flow through the book in sequence and yesterday’s brought us pretty near the end of the case so I’m going to post just one. Soon enough you’ll read them all on your own.

We learn that Summerset has been known to…reminisce.

 

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUP-er Bowl Sunday

Note from Laura: even the strongest of friendships benefit from opposing points of view.  This is NOT how I will spend Super Bowl Sunday — but I know plenty of people whose plans concur with Nora’s.

I don’t watch football–not even the Big Game. A couple days ago my granddaughter quizzed me on basic rules and scoring, certain because I don’t watch it I wouldn’t know. It surprised her I did.

I know how the game works (mostly), but it’s not my game. I like baseball. I like baseball a whole bunch. And oddly enough, I like sports movies, and the sport doesn’t matter.

In any case, my husband watches football, and he’s been gearing up for today. Part of that was getting some heavy lifting done yesterday–for both of us. Moving a zillion books from one space to another is a major undertaking. I’ve had my copies in this area for decades–and I’ve written a bunch ‘o books. But the newly selected area will serve better–once we get it done.

shoes glorious shoesMy shoes now live on the shelves that used to hold my hardcovers–those that weren’t still in boxes (the books, that is). And this I deem good.

We worked until we both decided, jeez, that’s enough for the day. Then, most excellent timing wise, enjoyed a visit with our oldest grandson who didn’t want to go with the rest of his family on an outing. Fun for us.

But today is another day.

No hauling, so I got a workout in, then rolled up my sleeves. I promised my football guy ham and potato soup–which I’ll enjoy as well. We won’t enjoy it together. soup er bowlHe’ll be down in the family room shouting at the TV, and I expect to be reading–and maybe giving myself a facial. He will come up and excitedly tell me plays or the score–he’s got his annual bet going with his pal. I’ll make mouth noises, then go back to my book–or by that time it might be a movie.

Maybe I’ll pull out my DVD of The Natural–hey, spring training’s right around the corner.

But I’m starting my holiday Sunday early, with my book in the library. I expect to finish it, then hit my TBR pile. And that equals Super Day for me.

NFR tbr cozy read

For those of you–like Laura–who love football, enjoy the big game–and the commercials! For those–like me–who don’t, have fun with whatever you’re doing instead.

I’ve got a book calling my name.

Nora

 

 

Mondays Happen

I’ve decided not to feel guilty that my own purging hasn’t been as thorough and systematic as Nora’s.  In fact, I assuaged my guilt by deciding to read The Liar (out in April) and telling my husband I was working all weekend.  ~Laura

Sometimes I wonder how. But here we are, back at the start of the week. And it’s snowing again. It’s pretty from my office window–and I’ll dive back into the book shortly and won’t notice it anyway.monday snow monday snow 2

I’m hoping the week will be as productive as the weekend before it.

Purging moving right along. We tackled the Laundry Room–or as it has become: The Dumping Ground.

I really hate that, but at least there’s satisfaction after spending a couple hours getting rid of stuff that has no business in there. Had to enlist BW on this one as most of the stuff that had no business in there ended up there by his hands. Why, I had to ask him, is this ancient computer monitor in here, under the shelves were I keep kitchen tools and such that are needed but used rarely?

He couldn’t say, but out it went, along with two old DVD players and other assorted electronics that had passed their prime. All will now be given away or recycled. And best, they’re out of my space.

Fortunately, once we started, he was as happy as I was to move things out, put the room back in order. And best of all, it’s done.

I tackled my office alone, and had to ask myself a variation of what I asked BW. What is this doing in here? More satisfaction as my office hasn’t been this clean in a year. So I’ll start this work week in a good space.

soup on sundayI made us both happy on Sunday and put together a big pot of tortilla soup. Nice, as we’ll have leftovers on this snowy Monday, and I can stay at my desk a bit longer without worrying about what’s for dinner.

Wherever you are, and whatever’s outside your window, I hope you had a satisfying weekend. And are ready for the start of a new week. I’m thinking of this Monday as a fresh page. Now let’s see what gets written on it.

 

Nora

 

Winter Weekend

Nora sends a weekend post card from her favorite place — Home.  ~Laura

This was a busy one around here. We’re repurposing two areas–shifting them, and since one is my sub-office where we’ve stored all my books, and the other is my closet, this entails much tubbing, boxing, purging, hauling. Both areas are up a set of stairs, so it involves a lot of climbing.

We’d earmarked this weekend for the major work here, but we took a pause on that Saturday as my oldest grandson had a basketball game.

Watching a bunch of 10 and 11-year old boys race around a court, dribbling, passing, shooting is enormous fun–and when one is yours, exhausting. And really exhilarating when your boy scores a basket and makes a key steal. Our guys won, which is great, but the very best was the big, beaming grin on Logan’s face when we saw him after the game.

At least we came home cheerful to face a solid three hours of work. I believe my Fitbit registered 50 sets of stairs by the end of it. Though my new closet space still needs some tweaking–ordered more shoe and boot boxes–it’s in pretty good shape. And the new storage area won’t be my problem!

Purging the closet will net my pals plenty. I’ve already sent out an SOS for us to get together soon and tear through the small mountain of bags we hauled out.

I did a little of that tweaking on Sunday, and will do more yet, but had set that cold winter day aside mostly for the kitchen. I finally got the Thanksgiving turkey carcass out of the freezer to make turkey noodle soup. BW’s particularly fond of pretzel bread, so I added that to the menu. When he came in from manly outdoor chores, I got another big, beaming grin when he saw the rolls cooling on the rack. Good deal all around.

turkey noodle soup pretzel rolls

Somewhere between chopping vegetables for the soup and punching down dough, my granddaughter popped in. She’s still afraid to change her own earrings (we’ll work on this) and has decided I’m the only one who can do it. So we did that–and I bought a load of Girl Scout cookies from her. That netted me one more happy face for my weekend.

The closet shift has delayed my full-house purge, but I hit the utility closet while I was chained to the kitchen, so can now check my kitchen off the purge and organize list.

With BW mired in football, I had myself a nice bowl of soup, some quiet and a book to end the weekend.

Today, after all that hauling and climbing, I’m looking forward to sitting on my butt and writing. I hope you all had a weekend with some happy faces, and can do what makes you smile through the week.

Nora