Thought I’d pop in for a minute to share that Kat’s a tad past her due date (10/17). Nora waits on call with her packed bag and premade lasagna to help in any way when the Young Master arrives. I promise to let you know all the news when I have some.
In the meantime, we’ll talk about other things worth waiting for. On Tuesday, I shared the cover reveal video for Under Currents — Nora’s July 2019 release. It’s gorgeous and spooky all at once. What do you think?
Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see the public side of his parents, a successful surgeon and his stylish wife. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.
As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.
When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…
You can pre-order Under Currents now: Turn the Page: http://bit.ly/2yETAxO Amazon: https://amzn.to/2yETRAQ Kindle: https://amzn.to/2yFyDmi BN: http://bit.ly/2yGcmVj NOOK: http://bit.ly/2yCXMxW IndieBound: http://bit.ly/2yGevjV Kobo: http://bit.ly/2yF3Nu6 iBooks: https://apple.co/2yIPG6Q
As you know, Nora and family moved their annual NYC fall trip to September to accommodate Kat’s due date. I decided to keep the original dates and had my own adventure last week. I’m afraid I didn’t finish my holiday shopping (code for I haven’t started) unlike some other people I could mention, but my husband and I got up to The Met, out to a NY Jets game and finished the trip with an evening at Springsteen on Broadway. And I took photos along the way.
On Tuesday, I spent some time in the Flatiron Building with Marissa Sangiacomo and Erica Martirano, members of Team Nora as well as the hosts of One True Pairing, a podcast about their favorite couples from all parts of pop culture. We had a wide-ranging conversation about our favorite Nora Roberts couples, what writers owe their readers, white chocolate and how much Erica and I detest it. I think the segment airs the week of Thanksgiving, and I’ll share a link when it’s up.
Macmillan (St. Martin’s Press is an imprint) leaves the Flatiron Building next spring to a building further downtown, so I take advantage of any visit to take a snap.
And I think that’s just about all the news from this desk. Back to waiting on the Young Master. Stay tuned!
Last week, my pal Marissa at St. Martin’s Press emailed to ask if I’d boost their latest stroke of genius on Facebook to promote the In Death series: a sweepstakes in which 500 readers receive a connect-the-dot booklet, and one grand prize winner will get a booklet and a signed ARC of Connections. (Sweepstakes link: here )
I agreed, even as I mentally rolled my eyes and shielded my energy. Why? Mainly to not wilt under the inevitable chorus of readers outside the US unhappy with the rules that exclude them.
Recently, the chorus has upped the ante and there have been declarations of “Well I won’t buy your books!” “Why do you hate readers who live in [fill in the blank]?” “Do you know what you can do with your books?” Nora replied “Yes, I can write them.”
And there, my friends is the crux of it all. Nora’s contract with readers is to give them the best book possible, every single time out. That’s it. She works long hours, one book at a time to achieve her end of the bargain. Yes, there may books readers don’t enjoy. But that’s a whole different conversation.
The perception of a writer with a worldwide following such as Nora’s is that one publisher handles all things. Nora has explained this is not the case several time, I’ve explained as well. I’ve added notes to contest information that it can’t be done. But the immediate reaction from readers is pretty much “Why don’t you love MEEEEEEEE?” I’m here to say she does, she upholds her end of the bargain and that’s where the story ends.
Once finished, a book goes off to her US editor. Fairly soon thereafter, it’s off to her UK editor. Each woman works for a different publisher. The covers are different, the distribution is different, the rules are different. For the rest of the world, it all depends on which international publisher has contracted to bring Nora or JD to their particular readership and when. For instance, Brazil brought out the Bride quartet with fun promotion, lots of excitement — 4 years after it came out in the US.
The last In Death to come out to a fairly wide readership was Apprentice. By my count it came out in Czechloslovakia, Poland, Hungary, France, the UK (Ireland/Australia/New Zealand/South Africa) and the US.
Each publisher promoted in the way that worked for their market. At the time, Nora’s US publisher was Putnam and their method of promotion didn’t include giveaways and contests. When she moved to St. Martin’s Press, the team there faced the challenge of rebranding, promoting and publicizing a series 43 books long, with an established reader base. They chose to build the audience with clever, creative sweepstakes.
The one thing they can’t do is offer these creative promotions to readers outside the US, including Canada more often than not. The rules, the laws, governing publishers are specific to each country, global contests are virtually impossible. In a recent conversation with Nora’s new Little Brown editor, she told me that once she’d tried to run a worldwide contest and it fell apart under all the rules. By the way, for a company like Little Brown, contests are geographic as well — a contest in Australia can’t run in South Africa.
My position is different. In a lot of ways, especially with the advent of social media, I’m the axle in the wheel of Nora. She’s one spoke, the publishers are another couple of spokes, readers are spokes. I field questions about books, complaints about print runs, issues with audio books, ebooks, any books. And I turn that information over to the appropriate editor as soon as I’m able.
Believe me, I’ve encouraged non-US publisher to consider contests because at this point in time, readers want them. They consult with their own sales & marketing departments and make their own choices.
Here’s where I empower you to reach out to the publisher in your country. I’ve included websites and the social media pages below and encourage you to speak up. Let them know you want to play, want an option to read a book a little early.
In the meantime, I’m figuring out how to have a worldwide contest through the blog. There are a lot of hoops for me as well, so be patient while I work it all out.
UK/Ireland/Australia/New Zealand/South Africa Publisher site: https://www.littlebrown.co.uk/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/norarobertsjdrobb/
We’re starting the Baby Clock around here with three weeks to go until due date. And we started it off with a happy weekend.
I called dibs on giving Kat’s shower pretty much thirty seconds after she announced baby on board. I love giving showers because what could be happier than sharing the anticipation of a life together (wedding) or a new life (baby) with female friends and family? For me, it’s one of the sweetest of rituals.
And for me, the weekend starts off with a short work day on Friday to make room for a workout before the kids come up for dinner. Since Kayla has a meet on Saturday, that means pasta for the runner. I happen to have red sauce I made from Jo’s garden tomatoes bagged in the freezer–so that’s easy.
It’s nice to have the kids around at the end of the week, to catch up on what they’re doing, and how they’re doing. I can report Logan’s gained another inch. It’s so cute how he kind of leans over to hug me now.
As the shower’s on Sunday, I have all day Saturday to prep. And I have two young men to help out in Logan and Colt. I admit I wasn’t sure if Colt would really pitch in, but boy, did he. And Logan’s a solid workhorse when motivated.
Pavers and walkways swept, deck chairs cleaned, trash out, this hauled up, that hauled down, kitchen floor scrubbed, and chairs, chairs and more chairs carted into the living room for an expected party of about 40.
I have (personally stuffed) a boatload of party favor bags waiting in the backroom, along with some of the gifts sent here, the game supplies and prizes organized, and many, many bottles of champagne chilling.
And the cake arrives. Oh just wow!!! Kat wanted a dinosaur theme, and Lacy the amazing baker has created a truly delightful masterpiece. I have to do a driveway happy dance when I see it.
Then hold the dogs who are just as delighted with her and the scent of her dogs on her shoes while Logan runs up to open the door so she can carry the cake inside. She takes it down to the laundry room where I’ll close the door to keep the dogs from sampling it.
Wake to rain on Sunday, the all-day kind. But that’s not going to dampen the party. Natoma (Gifts Inn Boonsboro manager and excellent caterer) arrives with her daughter Hannah to set up. At Kat’s request the dino theme continues with some cute touches like dino-shaped chicken bites, dessert ‘Dirt’, dino gummies, blue punch (it’s a boy, after all) and a terrific array of food.
No one’s going to leave this party hungry!
Laura arrives with the flowers I asked her to pick up–and pick out. So, so pretty, all those rich fall colors. Just perfect. Sarah comes early, too, to lend a hand.
Dogs, sad for them, now locked on the front deck so they won’t enthusiastically jump on arrivals.
The house starts to fill, time to pour champagne, wine, sparkling blue punch. Time for girl energy and hugs and greetings. When the guest of honor arrives, she’s glowing. A sweet ritual, yes, but also an important one, one that celebrates women, their power, their bonds, their strengths.
And more special here, Kat has such a lovely and diverse circle of women in her life. From our Kayla at sixteen, to women in their 70s, from college friends, work friends, aunts, cousins, a woman she met Panera and bonded with over knitting.
And so my house is filled with joy and love, with laughter and female voices.
Game time!* A little baby word scramble to start–and we actually have one contestant who got every one. Some brain in there. For the next game–listing songs with Baby in the title, we have a tie between spa girls (obviously veteran game players!) Nicole and Kat. I have to run up to the One More Room for another prize. The final game has all those women holding a card to their foreheads and trying to draw a baby without looking. Mama-To-Be will judge the winner.
Most turn out like you’d expect. But two somehow managed to draw actual babies. This is quite the skill and requires another trip to the One More Room for yet another prize as it’s another tie.
Time for more food!
I let the dog off the deck, and–as I should’ve known–they sneak into the house. The ladies are just as pleased to see dogs as dogs are pleased to be seen so I let them stay for a bit.
Then banish them outside.
It’s time to open all those wonderful gifts.
Such fun, and all those adorable baby things. Jo had suggested we request a favorite book in lieu of a card to start the baby’s library. While there were a few duplicates, it’s amazing to me how much variety. So many beloved children’s books piling up. My choice, Where The Wild Things Are, as I read that one over and over to both my boys. Now my boy can read it to his.
Cake! Countless pictures have been taken of that cake, and more than one bemoans cutting into that work of art. However, what’s inside is just as fabulous. Kat’s favorite strawberry shortcake. Mmmm.
As guests leave, more hugs. Pals load all those baby gifts into cars–and Kat’s still glowing. I get one more rub of that beautiful baby bump as the next time I see Kat will be at the birthing center.
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.)