Shelter in Place is on sale today (May 29, 2018). And this is the place to discuss so spoilers are very much ahead.
A quick reminder of the book description:
Shelter in Place is on sale today (May 29, 2018). And this is the place to discuss so spoilers are very much ahead.
A quick reminder of the book description:
Some of you may be aware we had a bit of a tangle on the Dark In Death Discussion thread last week. A reader had strong (very) objections to the word skank as used to describe women Eve and Peabody warned about possible danger.
I don’t want to get more specific on the plot itself as some of you may not have read the book.
However, I will say, in this case, one of the women the reader sees in interview is wearing cock and ball earrings. The other has Sexy Bitch tattooed over her well-displayed chest. They are, basically, party girl groupies looking for the next score–sex, drugs, action. Whatever.
Peabody uses the term.
The reader had many objections–terrible to denigrate women (such terms are NEVER used to describe men)–cops would never use such terms (she included skirt and sidepiece in this claim) as they would be ‘raked over the coals’ for doing so. And it was her opinion as I wrote the book, I am therefore sexist and should correct this in the future.
Well, bullshit on all counts.
First, as I pointed out–pretty politely at first–I am not my characters nor are they me. And cop talk is cop talk. I also reminded her that a recurring sub-character is nicknamed Dickhead.
Not good enough–even when a couple of other posters who have some experience working or being around cops explained that yeah, cops talk to other cops in often harsh shorthand.
The reader escalated, got very personal and rude–not only to me at the end, but to other posters–until Laura had to step in, tell her she’d crossed all kinds of lines, and banned her.
First, I’ll say Laura doesn’t take banning a reader lightly. It has to be extreme, and this was.
It occurred to me during this incident, that the particular reader obviously didn’t get one of the main points of the book–from the perspective of the character whose books are being used to plot. murders.
This is fiction. This is a story. We who write try very hard to craft entertaining stories with compelling, interesting characters. We’re not writing about ourselves when we write fiction, and the actions, dialog, internalization, motivations of those characters must fit those characters. Not those of the person writing the story.
Just to take Eve Dallas as an example:
I love to shop; she hates it. She drinks gallons of coffee; I don’t drink it at all. She has a cat; I have dogs. Shoes for her are something you walk in. For me, shoes are . . . pretty much everything. I’ve never been in a physical fight–and hope that continues.
I could go on and on.
Part of the fun of writing is creating people, and the writer may have little in common with those people. Their worldviews may or may not mesh. Their backgrounds are very unlikely to.
Some readers may project the writer into the character, but that doesn’t make it true.
Moreover, it’s always struck me as very strange that certain readers will ask, insist even demand that I write what they want, or stop writing what they don’t.
You must stop using the word fuck! People don’t talk that way.
First do you live in the actual world? Second I’ll use whatever word I like as you’re not the boss of me. And more to the point, if my characters use this very versatile word, it’s because THEY’RE using it.
Your books have too much sex. Your books need more sex.
My books have the amount of sex that I, as the writer, feels suits the story and the characters having sex.
You need to go back to writing nice, sweet romance.
No. I need to write what I’m driven to write.
I’m sending you this religious pamphlet because you use the name of the Lord in vain, and I’m worried about your immortal soul.
Thank you for the thought, and maybe you shouldn’t read my books.
You write about witchcraft so I believe you’ve embraced Satan.
(Yes, all the above are true stories.)
Does a reader honestly believe I’m going to read one of these posts, emails, letters and say: OH! Sue in Tulsa doesn’t want any swearing in my books. No more swearing for my characters!
Or I won’t write about fictional witches because I’m suddenly afraid I’ve invited Satan into my life?
These readers don’t know me, and yet feel perfectly righteous about telling me I’m immoral or sexist or an animal hater (killed a fictional cat in a book once) or whatever their personal values dictate.
Laura gets most of this–and recently got an all-caps rant on my language, which included a slam at Diana Gabledon for using fuck in her books. Which the raging reader claimed hadn’t been invented by the time of Outlander (which she called Highlander in the screed). Well, as Laura said, she supposed the reader had never read Chaucer whose work well precedes the Jacobite Rebellion.
Readers don’t get to dictate. They don’t get a vote. They have tremendous power–to buy or not, to read or not. The reader who provided the springboard for this blog claimed that since she’d read the book, she had the right to critique it, and obviously all I wanted was constant praise.
Well, I’d rather get praised than slammed. Human here. Yet over three decades I’ve somehow managed to shoulder mixed or poor reviews, or handle readers’ individual complaints.
However, reading the book doesn’t give anyone the right to hurl personal insults at the writer of the book. That’s not a critique on the work.
Let me add that the fall back–you just want constant praise–is the often-used blast that usually comes when the person’s losing an argument.
It should be a clue when a reader is alone in an opinion in a group of other readers, when reasonable responses have been given. Instead of buying the clue, this type of person then hurls those insults at everyone.
And honestly, when one claims I’m sexist and need to knock it off because a cop character in a story uses the term to describe women whom I deliberately crafted to earn the designation, I tend to believe that particular reader is a little scary.
I know perfectly well some will read this and be insulted–claim I’m disrespectful to readers. But I don’t push readers into one lump. You are not the Borg. And some individuals who happen to read need to learn to separate reality from fiction. And need to understand my world–personally and professionally–doesn’t revolve around their demands.
To end this on a happier note, I spent yesterday in the kitchen (catch Eve doing that!). I made a couple of rounds of sour dough bread, which I’ll freeze as I made a pretty amazing beef stew with dumplings.
Leftovers tonight! So my afternoon will include reading someone else’s book.
Note from Laura: As Department Head of Answering Letters, I see a lot of fascinating messages. There are the ones that move — loving stories about readers and the people in their live, for example the widower who reads the In Deaths because Eve reminds him of his wife, or the people who share how reading brought them closer to family members, or how just reading one of Nora/JD’s titled helped a reader out of a morass of depression because she saw a woman of strength in that book.
As the Department Head of Reading Complaints, I see all the examples Nora listed above. With a few extra thrown in like “I’ll show you! I’ll borrow your books from the library!!!” As a daughter of a librarian, sales to libraries are golden for an author so I just smile and wish them well. Recently, a woman complained on behalf of herself, her mother, her sister, their hairdresser and other assorted people (many of these come in from the group spokesperson) about Year One and how they just didn’t like it and all agree Nora should write happier books. When I replied that maybe they’ve just outgrown Nora and should stop reading her for a while she came back with “You’re telling me NOT to buy Nora’s books???” Well, yes. Borrow them, give yourself a break. How does it serve anyone’s purpose for you to set yourself up to be miserable?
I’ve taken to charting when the standard complaints come in. Around a full moons I see a rise in language complaints. There are two full moons this month, so I’m extra braced.
Recently there’s been an uptick in emails like this one: “Please stop showing so much of your boobs on morning television. My 12 year old son is in the room and he doesn’t need to see it.”
She meant to write to Norah O’Donnell of CBS The Morning. But I had a good laugh thinking of our Nora flashing the nation on morning TV. And then I sent a correction.
Today’s the day! You can talk all about Dark in Death here — so be warned, spoilers are very much ahead!
Did you catch my teasers as you raced through? Or are you savoring because you know September is a ways away?
Share away in the comments.
Shelter in Place is Nora’s “big” book for 2018. (Isn’t the cover gorgeous?) We waited until the Year One release was a bit further back before bringing Shelter front and center.
Here’s a quick description:
Sudden violence turned a typical evening at a mall into a nightmare. Those who survived the chaos and carnage would find their lives forever changed. One would dedicate himself to law enforcement, determined to find answers and justice. Another would struggle to block off all memories of that horrible night, pouring her emotions into her art.
I’ll add to the description and we’ll discuss Shelter in Place much more over the coming months leading up to the May 29 release. For now, here’s an excerpt.
Happy 2018 to our Fall into The Story family! While I’m here daily to review the comments — mainly about Year One — and keep some general order, it’s been a while since the last original post.
While she’ll fill you in when she has a moment, I can report that Nora and family had a busy Christmas and another crowded-to-the-rafters New Year’s open house. (I had to give that a pass as I never quite got over a germs that stayed in place since Thanksgiving.) Once she restored the house to order, Nora went directly back to work on her plan to finish the first draft of a new book before the January spa trip.
Did you have any doubt she met that goal? Don’t you know our Nora by now?
My husband and I met up with Nora and BW last Monday at a game-free, scoreboard-less spa. I resolutely ignored the mantel over the fireplace — the resting spot for the scoreboard — the entire time. I know the FITS family waits with bated breath to see if I can be the Biggest Loser three years running, but April is still a season away. I can wait.
I’m home now, Nora is back at her desk tomorrow. For the first time, ever, she wrote after her morning workout and before the afternoon spa treatment during the January trip. (This is the usual November schedule, but she’s determined to finish the current WIP in order to take the annual winter trip to see Eve and Roarke. I think we can all agree with that motivation.)
Next weekend the 2018 room by room, drawer by drawer purge starts. And Nora will get back to her winter pattern of work, bread, soup, clearing.
In other news:
The Year One conversation continues on Facebook. Since that’s a spoiler-free zone you may notice an influx of new readers to this space looking to chat about Year One. Welcome!
In important news:
The Of Blood & Bone release– book 2 in The Chronicles of The One — is now a week later: December 4, 2018. The final book will be out the first week in December 2019.
In Death news:
Here’s the TV ad for Dark in Death — out on January 30:
And here’s some St. Martin’s Press artwork about DiD:
Inside the Dark in Death US/Canada hardcover is a 3-D image. This is a sample with a little message — I can’t read these, I’m way too nearsighted — but I do know what it says. *
In future news:
If you subscribe to Nora’s News (you’ll find the sign up box at the bottom of any page on either website) — the next issue includes an excerpt of June’s Shelter in Place.
If you are so inclined to read them, the Dark in Death teaser thread opens on Monday, January 22.
Talk to you soon!
*I will tell you what it says if you ask in the comments.
[Note: the italics and bold words are my doing. ~Laura]
In my normal routine, weekends are for domestic stuff, family, taking a breath. There were many times back in the day that I put in time writing on weekends. There are still occasions I work weekends, or go back to work in the evening–but mostly I try not to.
I need to enjoy my home, my family–and tend to both, just like most people.
This weekend, after a fun gathering here on Friday evening, I got in an early workout before hitting the domestic and family. Fun for me that when I started wrapping the last of the Christmas presents, a pretty snow began to fall. Light, fluffy, and the perfect backdrop for my tradition of watching (as Kayla calls them) cornball Christmas movies while I wrap.
Done with that, I headed down, put on more cornball as the snow fell and I kneaded bread. And while the bread rose, started making soup. It’s another routine in the life during the fall and winter. Making soup and bread on the weekends.
My house smelled glorious. As a reward, during the second rising, and while the soup simmered, I got the book I haven’t had time to pick up for two weeks, poured myself some bubbly and sat in the library. A fire, a snowfall, an adult beverage and a most excellent book. Nice.
Today, we had a window before Logan’s basketball game to do some cookie baking. Another tradition–one that now had Kayla mostly in the lead. The girl’s a good cook. A double batch of chocolate chip, some peanut butter blossoms, and after they had to head out, I finished up with candy cane kiss cookies.
Yum to all. My kids took a break in there, took advantage of Nana’s soup. Next weekend we’ll add Colt in and do our famous painted sugar cookies. Fun, chaotic, messy, adorable and delish.
If I didn’t take this time for family, for homey chores I very much enjoy, my life would have no balance. All work will, no question, eventually lead to burn out. That’s not beneficial to anyone.
I get readers fall in love with a book or author and want more. And more, and faster, quicker–and often NOW. The book I finished in my library was John Sandford’s latest Virgil Flowers novel. I am a HUGE fan. And now I wait a year to see where Virgil goes next. I’d love to have the next instantly, but that’s simply impossible, and so very unfair to Sandford. I assume he also enjoys having an actual life.
None of us who write can write as fast as readers (myself included) read. We can’t. And we shouldn’t try–because the work will suffer. Readers can and do gobble up a book in hours. Writing that book takes months, and in some cases years.
I’m thrilled many readers enjoyed Year One, are supportive of this new direction I followed. I’m flattered readers are looking forward to the second book.
Where this breaks off is where some readers feel entitled to demand, or are outraged by a wait for a book, or jump to conclusions about the publisher or marketing or whatever. I don’t include in this those who say: Oh, I can’t wait!! Or how will I wait!! Or I wish I had it now. I wish I had the next Sandford in my hot little hands. I’m a reader, too. (And the last line in that book had me going: Hot Damn! But now I wait.)
I’m talking about those who complain the books should be published one after another, or closer together. I can’t write them to suit those readers because these books are longer than my previous trilogies and so very much more complicated to write. And I just insist on having a life in there, too.
I haven’t written the three books in a trilogy one after another for years. I used to be able to do so. I haven’t so longer than I can remember. Same with the Robbs, which I could, at one time, do nearly always, three in a row. Life, creativity and scheduling have made that impossible.
I have not, as some have claimed, written all three already (so my publisher can hold them back). These books are brutal and fascinating and scary to write, and it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort. And so much figuring out, my brain hurts at the end of the day when I’m into one. I want to produce the best books I can, and I can’t do it like a machine that pumps them out on demand.
I think part of the problem is that I write fairly quickly, and readers have gotten used to more and more. I still write four major books a year. Four. It’s all I can do well. Frankly, I think the other part of the problem is that some readers are used to how quickly the self-pubbed produce–and don’t look at the fact those stories are generally a LOT shorter, don’t go through a serious editing process, a cover art process, the scheduling process, the marking issues, and so on.
All those processes take time.
When my editor and agent came here for dinner (and the holiday signing) a bit ago, we sat in my kitchen going over the schedule for 2019. St. Martin’s, like all publishers, have other authors, and consider placement carefully because YES, publishing is a business. If the publisher doesn’t make some sort of profit, the publisher can’t stay in the business of publishing. They can’t pay writers, editors, sales reps, marketing and publicity staff and on and on.
SMP would, absolutely, be thrilled if I could write a book every month. They’d find a way to publish all of them. I can’t. Physically, creatively, realistically, I can’t just pump them out like gum drops. If I did, the quality would suffer, and every single reader would, rightfully, complain.
Year One is a departure, and won’t appeal to all readers. The In Death series doesn’t appeal to all readers. The stand-alone I write every year doesn’t appeal to all readers. I like the diversity, and I need it to stay creatively fresh. But I can’t write faster, I can’t give more than I do. If I tried, I’d burn out within a year–and spend my time gardening, making soup and bread.
I prefer the balance. I hope readers who enjoyed Year One will anticipate Of Blood And Bone next year the way I anticipate the follow-up to Sandford’s Deep Freeze. And in the meantime, read and enjoy the multitude of wonderful books out there.
Me, I’m going to dive into King’s Sleep Beauty first chance I get.
Today’s the day! Year One is finally here — in stores or on your ereader. A little over a year ago, Nora shared the new direction in which this trilogy — The Chronicles of The One — would go. Now you get to start the journey.
I simply devoured Year One when I had the chance to read the ARC in the spring. I truly believe that the direction may be different, but this is a Nora book filled with relationships, evocative imagery, great dialogue and people you will love.
This is the place to discuss Year One, so be ware: spoilers ahead.
Here are a few things that popped up on social media this week. Hope you enjoy!
Here are the solutions to the crossword and cryptic puzzles on the inside of the US/Canada Secrets in Death hardcover jackets:
As we speed toward release date, St. Martin’s asked me to shoot a short video of my reaction to seeing the finished edition of Year One. I posted it on You Tube for easier access: Laura’s Reaction.
And finally, here’s the video St. Martin’s created for Year One that will show in Target later this month.
I’ve been working pretty hard since our return from France. I like working hard, so that’s all good. But I like play time with pals, too. I had a great day/evening/night with good girl pals this week on our Try To Make It Annual Girls In Boonsboro trip.
I get into town early enough to take a new class at Fit In Boonsboro with my pal, JoAnne. Grabbed 45 on the elliptical first, then did 45 of boogying cardio after. Got my 90 in, and had fun doing it. That’s some work.
Reward came with lunch and champagne at Vesta with Jo, Laura, Pat, Mary Kay, Mary and Elaine. Good food, good pals, good wine.
Then it’s shopping–lots of opportunities for that in B’Boro. Josie’s On Main first stop geographically.
I found myself a fun Witch Please tank that amused me–and has already been worn for a later workout. Among other things I picked up a few Christmas gifts, then we wandered down Main to Gifts In Boonsboro. Earrings! A gorgeous vase I’ve had my eye on–and a gift for my pal Ruth in Michigan. A just because as the black/white/gray soft as a cloud hand-made afghan said I Am Ruth’s.
Onto TTP for more, and whee, they’ve put Stephen King’s new book written with his son Owen aside for me. Can’t wait to dig in.
Then on this perfectly gorgeous October afternoon, it’s time to check into the inn, hang out in The Courtyard. More bubbly, yummy snacks, those good pals–and a couple of fun guests.
And presents for me as my birthday’s coming. Cake, too. That’s a good deal.
Before the evening ends, the webmaster for our businesses stops by on his way home from a Boy Scout meeting. He has his amazingly adorable son–also Owen. Owen is one of the top popcorn salesmen for the Scouts–and it’s easy to see why when he starts his pitch. My fave is when his dad said he could get the key for the storage place, break in and get the forms. Dad, says Owen, how do you break in with a key?
I bought the 22 pack of microwave Movie Theater (extra butter!). It’s delicious.
A fun day, a quiet night, another morning workout, then mmmm breakfast. I’m not a breakfast eater but it’s hard to resist the offerings at the inn.
All in all a lovely reward.
Then back to work.
Thursday my perfection of a hairdresser comes to do my cut and color, give BW a trim, get Logan’s hair cut before he catches the bus for school. This time Logan has a picture of the cut he wants. Harold makes it so. The result is a seriously happy teenage boy. Handsome, too.
And back to work. Sticking hard with it to get it off to my agent and editor before I pack for a week in NYC. Another reward.
Flowers come–calla lilies. Every year I give myself the gift of flowers every month. It makes me happy, especially in the winter.
Friday I make red sauce for pasta for Kayla our running girl. She has a meet on Saturday. Logan, however, is done with pasta every Friday and gets to pick the main meal. He wants Grandda’s flank steak, my roasted rosemary potatoes.
We make this so. And I get more cake!!
Saturday I pack, or mostly. Workout first, then figuring out what I need for a fall week in the city. And then–reward–I take the DVD of Wonder Woman BW gave me and gorge on it and Owen’s popcorn.
Today, Jason and Kat will be here for a foundation meeting and dinner. BW made extra flank steak with this in mind. I have to make more potatoes, and they went over pretty big on Friday night.
Tomorrow, finish packing–not much there–and start refreshing myself on the Chronicles Of The One trilogy before I start writing the final book.
Work and reward. It’s a nice balance. Reward yourself!
From Nora: I want to address the disappointment from countries not included in the contests and giveaways offered by St. Martin’s Press.
First, I understand that disappointment. The announcements are presented on my FB page–which is international so everybody hears about them. Those who can’t participate feel excluded. However, St. Martin’s Press is my US publisher. They don’t publish me in Europe or Asia or any other country/continent. The rules and regulations in individual countries are, well, individual. They’re often complicated and restrictive. My US publisher offers these contests to US readers.
Canada is sometimes included–but then there’s Montreal, which has really odd rules and regulations on contests that make it weird and complicated to deal with.
I know my publisher in the UK has held contests and give-aways in the past–for the UK. The US and countries outside the UK were not included. The same goes for other publishers in other countries.
It is not, absolutely not, a matter of me–or SMP–not valuing or appreciating readers world wide. It’s a matter of those rules, regulation and logistics.
I can’t control this. I can’t change this. I know more about foreign restrictions on contests that I’d like to at this point. I don’t understand them, at all, but I know about them. The fact remains, I write the books. That’s it. That’s all. I don’t publish them, schedule them–in the US or anywhere else. I can’t control the fact that some of my books either aren’t published in your particular country, or are released way, way after they are in the US. Obviously, I’d love to have all of my books published everywhere across the globe, and in a timely fashion. But I can’t make that happen.
The best thing to do, regarding contests and giveaways when you’re outside the US is to contact my publisher in your country. Ask them, let them know you’d participate if they’d hold a contest. I’m assuming the publisher in your country has a FB page or a website. If not, there should be contact information in the book.
All I can do is write the books. Laura works hard to let readers know about the books, when they’re coming–but she’s in the US, too. It’s hard for her to know when one of my books is due to be released in all the other countries in all the world.
SMP is my US publisher, and they’re doing a lot of fun and creative and generous things for readers. Hopefully, you can convince whoever publishes me in your country to do something fun for you.
A note from Laura: We all understand — from Nora to the publishers to me — that every reader has a choice about the way in which they read a book. Some prefer libraries. Some love to listen to a book to alleviate a commute or a workout. Some prefer the portability of an e-book and the ease of having an entire library in a device. Some like to hold a book but need paperbacks. Some want the hot-off-the-press hardcover.
No choice is wrong but publishers can’t accommodate all readers in all ways. The hardcover is the biggest push for a publisher and as a thank you to readers who make the choice to read them, to pay a premium price, they’ve added some extras. Extras that don’t work on an e-reader or in a paperback. I realize that disappoints readers who don’t live here in the US or who read other editions. And while I sympathize, it’s not going to change.
BTW, you love hardcovers and borrow from the library, ask your librarian to make a copy of the back of the cover before they do the library binding. As someone has said: if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.