Category Archives: General

February. Why?

I don’t know why this month’s always so difficult. Okay winter, but it’s short. It should be easy.

But we have ice on the lane, ice on the patio, dogs who don’t want to be outside more than five minutes. Who can blame them?  We have cold. We have gloom. Then how about some more gloom? With some ice and sleet and whatever else February wants to toss down.

Then we have Thursday. Suddenly it’s sixty degrees. I hear birds celebrating. I don’t get outside myself for long, but when I do, it’s ahhhh. Between the rain and the sudden warm, the ice is just a bad memory.

Then Saturday happens. Gloom is back, and cold. And let’s just throw in some snow. It wouldn’t be such a thing, except psychotic February gave us Thursday. Why?

Winter as far as the eye can see. Photo by NR
So due to snow, and the fact my guy’s coming home, I spent most of snowy Saturday in the kitchen. Pasta e fagioli sounds good, and the traveler’s very fond of my sour dough pretzel rolls.
Soup on simmer. Photo by NR
Pretzel bread at the ready. Photo by NR
It’s a nice way for me to spend a February day, and it’ll be good to see my guy again. Even though . . . this is my kitchen counter without a man in the house, even after making soup and bread.
Then, Photo by NR
And this is my kitchen counter after BW.
Now. Photo by NR

It soothes my double Libra soul to have the tidy. Clutter and chaos just bring on a underlying stress I mostly ignore because, well, life and I do share that life and the house with a male.

I’ve always shared life and houses with males. A father and four brothers. A husband and two sons. I happen to know not all men are messy, but mostly the ones who aren’t don’t live in my little world.

The offset here, other than I actually love my man, is someone else will go outside on the frigid mornings to feed the dogs, take out the trash and recycling. That same someone will plow the snow off the lane. That someone will do the dishes after I cook, even if he appears to be genetically incapable of cleaning off the counters or stovetop.

Note to BW: (A few swipes with a questionable dishcloth is not cleaning off.)

Still, February’s more than half over. I don’t wish time away–ever–but that doesn’t mean I can’t think about spring while I’m looking out at my snowy woods. It’ll be harder to take when they’re forecasting close to 70s later in the week.

Psychotic February. You just have to take it as it comes.

Nora

 Cranky Publicist note (or…And Now something different):

As the winter yang to Nora’s winter yin — in the summer we reverse — I must speak up for those of us who go outdoors in the cold months.  While I’m grateful on the truly miserable days to work in a home office, I need to put on layers and get outside at least once a week to breathe and reset.

The rewards abound: I found gorgeous blue skies and ice sculptures in Frederick.  Roses under sulky gray skies in NYC.  Reds and golds and dragons in NYC’s Chinatown to celebrate the dawn of the Year of the Dog.

Summer will be here way too quickly (the mid-week forecast is closer to 80 in my elevation — yikes!) for my thick blood, while Nora will embrace the warmth with thanks and celebration.  (And WHY does the summer contain TWO months with 31 days?  The winter haters get February.  I want a February.)

And yet, the seasons will turn and we’ll each have our moments in the sun.

Blue skies, white spires, red brick. Photo by LMR
Dragon-y ice. Photo by LMR
NYC roses in winter. Photo by LMR
Dragon on parade. Photo by LMR
Lanterns. Photo by LMR

Bits/Pieces October 30

When last we met, Nora was home from work, ready to dive into a brand new book after a wonderful week in NYC.  I stayed for a couple more days — mainly to take photos like this one:

Reflections on the High Line. Photo by Laura

but in the end, we each settled into routine back home.   And routine is important, but not necessarily glamorous, so I’ll share some highlights:

Kayla finished 6th in the Washington County Cross Country meet last week.  The week before, she placed in the to 20 of a large cross county meet that featured small and large schools.  States are up next!

On October 17, we debuted the cover of the 2018 hardcover, Shelter in Place on Facebook:

I’ll create a separate thread for that book early in 2018.

This weekend was the Turn the Page Halloween signing and one of us went all out.  One of us wore her Cranky Publicist pin. <g> When I walked into the house to drive to the signing, I called out “Hello!” but didn’t receive an answer.  I turned into the kitchen, and there Nora was, in all her glory.  I just laughed and took the photo.

Downtown and Uptown Girls. Photo by Laura

The TTP staff gets into the spirit and in a moment of rare synchronicity, one of the Kims wore a costume in direct contrast to Nora’s.  I said they channeled the late 1970s since Nora was CBGB and Kim was Studio 54.

Then there was BW:

The rocker and her sheriff. Photo by Laura

And Kayla stopped by after practice with some of her teammates: 

Which brings us to today.  Nora’s back at the keyboard, I’m working on adding the recent FB posts here on the blog.

Much more to come as the weeks speed by until Year One is in your hands.

Laura

No, wait!  Here’s some extra special #randomkatness.  She just became an aunt and created this reversible baby blanket for her niece as a nod to their Hawaiian roots.  Isn’t it stunning?

Island of Glass discussion thread

island-of-glass
You’ve waited and waited and waited some more and now, finally, Island of Glass is in stores or on your e-reader.  (Remember when you didn’t even know what this trilogy was about???)

How will you approach the final installment of the Guardian’s Trilogy?

Once you’ve finished Island of Glass, this is the place to discuss anything and everything that pertains to the book and the series as a whole.  Spoilers very much ahead.

Have fun!
Laura

Love Between the Covers

Documentaries are labors of love dictated by låne penger finance.  Documentary filmmakers have to stop and start as financing dictates which can mean years before they share their passion with the world.

About five years ago, filmmaker Laurie Kahn approached Nora about taking part in her proposed documentary Love Between the Covers — which she envisioned as a feature-length documentary film about the powerful community of women (and some men) who read and write romance novels.  You can read that vision in Laurie’s words here.

During the next few years Laurie and her crew traveled where the information took them, including a visit to Turn the Page Bookstore to film what goes on at a signing.  They also spent time at the RWA conference in Anaheim in 2012, interviewing authors from Nora to Nalini Singh to Jill Shalvis to Beverly Jenkins.

Laurie has shared some clips that are in the film as well as some outtakes for your enjoyment.    And it’s classic Nora in each of them.

Nora on Romeo and Juliet:

Nora on falling in love with the process:

Nora and Ruth on finding each other:

Nora on the birth of JD Robb:

Nora on getting The Call:

Nora on how she started out:

An outtake from LBTC — Nora on the male POV:

Thank you to Laurie Kahn and the entire team from Love Between the Covers for these gorgeous, funny and informative clips from the film. Love Between the Covers is available for download from Amazon and iTunes and will be out on dvd in December.    For more information on the film please click these links:  http://radi.al/LBTC & lovebetweenthecovers.com/filmrelease —

Enjoy!

Laura

Day Four: Capri

Photo by j a-b
Fancy dinner calls for a fancy couple. Photo by j a-b

In the spirit of mixing things up, we take a lazier day after the day of The Big Hike.

This doesn’t mean skipping the morning workout, and Kat’s got some Piyo DVDs. They aren’t for weenies! A forty-something minute session gets the blood moving and the muscles stretched. Then it’s time for my three companions to get their massages. I opt to do a cardio workout as I’m getting TWO spa treatments.

By the time I get out of the shower, everyone’s back and blissed out. It’s handy I can just wear my robe to go down a couple flights of stairs to the spa. Which is lovely and quiet and friendly. Clearly everyone there wants you to have a perfect time. My hot stone massage was a perfect time. All those muscles I challenged on the hike, and in the morning’s workout get a good, deep rub, and that heat? Ahhhh.

I’m pretty blissed myself by the time I walk back to the room. And there, my fam is preparing to take a trip on the chair lift that runs beside the hotel–and way, way up. The way, way up has already answered the question of whether I’d want to go. I settle down to work for the hour or so before my facial. The minute I start I’m back into it and realize I wouldn’t mind a solid three or four hour session at the keyboard. But I have the spa calling.

It literally flies by, that hour, so I’m surprised when I check on the time and see I have to leave right now! So still in my robe–and it’s an added bonus to spend the bulk of a day in a robe–I head down again. I’ve chosen a facial that involves oxygen being blown onto (into?) your skin. Not sure how it works, but it feels like your face is being quietly airbrushed. It’s lovely and relaxing. It also involves a neck and shoulder massage, a soothing mask, hand massage. All together, more bliss. And after my skin looks and feels amazing.

I can see why celebs come here for a week just for the spa treatments.

My gang had a great time riding high above Capri, have the photos to prove it–and had some gelato to cap it off.

Photo by j-ab
Reason # 1 why Nora is not on the lift. Photo by j-ab
Reason #2 why Nora's not on the chair lift. Photo by J a-b
Photo by J a-b
Photo by Kat
…but you have to admit the view are worth the ride. Photo by Kat
Photo by j a-b
The intrepid exploriers, very high above the water. Photo by j a-b
View of Naples from Anacapri. Photo by BW
View of Naples from Anacapri. Photo by BW
The daily gelato. Photo by j a-b
The gelato reward. Photo by j a-b

Housekeeping’s here, and one of the ladies apologizes for not speaking English. Then speaks it perfectly in a conversational way–to ask if we’re enjoying our stay, to tell us we’ll love Sorrento and so on. My Italian’s pretty limited to hello, goodbye, good day, evening, night. And various foods. It always impresses me how Europeans have at least a conversational command of so many languages. Americans should do better there.

I’ll add everyone in our hotel has been a delight–friendly, personable, accommodating. Just as the shopkeepers, the waitstaffs around the island have given off that happy, welcoming vibe. More than making a sale, providing a meal, making the bed, checking you in or out, it’s service. Lovely, competent and cheerful service. It makes all the difference.

But now it’s time for me to actually get dressed. We’re going to take ourselves a walk down a quieter area–still shops to play in. A few more gifts to select and friendly shopkeepers to chat with as the light softens toward evening. We can hardly leave Capri without buying a pretty bottle of limoncello. It would just be wrong.

We wind our way back to the restaurant where we ate our first night. I want nothing more in this world than their pizza. Well, maybe some wine to go with it. It’s all as cheerful and delicious as before. Honestly, nobody prepares food like the Italians, or sees to pretty details as flawlessly. We have our easy, fun, yummy meal–pizza for me and my boy, eggplant parm for Kat, a tuna dish for BW. A little dessert. Nobody walked home hungry.

Photo by j a-b
Photo by j a-b
IMG_0158
Salad, pizza, eggplant parm. Photo by Kat.
IMG_0160
Laura’s guess: BW’s tuna dish. Photo by Kat.

Today, post workout, we have to gather our things, organize, repack what we unpacked. We’ll say goodbye to our amazing home here, and the beautiful island of Capri.

Time for a boat ride. At least, for my shaky system, it’s a short one. And by mid-afternoon we’ll be on Sorrento.

New adventures await!

Nora

Echoes in Death (Feb. 2017) cover reveal

Echoes in Death

Echoes in Death is the 44th entry in the In Death series, and  the first from St. Martin’s Press.  The new Team JD is off and running toward the February 7, 2017 release date and they’ve shared the book cover, book description and order info.

Book description:

After a party, Eve heads home with Roarke, happy to be done with cocktails and small talk.

After different party not far away, a woman retires to her bedroom with her husband—and walks into a brutal nightmare.
Their paths are about to collide…
When the young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—wanders in front of their car, Roarke slams on the brakes just in time, and Eve, still in glittering gown and heels, springs into action. It’s been a long night and now it’s far from over.
Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil” . . .
Turns out  Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked—and that he treated Daphne like a trophy wife— but this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse as the first suspect.
Eve and her team must interview everyone from dinner-party guests to caterers to professional colleagues, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:
What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?
Since the announcement is so early pre-order links are only just coming online.
As always, you’ll be able to purchase a signed copy from Turn the Page Bookstore 
All highlighted names are live links — I’ll add the rest as I get them.  Laura
Indiebound
Target
Walmart
Ingram

Happy Ostara

Today we celebrate the change from dark to light, the earth’s rebirth. It may be a chilly 32 degrees out there in my world at this moment, but the spring equinox is all about hope and potential.
 
This turning, for me, is a lovely reminder that all things come around again. And beauty will bloom.
 
Whether you dance around the fire in tribute to The Horned God or check out those seed catalogues, whether you carry palms after Sunday Mass or plant some pansies, today the world shifts. And in the Northern Hemisphere, it turns to spring with longer days, warmer air and awakening life.
 
On Friday, I walked outside (to clean up dog poop on the pavers) and found some spring. Little Johnny-Jump-Ups volunteering by the outdoor faucet, periwinkle blooming under the still winter-bare trees, daffodils blowing their bright trumpets. A woman can smile even while shoveling up poop.IMG_1368
 
My very favorite spring beauty is the tulip magnolia right in front of the house. I tried to talk it into waiting as the forecasters warned of snow, of freezing temps. Don’t come out yet!! Just wait. Give it another week.
 
It didn’t listen.
 IMG_1371
I shot a few pictures, not only for this blog but for me as I anticipated by Sunday morning all those gorgeous pink blooms would be black from frost.
 
Saturday was for chores and anticipation–and sighing as the forecasters were right, and rain turned to snow. But inside I had Easter bags and boxes to fill for grandchildren. I don’t do baskets as some of the gifts (including the little-guy basketball hoop Kayla urged me to get for her little brother) are just too big. Into the One More Room to sort and organize, to add the candy every kid is entitled to for Easter. We’ll do our little Easter next Friday, dye some eggs, have a hunt. Another celebration of spring and rebirth, of hope and renewal.
 
I also sorted out the Fabulous Prizes for the tournament–our much-anticipated Drunken Girl Spa week is coming right up! Then there’s the bags of clothes from my closet purge to deal with as the annual clothes swap is only a month away.
 
Lots of sorting, bagging, boxing up. And no cooking as BW is away this weekend, skiing. Why anybody would escape winter for more winter is a puzzle to me, but there you go. For me, just a day of quiet, chores and the dogs, with the fire going. And my pretty pink tree every time I stopped to look out the window. I stopped to look out a lot, looking at my pretty tree as snow fell, wet and steady, blurring those bright blossoms.
 IMG_1376
Oh, and the deer–six of them–I chased off, as I’ve had to do routinely all winter. There will be an epic battle come planting time. Epic.
 
When I let the dogs out for the last time last night, it was shivering out there. Cold, cold and still damp. I thought of my poor magnolia and those brave, impatient blooms.
 
And this morning, against all odds, I saw this filling the window over my bed. Beautiful, bright and defiant, this celebration of rebirth, this symbol that we can bloom even in the harsh, even if it’s just for one more day.
 IMG_1377
So I’m taking that symbol into my day, will light the fire, will light the candles, will give thanks in my own way for the beauty outside my windows as the world wakes in flowers for another year.
 
Happy Ostara. Happy Spring. And bright blessings–and blooming–to you all.  
Nora