Category Archives: General

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
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Salad, pizza, eggplant parm. Photo by Kat.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
 

Litographs Naked in Death collection

Today’s the day!  The Naked in Death collection — t-shirt, poster, tote — is live on Litographs.   I think the final design reflects the first book in the long-running series, really well.

You see here how the copy of the book makes up the design (so you’ll never be without a beloved book again.

naked-zoom-graphic-vneck

 

Today — March 3 — only you can save $5 with code: MARCHBOOKS.  Click this link to order.  And don’t forget to click to see the back design on the t-shirt and tote-bag on the order page.

Naked_Launch_Graphic

Laura

 

Litograph contest update

I appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked in the expanded time frame for the Litographs Naked in Death design contest.  Our thanks to everyone who participated. (And thanks to everyone who backed up an “I can’t design” with “but I’ll  buy one!”)
Litographs products require a specialized style and formatting. While the five submitted designs were beautiful and creative, we (and Litographs) were afraid that they would not be properly recognizable when created from text, so they will NOT join the Litographs product line.
But we were so impressed by all of the submissions (below) that when the Litographs team suggested each submission be named a finalist, Nora agreed immediately.   Litographs will send each of these designers a $50 gift card to Litographs.com.
0ae59280092d-NID_Lithograph_Contest_Entry (1) 26fbc053c173-image 3083ab0f8aa1-Naked_In_Death_Lito_Becque_Olson 51dbc4071270-NakedInDeathDesign_FinalB_W
What’s next?  Well, the project is still very much a go and Nora will work with  Litographs on new artwork for Naked in Death products.  I hope to share them with you in early 2016.   Then we’ll move on to Dance Upon the Air and Vision in White.
Stay tuned!
Laura

So Much December

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Homer

For us this big, crowded, happy month held a hard punch. Last week we had to send our sweet, sweet Homer over The Rainbow Bridge. He went out of our lives as gently as he came into them. He was always our no-fuss, no-drama boy. Kind-hearted, laid back and loving. Twelve years ago this coming spring, I crouched among a litter of frisky, excited pups, wondering how I would ever pick The One.

And while his litter mates all but did handsprings, he walked over, easy and quiet, put his paw on my knee. Just looked at me as if to say: I’ve been waiting for you.
It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
 
I’m grateful for the many distractions of the season–they help. We had a fun and festive holiday book signing earlier in the month, and our Kayla’s holiday chorus concert.IMG_1240
 
This past Friday I held my annual Christmas party here for our (female) managers. Just girls, fun, a little food and a lot of bubbly!
holiday girls
 
The weekend was packed with at-home tasks (my favorite). I finished all the wrapping–bring it on, baby! Made a kind of kitchen-sink ham and veggie soup with beans and pasta, then prepped some ribs, marinating them in zingy sauce overnight for Sunday dinner. Baked my annual raisin bread, finished proofing galleys and generally put my house in order.
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Left on the list: Cookie baking. We’re set with grandkids on that fun time forSaturday. Then it’s party here, party there, party everywhere.
 
Oh yeah, bring it on.
Nora

Work-Cation

BW and I are enjoying our last day of our fall week at the spa, which is, for me, a working vacation.

Before we left, I spent several afternoons through the week helping my grandson–Grade Six–with math (God help me) and a complicated English assignment. For the math, fortunately, he’s a lot better at it than I am. I SEE the words ratio and percentage, and my brain freezes.

English assignments, much better. But I swear I’m not sure I knew the definition and practical uses of things like personification, alliteration, hyperbole and so on when I was eleven. He does! I did have to tell him he was his own problem in one part of the assignment–to find unfamiliar words in the book he was reading for the assignment. He has a most excellent vocabulary, so that section took forever, and then some.

We celebrated completion on the Saturday before BW and I left by baking cookies–along with his sister, who decided she LOVED wrapping Christmas presents and due to same has now saved me hours and hours or marathon wrapping.
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Love, love, love these kids. Also love, love, love this week’s get away.

It’s quiet, that’s a big plus. Though the weather didn’t cooperate so I could take my long morning hike outside, I brought plenty of exercise DVDs. Rainy mornings had me deciding to skip even the jaunt over to the gym and work out in the room instead.

After my daily workout, I settle in for a solid four hours of writing at my pretty little desk. The phone doesn’t ring, no dogs are barking to get in, go out, or because a delivery truck is heading up my lane. I don’t have to gauge my time to knock off to cook–but to gauge it for my lovely daily treatment.
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Every afternoon I’m rewarded with a facial, or a massage or a mani-pedi. How about my holiday pedi! Gleaming midnight blue (which may not come across in the photo) with the accent of festive silver. Such fun!
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Pre-treatment I get to snuggle into a book, post-treatment I get to indulge in an adult beverage and contemplate what I might want for dinner–that I’m not cooking!
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It’s a wonderful routine for a week, but for me, it must be a routine. I’ve gotten a solid chunk of work done, have stuck to my work-out regime, and allowed myself to have my muscles and spirit addressed.

Today, our last day, is our traditional in-room massage, so I worked longer, then celebrated the accomplishment.

Tomorrow I pack, and we head home. Monday is back to home routine, and quite likely more sixth-grade math.

Maybe I should have one more drink.

Nora

New York State of Mind

Every fall we spend a week in the city. I love New York. I love the wonderful mix of old buildings with the new and sleek, the energy and color, the mix of voices, the way the city shines at night, and all the possibilities it offers.

I’m a country girl at heart, and I need the quiet, the alone, the trees and the gardens. But I consider it a real gift to be able to come to the vibrancy of New York once or twice a year, and absorb the contrast.

We’ve stayed at the same hotel for years and years. They know us here, so it’s a home away from home for this bubble of time. They remember my birthday, and that’s sweet and fun, every year. We have a wonderful space here with fabulous views, and I know the turf, so that makes it easy to get where I want to go.

The hotel welcome
The hotel welcome

I like to hit the ground running when we’re here, and hit the streets as soon as I’m unpacked. Routinely I get another big chunk of my holiday shopping done while I’m here, and this year has been no exception. I’d say, Christmas shopping is a solid 90% done!

We traveled on Tuesday, BW, Jason and I. Crammed in some shopping, had a lovely Italian dinner. I had my mission mapped out for Wednesday, and Laura, who’d driven up to spend some time with her family in the area, joined us. Check, check, checking gifts off that holiday list, a fun lunch at a favorite pub, walking the city in amazing weather.

One view
One view
photo 2
A different view.

Kat arrives very, very late Wednesday night, and she and I spend Thursday shopping with my editor and agent, a light lunch, spending time together, again in wonderful weather more like spring than fall. Shoes were a big part of the hunt.

Then the whole group has an early dinner, walking to the restaurant, and from there walking to the theater. The weather adds to everything as it’s so much more special to see the city on foot than from the back of a car.

We saw Finding Neverland, which was magical. Broadway is its own magic, but there are some shows that grab the heart and the throat, and this one absolutely did. There was a young girl, maybe eight or nine, in the row in front of me. She was mesmerized. I felt exactly the same.

Specific shopping for a certain granddaughter on Friday, and both BW and I need new phones. Mission accomplished with a big assist on the tech from Jason. The fun, the practical and the necessary are dealt with. Basically, if you can’t find it in New York, it doesn’t exist.

We have an extra treat on Saturday with a visit from some of Kat’s extended family. Kids! So much fun! And Laura’s daughter comes by. We have pizza and cookies, and a really good time.

Today started rainy, so I chose cardio in the room, not sure if I’d do much walking. Added yoga because. Laura and BW are all about Sunday football. Jason is, bless him, dealing with some issue with my phone. Kat’s putting things together for a short foundation meeting.

When the weather clears, and the meeting’s done, I get that walk in after all. The sun’s come out, and the day’s gloriously balmy. Tourists are out in droves, and skaters glide on the rink at Rockefeller Center. Come back between games, and another visit from Laura’s adorable Clare. So we head up to our rooftop terrace for group pictures. Silly fun.

Nora and Clare (Laura's daughter) showing cause and effect.
Nora and Clare (Laura’s daughter) showing cause and effect.

 

Jason, Nora, Bruce, Laura, Clare and Kat
Jason, Nora, Bruce, Laura, Clare and Kat

You can also see, especially those who’ve asked or are confused: Laura is Laura, Nora is Nora. Nora writes the books. Laura handles the social media, the schedule, the outside details. Basically, Laura handles me.

Jason and Kat have to head home tonight. Miss them already.

Tomorrow we plan to head downtown for our last day in the city. Maybe hit the High Line, grab some lunch, enjoy the bustle.

And who knows. There are all those possibilities out there.

Nora

What are you reading/anticipating?

It’s a rainy Saturday in Maryland.  Word is Nora is making soup.  I am not.    But I am thinking about books and spring.  The Equinox approaches!  As the Northern hemisphere nears the end of a long winter and the Southern starts to shed the dog days of summer, I thought it was good time to shake off the dust on our reading lists and swap ideas of what to read.

9780399170867_large_The_Liar

The LiarNora’s 2015 hardcover romantic suspense, will hit stores in the US/Canada on April 14, in the UK/Ireland/AUS/NZ and SA on April 16.   To me, The Liar is book that simply sings spring from the setting to the blooming of one Shelby Foxworth.  And I’ve got to admit that Griff Lott hit #1 (with a bullet as Billboard Magazine used to say) on my Nora heroes list.  We’ll have to talk about that in April won’t we?

BTW, if you are anywhere near western Maryland on April 11, Nora will sign copies of The Liar at Turn the Page’s spring signing.  Kat Martin, Christine Trent, Shayla Black, Jennifer ProbstRobin Kaye and Adam Pelzmen will be there as well.

One small perk of my job is that sometimes I can beguile an advance copy of another author’s books from Team Nora.  Right now I’m waiting (impatiently) for Nalini Singh‘s Shards of Hope to show up on my door a little before the June release.  (BTW, did I mention Nalini is coming to Turn the Page’s 20th anniversary event on July 18?  No?  Did I say Jill shalvis will be there as well?  NO?  Well we’ll keep that between us for now ok? )

Everyone has favorite authors, right?  Nora’s shared some of hers here like Stephen King, John Sandford and Sarah Addison Allen.   Nalini and Jill are two of mine so July will be a fan girl moment for me.

What have I read besides The Liar?  Well I can’t say enough good things about Sarah Addison Allen’s First Frost.  It was one of those books that I finished completely convinced I’d never read another good book again.  But don’t worry, I know I will.

Sarah Morgan is a wonderful writer and the first book in her new Puffin Island series, First Time in Forever, is on my desk.  And I’m also anticipating Thea Harrison‘s Midnight’s Kiss — the latest in her Elder Race series.

What are you reading these days?  And what are you anticipating in the coming season?

Laura