Category Archives: Year One

Shelter in Place excerpt

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.

Laura

Two weeks in

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.

Early morning winter sky at the spa. Photo by lmr
Late afternoon winter sky, same day. Photo by lmr

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!
Laura

*I will tell you what it says if you ask in the comments.

Writers Are People Too

[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.

Snow through the kitchen window.

 

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.  

Bread
Soup

 

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. 

A little space to read

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.

Worker bees
The finished product, part 1
The finished product, part 2

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.

Nora

Year One discussion thread

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.

Laura

More bits/more pieces 11/4/2017

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.

Laura