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 & Bonerelease– 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:
DID_WEB_011018 (1) (2)
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.
It’s been weeks! I’ve been crazy busy with no time to do a blog. Squeezing some out now as the rest of the time until Christmas is even crazy busier. But that’s the holidays. While I thank God it’s just once a year, I wouldn’t change a thing.
BW and I took our November week at the spa–a working week for me–and I’m ready for another. It’s a nice break, and a different routine. Workout early, write for about four hours, then get a lovely spa treatment. Somebody else cooks dinner and cleans it up. A pretty good deal.
Straight to Boonsboro on our way back for Logan’s middle school production of Charlotte’s Web. Altogether adorable.
We had our November Girls Night Out in Boonsboro with lots of happy faces–along with champagne and yummy snacks. A fun evening for all, and a lovely way to celebrate being a girl!
Then boom! It’s Thanksgiving here with the gang. That means making pies–yes, from scratch–on Wednesday, and a full day of kitchen duty on Thursday. With round two with leftovers on Friday. I love the smells of Thanksgiving cooking, and the fussing–and the fact that our Kat can always be counted on to deal with the piles of dishes.
I got smacked with some mild vertigo last weekend, just enough to screw up my schedule. But that’s over, for which I was extremely grateful on Thanksgiving. Still, it meant the wrapping I had planned for last Saturday didn’t get done until this weekend. Done now, and whew.
Presents wrapped–except for the few stragglers coming in this week. I can’t count the number of schmaltzy Christmas movies I’ve watched while I wrapped boxes and bagged gifts. I’m not ashamed of loving them.
Since I leave in the morning for my most cherished annual holiday with girls, decorating came a little early around here. I’m having my agent and editor for dinner next Friday–along with grandkids–and our holiday signing Saturday, another holiday deal on Sunday, so this was it. BW hauled up the tubs of holiday decorations, and we hit it, and hit it hard. A couple more wrapping sessions carved in there, and we are so ready for Christmas.
There are several more marks on the calendar through December, but we can now take them as they come, and enjoy every minute of being with family and friends.
I hope to squeeze out time for another blog before the first of the year, but just in case: Here’s wishing you and yours all the joys, chaos, bright lights and merriment of the season.
However crazy the next few weeks are for you, don’t forget to light a candle, eat a cookie, give a hug and celebrate the moments.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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?
We arrive on Tues, to summer in October weather. After unpacking, our initial group—me, BW, Jason, Laura—hit the streets and the shops. I have an agenda every October trip, and that’s to get as close as possible to finishing my Christmas shopping as I can.
Get a good start on that agenda before it’s time for drinks, and a room service night.
Up early Wednesday, get a good workout in. BW and Laura, too. We’re having an Employee Fitness Challenge through our Fit In BoonsBoro back home. Fun stuff! BW and Laura get points walking a mile together. More shopping, more checks on that Christmas list. Jason and I have our own little FitBit competition, and while he’s usually 20-30k steps ahead of me, when we travel, I catch up. And hah, am am now in the lead.
Wall sits with drinks - aka multi-tasking. Photo by j a-b.
Lunch at a favorite pub, more shopping, and back home here where BW and Laura do their daily workout challenges together. Hysterical wall-sits (with alcohol) push-ups (and Laura’s wearing a dress for this one) squats, lunges. I get to watch as I did all that much earlier in the day.
Dinner’s a pleasant walk, then pizza.
Laura’s husband’s coming up, so she moves out of our space and into her own. We have a girl shopping annual tradition with my agent and editor. Kat usually joins us, but she has stuff so won’t be up until late Thursday afternoon.
So good to see my NY pals—and my editor brings the finished cover for Year One. OMG!! It’s just fabulous.
More shopping, a fun, light lunch when the guys join us. Then a little more shopping. I am hitting my agenda, and hitting it hard!
Back to the hotel as we have an early dinner—and here’s Kat!! We’re eating early because we’re going to see Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly. The Divine Miss M. Bette. I’m thrilled at the idea of seeing one of my icons on stage.
We walk to the restaurant—just gorgeous weather—have a wonderful meal, then walk to the theater. I’m not surprised the performance is sold out. It’s Bette.
As much as I anticipated this, the reality exceeded. Aside from Bette (for the moment) the costumes, the lighting, the choreography, the chemistry, the voices, the whole works is just stupendous.
Now add Bette. And stupendous doesn’t cover it. When she first walks on stage, the house explodes. She’s tiny and glorious, and obviously having the time of her life. In turn she gives us the time of ours. Then there’s David Hyde Pierce, whom I adore. I’ve seen him on stage before, and he’s just as marvelous this time around.
The Hello Dolly number brings the house to its feet. The applause goes on and on for her solos. This is what’s meant by bringing down the house.
I’ve seen a lot of wonderful, memorable, fabulous shows on Broadway. Nothing beats this.
Friday—after workout—Kat, Laura and I head out. Girl time, and more good shopping.
Laura’s guy is off with some of his NY pals, BW’s having lunch with a couple of his, and Jason’s doing the same. Laura peels off so Kat and I walk downtown to meet our men for the new Blade Runner movie in IMAX.
Cool! Intense! Fun!
The long walk back, and room service. Laura and her guy have dinner and a show on their schedule.
Kat has to leave early Saturday morning so I say bye to my girl, get in my workout (still in the FitBit lead!). Jason has an errand, Laura and her guy have brunch with their daughter (Clare works in NY). BW’s arranged a photo shoot with a model in our triplex.
I have some specific type items on my agenda—and need to pick up the new glasses I got after my eye exam here on Wednesday. I promise to check my phone often so I can hook up with Jason and Laura.
On the street I see a gorgeous young woman wearing a man’s white dress shirt—mid-thigh—over-the-knee gray suede stiletto boots, a beret and big sunglasses. She looks amazing.
Jason’s errand’s done quick, so we text back and forth until we meet on the street. And he becomes my Sherpa. Head to hotel to dump bags, text Laura. Her guy’s meeting some of his old classmates, so she and Clare will hang with us while Jason and I have lunch.
Back to our favorite pub.
Clare heads off, and we head to The Gap—Laura and I both have specific wants here, and pretty much satisfy them. Then there’s the UGG store. I wasn’t looking for myself there—Kayla likes the classic tall UGGS—but found a pair of boots I couldn’t live without.
Oh, and sneakers in a deep orchid color—so light, so comfortable!
When we get back, BW’s about finished with his shoot, so we rest our busy feet and have a drink. We’re walking over to 9th for Italian for dinner. (Laura’s dh is having a fine time with his classmates.)
Long walk, but this weather! Good wine, great food, fun companions, and good service.
We meet up with Laura’s Mark after dinner, hang out in our suite awhile. I want to watch SNL, but conk.
Up early today, solid, cross-training workout. Then rest of our group is off to the Jets game (Laura and Mark are major Jets fans.) I bid them goodbye, clean myself up, and decide to walk uptown to Bloomie’s to hit that agenda again.
Do just fine, walk back, hit another shop. The housekeeper’s still dealing with our space when I get back. I see her once or twice a year, so we chat a little.
I show her a picture of Kayla on FB—who had her FIRST DATE last night. Homecoming. Oh, so beautiful, my girl. And she’s going with Handsome Henry. The housekeeper and I talk about how she’s just so grown up.
It’s lovely to come back to this same place year after year, because it adds such comfort to know the people who work here. I tell her I’ll see her in June when Kayla has her NY trip (just weeks before her SIXTEENTH!!!! Birthday).
Now on this Sunday in NY, I’ll finish this blog, which Laura will post after they get back. I hope the Jets are kicking it (not a football girl myself). I’m going to pour a drink, get my book and kick back instead of kicking it, for a bit.
We plan to head downtown tomorrow—have pizza, shop. Then we’ll see what we do for our last night in the city.
I love New York, I really do. The things you see, hear, the way it feels and moves. It’s so opposite where I make my home. So it’s nice to spend some time here, knowing my dogs, my quiet, my routine waits for me.
Notes from Laura: very sad to report that the Jets lost, but my photo of me and my husband was on the huge scoreboard, so that was fun.
We saw War Paint with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole which was marvelous starting with this curtain in front of the stage. We’ll stay an extra day and see Donna Murphy play Dolly on Tuesday night.
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.