Eve And Roarke With No Body

Recently Laura posed a question on Facebook asking what people thought Eve and Roarke might do if they had a free weekend without a murder to deal with. The most popular answers from readers were: Make a baby and/or find some young child and adopt, and Eve finds blood kin–a kindly grandmother, a sweet long-long sister.

Here’s why I’m going to disappoint those hopeful readers.

As I’ve said before, babies change everything. They must, they should. I’m simply not ready to change the scope and dynamics of the series.

But oh, you say, people have babies all the time! They adjust their lives, they make it work. Why can’t Eve?

Because she’s not ready either.

But! It would be so funny to see her trying to cope with a baby!

Yes, it would. For a scene or two. I have to think of the big picture here. I would hope if and when Eve and Roarke become parents (and an older child, adoption, fostering mean EXACTLY the same thing as a parent is a parent) they’re really, really good ones. A really good parent doesn’t toss the baby/kid to Summerset while they rush off at all hours to fight crime or work in-house on a case.

Yes, cops have babies/kids in real life. This isn’t real life. Consider the soap opera a moment. A character gets pregnant (drama, humor, pathos ensues) then the baby’s born. We have baby time for a few episodes. Then we don’t see the kid again until he’s ready for school. And THEN we rarely see the kid until he’s grown up enough to have his own story. Because the day-to-day parenting doesn’t make for good drama in a story that’s structured around action, investigation, sex. Think about it, how could they show all the latest fashion if the star has a maya wrap ring sling around here with a drooling baby… Not going to happen.

Also consider the structure of the series, the timelines. Each book normally takes a handful of days in book time, and the next book closely follows. How many of you are really interested in reading about a pregnant Eve for the next few years? I’m not, and if I’m not interested I can’t write it. Yes, I could zip through those months of gestation. Not interested in doing that either.

So, no babies, not now. No charming orphans of any age. No pregnancy scares, no miscarriages, no foundlings, no street-wise kid who needs a good home. Did I leave anything out? If so, fill it in, then answer no.

Now onto the kindly grandmother.

One of the main elements, for me, of the series is how Eve made herself. She came from monsters, yet she made herself courageous, strong, decent. She made herself a cop who’ll stand for the dead, for the victim, for justice. She overcame horrors and had dedicated herself to protecting and serving, is willing to risk everything to do so.

She could’ve made another choice, she could’ve used those horrors as an excuse, but instead she used them as a springboard and became a damn good cop.

There is no kindly grandparent or sweet, long-lost sister in her life. She’s not only made herself, she’s made her family. Roarke is her everything, as she is his. It matters, I think, that these two people who came from abuse and viciousness found each other, helped make each other into better people. Love opened them to more.

Eve has a sister. In fact, she has two. Mavis and Peabody. She has a father in Feeney (and a little bit in Dennis Mira, too). She has a mother in Mira. A kid brother in McNab. She has, like it or not, a father-in-law in Summerset. Family is what you make of it, and Eve and Roarke have made a fine one, and linked it with a solid circle of friends.

The Eve we met in Naked In Death wouldn’t have been capable of opening herself up to that family, to that circle. The Roarke we met in Naked In Death would only have accepted that family and circle on a very surface level.

Love changed them, and that’s more than enough.


It’s now 2 pm — less than 6 hours after the initial post.  In view of some to the comments, Nora asked me to add the following: 

Adoptions, any age child, would change the dynamics and tone of the series just as surely as conception and a biological child. There is no difference in the needs of or the love given to an adopted child than there is of or to a biological child. Eve and Roarke are NOT having a child, adopted, biological, off the streets, out of an orphanage, out of fairy dust, for the foreseeable future. I’m truly sorry to disappoint some readers, but MUST follow my own vision and be true to my characters.


November 3, 2014

The issue about babies arose again and Nora posted the following on Facebook:

The Eve and Roarke must be/need to be/should be parents topic comes up too often for me to keep repeating why this isn’t happening. I’ve been clear, from the writer’s point of view, countless times. I feel it’s wasting everyone’s time for me to keep explaining my reasons–and it’s senseless for me to find myself upset when adoption is brought up as if there’s a difference between parenting an adopted child rather than a biological one.

So I’ve asked Laura to simply link my blog post on this subject whenever it’s brought up in comments. I have to stop repeating myself on this topic.http://fallintothestory.com/eve-and-roarke-with-no-body/

I’m sorry some readers are disappointed I’m not taking the series and the characters in this direction, but I’m not. Repeat: I. Am. Not. The readers who insist on telling me why this could/should work are wasting their time. I don’t agree, and I write the books. NR

The Collector conversation thread

The Collector is now available in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.  This is the place to congregate and chat about the book, so please know that spoilers are collector 2very much allowed in the comments.  This time, I thought we’d focus with some questions that you can answer in the comments, use as a starting point for your own post or ignore completely.

It’s up to you!

Did The Collector make you curious about the ins and outs of housesitting?

Did you prefer one apartment Lila stayed in over the other?

Did you see any hints of Nora’s trip to Italy last summer in the stay in Florence?

Do you need a spreadsheet to keep track of your extended family?  (It’s so clever, isn’t it?)

Feel free to ask questions of your own in the comments.  Have fun!

Shadow Spell conversation thread

ShadowSpellIt’s March 25 — release day for Shadow Spell.  This second book of The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy is Connor’s and Meara’s story.  Connor, a man with the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, proudly calls County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a ciircle that can’t be broken.  Until a kiss with Meara, borne of reaction to a brush with death, changes how they see each other.

This is the place for conversation about Shadow Spell — so spoilers are allowed here.  Reader beware!  Have fun.


A day in the Life

It occurred to me that most readers probably have no real idea what goes on in a writer’s day. Days can vary, of course, but I had a good one yesterday, so it sort of illustrates the sort of day I like best.
Here’s how it went:
I’m up at about 5:20. This is no longer annoying, it just is. When I had babies and then little boys I had to get off to school I actively dreamed of the day I could start sleeping in. By the time I got there, my body clock was set, and I’ve learned to accept it. I am, sorrowfully, an early riser.
I get myself a giant glass of water–hydrate after a night’s sleep. I let one of the dogs out. The other isn’t interested. Fine with me. I go up to my office. I read some emails, poke around see what’s what in the world. I play some games.
It’s nice, it’s quiet. The phone doesn’t ring, and my brain is starting to wake up. At some point I hear my husband get up. He lets the other dog out. I hear his coffee machine.
I go down get my version of caffeine. Diet Pepsi. Ah, NOW that’s better! Morning fog lifts. We can work now.
Speak with husband first–it’s only right. Kiss him goodbye as it’s unlikely I’ll be back down before he leaves. And I get to work. It happens I’m working on the last part of the second draft of an In Death. I’m not sure I have the pathology of the villain quite right, so fiddle as I go. I enjoy these people, and the second draft gives me the chance to fix any mistakes I find, expand where it needs to, contract if it needs that, add some color and texture where I might have skimped just trying to get the story down.
I eat Cheeze-Its, drink DP, play with Eve and Roarke and the gang.
At some point–I don’t pay much attention to time in my office–I go down, refill glass with water. Realize I haven’t brushed my teeth. Good God. Do so immediately.
Go back up to my office. Allow myself to play for a few minutes. Check email, answer maybe. Maybe not. Back to work.
Annoyed that the phone rings, don’t answer TeleFund one time, Out Of Area another, Private Caller yet another. Stop ringing! Go away.
I’d really like to get a good chunk of this draft done, be sure the story’s moving as I want–or more accurately, as it wants and it should. Pretty happy with it. Work. Let dogs in. Work. Let dogs out. More water.
Brain getting tired. It’s time to stop. About four–good time to stop. Time to work out. Down into my little gym, pick a DVD. decide to mix it up. Some cardio, some resistance with weights, some mat work. An hour of that, and it’s good for the day. Let dogs in. They have me trained. Whatever time I finish a workout–a morning one, an afternoon one, doesn’t matter, they wait, watch for me. I let them in, and they rush like maniacs to the kitchen closet where we keep the dog biscuits. Their eyes are mad with joy and anticipation. But their butts hit the floor, as that’s the rule. Good dogs! And as is habit for unknown reasons to the human involved, they go to separate corners, devour said biscuit then must immediately be let out so they can run like mad things. What’s in Milk Bones that causes this? No one really knows.
My husband has requested pasta for dinner–this pretty quick pasta dish I make, and that works as it’s already after five–and he’s home early because he’s working on a project in our great room.
Pour some wine–yay! Talk to husband, start dinner. Let dogs in who now collapse, exhausted from Milk Bone mania.
Cook dinner, approve the on-going project. Eat dinner. Good pasta. Have another glass of wine. Yay.
He’s brought home books from the bookstore for me to sign–it’s Monday, and three days a week, I sign books after dinner. Sign books while I watch TV. Have another Diet Pepsi. Let dogs out. Watch TV, play with IPad. Let dogs in. Why aren’t I in my pjs? Remedy that. See that I forgot to call in the galley corrections on Festive In Death as they’re still sitting beside the bed where I worked on them the last several evenings. Damn it.
Must do that tomorrow, because I don’t want to go back up to my office now. Happy The Blacklist is back. Love me some James Spader.
Watch a little Jon Stewart, go to bed.
So this is a pretty good day for me. Few interruptions. Probably about ten hours ass in the chair, and about seven of that actively working. A couple hours of play in there, and some time going up and down for fluids and dogs. A good workout, an easy dinner prep, and good TV.
Some days don’t go so well, but when they do, this is a pretty typical one for me.

Concealed in Death teasers

It’s been quiet here on the blog, but the first release of the year is right around the corner, so time to turn on the lights, dust off the posts and dive right in.  If you are not a person who likes any information about a new book, if you prefer to let the story unfold at your own pace, in your own time, then skip this post.

If you like to know some tidbits about a new book, I’ll be posting some teasers about the first In Death of the year — Concealed in Death (in stores on February 18) — throughout the week. These aren’t going to be too specific in terms of dialogue or scenes because the fun is finding them on your own.

First, Concealed is set in early December, Just after the Irish have headed back to Ireland post-Thanksgiving.  For those of you who love to see her pick up gifts, it’s still too early in the season for Eve to Christmas “shop.”

concealed 3

Keep an eye out for how many trees are in Eve and Roarke’s home.   There are many — all decorated by Summerset and his elves.

But they decorate the one in their bedroom and we get to see them carve out the time to do so — and share how they celebrated Christmas before meeting each other.

I’ll post another little bit — in this space — on Tuesday morning.


We’ve seen how Roarke offers hints about what Eve should wear, or leaves something out for her.  In Concealed, the day after decorating the tree, he outlines an entire outfit for her.  She’s surprised because it’s all black but he tells her the lines and the textures to it will make her look “just a little dangerous.”

Eve has a chance to put that look to use within hours.

But before she does she learns about Peabody’s hobby of ass-watching.

Next one late tomorrow.  Then the last one on Thursday.

2-13-14 Weather delayed Teaser 3 so here are 3 and 4:

#3  Mavis tells a story that shows us why she’s already a great mom.

#4  Garnet DeWinter, NYPSD’s new forensic anthropologist, is as good at her job as Eve is at hers, but I think no one ever tells Garnet what to wear.  Concealed is a good first round between Eve and Dr. DeWinter, and any skirmishes going forward will be interesting.

And a bonus:  Dennis Mira ensures Eve’s hands stay warm.

When Concealed is officially released, how about we open a thread for discussion so people have a place to talk freely about the story?  That work for you?



Rethinking what you may (or may not) know about JD Robb

Long time In Death readers are familiar with the story of how Nora started writing as JD Robb.  But as I learned yesterday, maybe we don’t know all the nuances.  At the 2012 RWA conference in Anaheim, Nora sat down with filmmaker Laurie Kahn whose current labor of love is The Popular Romance Project: Rethinking Love and Romance.

Yesterday, Laurie’s team sent us this clip in which Nora discusses how a projected trilogy has expanded to 38 books with February’s Concealed in DeathCreating JD Robb.



3 QQ for Susan Donovan and Christi Barth

Since we’re all busy this holiday season, I’m going to pair up the 3QQs with the six authors who are signing at Saturday’s Turn the Page Bookstore event from noon – 2 pm.

1375251_710144875665704_1102425780_nSusan Donovan is another seasoned Turn the Page signing vet, but this is her first return since spring 2011.   Christi Barth is another TTP rookie who’s thrilled to be part of the Holiday In Boonsboro event.  Let’s meet Susan first.

Susan Donovan studied journalism in college and worked as a newspaper reporter for years, always certain she would write her first book by the time she turned 40. Before she knew it, that deadlines was a year away so she figured she’d better get started. A year later she’d written nearly three books and had a book deal soon after that milestone.

1. You introduce readers to Bayberry Island in your novella “A Seaside Christmas” in the book Christmas on Main Street.  What — besides a mermaid legend — are the other attributes of this small island?

ds-christmas-150Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard may be about regattas and cocktails, but nearby Bayberry Island is more the fishing-boat-and-cold-beer kind of crowd. The locals don’t fit the Yankee Puritan stereotype. Bayberry is home to a nudist colony, a weeklong festival that is known as the Mardi Gras of New England, and a history rich in eccentric souls who see the magic in everyday living. But when the book begins, Bayberry is at a crossroads:  Will they agree to commercial development plans that would rescue their economy yet destroy much of what makes their island unique? I have to admit that while writing this book I was struck with a sad realization – Bayberry Island exists only in my imagination. I really wanted to vacation there.

2. Sea of Love is the first full-length book set on Bayberry Island.  Could you tell us about the book?  What do you find appealing about a “coming home” sort of story?

ds-sea-150I am drawn to “coming home” stories because they explore the concepts of unresolved emotions, personal growth, and forgiveness. Fortunately, I’ve always found comic gold in those serious issues. When a character comes home after a long absence, they suddenly see their once-familiar world with the eyes of an “outsider.” When I send a hero or heroine home again, I make sure they have to summon the courage to clear the air with loved ones, seek a richer understanding of their own journey, and choose to move forward with love and forgiveness. In SEA OF LOVE, the heroine, Rowan Flynn, has spent her adulthood distancing herself from Bayberry Island, its fixation on the mermaid legend, and the Flynn clan, which she calls the “island’s first family of cray-cray.” When circumstances force Rowan to return and manage the family’s rundown Bed & Breakfast, she must face her demons before she can open herself to happiness again.

3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

When my kids were little, I treasured all the little rituals that brought them joy, including tending to the Advent calendar every day, writing letters to Santa, leaving carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, and watching NORAD’s real-time radar tracking of Santa moving through the sky. Seeing excitement and joy in their faces is still my favorite part of the holidays, even though my kids are now “adults” attending college. But no eggnog. Please, God, don’t make me drink eggnog.

4 . “A Seaside Christmas” and Sea of Love are your first stories in two years as your writing career was put on hold two years ago when you in your own words were ” bitch-slapped by a rare infection that should have killed you.”  You’re blogging about the illness and the long, slow road of recovery on Unbalanced: Diary of a One-Legged Romance Writer.  It’s a different kind of writing, but it’s compelling reading.  How do you find the experience of blogging so honestly about yourself, your family and your new normal?

I had no choice but to write about my illness. In fact, as soon as my brain started to function again, I began writing journal entries, just for myself. I found that all the trauma and shock had clogged my psyche, much like a cork in a champagne bottle. I had to clear my mind of some of the pain before I could start to write the “funny, sexy contemporary romance” that had become my brand. So within eight months after my return home from the hospital, I had completed a 120-page proposal for a memoir. It sat in a file on my laptop. I shared it with a few people, but that was it. I never really tried to get it published.

But about a month ago, I realized that my healing process was stuck. I was still carrying around a lot of anger and shame about what had happened to me, though I desperately wanted to move on. So I decided to share my story on blogspot.com. I write two or three short essays a week. I find it ironic that the blog has attracted thousands of readers though I’ve never once promoted it. From the comments I’ve received on the blog and in private, I can see that my story resonates with a lot of people who are struggling with some kind of life challenge – physical, emotional, or mental. Hey, and since that’s every single one of us here on earth I can expect my readership to increase, right?

I still hope to publish a memoir one day. And, just for the record, “new normal” is one of the many disability-related expressions that makes me cringe. Yes, I ’ll be writing a blog entry about it.

ChristiBarth-amyjphoto-680x1024Chrisit’s turn!  Christi Barth is the current president of Maryland Romance Writers.   After she earned a Masters in vocal performance and a career on the stage,  her love of romance drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.

1.  You’ve been a real-life wedding planner.  How did that translate to your Aisle Bound series?  Did you find truth really can be stranger than anything you can imagine?

bc-planning-150Nine out of ten people who learned I was a wedding planner would say ‘you should write a book’! Then they’d launch into elaborate eye winks about bridezillas, and mother of the bride horror stories.

Except, in my experience, 90% of weddings are wonderful. They are a celebration of friends and family and enduring love. Most people do pull it together and behave like grown-ups. So I didn’t want to write a scathing tell-all. But a series that focused on the wedding industry, showcasing people who spend every day creating the perfect happily ever after? That felt like a good place to start. And maybe a few crazy hijinks did slip into my book. It is a comedy, after all! You’ll have to guess which ones are real and which ones are just figments of my imagination….. I like to say all names were changed to protect the happily married.

2. Can you describe — in three sentences — your path from aspiring to published author?  And would you change anything?

Wasted too many years toying with a manuscript whenever the mood struck before getting the courage to just freaking finish it. Started writing as though contracted before I was, to treat it as a business. And now I’ve found my voice, I have an agent who believes in me, a wonderful editor, a great publisher, and I just finished my eleventh book.

3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

The music. I spent years performing in Christmas choirs, and as a professional singer, in holiday shows. I love the magical way it infuses people with the spirit of the season.

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

And where else can you find Susan and Christi besides the signing? Check out Susan’s Facebook page as well as Christi’s.  And you can follow them on Twitter: @SDonovanAuthor and @christi_barth. Enjoy! 


3QQ for Donna Kauffman and Kimberly Kincaid

Since we’re all busy this holiday season, I’m going to pair up the 3QQs with the six authors who are signing at Saturday’s Turn the Page Bookstore event from noon – 2 pm.

Donna Kauffkd_cookie-150man is a seasoned veteran of Turn the Page signings and — judging by the lines, laughter and photos taken — a reader favorite.  Kimberly Kincaid is a TTP rookie who’s thrilled to be part of the Holiday In Boonsboro event.  Donna and Kimberly contributed to The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, which serves as a launching point for Kimberly’s new series.  Donna’s also signing Pelican Point, the first of her Bachelors of Blueberry Cove series.

We’ll start with Donna’s 3QQ:1380808_415008305265309_854875575_n

1.  In Pelican Point, you leave behind all the sweet folks on Sugarberry Island, to bring us the Bachelors of Blueberry Cove.  How hard was it to say goodbye to a fictional place you’ve known for years?  And what can you tell us about Pelican Point?  (yes, that’s 3 questions in one, but I cheat.)

It was hard to leave the gang behind on Sugarberry Island, but have no fear, I’ll be back again!  It’s just a brief hiatus.  (I can’t leave Alva alone too long, goodness knows what troublekd_pelican-150 she’d get up to!)  I’ve spent a lot of time in Maine this past year and have been chomping at the bit to share my wee village of Blueberry Cove with readers.  Set on the northern stretch of coast, it’s above the more toursity towns, so a close-knit community and one of the oldest in Maine, home to sixth and seventh generation fishermen, shipbuilders, lighthouse keepers…   A little quirky, a lot of fun, with a rich history…and some pretty hot heroes!  It’s been an exciting tapestry to weave.  I hope everyone finds something to love there.

2. You blog a lot about pop culture shows like Dancing With the Stars, American Idol and Castle how did that start for you and what does it bring to your fiction writing?

It started as a fluke.  I began blogging in the dark ages of the concept, as a way to connect readers to a “Day in the Life…” of a writer.  Only our lives are just not that exciting.  (I got up.  I wrote.  I ate.  I wrote some more… )  So I was struggling to find other things to chat about and get a conversation going.  Back then I wasn’t comfortable with putting my family up for conversational fodder, so I talked about books, movies, music, popular culture, things we all have connections to, but it was still hard to find a new topic Every. Single. Day.  One morning, after a particularly shocking exit on American Idol the night before, I decided to make that my topic of the day.

Somehow I won the Google Search Lottery that day, as when anyone Googled the name of the surprise bootee, MY blog was the first thing that came up.  To say I saw a slight traffic increase from post the day before about what I was going to make for dinner would possibly be the biggest understatement in recorded history.  No fool I, the following week, though a more predictable episode of Idol, I posted about it again, and lo and behold, the numbers for that day were still huge.  Driving traffic through my website and exposing new faces to my books was the point of the blog, so once a week, I continued to chat about Idol.  It increased traffic and gave me one less day to agonize over what I was going to write about. Win-win!

When that show ended, readers begged to know what I was going to chat about next….and so it began.  I tied in giveaways and such to the recaps, and the audience has grown to the point that now,  many years later, I am a weekly contributor to USA Today, recapping various shows for them. (This season, it’s ABC’s Castle!)  They put my name in the headline and plug my books every week to their millions of readers, and I get to watch and chat about a show I watch and chat about anyway – Best. Gig. Ever!

3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

This is where I’m supposed to say the joy of giving, and peace on Earth, right?  And, of course, I love giving presents. So much so, I can never wait until Christmas when I find just the right thing for the right person.  But my very favorite thing about the holiday season is the Christmas lights.  It was a big deal when I was a kid, my dad would drive me and my sisters around the neighborhoods, giving us a chance not only to look at lights, but to spend time and talk with him, and I did the same with my boys, who  are grown now and still talk about “going light looking” every season. I hope they do the same with their kids.  Pretty to look at, and some wonderful, wonderful memories.  It’s a holiday two-fer!

kimberly-kincaidKimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance novels.  She’s a strong believer  in fiery yet flawed characters destined for a crash-course in falling in love– usually the hard way– and injects humor and poignancy along the way.  Here are her 3 QQ plus 3 Quick Answers:

1. Your novella in The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap introduces readers to Pine Mountain, the setting of your 2014 releases.  What can you tell us about Pine Mountain and the people who live there?  (Bonus Q: and can you tell us a little about Sugar and Spice — your contribution to the book?)

Pine Mountain is a fictional resort town nestled in the (quite real) Blue Ridge Mountains. I am a sucker for “real” people in small-town settings finding extraordinary love. My heroes and heroines are all passionate about their careers and their families, even though those families rarely look traditional and some are even chosen families rather than blood ties. Everyone knows everyone else in Pine Mountain! Sugar and Spice introduces us to Lily Callahan, a cake caterer with her eye on the prize– the ten-thousand dollar prize in Pine Mountain’s Cookie Competition, that is. Of course, pastry chef Pete Mancuso wants the title, too. It’s just wanting each other that neither of them banks on!

2. Can you describe the journey — in three sentences — from aspiring author to published?  And knowing what you know now what would you differently?

I sat down to write my first book four years ago with no experience and no guidance, and it was eye-opening to say the least! But I joined the Romance Writers of America and took some classes, then landed my fabulous agent a year later. I sold the Pine Mountain series last July, and that was when the whirlwind really started! But I wouldn’t trade a single rejection or deleted draft. Even the frustrations were lessons, and I’m glad to have had them all.

3. What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

My favorite part of the holiday season is baking cookies, of course! I love to bake, especially with my daughters (ages 12, 9 and 6) We put on holiday music and take out the butter and eggs and flour and make a holy mess. It’s a ton of fun, and we end up with lots of cookies to gift to friends. I look forward to it all year.

Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.

And where else can you find Donna and Kimberly besides the signing? Check out Donna’s Facebook page as well as Kimberly’s.  And you can follow them on Twitter: @DonnaKauffman  and @KimberlyKincaid. Enjoy! 

The official blog for Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb readers