Ghosts again

It’s recently come to my attention that several fraudulent websites offering–for a whopping fee–ghostwriting services have me listed as a client.

This is bullshit, and it’s infuriating.

These sites–and I won’t link to them or name them as that could increase their traffic, and that’s their goal–list many books they claim their ghostwriters have written. More bullshit. They’ve simply tossed up thumbnails of published works by legitimate authors to lure in the naive.

One of the sites that includes me also lists Marvel Comics.

Yeah, I’m sure Marvel hires ghosts.

I do not use ghosts. I have never used ghosts. I will never use ghosts. I wrote every word of every book ever published under my name. That’s Roberts and Robb.

It’s infuriating and insulting for some asshole cheats running a con to use my name and my work to advertise it. And a con is what this is, start to finish.

A legitimate ghostwriter remains a ‘ghost’ unless the person paying for that service agrees to credit them. It’s my personal opinion that ghosts should be credited, but it’s not my business as I don’t use ghostwriters.

A legitimate ghostwriter doesn’t have their photo and name proudly posted on a website. In point of fact the ones proudly posted on these sites are stock photos, fake names. They don’t exist.

These sites charge between $25 and $45 THOUSAND dollars for a ghostwritten book–as listed on their very professional-looking websites. Part of me thinks anyone who pays that kind of money to get their name on a book they didn’t write in the first place deserves to be taken. You’re a mark, pal, and that’s the price you pay for your ego.

However, I also realize some people just don’t understand how it all works, and think: I have this terrific idea! I just need somebody to write it for me!

To them I say, sure, I get it. But ideas don’t make a writer. Writing makes you a writer. Taking an idea and doing the hard work of turning it into a story, spending the time and effort, creating characters, refining the language, researching, editing, sweating, struggling–that makes a writer.

It’s just that simple.

I am NOT dissing ghostwriters. I am raging against these fake sites that claim to offer this service and use fraudulent means to rake in the dough.

The lawyers–and I’ve had three working on this–tell me yes, it’s fraud. But . . . These cyber grifters are off shore–and it’s almost impossible to pin them down. They ignore Cease and Desist notices, ignore legal threats. And if you do manage to find them, they just poof and set up again.

Because it’s easy pickings.

We’re exploring some options, but those options are limited, and these cheats know it. Meanwhile, they rake in thousands and thousands from marks, some who might see my name and think: Wow, I KNEW she used ghostwriters! Boy oh boy, I can do that, too, and have a string of best-sellers!

The idea of that just multiplies my fury.

So I’ll say again, as clearly and as concisely as possible. I Do Not Use Ghostwriters. If you see my name or my book listed on a site that claims otherwise, it’s a lie. It’s fraud. And those involved are cyber thieves hoping you’ll fall for it.

Don’t.

And I’m going to add this as it’s connected.

To those who continue to insist I use ghosts, who claim they know I do, or I simply must because? You busy yourself on Twitter or other social media with this claim because you can’t do what I do. You figure you can’t so I can’t.

That just makes you petty, jealous and pathetic.

Now I’m going back to work because that’s what I do. I fucking write.

Nora

New Year, New Page

A quiet, family New Year’s around here, and again no big open house with friends and family. Hopefully next year things will be safe enough for a gathering.

We did go away for a week—rented a house again to be safe—and stayed in. It’s lovely to spend that kind of time with family, and just hang.

The view from the house.

Lots of play with the boy time, jigsaw puzzles, a little work, room service—and a Nana makes spaghetti night. Griffin’s a fan of my pasta!

Busy boy.

BW gave me a weird, fascinating, unstructured jigsaw of a moose for Christmas. This would never, ever, never have been done without Kat, the Queen of Chaos. I helped, but she did the heavy work.

The moose

Griffin really enjoys the vacation space. One morning, BW got up and went downstairs before I set up to work out. I went down to get my caffeine and water, and the lower level is quiet but for Griffin, sitting at the dining room table watching Sesame Street on his iPad. Normally Jason gets up with him in the morning as Kat is on any night duty. (The boy occasionally likes to party at 3 am!)

I had heard what I thought was the boy and his dad tromp up the stairs at about six, and thought nothing of it.

I say hi, get my stuff, wonder where Jason is. Hunt BW up who tells me the boy was playing with his trucks on the couch when he came down. Huh.

I realize he got up, didn’t wake his parents, just came up from the lower level where they all sleep, and entertained himself until someone joined him.

So I made him breakfast, then left him under BW’s watch and went up to work out.

Once home, it’s back to work, and the start of my annual full-house purge.

Making progress! All the Christmas stuff is put away, and that’s an accomplishment. Weekdays are for writing, and progress made there, too. Yay.

I found a jar of applesauce of the counter Fri. BW hunts and gathers, and I cook. If I’m around I help him put groceries away, but he got home with them Fri while I was working out. He left out the applesauce which I decoded as a hint. Applesauce Cake?

So Saturday, after workout, after the purge of the One More Room (and organizing Christmas stuff), my office, I made the cake. The purging’s moving right along since I did a serious job of it the last couple years. And the cake’s a nice reward for both of us.

Applesauce cake!

Today, after workout, it’s bake Italian bread to replenish the supply, and get a tortilla soup simmering. Purge dining room and library while soup is simmering and dough’s rising.

Italian bread stocked up.

Snow—expected—starting falling about the time I took the bread out of the oven. Since we’re going nowhere, it’s very pretty. Falling faster and harder now, but still going nowhere, Sunday chores are done, and the house smells of simmering soup and fresh baked bread.

Tortilla soup!

Please stay safe. If you’re not vaxxed and boosted, get vaxxed and boosted. Our Laura’s had her hip surgery postponed twice since hospitals in our area are overrun with Covid patients—over 90% of them unvaxxed.

Take care of yourselves and everyone else, and let’s make 2022 a lot better than 2021.

Oh, and if you want to watch something to pass the time, check out Brazen on Netflix, based on my Brazen Virtue from way back in 1988! They did some serious updating!

Nora’s view of opening credits.

Good deal!

Nora


I’ll share some Brazen content tomorrow. For now, here’s an off camera pic of the stars.~Laura

The Busy Season

It sure has been around here. But happy busy with shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking. We do the works!

Pies, Turkey, All The Fixings and Family. I broke my own tradition this year, and decorated before T-Day. It seemed to me we can use all the cheer we can manage. So up goes the tree, out come the candles and strings of lights. Put out the Santa collection, the Snow People. And it’s time to admit I also collect Christmas trees.

Thanksgiving pies

And yeah, there’s a lot of cheer.

Thanksgiving gobbled right by. And that’s my signal to get up to my One More Room and start dealing with my personal department store of presents accompanied by gooey (it’s the season!) Christmas movies.

A quick and careful shopping trip with Laura to visit our friends at Saks (with Sarah for a day). Room service and evening hotel writing. Quiet, productive, and a lovely little break.

Weekends loaded with wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, gift tags until Hey! I can once again see the floor.

Nose to that grindstone during the week because I really, really want to finish this book and take a long deep breath before Christmas. And it pays off! Manuscript done and outta here two days before I have a little gathering for a handful of my (vaxxed and boosted) girl pals.

Mary Kay, JoAnne, Nora, Elaine

So nice to see everyone face-to-face, to just spend a day catching up. And since I have a day not chained to the keyboard, I can haul down the two Hefty bags of clothes purged from my closet, set them up on BW’s clothes rack.

And gone. More room in the One More Room. And that’s a nice side benefit.

The long deep breath includes a weekend with Jason and family as Kat leads this year’s Foundation Christmas party for a few local families. Deliveries again this year instead of in person, but Covid doesn’t dampen the cheer.

And I get Griffin time! The time includes a new favorite story.

He’s not happy when his mom leaves and it’s just me. Not a tantrum, but sadness that takes him to the door he’s thankfully unable to open to follow her. He sits on the floor in front of the door. I sit on the floor and sympathize. Then lie down, play peek-a-boo. He tries hard not to smile.

Then I see him look out of the corner of his eye at my little Limoges cabinet. He’s always fascinated by all those little pretty things. And is always denied access. Clinging to his boon companion, a little stuffed dog called Howl, he starts a butt scoot to the cabinet and the shiny little things.

Nana says: Uh-uh, Griffin, that’s a no.

So he shifts Howl in his hand so Howl puts his paws on the knob of the glass cabinet. Hey, I’m not doing it! Howl is!

Howl is also denied access, but Nana gets a good laugh, and gives the boy full credit for creativity.

Then I get out the bowling pins and we play, wild and happy, for a solid half hour before we head into Chase Me All Over The House–another favorite game.

The Santa gang brings back pizza.

Monday, dentist for me–and coincidentally Jason. Permanent crown now installed. Extraction (oh joy!) in February. Home to play another favorite game with Griffin, Bury Me In Pillows, before he and Kat head home.

Halfway through sophomore year!

And yesterday Baking Day with Kayla. Our girl is home from college (Dean’s List once again!) with a rotten cold. Tested for Covid, Flu, Strep, all negative. Just a vicious cold. But she’s on the mend, so baking it is.

Sugar cookie dough first and in the fridge. Chocolate chip, Peppermint Kisses, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Blossoms. The house smells like a bakery (yum) as I play baker’s assistant. She does the work. I’m no longer guiding her little hands to help her crack an egg or measure flour. Those early lessons bore fruit, and she’s a wonderful baker.

At work

While she bakes, I make her some veggie bean and pasta soup.

We’ve got soup simmering, cookies in the oven, and Christmas movies on the kitchen TV. It’s pretty damn perfect.

Artistes.

And she and BW sit down to paint the sugar cookies as I roll out the dough, cut out the shapes. After a long, productive day, she goes home with soup and cookies. And I have more sweet memories in the bank.

The goods

I’ll start a new book today, satisfied that I’m ready for the Christmas that is just around the corner. And look forward to having the family gathered together to tear into that wrapping paper and those gift bags.

As we close out the year, and look to longer days with the Solstice behind us, I wish you all peace, health, joy. And hope you find all of those with friends and family.

Stay safe.

Nora

Abandoned in Death Excerpt

A busy day on the blog — The Becoming discussion thread went live this morning and now I’ll share the excerpt from Abandoned in Death (out Feb 8 2022).

First, click HERE to see the cool cover reveal vid.

What’s Abandoned about you ask? Well here’s the official cover copy.

The woman’s body was found in the early morning, on a bench in a New York City playground. She was clean, her hair neatly arranged, her makeup carefully applied. But other things were very wrong—like the tattoo and piercings, clearly new. The clothes, decades out of date. The fatal wound hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And the note: Bad Mommy, written in crayon as if by a child.

Eve Dallas turns to the department’s top profiler, who confirms what seems obvious to Eve: They’re dealing with a killer whose childhood involved some sort of trauma—a situation with which Eve is all too familiar. Yet the clues suggest a perpetrator who’d be roughly sixty years old, and there are no records of old crimes with a similar MO. What was the trigger that apparently reopened such an old wound and sent someone over the edge?

When Eve discovers that other young women—who physically resemble the first victim—have vanished, the clock starts ticking louder. But to solve this case she will need to find her way into a hidden place of dim light and concrete, into the distant past, and into the cold depths of a shattered mind.

And now here’s a look at Chapter One.

You can pre-order Abandoned in Death from your favorite retailer.

TTP: https://bit.ly/3bhlYKs
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ekAJ11
B&N: https://bit.ly/33hJ9Qw
IndieBound: https://bit.ly/33hJgvq
BAM: https://bit.ly/33iiP8Q
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2RDSW0w
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3nQE8aX
Google: https://bit.ly/2ZGFytb
Audible: https://adbl.co/2RI1js5

Laura

The Becoming Discussion Thread

Today’s finally the day we learn more about Breen and Marco’s adventure. The Becoming, book 2 in The Dragon Heart Legacy, has landed in stores, on ereaders, on audio.

Here’s the place to discuss all things about The Becoming. Did you race through? Did you savor? Share all the thoughts in the comments.

And please be aware, spoilers are allowed in the space.

Laura

October Busy

It feels a little odd to be busy with activities besides work and domestic tasks these days, but October opened up for it with a long-delayed trip to NYC.

We were able to schedule it around Kayla’s fall break from college, so I had my oldest and my youngest grandchild on the trip.

We limo’d up, and Griffin made it clear he was born for limo rides. We didn’t make it down the lane before the grins broke out. Such fun to see his pleasure with the height of his car seat and the window so he could see out, and his delight with the colored lights on the roof.

The half bag of chips he ate didn’t hurt either.

We had the amazing Kevin at the wheel, and a good thing. Minutes after our half-way there pit stop, he noted a radiator issue. Not only did he figure out where to stop where he could find a part, but he got it, and fixed the problem himself.

Kudos to Kevin.

We arrive.

Griffin’s play room for the week.

Griffin clearly loves hotels as much as limos as he had to race around everywhere, happy to explore. We unpack, settle in, and since we wouldn’t be eating out on this trip, hit up room service. Laura’s with us, so a happy family meal, plenty of hang out time before an early to bed on travel day.

Up bright and early for a workout, clean up and dress for our first shopping day.

Kayla gets reacquainted with the view to the south.
…and to the north.

Kayla hasn’t been to NYC in some time, (she’s just a little excited!) and needs business casual attire. She’s in several clubs at college—including the Honor Society—and they have dress codes. My girl has mostly sportswear and sweats—and some fancier duds, but nothing really that hits that middle ground.

Fun for Nana! And it’ll check off a certain college student’s Christmas gifts.

We approach this as shopping clusters and earmark a group for the first day. A rousing success. Not always easy as our girl has a hard time finding pants to fit her Double Zero frame. And she absolutely, no question, knows what she likes and what she doesn’t.

I respect that! Plus, I can’t fault the girl’s taste. On the other hand, it’s like dressing this tall, leggy doll—and everything looks good on her.

Later, Laura and I head to Stewart Wiseman as she needs shoes—and the 8th floor of Saks, usually a Nirvana, didn’t reach the march. She finds shoes, and I end up with two pair of boots I really needed need but seriously had to have! And I’m taking Kayla back as I’ve found the perfect black booties that’ll work with those tiny skirts.

Shopping for shoes.

A fun day, despite a bit of rain. Then a take-away meal that suits all.

And cake! Amazing birthday cake. And just beautiful flowers from my sweet family.

Not one…(this from Magnolia Bakery)…
but two cakes. This one from Milk Bar — and proclaimed the best cake ever by the birthday girl.

Another day, another cluster. I’m also bagging a few other gifts as we go, checking off that list! Plus it’s really, really good to be back in the energy of the city. It’s definitely not as crowded on the streets or in the stores, and it’s good to see most wearing masks. I’m also pleased a pair of my new boots prove incredibly comfortable throughout the urban hiking.

Laura, Kayla and I head up to our roof terrace with snacks and champagne. It’s a pretty day, but wow! Turns out the wind is wild up there that afternoon. We end up inside with the doors open.

There’s time to play trucks—Griffin’s newest love. And another successful take-out meal after another successful day of shopping.

[Note from Laura: Griffin’s other fun game with his parents.]

I like working out in the mornings with the city view. A big change from my usual, and after, I can head downstairs and see whoever’s up and about. My editor, Leslie, is coming by—I haven’t seen my pal for two years. It’s so good to see her again, to hang out awhile, to have to hike along on our next cluster.

Also fun to have yet another girl weigh in on fashion choices.

From left: Nora’s editor Leslie Gelbman, Nora and SMP Assoc. Director of Publicity John Karle

A long successful day, and Kat’s put out a pretty fruit and cheese platter to welcome us back. Goes well with wine!

My agent’s coming to join Leslie and the whole gang for a pizza dinner. Again, just so great to see her again, and to sit and talk with my NY connection. We’ve all been friends as well as partners for a very long time.

Sunset over Manhattan

An Uber trip (not ready to use the subway yet) downtown the next day so Kayla can visit PacSun. It’s not only a favorite store, but she just interviewed for and got a job working there. Another cluster, with that in the lead, then back to midtown to walk awhile.

Throughout the week, we shop, sit and talk, play, and sample many cuisines. Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian. Kayla, our vegetarian, doesn’t go hungry. A quick stop at the toy store to find a little something for my boy, and we three girls enjoy an outdoor lunch—until it chills down with a stiff breeze.

Who can resist an alicorn? Not Kayla!

Time to pack up, say goodbye, then it’s the long ride home.

Back in routine after a fun week. Making soup, harvesting more herbs. And writing, of course, which rolled, really rolled. I think the week off seriously recharged some batteries.

Have to say goodbye to my Kayla who has to head back to college.

And before we know it’s it’s Griffin’s third birthday.

Immersed in play.
Portrait of a three year old.

Toys! Cake! A very happy little boy. He took two of the little monster trucks Kayla’s mom bought him to bed with him along with his beloved stuffed dog Howl.

He’s just as happy this morning, and has yet to put them down.

I’ll be making a pot roast later, likely harvesting the last of the basil.

Tomorrow I have to see a specialist who’ll determine if this tooth—next to the last, upper left, can be saved. Not looking forward to that, either way. My teeth continue to work against me no matter how nice I am to them!

Anyway, after that stupid busy work, it’ll be back to routine.

As we ease toward Samhain, I’m pretty thrilled so much of my garden is blooming—or as Kayla would say—vibing and thriving. I know it won’t be long until that first hard frost, so I enjoy those blooms every day.

As I close this blog, I’m listening to my son play with his son in the other room.

It’s a really lovely sound on a Sunday morning.

Nora

A Sunday Cover Reveal

A surprise for this Sunday — I’m pleased to present the cover of Nora’s next summer book, Nightwork — out May 24, 2022.

Here’s the official cover copy:

Harry Booth started stealing at nine to keep a roof over his ailing mother’s head, slipping into luxurious, empty homes at night to find items he could trade for precious cash. When his mother finally succumbed to cancer, he left Chicago—but kept up his nightwork.

Wandering from the Outer Banks to Savannah to New Orleans, he dons new identities and stays careful, observant, distant. He can’t afford to attract attention—or get attached. Still, he can’t help letting his guard down when he meets Miranda Emerson. But the powerful bond between them cannot last—because not all thieves follow Harry’s code of honor. Some pay others to take risks so they can hoard more treasures. Some are driven by a desire to own people the way they own paintings and jewels. And after Harry takes a lucrative job commissioned by Carter LaPorte, LaPorte sees a tool he can use, and decides he wants to own Harry.

The man is a predator more frightening than the alligators that haunt the bayou—and when he strongarms Harry into robbing a Baltimore museum, Harry abandons Miranda—cruelly, with no explanation—and disappears. But no matter what name he uses or where he goes, LaPorte casts a shadow over Harry’s life. To truly free himself, he must face down his enemy once and for all. Only then can he hope to possess something more valuable than anything he has ever stolen…

US and Canadian readers can pre-order from the following links:

TTP: https://bit.ly/NightworkTTP
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3o16OzX (This link offers the option of the Hardcover or Kindle)
BN: https://bit.ly/3ENCP4I
IndieBound: https://bit.ly/2ZsjNk8
BAM: https://bit.ly/3ELzTFH
Apple: https://apple.co/2XRMFBT
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2XSvvEc
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3lQ5tJL
Audible: https://adbl.co/3i3jJxL

Please note that covers and ordering info for the UK/AU/NZ/IRE/SA and Europe will follow.

Laura

Top of the In Death charts

While I’m not usually a list person, I know there are readers who love to create/debate/talk about them. So we’re adding another new, occasional feature here: Random Sunday Lists.

In the teasers for Forgotten in Death — which hit #1 on a few best seller lists, thank you all very much — I mentioned it was now in my top five In Death titles.

In the comments to that post, Lori K asked what’s in my top five.

My reply:

These four are set in stone. Number 5 rotates between Conspiracy, Survivor and now Forgotten — depending on the day/mood.

What are your top five In Deaths? Remember there are no rights and no wrongs. It’s just a little fun.

And no whining that I’ve set a limit. <g>

Laura

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