We’re 8 days from Payback in Death hitting store shelves and ereaders. And in what’s become a tradition, I’ll share some teasers for you to look for as you read. As always, these are not spoilers to the case, just items that caught my eye.
First, here’s the official copy about Payback in Death:
Lt. Eve Dallas is just home from a long overdue vacation when she responds to a call of an unattended death. The victim is Martin Greenleaf, retired Internal Affairs Captain. At first glance, the scene appears to be suicide, but the closer Eve examines the body, the more suspicious she becomes.
An unlocked open window, a loving wife and family, a too-perfect suicide note―Eve’s gut says it’s a homicide. After all, Greenleaf put a lot of dirty cops away during his forty-seven years in Internal Affairs. It could very well be payback―and she will not rest until the case is closed.
– BUT is such a flexible word. – Jenkinson still has a way with a certain word. – when you look at the list, friends come in all shapes and sizes. – there are still arguments for buying v shopping. – one can have concerns about in utero anchoring. – Fate has lovely decorating tricks up her sleeve. – Peabody still looks good in a righteous rage. – Eve has some issues with ice pops. – it’s not hard to follow Roarke’s example.
Earlier in the week, EveryLibrary announced that Nora and The Nora Roberts Family Foundation made a generous donation to the organization to support the launch of Fight For the First, its new advocacy and organizing site with a mission of protecting the First Amendment in libraries across the country.
To quote the press release:
Ms. Roberts, the best-selling author of nearly 250 novels, has long been a champion of intellectual freedom and the importance of libraries as community resources. The Nora Roberts Family Foundation is committed to supporting initiatives that promote literacy, education, and the arts. Ms. Roberts’ donations to the EveryLibrary Institute will help the organization continue its work ensuring that all people have free and open access to information and ideas, and that libraries are able to provide a safe and welcoming space for all. The Foundation’s donation to EveryLibrary reflects its commitment to defending the right to free speech and access to libraries.
EveryLibrary’s mission is to defend and advance library values, including access to information and intellectual freedom.
Today, EveryLibrary launched a new campaign called the #NoraRobertsChallenge which asks readers and authors to join the fight with Nora by making a tax-deductible donation to fight against book bans and challenging friends to do the same.
Again, as the daughter of a librarian and a person who basically spent all my free time in libraries as I grew up, I ask you all to consider the libraries – school and public — in your area. When they are threatened, speak up. It’s the only way to combat the bullies who want to decide what’s best for all.
What’s best for all is the ability to roam the shelves in a library and perhaps luck into a new author who offers thought-provoking ideas. That’s freedom.
November, how can that be? I mean, I know HOW it can be, but still am stunned there are 61 days left to this year.
Before 2020, Fall into the Story was full of bright, interesting travel, family and life updates from Nora along with lively book discussions. This year, while the book chats continue to bring up differing points of view and some charged opinions, the life section has simmered down to monthly updates with varying degrees of Groundhog’s Day (the Bill Murray movie, not the weird shadow day. Though I admit to preferring Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow for a movie about a day without end.)
I volunteered to take November. For those who love Nora’s own voice, I know she’ll be back with an update around the holidays. Today you’ve got the Cranky Publicist.
In Nora’s world, she and BW celebrated her birthday in the 2020 way — lots of virtual love and gifts by mail. Plus a visit from the ever entertaining Griffin and his parents.
Writing-wise, Nora’s immersed in the second book set in the world you’ll meet in The Awakening (out November 24). It’s hard sweaty work to build a world, but I sense it’s also daily respite from the stress of the world where it’s 2020.
Last weekend, Griffin turned 2! (Ok, if I can’t believe it’s November, I’m really having issues with Griffin and two.) He celebrated in fine style with his Nana and Grandda (and those necessary chauffeur parents). Word is he wanted everyone’s cake — especially Mom’s — instead of his own piece.
Time for the first #randomkatness in a very long time! I know long-term readers have asked occasionally about the blanket Kat was knitting for Griffin. I have proof she finished it before the 2nd birthday:
In the Cranky Publicist world — outside of Nora responsibilities — my very first solo photo show opened at Gifts Inn BoonsBoro yesterday. When we planned it in January, the opening coincided with TTP’s Halloween signing. While events at TTP are canceled (the store remains open), the talented team at Gifts continues to forge ahead with in-person and virtual exhibits of interesting art from creatives all over the Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania area.
Including, it seems. Me.
As some of you know, I tend to take photos as I go on my daily walks. The pieces I chose for this show feature walks from 2018 until last month. I framed 12 pieces, then made cards and a calendar.
And all will be on display/online until the end of November. You can see my pieces here.
I’ll close in the best way possible: a sweet little boy on a tree stump. I KNOW you don’t find that every day.
For a while now, I’ve run book discussions on the two Facebook pages. On the JD Robb page, we take each book and novella in the series in order — slowly. I started this in the fall of 2018 and we’re only up to Imitation in Death. There are pauses for new book information, Nora’s travel, my own travel, but on the whole I stick to the discussion Monday – Friday.
On the Nora page, with a far larger scope of books, I’ve bounced around through the backlist. Shelter in Place was our last discussion and that one took about 6 weeks.
How does it work? I choose quotes from the books, post them — with a comment or question — and let readers chat. It’s not really a book club, more a discussion session.
I recognize there are blog readers who choose not to use Facebook and thought maybe it was time to institute some discussions here.
Share your thoughts in the comments and we’ll see if there’s interest. Once that’s done, I’ll figure out the best way to do this — one post per book with quotes added regularly? Individual posts? The logistics are my area so I’ll consider all the angles.
In the meantime, I did a Facebook live from Inn BoonsBoro the other day and thought you all would enjoy.
I hear it all the time — Nora’s travelogues rival her books for many readers. Well, I’m pleased to say Nora, BW, Jason, Kat and Griffin set off on their annual summer adventure tonight. And the most wonderful time of the year is upon us: Travelogue Time!
I practice an abundance of caution in exact details during Nora’s vacations — after all it’s time to relax and explore as a family. Nora does have one public, ticketed, event at Ashford Castle but otherwise it’s private time away. (BTW, there are 10 tickets left for the Ashford Castle event on August 18. More information here.)
You can expect a daily dose of Nora’s travel notes and everyone’s photos once they get their bearings and some wi-fi. Plus your RDA of the Amazing Griffin.
What has Nora been up to since the family spa trip? Well, first we had Turn the Page Bookstore’s 24th Anniversary weekend on what was surely one of the hottest days of 2019. Despite that, we had happy readers all afternoon long.
And Griffin met a peer named Logan.
The next day was the 7th Fall in to The Story Brunch at Vesta. I describe it as a Big Fat Nora Wedding. We visit tables, chat, take photos and have the most fun.
I may have mentioned a couple dozen times at the brunch that I needed to get home and do laundry because the next day we were off to our third year at The Greenbrier. (For those who worried, I got it all done.) Every year it gets more magical and fun. From that first sight of the iconic building…
to greeting our parlor companions…
to watching Griffin crawl further and further each day…
to finding a fun new outlet for creativity…
to finally getting a group shot on the stairs…
it was a most wonderful, magical, relaxing time (even though I came down with bronchitis and lost a few days to extensive naps). We’re already booked for 2020.
Nora’s spent the intervening week working on In Death #51, unpacking from one trip, packing for the next. I hear there’s a joint birthday/bon voyage dinner to celebrate Kayla turning 17, Colt turning 9 and BW turning a different age before they set out for the airport. Pizza and birthday cake are the perfect send off!
I’ll be back with the first of the travelogues once I have copy and photos and time to work on my captions.
I think it’s pretty safe to say this year hasn’t followed the traditional path so far. As you’ve seen over the years, routine – in her work days, workouts, spa trips and vacations – is sacred to Nora.
As the calendar turned to 2019 both of us assumed the posts during the winter would follow the years prior, from Nora’s whole house clear out, to the adventures of being Home Alone while BW was away, then a smooth glide into Spa Girls, Derby, then summer.
But February happened, #copypastecris sat front and center in Nora’s head, and the winter slipped away. Nora wasn’t in the place to share regular happy updates of hearth, home and grandkids. I didn’t think humorous or cranky bits quite suited the mood here. So we — meaning I — let things slide.
Now I’m working at the beach office where I find my balance. Nora’s hit a run of relatively peaceful work days which brings her balance. And so I thought it was time to bring this space back to life with far more regular check ins.
Let’s start with the current book news.
Golden In Death is the 50th book in the series and to celebrate, Entertainment Weekly had the exclusive cover reveal.
Then St. Martins Press created this book trailer which features pulsating music and the cover on a stack of the In Deaths that came before.
Honestly I can’t wait to read it.
Here’s the cover in all it’s glory:
“But, Laura!” I can hear you all say, “What’s it about????
Everyone is mum on that right now, including that crafty JD. All she’ll say is it’s about murder (duh) with a mysterious motive―and a terrifying weapon. Now I really can’t wait to read it.
You’ll find all the US pre-order links here. Nora’s other publishers will have links up well ahead of time. Promise.
That’s all I have up my sleeve at the moment. There will be a few St. Martin’s Press Golden promotions I’ll share as we head into the fall. Plus, there’s something in the works with Little Brown UK. So stay tuned.
Add to that, we have Under Currents in July, Vendetta in Death in September and the run up to The Rise of The Magicks in December. Not to mention the girls + Griffin trip to Greenbrier in July and Nora’s family vacation in Ireland in August. The rest of the year will pick up the pace quite nicely.
Now to take care of the dust bunnies in the media library.
Thought I’d pop in for a minute to share that Kat’s a tad past her due date (10/17). Nora waits on call with her packed bag and premade lasagna to help in any way when the Young Master arrives. I promise to let you know all the news when I have some.
In the meantime, we’ll talk about other things worth waiting for. On Tuesday, I shared the cover reveal video for Under Currents — Nora’s July 2019 release. It’s gorgeous and spooky all at once. What do you think?
Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see the public side of his parents, a successful surgeon and his stylish wife. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.
As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.
When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…
As you know, Nora and family moved their annual NYC fall trip to September to accommodate Kat’s due date. I decided to keep the original dates and had my own adventure last week. I’m afraid I didn’t finish my holiday shopping (code for I haven’t started) unlike some other people I could mention, but my husband and I got up to The Met, out to a NY Jets game and finished the trip with an evening at Springsteen on Broadway. And I took photos along the way.
On Tuesday, I spent some time in the Flatiron Building with Marissa Sangiacomo and Erica Martirano, members of Team Nora as well as the hosts of One True Pairing, a podcast about their favorite couples from all parts of pop culture. We had a wide-ranging conversation about our favorite Nora Roberts couples, what writers owe their readers, white chocolate and how much Erica and I detest it. I think the segment airs the week of Thanksgiving, and I’ll share a link when it’s up.
Macmillan (St. Martin’s Press is an imprint) leaves the Flatiron Building next spring to a building further downtown, so I take advantage of any visit to take a snap.
And I think that’s just about all the news from this desk. Back to waiting on the Young Master. Stay tuned!
Last week, my pal Marissa at St. Martin’s Press emailed to ask if I’d boost their latest stroke of genius on Facebook to promote the In Death series: a sweepstakes in which 500 readers receive a connect-the-dot booklet, and one grand prize winner will get a booklet and a signed ARC of Connections. (Sweepstakes link: here )
I agreed, even as I mentally rolled my eyes and shielded my energy. Why? Mainly to not wilt under the inevitable chorus of readers outside the US unhappy with the rules that exclude them.
Recently, the chorus has upped the ante and there have been declarations of “Well I won’t buy your books!” “Why do you hate readers who live in [fill in the blank]?” “Do you know what you can do with your books?” Nora replied “Yes, I can write them.”
And there, my friends is the crux of it all. Nora’s contract with readers is to give them the best book possible, every single time out. That’s it. She works long hours, one book at a time to achieve her end of the bargain. Yes, there may books readers don’t enjoy. But that’s a whole different conversation.
The perception of a writer with a worldwide following such as Nora’s is that one publisher handles all things. Nora has explained this is not the case several time, I’ve explained as well. I’ve added notes to contest information that it can’t be done. But the immediate reaction from readers is pretty much “Why don’t you love MEEEEEEEE?” I’m here to say she does, she upholds her end of the bargain and that’s where the story ends.
Once finished, a book goes off to her US editor. Fairly soon thereafter, it’s off to her UK editor. Each woman works for a different publisher. The covers are different, the distribution is different, the rules are different. For the rest of the world, it all depends on which international publisher has contracted to bring Nora or JD to their particular readership and when. For instance, Brazil brought out the Bride quartet with fun promotion, lots of excitement — 4 years after it came out in the US.
The last In Death to come out to a fairly wide readership was Apprentice. By my count it came out in Czechloslovakia, Poland, Hungary, France, the UK (Ireland/Australia/New Zealand/South Africa) and the US.
Each publisher promoted in the way that worked for their market. At the time, Nora’s US publisher was Putnam and their method of promotion didn’t include giveaways and contests. When she moved to St. Martin’s Press, the team there faced the challenge of rebranding, promoting and publicizing a series 43 books long, with an established reader base. They chose to build the audience with clever, creative sweepstakes.
The one thing they can’t do is offer these creative promotions to readers outside the US, including Canada more often than not. The rules, the laws, governing publishers are specific to each country, global contests are virtually impossible. In a recent conversation with Nora’s new Little Brown editor, she told me that once she’d tried to run a worldwide contest and it fell apart under all the rules. By the way, for a company like Little Brown, contests are geographic as well — a contest in Australia can’t run in South Africa.
My position is different. In a lot of ways, especially with the advent of social media, I’m the axle in the wheel of Nora. She’s one spoke, the publishers are another couple of spokes, readers are spokes. I field questions about books, complaints about print runs, issues with audio books, ebooks, any books. And I turn that information over to the appropriate editor as soon as I’m able.
Believe me, I’ve encouraged non-US publisher to consider contests because at this point in time, readers want them. They consult with their own sales & marketing departments and make their own choices.
Here’s where I empower you to reach out to the publisher in your country. I’ve included websites and the social media pages below and encourage you to speak up. Let them know you want to play, want an option to read a book a little early.
In the meantime, I’m figuring out how to have a worldwide contest through the blog. There are a lot of hoops for me as well, so be patient while I work it all out.
The day Nora and family headed home from Montana, I moved my office to the beach for three weeks. While Nora settled back into her at-home routine, I’d pick up where I left off last year. And start with the sunrise:
Our little place is right on the ocean with steps down to the beach. My favorite part of the outdoor space is the spot at the top of the dune with chairs and a view.
The days at the beach have a basic framework: sunrise watch, work, workout, work, end the afternoon with a book* and a cold drink, watch night fall after dinner. Since I’m not my pal Nora, I head to the nearby Y to workout with other members of humanity. Just before we got here I was released from the post-eye-surgery workout restrictions and I needed to bench press something heavy and sweat through spin.
Two days in, I had the happiest email from Nora. The grandkids came up for dinner the night after they returned for a joyous reunion. Nora swore Logan grew another inch as he swooped toward 9th grade, Kayla had three weeks of cross country practices under her belt and Colt was ready to discuss all the books he’d read in the last three weeks. She spent time in the gardens, baked some bread, shook off the travel fatigue and couldn’t wait until Monday to get in some solid work on In Death #49.
Labor Day meant our kids arrived for the holiday weekend while Nora and BW packed up again for a week in NY. I think I mentioned it’s early this year to clear the decks for Master Yet-to-be-Named Wilder Pong Aufdem-Brinke’s arrival.
The NYC reports included days of hiking in search of remaining Christmas gifts. On a trip to find a new puzzle for Kat, Nora stopped by the Fifth Ave Barnes & Noble on Leverage in Death release day. She surprised (and thrilled) the staff there by signing stock. They shared on all their social media here. I shared it on the various Nora/JD social media as well.
I missed the annual shop and theater trip with Nora’s agent and editor, but Leslie kept me in the loop with photos of footwear Nora found. They saw Waitress, but I’ve yet to hear a review.
In the meantime, I kept to routine.
Nora heads home tomorrow and, other than baby showers, baby arrivals and signings will happily stay put until after Halloween. I have a few more days here, then head home Thursday so I’ll be at Nora’s side at the TTP signing next Saturday.
All signs point to mid-week as the best time to leave because after 18 days with no rain, Florence lurks in the Atlantic:
In the meantime, I’ll watch a couple more sunrises and breathe in the salt air.
* I also read Nalini Singh’s Rebel Hard, Illona Andrew’s Magic Rises and Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians.