Category Archives: General

And now, for something different

Every year the Nora Roberts Foundation awards a scholarship to a Boonsboro High School graduating senior whose higher education focus includes study of Journalism, Creative Writing, Communication, English, Education or related fields.

Applicants write a short story or essay–any topic, any genre, anything at all. We all read the entries, discuss them, consider them, debate them. It’s a big scholarship, and these college-bound young people deserve our serious attention.

Over the years, entries have ranged from the heart-rending to the delightful humorous, from the mysterious to the charming and everything you can imagine.  

It’s hard–really, really hard–to know you can only award one. Every senior who applies does their best, tries hard, takes the time, has that hope. It’s my hope that though only one can win, the others take their best, their efforts, time, hope forward.

I’m pleased to say we’ve had those awarded the scholarship go on to careers in Journalism, those who’ve become teachers, free-lance writers. I have a signed copy of a travel/hiking book on my office shelf from a previous winner. Others have gone into other fields as college is, and should be, an exploration.

In this long, long year of COVID, we can all use some strong, bright light. I got some of that from this year’s scholarship winner and her gorgeous love-letter to Boonsboro. I’d like to share Rebekah’s light and talent with you.

Congratulations, Rebekah, and wishes for all good things on your journey. You’re the future.

Nora


Click Kairosclerosis to read Rebekah’s winning essay.

A Statement from Nora

To set the scene for this post: Early this evening, I shared the news on Facebook that Nora’s Brazen Virtue will be adapted for a Netflix movie and provided a link to The Hollywood Reporter which broke the story.

Within seconds the reaction came — and completely shocked me. So much outright hatred for the actress. Nearly 1,000 comments in an hour with a large majority making rude, inflammatory comments about Alyssa Milano and how they would never watch the film. Ever.

I gave Nora a heads up about the comments and what she saw and read stunned her. So much so, she wrote a statement for Facebook and asked me to post it here as well. ~Laura

I’ve read many of the comments on Laura’s announcement of the Brazen Virtue adaption for Netflix, starring Alyssa Milano. And I’m simply and sincerely appalled.

The vitriol, the hatred, the anger, the bitterness and the demands are astounding to me.

By and large I keep politics off my pages. That’s my choice. Now many readers have dragged their own onto this page, so I’m going to state, for the record: I’m a liberal Democrat. Always have been, always will be. And as one, I’ve always believed everyone has a right to their political beliefs, and has a right to express their opinions. But I don’t have to tolerate insults and ugliness on my page.

For those who want to claim Freedom of Speech—look it up. This FB page isn’t the government. Some have comments on here using ‘liberal’ as a slur, an insult, equating it with communism. Others have used outright slurs against an actress, while claiming she should keep her opinions to herself. (No doubt those same people would be quick to assert their own First Amendment rights.)

Some will never read me again because Milano will headline this adaption. One reader stated she intended to BURN all my books in her collection for this choice of actress.

Think about that. Burning books. Get a visual? I sure do.

Another claims she can only support ‘like-minded’ artists. Really? I only imagine the books, songs, movies I’d have missed if I felt this way and refused to read, watch, listen to those who contributed to or performed them who hold different political viewpoints from my own.

Over this past long, hard year, we’ve lost over 400,000 friends, loved ones, neighbors to COVID. We’ve been isolated from each other, and I for one yearn for the company of my pals again. I wonder, truly, why this grief, this hardship hasn’t taught so many of us we need each other. Instead, as illustrated by that comment section, it’s hardened far too many into an us and them mentality.


The viciousness I read in too many comments below hurts my heart. And realizing because I’m a liberal Democrat, many of those comments are directed at me for that reason alone is a real eye-opener.

Watch the movie when it comes out, or don’t. But lobbing nastiness at an actress or threatening me doesn’t do anything but illustrate your own limitations.

Nora

I’m Ready!

The last little package arrived. I’ll gift bag that sucker and be done with the wrapping, ribboning, bowing and tagging.

Gifts to pals I won’t see this year, shipped weeks ago, and most landed where they’re meant to be.

Tree up, mantels dressed, candles lit.

Thanks to Kayla and a marathon baking day, we have tons of cookies. I stood as baker’s assistant while she did the real work–and a lot of work it was. Also delicious.

Getting Grandda into the act
Cookie Boss

 I’ll sneak in a Nana brag as our college girl got her grades. Straight As. 

We had a really fun, laborious day together. I miss seeing my grandboys, and having the gang baking in the kitchen. Next year–I hold onto next year.

I miss holiday celebrations and time with my friends. Next year.

Obviously, we won’t have our big bash of a New Year’s Day Open House this year. But next year.

And I admit, sometimes it gets me down. It’s hard not to hang out with friends and family, hard to cut out long-held traditions, hard to give up all those personal contacts, the hugs, the laughs, the simple, basic pleasure of being together. 

But next year.

I’ve got plenty of work to keep me busy. Writing, for me, has always been a blessing, but maybe never as much as in 2020. It gets me going in the morning, helps keep me from dwelling–too much–on everything else.

Then there’s the weekend cleaning/cooking/baking routine. It helps, too.

But boy, will I happily pass my toilet brush to someone else next year.I’ll buy them new ones! Gold-plated toilet brushes if they want. And shiny silver buckets, jewel-encrusted scrub brushes! Whatever it takes.

Meanwhile, it all keeps me busy, and somewhat sane.

Last week’s snowday view.

Also keeping us busy around here is Parker who had surgery last week for a torn ankle tendon. He’s recovering well, but JESUS! he now requires pretty much constant care. No opening the door so the dogs can stroll out and do what they do. Bag that cast, use a leash, walk him out, try to avoid having the Cone Of Shame bash you in the calves and shins. 

Parker and his new accessory.

He and Atticus both have the sads over the situation. But this, too, will pass. Next year.

Meanwhile meanwhile, the house is festive, and that perks me up.

Best, Jason, Kat and Griffin will come for Christmas as we’ve continued our careful bubble. I’m incredibly lucky there. We’ll have a late brunch once they get here, then tear into the presents. And won’t it be fun to watch a two-year old discover new toys under the tree?

Since Kat can’t eat mammals (reaction to a tick bite) we’ll have lasagna for dinner–with a salad bar to start, garlic bread from the Italian bread I baked last weekend, and an ice cream bar for dessert.

Then we’ll watch the new Wonder Woman. Yay!!

Not our usual Christmas, but we’ll make it happy. Then there’s next year. Next year, Kayla won’t have to haul all the gifts from here to her family because we’ll all be together. We’ll be together–family and friends–because we’re apart now keeping each other safe. And that’s the most loving thing we can do.

I’m wishing all our health care workers, our first responders, teachers, front line workers, delivery workers, USPS workers, grocery workers, and all those who’ve done so much, worked so hard to keep us all safe, to care for us, to keep it all going the best holiday possible. And a better, brighter new year.

I wish the same for all of you.

When I light my candles tonight, I’ll light them with that wish for all.

Next year will be better, and it will be brighter. But for now, we’ll make the now as solid and safe and shiny as we can.

Nora

Be Strong, Stay Safe

This is a terrible and scary time. Most of us have to stay in our homes, losing the freedom of movement and society we’ve all taken for granted, well, forever. But we give up that basic freedom for the good of all. For our families and friends and neighbors. For strangers we’ll never meet.

Not all of us can stay home and safe, and we need to thank all those on the front lines. The doctors, nurses, interns, the lab techs, cleaning services, maintenance people, support staff in hospitals and clinics everywhere.

They’re heroes.

The cops, the firefighters, the truck drivers and delivery people, the mail carriers and all who leave the safety of home to help and protect us are heroes.

We have staff at Vesta and Turn The Page and Gifts going to work on limited hours to provide food for take-out, on line ordering for books and other things that make life for those of us at home easier and more bearable. At FIT, our Renee is streaming yoga videos from her home to keep that connection, to offer ways to relax. Our inn staff is doing videos of room tours, and posting on FB to, again, keep that connection, offer something to help people get out of their own heads for just a little while.

Heroes.

The teachers doing their best to send out lesson plans, to keep our children from losing progress, to keep their minds occupied, more heroes.

The child care providers tending children so those medical and essential people can do their jobs, just more heroes.

For myself, staying home is natural to me—but . . . I miss my grandchildren, I miss spending a fun week with my girl pals. And, like all of us, I worry.

Kayla’s missing the best part of her senior year—her last chance to run competitively, her prom, her moment of walking across the stage for her diploma. And the trip we planned for this summer, taking her to Italy.

And this sweet, smart, strong young woman is handling these deep disappointments without complaint. She’s sad, but knows how lucky she is—she told me so—to have a home, to have internet, to have books and movies, a family right there.

She’s one of my heroes, too.

I mourn for Italy, one of my favorites places in the world. I have dear, dear friends in New York, and am sick what this virus is doing to a city I love. I have friends with underlying conditions, with elderly parents, with young children.

I light candles—that’s my way of sending out light and hope and strength.

I have my home, my work—plenty of food and alcoholic beverages. I work out daily—it helps gets me out of my head. I have books, I stream movies—and when watching the news gets too much, I switch on HGTV, or turn to a book or movie.

A kitchen view

When the weather warms, BW and I can do yard work, something we both enjoy. I hope we can get annuals to fill out the beds, but if not (after my sad) I can divide and plug perennials into empty spaces.

I walked around outside—it’s brisk but sunny out there today—and took pictures of blooming things. It helps remind me that seasons change, hope springs, and we have to look for beauty to find it even in horrible times.

The Tulip Magnolia

Last fall I sliced a tomato, stuck it in a pot. And today, I picked the first perfect little ripe tomato. I’m going to send it down the lane with Kayla—she’s bringing me a few back-up groceries after her mom gets to the store.

Tomato.

Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies, so my treasures down the hill can have that little bit of love from me.

Later today we’re FaceTiming with Jason, Kat and Griffin. They send pictures and videos, and I gobble them up every day.

This virus is a bastard, and we all have to take it very seriously. We have to protect each other. I hope you, too, can find little things to do to help push away the worry for awhile. Spring cleaning, crafting, books, movies, keeping in touch with friends and family, playing games, baking, whatever works. Do something to ease your mind while you stay safe and strong.

I read a story about a young man who heard an elderly couple in the grocery store say there was no more bread. He told them to take the loaf he had in his cart. Heroism can be just that simple.

Social distancing doesn’t mean we stop caring. It shows we care enough to give up those freedoms, that movement, those activities to protect others.

This is long and rambling, but heartfelt. Stay safe, wash your hands (We’re going through soap and lotion like crazy here!), be loving enough to keep your distance so we can all hug again one day.

I’m lighting candles for all of you.

Nora


Note from Laura: With so many people away from their regular routines, I think this is the right week to start the FITS book discussions. I will start a post with the first graphic and add to it as the week passes (like I do with the teasers for the In Deaths). I’ll be using graphics some of you may have seen on Facebook because I have a backlog of them.

The first book we’ll discuss is Birthright. Look for a Monday morning post.

I’m saving my particular sanity with walks and photos every day. If you like to look at calming scenery, you’ll see them at https://www.instagram.com/lmreeth/

Frederick MD skyline.

MY POV on RWA

Laura’s note: To frame what Nora discusses here, please refer to this post on All About Romance. The author does an excellent job of laying out the timeline to the current situation.


To clarify: I’m not on Twitter. I haven’t been a member of Romance Writers Of America for several years. Those are both personal and professional decisions.

Even so, it’s been impossible not to be aware of the horrendous situation involving RWA, its leadership and Courtney Milan which, as it escalated, brought to light a long-standing and systemic marginalization of authors of color, of LGBTQ authors, by the organization.

I’m not going to comment on the Milan/RWA situation, but on what–through that–has come to light.

What I write here is my opinion. Some will agree, some won’t, some will be angry, some won’t. That’s how opinions work.

Writer, the middle word in Romance Writers of America, is a word without gender, a word without color or race, a word without sexual orientation, without creed. We’re writers, and as such must expect to be treated, must demand to be treated, fairly and equitably by our professional organization.

Period.

What follows is the viewpoint of a long-time member.

I joined RWA in 1980 (wow!). I attended the first conference in 1981 just a couple months after my first book came out. It was wonderful. I met my dearest pal Ruth Langan at that conference, and many others who’ve remained friends all these years.

RWA gave me a community, and though I have never been active in its leadership (nor did I want to be!) I attended every conference save two for decades. The organization was formed to provide support, education, networking opportunities, to stand as advocates for writers, published and unpublished.

I’m grateful for the community, the friendships, the opportunities.

Was the organization perfect? Of course not, but I felt, certainly in those early years, it tried very hard to support, educate, advocate and offer networking opportunities. I didn’t see marginalization–and fully admit I may have been blind to it–until many years in when the leadership crafted a statement defining romance as one man/one woman.

For me anyway, this came out of the blue. Who decided this was our statement? It sure as hell wasn’t mine, and surely we’d all evolved by–what was it–abut 2005.

A great many members were outraged by it–as they should have been. I certainly was, and took the rare for me step of writing a letter expressing same to the editor of the Romance Writers’ Report. We do NOT discriminate. I would not be a part of this kind of discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Jesus, it’s fine to have a character fall in love with a freaking vampire, but not someone of the same sex? Bullshit. Just bullshit.

Offensive, bigoted, homophobic bullshit.

I received an email from the then president urging me to be quiet, basically, explaining to me–and I am not kidding–I didn’t understand that the lesbians would take over RWA. Jeez, those terrifying lesbians!

After my brain stopped exploding, I emailed back telling her they could publish my letter–as written–or I would take out a full page ad to publish it.

If memory serves, it appeared as a letter to the editor in the next issue of the RWR.

That was a real crack in the wall for me, and left me disappointed and angry with the organization.

It was during this leadership era I began to see some pretty deep problems within RWA. This same president was in office during the Reno nightmare. I’m not going to go into all that here, just Google it, but I withdrew as MC of the awards banquet and again wrote a long, detailed letter. I think–not sure–this time I did take it as an ad.

I’ll say all of that put longer, wider cracks in the foundation for me. I nearly resigned my membership then, but decided to keep it. I went to conference, but now almost exclusively to be with friends, to see people I only saw once a year, to attend the kick-ass Harlequin party and attend the brilliant Literacy Signing.

But I thought, I believed, with leadership change, the organization was doing better, trying harder. I didn’t see the marginalization, and I regret that. I could have been a voice, and I wasn’t.

For several years our family foundation sponsored the Literacy Signing. Literacy is one of our foundation’s primary goals. My daughter-in-law, the amazing Kat, worked with the committee in charge to help enhance efficiency, and put a lot of her time and effort into it.

The Literacy Signing was the annual conference’s big kick-off, drawing many, many authors who signed their books, publishers who donated those books, many, many readers who bought books–and the proceeds went to Literacy.

This night was a source of pride–RWA was making a difference.

Bookending this week of workshops, hang out at the bar time, meetings, parties, networking was Awards Night. The last night, always a big celebration–published and unpublished. The Golden Heart Awards for the unpublished, the Rita for the published. And the Lifetime Achievement Award to a member who’d earned it.

I received a letter, through Laura, from the Board between the last conference I attended, in San Diego, and the next–can’t remember where it was slated to be held. Wait–Orlando, I think.

They’d voted to change the set up for conference week, and claimed to want my input–though they’d already voted and intended to announce the changes in about 24 hours. The Literacy signing would now be at the end of the conference–on a Saturday afternoon. The RITAs would be in the middle of the week, and the Golden Hearts presented at a lunch.

I get change, I understand change, but I felt–still do–this was stupid. And worse, imo, the Golden Hearts, the unpublished, were being tossed aside. Not right, not fair, not equitable. Why do this? And WHY make the unpublished feel they didn’t really count? The Rita/Golden Heart Banquet was our send off, our night to celebrate each other and the books we write. The Literacy Signing, always held on the evening before the conference officially started, drew huge crowds, and brought in impressive amounts for Literacy.
The unpublished members deserved their night to shine.

As the sponsor of the Literacy Signing, we should have had a little more warning of the decision, but we didn’t.

And in response to my response, it was basically: Done deal. We’ve decided the conference should be more reader-centric rather that author-centric.

And that did it. Romance WRITERS of America, not readers. We love our readers, we value our readers, but this was the professional organization for writers. Published and unpublished.

I resigned my membership. We pulled out as sponsor.

In the time since then and now, I haven’t paid too much attention to what’s going on with RWA or its membership. I’m not especially active on social media, so a lot would go over my head anyway.

This latest issue hasn’t.

Again, I regret all the years I didn’t hear, didn’t see, didn’t listen, remained unaware of all the sad and unfair things that are now coming to light.

I hope that light continues to shine, and by doing so may change RWA for the good, may remind those in leadership positions what the purpose was all those years ago. To support and advocate for romance writers. Not specific kinds of romance writers.

Let me add, as a personal note, that over the course of my life, the course of my career, the couple hundred books I’ve written, I may have–most likely have–said or done or written something that was offensive, racist, homophobic. Without intent–but intent doesn’t mean a damn to those hurt. So I’ll apologize without qualification.

I hope I’ve learned along the way. I intend to continue to learn and do better.

Nora

It’s never too early to plan ahead

It feels like publishing moves faster than any other business these days — we know about books so far in advance! As of this afternoon St. Martin’s Press has rolled out the pre-order links for Nora’s 2020 fall books.*

Nora’s currently writing The Awakening — book 1 in a new trilogy. She already finished Shadows in Death (#51). I know nothing about either title at this point, but covers and descriptions will be revealed in the spring.

For now, let the wondering commence.

*I have no doubt the Little Brown UK links will be live early next year. It’s just the US that’s this far ahead. But no fear, the books will be available under the same titles.

And to keep it all in line, this is the 2020 lineup:

Out February 4, 2020

All your Golden In Death order options can be found here.

Out May 26, 2020

Pre-order links for Hideaway can be found here.

Shadows in Death
TTP: http://bit.ly/38RlqrB
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/38jc73v
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2Pss26Z
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ryvGo3
Kindle: https://amzn.to/2S6fepR
Nook: http://bit.ly/2S27jKj
Apple Books: https://apple.co/36FgVi2
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2S3g32U
Google: http://bit.ly/2M6n4Mu

TTP: http://bit.ly/2M5qaAi
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/36k70ON
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Yy7oXb
Kindle: https://amzn.to/2PWWMxd
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2S4kkCY
Kobo: http://bit.ly/38PbwXB
Google: http://bit.ly/2S382ej
Barnes & Noble/Nook links coming soon!

The Rise of Magicks discussion space

On sale now

For those of you who wait for the entire trilogy, your time is nigh. (OK for the rest of us who read them as they are released, YOUR time is nigh as well.)

Here’s the cover copy:

In a world after the Doom destroyed civilization, magick is commonplace and Fallon Swift spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon can’t live in peace until she frees those who are prey for the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end.

Strengthened by the bond she shares with her fellow warrior, Duncan, Fallon has already rescued countless shifters and elves and ordinary humans. Now she must help them heal—and rediscover the light and faith within. For although from the time of her birth, she has been The One, she is still only one. And as she faces down an old nemesis, sets her sights on the enemy’s stronghold, and pursues her destiny—to finally restore the mystical shield that once protected them all—she will need an army behind her.

This is the place to discuss TROM and all things Chronicles of The One. So please be ware — spoilers straight ahead.

Enjoy the discussion!

Hi and Bye

Here’s a quick one before we take off in the morning. It’s Logan’s turn for a summer trip! We’ll send a report, and plenty of pictures when we get back.

I get to have my oldest and youngest grandsons for five fun days!

Meanwhile, I had a very solid, productive writing week. It’s always fun to spend time with Eve, Roarke and the gang. And to be able to stick with it, and them, without needing to stop and go anywhere! Yay!

Today meant getting that workout in early—and doing a little extra as tomorrow’s a travel day. Then packing. And packing, and figuring, and packing.

My wall/paver guys have done an amazing job, and are nearly done. It LOOKS done, but there’s backfilling, and lights to install, and clean up. I’m just so happy with the results. And finally, BW and I could move pots who’ve been waiting in far too much shade for their place on the lower patio. I expect my geraniums will thank me with lots and lots of blooms.

I got my weeding and deadheading done, and had a very fine time with it.

And discovered lilies! Two years running, the deer ate them all. We’ve been battling them fiercely this year, and we’re winning!

Happy, too, we’ve worked on problem sloping, shady areas, and are gradually improving them.

I bought my gorgeous new fairy, intending to use her in the shade. But her beautiful bronze skin would disappear. So I switched her out, and she’s lovely and happy where we put her. Now the very white reading girl pops in the shade with a cairn, an old hand plow and my tree of life gate.

My nasturtiums—Laura always gets me seeds—are throwing vivid blooms, and before long will spill artistically over my garden wall. I love adding them to salads—along with my thriving herbs.

It’s been great to spend so much time playing in the garden. I’m going to go spray my tomatoes and peppers with an epsom salt solution, then come inside, sign four tubs of books.

And done!

We head out and head off early tomorrow morning. I’ll miss my garden, miss Eve and Roarke, but I think I’ll be too busy having fun to notice.

Nora

Breaking news 2

This is a translated story from the Brazilian newspaper
O Estado de S. Paulo não
. ~Laura

Justice prohibits sale of Brazilian books accused of plagiarizing Nora Roberts

American bestselling author Nora Roberts won the first battle against Brazil’s Cristiane Ribeiro Allevato Serruya in a plagiarism case last week in Rio de Janeiro.

In her decision, Maria Cristina de Brito Lima, of the 6th Business Court of Rio de Janeiro, ordered the suspension of the sale of the physical books, e-books and audiobooks of Royal Love, Royal Affair, Unbroken Love, Hot Winter, Forevermore and From the Baroness’s Diary, and the inclusion on the cover and links made available on Amazon, Saraiva, Cultura, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and E-Bay websites of the words “suspended by court order”.

The judge also determined the blocking of royalties from the sale of these books in the bookstores mentioned. The amounts must be deposited in a judicial account. Failure to comply with Cristiane’s judicial decision of bookstores or publishers may result in a fine of R $ 5,000 per copy of work unduly sold.

“This represents a new level of judicial demand in the literary field,” says Gustavo Martins de Almeida, Nora Roberts’ lawyer. Mainly because it involves immaterial media – e-books and audiobooks – and because Nora Roberts, a foreigner without assets in Brazil, is giving as guarantee the copyright of his books published by three publishers. “It’s interesting to see the judiciary adjusting to new technologies,” says the lawyer.

Cristiane Ribeiro Allevato Serruya has 15 days to appeal the decision.

The newspaper O Estado de S. Paulonão got in touch with the Brazilian until the closing of the story.

To read the story as printed click here.