Time and Time Away

After the rush and fun of the holidays, BW and I spend a week away with friends and family at a resort/spa a convenient couple hours drive from home. We’ve been doing this, we figure, for about fourteen years.

The front entrance. Photo by Laura
The snowy landscape. Photo by Laura

It’s a lovely, lovely break. It’s familiar for this creature of habit, it’s comfortable, and it’s pretty.

This year it’s also COLD! Seriously cold, and we’ve had a pretty (since I’m not out in it) snowfall. I had my first emotionally focused therapy at the spa a few hours after our arrival, and just let everything go. That’s the best. It’s relax and recharge time for me. Read lotsa books time, work a little here and there time, and cook not at all time. And it’s an extra gift to spend that time with people you love and enjoy.

I’ve finished two books, and will start another this afternoon while I wait for my mmmmm deep tissue massage. Which I earned  as I went full out for a two full hour cross-training workout this morning.

I’ll come back, pour myself a glass of champagne then think about what to order for dinner, the one I’m not cooking.

I had a good, solid stretch of writing one day between workout and a facial. Good deal. I worked on a non-book-related project and did a little shopping. When I go home, I have a routine doc’s appointment, and then an event on the weekend, followed by hosting at our house our Kayla’s State champion girls cross-country team.

Girls rock!

Squeezing writing in there as I go. But that’s days away.

I love what I do for a living, love the time and the effort I’m required to put into crafting a story I hope readers will enjoy. I love being able to take some time off with friends and family, love spending the weekend making soup and bread or whatever appeals in my own kitchen. Because I love all of that I’m bound to do a better job of it than if I disliked or resented it.

Here’s what I don’t much like, and more have no real skill for. Handling social media. Coming up with topics for Facebook that will engage readers and make them happy. Laura is queen of all that. If I had to handle it? I wouldn’t have FB pages. Simply wouldn’t. I’d resent every minute I had to scratch my head over what to write, and detest every minute it took away from the work I love. So I’d simply eliminate the annoyance and distraction, and focus on what I love, what I’m good at, and what I owe the reader. My best work.

That’s the bottom line. A writer of fiction owes readers this: The best book he or she can write at that particular time. She also owes them gratitude, of course, for reading, owes them basic courtesy if and when she engages with readers IRL or on line.

And, that’s it.

Though some may disagree I don’t owe readers FB pages or blogs or contests and give-aways to repay them for reading my books, whether they buy them, listen to them, borrow them. I owe them a good book. FB is a marketing tool and a great way to communicate. Laura does an amazing job of crafting posts, selecting photos or quotes that springboard reader conversations. I would not, though I do scan the posts, sometimes the comments, and if it applies, add a comment of my own.

I enjoy writing this blog when I have something to say, or can document through words and pictures something I think readers will have fun with. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it. Actually my Jason gave me the basic thrust of how to handle blogging here when years back I whined about it. Days in the life, little bits and pieces with photos, fun stuff, personal stuff.

Okay, I think I can do that, and so far, so good.

In the normal course of events, I write 40-50 hours a week. Parts of that schedule maybe eaten into now and then by the business that surrounds writing. Generally I proof galleys in the evening, not during work hours. I sign, routinely, four tubs of books three times a week, not during work hours.

In there I live a life I really enjoy. It’s a really good balance for me.

If I added in what the amazing Laura does, that balance would tip, and tip hard. I’d be unhappy, and believe me, so would you, the reader.

So for those who might wonder why I don’t write all the FB posts, there’s the answer. It’s certainly not because I don’t value the reader, new ones, or ones who’ve read me from day one.

It’s actually because I very much do.

Anyway, I think I have time for a glass of champagne before that massage. After all, this is time away.


Courtyard chairs waiting for spring. Photo by Laura

Note from Laura (did you expect anything else?):   Since the very first FB post in 2008, I’ve signed what I post though many speed readers do miss it.  For everyone who pays attention, they know it’s me.  And that NR chimes in when time allows.

While neither of us would ever want to live the other’s life, Nora and I have developed a rhythm and understanding and synchronicity over the past 12 years works.  I know what it’s like to be a faithful reader.  I also see clearly how routine and hard work built a career that spans three decades of quality storytelling.

I see the (imo) whiny “why doesn’t Nora love us?” comments and think “she does — she gives you multiple books every single years.” And so we’ll continue to not fix what ain’t broke.

63 thoughts on “Time and Time Away”

  1. Well said. Funny the more one gives, the more that is expected. That happens in all walks of life. Keep on doing what works! I love your books! Don’t change a thing!

  2. Thank you Nora and Laura! Love your teamwork! I’ll keep reading Nora’s books and Laura’s posts! ❤

  3. I love the books – and I really like you both, ladies. No kidding. Arms-length works, and the occasional glimpse inside is very much appreciated.

  4. It’s lucky people that love what they do. I’m an interior designer, & I’m lucky in that regard as well. Getting away and recharging is vital, or else we burn out. As for Facebook, i’m on it, but don’t check it daily. I don’t get why people are so obsessive about it. I have a friend who posts daily. Why? I will insult many out there, but to me, it’s a sign that you have too much time on your hands, & having nothing better to do. Your readers are lucky that besides for writing the best fiction out there, you are also so prolific. I’d rather have fiction that social media from you, anyday. I’ve learned a long time ago- stop worrying about what people expect from you- and live your life doing what you love.

  5. I saw the post that more than likely initiated the blog for today. It was obvious to me and most that Laura does use Facebook to speak out as the voice of Nora. I am sure there are tons of other writers and celebrities that will not share anything with the public, of which is their right. Nora ingratiates us will all sorts of private things and we just gobble them up, she is a icon! Thank you Nora and thank you Laura.

    I could surely use that massage Nora is getting as the cold weather has effected my back on the right side and feels like if I’d twist the wrong way it will go out and I will not bee able to move. Mom used to call it a cold in your back.

  6. I find myself seriously stunned that some people, while professing to be fans, have the balls to demand anything from you. You are correct, you write amazing books, well crafted and engaging characters and storylines that never fail to entertain. IMO, you are perfectly justified in being annoyed about this. Please, for the rest of us who love you, keep on doing what you are doing, and know the larger segment of your fan base supports you and your work! And Laura, you are an awesome gatekeeper. 🙂

  7. I’m from pre social media days, when reading an interview from an author was a thrill. I loved adwoff when Nora chimed in, and answered all our Stooopid Questions. I drove her and the admin’s crazy asking all of them :D. Thanks Nora, for taking the time to answer our Stooopid Questions from the Adwoff days. When I went to facebook, I didn’t expect anything.

    Jude Devereux got the opposite. She would post once a day, either a scene from the book she was writing, what happened on her cruise, or about her house. She got a lot of posts wanting to know why she wasn’t writing, and how she shouldn’t be posting on facebook. Now, her publicist handles fb. Its sad. I appreciated her taking time out of her busy day to share what she was doing. Not that she owed us anything but a wonderful book. And to have people not appreciate what she took the time to share was awful. IMO, if you didn’t like her posts, unfriend her.

    Thank you, Nora, for your blog, sharing your life, and seeing your grandchildren grow up. And Laura, for taking the time to run Nora’s fb page and manage her blog.

  8. Nora, I have been reading your books since the 80s. I buy every book you publish. I love them. I look forward to new releases. I am glad that you are able to focus on the writing. I would hate for social media, or other trivialities to keep you from writing these amazing stories with inspiring characters. I am glad Laura is there to write the FB posts, and I greatly enjoy them. Thanks to both of you for the hard work that you do.

  9. Love your books. Don’t change. if someone needs to stalk you they need to get a life other than yours.

  10. I’d rather have her write books and Laura on FB! I’m excited over the blogs she takes time for, but believe me, I’d rather have the books. The travelogues are a bit like a book, but still!

  11. For Leslie Gelbman,
    a woman who understands
    the value of time.

    -Midnight Bayou, by Nora Roberts

    Love the stories you pen or channel.

  12. I appreciate the time that Nora does give us the readers. I live the fact that she gives us multiple books a year plus what she shares in her blog. Laura thank you for taking care of the things ( social media) that Nora would rather not have to deal with.
    Keep in doing what you love and obviously what’s working! Stay warm and enjoy a massage for me!

  13. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Continue with what works. Love your books, Nora; love your FB posts, Laura. Keep it up ladies. I hope 2017 brings you both whatever makes you happy.

  14. Finding what you enjoy doing + doing it well = fulfilling life goals.
    Having your work bring joy and happiness to others — icing on the cake!
    Everybody needs icing on their cake. Thank you.

  15. Nora, I love your books, so much that I re-read them all the time (currently re-reading all of the trilogies), and I have to mentally shift for different authors, and especially for a different genre. Whatever has been working for you to balance writing, life, and cyberspace, keep doing it. I love the blogs with the snippets of your life and getting to hear about your family and grandkids and all that stuff, and the fb page (thanks, Laura!), but they are superfluous to what we are all here for – your books, both under your name and JDR. Without the books, we wouldn’t be here. I’ve been reading you since high school (so….more than 25 years), and the JDR books since the beginning of them.

  16. Hi Nora and Laura,
    I love the way you work as a team. Your back up for each other. What one doesn’t do well with then the other excels with. That’s what makes both of you unique.
    Nora I really enjoy reading your blog. I am not a blog reader. I read 3 blogs. 2 friends of mine and yours. I look forward to your blog. It is my Sunday treat. The bits and pieces that you share allow me a few minutes to feel happy to be involved with some one I really admire.
    Laura I do appreciate the hard work that you do and for Facebook. I rarely comment but I do read sometimes I can find some wonderful memories from the topics that post.
    It’s cold here in Texas at the moment but will rebound in the next few days. From freezing snow to 80 degree days. At least I can put my plants out for some real sun and fresh air.
    Have a fantastic week. Sincerely Beth

  17. Hi Nora – its funny but I have been saying the same thing about authors. actors, athletes etc for years. The only information and time I have the right to is the information and time they are willing to share. Everyone has a right to privacy and to live their life as they see fit regardless of profession. In this Social Media age where everyone is living life out loud I find it sad that, by and large, we have become consumers of information that feel because someone shares their talent with us we have the right to know everything about that person and to demand that they engage with us on a personal level.

    I have been reading your books for many years now and I would like to thank you for sharing the stories you weave with me as they have provided me with much needed escape during difficult times and lots of joy and laughter during the good times. Not to be flippant nor disrespectful but YOU GO GIRL!

  18. Teamwork is awesome and definitely helps avoid becoming overwhelmed and turning what you love into a chore you’d love to avoid! I think you both make a great team and the results are amazing! I treasure each book I either read or listen to! I am currently in my JDRobb phase and enjoy escaping to Eve and Roarke’s world! After a while I will go over to Nora’s creations! They all provide an excellent way to relax, escape, and enjoy!
    Thank you both ?

  19. Yeah, I agree. You have a life to live that’s your life not ours. Keep writing the fab books. What you do in your own time is your business. Jane Austen et al did not feel they had to appraise readers of what they were doing in their private lives. You owe us nothing, its up to us to read your books.

  20. I read my first Nora Roberts book when I was in high school and have been a faithful reader ever since. Reading your books has been such a joy for me. As a stay at home mom of four and a military wife, getting out to make friends can be difficult. Your stories have kept me company at harder times. So much so, that I reread your books time after time and the story never gets old. Thank you for your hard work and diligence. Thank you for the gift that you share, which offers us readers a glimpse into different worlds and lives. You are appreciated and your books are loved.

  21. There’s a saying that if you choose to do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life! I’d say that sums up Nora’s gift as a writer. I just finished the Guardian Trilogy, and it was great! So, I’m very happy she doesn’t spend her time on FB or Twitter or Blog posts (although I do enjoy reading these Blogs). Thanks to you, Laura, for taking on this part so she can write and give us that best!

  22. Thank you, Nora, for those 40-50 hour writing weeks! I don’t think there is another writer on the planet that does what you do and I am very grateful for all your books. The blog entries are just a bit of icing on the multitude of cakes!

  23. IMHO always go with your strength! For Nora, it is writing,; for Laura, it is making FB,etc. Happen…so a win-win all around!
    Writing is hard demanding work…writing as well as Nora does is amazing…and hard demanding work! To have found Laura and this great blance is icing on the cake as it were!!!

  24. Nora and Laura, I love your teamwork. Don’t change a thing. I’ll take the books anytime over Facebook, blogs,etc. Keep those fantastic books coming. Laura, you do get with your Facebook post. All is appreciated. Happy New Year to you and your families…Jodie

  25. Thank you SO much Nora, for giving me so much to look forward to each year. It’s always so wonderful to know I have hours of your writing to look forward to reading. Such a gift! Your stories always take me in, take me away, and make me feel so entertained. You are a treasure. And thank you Laura, for all that you do for Nora’s readers. We are incredibly lucky to have you!

  26. As an avid, long time reader of NR/JDR,i wish to express my sincere gratitude to her for the MANY hours of pure reading bliss. You are my absolute FAVORITE!! Big thankyou to Laura who does a wonderful job with her social media!! It is VERY appreciated by me. Hope your time away was all you wanted it to be! ♡♡♡from SLC,UTAH

  27. Nora and Laura —

    Everyone has pretty much summed up my sentiments here — your teamwork, your strengths, the icing on a fabulous cake. But the one thing that I must also thank you both for is the routine signing of “four tubs of books three times a week”. Just last night, while settling in with a recent NR, I turned to the signature page and simply marveled at my luck: my books with a Nora Roberts (or J D Robb) signature.

    So — thanks for taking that time. I truly hope it never feels like “work” for you because it really is a treasure. Every dang time.

  28. Laura, I think of you as Dr. Mira’s assistant. You help keep Nora on track so she can focus on her main responsibilities. I appreciate and love both of your work. Keep doing what your doing.

  29. Thank you Laura for posting and keeping Nora’s website and FB updated. Nora looking forward to all your 2017 books. I just wish February’s Echoes in Death was not far off. Thank you for being the dedicated writer you are

  30. I’ve always thought that since social media became so big, that’s got to be the hardest part of being an artist. It’s so easy for some to be mean in this faceless medium. I’m glad Nora has you Laura to help her with this sometimes thankless task of sharing your lives with us (because we know you too through these posts). I would read Nora whether she did FB or not, as I’ve been reading her since I was a teen, she was my first romance author, I “stole” Irish Thoroughbred from my mom’s TBR pile and put it back when I was done. I’ve read every single book she’s written since. And will read every book she writes until she decides she’s done. Then I’ll mourn. Thank you both for what you do!

  31. I totally agree. Nora’s full time job is writing. Marketing is Laura’s job. No CEO would handle their FB posts. I love reading the blog and enjoy liking and commenting on FB with others who appreciate amazing well-crafted stories. Enjoy your spa days Nora. They are more than well deserved. You don’t owe fans anything more.

  32. Nora Roberts has gotten me through some of the darkest days of my life. Having one of her books to read sometimes was the only way I could face the heartache of sitting with my parents as I watched them slip from my life. Years ago I sent my collection of Language of Love books (all 48 of them) to Turn The Page for Nora to sign. Her husband was supposed to take them home to her a few at a time. Well… he took them all at once! YIKES! She was nice enough to sign them all and later when I met her at TTP she joked to me about the cramp she got while doing it. I know she no longer does this so I will treasure my collection even more. So I will never complain about what she does or doesn’t do for me as a fan. Just as long as she keeps writing books that touch my heart!

  33. Any one that can’t tell the difference between Nora’s Comments and Blogs and Laura’s Facebook Posts and addendum must not hear/ see the difference the way I do. You two have a complimentary styles but when I read these thing I think in two different voices. If you both do what you are good at we should be happy.

  34. Thank you both for doing the work you Love and enjoy. I love Nora’s books and I love the FB pages and blog that Laura manages. You each play to your strengths. Keep up the good work ladies, I will keep reading.

  35. My daughter and I really look forward to Nora’s new books, especially in the In Death series. I’m So thankful she is do focused on her craft. We all need good partners like Laura whom we can count on as well. Thanks to you both.


  36. I hope you haven’t had a moment of worrying about what posters on FB whine about because what you do for us readers is far beyond enough. If people are complaining on FB, they’re complainers in life, probably complaining on every FB page they follow.

    I am so envious of your life…I have a full time job, 2 young kids, an Etsy shop, and a husband who insists on nightly TV time so we can still spend time together every day (which is understandable…but I still wish we could do an every-other-night kind of thing)….I get about 30-45 minutes of tired writing a night. I know you started this career during a blizzard trapped in your home with children…sadly, I work from home, so even if we had a blizzard, I’m pretty sure I’d still have to work (with the kids home….making everything that much more challenging).

    Anyways…you’re an inspiration! Happy New Year!

  37. I tried to post this yesterday, so I apologize if it is a duplicate. I love the times that Nora/ JD Robb has allowed me to escape into a wonderful worlds of love, friendship, compassion, wit and intelligent thought and banter; I adore – and admire – how she keeps this blog and shares her life with us – the reader. I love how Laura pulls it all together – makes me smile – and I am VERY envious of her job. To those who whine and want more of each of you or both of you – as Eve would say – “Bite me”!!! Continue to be the magnificent team you are – I – one of many – truly appreciate all that each of you do.

  38. Living rural all you have to do is go to the grocery store and hear “so and so on Facebook ” and you’ll never use it, and we don’t . At 17 my eldest who has finally got a flip phone understands why as well and has stayed away . Yes, I believe him, he tells on himself. But, it has protected him from bullying .

    I view the author/reader transaction as a financial one. You supply the product , I buy or library it. As much as I enjoy the blog or the notes, you don’t owe me them. At the same time the product is mine to do as I please. Some I like, some I don’t . Can’t please everyone all the time.

  39. I’m a “since Book One-Go Irish” fan. I love Nora’s books and have started the “In Death” series again (my goodness, Eve certainly has a busy, bloody life…don’t know how Roarke gets any business done!). When I look at the sheer number of books that Nora has written I’m amazed. And then to think that nearly each and every one has been a page burner for me…wow…I wouldn’t want that talent to burn out. I pray that it doesn’t. That being said, if Laura didn’t make the FB pages as interesting as she does, I wouldn’t tune into that side of things at all. Happy New Year to both of you and to all of us readers out there who just love another good book to read.

  40. I admit, I equate the folks wanting more & more of the author via FB and other forms of social media with those crying when a show is cancelled on tv; “they can’t cancel that; it’s my life!” I keep wanting to channel William Shatner’s response years ago to Trekkers (and yep, I’m a Trekker; just not a rabid one) “Get a Life!” I auto-buy NR’s books, esp. the J.D. Robb’s and have commented that if ever the budget comes down to food or the Robb’s; Robb’s will win out! But I don’t expect NR to share all aspects of her life with me, to be there constantly putting more of herself & her family in front of me. That’s just flat rude!

    Keep on writing, Nora, that’s all I ask of you. I’ll survive if you need to give up the blog. Actually, I might do better; some days you accomplish so much that I almost find it depressing!

  41. These blog posts mean the world to me. I thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us!! There are a few of your books that I read over and over again for comfort and escape. I thank you for that too!!

  42. Love your team work,
    Keep up the good work!!!
    And Nora your the best, don’t know what l’d do without your books. Their a
    perfect break for relaxation and away from reality. Keep up with your writing and enjoy your life on the way .

  43. Nothing needs changed. I’m thankful you write as many books as you do! I always look forward to the next one – especially the JD ROBB books. They are my absolute favorite!

  44. Nora…reading about your life on Falling Into The Story is one of my favorite pleasures. Love hearing about what goes on in your life, which you certainly owe no one that insight. I love the pictures you share of your family and friends. That you take the time to share here is, I feel, a gem for your fans and one that they should feel honored to have. I know I do. The newsletter came today and I read the excerpt for Come Sundown and I can’t wait for it’s release. It will be another keeper for my bookshelf for sure. Congrats to Kayla’s team! As a grandmother myself, having the girls there to celebrate is a very grandmotherly thing to do, as I’ve done this with my son’s baseball and soccer teams over the years. Enjoy!

  45. Oh and I’m sorry that I forgot to say that Laura does a great job on the FB pages. Keep up the good work Laura….

  46. Nora your work ethic still amazes me! You are, by far, the busiest woman on the planet and the best writer, hands down, that I’ve read. ( and I’ve read a lot)
    I thank you for the things that you do for us, your devoted fans, and appreciate all the hard work that goes into it. When I get a signed copy of a book that I’ve ordered, and know that you’ve signed tub after tub of them, makes me appreciate you all the more.
    I’m grateful for all you do!
    Laura, I thank you for keeping us abreast on fb and on the blogs. I know I can count on you to also straighten things out when people try to impersonate Nora on fb and try to con her fans. it made me feel good that you personally acted on that and talked to me asking questions about it.
    The job you do is extraordinary(sp ?) I appreciate all you do also. Please keep on doing what you do!

  47. Thank you Nora and Laura both…I love reading the FB blogs and staying up with your life as background to your career as an author. Nora, I have been reading your books for quite some time and started collecting them (especially JDROBB) for the last few years…nobody does it better!!!

  48. Boy I can’t wait. Love your books. My goal is to read all the Nora Roberts books. I’m done with the 1980’s era and onto to 1990’s era. If you are ever doing a book signing near Wisconsin, please send out an email…as I would love to meet you

  49. I’m continually amazed by the whiners, I so enjoy Nora’s books and her little snippets about vacation and writing and life around home, they should be glad she does that! I know of writers that don’t have Facebook or blog, some people are just never satisfied.

    My son and I were just discussing writers on a little mother/son adventure we had and this subject came up. He said, “Be glad they aren’t waiting on George R. R. Martin!” He gets it.

  50. As a Director of Marketing at a Artificial Intelligence Tech company I feel grateful that Nora takes the time time ever write these blogs! I work with brilliant introverts on a daily basis, if I tried to get those execs to focus on posting and managing social media for our companies activities I would be doing a disservice to the company, employees and our shareholders. I need them to focus on what they are excellent at, developing really crazy smart products. Just like Nora needs to focus on writing. She is one of the most prolific writers out there and still I want her to write more! So yeah happy to give up the tweets for more books :).

  51. Every time I see one of these complaints I get so angry! No other author writes as often as NR! We should all just be eternally grateful and never voice anything negative! I have a fear that one day NR is going to be sick of all the crapy people whining and say “you know I’ve written enough and I’m tired of all these complaints, I quit ” !!!! Most of what I read and reread in all honesty is all NR. I have seasonal traditions around NR trilogies, thus if whining ends her fantastically amazing writing they will ruin my life.

  52. Crikey! The fact that anyone ever complains blows my mind. NR gives her readers tons of time.

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