HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: What we’re writing week—I’m usually happy that alphabetically that makes me second in line to reveal the latest. But this week, I wish my name began with a later letter.
I’m juggling! And it’s terrific and fun and ca-razy. Three things:
One: Whoo-do-doo-hoo. I finished the final final manuscript of SAY NO MORE. Not just kind of finished, or sort of finished, or someone else still has to look at it finished. But I’m talkin’ 12,000 (yes 12,000) word cutting, “at least” and “of course” deleting, em-dash deleting (thank you Ramona Long), plot-twist realizing and epiphany-hitting finished. Remind me of this when I am freaking out later, okay? I really really really love it.
Here’s a tiny bit of SAY NO MORE—from a new character named Isabel Russo (whose name used to be Natalie Ruggerio, but somehow that didn’t work and now this new name is perfect.)
Nothing had happened to “him,” of course. She’d never say his name again. Never even think it. Never poison her mind with it. She’d make him a no one, a nobody, exactly as he’d done to her.
She looked up, glanced around as if someone could be watching. It always felt as if someone were, which was ridic. But Dame Callas’s darkly disapproving eyes seemed to stare right at her, and Mirella’s sweet expression had turned to pity. Isabel blinked, dismissing her fantasy. They’re only posters. She looked at her watch. 6:30. Gormay on the Way would arrive in an hour.
She had time.
She clicked into Facebook, hit the bookmark for his profile. Smiling, smiling, smiling. It was like this every day. Why did she keep looking? She went to Instagram, checked his IG photos. She’d watched as his friend list grew, saw him amass endless “likes” with his stupid sports and silly pop concert tickets and dumb jokes. He’d gotten a new car, she saw, scanning the newest photos. Another new girlfriend. She was smiling, too, even kind of seemed familiar. She clicked away from the heart-twisting, stomach-turning site. Enough.
Her next stop was always the “help” sites. Somehow, not being alone in her grief was reassuring. Even though it should have been chilling. But she had to look, once a day, every day.
Sexually assaulted on campus? We want to hear your story.
The headline on the Facebook WE CAN HELP home page was so shocking, so surprising, so unexpected, she blinked at it, willing her eyes to go back into focus. The postage-stamp-sized icon was of a scale of justice. Maybe you can prevent this from happening to someone else, the article began. Make a difference, it said. Take back the power.
Click here, it said.
She looked up again. It really felt as if someone was watching. The back of her neck prickled, and she could hear the silence.
Click? She could not do it. Why should she? All these hours she’d spent, making this place her refuge. Give that up with a click? No. She’d created a tiny bit of peace out of her shambles of a life. No way would she ever relive or talk about it again.
But how could it hurt just to see? “Prevent this from happening to someone else,” it said. She’d never wish her burden on anyone. Could she help instead? She touched her forefinger to the silver mouse. And pushed.
She steeled herself, waiting, not sure what to expect. Could they trace this? Know who she was? Should she close the computer, forget about it, fade to black? Maybe this was the biggest mistake she’d ever made.
She leaned her head back against the top rail of her kitchen chair, crossed her arms, felt the warmth of her bare skin. Briefly closed her eyes. No. The biggest mistake she’d ever made was going to that party. She shook her head, wondering. It was an odd relief, maybe, to understand that nothing worse could ever happen to her. Maybe that was her power.
Isabel paused, fingers poised over her keyboard. Thinking about the phone number now on the screen. Should she call? The atmosphere of the room changed, a flicker of shadow through the maple tree outside, and then a single shaft of light glinted a rainbow on her keyboard, the spectrum of colors changing, dancing, playing across her fingers. Smiling in spite of herself, she looked up to see her little window crystal twisting in the resolute sunshine.
You know the absolutely unbelievable journey of PRIME TIME, right? The first book in the fun and funny Charlotte McNally mystery series came out from NEXT, in 2007. And it won the AGATHA! Then came FACE TIME, a Booksense Notable book. Then the Next imprint was pulled, and I thought I was doomed.
But rejoice! The fabulous MIRA picked up the series, reissued PRIME TIME and FACE TIME in mass market size with gorgeous new covers, and went on to AIR TIME AND DRIVE TIME ,both of which were nominated for the Agatha and Anthony.
Then I had the idea for THE OTHER WOMAN, and got a new publisher, the amazing Forge. (All wonderful, and you all know the Jane Ryland story.)
FORGE loves Charlie McNally, and they are re-issuing the whole series, one every other month this year, in trade paperback and hardcover.
If you like Jane Ryland, I do hope you will meet Charlotte McNally, her just-a-bit-older older (and more-that-a-bit funnier) reporter predecessor.
Here’s a tiny bit of PRIME TIME:
It may be that Angela Nevins doesn’t hate me. It may be she hates everybody. But here she is at my door.
“Charlie, Franklin, good morning. Great Job on the newsbreak, Charlie. Thanks for bailing us out.”
Angela has apparently read in one of her management manuals that it’s productive to begin potentially contentious conversations
by using some sort of a compliment. Softens up the peons for what’s to come.
I don’t dare glance at Franklin because one of us is sure to roll our eyes and make the other laugh. Plus I can never forget that even though on paper Angela’s my boss, she’s at least five years younger than I am. Maybe six. That she’s allowed to tell me what
to do is unrelenting torture.
Angela turns her back as if Franklin doesn’t exist and picks up where she left off with me, “We need you to handle an interview we’ve arranged with the wife.”
Am I supposed to know what she’s talking about?
“What wife?” I say out loud.
I get one of those “I can’t believe you reporters are so dense”looks.
“The accident victim’s wife.” Angela looks down at her clipboard, taps on it with her pencil. “Bradley Foreman? Aztratech? He’s dead. Car accident. His wife told the assignment desk she’d talk. But we’ve got to move quickly, before some lawyer shows up and orders her to keep quiet. So, Charlie, you’re the only reporter here at the station. If we wait for the next one to arrive, we may lose the story.”
This is simply unfair. She’s assigning me vulture patrol. I loathe vulture patrol. I paid my on- the- street dues for years, trying to convince the brokenhearted and miserable there was some noble
reason they should go on camera. I’m supposed to be done with all that now.
But because I’m here early, I’m the only reporter who’s available. And as a result, I’m the one who’s nailed.
Course they don’t teach in J- school: The Early Bird Gets the Work.
If you haven’t read the Charlie books, tell me in the comments! And one lucky commenter will get one as a gift.
SO happy about this! But hmm, wondering. Question for you all: How do I market and promote? Any ideas?
|Our back yard last week!|
Three: Ah. Hmm. I have a new book to write. It’s called OUT COLD. And it comes out in October 2017.
And, sisters, that’s all I got. Not a word written, NOT. ONE. WORD. It is due in 11 months.
So I sit, and ponder, and wait for a good idea. I trust it will arrive when it should. Which I’m thinking had better be soon. I have blizzard, and cold cases. And wills. And knockouts. Hey—any one you have any good ideas—or any ideas for that matter-what OUT COLD can be?
And one lucky commenter gets a copy of the all-new edition of PRIME TIME!