Saturday, December 15, 2018

What We're Writing: Closing in on the end of HID FROM OUR EYES

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Those of you who follow Jungle Reds might have noted I've been working on (and off - a lot of off) HID FROM OUR EYES, the 9th Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery for a long time. A long, loooong time. Like, I'm pretty sure Voyager One and this manuscript were launched at the same time.

However, I'm pressing very hard this month to complete the first draft and hand it in by the New Year. Meanwhile, here's an excerpt that gives away nothing about the mystery, but features one of my readers' favorite characters, Margy, police chief Russ Van Alstyne's mom. In this scene, Clare and Russ are dropping their baby off with his niece Emma and picking Mom up for a swanky fundraiser.

           Russ hoisted the baby and strolled into the living room. “Heeeere's John—holy crap, Mom, what did you do to yourself?”
           Clare glared at him. Emma glared at him. His mom glared at him. “I mean...jeez.” Her hair, instead of its usual poodle perm, was fluffy and swirling around her face. She had earrings on. And a long necklace, over a drapey top and pants he knew he'd never seen before. “Are you wearing make-up?”
           “Let me be the first to apologize on behalf of my husband, the grunting caveman,” Clare said.
     Mom shook her head, making her hair move in ways no eighty-year-old lady's hair ought to move. “No, I raised him. I have to take the blame.”
                Emma smacked his arm. “Uncle Russ. Don't be weird.”
       “I'm weird? Suddenly my mom looks like--” It was the look in his mother's eye that made him finally hear himself. “A beautiful glamorous actress,” he finished. He kissed her cheek. “Mom, I'm sorry.”
           She squeezed his hand. “It's okay, son. I know you don't take well to change.”
       “Uncle Russ is afraid you're going to catch the eye of some rich New Yorker tonight and he'll whisk you away to the city and we'll never see you again.” Emma plucked the baby from Russ's arms.
       “The only thing I'm going to be doing with a rich New Yorker is squeezing him for a donation to the Save Our Police campaign.”
       “S.O.P? That's what we're going with?” Russ rolled his eyes.
       “How much do you know about organizing, son?”
       “Not much.”
       “That's right. So stand back and let the professionals do their job. You're here to look good and sound like a caring civil servant.”
       “I am a caring civil servant.”
           His mother patted him on the cheek. “Then you shouldn't have too hard a time of it tonight, should you?”

So, dear readers, is there a book - other than mine, for God's sake! that you've been waiting to show up in your local bookstore or library? 

75 comments:

  1. Aaaww, I love Margy! [And it’s good to know that the baby has arrived and all appears to be well!] Thanks, Julia, for a sweet morning chuckle. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this book . . . .

    Well, I’m always looking forward to the next Clare/Russ story, so there’s that. Otherwise, as far as non-Jungle Red ladies’ books go, I do tend to get impatient waiting for the next In Death book . . . .

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    1. Is "JD Robb" on a yearly schedule for those? Nora Roberts releases at least three books a year; I thought they might be out more frequently!

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    2. The In Death books are published twice a year . . . February and September. The upcoming one [Connections in Death] will be the forty-eighth in the series.

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  2. Habe been waiting and waiting but I know ot is worth it. Also waiting for the next James Lee Burke.

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  3. There are some authors who are always on my "C'mon, c'mon!" list--those writers who create a world so enjoyable I want to stay there, and therefore start the impatient wait for the next book the moment i finish the book that just came out. Elly Griffiths is on that list, as is Ben Aaronovitch. Like Joan, I enjoy Norah Roberts/J. D. Robb's "In Death" series, and I'm eager for Julia Buckley to take us all back to Blue Lake. Jenn McKinlay could also get a move on with her next romantic comedy. Just sayin'. (For the record, Jenn, I know you write fast and beautifully and juggle a lot in your writing schedule. I know. I really know. But my greedy inner child wants the next one!)

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    1. Gigi, Jenn writes with such speed I made a joke to the other Reds that I was increasing my output to one milli-Jenn per day.

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  4. The next book in every series I read is the one I am longing for!

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    1. It really is unfair that you finish a book you love and then you have to wait a year (for good, deadline-adhering authors) until you get another!

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  5. The ninth in the Outlander series, and the next Sara Donati, as well as those from you all here.

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    1. If you're waiting for the next Outlander, I feel better about my own schedule. Gabaldon has a looong time between those books. Of course, each one is the length of four ordinary novels, so...

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  6. Come on Julia, press on, you can do it!! Besides our Red books, which I await anxiously, looking forward to Elinor Lipman's GOOD RIDDANCE, Heather Webber's MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE, Sujata Massey's SATAPUR MOONSTONE, and Lolly Winston's ME FOR YOU...among so many others! 2019 is going to be a great reading year!!

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    1. Lucy, you need to do a "What we're looking forward to reading in 2019" blog the next time it's your week!

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  7. Nope, this is the one I have been waiting for! And Margy is such a favorite character - glad you gave us a scene with her.

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  8. Tana French, The Witch Elm, on my library hold list with Kingdom of the Blind.

    What a relief to have Clare's baby in the world at last. Margy is one of my favorite characters. A makeover? Well, why not? I suspect she'll try anything once before she reverts to her favorite sweats.

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    1. There's a particular reason she's had a makeover, Margaret. She's definitely a foreground character in this story.

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  9. Thank you, Julia! Margy is one of my favorite characters and can't wait to read this book! Also always eagerly awaiting the next Ian Rutledge (my favorite of the two series written by Charles Todd), the next Louise Penny, the next William Kent Krueger, and the next William and Hester Monk from Anne Perry. Besides of course, the Reds. Very eagerly awaiting The Bitter Feast!

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    1. Flora, you clearly need to fall in love with at least one author who publishes reliably each month. Then you'll have the satisfaction of getting the read you've been waiting for on a regular basis!

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  10. I’m waiting for Patricia Briggs’nee Mercy Thompson book but it’s been pushed back to May

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    1. I wonder what's going on with her? I don't read Briggs, but my daughter does, and I know Briggs has been very reliable. Of course, I'm living proof that life happens, even to authors.

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  11. Wonderful, Julia!

    The latest Mark Pryor has been pushed back (probably as a result of Prometheus selling Seventh Street).

    Mary/Liz

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    1. This is giving me an idea for the next time it's my week to blog: all the myriad reasons why authors' books aren't showing up on schedule at your local bookstore.

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  12. My, how I identify with Margie these days, sigh. Except for the poodle perm.

    Besides yours, I look forward to all the REDS books coming out next year. I'm also waiting patiently for the next Robicheaux, for the sequel to Malabar Hill, and please I pray that there will be a third in the Hilary Mantel series that began with Wolf Hall. Any news on that? Catriona McPherson has a couple out that aren't on Kindle yet, and what about Ann Cleeves? She owes us a new Vera. And a new whatever will replace the Shetland Double Quartet.

    Louise Penny is already hard at work on the next Three Pines. I say this as I drink coffee from my Vive Gamache cup.

    So many books, so little time. Not true really. All I have is time and all I have to do is read. What luxury. In January I'm having a reverse shoulder replacement, have lost much of my range of motion in the last couple of months. So I shall be reading even more for the six weeks recovery when my wing is in a sling. Hey, that rhymed. Should I try my hand at poetry? Naw ...

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    1. Ann, my mother, may her name be a blessing, always said the best part of retirement was the fact she finally had all the reading time she had ever wanted.

      And I have to say, when I started writing the very first book back at the end of the nineties, I identified with Clare. Nowadays, I'M feeling much more like Margy myself!

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  13. I agree with Deb - I'm always impatient for the "next one" in any of the series I've embraced.

    I do want to say Julia that I'm beyond impressed with anyone who sets any kind of deadline/goals for the month of December! My hat is off to you. I know you can do this and we're all here cheering you on! (salutes the computer screen with a mug of eggnog flavored coffee)

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    1. Lyda: 1. No kids at home
      2. I cleaned thoroughly for Thanksgiving and then just kept everything neat (see no. 1)
      3. I do my shopping throughout the year and am finished by December.

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  14. Oh, Julia, I am so in love with these characters! I am just thrilled that you are cruising back into orbit with your manuscript. You've got this! I am a series junkie. I realized the other day that I almost never read stand alones because I become so invested in the character arc of the protagonists - I want more, more, more!

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  15. LOVING the family dynamic here. Tart. Taut. Three generations. we're ALL waiting for this one!

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    1. I always love writing Margy. I'm with you - we need more sharp older people in fiction.

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  16. So terrific, Julia! And may I say again, yet again, how different all of our voices are, and how absolutely marvelous that is! Xxxxxxx

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    1. They are, aren't they? It reminds me of what my late editor, Ruth Cavin used to say: "I can fix anything except voice." The author had to come to the table with that.

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  17. Julia, you are absolutely at the top of my list!!! I can't wait to meet this baby after his record-setting gestation:-) Others include Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloways, Ann Cleeves' Veras, Ben Aaronovitch (new book finally out in November so who know when the next one will be,) Jim Butcher's Harry Dresdens, Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strikes, Louise's, of course, the Todds, of course.

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    1. Poor Louise - she's one of those authors where you want the next book right at the same moment you close the cover on her current novel! No one's ever satisfied for more than a few hours. (Until you reread her, of course.)

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    2. I am a rereader. Mostly because I have a mind like a sieve. So I rarely remember much of the plot after a few years. It is also very economical.

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    3. There hasn't been a Harry Dresden in forever, has there?

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    4. There was a short story collection last summer, which I really enjoyed.

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  18. I’m delighted that the next Clare and Russ book is on the way! I love Margy, and if you ever kill her off, Julia, forgiveness will be a long time in coming!

    There are so many books I’m impatiently waiting for, that I don’t know where to begin. Just know, JRW writers and writers who comment here frequently, that you have an eager audience!

    DebRo

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    1. Rest easy DebRo, I'm not planning on doing an Elizabeth George on Margy!

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  19. I get in series ruts.... I find a new author, to me, and try to find all of the books so I can catch up and then I wait... because I like to put my book in my purse, hardbound can get heavy. And I'm not completely enamored with my e-reader yet. Currently looking for In Prior Wood in softbound, which won't be available until 2019. And any of the other glorious authors that take me on great adventures.... can't wait to see the baby and travel back to Key West.

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    1. What kind of e-reader do you have, Deana? I have a Kindle Fire which I like because it doubles as a very small tablet, but if I had a dedicated ereader, I'd get the paperwhite, because the experience is much more like reading an actual page (no backlighting.)

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    2. I still have my Kindle Fire from 2017 but when I switched phone carriers I got talked into "upgrading" because technology changes fast. (My Kindle doubled as my personal tablet)I'm not sure it was such a good idea but will put up with it for a while longer. Stubborn... it's my downfall. 🙄

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  20. What a tantalizing taste! Thanks for persisting . . . I'm looking forward to this one, never gave up. Is there an ETA date set? <3
    I do have a cadre of favorites I eagerly "stalk" and review, and I love that beloved authors introduce me to others.
    Latest pleasure is KINGDOM OF THE BLIND, and I'm relieved to read it is NOT the last of Three Pines books ;-)

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  21. Mary, I know my publisher would like to get it out in November '19. And I agree with you about Louise's books - I can't imagine not being able to go back to Three Pines!

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  22. The new Duncan/Gemma book, of course.

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  23. Eagerly awaiting all of the Reds' books. I have to admit thought I am a little impatient for Russ and Clare. Love Margy and so glad she is showing up. Loved hearing your voice on Facebook in your interview with Victoria. What a duo!
    Waiting for all of the above mentioned and also Donna Leon. Sad not to have Margaret Maron to anticipate but I do love to reread hers.

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    1. Agreed, Atlanta. I was glad to see Margaret Maron said she still wanted to write short stories - so at least we have those to look forward to!

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  24. I know I am going to love this book. Thanks for the excerpt!

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  25. Holy crap Mom! Love it. Glad to see Russ hasn't changed when it comes to his family. Non-Reds I look forward to: the latest Ian Rutledge. The latest Dandy Gilver. I'm on the wait list at the library for the latest Longmire and Louise Penny's new one. I've ordered Frances Brody's newest Kate Shackleton mystery. Who else. I just read Elly Griffith's Dark Angel but I think she has a new Ruth on the horizon. And I love both series Anna Lee Huber writes.

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    1. Oooh, a new Longmire. I love that series, but I'm pretty sure I'm at least two books behind. Maybe I can eke them out until his next one arrives!

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  26. This has been a good week to learn about what the JRW bloggers have in store for us.

    However, the most anticipated book that I'm waiting to show up in the bookstore would be the "long rumored, never announced" follow up to the thriller 'I Am Pilgrim' from author Terry Hayes. It's been years since the 'I Am Pilgrim' book and it remains one of the best books I've read since 'Rules of Prey' by John Sandford.

    But any hope for the supposed follow up has never come to fruition. At least not yet.

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    1. It's weird that his next book, the alleged follow-up, is listed on multiple sites for pre-order, but with no firm date. That's unusual, since publishers usually want to have at least a completed first draft in hand before putting up sales info for those authors who aren't reliable in turning in their manuscripts (me being one of that ilk.)

      I wonder if they're going to time a release with the movie of his first book?

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  27. Just lost my long reply. So, to make a long story short. Julia, I love Margy and the dialogue between her and Russ. Margy always puts Russ in his place. Hahaha! I am so happy to have this book on my reading horizon.

    I've started by New Books 2019 list, and here is what I have so far for the first three months. It's an ongoing list, so it will be added to, but there is already an amazing amount of great reading to look forward to. Rhys' Victory Garden will be here in February. Elly Griffiths' new Ruth Galloway will be out in May (here in the states) and Lucy's new Haley Snow will be out in May, too. Don't miss Elly's The Stranger Diaries either, as it is amazing. Oh, and Terry Shames' new Samuel Craddock has been moved from January to April (Seventh Street Books changing hands). Then, be sure and see that Gigi has a new Accidental Alchemist mystery out the first of January. So, here's some new titles to get you started for the first three months of next year.

    January 2019
    Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs (Willa Pennigton #2) by Aimee Hix (Jan. 8th)
    The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (Jan. 8th)
    The Alchemist’s Illusion by Gigi Pandian (Jan. 8th)
    The Man with No Face by Peter May (UK)
    The Wrong Boy by Cathy Ace (Jan. 9th)
    The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious) by Maureen Johnson (Jan. 22nd)
    The Golden Tresses of the Dead: A Falvia de Luce Novel (Jan. 22nd)
    The Suspect by Fiona Barton (Jan. 22nd)
    Judgment: A Novel by Joseph Finder (Jan. 29th)

    February 2019
    The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Feb. 5th)
    The Black Ascot (Inspector Ian Rutledge #21) by Charles Todd (Feb. 5th)
    The Hiding Place: A Novel by C.J. Tudor (Feb. 5th)
    The Murder Book by Lissa Marie Redmond (Feb. 8th)
    The Skin Game by J.D. Allen (Feb. 8th)
    The Victory Garden: A Novel by Rhys Bowen (Feb. 12th)
    Trigger (Frank Marr #3) by David Swinson (Feb 12th)
    The Reckoning (Children’s House #2) by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Feb. 12th)
    The Stranger Inside by Laura Benedict (Feb. 19th)
    Daughter of Molokai by Alan Brennert (Feb. 19th)
    Next to Die by Sophie Hannah (Feb. 19th)
    The Vanishing Man (Charles Lenox, Prequel #2) by Charles Finch (Feb. 19th)

    March 2019
    The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths (March 5th)
    Before She Knew Him: A Novel by Peter Swanson (March 5th)
    Catch Me When I’m Falling (A Charlie Mack Motown Mystery) by Cheryl A. Head (March 19th)

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    1. Great list, Kathy! Thank you for sharing.

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    2. It's a work in progress, Julia. I wish I could read every one of those books, but I know I'm going to have to leave some out.

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  28. I have 193 active mystery authors but some should probably be on the Inactive tab since I haven't seen anything from them in a while. I also read romances and autobiographies. If you want books every month, follow comic books. I read a bunch of Marvel titles.

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  29. At one point I wanted to wander the streets of Maine chanting 'write, Julia, write!' so happy the book is coming soon.. and it's a boy! I have been wondering..

    I almost gave up on books that end with cliff hangers. Waiting on tender hooks is not always fun. Jim Butcher started a new series called the Cinder Spires. Still waiting for book #2. write Jim, write!.

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  30. Nope. Just yours. Pleeease...!

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  31. Julia, I have read your books so many times that I have all the key love scenes with Russ and Clare memorized. Need more material. Can't wait. I'm also eagerly waiting for the next DC Smith book by Peter Grainger - especially since he left a major cliff hanger.

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  32. I've been waiting for this since the last one came out!
    I'm also always eager for more Laurie King - and there are novellas due next year but the next Russell/Holmes novel isn't due until 2020.

    Other than crime, I always want more Jodie Taylor. Laugh-out-out stories about time-travelling historians. There's a new short-story due on Christmas Day, but I have hospital communions in the morning and am then on call, so it will probably have to wait until Boxing Day

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  33. The news just made my night. Love the books, enjoy them audiobooks. I enjoy JD Robb, Jana DeLeon, Brad Taylor, Patricia Cornwell and quite a few more.

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  34. Can't wait for #9. One of my favorite series, ever. Also, cannot wait for Deborah Crombie's new book, another favorite series!

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  35. Only you, Julia. Only you!

    It’s a boy?

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  36. I'm so excited to read this excerpt!!! Yay, happy dance! I'm eagerly awaiting the next Sherlock mystery by Sheri Thomas. And anything by Laurie King. And Deborah Crombie. And if Amor Towles is working on something after Gentleman in Moscow, I'll inhale that too.

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  37. I am SO excited for this book. It comes at a time in my life when I truly am at a crossroads, but need to escape into another world...and a world with hope.

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