Thursday, January 3, 2019

Necessary Preparations! And a Giveaway

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: What am I doing this week? It might surprise you. Dusting. Filing. And putting stuff away. What can you deduce from this? I’m getting ready to write my next book.

the timeline--made as I go, not before

But before I start, somehow I always need to clear the office decks.

I take all the scribbles and notes from the book that's in the works--THE MURDER LIST comes out in August, as you will hear endlessly--all the charts and lists and maps and drawings. All the super-critical but grubby little late-night notes to myself, written on random scraps of paper.


And of course my words-per-day chart. And my notebooks, tabbed
words per day--or the reason why!
with colored sticks and containing notes to myself like: Who was on the phone? Where did the dog go? Where was she born? And the ultra-important "loose ends" list, where I check them off one by one until each element is nicely braided into the story.


So what do you do to begin the new year? Do feel the need to clean? To go through stacks of papers, or throw away magazines, or sort out your freezer?


((Seriously, I ALMOST cleaned out our freezer, which is now so ridiculously full (because it's like Fibber McGee's closet--anyone else remember?)--but happily I stopped myself before I tackled such a terrible job. I do wonder how many pounds of butter and random bagels and half-full bags of frozen peas and unlabeled aluminum foil packages are in there. I fear we will never know.))

I did clean out my top dresser drawer, and found a true bonanza of unused gift cards. I always never use them, you know, because somehow I am saving them for something. Which "something" never happens. But this year, I'm gonna use them. Promise.

I also cleaned out the junk drawer in the kitchen, ahhhh, and now I could start a second (or third) business re-selling plastic utensils. I can never throw them out, because they are in little packets, right, and so convenient? But we never use them.

How many cans are in YOUR pantry? I decided to be creative and make beef noodle soup from leftover prime rib, and needed beef broth to underpin it. I found a can of it, hurray, but it said "Best by Nov 2004." I was too terrified to use it. The soup turned out wonderfully, anyway. I was very proud of myself for making up the recipe. I am also too terrified to look at the dates on the rest of the cans.

And its time to donate books to the library! Yay. And that means there has to be something to carry the books in. Which means I can use all the big shopping bags I've been hoarding--I have such a hard time throwing those away, because they are so usable! So it'll be very satisfying to use them in service of something else. And I can check off TWO projects.

And look look look! Just in time to start this gotta-be-fantastic year, TRUST ME has come out in trade paperback!



I am in love with the eerie and evocative paperback cover, and so thrilled that this edition will be featured in stores like Target, Walmart, and other major retailers. Truly, the book is a treasure..they have done an incredibly gorgeous job with it--it's very special, and very beautiful.

Which is exciting enough in itself, right? If you see it, take a photo, okay? And oooh, you might want to take it home with you, just saying. But soon--I'll be typing my next Chapter One. And you'll be the first to hear about it. (And you might be very surprised....)

So how about you, Reds and readers? What projects do you feel compelled to complete before the new year gets underway?

A copy of the brand new edition of TRUST ME to one lucky commenter!



84 comments:

  1. I should do lots of cleaning and tiding. But that sounds like so much work, so instead I'm here commenting on this blog. If you want to come out and clean for me, and maybe undecorate from Christmas, I wouldn't complain, Hank. :)

    (No need to enter me in the drawing since I already have the hardcover.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love you madly, but not a chance, dear Mark! (And aw, thank you—so pleased you have the hardcover! Xxxx)

      Delete
  2. Alas, I fear I am a huge disappointment to every person who feels the need to clean out closets/drawers/desks and such at the start of the new year. I don’t do any of that. I don’t feel compelled to dig through the freezer [and I prudently ignore the use by dates on the cans in the pantry] . . . .

    I try to keep up with all of that throughout the year, so I don’t feel pressured to undertake some big project to start the new year. And, in all honesty, I tend to forget where things are if I move them, so I’m much happier just letting things be and enjoying the new year with a new book.

    Hank, I really like the cover for the trade paperback [but I liked the other one, too] . . . and now I’m all excited thinking about a new book . . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And I like your style—how critical can use by dates be, anyway? They’re cans! Xxx

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Reading about the writing process is almost as much fun as reading the book. The checklist photos are fascinating. The Trust Me cover is intriguing. And right after that, I’ll update my dated spice collection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I read about this! I wonder if this is true, that we are supposed to throw away all our old spices and get new ones. Or! Whether it is it is clever marketing trick from the spice manufacturers…

      Delete
  5. I find it so interesting that I can live with something that needs to be cleaned out or uncluttered for years, and then, suddenly, one day I just have to address it, can't live with it. I am at this time talking about the cabinets on the bottom of my bookshelves in what was once labeled the reading room (when the kids were little and there was a loveseat in it and we read in there). Yes, there are doors to the cabinets that hide all the mess and collection of papers and who knows what, but I am planning to tackle it this month and throw away like crazy. Of course, getting the Christmas tree and other decorations down would be nice to do first, like this weekend. And, I've started a tub for books to donate somewhere, maybe to a shelter. There is a book I've thought about ordering from Amazon called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter.

    Hank, I love the paperback cover of Trust Me! It's stunning. I'm so excited about The Murder List this year, too. It should be a fantastic reading year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, why is that? Something that is fine for a while suddenly is absolutely unacceptable! Exactly how I feel! And I so agree, we know what’s in there, right? Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

      Delete
  6. I've been cleaning too, although, like you, I'm staying far away from the freezer. It always amazes me how much junk accumulates when I'm not looking. And I love the Trust Me paperback cover! (I'm opting out of the giveaway though, since I've already read this book.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I straightened my office and almost cleaned my office supply closet. Does that count? Hank, I think we could share pantry space. Use by dates, I keep reading that those are really just suggestions. I think we're good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! But when the cans to get rusty, that worries me a little :-)

      Delete
  8. The more days we get into January, the more of a chore undecorating seems! About half way, at least the weekend is almost here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it ? I’m still not quite sure what day it is :-)

      Delete
    2. You win !! Congratulations! Email me at hryan at whdh dot com with your address!

      Delete
  9. I am forever cleaning, organizing or tossing something out or so it seems! I think it may be due to having been married to a military man for 30 years. Never really knowing when we were moving, I tried to have things trimmed down as much as possible. Of course with kids that was a struggle!
    Now I try to make sure I go through things regularly. I have become a label reader after moving my aunt and finding tins that had expired years before!
    The cover of the paperback reminds me of an abandoned schoolyard in a town that is slowly dying. I can imagine a hot wind blowing, gently making the swings move and squeak.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly… Or, where children are missing :-)

      Delete
    2. Deb, we were a military family and my mother's rule was that if you had outgrown a toy, book or item of clothing, it didn't make it into the boxes for the next move. That's remained excellent training throughout my life: I always weed out clothes each season, doo-dads yearly and books every couple of years.

      My folks lived in their last house for almost a quarter century, but everything in their capacious basement was neatly boxed and labeled. They could havemoved out on three day's notice.

      Delete
  10. I received an email yesterday that changed my "organize it" list. The rate on my storage unit is going up. I can no longer justify the expense so its time has come. I will be applying my own style of not-so-gentle death cleaning to the boxes of stuff I almost never need but might need some day.
    *sigh*.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh! But you can do it. Maybe just pay someone to throw it all away? So you never have to look at it again.

      Delete
  11. P.S. I have "Trust Me" on my Kindle waiting TBR so no need to enter me in the giveaway. Thanks! And, I love the paperback cover art!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I do too. I honestly gasped when I opened the box.

      Delete
  12. I always feel like I should go through the expandable folder we keep our bills in and dispose of the ones we no longer need.

    I will get to this task sometime in June.

    Mary/Liz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can do it! But Really, why? That’s what expandable folders are for!

      Delete
  13. I am one who makes piles - I usually know which pile has what stuff in it, but it has caught up with me over the last couple of years and become overwhelming. So when we were getting all our windows replaced at the end of November, we were told we had to move anything that was in front of them at least 2 feet away so the guys could install them! Needless to say, It got hard to keep track of where everything went, and then it was time to decorate for Christmas! The result was that (miracle of miracles) we began to clean out at the same time! Piles, closets, drawers, laundry and storage rooms - everything!! The trend has continued into the new year (all 2 days) so far, so I am hopeful that it might even become a trend. Hooray!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do piles, too! And I know what is in them. Exactly. But at some point you think… But wouldn’t it be nice to see the empty surface? So my piles are on the way out! And good for you— you are an inspiration!

      Delete
  14. Where do you head when your child is missing? The empty playground...Great cover!

    I found a bulging can of tomatoes in the pantry which I bagged and gently inserted into my rolling garbage cart, fearful it would explode and spew botulism toxins all over the kitchen. I use all the cans and bottles in the pantry twice a year, when I switch from hearty winter food to lighter summer fare, and before Thanksgiving, when I change back. When we moved to Cincinnati, I treated myself to all new spices, eleven years ago. Time for another purge.

    I boxed up my writing notes, lists, charts, diagrams, and maps before Christmas, keeping only two carboard magazine files with the essentials within reach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What did you do with your writing stuff? That is always such a dilemma. I do have the piece of paper, though, where I wrote down what turned out to be the big big thrilling twist in my new book. I might frame it :-)

      Delete
  15. I read TRUST ME the day it was published, but I'd so like the paperback. It's been a long time since I won a book here on JRW, and having another inscribed by one of my favorite authors would be splendid. Trust me.

    Re the freezer issues. A few years ago we bought a Food Saver, https://smile.amazon.com/FoodSaver-Vacuum-Machine-Starter-Certified/dp/B0044XDA3S/ref=sr_1_7?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1546521512&sr=1-7&keywords=food+saver, and it has paid for itself many times over, both in food that doesn't get wasted and in freezer storage space. I sound like one of those "call in the next ten minutes and we'll include a year's supply of leftovers" infomercials, don't I? The other thing that we do is label absolutely everything that goes into the freezer. I like those dissolving labels meant for canning. They come right off a plastic container once it gets washed. So no more freezer mystery contents here.

    My project for January is dresser drawers. The rule is clean out when they become difficult to close. I'm at that point. The trouble is, since Julie retired, I'm not getting these little jobs done. There's all the movies to either go to or watch ... today is "The Favorite" and last week was "Mary Poppins Returns." Then we need to go to Schutt's to stock up on apples and Home Goods for candles and Trader Joe's for coffee and (insert venue here).

    I have also discovered Val McDermid, no kidding, and am reading my way thru her Jordan and Hill series. Yikes, talk about bloodlust.

    It is good being me.

    It's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The British series The Wire in the Blood was amazing but also so very disturbing.

      Delete
    2. So everything goes into the freezer all sealed and flat? And you are still not tired of it? Hmmmm

      Delete
  16. For the most part I absolutely do not believe in expiration dates. Recently I was concerned because my ham biscuits did not rise at all even though 2 months ago I had no problem. Turns out my can of Bakewell Cream "expired" more than a year ago so maybe that was the problem! Expensive spices I keep in the freezer and then hope I can find them. And have you heard - a child's car seat now has an expiration date!
    Loved. loved, loved Trust Me! Counting on the August book to be just as good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Judi!
      Spices in the freezer! Brilliant, but right now, I fear, there is no room :-)

      Delete
  17. I have been in a cleaning mode for a few weeks and I can’t stop. Cleaned out our 2 car garage and donate 29 bags of good stuff to charity. Uncluttered my dining room on New Years Day. Cleaned out my laundry room.Today I plan on decluttering my living room and cleaning out my teenagers burea of clothes he has outgrow.Tomorrow setting up his awards in my old China cabinet. Feels so good to declutter!Happy New Year. Good Luck with your decluttering and your new novel. X

    ReplyDelete
  18. One word: Spreadsheets. Income, expenses, mileage -- each has its own spreadsheet, and I've been adding on since I stopped having a day job. It's the first thing I do in the new year, add new sheets for the new year, and update last year's. I keep up after the physical accumulations periodically. The descending throngs over the holidays have already motivated me to get the extra bedrooms in order. And usually it's not until spring that I'm motivated me to clear out my kitchen cabinets. ALL of those activities are supremely satisfying in ways that writing, with all its ambiguities and open questions, can never be. They're versions of procrastinating when I should (right now!) be starting a new book.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My end of year things are usually nothing of significance but I always try to start the new year with several goals that will require immediate attention if I want to get them done in the year. Guitar is one of this year's goals. I do goals of that sort rather than resolutions, which I find to be negative way too often in how we phrase and approach them, so I decide what I want to add to my life and make a plan for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant! Let us know when you have a video of you playing your first song!

      Delete
  20. I go through the pantry, reorganizing everything and getting rid of anything that’s really old. I did my Mom’s cabinet a few weeks ago and found boxes of jello and pudding mix that expired years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A couple years ago I was making lunch for my grandson and he wanted Kraft Mac & Cheese. Luckily, I looked at the box, which must have come from my father-in-law's house when he died 13 years ago. Expiration date: 1987.

      Delete
    2. Oh, yikes. That may be the winner… :-)

      Delete
  21. I don't get a lot of time off. There are two or three weeks throughout the year when I can reliably carve out time for myself, and the week between Christmas and New Year's is one of them. So I don't load that week up with "shoulds" and "gottas." My only priorities this time around were resting, because I was exhausted to the point that it was creating health problems, and doing creative thing. Yes, I did sort through all the old newspapers that had piled up, and I did vacuum up a lot of dog hair, but I also finished one quilt top, made huge progress on a second, and found the end of the most recent chapter in the book I'm writing. I did a lot of reading and a lot of napping, and if that's all I feel compelled to do at my end-of-year break, that's okay with me.

    By the way, Hank, a while back, when I got the bug to clean out my pantry, I discovered one can of beans that I had brought with me on two separate moves--both of which happened years after the expiration date. Here in the third house, I finally tossed them.

    No need to enter me in the contest. I bought and enjoyed the hardcover edition. Congratulations on the trade paperback! I'll be counting the days until August.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bye bye beans! And you know, I agree with you about the resting! I rested, too, amazingly. But now I am going to clean up !

      Delete
  22. What a gorgeous cover, Hank! And so pleased for you that Target, et al, are carrying it.

    Where to begin? Literally, where to begin? We will be moving in four or five months, and I am totally overwhelmed by the staggering pile of possessions we STILL have, after several purges over the last 12 years. How is it possible this house is still so full of stuff? And how is it possible it didn't actually explode before I hauled away the five dumpsters worth of possessions previously? I think this very well might be a magic house, because it honestly did not look that crowded before. (We have a LOT of closets, and I was drawn to this house in the first place because it has built-in bookcases in five rooms. No lie. And yes, I'm planning built-ins in the new house, too.)

    To the plus, though, I have already cleared out the big standalone freezer in the basement, to make room for this year's venison. In the new house, yay!, the freezer will be on the first floor, steps from the kitchen. I can't wait.

    One chore down, seven thousand to go. Everything is happening at once, now that the new house has a roof. Decisions to make every day are keeping me hopping. My New Year's resolution: do not buy anything else, maybe ever. Except books, of course, what do you take me for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck! One thing at a time ! Xxxx ( Oooh, a magic house? Like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag… )

      Delete
  23. I started cleaning out my son's closet. It is amazing how quickly kids outgrown clothes, so most are still almost like new since he his a growth spurt. There were toys he has outgrown too so I have a very large donation pile and I still have my closet to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And so much nostalgia doing that ! But good for you—and wonderful in every way to donate!

      Delete
  24. I have been clearing out for several days now. I enjoy this job since it is very productive and worthwhile. I dump clothing, toys, household items and whatever else is never used. I donate it all and then continue through the house once again in case I have overlooked anything. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Cleaning out cabinets, cupboards, the garage and closets has been a job which I tackle regularly and I don't know how more things accumulate but I have to get rid of things. Now it is too cold to bother with the garage so I install myself in the house and get to work. I never tired of this activity and realize that someone else can benefit from whatever is here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true! And the perfect way to look at it! Xxxx

      Delete
  26. Spooky cover. Definitely a compliment. And I am laughing about the post. I cleaned the kitchen junk drawer yesterday! Probably I don't need the 2017 calendar for Alvin Ailey performances, right? And I found a leaking can ( no kidding- dark sticky juice) on the top pantry shelf where I keep seldom-used items (like canned sour cherries) that are impossible to find when needed ( like canned sour cherries). Several cans were disturbingly old. And then the shelf need scrubbing too. AND I have uncovered the surfaces in my tiny office. Can you guess all this is because I hit "send" on the next book? And it's the New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can completely picture it, dear Triss! And I think it is such a fabulous writer thing, to send the book and then feel the need to ready the nest for the next one. Hurray!

      Delete
  27. I've spent the first days of 2019 making lists. Of course, I could have simply scratched out the year on last year's lists and saved myself a lot of time. Other than that, I finally cleaned out the dreaded Bookmarks folder on my browser. It is truly amazing how many "important websites" links I'd saved over the years and never looked at again. Next on the agenda, organizing my computer files into places where I can find them when I need them. Oh yeah, and exercise too... when I get through with all the other stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the bookmarks! I cannot wait to see what is in my file… I wonder if I will remember any of those places :-)

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hank, I love the new paperback cover! And I am so with you on the end-of-book cleaning out and organizing thing. I will be doing all of that myself very shortly. I've let even the things I normally keep up with, like the fridge/freezer and storage cabinets, get into a mess. When we remodeled our kitchen--can it really be almost twelve years ago?--we incorporated the old walk-in pantry space. Now we just have cabinets, and the food storage spaces are deep, so stuff disappears in the backs without regular upkeep.

    I will have so many projects when I finally send off this book, that if I did a fraction of them I'd be behind on the next book! Oh, wait, I'm already behind on the next book...

    ReplyDelete
  30. Love the cover. It looks very ominous. I took down the tree and rounded up all the Xmas decorations New Year’s Eve. I let Frank know that his job is taking down the outside lights since I put them up. I usually take them down too. He acquiesced and he’s just waiting for a non-rainy day. I’ve got more projects than you can shake a stick at. Mainly decluttering but a few repair jobs I need professionals for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And now Frank is doing rain dances, right?

      Delete
    2. No, we've about had it with rain. Need some sunshine.

      Delete
  31. We are in Christmas "limbo" here. The last of Christmas celebrations for us is happening this weekend so all the decorations are still up. Outside lights and decorations are coming down today though (HOA rules).
    Hank that cover is perfect.....the silence of those empty swings is deafening! I have not read it yet, so a signed copy from you would be quite special!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, what a fabulous way to describe that! Thank you! xoxooo

      Delete
  32. I never feel like I should start something new in January. However, even though I graduated from college many years ago, every September I feel like I must start a new project or take a class in something! Yesterday a couple of friends and I had this conversation. The one who is a retired teacher was surprised to hear that the other two of us think of September as the beginning of a new year; she thought only teachers felt that way!

    I’m still trying to take another step or two in my retirement project of reorganizing and decluttering. I hope to make some headway before my first anniversary of retirement!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO agree--September is also a start-anew month! xooo

      Delete
  33. I would like to find the dining room table. Really. It's there - else-wise all those THINGS would be hovering in the air.
    Really, I shouldn't be allowed horizontal surfaces.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO exactly right. And we are in the same boat. Why is the dining room table so tempting?

      Delete
  34. Oh, is THAT what that big thing is underneath all those other things?

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
  35. Busy organizing my books. I have about 100 UNread books! I also am organizing books by authors who are going to the conference in March. And busy getting ready for my birthday celebration next week.

    Also organizing my goodreads list of books. And updating my bookstagram and my blog.

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO much fun--but whoa. UNread! So exciting! (What conference?) And happy pre-birthday!

      Delete
    2. the mystery conference in March. Will you be there?

      Delete
  36. Hank,

    Happy New Year! I wish you success your new book. As for me, I just completed Book 6 in my Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series in December and submitted it to my publisher. I usually take a couple of months off in between books to let the next one percolate in my mind. I always feel at a bit of a loose end during this nebulous period, as if my mind is suspended. However, the muse is definitely whispering in my ears. I may start on Book 7 sooner than anticipated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that is great news! Love those whispers...xoxoo

      Delete
  37. Hank, when you wrote : to clear my office decks, was it volontary ?
    I will have to clear my office desk soon but not before next Monday because I decided I was on vacations until then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was! But your typo idea is terrific, too...xoxoo

      Delete
  38. I meant to do all of that, but...somehow, lounging around my house (it's been weirdly cold in AZ), eating cookies, looking at my tree (still up), and reading seemed more important. I may have to start the new year with the Chinese New Year on Feb 5th. Bring on the year of the pig!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I think about having a "clear out" . . . and then a new book comes out from a favorite author and . . .
    You know the rest. I don't regret my priorities, though, as long as the clutter doesn't literally kill me, and perhaps not even then, if there are books and reading in the Afterlife. <3

    ReplyDelete
  40. I always sit down and clean the ephemera out of my suddenly "old" planner, as I put all the important data in my shiny new planner. I find all kinds of treasures tucked into the envelope page at the very end of last year's planner, and I say, "Oh, that's where that was!". I transfer important dates (much of them related to dog's & cat's vaccinations) and for a couple of hours, when everyone is asleep, I feel as if I have everything under control. It's quite close to bliss.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Before the new year started i did get some totes and put away a lot of things that were in my office. I thought i would need hubbys help then I thought about that and wanted to try to do it by myself as i am severely disabled with a nerve disease but sometimes it is easier to do it yourself than have someone help as you feel proud that you did it. When my husband looked in he complimented me which i was shocked now all i do have to do is when the Christmas things are taken down on Sunday i will be cleaning out that bottom shelf and toteing those and making them nice and neat. thanks peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com

    ReplyDelete