Saturday, February 16, 2019

What We Have Written Week: HID FROM OUR EYES


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My last novel, THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS, was published in November, 2013. In the five years since then, I've dealt with illness (mine,) boomerang children, college drop-outs, college searches, serious depression and what feels like a statistically unlikely number of loved ones dying on me. I struggled mightily with writing, and it often felt like I was never going to get back up on the horse I so loved to ride.

Which makes it all the sweeter to tell you today that the ninth Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery, HID FROM OUR EYES, is done, turned in, and in the editing process right now. The projected publication date is "Winter '20," most likely January or February.

Here is a short video of me bringing the ms to St. Martin's Press.




And here's an excerpt, picking up shortly where I left off the last time we had WWW week - Russ and Clare, his mother and former chief Jack Liddle are on their way to a fundraiser to benefit the save-the-police-department campaign.


   Russ refrained from asking again about staying behind. It might not be so bad, with Jack Liddle to talk to. He was actually going to have the men up front and the ladies in the back on the way over, but somehow his mom and Liddle wound up sitting in the back with Clare riding shotgun as usual. Mom spent most of the ride catching Liddle up on the Save Our Police campaign – what there was of it to this point. What a name. “Too bad we're not a sheriff's department,” he said quietly to Clare. “Then it could have been SOS.”

      “How about Save Our Badges?” she suggested. He laughed.

        The road to the Langevoorts was typical of summer homes in the mountains. First a winding paved road, then a gravel-covered turnoff leading to several private drives, then another long stretch of rutted, beaten dirt. Most people who came to the Adirondacks liked to keep things rustic and traditional.

         They parked, and Liddle got out of the vehicle, crossed behind the rear and held the door open for Russ's mother. Clare, who had exited under her own power, gave Russ a pointed look. “I'll do it for you, darlin', but you have to have the patience to stay put until I collect you.” He tucked her hand in the crook of his arm.

       “Yeah, that's not really my style,” she said. “What a lovely camp.” It was a picture-perfect example of High Adirondack architecture, all creamy varnished logs and deep eaves. There was a broad slate walk to the doorway, with an overhang to keep off the rain. “That's odd. Don't these sort of places usually have a porch?”
       “It's on the other side of the house,” Liddle said. “Wraps around on two sides.” Russ looked at him. “I've been here before. A long time ago, but it hasn't changed much. It belonged to Mr. Candice, then.”

       “He was the last president of the company,” Clare said. “Kent Langevoort took over from him. And now, of course, he's handing the reins over to someone else.”

       “And so the wheel of time turns,” Liddle said. “MakeS me miss the old days, once in a while.”

       “Trust me,” Margy said. “If you were a woman, you wouldn't be nostalgic at all.”

103 comments:

  1. What exciting news, Julia! I am so looking forward to reading “Hid From Our Eyes” . . . .
    Thanks for this excerpt . . . and now I’m wondering why there’s a “Save Our Police” campaign . . . .

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    1. The seed for that was set near the end of "Through the Evil Days" Joan - you'll have to re-read it!

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    2. Oh, of course . . . I’d forgotten about that ballot measure. I guess that’s why we re-read our favorite books . . . .

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  2. Well done, Julia.

    Your triumphant march cracked me up.

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    1. Some friends invited me for a celebratory dinner the night after I finished the book, and when I arrived, the husband came to the door and said, "We're playing you the triumphal march from Aida." It cracked me up, too.

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    2. Wonderful way of announcing completion! You are my favorite author!

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    3. I look forward to reading more..... Glad you are back!

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  3. I am delighted for you - and all of us - that the book is done and turned in! Many reasons to feel triumphant.

    As an aside, this Californian was SO confused when she came east and people talked about their camps up in Maine or New Hampshire. I'm thinking, you all own a summer camp? A scout camp? My Aha moment was discovering to them the word meant summer place, and not a rustic cabin, either.

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    1. Very much not a rustic cabin, Edith! I don't think I've ever seen a camp that was less than a nicely-sized house, and some are quite grand.

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  4. Congratulations, Julia! Congratulations on finishing the book, and congratulations on surviving the past five years! You deserve all the cheers, roses, and half-naked spear-carriers you can get! I am in awe of your persistence, and I hope the book is a huge best seller when it finally hits the shelves. Big, big hugs to you!!!!! I can't wait to read it.

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    1. Sneaking in another thought.. Aida is funny with or without sound.

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    2. Coralee, I saw this production (the Met has been doing the same version of Aida for at least a decade) and was struck by the realization that operas were the special-effects blockbusters of the 19th century.

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  6. If I could increase the font size to 24 pt, to show me shouting with happiness, I would. I have been patiently, and not so patiently waiting for "Hid from Our Eyes". I could gush about your talent. gush gush gush. I embrace your courage and determination to walk from then to now. You made it; you won.

    I was so worried that I would never know the gender of Clare and Russ' baby. Now, I have to wait, patiently (not so much) to see if Clare still has her Parrish. Do I sound like a rabid fan girl? I am. You are the reason I joined Jungle Red Writers. What a difference you all have made in my life. Thank you Julia. I rejoice with you. On to the next step.

    February 16, 2019 at 5:58 AM

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  7. I'm so happy! Julia, congratulations on the new book - have loved all the previous ones - know the last few years have been such a challenge and you have gracefully maintained and gotten to this point. We all support and cheer! Now, I need to go back and reread all the previous books and prepare...my favorite way of anticipating a much-longed-for book in a favorite series...LOL!

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    1. Thank you, Kay! I also do the series-long rereads for authors who aren't producing a book a year.

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  8. That’s absolutely wonderful Julia! Cannot wait to read it and I too loved the triumphal March. Congratulations! We knew you could do it

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  9. congratulations! I'll re-read your whole series over the summer so I'm ready for the next one.

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  10. The cats are watching in awe? disbelief? as I do my happy dance!!!! You are more than a survivor, Julia--you are a warrior--and yes, you deserve a parade and roses strewn in your path, music written in your honor, and many other accolades!! Through all your struggles, you've still made us laugh and sometimes weep with your courage and your honesty. Now put up your feet and bring on the wine!!

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    1. My comment was something along these lines, but Flora said it much better. You deserve the fanfare, Julia! Congrats! I'm excited to read your book and know it will be worth the wait.

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    2. Thank you, Flora and MaryC!

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  11. What a splendid accomplishment Julia, well deserving of Aida and those Hebrew slaves, although sans elephants. You've had a few hard falls off that bike, and it is good to see you pedaling again. I wish you the best of everything with this new book, including absolutely fabulous reviews!

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    1. Thank you, Ann! There was a version online that had all the animals, etc, but I think it was twelve minutes long. Verdi doesn't stint on spectacle...

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  12. Julia, this is the absolute best news I have read in a very long time! I have been spacing the books out and only a couple weeks ago did I read the last one. I just coulddn't wait any longer. You must be thrilled to death!

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  13. Oh, Julia - that excerpt is irresistible! Triumphal indeed! Queue up the elephants!!

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  14. I'm so sorry the last 5 years have been so challenging, but it does make reaching the goal all the sweeter. Congratulations! Can't wait to read it.

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  15. So thrilled in every way—what a fabulous milestone!!!! Yaaayyyyy! Aw. You bring tears to my eyes.

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  16. I'm so excited about the new book!! The Claire/Russ books are by far my favorite mystery series!! And huge kudos for coping with those obstacles and getting your writing mojo back!! I look forward to many more books in coming years!

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  17. Congratulations!!! It is an epic event and worthy of all the pomp and circumstance possible. Love the video although I now have an ear worm for the day (or week).

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    1. Atlanta, it IS an earworm. God bless Guiseppe Verdi.

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  18. Congratulations, Julia! You deserve a triumphant march.

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  19. Dear Julia! I wish I had words to describe how much I admire you. Please let every comment today settle in your heart. It's all true and you should know how much we all love you (and Clare and Russ and Flynn!). Oh, thanks for the "March"! Loved it!

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    1. Thank you, Lyda! It IS nice to back in appreciation, not gonna lie...

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  20. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wonderful news. I'm waiting with baited, but minty, breath.

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    1. Nice to know you're keeping it fresh, Rick! :-)

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  21. Julia,

    There should be a major fireworks display on Book Publication day! Thank you so much for hanging in there despite all your own personal fireworks.

    I look forward to this book!

    DebRo

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  22. Julia, congrats on finishing the manuscript!

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    1. Thank you, Jay. It was a loooong time coming.

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  23. My mother wanted The Triumphal March played as the recessional at her wedding. It was not allowed. This is my second favorite use for it.

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    1. She must have been REALLY pleased with her choice of husbands, Mary Beth!

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  24. This is thrilling on so many levels!!! I am just over the moon for you, Julia! And I love the excerpt - it’s so good to be back with the characters I love so much!

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  25. This made me cry. I am very happy you're back on the horse you love to ride. And I am very happy to know there's another Russ and Clare on the way. Congratulations and Thank You!

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  26. Great news! I will have time to re-read all the previous books in the series before this comes out!

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  27. Julia, I am so happy to hear this!!! I'll bet you heard me cheering all the way from Texas!!!
    You are such an inspiration to all of us, for your wonderful writing, and for your courage, grace, and humor in the face of difficulty and loss.

    And I can't wait to read Hid From Our Eyes!!!! Like everyone else I'm going to be re-reading this year!!!

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    1. We can swap, Debs - I'm going to be re-reading the Duncan/Gemma books in anticipation of A BITTER FEAST!

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  28. Thank you for sharing so generously from your life. It's a comfort and a vicarious triumph to hear how you've made it through the last five years. I'm so happy HID FROM OUR EYES is finished! I've been a fan from the beginning and very much look forward to rereading the series in prep for the new one. Blessings always.

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  29. I'm happy that the long-awaited book is on its way, happier still that you have weathered the storms. Hugs and much love <3

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  30. Oh, I so love Margy's reply at the end. Congratulations on finishing Hid fro Our Eyes! I am so excited to know that there will be a new Clare and Russ book in the near future. I discovered you in 2012, Julia, before attending my first Bouchercon in 2013. I was reading authors I wanted to meet in Albany, and the Jungle Red writers were top on my list. So, I had the pleasure of reading one book after another. I have been pining for this next book, but I never wanted you to push yourself beyond what you felt comfortable with as you dealt with so many hard blows and changes. I'm so happy for you that you have been able to find your way back to enjoying writing. Your many fans will be thrilled at seeing those words, "the end," and knowing that all is well with your soul. xoxo

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    1. Oh, Albany. I was there with Ross and Youngest. We had the best time.

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  31. You cut the scene where I was running ahead, strewing palms on the ground! I am so happy this book is done and delivered! I'm laughing at the opening car doors scene. My father-in-law emphasized manners so much. He would ask me if Frank was opening doors for me. Of course Frank had to beat me to it; I'm not always patient! I can't wait to read Hid From Our Eyes. Where does the phrase come from, Bible or Book of Common Prayer?

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    1. Pat, it's from the hymn "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise."

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  32. Congratulations, Julia! I can't wait to tell my friend who has borrowed all your books from me that the new one is on the horizon! She will be thrilled (and I already am) to know. I was initially attracted to your books because a friend told me about Clare. I am an Episcopal priest and there aren't that many stories about people like me out there, so I was intrigued. I have loved all the books from the beginning, including the titles. In fact, we just sang the hymn with 'hid from our eyes' last week (I'm a choir nerd as well as a church nerd).

    I can't imagine how hard the last 5 years have been for you, but I have been struck by your bravery, your honesty, your concern for others in the midst of it all and your sense of humor. Thank you for sharing yourself. You deserve the best!

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    1. Thank you, Mary+! I always consider it praise of the highest order (no pun intended)when clergy like my work. It is SO good to feel, well, normal again.

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  33. I've sure you've heard the old line about authors needing to publish a book (or more) a year because readers move on and forget. Well, we don't. Fans don't forget.

    Granted, we have been "seeing other people," but we've also been watching and waiting for your book to be ready. We follow you here and on social media where we may lurk but still root for you as life throws you slings, arrows, and the occasional devastating fire bomb. We see your next book as the triumph of love and persistence that it is.

    Winter of 2020 is coming, and it's bringing us a new Julia Spencer Fleming novel. Hooray!

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! I've been truly blessed with readers who have stuck with me for such a long time.

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  34. I am so thrilled, Julia, to revisit Russ and Clare. I think I have read your series twice now, but might have to read them again before the new one comes out. Love the scene- car door openings. My husband always opens mine, but sometimes I do get impatient and just hop out. It is a nice gesture, though, and I can picture Russ with the dilemma of opening doors for both mother and wife - who first? Your mother of course. Anyway, I greatly admire you and the triumph of getting this book done after all you’ve been through. Congratulations.

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    1. Ann, we ran into that conundrum for the first time when the Sailor was home for Christmas with the Very serious Girlfriend. We went out for the evening. He parked, jumped out...and froze, like a computer trying to run two conflicting orders!

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  35. Julia, this is the most beautiful and heart warming “the end” ever. Thank you.

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    1. I'll have to start saying "Winter is Coming" in all my publicity materials!

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  37. I'm happy dancing all over my house! I've missed Clare and Russ more than I can say!

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  38. What wonderful news for us all! Congratulations on "The End"!

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  39. Congratulations, Julia! You truly deserve the wonderful comments and triumphal march this post has brought forth!

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    1. I'll see if I can get booksellers to play it when I'm on tour, Readerkay!

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  40. Hallelujah! Currently re-reading the entire series in preparation. 💕

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  41. I'm so glad to see this. You've been through a ton and I'm cheering because you feel well enough to write. I just finished re-listening to Stephen King read "Bag of Bones" and felt some resonance.

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    1. Agrees, Kimberly. For such a prolific writer, King is absolutely convincing in his portrayal of being blocked by grief and circumstance.

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  42. Oh, thank goodness! Now I'll know what to tell the other members of my book club! They've been pestering me for months, since I got them hooked on your Clare and Russ, for this next book. You've had a rough patch, so you get extra credit for finishing this!

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    1. Thank you, Emily, and thank the members of your book club for me!

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  43. I loved the march...and am very much looking forward to Jan./Feb. of 2020!

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  44. Julia, this is so great to hear! Thank you.

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  45. Oh how wonderful that you made it to the light. You are a strong woman, a talented author and a warrior. I have such admiration for you. Congratulations for all your achievements and thank you for sharing your wonderful gift of writing with us. Peace.

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  46. Congrats Julia! Looking forward to reading it!

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  47. Great news!! So glad I have time to re-read all the novels over again before the next one. I've really missed them.

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    1. In a strange way, I have, too. I'm excited to start the next book when I'm finished with edits on this one.

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  48. I have read the entire series at least 5 times. Your characters are so real and you write beautifully. I am so happy to hear that you are at a better place in your life that allowed you to do what you love, WRITE! I am anxiously awaiting Hid From Our Eyes! Congratulations!

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