If you are on my mailing list, you’ve most likely read this. You are free to skip it. But if you had one of the 70 addresses that bounced, or are not on the list, let me share with you the announcement for the upcoming tour.
These book announcement letters are usually sort of light and breezy. This one is a bit more serious, so please bear with me.
For years, the beginning of September meant the beginning of school. That was true first when I was a student, then a teacher, and finally a mother. It was, in a very real fashion, the beginning of a new year with new kids and new adventures. This year it’s different because, for the first time, I have a book tour starting September 10. And for the first time ever, I have two books–Beaumont #21, Second Watch, and my book of poetry, After the Fire, coming out on the same day.
I can’t tell you how much these two books mean to me, and having them debut on the same day is amazing! Make no mistake, Second Watch is a mystery, but it’s also a literary thank you note to all the folks who served in the military during the Vietnam era–the ones who came home as well as the ones who didn’t–and to the people who loved them and lost them, either at the time or else over the years to struggles with PTSD or the long-term effects of Agent Orange. In the story, you will meet as a character, a very real American hero, Doug Davis, a schoolmate of mine and a brilliant young man from Bisbee, Arizona, who died in Vietnam weeks before his 23rd birthday. You will also meet as a character, Bonnie Abney, the girl who was engaged to marry Doug at the time of his death, along with her very real Bernese Mountain Dog, Crackerjack.
Some of you may be readers who prefer Joanna Brady or Ali Reynolds or the Walkers and have resisted the Beaumonts because there are just too many of them. You’re probably wondering why they should start reading Beau books now. A few of you who have read some of Beaumonts will say, wait a minute, isn’t this Beaumont 21? Are you kidding? Why should I read a book about a character who has already been around for that many books? What could she possibly have to say about him that’s new? Trust me, Beau showed me some things in this book that surprised even me! You’ll see him as he is now and also as he was in his early years with Seattle P.D.
I’m sure more than a few of the dyed-in-the wool mystery readers are thinking–a book of poetry? What’s she smoking? Why would I want to read POETRY? With After the Fire, you’ll get a no-holds-barred view of the emotional forge that turned me into who I am. If my pen name wasn’t J.A. Jance, I might have to opt for Phoenix Jance, because the person I am today rose from those ashes. After the Fire is my autobiography, but reading it will give you some insights into the origins of some of my characters, too, as well as an understanding about the themes of some of my books. The cover is lovely. It looks like an all-occasion-greeting card for people in tough circumstances, whose lives are being adversely impacted by drugs and alcohol or by the loss of a spouse to death or divorce. It’s also a book that comes with a real message of hope.
It would be WONDERFUL, if that little book of poetry managed to outstrip ALL of the publisher’s expectations! And for those of you who do audio books, I spent yesterday recording the audio version of After the Fire, and that should also be available on September 10. That way you can go to a poetry reading in the privacy of your own iTunes account!
As of now, the last details of the book tour have fallen into place. The the tour stops are posted on both the the website, www.jajance.com, and on my Facebook author page. Please check the tour details and see if you can make it to one of them. I promise, you won’t be sorry. And since the tour takes me to places I don’t go often, remember, my corporate policy is to leave no book unsigned. If you come to a signing with bags of books to be signed, plan on waiting until the end of the line. Be advised, however, that if there are places where the schedule is too tight, I may not be able to sign them all.
Bonnie and Crackerjack will be on tour with me. At several of the local Western Washington signings you’ll be able to meet both Bella AND Crackerjack, although neither dog will actually be signing autographs. Bella’s too squirmy and Cracker Jack’s paws are too big! When we head out on the national tour, Cracker Jack and Bella will stay home, but Bonnie and I will be on the road together. Bonnie has been a very real inspiration to me and to this book, and it’s my honor to have a chance to introduce this remarkable woman to my readers in the book and in person.
It’s time for the call out for autographed book marks for Second Watch, After the Fire, and Ring in the Dead. If you’ve missed previous book marks, I may still have some of those, too. Let me know which one or ones you want. I need a business sized SASE sent to my address: P.O. Box 766, Bellevue, WA 98009. For those of you in Canada or the UK? I know what a pain it is for you to get American stamps. Just send a plain self-addressed envelope. Last year someone sent me a whole book of stamps to make up for people like you, the ones with stamp issues. I’ll use some of HER stamps on YOUR envelopes.
If you want autographed books and can’t make it to one of the scheduled signings, please contact one of the booksellers along the way. Seattle Mystery Bookshop, the first stop on the tour, is a good place to get signed books early. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Their name says mystery, but they’ll have After the Fire available and, with any luck, dead-tree copies of the novella, Ring in the Dead, too. (I know those have been very hard to find!!) Whatever you order from them will be signed by me and, if you like, by Bonnie as well. (Crackerjack and Bella will NOT be at Seattle Mystery. The signing space there won’t accommodate two people and two dogs!)
In order for Second Watch to gain the kind of readership it deserves, I’m going to need your help. Feel free to send this note along to your reading friends, even if they’re not necessarily mystery readers. I think they’ll be surprised. Feel free to talk about it with people who still need to be properly thanked for their service to their country during a very difficult time. And if you’re anywhere near where Bonnie and I will be doing events, please come see us. As Ed Sullivan used to say, “It’s going to be a really big shew!”
See you on the tour. And on the NYTimes List. Let’s make it happen!