The Journey of a Thousand Miles

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Or, in the case of writing a new book, with the first page. And that’s where I am today—at the beginning of a new year and a new book. The book doesn’t have a name at this point. Titles come later—usually much later.

So I’m starting. It’s a Joanna Brady book. That news is going to cause howls of outrage from fans who are Beaumont-centric. Please remember, I have four sets of characters, and the three with HarperCollins—Joanna, Beaumont, and the Walkers—have to take turns. In other words, 2016 belongs to Joanna. I can’t write any faster than I can write, and maintaining any kind of quality in the writing means it takes time.

People who have heard me speak know that I am a non-outliner. My aversion to outlining started in Mrs. Watkins’s sixth grade geography class, and it’s something from which I have never recovered. I don’t know the ending of a book when I start writing it, but this time I do know who the killer is. And I know who’s dead—or who’s going to be dead. But how I go from the deed to catching the killer? Well, that’s the whole point of writing mysteries, isn’t it?

Last night I heard from a man who told me that all my characters seem like people to him, and he’s always wondering what’s happening to them between books. That’s something I wonder about myself, because I’ve discovered over time that my characters can be busy little bees when my back is turned. Remember when Eleanor Lathrop eloped with George Winfield behind Joanna’s back and behind mine, too? That was a surprise.

So that’s how I’ll be starting 2016—by writing a book—while Bill is busy taking down and packing away the Christmas decorations. We’ll be heading to Arizona for a few weeks. This will be Jojo’s first trip to Tucson, and it will be interesting to see how she deals with the lizards who have gotten used to having our yard all to themselves. Lizards are quick, and with the golden retrievers, the lizards thought they were home free. Bella nailed one of them the first night she was there—and brought the still bloody corpse into the bedroom where she proudly dropped it on my pillow. I’m sure she thought she was bringing me a real treasure. The thing is, Jojo is quicker than Bella. The lizards are probably doomed—and so is my pillow.

So what am I looking forward to this year? There’s the Clawback tour, coming in March. It’s not finalized yet, but it will be soon. We’ve booked a Silverseas Cruise for late May and early June. The cruise was our 30th Wedding Anniversary gift to each other. Later in June, we’ll be celebrating the wedding of our eldest granddaughter in Moses Lake. And in the fall there will be another tour for another book—the one with no name.

Eight months from beginning the walking experience, Bill and I are both still walking and it’s still working. I am down sixty pounds from where I started and so is Bill.

So it’s going to be a busy year, and to my way of thinking, busy is better than not.

So Happy New Year, folks.

My best wishes to all of you, and for those of you who are walking, keep walking.

24 thoughts on “The Journey of a Thousand Miles

  1. Happy new year! See you in March if you make Phoenix part of the book tour! Preferably close to Mesa.

  2. Happy and Safe New Year.
    I gave a copy of Desert Heat to a friend’s 14 year old daughter figuring that the girl needs some fictional strong women in her reading. With her mothers permission. Her mom is a teacher/vice principal at a middle school.
    Haven’t heard a book report yet.

  3. Wow, talk about lack of proofreading, my email address was incorrect, no wonder I don’t get the email updates! It is coreect now.
    You talk of those who inspired you growing up in Bisbee.
    My favorite principal from Willcox Jr High passed away just before Christmas, as I learned of his passing, I reflected on his impact on my life. He was kind, fair and treated every child as if they were special. I knew him throughout my childhood, having 5 siblings. He knew every kid’s name, remembered all their siblings and would recall some previous conversation. He loved my mom’s Christmas baking, she always took bread items to Hap at Christmas, she did not do that for the principals in elementary or high school. He will be missed.

  4. Happy New Year and Happy Writing! Welcome back to Tucson…..it has been cool, but much nicer than the Pacific Northwest.

  5. I enjoyed reading your blog. I wish you a very Happy New Year 2016!! Best of the luck with your new book!!

  6. Happy New Year to you. It sounds like it will be a good one. My (grown)kids and my grandkids treated me to a Seattle trip this week. I have always wanted to see the Chihuly garden. That was their Christmas present to me. While we were there we also took in the sites. My usual Seattle souvenior is a Beaumont paperback, but the funny, crazy bookman at Pike Place Market only had a used Ali book. Still a good momento even if it is a DT book.

  7. Gosh, I think you deserved a longer break, but you know best. Good news about the weight losses for you and hubby and I love having weddings to look forward to.
    Also another J A Jance book.

    Happy New Year

  8. Looking forward to another Joanna book. I often re-listen to Beaumont books and Joanna book. The library has wiped out the Ali Reynolds’ stories. But I did manage to get Cold Betrayal and own audio of Second Watch, both Beau and I have knee problems and I can identify. Thank goodness I have virtually no holiday decorations to take down. But I have already started to work on the handmade Christmas cards for the veterans at the local VA Hospital for Christmas 2016.

  9. There can never be too many Jance books on my shelves. There are endless possibilities for a book with no name. I’ll be waiting!

    • I agree with you!
      Altho my book shelves said no more.
      So I went the Kindle way.

      J.A.J, thank you for all your books!

  10. I started re-reading the Beaumont books the day after Christmas. Was tickled at the first sentence in ” Trial by Fury”. It is “I was hung over as hell when Detective Ron Peters and I hit the crime scene at ten after eight on a gray and rainy Seattle Monday morning.” That may be the best first sentence I’ve read in a long time.

    It’s fun to read how Beau ends up with a red Porsche and penthouse apartment and keeps solving crimes altho he could retire. I hope he is having a happy new year.

  11. Sixty pounds!?! Woweee. And your overall strength and flexibility has improved, too, I know, because you’re working with a trainer. That is simply marvelous, and I congratulate both you and Bill.
    For me, the last 2-1/2 months of 2015 have been the worst. The Worst. My only child had a massive stroke, then when we thought she was coming into recovery, a second stroke finished her. She had high blood pressure and wasn’t taking her meds. My grief is unpronounceable, but through this I’ve learned even more how wonderful her husband is. We are slowly recovering and learning a new way to live. Among the detritus in her home we discovered a pedometer. I’ve meant to get one, and shall soon implement it to count my 10,000 steps. (I think I’m managing about 1,000 at present).
    I’m so glad you have so much to look forward to, and I bid you and all of your sphere health and happiness, peace and prosperity.

  12. I’ve been heartened to hear that you hate outlining as much as I do! I wasted a good 20 years with false starts in writing because I’d been told by a writing teacher that I MUST do an outline before I started a book! I’d try, it did’t work, I’d give up for a year. Then try again. It was only when I became convinced nothing would ever come of the book anyway that I broke free and did it “seat of the pants” and made it happen! I sure wish I’d known you back then! Perhaps I could have been published much earlier than I was.

  13. Well written, as usual. I look forward to the next book. I now get every book as a hardback. It’s become a tradition of my Son (who had asperger’s syndrom) to get me what ever books of yours that I do not have and pre ordering any coming up. Thank you for being a part of making his life better.

    • Cyndy, I truly agree with your last sentence. I don’t think Ms. Jance has any idea of how her books help and continue to help those who read them. I didn’t discover her until a couple of years ago. I could have used her when I was going thru some bad times.

      And now her example of walking and losing weight should get those lazy ones of us up and moving. 2016 should be the best year yet for all of us.

  14. Congratulations on your impressive efforts to improve your health! Such results are not easy to achieve and take much perseverance, much like your tremendous success in writing.
    I am also truly amazed at how well you keep 4 different series going. If I had to name a favorite, it would be Joanna, with Beau a close second. So I am very happy to know your focus is on her today.
    My Christmas treat to myself was reading No Honor Among Thieves, so I can imagine some of the fun you will be having with one of the story lines. (No spoilers here!)
    Best wishes for you and your loved ones in 2016. I look forward to hearing how you like the Silverseas Cruise.

  15. I am a Brady fan, so I am happy another book is in the works! I am thrilled about your weight loss and draw inspiration. Right now I am on vacation, walking almost every day, but I made a deal with myself not to weigh myself until I get home. Trying not to stress out on vacation just keep following healthy habits. I lost about 20 pounds before vacation just hoping to maintain until I get home. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  16. Happy Healthy New Year! I will not be one of the complainers about no Beau book. I have missed Joanna. I think we need a few more books about her to come even with the Beau books. I love Ali but Joanna is still my favorite character ever.
    Oh, In case you’re still tracking who likes your new word for us real book readers—put me on the do not like list. It’s too close to Nebraska. We really shouldn’t have to have a name. We’re just originals—real book readers.

  17. Happy New Year! I too will not be one of the complainers. I love Joanna! I really like Ali but Joanna is my favorite and I have missed her. I know that you are busy but I would love it if you would come close to to Wisconsin sometime.

  18. Would you consider a couple of before and after photos of you and your husband showing your weight loss? I always like to see those. I don’t think you went out and bought a lot of new clothes, but what is the thing you bought first?

  19. I was so grateful to read what had happened with Liza, at the end of the book I was so concerned for her and wondered if she stayed in Bisbee, went back home and opened another diner in honor of Candy or moved on. I grew invested in her and her story even though I know she’s fictional, I care what happens with her! So thank you for including a follow up no matter how brief.

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