The A List in Paperback, January 28, 2020

Yes, The A List, Ali Reynolds # 14, is due out in paperback on January 28, 2020. I may have typed 2020, but my fingers still want to start out with 19 something. Get used to it!

So yes, to my loyal paperback readers, The A List is finally coming out in a mass-market, pen-and-ink edition. I’m sure you think it’s high time, and it is. So today, I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a little background on not only the book but also on how that book in particular has intersected with my life.

In December, a little over a year ago, I was busy putting the final touches on the manuscript. In the story, we encounter Ali Reynolds as she is now, but also as she was while still a news anchor in LA and dealing with one of the biggest stories of her TV newscasting career.

Writing the manuscript hadn’t been easy. In July I developed a frozen shoulder, and in October my husband had back surgery. Initially he recovered well, but by mid-November, the recovery process had stalled out. He wasn’t eating properly. Nothing I cooked suited him, and he wasn’t at all himself. He was grumpy and not quite with it mentally. The only good thing about the situation was that, since he wasn’t eating, he was losing weight which he dutifully posted each morning on a weight-management app on his phone. On December 17, shortly after he posted his weight for the day, the app sent him a text: YOU ARE LOSING WEIGHT TOO FAST. CALL YOUR DOCTOR!

Bill is a retired electronics engineer. This was the computer speaking to him, and having the God in the Machine tell him to do something was a lot more effective than having someone else … namely his wife … tell him the same thing. He called his doctor and made an appointment for the following day. After an examination, the doctor ordered an ultrasound. As soon as he saw the results, the doctor said, “Go directly to the ER!” which we did. By the time we got there Bill, was suffering from acute kidney failure with his kidney function at 14%. Whoa! Had it not been for the app—had we waited one more day—I might well have lost him.

But I didn’t. It’s been a long slow process. He’s recovered enough that we’ll be going on a cruise the end of March. YAY. I love cruises. By now, you’re probably thinking, she’s really flipped her lid this time. Nice story, but what on earth does this have to do with The A List?

For one thing, although the book is a murder mystery, a major subplot is all about … well … kidney disease. In creating the story, I read about kidney disease. I researched kidney disease. I wrote about kidney disease.

Between Christmas and New Years, days after we ended up in the ER, my editor sent me a second pass of the galleys for The A List. I had already done the first pass, but there had been so much chaos in our lives at the time that I thought they deserved a second go-down. In the book there’s a scene where a bereaved mother tells Ali about losing her daughter to kidney disease. In the process she relates the daughter’s symptoms shortly before she died of acute kidney failure. As I read through that passage, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. I had been describing a fictional character’s symptoms without recognizing that the very same real life symptoms were sitting beside me, right here in our family room!

So, if you’re a paperback reader, by all means, go out and pick up a copy of The A List. But thank you, too, for reading this combination newsletter/blog all the way through, because I want to get the word out. Kidney disease is dangerous and subtle. The symptoms sneak up on you, and sudden unexplained weight loss is one of them. I always thought that questions on physicals about sudden weight changes in the past six months was nothing but a sneaky way of finding out if people were sticking to their diets. Properly functioning kidneys sort out and dispose of all kinds of poisons that pass through the human body. When kidneys quit working, bad things happen. You lose mental acuity right along with losing your appetite. Your personality changes. And it’s not something where a physician can prescribe a medication and you’re suddenly good to go.

So, if you’re reading this through and if any of the above mentioned symptoms seem to fit what’s going on with you or with someone you love, CALL THE DOCTOR and ask to be tested for kidney function. This isn’t your wife or husband speaking—it’s the VOICE IN THE MACHINE, SO PAY ATTENTION!

Thus endeth the daily reading. As for coming attractions? I’m currently doing copy editing on Ali # 15, Credible Threat and working on the next Joanna Brady book, Missing and Endangered, due out this fall. So I’m still writing, and I’m incredibly grateful that so many of you are still reading.

25 thoughts on “The A List in Paperback, January 28, 2020

  1. Prayers for your husband. Have a marvelous cruise. 2019 was a hard year for us. My husband was on chemo until the end of July. His oncologist told us to continue planning a trip we had set for August. He planned and modified and we went. It gave us hope to see the trip coming up. He is in remission now praise the Lord. By the way during the chemo sessions I read books like yours and many others to keep me stable. Thank you.

    • My husband just had an ultrasound to check his kidneys. Thankfully everything was OK but he does have CKD and it needs to be checked regularly. We are leaving on a cruise in 50 days so we will now be able to go without worrying. Glad Bill is OK too.

  2. Good morning and good advice. Thanks for sharing Bill’s story. I think that ignoring the obvious is normal. You were busy working and dealing with the health problems you knew about. My daughter says we ignore things we don’t want to see or believe. Looking back at the research you were doing and feeling that shiver is something I also understand. Hindsight is 20 20. I hope that you enjoy your cruise.

  3. Another interesting and also informative blog. Can hardly wait for the next ALI! You seem so down to earth, wise and caring. Those are the reasons I believe I love all your books so much. Have a wonderful time on your cruise. You both really deserve it.

  4. It just so happens that my primary care physician is also a kidney specialist who happens to also practice internal medicine. I go to him as an internist, but I’m mighty happy that he routinely tests me for kidney function. When he told me I needed to change my diet and increase my exercise last summer one of the indicators he was looking at was kidney function. When I saw him in early October, after a few massive changes in diet and exercise, he told me that my levels were back in the normal range. So, I’m continuing the exercise and the changed eating. 34 pounds down and I think of you and your inspiring story about your weight loss every day. Thank you for sharing

  5. You say you are incredibly grateful that so many of us are still reading. Well, it goes the other way. I am so incredibly grateful you are still writing. I have to tell the truth. I have an addiction and it is reading J.A. Jance novels. I even suffer withdrawals in between books! I read books from other authors but you are my absolute favorite.
    I am so thankful Bill is better and he was able to get to the doctor in time.
    Enjoy your cruise. What fascinating place are you off to this time?
    Anxiously awaiting the next Ali and Joanna Brady books.

  6. It is easy to miss signs and symptoms when you see someone every day and the changes are gradual and daily life has been pretty hectic for both of you the last couple of months. Happy to hear the app was a good thing, a good habit can save your life. Have a great cruise. I went into a while back to check on new books and discovered that particular author is 90! Pretty sure probably not going to get another book from her. It always surprises me when I actually remember how many years I’ve been reading some of my favorite authors and how many books they’ve written and that I’m not 30 anymore either.

  7. A lot of us don’t realize that Kidney Disease is something that does sneak up on you. Our heath care Dr sent us to a kidney Class boy did we learn a lot, what we never knew or didn’t really understand . Everyone should attend a class like this . In most cases it’s a lot of circumstances that cause Kidney Disease. So called perfect storm
    I loved The “A” list. Good story line. You were to close to the situation to put two and two together… that happens… another unseen medical problem is vitamin D it’s one of those things that to much is as bad as to little so have that checked by Dr .
    A Cruise sounds wonderful, Enjoy and relax …. Have a great week. Jan

  8. Question about the first Brandon….Hour of the Hunter… much of this book includes places I’ve lived in Oregon. I was disappointed to see Euclid in Eugene….which is not a street AND my beloved WALLOWA mountain referred to as WILLOWA. Why????? When in Arizona so much description of places here in SE Arizona are accurately described. I love you books (I’ve done all the Joanna and Beaumont) but was disappointed with these inaccurate Oregon references.

  9. Have a great time on the cruise! You two deserve it. Maybe one of my favorite characters will take a cruise again. I remember JP did once.

  10. My husband just had an ultrasound to check his kidneys. Thankfully everything was OK but he does have CKD and it needs to be checked regularly. We are leaving on a cruise in 50 days so we will now be able to go without worrying. Glad Bill is OK too.

  11. That happened to me 20 years ago. I was down to 100 lbs and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I went in for a CAT scan and when the tech asked me if he could use iodine contrast, at first I said no, but after he told me they made improvements, he said here are the risks: if you have Glomerulonephritis it’ll make it worse. Well I couldn’t say that name again so I agreed, but guess what? I had Glomerulonephritis and the iodine shut my kidneys down. I had dialysis three times and they kicked in and started working. I’m sure that was an answer to prayer as they said I would be on dialysis three times a week for a year. Now I’m in stage 3 kidney failure. So I hope your readers know to do a bunch of other tests before they allow the contrast. It’s not a good way to find out you have a kidney disease. Glad your hubby is ok. Enjoy your cruise.
    I look forward to reading about Ali’s adventure.

  12. Thank you for posting information about kidney failure. I’m sure it will help someone. However, every time I read an article about symptoms I seem to have them.. I think I am somewhat of a hypochondriac .

    Hope Bill takes the red neck tie on the cruise and you have a great time!

  13. My great-nephew was born with bad kidneys. Miraculously an adult friend donated a kidney that somehow fit into a small 3 year boy! Fast forward 12 years later and he has been put on the list to hopefully get one in the next couple of years.

    I believe that if people could be compensated for donating one of their kidneys, the problem with transplants would quickly disappear.

    I wish I could donate, but the medicine I had for Valley Fever damages kidneys. Indeed, doctors often had to make the choice to continue treatment for Valley Fever and destroy the kidneys or discontinue treatment and hope the disease was gone.

  14. My Mayo doc calls kidney disease the “silent killer.”
    A few years a ago, I experienced unintended weight loss and am thin. Turned out to be gluten intolerance which was discovered after hospitalization, etc, by me. I’m now back to previous weight. (Thought the gluten thing was a fad.)

    • Valley fever is awful. Didn’t realize the kidney aspect.
      Always check the organ donor option on my drivers license but think my parts are likely too old by now.

  15. Getting your books to read, from our Kitsap County Library, takes weeks on the waiting list. the Sun City West library, it only takes days. That’s because they read and finish their library books rather quickly. One advantage of living, part time, in a 55 and over community.
    Enjoy your blogs, and good luck with the health issues.

  16. Judy, you may not remember me (Fresno). I was poisoned by cat flea medicine and lost one kidney right away. When the other went down to 13%, I was put on the transplant list. Five years in dialysis before a kidney showed up. I’m a veteran and the VA paid for everything. I’m healthier than most people my age. Diabetes is a huge factor in kidney disease. Hopefully they will have the artificial kidney on the market soon.

    • Sunny, so glad to hear from you, and I do indeed remember you. It was your sister’s cat, right? Or at least that’s what I recall.

  17. Kidney disease isn’t just for humans. We lost of Siberian husky, Boris, on Tuesday to kidney disease. Less than a month after our other dog, Sasha, dropped dead after a biopsy.

  18. Just finished the A list which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am a 1953 graduate of the Verde Valley school in Sedona.
    Don Cairns

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