Sheltering in Place

For all of you people who have expressed your concern about my case of sniffles from a week ago, they’ve turned out to be just that—allergies. But when I wrote that Tucson Festival of Books blog entry a week ago on Monday, the world was a different place than it is today.

Remember that old song?

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Well, the skies are pretty cloudy right now. And discouraging words are pretty much everywhere. (Remember this sentence later on in the blog when you get to the part about echoes!)

So what we’re doing here is what we’re supposed to be doing—sheltering in place, reading books, listening to music, and turning off the TV news whenever possible!

I work from home, so this isn’t really that new to us. I’ve spent the last five days doing two mind-bending jobs of editing. I spent three days doing line editing on Missing and Endangered (Joanna), followed by another three days doing a second galley pass on Credible Threat (Ali.) Unfortunately, in the course of that, I discovered a problem. (For incidental readers, the differences between line editing and galley editing are outlined in a previous blog entry, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one!)

I have a new copy-editor—a wonderful copy-editor, by the way—who does a terrific job of catching my echoes—which is to say repeating myself and using the same word over and over. So I’ve become aware of my echo propensity in terms of individual manuscripts. So I’m trying to correct that where corrections are possible. (See what I mean? And see “pretty” above. Blog entries don’t go through official copy-editors!)

This time, however, the echo problem was one that moved from book to book. Yes, I have a name file for each series. But when I’m working on Ali, I don’t go looking at the Joanna or Beau name files. It turns out, I should. Because I was working on both books in such close proximity, the problem jumped out at ME! Since line-editing is earlier in the process and since two of the repeated names were spread throughout Missing and Endangered, I was able to fix that problem with a global search and replace. The third one showed up toward the end of Credible Threat. Making changes at galley stage is more cumbersome and had to be done by hand. I think I caught them all and fixed them, but only time will tell.

So now I’m officially off work. I’ll be writing another Ali book next but at the moment I’m feeling depleted and so I need to regroup. I need to read other people’s books where I’ll be able to ignore other people’s echo problems. For five days I worked almost round the clock. I did NOT get my steps. That changes as of today. Since my home is my gym, closed gyms are not a problem. I’ll be walking my usual 250 step lap. We did our usual three-time-a-week, sit-and-grow-fit workout by FaceTime. Our grandson’s exercise program has taken a hit because he can’t bowl with bowling alleys closed, and Celeste, the granddaughter who coaches gymnastics, is also sidelined. As is the granddaughter working in restaurant management in Dallas.

When I came out of my editing isolation into the publicly mandated one, I discovered that my long delayed manicure is on hold for the foreseeable future. There’s no way to do a “socially distanced” manicure!

This is a challenging time for everyone. We happen to be members of the “targeted Coronavirus demographic.” We’re at home worrying about our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids who may not be officially targeted, but who, of necessity, are out more than we are. We’re not just worrying about them, we’re praying, too.

And I for one, think President Trump’s declaration didn’t go far enough. It should have been a GLOBAL day of prayer, not just a national one.

PS. If you’re interested in an at-home workout, you’re welcome to consult with our personal trainer. Please visit his website,