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,

26 thoughts on “Sheltering in Place

  1. I read this and it answered many questions I had about you and the family. Good news and we all need that. The process of writing is so interesting from this readers place in life. I never considered how much work goes into every book I read. I am now much more understanding when I find what I consider a mistake. You, your books and your blogs brighten our world. Thank you for what you do. Keep on walking. I am going to try to think of my own home as a gym. Walk on !

    • You are a bright spot for many of us!i love your honesty! I have wondered if you ever got characters or situations mixed up from book to book! I have read them out of order and am pleased that you keep us up to date with the stories without ruining a previous book!
      Take care and thank you!
      Stay safe and well!

  2. Oh THANK YOU for the name of your trainer! I do 99% of my “walking” on a recumbent bike in my AZ room, but need to work on other areas of my body that are now flabby from (on purpose) weight loss.

  3. I love the blogs and look forward to them every Friday. I am 78 with COPD but, I hate to admit, I do go to the store and the Post Office when needed. I take precautions but refuse to panic. I got my nails done 2 hours before they shut down for the foreseeable future. Hair cut will have to wait.
    My brother wrote his bio before he passed. Sister edited it and I re-edited it. Took out her “hence” and “in any event” words in nearly every paragraph. I guess we all have our “favorite” words, sayings. I know I do.

  4. Thanks for the weekly blog, a moment of sanity in this current mess. One of the things that is helping me deal with being stuck in my home (not really aberrant behavior on my part—I’m normally at home but can go out on my own whim so I’m not “stuck” normally) is those 12,000 steps a day I’m trying to get. Exercise DOES make you feel better and produces endorphins. Who knew the doctors were right all along? It took 71 years to penetrate my skull but it finally has. My dog and I go out three times a day in addition to backyard potty breaks and it does us both good. We talk to neighbors from a distance and that’s good too. Reading helps also. Glad to know two more JAJance books are in the pipeline! Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

  5. Call friends, even close by. It’ll make their day and yours. Their calls have done that for us.
    FaceTime with granddaughter a joy.
    Hubby texting neighbor who is on oxygen for grocery order when he goes.
    Library closed but online books perfectly clean.
    Technology a great thing now.
    Your mani on hold and my haircut. (Yikes) in a few weeks we’ll know everyone’s true hair color except for DIYers. 🙂
    Thanks for your blog. Starting to feel more and more connected to social media friends.
    Good read: This Tender Land, William Kent Krueger

  6. I enjoy your weekly bog , we have been self isolated for about 10 days . Food delivery from Safeway, Costco has kept us in business. Any urgent needs I get from amazon. Like dog food and coffee . I will be able to start cooking again (damn) but not a bad deal. I worry and pray for all the millions of people in this world who are ill and dying . I was told that the medical field has been expecting something like this for years .
    Your right turn off the tv if the news is really important you’ll hear it maybe not the minute it happens but you will hear .. it’s not good to start the day hearing all the sad and angry voices out there. I especially don’t want to hear a political rally early morning just want Facts … I want to hear from scientists from Dr . Sorry but I’m just frustrated I don’t usually speak of such things on a blog .
    We are lucky to live in a world where we can get outside breath the fresh air and not be inside a stateroom … I am rereading all your books so thank you in advance for the hours of pleasure your going to give me … Stay Healthy and keep walking … Jan

  7. Thank you for your lovely books and your blog. I just finished Sins of the Fathers, which was wonderful! Take care of yourself, and send updates on your dog(s).

  8. Couldn’t find your trainer with the address you posted. Did some research and found a transcription in the address. The real website is at Thanks for aiming us in his direction. I’m a senior with a very bad leg and he may be able to help me get some needed exercise.

  9. You have done it again. I just finished an early ebook, Credible Threat…I won’t say one word about the book…let me just say this-everyone read this book…when it is released…YOU must be the number one mystery writer in America at this time…wait a minute, let me change that…perhaps the number one writer in America…you are an amazing writer…I repeat myself…I read tons and tons of books…well researched, well written…no explicit sex or filthy language…thank you…I couldn’t put this book down. I have not said ONE word about the book, so I hope I have been OKAY in writing this comment…not supposed to go to websites until book is released…except the site for which I review…

  10. Loved your blog and glad that you are both fine and sheldering in place! So am I!Doing lots of reading and re reading some of your books! Stay well! My best to you both!Hugs to the puppies!

  11. I started a new job last week and got shut down the next Monday. They called with the news but said they would be cleaning the building if I wanted to work. It’s a huge building and they started with the two smoking rooms. It took floor wax stripper to get all the yellow off the painted walls, so happy smoking isn’t one of my bad habits! I haven’t been walking all week, getting plenty aerobic exercise as it is. I appreciate the opportunity to keep earning. It’s a Bingo hall that runs 1200 people through 6 gaming sessions weekly, so imagine the germs! Anyway, it will be bright and shiny when we get through. I’ve decided you can tell the quality of cleaning people by what the corners look like! Looking forward to the new books. One positive thing about this mess, families will be spending time and eating meals together. Maybe there will be some reconnecting going on. Stay safe everyone!

  12. Thank you for another blog post. I always look forward to reading about your current exploits. One solution to your manicure problem, which I read in a Corona Virus posting by a female doctor: cut your nails short, and keep them short. Germs hide under long nails! I’ve had short nails for years, for convenience. I can’t keep nail polish from chipping for more than a day or two.

  13. As a retired elementary school teacher, one of my editing tricks with my students was to have them take a colored pencil or marker and circle the same words with the same color. It was a real learning experience as they realized how often they used the same words, mainly nouns and/or adjectives, in one piece of writing.

  14. Have you thought about putting a bowling alley in your basement? The family could use it, too, when your grandson wasn’t. I haven’t bowled in years, but enjoyed it. Co-workers, all women, bowled several times. It was fun as most of us were learners.

    I am doing things around the house. Cleaned the stove yesterday. Am thinking about washing windows today, but only thinking.

    Stay well.

  15. Thank God you and Bill are virus-free! Ted & I are also sheltering in place, and catching up on reading as well – hope you have a chance to read my book.
    Stay well!

  16. But at home manicures are now possible with the amazing new ColorStreet product. They just press on like magic and last and lasts. Go to to see this new innovative way of having beautiful nails. I just discovered these and I am not the vendor. My sample nails have been on for over a week now thru dish washing and all.
    P.S. Love all your books and have for years. Now I am a blogger but not a novelist.

  17. Just happy to hear that you & Bill are clear of the virus. I know you will always find ways to bide your time even when you don’t write. I’ve seen so many people write on my neighborhood chat space that their kids say they are bored. Boy, if we ever said “I’m bored” in front of my mom she quickly named at least a dozen things we could do. As: clean your room, pull the yard weeds, empty the garbage, dust the furniture, clean the pantry or hall closet, help with the ironing, paint the fence. Actually, the list was endless. Needless to say, we always found something to do on our own. So Frank & I are finding plenty to do around the house as we stay close to home unless we just really need to go out for something. AND it’s great not to have to put on my face every morning to go somewhere! Looking forward to your next blog.

  18. Hi Judith
    Gloria from Virginia here. I read your blog for the first time and had to echo you re audio HarryPotter on long car trips. We heard Harry on a trip from Virginia to Connecticut after a friend told us how great it was on her last car trip. I dropped audiobooks after joining ebooks from our public library and long trips are in our distant future (and we may not be doing the driving if we do take any trips- yes our age group!)
    Our sequestration (does anyone use that word anymore?) is similar to yours and so far we are fine. After 55 years of marriage we can almost think at each other!) i finally was able to take down my art show at a local country club. They took it down, placed them in a vestibule just include the door to the parking lot, the woman unlocked the door, said hi, shut the inside door and fled back into her (uncontaminated by me ) workspace. I loaded my car by myself without help. Very strange but at least my babies are home. Of course seeing them in person is out of the question so I will l
    Upload them to my webpage and push my internet/social media/ blog ventures faster than I ever dreamed. At least one can download or order a book easily- an expensive painting not so much! Thank you for sharing your experiences – gives me encouragement to do more. If I could get my teen grandkids to interact more now that would be amazing!

  19. Enjoy your books very much – in fact you are my favourite!

    I have read most of Erle Stanley Gardiner’s – Perry Mason Series.
    I have about 20 of those but the pages are falling out due to age.

  20. JA, you always have a calming influence. I have to work as Post Office is a critical part of communication network. I too am deep into seasonal allergies. Difficult times indeed. Thank you for sharing your personal training information. Stay healthy. Looking forward to the next release. Rereading the books from the past, when I have time.
    Fort Jones, Ca.

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