I wasn’t allowed in the Creative Writing program at the University of Arizona in 1964 because, as the professor informed me, I was a girl. A few years later, my first husband, someone who had been allowed in the Creative Writing program that was closed to me, told me that there was only going to be one writer in our family and he was it.
Well guess what? I have a new book coming out on February 16, Joanna Brady # 19, Missing and Endangered. I just went through my book catalogue. Without counting any of the novellas, M&E, as we call it around here, is published book number 65! Not bad for a girl!
I didn’t start writing for real until 1981, a year after divorcing that first husband who never managed to publish a single thing. As it turns out, both he and his “boys only” professor were dead and gone by the time my first book was published in June of 1985. Over the years I’ve often said that they’re both probably spinning in their graves each time one of my books hits the NYTimes list. And here’s your chance to make that happen again.
Usually this is when I make the announcement about where I’ll be going on my upcoming tour. Guess what? Thanks to Covid, once again there will be no live events. In my opinion virtual events aren’t nearly as much fun as the other kind. Nevertheless, on pub date I’ll be doing a FaceTime Live event with Barbara Peters from Poisoned Pen. Here’s the signup link for that:
It’s scheduled to take place at 7 PM, Arizona time. Be sure to check your time zones so you don’t miss it. (Note to self: Your heart may be in Arizona, Judy, but you’ll be in Washington, so that’s 6 PM for you!)
Both Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale and Mostly Books in Tucson will have autographed books available to order on line. Here are their pre-order links:
In addition, there will be specially bound autographed books available at Barnes and Noble and Books a Million through their online bookstores. Here are the applicable links for those:
This is also the time for people interested in having autographed bookmarks to send along their SASEs. My mailing address is:
PO Box 766, Bellevue, WA 98009
Please use regular business sized envelopes. Smaller ones—like leftover Christmas card envelopes, for example—just don’t work. If you send me one of those, I’ll either have to fold your bookmark or else cut it in half. This time around I’ll also be able to offer personalized bookplates. If you would like to have both a book mark and a book plate, please let me know. By the way, both of those will fit in ONE number 10 envelope. No need to send two.
One of the wonderful things about writing a series is that things can happen over longer periods of ltime. In the first Joanna Brady book, Desert Heat, Joanna’s daughter, Jenny was a bright little penny of nine. In M&E she’s now a college sophomore, and this book has almost as much to do with Jenny as it does with her mother. I think readers who have watched Jenny grow up over the years will be pleased to see what a capable young woman she has become.
Now a word about the cover. You can’t tell a book by the cover, right? In this case that’s most certainly true. Book cover creation is not part of my bailiwick, and the people responsible for making those decisions often do so BEFORE I finish writing the book. That was the case here. My plan was to work the cover design into the story, but then I forgot. So now the cover is going to be an inside joke between the readers who are “in the know”—the ones reading this message—and everyone else.
If you spend much time driving around the Southwest, you’ll see these kinds of roadside memorials here and there. They often come complete with a statue of the Madonna and a burning votive candle or two. On US Highway, two of them are located near Bisbee. One is on the west side of town just at the base of what locals refer to as the Divide. The other is east of town, just to the west of Double Adobe Road—the route Joanna would drive every day on her way to and from High Lonesome Ranch. So the monument pictured on the cover of Missing and Endangered has nothing at all to do with the book itself and everything to do with Joanna’s Cochise County.
I know there are plenty of people who, like me, aren’t making unnecessary trips of any kind at the moment. Grocery stores are necessary. Missing and Endangered is scheduled to be Kroger’s book of the month, so after the on-sale date, you can add the book to your shopping list right along with milk and bread. My understanding is that most Costco warehouses will also be carrying M&E, so you can grab a copy and toss it into your grocery cart right along with that humungous package of toilet paper!
Books that are preordered or purchased within the first few days after pub date make a huge difference in whether or not a particular book hits the NYTimes Bestsellers Lists. So let’s all get with the program. It’s time to make that Creative Writing professor and my first husband eat their words one more time!