Before I go any further, I must tell you that the lovely young woman pictured with this blog isn’t one of my granddaughters—but then again, in a way, she is, so stay tuned.
I’ve been a mystery writer for a very long time—coming up on forty years in March of this year. In a way it seems like no time at all, then again, it does.
When my first Beaumont book, Until Proven Guilty, was about to be published, I asked my editor about a book tour. “What book tour?” was the response. “This is a paperback. Nobody signs paperbacks.” But a paperback was all I had, and I was determined to do signings, come hell or high water. So my agent set up a tour—all expenses NOT paid—and I went out and did a total of thirty signings, not only for that book but for the next eight as well. It wasn’t until my first hardback came out that my publisher started funding my book tours.
In the beginning, signings consisted mostly of my sitting at a table and signing books for people who happened to wander into a B. Dalton’s or Waldens. The publisher had carefully calculated how many books a first-time author would sell, so the print run for UPG was 30,000. They printed that many and shipped same. Then when all the orders for those signings came in, the book was already out of print. Eventually they had to do something they never expected to do—a second printing. That was in 1985, and Until Proven Guilty has been continually in print ever since.
Eventually book signings morphed from my sitting at signing tables into my doing talks as well. I thank my lucky stars every day for the Dale Carnegie Course my insurance company encouraged me to attend, as well as for the year I spent in Toastmasters. Both of those gave me a good grounding in the art of public speaking. With the help of those two organizations, I really did me learn how “to make friends and influence people.”
Over time I came to love that part of the book world—the public part. While answering questions at the end of a talk or while chatting with folks in a signing line, I got to know some of my readers. I heard firsthand from them about what they thought of my various books and stories. I also heard about how what I had written had affected their lives. And that’s one of the reasons I’ve mourned the fact that Covid has probably ended the whole idea of book tours as they once were, and boy do I ever miss meeting my readers!
To that end, comments on the blog and the emails folks send to me directly have been a real lifeline throughout the dark days of 2020 and 2021.
This week I heard from a woman who had just read After the Fire. She told me how my story of walking away from an alcoholic first husband in order to save myself and my kids reminded her of the time when she’d had to do the same thing with a similarly affected sister—walk away and decide to stop trying to fix the unfixable. Losing a spouse and losing a sister may be two different things, but with the common denominator of booze, the story of my journey resonated with her. And I truly appreciated reading what she had to say.
That’s one connection story. Yes, I know I still haven’t explained the photo, but stay tuned. Here’s another one.
Last November I heard from a reader in Louisana—a guy named Brent. His father, George, was a great fan of mine. In March of 2020, when Brent was flailing around, looking for something new to read, his father suggested my books, and all of a sudden, Brent was hooked. For years people have told me that reading my books is like eating Fritos because you can’t read just one. That certainly proved to be the case with Brent. Then, in December of 2020, after a brief battle with Covid, George passed away. (End of sentence or not, I can’t bring myself to use the word passed without the added presence of that much needed preposition. That’s probably due to a regional dialect, but there you are! Live with it.)
Brent told me about the garden fence he and his dad had been working on together before George died. He also mentioned that seeing the garden now and reading my books reminded me of his father, and asked if there would be any way he could obtain a copy of Nothing to Lose signed in memory of his dad when it comes out in February. Asked and answered, and that will definitely happen! Then, because Brent was intent of tracking down all my work, he asked where he could obtain a copy of a short story called “Second Fiddle.” I vaguely remembered writing that, but I no longer had the file and I had no idea about where it had been published. Fortunately for both of us, Brent’s wife, Rebecca, is a librarian. She managed to track down a copy of an anthology called First Cases, published for Bouchercon in Nottingham, England, in the mid-nineties. No wonder I no longer had the file! That was back in the old, old days when I was still working on Toshiba laptops with floppy discs—the three-and-a-half inch ones encased in plastic, although I remember even older ones—the five-and-a quarter inch floppy floppies from my Eagle days back in the early eighties. Not only did Rebecca manage to locate a copy of the book for Brent, she found one for me, too.
Then Brent wrote again saying that as a Christmas gift he was planning a trip to Southern Arizona over the holidays for Rebecca and himself and for their daughter, Danielle, and son-in-law, Grant. He asked for suggestions about things to see and do. In addition to visiting Bisbee, which they loved, they also toured the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. The photo is of Danielle outside their Tucson area condo having just finished reading her first J.A. Jance book, Desert Heat.
That makes Danielle a third-generation reader of my books, so she’s not a grandchild, exactly, but certainly a Grand-reader—a GR as it were. There may be other GRs out there in addition to my own grandkids, but she’s the first documented one to be brought to my attention.
Just knowing about my connection to three generations of her family makes me very happy.
I live in Southern Oregon and just received the AAA Magazine “Via.” There is a 5 page article in there about Bisbee Arizona. I have read all your books and read your Blogs for years so I know a little about Bisbee but seeing the pictures and descriptions in the magazine wee special.
Are you kidding me Linda? I usually scroll through the AAA magazine but this month I just threw it directly into recycling and of course the bin was full so out it went yesterday. Ugh, I’m so mad at myself. I live in Oregon City south of Portland.
Oh golly, I did the same thing with our AAA magazine and we are heading for Bisbee this week. The magazine’s at home, we’re on the road. My mom and grandmother were born and raised in Bisbee and JA Jance was on of my grandmother’s students was Judith Jance
Makes me happy, too!
I thought I had read all your books, but I don’t remember Second Fiddle ( It may be my fault, I forget easily now. I will try to find it. Looking forward to your new book.
It’s not a book–it’s a short story. If I had a file copy of it, I’d send it, but that computer is long gone.
Okay thanks I will try to find it at my library.
Be sure you look for Volume 4!
We Americans have a very difficult time admitting to the fact that someone or a pet has “died.” We avoid the word like the purple plague
We now now adopted the word “passed” as our preferred avoidance word
Like you, I prefer “passed away”
at least we know what the speaker is talking about
‘passed’ could mean ‘passed by’ ”passed over’ ‘passed on’ ‘passed the exam’ ‘passed cars on the road’
My cat died last week and I am not afraid to admit it or that I grieve over my cat, He did not ‘pass’
Sorry for my rant – I’m not really-it is a pet peeve
Did you remind your new fan of the Tucson Festival of Books in March? I hope so. Then he could meet you in person.
Thanks for the memories
Your books have great meaning for me as they take me back to Arizona & all the places you write about. Traveled all through Arizona four times even tho I live in Pennsylvania & loved it. As I am too old to do too much traveling, your books take me back there and I thank you for that.
I have read every book in all your series. Although I follow every series, J P Beaumont is my favorite and have enjoyed his growth. You have even touched on Walla Walla and the State Prison here in my hometown.
I anxiously await each new book.
Thank you ! If Friday comes and I dont see your posting I panic until I find it. Enjoy them. My daughter was on a panel with you once and said that you two had a nice conversation.
I did get my sister “hooked” on your books. Maybe a grandchild in the future.
Is it okay to address you as ‘Judy’?
I can’t thank you enough for all your books. I’ve been reading them for about 20 years now.
Since I’m living alone (my husband of 46 years passed away 9/30/20). I find myself re-reading them. They are every bit as good as the first time. I may be visiting Bisbee again this spring.
You suggested some places to visit the last time I was there. Will do that this time.
JA, I have read all of your Beaumont and Joanna books, and enjoyed reading them all. The one that I’ll never forget is the Beaumont book (can’t remember the title) where you first mentioned Ann. I didn’t think I was going to be able to wait for the next one. I think you strung us along for another couple of books before you wrote Ann’s story into a book. Those were the best books I’ve ever read.
Now looking forward to the next one in February.
Dale (even though I have a man’s name, I am a woman)
I think I’ve told you this, but back in 2009, my husband & I were on a long RV trip, & Bisbee was on the agenda because I was hooked on your Joanna Brady series & had to see what was real. We wandered the downtown & found a bookstore that had a stack of your latest (can’t remember which one), & the owner was able to answer my questions about what was real. Plus, driving toward Bisbee I saw a sign that said Skeleton Canyon, & I shouted “That’s the name of one of her books!” You were going to be at that bookstore the following week, & I wasn’t going to be able to stay long enough to meet you. Made me sick! I bought the book.
I’m a 73 year old voracious reader (Thanks Mom). For many years through a career in the US Navy I spent many hours in base libraries where I found many books. I still visit libraries today. I had seen many J.A. Janice books on the shelves but never picked one up, for many years.
A couple of years ago I purchased one of the Joanna Brady books and I spent around 9 months reading every book in all of the series. I now wait hungrily for the next book to appear. My wife has followed suit. We have a granddaughter who lives in Tucson and 2 years ago we went to visit her and dragged her to Bisbee to see many of the sights that appear in the Brady books.
All I can say is Thank You for giving us so much fun and entertainment.
I so miss your in person talks. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you in the Port Orchard, Washington and surrounding areas since mid 90’s. Keep writing so I can forget the housework and laundry in order to immerse myself in your book!
When I read your reference to “Second Fiddle” in an anthology called “First Cases” I immediately went hunting for it. I don’t want to miss anything you write! I discovered that the Corvallis library has an anthology by that title, but you aren’t in it. Next, a web search turns up “First Cases 2” and “First Cases 3” also compiled by Robert Randisi in the 1990s. Amazon isn’t being forthcoming about what authors are in each volume, except for one or two “headliners”. (Can’t believe you don’t qualify!!!!) Do you know which volume includes your story?
It’s actually Volume 4.
Thank you! I have now ordered that one, for a very reasonable price. And your name IS on the cover as a featured author!
I love your books and I am patiently waiting for the new one to arrive next month.
Over the years you have mentioned famous people and products … Dr. Phil and Judge Judy, and Burger King and Fritos. Do you have to get permission to use these names?
Incidentally, all four are favorites of mine.
I put in things I like.
What lovely stories! Thank you for sharing them. My condolences to Brent on the loss of his dear Father.
My husband and I became addicted to your books after receiving the first four in the Beau series from my sister in Seattle. We have read every one and are anxiously awaiting the new Beau due in February and the upcoming Ali in the future. They truly are like eating your favorite guilty food. You just cant stop and are soooo sorry when the bag is empty and can’t wait to open a new one. I have recommended your books to several people including my daughter who does love to read when she has any free time, which as the mother of two teenagers and a demanding job is not often. Thank you for every delicious story you have written.
I have read all of your books and many of them are on my Kindle. This week my Kindle caught a bug and I cannot access my books. Im 72, retired, and not so tech savvy. I have yet to take it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy but hope they will be able to retrieve them from the Cloud(?). I often would reread one while waiting for a new one. I began reading your books from the paperback library my boyfriend had. He passed away in 2017 and sadly I was not able to take his collection. (BTW, you live next door to his stepmom, Lucy.) If my Kindle can’t be fixed, my son wants to buy me a new one but if your books cannot be retrieved, I’m going to be sad! I’m so looking forward to 2/22/2022! I live in Kennewick now but I was born and raised in Seattle and I fell in love with JP Beaumont! If all else fails, I can always purchase Nothing to Lose from Barnes & Noble. Thank you for giving me hours and hours of reading pleasure. Happy new year and may peace and good health be with you and yours.
Amazon should be able to retrieve your books for you.
I got a new Kindle Fire 10 today! It has Alexa…I asked her to get my books from the Cloud and ta-da, there they are! I’m so happy now.?
I got a new Kindle Fire 10 today! It has Alexa…I asked her to get my books from the Cloud and ta-da, there they are! I’m so happy now.?
The picture of your GR was really cute, and I’m sure extremely gratifying to you to know how many more generations of readers are continuing to enjoy your books. I’ve enjoyed them for years.
I have a funny story for you. A few years ago, after living in Arizona since 1977, my wife and I decided to visit the Bisbee area. We stayed at a historic downtown hotel (can’t remember the name), and during check-in were amused to have two sets of earplugs provided with our room key. We laughed until we got to our room – and discovered that night how thin the walls were. I still have the earplugs to this day to remind me of our wonderful and relatively quiet trip. We did a mine tour and toured Kartchner Caverns, among other things, and enjoyed some wonderful meals with very friendly folks. A great area of Arizona to explore!
Would that be the Copper Queen?
I’m pretty sure it would have to be the Copper Queen.
I just found First Cases on Amazo n for $291.00!
Grand Reader- I love it!!
I would never think of writing, “Passed” without adding “away” to refer to death-
Maybe in parts of the English -Speaking world saying, “Passed” is normal, but it just doesn’t feel right to me –
I’m hoping that someday the nation will be open for book-signings again-
Specifically yours, Judy- I’ve been reading your Mysteries for over thirty years now- I think I’ entitled to a signed copy by now!!
Happy New year to you and Fellow-Fans-
The first time I encountered “passed” was in the late 1970s when I was working as a proofreader for a newspaper that served the local African-American community. It was the common/preferred usage there. I suspect it has moved into more general usage only in the last 20 years or so.
Language grows and changes. I for one don’t always like it! This one seems relatively benign compared to some misusages that really send me into a rant!
Thanks- I would not have thought of that-
I appreciate your honesty about the struggles of living with a alcoholic husband and having to let him go. My Dad was an alcoholic. My years growing up were not pleasant or joyful. Consequently my grandmother suggested reading as an escape. That truly is a great diversion. I’m a huge reader to this day in my mid 70’s. My daughter is a drug addict with severe bipolar. I had to let her go for my own self preservation. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We did not speak for 2 yrs. Recently, she has made contact and I am reluctantly talking to her again. At my age it’s difficult to do anything that causes me to be upset. She seems to be clean and sober, healthy and well medicated for the bipolar. She was homeless for some time too. Maybe 2022 will be the year she finally us free if her demons. She is 56 yrs. old.
I’m so sorry. My father suffered from mental illness and addiction, which meant my mom and I suffered with him. If he hadn’t passed away when I was in college, I likely would have gone no contact for my own mental health. It’s so hard to watch someone you care about throw their life away and behave in hurtful ways. I hope your daughter stays clean.
Oh my goodness! I’ve been binge-watching the first three seasons of “Castle” this week, and real life and television fiction threw me a bit of a curveball when I saw the photo!!
Don’t know if you ever watched the series a decade ago, but the writer who shadows the cop wrote “Heat Wave” and “Naked Heat,” after his main character Nicki Heat!
As for me, I’m anxiously looking forward to the next Beaumont book!
My mother was a huge fan of your books. I took her to one of your signings at Powell’s in Portland maybe 15 or 20 years ago. It was the first time I’d ever seen my mom star struck. Sadly, my mom passed away in 2019, but the memory of her meeting one of her favorite authors is one I’ll treasure. And now I’m a fan too (and trying to become an author), so there’s 2 generations of fans for you. Not as good as 3, but not nothing. Happy New Year!
I was one of your first at a signing in Kirkland Washington! Beau caught my attention in a small book shop window. So my late husband, Don, and I went in, and since we the only ones there, sat and chatted for maybe 45 minutes. Pretty much the same life situations! Love all your works. Thank you!! ???
As an author of books on computing and software subjects, I did a book signing – ONCE! It was at a local book store – no trip there – and I had the proverbial table and a stack of my books ready to sign and sell.
Exactly one customer came in and bought one. And I was so flustered I forgot that he was supposed to pay the books store, and expected him to pay me.
Never did another signing. And I was glad not to – in the end, it was pretty humiliating!
Robert L. Glass
My husband definitely would have bought one- With that kind of publication you might feel more appreciated by those ordering online- I am so technically challenged, it is a complete mystery to me as how his brain operates- or how your does, for that matter!
enjoyable blog and comments. Chuck from Tacoma.
Where to start? I think the passed could be regional. Jeanne Robertson has a hilarious story she tells and passed is in there. A lot.
Unfortunately Jeanne herself passed last year. We lost a real gem.
My friend that hooked me on your books was one who saw you at your card table in the Portland area. I can attest to them being addictive. For some reason I did not hear about them until she already had 7 that she saved. I read those 7 books in 2 weeks time.
I just watched a video of Jeanne- Hilarious and really lifted my spirits-
Thanks for sharing access to her style of Comedy- Fun with not a mean bone in her body!
Is she also the one who pointed out that Beau had a drinking problem? She noticed and was no doubt right, but it was a big surprise to me.
No clue if it was my friend?
I know it was a surprise to me that Beau went to rehab. You could see it coming when you re-read the books one after the other. I read those first 7 as a pile and I still didn’t catch it! One book at a time it wasn’t so noticeable, having months between books. The short attention span factor? And drinking fit in so well having The Dog House as a hangout.
I was one of those people for whom you signed a paperback book. I was shopping at the Bartells Drug store, on the Plateau as we called the town of Sammammish then. i was looking for something to read and there you were signing your books. i picked up one and had you sign it, At the time I had no idea of who you were, but I have fallen in love with your books and continue to read and reread them. I have now started to visten to your audio books. Thank you so very very much.
Lovely! You have been with usa while and we appreciate every second of you!
You enjoy the joy you give your readers. Now that I’ve discovered your frequent blogs, I get to enjoy them also. I was surprised that you continue to just flow out more interesting things. I just thought that authors worked at one thing at a time and the birth of a book occupied all of their time all of the time. Thank you for continuing to pour out the prose. – I started reading your books, a long time ago (Can’t even remember why or how. Probably from a library, though I’ve bought many of your books also.) Now days I buy them through Costco and get pleasure to think that you are being properly rewarded for continuing to provide them for us non writers. – – By the way, my wife Dottie and I visited Bisbee several years ago and took. There was a “tour” company which was just starting a new “Jeep” tour. The J. A. Jance tour. we were the first ones. It even included the “firing range”. The tour of the mine was quite interesting, including the helmets, slickers, riding in a rail car . . . Your first town was well worth visiting.
Best regards from Leif & Dottie in western Washington state.
You are so much more than jusan author. You are a family member not only by introducing the personalities from your books into our lives but also with your heartfelt down-home blog stories. Thank you VERY much!
My mother read your books and shared with me. I shared with my daughter, and my granddaughter just started reading her first one. (I gave it to her for Christmas). That makes 4 generations enjoying your writing!
Also, when my son was stationed at Fort Huachuca, I took a road trip to Bisbee. How could I not when I was so close? I had a great time wandering the streets and remembering your books. Anxiously awaiting your February release.
I so love reading your blogs-the only ones I have ever had any interest in looking at.
Am sad that I have now read all of your books and will have to wait for new ones. My daughter and best friend are just starting out with them as well as a new friend that I gave all my Brady books to.
My favorites have become the ones about the Indians-was not sure about them at first but have fallen in love with all the stories and traditions.
Thank you for all the enjoyment you have given an avid reader.
A quick funny story: Friend, male, 30 years ago. We exchanged and discussed books and when he returned a wonderful J.A. Jance to me, he said, ” I sure like the way he writes. Tells a good story.” I looked at him a second, several things going thru my mind…all about how was I going to break the news to him. Finally I said, “He is a she.” “Nooooo!” And therein lies another devoted fan!
Rolling on Floor Laughing! Another author with a gender-ambiguous name (I like fantasy as well as mysteries) is Robin Hobb. When her early books came out they had neither photo nor tell-tale biographical information. I read the books in turn with a British male friend who insisted that the writer was male — all that swordplay and such! I thought differently. Unfortunately, the friend and I were no longer in touch when she finally came out to her readers as female. I would have enjoyed being right….
I can relate to the “Fritos” comment. I have all of your books that I can get my hands on. Have read all of them twice and just finished reading Beaumont for the third time. Always find something new that I missed on the other readings. I have always been a reader and my house is full of books. My book shelves are three deep with my favorite authors and I am running out of space in this old shanty. I do visit the library for some, but in my small town they don’t always make it here. I have finally broken down and am contemplating ebooks. I don’t have tv, cell phones, or keep up with all that. I do have internet and that is my only connection to today’s world. Luckily, I can turn it on and off as I please. Your books and your characters are like family to me. It is like sitting down to a warm friendly Sunday dinner. Thanks for what you do.
That’s a wonderful way of describing our communal “Addiction” to Judy’s Mystery
novels- I have come to love many of the regular characters, as if they are old friends-
They are good company!