Another One In the Can

As of last night, the next Ali book, Credible Threat, is finished—more or less. That means that I’ve finished the writing part of the process and the editing job is just now getting underway. So while I hold my breath waiting for the editorial responses to come in, what am I going to do with all my “free” time? Write, I suppose. That’s what writers do.

Even though it’s Tuesday instead of Wednesday, I’m declaring that it’s time to write this week’s blog. This year I’ve put off all thought of the holidays until just now because I’ve been too preoccupied with Ali et al to pay much attention to what’s going on in the real world. This morning, I’ve made breakfast, taken a dog to the vet, read my on-line news, and played a few hands of solitaire. (I usually quit once I win.) It’s too cold and wet to go out to get steps right now, so I’ll probably download some of the books that are backed up in my Kindle library. (Bill has been reading along steadily. I have not.)

When I’m writing a book, I’m living with those characters. I think about them when I’m walking. I think about them when I’m in bed and not sleeping. And when they’re suddenly absent because a book is finished, it feels a lot like falling off a cliff. I sometimes think of it as a case of literary postpartum depression.

When people say I “crank books out,” it’s easy to be offended—if you happen to be the one being accused of cranking, that is. It makes the writing process sound like a production line, with pieces of the story spread out on a conveyer belt and popped in only as needed. Trust me, it’s not like that—at all. It’s more like that old Helen Reddy song, “Hasn’t It Been A Long Hard Climb.” Because it is—every single time.

Last week at that Women of Intrigue Conference, I sat in a roomful of people who want to do exactly what I do—write for a living. I wish them all Godspeed. For the past almost forty years, I’ve been able to live the life I always wanted to live—the life I dreamt about living from second grade on. How lucky is that? How wonderful is that? Yes, being a writer hard work at times, but it’s also the hard work I’ve chosen to do.

I also choose to write this blog. Every week or so, I receive e-mails from people wanting to supply “paid content” for my blog. In other words, they want to write something and have me pay them for posting it. Somehow that program just doesn’t do it for me. I write the blog to give my fans a window on my world and to let them know that the person writing the words in the books is, in fact, a person—a single solitary person—as opposed to a conglomeration of “co-writers.”

And so, for the guy who wrote to me a couple of weeks ago saying he hated my last book and who claimed I probably didn’t even write it myself, you’re wrong, buddy boy! I‘ve written every single word in every one of my book and have non-working finger prints as a result. Yes, when I went to get my CLEAR stamp at the airport, my fingerprint biometrics didn’t work. (Thankfully my eye biometrics still do!) And it’s no accident that I routinely wear the letters off the keys on my computer keyboards.

Just this past week, someone wrote to me wanting to offer me the opportunity of having paid advertising on my Facebook page. I wrote back saying that my facebook postings are for the convenience of my readers, something I have no interest in monetizing. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to read an online article and having the words covered over by an endless stream of multi-colored t-shirts or, even worse, ads for teeth implants. (For a survivor of childhood dental trauma, those are the worst!) So there will be no outside ads on my facebook page, and no ads on my website, either, thank you very much. I’m happy to have my blog continue be a little island of non-commercial entertainment.

Right this minute, it’s the calm before the holiday storm of pie-baking, guests coming and going, tree decorating, and all that goes along with all of those annual events. I’m sitting here taking a deep breath before diving into all of that, and I hope my readers take their own deep breaths, too. Celebrating the holidays is joyous, but, like writing, it can also be a whole lot of work.

And once the new year starts? It’ll be time to do it all over again.

But as for the rest of today, what’s my good friend Jack Reacher been up to?

40 thoughts on “Another One In the Can

  1. I’m glad to hear that your next Ali is complete and starting editing, as I am almost finished with Sins of the Fathers. Am enjoying it very much and eagerly awaiting your next release. Take a break ( short one hopefully) enjoy the holidays, and family!

  2. The guy who hated your last book must not have a heart. Sins of the Father has been my favorite (I have read ALL your books) and by far your best yet (my opinion).
    Keep on…

  3. Related to your words – just had my first book published and I want to thank you for being my inspiration. May I send you a copy?

  4. Ever since I attended your presentation at the Apache Junction library a few years ago, I have been your biggest fan. You are real! I look forward to your Blog posts every Friday and your final sentence this morning about Jack Reacher made me smile. I would love to see Beaumont meet up with Reacher someday. What a team they would be!

  5. Please never allow advertising on this blog. I had to unblock the no-ad feature on a newspaper from the UK because it prints good photos of the Royal Family. The pop-up ads are really annoying.

    One thing I like about the holidays is you know what to fix. Everyone has favorites so you try to make them. My Mom was a real Lutheran Church Lady. We called her the Jell-O Queen. She had a molded Jell-O treat for every holiday meal.. Growing up the only lettuce I ate was a piece of iceberg under a slab of Jell-O.

    Please keep writing about the adventures of your detectives especially Beau who is my favorite. Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. What a small world! Jack brightens…or darkens…my days as well. Thank you more than I can say for this window on your world. It is a great joy! I often read these blogs aloud to my husband. He is not much of a reader but your stories of your life delight and move him, as they do me. So thanks!

  7. I don’t write books but I do wear the letters off my keyboard. I solved it by buying a lighted keyboard.
    Love all your books and all the characters.

  8. I’m looking forward to reading your new book. I enjoy all of the them and Joanna Brady is my favorite but but also like Ali and Beaumont. Keep up the good work and you can never please everyone but know that you are pleasing the majority of us.
    Happy Thanksgiving and I also enjoy your blogs and stories you tell.

  9. I thought the last book was great. It was nice to see what JP was up to. My husband just retired from SPD himself. When your first book came out it was recommended to him by a fellow officer, the rumor was that it had to be written by someone at SPD because the details were so accurate!
    A blog with no ads to dodge around is a wonderful relaxing read.
    Happy holidays!

  10. I’m so glad to see all the support you are getting. I’m surprised that somebody wrote to say they didn’t like your book. If they didn’t like it, why didn’t they put it down and move on to somebody else. It is what I would do. I love all your books and have never had to put one down and move on. There are a couple I had to leave the light on all night for. Happy Thanksgiving

  11. I have been wondering what the next book from you would be and now I know. Just finished the new Pat Cornwall title. It said she spent two years doing research for her next series and the next title is due out next August. Hope to see you and Bill on your next book tour as I have missed a couple.

  12. “But as for the rest of today, what’s my good friend Jack Reacher been up to?”

    If you are reading he has been up to 6’5″. If you are watching the movies you might not recognize him, heh heh.

    Seems like you don’t usually get much time off around the holidays? And wasn’t last year sort of a disaster with decorating?

    • The disaster wasn’t in the decorating. The problem was with my husband’s health crisis. He has since recovered.

  13. Enjoy hearing your latest news. I got your book Hour of the Hunter after you talked about it in Tucson in October.You said you and your 1st husband met the killer. Can you tell me when or how you did. It was a fascinating read where I wonder how much of you or your life might be in it. P.S. had to get the book from England!

    • Hour of the Hunter is fiction. In real life a killer gave my husband a ride home within an hour after murdering his third victim. The killer is still in prison in Arizona.

      • Wow! Thank you for answering that for me. I appreciate being connected to your blog and through that to you. I wish you a Happy ThAnksgiving.

  14. I just finished “Sins of the Fathers”….A wonderful book with my favorite character: J. P. Beaumont…I’ve been following him for years and enjoying each book…I feel like I know him and have lived with him through all his ups and downs…This book is a true gem…His life seems to come full circle with his family and now his newly found daughter and grand daughter…Love how you have completely circled his life and all the people who meant and mean so much to him, whether they be friends or family…His life is rich, his life is full..You have a wonderful gift…Thanks for enriching my life with your gift…May you and your family have years and years of health and may you continue to enrich all your readers with these great books. God bless you and your family…A devoted fan…Joanna Brady is a close second ….

  15. Congrats on finishing the most recent Ali installment. I also applaud you for keeping things simple on your blog site,etc. Good for you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I wish you and your family many blessings, lots of laughter and good health throughout the holiday season!

  16. I haven’t gotten to read Sins Of The Father yet, but hope to soon. The gentleman who didn’t care for your book should keep his thoughts to himself. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, comes to mind. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Bill

  17. Another enjoyable blog. And I too am a Jack Reacher fan although I didn’t care for the newest release as much as the others. I love that Tom Cruise plays Reacher. I’m a fan of Tom and of course, Reacher. Can’t wait for your new Ali book. She and Beaumont neer disappoint. And…I loved “Sins” BTW

  18. I can so relate to much of what you said in this blog? I cant wait for the new Ali book!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  19. Its so possible to fee 2 ways at once – I’m happy that a new Ali is on the way and rather sad for you that you will be separated from her life for a while. Hope your writing break is re-entergizing! I need to be thinking about pies too…..


  20. Happy to hear you finished your latest Ali book. I know you still have the edits and all, but you can take a little much deserved break.
    I can’t imagine people wanting to give you ideas and stories. You certainly don’t need them. When I was much younger, almost 60 years ago, I wanted to write. In the last 30 years I have written in a notebook about incidents that have happened over the years while stuck in hospitals with ill or injured family members. Unless you have been in that situation you have no idea some of the things you see, do or have seen. It could actually be a comedy or maybe a “How to Survive a Loved Ones Hospital Stay” manual.
    Have a lovely Thanksgiving and Christmas with your family and friends.

  21. Have a great Thanksgiving to all of you!
    And for Sharon Knop happy birthday as I have one also. Mine is 11/26/43.

  22. I enjoy reading your blog because you do keep it solely about you and your world. Thanks!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  23. I appreciate your efforts to produce lots of quality reading material. Sorry some call it cranking, but you have not succombed to the writing mill where co-writers abound and plots and quality are not consistent. I appreciate that too.

  24. I was tickled when I saw the title of this blog. Remember the old joke about calling up someone and asking if Prince Albert was in the can? That made the rounds when I was in high school. I suppose few now know that Prince Albert was a brand of tobacco that came in a can. I doubt if they know who Prince Albert was either!

  25. Have you ever played Churchill Solitaire? It’s great…and maddening! It’s like life…once in a while you win!! That and Scrabble are my go-tos.

  26. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every one of your books. I have enjoyed watching the characters grow and develop and I have enjoyed going back and re-reading old favorites.
    While I love all of the main characters, I also really enjoy Sister Anselm. So much of the media has created caricatures of religious women who are naive and know nothing of the world. Sister Anselm stands in diametric opposition to that and is like so many of the sisters that I know. Thank you.

  27. Nice to see other fans of Jack Reacher. I assume you were reading the most recent Jack Reacher book and I was wondering if you enjoyed it? Sorry to discover not everybody enjoyed your most recent book. It was certainly one of my favorites. However, that is life. Everybody has different opinions and in the end that is a good thing.

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