Keeping Score

This morning when I picked up my phone, the screen was black with a dire warning showing. “Your phone has been locked down. Please provide you Apple ID.” At the bottom of the screen were my two allowable choices—EMERGENCY or ERASE PHONE. Not wanting to do either of those, I sat there for a time staring at the screen. Eventually the original warning was replaced with: INCORRECT. TRY AGAIN IN 22 MINUTES.

Well, crap! When it comes to levels of hell, there’s a whole section devoted to PASSWORDS is right at the top of my list. They scare me to death. If your hands are shaky, and you happen to type one letter wrong or in lower case when it should be in upper, does it show you what you did wrong? No, not on your life. What shows up then are the words: INVALID PASSWORD, often followed by an additional warning advising you that you only have two more chances. Good luck with that!

As it happens, today was a day I was especially eager to see my phone for reasons that will soon be revealed, but at that point, I had no other option but to wait through those next 22 interminable minutes, at which time, when I picked up the phone there was my regular sign in. The dreaded lockdown notice had vanished into the ethers, and I was back in business.

And here’s why I was so anxious. I knew yesterday that today would be the day when my pedometer app passed the magic number of twenty million. As I write these words, my step score is 20,000,006. That adds up to 9,567 miles or, to put it another way, I’ve walked 38.42% of the world’s circumference by walked a minimum of ten thousand steps a day for years now So that’s my current walking report. And yes, the fact that my readers have been monitoring my progress along the way has been an important part of keeping me going. So thank you all for that.

Most of the week and the rest of today have been devoted to getting ready for the special events as well as the book tour coming up in March, including car rentals and Shuttle Express reservations. By the way, while my back was turned, Shuttle Express has morphed into Bay View Lim.

I’ve already mentioned the selfie situation for the Tucson Festival of Books. This week a similar request came in from Left Coast Crime. LCC is a conference for writers and readers hailing from this side of the Mississippi. I went one of the first LCCs, one located in San Francisco back in the early nineties. This year they’re giving me a lifetime achievement award. They wanted me to write an essay, something fun, to go in the program along with my regular bio. They also wanted a photo that wasn’t my regular cover photo.

As the previous blog established, at age 78 photography is not exactly my friend. But that wasn’t necessarily the case in 1997 when, for Mother’s Day, my daughter made an appointment for us to do a photo shoot at Glamour Shots. One of the photos was so terrific that Bill and I paid extra so I’d be able to use it professionally. When my website started, Bill was the original webmaster, and that’s the photo we posted.

Some of you have heard this before, so pardon the repetition, but years later, one of my email correspondents sent me the following:

I have just visited your website and seen your photo. Jesus you’re an ugly broad. I do hope that when you go out in public you wear a bag over your head so you don’t frighten people, and I trust that, before your next book tour, you’ll visit a cosmetic surgeon and have some very necessary work done. Sincerely, Melissa G.

You all know that responses to emails addressed to me come from me personally, and just because Melissa was a … well … ______(You’re welcome to fill in the blank), I still needed to reply. So while my fingers were still shaking in fury, I sent this:

Dear Melissa G.,

Thank you writing. Your input is appreciated. Regards, JAJance

It came from me, but I did my best to make it sound like a machine, but making mystery writers mad is always a bad idea. At the time I was working on the first Ali Reynolds book, Edge of Evil. When Ali left California and went home to Sedona, Arizona, she started a blog. Trust me, it’s no accident that someone named Melissa G. sent that very same message to Ali. Then, because I write fiction, the responses from Ali’s readers and friends were all written by me, telling Melissa G. exactly what I thought of her!

It was a fun essay to write, but when I went looking for the photo to accompany the essay, the original had somehow disappeared. Once again, my grandson, Colt, came to the rescue. He took a photo of the framed picture hanging on the wall at the end of our entryway. That’s the one attached to this column.

It’s a lot closer to what I looked like when I attended my first LCC appearance even if it bears little resemblance to the Me who will be in attendance at the LCC coming up next month. In other words, this blog is about keeping score all right, not only with my steps but also with Melissa G.

The regular newsletter will be going out in the next few days. Often the newsletter and that week’s blog are one and the same, but this week that’s not true.

I thought my blog readers deserved something a little extra.

41 thoughts on “Keeping Score

  1. Wow, WTH is wrong with some people?
    The only thing that I can think is that someone who would take time out of their day to be cruel must be extraordinarily miserable. I hope Melissa G. got over it and found her happy place! Also, it must be hard not to be jealous of your backlist!

  2. Oh, Judy! How I love thee!
    I, too, have used my regular writing to extract my own kind of revenge! In my book “Is there Room in the Backyard for One More Body?” (A collection of 12 short stories) I killed off 12 men I wanted to “suffer” for their disrespect! 🙂

  3. I, for one, still think you are as beautiful now as you were then, with just a few more years of character thrown in!

  4. Thank you for the Self Depurating humor you so wisely dispensed. In this blog. I only made two runs for Bayview, while at Shuttle Express, they were the Top of the line at that time. Classy Travel for a Classy Lady. Provided by the EX owner of San Jaun Air and the parent co of Shuttle express. What goes around comes around. Congrats on your personal best re Pedometers. True stick to it Veness. Also that your Aid DE camp is still guiding your Electronic efforts. Glad You Have both have had a good run together. It shows. Chuck In Tacoma Aloha. to you and yours. Once again you have brightened the day for in excess of 43235 blog followers I know that no is low…..

  5. I think I already knew this but today’s blog just confirmed: if you make a mystery writer mad, you may live in infamy forever. ?

  6. I love your books and this blog! Thank you for allowing us to see the woman behind the books. And I hope Melissa G. read the Ali Reynolds book and saw her demise!

  7. When I saw the title, I thought you’d be revisiting the “keep the score; know the score; the score will improve” that you’ve used successfully in the past. Obliquely, you did, because your steps are a noteworthy score indeed, and the walking has worked for you as a health regimen. Congratulations!

    However, you do continually surprise me, here and in your books. I didn’t anticipate a column about taking revenge on internet trolls! Today’s trolls are probably using bots to wreak their havoc, but back when “Melissa G.” appeared, it was probably someone in a world of pain, lashing out under a fake name in an effort to feel better. (This is taking my head in several unpleasant directions, and reminding me of Man Overboard, where you also addressed the potentially dire consequences of trolling.)

    Chores and work are calling… May all of you have a troll-free day!

  8. You may have been hacked. Consult one of your computer people……And you can tell Mellissa G to stuff it.

  9. The first time I saw you in Yuma at one of your book appearances, you were wearing a red sequined top, and you looked absolutely stunning! Your sense of humor was such a gift as well. Every time you come to Yuma, I’m thrilled to be in the audience. I lived in Seattle for 30 years and loved the Beaumont books, then came to AZ and fell in love with the others.

  10. That glamour shot is gorgeous! However you are still beautiful, outside AND inside. As to Glamour Shots, one Christmas I treated my best friend’s 90-ish mother to a photo session there. Mrs. M was a former seamstress and still a fashionista. Her photos turned out beautifully and though she is long gone, that photograph sits in a number of homes bringing her memory to those of us who loved her.

  11. That is awesome! The next time I read my way through the Ali books I will look for Melissa G! Also, congratulations on that incredible milestone. You are an inspiration to my daughter and me as we do laps around the kitchen table this winter.

  12. Use whatever picture you want! I would still very much enjoy your writing whatever you posted!

  13. Judy, you are, were, and always will be beautiful – inside and out! You are a rare soul.
    BTW – my son set me up with something called 1Password that remembers all my passwords – I just have to remember the 1 – which believe it or not, I sometimes forget!
    See you in Tucson soon!

  14. I loved the picture.
    It is just completely baffling how vindictive people can be.
    But, eloquently and efficiently, you scraped that troll off and moved on.

  15. That’s a lot of walking–congratulations,

    I’ve reread all the Beaumont and Walker books. Couldn’t decide whether to first reread the Ali or Brady ones–you’ve decided for me. It’s Ali and then Brady.

  16. Judy,
    I remember that “Melissa” story before. I would like to get my hands on her! By the way, I have wondered if Melissa is actually a woman???? Usually it’s men who use the term “Broad” when refering to a female. Probably some guy who can’t get any woman’s attention. Just a thought. Anyway, the photo is super glamarous. I’ve always wanted to do that. I’m with your fans who know for a fact that you are beautiful inside and outrside! As for your number of steps, I am totally amazed and envious. I am so looking forward to the March Festival of Books here in Tucson.

  17. Judy

    And what about those times you are absolutely sure you’ve entered your password correctly but the app or webpage says it’s wrong.

    I just re-read edge of evil last eeek. The Melissa G. Comment is fresh in my mind. It’s even better now that I know “the rest of fhe story”. You go girl!! Itchbae got what she deserved.

    And I’m sure you are still a good looking woman. Maybe it’s time for a new glamor photo to prove it.

    Aloha from Honolulu.


  18. Your photo is absolutely stunning! You look like a movie star! Just beautiful! It’s so hard for me to fathom how someone would write such a mean-spirited comment. I’m glad that you were able to get some “revenge” in your writings. Your current picture, on your book covers that do actually look like you now, is also beautiful.
    Congratulations on your steps achievement! That is quite something! Do you know how long that took you?
    Passwords are a nightmare. I’m not as techie as one of your readers. I use a little notebook to keep all my passwords in. I just need to probably keep it with me at all times. But another reader may be correct in saying that you might have been hacked.

  19. While I am fairly new to your blog’s, I sure remember reading that in the first book with Ali.
    I just wanted to say thank you for the background on it. And I won’t type what I think of Melissa , I am sure you can take a guess!!
    I have been a faithful fan ever since that very first Beaumont book. You mentioned an old restaurant in Seattle that I used to go to with my grandparents. I had completely forgotten about that place until you mentioned it.
    Thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories for me!

  20. You SO ROCK! I just love you to death and you are one hell of a woman and writer and amazing with those steps and keeping yourself fabulous! We all love you.

  21. Bummer! Where your picture was supposed to be, a block saying “Stop! This photo has been hotlinked,” Hopefully, I’ll be able to see it in your newslwtter.

      • Some people just suck. “Melissa G” is one of those.

        The above comments tell the real story. Dittos from me.

        Looking much forward to your newsletter! Thank you for keeping on keeping on!


  22. Such a beautiful photo- I love the “Good Melissa” vs the “Bad Melissa-”
    Bad Melissa sounds like she might have a mood disorder, or was drunk or high
    on something-
    In any case, she was in an out-of-control-rage when she wrote that crazy note to you-
    I guess not everybody enjoys interacting with a best selling author who is also beautiful- The green monster of envy on steroids!

  23. Not a very constructive comment from Melissa G. I don’t like the pictures of myself most of the time, and I like the picture you’re using. We all age over the years, I wonder what she looks like. Keep up the good work.

  24. Melissa G’s comment tells me she looked in a mirror and didn’t like what she saw, so took it out on someone else. Maybe she was actually commenting on her own looks, rather than yours!

  25. No doubt, Melissa G. was a “mean girl” all grown up, still on the attack for what one can only guess as some very strange reason. I certainly watched plenty of “mean girls” in action during my 35 years teaching high school, mostly 12th grade students. One “mean girl” thought it would be a good idea to post a pict of me in the school yearbook that she had photoshopped to distort my face into ugly, as if I was sticking my tongue out to the camera. When I saw it, I brought it to the yearbook teacher’s attention, assuming there would be appropriate natural consequences brought to bear on the student. Instead, the teacher told me he thought it was a good picture of me and didn’t understand the reason I objected. WOW…not what I expected. Of course, there was no ethical way I could punish the student, other than giving her a “zero” in class participation for that day, as clearly she was off task, taking my photo during class without my permission.
    By now, this student’s mean girl skills have probably developed into a weapon she uses wherever she finds herself today. As far as the teacher’s ethics, I took the “oh, well” point of view, knowing his turn to be the target of a mean girl was only a matter of time.
    Great “pay back” for Melissa G.

  26. Hmmmm, I don’t know what kind of glasses Melissa G had on, but I do remember that when I first starting reading your books, before I had any idea of how wonderful you are person, I looked at the picture and thought, “What a glamorous woman!”
    Anyway, congratulations on that incredible milestone on your stepping journey!

  27. I’m looking forward to seeing you at LCC, and hope I have a chance to say hello. Congratulations on your award!

  28. This is in response to Melissa g! I think the picture is lovely. However my Mac D is accelerating rapidity…so she either has Eyes more advanced than mine…therefore is unable to see even at my level.

  29. My response to the ‘rude commentor’. My goodness you are a beautiful person inside and out. The comment tells us what kind of person she/he is. That says it all. Ugly rears it ugly head in all forms. Her/his jealousy if obvious in the statement. Hope she relishes in her/his misery. Best wishes to you each and every day.

  30. Who cares what you look like. You are a BEAUTIFUL AUTHOR & such a wonderful
    example of who we should be.
    Everything you write is beautiful.
    I’m sorry for people like that. She must be SO sad:(

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