Hey, DTRs: Collateral Damage in paperback, October 24, 2023

Small clarification. For anyone not in the know, DTRs equals Dead Tree Readers—the folks who only read books consisting of paper and ink.

Having just finished up the tour for Blessing of the Lost Girls—# 15 on the NYTimes Best Seller list, thank you very much—Collateral Damage seems to be a long way in my rearview mirror right now, but not for my long-time paperback readers, and those are important to me. After all, original paperback readers are where I started out all those years ago.

But back to Collateral Damage. For one thing, it usually takes six months for me to write a book beginning to end. This one took a whole year—from March of 2020 to March of 2021. It’s a complex story with multiple points of view and multiple locations. When I got mired down in the writing process, Bill, my literary engineer, bailed me out by suggesting that I time stamp each chapter. Doing that made the writing process much easier for the writer, and, as it turns out, it makes life easier for readers as well.

So as you read, pay attention to those time stamps. They’ll let you know the physical location of the action in the next chapter as well as giving you a hint as to which characters will be involved. You’ll also know the day of the year, the day of the week, and the time of day. That’s especially helpful when you’re dealing with multiple time zones with some characters located on the West Coast of the US while others are going through their paces in the UK.

During the five years I was a K-12 librarian on the Tohono O’odham reservation west of Tucson, I told 26 stories a week in K-6 classrooms. Some of those stories are the ones those of us who aren’t Desert People all grew up with as children—Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Little Engine that Could. But I also learned and told the stories and legends of the TO Nation, the ones they call their winter telling tales.

Over time I learned that one of the principles of Tohono O’odham storytelling is that a story must end where it begins. It wasn’t until I finished writing Collateral Damage that I realized I had incorporated that tradition into my own storytelling. The book’s action begins in St. Paul, Minnesota, and it ends there as well. And if that final St. Paul scene doesn’t give you goosebumps, you may not have been paying attention.

The pub date, October 24th, happens to be three days before my birthday. Yes, J.P. Beaumont and I will both turn 79 on October 27th of this year. (I gave him my birthday so I’d be able to remember exactly how old he is from one book to another.) Yes, we’re both getting up there, but we’re both still alive and kicking. Beau may not be walking as much as I do—I’ve clocked 23,200,000 steps over the last 7 years, but he’s in pretty good shape for an old guy and will be back in the saddle in October of 2024 with Beaumont # 26—Den of Iniquity which is already written and in the can.

By the way, since Bill and I are no longer snow-birding, if you’re interested in a signed copy of Collateral Damage, please order through Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, Washington (info@brickandmortarbooks.com). Their store is only a mile or two east of where I live and it’s easy for me to stop by to sign and personalize books.

When the first Beau book came out in 1985, several so-called experts told me “Nobody signs paperback books.” Since paperbacks happened to be the only books I had, I begged to differ, and I’ve been happy to sign books for my paperback fans ever since.

By the way, in case you’re curious about why I always sign in red ink, here’s the answer. Early on, I used to go into stores and offer to sign whatever stock of my books they happened to have on hand, aka stock signings. Later on, when someone wanted one of those pre-signed books personalized, I always had to go looking for the right color of ink to match that particular signature. By book number three, I wised up and started using red ink pens only and have done so ever since. That way I can always make that personalization look like it was that way to begin with.

In 1984, the marketing guys from the Avon Books insisted that I use the pen name J.A. Jance rather than my real name, Judith Ann Jance because they didn’t believe male readers would accept police procedurals written by someone named Judy. At the time, I was so thrilled at the idea of being published that they could have called me Late for Dinner for all I cared. But the truth is, I’m glad they did that. J.A. Jance is a lot easier to sign than Judith Ann Jance, and over the years those marketing guys have saved me miles of red ink!

Happy reading.

35 thoughts on “Hey, DTRs: Collateral Damage in paperback, October 24, 2023

    • While reading, I always visualize J.P. Beaumont as looking like William Holden.
      I also see Joanna Brady as looking like a red haired Sally Fields.

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on paying attention to the time stamps in Collateral Damage! I’ve just ordered it, and will take note of those. And Yay! Blessing of the Lost Girls, which I ordered in May, has arrived. My spirit has been craving a JAJ story.

  2. I’ve enjoyed your books since you started writing them. Thankfully, our library has always carried a wonderful assortment of new mysteries. Loved Lost Girls and learned a lot. Happy birthday to you and J. P.

  3. Thank you for your talent – writing wonderful books. I have just finished reading Blessing of the Lost Girls the second time. It was a must. And, Happy Birthday.

  4. I love your books and I love to laugh at the humor you put in your emails. Looking forward to reading both your latest books. Thank you for contributing to the joy of living each and every day. At 85 my life is filled with loving family and good friends and good reading. Thanks for your contribution.

  5. Happy Birthday in advance. I have a few of those red ink signed paper backs. Treasure them

  6. An early happy birthday! I will be 79 on January 8th. Love your blogs. Look forward to reading them every week.

  7. I have many signed books including the very first one I got at the Dog House Cafe when Leslie (RIP) introduced me to you and your books. You daughters were very young then. I’ve had many a conversation with Bill at other signings, such a nice man. So, this 82 year old will keep enjoying your books as long as we are both alive and kicking.
    Wishing you a wonderful birthday.

  8. I think the name problem is strange because there are several famous women mystery writers–Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers to name just two. Maybe the Avon people didn’t think Americans knew about them.

    Your shelf-mate P. D. James said when it was time to put her name on her first manuscript, she wrote out her name several ways. She had always intended to use her maiden name. She wrote Phyllis D. James and Phyllis James, but decided P. D. James would look the best on a spine. She said she was glad to have the short name when signing books.

  9. Just finished lost girls.with in 48 hrs.as am real busy w/ rehab at good sam. Puyallup.promulagaited by a brain stroke two Thursdays ago.. I am having trouble accepting limitations placed on me for my own good and safety and liability. I am apparently to Independent for my own good being two years older than JP or JA. AND having difficulties accepting things .my body does not do that I was capable of doing a couple of weeks ago .this is Chuck from Tacoma the old shuttle express driver .in a strange environment..a question I should not have to ask is,is CD the one with Travis. Luitenan t from B isby in Vietnam.? If I get confirmation I will attempt to order from Bellevue.

  10. Whatever format you sign, whichever way you sign, and in any color you choose, your books are always welcomed, enjoyed, and treasured!
    Happy Birthday blessings on the 27th!

  11. Your energy amazes me (66 books!!), maybe from all that walking! Either of you play tennis? (Senior group plays Issaquah Tibbets park M thru F . . free). Totally love all your books, but Beaumont is my favorite . . . what a gift God has given you.

  12. Happy Birthday a week early. Just means you get to celebrate longer. My 85th [last July] was celebrated for a week before and a week after. Makes getting older more fun. I have all the Beaumont books and have started on the Brady series, all in paperback, none signed by you. 🙁 Guess I will have to start a new trend for myself. Any tours coming to Dallas in the foreseeable future?

  13. Ms. Jance, when you complete 79 years on Oct 27th, keep in mind that you will be entering your 80th year, beginning your 80th year. So, you’re older than 79 sometime later that day!

  14. I remember a book signing at the Tacoma Public Library decades ago. I had come in with a library book which you proceeded to sign. Your husband called you a vandal. I laughed a lot!

  15. Hello again from Fuller Brush Land, in Nova Scotia, Canada. If you remember , my wife calls me the Janceaholic. Since we are close in age , I’m 3 years behind you I’m sure you might remember the movie ” With 6, You Get Egg Rolls,” with Doris Day. In the last few months I have converted 5 new readers to your books. The newest one was just yesterday when I was picking up Blessing of the Lost Girls. A lady beside me in the mystery section had a Jack Reacher novel in her hand and I asked her if she had read anything by you. Sadly she said no, so I gave her the scoop on you and Beaumont and Reynolds and Brady. When at the cashier I noticed she had a Jance book in her hand. Last month at an IHOP restaurant, A lady was reading while enjoying pancakes, but it was not any of your books. So on a napkin I wrote your name and filled her in on your novels . She was so thankful and she carefully folded the napkin and placed it in her purse. So, my next convert makes SIX, so I think I’ll treat myself to Egg Rolls…lol. HAPPY BIRTHDAY in advance . It’s nice when someone is 79 and still looks 40 like you do.
    All the best. Alex.

    • Thank you for spreading the word. As Fuller Brush people knew all too well, there’s nothing like a third party referral.

  16. Happy Birthday ?

    Thank you for many years of reading and listening to your marvelous books !!

  17. Great blog. Thank you. I am a Beaumont fan but also reading the ones based in the SW.

  18. 79 years of knowledge you have gained. That many years of life experiences and life lessons. You have many years of giving us enjoyment in our lives. That is very dear to us. May you be blessed with love and good health. May you have many more years of making good memories with family and friends. Blessings and love to you. Larry

  19. I have Collateral Damage… signed by you at Red Mountain Library, Mesa AZ in 2023. I’ve met you numerous times at Red Mountain library and at the AZ book show in Tucson. It’s been my pleasure … I love your books. I hope you will be doing book tours in AZ making stops at Red Mountain in future. Thanks for your books.. I’m still a snowbird but not for much longer

  20. I have Collateral Damage… signed by you at Red Mountain Library, Mesa AZ in 2023. I’ve met you numerous times at Red Mountain library and at the AZ book show in Tucson. It’s been my pleasure … I love your books. I hope you will be doing book tours in AZ making stops at Red Mountain in future. Thanks for your books.. I’m still a snowbird but not for much longer

  21. Thank you for being such an amazing author! I started reading your books earlier this year when I started with J. P. Beaumont. I have come to thoroughly enjoy him, as well as laugh at his many antics. I decided to start at the first one and read through, reading them in order. I didn’t realize how many there were! It’s a daunting task, but enjoyable nonetheless.
    Happy Birthday to you and Beaumont! You are very inspiring!

  22. Finished Blessings, great book, love that Jenny is grown and helping solve cases now. I waited a day to read the afterwords, and love knowing more about those parts of the book. I think I’ll reread it now that I’ve read those. I might do collateral damage again too ! Happy birthday this weekend. Thank you for your great books and encouragement to walk!

  23. I started rereading “Parner in Crime” yesterday. It takes place in Bisbee where Joanna Brady is the Sheriff. Beau is sent from Seattle as his first case with the Special Homicide Investigation Team as an observer.

    Joanna doesn’t like the idea of him coming there and things are tense at first. It turns out alright at the end, of course. There is a lot about Bisbee and the desert which is interesting.

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