Nose to the Grindstone

What that means is I’m back at work writing a book which happens to be my “real” job. But believe me, it’s anything but a “grindstone.”

After doing it for more than forty years, I still love it. Most of the time. When a book is working and coming together, it’s wonderful. When it’s not working, it can be hell.

But right now it’s working. Usually when I toss and turn thinking while writing a book it’s because nothing is happening. Last night I was awake because characters were talking to me and letting me know what I was getting right and what I was getting wrong.

So what characters am I talking about? Ali Reynolds, Cami Lee, and Frigg of course. They all had comments and suggestions about the parts of the book that I’ve written so far—where they thought I might have missed the mark and where I could do better.

Does this literary baby have a name? It certainly does. Ali Reynolds #18 is now called Over Kill. It’s due to be published in early 2025, but the manuscript is due in New York by March 1 of 2024. I trust I’ll make that deadline.

In the meantime, since the sun is out at the moment (unusual in the Seattle area in November!) I’m heading out to get my steps.

Then it’ll be time to come in and hit Chapter 5, one word at a time.

By the inch it’s a cinch.

PS: While I was out getting my steps, it was such a glorious fall day that I took a moment to take a photo of the Japanese maples in our backyard. Enjoy.

50 thoughts on “Nose to the Grindstone

  1. This is the day that the lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

    Glad to hear your characters are keeping you on the straight and narrow.

  2. Can’t wait for this Ali book. Love them especially when you write about areas where we lived and know about. Your trees are beautiful. Some are still colorful here but many have lost all their leaves. Have a wonderful day

  3. Two of the newsletters I subscribe to are You and Desert USA. Today’s feature article was about the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee. What a coincidence!
    My husband and I snowbird south of Tucson. I especially enjoy the Brady and Walker books because of, not only the stories, but due to the familiar locations.

  4. Things I love about your books:
    1. Detail to everyday living (e.g. solving a murder but having aches & pains, & having family problems)
    2. Actual locations (e.g. Little Jon’s restaurant, Bellevue)
    3. Characters aren’t perfect (like us)
    I think God has given you a special gift, and I admire you for working so hard to use it. Thank You!
    Jim (oldtimer with wife in south Bellevue)

  5. I wonder how many of your readers have ever seen a real grindstone? We had a wheel on the farm where my Grandpa and Dad would sharpen the blades of various tools. It had a seat and pedals like a bike.

    I have several red maples here in CT, but not as pretty as yours. We had a snow storm last week and most blew down.

    I’m re-reading Beau’s “Proof of Life” and learning more about the care of dogs than I care to know. I’m a cat person.

  6. Re:Blessing of the Lost Girls
    We got to see resolution of one such cold case here in our county in Oklahoma recently and we are so grateful. A killer was brought to Justice and is awaiting trial over one of our Choctaw natives. The book brought so many things to mind. Thank you.

    • My belief is that in most of those cases if even halfway reasonable investigations were conducted would be solvable.

  7. Your Japanese maples are gorgeous! I first became acquainted with them when I lived in PA. in the late 60s. A friend had a Japanese maple that was 100 years old and very majestic. I bought a young tree and hauled it to MO as a gift for my parents. My dad took good care of it, but after my parents passed, the new owners of their place didn’t take such good care and the tree perished along with all their fruit trees! It makes me happy to see your beautiful Japanese maples!

  8. The tress are so beautiful this fall! We were at Dosewallips State Park this past weekend and even in the rain the Olympic Peninsula is stunning. I spent a good part of our camping trip reading Blessing of the Lost Girls. If our fur kids hadn’t needed to go out and do their business I probably would have finished it in one day!
    Thank you for continuing to write. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a blessed Holiday season ?
    Connie Miser

  9. I have hit a snag on the final editing of my latest adventure story. (A memoir in reality.) For some reason, I just can’t face the revisions. It’s been over 3 months and I am stuck. I have read several advice blogs on how to get unstuck but none seem to touch just what is wrong. I know depression has to factor in and just plain boredom with the topic. Just facing reading what I have written turns me off.
    Have you ever been in this hole?
    I get ideas on what to do and what to write but when push comes to shove and I am facing what I have written, I turn off. What a horrible place to be in.
    I don’t do “steps” or go for walks. The years I have been attached to a walker have played havoc on my shoulders and elbows, so walking is no longer enjoyable. And I do not have an editor on my case.
    Sorry for this boo hoo.
    I distract myself by reading another J A Jance.

    • By the third or fourth time through, it’s tough for me, too, but you have to just DO it! The good thing is, you really have been away from it for three months, and that should be time enough to see what you’ve written with new eyes. Since you don’t have an editor to give you a deadline, I will. Your deadline is now December 1–of this year. Let me know when you finish.

    • Would Physical Therapy help with the pain in shoulders and elbows?
      I have chronic neck and shoulder pain, although I do not use a walker (YET!)
      I get significant relief from a muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory, which are prescribed by a pain management specialist- They really do help-
      I wish you comfort and luck-

  10. Beautiful trees and backyard, very inviting.
    I’m also looking forward to your next book.

  11. The maples are beautiful! It reminds me of the way the color should be here in New Hampshire. We had a very wet late spring and early summer and a lot of leaves came down.
    Glad you got your steps in and that the writing is going so well.

  12. Love your Japanese maples. They are really beautiful. We get very little fall color here in north Texas. Actually, we get very little fall, which is my favorite time of year.

  13. I always think “OUCH,” when I hear the phrase “nose to the grindstone.” It sounds really painful. ? When I am into a book series, the characters become real to me. They must feel like old friends to you. I’m not surprised that they talk to you.

  14. Your trees are beautiful. I live in the northeast. Our trees are mostly on the ground now waiting to be racked up. It has been an unusual fall. No snow yet.

  15. What else can I say, but, WOW! A sight we never have here in Tucson. Thanks for sharing the beauty. I imagine it’s pretty chilly there in the mornings, but I can see it would be lovely to enjoy a morning cup of coffee outside or an evening wine.

    I’m definitely looking forward to the next Ali.

    Janice Molina

  16. What a glorious picture! I ADORE Red Maples-
    In New York City we don’t often get such colorful foliage-
    Having just been in Vermont and New Hampshire, the foliage there this year was very subdued, and there were still rust-colored leaves on many trees- Very unusual in November- Our friend Jill explained this as due to a frost in the spring-
    She has a PHD in biology, so I tend to trust what she says about such things-
    I love the contrast of your beautiful Maple with the blue of the swimming pool, which I never knew about- It looks very large and inviting-
    I’m always happy to know another Ali is in the works- Have fun as your characters guide you through it’s progression!

  17. Beautiful trees! I have one. It’s small.
    Looking forward to your latest books! It’s hard to get into another authors style. Guess I’ll make do.
    Happy Holidays!

  18. JAJ, I can only hope that the sight of those beautiful Japanese maples give you as much joy, pleasure, and comfort as you vast catalog of novels have brought to the millions of your loyal readers. Sorry, but I don’t think a deadline can intimidate a talented author of your renown. Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas.

  19. I love your books because my daughter was born in Seattle and my son in Willcox, Az so I can picture both places from living there.

  20. Gorgeous! Love that area. Spent many wonderful hours on a horse in the park by you when I was younger. Treasured moments.

  21. I love your books and it’s going to very hard to wait that long for another book. LOL! I am almost finished with all that are available right now. I made up lists, books in order and date I received them or got from library and then the date read. I still think I like Joanna Brady, the best. However since Ali has the AI, really liking that. J.P. well, his life is a mess right now. I hope he joins TLC. Thanks for your good reads

  22. Very excited about the new Ali book. It will be hard to wait until 2025. Maybe Frigg can speed it up? 🙂
    What a beautiful picture! Thank you for sharing.

  23. Thanks for sharing those beautiful trees! As always, you are a marvel to me, as you keep’working’for all of us! Just a note to share my appreciation of all your efforts, thank you sincerely. Be well my friend!

  24. My Favorite Writer –

    How are you?
    I did not get a Friday blog today in my email and am just a little worried….trust you are fine…just busy.
    Prayers anyway….

Comments are closed.