Catch-up & Book Expo craziness!

It’s been ages since I touched base.  So sorry.  Life has been beyond difficult and painful, as those of you who are following me on Facebook know.  In the meantime, the months have passed, and the paperback of THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE is due out on June 25th.  Right on the heels of that– on September 24th– will be the release of THE STRANGER YOU KNOW, the 4th book in the Forensic Instincts series.  So I’m super-excited!

BEA is in full swing, and I’ve enjoyed the publishers’ parties.  But today is what I REALLY look forward to– signing books and getting to meet my readers.  I’m off to the Javits Center now, so if you’re there, come by the Harlequin booth at 10 AM and say hi!

I promise to blog again soon.  I miss you all!

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Book Expo Day #2!

Yesterday was a blast at BEA– it’s hard to believe the Javits Center can hold so many enthusiastic (and frenzied!) people. I loved signing my advance copies of THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE, and I felt terrible when I ran out of copies to sign. Today I’ll be signing more copies of THE LINE at the Mystery Writers of America booth #4451 at 11:45, and then back at the Harlequin Book booth #3739 at 1:00 signing copies of LOVE IS MURDER. A whirlwind day! BTW, if I do run out of copies again, THE LINE will be released on June 26th, so hang in there!

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Book Expo

Today and tomorrow– June 5th and June 6th– will be two busy, crazy days at Book Expo in NYC, where I’ll be signing advance copies of THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE and copies of LOVE IS MURDER. Come visit me at the Harlequin Book booth #3739 on the 5th from 2:00-2:45 and the 6th from 1:00-1:45. Say hello, and get your autographed copies! I’ll also be at the Mystery Writers of America booth #4451 on the 6th from 11:45-12:15, so you can visit me there as well. Hope to see you there!

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NEWS FLASH!! Unveiling of THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER Cover

I have exciting news! I’m proud to be part of the suspense anthology LOVE IS MURDER, to be released by Mira Books on MAY 29TH 2012. My story, LOCKDOWN, features three of our favorite characters, all in one story: FBI agents Sloane and Derek Parker AND Forensic Instincts team member Claire Hedgleigh!

Today is the official cover unveiling– so feast your eyes on this dynamic book jacket:
Love is Murder

I hope you’re as excited as I am! You can pre-order the book at both Amazon and B&N. And I’ll have lots more to tell you as the release date draws nearer…

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The Lull

It’s a funny thing about finishing a book.  The relief is tremendous.  The follow-up work is long and cumbersome (but worth it).  And then comes the lull.  That bittersweet time when you can actually catch up on your sleep, your meals, your family, your friends, your reading– your life.

Why bittersweet?  Because, for me, I’m happiest when I’m writing.  Don’t get me wrong.  I hate the pressure at deadline time, when I’m a fizzled-out excuse for a human being.  I hate when the ideas don’t come and the writing doesn’t flow.  I hate the self-doubt of hoping that the book is as good as I aspired to.  And I love typing the words “THE END.”

But then there’s that void.  It comes with all the guilt of knowing I should be cleaning my office, going food shopping, straightening up the house, and doing all those other chores I vowed to do the minute I felt humanoid again.  It also comes with a sense of loss– like my child grew up and is ready to stand on its own two feet.  I’m thrilled– but I miss my “baby”, all at once.

And then comes the daunting task of starting all over again.  The dreaded Page 1.  The masterpiece I’m supposed to create from a jumble of good ideas and equally good intentions.  So how do I unwind and relax when my brain is already three steps ahead of me, worrying about its next challenge and, at the same time, chomping at the bit to get started?

I think that, through writing this blog entry, I came to the fact that there is no lull at all.  It’s just another step in the process, probably my least favorite because I’m not actively DOING something.  But my brain is.  It NEVER shuts down.  Vacations don’t work.  Sleep doesn’t work.  Distractions don’t work.  Let’s face it.  I’m not happy unless I’m immersed in writing a book.

So I guess I’d better get some sleep now, because I’ll be back at the computer in no time!

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Conference come-down

The reason you haven’t heard from me in a while is because I’ve been attending back-to-back writers conferences.  The good part about that is that I got a chance to meet lots of my readers, sign books, chat with colleagues, attend great workshops, give a really fun workshop of my own, and eat way too much.  The bad part about that is that I barely wrote a word, missed staying in touch with all of you, ate WAY too much, slept way too little, and totally overtaxed my mind and body.  And, as usual, I’m paying the piper.  I’m sick.

You have no idea how frustrating it is to be feverishly sick when you’re a writer.  The computer screen looks like an alien being, the keyboard looks like gibberish, and my brain is incapable of stringing two thoughts together, much less come up with exciting elements of suspense for my characters to conquer.  The advice is always the same: get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and take your antibiotics.  Great.  In the meantime, my storyline hammers at the back of my head, furious at me for restraining it, and that, combined with my “sick symptoms” prevent me from getting any rest at all.

The best news is that there’s light at the end of my tunnel.  Today, my brain actually woke up with a shred of clarity.  So I’ll be jumping right back into my writing, for however many hours I can muster.  But I had to touch base with all of you first, because it’s been way too long.  Just know that I’m back, I’m on the mend, and I’m busily writing the next Forensic Instincts book!  No hints about it yet, but I LOVE having Casey and the team back in my mind and on my computer screen.

The moral of the story?  Conferences are great, but (to quote Dorothy Gale from Kansas) “there no place like home!”

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How to Measure a Book’s Success

Last night I found out that THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE had hit the New York Times Bestseller list after just 5 days on sale.  To say I was elated would be a gross understatement.  I whooped and I cheered and I celebrated by sharing a quart of ice cream with my family.  I think I consumed a pint of it myself, which I paid for dearly later on, when the enormity of it hit my stomach!  But as for the book, I felt a sense of validation that was euphoric.  My “baby” had been recognized in a big way.  I went to sleep with a smile on my face.

When I woke up this morning, I found tons of emails and Facebook posts from my readers congratulating me and telling me how much you loved the book.  I can’t describe how touched I was, and how lucky I felt to have such amazing fans.  The fact that you all had read and loved the book, or that you’d bought or were about to buy it, fully expecting to devour it in one day, meant the world to me.  And I felt validated in an even more profound way.

I love what I do.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love being successful at it.  But more than anything, I love making a difference to my readers, to giving them hours of excitement and pleasure, and to leaving a lasting impression that might compel them to go back sometime and re-read THE GIRL, or to recommend it to a friend, or to seek out another of my novels.

So, because of all of you, THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE is a success.  Not only in fact, but in all the ways that matter.

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The Birth of a Book

Yesterday was release day for THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE.  Even after two dozen books, I still feel a surge of excitement, butterflies in my stomach, and a burst of pride when I see my “baby” on the bookshelves.  Which brings me to my point.  Researching, creating and writing a book is a great deal like having a baby.  There’s the conception, the gestation, the endless waiting, the pain and pleasure of the ultimate experience, and the wonder and relief of seeing and holding your “child” for the first time.  Maybe that explains why negative reviews hurt so much.  Some anonymous person is calling your baby “ugly”.  No new parent wants to hear that!

In any case, pub day yesterday was wonderful.  I got phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, photos of my book in stores, in people’s hands, in newspaper ads.  I even got a congratulatory note from the FBI!  I was like a kid in a candy store.  Days like that are gifts.  I treasure them and keep them tucked away, to take out on those difficult, frustrating days when the words won’t come and the cursor blinks angrily at me.

So I thank all my readers, colleagues, friends, and family for giving me a magical day.  No matter how many children you have, the birth of a new one is still an inexplicably spectacular experience!

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Meet Hero, one of our brilliant law enforcement and military dogs

When you read THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE, you’ll meet Hero, the extraordinary four-legged member of my new maverick investigative team Forensic Instincts. He’s one awesome bloodhound!  He’s also a certified FBI Human Scent Evidence dog, who’s instrumental in working the kidnapping case that’s at the heart of THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE.  You’ll also see that I dedicated Hero, and my book, to Freddy, who was an FBI Tactical Canine Dog who gave his life in the line of duty.

Freddy was a Belgian Malinois, a beautiful dog who’s the Belgian equivalent of a German Shepherd.  He threw himself in front of a bullet and allowed the FBI to bring down a group of alleged terror suspects in Detroit, Michigan.  He was honored in a special ceremony in Quantico and his name is listed among the other FBI canine heroes.

As a result of all my research, I wasn’t surprised to read several articles that said that a Belgian Malinois was part of the SEAL team that invaded Osama Bin Laden’s compound and assassinated him.  Evidently, the heroic dog was strapped to a Navy SEAL and lowered from a helicopter to the ground, where he did his job along with the rest of the team.

I am SO proud of our heroic military and law enforcement dogs– they’re one more reason to place dogs at the top of the best-of-the-best list!

I can’t wait for you to meet Hero… only 10 more days to go until THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE hits the bookshelves and e-readers!

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And the winners are…

Hi all!

Thank you for hanging in there while my computer glitch was fixed.  Hopefully, everything is now back in tip-top working order.

On to the contest results.  As I said previously, you’re all winners!  Your entries were truly inspirational and I loved reading every one.  I’m glad I could choose at random, otherwise I’d still be deciding!

I chose 4 entries, just in case there was a breakdown in communication and I never heard back from one of my selections.  As bad luck would have it, I haven’t heard back from TWO of the entrants who were chosen as “winners”.  I waited as long as I could, but I don’t think it’s fair to the two people who responded to my congratulatory emails ASAP to wait any longer.  So without further ado, the two contest winners (and their entries) who will be receiving autographed copies of THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE are:

Sarah W. of Chicago, Ill. and Bobbi K. of Wynnewood, PA.

Sarah W.’s entry:

In 2005, I did a 100-mile charity bike ride to raise money for a cure for a genetic condition my mom has. I had never done anything like it, and I was terrified and more nervous than I’d ever been in my life. My mom dropped me off at the airport for my flight to California, and I was shaking I was so scared. I also couldn’t believe how cavalier my mom was being about my whole experience – I had really thought that she would be much more enthusiastic and supportive.

On the morning of the ride, I received a text message from my mom wishing me good luck, but again I felt bad because I didn’t think she was being that supportive – especially because I was raising money for her charity!

I had a really hard time on the ride and was considering quitting…until I pulled into a water stop to see my mom standing there, cheering louder than anyone. She, who is terrified of flying, had left Chicago around 5 am and taken two planes in order to surprise me. She had rented a car, and she then drove along the route to stop and support me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as guilty as I did for doubting my mom, nor have I ever felt luckier to have such an amazing mom who is also my biggest fan.

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Bobbi K.’s entry:

I will never forget this–back when I was in high school I remember one particular Thanksgiving football game my school had and ALL the girls were buying a school sweater the school was selling. The sweater had the school colors and EVERYONE who was ‘popular’ was going to be wearing this sweater and cheering on their team. I wanted SO BADLY to buy the sweater but we couldn’t afford it. I was so disappointed but understood. I woke up the morning of the football game to find a box laying on my bed. My mom had spent the entire 2 days before AND full night before into the morning knitting me a sweater in all the school colors that looked exactly like the one the school was selling–but even nicer, and it was made with LOVE! Of all the things my mom has done for me, and she has done many, this will always remain with me forever. I am 63 yrs old now, and my mom is almost 85 and showing signs of dementia and does not remember many of these things, but she holds a special place in my heart and has made me the good mother I HOPE I have become! :-)

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Again, congratulations, and my thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to share your stories with me!

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