Daily Tao ☯ 6.7.17

Riding my wave today. Two versions of synopsis for THE BLOOD CABAL done and sent to California, actual words on the page, edits on a short story, and tonight, I’m in conversation with my friend Heather Gudenkauf for her new novel NOT A SOUND. It’s a great book—the main character is profoundly deaf after an accident, and the claustrophobia of her situation, to be suddenly plunged into silence, and be in danger, was fascinating to me. If you remember, at one point in the Taylor series, she too is made silent by an accident, mute, and the challenges of writing the character without a voice, or hearing, is extreme. I’m looking forward to hearing what Heather has to say. We’ll be at the Vanderbilt Barnes and Noble at 7 pm if you want to come say hi.

Tomorrow begins demolition on my guest bathroom. It is the one original room left in the house, with an icky vinyl floor, ancient wood vanity, and one-piece shell tub and shower (beige… yuck.). When we’re finished, it will be elegant marble floor and walls, and a new vanity and pretty mirror, painted a lovely shade of seagrass, which is a very subtle gray green. Nothing crazy, just a nice update. I can’t wait. 

Don’t worry, I won’t be chipping nails on this. I’ll be on the porch writing whilst the guys deal with the heavy lifting. I can’t wait to see it finished, though. We’re overrun with boxes right now, the dining room looks like it’s decorated in cardboard, and my Feng Shui is way messed up.

Do you believe in Feng Shui? Do you do anything special in your house to help with flow or chi? I don’t do as much as I would like, but we’re working on it.

Sweet dreams!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.24.17

Great news, y’all — commenting on the blog is fixed! From here on out, to comment, you click on the word “Comment”, which opens a nice, clean box. You write me a love letter, click “Post Comment”, and the following box will appear. All you have to do is put in your name, and click “Comment as Guest” and voilà!  

 

*Ignore the Log In to Comment. It shouldn’t be there, but at least now there’s the guest option. Still working on eliminating any more confusion with the service, but this is a good start.*

So. With that fixed, which took up a lot of time today, I was able to turn to the manuscript, edit what I did yesterday, and eek out another almost 1000. I'm over 6k now... I also did a big print interview (which you’ll see next month, fingers crossed) and did some last minute travel arrangements for BEA. 

A good day, all in all. And tomorrow, it’s manuscript only. And kitties. Who really do love to distract mom the moment she gets going with her words…

Oh, did y’all see the great news from my BFF, Laura Benedict? She sold her new novel, and it’s going to be incredible — I’ve read the book and it’s fantastic. Many congrats to Laura today!

Sweet dreams!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.23.17

A stellar start to the book today, 2300 words. I could have kept going, but there were a ton of distractions, too. My fault, I forgot to turn on Freedom and ended up dealing with an issue that should have waited until after work hours. My goal is to average 2000 per day 5 days a week, and I’m feeling confident enough in the story that I think this is very doable.

I am back in my zone, only taking appointments and calls on Mondays and Fridays, which allows for deep work Tuesday through Thursday. It worked for the last book so well I’m excited to try it again. If it continues to work, it means I can almost double my usual weekly output, which makes my brain (and my publishing partners) very happy, because there are so many stories begging to get out. 

Last night was historic in Nashville. My beloved Predators won the Western Conference title, and will be playing in the Stanley Cup for the very first time. And I will be there, in my nineteen-year-old practice sweater, cheering them on. The Preds came to town the same year I did, and I’ve always been a fan. My parents took me to Colorado Rockies and Washington Capitals games growing up, and darling husband continued in their stead, so this is a lifelong quest, for me to see my team make it to the big dance.  

And at the same time, my heart is breaking for the families in Manchester, England. It’s a terrible thing, and I was so torn last night, filled with great pride and great sorrow. It feels like the world should stop turning when these horrible events happen, but it doesn’t. All I can do is offer a prayer, and make sure the godless people who commit these atrocities are forever stopped in my novels. You wonder why I write crime fiction? So I can stop the bastards in their tracks. 

And on that rather vicious note, sweet dreams!

Daily Tao ☯ 5.12.17

Home again, home again, jiggity jig! And let me tell you, I have a couple of very happy cats who’ve been alternately running around in joyful leaps or purring on my lap. Always nice to be wanted, right?

So New York was a monstrous success all the way around. Catherine and I pulled together a solid story and characters for THE BLOOD CABAL. Next week I will take everything we did and put it into a cohesive narrative so we can get this puppy outlined fully. We have the first 6 chapters already set, and wow, this one is so cool! 

Thursday was full from start to finish. Several hours of plotting with CC, then lunch with my publisher and editor at MIRA, which was a blast. I admit, I rather enjoy sitting in a dark wood paneled New York steakhouse plotting world domination. I had a lobster Cobb salad that was divine, too. We are all getting excited for LIE TO ME, and BEA is right around the corner!

I spent part of the afternoon reading a blurb book, then we met up with Catherine for dinner, which was a hoot. Mexican food in New York is interesting, to say the least. I asked for queso and the waiter was confused. Enough said. But the tacos were yummy!

And then we had second dinner with a dear friend who we haven’t seen in months, and that made the trip for us. A long walk back to the hotel, a little blood orange and lemon basil sorbet for dessert, and a well-earned glass of wine topped off a very pleasant evening. I stayed up half the night reading the book I was blurbing—I will absolutely share links when this one comes out. It’s great. 

The flight home was uneventful, happily, outside of the woman who spilled her double vodka on my bag (she was having a VERY bad day). Warm cuddles with the kitties more than made up for that. Tonight, it’s a quick supper party with friends, and then, my dears, I collapse. My doctor (who was my first call upon landing) kindly called in some antibiotics, so this sick puppy should be feeling better in no time. 

Sweet dreams! 

Daily Tao ☯ 5.4.17

I rather miss my little daily updates, and a quick poll showed y’all did too. So to keep me accountable as I get started on a big new project (Novel #20!), off we go again!

I finished the revision of my newest standalone today. Right now, it’s called THE LOST ONE, though that might change. (And yes, I am wearing my battered Harvard T-shirt for the second time — don’t mess with a streak!) I happily only added a net 2000 words, so it comes in at 113,600. Probably 450 pages, all told. This book won't be out until next year, so it's not available or anything. But I wanted one in the hole, so to speak.  

I sent the book to a couple of alpha readers, who are going to help me address an issue I’m concerned about (yes, even 19 books in, I still need advice from trusted friends), tidied up my office, then prepared a new Clairefontaine notebook. This one has a blue cover, and I always bring out my Brother P-Touch to print out the book title and series title. 

This label reads: Brit in the FBI #5 — THE BLOOD CABAL. Cool title, right? Catherine and I are meeting up in NYC next week to get started.

Also took delivery of my new chair, which I’ve been coveting in a certain catalog for about six years. It is very pretty, and a lovely reward for writing two standalone novels in 9 months. We must celebrate all the things, right?

A little meditating and hip work to help clear out the old thoughts and welcome the new, then cracked the cover on the big fat research book! Hello, Voynich Manuscript, you sexy (heavy) beast.

Anything you want to know about, ask in the comments, and I'll get the questions queued to answer as they come. Also, check out the cool organizational system Amy and I use to keep track of our world in this morning's big blog!

XO, JT