Have you ever been getting ready for company, racing around the house trying to accomplish a million things at once, worrying that you won’t get it all done in time, and, just as you’re elbow deep in toilet water, hear their knock on the door? I actually haven’t. I’m one of those who watches the clock a week ahead of expected arrivals and plan jobs and execute them all week long. I want people to love being at my house and go all out to make certain that they have everything they need to be comfortable hopefully without having to ask.
But I’m paying for my lack of experience now. I’ve got an early arrival and have no idea how to handle it! The First Wife showed up this week. Several weeks ahead of schedule. We’ve been planning this gig for two years – since July of ’08. We talked, we brainstormed, we agreed on a theme, we decided dates, signed contracts. We did the work. A lot of work. A lot, a lot of work. I wrote. My editor read. She scribbled. I wrote some more. She scribbled some more. We brainstormed some more. Titles, this time. I wrote ideas. Sent them in. Got them back. Reconsidered. Sent in more. We spoke on the phone. Sent ideas off to art and marketing. And then we had to come up with cover concepts. I was sent out to the Internet. To bookstores the world over. I had to copy covers that gave me the feel of The Chapman Files. Highlight things I liked. Explain what I didn’t like. We developed vision. More so than we’d already done. And sent our final suggestions off to art and marketing. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. And Paula scribbled. And scribbled. And scribbled. And then Jane Robson was called. Jane was…Jane. She used to be an editor. My editor. She took me on, under Paula’s direction, back when I was a two book baby. She straightened my spine, spiffed me up and sent me to the USA Today Bestseller list. And then she left me to move away with her husband. I cried. So did she. And for The Chapman Files, we were reunited. After 35 books, we were together again. With Paula right there, too, this time. Jane read the first versions of The Chapman Files. She wrote the cover copy. And she scribbled. And I re-wrote.
The work hasn’t stopped. No vacations. No time off. Not for two years. I just finished the final read through on The Fourth Victim. Just sent in the final changes on Monday. And now, according to plan, I have until September 14th, the official release date of The First Wife, to prepare for the arrival of the most important project of my life. These are by far the best books I’ve ever written. As I read through The Fourth Victim this weekend, my heart was pounding, I cried, even though I knew what was going to happen next. I couldn’t believe that I’d written the book. I was actually engrossed as a reader, not as a writer. These books have more depth, more layers, than anything I’ve written before. And yet, they’re commercially entertaining, too.
Their advent into the world is a big deal. A HUGE deal. And…I’m not ready. We’re going on tour – a good bit of it on-line. Next week is the start of a three month blog tour that is going to culminate with a launch party in Phoenix, Arizona, for The Fourth Victim. The launch party is going to be broadcast live on-line. A lot of prizes will be awarded to readers who accompany us on the blog tour. (Accompany us by commenting on the various blogs.) We’re planning a charity function, as well, in conjunction with the party, all proceeds to be donated to help fight domestic violence. We’ve got sponsors already. We just don’t have all the details. Details, details, details. Conference call tomorrow with Harlequin. I need my five weeks of detail time! Heck, I need a morning with my calendar so that I can find out what I’m already doing.
And Monday there was a knock on my door. I went to the e-harlequin website www.eharlequin.comto blog on the Superromance site and The First Wife was on a banner across the home page of e-harlequin. She just popped out, proud as could be, to greet me. She’s available, exclusively on e-harlequin, for the next four weeks before she is officially on sale in the rest of the world. Not only is she available, but she’s on sale for $1 off the cover price. Maggie’s new release, Kill Me Again, is there, too. On sale. Yesterday, when I opened my Harlequin Reader Newsletter, The First Wife was there, too. On sale. Kill Me Again was with her there, too. I guess they’ve gotten to know each other here and have decided to travel together!
I apologize to all of you for my mess. I’ll have the blog tour schedule next week. The tour launches on e-harlequin on Friday, August 20th. I hope you all will join me on the trip. We’re going to be visiting some fun places and hopefully having a blast. I want you to win the prizes! And I have this leftover fear from high school of being the last one picked for basketball. I really was. I was too short. And a bookworm. Doesn’t bode well for the court.
And in the meantime, if you’d like to read the first chapter of The First Wife, completely free, click on the browse the book button in the Breaking News box. When I do it, I have to scroll through the pages to read them. If you can’t see them, give that a try. While you’re there, you can also read an excerpt from Kill Me Again. And from Ruthless. The Broads have been working hard to bring meet the Broadie’s expectations!