Most of the time when I'm writing, I'm downstairs behind closed doors working on my laptop, trying to stay afloat in a stormy sea of words. When I come up for air (usually about lunch time) I like to do a little research.
It's pretty fun to head out into the world to find places for the characters in 44 to interact and socialize. I've found that scouting out these locations for chapters is an awesome perk of of the job.
It involves hiking local trails, checking out parks and spots along the river, and throwing back a few brews at popular pubs here in town. Just this last week I was over at Deschutes Brewery, "researching" tasty items on the menu. It's hard work, deciding between the hop hummus and pork tacos and then having to make a choice between Chasin' Freshies and Jubelale, but fortunately I'm a professional and am willing to do what it takes.
Because Dark Was the Night is set in Eugene, I knew I had to take a road trip. So last spring I talked Mr. Jools into going west so I could jot down a few notes and soak up the moist atmosphere of the city.
As we headed out, I started taking pictures. This is the road where Abby and Detective Ellis Frazier first begin to bond as they drive toward Eugene. I like this chapter a lot because Abby is leaving her home and heading into unfamiliar territory, which serves as a nice metaphor.
it's a bit painful to put this shot up of Autzen (the Ducks did a total beat down on my Bruins this weekend), it had to be done. Students who live over at the Duck Village apartments (like Emily Ross) cut through the stadium's parking lot to get to campus.
After a little while, I came to the part where the path winds through trees. It can be a popular trail full of students, but it also can be empty at times and plenty creepy. As I walked, I knew that this observation about its isolation couldn't be mine alone....
And then the trail opens up as it reaches the bridge that crosses the Willamette River (another scene from the book).
Needless to say, even on a nice day this bridge is a bit spooky. I guess that could just be my overactive imagination, but then again.....
After a long afternoon of observations, it was time for research at a local pub. Afterwards, I was feeling recharged and sleepy at the same time (good for creative juices I'm told) and called it a day. Research would have to start up again in the morning.......
It was a fantastic trip to Eugene but alas, it was time to head back home.
For the next Abby Craig Mystery I'm thinking about a story set in Maui. Of course, I'll need to do plenty of research. The idea came to me yesterday morning after waking up and looking outside.....
Hope you all have some fun Halloween plans in the works!
Just a quick note to let you know that the new 44 Book will be coming out this month...
As you might guess from the cover, there are a few minor changes this time around.
I wanted to write a standalone 44, a book where anybody could read the story and be able to follow it without having to read Books 1-7. There are no spoilers. (Of course, fans of 44 will have insider knowledge on a lot of things.)
For those who still really like counting, Dark Was the Night is unofficially Book 8 in the series.
Jools, here. Just a note to let you know that I’m
hard at work on the next 44 book. It will be out soon. As I get closer to publication,
I'll have a specific date. If you haven't already done so, please sign up on the NEW BOOK mailing list.
Thanks for all the support.
Hope you’ve had a great weekend and are officially
launched into your summer fun~
It's been hot in Bend this past week..summer-like with blue skies and temperatures in the 80's.Perfect for sitting outside at 10 Barrel, a beer in hand, and the sun in your face! An excellent week for hanging out on the deck, toes in the sun, nose in a book....or just taking a nap...
Anyway, hope you all have some fun plans for Mother's Day!
Behind the Sceneswith Jools is a new feature I’m adding to the blog, for those who want to know a
little more about where some of the scenes in the 44 series come from.
With much love and appreciation,
There was no official funeral, but I was determined to be
there for the burial even if it meant I would have to wait around for the
gravediggers all day.
I sat on a cement bench with my husband and two small
daughters, waiting. The sky looked ominous, a perfect omen for the
sudden and violent cancer that swiftly took him out. And while it had been
raining for days, leaving the hilly cemetery soggy, for a
moment there was a break.
But there was no sign of life in the graveyard other than my
little family. No workers, no movement toward his plot down below, no shovels
or tractors heading our way, no sad mourners leaving flowers at the thousands
of other graves that surrounded us.
We were completely alone.
And then the storm hit.
It rarely rains in Southern California, but those bad rains that
come every four or five years, usually in February, are worthy of a Bible story
or two. It was that kind of storm that opened up on us that dreadful morning while we waited for my father to be put into the
ground. The thunder started in, rumbling like an explosion overhead, with sudden,
torrential rain dropping down on us in thick sheets as the sky screamed.
My heart ached. And while water dripped
down on my face, I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t feel anything. I was completely
There was nothing to do but to run for cover. We ran up to
the mausoleum at the top of the hill behind us and hid amongst the entombed bodies, waiting for it to stop. We wandered around with the ghosts, our footsteps eerily echoing off the marble and steel
I glanced out again. The view was stunning and awful all at
once. Past the rows of graves, the San Fernando Valley stretched out below: the place where I was
born and raised, learned to drive, fell in love, had children.
And now, it was the place where I was burying my dad.
This memory found a place in 44 Book Seven. In the prologue, Nathaniel and Abby are standing in that
cemetery with me. And I was glad to share it with them, two of my favorite
He stood watching the service
from a distance, beneath a large tree up on a hill overlooking the cemetery.
The storm was intense. Deep mud puddles were spreading through the grass while
streams flooded over pathways that wound through the tombstones. Waterfalls
cascaded violently from the rooftop of the mausoleum behind him. A harsh wind
blew into the mourners who stood by the open grave, wet and shivering like
rodents, listening to the old man rambling on about God’s love and the Valley
It wasn’t a successful day, at least not in the way I had
intended. I never did see the burial. But standing up
on the hill, it came to me that it was time to go, that we didn’t belong there.
I realized that while my world was filled with pain, it was also filled with
I wrapped my hands around those little fingers and we ran back to our car, heading home.
First, 44 Book Seven is scheduled to be released sometime next week. If you haven't already done so, don't forget to sign up for the New Book Alert Mailing List.
Also, if you have any friends who haven't discovered the 44 series yet, tell them there's no time like the present because the 44 Box Set, Books 1-5 is now on sale for $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble through Tuesday, March 26.
Thank you SO much for all your emails and support. The next time you hear from me, Book Seven will be available!
Backs again the wall, FC Barcelona came out fighting yesterday, igniting the field in an dazzling display of fireworks for 93 minutes--give or take a few shaky moments--and claiming their ticket into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
It's a game that I'll always remember. My stomach was in knots as I watched the pre-game show, painful memories of an all too recent week where my team had lost three out of five replaying in my head.
They had put themselves in a hole by losing in the first leg to AC Milan 2-0. Not only would they have to score an insane amount of goals in the second game, but they had to keep Milan from scoring. One away-goal from the Italian team could easily eliminate Barca and put the final nail in the coffin.
But led by magnificent Lionel Messi, who scored the first goal at minute 4:44, they did it, winning 4-0. And I feel lucky to have been part of it, sitting in front of a
giant screen in Bend, Oregon, watching from thousands of miles away.
Yesterday's game is the reason I love soccer so much (and probably why Abby Craig does too). It reminds you that anything can happen. That if you work hard, you're going to get somewhere. If you push yourself, you'll reach a new level. If you think it's possible, it just might be.
Soccer is about life. The ups and downs, triumphs and defeats. And every once in a while, coming together and creating magic.
I'm in the editing phase of 44 Book Seven, which should be out the last week of March. Thank you all for writing and joining the new book alert Mailing List... you'll be hearing from me soon :)
Happy Wednesday and hope all is well in your world!
According to Punxsutawney Phil, it will be an early spring, which is great news and will make the local ducks happy. It's already been feeling like spring here lately~beautiful blue skies and warmer temperatures and nice breezes. I've been out taking advantage of the ice-free pathways, walking over by Old Mill and behind Northwest Crossing, soaking up as much sun as possible.
A few notes...first off, happy February everybody! I missed greetings in January but as I seem to do at the beginning of a new year, I was hunkering down and taking a bit of a break from the blog.
If you were wondering, I'm waiting on releasing the new series until later this year sometime. It wasn't quite ready, and Abby and Jesse and Ty are loud in my mind (which is actually a good thing!). 44 Book Seven will be out in March sometime (hopefully early in the month).
Well, back to work over here as I plan to take some time off tomorrow for the Super Bowl. I'm making a peanut butter chocolate chip banana cake for the gathering with the fam from Susan Spicer's cookbook, Crescent City Cooking. Can't wait!
Hope you all are having a fun day, with more fun plans on the horizon!