It's my birthday

And it's been totally laidback, just like I like it. I went out to breakfast with my husband, went shopping and splurged on a few things for myself, and I got a tattoo. I have two other tattoos, but I've been thinking about this one for a long time. It'll be the start of my whole arm, I think. The beginning of a constant work in progress.

Here it is, a quote pulled from my favorite comic book of all time:

Also, my arm looks like a huge chicken wing. :D

Also, my arm looks like a huge chicken wing. :D

What's going on

A few days ago I headed up to Vail, Colorado for a book event at The Bookworm in Edwards. It was the first event I did by myself, where I had to speak in front of people and answer questions. I'm not going to lie--I was nervous. I was scared no one would show up and I'd be standing in front of a bunch of empty chairs like an idiot. I was scared I was going to barf on the floor in front of a bunch of strangers. I was scared someone would ask me a question I wouldn't know how to answer--or worse yet, answer it and sound like a complete moron.

None of those things happened--although I may have sounded like a moron and am blissfully unaware. But people showed up--ACTUAL STRANGERS! And it was good. Really good. But I didn't get any pictures of the actual event because I was so caught up in the moment--and besides, would pictures have done it any justice? NOPE. But here are a few pics:

Me, standing outside the Bookworm before the event.

Me, standing outside the Bookworm before the event.

Part of the road into Vail. "It's like Narnia," one of my kids said. "Always winter and never Christmas."

Part of the road into Vail. "It's like Narnia," one of my kids said. "Always winter and never Christmas."

Me at the Avon Library, posing under WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW. (I ended up sneaking into a corner with the book and writing a little message in it. AND I FELT LIKE A CRIMINAL.)

Me at the Avon Library, posing under WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW. (I ended up sneaking into a corner with the book and writing a little message in it. AND I FELT LIKE A CRIMINAL.)

We had lunch at the bottom of the slopes in Vail, where I spotted these mannequins in a window. FREEEEEEAAAAKY, man. These are the things nightmares are made of.

We had lunch at the bottom of the slopes in Vail, where I spotted these mannequins in a window. FREEEEEEAAAAKY, man. These are the things nightmares are made of.

We used to live in Vail Valley about 8 years ago, and our little day trip made me miss it up in the mountains. But it's weird visiting a place you lived, because time doesn't stand still, it keeps on going, and things change. But it was good, so good. Hopefully we'll get up there more often.

Updates!!

There's nothing real exciting going on, despite the double exclamation points in the title of this post. But here are a few things:

-Three weeks ago I came down with the flu. Which hardly ever happens. I just don't get sick very often, so this steamrolled right over me, and pretty much sucked out my will to live. After this bout of flu, I can totally understand how people die from flu complications. (Not that I even came close to dying, but it was ROUGH. And if there's one thing I believe in, it's BE DRAMATIC OR DIE.)

-I'm still plugging away on BOOK 2, hoping to have it ready very soon to turn into my editors.

-My phone completely crapped out, which meant I stopped taking pictures and posting on social media very often. And it took me a while to get a new phone because DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THOSE STUPID THINGS COST? I mean, I have kids who need to eat. I ended up getting a used one a few days ago, so I'll be jumping back on the Instagram bandwagon shortly.

-I've learned something most writers probably know--if you're ever feeling good about yourself and need to be taken down a peg or two, go sneak a peek at your reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. That'll teach you to feel good about your life. Man oh man. Don't get me wrong, there's some really great reviews, but sometimes there's one that kick you in the teeth and then shits in your shoes. Jeeez.

**But to add onto this--I've gotten a lot of really great emails from readers, and I can't say how much I appreciate when people reach out and tell me what they think of my book. It means a lot that people take time out of their day to tell me nice things, so THANK YOU.

-Weather here in Colorado has been incredibly warm and nice--sucks to be sick when it's so beautiful outside--but then it stormed yesterday and felt right again. 

Okay, I'm going back to writing, just wanted to get a quick update out there. There should be more from me later as my life (and health) returns to normal.

XO

J

 

THE BOOK REVIEW

I'm in the NEW YORK TIMES. 

I've been sitting in front of my computer, trying to figure out what to say in this post, but I can't think of a single thing. 

Except SQUEEEEEE!

Here's the link, in case you'd like to take a gander:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/books/review/what-you-dont-know-joann-chaney.html

It's been one week since...

...the release of WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW. And it's been a busy one for me, because I had to get back to my day job, which requires a lot of hours and a lot of my attention and upkeep. I've also had to catch up on laundry, vacuuming, dishes, and spending time with my family--so it's been a bit CRAY. 

But it's been a week and I feel like my routine is back on track again. I'm even writing again, plugging away on book 2--which, for anyone wondering, is about a marriage gone terribly wrong, and features Ralph Loren as a main Point-of-View character. (I've heard people say it would be terrifying to get in Loren's head, but maybe terrifying in a GOOD WAY?) Anyway, hope to turn in another draft of Book 2 to my editors soon, and start work on Book 3.

So WHAT else has happened in the last week? Let's do the book-related stuff first:

-I had my first signing event at The Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, which was amazing. The staff there is SO SO great. (Darren, THANK YOU!)

-I also had an event at my local Barnes and Noble. The staff there is also amazing, but I was a little terrified of the whole thing because I was alone at a table beside the front door with stacks of my books, just waiting for customers to notice me. Fortunately, people DID notice me. I had plenty of people I know come in, but I also talked to a lot of complete strangers, and it was a really awesome experience.

-Mystery Scene Magazine gave WYDK an amazing review, full review here

-I posted about who would be my dream cast for WYDK, which I'd done before, but this time I included photos:

If you haven't already read my list of who would play who, take a guess who each of these are...or let me know who your choices would be.

-The ladies at the Book Riot podcast mentioned WYDK and gave it some amazing compliments...podcast can be heard here

-Out in the UK they threw one hell of a party at the Pan Macmillan offices and served fingers...and invited Seever to play clown:

-There was a mindblowing review from The Daily Mail..."...breathtaking from the first page to the last." Full review here

Book-wise, I'm sure there's more, and there will be more, and I'll try to share as it happens to avoid these tedious posts. Other than that, it was Valentine's Day this last week--we don't do much to celebrate, but here's a picture of my husband dressed up as cupid that always makes me laugh:

More soon! <3 

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW is out in the US!

Couldn't update yesterday because, man, it was a long day. A friend of mine had flown into Denver, and we spent the day hauling ourselves all over the state, eating amazing food and laughing and popping into bookstores. Then I had an event at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in downtown Denver, in conversation with author Stephen Graham Jones. Here's a few pics:

Those small people are my children, who were so fascinated that this book I've been working on for so long was finally in bookstores. I pretty much felt the same way.

But it was good, all of it. I appreciate every one who came out to the event, and thanks to everyone for buying and spreading the word. 

Time for a nap.

 

My Favorite Books--REVEALED!

No one managed to guess all my favorite books. Poop. Here they are, in no particular order:

-THE STAND by Stephen King

-REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier

-GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell

-ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery

-NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

-MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden

I'll have to try to think up some other fun contest to hold so I can give away a book. Stay tuned!

 

FIVE DAYS LEFT!

As publication day approaches, I thought I'd have plenty of time to sit back and relax and really enjoy the whole build-up, but it turns out to be exactly the opposite. I have three kids (sick), two dogs (needy), and a day job (stressful) that all require my attention, so the days have gotten away from me and I've managed to miss out on my countdown. :(

But the SHOW MUST GO ON!

With five days left until WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW is ready to hit bookshelves everywhere, I thought today might be a mish-mash of everything. A few updates, some new stuff. You know. It's like making meatloaf. Whatever you got, JUST THROW IT IN THERE, it'll be fine. And I don't care if you don't like it, I'm not in the habit of making 2 dinners.

First, a few reviews/pieces about WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW have popped up. The first is from Denver's 5280 magazine. They ran a very cool little piece about a few of the real-life locations that pop up in WYDK, but my personal favorite part of it is the illustration:

If you live in Colorado and don't already subscribe--and you should--you can always check out the online version of the piece at http://www.5280.com/magazine/2017/01/new-detective-tales-highlight-mile-high-city

I was also mentioned in Bookriot's "Riot Round-up" for January, where the contributors share their favorite reads for the month, and mine made the list! Check out the full list at: http://bookriot.com/2017/02/01/riot-round-best-books-read-january-2017/

So, I was chatting with a good friend of mine, and she suggested that I might make one of these posts about what I snack on while I write to keep my energy up. Now, I just want to make clear how I feel about my eating habits, and Parks and Rec sums it up nicely:

I'm kidding. (Not really.) 

So here are just a few things I like to snack on:

This picture is a little horrifying because WHY WOULD I POST MY COFFEE MACHINE LOOKING SO FILTHY? But there's no time for clean-up or filters today, people. 

Anyway, I drink a lot of coffee, all day long. I start in the morning, and I can drink a cup right before bedtime and fall asleep NO PROBLEM. But I can't drink it black--I have to add in this creamer, which is delicious. If I was a kid, I'd probably be tempted to drink it straight out of the container.

Also: Yes, that coffee maker is a Ninja. Because Sofia Vergara can get the men in the house to buy anything.

Another poor picture, but my cell phone is being weird, so it's the best I could do. The only place I've ever seen this stuff is Costco, but it's worth the trip. The secret is getting a mix of both the cheddar and the caramel popcorn in your mouth at the same time. 

Last one: when I posted pictures of my office a few days ago, I had some comments about the huge (YUUUUGE!) box of chocolate on my shelves. So I decide to grab one for a little snack as I was writing, and this is what I found:

Thanks to my children, I'm never able to stash away chocolate. :D

 

 

ONE WEEK LEFT

I skipped the countdown yesterday, but I'm back today--and the app on my phone tells me there is ONE WEEK left until the release of WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW!

Terrifying.

For today's post, I thought I'd talk about how my book went from a stack of loose papers to the finished product. It seems to me there's a lot of mystery and questions that surrounds the whole publishing process, and maybe this will help clear some of that up and help any aspiring writers? Or maybe it'll just be interesting. Either way, I gotta write about something today, so HERE WE GO!

If my book were one of those evolution charts you see in museums, it'd look like this:

So there's some backstory, but I'll try to make it short and quick: 

I've been writing stories for as long as I can remember. My mom would buy blank spiral notebooks when they went on sale before school started and I'd fill them up and squirrel them away. About ten or twelve years ago, I decided I'd try to be a writer--FOR REALSIES, as the young folk say. So I wrote a novel, sent out some emails to literary agents, and signed on with one. She tried to sell my first novel, but nothing panned out. I wrote another book. Didn't sell. And again. 

I parted ways with that agent after that. No hard feelings, we just weren't a good fit--and she didn't care for the new book I was working on, which would later blossom into what is now WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW. At this point I was enrolled in an MFA program and had lots of other eyes on my new book through the school. One of those sets of eyes belonged to an editor, Jamison Stoltz, who was kind enough to print out my book and give me some pretty awesome, extensive notes. Here's what that very early manuscript looks like:

A terrible picture, but my phone is going to poop out, I think. SOON.

Mr. Stoltz, who I am forever grateful for, then referred me to my amazing literary agent, Stephanie Cabot at The Gernert Company. Stephanie then sold my book to Amy Einhorn, who is the best editor in the biz.

So my book had sold, and everyone I knew kept asking when it would be announced, when it would be in bookstores. Or when it would be made into a movie. :\  

But here's the deal: the publishing business is SLOW. And it was even slower for ME, because Ms. Einhorn had bought my book with the understanding that it needed extensive rewrites. I've been told that most books aren't sold this way--when an editor buys a book, it usually doesn't need much work. A few changes, maybe, and some copyediting. BUT OH NOT ME. I rewrote WYDK completely three or four times over a year, and I've come to appreciate the patience of both Amy Einhorn and Christine Kopprasch (my other editor). Whenever I'd email another rewrite over, I imagine them wanting to reach through the computer and smack me--which is probably how I'd feel in their shoes.

ANYWAY. After a year, when I was so tired of reading my own writing I was ready to scream every time I powered up the computer, they accepted my book. After a little while, a few VERY early ARCs were printed:

This is the first time I'd seen a bound copy of my book, and I remember holding it in my hand and feeling stunned. Like, I couldn't believe it was actually happening.

More time passed. Copyediting happened. There were lots of emails back and forth about covers for the book. Then Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) came out:

These are the soft-cover copies that go out to early reviewers, bloggers, booksellers, etc. There were some giveaways. I handed them out in bookstores.

More time passed.

And then, just LAST WEEK, came the final hardcover copy!!

And now, in seven days, my book will be out there. It sold in late 2014, and now here we are. Finally. But worth the wait, I think.

 

 

10 days!

10 days until WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW launches into the world, and I decided to keep it simple--photos of a few of my bookshelves. I do have quite a few books boxed in the garage and tucked away into closets, but here's what I've got out:

I like books, and I also like junky knick-knacks. Specifically if they're clowns from thrift stores.

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW(about me) DAY 11

The countdown continues!

What's my favorite book? It's a fair question, and one I think a lot of authors get. I do think people are always a little surprised by my answers--I read pretty widely across genres. There's no way I can narrow it down to just one book, and the answer is constantly changing--SO HOW ABOUT I TELL YOU MY FAVORITE SIX BOOKS?

Here's the deal: I'm not going to just TELL you. That would be too simple. How about we play a little game?

I've taken photos of my six favorite books, and cropped out most of the covers. The first person to guess all 6 of the books correctly will win a signed copy of WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW, sent directly from me! 

A few notes:

-Please post your guesses in the comments of either THIS BLOG POST, INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, or TWITTER. I'll be checking all places constantly to keep up with the guesses.

-If no one manages to guess correctly by Saturday evening, I will start releasing clues until there's a winner.

And here's the collage of book covers:

I tried to make the cropped pics as clear as possible, but you know--TECHNOLOGY. 

 

Good luck!

12 days until PUBLICATION!

It's officially 12 days until the publication of WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW, and I thought it would be fun to have a little countdown to it--kind of like the Twelve Days of Christmas. But without a holiday at the end. Or a catchy song. 

Anyway.

I thought I'd post things about myself that you may (or may not) find interesting. Hey, I always like getting a peek into people's lives (isn't that what reading is all about?) so why not? I figured I'd call this the WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW (about me). Today we'll start and count backwards until we get to pub day! Here we go!

WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW (about me) DAY 12: 

WHERE I WRITE

Right now we're living in a smallish house, so my office is one half of a bedroom. This desk and this computer is where I do 99% of my writing:

Full Disclosure: I cleaned up before I took this photo, and it's still a cluttered mess.

I do my writing here, but a lot of other things, too. I pay bills, put on my makeup, I read, I look out the window at my kids playing, I talk on the phone and video chat with friends.

Here's what my desk looks like when I sitting at it. There's that big stack of books--it's my "read/re-read pile" and on to is the mirror where I put on my face. And there's coffee.

These shelves sit to the right of my desk, and hold all sorts of junk. Books, mostly, but there's also chocolate, perfume, and jewelry. It also seems like a good catchall for just about anything that doesn't have a home.

Okay, there's the tour of the space where I write. If you have a moment, maybe share where you write?

And I'll see you tomorrow!

 

Kirkus

I used to be sure, SO SURE, that when someone was reading my book I'd know it. Like I'd somehow be aware of the fact that a person was flipping through the pages, that I'd know they were getting sucked into the little world I'd created. I don't know how or why I thought this, but I did.

I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG.

So it always surprises me when I learn about my book being read and reviewed, although in this case it was an extremely pleasant one:

The full summary--a really good one--and review can be found at Kirkus.