Our Editing Teamwork

Although Brian and I enjoy spending time on the road promoting his books, like so many of you, we’ve spent much of the last year at home. Now, the good thing about this is that Brian’s been able to really dive into his multiple projects. In fact, he will have three new books coming out this year…INFINITE (coming in March), THE BOURNE TREACHERY (coming in July), and THE URSULINA (coming sometime later this year, so stay tuned for a release date).
And speaking of the editing…folks are often asking me to explain my role in the process…and I’m always happy to describe it. Having done more than 20 books, we’ve developed a system that works pretty smoothly and quickly.
So, here goes…Once Brian completes a manuscript (no, I don’t read individual sections as he writes ’em), he prints it out and hands it over to me…along with a pen and a stack of post-it notes. My job is to go through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb…looking for anything and everything that might “stop” future readers as they’re going along. In other words, I’m looking at major plot details (does the story make sense and bring the reader along from beginning to end), descriptions (can I envision the people and places he’s describing), punctuation, misspelled/incorrect words (spell-check catches misspellings, but not incorrect word usage), and even missing words. When I come across any of these, I grab my pen and a post-it…make a note of the issue…then stick it right next to where I have a question. Because of the many levels of detail that I’m looking at, this intensive process can take 4-7 days…sometimes even longer when there’s feline assistance involved.
And Brian’s job during this phase is…to wait patiently (insert eye roll here cause it’s hard for him to be patient). During my reading time, he’s not allowed to ask me any questions (not even what page I’m on)..nor am I allowed to ask him any questions. And here’s why: we don’t want to risk his answering one of my questions…and giving me too much information. This could influence my judgment as to whether the book flows along well and eventually ties up all of the loose ends. In fact, prior to my reading the manuscript through for the first time…and to ensure that I have no previous knowledge nor preconceived notions…Brian and I don’t even discuss the plot of the book. (Even you–as readers–know more than I do when you get the book–because you can see the cover art and read the description.) I don’t know anything about the book–until I start reading. If I did, that might also color my impressions of whether the plot holds together.
Once my pen is down and I’m done with the post it notes…Brian and I sit down for a marathon session of going through and discussing every single post it note…! Needless to say, there is a lot of back and forth discussion between us–sometimes we agree…and sometimes we disagree. But of course, Brian has the final say as to what changes he’s going to make and which ones he doesn’t.
After he’s made his changes, he hands the book over to his publisher. Of course, the publisher will sometimes come back to him with a few suggested changes–but those are usually minimal. And then the book goes off to production…!
It’s an exciting process for us…because our goal is always to give readers the best book possible. And based on the many emails, messages and comments we receive from readers around the world who’ve written to tell us that they love Brian’s books–we know that our process works…!

Meet Kori

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

Like so many of you…Brian and I have been spending most of our days at home. (Of course, that’s a good thing—because it means that Brian’s had plenty of time to write…!) And also like so many of you, this means that instead of traveling–we’ve been reminiscing about some of the fun vacations we’ve taken in the past.

Last year, right about this time, we were in Vancouver, BC…a city that we love to visit. On one of our days, it was raining, so we decided to spend a leisurely afternoon—just hanging out in and around our hotel…overlooking the Vancouver harbor, watching cruise ships come and go, while enjoying a bottle of wine…and listening to some of our favorite new age music by a wonderfully talented musician named Kori Linae Carothers. While we were listening, Brian just happened to check social media…at a time when Kori had just asked “so, what is everyone listening to today?” Of course, Brian jumped right in to say that we were listening…to her album entitled TRILLIUM…! They exchanged multiple messages…and that was the beginning of a fun friendship…!

Fast forward to earlier this past spring…when the pandemic hit the United States. All of our scheduled, in-person visits had to be cancelled and “virtual events” became the new norm. One of the best parts about virtual events is that attendance is no longer limited by geography. People around the country (and even around the world) can join in…all from the comfort of their own homes. And such was the case for a virtual “happy hour” that we were did—where people from all over tuned in on a Friday evening to hang out with us and chat.

As we looked over the list of the folks as they joined in…we saw that Kori was joining us…! Imagine how thrilled we were to see her…and even more thrilled to hear that she had read several of Brian’s books…and that she was now one of HIS fans…! We’re so honored to be able to count her among our friends…and fans.

Just last week, Kori received her copy of Brian’s newest book, THE BOURNE EVOLUTION, and she quickly wrote to tell us that she couldn’t wait to dive in…! Kori, we hope you enjoy it…!

If you haven’t picked up your own copy, it’s readily available now from local bookseller or online…! You don’t have to have read any of the previous Robert Ludlum books, nor seen any of the Matt Damon movies to enjoy this one…this is a totally new Jason Bourne..!

And if you enjoy beautiful new age music, check out Kori Linae Carothers via your favorite music streaming service…she’s terrific…!

Social Distancing

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

With April 1 soon upon us, many of us are asking whether we’re all living through one of the biggest April Fool’s Day jokes ever. Sadly, the answer is no…the current healthcare situation with Covid-19 is very real and very scary. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones—we wish you peace and comfort.

Minnesota is one of the many states where there is currently a “stay in place” order from the governor…but even before this official order came through, Brian and I were in discussion with the coordinators at all of the various venues where he was scheduled to appear over these next few months about how to best keep everyone safe. And we all unanimously decided that the best thing to do would be to postpone for now—and then reschedule these events when we’re all confident that it is safe to do so. (So, if you check out Brian’s website, you’ll see that all of the upcoming events that were scheduled through mid May are now listed as “postponed.” I would encourage you to check back periodically—we’ll post the new dates and times as soon as they are rescheduled.)

On the bright side, this change in schedule, coupled with the “stay at home” order, has meant more writing time for Brian…and that’s always a good thing. He’s rapidly approaching the completion of his next manuscript…so I hope to be able to do my first read-through sometime in the next few weeks…! I can’t tell you how excited I am about that…! If you’ve read earlier entries here, then you know that I actually know nothing about this new book—just the title…INFINITE…! What a tease, huh…!?

Of course, these are difficult times for many…so it’s important that we all work together. If you’re able, support your local merchants—they’ll be some of the hardest hit during the current restrictions. And even if they’re currently closed, many stores and restaurants are offering extra perks when you purchase their gift cards for future use. Be sure to check in with your local favorites…!

And finally, Brian and the boys and I want to give a great big shout out to all of those who are continuing to do their jobs—both at home and “out there” in the world…keeping us all moving forward…! Healthcare workers, first responders, military, and law enforcement officers are at the top of our list…!

And to all of you…stay safe…and healthy…and we look forward to many more years together.

Second-Story Cat

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

Now that the holidays are passed (and we hope yours were terrific)…our Minnesota winter has arrived…and Brian is once again settling in to a regular routine of writing—particularly important since he’s got three manuscript deadlines in 2020…! A number of years ago, he converted one of the second floor bedrooms in our home into his office…so his daily “commute” is a mere 20 feet down the hallway each day…! Each morning, he heads to his office, I start my daily activities…and the cats settle themselves in various locations around the house.

Recently, I had a question for Brian, so I wandered down the hall to his office…and as I passed by one of our windows…I noticed something VERY odd…! In addition to seeing one of our cats looking at me from the chair…there was ANOTHER CAT staring at me…from OUTSIDE the house…! Needless to say, I was shocked…because as you can see…the cat was staring in from a window on the second floor…!

I called out to Brian—telling him that there was something he HAD to come and see for himself. Of course, he was just as surprised as I was to see this cat on our roof…! We knew the cat—a little sweetheart named Loki, who lives at a house down the street from us and likes to patrol the neighborhood—but this was definitely the first time Loki had ever come climbing up to say hello…!

After our initial amusement wore off, we started to wonder how she got up there—and perhaps more importantly—how she was going to get down. Brian went outside and called to Loki—but quickly realized that she wasn’t too anxious to climb down on her own. She’d take a step into the snow on the roof, shake her paw, then come right back over to the window.

Of course, we have several cat carriers, so Brian finally got one of those, went into the bedroom, closed the door, opened the window, took off the screen, grabbed Loki, and put her into the carrier, then calmly carried her downstairs—past our three VERY curious cats—and across the street to an open area to release her. He opened the carrier and Loki happily hopped out…looked up at him as if to say thank you…then went off on her merry way home.

Sneaking into a Movie

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

Although it may seem like there hasn’t been a lot of activity in the Freeman household during these past few months…in fact, quite the opposite has been true. Although we’ve cut back on our travel and events schedule significantly, Brian has been busily writing away on several projects…!

Just last week, he turned in the next book in the Jonathan Stride series…FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND. (We love that title.)

And next week, he’ll turn in the new Jason Bourne book…! We don’t have final word on the title, yet, but as soon as we do, we’ll let you know…of course…!

We can’t wait to see what the publishers do with cover art for each of those books.

Book covers are always a fun part of the whole author/publisher partnership and over the years, Brian has had some truly amazing cover art used on his books…so it’s always fun to see his books appearing in various places. Recently, a very devoted fan of his saw one of his books used as a prop in a movie…! In the 2018 movie “Can You Ever Forgive Me” starring Melissa McCarthy (we loved her in the “Gilmore Girls” television series), there is a scene in a bookstore…and if you look at this picture VERY closely…you’ll see in the forefront…the cover of Brian’s second Jonathan Stride book, STRIPPED…! So exciting…!

BUT…here’s where the story becomes even more fun…! The movie is set in New York in 1991…but STRIPPED wasn’t actually published until 2006…!

The Freemans Eat Cake

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

One of the things that I like to do on this page is to tell you about some of the fun, funny and exciting things that happen to us. But sometimes, there’s really not too much to tell. This summer has been a great example of that.

As you probably already know, Brian has been busily working on multiple projects this summer—including a new Jonathan Stride novel…and a new novel in the Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum. This means that, instead of scheduling a lot of book events, we’ve been mostly home for the summer. We get up in the morning, have coffee together (with an occasional feline wandering though) and then Brian spends the day writing. The end of the day means a dinner at home or possibly out with friends.

And of course, there are errands to run. Just like everyone else…we have to go to places like the gas station, the hardware store, the grocery store, the pet food store…well, you get the picture. Pretty standard stuff, right…? Well, that is…until something exciting happens…as it just did…!

While Brian was out running a couple of errands, we both received an email from his literary agent. I was at home, so I saw the message first. But as soon as I opened it…I called Brian immediately and asked if he’d seen it yet. He hadn’t…so I told him he needed to check his email right away…! He said “okay” and we hung up.

Less than a minute later, my phone rang…and of course, it was Brian…telling me that he’d read the message and would be home as soon as he could…!

So, at this point, you’re probably wondering what that message said. Well, it was short…and simple…and it said:

“Brian, you’re NUMBER 12 on The NY Times audio bestseller list!!!!”

Indeed, that’s exactly the kind of message that every author looks forward to receiving…!

Brian’s audiobook, THE DEEP, DEEP SNOW (narrated by the talented actress January LaVoy), is on the August 2019 New York Times Bestseller List for Audio Fiction. Needless to say, it’s truly an honor…and we were thrilled with the news…! And yes, a bit of celebrating was in order…!

(And just FYI: For now, the book is only available in audio, but the wonderful folks at Blackstone Publishing will be producing print and e-book versions at a future date. Of course, we’ll let you know when we have further details about the release date.)

The Crooked Street Sign

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

Being an author means a lot more than “just” writing books…Promoting the books is a big part of Brian’s job. And while social media and the internet have given us new ways to connect with readers, nothing beats book events as a way to meet readers in person and sign their books for them. In fact, over the years, Brian has traveled thousands of miles and appeared at hundreds of different venues to meet fans and sign their books…! (Just out of curiosity, I asked Brian if he has any idea of how many books he’s signed over the years. Of course, he has no idea but we know that the number is in the multiple thousands range.)

As we prepare for several upcoming events (many of which had to be rescheduled from earlier this year due to the snowy Minnesota winter we’ve had), we’ve been talking about how the way we travel has changed over the years. Getting to and from event venues has always been a challenge…from “red-eye” flights to long drives, Brian’s done ‘em all. Luckily, I’ve been able to accompany him on a lot of the various trips over the years. And although airline travel is often the only way to get to some areas, we actually prefer when we can drive. In the early days, before the advent of GPS, we used to plan our routes with an atlas, or by using some of the online websites (like Mapquest) and printing out the directions in order to reach our destination. Of course, those sites weren’t always accurately up-to-date and even the GPS navigational devices weren’t always correct, either, so there were a number of times when we’d need to make our own best guess of which direction to go. (Yes, a number of years ago in Vero Beach, our GPS insisted that we go straight—which would have sent us right into the middle of a rushing river bed. Needless to say, we didn’t follow those directions.)

These days, though, our smartphones do a remarkably good job at getting us places…we just pack up the car, plug in our destination and we’re off. But we do still love following the various roadsigns along the way…like this one…!

Hearing From Readers

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

With Brian’s next book THE CROOKED STREET due out on Tuesday, there are a lot of details that we need to attend to…but in the midst of that, we both enjoy the opportunity to interact with his fans. (We’re always receiving emails from folks around the world.) And as we were working yesterday, a lovely email came in from one of Brian’s fans…it was so touching that I asked Brian if I could share it here. And of course, he said yes.

Don’t worry, your eyes aren’t failing you…the text IS very small…and even if the letters weren’t so small, it’s in Italian…! Neither Brian nor I speak nor read Italian, so thank goodness for online translators, right…? They’re always a little “rough”…but the gist comes through. It reads as follows:

“The trouble again but I just finished – the darkest day [the Italian edition of MARATHON] – spectacular. I have no words is wonderful. I am entranced by the intrigue of his stories. I have been in a wheelchair for seven years because of stroke and therefore my hobby is to read light and read. I only read foreign thrillers and I like them a lot. They fill me the day and they make me forget my disability and make me feel like the others.

In addition to being in love with his books, his fantastic characters, in my mind I imagined the city of duluth.

I have read many American writers but I have never seen so much BRIAN FREEMAN.


The translation may not be grammatically correct, but that doesn’t matter…her kind thoughts came through loud and clear…and warmed our hearts on this cold Minnesota day…!

Looking Forward and Back

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

Now that the holidays are over (we hope yours were great) and the new year is upon us, a lot of us are thinking about time…the past, the present and the future.

One of the interesting things about the publishing business for us is that Brian and I often find ourselves actually living in the past, present and the future—simultaneously.

How so…? Well, with so many of his books out in the marketplace, Brian is always hearing from readers who are reading those previous books…so we regularly revisit the characters and their experiences in the past. Just like all of us, those characters have changed and grown…and it’s fun to hear how readers relate to them, have embraced them, and grown right along with them over the years.

As for the present…with Brian’s new book coming out soon (January 29 and it’s available for pre-order right now), he’s already busily working on the next one…a book that will reach readers’ hands in the future. Indeed, the book that he’s working on now will be published about a year from now…in 2020…!

But just as none of us knows what the future has in store for us, none of us knows what the future holds for the characters in Brian’s books. Well, none of us…except for Brian, that is…and of course, he’s not telling any of us—not even me—yet…!

Looking for Signed Books?

From Marcia at facebook.com/theauthorswife:

One of the greatest joys of Brian’s career as an author is the opportunity for him to get out from behind the desk…and meet readers in person. And he loves the chance to chat with folks individually and sign their books…! Often people want just his signature and the date…but in many cases, people will ask for a special inscription because the book holds some special significance for them…or it’s because they intend to give the book as a gift. Of course, he’s happy to oblige…and he’s very good at coming up with a comment or a phrase that works for any occasion. One of his favorites is when a reader asks him to sign his name and write something funny. So, when this happens…he lets his humorous side take over…and has actually written the words “something funny”…!

As we all know, giving books as gifts is a wonderful idea…and at this time of year, we’re being asked how folks can get books to give to family and friends. If you go to Brian’s website, you’ll find each of his books…and if you click on the individual books, you’ll find ways to order from your favorite bookseller, as well as a link to buy Brian’s two most recent books, ALTER EGO and THE VOICE INSIDE from us directly so that Brian can personally sign the book for you.

And while you’re there…don’t forget to pre-order Brian’s newest book, THE CROOKED STREET, which will hit bookstores and online retailers on January 29…! You won’t wanna miss the action as Frost Easton returns…!