Jo’s New Release — Without Malice

Cmas decorationsHappy holidays, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but around mid-December I really get into the Christmas spirit.  Everything before that just feels like days of harried busyness, but by now, everyone usually has their holiday decorations up, the virtual and brick-and-mortar stores are buzzing with goodies and visitors, and the winter solstice is just around the corner.

This year that astronomical event occurs on December 22.

Take a look at this amazing picture of the Winter Solstice in Stonehenge.Winter Solstice

Did you know that the Winter Solstice is actually called Dongzhi and that it represents both the shortest day and the longest night of the year?  Of course you did!  I’m actually looking forward to December 23, when we begin that long, long trek back to the longest day of the year.  I do love me some summer!

Tomorrow is the kick-off day for our annual Twelve Days of Christmas Celebration, so be sure to return right here Monday morning to read Bandita Susan’s hilarious take on the Golden Rooster’s plans for the holiday!  Trust me, it’s enough to shiver your timbers!

ARe JO ROBERTSON MALICEI have been on hiatus from the Lair the last six months or so because of a complicated knee surgery, so am very thrilled to return in time to announce my new release and the first book in a new (or extended) series.  WITHOUT MALICE pairs prison doctor Frankie Jones with Correctional Officer Santiago Cruz to solve the murders of homeless people in Bigler County.  We’ll see our old friend Sheriff Slater (from THE WATCHER) and introduce a new (dare I say insane?) serial killer in this recent story.

Someone is slaughtering homeless people in Jo Robertson’s latest suspense-thriller, Without Malice. It’s personal to Parole Officer Santiago Cruz because the targets appear to be parolees assigned to him.

Dr. Frankie Jones, prison doctor at Pelican Bay State Prison, has a special interest in murders because of anomalies she’s discovered in the prison’s medical records. Both Frankie and Cruz begin private, but parallel investigations of the incidents.

Finally, when Frankie’s life is threatened, Cruz and she are forced to join forces and trace the brutal killings back to their tragic origin.

Find the book exclusively on Amazon, in e-book format:

WITHOUT MALICE has been on pre-order since December 1 and releases today!  I’m very pleased this book finally came to fruition because it’s been very difficult for me to write during my recovery.

homeless manThe idea for WITHOUT MALICE came from my observing the way police often treat homeless or impoverished people in my own California county.  I personally noticed the lack of respect and fair treatment these people sometimes receive.

I’m reminded of an article I read decades ago about a woman and her two children who ended up living out of their station wagon after a series of bad luck – an unfair divorce, the loss of a home and job. This was a woman just like me!  She had a job, a marriage, a home, and a life, but suddenly found herself living on the streets, trying to survive with her children.

From personal experience I know that some panhandlers are tricksters, but many are addicts or mentally ill.  I wondered, given certain circumstances, if I, myself, could be just one accident or tragedy away from homelessness.

homeless childWhen I visited my daughter in New York this fall, I noticed how she handled people who asked her for money.  She said, “I don’t have any money, but I can get you something to eat.”  Often the beggar said no, but sometimes they gave her their order, she went into the nearest food service place (there are tons of them in NYC), and purchased their dinner. The recipients were always surprised, but very grateful.

Most of us are quite generous at this time of the year.  We like to donate to worthy causes.  The spirit of giving and sharing abound.  I decided long ago that I didn’t want to be the person who refused the beggar’s petition.

What about you?  What charitable causes do you take part in this season of the year.  As you get older, does it seem harder to serve the needy?  What family traditions do you carry on during this time of year?

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  • flchen1 says:

    Eep, Jo! I didn’t know about the knee surgery–hope you’ve been recovering well, and I’m super glad to see you in the Lair again! Congratulations on Without Malice!!

    We mainly donate. DH’s company also usually volunteers at a local shelter this time of year. I do think that I feel like it’s more and more important to help as much as we can, especially as a family. It’s a reminder of our own blessings and it is so important to remember to give and share.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hi, Fedora! So good to “see” you again! I too think it’s important to teach our families about responsibility to the community. If they learn young, it’s a great life lesson.

      Thanks on WITHOUT MALICE. It’s a straight mystery-suspense thriller with just a dash of romantic attraction between my main characters.

  • Jane says:

    Happy Release Day, Jo. Hope you’re pain free. There have been a few reports on the homeless in the news recently in NYC. There’s been an uptick and I think many are concerned that there are enough beds for the homeless when the weather starts getting cold. I always get a lot of calls asking for donations, but I don’t really trust that they’re a legitimate charity and it’s hard to tell on the phone. I always choose to give online after checking out their rating on Charity Navigator like MSF and Save the Children.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Thanks, Jane. I’m excited about this new release. It was part of a curated anthology from Brenda Novak for her May auction, but this is the first time WITHOUT MALICE has been available by itself.

      Every time I visit NY (which is a lot because my daughter lives there) I worry about what homeless people do in states where the winters are fierce.

      Glad your wise about your donations. We want to give, but be smart about it.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, everyone! It’s a very windy Sunday morning here in northern Cal, blowing so hard we’ve finally lost all the leaves on our trees.

    No snow in sight here, but up the hill a little more than an hour away the ski resorts are enjoying a deluge of the beautiful white stuff.

    Anyone snowed in? Rained out? Blown away?

    • flchen1 says:

      It was raining this morning, Jo! Since we so need it, that was good, but the leak in our guest room is not 😉 Hope you’re staying warm and dry!

      • Jo Robertson says:

        Oh, not! Gotta get that leak repaired. It’s been raining on and off here all day, which is great because we need the rain so much, but it does look rather gloomy outside now.

  • Boyd L. says:

    Always enjoy your thoughts and the way you express them. This is the season that really showcases those who are most in need. All the media seems to allow us a look at those who need and receive help. For me, I find some who are my friends and family are the most in need. I find helping them gives me instant knowing of what the help has done for them. It’s the “pay it forward” idea. Hope you all are able to give or maybe to receive the spirit of this season.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hi, Boyd! Thanks for stopping by. You’re right that sometimes the greatest needs are in our own back yards.

      I think you’ll like WITHOUT MALICE as it’s heavy on the mystery-suspense and light on the romance.

  • Fedora got the GR and Jo is back in the Lair ! All is right with the world !! Welcome back, Jo ! Hate to hear about the knee surgery and I hope the healing gets easier and easier.

    I LOVED The Watcher so I am definitely read for Without Malice ! All of my charitable giving goes to animal causes. This year an Eagle Scout in our area is assisting Meals on Wheels by collecting and distributing pet food to those elderly pet owners who cannot afford their own food, but will share what they have with their pets. He recognizes the role many pets play in the lives of the elderly and those on fixed incomes who live alone. A pet is often their only companion and is sometimes the only reason the get up in the morning and take care of themselves.

    There are also organization in California and in NYC and a few other places that provide food, beds, leashes and collars, and veterinary care for the pets of homeless people. I realize pet ownership is a privilege and can be an expensive one, but again, sometimes a beloved pet is all these people have. They even avoid sleeping in homeless shelters in the winter because so many of them forbid pets.

    I try hard to remember, there, but for the grace of God, go I.

    And it is unseasonably warm here in LA (Lower Alabama.) No chance of a White Christmas here!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, Louisa! Great to “see” you again. Thanks for the good wishes and compliments.

    What a wonderful idea that Eagle-Scout-to-be has! Pets play such an vital role in the lives of their families. I’m so glad he’s doing that.

    I didn’t know about organizations to help pets of the homeless. That’s great! I’ll have to look it up in my area as I often see homeless folks with a pet.

  • Jo – How can such a nice kind lady write such deep dark stories? 🙂 The premise of WITHOUT MALICE sounds really intriguing. Love that it’s the start of a new series.

    I miss shopping for toys now that the kids have grown, and I have no grandkids, so I go toy shopping to donate to many charities that give toys to the kids of the less fortunate. I also support the Alzheimer’s Association and the Macular Degeneration Foundation because I figure I’m going to be utilizing their research one of these days. Guess I’m paying forward LOL. 🙂

    Beautiful here in Ohio. The dh and I were out walking without jackets yesterday – in mid-December! The skies are gray but the wind is warm. Can’t be that. Take care!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Hi, Donna. I envy your lovely Ohio weather! It was too windy and cold for us to go walking outside today, but this coming week we’re supposed to have clear skies and temps in the 50’s, so that makes me happy.

      I do not know where my dark mind comes from! I’m not really the kind, old lady type though. I’ve always been interested in they why and how of the wicked things people do. Someone famous gave a caution about looking into the darkness of the abyss and finding yourself, so I try to balance the dark with lots of light from my family!

  • Lance says:

    Lookin for a year-end charity to dump some excess cash into, get that tax write-off…how bout The Human Fund?

    Nice job on the new book!

  • Megan says:

    I had the privilege to edit this exciting, plot driven new book from Jo. Well edit is a strong word. I checked for punctuation errors. Still, I was honored to be one of the first to read it. I love the new characters! And as I have a personal connection to the homeless community in a small way, I appreciated the realism of Jo’s knowledge and compassion. I am very excited she has started a new series about a subject many overlook or turn their backs on and look forward to the ones that follow. I truly enjoyed all the different points of view from the different characters and picture Jo paints with her written word. I loved this new suspense book!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Awwww, what a sweet compliment, Megan. You’re the best editor evAH and you do far more than check my punctuation (which as you know is already perfect ha ha).

      You have such a tender heart that I know you give selflessly in so many ways, especially to your family and friends.

  • shannon says:

    Well Mom… if you ever get into a position and find yourself homeless then that would mean all your adoring children must be dead… or in prison! I plan on kicking Mark out and making room for you so it’s all good.

    Every year we have needy families in our church who need help at Christmas. So the way we help out is to shop very specifically for the needs and wants of the children in these families. This year I am excited to buy Pjs and robes and slippers!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Oh, wow, just the two of us??? What fun!!

      I’ve always felt that one of the primary functions of any church is to serve the needy in their community. I love that your church is doing this. Remember when Grandma and Grandpa always gave you kids pajamas for Christmas?

      So funny …

  • Yay, another Jo Robertson thriller! Congrats, Jo. I can’t wait to read it.

    We buy for the angel tree at our local indie bookstore, on the theory that every kid who wants one should have a book at Christmas. The boy likes to do that, so we wait for him to get home before we go. We also wait for his return to decorate.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Nancy, I think it’s so great that you’ve done this tradition with your son. You’ve instilled so many good values into him. I hope I get to meet “the boy” one day. He seems fabulous!

    I like the idea of giving books. Many a child has had the world opened to him or her through reading when otherwise it would’ve been pretty bleak.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Jo

    I do hope that the knee is well and truly on the mend I pre-ordered this one and it has fallen onto my kindle 🙂 and I am looking forward to it, yes there are lots of poor people out and about here in Sydney as well and your daughters idea is a good one I try to help The Salvation Army each year they do so much for so many people.

    Happy Release Day

    Have Fun

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Helen! It’s so great to “see” you again. I’ll bet your grands are getting much bigger. We have a new granddaughter, Remini; we call her Remy and she’s the cutest and most fat baby I’ve ever seen. She should be a Gerber baby!

      I hope you enjoy WITHOUT MALICE. It was a struggle to finish it, but now that my knee is almost fully mended, I hope to finish the second book in the series faster.

      Happy holidays to you and yours.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Jo! I’m so excited about a new Bigler County book. WOOT! You right the most chilling villains too. I have villain-envy. Grins.
    Ouchies on the knee still not being up to par. Sending good healing vibes your way. :>
    In the meantime, YAY! on the book!!!

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Jeanne, thanks for the good vibes. I’m almost there on the knee, or at least as flexible as I think it’s going to get.

    I told my orthopedic surgeon that I was naming the next villain after him b/c he didn’t tell me up front how hard the recovery would be. LOL. It’s hard to make a doctor a killer, though, and he’s such a nice guy in person, I’m not sure I can go through with it.