Want Rizzoli and Isles gear? Visit our store!

Earlier this year, I had “Team Jane” and “Team Maura” tee shirts made as giveaways for all the booksellers I visited during my book tour for THE SILENT GIRL. They were a huge hit with both booksellers and customers, and I got asked again and again whether I might make them available for sale. Since I wasn’t planning to go into the retail business, I said no.

But the requests kept coming.

Recently, I had some other fun stuff made (hats and coffee mugs) as prize giveaways for a recent contest. And the stuff was so cool that I began to think: “why not make these available for everyone? And why not throw in other fun gear like a Maura scrub top and Jane/Maura underwear? (Which was suggested by a Facebook friend.)

So today, ta dah! We’re launching our e-store where you can buy the first few items we’ve now got in stock: Rizzoli and Isles baseball caps, with your choice of “What Would Jane Do?” or “What Would Maura Do?” embroidered on the back, and coffee mugs. Hospital scrub tops and underwear will be coming, too.

We’re trying to keep the prices reasonable, because I’m not doing this to make money. It’s to give Jane and Maura fans what they’ve been asking for, and to spread the word about both the TV show and the books.

We’re new to this, so please be gentle with us. We have no idea how much will sell, and no idea if we’ll end up with 200 pairs of unsold underwear. It’s all an experiment, and it’s all in fun. Check back often, because new things will be popping up soon.

And yes, we do take international orders!

Let’s build a morgue!

And vote to name that morgue after the creator of your favorite gals, Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. (er,,, that would be me.) For every pound UK you donate ($1.60) you get one vote.

If I win, it just might be a fine time to throw a Rizzoli & Isles party in Scotland. In the morgue. If they’ll let me.

My friends at the University of Dundee in Scotland asked me to keep their “Million for a Morgue” campaign rolling. Here’s their press release:

Ten of the world’s best crime writers are competing to have a state-of-the-art morgue named after them – and you can vote for me!

The morgue is going to be a centre for scientific research and training, helping the next generation of scientists, doctors and dentists to become better at saving lives and at developing cures for a huge range of illnesses. The morgue will also be instrumental for Prof Sue Black’s work with the police in the UK; in smashing paedophile networks, in understanding how crimes were committed, as well as her endeavours overseas – she’s travelled the world, helping identify bodies that are decomposed, burned, mutilated or otherwise unrecognisable, including the victims of natural disasters, such as the 2004 tsunami. Sue’s highest profile project was identifying the bodies of Slobodan Milosevic’s victims in mass graves in the Balkans – both for public record, and for burial. The new morgue will help Sue and her team be at the forefront of new technology as well as being the training ground for a new generation, people who can carry on Sue’s work across the globe.

To vote for Tess online, go to http://www.millionforamorgue.com/the-authors/Tess-Gerritsen

If you’re in the UK, you can vote by text. Just use the code TESG10

All codes should be sent to 70070 along with the amount in pounds. So, if you wanted to donate £10 for me, you would type:

TESG10

and send it to 70070.

Sometimes it really does take a rocket scientist

It was an invitation I couldn’t resist. When writer and editor Bob Gleason asked if I wanted to join some science fiction authors for an exclusive tour of NASA’s Goddard campus in Maryland, of course I said yes! The tour was arranged by Tor/Forge Books, a publisher I don’t write for, but Bob had enjoyed my novel GRAVITY and he generously asked me to join their Tor/Forge authors in a behind-the-scenes look that the public seldom gets to see. In return, NASA hopes more novels will be written — accurately — about the space program.

Among our group were writers lready well-known in the SF and thriller genres including Thomas Allen, Larry Bond, Chris Carlson, Jim DeFelice, Bill Forstchen, David Hagberg, Jim Born, and Heather Graham. I was particularly happy that Heather was along — otherwise the testosterone in the air would have been overwhelming!

We started off with a peek at the James Webb Telescope, due to be launched in 2018. Once in space, this infrared space telescope will give us a look at the very beginnings of the universe.

Next it was on to a tour of the Integration and Test Facilities, where they see if their equipment is up to the rigors of launch. In this chamber, they subject instruments to ear-splittingly loud noise — so loud that even though the chamber’s encased in concrete, workers can still hear it through the thick door.

Our tour of the test facilities included an enormous centrifuge and vibration and vacuum chambers. Then it was on to Earth Science Mission Control Centers, Satellite Servicing, and — my favorite place — the Detector Development Lab, where we suited up in bunny suits to see where they build micro-shutter array chips for the Webb Telescope.

After a visit to the propulsion facility, where we chatted with rocket scientists who love their jobs “because we get to blow things up!”, it was on to a special reception where 150 folks from NASA came just to meet… us! Many people we met there were inspired to go into the space program because of their love of science fiction. So while we writers were thrilled to meet real space scientists, the scientists seemed just as happy to meet writers.

The next day’s tour included lectures about how they develop instruments and a visit to the Integrated Design Center. Here I learned the amazing fact that anyone can submit a scientific proposal to NASA. You don’t have to work for NASA. If you’re some twelve-year-old genius tinkering in your garage and you come up with a brilliant idea, you can submit a proposal whenever NASA sends out its “Announcement of Opportunity” bulletin. If NASA’s screening panel thinks your idea has merit, it might be used for a future mission. (They’ve even received proposals written by kids in crayon.)
Here I am in the Mission Services Evolution Center where they develop some of those proposals into real engineering hardware. I’m seated at the team leader’s work station where I was warned “not to touch anything!” (As if I dared.)

That afternoon, we got to spend an amazing hour at the IRAD Poster Session, where scientists presented their emerging technology innovations.

A sample poster:

I have to admit, I had no idea what many of these people were talking about. But I tried to keep up my end of the conversation anyway.

Finally, we ended up with the highlight of our visit: a panel discussion on extraterrestrial life. It was a lively exchange between writers and scientists as we discussed what life on other planets might look like, whether it was necessarily carbon-based, and would we recognize it. The most thought-provoking question of all was asked by one of the writers: “If E.T. called earth looking for inhabitants, would you pick up the phone and answer?” It sounds like a simple question, as most scientists would immediately say “Hell, yes!” Until you stop and wonder what E.T. wants with us. Is E.T. hostile or benign? Would we endanger mankind by letting aliens know we exist?

I’m not so sure what my own answer would be.

It was two exhausting but mind-boggling days, and I loved every minute of it. All I can say is THANKS to Tor/Forge and to Tom Doherty for allowing me to tag along!

(with Jim Born and Tom Doherty)