Daily Archives: February 6, 2008

Home > Daily Archives: February 6, 2008

Multiple Hats on the Same Day

February 6, 2008 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

Okay, so much for my keeping the New Year’s resolution I proposed in my last Slice of Orange blog–becoming more efficient in my writing. Where did the last month go?

It may have passed so fast for me because I was on a delightful cruise to Australia and New Zealand for almost 3 weeks. I think. I lost track of time because of crossing the International Dateline a couple of times.

The great thing was that, while traveling, I got word that I’d sold my second Silhouette Nocturne! The not quite so great thing is that the sale was on condition that I make some significant changes to that Nocturne proposal, which I really didn’t mind since that’s sometimes part of the process. The only problem was that I’m on a March 15 deadline for my 7th Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery, and didn’t accomplish as much as I’d hoped on the cruise (big surprise!)–although my 2 talks on writing went well.

Fortunately, my Silhouette editor was quite accommodating. I was able to schedule a date for providing the proposal revisions several weeks after my mystery manuscript was due. But I still needed to prepare for a brainstorming telephone call with my editor that occurred soon after I got back. That meant switching writing hats from light mystery to dark paranormal romance each day during several succeeding days as I thought through the Nocturne changes yet continued to write my mystery. Not to mention going to my downtown LA law job each weekday morning. Yikes!

Well, it really wasn’t that bad. As I’ve said often before, the ability to change between genres is something I feel strongly about. My mysteries generally contain romance, and my romances contain mystery, or at least suspense. And changing from fiction writing to contract drafting isn’t much of a stretch. In any event, I met the challenge. My editor seemed to like the revised direction I proposed for the new Nocturne. And I’m making progress with the draft of my new mystery.

How about you? How many hats do you wear on one day?

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 14 romance novels as well as the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.

0 0 Read more


February 6, 2008 by in category Archives


OCC BLOG 2-5-08
by Diane Pershing

You’re going to think I’m nuts, but I actually enjoy driving, even in L.A. When the freeways are crowded and it’s rush hour and it’s raining and when everyone around me is irritated and impatient and rude, I just adore being cocooned in my car. Why? Because I always have an audio book going. Always. I have been doing this for years, since before CDs. I’ve listened to hundreds of books—maybe even a thousand by now—on long trips up north to see my daughter, southeast to Rancho Mirage to visit my best friend, and various short and not-so short hops, such as the one from my home in Silver Lake to the Brea Community Center.

I feel warm and toasty and happy when I listen. I think this must be the way my parents’ generation felt, gathered around the old radio for that week’s program in a long-running soap opera, or a play, or the latest “Lone Ranger” episode. There is something about being read to that is comforting, isn’t there. Not only because of childhood bedtime stories read to us, but because we tend to listen more intently than we do when there is also a distracting visual component. This concentrated listening doesn’t take away from my driving, the way talking on a cell phone has in the past (I don’t do that anymore—too many near-death experiences for comfort).

And so the time flies and my mind gets new input and I listen to other writers’ words and soak them up into my soul. Traffic? Not my problem.I read a lot of mysteries in the car; sometimes I sit there after I’ve parked and listen some more because I need to know what happens next. Straight romances don’t fare so well—the sound of someone reading a sexy love scene seems odd to me; I’d much rather be reading the words myself and using my imagination that way. Of course a good romantic suspense is just fine—Suzanne Brockmann is a favorite and Nora as J.D. Robb is exactly the kind of book that works well.

I’ve also used my audio habit as a way of getting around to some of the great writers that I don’t seem to have the patience for at home. It was in my old Camaro that I listened to the entire works of Thomas Hardy—and what a magnificent, poetic, muscular writer he was! In the Infiniti I both read and listened to the entire Jane Austen oeuvre; one can never get enough of Jane Austen, right? There have been some non-fiction historicals by Barbara Tuchman, some biographies, Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth, New Yorker short stories and profiles… and the list goes on.

I just finished reading Jane Fonda’s autobiography, My Life So Far, narrated by the lady herself, and oh, was it ever amazing! I’ve always been a huge fan of her acting, was mostly on her side politically (even if I questioned some of the ways she made her opinions heard), and fascinated by her three marriages. The first to a French director, Roger Vadim, the second to Tom Hayden, one of the original political rabble rousers who went on to be an active California politician, and the last to that very famous, eccentric, marches-to-his-own-drummer, Ted Turner. But more than that, her inner journey—from a sex object who thought her only value was to please men, all the way to a true feminist who now devotes most of her time and fortune to helping young underprivileged girls get educated, understand their bodies and avoid teen pregnancy—has been a miracle to hear about.

My own inner journey was similar, although, needless to say, never as dramatic and not in the public spotlight at all. But I connected with Jane to such an extent that I sent my daughter a copy of the book. Morgan Rose is 34 and of the generation who appreciates the stories I tell her of Before: girdles, sitting under hair dryers, falsies, being paid half what we were worth, never speaking up for fear of displeasing daddy, being urged to “teach or type” as the only reasonable careers “until you get married and have a man take care of you,” and all of that stuff from the Stone Age. But most of her generation tends to take the strides we’ve made for granted; I thought being introduced to Jane’s journey would bring it home.

As an activist/filmmaker, Jane put her money where her mouth was. Before most of us were aware of the problems, she produced and starred in films about nuclear accidents (The China Syndrome), workplace sexual harassment (9 to 5), the returning Viet Nam vets and their problems adjusting to life in America again (Coming Home). She produced and took a supporting role in On Golden Pond so her father, the great Henry Fonda, could finally get a chance at an Oscar (he won that year and died a few months later).

Reading about Jane’s life, I really didn’t want the book to end. Now isn’t that a testament to a great tale told well? And isn’t it lovely that in this age of burgeoning technical advances, some of them positive but most with the potential to rip away all privacy and quiet, we can use this particular technology to advance that most important element of a satisfying and well-rounded life, the reading of books?
Posted by diane pershing at 6:41 PM 0 comments

1 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM