Linda O. Johnston enjoys writing, romance, puzzles, and dogs.
A former lawyer, Linda is now a full-time writer and has published 57 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels. She has written several cozy mystery series including the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. She also writes romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Writing as Lark O. Jensen, her latest release is Bear Witness from Crooked Lane Books. No matter what name she uses, nearly all Linda’s current stories involve dogs!
In addition to blogging for A Slice of Orange on the 6th of every month, Linda blogs at Killer Hobbies, Killer Characters, and Writerspace. Linda was interviewed by Jann Ryan, you can read all about it in Linda O. Johnston—Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and So Much More!
If you saw my blog here last month, you’ll know that May was pretty busy for me. I had two new books published.
That meant I spent a lot of time letting people know about them, publicizing them mostly in social media, including a blog tour. And yes, an interview here, on A Slice of Orange.
Those two books? Well, of course I have to mention them again: BEAR WITNESS, my first Alaska Untamed Mystery for Crooked Lane Books, under my first pseudonym, Lark O. Jensen, and GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL, the second in my Shelter of Secrets series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
They’re still available, in case you’re interested.
But now that it’s June? Well, guess what? I’m busy writing. I’ve got another book coming out this year, plus I’m on several deadlines.
Hey, that’s a writer’s life. Calmer days of writing? Well, yes and no. But at least I keep on going!
How about you? If you’re a writer, this will probably sound familiar: your own works being published, whether traditionally or by you, and needing to let the world know about them whichever way they get out there.
And if you’re a reader, well… enjoy what we’re doing! And that includes all writers who are undoubtedly also readers.
It’s May 2022. And it’s quite a month for me. I’m having two books published!
They’re numbers 56 and 57, so I’ve been pretty fortunate in my writing. And one of them you might not recognize as mine.
Oh, really, you will. I’ve taken my first pseudonym, Lark O. Jensen. But it’s pretty obvious that Lark O. Jensen is me.
Lark is the author of BEAR WITNESS, my first Alaska Untamed Mystery. In it, naturalist Stacie Calder gives tours on a boat in Alaska, accompanied by her wonderful husky, Sasha. And one day Sasha’s amazing sense of smell discovers a dead body on the nearby shoreline—one of the passengers, who’d gone missing the day before. It’s a cozy mystery, so amateur sleuth Stacie has to figure out whodunnit to protect the boat’s captain and others who are considered suspects, including Stacie herself.
The other book is GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL, the second in my Shelter of Secrets series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. That shelter of secrets appears to the world like a special animal shelter that takes in pets in need, and hires homeless people to help out. But it’s even more special, since those supposedly homeless folks are actually there in a special protection program where they’re given new identities and new lives. And yes, people in charge in various ways get involved in love stories. This is romantic suspense, after all. And in GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL, K-9 cop Maisie Murran helps veterinarian Dr. Kyle Kornel, who is wrongly accused of murder. And guess what. They become attracted to one another while trying to determine what really happened.
So… Happy May, everyone! And may you also have as fun a month as I’m having.
Do writers ever go on vacation? Physically, sure. Mentally? Probably not.
I certainly don’t. I recently was on a family trip to Cancun. I brought my small computer along but didn’t take the time to get on it much.
But I certainly took mental note of the warm Mexican environment—both weather-wise and the warmth of the staff at the resort where we stayed.
I also observed the environment—the large buildings comprising the hotel, the blue sky, the even bluer part of the water beyond the beach where tourists could swim, as well as the multiple swimming pools for guests.
I enjoyed the entertainment the resort provided, some outside every evening, with different kinds of shows that suggested follow-up ideas. I even saw some animals, some in good environments where they were being rescued, and others in situations that made me concerned.
Was I inspired to write something about that vacation, the location, my experiences? Oh, yes, but I’m busy enough that I’m not sure when or if I’ll actually be able to use it.
And you writers who are reading this. Have you taken trips, gone on vacations, visited other environments that do inspire you to write? Have some of those trips been specifically for research for whatever you are writing?
Have they been to locations not far from you, or to other countries—nearby ones, or on the other side of the world? Everywhere can be fun to visit.
Anywhere can be inspirational.
By the way, this subject is so vital to me that I’m incorporating it into the three blogs I’m posting on the same day this month. I’m addressing it somewhat differently, but it’s definitely on my mind. Along with my writing.
I’m writing. I’m always writing, and I’m committed to write several more books that I’m working on, both mystery and romantic suspense, which is a good thing.
Even so, my mind is always churning around new ideas. Yours too? If you’re an author, that’s undoubtedly the case.
So what are some of my oddest inspirations these days? Well, for one thing, someone was attacked on my very nice residential street recently. I learned a little of what it was about, thanks to neighbors and others, and looked it up on the internet. The information wasn’t complete, but it did get my mind considering what I could do to fix that in a fictional story. But not yet.
Then there’s a neighbor who has an affiliation with the Ukraine. No, though I feel highly sympathetic and concerned about the Ukranian people, I don’t think I want to write about that. But still—I’m a writer, so my mind churns about that too.
I’ve already mentioned how I’ve wondered about writing something including the pandemic—or not. Yes, in a way that could also be an inspiration.
Inspirations that are fun instead? Well, we’re awaiting a new puppy to be a companion to our dog Cari. We lost her former companion Mystie last year. Not sure how Cari will feel about not being an only dog again when the time comes—and my mind churns about writing something in anticipation.
Then there was the fact that we were babysitting our grandsons recently in Indiana, in the snow—leaving warm California behind. Delightful to be with them, and even dealing with the snow. Is there a story in that?
How about you? What in your life or neighborhood inspires you to write? Anything? Everything?
Linda O. Johnston
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