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Up Early… and Writing!

September 6, 2012 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as ,

A couple of days ago, I had to get up very early–I set my alarm clock for 3:15 AM–to take some family members to Los Angeles International Airport for a 6 AM flight.

These days, I seldom even get up before 6 AM. In fact, my goal is generally 6:30. But years ago, when I had a full-time job as an in-house attorney, I had to get up much earlier, especially when my job moved from 10 miles from my home to 50 miles away. I’d already begun publishing by then so my coworkers knew that, when I arrived at 6:45 AM, I wasn’t really “there” because I would write for an hour before the official starting time of 7:45.

But since then, even when I’ve had law projects that required me to work in an office, I’ve seldom had to get up very early. Which now seems a bit of a shame!

On the day I went to LAX early, the drive from my home near Studio City was only about a half hour each way. Compare that to the usual round-trip drive to LAX of at least a couple of hours, thanks to traffic.

I was able to get in a workout at Curves that started at 5:45 AM. I returned home for breakfast and obeying my dogs, then started writing this blog plus my Killer Hobbies blog to be posted this week.

And then I got to work writing.

Okay, I admit that my eyelids were a bit droopy, thanks to my fatigue. Even so, it felt refreshing to start working so early. I think I even got a bit more done that day than I would have otherwise. Although I also admit to taking a twenty-minute nap–and that I still would have liked to have accomplished more.

Will I do it again? I’d like to, especially if it helps my writing productivity. Not sure yet whether I will… but I hope so.

How about you? What’s the earliest you get up to write?

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Short Recap of RWA National 2012

August 6, 2012 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

Last month I blogged about how it was almost time for the Romance Writers of America National Conference. This month, at PAW, we’re all going to discuss what we learned there.

Unfortunately, I was too busy with meetings to attend many workshops, so I’ll have to try to listen to the recorded ones on CD that I particularly wanted to hear. My own panel on Writing a Series You’re Passionate About went great!

But of the workshops, the Published Author Network (PAN) retreat programs, and other events I was able to attend, one thing was made abundantly clear: all of us, even major publishers, are accepting the wave of the future. E-books, and e-versions of print books, are only going to get bigger.

I get it. I still like to hold a real book in my hands and be able to turn the pages. But I also have a Kindle and enjoy its convenience and portability, too. I recognize reality, so I’ll try to adapt as much as I need to both in my writing and reading.

How about you–were you there? What were you particularly interested to learn?

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RWA National 2012

July 6, 2012 by in category Events, Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

RWA National 2012

It’s July–and my first Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel, UNDERCOVER SOLDIER, is available this month.

Also, it’s almost time for the Romance Writers of America National Conference!

This year, OCC members, it’s in our backyard. I’d imagine that most of you plan to attend.
As I do every year, I’ve been keeping track of all my upcoming meetings and parties at National on my online calendar, since it can be updated easily. I’ve unfortunately started running into conflicts, but I’ll do all I can to squeeze everything in.

That includes the panel I’m on, on Friday, July 27, at 2 PM. It’s on Writing a Series You’re Passionate About, and among the participants are OCC member Pat Wright (writing as Patricia Thayer) and our agent Paige Wheeler of Folio Literary Management. Come hear us–and bring questions!

I’ll also be at the Literacy Signing on Wednesday evening, so if you’re there come and say hi. I believe I’ll additionally be at the Berkley signing on Friday morning.

I hope to see you all there!
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Thanks, OCC

June 6, 2012 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , ,

OCC is the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America. We’re romance writers. But some of us also are mystery writers. Writers of romantic suspense. Both.
I’m always delighted to attend OCC meetings, but I’m especially looking forward to the one next weekend. Why? It’ll be chock full of excellent research info for those of us who are mystery and suspense writers as well as romance authors.

First, I see that Debra Holland is giving a morning workshop on “Creating Fighting and
Self-Defense Scenes.” That should be fascinating. The chapter’s published authors are even forgoing a Published Authors Workshop that morning to be able to attend Debra’s presentation.

And then, in the afternoon, our guest speaker Dennis Kee, a weapons expert, will present a program on “Don’t Blame the Gun, Blame the Writer.” It sounds as if it’ll be full of excellent information on weapons.

I had thought I’d be out of town next weekend, but fortunately my plans changed. I’ll be there! See you all soon–and I’m really looking forward to the June OCC meeting.

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Writers and Events

May 6, 2012 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

I just returned home a couple of days ago from a trip east–to two wonderful writers’ events.
One was Malice Domestic, in Bethesda, Maryland. It’s themed around traditional mysteries, and both authors and fans attend. There are dinners and panels and Agatha Awards and more! I was on a panel called Must Love Dogs–obviously featuring authors with pet mysteries. My wonderful co-panelists were Sparkle Abbey (two delightful women who write under one pseudonym that is–what else?–the names of their pets!), Esri Allbritten, and Neil S. Plakcy. It was really fun and we got to talk about not only our books but our dogs, too.

That was followed by the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, which was presented by the Mystery Lovers Bookshop. It began with a library tea, followed by a massive book sales event where authors are introduced and lots of mysteries are sold. A highlight this year was the introduction of the store’s new owner. The current owners, a wonderful and dedicated couple, had gone public a couple of months ago about looking for a buyer. In these days when so many bookstores, both independents and major chains, are going out of business, I feared the worst–possibly the end of that store. But, no–they found a buyer who seems perfect! She’s a former Texas librarian and bookseller with family ties to the Pittsburgh area. She was at both the tea and the Festival meeting authors and seeing how the current owners ran the event. That makes me hopeful that not only the store, but the Festival of Mystery, will continue in the future.

For the moment, I have some time to breathe–and to write–before my next major conference, the Romance Writers of America National Conference. More minor events–well, they never stop. In fact, I’m looking forward to the Pasadena LitFest next weekend. Unfortunately it conflicts with the OCC meeting. It was rescheduled after being rained out (!) in March.

Oh, and I can’t resist mentioning that it’s May–and I’m part of Read Humaneâ„¢ this month! A new version of my first Pet Rescue Mystery BEAGLEMANIA has recently been printed with the Read Humane seal on it. Read Humane is a special program created by Penguin Group (USA) Inc., parent of Berkley Prime Crime. Penguin has made a substantial donation to the Humane Society of The United States® in support of its Animal Rescue Team, and is also shipping 50,000 books starring furry friends, both dogs and cats, which encourage readers to learn more and donate to the Humane Society and its Animal Rescue Team. Participating authors besides me include Rebecca M. Hale, Alison Pace, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly–and I’m especially excited to report that the Read Humane spokesperson is Nora Roberts.

How about you–any conferences or other exciting events in your recent past or future? Will you be attending RWA National?

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