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The Writing Life and More!

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

I used to believe that writers just wrote. And then I really became one.

That’s when I found out that there’s a lot more to writing than just sitting at a computer and composing a story, then, hopefully, selling it.

The writing life, when you’re not writing, can even be fun and exciting. How? Because of all the events relating to it.

First of all, there are meetings of local writing organizations. As you know, this year I’m co-coordinator of OCC’s morning Published Authors Workshop, along with Charlotte Lobb. That means attending as many monthly OCC meetings as possible. I also attend meetings of other local chapters of writing organizations such as the Los Angeles Romance Authors, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Then there are other library events. This month, I’ll be on a mystery panel at the Ojai Library. Next month, I’ll be appearing as part of the Fresno Library’s Big Read event about Jack London’s CALL OF THE WILD–and will be speaking to the local Sisters in Crime chapter. This is a result of my writing so much about animals, both in my Harlequin Nocturnes about shapeshifters and my Pet Rescue Mysteries.

Other kinds of book events include the very first LitFest Pasadena on St. Patrick’s day this month. Yes, I’ll be there, signing at the Book ‘Em Mysteries booth. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on occurs in April and I’ll be signing at several booths there, too.

Conferences? Yes! How about Malice Domestic, in Bethesda, MD–followed by the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, PA? And of course there’s the Romance Writers of America National Conference at the end of July. Among other things I’m looking forward to there, I’ll be on a panel there about How to Sell a Series You’re Passionate About. There are other conferences I’m interested in but can’t attend because of time–a lot of them!

Am I done yet? Not quite! World Book Night is April 23, and I’ll be giving away copies of Sue Grafton’s Q IS FOR QUARRY.

And I haven’t listed all my upcoming blogs and guest blogs. In addition, I belong to a critique group which is always a fun get-together nearly every week to discuss family, events in our lives and, yes, critique each other’s writing. Plus, there are other things that’ll be happening but aren’t yet for publication.

So… writing isn’t all there is to the writing life, is it?

How about you–what events and meetings are you attending that fit along with your writing?

Linda O Johnston’s Pet Rescue Mysteries, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime, feature Lauren Vancouver, a determined pet rescuer who runs a no-kill shelter. Of course, in this cozy mystery series, “no-kill” refers to the animals, not people! Her most recent Pet Rescue Mystery is   THE MORE THE TERRIER , and next will be  HOUNDS ABOUND , an April 2012 release.

Visit Linda at  or

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Kiss Me or Kill Me

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

My OCC Online Class

What else would I be blogging about today but my upcoming online class for OCC? I’m really excited about it!

It’s called Kiss Me or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers, and it starts on Monday, February 13.

As I’ve been saying all along, it’s not only for romance writers, although I will be discussing some similarities and differences between the two genres. But the course will focus on the basics of writing cozy mysteries, from choosing a protagonist and theme, to starting your story, working in clues, and finishing in a satisfactory manner.

I’ve been writing cozy mysteries for a while now, along with also writing romances. Plus, I’ve taught classes in person and online. I hope to make this an especially fun one. I’ll include assignments and hope everyone will participate.

It’s not too late to join… so here’s the link, in case you’re interested! 

Hope to see you there.

By the way, I also blogged about this class, and my resulting self-analysis of my own writing, in my Killer Hobbies blog post this week. Here’s its link: Killer Hobbies 
Linda O! Johnston
Berkley Prime Crime
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PAW Anticipation

December 6, 2011 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,
I admit it–I didn’t blog last month. That was because I was traveling and had limited Internet connection. Sorry if you missed me.

This month, I’m here! I’m also looking forward to the months to come at OCC meetings with even more anticipation than usual. That’s because I’m going to be the co-PAW meeting leader in 2012. My partner in no crime, I hope, will be Charlotte Lobb, and she has clearly demonstrated more skill at this already than I have–but I intend to take lessons from her.

We’ll be succeeding Jackie Hyman, whom Charlotte has also assisted at times. Thanks so much to both of you! You’ve done such a great job of preparing topics for PAW meeting discussions and, when possible, having the afternoon OCC speaker be PAW’s guest and the focus of our discussion as well. I hope we can continue that.

Meantime, all you PAW people–let us know if you have anything you’d like us to address in our meetings. We’ll try to accommodate you. And since this is a learning process especially for me, let us know if there’s anything else you’d like us to do.

–Linda O. Johnston
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Happy Birthday, OCC!!!

October 6, 2011 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

I’m so delighted that I’ll be at the celebration of OCC’s thirtieth birthday on Saturday!

I’ve been a member of OCC for about seventeen of those thirty years. I was introduced to RWA, and to OCC, by my dear friend–our current and also former president–Jann Audiss, whom I knew from our mutual work dealing with real estate for Union Oil Company of California. I owe my first book sale to OCC, and to Jann. I pitched my time travel romance A GLIMPSE OF FOREVER to Dorchester Publishing at the 1994 Romance Writers of America conference in New York City, and the rest is history!

About twenty-eight published books later, I still owe a lot to OCC and to Jann. The chapter provides cheers and support. I keep my vase of roses commemorating sales on my dining room table to help keep me going at times when writing becomes more of a chore than a delight–fortunately not often. The chapter also provides information. These days, hearing about successes in e-publishing has become fascinating to me.

Then there’s the camaraderie. I always love coming to meetings as often as I can. This year has been a bit scattered, but I’ll be improving my attendance in upcoming months.

Right now, I’m raising my glass of virtual champagne and toasting the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America. May you be there for me, and for all dedicated romance writers and readers in the area, forever!

–Linda O. Johnston

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Yes, I’m Blogging About Blogging

September 6, 2011 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing tagged as , , , ,
by Linda O. Johnston

I’m not sure I’d even heard the word “blog” five years ago. Or maybe I had, but hadn’t imagined I might ever blog myself. I know now that blogs existed before then. But they’ve clearly grown in scope and importance.

And, yes, I realize that blogging is just one part of today’s social media. It’s probably one of the oldest–or not. Apparently Facebook was founded in 2004, and Twitter in 2006. I discovered them more recently, too, though–and I’m still managing to avoid Twitter.
In any event, blogging seems to remain one of the most utilized social media outlets. It has survived for a while and appears to keep growing.

It certainly does in my life.

I’m delighted to blog here on A Slice of Orange on the sixth of each month–a wonderful habit I began at the end of 2007. I’m in excellent company here, considering who the other bloggers are.

Every Wednesday, I blog at –the result of the mysteries that I write involving animals. Of course I’m always clear on the fact that pets aren’t hobbies, they’re family. Even so, I enjoy being a Killer Hobbies blogger. I began blogging there in 2007, too–earlier in the year. Once again, I’m in good company!

But that’s not all.

The delightful bloggers at Writers in the Storm–members of OCC–recently invited me to be a frequent guest blogger, mostly about mysteries and how I plot and write them. That’s always a pleasure to think about and describe, so of course I said yes.

At the moment, I’m obsessed by blogging. Why? Well, my second Pet Rescue Mystery, THE MORE THE TERRIER, a Berkley Prime Crime book, will be an October release. So will my next Harlequin Nocturne Bites, HAWK’S CHALLENGE, part of my Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters. My next Bites, COUGAR’S CONQUEST, will be a November release. I’ve been setting up a blog tour to promote all of them. So far, I’ve got about ten blogs scheduled in late September through the end of October, with, I hope, more to come.

I’ll write them all. Each of the blog sites has faithful readers as well as new ones. I can’t wait to connect with every one of them!

I wonder how many blogs actually exist in the cyber universe. How many bloggers there are, and how many readers and followers. I tried to do a search before posting this blog and found a lot of references to sites that count statistics for other sites.

One website, Technorati, links to 1,278,867 blog sites, or it did at the moment I looked at it. I’d imagine there are actually more blogs than that, though.

I’m particularly curious about how many blogs there are by and about writers. If you happen to know, please tell me. I’d also love to hear what your favorites are–and be sure to include A Slice of Orange, Killer Hobbies, and Writers in the Storm.

Feel free to tell me about your own blog. And invite me to guest blog. After all, I’m psyched right now to blog. Bring ‘em on!

Did I mention I’m currently obsessed by blogging?

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