Category: Jann says . . .

Jann Audiss' column
Home > Columns > Jann says . . .

Linda O. Johnston–Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and so much more!

May 24, 2022 by in category Jann says . . ., Writing tagged as ,

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, will have published 57 books as of May 2022, including mysteries and romantic suspense novels.  Her new mystery series is Alaska Untamed, starting with Bear Witness, for Crooked Lane, under her first pseudonym: Lark O. Jensen. She also has a new Harlequin Romantic Suspense story being published in May, Guardian K-9 on Call. Most of Linda’s current stories involve dogs.!

Today’s interview is with multi-talented, multi-published author Linda O. Johnston. Let’s see what’s been happening in her life lately.

Jann:  I know you published several short stories before your first novel was published—A Glimpse of Forever. Do you remember what it was like to receive the phone call from the publisher?

Linda: Heaven! I’d been writing for a while and was hoping to eventually get a novel published. I loved time travel romance, and that’s what I’d written. And to learn it was actually going to be published? Wow!

Jann: Your career has blossomed. Forty-five plus novels later that include mysteries, romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. One thing they all have in common is animals. Is there a reason your books always include animals?

Linda: I include animals as much as possible because I love them, especially dogs. I’ve had dogs most of my life, and my favorites are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. But to include any kind of dogs or other animals in my stories is really important to me. It’s fun that my new mystery Bear Witness, my first Alaska Untamed mystery, is about Stacie Calder, a naturalist who gives tours in Alaska and points out all sorts of fun wildlife to tourists.

And by the way, Bear Witness and Guardian K-9 On Call, which you mention in the next question, are my 56th and 57th traditionally published novels!

Jann: In August 2021 Harlequin Romantic Suspense published Her Undercover Refuge, the first book in your Shelter of Secrets series. Guardian K-9 on Call, Book Two released on April 26th. What obstacles did you set for your main characters, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran and veterinarian Kyle Kornel to overcome? Do they find their HEA?

Linda: In Guardian K-9 On Call, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran believes that Dr. Kyle Kornel, a veterinarian who works for the highly secret Chance Animal Shelter, is being framed for murder. Can she help clear him–or is her belief in him based unwisely on her attraction to him?

Kyle has argued with an owner of a local pet shop who is skirting the law regarding which dogs can be sold in the store. When she is found murdered, he becomes the primary suspect.  And then there are the dogs in question, who need to be saved.

While doing their respective jobs, Maisie and Kyle work together in all aspects of the case. Closely together. And… well, it is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense book, so I’ll let you guess whether they achieve their HEA!

Jann: Will there be a book 3 in this series?

Linda: Yes, there are likely to be at least three more.

Jann: I see you have another mystery series—Alaska Untamed Mystery. Congratulations!!!  The books will be published under your first pseudonym, Lark O. Jensen. What inspired you to create this new series?

Linda: Thank you!

I was on an Alaskan cruise a few years ago, before Covid, and had a particularly enjoyable time on a tour boat on the waters outside Juneau. The people who were actually providing the tour were wonderful, and my writer’s mind, always active, started wondering what it would be like to have a mystery series set in a similar situation. I even started asking some of the boat personnel questions. But no, we didn’t find any bodies onboard or otherwise.

Jann: How did you come up with the name Lark O. Jensen?

 Linda: I was asked to take on a pseudonym, though it was fine to let the world know it was me. I pondered all sorts of names, some nothing like my own, but decided to choose something that was at least somewhat familiar. And Lark O. Jensen has at least some similarities to Linda O. Johnston.

Jann: May 10th, Bear Witness, the first book in the series made its debut. Who is the main character and what challenges will this character have to face?

 Linda: Stacie Calder is a born naturalist who has come to Alaska because of the wonderful wildlife there. During the seasons where the weather will allow it, she gives tours on a tour boat in the waters off Juneau, and she brings here wonderful husky Sasha along. She has to put up with some somewhat nasty passengers who come along to research what happens on the boat because they want to start competing companies. One day, one of them disappears—and Sasha’s wonderful sense of smell discovers his body the next day on the shore of an inlet they visited. The authorities determine he was murdered, and Stacie has to get involved with figuring out who the killer is because some of her favorite people, including the captain of her boat, and even herself, are considered suspects.

Jann: You have several other mystery series including Barkery & Biscuits and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. What’s happening with them?

 Linda: At the moment, nothing is happening with the Barkery & Biscuits or Superstition Mysteries. But the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries are available in e-book form, and the spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries will soon be available as audio books.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Linda: As mentioned before, I like to include animals, particularly dogs. They speak to me, and not only in barks! I consider people who enjoy pets more likeable and think my readers may, too.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Linda: It varies these days. I mostly write five pages or more a day when I’m in writing mode, which tends to be most of the time—or at least whenever possible. But I’m always thinking and planning and making notes.

Jann: In your books, who is your favorite character and why?

Linda: I love all my protagonists, or I wouldn’t write about them. I really like my new mystery protagonist, Stacie Calder, because of her love of wildlife and willingness to devote her life to studying and teaching people about them. I sometimes wish I could go visit her in Alaska and take one of her tours!

But perhaps my favorite is Kendra, of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. Kendra is a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie. At the time I wrote the Kendra stories, I was a practicing lawyer, and one of my Cavaliers was named Lexie—and I live in the Hollywood Hills. I’ve never run into dead bodies and had to solve murders, though—except those I write about.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Linda: Never! I’m always thinking and plotting.

Linda, it’s been fun looking back at your career and seeing what it’s like now. Congratulations and good luck on the new series, Alaska Untamed Mystery!! Looking forward to reading another fabulous mystery series.

5 1 Read more

Author Laura Drake releases The Road to Me

March 24, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Laura Drake is a New York and self-published and author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 12 more books. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Author Laura Drake is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a wife, grandmother and motorcycle chick who loves to flyfish, she’s my friend. Her books reach in and grab your heart and soul. Let’s see what Laura has to say about her latest book and her love of writing.

Jann: How important is the setting, themes, plot in your stories?

Laura: VERY! I’m writing Women’s Fiction now, so themes really resonate there. I’m so not a plotter, but so far, I’ve managed to bumble through. Settings – especially important in my Western Romances.

Jann: Congratulation on the April 19, 2022, release of your Women’s Fiction book, The Road to Me. I love the tag—Trouble with the Curve meets Peace, Love and Misunderstanding. Did you have this tag when developing the book or did it come to mind after?

Laura: After – and it’s the first book I’ve had a tag for!

Jann: Tell us about your characters, Jacqueline Oliver and her grandmother, Nellie, and their story. What major conflicts do they need to work through?

Laura: Oh my gosh, so many. See, Jacqueline was raised by her barely functioning alcoholic mother. Her grandmother would sail in, shower them with love and gifts, and then sail out, a few days later. Jacqueline thinks it’s because her grandmother didn’t care…but she’s wrong.

Jann: You were introduced to the rodeo world and Pro Bull Riding. You sold your Sweet on a Cowboy series after several years of submitting to agents and editors and finally to Grand Central(Forever). I remember how excited you were to receive a three-book contract. And to top it off, the first book in the series, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America RITA for Best First Book. What a thrill it must have been for you. Tell us about the book and your experience winning the award.

Laura: The agony of defeat – until the thrill of victory! I was rejected 417 times over the course of 3 books (but who counted?). I was so desperate, because I knew this book was special. It wasn’t until an editor came to town, and I think it was YOU that asked me to pick her up at the airport and bring her to a scheduled dinner. She was stuck with me on the Orange Crush for TWO HOURS. Eventually, she asked what I wrote, and I pitched her my book. She asked me to send the beginning to her. I reached in the back seat and handed it to her (hey, I said desperate, right?) She was a bit surprised but promised that she’d read it on the plane home. Sure enough, Monday, she contacted me and said, ‘The first thing we need to do is get you an agent.’ Yeah, like I hadn’t thought of that…

I was stunned when my name was called…my agent and I just screamed for it seemed like minutes. Nora Roberts presented it to me (squee!) and whispered in my ear, ‘This is the best RITA.’ I sure wasn’t arguing! One of the best memories of my life.

Jann: Did winning the award advance your writing career?

Laura: You know, I was shocked. I was sure it would be the start that would launch my career. So after, I contacted my editor and said, ‘Okay, now how do we take advantage of this for marketing?’ She told me that the award mattered to authors, but didn’t mean anything to readers. Wow. But sadly, she was right.

Jann: You have published five more western romances and four small town romances. Your first Women’s Fiction, Days Made of Glass, published in November, 2015. Would you tell us about the history of this book?

Laura: I self-published it, because though all the editors who read it loved it, they said that there wasn’t enough of an audience for a Western WF. They were right – but I didn’t care. It’s the book I wrote for my sister, who I lost at 32 to cancer. Nothing in the book is autobiographical, but the sisters’ relationship ours. Many readers have told me that it’s their favorite of all my books, and it has the highest star rating. That’s all I care – that it touched them.

Jann: What do you want readers to come away with after they read your books?

Laura: ALL the feels. Laugh, cry, and everything in-between.

Jann: Love the picture on your website for The Road to Me. Is it a road somewhere on Route 66? It reminds me of California Highway 395 on the way to Mammoth Lakes. 

Laura: It’s not 395 (I so love that road), but somewhere in Arizona, I think.

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Laura: I just turned in my next Women’s Fiction to my editor. Tentatively titled, Amazing Gracie, it’s about a woman soldier returning from Afghanistan with heavy guilt. She takes her nine-year-old sister on a road trip to save her from the mother’s boyfriend, but her sister ends up saving her.

Jann: I know you love road trips on your motorcycle and fishing? Do you have any adventures planned this year?

Laura: Always! I’m lucky to now live within 15 miles of two lakes and a river and am fishing at least once a week (weather allowing). We’re planning on several motorcycle trips this year.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Laura: My daily word count goal is 500. Yeah, not much, I know, but I work until they’re good words. I write every day, so they add up. It takes me 7 months to write a romance, 9 to write a Women’s Fiction.

Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?

Laura: I have a chunk of fossilized dinosaur poop on my desk. It reminds me that anything I’m worried about today won’t matter in a million years. And, not to write crap.

 Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?

Laura: I have a Facebook group that is full of snark, wisdom and interaction—come join us! It’s Laura Drake’s Peace, Love & Books. Twitter & Instagram – @lauradrakebooks  and my website is Laura Drake Books

I love doing Author Q&A’s and doing one with a good friend is great. Thanks Laura for giving our readers a peak into your writing, books and life. Good luck on the release of The Road to Me!!

0 0 Read more

Chatting with Nikki Prince by Jann Ryan

January 2, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , ,

Jann Ryan is taking a much earned break. We’ll be running some of her past interviews while she’s off. Hope you enjoy this chat with Nikki Prince as much as we all did.

Today, I’m happy to be chatting with author, Nikki Prince. Nikki is a mother of two, who always had a dream to be a published author. Her passion lies in raising her children, gaming, reading and writing.  She has two Masters, one in English and the other in Creative Writing concentration in fiction.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several publishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres but wants to let everyone know to not box her in because there is always room for growth.  Nikki believes that love should truly be color blind and for all.

Nikki’s a member of Romance Writers of America National, DARA, and several online chapters.

Author Links

Website 
Instagram
Facebook Page 
Facebook Group
Twitter

Bakersfield Romance Writers Links

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Instagram 
Twitter 
Website: coming soon


Jann Ryan: Since 2012, you have published seventeen books, earned a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing, active in several Romance Writers of America chapters, moved twice all while raising two wonderful children. Wow—how did you do it all?

Nikki Prince: It’s actually about 25 books and I earned another Masters in Literature during this time frame.  My two teens have been a great help as well as inspiration for me because I want them to know that anything is possible in their life as long as they go for it. 

I went back to school in 2014 and garnered the BA, and two MA’s in a 3-year span and have maintained a 3.9 GPA.  I’ve been wanting to write since I was 11 years old.  I finally made that dream a reality when I turned 43 and realized it is never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  Writing and reading has been a passion for since I first found romance books at age 11.  Before finding my grandmother’s romances, and Johanna Lindsey on my father’s dresser I hated to read. 

Reading helped me in so many ways, you see I had a learning disability.  However, once I found romance books and started reading that all changed for me and the only inkling of a disability that I still have is in math which is another part of the brain.  Reading and writing saved my life in so many ways and knowing that I can bring joy to someone else from reading the worlds and characters that I build is so satisfyingly wonderful.  Another shining part in my writing and real life is belonging to RWA it is a wonderful community where writers of like minds can be together to nurture one another.

Jann Ryan: It’s Complicated debut in April of 2018. A reviewer declared it was a “steamy, intriguing romance.” Another said it was “friends with benefits until it goes sideways.” You have two great characters, Ashton Locke and Keiko Jarrett. For our readers who may not have found this incredible book tell us about it.

Nikki Prince: I’ve had this thought of creating a bunch of friends for who all intents and purposes are the best of girlfriends with great guy friends.  Three sets of friends and the desire to be together and yet there is something holding them back.  Ashton and Keiko’s love story has a few twists along the way to get to the HEA, because everyone deserves a happy ever after.

Jann Ryan: When can we read the next Nikki Prince novel?

Nikki Prince: The last story that I had come out is a short called Blurred Lines, and it came out June 2019.  I am working on edits for the second book in the Undeniable Series with  Áine Reid and Darian Tisdale in a story called “It’s Work” and following that the next story which is Emmerson Collins and Royce Hanson’s story called, “It’s Real.”  Beyond that I have a lot of stories still left in me to write.  Stories that may be paranormal, contemporary and love between the same gender, opposite gender, interracial mix or same racial mix as I believe everyone’s story should be told.

Jann Ryan: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

Nikki Prince: Indeed, I have.  I know there are some that say that writer’s block is imaginary.  In some ways I think that is true because there is inspiration to write everywhere.  However, there are times when the brain doesn’t want to function and let you put out the stories as you have before.  Because let’s face it, life can be messy it is one of the reasons most of us read romance is because it lets us get out of our own heads, our own lives and for a moment in time live a life of beauty. 

How I get past it is I game (I play World of Warcraft have since 2006), I spend time with my children, Travel somewhere different , read something else and sometimes a nap will rejuvenate the mind and spirit.   When I moved to Dallas last year in 2018 it was hard to get a chance to write and for me that was a block, however if it is in you to write and to create it never goes away so here I am.

Jann Ryan: What are you doing now between writing and life?

Right now I am working on putting together a writing community here in Bakersfield, California.  I knew when I moved here that RWA wasn’t represented here and I want to change that.  So far I have about 7 other people within the group.  I hope to gain more so that I can apply for Bakersfield Romance Writers to be a full chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  I am also in grad school for a third Masters.  This is a Masters in Marketing and Social Media.  I’m taking my time with this MA as I already have two and there is no rush, besides I have plenty of stories within me that I want to share with the world.

Jann Ryan: What’s your writing day like?

My writing day really depends.  Between having two teens in High School, being in grad school and looking for a full-time job here in Bakersfield (I’ve only been here since June), I write wherever and whenever I can.  That has always been the way of it since 2012.  I love writing and creating so I will write at night, in the afternoon, and in the morning.  Whatever it takes to get the stories done, I’ll do it.  One of the ways to do that is I love to do National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) every November so that I can just immerse myself in my stories for a whole month.


A Few Books by Nikki Prince

#Me Too

Buy now!
#Me Too

IT’S COMPLICATED

Buy now!
IT’S COMPLICATED

ON ANGLE’S WINGS

Buy now!
ON ANGLE’S WINGS

PURE ADRENALINE

Buy now!
PURE ADRENALINE

SWAGGER

Buy now!
SWAGGER
0 0 Read more

Historical Author Alanna Lucas–Romance, Adventure, and Happily Ever After!!

November 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Bestselling, award-winning author Alanna Lucas pens Regency-set historicals filled with romance, adventure, and of course, happily ever afters. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, volunteering, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.

Just for the record, you can never have too many handbags or books. And travel is a must.

Today the delightful Regency romance author Alanna Lucas is with us. Will be talking about her journey to publication and her latest releases.

Jann: Why did you become a writer?

Alanna: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories swirling through my thoughts. It seemed natural to write them down and share HEA’s. The world needs more Happily Ever Afters, right?!

Jann: Tell us about your journey to publication. How many books have you published?

Alanna: My book, Face to Face won a contest wherein I was offered a contract. It was really exciting! Face to Face was the first in a six-book series. I enjoyed my time with my publisher but found self-publishing more fulfilling. I suddenly was in control of who my editor was, cover design, and deadlines (an important detail when you have kids at home). I have self-published eleven books!

Jann: Historical romance readers look for accuracy from the author. What are your favorite sources for research and how much time did you spend on research? Do you research before, while you write a first draft or after?

 Alanna: Gosh, my favorite sources? Where to start… I have the Beau Monde to thank for the wealth of knowledge sitting on my bookshelves. The classes and material they have provided always is a great starting point. I love to research and probably spend way too much time falling down the rabbit hole looking for some tidbit to satisfy my curiosity. Lol!

Jann: The Redemption of Heathcliff, made its debut in January 2021, and How To Steal A Lyon’s Fortune, in April, received wonderful reviews by readers. Do you read reviews?

 Alanna: Thank you! I’ve been so pleased with the reception of both books. I do read some reviews (and try not to let the bad ones get to me). Authors put a lot of themselves into their writing and it’s nice to read that our stories resonate with readers.

Jann: On November 12, A Marchioness for Christmas makes its debut. What major conflicts do your leading characters, Antonia and Dracon, have to work through on the way to their HEA?

Alanna: Communication—or lack of—and family responsibility are things both Antonia and Dracon struggle with. Both have a strong sense of duty that have dictated their actions, and not always in their best interest.

Jann: When starting a new book do you think of character, plot or theme first?

 Alanna: Plot never comes first. Lol! I am a pantser all the way! Usually, the hero and heroine come to me with an idea. I spend a lot of time getting to know them in my head. Each book has its own journal for me to record thoughts and ideas.

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Alanna: I am working on a new series about three sisters who are gifted with charm, grace, and beauty, who are not only determined to marry for love and make advantageous matches, but plot to assist other ladies of Society to do the same. Let’s just say, they are not your typical debutants.

Jann: You wrote a couple of Historical Westerns. Will you be writing any more in the future?

Alanna: I hope so, but no cowboy hero has rushed into my thoughts lately 😉

Jann: Your book covers are fabulous. Are you the designer?

Alanna: Thank you! I think they’re fabulous, too! I have an amazing cover designer, Dar Albert, who really understands my vision, usually on the first go around.

Jann: What is the one thing you’ve never been asked, but you wish someone would?

 Alanna: This one stumped me a little. I guess… Have you ever acted out any of the scenes in your books? The answer is yes, but I won’t say which ones 😉

Jann: What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?

Alanna: “You look just like your author picture!”

Jann: You like to travel. Do you have a favorite location that you find yourself going back to? Do you have a bucket list of future destinations?

 Alanna: I LOVE to travel, especially to the Netherlands. I try and go once a year—I have family there and the little ones are getting so big, so fast! I’m always plotting the next travel destination. Next trip (fingers crossed that the world behaves, and travel is possible) is to see the Northern Lights in Norway.

Alanna, it’s been great to spend time with you today. I love reading Regency romances and yours are wonderful. Can’t wait to read A Marchioness for Christmas! You also have  Christmas Kisses, which is part of a Regency Holiday Romance Anthology with ten authors that is available now which I’m reading. Have a wonderful holiday season!!


Books by Alanna Lucas

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy links.)


1 0 Read more

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

>