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Upcoming Round Table Chapter Meeting

June 6, 2016 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing tagged as , ,
by Linda O. Johnston
Did you realize that today is 6/6/16?  That’s right–sixth day of the sixth month of twenty-sixteen.  Lots of sixes–which are hopefully good luck despite their possibly bad reputation when grouped in sets of three.  I like sixes anyway.  And in addition to my romances and other mysteries, I happen to write the Superstition Mysteries.
But, boy, this year is certainly going fast–nearly at the halfway point.
As I mentioned last month, I missed several OCC meetings early in the year.  I did attend the one in May–and now I’ll be there for the June one, too.  A bunch of published authors have been recruited to lead discussions at various tables at the afternoon meeting, and I’ll be at the one where we’ll talk about traditional publishers.
Yes, I’ve been at this a long time, and although I’ve done a bit of self-publishing, including republishing some of my earliest backlist as e-books, mostly those published by Dorchester, I still remain mostly traditionally published.
And enjoy it.
For my mysteries, I’ve written for Berkley Prime Crime and am now being published by a smaller publisher, Midnight Ink.  I’m fortunate, since both have worked out well for me.
For romances, I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Harlequin series romance.  In fact, my next published novel, due out in August this year, will be COVERT ALLIANCE, a Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
I guess I’m qualified to talk about traditional publishing!   And I hope those of you who come to the meeting will join me at my table, along with Tara Lain, so we can talk about the pros and cons of it.

See you there!
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Kiss Me or Kill Me is coming soon.

May 26, 2015 by in category Events, Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , , ,

What’s that? My online class for OCC, with the alternate name of Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers. This will be my second time to present it.

The class will run from June 15 through July 12, and my intention is to have fun teaching my students how to have their characters solve murders while falling in love!

Here’s the class description:

All romances contain some suspense: will the hero and heroine resolve conflicts by the end and live happily ever after?

All cozy mysteries contain suspense, too, but do they always involve romance? Not necessarily, but the best ones do! Those romances seldom reach HEA by the end of the book, though. Cozies are usually parts of a series, and the suspense of romance can continue through subsequent books–even though the mysteries in each book must get resolved by the end.

What other similarities and differences are there between romances and cozies? They’ll be addressed in Kiss Me Or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers.

The class will also address the basics of writing cozies: choosing a protagonist and deciding how she’ll get involved solving mysteries; choosing a theme for the series; introducing and following through with a love interest—or not; throwing in a corpse or two, plus hiding clues for solving the murders; planning a series; and much more!

There will be online class discussions and writing exercises, too. Kiss Me or Kill Me will also contain enough basics on writing cozies that non-romance writers will learn a lot as well.

So… are you a romance writer who likes mysteries? A mystery writer who likes romance? I’ll be delighted to help you learn how to combine them.

I hope to see you in my class.

Linda O, Johnston

Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda has published more short stories, plus eighteen romance novels, including the Alpha Force paranormal miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. Alpha Force is a covert military unit of shapeshifters, and the most recent book in the series is GUARDIAN WOLF.  She has also published three Nocturne Bites e-novellas and is additionally writing a novel for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.


Linda is also the author of the Pet Rescue Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime which debuted in March 2011 with BEAGLEMANIA, followed by THE MORE THE TERRIER and HOUNDS ABOUND. The series centers around Lauren Vancouver, the dedicated administrator of a successful private, no-kill animal shelter who also finds herself having to solve murders. In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people! The Pet Rescue series is a spinoff from Linda’s Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter, nine-book mystery series, also from Berkley Prime Crime. 

Kiss Me or Kill Me is a 4-week online course that begins June 15, 2015 and uses email and Yahoo Groups. The class is open to anyone wishing to participate. The cost is $30.00 per person or, if you are a member of OCCRWA, $20.00 per person. 

For more information and to register go to http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassJune15.html        
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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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Career Milestones

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

By Linda O Johnston

Every author’s writing career is different. We all share one thing in common, though. We remember our milestones.

Maybe we don’t recall exactly when each occurred, but we think about the time that we stopped telling ourselves we would like to write and instead actually began writing. We think about the first time we finished a chapter. And then a whole manuscript.

If we’re lucky enough to pursue our careers and succeed, we also recall our first publications. Our first agent. Whatever other things were meaningful to who and what we are as writers.

I’m bringing this up because I have just reached a couple of milestones. First, my new release HOUNDS ABOUND, my third Pet Rescue Mystery for Berkley Prime Crime, is my thirtieth published novel.

I also was recognized in a Harlequin newsletter for having published my fifteenth Harlequin story. They count novellas in that, so my Nocturne Bites were included, although I hadn’t added them to my novel count. I’m delighted about that, too!

I do recall some of those earlier milestones as well. I’d tried my hand at writing before but had stopped while going to law school. Even so, I kept telling my husband I wanted to write again. He finally said, “Well, write, then,” and I did–and kept going.

Of course I recall my first published fiction–a short story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. I’d have remembered it anyway, but it was especially exciting since it also won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for best first mystery short story of the year. Plus, it was published again in an anthology.

Then there was my first published novel, A GLIMPSE OF FOREVER–a time travel romance published by Dorchester. I’ve been really sorry to hear of that company’s recent struggles.

I remember signing with my first agent, and then with the one I’ve been with for many years and adore. I recall my first Harlequin sale, my first mystery sale, and more. It’s always so much fun to revisit those times!

How about you? What are your favorite writing milestones?

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  HOUNDS ABOUND , an April 2012 release.

Visit Linda at www.LindaOJohnston.com  or KillerHobbies.blogspot.com

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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 www.LindaOJohnston.com  or KillerHobbies.blogspot.com

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