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But as I do every year, I’ve started 2011 optimistically. It’ll be a good one. Things won’t always go perfectly, but they’ll generally be fine.

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Zoo Frolic and Detour

November 6, 2010 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

I visited the Los Angeles Zoo yesterday. Why write about it here? Because I enjoyed it! And because I liked the break I took, short though it was, from my writing.

I met a deadline earlier this week, on November 1, for the manuscript for my third Alpha Force novel for Harlequin Nocturne, a miniseries about undercover shapeshifters in the military. I have another deadline on December 1 for a proposal, and I’ve started working on it. But some good friends just recently moved to Los Angeles, and they bought a membership to the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

My husband and I have been members of GLAZA since our kids were young. I used to go there walking a couple of times a week for exercise. I’ve taken a class on observing animals and participated in a couple of studies.

But that was a while ago. I hadn’t been to the zoo for a few years, even while maintaining my membership. I’ve missed it! I therefore jumped at the opportunity.

Things are different there now. The entrance and parking lot have changed. There are more places to buy food. A lot of new exhibits are in the works, including the new elephant habitat. But I could still pretty much find my way around. One of the animals that had been my friend years ago seemed to recognize me–although that could just have been wishful thinking. I saw some animal species that hadn’t been there before. Some of my favorite exhibits were closed due to some of the reconstruction going on. Even so, I had a great time, especially because I went with family and friends.

And then, when I got home, I sat back at my computer and jumped right into my writing, inspired by having allowed myself a frolic and detour before digging back in.

Anyone who knows me or reads my stories knows I love animals, so this was a natural course of action for me to take to get away. How about you–where do you go, or what do you do, when you have time for a break from your everyday life?


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Orlando! by Linda O. Johnston

August 6, 2010 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing Conferences tagged as , , , ,

A couple of months ago, my blog on A Slice of Orange discussed my angst about whether I really wanted to go to the Romance Writers of America Conference in Orlando. I wound up going. Am I glad? Yes!

I didn’t stay for the entire conference, which I regret now. But I accomplished most of what I wanted to–saw nearly all the people I hoped to see, attended most of the sessions I’d planned to, and learned about new resources and other information about publishing and promoting.

I met a number of people I’d never anticipated seeing, too. Networked and schmoozed and partied and had a great time.

I admit that the Orlando weather didn’t wow me. I have lived in L.A. long enough to be really spoiled about the minimal humidity on most hot days. Just walking between the two hotels at the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort wilted me.
But the steaming up of my sunglasses didn’t deter me. The brief walk was worth it, plus the view was really nice, including the waterway between the two facilities.

By the way, as I mentioned in my blog last month, if you’re interested in hearing some of the things I learned at National, I’ll be sharing them at the OCC meeting on August 14. Come and ask questions–and I’ll answer whatever I can.

Linda O. Johnston

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The Plot Thickens by Linda O. Johnston

May 6, 2010 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing tagged as , ,
I find myself plotting a lot lately.
I’ve been putting together ideas for new projects. Plus, I’m working on the second book in my Pet Rescue mystery series.
The first one has been scheduled, by the way. It will be a March 2011 release, and its title is BEAGLE MANIA. That reflects that some of the animals rescued from a puppy mill in that story are beagles.
Book number two will involve an animal hoarder. I’m still working on its title, as well as plotting the entirety of the story, but I’ve started writing it, too.
So how do I start plotting a book? It varies, but it always starts with an idea. And several baths, since that’s where my subconscious mind seems to plot best. I usually know who the protagonist is, but I have to figure out what kind of situation to put her in that fits the type of story–mystery or romance. And then I need to determine how best to stick in all the elements of the genre that keep the plot moving toward the satisfying conclusion. Along the way, of course, there are always pitfalls and conflicts and plot points to turn things in a different direction. What do I do with all this? I write a synopsis, sometimes for selling the idea and sometimes just for myself, so I know where I’m going with the story.
I don’t always stick minutely to the synopsis, but at least it gives me a direction. And when I’m stumped, I always refer to it to guide me back on the plot I’ve plotted!
I’ve plotted a lot of books in my time, and hope to plot a lot more. Sometimes, it’s easier to plot fiction than to plan one’s own life!

How about you–how do you plot?

Linda O. Johnston

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 15 romance novels and several novellas, including a current Nocturne Bites, with 2 more Nocturnes upcoming. She also writes the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.


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Developing The Writer’s Thick Skin by Linda O. Johnston

March 6, 2010 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston, Writing tagged as , ,

Last month, I asked for questions, and I got a couple of excellent ones from Jeri Hoag. One of them was about how to keep positive in the face of rejections that often come when you start submitting a book for publication.
It isn’t easy, but it is necessary. Keep in mind that, no matter what stage of writing you’re in, there are always negative things that can occur. Published or not, you can receive rejections on your submission, by editors and agents. If you already have a relationship with them, they’re sometimes kinder in how they reject your work, but a rejection is still a rejection.

Once you’re published, though, you have a track record that follows you. I won’t lie. It helps. But remember that when you’re published your work is out there for more than a few people to look at. You’ll get reviews. Some are positive, which is always a kick.

But some will be negative. Sometimes very negative. Sometimes very negative and posted on Amazon and other sites from which you hope people will want to buy your books. That kind of review, one that can discourage people from trying your work, is always a real kick in the gut.

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