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A Glimpse of Linda O. Johnston

May 2, 2019 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , ,
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, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and over 50 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. She currently writes the Superstition Mysteries and the Barkery Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and also writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne.

Linda enjoys hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.LindaOJohnston.com and friend her on Facebook.

I’ve been friends and reading author Linda O. Johnston for many years and it’s a pleasure to do this Q & A with her today. Welcome Linda to Jann Says . . .

Jann: I remember reading your first novel, A Glimpse of Forever, in 1995. What is your writing process and how has it changed since then, if it has?

Linda: My process has changed a lot from what it was back then. When I started getting my novels published, I was a full-time lawyer with young kids. Back then, I would get up an hour before anyone else in the household and write for an hour, then bring printed copies to edit at lunchtime. Now, I’m a full-time writer, and my sons are grown and living elsewhere. My dogs will often tell me what to do—time to eat, time to go out—and occasionally my husband interrupts for something important, but otherwise I spend most of my day on the computer writing, editing and promoting.

Jann: If you could go back in time, is there one thing you would do differently with your writing career?

Linda: Not really. I feel as if I’ve been very fortunate. I’m still working on turning my stories into best sellers, but I’m happy with where I am, too. I’ve had more than 50 books published!

Jann: Many authors, including you, have a deep love for animals, but they don’t necessarily have them play such big roles in their books. You write in several different genres—mystery, romantic suspense, paranormal romance and romance. Throughout all of these genres, animals are a focus. Why?

Linda: I love dogs! I’m a dogaholic. A cynophilist. I didn’t always include dogs in my writing, although one of my favorite time travel romances from way back when is Once a Cavalier, where Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, the breed I particularly adore, were the avenue that allowed my heroine to travel in time back to the court of King Charles II of England, where the ancestors of today’s Cavaliers were lap dogs to the courtiers to take the fleas off them. And my own Lexie was the model for the Lexie in my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet Sitter Mysteries, my first cozy mystery series. Kendra was a lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier Lexie. At the time, I was practicing law, I live in the Hollywood Hills, and one of my Cavaliers was Lexie. Unfortunately, dogs’ lives are shorter than ours, so Lexie is no longer with us, but I still have two Cavaliers: Mystie and Cari. They always inspire me to write—and to give them treats!

Jann: Book #5 is a Barkery and Biscuits mystery, For A Good Paws, which is coming out this month. Tell us about the series, characters and story.

Linda: In my Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries, protagonist Carrie Kennersly is a veterinary technician. She bought a bakery, Icing on the Cake, from a friend who had to leave their town of Knobcone Heights, California, and Carrie turned half into a barkery, Barkery and Biscuits, where she bakes and sells healthy dog treats she developed as a vet tech. In the first book, Bite the Biscuit, Carrie became a murder suspect and had to figure out whodunit to clear herself. In the subsequent stories several of her friends also become murder suspects so she has to help them, too. Since I always include romances in my mysteries and suspense or mystery in my romances, Carrie has a romantic interest, Dr. Reed Storme, a veterinarian at the clinic where she still works part time as a vet tech. Her brother Neal lives with her in her home, and one of her closest friends is Councilwoman Billi Matlock, who owns a day spa and Mountaintop Rescue, an animal shelter. Carrie also has several assistants at her shops who are also her friends, and several other townsfolk appear a lot in her books including the head vet at the clinic, Dr. Arvus Kline, and the owners of Cuppa Joe’s, a coffee shop.

In For A Good Paws, Carrie takes notice when she hears that a local killer is being paroled. Mike Holpurn, the parolee, was convicted ten years ago of murdering Flora Shulzer, who was then mayor of Knobcone Heights. On his return from prison, Holpurn confronts Flora’s husband Henry Shulzer, whom he claims was Flora’s murderer. When Henry is found murdered, the town assumes the killer is Holpurn, but Carrie’s not so sure… and she gets involved once more in solving a murder.

It’ll be the last in the series, since the publisher, Midnight Ink, is closing. I might find another publisher or self-publish more… but I suspect I’ll go on to a new mystery series.

Jann: How do you stay motivated? What drives you to keep writing?

Linda: Writing is who I am. Even when I tell myself to take a rest, my mind still keeps churning and I take notes!

Jann: What are you dying to try next?

Linda: Another mystery series! And also a possible stand-alone story featuring dogs. My problem about doing that is a good one: time. I’m busy with deadlines, writing four new Harlequin Romantic Suspense books.

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

Linda: My mind is always at work, whether I’m awake or asleep, at the computer or anywhere else. Ideas are never the problem. I’ve plenty of them. But time to do something with them is more of an issue with me.

Jann: Thank you Linda for sharing with us today. Looking forward to the release and reading For A Good Paws!


A Few Books by Linda O. Johnston

BAD TO THE BONE

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BAD TO THE BONE
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

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COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

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FOR A GOOD PAWS

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

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HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

PICK AND CHEWS

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PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

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PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

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SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

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TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

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TRAINED TO PROTECT

UNLUCKY CHARMS

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UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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Happy New Year!

January 6, 2019 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

Happy New Year!

For a Good Paws | Linda O Johnston | A Slice of Orange

If the rest of this year is anything like the beginning, I’m in trouble!  Oh, it’s been fun, but with family things still going on and my working on writing something I still probably shouldn’t talk about much, it’s been so busy that I haven’t kept track of what day or date it is as well as I ought to.

As a result, this post–which is late thanks to my current mind set–will be short and hopefully sweet.  I’m already pondering the couple of published novels I should have available this year, and the first will be my last Barkery & Biscuits novel, the fifth in the series, called For a Good Paws, which will be published in May.  As with my Harlequin Nocturnes, the publisher, Midnight Ink, is ending.

But there’s always more to come.  I’m already working on a couple of things including the one mentioned above, and one will also be out in 2019. 

So–Happy New Year to all of you–and lots more Slices of Orange to you in 2019!


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Mayhem & Murder in May

May 13, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , , , , , ,

Mayhem & Murder | Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange

 

 

Do you read crime novels? 

 

The Crime Writers Association has declared May to be National Crime Reading Month.  They and The Crime Reading Association have a month-long list of books to read, events to attend, activities in which to participate and other goodies.  Here is the website.  The catch—looks like everything takes place in the UK.

But don’t despair if you happen not to live in the UK, here at  A Slice of Orange we have plenty of crime for you to read.


First up are the Thrillers 

from

Rebecca Foster, Maureen Klovers, and Jonathan Maberry

 

Secret Relations | Rececca Forster | A Slice of Orange Hagar's Last Dance | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of OrangeGlimpse | Jonathan Maberry | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Next Mysteries

from

Janet Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Mary Castillo and Carol L. Wright 

 

Slick Deal | Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger | A Slice of OrangeLost in the Light | Mary Castillo | A Slice of OrangeJudging a Book by Its Cover | Carol L. Wright | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cozy Mysteries

from

Linda O. Johnston, Meriam Wilhelm and Maureen Klovers

 

Pick and Chews | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of OrangeMurder by Magic | Meriam Wilhelm | A Slice of OrangeThe Secret Garden | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And if you like a little romance with your crime we have:

Romantic Suspense

from

Linda O. Johnston, Kat Martin, and Monica McCabe 

 

Second Chance Soldier | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of OrangeBeyond Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of OrangePhantom Pearl | Monica McCabe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We hope you enjoy your Mayhem & Murder in May. What crime novels are you planning to read?

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Intelligence Official to Amateur Sleuth Author—Oh My!!

January 2, 2018 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Maureen Klovers | Jann Says...| A Slice of Orange

Maureen Klovers | Jann Says... | A Slice of OrangeMaureen Klovers is the creator of the Jeanne Pelletier amateur sleuth series set in Washington, DC, and the memoir In the Shadow of the Volcano: One Ex-Intelligence Official’s Journey through the Slums, Prisons, and Leper Colonies to the Heart of Latin America.

As suggested by the title of her memoir, Maureen has served as a U.S. intelligent agent; taught in the shantytowns of Quito, Ecuador; toured a notorious Bolivian prison in the company of a German narcotrafficker; and been inspired by some of the most positive, life-affirming people on the planet–residents of a facility for those suffering from Hansen’s disease (the new name for leprosy).

More recently, she has switched to writing mysteries. Her first novel, Hagar’s Last Dance, features lawyer-turned-bellydancer Jeanne Pelletier and her zany, crime-fighting urban family and delves deep into the Washington, D.C. that tourists never see. A sequel, Graveside Reunion, is set to be released in January 2018.

Maureen is also hard at work on a garden-to-table culinary mystery series starring Rita Calabrese, an Italian-American matriarch (and excellent cook!) turned small-town crime reporter.

She loves poking around forgotten corners of DC; speaking Italian, testing recipes for Italian-American classics (which will later work their way into Rita’s cookbook!), and traveling to Italy; and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband, fun (but exhausting!) toddler, and energetic black Lab.

Jann: We’re starting out 2018 with a bang! Maureen Klovers, author of the Jeanne Pelletier amateur sleuth mystery series, is going to chat with us today.

Your character, Jeanne Pelletier, that you introduced in Hagar’s Last Dance—what can you tell us about her?

Hagar's Last Dance | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of Orange

Maureen: By day, Jeanne is a mousy temp attorney slaving away at a big Washington, D.C., law firm. But outside of work, she has a whole different persona—as a belly dancer named Zahira, and as a successful amateur sleuth. She’s assembled a fabulous crime-fighting “urban family” in D.C., consisting of her curmudgeonly ex-CIA agent neighbor; her ravishing sister, Vivienne; her commune-dwelling wild child best friend, Lily; her Scottish hacker boyfriend, Fergus; and a Salvadoran ex-con, Carlos—the only man other than Fergus that gets her pulse racing. She’s also got a third-legged rescued Golden Retriever named Scarlett!

Jeanne’s a strong, independent woman. She’s smart, caring, and funny—but not perfect the way most protagonists of mystery novels seem to be! She guzzles hot chocolate, struggles to get to work on time, and has a fear of commitment. Basically, she’s human—a little like a more intellectual and more wholesome American version of Bridget Jones.

Jann: How did the idea for an amateur sleuth mystery series originate?

Maureen: One blistering August day, when my mom and sister and I were holed up in the air conditioning and a little bored, the three of us decided to write a spy novel set in 1960s Italy and starring Sister Gilmary, a character very loosely based on my mom (who actually was a nun in the 1960s and did live in Italy—just not at the same time). We ended up having creative differences, so we never published the book together (although my mother did on her own!). However, this process jump-started my interest in writing crime fiction. But I am more interested in writing about amateur sleuths than spies! (Which is ironic, given that although I was never a spy per se, I did used to work for U.S. intelligence.)

Jann: Tell us about the plot for Graveside Reunion, the second book in the series, which will be published on January 19th?

Maureen: When Jeanne meets a wealthy conservative congressman at a Halloween party, neither is in a festive Graveside Reunion | Maureen Klovers | A Slice of Orangemood. Jeanne is cash-strapped and anxious about her upcoming high school reunion. Congressman Richardson is worried about the mental stability of his wife, a beauty queen-turned-historian who claims to be terrorized by a vindictive two-hundred-year-old ghost.

Before their dance is over, Jeanne agrees to investigate who—or what—is behind his wife’s “haunting.” But when Jeanne finds a body draped over a Confederate spy’s tomb near the Richardsons’ Georgetown mansion, she begins to suspect that the “haunting” has escalated to murder—and that her clients may be involved.

 

Jann: Are you working on book three?

Maureen: Not yet. But I have an idea that involves Carlos, the Salvadoran ex-con who forms one leg of the Jeanne-Fergus-Carlos love triangle, being arrested for a murder he claims he didn’t commit. It gives me lots of possibilities to explore Jeanne’s conflicting feelings and put her legal and investigative skills to work!

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

Maureen: I seem to gravitate to strong, not-particularly-girly female protagonists and nuanced, not-totally-evil villains. I’m really interested in local history, so setting my story in an atmospheric, historic location is important.

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

Maureen: I am working on the first novel in a new culinary cozy mystery series starring Rita Calabrese, an Italian-American matriarch turned crime reporter. It’s peopled with an eccentric cast of small-town characters and features mouthwatering recipes and a bucolic Hudson Valley setting.

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

Maureen: Absolutely! Please connect with me at http://www.maureenklovers.com On my blog, I discuss anything and everything that’s related (even, tangentially!) to my books. That means sharing my favorite mysteries; telling you about my upcoming books, author appearances, and conferences; sharing the joys and tribulations of writing; giving you insider’s tips to Washington, D.C. (where my Jeanne Pelletier mystery series is set); and feeding your inner Italophile (like the protagonist of my upcoming garden-to-table culinary mystery series, Rita Calabrese) through Italian and Italian-American recipes and tips and trivia on la bella lingua italiana, travel in Italy, and Italian culture and cuisine!

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

Maureen: Jerry, Jeanne’s lovably grumpy ex-CIA agent neighbor. He is Jeanne’s sleuthing partner, sidekick, and confidant. They communicate by banging on the paper-thin wall between their apartments, and since they both suffer from insomnia, spend many a late night drinking coffee and solving crimes. Jerry is something like a cross between her older brother and the oracle of Delphi—he manages to say some pretty profound things in his own inimitable way.

Plus, Jerry’s lines seem to write themselves! That’s a real gift for an author. He’s one of those characters I can really see with my mind’s eye.

GRAVESIDE REUNION

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GRAVESIDE REUNION

HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

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HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

IN THE SHADOW OF THE VOLCANO

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IN THE SHADOW OF THE VOLCANO

THE SECRET POISON GARDEN

Buy now!
THE SECRET POISON GARDEN

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to share a corner of your world with us Maureen. Wishing you a wonderful 2018!!


Jann Ryan | A Slice of OrangeJann Ryan grew up with the smell of orange blossoms in Orange County in sunny Southern California, where she has lived her entire life and dreamed up stories since she was a young girl. Never an avid reader, she was in her thirties when she picked up her first romance quite by accident. She fell in love with happily ever after and has been reading romances ever since.

Wanting to put pen to paper, Jann joined of Romance Writers of America®. Currently, she is working on a romantic suspense series set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town along the California central coast to fulfill her publishing dream.

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I’m Late!

February 6, 2016 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , ,

by Linda O. Johnston

 

Sorry, but I’m posting this late.  I let the beginning of February get away from me. 

And unfortunately, not only did I miss the first OCC meeting of the year, thanks to a wonderful family visit, but I won’t be at this month’s meeting either.    

Why?  Well, I’ll be in New York City that weekend at the Dog Writers Association of America’s seminar and awards event.  My first Barkery & Biscuits Mystery BITE THE BISCUIT is a finalist in the fiction category for the Maxwell Awards presented by the DWAA.  I’ve got some fierce competition, but whether or not I win I’m thrilled to be a finalist.  Plus, I look forward to meeting even more people who love to write about dogs.   

The event is on Valentine’s Day.  Guess I won’t be spending a special and romantic day with my husband this year, but he fortunately understands. 

So–will I be at the March meeting?  I certainly hope so!  I miss OCC this year.  And I have registered for RWA National in San Diego in July, so I’m sure I’ll see a lot of you there, too. 

In any event, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day–a very special holiday to all of us who write romances.
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