Linda O. Johnston enjoys writing, romance, puzzles, and dogs.
A former lawyer, Linda is now a full-time writer and has published 52 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels. More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest release is Colton First Responder for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
She has also written several mystery series including. The Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter Mysteries, which was a spin-off of the Pet Rescue Mysteries and The Superstition Mysteries. Pets, especially dogs, frequently show up in Linda’s novels
She is currently writing a lot of books for Harlequin. Three new Harlequin Romantic Suspense books will soon be released. The first up is Her Undercover Refuge in July 2021.
Larry Deibert has written fourteen books: Combat Boots dainty feet-Finding Love In Vietnam, The Christmas City Vampire, The Other Side Of The Ridge-Gettysburg, June 27th, 2013 to July 2nd, 1863, Family, Fathoms, From Darkness To Light, The Life Of Riley, Santa’s Day Jobs, Werewolves In The Christmas City, The Christmas City Angel, Witches Werewolves And Walter, The Other Side Of The Ridge, New York 1930, The Other Side Of The Ridge, New York City, September 10th and 11th, 2001, and A Christmas City Christmas, all published by Kindle Direct Publishing https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/
He is a Vietnam veteran and is the past president of the Lehigh Northampton Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Macungie, Pa. Larry retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2008 after working as a letter carrier for over 21 years. He and his wife, Peggy, live in Hellertown, Pa., where he enjoys reading and writing.
Larry’s website is, www.larryldeibert.com.
You can contact Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Signed copies may be purchased directly from the author.
We’re here today with Author Larry L. Deibert to talk about his Time Travel Trilogy, so let’s get started.
Jann: What is the premise of your Time Travel Trilogy, The Other Side Of The Ridge?
Larry: Initially I was only going to write one novella with the premise of a black man being captured by Confederates in 1863, but when I finished the book, I thought I had to have him move on and hopefully someday return to 2013.
Jann: Did you encounter any unique challenges when writing this Trilogy?
Larry: Yes, a writer friend of mine told me that I could not use two methods of time travel in the same story because it was against the rules. Time travel offers a great many challenges, and I had to do more research than usual to make sure I had things right.
Jann: Your main character, Dan Rodin, has some great adventures throughout this Series. What challenges does he have to overcome? Who is Dan Rodin?
Larry: Dan Rodin is a black retired Brigadier General in the United States Army and he is a Vietnam veteran. He has to adapt to the time periods he is sent to and in the first novella, he has to endure the taunts, physically and verbally about the color of his skin. He has to do his best to not make any changes to the historical time-line.
Jann: What has been the most rewarding part of having written this Trilogy?
Larry: I think being able to guide characters from 2013 to 1863 and then 1930 and 2001, and finally back to 2013 was extremely rewarding. I learned a lot about these times in the past and how 21st century characters could live and work in different eras.
Jann: Is Time Travel your favorite genre?
Larry: One of my favorites, along with horror and paranormal. Those genres just open up so many ideas and ways to scare my readers.
Jann:. What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?
Larry: I’m getting ready to publish my third book in the trilogy, The Other Side Of The Ridge, New York City, September 10th and 11th, 2001. I finally got a copy of Requiem For A Vampire from my daughter, not having been able to find the manuscript disc. Now I have the challenge of looking at the book as I retype the novel. I wrote it 21 years ago and I was never completely happy with the characters and the story. I also am working on many short stories, both old and new and I want to put them all in a book someday.
Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?
Larry: In every book I always try to include a Vietnam veteran and my late dog, Riley. I served in Vietnam and I loved my dog to death, and obviously beyond.
Jann: Do you have any writing rituals? Schedule?
Larry: No, since I don’t earn a living writing, I just write when the mood strikes me.
Jann: What Kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?
Larry: I would have to say I am a burst writer.
Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?
Larry: Not really. When I was writing Requiem For A Vampire, my family and I were in old town Williamsburg, Va. I happened to see a young woman who resembled my vampire. I took her picture and hung it on the wall above my computer.
Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received.? What’s the worst?
Larry: Keep writing; Quit writing.
Jann: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?
Larry: Yes, I think many writers go through that from time to time. When I get it really bad, like I did with writing my novel, Family, I just go to something else, but I still think about where I am stuck until I get an idea. It took almost 5 years to finish Family. I have been working on a murder mystery for over two years, having been stuck for at least a year. I think I need to reread what I have written so far and maybe something will come to me.
Jann: How do you stay motivated? What drives you to keep writing?
Larry: Sometimes I don’t think I’m really motivated, but my drive is when I get a story idea, I need to see it through to conclusion.
Jann: What are you dying to try next?
Larry: I’m very excited about working on my short stories and rewriting Requiem. I have submitted a story to my writer’s group for the annual anthology and I am hoping to see it published. I have never been in an anthology before. I also want to write book 2 of Combat Boots dainty feet-Finding Love in Vietnam. Originally it was titled 95 Bravo and it is a story about the Military Police. Book 2 will focus on the 716th MP Battalion and how they helped save Saigon during the Tet Offensive in 1968. I’ve been working on it on and off for about five or six years.
Jann: What’s the best thing about being an author?
Larry: Taking an idea and creating characters and settings in which to have that idea grow into a believable story. Greeting readers at various book signings and having them share their thoughts about my books. Selling books to virtual strangers is also pretty cool.
Jann: Thank you so much Larry for spending this time with us and sharing your life as a writer.
I’m excited to say that this November is the month for release of my latest Harlequin Romantic Suspense book. I love them all, of course, but this one has a special twist to it.
It’s my first in the long-running Colton series for HRS.
What’s that? Well, the Colton family has been around for many years as part of HRS. It’s large and has branches all over the country, and it seems that many of its members get involved as either heroes or heroines of romantic suspense stories, usually one a month.
My book is Colton 911: Caught in the Crossfire. In it, the hero, Casey Colton, is the family member. He’s also a Deputy Sheriff in Sur County, Arizona, the story’s setting. Casey is told to go help find some cattle rustlers who have stolen some very valuable black angus cows from the town selectman.
And who’s going to help him? The story’s heroine, Melody Hayworth, a ranch hand who works on the ranch from which the cattle were stolen.
You can guess how the two of them have to get along together during many days—and nights—alone on the cattle’s trail. And… well, it is a romance, after all, despite there being suspense in the story. They need to stay careful and professional and… well, help to take care of each other.
I’m also particularly excited this month to be the Author of the Month on A Slice of Orange.
Gee, this November is one fun month!
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.
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!
When the phone rang at 4:44 my husband answered. I sat up in bed and waited. Whatever news was to come, it wouldn’t be good. Tucker, my son’s dog, had died.
Ten years ago at Christmas time, against my advice, he got his then girlfriend a dog. The lady in question was not a homebody like my son, and I didn’t think she would like the responsibility of a dog. Still, poor as he was, my son wanted to get her this gift. Somehow he hooked up with a man in an alley who handed him a dog. He in turn proudly handed the pup to his girlfriend.
A few weeks later, the girl was gone and the dog was back. I advised my son to give him away. He couldn’t afford another mouth to feed. What if the dog got sick? What would the little thing do all day in a studio apartment while my son looked for work? Thankfully, my wise counsel fell on deaf ears, and Tucker became part of our family.
That dog grew from a terrified little mutt to a self-confident, joyful, loving pet. It took a year of patience and love for my son to convince Tucker that no one would beat him, no one would abandon him, and everyone would love him.
Tucker was polite. He waited patiently for everything – a walk, a treat, a cuddle – and showed gratitude for small kindnesses in a million little ways. Never a crotch-sniffer he spent weeks attacking mine, befuddling us all with this new behavior. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer a few weeks later and once I was operated on, he never did it again. I think that was a Tucker miracle.
He slept at my feet while I wrote, was underfoot when I cooked, followed me everywhere until my son came into the room. Then it was clear that Tucker’s heart belonged to him. The love between this rescue dog and this young man was glorious, and gentle, and kind, and loving, and caring. They were friends. They had each other’s backs.
If you think about it, all of us who write are striving to tell a Tucker story. In his little life there was drama and character building, joy and pain, courage and excitement, goals to be met, laughter to be shared and tears to be shed. If we as authors could weave a story one tenth as full as this dog’s life, our books would never be forgotten. So tomorrow when I sit down to work, I will remind myself to write a Tucker story even though I might shed a few tears along the way.
Wedding Dreams . . . and Christmas FiendsMore info →