Tuesday, December 15, 2009

GUEST Blogger Linda O. Johnston

Today's guest blogger is Linda O. Johnston. I think I opened her first book because of the cover. It featured a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that reminded me of my own dog, the late, great Lollipop. I've spent a lot of time with Linda and her protagonist Kendra Ballentine since then. Linda's a busy lady, as you'll see just from reading her blog today. Please join me in welcoming Linda.

What's Mysterious about the Holiday Season?
I’m delighted to be a guest blogger here at Meritorious Mysteries. This is a fun time to come up with a topic--right in the middle of the holiday season. So, I’ll discuss me, and some of my thoughts about the holidays, and presents, and more.

I write pet related mysteries--the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries, and I’m also working on a spinoff series about Lauren Vancouver, a pet rescuer. Personally, I'm owned by two dogs --adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Lexie and Mystie. (Coincidentally, Kendra also has a Cavalier. Hers is named, again coincidentally, Lexie.)

In addition, I write paranormal romances for Silhouette Nocturne, including a mini-series about Alpha Force, a secret military unit of shapeshifters.

As a result of my pet proclivities, I wonder a lot about what animals are thinking. What, for example, will my Lexie and Mystie think this year as our relatives arrive in waves to celebrate the holidays? My delightful mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law will be traveling to be with us this week, as will our younger son who lives in San Diego. My nephew and his girlfriend, who live in L.A., will join in our festivities. Then, next week, our older son and his wife will visit us from Chicago. Since we’re empty nesters, it’s usually just my husband and me around to be servants to the dogs. What will be on the dogs’ minds with lots of other people around? More treats? More play time? More people to boss around?

And you? Do you have pets? How do they react to the holiday season and any extra folks you have visiting, for parties or family get-togethers or whatever? Is there anything mysterious about their reactions?

Then there are the other thoughts that might only come to authors this time of year, sort of like the beginning of the TV show Castle, where the protagonist points out that that there are only two kinds of folks who think about how to kill people--psychopaths and mystery writers.

I wonder at times, as I stand in the checkout line at Bed, Bath and Beyond, why that guy two people ahead of me is really buying that set of sharp knives. Or whether that rolling pin in the hands of the woman behind me will be used solely for baking projects, or also for battering... Okay, enough of that.

Better yet, I wonder how many people give books as presents. I seem to give a lot, and not just my own books. I’ve purchased books for nearly everyone in the family, based on their interests.

Do you buy books as presents for your family? If so, have you considered buying some of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries... just kidding. Sort of. But if you’re not buying Kendra books, or perhaps the Nocturne anthology Awakening the Beast, which contains a short story featuring Alpha Force, “Claws of the Lynx”--also available online as a Nocturne Bites--what books are you buying, and for whom?

I don’t want to be too specific in case my family members are reading this post, but I’ve already gotten them some biographies and books containing information on a number of topics... as well as a couple of research books I’m wrapping for my husband to give to me!

Please come visit me at my website: www.LindaOJohnston.com Also, I blog each Thursday, mostly about pets, at Killer Hobbies. My fellow bloggers there write hobby-related cozy mysteries. I’m happy to be among them, even though pets aren’t hobbies; they’re family.

Thanks for reading me here at Meritorious Mysteries! I’d love to learn your answers to the questions I’ve posted above, so please comment below.


Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Linda, great post! I love giving books as presents, in fact I buy copies of all your books for my wonderful pet-sitter--she is a huge fan. (so am I!) And I totally agree, "pets are not hobbies, they're family." I feel exactly the same way. I was rather disheartened to chat with a cat breeder in the pet food aisle of a local supermarket. He told me he keeps male cats "in cages" for the first five years of their life to "control their breeding" and then they are finally allowed to join the other "pets" in his home. Sad, really. Hate to think of these wonderful animals being locked up in solitary, just so buyers can have a "designer cat" with just the right coloring and characteristics. All my cats (8!) are rescues...

Vicki Lane said...

Oh yes, books are the best presents! I love settling in with a new book on Christmas afternoon, after dinner's been eaten and the dishes done.

And certainly the holidays provide lots of mysterious fodder -- why WAS Mommy kissing Santa Claus?

Fun post, Linda!

Msmstry said...

I'm a "wonderer" myself. Why do most of the scenes in CSI occur in dark labs and/or with tiny mag flashlights? What happened to the cuddly babies in some sitcoms after they reached the toddler stage?

And, yes! I absolutely give books as gifts. Of course, I try to match mysteries to people's interests, but I also give cookbooks, biographies, and gardening books—all purchased at independent bookstores.

Just yesterday, I took a true Christmas book to a friend who invited me to a "proper English tea." Books as gifts rock!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm delighted to hear that you and your pet-sitter enjoy Kendra's adventures, Mary. Your story about the caged cats is sad. I've been doing research on animal cruelty and shelters for my upcoming Kendra spin-off about Lauren Vancouver, pet rescuer, and although I won't be putting anything too graphic in my cozy mysteries, it's hard to hear sometimes about what people do to pets, even in the name of "helping" them. How great, though, that you rescue cats!

Mommy kissing Santa is definitely something to ponder, Vicki! And I love the picture you described of reading peacefully after all the excitement of a holiday dinner is over.

But aren't those shows more dramatic with all the darkness and mystery, MSMSTRY? And how great that you support independent bookstores that way. Books forever!

Janie Emaus said...

I always give books as presents As for pets, I spent the night at my parents' last night and their little dog, crawled under my covers and curled up against my legs. I know I was a bit warmer. And I supposed he was, too!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Love the image of the doggie snuggling with you, Janie!

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