The Joys of Waiting

It’s almost August, 2021. That’s the month my next book is being published, although it’s available some places already.

It’s HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE, the first in my new Shelter of Secrets miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  That miniseries is a spin-off of another, also for HRS, that was called K-9 Ranch Rescue.

 And I’m delighted to have HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE published!  My last novel was published in February 2020, and that’s a long time between books for me.

It’s my 54th traditionally published novel, so most often there have been several a year. Was this gap a result of COVID? I don’t think so, unlike a lot of things that seem to be delayed these days. It just was.

 So how can you plan for a lot of traditionally published books to be published, and have several come out each year? I don’t really know!

Oh, it helps to write for more than one publisher. I’ve tended to write cozy mysteries and Harlequin romances at the same time.

And it helps also to write for different lines for the same publisher.  I’ve written for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne at the same time. However, Nocturne, their paranormal line, will no longer be published.

These days, a lot of people self-publish. I ponder that now and then, and may do it someday. But while I have good relationships with traditional publishers, I’ll probably hang out there some more.

Am I writing for anyone other than Harlequin now?  Yes. My first Alaska Untamed mystery, BEAR WITNESS, will be published next February by Crooked Lane.

Oh, and in the meantime, my next Harlequin Romantic Suspense, UNCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRET, part of the Coltons of Grave Gulch miniseries, will be a November 2021 release.

So although there’d been a bit of a gap between my last published novel and my current one, I’m delighted to say there’ll be more soon. I am working on my next Colton book in the next HRS miniseries. And I’m hoping for even more beyond that!

And you? What’s your preferred way of writing and publishing?

Either way, or both, I hope you’re highly successful!

Hot to do Everything by Linda O. Johnston

linda-o-johnston-headshot-1smallerLinda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, writes the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.  She additionally currently writes the K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense about a ranch where dogs are trained, as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne.  And yes, they all involve dogs. Her most recent release is her 46th published novel, with more to come…soon.

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I’m thrilled that I’m having four novels traditionally published this year.  I love being busy. 

But can you be too busy doing what you love?  Oh, yes!

I’m used to having deadlines, of course, with my fourth book this year to be my 50th published novel, as I mentioned before.  And I’ve always been able to negotiate deadlines that work for me.

This past week, though, was a bit nuts.  I already had a February 1 deadline for the fourth book of the year, which will be my last paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne.  I then received some detailed copy edits for my fourth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery, which will be published in May by Midnight Ink–and the revisions also had a February 1 deadline.  And in the middle of this, I had to take time out to come up with some additional title ideas for the second of my K-9 Ranch Rescue romantic suspense novels to be published this year by Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

I also had family things to do, including responding often to my dogs’ requests to go outside while I’m sitting at my computer working.  Obviously that can’t be ignored.  Neither can demands to be snuggled.  Plus, I’m taking my younger dog to her second round of obedience classes and need to practice what she learns with her.  We also had family in town whom we got together with a lot for meals and more.  And then there’s the normal stuff: sleeping, eating, shopping and more.

So how do I deal with it–and how should you, whether or not you’re a writer, handle it all?  For whoever you are, and whatever you’re doing, we all face times when there’s more to do than we hope or expect.

The answer?  Just dig in and do it!  And yes, I recognize that we all have lives in addition to our writing.   Some of us have full time jobs, young families who aren’t only pets, and other responsibilities as well. 

So… expect it.  Plan for it.  Think about it, don’t obsess–but do it.  Schedule things the best way you can, and recognize that those things may change as you go along.  You’ll adapt.  You have to.

So where am I?  Well, I sent in my title ideas and received word that they chose something similar to, but not identical with, one of my suggestions.  I finished and sent in my Barkery edit comments first, and I’m currently finishing the manuscript for my last Nocturne.  I feel pretty good about how I’d been able to work it all out, although all I had to do meant I haven’t had much time to work on two ideas I’ve had in the meantime for some additional stories.  But that’s okay.  February 2 is on its way, and then I’ll only be under a June 1 deadline for my next book. 

Soon it’ll be time for ideas to flow!

And you?  How do you do everything?





Ideas are Everywhere by Linda O. Johnston

lindaphotoLinda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, currently writes two mystery series for Midnight Ink involving dogs: the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries, and the Superstition Mysteries.  She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and also currently writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne.  Her most recent release is her 44th published novel, with more to come.


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I learned last week that my 50th novel will be published in 2018.

Oh, I knew it would be published soon, since I’m well aware of my various deadlines and have met a bunch recently.  I’m currently working on that 50th, my last Harlequin Nocturne which will be the ninth in my Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters.  But also next year two stories in my K-9 Ranch Rescue miniseries for Harlequin Romantic Suspense will be published.  I wasn’t sure when the second one would come out since the first is in March, but it’ll be an October release.  Plus, the fourth in my Barkery & Biscuits mystery series for Midnight Ink will be published in May.  Yes, I’ll have four novels out next year, ending with that 50th one.

I recognize that’s a lot of books, but they won’t be my last.  I’m under contract for another one, in 2019, and hope to add  more to that as well. 

People ask me often where I get my ideas.  My answer?  Everywhere!  And all the time, even when I’m not searching for new ideas.

The thing is, everything around you can be used as an idea for a story.  People you love; people you hate.  Stories you hear about in the media.  Stories you hear about from friends or acquaintances.  Things that happen to you in real life.  Things you wish would happen in real life.  Things you wish hadn’t happened to you in real life. They’re all fodder for fiction!

How?  Use your imagination.  Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before here, but my favorite quote is: “Reality is only for those who lack imagination.”

Now, I’ve not experienced most of what I’ve written about–hardly any of it.  My first published novels, for example, were time travel romances, and I haven’t left the world of today to research them–whatever moment that today happened to be.  Those stories were published quite a while in the past from today’s today.

The stories that in a way came closest to being part of my reality were my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries.  Kendra was a lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with her tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie.  At the time, I was a practicing lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with two Cavaliers, and the tricolor was my sweet Lexie.  But fortunately, I was never accused of an ethics violations, which Kendra was–and that made her turn to pet-sitting to earn a living.  Nor do I, or my friends and acquaintances, stumble over dead bodies.  And unfortunately, we lost our Lexie a while ago. 

But I still write mysteries, including the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries that feature a veterinary technician who bakes and sells some of the healthy treats she developed as a vet tech in one of the two bakeries she owns–one of which is a barkery for dog treats.   I have little in common with her but our love for dogs and feeding them right, but I got that idea and had to run with it.

I never met any shapeshifters, but my Alpha Force stories for Harlequin have been fun.  And I always like to include elements of both romance and suspense in all of my stories, so writing romantic suspense feels natural.  My mind is always spinning around what stories can be told about any situation.  In fact, I’ve a proposal out there involving one idea I had recently, and while I was traveling earlier this month another idea started shoving itself into my mind that evolved from a very normal travel situation.  I’ll eventually work on a proposal for that one, too.

So go with it.  Think about… whatever’s around you, whatever isn’t around you, whatever you’d like to be around you. 

It can all create ideas for a story.


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