Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Welcome Mystery Author Linda O. Johnston

The Month and Me

Yes, I know that’s probably not grammatical, but I like the alliteration. In any event, this is March... yet another M word. March is always a favorite month of mine every year. My birthday is this month. So are many relatives’ birthdays, including my older son and my younger dog. Today is the anniversary of the night my husband and I met.

And this year the month is even more special. March 1 was the debut date for BEAGLEMANIA, the first in my new Pet Rescue Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. It’s a spinoff series from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series.

Since the debut, I’ve been on a wonderful panel with a lot of mystery writers at the new Flintridge Bookstore in Flintridge, California--on March 3. I’ve also done a signing of my own at Mystery Ink, a bookstore in Huntington Beach, California, on March 5. Two pet rescue organizations brought dogs available for adoption to Mystery Ink. A friend involved in pet lifestyles brought a Toyota Venza with special dog-protection accessories to show off, and also gave away dog bowls. Best of all I had a delightful signing experience. Sadly, though, the event didn’t result in any of the dogs finding new homes.

Am I finished with March yet? Nope, this month also holds more signings: March 12 at Mysteries To Die For in Thousand Oaks, March 19 at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena--in conjunction with an adoption event by the Pasadena Humane Society--and March 26 at Bookstar in Studio City at the same time as another pet adoption event on the sidewalk outside. By the way, my name is in lights in Studio City. Bookstar is a Barnes & Noble store in a former theater, and they’ve already put my name on the theater marquee!

Plus... well, as you can tell, I’m doing guest blogs this month.

Not many of you reading this reside in Southern California, so you won’t be at my signings. You will, I hope, see why this March is an amazing array of stuff going on, thanks to my new series.

Let me tell you a bit about that series. The protagonist of my new Pet Rescue Mystery series is Lauren Vancouver. She was introduced in the eighth Kendra book, HOWL DEADLY, and she also appears in the ninth, FELINE FATALE. She is the head administrator of HotRescues, a no-kill private animal shelter in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. She doesn’t have to worry about funding, since HotRescues is under the auspices of Kendra’s new guy friend Dante DeFrancisco, who’s really rich. But she has plenty of other things to worry about. Worrying, and doing something about it, is at the heart of pet rescue. It’s also at the heart of being a protagonist in a cozy mystery series. When I tell you that, in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people... well, I’m sure you get it.

The first Pet Rescue Mystery, BEAGLEMANIA, begins with a rescue from a puppy mill. Some of Lauren’s later adventures will involve an animal hoarder and a shelter that takes in unadoptable pets.

As a result of researching the new series, I got started in pet rescue, too. Not to the extent that Lauren is involved, but I volunteer at a local animal shelter, where I’m a dog adoption counselor. I’m also the new L.A. Pet Rescue Examiner for That, in addition to my writing, will fill up most of the rest of my March.

Oh, but I can’t forget to mention that while I’m at home writing, I’m at the bark and call of my own dogs, two adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I keep telling them that they don’t know how good they have it--after I’ve seen so many dogs in shelters just waiting for the right person to take them home. As spoiled as they are, they just make their next demands. Like they’re doing this very minute, as I write this. Time for me to obey...

Come visit me at my website:
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I additionally blog weekly on on Wednesdays, where my Killer Hobby is supposed to be pets--but we all know that pets aren’t hobbies. They’re family!
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