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The Sirens of Suspense




Linda O. Johnston is the author of more than 15 romance novels, including paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her paranormal romances include Silhouette Nocturnes and a Nocturne Bites. She is also the author of the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series.

Linda'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. Armed with an undergraduate degree in journalism with an advertising emphasis from Pennsylvania State University, Linda began her versatile writing career running a small newspaper, then working in advertising and public relations, and later obtaining her JD degree from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh. In addition to her writing, she continues to practice law.

Linda is a member of the Los Angeles chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime and is actively involved with Romance Writers of America, participating in the Los Angeles and Orange County chapters.

The protagonist of Linda's mysteries, Kendra Ballantyne, is a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood hills with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lexie. Coincidentally, Linda is also a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood hills with her husband and Cavalier named Lexie, plus Lexie's younger Cavalier friend, Mystie. Linda has not, however, had her law license suspended or turned to pet-sitting, nor has she discovered any murdered clients.

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As a full-time writer these days, I spend a lot of time writing and editing since I'm currently writing two mystery series as well as stories for two Harlequin romance series. But I nevertheless take time out for writing conferences.

Last week, I attended the very first Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in Suffolk, Virginia. It was held jointly by the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, the Suffolk Public Library and the Suffolk Division of Tourism, and it was great fun! There were about a dozen mystery authors, primarily, but not all, writers of cozies. We got to meet local readers, sign books, read from our books, and participate in a delightful panel. Plus, those who were able to get there on time were even treated to a ghost tour of Suffolk! Unfortunately, that did not include me, but maybe next year.

The very next weekend I attended Bouchercon. Bouchercon is a wonderful, huge annual world mystery conference that celebrates mystery and crime fiction, with both authors and readers, as well as other industry professionals, in attendance. It was in Long Beach, California, this year, which was more in my backyard since I live in L.A. In fact, I took the Metro there a couple of the days, but my early morning panel on Must Love Dogs and Cats--pets in mysteries--made me decide to stay nearby one night. This conference was definitely fun, too!

Earlier this year I attended Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland--a celebration of cozy mysteries by both authors and fans.

I also attended the Romance Writer of America National Conference in July, held this year in San Antonio, Texas.

Plus, I'm already planning to attend several conferences in 2015. One is California Dreamin', to be held by the four Southern California chapters of Romance Writers of America. Then there's Malice Domestic--again. And maybe RWA National--again. It'll be in New York City next year. More? Maybe.

Why do this? Well, why not?

Why not meet fans and new readers in person? I admit I have a lot of fun also meeting them on Facebook and blogs and other social media, but actually seeing them and talking to them is even better.

Why not get together with other writers? It's always fun to talk about our respective careers and where they're going and where we each see new opportunities arising--and it's just fun to talk, especially since, as writers, our lives are often fairly solitary.

Why not have the opportunity to chat with industry professionals, such as our editors and agents--and, again, see them in person?

Yes, there are drawbacks, mostly including the expenditure of time and money. I wish I could do them all, but even I have limits.

Even so, I enjoyed those I've attended and look forward to those coming up.

How about you--do you attend conferences, especially those relating to writing or reading? If so, which ones, and which have you enjoyed the most?




WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CONFERENCES? Tell us by commenting on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a a copy of LOST UNDER A LADDER! (U.S. entrants only, please.)



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