Joanna Campbell Slan
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Joanna Campbell Slan Mar 17, 2008.

Killer Hobbies Blog

Would You Believe Something Else Broke?

 Just when I thought the breaking was done, there were more problems.  The hood on the outside wall over the dryer vent came loose and there was something wrong with the vent too.  Then I noticed the shower was draining right.  Andy, our plumber, has become like a part of the family now that he's been over so many times.  Half the battle with having something break is finding the right person to fix it.  Andy is great.  So, this morning as I was go over the copy edit of BUT KNOT FOR ME, Andy was busy with the dryer vent which is located right next to the room I was working in.

It's not the first time I've had to deal with construction noises while I'm writing.  I had roofers pounding over head once as I wrote parts of one the Crochet books.  Several times I had plumbers pounding the bathroom floor in Chicago as I sat with my laptop.  

It took over two hours, but the shower is clear and the dryer vent has a spiffy new outside hood and the the hose is clear.  The only thing left is for me to clean out the area around the lint screen in the machine.   The funny thing is I only use the dryer for socks and underwear.  Everything else gets hung outside, but even with such little use, the years built up a lot of lint.

Noise, interruptions, new computers-- my  watch words are just let it go and get on with it.  And when it starts to get to me, I get some exercise or eat some spicy food and my world is good again.


           Why is it that a lot of things seem to happen at once?    

          At least that’s what occurred when I received my most recent major edits for two books that will be published next year—the next in my Shelter of Secrets stories for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Guardian K-9 on Call, plus my first Alaska Untamed mystery, Bear Witness. And those occurred in addition to some other writing and editing obligations I had with deadlines, too. 

          I mentioned some of it in general in my blog post last week and otherwise, and I’ve remained busy. 

          Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve met the deadlines so far. Not always easy, especially since life tends to intrude.

           But now I’m back to near normal with usual writing and editing.  And family stuff, including taking care of my pup Cari, who does give me a lot of obligations, too—all good. 

          So, as I tend to say a lot, I’d better get back to all of those things I need to do.

Just Like the Old Days

 I usually write my blog on Thursday, but I was otherwise occupied yesterday.  We went to Disneyland for the first time in a year and a half.  Before the pandemic shut it down and ended our annual l passes,, we went there probably a couple of times a month except during the summer when it was blacked out.

They changed the name of the annual passes to different kinds of keys and changed the rules.  Now you have to have a reservation so no more last minute trips.  Also no more plastic card to show when you go in.  It's all on your phone in their app.  No more tram from the parking lot.  It's supposedly because of Covid, but I wonder if they will ever come back.  Masks aren't required outside, but are inside.

I wondered how it would feel after not being there in such a long time.  I also wondered how I would hold up with all that walking after not doing it in such a long time.  The parking lot was the same, but there was a convoluted way we had to walk to get to security and the entrance to the walkway (which used to be where the trams went) that led to the entrance of the Disneyland and California Adventure.  But once got to the where the trams would have dropped us off everything began to look the same.

Once inside the parks, it didn't feel strange at all.  It also didn't feel like it had been so long since I'd been there.  If anything it felt reassuring and normal. The temperature was in the mid seventies and just comfortable  As for the walking-- my watch keeps track and I clocked in over 7 miles and actually even didn't mind the walk back to the parking lot.  It was a bummer that the very long, steep escalator to the level we were on wasn't working and I had to walk up the escalator stairs which are harder than regular stars. But though winded, I recovered fast.

We already have reservations for the next time in a week.  

I've noticed how good it feels to be doing more things that feel regular like being able to eat at IKEA and go inside Porto's bakery instead of having to order in advance and go through a bunch of maneuvers to pick it up in the parking lot.  The masks seem normal now and I always carry a package of the disposable ones in my purse.

And now it's back to finishing the copy edit of BUT KNOT FOR ME and writing the next Writer for Hire mystery.  

I had some exciting news from my publisher that Amazon is doing some special promoting of ONE FOR THE HOOKS. 

And Still Busy

           While working on other things, I received edits back on two upcoming novels, both with quick due dates. Guess what I’m working on now! 

          And that also means I don’t have time for many other things. Plus, they’re from two different publishers who have different ways of sending near-final drafts and how they want my changes and comments. 

          Therefore, I’d better get back to them. But it’s always fun to visit Killer Hobbies. And, yes, both of these stories also have dogs.


 WRITING A WRONG  is officially out, the print version.  The e-book seems to have come out last month.  It's been kind of when it rains it pours lately.  Suddenly I had two releases at almost the same time.  It's been nice hearing from readers that they enjoyed ONE FOR THE HOOKS and ask about the next book.  For right now,  I don't have a contract for another book in the series. I'm not sure of what is going to happen.  I love the characters and don't really want to say good bye to them.

But in the meantime I'm writing the next Writer for Hire book and I working on the the copy edit for BUT KNOT FOR ME. My editor said he thinks its the best one yet. I was worried about how it was going to be working on the new computer and was sticking with my familiar laptop.  But the only place to work on the laptop was on a couch in the crossroads of my house which meant, lots of noise, people talking to me and cats coming for a visit. Add to it a visiting grandson driving remote control cars over my feet.  The challenge of the new computer seemed suddenly worth whatever obstacles I had to overcome.  

You might wonder why the coach was the only place to work on the laptop.  It has to do with arms on chairs making it so I can't type or tables being the wrong height.  

So I  started to load programs into the new computer.  I think I wrote last week about the long time it took for me to manage to download Office. My WordPerfect disc arrived though I still haven't installed it.

The big surprise was that I have gone back and forth and a bunch of different computers and changing to Windows 10 is no big deal.  I was really surprised with Word.  The last time I got a new version, I remember being freaked out by the changes and simply not able to take in all the stuff on the tool bars.  It turns out the 2019 version looks like the 2010 version with a few changes.  I did have to monkey around to get the copy edit marks to show up. But I did.  I've already gone through the first 50 pages.  I always tweak a little more. It's funny reading it now because it's all new to me and I'm reading it like a reader but with the power to make changes.  There will be a quick turn around on this book and I think it will be released  later this year.  I can't wait to see the cover they come up with. 

The new monitor is much better than the old one.  The keyboard actually works.  I'd been using a cheapie one I got at Target and never really noticed that some of the letters were a problem.  I was just used to it.  When I tried working on a manuscript, it was actually a pleasure. No frozen computer. no waiting forever to have a program open and sometimes just stop in the middle. 

It had been on my mind that my old one was on it's last legs and I so dreaded the transition, but now it's done.  Thankfully I was worried enough about the old one to have Dropbox copy everything, so I didn't lose any files or photos. And it turned out that accessing them isn't a problem either. I don't feel like I'm waiting for the shoe to drop anymore and can just relax and type.

Nice too that I can disappear into the tiny room I work in, away from the noise, people and TVS, though I still have a kitten companion who jumps in my lap.


Joanna Campbell Slan's Page

Profile Information

St. Louis MO
About Me:
Author of the Agatha-nominated Paper, Scissors, Death, the first in the Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery Series from Midnight Ink. Cut, Crop & Die, the second in the series, will be released June 2009.
I Am A:
Reader, Writer, Publisher
Books And Authors I Like:
Phil Rickman, Barry Eisler, Emilie Richards, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, JA Konrath, Nancy Pickard, Charlotte Bronte, Robert Crais, Janet Evanovich, Shirley Damsgaard, Ken Gruen, Angie Fox, Charlaine Harris, Rhonda Pollero, Glen Alam, Nora Roberts, and my favorite books are Jane Eyre and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Movies And TV Shows I Like:
The Mentalist, NCIS, 24, Bones, Dexter, The Closer, Saving Grace, the Tudors, and Lie to Me.

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Joanna Campbell Slan's Blog

Good Manners Make Good Business

Last weekend I had an experience worth sharing with anyone who wants to promote his or her book. It’s worth sharing because it’s exactly what you do NOT want to do, a perfect example of how to generate a negative impression of yourself.

I was one of the many volunteers working our Sisters in Crime booth at a local book festival. In honor of the Halloween party to launch our Make Mine Mystery book club, I was dressed as a witch. (Typecasting? Maybe! All I know is I was dressed all…


Posted on October 15, 2007 at 3:57am

How to Get a Published Author to Read Your Manuscript

Last post I covered the reasons a published author might say, "No," when you ask him or her to read your manuscript. Now I'll switch the focus to how and why a published author would agree to read your unpublished book for you.

1. You are friends. I met Emilie Richards at the Ohio River Valley Conference many years back. I had no idea she was a super-star among authors. But I did notice she was a nice person. We chatted and enjoyed each other's company. We…


Posted on September 2, 2007 at 9:36am — 1 Comment

Why A Published Author Will Decline to Read Your Unpubbed Manuscript...

We're all beginners at one time.

Therefore, we should all be ever-willing to help each other.

However, there are good reasons why an author will say, "No," if you ask him or her to read your unpublished manuscript.

1.) There's no upside. Here's what I mean. One author I know said, "Every time I read someone's manuscript they get mad about my comments. They SAY they want me to be honest, but .... It's not worth it." Yep, honesty can hurt. And ruin even good friendships.…


Posted on August 10, 2007 at 1:58am — 9 Comments

Need Help Writing Your Book, Polishing It, or Getting It Published?

Nancy Pickard and Todd Stone will be featured speakers at WritersFest 2007: Concept to Contract—How to Write and Sell Your Book from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, 2007, at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Chesterfield MO. The day long seminar is presented by the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime…


Posted on August 8, 2007 at 8:59am

How to Get Published

At this writing, I have twelve books to my credit. Nine have been published and three are under contract. Number thirteen is early awaited by my darling agent, Liz, who would be saying right now, "Joanna, finish that BEFORE you blog."

But I will temporarily ignore Liz because one of my fellow Crimespace pals asked a great question: How do you get published?

What I intend to do in this blog is share the various ways I've achieved publication, and perhaps if I'm ambitious enough,…


Posted on August 4, 2007 at 1:31am — 7 Comments

Comment Wall (19 comments)

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At 7:30am on August 23, 2009, Preetham Grandhi said…
Hi Joanna, I want to introduce you to my debut novel "A Circle of souls" which is a murder, mystery, psychological thriller and a tale of justice and hope. Do visit to read more about the book. Make sure you sign up to win an autographed copy of the book. You can also read more reviews by clicking on the More Reviews button at the website. Thanks for your time in advance.

Best regards

Preetham Grandhi

Early Endorsements for “A Circle of Souls”

Linda Fairstein, NYT Bestselling Author: "A fascinating debut - this novel takes the reader to the darkest places in the human soul, from a writer with the authenticity to lead us there. A stunning thriller and an important read."

Judge Judy Sheindlin, star of the Judge Judy Show: "The seminal work of this fine author kept me glued to my chair until the adventure was over and the mystery solved. A great read!"

Book Synopsis:

The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town s top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury s hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.

The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgment, Leia explores the clues in Naya s crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.
In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.
At 5:38pm on February 27, 2009, Jon Jordan said…
Congrats on the Agatha Nomination!
At 1:08am on April 24, 2008, Joanna Campbell Slan said…
Gosh, I was so thrilled. I figured it was an academic exercise!
At 12:30am on April 24, 2008, L.J. Sellers said…
Congratulations on the John Kremer add! He's the guru.
At 5:46am on March 10, 2008, L.J. Sellers said…
Hi again. I just discovered your blog here and I'm enjoying it very much.
At 9:02pm on March 5, 2008, Allan E. Ansorge said…
Hope things are going well for you, they have to be better than they were traveling to LIM.

At 10:08am on August 10, 2007, Krystal Waters said…
The publisher is blu Phier. They are a traditional small press but gaining momentum and wanting to increase thier level of business. We haven't got to the details yet about when the book will be released. They said, it was clean, few errors and good to publish. They also said there was something to do with marketing that they had to go over. I am not sure what he meant but I am sure it will all be dropped on my lap! Now I am just waiting for all the legalities and contracts to get through, signed and start with the marketing. They are givng me a press kit, as many gooks as I need for reviews, ten books of my own to give to my famiy and friends. They set up book signings... They basically do it all.. I just show up! I'll let you know how it goes as we progress and gets closer to the release date. I am nervous but also elated.
At 3:36am on August 10, 2007, Joanna Campbell Slan said…
I visited Ghangzhou. Loved it. Really enjoyed my time there. I still correspond with one of the young ladies I met there.
At 3:05pm on August 9, 2007, Krystal Waters said…
Hi Joanna, I have great news! My novel "A Fantastic Opportunity" has got a home now and I am getting published! Thank you for all your advice and kind words of encouragement. I didn't even need an agent. This is the first novel I have published and have written two more. It is a small publisher, however I am getting my foot in the door and gaining experience. A very reputable publisher as well!
At 5:21am on August 5, 2007, Krystal Waters said…
Hi Joanna, I think you have a wonderful idea in putting in a blog with the most frequently asked questions. I would love to talk to you about questions perhaps aren't addressed on the blog, but this would be a useful tool for all those who are wanting to break in and need advice.

I look forward to reading what you advice you can give! And I want to thank you for your friendship.


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