Wednesday, February 21, 2024

And More February

             Hi, all. It shouldn’t surprise me that this year is marching forward so fast. They all do. But we’re more than half way through February now. And I’ve been keeping busy—again, no surprise. 

            My writing? Well, I’ve sent my current manuscript to my beta reader to critique, as I said I would last week. And I’m delighted that my Harlequin editor has said she’d be glad to look at more ideas for my Shelter of Secrets series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense! I’ve got some ideas in mind, as well as other HRS possibilities that I’m working on. And mystery ideas too. And more… Yes, writing and I remain friends. 

            This evening is the meeting of the local Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. I don’t show my dogs, but I definitely love the breed and am looking forward to getting together with other Cavalier owners. It’s a dinner event in a location our pups aren’t welcome, so I don’t get to see anyone else’s Cavaliers, but the club does occasionally have fun days when our pups get to play with one another. My Cari and Roxie didn’t seem too excited about the last one, though. 

            But of course we do play with them. A lot. And they play with each other too. Always having fun—when they’re not napping.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Another Afternoon at the Movies

 I went to the movies again.  My son and Jakey have passes for the Universal Studios amusement park.  Jakey gets off school early on Wednesdays and going there for a few hours was a nice treat for Valentine's Day.  While they checked out Mario land and the playgrounds, I would go to the AMC theaters in the area of restaurants and stores adjacent to the park.  Afterwards, we would get food together.

There was a Valentine encore offering of a romantic comedy called ANYONE BUT YOU.  I had a perfect seat and arrived just as the movie was starting.  Last time I sat through probably a half an hour of previews of movies that I didn't want to see.  I mean, a little girl ballerina who turns out to be a vicious vampire?

Up until recently, I had not gone to a movie theater in years.  But now, each time I go, I think about what a nice outing it is.  The seats are amazing.  No more setting straight up or having people climb over you to get to their seat.  I was cradled in a cushy seat and felt renewed when I left the theater.

I loved the movie.  The plot was slight but it was laugh out loud funny.  The theater was pretty empty, but there were a few other laugh out louders like me. I don't passively watch movies or TV.  I usually have an running inner dialogue going on.  It's a combo of comments like how I feel about the show as it progresses, the background  and where it is filmed.  What the people are wearing.  And in the case of a romantic comedy, what the beats are.  They all share certain moments like the cute meet, the complication, the dark moment and at some point the hero or heroine is going to run after the other one. 

I even used that is KNOT DEAD, AGAIN in a slow speed sort of way, since he only has to catch up with his lady love making her exit in a golf cart.

I even do the inner commentary thing when I watch commercials.  I check out the background and the absurdity of the way they show people dancing around and having a good time in drug commercials while they quietly list horrendous side effects.

ANYONE BUT YOU was mostly filmed in Australia at a dream house where an extended family and friends had gathered for a wedding.  The food alone was amazing.  I wish the camera had stayed longer on the sumptous buffets so I could have seen what all of it was.

I was also interested to see how romance is portrayed now.  I thought the characters seemed a lot more real.  No super suave Gary Grant men, the guy in this movie wasn't so perfect. Neither was the girl.  But they also weren't ridiculously flawed either.

There's hope that there might be more movies like it.  I read an article today saying how this movie might mark the return of mid budget movies and romantic comedies. 

I sure hope so.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day!

             For someone who writes romantic suspense as well as mysteries, this is definitely a special day. It helps that I’ve been happily married for quite a while. And that I consider my kids, grandsons and pups also loves of my life. 

             I’m nearly ready to send my current manuscript to my beta reader to critique. I know it needs some work, but having someone else’s suggestions is always helpful. 

            And weather or not, things have been sort of chilly for L.A. but dry for now. Although we’re told that’s likely to change again this weekend. We’ve already had more than 10 inches of rain in our area—and yes, we have a measuring gauge.

             If you’re on Facebook, be sure to check out my home page there. I’ve posted a couple of pictures there of me and each of my two pups—as well as the cover of one of my new audio versions of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. Fun!  https://www.facebook.com/LindaOJohnston/ 

            Enjoy whatever you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

💘💘💘

Friday, February 9, 2024

Had to Write About the Rain

For the first time all week I didn't have to turn on the light when I went to my computer.  There was enough sunlight coming in the window.  There was sun everywhere turning the left over rain droplets to glittering diamond.

I didn't realize how much all the clouds and rain got me down until the sun returned and I felt all smiles.  

The rain was unrelenting, flooding part of our yard.  The rain totals were mind boggling.  Woodland Hills which is right next to us got almost 11 inches of rain. The power went out from Ventura Boulevard to a block away from us.  And late the day after it had gone out, A truck had the street blocked on Ventura Boulevard and they were working under the street.  All the stores were still dark, along with the houses..  I was so grateful not to be included.  

My flock of daffodils looked like fallen soldiers during the rain.  But as soon as jt stopped they started to straighten.  

It was a good time for writing.  I was off in my imagination writing letting the characters in the Indiana school house shop have their say.  It was always a jolt when I glanced out the window and saw the leaves on the lime tree bending with the rain.

That's not to say that we weren't out in the deluge.  A trip to Costco on Sunday led to soggy groceries and puddly footprints all over the kitchen. 

There was lots of trouble other places.  I heard there were over 300 mudslides. Houses have slide off their foundations which is why I gave the house behind us a few worried looks.  It is actually at the end of a cul de sac that loosely parallels our street. The giant fake farm house replaced a smaller house built at the top of the slope at the front of the property.  I watched as the developer  dropped piles of dirt to extend the hill back.  The backyard slopes downward toward our yard and if the hill he created wasn't stable, trouble would come our way.  To make it worse, a huge monstrosity was built next to the fake farm house.  It is up slope from them and I wondered if the farmhouse people were worried it might slide into their yard.

So far all is well, but the news people said more than once that even when the rain stops, mud can still move.  Years ago, two houses in Tarzana slid off their foundations and fell into the street.  I hope nothing like that happens again-- particularly in my backyard.