Friday, February 25, 2011

Linda O. Johnston is in the Lair!!

Posted by Kate

I'm pleased to welcome my friend Linda O. Johnston to the Lair today! She writes the popular Pet-Sitter mystery series and is debuting her new Pet Rescue series this month with BEAGLEMANIA. Welcome, Linda!

Red Is For Hearts

I’m very impressed with and supportive of the Romance Bandits’ theme this month. What writer wouldn’t be?

Go Red for Women is the very appropriate slogan of The American Heart Association. And writers, especially those who write romance or mystery, always have hearts in mind.

Why? With romances, it’s obvious. They’re all about finding the right person and overcoming conflicts and hurdles to achieve a happily-ever-after. That means risking, and losing, one’s heart. My latest romances are paranormals for Harlequin Nocturne, a mini-series about Alpha Force, a covert military unit of shapeshifters. In each story, at least one of my protagonists loses his/her heart to a shapeshifter, which throws another hurdle between them besides the usual, but, hey, they find a way to deal with it.

Yes, happily ever after.

I also write mysteries. My first series, the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, always had cute animals helping to move the mysteries along. Well--maybe they weren’t always cute. Sometimes they were snakes and iguanas. But cuteness is in the eye of the beholder, and these animals were always someone’s beloved pet--which meant their hearts were involved.

Now, I’m writing a spinoff from the Kendra series: the Pet Rescue Mysteries, also from Berkley Prime Crime. Yes, hearts are always involved in these stories. The protagonist of the Pet Rescue Mysteries is Lauren Vancouver, a very dedicated pet rescuer introduced in the most recent Kendra books, HOWL DEADLY and FELINE FATALE. Lauren runs a private no-kill pet shelter in L.A. ’s San Fernando Valley .

The books each center around a particular pet rescue theme. In the first, BEAGLEMANIA, a March 2011 release, a lot of cute puppies and their parents are rescued from a puppy mill. The second, THE MORE THE TERRIER, which will be released in October 2011, focuses on an animal hoarder. In both, a lot of animals are endangered. That wrenches Lauren’s heart--and mine, too.

Of course, in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people! They’re cozy mysteries. People get killed--but animals get saved.

So... keep those hearts beating and caring and doing great. And keep reading, too!

Come visit me at and Friend me on Facebook, too! I’m also the L.A. Pet Rescue Examiner:

So, in case it wasn't obvious, Linda is a true animal lover! So let's talk animals. Have you ever rescued an animal? Ever brought home a rescue dog or cat? And the age-old question: are you a cat person or a dog person?

Linda's giving away a copy of FELINE FATALE, the most recent Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery, in which the protagonist of her new Pet Rescue series, Lauren Vancouver, makes her first appearance.

Romance Writers of America and the American Heart Association have partnered to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Visit Go Red for Women to learn how to fight heart disease.

Your healthy heart tip for today is: Go for One! Make one change – pick one small thing you can change about your daily diet – start buying skim milk, order the nonfat latte, skip the afternoon vending machine visit or add an extra veggie to your dinner plate.

We're giving away an AHA Go Red pin for one commenter today!

Sign up for the Go Red Better U Program and receive two free romance e-books. From Feb 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's Better U Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited edition magazine (that features this offer) on newstands and in a grocery store near you.

Go Red for Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books.


BJ said...

I'm a total DOG person....
We always get our dogs from the shelter....our last dog was a huge mutt.....mixed with god knows what.....but who cares....I loved him to death!!!!
I'm gonna have to check out your books Linda....Gosh my TBR pile is growing...LOL

BJ said...

and from the looks of it....I love the GR too!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda & Kate!

I like dogs and cats...but we don't have a fenced yard, so no dog right now. My husband found our cat, Paxil, in a dumpster in NJ a few years ago. We flew him back to CA, and I picked up Cheddar at the county shelter to keep Pax company. They hate each other, but at least they're better off than before!

Congrats on the GR, BJ!

Pink P.

Helen said...

BJ Well done he likes it at your place

HI Linda and Kate

I love animals and yes most of our pets whether dog or cat have come from the RSPCA or animal welfare league here in Australia both rescue animals and give them shelter until good homes can be found for them.
Dog or cat person I would say both but at the moment we only have a dog Brandy and she is getting on now but has a wonderful personality and we got her from The RSPCA 12 years ago and love her.

Love the sound of these books linda and the unusual pets as well I have this thing for elephants since one followed me home from school when I was 6 years old so yes cuteness is in the eye of the beholder LOL

Have Fun

June M. said...

I am just an animal person. I currently have 2 dogs and 2 cats. I adopted 1 dog from a neighbor that would not take care of her (she already lived with me so I made it offical for vet purposes & such), the other got from a friend who had inherited her from another friend.

My 2 cats, one I actually picked and the other I was picked by (she was a stray). I get alot of animals that just wonder to my house. I feed them all, so they stay, if I can not find who they belong to, I either keep them or find them a good home (by my standards, which are high).

I also have a cockatiel bird.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Linda and Kate!

Back on Fort Meade (Baltimore), we must have had a NEON sign over our house for every stray cat to find sanctuary. At one point, we had four indoor cats and one outdoor cat.

It was not feasible to bring five cats to Hawaii, so we did find homes for three. Two came with us after we worked through the "avoid the quarantine" program. Sadly, our eldest cat passed away just before New Years. We recently adopted another cat from a rescue organization on base (Hawaii is overrun with abandoned cats, feral cats, and feral chickens - yes, the Golden Rooster would be in heaven!)

So obviously we are cat people!

Donna MacMeans said...

Can we not also be a rooster person? (I suspect BJ is).

Welcome to the Lair, Linda. We always had cats and dogs in my house growing up, but only dogs since I married. Our last dog came from the shelter and she was the best dog ever. Unfortunately, she took the rainbow bridge a couple of years ago. I'm waiting for this snow and ice (yes, we can snow and ice here - stop chuckling) to disappear and I'll go to the shelter for a new companion.

Love your titles and those covers are just too darling to pass by. Heck with blurbs - I'd buy those for the covers alone.

Cath's Chatter said...

My hubby used to bring stray kittens home for me when we were dating (to score points probably)not so much now :(

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Linda!

I always used to think of myself as a dog person, but after two heart-breaking attempts to have a dog, I think I'm sort of done with trying. I think I'm more of a kid person. I have two little ones at home & that's where I have to put my energy.

But there's absolutely no denying how darn cute Beagles are, & your cover made my heart yearn for a dog. :) I'll bet the cover alone moves a few off the shelves. Looking forward to catching up with a few of your furry friends.

Minna said...

I'm a cat person.

PJ said...

Hi Linda! How did I not know you were writing these mysteries? I adore stories that feature animals!

I'm a dog person all the way. I like cats but I'm allergic to them. All of my dogs have been rescues. Currently sharing my life are two lab mixes, one that was part of a litter brought to the shelter by two college students (who thought it was cruel to spay/neuter) and one who was rescued from a kill shelter where she was scheduled to be euthanized. They are my heart and bring me joy every single day.

Anna Sugden said...

Oh wow - one of my favourite Intrigue authors is in the Lair!! Welcome Linda - great to see you.

We're cat people - all of ours are/have been rescue cats and they're all black or tuxedo because they get such a raw deal.

Love the sound of your new series - will definitely check it out.

Kate Carlisle said...

Good morning! We're all just waking up here on the West Coast so Linda should be along soon. :-)

BJ, did you you know you were a rooster person? Congratulations!

Aww, I love the sound of your "huge mutt." He must've been a great big bundle of pure love!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Pink! What a lucky cat Paxil was to be rescued from the dumpster. I'm imagining his personality from the name you gave him. :-)

And Cheddar's lucky, too, though I'm laughing at the fact that they hate each other. That's okay, they can ignore each other or sit on opposite sides of the room dripping with contempt for each other, but at least they're safe and warm and loved now.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Helen! Brandy sounds like a wonderful dog who's given you lots of love all these years.

And really? An elephant followed you home?? Wow! Helen, tell the truth, did you have peanuts in your pockets? There's a story there!

Kate Carlisle said...

Good morning, June. The animals who live near you must have a secret way of communicating to each other that a wonderful woman lives in your house. They know they'll find something to eat and a warm place to stay if they're in need. I think that's lovely. :-)

Louisa Cornell said...

And BJ is definitely a Rooster person! He knows where he is loved!

Everyone on this blog knows how near and dear to my heart animal causes and animal rescues are! And I'm with PJ, how did I not know of these books? Definitely looking for them and letting my animal loving friends know about them!

I've rescued everything from snakes and lizards to Great Danes. Many Great Dane breeders create genetically challenged dogs when they attempt to breed the perfect harlequin (black and white patterned dog.) The result is often deaf dogs and sometimes even dogs that are deaf and blind. I rescued two eight week old sisters from a breeder (they were destined to be destroyed) and while Honor was only with me for 18 months before a heart problem took her from me, I had Glory for nearly ten years. Both girls were born deaf, with ice blue eyes and because they were almost completely white they were susceptible to sun burn as well! Glory learned sign language (about a dozen or more signs) and I am convinced she could read lips too!

Glory always caused a sensation wherever she went but the sweetest moment was when a little girl saw me signing to Glory at PetSmart and dragged her Mom over to meet the "big white dog." The little girl signed these words as she was deaf. She and Glory shared some really amazing communication, but I think it made her feel less "different" to know dogs like Glory were in the world. I lost Glory to bone cancer three years ago and I miss her funny face, her joy of life and her incredible wisdom.

All of my dogs and cats are rescues and they brighten my day, keep me on my toes, and keep my feet warm when I write!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Okay, I'm late jumping in here, but I'm delighted to see so many comments!

BJ, your mutt sounds adorable. I love those big TBR piles... but hope Beaglemania is near the top!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Paxil and Cheddar sound like quite a handful, Pink P. But they're definitely lucky kitties.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'd love to hear more about that elephant story, too, Helen. It's great to hear about rescue organizations in Australia. I love visiting your country! Hugs to Brandy.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I love your attitude about animals, June. I agree with Kate--the word about your kindness must get around.

catslady said...

Oh these books are right up my alley!! My first dog was a beagle and the only animal that wasn't a rescue. We had rescue dog after that who was the sweetest thing ever. I then started rescuing cats when a mama cat showed up on my doorstep with 3 kittens. I have found homes, fixed, fed, and cared for so many I have lost count. I've had 7 inside cats at one time and 3 permanent outside cats for 15years. My biggest resuce was a 4 wk. kitten that the mother cat left on my doorstep covered in motor oil. I nursed that kitten with a babydoll bottle and he was my biggest alpha cat. Ollie was my favorite and I just lost him last year to a horrible illness and I miss him dearly. But I continue feeding strays (males seem to come and go). I couldn't be without them.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Your cattitude is wonderful, Kim. Sorry to hear about the loss of one of your kitties, but it's great that you've been able to adopt another. It must also have been hard not to be able to bring all your beloved cats along to Hawaii, but I'm sure you found great homes for those you had to leave behind. Aloha!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks for the welcome, Donna. I hope you find just the right doggy fit for your household as soon as the time is right for you. Thanks also for you comments about my covers. I've been really pleased with them, too!

Linda O. Johnston said...

That's romantic, Cath. My husband had to become friends with my dog when we were dating, which was interesting to observe--two males trying to be alpha of the pack!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm an empty nester now, Susan, so dogs rule at my house, but kids were tops when they were still around. Sorry your having dogs didn't work out, but maybe someday. Thanks for your comments about Beaglemania's cover!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks for chiming in, Minna. Meow!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hi, PJ. Now that you know about my books, I hope you read and enjoy them! I love hearing about your rescues. Hugs to both your lucky pups.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Anna! I've heard it's harder to find homes for black dogs but didn't realize that applied to cats, too. I think black cats crossing my path brings me good luck!

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a wonderful story about Glory, Louisa, but how bittersweet. It's sad to hear how people harm animals for reasons that may make sense to them but are terrible for the pets. You've rescued snakes and lizards, too? How cute!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Obviously word got out about your rescues, Catslady, if mama cat knew to leave her motor-oil covered kitten on your doorstep. How great that you can help so many kitties!

PJ said...

Thanks, Anna! I've heard it's harder to find homes for black dogs but didn't realize that applied to cats, too.

That's true, Linda. At our local shelter, the black dogs are always the last to find homes. Btw, both of my babies are black and you'll never find sweeter, more gentle dogs anywhere!

Anna Sugden said...

Oh yes, Linda - it's very hard. A lot of superstitious nonsense.

They also have to ban adoptions for the month of October to prevent harm being done in the period up to Hallowe'en. We almost weren't allowed to adopt our younger cat, CC, for that reason - she's black with amber eyes.

Louisa Cornell said...

Yes, Linda, at one time I had a house full of previously abused, neglected and discarded reptiles. The last of my snakes, a 13 foot python named Big Mama, passed away a number of years ago. I owned her for nearly 20 years and she weighed in at 100 lbs when she died. My brothers were heartbroken when I buried her rather than let them have her for boots!

I also had a six foot iguana named Sigmund Freud. (His favorite spot was the back of the couch.)

After Big Mama I started directing inquiries about unwanted and abused reptiles to a number of good rescues I know as they are extremely high maintenance and I spend most of my spare time writing.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Wow, PJ and Anna. People can be nutty. But if everyone were sane and kind, there wouldn't be so many animals needing to be rescued.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Glad to hear there are rescue organizations for reptiles, Louisa. They need love and attention like any other pet--although some of them might not know it!

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome, Linda! Congratulations on your new series!

I'm terribly allergic to cats so no cats for us *g* I've adopted several dogs from the shelter over the years although right now we don't have any pets. We're hoping to get a dog this spring AFTER all the snow here has melted :-)

Pat Cochran said...

Our late and much-loved kitty
fellow, Gerald, and his litter-
mates were born in a pom-pom
box in the Band Hall on the
University of Houston campus.
My rascally son & daughter, who
were among the students feeding
the mother, brought him home
after practice one evening. He
resided in our home for about 10
years, even after the rascals had
moved away. That's our family's
rescue story.

Pat Cochran

Christina Brooke said...

Hi Kate! Hi Linda! I love those book titles. What fun!

I am definitely more of a dog person but I like cats, too. There is a neighborhood cat that visits us. It's like having a cat but without the responsibility. Perfect!

Kate Carlisle said...

Sorry to duck out for a few hours but I had to go to the dentist. Ugh! And the novocaine is making my face all crooked. I don't need that! LOL

I'm loving all the rescue stories. We clearly have the most wonderful people here in the Lair!

Smoov, isn't Linda's BEAGLEMANIA cover adorable? I love all those beagles helping each other escape!

Louisa, your story of Glory and that little deaf girl touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. :-)

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks, Beth. Good idea about the snow. It's easier to housebreak if a pup isn't reluctant to go outside!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome back, Kate. Sorry to hear the reason why you were away for a while. May your face return to its lovely self fast!

Love the image of the kittens in the pom-pom box, Pat. Makes for a very cheery rescue story!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hi, Christina. Thanks! I can always tell when the cat who lives behind us and often walks on her owner's roof has been in our yard. Our dogs' noses are even more active than usual!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Linda! and welcome to the Lair.

I LOVE the cover for Beaglemania! Two of my dearest friends own beagles, and yes I quickly forwarded the annoucement that they should look for this book when it came out. Both have great Beagle stories to tell...One about Tank and a party is great fun...but not mine to tell. Dang it!

Oh and I'm a dog person. (That whole cat allergy gets in my way with the feline crowd!) Our dog is a mixed breed. Boxer and black lab. He was sort of a rescue story.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Rocky-the-wonder-dog's story is rather romantic.

His mama was a stray, down-on-her-luck, wrong side of the tracks kinda gal. She was taken in, starving and craving attention, by my friend. Low and behold, our darling heroine had a brief, out-of-wedlock affair with the purebred, right-side-of-the-tracks, registered Boxer around the corner.

Of course the well-to-do purebred daddy didn't have anything to do with our poor heroine after he used her for his own pleasure. And as all such stories go, she found herself

Now my friend kept her and helped her through her pregancy. 11 puppies later, my friend had a problem. She couldn't give them to some of her neighbors, (living in a less than perfect suburb), as she didn't trust her neighbors to care for the pups...what with dog fighting rings and such in the area. So she offered them to her coworkers first.

My son and I had wanted a dog for so long, so the price was right...FREE. We were the first ones there and Rocky was the only one not asleep after his nap. He was chasing butterflies in the back yard. Yep, that's the one we wanted.

He's been with us for over 11 years now!

Isn't that a grand HEA?

Anonymous said...

We have not had a pet in years but when we did 2 of the 3 were a type of rescue. They had been abanded near the home we were living in at the time. Teh last was a golden retriever and she took right away to our daughter. Unfortunately we were not able to pay the vet bills to take care of her mange but we took her to the humane society and since she was a golden they would and did take care of the mange then we saw they advertised her in the paper.

Our daughter has also had 3 cats that one had left it's owner and choice Jennifer to live with and 2 kittens that the vet had had left with him.

We don't have room in our life anymore fora pet but if we did we would get a rescue pet.

Linda, I have not read any of your books (yet) but am putting your cozies on my tbr list. AS cozies are all that I read.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

OH...and guess what Bandits? Today, went to the docs and all the staff, docs included, were wearing red shirts in honor of AHA GO RED FOR WOMEN month! How cool is that? Wish I'd known, I would've handed out the last of my Bandit bookmarks to them.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Thanks for the welcome and for passing along the info about Beaglemania, Suzanne. Sounds as if you're holding back on some great rescue stories--but the most important thing is that the beagles and your wonderful pup were rescued!

Linda O. Johnston said...

It's great that you and your daughter participated in some wonderful rescues, Nancy. I hope you enjoy my stories!

Barbara E. said...

I have rescued animals - I used to volunteer and serve on the board of an animal rescue and shelter before I moved out of the state. I adopted two cats from the shelter to add to the cat I brought home from a friend's backyard. I'm definitely a cat person, but I love dogs too. I had three granddogs at one time and a dog nephew and niece that I adored.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I regularly blog on Killer Hobbies, Barbara E., but I always say that pets aren't hobbies, they're family--and your description of your family proves it!

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