RO: About a year and a half ago I met a cute, energetic woman at Malice Domestic, that's a mystery writer's conference for those of you who may not know it. Like me, she was a new writer. Unlike me, she revealed herself to be a very crafty gal. Not just smarts - although she could give workshops on marketing and book promotion and probably has - real crafts. Particularly scrapbooking. Now I confess I had never given scrapbooking much thought. It was the section in Michael's that I passed on my way to the baking stuff..or the floral arranging items. Then I had a chance to see one of Joanna's scrapbooks. It was a work of art! Seriously..who knew? The details, design and talent involved were mindboggling. (What did I know? I thought people stuck pictures in a book and maybe added a few ticket stubs.) Anyway, I'm proud to call this funny, crafty gal a new friend.
Meet Joanna Campbell Slan...and a couple of her four-legged friends.
It’s No Mystery—We Love Dogs!by Joanna Campbell Slan
Weekend before last, Rosemary and I attended Love Is Murder, a grand mystery lovers’ conference held in Chicago. I’d like to tell you that the fans were throwing themselves at Rosemary and me, but that’s not completely true. See, it’s more accurate to say they were throwing themselves in our general direction because--we were standing in front of Rosemary’s dog, Max.
Never fails. I shave my legs, put on panty hose and makeup, for what? To get upstaged by a dog. Sigh.
But hey, who could resist? Max sure is a cute dog. I was right there at the front of the crowd trying to give him some loving. (He’s a sweet pooch, and he accepted the attention and affection with admirable calm. Rosemary, is there a photo of him here on your blog somewhere? Could you point us to it? Hmm?)
I was at the head of the “I want to pat that dog” group because I was jonesing and missing my pets. I love dogs—and cats! If I could cope with the drama and the mess—and if my husband wouldn’t kill me--I’d have more than just the two pooches we own, Rafferty and Victoria. My hubby is a great guy, and a smart one, too, so he’s set a limit on our pet ownership. “Don’t even THINK about it,” he’ll say when he sees “pet lust” sparkle in my eyes. I can’t really blame him. He knows that I once owned thirteen Great Danes and that was just…NUTS. I had a revolving account at the vet’s office, I bought a twenty-pound bag of Purina almost daily, and I spent most of my waking hours cleaning up messes. Back then, the bulk of fiber in my diet was dog hair, and all my sweaters looked like they were mohair. Which they were. Mo’ hair than yarn.
I was also single. (Guess why? Hmmm? Could it have been the roaming pack of big dogs that surrounded little old me? Uh, maybe!)
Since I can’t have more dogs in real life, since I’m incredibly allergic to cats (I wondered why my nose ran for years!), I have resorted to virtual pet ownership. While writing Paper, Scissors, Death, I decided my protagonist Kiki Lowenstein would adopt Gracie, a rescued harlequin Great Dane with uncropped ears. You can imagine how shocked I was to discover that one of the women who works in my vet’s office owns “Orion,” a rescued female Great Dane who looks exactly like Kiki’s imaginary pet!
I used to tell school kids that the best part of being an author was the dress code. You can roll out of bed and head to work wearing your pajamas, and you have to admit, that’s pretty neat. But lately I’ve been re-thinking the benefits of this job. Maybe the BEST part of being an author is that you can have all the pets you want. And never have to clean up any messes. How cool is that?
Cut, Crop & Die, the second book by Joanna Campbell Slan in the Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft series will be out this June.
The first book—Paper, Scissors, Death—is available through all major booksellers. ***********