Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Beginnings

Hello – I’m Janis Patterson, and I’m your new ‘first and third Wednesdays’ blogger. I write cozy murder mysteries as Janis Patterson, romance and horror as Janis Susan May, children’s as Janis Susan Patterson and non-fiction/scholarly as J.S.M. Patterson. Sometimes it’s fun being a crowd all by yourself!

I’ve politicked and prayed and kept my fingers crossed in the hope that I would be accepted as a regular contributor to this blog.

With perfect timing, as tomorrow is my birthday, that has come true.

Now what do I do?

My stomach starts to knot and my fingers kink in panic. What kind of unbelievable arrogance did I have that I could say anything anyone would want to hear about writing? Or mystery and murder? Or…

On the other hand, I’ve been in this wordsmithing game for more years than any sensible person would admit to. I’ve done a lot of stuff, both in writing and out in the real world. In writing, I was one of the original founders of Romance Writers of America. Served two terms as Secretary of MWA/SW. Been editor in chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups. Published I-don’t-know-how-many novels in I-don’t-know-how-many genres. And – the jewel in my career crown as far as I’m concerned – founded and edited the Newsletter (later retitled Menhedj) of the NT chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt. For the nine years of my reign (and maybe still is) it was the only monthly publication for ARCE in the world, and is a recognized scholarly publication archived in museums and universities in several countries.

So what does that have to do with murder? Nothing much, save that I’ve been tempted to commit it many times. And I have many times – but on paper only, I hasten to add. Maybe in these electronic days I should add “in pixels only” as well. Oooh, cool title – “Murder By Pixel.”

Be warned – one of my favorite hobbyhorses is ideas. To me there is nothing more annoying than having someone (usually male, middle-aged and badly dressed) sidle up to you (more often than not at a cocktail party) and say with the air of bestowing a great favor that he has a wonderful idea for a book, so why doesn’t he tell it to me so I can write it and we can split the money. Several men have learned to their cost not to say that to me when there are sharp objects within reach. Those little sword-shaped cocktail picks are surprisingly sturdy and almost lethal if correctly placed.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Anyone who can’t come up with half a dozen in half an hour (or much less) just isn’t trying. Anything can spark an idea – a cloud formation, a newscast, an antique piece of jewelry – anything. Now whether it is a useful idea or just a bit of momentary fluff is something totally different.

The most important thing (and everyone repeat after me) – an idea is not a plot. Again – an idea is not a plot. Plots take lots and lots of ideas, and you have to weave them together seamlessly.

Sorry – I’m lecturing. I do that a lot, so brace yourselves.

I am so incredibly flattered to be included in this blog – I hope it comes through, as I am the world’s worst techno-naif. I’m new. Be kind.

            Janis Patterson is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.
            Formerly an actress and singer, a talent agent and Supervisor of Accessioning for a bio-genetic DNA testing lab, Janis has also been editor-in-chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups as well as many other things, including an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist.
            Janis married for the first time when most of her contemporaries were becoming grandmothers. Her husband, also an Egyptophile, even proposed in a moonlit garden near the Pyramids of Giza. Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.


Lynn Cahoon said...

Hi Janis - Welcome from another newbie!

I love the bright and shiny's.

Earl Staggs said...

First of all, Happy Birthday, Susan! I hope you have a fantabulous day of celebration. Second, welcome to this place. You have an incredible and diverse background, and I know you'll add a new flavor to MMM.

Morgan Mandel said...

Happy Birthday, and welcome to our group. You are certainly qualified, if not for any other reason that you think a little too much like we do. We all know how to commit murder on paper.

Morgan Mandel

Geri said...

Hi Janis, Great article!

Geri Foster

jenny milchman said...

Congratulations, Janis! Happy birthday, and I know you'll add a great deal to one of my regularly traveled blogs :)

By the way, have I got an idea got an idea for you...


Kathleen Kaska said...

Hi Janis,
Happy Birthday and welcome, to a fellow Texan. You have quite a bio. It's no wonder you come up with so many great ideas. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Oh, one of my passions is Egyptology, too.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Hi Janis,
Happy Birthday and welcome from a new fellow MMM blogger.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Happy Birthday, Janis. It's great to have you join us here.

Kaye George said...

Hi Janis! I'm another new blogger who is thrilled to be here. And a fellow Texan (how many of us are there here? more than a couple). Happy to meet you. I hope you're celebrating today!

Janis Patterson said...

Thanks for all the great welcomes and kind words. I'm so glad to be here. I know Earl and a few others, but I didn't realize there were so many Texans on the list!
Tomorrow night The Husband is taking me out for a celebratory dinner and I'll raise a glass to the MMM blog!

C. M. Albrecht said...

Really nice read. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

How terrific! I have to check ut all your books!

Jane Myers Perrine

Lauren Stewart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren Stewart said...

The auto-correct feature kills me sometimes! That, and the fact I press 'publish' too quickly on blogs. I'll try again. ;)

Congrats, Janice. Now I have something to look forward to on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. :)

Linda Andrews said...

My husband is constantly giving me ideas to write about. Which lead to an eye appointement. Didn't he see the notebooks of ideas I have in my office. Congrats on your new 'job' Have you ever used Egypt as a setting for one of your stories?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Janis Patterson - I enjoyed my visit with you, the tips, the expereinces - reminded me of the first time I had someone proposition me with that "I give you this great idea and you write it for me!" Duh!
Jackie Griffey
author of The Maryvle series

Sherry Siska said...

Happy birthday! The other thing folks always say: "I've always wanted to write. I think it would be so much fun. But, I'm just so busy."

Loved your post!