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
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
with an assortment of rescued furbabies.