Well, here we are in beautiful Florida. Again. The Husband and I came down to St Pete Beach about two weeks ago to attend the Novelists Inc. conference – the best conference for working professional writers in the world – and enjoyed it thoroughly. More information about that in a later post. Then it was home for a week and back, this time to Pensacola. One of The Husband’s long-time friends (an admiral, no less!) is retiring from the Navy with all proper pomp and circumstance and he wanted The Husband to attend the ceremony.
Yes, I know about the weather. All along the East Coast the roads are clogged with people evacuating from Matthew’s wrath, and here we go directly toward it. However… we are in Pensacola, on the Gulf, and as far west as you can get and still be in Florida. The weather has been wonderful – perhaps a little more cloudy and breezy than normal, but comfortable and beautiful with no sense of impending bad weather.
Tomorrow night there is a beach barbecue, and on Saturday the retirement ceremony itself, to be held in the Atrium of the National Naval Aviation Museum. We went by there this afternoon just for a quick check-out … and ended up staying almost six hours.
You’ve seen a flock of birds take off when startled and the whole sky is filled with birds? Imagine that with airplanes – big airplanes, little airplanes, helicopters, old airplanes – and you have this museum. There are planes on the floor. There are planes hanging from the ceilings, including four Blue Angel jets over the Atrium, parts of planes here and there… and no ropes! Anything you can reach, you can touch.
There is such a wealth of planes there you don’t know what you want to see first. Like the only plane known to survive both the Pearl Harbor attack and the Battle of Midway. The first (and maybe only) Japanese Zero fighter captured by the US.
The Stearman bi-plane trainer flown by George H W Bush when he was the youngest fighter pilot in the US forces. Space vehicles. The only remaining NC plane.
This is the plane – NC4 – that especially captured my imagination. Coming available at the very end of World War One, there were four of these behemoths – 1, 2, 3 and 4. A huge and very strange looking seaplane, the NC4 has a top wingspan of 126 feet. That is 6 feet longer than the entire original flight of the Wright Brothers just about a decade before.
Wanting to use this spectacular technology, in 1919 the powers that be decided to fly the NCs across the ocean. It had never been done. They had no radar, no way of navigation, so it was decided that they would fly at night. During the day they’d land – on the ocean itself if no land were available. The Navy stationed ships every fifty miles or so across the ocean; they would light up with flares or similar, giving the planes something to follow. The trip took 19 days, and only one plane – the NC4 – actually completed the trip across the ocean. Thankfully though three planes were lost, all the crew were saved. If I put this in a novel people would say it was unbelievable, but this really was the first trans-Atlantic flight.
Lindberg, you say? His flight was 8 years later, and it was the first solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic, but he couldn’t have done it had not the brave crews of the NC planes done it in 1919. And I saw the actual NC4 plane that was the first to fly the Atlantic. Amazing!
If you ever get to Pensacola, do go to the Naval Aviation Museum. There’s more there than I’ve space to mention. It’s a wonderful place.
This has been the most entertaining weekend ! The Husband is a mineral collector, and our house is full of mineral specimens, neatly mounted on plexiglass cubes in lighted cases. While I like and admire his collection, I prefer my mineral specimens faceted and mounted in precious metals for wearing, but that’s another story…
We don’t have a large or grand collection, but like what we have and appreciate the collections of others, some of which are simply spectacular.
It’s hot here – blisteringly, uncomfortably hot. Of course, it usually is this time every year (it is summer, after all!) but as we had a lovely cool spring it just seems hotter. I vote that Willis Carrier, the man who invented air conditioning, be immediately voted a saint! Needless to say, I’m not going to stick my nose out unless absolutely necessary for the next few months.
At least, not unless there is something neat going on.
Janis is speaking at Dallas MWASW group
Self-Publishing: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Self-publishing can be very freeing and lucrative for some, but it isn’t for everyone. Janis Patterson learned how to self-publish the hard way and is happy to share what she knows.
Explore the ins and outs of publishing your own books. Learn about formats, ISBNs, covers, and all the details of being your own publisher. Find out the differences between doing it yourself and hiring a book packager. Get an idea of the costs involved. Maybe most importantly, learn what not to do.
Seldom in my writing career has so much wonderful stuff happened at once!
By the time you read this, I will have finished my Janis Susan May East Texas-set gothic for the A World of Gothic novella serial anthology. The title is still in flux, but I promise to tell you as soon as it’s finalized.
Now for the jaw-dropping stuff –
I’m working feverishly to finish my as-yet-untitled gothic novella – set in East Texas, of all places – for the serial anthology called A World of Gothic. We’re a bunch of authors who love gothics, so we all got together and are releasing a novella a month. Have no idea how long it will last, but the first two are already out there and mine is scheduled for release in July. Also, have some really exciting news – about something I’ve never done before – but can’t release it yet. Will tell you as soon as I can!
Whew! The last two weeks have been dizzying!
First, The Husband and I went to Las Vegas. We had won a trip there (three nights in a casino hotel, tickets to a show, a tour, some gambling money and a couple of free drinks) and it had reached the point of ‘use it or lose it.’ So we went. I know it seems silly for two people who don’t gamble and who drink sparingly to go to Las Vegas, but we had a blast. Our hotel was on the Fremont Experience (the downtown outdoor ‘mall’ that used to be Fremont Street) and we had more fun walking it – everything you can think of you can see along the Fremont Experience! We did gamble a little (we’re devils on the penny slots!) and over the entire trip lost a total of about $10 – not a bad entertainment charge for a couple of days. We did have a margarita at one of the outdoor bars, as well as a glass of wine in front of the room-sized fish tank at the Golden Nugget bar.
Omg… awesome, brilliant… i could go on…
The way Ms Janis describes the police etc and ahhh ill ruin it if i dont shut up. Please tell her it is brilliant.. the descriptions are rigdy didge!!
I was laughing.. but i dont want to say at what..
Mia – from Australia but lives in Egypt
I was recently asked to contribute Marilyn Meredith’s blog here is the article for my readers.
For far too many writers the word ‘research’ brings up unpleasant images of slaving away in dusty library stacks taking notes or endless hours at the computer tracing down esoteric and difficult to find sites. Some love both, but most don’t. Far too many novelists don’t like research at all, which is a pity, both for the reader and for the writer.
Research can bring new knowledge, new friends and some fantastic adventures. When I was doing THE EGYPTIAN FILE (written by my Janis Susan May persona) I needed some exact information about a graffito in a tomb at the necropolis of El Kab. I had been there some years earlier (which is how I found out about the graffito) but could not remember in which tomb it had been.
One year ago this month – almost to the day – The Husband and I left for Egypt, where we had been invited to stay at an archaeological dig house to research a new mystery. Civilians are never invited to stay at dig houses, and our host – a dear friend – had to work his way through three layers of Egyptian bureaucracy to get us permissions. As far as I am concerned, all the work involved was worth it.
This Is It!
I’m proud to announce the official release day for A KILLING AT EL KAB is March 20th. I’ve just ordered the proofs for the print edition and will put the electronic version for pre-sale on Amazon just as soon as I can. And figure out how to do it… Anyway, the pre-sale price for the ebook will be a bargain at $2.99! On release day it will go up to $4.99, which is still a bargain.
My wonderful webmistress (and conscience) Jane Akshar has been telling me I need to update my letter to you all – and I do. It’s been too long. My bad. However, I do have reasons – first of all, I have two books coming out in March. That’s always a reason for rejoicing. I also have a book due in March. While it’s great fun (more later) I’m behind on my schedule, so not so much rejoicing.
Hello from the vaccuum – I haven’t disappeared, it’s just that we are entering the beginning of our second month of having no internet at home, which means that any internet usage (except for some rudimentary email on my phone) means I must go out to an internet cafe. Sigh. Haven’t forgotten any of you, and miss interacting with you, but there’s so much to do and work unfortunately must come first. I’m already spending so much time at the cafe there are people who think I work here… Anyway, must run – just wanted to touch base while I could.
…always a good story!
…committing crime with style!
It’s been much too long since I wrote here, but believe me, life has been busy!
We spent almost all of September away. The first weekend we went up to Boston – and although the leaf color hadn’t started yet, it was still beautiful. New England is lovely, but it always makes me feel somewhat claustrophobic, as does most of the East Coast. I’m a Texican – I like space!
The recent ARCE newsletter carries an interview with Janis and a preview of her latest book. “Publishing simultaneously under four pseudonyms, the author shares her deep passion for Egypt and writing and then reveals the genesis of her current project, A Killing at El Kab. Read about her stay in the dig house of 19th century English architect and Egyptologist, Somers Clarke, where the story is set. Says May, “Our trip to the dig house was spectacular, the stuff of dreams. The house itself is a fantastic, romantic, domed dream of a place.”……………….
Oh, what an exciting two weeks we have had! The Husband and I drove to Denver, where we went to the Historical Novel Society international conference. This was the first of these conferences we had attended, and this one was special. On Saturday, June 27 I was privileged to be part of a panel on Egyptology and Elizabeth Peters. This was especially exciting, as Barbara (Mertz, Elizabeth Peters’ real name) had been a friend. Fellow panel members Bill Cherf, Libbie Hawker, Lindsey Davis and I each talked about a different facet – Bill about her early life and schooling, I about her life as a writer, Libbie about how her Amelia Peabody series had affected Egyptian-set fiction, and Lindsey about researching a novel in Egypt. It went smoothly and was very well received.
Catch this great interview
- mysteries as Janis Patterson
- romances and other things as Janis Susan May
- children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson
- scholarly works as J.S.M. Patterson.
Why do you use two names for your books, Janis Susan May and Janis Patterson, why not keep to one name?
Sometimes I wonder that, too! Actually, it’s a matter of branding. I started writing many years ago and Janis Susan May was my real name, so I used it. At the time I wrote only romance – and incidentally am one of the original 40 or so women who began Romance Writers of America. As time passed I branched out from writing romances and wrote a couple of short horror novels, also under the Janis Susan May name. It didn’t bother me, because romance and horror are such different genres and the covers alone would indicate to a reader what kind of book they were.
Looking for a good holiday read, check out my latest Janis Susan May book. Published June 4, a tasty traditional Victorian Scottish Gothic romance.
A message from Janis Susan May Patterson.
Welcome to my new website! I am so excited about it.
Didn’t the designer do a fabulous job? And it’s set up where I can maintain it, which means it should be updated much more often!
This has been an exciting year so far. In January The Husband and I took the Florida Romance Writers Cruise Conference. Yes, a conference set on a cruise ship. It was fantastic.