News from Janis

I know, I know… it’s been much too long since I posted here. I’m sorry, but life has been totally crazy.


I really must say a heartfelt thank you for all the good wishes and flowers during my illness, hospitalization and ridiculously long recovery. I’m almost back to full steam and have been both writing and even going to a few parties. Slowly, I’ll admit, but at least I’m going!


And I have an announcement. Back in the spring, before I fell ill, my incredible producer Karlene Schoonover and I decided that I needed a YouTube channel. We did three shows of Janis’ Tips And Tales sort of as a test balloon. I didn’t publicize them, because they were a test and frankly, not my best work. It’s been years (decades?) since I did any on-camera work, and I was terrified I’d make even more of an idiot of myself than usual, but once I was on set and The Husband (who is my assistant and partner in all things) said ‘Action’ it was as if time slipped and I’d just stepped off a set last week. That said, as soon as the episodes were up, though, Karlene and I realized that they weren’t working. Probably because I was already falling ill and most definitely not up to par. When I went into the hospital we decided to wait until I was well. (And at the time the unspoken thought on my part was ‘if I got well.’)


Now we’ve totally revamped the show with a new format. It will be released twice a month instead of once, with alternating episodes of book readings and writing teachings instead of having it all mashed up. I’ll let you know (heck, I’ll let everyone possible know!) when the new, revamped, improved version is starting, but we probably won’t even start taping until The Husband and I get back from Munich.


In April The Husband and I attended the International Conference of the American Research Center in Egypt in Alexandria, VA and it was superb! There were so many fascinating speakers – and what a pity we couldn’t hear them all. We also got to see so many of our dear friends – Elizabeth Hart, Kerry Muhlestein, Salima Ikram, Robert Ritner, and so many more. It’s so sad to think that we only get to see most of them once a year. It’s also sad that Zahi wasn’t there this year. He’s a darling and always so amusing! There were lots of parties and fabulous places to go – for example, the keynote event was held at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial – a beautiful, historic building. (Of course we would have a meeting there – it’s a copy of the fabled Library of Alexandria!) Here’s a picture of The Husband and me in front of the main entrance –


When I was hospitalized I was incredulous – I’ve never been in a hospital before, at least not as a patient. Emergency rooms, yes; day surgeries, yes; as a caregiver, yes. As a patient, no. I was even born at home! However, pneumonia in both lungs and a systemic blood infection that was galloping toward septicemia don’t give you much choice. And I have no idea how I got either one! But – native Texans are hard to keep down, so four days after getting out of a week’s incarceration in the hospital I was on a plane for Gettysburg with The Husband for a tour of Lee’s Excursions into the North. Fascinating tour! Personal tours of the battlefields, plus tours of the Museum of the Civil War (where we were given access to both the items and ephemera archives) and a couple of other museums I can’t remember right now, but the best thing was a backstage look at the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama. We even got to have lunch at the restaurant owned by Nora Roberts’ son!


Came home and, a few weeks later, had recuperated from the trip enough to attend the International Mineralogical Symposium. Fascinating! A whole day of talks about incredible minerals by experts from all over the world… and pictures! To see some of these wonderful specimens, you can go to, which is owned by our dear friend, Dr. Rob Lavinsky. He also threw a splendid party at his store – take a look at the pictures. The T-Rex skull is enormous – I can’t reach around it in any direction. (I must admit that I prefer the fossils he has to the minerals, but we won’t tell anyone will we?) The multi-point geode (I guess that’s the right term) is also enormous – as big as a toddler’s playhouse. And I got to take my yearly photograph with Charlie the Cave Bear. How many people can say they have a ‘Same Time Next Year’ relationship with a cave bear?


During the seminar, which was a sell-out with a waiting list, people kept asking me if The Husband and I were both mineral collectors. Of course I said yes, but with the caveat that The Husband prefers natural specimens, cleaned and beautifully mounted on informational lucite bases, while I, a jewelry junkie to the end, prefer mine faceted and mounted in precious metals!


Now – more good news! I have a new release, my last release of the year! (Only two more to go!) It should be coming out Monday. It’s a Janis Patterson book, a traditional cozy mystery called Murder and Miss Wright. (available on Amazon) Lily Wright is a middle-aged graphic artist who travels with her boyfriend Peter Monroe to a scholarly Egyptological conference in Chicago. It is supposed to be a lovely and somewhat romantic trip – at least until the bodies start piling up, and Peter is accused of the murders. I had great fun writing it! Hope you will take a look at it. There’s an excerpt on this website, and the cover as well.


In a few days The Husband and I are leaving for the NINC conference in Florida (the very best writers’ conference ever!) then a short time after we get home from that we’re off to Munich for the International Gem and Mineral Show, arguably the largest gem and mineral show in the world. (My feet are aching already!) I’ll be sure to tell you all about it and share some pictures!