I’m so glad to see you here – this new group blog is so exciting and I am so honored to be a part of it. Now – we have been asked to use our first post as an introduction, so here we go – which sort of terrifies me, since I’m really rather a boring person.
I’m a seventh generation Texan who grew up in a wordsmithing family – primarily advertising and newspapers. I sold my first novel (to the old Dell Candlelight series) in 1979. In 1980 I was one of the original 40 or so women who met to see if an organization of romance writers was feasible – an organization that was later officially named RWA. I’m still a founder/charter member. Currently I’m also a member of The Author’s Guild, NINC, Sisters in Crime and MWA (where I help run the local chapter and sit on the SW regional board.) I also belong to several individual RWA chapters.
I bore very easily, so I write in a lot of different genres – as Janis Susan May I write romance, horror and a couple of other things. As Janis Susan Patterson I write for children. As JSM Patterson I do scholarly and non-fiction work. As Janis Patterson I write cozy mysteries. And there are three very good reasons I use Janis Patterson for mysteries – first, I wanted a definite brand, something that was different from my other names. Second, it is my legal married name, and using it honors my wonderful husband, who supports me in every way possible. Third, with any luck at all it will get me shelved next to James Patterson!
I married for the first time very late in life – 54 – after a life of very varied experiences. My husband is the most wonderful man in the world and I am so blessed to have him. Incidentally, he is also a number of years younger than I. Before we married I did a lot of things – among them talent agent for film and tv, editor in chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups, singer, document checker in a cruise agency, comparative analyst for a real estate firm specializing in apartment complex sales, Supervisor of Accessioning for a bio-genetic DNA testing lab… I did tell you I bored easily, didn’t I?
One thing that is never boring is my fascination with Ancient Egypt. I was one of 8 who founded the North Texas Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt (a scholarly support organization almost 70 years old) which is arguably the largest chapter in the country. I also founded, published and edited the Newsletter (now retitled Menhedj) which for the 9 years of my reign (word chosen deliberately) was the only monthly publication for ARCE in the world. From the second year it was archived as a scholarly publication in museums and universities around the country.
My husband and I met in that chapter, and several years later he proposed in the moonlit garden of the Mena Hotel in Giza, which sits across the road from the Pyramids. Yes, those Pyramids. We were married 6 months later and have lived happily ever after. We have been back to Egypt several times since, our most recent trip being just two months ago. To aid in researching a new book we were invited to stay at a dig house and have complete access to an entire archaeological dig – and believe me, civilians are NEVER invited to stay at dig houses. It was one of the most wonderful times of my life.
After leaving the dig house, we rented a flat in Luxor for a little relaxing vacation time – well, The Husband vacationed. I worked every day. Sometimes a lot and sometimes just a little while, but I never missed a day. I am going to buy a tablet though; hiking my 17 inch laptop to Egypt and back nearly killed me. Our flat faced the Gurnah Hills (where the Valley of the Kings is) and every morning I would get up early, fix a good cup of tea and sit on the balcony to watch the light from the rising sun dribble down the rough rock hills while the morning’s flight of tourist hot air balloons rose. Sigh. I really didn’t want to come back.
But – writing on the new book brings Egypt back to me. It is a straightforward mystery called A KILLING AT EL KAB, and is about the murder of a really unpleasant archaeologist and a missing treasure. I’m about a third in and it should be ready for release in late fall.
One more thing – they asked that we send a ‘mysterious’ picture of ourselves for the blog. I only have the one picture, so I sent it, but it is very mysterious. I think so, at least – it is a mystery that it makes me look so good. I really don’t look much like that!
Anyway, that’s about all there is I can think of. I’m so glad you’re here, and on my next rotation I promise to talk about something truly writerly. See you then –