Who Said You Could Wear a Dress?


By JL Simpson

I made it this month. Due to the hectic pace of life, family crisis and dumb stupidity I missed posting in September. I hope you didn’t miss me, actually you probably never even noticed. However, whilst I have forgotten to post on here I have been busy writing.

Even though people buy and read my books I do feel like a fraud some days. In my head a writer bangs away on a typewriter with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of their mouth, a glass of whiskey close at hand. Even worse, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, (clue ha ha, no pun intended).

Some writers plot. They have weird charts, spreadsheets, cards and all manner of paraphernalia. I just have a blank screen. I’ve tried to plot. I’ve tried to work out how many words the book is going to be, how many chapters, what the gist of each chapter is, whose point of view it’s in, what the hook is at the end. It’s a great idea, but it doesn’t work for me.

For me writing a book is a lot like childbirth. Yes, lots of screaming, sweating, swearing at my husband (just kidding). Every word is hard earned. No matter how much you practice your breathing, and think  you know what is coming, labor is like nothing you could imagine. Everything you thought you knew goes out the window. Writing is like that for me.  Even when I have a plan or a plot my characters just do what they choose. I start a chapter thinking one thing is going to happen and then Solomon or Daisy will do or say something that takes the story off on a tangent. Today I was thinking I knew all there was to know about my grumpy Irish PI hero and then another character mentions that he once went undercover as a woman. Now Daisy is plotting how to put this knowledge about the Irish git to good use.

Not only is writing unexpected but it’s also surprising. If you’re going to slug it out for hours and hours then it’s nice to have something exciting at the end. When I had my kids I never knew if I was having a boy or a girl, and when I’m writing a book I never know what is going to happen. The only thing I know for sure is that someone it going to die, Daisy and Solomon are going to give each other hell, Daisy is going to flirt outrageously and somehow someway she is going to solve the case. Who dies, who kills them and why are not things that concern me when I start the story. Thankfully every book so far has been delivered healthy, and once dressed in a pretty cover lots of people have taken a look and decided that they love my crazy creation almost as much as I do.



Hello! by Janis Patterson

I’m so glaJanis Susan - color (1)d 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.

ExerciseIsMurder Front CoverI 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 MAMW WEB PROMO mediumhusband 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 PC WEB mediumfounded 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 – TEF WEB mediumwell, 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 –

Is It Me? Is It Me?

By JL Simpson

Eek…you know that horrible sinking feeling you get when you think you should have done something, and you didn’t. The butterflies in your stomach. The damp sweaty palms. The horror! The horror!  Last night sitting on the couch I wondered who was supposed to post on Thursday. Curious, I checked the list and yeah gads, it’s me!!!  However, it’s all under control. Nothing to see here. Move along people. Being late isn’t a problem, because I’m a time traveler. No, not Dr Who. He’s a time lord. I, on the other hand, am naught but a simple Aussie. So Thursday to me is Wednesday in most of the rest of the world, and I made it in time. Phew!!!

Now that I’ve sorted that out  I guess I had better do the introductions. Hello blog audience *waves*. I’m mystery author, JL Simpson. I answer to Janet but never Jan. I’m a diminutive English rose, or some might say British bulldog, who fell in love with a tall, slim, hunky Aussie and emigrated half-way around the world to seek my fortune, and the much elusive sun.

By day I crunch numbers and explain to people that, despite our wishes to the contrary, you have to pay taxes, although I do my level best to make sure my clients don’t have to pay more than their fair share. Sounds glamorous doesn’t it? Okay it doesn’t. I’m an accountant.

To balance the boring nerd factor of my job I needed a creative and outrageous alter ego. I thought about becoming a trapeze artist, but I’m scared of heights. Fire breather, like my youngest son, but I’m fond of my eyebrows. So, what I really wanted was a safe outlet for the endless voices in my head. And voila….JL Simpson….humorous mystery author was born.  One day I hope to be able to say I’m an author who moonlights as an accountant, but for now it’s entirely the other way around. However, I live in hope that my Daisy Dunlop series will make it big, or that I have such a huge back list the dollars just start to roll in. Then when I tell my family I’m busy writing they will leave me in peace and go and find their own missing socks or favorite pair of underpants…and don’t even get me started on the demands of my two crazy poodles.

Thanks for reading along, and I hope you enjoy the blog.

Website jlsimpson.com

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Twitter @jlsimpsonauthor