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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taking Criticism (Kate, Are You There?)

I never, ever wanted to watch Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), but now I'm hooked. My reason for not wanting to be a viewer is simple: I love to dance. Therefore, watching other people having a good time is like...torture. I spend every minute wishing I was dancing along!(Check out the dancing scene in Cut, Crop & Die. I had to tone it down some, but that's me, bay-bee.)

Lately, I've been watching DWTS and thinking about criticism. It's always hard to take, isn't it? But I've noticed that the stars and participants who can't take it are usually the ones who don't make it to the final round. Makes sense.

Now I'm going to get snarky. Can you believe the way Kate Gosselin is acting? I shudder when I see people roll their eyes at the panel of dance experts. I mean, I don't care how snippy Bruno gets or how tough Len is. They do know what they're talking about.

But Bruno and Len and Carrie Ann are just part of the crew. The hardest working folks in the show, in my humble opinion, are the professional dancers. I mean, dancers have the lifespan of a gnat. It's just so incredibly hard on your body. These kids turn up, step up, and dance it up every week. So, spouting off to a dancing pro and telling him he doesn't know how to teach is just wrong. But that's exactly what Kate did. In the UK, they call that "cheeky." To be that rude, takes something. If Kate's goal is to show her kids how to act, gee, I hope the show airs after their bedtime. Especially if reports are true that she's also being a real pill by showing up late on the show. Whoa-doggies. Personally, I'm getting a bit weary of hearing Kate pull the "I'm just a mom trying to survive" card. I see a lot of moms trying to survive, and golly, their lives don't look at all like Kate's.

It's tough to take criticism. I know. I stomp around the house after it comes my way. But notice, that's my house. We don't have cameras rolling here.

Right now I'm working on a new idea. I keep showing it to my husband. He keeps telling me how I can improve it. I HATE his help. Hate it. But he's usually right and I remind myself that if I can put my ego aside and listen, my work and I will both be better for it.

Here's the deal: If you're going to live a public life, you better grow tough skin and a poker face. At the very least, keep your mouth shut when people give you good advice. Oh, and if you want proof that sneering is not a good idea, here's a tip--anytime you can put "sneering" and "your name" together and get google hits, honey, it's time to clean up your act. Even if Bruno did just compare you to a shopping cart!

Besides, didn't anyone ever tell Kate her face could freeze that way?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Notes to Self after Trip to Costa Rica

Note to self: When sitting out in the sun, first remove cartouche so you don't have a weird white rectangle in the midst of your tan.

Note to self: Just because you are allergic to them, doesn't mean you can't enjoy them. It's okay to love cats from afar. Taking pictures of them is cool. Very cool.

Note to self: Don't forget to look UP. You might miss something beautiful if you don't.

Note to self: Sitting and thinking is important. Take time for it.

Note to self: Sunblock, every day. Even if it's raining outside. Or you will look like this.

Note to self: Pouting is very unattractive.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Joanna's Schedule for April, May and June

If you are along the way, or near to one of these events, please let me know. If I can stop in and visit, I will. Also, this isn't complete. I'm still working on it, so feel free to let me know if there's someway we can meet!


Wednesday, April 21, 7:00 PM
Spring Ridge Club
9090 Ridgefield Dr., Frederick, MD 21701-6728
Private event


Sunday, April 25
Kensington (MD) Day of the Book
Details to come


Friday, April 30-May 2
Malice Domestic
Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA
Panel on Sunday, May 2 at 9 a.m.
Will host a table at the banquet.
Will participate in Malice-Go-Round, partnering with Penny Warner.


Monday, May 3
Festival of Mystery
Greek Orthodox Church 12 Washington St., Oakmont PA
Includes tea with local library


Tuesday, May 4, 11:30 a.m.
Fan event at Union Grill, Pittsburgh PA
Private event


Saturday, May 8, 2-4 p.m.
Mother’s Day Tea and Booksigning Event
Scrapbooks Plus!
14502A Lee Road, Chantilly, VA 20151

Start of Kiki Lowenstein’s World Tour—

Monday, May 17, 7 p.m.
Foul Play Mystery
27 E. College Ave., Westerville, OH, 43081


Tuesday, May 18, noon
Mooresville (IN) Public Library
220 W. Harrison St, Mooresville, IN 46158


Tuesday, May 18, 6 p.m.
Oprah’s Book Club of Monroe City
1242 Main Street, Monroe City, IN 47557


Wednesday, May 19, 6:00 PM
Professional Investigators Council of Greater St. Louis
Syberg’s, 2430 Old Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, MO 63043
Private event


Thursday, May 20, 7-8:30 p.m.
St. Louis Writers Guild
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
8871 Ladue Road, St. Louis, MO 63124


Friday, May 21, 11-1 p.m.
Mystery Book Club
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
721 Gravois Road
Fenton MO 63026


Friday, May 21, 7-8 p.m.
Pudd’nhead Books
37 S. Old Orchard Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119


Saturday, May 22, 1-4 p.m.
Daisy Lane
2619 Lakeland Blvd., Mattoon, IL 61938


Saturday, May 22, 7-10 p.m.
Scrapbook Factory
“A Crop to Die For” Dinner Mystery Play and signing
2004 W. Hwy. 50, O'Fallon, IL 62269-1645


Sunday, May 23, noon-2 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
320 Mid Rivers Center Drive, St Peters, MO 63376


Sunday, May 23, 4 p.m.
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave
St. Louis MO


Wednesday, June 23, TBD
Scrapbooks Plus!
Scrapbook journaling class. Call ahead for details.
14502A Lee Road, Chantilly, VA 20151


Friday and Saturday, June 25-26, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Great American Scrapbook Convention
Teaching classes and selling books.
Dulles Expo Center
4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA 20151-4016

Saturday, June 26, TBD
Scrapbook Crop and Signing
Scrapbooks Plus!
Scrapbook journaling class. Call ahead for details.
14502A Lee Road, Chantilly, VA 20151


Sunday, June 27 TBD
American Library Association
Signing at Midnight Ink table

Saturday, March 13, 2010

World Tour News

I'm working like crazy on upcoming special appearances to promote Photo, Snap, Shot.

I wish I could visit each and every one of you. Really I do. I've had so many nice invitations. Please know that they warm my heart. I'm trying to keep good records, although we've moved in the middle of this venture and I've since found out that my computer program did NOT archive messages as it should. I figure that if I keep records of your requests I might be able to visit you sometime in the future, if not now. You see, I have a difficult choice to make when I tour. I can see you in person or I can be about the business of writing. As you can imagine, touring takes money and time, and the latter commodity is very hard to replace. So please know that I keep trying to show up in as many places as possible.

I do have a few alternatives to offer. If I can't visit you in person, we can always talk by phone to your group, or we can try Skype and you can actually see me in my natural setting, or we can use the "chatroom" function on my website.

Meanwhile, to view my most current travel schedule, I invite you to go to BookTour, plug in "Joanna Campbell Slan" and see where I'll be.

"A Crop to Die For"

Looking for a fun and different idea for your crop group? Why not hold a dinner mystery theatre event? I've written a play you can put on with only six actors and very few props. It makes a great "frame" for a crop. The cost is only $30, which makes it perfect for a fundraising event. You can use the script as many times as you want for that one fee.

The script, instructions, a "Whodunnit Form" and a form for ordering books is available at YouPublish Just look through my "library" and you'll see "A Crop to Die For" as one of the offerings.

Kiki Goes "Irish"-- and You Get a Lucky Break!

Kiki has gone "Irish" for today! In honor of St. Patty's Day, she has arranged a special deal with The Stamp Maven for any of Joanna's readers who want to get a head start on crafting supplies for Easter and beyond. Any leprechaun who places a $50 order with Anne before midnight Friday, March 19 will receive free shipping on that order. That's a savings of 10%!

Check out Anne's blog for TONS OF TIPS, specials, and classes on scrapbooking and stamping, While you're there, you may want to sign up for her monthly newsletter. You'll also find links to all of the catalogs and you can browse to your heart's content without even kissing the Blarney Stone!

(Leave a comment on the blog and Anne will send you a free class tutorial by email!)

When you are ready to place your order, or if you have questions, email or call (972) 234-9118.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Publisher's Weekly Weighs in on Photo, Snap, Shot

Photo Snap Shot: A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery Joanna Campbell Slan. Midnight Ink (, $14.95 paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7387-1976-4

In Agatha-finalist Slan's diverting third scrapbooking mystery (after 2009's Cut, Crop & Die), Kiki Lowenstein's 12-year-old daughter, Anya, a student at St. Louis's fancy Charles and Anne Lindbergh Academy, ventures with another girl into the balcony of the school theater, where they stumble on the dead body of an unpopular teacher, Sissy Gilchrist. Hired on the basis of her family's social standing, Sissy was dating a black man—an act that may have given someone motive for murder. Kiki teams again with her crush, the unfortunately married Det. Chad Detweiler, who investigated her husband's still unsolved murder in the first book in the series, Paper, Scissors, Death (2008). Kiki's job at Time in a Bottle, a scrapbooking store, sometimes distracts from the murder investigation, but the subject of racial prejudice makes this a cut above the usual craft-themed cozy. (May)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Winner of the 2010 Fla-MAN-go Award Is Barry Eisler

Some of the nicest people I know...kill people...on paper.

Barry Eisler is one of those nice people. He's unfailingly gracious. He doesn't take himself too seriously. He's smart as a whip. He's a heck of a businessman. He's a good sport.

At SleuthFest this past weekend, he again proved why he's one of everyone's favorite authors. On Saturday, Barry was awarded the "Fla-MAN-go," an honor with a dubious past. Seems that one SleuthFest years ago, the women attendees discovered that the men attendees were discussing which of the women were "hot." In retaliation, the ladies decided to have their own award ceremony. But to add to the drama, the contest results would be public. All the male contestants are called to a podium. The winner, when announced, is awarded a trophy and a pink boa.

Yeah, you read that right...a pink feather boa.

On Saturday, Barry won the coveted "Fla-MAN-go" Award. After they draped the fuzzy pink stuff around his neck, Barry graciously strolled through the ballroom of the hotel on his "squawk of shame." When asked about this, his newest honor, Barry said, "This represents the pinnacle of my career as an author."

In a world full of people who take themselves too seriously, Barry Eisler is a great reminder that nice people finish first, always.

Gee, I've never had my photo taken with a Fla-MAN-go before. Pretty cool beans! (I really was smiling, honest! I thought I had a cold all weekend. Turned out, I'm incredibly allergic to tree pollen, and Florida was chock-a-block full of it. ARGH. Nothing like having red eyes and a drippy nose when you are standing next to a handsome guy, huh? Does wonders for your confidence!)