A TALK WITH AUTHOR CAT JOHNSON

A TALK WITH AUTHOR CAT JOHNSON

Cat480x640Cat Johnson is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. She’s known for her creative marketing and research practices. Cat has sponsored bull riding rodeo cowboys, owns a collection of cowboy boots and camouflage shoes for book signings and a fair number of her consultants wear combat or cowboy boots for a living. A hybrid author, she writes both full length and shorter works and has series with Kensington Zebra and Samhain Publishing, in addition to her bestselling self published Hot SEALs series.

      Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in the suburbs just outside of Manhattan and have since moved farther upstate to a small farm. I think that gives me the experience to write both city and country, a theme which keeps popping up in my romance.

      When did you first start writing?

I won a writing contest in first grade, but if we’re talking writing for pay, that was two weeks after I graduated college when I got my first contract with a big publisher writing work-for-hire for multiple Young Adult series. However my first romance contract was in 2006.

      What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

MidnightHeatBeing my own boss. Knowing I can make the decisions and steer the direction I want to go in my career.

      What are you working on next?

I have more sexy heroes to write for my bestselling self-published Hot SEALs series (in eBook, trade paperback and audiobook) after the new year, but next I’m writing a cute holiday-themed novella for Kensington Zebra that will be released in a mass market paperback multi-author anthology in time for the 2016 Christmas season.

      When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Midnight WranglerPromoting, studying the market, engaging on social media, creating graphics, analyzing the trends, learning more about this ever changing business—and yes, I know you’re looking for what I do in my off time. Right now, there is no off time and that is my biggest failure in my opinion—my lack of work/life balance—and it’s something I have to work on.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

 

Midnight RideSince I often write cowboys, and bull riders in particular, I’ve gone to the list of the real life top professional riders in the country and stolen names from there for my characters. But for my next release, Midnight Wrangler (in the Midnight Ride Series coming out in mass market paperback and eBook from Kensington Zebra Thanksgiving week) I actually met 2 cowboys from Alaska while I was in Vegas for the PBR Finals. Their names were Rohn and Colton and I told them then I was stealing their names for my book and I did. The hero of Midnight Wrangler is Rohn and one of his ranch hands is named Colton.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Hitting the USA Today Bestseller list six times. I’ve been in multi-author box sets that were on the New York Times Bestseller list twice and on USAT three times, but those were group projects. It felt different the three times my single titles hit the USAT list and I’d done it all on my own, twice were with my self-published titles which was extra satisfying.

The Midnight Cowboy series by Cat Johnson:

Midnight Ride (out now in print, eBook, audio)
Midnight Wrangler (Nov 24, 2015)
Midnight Heat (Feb 23, 2016)
Facebook: http://facebook.com/catjohnsonauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://catjohnson.net/amazonauthorpage
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Crazy questions That No One Ever Asks Authors

Do you write naked?

No, but I’ve been known to clean the house and do laundry naked.

What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told?

That I liked another author’s book when I really didn’t.

Have you ever gotten into a bar fight?

Once my date, back in the late 1980s, did, in a bar in Brooklyn. I hid in the kitchen until the fight was over. I’m too petite to be able to hold my own in a bar fight. MidnightCowboyBookmark

MIDNIGHT WRANGLER

(Midnight Cowboys, Book 2)

Here’s a blurb about Cat’s Midnight Wrangler:

One Lonely Widower… One Woman with a Secret… One Night That Changes Everything…

Rohn Lerner is a successful Oklahoma rancher. He’s old enough to know what he likes, and still young enough to enjoy it. But losing his wife five years ago wore him thin. He’s not ready to date, but he needs someone to share a meal with as badly as someone to warm his bed.

Bonnie Martin fled her Oklahoma home years ago, leaving behind her abusive father, and Rohn, the lost love she never forgot. Now she’s back to settle her father’s estate, but she has no idea that she’s about to bump into Rohn or that they’ll fall for each other all over again.

eBook & Print Nov 24, 2016

http://catjohnson.net/books-2/midnight-wrangler/

GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY

GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY


Green-Wood Gothic Revival Gate Entrance

Green-Wood Gothic Revival Gate Entrance

Did you know that New York’s Central Park, an historic landmark, was designed based on the lay of the land of a cemetery? The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Located in Greenwood Heights,  it lies several blocks southwest of Prospect Park, between Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington, and Sunset Park. Paul Goldberger in The New York Times, wrote that it was said “it is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.

The plots

The plots

Inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a cemetery in a naturalistic park-like landscape in the English manner was first established, Green-Wood was able to take advantage of the varied topography provided by glacial moraines. Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn and built in 1838, is on cemetery grounds, rising approximately 200 feet above sea level. As such, there on that spot in 1920, was erected a Revolutionary War monument by Frederick Ruckstull, Altar to Liberty: Minerva. From this height, the bronze Minerva statue gazes towards The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

Chapel

Chapel

The cemetery was the idea of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont, a Brooklyn social leader. It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres (1.9 km²). The rolling hills and dales, several ponds and an on-site chapel provide an environment that still draws visitors.

Decorative Sylvan Water pond at the cemetery

Decorative Sylvan Water pond at the cemetery

There are several famous monuments located there, including a statue of DeWitt Clinton and a Civil War Memorial. During the Civil War, Green-Wood Cemetery created the “Soldiers’ Lot” for free veterans’
burials.

The gates were designed by Richard Upjohn in Gothic Revival style. The main entrance to the cemetery was built in 1861 of Belleville brownstone. The sculptured groups depicting biblical scenes from the New Testament are the work of John M. Moffitt. A Designated Landmarks of New York plaque was erected on it in 1958 by the New York Community Trust.

mausoleum swiss chalet

mausoleum Swiss chalet

Several wooden shelters were also built, including one in a Gothic Revival style,

Gothic Revival mausoleum

Gothic Revival mausoleum

and another resembling a Swiss chalet. A descendent colony of monk parakeets that are believed to have escaped their containers while in transit now nests in the spires of the Gothic Revival gate, as well as other areas in Brooklyn.

Green-Wood has remained non-sectarian, but was generally considered a Christian burial place for white Anglo-Saxon Protestants of good repute. One early regulation was that no one executed for a crime, or even dying in jail, could be buried there. Although he died in the Ludlow Street Jail, the family of the infamous “Boss” Tweed managed to circumvent this rule.

The cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In 1999, The Green-Wood Historic Fund, a not-for-profit institution, was created to continue preservation, beautification, educational programs and community outreach as the current “working cemetery” evolves into a Brooklyn cultural institution.

A piece of Egypt

A piece of Egypt

Cemeteries are architectural landscape wonders. I took my interior design students to Green-Wood Cemetery to sketch the mausoleums. Some structures looked like cottages, some looked like  palaces. I remember this one, fashioned after an Egyptian pyramid. I have sketched and painted cemetery landscapes. How about you, what do cemeteries mean to you? Do you like cemeteries?

Resource: Wikipedia

 

NEW YORK’S WRECKING BALL

NEW YORK’S WRECKING BALL

Looks like one of New York City’s top museums, The Frick, could become another mammoth site. One of my favorites, is going bye, bye. Not that they are destroying the existing, but rather stretching its wings. This expansion will eliminate the prized garden on East 70th Street and revamp how this mansion is used.

New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has the power to turn down the proposed expansion that will wipe out

Frick Garden

Frick Garden

the cherished garden with an inelegant addition. Our city has suffered from tearing down the old beautiful buildings from the Gilded Age and replacing them with clumsy additions. Remember the handsome historic Beaux-Arts Penn Station, built in 1910, on West 34th Street and 8th Avenue, by architects McKim, Mead and White? For the sake of New York City’s wing stretching, it was taken down in 1963 and replaced with a modern version in 1969, a characterless space. New York suffers from an ephemeral philosophy. Do we really need to continue to destroy our precious history?

Entry

Entry

In a recent article in the New York Times, by Michael Kimmelman, he said, “New Yorkers have seen the consequences of trustee restlessness and real estate magical thinking, which destroy or threaten to undo favorite buildings.” Kimmelman goes on to remind us about buildings that had additions stuck onto them, and then the use of the building flopped. “Even the New York Public Library wanted to disembowel its historic building at 42nd Street before thinking better of it.” said Kimmelman.

Dining room

Dining room

Although the Met does have a great decorative arts collection, just think of how Frick gathered his  to decorate his mansion. What the Frick has meant to me is its personal, magnificent, historic works. While studying interior design at the New York School of Interior Design, I spent many hours and days studying, sketching and absorbing history. Housed on Fifth Avenue in his former home, the private collection of Henry Frick is the perfect escape from the larger galleries and museums. This is a great spot to unwind after a long morning walking and of course enjoying the shops, the people and the architecture.

Conservatory

Conservatory

The central conservatory space can be peaceful and relaxing. Try to time your visit with one of the free talks provided. The museum staff is knowledgeable. The audio guide excellent.

In 1910, Frick purchased property at Fifth Avenue and 70th Street to construct a mansion, now known as The Frick Collection. Built to a massive size and covering a full city block, Frick told friends he was building it to “make rival Carnegie’s place look like a miner’s shack.”

Frick collection gallery

Frick collection gallery

To this day, the Frick Collection is home to one of the finest collections of European paintings in the United States. It contains many works of art dating from the pre-Renaissance up to the post-Impressionist eras, but in no logical or chronological order. It includes several very large paintings by J. M. W. Turner and John Constable.

Living room

Living room

In addition to paintings, it also contains exhibitions of carpets, porcelain, sculptures, and period furniture. Frick continued to live at both his New York mansion and at Clayton until his death in 1919.

Frick and his wife Adelaide had booked tickets to travel back to New York on the inaugural trip of the Titanic, along with J.P. Morgan. The couple canceled their trip after Adelaide sprained her ankle in Italy and missed the disastrous voyage.

What are you thoughts? Is bigger better? Should they stretch their wings and make another New York behemoth out of this charming historic mansion?

SO–YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER!

SO–YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER!

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Connecticut Writers Welcome Bestselling Suspense Author to Teach Multi-Day Workshop

Cherry Adair to teach master class workshop to writers of all genres this fall

Meriden, CT–July 28, 2014–Connecticut Romance Writers of America (CTRWA) is pleased to announce they will be welcoming author Cherry Adair

Cherry Adair, Author

Cherry Adair, Author

to teach a master level workshop, “Everything and the Kitchen Sink.” The workshop will take place at the Four-Points Sheraton in Meriden, CT, on September 13-14, 2014. Writers of all genres are welcome and can benefit from this workshop.

Adair will be teaching writers how to build 3-D characters who leap off the page, how to create luminous dialogue, and how to layer and texture your novel so that every word does at least two jobs. Students will learn the elements of plotting in order to write faster and smarter. Adair will even discuss how to construct a viable career plan so writers can have the career they want. Many CTRWA members have attended Adair’s workshops in the past and can attest to her passion for both writing and teaching.

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. She hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on three series – T-FLAC, CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE.

For more details on how to register for the workshop, as well as information about the hotel, please visit www.ctrwa.org and go to the heading “Cherry Adair Master Class.”

Cherry Adair is Imaginative, inventive, innovative and, oh yes. . .fun. She is patient, yet stirs things up. I speak from personal experience, Cherry was one of my teachers. She is lovable and as personable as it gets.  And to add to the pot brewing great stuff, the writers you will meet at this workshop are some of the nicest, kindest, best people you will ever shake hands with, hmm, bump hands. (To avoid 90% of the germs you get with our traditional handshake.)

It’s easy to register, see the link above, or here it is again: www.ctrwa.org and go to the heading “Cherry Adair Master Class.”

What do you think? Want to have a wonderful day learning about writing? Now’s your chance. Go for it!

 

HISTORIC SECRETS

HISTORIC SECRETS

Urban historian and renowned travel guide Justin Ferate will present "Nooks and Crannies of New York City," including this Stanford White-designed mansion on Park Avenue, on Wednesday, July 16, at a lecture-lunch at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk. Photo: Contributed Photo

Hampden Robb Mansion by Architect Stanford White, 1891, in Murray Hill, Manhattan.

Here’s a lecture you might want to hear. Especially if you love historic explorations. New York city is filled with historic wonder. Urban historian Justin Ferate — described by The New York Times as the “revered city Tour Guide among Tour Guides” — will give an “insider’s virtual tour” of the “Nooks and Crannies of New York City.”

On Wednesday, July 16, Ferate will present a lecture at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum. The event will include lunch and a tour of the first floor at the National Historic Landmark. Reservations will be accepted through Friday, July 11.

NYC clock tower“Ferate will take attendees on a virtual tour through some of New York City’s rich, secretive landmarks, many unknown to even the most diehard New Yorkers. He will reveal fascinating, yet lesser-known points of interests in one of the most iconic cities in the world, including some of New York’s more offbeat treasures, secret gardens, hidden houses and covert byways,” according to the museum.

Ferate is director of Tours of the City, a specialty company that has created educational tours of New York, focusing on the architectural, social, ethnic, literary and cultural histories of the city for more than 30 years.

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, 295 West Ave., Norwalk. Wednesday, July 16, 11 a.m. $30, includes a great lunch and first-floor mansion tour that will dazzle you. 203-838-9799, ext. 4 or email: info@lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

SEATING PRETTY

SEATING PRETTY

Sit yourself down my dear, in your favorite chair, do not fret, do not sweat, for all you cherish is beneath your seat.

Kitchen Chair 16x16x32"

The crème de la crème is from the 1988 Harry N. Abrams, Inc “397 Chairs” collection. The “Kitchen Chair” by artist Sylvia Netzer. The chair is made of steel tubes, silicon and  found objects.

The almighty chair we all take for granted is not always what we expect. For the last two weeks we have discussed the talented, think-out-of-the-box, architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. His architecture reached new heights (oops, an unintended pun) of creativity and function. He designed the interior to reflect the exterior in design, use of materials and function. His seating was accommodating, but uncomfortable with its too deep seats and too stiff backs.

Dining Chair Robie House

All seating must have some pitch to the backs to allow for butt space. But not too much then you will see dangling feet. It is important when getting seating to test your best not only for pretty, but also for fitting your purpose.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect of Horizontality, designed this dining chair for the FLW Robie House in Hyde Park, Chicago. See what I mean by back pitch in the drawings below.

The Boynton Dining Chairs now being manufactured by Copeland were designed for the E. E. Boynton House in Rochester, New York. Mr. Boynton wanted comfortable seating for his guests, so Wright designed a chair back with a compound curve in it that would support a person’s shoulders and give lumbar support for the lower back. Lacking the technology to actually create the compound curved panel, the design was relegated to Wright’s archives for the last 100 years.


Let’s take a last long look at a really comfortable chair. The good old Club Chair.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

With James permission here he is in his fav chair…James Kaston, of Remains Lighting, NYC with his cat, Pinky, in his antiques-filled apartment in Stuyvesant Town. Besides his Pinky, the cat who has gone on to pinky heaven, James loves his Napoleon III chair. Can you see enough to get the idea of comfort for your weary soul, pardon, I mean seat?

Have you experienced seating that you can’t wait to get out of and run away as fast as you can? Like, how many of you sit and relax at White Castle, like our stockbroker friend who couldn’t fit?

Until next week…more U-know…wrapped around another story.

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