Blog - Page 69 of 71 - Joanna Campbell Slan

News from My Little Corner of the World

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. And the most talented among us get overlooked. For example, my good friend Tony Hooper emailed me last week with this lament:

Dear Joanna,
Walter Bargen narrowly edged me out to become Missouri’s first Poet Laureate. I probably should have steered away from controversy in my poems, one of which began:

I think that I shall never see
A state so fair as Missouri,
I love her highways, streets, and roads;
Some have potholes, some are closed.

Next time I’ll send something from my nature series, like:

The doe stood boldly on my lawn,
Munching hostas with her fawn.
Two shots ripped the still of dawn
Now the bastards both are gone.
Were it not for your encouragement, I don’t know how I’d carry on writing.

I share his pain.Last Monday the “powers that be” closed down a five-mile stretch of the main East-West corridor in our city for two years. Eeeek!!! What a mess. And the deer? No exaggeration, we have 100 deer per square mile in the suburb where Tony and I live. At any given time, a dozen of them are in my yard eating the lawn, flowers, shrubs, and trees. This photo is one I took of two babies sporting their winter coats. When I first saw them last Spring, they were–seriously–knee-high. I thought they were stray dogs! Unfortunately, the deer have no natural predators. Each week there’s a new carcass at the side of the road. One municipality decided to “airlift” the animals and take them to a new location. They died of terror. Truly, I believe the herd should be culled. It’s not fair to them. There’s not enough to eat, they get hit and maimed by cars, and their interbreeding is causing birth defects like the buck we saw two years ago with the misformed leg. Yes, they also drive us homeowners nuts.

Tony’s wife trains guide dogs, and Suzanne has to keep dosing them for parasites because the pooches eat so much deer poo. Our lawn and flowers get torn up on a regular basis. My husband wants a tee-shirt that says, “Kill Bambi” on the front. And yet…and yet…we all rush to the windows to watch the parade as the herd wanders through the yard. The sight of the little ones causes my heart to soar. As does the sight of their white flags bouncing into the woods behind the house. So…Tony isn’t poet laureate, and the deer still roam freely. Life doesn’t lend itself to neat packages tied up with ribbons. Sigh. That’s the news from my corner of the world.

The Best of British Scrapbooking 2007

Since 2004, I’ve been judging The Best of British Scrapbooking, a contest I started in the UK to spotlight new talent. When I began the contest, people wondered if there was really enough talent

Hoppin' John for a Happy New Year

Hoppin’ John

Stop by our house tomorrow, and you’ll find me cooking a mess of “Hoppin’ John.”

“Hoppin’ John” is an essential part of southern lore, especially honored in the Low Country, South Carolina’s coastal counties. If you stop in an area restaurant around New Year’s Day, no matter what you order, they’ll slip you a small dish of beans and rice

Back from Vacation

Just home from Kiawah Island, SC, and a marathon bookreading vacation.

My husband David and I laugh that we must be getting old. We ENJOY sitting around, reading, and going to bed early. I particularly loved reading In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spenser-Fleming. Wow. That’s all I can say. It’s an absolutely terrific book. One that I wish I’d written. The protagonist is an Episcopalian priest, a woman. Since I grew up in the Anglican church, I was still surprised that I could actually learn more about my nascent religion.

The tension between the female protagonist and the male protagonist is just super in this book. I loved it so much that I went back to Indigo Books and bought the next two in the series, which I “gobbled” up on the flight home. Today I ordered book #4 in the Clare Ferguson and Russell Van Alstyne series. (I think I have that right.)

Last night our Sisters in Crime chapter in association with Missouri Romance Writers Association had Luci Zahray, The Poison Lady, as our guest speaker. She’s always a treat.

What's New for October 2007

So what’s new?
  1. Forensic University–Is right around the corner, Nov. 1-4, 2007. This will be the first all-forensic conference for writers ever held. I’m co-chairing with my pal Michelle Becker. She’s done a great job, and I’ve worked hard too!
  2. Paper, Scissors, Dead–Will debut September 2008. (This used to be called Over Exposed. I like this new name much better.)
  3. My Young Adult novel is making the rounds in New York. I hate to even share this, because I always think I’ll jinx any deal. But since my pal Shirley Damsgaard gave me a variety of powerful stones and crystals, I’m feeling a bit more lucky.
  4. Michael has a new car–A 1969 Cutlass convertible. He named it LAURA. (I was a bit surprised by how romantic this is….) In order to get the car, he had a whole list of “things to do,” and getting a job was one of them. Today they called from Guitar Center. He starts on Tuesday. He’s really growing up.
  5. David and I are going to Kiawah–To celebrate our 24th Wedding Anniversary. It’s one of our favorite places on earth.

That’s all for now!


Someone called me “that SCRAPBOOK author” this week.

She meant it as a perjorative. But all I can do is laugh. You see, I’m proud to be called “that SCRAPBOOK author” for a variety of reasons.

First of all, I love scrapbooking. And scrapbookers. Scrapbookers are the loveliest folks in the world. They care about their families, their friends and the stuff of life that matters. If you had seen as many pages as I have, you’d know that scrapbooking is what I call “a love letter to life.” We find the sacredness of the ordinary by saluting the daily joy we’re all so fortunate to receive.

When I first told my motivational speaker friends that I was writing a book on scrapbooking, they rolled their eyes. “That’s a fad. Why waste your time?” my mentor added.

Huh. That fad now extends to one in every five homes in America. It’s been around for years, as I can attest because at the antique markets in England I saw some early examples.

And, let’s be honest, scrapbooking has been very good to me. I’ve met all the scrapbooking big names: Lisa Bearnsen, Stacy Jullian, Michelle Gebhardt, Debbie Mock, Vicki Breslin, Jill Davis, Angie Randall, Shimelle Laine, Mary Anne Walters, Jane Dean and more. My articles have appeared in Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, PaperKuts, and Scrapbooks Etc. reviewed my last book. I’ve gotten to teach scrapbooking on a cruise, and I’ve flown to the UK to appear at scrapbooking conventions. Best of all, I’ve struck up email conversations with women all over the world. Women in Israel, South Africa, Europe, and beyond who share their love of families on their pages.

Now about that “author” part of “that SCRAPBOOKING author.” Yep, I plead guilty. I’m the author of 14 books. (I just finished a Young Adult yesterday–and it’s off to my agent tomorrow.) Ten are published and three are under contract or spoken for. (One’s a work-for-hire book that we’ve decided to publish as an ebook. It’s called Leaving a Legacy: How to Write a Letter That Can Change Someone’s Life.) My first book was a college textbook, Using Stories and Humor: Grab Your Audience, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s speechwriter lauded it in an Israeli newspaper. I have the article!

Okay, my first fiction doesn’t come out until Fall 2008 when OverExposed will hit the shelves, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

Yep, you can call me “that SCRAPBOOK author” all day long. Suits me to a T. In this blog I’ve added a graphic of the poster they used to promote my UK visit.

See, you can call me “that SCRAPBOOK author,” but in England, they call me “America’s Scrapbooking Queen.”

Bow a little lower, folks!

Cogblogo Ergo Sum

Okay, I’m already writing for three other blogs, ( ) plus notes on Crimespace. What the heck am I doing here?

It’s simple: I don’t want anyone to take my name.

Why? Well, it’s happened to me before (a long, ugly story), and I’m a tad paranoid about it happening again.

Cogblogo ergo sum. (I blog, therefore I am. I had to make up a new word in Latin to cover this, but hey, language should be flexible, and if you are grabbing your Latin primer to check me out, well, get a life!)

And what shall I blog about?

That remains to be seen.

1. What I’m reading.
2. How my career is coming.
3. Whatever strikes my fancy from the NYT. (Love the NYT, love it. It’s my link to other thinking people.)
4. My author friends.

I’ll try to have contests along the way. It’s fun for you and it keeps me busy as well.

Next Sunday, I’ll report to you about Gone with the Windsors by Laurie Graham. I’m reading it for my online bookclub. I’m very curious about what they’ll say since the group is all authors, and authors tend to be very picky about what they read.

Ta-ta for now!