Friday, July 21, 2017

A sale! New stories! A re-release and yes, I'm still reading...

A sale!

Don't forget, all titles except Love Unleashed are on sale at Smashwords through the end of July. This includes 20% off all Mystic Shade titles as well as CF Duprey and Diana Hunter titles.

New stories!

My as-yet-untitled collection of short stories will release within the next few weeks. This is the collection of First Friday Fiction that was posted here on the first Friday of the month for the past year. The collection will include not only the stories that were part of that endeavor, but will include another story never before published! I'm very excited to release this collection, even though the pieces inside are not erotic romance. :)

And if anyone has a good idea for a title, post it to my Facebook account. If I choose your title, you'll get a free copy!

A re-release!

Watch this space for the re-release of STRESS RELIEF, a very strong BDSM story that truly isn't for the faint of heart. It was actually too strong for Ellora's Cave, if you can believe it! I had to remove one scene entirely and several bits of action in order for it to pass muster with them.

Naturally, all those parts have been put back for the re-release. If you read it before, you may want to read The Author's Cut! :)

Still reading!

So I had to go to my Goodreads page and change the goal for the reading challenge. Back in January, I chose 50 books to read in 2017 as my stretch goal, thinking I might have trouble reading a book a week. Little did I expect to hit that goal this month - which means I've read, on average, TWO books a week since January. Result? I've upped my goal at Goodreads to 100 books for the year.

July isn't over yet, but here are the books I've read so far this month:

www.wake by Robert J. Sawyer (YA fantasy; part 1 of 3 - sort of ends, but lots of loose bits waving around that will be taken up in the next book. I hope.)
Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons (read the 1st volume back in Feb. and finally got the 2nd. Good!)
The Sandkings - George R.R. Martin (one of my son's favorites. It's gonna give me nightmares!)
Most Dangerous Duke in London - Madeline Hunter (romance, typical, easy read)
Pride and Petticoats - Shana Galen (romance, typical, some nice twists)
Loving Lord Ash - Sally MacKenzie (romance, typical, okay)

Once I have firm availability dates for the short story collection and for Stress Relief, I'll let everyone know.

Until then, Play safe!
Diana

Saturday, July 01, 2017

OH, MY GLORY, I FORGOT TO MENTION!!!!

ALL my books are on sale this month at Smashwords, with the exception of Love Unleashed.

Yes, ALL books - Diana's, Mystic's and CF Duprey's - they're ALL on sale. Go to my profile at Smashwords to see the list of books and get 25% off!

Diana, the absent-minded

Newsletter

If you aren't already signed up for my newsletter, you should be. I don't send out one on a regular basis, but I pack it full of info and links when I do!

Use the sign up box in the upper right corner of the website to sign up, or click here to read the latest edition - and then sign up to get them delivered directly to you!

Play safe,
Diana

Monday, June 26, 2017

Of reading and re-releases

One might think, from my recent blog posts, that I do nothing with my days except read. To be fair, I accepted Goodreads Book Challenge this year and chose 50 books as my challenge, since I've read only about thirty books each year for the past several. Needed a stretch goal - yeah?

So I started reading my first book the day before January 1st (figured I needed a head start) and then...didn't stop. Until I got started, I don't think I realized how much I've missed taking the time to sit and read.

SIDENOTE: I almost wrote, "sit, do nothing, and read," but that middle phrase is such a misunderstanding of what reading is. People who are not readers think that, if you're sitting still with a book in your hands, you're doing nothing. Except that's so far from the truth. When I'm reading, I'm no longer sitting (in my chair, on the porch, or, when I was a kid, in a tree) - I'm in my head wherever the book has taken me. I'm falling in love with Jamie Fraser, I'm at the Night Circus or with Lord John, trying to solve a mystery, I'm in a brand-new world learning new languages, new customs, new people. So, "do nothing" is such a misnomer!

Anyway, I've been reading. Partly because my writing career is at loose ends and I'm not sure what I want to do about it (keep writing for sure, but changing genre - also for sure. Writing erotic romance is fun, but I think I've explored that arena about as much as I can and there isn't much new there for me to find. Time for a different challenge). I am working to get many of my past-published novels out again, reformatting and republishing them with new covers.

To that end, look for LOVE UNLEASHED by June 30th (sooner if I can get my Word program to cooperate). This collection contains three novellas: Love in the Afternoon, Writers Unblocked, and Sahara Heat. Three hot stories for some hot afternoons!

I'll post again when it's available. I'm also not sure this is the final cover. Think it needs some tweaking (opinions welcome!).

Remember, authors live and die on reviews, so if you haven't yet reviewed any of my books, feel free to go to the site where you purchased it and leave a review. Alternately, you can go to Amazon, search for the book and leave a review there. Especially there. Because of Amazon's algorithms, books often don't show up unless they have reviews. The more reviews, the more it shows up in searches, the more copies the book will sell!

Okay, back to updating the list of books I've read recently. The first book below I read in May, all the rest are June (to date!).

The Forgotten Seamstress - Liz Trenow (historical fiction)
Just My Type - Simon Garfield (non-fiction; about the history of fonts - and fascinating!)
The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband - Julia Quinn (romance, obviously. Yeah, the title is hokey, but its a Bridgerton prequel - and I'm a sucker for the Bridgerton hunks)
Counterfeit Lady - Jude Devereux (romance; forgot I'd read this one before but worth a re-read)
Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini (fantasy, YA; pissed me off. Doesn't end, story continues in next book and you know how I HATE that)
Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson (fantasy; Man, he can suck you into a world you don't want to leave!)
Elantris - Brandon Sanderson (fantasy; different world, still don't want to leave it)
Match-Up - (anthology; so far have only read Diana Gabaldon's story here; looking forward to reading the rest of the stories as the month finishes)

For those of you keeping count, I'm at 45 out of my 50. Remember that fifty was supposed to be for the YEAR and there's a good chance I'll hit it well before the end of July. Whee!

Okay, I'm off to take my own advice. Some of these 45 I've left reviews (or at least stars), but I'm behind. So going to Goodreads to make my opinion known...and boost the books for the authors!

Play safe!
Diana

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Of reading, writing and surgery

And in that order....

Reading

Four books to add to the list for this month:
Temptation - Jude Devereaux (I do like her books!)
Irish Hearts (2 stories) - Nora Roberts (It had "Irish" in the title, although they are transplanted Irishwomen and the stories are set in America. )
Destiny Unleashed - Sherryl Woods (read in a day at the cabin. )
The Difference Engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (Steampunk. Apparently I'm not smart enough to understand all the vague references; story is told with snippets from various characters; I finished the book [not sure why] and still can't tell you what it was supposed to be about)

Writing

Has been mostly non-fiction these past two weeks. Lots of scrapbooking - finally getting the pictures put together with the journaling from our trip last summer to Ireland and Scotland. I like scrapbooking. It gives me an opportunity to relive the time. I've been adding in bits and pieces to the scrapbook that weren't in the original journal entries posted on Facebook.

I have, however, also pulled out and begun formatting two releases, one new, one old. The new will be the collection of short stories (the First Friday Fiction series), the old will be a two-book set that includes Love in the Afternoon and Writers Unblocked. Not sure on a release date yet because....

Surgery

When I was a child, I was fearless. I strapped on my skates, tightened them down with the key and sped off down uneven sidewalks and chip-sealed driveways, the wind in my hair, my body young and lithe...often tumbling and skinning my knees and scraping my palms in the process. And each time I fell, I'd hobble my way back home (never bothering to take off the skate that had stayed on. I wasn't going to be inside that long), get patched up, and go back to my skating.

I rode my bike with the same abandon - and walked on stilts my dad made me - and never walked when I could run.

The upshot? Shot knees.

So far, the right knee has needed arthroscopic surgery two separate times. Each time the surgeon removed the growing arthritis and repaired the torn meniscus. Two and a half years after the last surgery on that knee, its doing fine.

The left knee, however, not so much. I fell on the ice a little over ten years ago and tore the meniscus. I consider myself lucky that it hasn't bothered me much since then. Unfortunately, when it decided to act up again, it has done so with a vengeance.

Tried the cortisone. Didn't work.
Tried the gel. Hurt like Hell going in. Didn't work.

Now going for surgery on my son's twenty-fifth birthday. Arthroscopic. Been there, done that. This is old hat. I always get a little nervous - undergoing anesthesia always makes me a tad nervous - but I know the recovery won't be long. I give myself the day of the surgery and the day following to wallow in self-pity. One should always allow a short period of indulgence after surgery.

But by Saturday I'll be up and walking around, unable to sit still a moment longer. Might even talk my hubby into taking me over to Waterloo, NY - the Birthplace of Memorial Day - for cheese fries!

Will post an update before, though. Play safe, everyone!
Diana

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Taking the time to read

One corner of my study where I
write - and read
Every once in a while, I get the urge to follow in the footsteps of both my mom and my mother-in-law, both of whom keep (kept) lists of the books they read, by author, so they would know which titles they'd already consumed and which ones they should BOLO (be on the lookout for). That way, each time they went to a library or rummage sale, they could pull out their notebooks and check so they didn't waste that fifty cents on a book they'd already read.

Now, don't mistake me. Just because they couldn't remember titles didn't mean they didn't remember the plot and the characters - they could tell you all the twists and turns, the who did what to whom, and the Happily Ever After for nearly every book. Neither, however, could necessarily put the title with the story. Author, yes. Title, not so much.

So, in years' past, I've kept logs (I started linking to individual pages but then realized that was too many, since for 2010 at least, I reviewed each individual book as well as posted that I'd read it. Instead, type "book thoughts" into the search bar to see what I've read in the past).

I'm not good at keeping these lists up-to-date, but am truly making an effort this year. Since I last posted my list on March 1st, I've read another fifteen books (!), which I'm thinking is a record for me. At least, the adult me. The kid me would read 15 books in as many days and keep going to the library for more.

So, what am I currently up to?
These pictures were taken from
my desk (comp. screen in bottom
of photo)

In February: 
The Jane Austen Marriage Manual - Kim Izzo (chick lit and funny!)
Hyperion - Dan Simmons (excellent story but no ending - its continued into the next book - which I don't have :( )

In March:
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (this was a re-read, it's that good)
George Washington's Secret Six - Brian Kilmeade & Dan Yeager (some of the scholarship was slanted to make a point, that I think stretched the facts a bit far)
The Night Circus - Erin Morganstern (Oh, My. Goodness. Go buy this book. NOW!)
How Reading Changed My Life - Anne Quindlen (autobiographical; interesting tidbits)
Starting Over on Blackberry Lane - Sheila Roberts (a Debbie Macomber clone, but that's not necessarily a bad thing)

In April:
The Shack - William Paul Young (wanted to read before I saw the movie)
Walking on Air - Catherine Anderson (probably shouldn't include this - I only read half before I got bored)
Murder at Longbourne - Tracey Kiely (great fun! exactly what the title implies)
Dreams of the Raven - Carmen Carter (a Star Trek novel. Yes, I'm a nerd. But you knew that...)

I love these little bottles. I've collected them since Jr. High -
each room has it's own color. My study has tan walls, green
shelves - and purple highlights!
In May (so far):
Otherwise Engaged - Amanda Quick (okay, so probably everyone knows Jayne Krentz is Amanda Quick. I didn't until I saw the lists of titles at the beginning of the book. No wonder it was so good!)
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare (a library sale find - 1st book of the Mortal Instruments series)
Her Vampire's Promise - Jordan K. Rose (sorry, just not that into vampires. Didn't finish)
Stranger in the Moonlight - Jude Deveraux (it's Jude D - what's not to like?)

All told, since the beginning of the year, that's 33 books in 19 weeks. In that same time, I've written about 10,000 words, editing and then writing further on two different fantasy novels and written another 5,000 or so words on various short stories. Not much, I know. Thank goodness summer's coming and I'll be "stuck" at the cabin with nothing to do but write!

Hope you are all well!
Play safe,
Diana


Monday, April 03, 2017

Big Goals and HOOKED

2017 Big Goals

Yes, I realize this is the first week of April and it's a little late to be making resolutions. I'm thinking that, if I make them now rather than in the heat of the New Year frenzy, I might actually keep them!

So here are my Big Three Big Goals for this year:

BG #1 - Finish one of the two fantasy novels already begun. They are huge already and there is more to be written.

BG #2 - Re-publish my backlist titles, one a month. Now that Ellora's Cave is officially no more, all my books have reverted to me (that means I own all the rights to everything again).

BG #3 - Write more short stories. Again, one a month is the goal. I'll be happy with ten for the year.


Regarding BG #1 - So far I've worked on both. Still not sure which one I want to concentrate on. Will continue to flip between worlds until I make my decision. But both stories will require multiple volumes (two or three at least). Don't worry, each volume WILL stand on its own. I HATE books that don't end!

Regarding BG #2 - This month's re-release is HOOKED and it's now available on both Smashwords and all Amazon markets. Click the title for an excerpt and for Amazon links in countries other than the US.

Regarding BG #3 - Watch for a brand-new story this Friday - part of the First Fiction Friday series of short stories. As always, it goes live at 12:01 Friday morning and will stay up until midnight Friday night. Read it while you can!

If you miss it, don't worry. All FFF stories will be available shortly in a single collection. Watch this space for more info as we get closer to summer!

Play safe, everyone!

Diana

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An glimpse of life in an Irish Tower Castle

STITCHES IN TIME, an Irish story set around St. Patrick's Day, takes place primarily in Dublin and in the hinterlands of County Limerick. Glenquin Castle sits on R515 (as you can see below, almost literally ON), and I chose it at random for the climax of the story. My husband and I had the opportunity to visit Ireland last summer (May 2016) and made a point of looking for the castle. Thought you might like a glimpse of the castle as it stands today (to get an idea of it from the past, read the story!).


Glenquin Castle (a classic tower castle)
with our rented, manual-transmission
VW Golf parked beside the stone wall and
not nearly far enough off the road!
Steven in the castle doorway.

The placard outside explaining the parts of the castle and its history

The stile to get in. The banners were
there from a celebration recently held in honor
of the centenary of the 1916 Rising, in which,
Glenquin castle played a big part

Standing on the 4th of 6 floors, looking back
at the stairs. We came up the arched set
and the squared-off set continued up.
Steven went to the top.
I didn't push my luck.






The living space on the fourth floor. The roof was no longer in evidence - all the floors to this point had been stone.
The fifth and sixth levels had wooden floors - and they long since rotted away.


Looking up from the 4th level
I love this window, even if it's too
low to the floor.

The view of the Irish countryside from the 4th floor. Cloudy
day, but most of them are, there.
Just a few pictures from Glenquin Castle! Now you'll have a setting in which to place STITCHES IN TIME!

Play safe,
Diana