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

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Stitches in Time - Now on Amazon and Smashwords



Saint Patrick's Day is only 16 days away - what better way to celebrate than with the re-release of STITCHES IN TIME?

Authors are not supposed to have favorites between and among their characters, but Seamus O'Brien, the leprechaun of this story, holds a soft spot in my heart. He's bold, he's brassy, and he's not above giving love advice to Liam Finnerty, the man he hopes will release him from his magic spell.

When I wrote this book, I needed an out-of-the way castle that wasn't well-known for part of my setting. I chose Glenquin Castle in County Limerick. You can see it on the new cover by Lynn LaFleur. I took that picture! My husband and went to Ireland last summer (2016) and made sure we visited it. The castle itself sits right on the edge of the road and is open to the public. No one guards it and there are no entrance fees. We climbed the spiral staircase (and I didn't fall!) to see the views of the countryside. No one else was there and we had the place to ourselves. What a wonderful visit!

Currently, you can buy STITCHES IN TIME at Smashwords - and Amazon (link is for US store. Click here for all other Amazon stores). Disclaimer: this was originally published in Irish Enchantment, an anthology from Ellora's Cave. They then published it as a stand-alone novella before they went out of business.

On another note:

It's March 1st and I thought to update the list of books I've been reading. Yes, I've also been writing - a fantasy started over a decade ago and set aside. But it's the Book of My Heart and more important than ever that I get it written. Why? That's another blog post for when my blood pressure won't go up discussing the current political climate in America.

What have I been reading? I'm so glad you asked!

The Making of Outlander          by Tara Bennett (non-fiction; filled w/ insights & tidbits)
A Promise of Fire                      by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy w/ romance - does the thing I hate. Book doesn't really end. But I LOVE the heroine, so I bought book 2!)
Falling for the Highlander        by Lynsay Sands (why do I keep falling for these Highlander books?)
To Sir Phillip with Love             by Julia Quinn (I have several of her ebooks. Great escapist reads)
How to Entice and Earl             by Manda Collins (ehhh. Pretty typical)
Breath of Fire                            by Amanda Bouchet (Did I mention that I LOVE the heroine? Sassy and spicy. She's great!)
The Importance of Being Ernie by Barry Livingstone (autobiography; great stories and good writer!)


All told, twenty(!) books read since Christmas and two republished (Stitches in Time and A Devil in Winter). I'm on a roll (that's why there's butter on my pants - ba dum dum!)

As always, if you've read a book of mine, PLEASE go leave a review of it. Positive or not, reviews help books rise in the algorithms of search engines. Thank you!

Play safe,
Diana

edited to add new Amazon links

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Of re-releases, short stories and books...

As many of you know, Ellora's Cave has closed up shop. Some of my titles were returned to me before they closed their doors, A DEVIL IN WINTER among them. Thanks to Lynn LaFleur, it has a new, very sexy cover (who doesn't love half-naked cowboys!?!). I've re-edited it and fixed a few typos (most of them my fault) and it is now available again for your reading pleasure!

If you'd like to purchase a copy or read an excerpt, click here.

If you already bought Winter's Tales, you have this story in that anthology (along with 12 Days of Christmas Bondage and Winter Break. What can I say? I love the holidays!) While you're at it, check out Winter Break's new cover - again by Lynn. She does great work!

I hope you've been enjoying the First Friday Fiction! I've had fun writing these shorter stories and expect I'll keep going for a bit. At least through April (which means only two more stories for this bundle). They will all be released in ebook and print form come May, God willin' and the creek don' rise!

On an entirely different note: I mentioned before that I've been doing a lot of reading lately and thought I should keep track this year. This is something I do every other year or so as I remember. Since this is still the beginning of the year, I figured I'd better make note of what I've read to date. I'll add as the months go by. Yes, I realize some of you put me to shame, but this is still better than I've done in years (read this many books by the 6th week of the year, that is).

So, without further ado, I've read:

Neverwhere       by Neil Gaiman, fantasy (enjoyed)
Red Rising         by Pierce Brown, fantasy (a bit violent for my tastes, but good story)
Golden Sun       by Pierce Brown, fantasy (2nd in the series; same as above)
Morning Star    by Pierce Brown, fantasy (3rd in the series; might as well finish it off!)
Mistborn           by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy (2nd time reading it, so you know I enjoyed it)
Well of Ascension by Brandon Standerson, fantasy (2nd in the series; 2nd time reading)
Hero of Ages    by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy (3rd in the series; 2nd time reading)
Alloy of Law     by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy (this starts the 2nd trilogy in the same universe)
Shadow of Self by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy (book 2 of the Wax and Wayne books)
Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson, fantasy (book 3; liked the Mistborn series better)
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, fantasy (grrrrr. 1st in a series with an unfinished story. I HATE that)
Border Bride    by Amanda Scott, romance (took place in Elizabethan Britain; the author knew a lot about the time period and had to make sure she got in every single detail. Sigh.)


An even dozen. That's two a week, for those of you doing the math. I feel a bit lazy, but boy, am I relaxed! :)

So, go buy A Devil in Winter if you don't yet have it.  Buy 12 Days of Christmas Bondage, buy Winter Break. Buy Winter's Tales to get all three. Aw, heck - go buy all my books! LOL

Play safe,
Diana

Monday, January 23, 2017

To write or not to write

I'm trying to decide if I feel guilty for not writing. For not editing. For not doing diddly-squat on my writing career. I'm trying to decide if that career is also over or if I'm on an extended break.

I certainly haven't sold anything worth talking about for the past year. EC's closing put a huge damper on my income, too. But did I write to sell only? Or did I write because I enjoyed the creative expression?

Both, actually. I liked creative expression, even if I got tired of the genre a long time ago. Seemed I could only sell erotic romance stories and I have more than that in me. I have two fantasy novels begun and one historical that needs some major revision. But I've been putting off even opening those files. Why? Because I don't think I can sell them. Why bother if no one is going to read it?

Yeah, that's defeatist, I know. But that's what the lack of sales does to one. And when you don't publish for a while, people (readers) forget about you and you have to start all over. And that takes energy, energy you can't spend on writing your next novel because you have to be promoting your last one. Again. And your preparing your backlist for publication. Again. And...and...and...

I used to enjoy reading. A lot. I read book after book after book. But once I had kids, I was lucky if I got to read an entire magazine article. And then my husband gave me the time to write and instead of reading the books, I wrote them. Kids grew up and needed me less, I finally retired from my day job and, this past month, I've rediscovered the joy of going from book to book to book. No more, grab a book, read a chapter, go do something else, read a few pages, get interrupted, read a little more, go to the grocery store.

No, I'm talking, the past few weeks of starting a book, reading straight for HOURS, getting up only to use the bathroom and eat. I've gained two pounds (so I walked this morning because, you know, a single three-quarter mile walk around the block to catch Pokemon is going to help so much) and am more relaxed than I have been in two years.

So, should I feel guilty about not writing? About taking time off? Still not sure. The Short Story Challenge started Friday and I have until next Sunday to write a 2000 word story and submit it for the contest. I started it this morning - and remembered how hard it is for me to write openings. I've written 500 words or so and might set it aside and begin again later today.


But for right now...I'm going to go start reading another book.

Play safe, 
Diana

Monday, January 16, 2017

Wow

When I don't write for a bit...I don't write for a looong bit.

Yes, I missed posting a short story at the beginning of this month. Mea culpa. I love the holidays and this year more than most. My brother is not only alive but, this week, he walked over a hundred feet without his cane! Speech is still troublesome for him, and small motor skills aren't quite what they need to be yet - and spelling is nearly non-existent, although he can copy short words. Reading is fine, it's just he has the same trouble writing as he does speaking: everything is scrambled. Still, the recovery from such a severe hemorrhagic stroke is a miracle - and the entire family is grateful.

So, yeah - I threw myself into celebrations and quality time with friends and family that will still continue this week. My birthday is Thursday and several of us are getting together on Saturday night for a Very Special Event. Depending on how it goes, I'll let you know on Sunday. Make that Monday. You'll see why then. ;)

Of course, that's meant my writing took a vacation for a while. An entire month. Total writing stop. I wrote one entry in my journal, but otherwise? Pfft. Well, Facebook posts, but those don't really count.

What have I done instead? Besides going to the movies with hubby, I've read books, of course!

Each year my family asks what I want for Christmas. This year I told them, "Books and music." They listened to the first word - I got thirteen new books! Three are coloring books (and a new set of crayon/pencils I have yet to try out), two are non-fiction (Book 2 of the Foxfire series and the new behind-the-scenes Outlander series book), one is a comic book (the new Bloom County book, and its signed by Berkeley Breathed!!!!! Fangirl alert!!!!), the other nine are fiction. Yay!

My daughter got me two Neil Gaiman books: Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere. I'd read the first for my bookclub a few years' back and had it on my ereader. I didn't choose to re-read it at this point, but it is nestled on my shelf in the fantasy section. I DID read Neverwhere, and enjoyed it very much. Gaiman originated the story as a BBC TV series; this book is the definitive version (its gone through several permutations, in between).

My hubby got me a trilogy by Pierce Brown: Red Rising, Golden Sun, and Morningstar. Space fantasies. I had some trouble with the physics put forth by the author and the story had far too much violence for my tastes. That said, I read all three because the story was compelling. But by the third book, I found myself skimming over the battle scenes.

He also got me two Brandon Sanderson books (one of my son's favorite authors, btw. He's the one who got me hooked on Sanderson's books): Shadows of Self and Alloy of Law. Both are part of The Mistborn series. I'd read the first three books in that series several years ago when my son bought them for me (told you he hooked me!). I just finished re-reading Mistborn, the first in the series. Figured it would be better to start at the beginning and work my way up to the new books, since they take place well after the first set. It was fun to read it again - I remembered why I liked it so much. Good, strong characters we become quite attached to!

My daughter-in-law got me The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - it's the first book in a series. I will start that when I finish with Sanderson.

So, starting the year surrounded by books. Life is good.

Here's hoping your holiday season was joyful, energetic -and filled with "down time" to simply sit and read a good book!

Play safe,
Diana

PS. Oh, I did start a Georgette Heyer but only got twenty or so pages into it before I set it aside. Her style is just too stilted for me. Granted, she was writing in the early days of modern romance, but still...Not my cup of tea.

PPS. Edited to correct: it WASN'T my son who got me Rothfuss' book, it was my daughter-in-law who did all their shopping this year. Thanks, Jenn! :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday sale

Books make great presents and in honor of Cyber Monday, several Diana Hunter and Mystic Shade titles are now on sale (and one CF Duprey title, too!).

EBOOKS

Use the codes below at Smashwords to download the ebook format of your choice and get 20% of each title. Great time to load up that Kindle before you give it as a gift!

If you're the recipient of an ebook reader this season, don't worry, the codes are good until December 27th, so can be used just after the holidays as well.

Diana's titles at 20% off:

Shooting Star - code JZ34Z
New York Moment - code ZG37U
Diamonds in the Snow - code SW45W
Table for Four - code BJ83C
and a special bonus, Tied to Home/Tied in Knots bundled - code XZ62X

Mystic Shade titles at 20% off:

Over My Enslaved Body - code TR88P (this book was banned by Amazon - too racy!)

CF Duprey title  20% off: Hardship and Hardtack - code LU44Y


PRINT BOOKS

Want to give someone a Diana Hunter book but he/she doesn't own an ebook reader? No problem - give an old-fashioned print book instead. Diana has the following titles in print:

Winter's Tales (Brand new! Contains 3 novellas)
Hardship and Hardtack (historical fiction; written by CF Duprey, one of Diana's names)

Don't forget, WINTER'S TALES goes on sale today, too. Whether in ebook or print form, snuggle up to these erotic romance stories guaranteed to keep you warm this season!


Play safe and purchase responsibly :)
Diana