Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Learning new skills

 As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been learning how to make "junk" journals. I put the name in quotes because I don't really agree with the term, even if I do understand why they're called that. Simply put, a junk journal is one make out of "junk" -- the stuff you'd normally throw away or recycle. At its origin, nothing went into such handmade journals but the papers you could salvage. Things like notebook paper leftover at the end of a semester or year, old ledger paper, magazine pages, old maps...that sort of thing. Often, artists making these original journals would use the junk mail that came, recycling it by covering it with other old papers to make new, firmer, writing surfaces. Hence the term, "junk journal."

By the time I discovered them (a little over a year ago), they had evolved into "vintage" journals. Still called by their original name, the overall look now had turned Victorian and an entire industry had risen up to make faux (fake) advertisements, paper dolls, wallpapers, etc., available to creators. 

And the purpose of such journals changed as well, which is still causing some confusion among those who are just learning about this newer art form. While many use the journals for writing, for keeping track of their thoughts and ideas or for making lists, still others use them as a place to collage, as an art book or record of their day through scenes. Which is the right way to use a junk journal? Both of course. All of the above. A blank journal can be used any way you want, no matter what term you use. Junk Journal, Bujo (Bullet Journal), Blank Journal, Art Journal...the use and the construction have become entwined, leading to this confusion.

I prefer the term "handmade journal" although that sounds a bit like something you made in 6th grade. In fact, I've had women stop at my booth and say, "Oh, what a great idea! We could do that with our Girl Scout troop/4-H Club/6th graders!" Thanks, ladies. It took a lot more effort, time, and talent than you think it did to construct that book. Your kids are not going to sew in their own bindings, make their own covers, dye their own papers, or collect their own "junk." Sigh.

That said, learning a new skill is always a positive. As I head into my years as the Crone (the Temptress is LONG behind me, and the Mother is always with me), keeping my brain active as well as my hands busy is important to my mental health. My husband and I have always been creative in some manner: he's a theatre director, a musician, a songwriter, a painter, and most recently, a playwright. I've always written stories, I weave (on a loom), now I also am learning the arts of collage, bookbinding, and journal making. 

Why not? It's fun. I think I've spoken before about my mom, who turned her hand from painting by number to liquid embroidery (after having done real embroidery in her teens), moving to painting greenware, then using plastic canvas to create an entire Christmas village as well as several practical items (her napkin holder sits beside my desk since I often eat at my computer). Her hands were always busy, as were my grandmother's before her. My grandmother was a whiz with the knitting needles and not a year went by when we didn't get mittens as we grew up. I still have a blanket she knitted thrown over the back of my couch.

So I'm joining a long line of creativity in my family -- and I've t passed onto my daughter (who, besides painting ceramic pieces for Halloween and Christmas, also makes the best crocheted hats and very cool lap rugs) -- and it's a line I'm happy to be a part of. Keep learning new skills, keep that grey matter from solidifying!

Play safe,


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Still Here. Honest!

 So much for being better about blogging!

It's been an interesting four months since my last post. I've made several handmade journals, lots of videos (if you haven't checked out my channel yet, you should!), and now have a new knee. Well, a partial one, anyway.

Yes, my right knee has been giving me grief for a while and an arthroscopy to get rid of the arthritic build-up and repair a small tear in the meniscus only showed I was bone-on-bone and the next step would be a partial knee replacement. My left knee already had a replacement and I'd been hoping the right one would last longer, but, after all those years of skating with clamp-on key skates, of being a rambunctious tomboy, of running around the neighborhood like a hooligan, it was time to pay the piper. I don't remember a summer when I didn't have skinned knees. Now I have scarred ones. 

And I'm fine with that. Modern medicine is wonderful. The advances have progressed to the point where a five-hour stint out of my day results in a new knee that, after a few weeks (and several physical therapy sessions), I'm back to doing pretty much everything I could do before. A few weeks from now and I'll have trouble remembering I even had surgery. Paying the piper is hard, but worth it.

I'm fully retired from any outside job now, and that gives me a luxury I have never had before: Time. As in I can order it how I like, spend it on anything I want, do what I need to do when I need to do it without having to work around a job's demands. I love it. I appreciate it. I cherish it.

Probably more so because I've gotten older and realized I'm on the other side of middle age. If I've already passed the middle, I have fewer years ahead than I do behind, right? So spending them wisely has become more important. 

Although, admittedly, "wisely" is a relative term. Sometimes that means going places, seeing people, being social. Other times it means nothing more than sitting in my chair with my feet up and a good book on my lap. What is the purpose of life? I think that's a post for another day. :)

In the meantime, play safe!


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

 I haven't posted anything since January, mostly because I've been busy with projects other than writing. I've started a business making and selling junk journals, my daughter just got married -- which is a story in and of itself -- and I've been learning to relax and enjoy just being. Of those three, I'm pretty sure my daughter comes first and the other two vie for second place.

Am I still writing? Yes. And no. I am no longer writing erotic romance. I AM still writing an epic fantasy, although that also has taken a back seat (or 4th place) these past few months. Why? I'm stuck. I know what needs to happen, but can't seem to figure out how to write it. Been struggling with it for weeks now and finally decided to walk away from it for a bit and come back to it fresh in July. Hopefully, the time away will help?

One of my new ventures regards craft festivals. I did the Celebrate/Commemorate Festival in Waterloo, NY at the end of May and, while I wouldn't call it a rousing success, there was enough interest that I'm doing two more -- one in July and one in August. I'm selling my journals as well as my books, so we'll see. I only took Hardship and Hardtack to Waterloo and it sold well, so I'm hopeful for the remaining two festivals for this summer. Depending on how they go, I'll make decisions about next year. If I decide to keep it up, I'll let you all know.

And yes, I'll be better about getting blog posts up. Really, I walked away from everything these past six months -- and I needed to. I needed time to reset, to relax, to, as I said at the start, learn to enjoy just existing. That last is actually harder than it sounds, but living in the present is my goal and I'm getting better at it. Only took me sixty-six years! :)

Play safe, and take deep breaths, Diana

Tuesday, January 10, 2023


As always, January is a good time to look back as well as forward. How did last year measure up? And what will I do differently this coming year? Well, that depends...


Not my best year for reading, I have to admit. At least looking at the last several years.

In 2017, I read 69 books, not including December (I forgot to keep track. Sigh.).

In 2019 (didn't keep track in 2018), I read 73 books, again not including December. Apparently I get really caught up in the holiday spirit of the month and, although I read, I forget to write it down.

In 2020, I again read 69 books. Including December.

In 2021, I read only 58 books because I was performing in a play during the months of October and November and my reading time was taken up with learning lines.

And in 2022, I read only 52 books, partly for the same reason. After decades of not being on stage, I've been in two plays in two years. Both times was in plays making their stage debut -- works in progress by playwrights needing to see their words in front of an audience. We did talk-backs after each performance so those from the audience who wanted to give feedback could do so. A lot of fun and very exciting to help fellow authors (even if a different genre).

I keep track of the genres I read as well and fantasy tops the list with romances following close behind (I'm a sucker for a good Regency or Scottish Highlander). Historicals come next, followed by the rare non-fiction. I do read chick-lit on occasion, although I didn't this past year. Oh! And I had two books I started and didn't finish this year. Didn't include them in my 52 read, though. If I didn't finish, I can't count them in my list, according to my criteria. 


You know I'm a weaver, with a 36" 4-harness, 6-treadle loom. I made several pieces in the beginning of 2022, one of which has been mostly eaten by mice. 

Yep. I made, out of old rug yarn, two small rugs, using old towels for the weft. Put them down at the cabin, one to go under shoes/boots near the front door, one in the kitchen. The rug yarn, because the skeins were leftovers from other people's projects, was of many colors: beige, dark brown, purple, yellow. Interestingly, the mice really enjoyed the purple. They ate/stole nearly all of it from the rugs. They've left the towels alone (so far), and only lightly gnawed on the other colors. But the purple, they loved, leaving gaping holes where that warp used to be.

No, I'm not mad. The whole project was an experiment to begin with, and I learned a lot doing it. Now I've learned more from watching the rugs slowly disappear. A win!

The end of 2022 brought a new interest: making junk journals. I'll write more on those later, but suffice it to say, I've been down the You Tube rabbit hole and now am hooked. LOVE playing with paper!


Romantic Seas, my latest (and quite likely last) Diana Hunter novel released this past July. The protagonists are older (as am I) and I had fun writing it. 

But I'm really enjoying writing this epic fantasy. I've split the first book into two and given them names: Threads of Earth and Sky and Threads of Power and Loss; Parts I and II of The Companion series. I've sent them out and gotten a few nice rejection letters -- and ignored by other agents/publishers. I'll keep trying, but in the meantime, I'm at work on the third volume of the series. There will be four all together. With any luck (and more sending this puppy out), I'll find that person this year who will take a chance and get this published!


I hit the big 6-5 in 2022, and found, for the first time, a little difficulty with my age. Normally, I like being the age I am. Sixty-two was a little nerve-wracking because three of my four grandparents died at the age of 62. My parents both lived into their eighties, but still -- a year I needed to get through.

Obviously I did and went on Medicare (sigh). This year I'm eligible for Social Security. While I will welcome the money, there is an implication of old age that goes along with it. I'm definitely in my later years -- the "Old Crone" stage of a woman's life. I prefer the "Wise Woman," however. No matter what my knees tell me.


We did a lot that had to do with Steven's plein air painting. Ellora, Canada; Towanda, Pennsylvania -- he painted (and sold!) and I used the time to engage in the three R's: reading, writing, and relaxing. We also took the opportunity to visit Nova Scotia. We have friends there and stayed with them for several days, doing a deep dive into that part of the province. I love it there!

This year will be closer to home. I'm sure he'll do the plein air festival in Ellora again, but I'm not sure if I'll go with him this time. We have a cabin we didn't get to spend much time in last year; I'm thinking this year, it will become a second home! Needs a new fridge, but otherwise, it's very livable for weeks at a time.


More writing, more reading, more of making junk journals -- and more aging. Maybe some small traveling, lots of staying at the cabin. Enjoying the adventure -- always!

May your year be filled with joy and excitement of the good kind!

Play safe,


Tuesday, November 08, 2022

What have YOU been reading?

One might think that, after finishing the mammoth Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan this past summer, that I might shy away from another multi-book fantasy series.

Anyone who thinks that, doesn't know fantasy readers very well. We LIVE for the next multi-book series. And when we find good ones (even just so-so ones), we devour them.

And then we go out and find everything else that author has ever written and read that, too.

The Wheel of Time stretch started in April, finished at the end of August (with several non-Jordan books thrown in as I waited for the next books in the series to arrive). You can read my take on the series here.

The other books I read during that stretch more accurately reflect my varied tastes.

In May, I interspersed my series reading with A Walk in Wolf Wood by Mary Stewart (a children's story, but heck, it's Mary Stewart! You can't go wrong), The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick and The Magic Circle by Nora Roberts. All three much lighter reading -- needed after the relentless and often confusing Jordanian monstrosity.

June saw me stepping away from the series entirely for a bit. My husband and I did some traveling, so I brought lighter reading with me. I'd read the three Katherine Kurtz/Deborah Harris books before, but enjoyed revisiting them this month. The Temple and the Stone, The Temple and the Crown, and Two Crowns for America all have an exploration of the Masonic traditions at their heart. Still in the fantasy genre, but smaller bites.

July put me right back in the Wheel of Time and I read three books of the series that month. What can I say? They're BIG!

By August I was determined to push through and crack that sucker. I read every single one remaining, with a tiny one-day break to re-read Katherine Kurtz book, St. Patrick's Gargoyle. This stand-alone book needed a series. I truly enjoyed it.

By September, with the Wheel of Time series finished (yay!), I went for a variety of genres: Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh, a biography of Richard the Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman, a Regency by Anna Harrington called A Remarkable Rogue and finishing the month with an autobiography of John Cleese, aptly titled So Far.

But you can't keep a good fantasy reader down for long. October started with Never After, a cute story by Melissa De La Cruz -- and then I read The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas. My husband had given me the first six books of the series for Christmas last year and I finally got around to them.

I got hooked. Bought the last two in the series and just finished it off this first week in November. Eight books in total in the Throne of Glass series and I couldn't put them down. The publisher markets these books as young adult, but don't let that fool you. This is a kick-ass heroine who undergoes some truly horrific trials as she grows from a seventeen-year old assassin to, well, her ultimate destiny (which I won't spoil for you).

How much did I like this series? So much so that I cleaned off my "permanent" bookshelves to find a spot for it. Space is at a premium here, so only the books I think I'll re-read get to stay. I now have two small boxes of books ready for donation to the library (which includes the entire Wheel of Time series -- reading that once was plenty!).

What will I read next? Something off my TBR shelves ("to be read"). I have three of those and I need to read through some of those to make room for Christmas. My husband already has my "if you're so inclined to get me books for Christmas..." list so I've gotta make room!

For those keeping record, that puts me behind on the number of books this year: I've only read 47. Between the loopiness of the knee surgery and then spending all those months on That Series, my reading ability (and time) took a hit. I'm usually around 70 by this point. 

But that's okay. I'm glad I took the time to read through that series, despite my complaining about it. I haven't seen any of the filmed version yet -- but I will. And that will be a different post.

Take care and play safe!


Thursday, September 01, 2022

Well, I finally did it.

I read the entire Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

All fourteen mammoth books of it.

Twenty ears ago or so, I read the first book, The Eye of the World, and enjoyed it. I started the second book, The Great Hunt, and it was just the first book all over again. Same beginning, same plot structure…I set it aside and never went back. Life’s too short to spend time reading books you don’t like.

Fast forward twenty years and now my son has read the entire series. He reads with his ears rather than his eyes, and had gone through the entire now-fourteen book series over the course of several months. He liked most of the books and encourages me to try it again. Robert Jordan passed away before he could complete the series; Brandon Sanderson has written the last three books from the copious notes Jordan had left.

I like Sanderson. I’ve read all of his books. ALL of them. I like his style: straightforward, enough description to see a scene without repeating it over and over and over. Which is what Jordan did.  You don’t need to tell me the Aes Sedai have ageless faces every single time one comes into the story. Every. Single. Time. Augh!!!

In fact, if I didn’t know Sanderson was the author of the last three books, I’m pretty sure I would’ve abandoned the series after book seven, when I wanted to throw it across the room at the “climax.” Do NOT set up the villain throughout several hundred pages, detailing his plots, throwing monkey wrenches into the hero’s path, and then, at the final battle between the two, have the hero accidentally throw some magic toward someone else and “maybe” catch the villain in it as well, killing him. Maybe. Can’t be sure.

And that was it. The entire ending of a several hundred page conflict over in a single sentence that provided no conclusion. Yeah. It took a lot of will-power not to throw that book out the window.

Why did I keep going at that point? Because I hoped to find out what really happened. To find out if the villain was actually dead. And did I? Nope. Not even discussed until several books later.

Yeah, the ONLY thing that kept me reading was the fact that Brandon Sanderson wrote the last three books.

To be fair, books ten and eleven – Crossroads of Twilight and Knife of Dreams – did get better. But honestly? Some editor really should’ve told Jordan to stop the repetition.

And no, I’m not talking about the regular repetition one has to put at the start of each book in order to bring a reader up-to-date if they haven’t read the other books that came before. Every author does that because, well, because publishers demand it. The only one who got away without it was JRR Tolkien and that was because he pretty much invented the fantasy genre with The Lord of the Rings and his publisher just took his mammoth book and hacked it into three parts.

Publishers don’t do that any more. Every book in a series has to stand on its own so that, if a reader picks up Book Three in a series, they can jump in without having to read the first two. Whether I agree with that or not is a totally different blog post.

So I didn’t mind that repetition in the series. But really? Every time the reader goes into a city, even if the characters had been there just a few chapters earlier, do you have to describe the entire thing all over again? And do I really need to know EXACTLY what every single character is wearing, every time he/she changes their clothes? Does EVERY horse have to have a name? EVERY messenger who has a single line have to have a name that I’m going to forget, probably before I turn the page?

The cast of characters is huge. And people come and go quickly. You learn a name and poof! They’re gone. But don’t forget them, because three books later, here they are again and if you’ve forgotten them and their relationship? THAT he’s not going to remind you of. THAT he expects you to remember.

But I have done it. I read all fourteen books and only skimmed some of that too much description. Detail is king in these books, and what I consider to be too much, others might appreciate. Truly, the fashion choices of each character might be important and, if Jordan had followed up on them and given a clue as to whether it was a whim or a statement, that would’ve been helpful. But he didn’t. He just changes their clothes and moves on.

And so am I. No idea what I’ll read next. Probably a light Regency just to regain my equilibrium. I am leaving the world of the Wheel of Time behind. Let the Wheel turn as it will, I’m getting off the merry-go-round.

Play safe!


P.S. If you haven’t picked up your copy of my newest book, Romantic Seas, make sure you do! It’s a novella, so you can read it in an afternoon and it won’t take up months of your time. I promise. J

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

New Release!


Yep, you read that right. I have written a new novella, full of hot, hot, hot romance and featuring two wonderful characters who are finding their true love -- even if it does come a little later in life.

I know, I know. I said a few years back that Diana was done writing erotic romance. While it's true, I've been focusing on my epic fantasy (which is finished and has a title now! Threads of Earth and Sky, The Companion series, Volume I), sometimes one needs a little spicy romance to keep one's blood flowing.

So let me introduce you to Mary Elizabeth Flynn and Scott Henderson. Here's the blurb:

At sixty years old, Mary Elizabeth Flynn (Maisy to her friends) isn’t looking for romance.  The deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea, the coastline of Italy slipping by...what a wonderful, carefree way to spend a cruise. Maisy is grateful her friends talked her into joining them, especially when she meets Scott Henderson, tall, graying, and definitely handsome. Who is she to say no to a little shipboard romance?

ROMANTIC SEAS is now available for pre-order at Amazon and Smashwords (which has every format available, no matter what your ereader).

You want more? Oh, okay. Read on for a short excerpt:

Excerpt from Romantic Seas
by Diana Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Maisy’s thoughts warred with her libido as the two made their way to the Promenade. Was it only this afternoon she’d walked around this deck ten times? Now she took a leisurely stroll, her arm linked with a tall, handsome…Dom.

He’d used the word “Top,” but she didn’t think there was much more than a semantic difference between a Dom and a Top. She knew “Master” wasn’t the same—that title implied ownership. She’d read enough erotic romances to know what was what in that regard.

But reading and fantasizing were two vastly different beasts. She’d not been entirely truthful when she said she had the “occasional fantasy”—more like it was her only fantasy. One she’d never confessed to anyone. Not Peg, not Trish, not even the rare date she’d had while taking care of her parents. And certainly not to Tom. It was her secret, and hers alone.

And then Scott calmly shows her a picture of his wife and treats bondage as if it’s normal.

Well, perhaps it is for him, she thought, her gaze on the lights of a faraway ship. Not normal for me. Exciting…alluring…enticing, yes. Normal? Not even a little bit.

“You’re awfully quiet.” His voice interrupted her reverie. “If being tied up isn’t your thing, it’s okay. I still like you and would like to have you as a friend.”

“Oh, no, that’s not it. I like you, too.” She gathered her thoughts and pushed her libido to the side for a moment. “I’m just…It’s that…well, I don’t have any experience in the matter and I have no idea if I’ll actually like it, or if I’ll freak out, or what.”

“Would you be open to an experiment?”

“What kind of experiment?”

He didn’t answer, but pulled her close. With no preamble, he bent down and kissed her.

Her libido rushed to the fore once more as her knees grew weak and her arms went around his neck of their own volition. A whimper formed in the back of her throat, sighing out despite her attempt to stop it.

He deepened the kiss as his hand cradled her head, his fist tightening in her hair as his tongue touched her lips, seeking entrance. She opened for him, giving him reign.

His tongue touched hers and she slammed her knees straight lest they buckle, as her mind filled with thoughts of being controlled by the power he exercised. Gently, he moved her head, using her own hair to guide her mouth so he could take full possession.

He didn’t stay nearly long enough, however, breaking the kiss, dropping her hair, and stepping back to give her space, only keeping a single arm around her waist. She wanted to protest the sudden cool air that rushed between them on what, previously, she’d thought of as a warm Mediterranean night. But after the heat he’d created in her? The night was positively chilly and she gave a little shiver.

“Are you cold?”

“After that? A volcano is icy.”

Her voice had dropped in pitch and she had to give herself a shake to keep her limbs from going all languid on her.

“So what do you think? I controlled only two parts of you—were you okay with that?”

“Oh, yeah,” she sighed, babbling. “I mean…yes. That was okay.”

The outdoor lighting cast a shadow on his face, but she thought he smiled.

“No freaking out?”

Her voice firmer this time, she stood up straight. His arm dropped from her waist and, while she missed the contact, part of her was glad of it. She might be able to do this in only small doses. “No freaking out.”

Remember: ROMANTIC SEAS is now available for pre-order at Amazon and Smashwords (which has every format available, no matter what your ereader). Order now and avoid the rush!

OH! And once you have it in your hands and have devoured it, please return to the site where you purchased it and leave a review. We self-pubbed authors need them to be seen by others.

Play safe,