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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pre-order's now open for WINTER'S TALE

Cyber-Monday is coming - the online answer to Black Friday - and the best part is, you don't have to leave your home to order the presents you want to buy. Whether buying for your Great-Aunt Mabel or looking for something for your best friend and confidant, have I got something for you!

Okay, that sounds like I'm selling watches on the street corner while looking over my shoulder, waiting for my lookout to cry, "Cheese it, the cops!" It is, however, true. Come Monday, check out my books for some exciting sales.

You don't have to wait until Monday, however, to pre-order (on Amazon and SmashwordsWINTER'S TALES, my newest collection of stories all bundled together into one volume. Three hot stories for those cold winter's nights, each of them featuring characters to fall in love with and sex scenes to set your blood a' blazing.

First up is A Devil in Winter where poor Kevin "Devil" Winter kidnaps the younger, nosy sister of the woman he loves - and then discovers maybe he's been running after the wrong woman after all.

Then starts Winter Break, where Dr. Lynn Bintner, PhD. is sooo ready for the semester to end so she can have some time to herself before she discovers a long-lost love who promises to make her time so much more interesting.

And rounding out the trio comes 12 Days of Christmas Bondage, twelve stories of hot BDSM throughout the ages - from England before the American Revolution through the centuries. Join these men and women as they explore the boundaries of forbidden sex.

Want to get WINTER'S TALES in print to give as a present? You can do that, too - and you don't need to wait until Monday - it's available now!

Check back on Monday for some sweet Cyber Monday deals on my other books, too. In the meantime - pre-order your copy of WINTER'S TALES now!

Play safe,
Diana, who really hopes you'll forgive her poor attempts at being a huckster. Clearly she should not give up writing books as her abilities writing ad copy are...limited. :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

PRE-ORDER available for WINTER'S TALES

Now available for preorder from both Smashwords and Amazon,
Winter's Tales is a bundled collection of three novellas: A Devil in Winter, Winter Break, and 12 Days of Christmas Bondage, all together for the first time. What can I say? I like setting stories around the holidays. :)

Devil in Winter - Kevin doesn't plan to kidnap his ex's younger sister, but when he does, the sparks do fly! This title was previously published by Ellora's Cave.

Winter Break - Dr. Bintner's immersion in her work has left her little time for love - until an old flame shows up and rekindles their relationship.

12 Days of Christmas Bondage - Twelve snippets into bondage through the years - these twelve couples certainly show us how hot the holidays can be! (edited to add:) Each "chapter" is a story in, and of, itself. Together they make a full-length novel.

Print format coming soon so you can get one for a friend for the holidays. Mmm...winter and spice...perfect together!


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I know most Americans are consumed with the election today and, if you haven't already - GO VOTE! I did. And yes, that's my old jacket - its chilly here in the early morning hours in New York State and I grabbed the comfy, warm jacket over style. Doesn't matter what you look like - just go vote and let your voice be heard.

As always, play safe!

Diana

Sunday, October 09, 2016

What's Next?


A few weeks ago I wrote about my business decision to separate from Ellora's Cave and concentrate on self-publishing. Unfortunately, my fears proved founded. This week Ellora's Cave made the move to close its doors. As of December 31st, it will cease to exist.

Like many authors, I am, by nature, a solitary creature. An introvert, life is most comfortable when I'm home, surrounded by family and friends. The people at EC became friends of the second circle - Tina/Jaid, Patty, Raelene at first. Martha, Jenia, Rodney, CJ next. Going to the Romanticon conventions I met the authors who would become my Scribe sisters, both past and present: Lynn, Tara, Ruby, Cait, Ari, Tielle, Nikki, Jennifer, Titania. I sat beside Ann at booksignings and rubbed elbows with Lora, Cris, Wendy, Ashley, Kathy...so many authors there isn't space to name them all.

The past twelve years have been a most remarkable time because of my association with all these wonderful people.

Of course, all this begs the question: What next? I loved it when President Bartlett (West Wing) would ask that question. There is a finality to it that puts to rest the past while at the same time looks forward to the next challenge.

The answer? Well, that I'm still working on.

Self-publishing is one avenue, although it's gotten nearly impossible to get noticed with the flood of authors who have gone that route. Changing algorithms on many sites don't make it any easier and one (I'm looking at you, Amazon) wants authors to publish exclusively on their site in order to get any promotion or good algorithm. I'll go on the record here as to why I'm not exclusive anywhere: 1) It isn't fair to readers. Not everyone in the world reads their ebooks on a Kindle - and 2) I cannot support a monopoly. Amazon wants to be everything to everyone and, while that might be good for them, it isn't good for buyers to have only one place to shop.

Look for a new publisher is another option and one I've explored - and may continue to try. It's the publicity and distribution part I need. As it stands now, my books do not bring in new readers - and old readers already have all my books. As I prepare to re-release all my old titles, how do I get new readers to find them?

Of course, I could just walk away. Stop writing altogether. It's crossed my mind. Life would be simpler to move back into the world as "just" a reader - a consumer rather than a creator (to be honest, I've never stopped being a reader. Do you know how many good books there are out there????). I've tried that on for size this past six weeks. Haven't written a new story or met any new characters. I totally forgot to promote my First Friday Fiction yesterday. Why? Other pieces of my life have moved onto my calendar and I forgot.

So not writing would be a very easy transition to make. When I'm ninety, I can look back on my life and say, "I was a mid-list author in a small publishing company once." It's a good accomplishment and one I'd be happy with.

But it is also an option I won't take just yet. There are still stories to be told, characters who understand I just need some time to recharge before they'll be at me again, pestering, complaining, whining until I write them into existence. Besides which, I'm going to be at the Fall in Love with New England conference this week. It's a brand-new convention and I'm excited to be in on the ground floor. New readers to meet - new authors to explore, new adventures to experience.

But after that? 

I ain't got no clue. But you can bet it'll be an adventure. Life always is!

Play safe,
Diana


PS. I'll leave the Free Fiction Friday up until midnight tonight since I forgot to remind everyone. Read it while you can!