Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We've broken a record!

Long-time readers of my blog know I'm a data junkie. Looking at hard numbers appeals to the left-brained, logical side of me (I do have one, you know!). Every month I record my sales numbers for each book and where they sold the best, then I make charts comparing this year's sales to all the years previous. I know what books have done well (Secret Submission) and what hasn't moved (Timeless Love).

A while back, Blogger started offering stats for the blog. I'd already put a counter from StatCounter on the site, but Blogger's data provides a better overview. I still use StatCounter when I want to drill down and find out things like how long people tend to visit (25% stay five minutes or longer) or what words people typed in to get to me ("diana hunter" is the most popular, although recently two people typed in "nude teachers" and got to my site. Don't ask me how, I've no idea!).

Blogger started collecting hit information in July of 2009 and, in that year, I had an average of 263 hits per month. In 2010, that went up to an average of 320 hits/month. Not great in the world of blogging, but I had a steady stream of dedicated readers and the occasional fly-by, so I was happy. In 2011 the stats went up again, although not by a lot, to 353 hits/month. Steady on!

However, in September 2011, I started the writing workshops and, while they took a bit to get going, they soon started having an impact on my blog hits. Every Tuesday I'd see a spike as people came to try out the new activity, raising the number of hits per month to 477/month for the first part of this year. Three times the blog registered over 500 hits in a months' time and I was thrilled.

Then, early this month, I switched the address to point to this blog. I never had a good idea if that site was ever getting hits as my webmistress never gave me that info, even when requested. For me, the static website was always a shot in the dark. And the data junkie in me cringed.

Well, now I have an idea of just how many people were hitting that website because August has broken all my previous records, shattering them for all time. In the three weeks both addresses have pointed to this page, there have well over 1500 hits. Yep, that's FOUR digits, folks! I'm doing the happy dance on this side of the computer (be glad there is no video!).

Of course, the big question becomes: does the higher number of hits mean a higher number of sales? That, unfortunately, I do not yet know. The data is still too young. I'm not seeing a huge uptick in my self-published sales, but I won't know EC sales until October's statement. I'm hoping those who are sticking around the site long enough to read the posts are also visiting the Publishing Info tab at the top of the page (it does have the highest number of hits of all the tabs. I told you I'm a data junkie!).

So I'll keep watching the stats (and keep writing the workshops -- they're definitely popular! Although look for some guest posters to the workshops in the coming months) and I'll keep writing the stories, if you keep reading the posts and buying the books!

Oh! And I'll be getting a newsletter out before Labor Day that will have a juicy little surprise in it. Tied to Home is done and if you want a sneak at an excerpt, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter (use the link in the upper right corner of this blog).

That's all for now. Keep visiting and play safe!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

back to school...

The lucky of us never stop learning. The whole world is our school and we revel in learning something new every day. I have a friend who kept a learning journal and, every night before she went to bed, she wrote down what she'd learned that day. What a marvelous way to reinforce your own experiences!

I've spoken before about being a reflective writer. About taking the time to look back on what you've accomplished/learned/experienced and then writing about it. Today is one of those days.

Yes, there is a danger in looking back too often. Living in the past is no way to move forward into the future.

Yet that's not really what I want you to do today. Today (or sometime this week), take a look only at what you've written in the past year. If you've been doing each of these exercises (there are just under a year's worth of them!), pull out what you wrote for each one and read it over again, then do the following:

1. Where do you see growth as a writer? What have you learned to do (or not do?)? Take 10-15 minutes and write down your observations.

2. What is your favorite piece from the year? Why? What did you like about it (be as specific as you can)?

3. Which is your worst piece? Why do you think it is? If you were to give it to someone else to read, would they agree with you?

4. Start looking ahead. What are some new skills/techniques you hope to learn in the coming year?

Enjoy the introspection and leave a tip in the jar on the way out...



Thursday, August 23, 2012


Yipee! Yesterday I finished the first draft of Sweet Spot story. Drat! I still don't have a title for the darn thing, since my current one just isn't working. I have two alternate titles in mind and, if YOU have a preference, let me know in the comments section. They are (in no particular order):

Tied to Home

To better help you make a decision, I'm including a little blurb:

After eight years away, Matt Carter doesn't want to go home. Broke, down on his luck and with a troubled past, however, he has no where else to go. What was it Robert Frost said? "Home is the place where, if you have to go there, they have to take you in." So he's back in Port Clef, having no choice but to suffer through a boring summer, working for his cousin and paying off his debts. 

Wisteria Penny Lane has life exactly where she wants it. Her store is in the black, the tourist season is about to start, and she has a best friend willing to get her out of the (literally) tight situations Wiste can tie herself into, even if she can't explain that self-bondage helps her relax, that the lack of movement is actually freeing.

What Wiste doesn't need is for the first boy she'd ever loved to come home again and mess up her ordered life...

I've had a lot of fun writing this novella (who am I kidding? I have fun writing them all!). If I can get this puppy a title, it's scheduled for release on November 1st.  Leave me a comment or send me an email if you have a preference...and feel free to suggest a different one.

Play safe!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

and even more prompts...

Pretty much every one of us has had schooling of some sort. For many, that meant attending a public school each year for a set number of years. We've had all sorts of experiences and went through every emotion possible in those "hallowed halls."

So, in keeping with the start of another school year, today's prompts center in on that setting. Use your own experiences or those of people you know and let the following prompts lure readers back to those school days they've forgotten...

Remember, this is practice and practice is something we should do often. To that end:

1. Choose one prompt as a 5-10 minute warm-up write. Use this time to relax and get your head in the writing game, so to speak.

2. Choose a second prompt for a longer writing, 30-45 minutes. Tie the prompt to a work in progress or start fresh. Be cognitive of the choices you're making as you're writing. Note the techniques you use, the sentence structure, the arrangement of words.

3. Reflect. This is the step we most often ignore and yet it's the step where the learning takes place. After you've done both writings, take another 10 minutes and, in writing, record what you did, how you did it, what you learned, what you need to change either in your process or your writing. Don't skip this step!


  • Your son or daughter waits for the bus on the first day of school - ever. Determine the age of both the child and the parent and write the dialogue the two have as they wait.
  • Your protagonist witnesses a fight at school (but does not become involved). Write a scene where he/she is describing what happened to an authority figure.
  • The substitute teacher (whom your protagonist has never had before, nor ever heard of) enters the classroom and begins teaching the wrong subject, or giving incorrect information. How does your character react? How do others in the room react?
  • Your protagonist witnesses a bully intimidating another classmate. Your protagonist doesn't like either person involved in the incident. Show the incident through your protagonist's eyes. Be sure to include his/her actions regarding the incident.
  • It's time for public speaking! Your protagonist has written and practiced a beautiful speech to deliver before the class. Except he/she has forgotten the written speech at home. It is his/her turn next. What happens?
Enjoy the prompts and leave a tip!


Monday, August 20, 2012


We've hit over a thousand visits to the blog this month! First time ever over that magic number. Many thanks to all who visit, even if I think some are bots who scan and ignore (my stat counter shows a number of hits that stay less than five seconds and move one. I'm pretty sure that's a bot).

Even so, that's a record I like. I re-directed to this site earlier this month and I'm pretty sure that's the big reason for the uptick in visits. Didn't see any sense in keeping a site I never updated when this one is updated frequently.

So welcome to all who are finding me for the first time, and thank you for all who visit often. Good to "see" you all and feel free to drop a note in the comments every once in a while.

Play safe!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to Myst

Long-time readers know I am a fan of the Myst stories. I call them stories rather than games because, at their heart, that’s what they are. Each “episode” builds on the last, yet, like any good series of books, each section also stands on its own. If you’ve read (played) the previous episodes, you understand a little more deeeply, but they are not essential to the current piece you’re dealing with.

A fellow teacher turned me onto the first Myst game back in the early 1990’s. I was hooked not only by the gorgeous graphics, but by the story as well. Subsequent episodes told more of the story of Atrus’ family and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know.

The series hooked me on the idea of telling a story in random order. Of letting readers meander through the events the way they wanted to. Non-linear. Gathering information in bits and pieces, exploring the world and discovering the characters’ background, thoughts and ideas – their stories.

I just finished re-playing End of Ages, the fifth in the series of Myst “games”. I’d started a re-play a while back, but that computer died and I had no way of finishing. Then my son turned me onto Steam, where I could buy an entire bundle from Cyan (the original Myst creators) for thirty dollars. I will replay them all, but started with the end only because I wanted to finish from the notes I took two years ago.

And yes, you have to take notes. Either within the game (a journal is provided) or separately. I like to play with a notebook beside me where I can record drawings, or, in this case, simply thoughts about the story as I go. A place where I can talk back to the creators of the game as well as the characters on the screen. In a book I’d call this active reading. In this particular video “game” I’d call it active participation.

Writing a story like this is still on my list of things to do. I have a story in mind that would work very well when told in a random order and in a setting where the reader/player is set down and has to figure out what is happening as he/she wanders about. After all, isn’t that really how life goes? We get a piece of the story here, a piece there – and have to put it all together ourselves? It’s an attractive challenge.

For now, I’m headed back to the cabin to finish my current work-in-progress and will leave my idea for this type of storytelling on the back burner.

Play safe!

Friday, August 17, 2012

It ain't me!

I have certain alerts set so that any time my name is mentioned, I get an email telling me someone's mentioned me.  It works great and I've found several review sites, especially, because of it. I've also found pirates!

But this week I've gotten several alerts about a Diana Hunter handing out Trojan vibrators in New York City. The picture is of an attractive young woman holding a purple box and the caption says the sales of Trojan vibes is up 14% this year. They're holding 50 Shades of Grey accountable, but I'd like to think maybe I had a hand in that as well (pun intended).

Anyway, the Diana Hunter pictured is not me. Yes, I'd be happy to hand out Trojan vibrators in Times Square, but alas, they did not ask. You can see pictures of this event here and here.

Go vibes!

And Play Safe! :)

PS. If you buy a Trojan vibe, tell 'em Diana sent you. This Diana, not the one in the picture!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Plein Air Writing

This past weekend my husband took part in his first plein air festival. Sponsored by Billsboro Winery on Seneca Lake, the art created in just over twenty-four hours was incredibly beautiful and fascinating in its diversity.

For those unfamiliar with the plein air style, there is a wonderful explanation here but, for the layman, the short version is that it is painting from real life. It's an attempt to capture on canvas the light, the sound, the mood of a particular place in space and time. It is painting "in the open air."

And while he painted, I spent the weekend wondering why writers didn't do more of the same. We think nothing of accepting an artist, easel upright and paints at his or her side, creating art in public for all the world to watch. We go to museums and galleries and ooh and ahh over paintings that were created in this style. 

Why don't we do the same for writers?

Answer: we have a different stereotype: that of the lonely writer, locked in a garret room with only a typewriter for a companion and a whiskey for sustenance. Writers spurn the outside world. We live inside our heads and crave solitude.


It is time to put to rest that tired old picture of a writer and the best way to do that -- is to go public.

You heard me. Get out there. Go to parks, to restaurants, to festivals - and write. Don't find a quiet corner, sit right in the middle of the action and whip out your notebook and pen and start sketching with words. Capture phrases, conversation, write sentences that fill in the flavor of the scene. Work fast and don't edit. Create. Create art with words.


For this week's prompt, get out of the house. Shake up your writing routine and go somewhere public. Outside in the sunshine if you can. Plein air artists focus on capturing the light. How can you do the same but with words? Look at the scene and focus on mood. Don't worry about full sentences or editing. This is a sketch.

1. Find a comfortable place where you can both observe and be observed. Look around you and focus on one part of the scene as a 5-10 minute warm-up write. Use this time to relax and get your head in the writing game, so to speak. Let people watch you write if they want (you may need to ask them to hold a question until you've finished a thought).

2. Choose a larger portion of the scene for a longer writing, 30-45 minutes. Be cognitive of the choices you're making as you're writing. Note the techniques you use, the sentence structure, the arrangement of words, but do not let your thoughts trick you into editing. Pause, watch, listen, write.

3. Reflect. Do this step at home or in private. After you've done both writings, take another 10 minutes and, in writing, record what you did, where you wrote and how you felt about both the process and what you created. Don't skip this step!
This is where you learn. 

4. Optional: Edit. Painters do not have this luxury, but writers do. Take a look at the work you created. Where can you tighten the phrasing? Add words to fill in the picture? BE CAREFUL! Just as painters need to be careful to not overwork a painting, writers must also be wary of overworking their sketches.

Have fun with this! If you're adventurous, let me know how it went in the comments below.

If you find this useful, please leave a tip in the jar.

Diana (who thinks it might be fun to create a plein air festival for writers...)


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Name change

Okay, if you've been over to the Sizzling Scribe site, you've seen that my next book is coming out in November and that it's part of the Sweet Spot series. You also would have seen that the name of the book is Proud Bondage.

I have to change it. I just have to.


Because every time I look at that file on my computer I heard Credence Clearwater Revival singing Proud Mary.

"Big wheels keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin'. Rollin'. Rolling on the river..."

Now it's stuck in your head, too.

You're welcome.

Yeah, I gotta change the name.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Fan fic prompts

Many writers start out with fan-fic; fiction based on someone else's characters and story lines. I certainly did.

Back in high school, one of my best friends wrote great fan-fic TV scripts for some of the more popular shows on television at the time. My favorite was one she did for Mannix (yes, that dates me). They were hand-written on notebook paper, but she used the characters and gave them new plot lines. I wasn't confident enough as a writer to try my own, however. Yet.

I wasn't too far into my college years when my cousin introduced me to Star Trek fan writings. Paramount had taken ownership of the TV show and wasn't too sure what to do with those early magazines dedicated to the defunct program. I knew when I wrote my first (and only) Star Trek story that I was treading thin ground when it came to copyright, but figured as long as I didn't publish it and only showed it to a few people, I'd probably be okay.

(By the way, that story still exists in my file drawer. It's hand-written and my cousin and I fleshed out the plot together. I re-read it a few years back and was surprised. While there are the expected technical issues of a young writer, its actually a pretty good story. Listening, Paramount?)

Of course now, with 50 Shades of Gray beginning life as a Twilight fan-fic, the genre is growing in respectability, even if it exists in kind of a legal gray area (no pun intended).

Still, it's a great way to practice skills. The characters are already developed, the setting is pre-determined, even the overarching themes are already set in stone. All you need to do is 1) stay true to the original writer's intent and 2) focus on plot and point of view.

Today's workshop focuses on those literary elements. Remember, practice makes perfect! Using an existing book, movie or TV show allows you to slide on some elements and concentrate your practice on specifics. The prompts below focus on plot and point of view, so decide where you want to focus your energies and get crackin'!

To use these prompts as practice, use the following steps as a guide:

1. Choose one prompt as a 5-10 minute warm-up write. Use this time to relax and get your head in the writing game, so to speak.

2. Choose a second prompt for a longer writing, 30-45 minutes. Tie the prompt to a work in progress or start fresh. Be cognitive of the choices you're making as you're writing. Note the techniques you use, the sentence structure, the arrangement of words.

3. Reflect. This is the step we most often ignore and yet it's the step where the learning takes place. After you've done both writings, take another 10 minutes and, in writing, record what you did, how you did it, what you learned, what you need to change either in your process or your writing. Don't skip this step!


First, choose a TV show, movie or book that you love and know inside out (this makes it easier to focus on plot and point of view instead of everything else). Then choose from the prompts below and have some fun!

  • Put those characters into a unique spot and have them get out of it. Use an omniscient viewpoint or write as a TV/movie/play script.
  • Write from the point of view of one of the minor characters. Use this "outside" pov to show us a different side of one of the main characters.
  • Make up a new character who meets the established characters for the first time.
  • Explore the work by going deeper into the established action: two neighbors discussing Bilbo's sudden disappearance or two people from District 13 discussing Katniss' act of volunteering for the Games, for example.

Have fun and leave a tip on your way out!


Monday, August 06, 2012

More steps accomplished!

Email is back up and running. If you sent me email in the past five days, please resend as it is lost in cyberspace. On the upside, that was five days without having to clean out the spam!

My website addy ( also posts here now (that was step one), so we're moving right along with the changes I wrote about here (at the bottom of the post). I've learned not to give timelines as there's always something that takes longer than it should, so just know I'm still working on the promotional side while writing my next book.

I didn't send a newsletter this month because of the website and email issues. Look for a new one come September. In the meantime, I'll be spending August finishing not one, but two novels:

I'm currently hard at work on my contribution to the Sweet Spot series. I'm 24K words into it and liking the hero and heroine very much. The book is on track to release in November, so look for blurbs and excerpts within the coming months.

I'm also working on a new Mystic Shade title. This is a story that's been sitting on my computer in pieces for nearly three years. I finally decided to put it together and get it ready for publication. It's just about in the same stage as my Sweet Spot book as far as completion. I'm having fun with both of them!

Lastly, some sad news, my Nova Scotia trip is off. My husband's mother is ill and we don't want to be too far away if she needs us. So we're going to treat ourselves to a fancy spa instead. Gotta find that silver lining!

Play safe everyone!

Friday, August 03, 2012

One step accomplished!

Okay folks, if you typed in, it redirected you here. That's supposed to happen. While the other site undergoes a major reconstruction, I'm having the addy point here where you can find links using the tabs at the top of the page to find information about all the books I've self published as well as those published with Ellora's Cave.

Take a look around if this is your first time here and try not to notice the dust piles in the corner as I sweep away the old site and build the new!

Play safe,

Thursday, August 02, 2012

and there goes my email

It never rains but it pours. Now my email is not working either. If you need to get in touch with me, please use

My apologies for the inconvenience!


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

website down

If you are trying to get, you are getting a wonky page that isn't right. It's okay. I know about it and it's in the process of being fixed. No, this wasn't planned.

Well, it was, but it wasn't going to happen for another month. Then the website decided to take matters into its own hands and demanded attention immediately. Squeaky wheel and all that...

I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Go read a book and things will be fixed soon!

Play safe,