Sunday, November 26, 2017

New titles, a sale and reading!

It may have seemed as if I stopped writing, but I really haven't. I've just taken on a bit more than I wanted this semester and am teaching three classes. Doesn't sound like much, does it? Except they're timed so that I'm out of the house Every Single Day. Grrr. Won't make that mistake again. I retired for a reason - I want to write full time!

It has come to my attention, however, that the purchasing page was woefully out of date. That has been rectified. You can now find the page links to Stress Relief, Love Unleashed (which you can also get in print!), and This Journey We Call Life as well as all my other currently-released titles.

Cyber Monday sale!

Of course, Cyber Monday is coming and we're going to start a day early. Those three titles are all on sale for 50% off from today until Sunday, December 3rd. Just go to Smashwords and use the coupons below to get your discount. Remember, you can download any format you need for any device you use.

Click on the title to go to its Smashwords page.

Stress Relief - coupon code   FS68Z

Love Unleashed - coupon code  YC24K

This Journey We Call Life - coupon code   HJ94B  
BTW, did you know the cover for TJWCL was painted by my husband? The painting hangs in my work room at the cabin. :)

But wait! There's more!

And if you're looking for Christmas stories, don't forget the 12 Days of Christmas (Bondage) and A Devil in Winter, also 50% off!

12 Days of Christmas (Bondage) - coupon code   HG45W

A Devil in Winter - coupon code FN46E

And finally, what I've been reading...

The Summerhouse by Jude Devereaux (a good afternoon's read)
The Black Tulip by Laura Willig (a re-read, which should tell you something!)
three other romances I forgot to write down!

Currently I'm finishing up The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George (good, but a bit indulgent)

To sum up - I'm still writing, although a bit slower, so those new titles will be coming soon; there's a great Cyber Monday sale that starts today and goes all week (50% off!), and I'm reading a bunch of stories. Oh! And my kids got me into Skyrim, so I'm all about killing dragons lately. Hey, someone's got to do it!

Play safe and buy books! (and leave reviews)


Monday, October 02, 2017

Relief for your Stress is coming!

And it's called Stress Relief!

Yep, this VERY strong, VERY sexual story of Meg, a woman who enjoys a good flogging, and Rand, a strong Dom who enjoys giving Meg what she needs, is soon to be available again. This is the book that won me the "Best Dinner Scene" award at Ellora's Cave Romanticon - for the creative use of Meg as platter. :)

What you don't know, however, is that Ellora's Cave censored that scene.

You read that right. That dinner scene was too hot for EC and I had to remove entire sections of it before they would publish it. Can you imagine? Something too sexy for the editors of Ellora's Cave???

So now that I'm self-publishing - all those sections are back in place. Every juicy slurp, every teasing touch, every dastardly deed - all there for your reading pleasure.

Stress Relief is available for ebook pre-order now - at both Amazon and Smashwords - and goes live on October 8th. Pre-order your copy now and then settle in on Sunday for a hot, hot, hot time!

NOTE: The print versions that are available on Amazon are of the OLD version. The new, hotter version will be released in print before the end of the month. It's in final checks before going live.

My Reading List

On another, more mundane note - I realized I haven't updated my list of books read since mid-July. I'm missing a few I forgot to record in August, but here they are:

The Mistress of Normandy by Susan Wiggs (good romance)
The Handbook to Handling His Lordship by Suzanne Enoch (disappointing. I really wanted it to be in handbook format -and it was Just Another Romance Novel)
The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Laura Willig (a re-read. That tells you something!)
The Garden Intrigue by Laura Willig (another re-read. I'm telling you - these are worth it!)
Seven Stories to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon (Two words: Jamie. Lord John. Ok, that was three words. Sue me.)
The Lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch (a fantasy that looked interesting. It was. I look forward to reading the others of his I put on my Christmas list)
The Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James (romance, entertaining)
Shadowmarch, Shadowplay, Shadowrise and Shadowheart, all by Tad Williams (I read the 1st book in this series years ago, then got the second but hadn't had time to re-read the first to bring myself up to speed. Found the 4th book at a book sale, so naturally I had to order the 3rd. Now having all, I read them in a row).

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Well, live anyway. :)

This Journey We Call Life is now available on both Amazon and Smashwords. Ten short stories - one of which has never before been published - for some very enjoyable (although not erotic) reading pleasure. Use the links to get your copy today!

Once you've read it, please return to the site where you purchased it and leave a review. Remember, we authors live and die by the number of reviews a book gets. Be honest and tell the world what you thought!

And while you're at it, pre-order Stress Relief - which will be available on October 8th - on both Amazon and Smashwords.. This is a full-length erotic romance that couldn't be further away in genre from the short stories. In fact, this might be the most extreme BDSM story Diana Hunter put her name to (the even more extreme belong to Mystic Shade. Woof!).

Happy reading and Play Safe!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cover reveal - and some traveling

Cover reveal

I really like the cover for this collection of ten short stories. It's an early painting my husband did and there's just something about the way the colors move from a dense, gray fog into the yellows and oranges of autumn that appeals to me. The green at the bottom reminds us summer is still here even as fall approaches.

This collection has nine stories that have appeared here on the blog, most of them for only a day (the First Friday Fiction series) and one story that's never been published. None of them are erotic romance, so this is a G-rated collection. All of the stories were fun to write, even those that are in genre that stretched my abilities (action-adventure? Really?).

It will be available for pre-order in a few days and will deliver at the end of September. I'll post again with links when everything goes live. :)

And some traveling...

It's always fun when you get to visit friends who live at a distance. My husband and I live in the Finger Lakes area of New York State and we have friends who, separately and independent of each other, all decided to move to Indiana many years back. We went out to visit five years ago and thought it was time to visit the Hoosier State again.

Remembering Benjamin Franklin's adage ("Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days"), we kept our visits short, staying two nights on a farm just south of Fort Wayne and two nights in the suburbs of Indianapolis. We had a great time both places, reconnecting, solving the world's problems, and just plain ol' having fun.

From there, we headed south and I crossed another off of my list of "States Visited." I'd never been to Kentucky before - and now I'm in love with it. Not only is it beautiful, the people are friendly and food delicious. I'm only sorry we didn't take time for any of the bourbon tours.

We did, however, visit Mammoth Cave, an aptly named cave if ever there was one. Over 406 continuous miles discovered - so far! We took two tours and my only complaint was that they moved too quickly. Would've loved a bit more time to look around as we walked. I took no pictures underground (being too busy trying to stay with the group) but my husband snapped a few. Will share once I get them off his phone and onto my computer.

From there we headed to Shaker Village - originally called "Pleasant Hill." This is a museum that houses the US's largest collection of historical buildings still on their original foundations. AND it has transformed the upper stories of the buildings into rooms you can stay in. We enjoyed our stay there, especially walking around the 19th century grounds after all the tourists had gone home (we stayed in the building on the right).

So watch for This Journey We Call Life - and play safe!


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!

Saturday, July 01, 2017


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


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,

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!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Of reading, writing and surgery

And in that order....


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)


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....


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!

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,

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!


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,

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,

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,

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, 

Monday, January 16, 2017


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,

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! :)