Jun 16

Life in DianaLand

I’d make the excuse that my life hasn’t really been exciting enough to blog about lately, except… well, that’s not really true. I mean, it’s not like I have a double life as a secret agent or anything thrilling like that, but life has been good and fun and incredibly eventful in big and small ways. I am driving myself pretty hard on the writing front, simply because of some changes in deadlines, and some intense personal goals. And, I have some new fitness goals (which I’ll expound upon in just a bit.) My internet-type updates have been mostly in the form of twitter or facebook, but the big drawback to those is that not only are they merely small snippets of information (which is perfectly fine at times) but also that it’s not a medium where I’ll be able to go back years later and see what I wrote. (Yes, there are probably programs that will log and store my tweets or facebook updates, but I can’t see how those little snippets will make much sense without the greater context that a blog post will provide.)

The thing is, I started blogging back in 1996. No, we didn’t call it “blogging” back then. I had an “online journal” which I coded in html by hand. There was no comment feature, which gave the whole journaling thing a far different dynamic. I blogged fairly steadily until shortly after I got married in 2002, at which time my posts became fairly infrequent. In 2003 I had a miscarriage, and I pretty much stopped updating completely–which I regret now, because I have no journal record of when I was pregnant with the Kid or the early months of her life. I picked back up again with a free blog on journalscape in November 2004, later moving over to my own site and a wordpress platform, and since then have had only a few patches where I went for more than a few months without posting.

And, I’ve gone through the same strange angst at least a dozen times before, where I feel a sort of “performance pressure” about blogging, and worry that my posts aren’t interesting enough or compelling enough or [insert silly worry.] And, yes, I know I need to get over it and just write, but when I became a Published Author (and even when I was a Seriously Trying To Be Published Author) the whole dynamic seemed to shift again. Suddenly I felt that the blog had to be part of a Big Promotional Engine, and I had to be careful what I said, and diligent about providing content to draw readers in.

But you know what? That doesn’t seem to be working for me, and I don’t think that people who read this blog are all that interested in reading Promotional Stuff all the time.

So, I’m going to try and get back to my roots, so to speak. Yes, I’ll still talk about the books and my writing and my process, simply because all of that is a major part of my life. But I’m also going to talk about my opinions, and what I’m doing for fun, and what my family is doing, and stupid things that I find entertaining–all stuff that I’ll want to read five years down the road, which will possibly be stuff that you’ll want to read right now.


That being said, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past few months:

In April I went to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Columbus, OH. Even though it’s a pricey con, I really enjoy it because it feels like a perfect blend of hanging out with other writers, and meeting and hanging out with people who love to read. This year was a lot of fun, especially because of my last minute decision to bring the creepiest doll in the world. I’ll have to devote a separate blog post to Creepy Doll, because she totally deserves it.

In May I traveled to Taos Ski Valley for the Rio Hondo writer’s workshop. This is a week-long, masters-level, invitation-only writer’s workshop–and I have to be honest and say that I was more than a little stunned to get an invite. This too shall receive its own blog entry, but I’ll just say that it was a rare and awesome treat to be around so many other gifted and successful writers, and the critiques I received have improved and shaped my writing in ways that I’ll be discovering for a long time.

In April, May, and June, I did a lot of writing. A lot. When I met with my DAW editor in early April I was asked if I could shift my work/deadline schedule around and start working on the first book in my zombie series. The deadline for this is fairly tight, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to make it, and still turn in the book that I want to write. I have some really high hopes for this book as far as content/theme, and I’m really pushing to get the draft written so that I’ll have plenty of time for revisions and input from critique partners.

And, finally, my latest “thing” has nothing to do with writing or books. For the last several months I’ve been struggling to get back into shape and lose the thirty+ pounds that have crept on in the last eight years. I’ll be 44 in a few months, and it’s not going to get any easier to lose the weight. Plus, I’m sick of my joints and back hurting, and I know perfectly well that losing weight will do wonders for easing all of that. While I’ve never been a “jock”, I’ve usually maintained a fairly decent level of fitness, and have even dipped into periods of uberfitness. I liked that. I liked being in shape, and I liked trying on swimsuits and saying, “Cool!” instead of “Oh, yuck!”

Coincidentally, my sister has also been going through a “get into shape” period, and has been doing amazingly well with it. (Far better than I have, I must admit!) For the past few years she’s been saying that she wanted to do a triathlon, and while I’ve agreed that this seems like a neat goal, and even made noises about doing it with her, neither of us ever really got up the will to take it farther than talking about it.

But, like I said, she’s been kicking ass with the fitness thing. She hired a trainer (a former workout partner of mine from one of my uberfitness periods) and has lost a ton of weight, and gained a bunch of muscle and overall conditioning, and last week she emailed me the link to a sprint-level triathlon and asked me if I wanted to do it with her.

See, I do a lot better if I have a specific event or goal to train for. I tend to lose focus if my goal is just “lose 20 pounds in the next four months”. I’ll find any number of excuses as to why I can skip a day, or eat the fried chicken. Therefore, before I could think about it too hard, I went ahead and signed up and paid the money.

Therefore, on October 9th, 2011, my sister and I are going to compete in the Mighty Magnolia triathlon in Hattiesburg, MS. It’s 1/3 mile swim, 16.5 mile bike, and 3 mile run. Go us!

I started training this week, and on Monday I took my road bike out for the first time in over a year. (Bad me!) I managed a measly five miles. (In my defense, though, I deliberately didn’t push myself since I’d managed to nearly cripple myself the week before by enthusiastically throwing myself into intervals on the stationary bike and straining the ever-loving-shit out of the hip flexors on my left side. And that hurt like I’ve never had a muscle strain hurt before. Ugh!) Tuesday I went to the gym and swam laps. I’m a very good swimmer, but it’s been–literally–decades since I’ve done any sort of serious swimming. I managed to swim a quarter mile (nine laps–eighteen lengths in a 25yd pool) alternating breastroke and freestyle for the first twelve lengths, and then just breaststroke for the last six. The freestyle lengths kicked my ass, and I had to stop and catch my breath at the end of the pool after each one. Again, ugh. And then, this morning, I got up at 5:15 and ran. Well, walked/ran. Not very far either–barely over a mile. But I’m going to ease into the running very gradually since I have past issues with plantar fasciitis. (That’s another thing that I’m hoping will ease up once I’ve lost weight.)

And, otherwise, life continues. :-)

Apr 26

RT Schedule

Yes, I know that yesterday I said that I’d post my Romantic Times schedule “later today.” I, of course, meant a Mercury-length day.



Anyway, here’s where to find me this week:

WEDNESDAY: 11:15 - 12:15

What makes a villain compelling rather than cartoonish? How do writers create their bad guys, and what do readers love and hate about them? Join these bestselling authors to see how to make a bad guy come to life … BYO fava beans and chianti, as you never know who might be served for dinner.
Captain: CJ Lyons Panelists: Brett Battles, Juliet Blackwell, Diana Rowland

WEDNESDAY: 5:00PM - 6:00PM

From antiheroes to kick-ass heroines, bestselling authors will discuss why their characters’ quirks not only make them unique, but irresistibly intriguing.
Captain: Patrice Michelle Panelists: Ann Aguirre, Stacia Kane, Cheyenne McCray, Diana Rowland

THURSDAY: 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM

It’s no mystery why this Mystery Mixer is a perennial fav at RT! Join us for free food, free books and other goodies, as well as the chance to meet your favorite mystery writers. Over a dozen mystery and suspense writers will unveil their latest creations and give readers a sneak peak into future whodunnits.
Hosted by: Lori Armstrong, Brett Battles, Juliet Blackwell, Robert Gregory Browne, Toni McGee Causey, Carole Nelson Douglas, Harley Jane Kozak, Julie Kramer, Sophie Littlefield, CJ Lyons, Rick Mofina, Brad Parks, Diana Rowland, Hank Phillippi Ryan

FRIDAY: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The hero may always win but the villain has more fun. Villains get to break the rules. They don’t have to play nice. Lying, blackmail, kidnapping, torture, murder, illicit sex … a villain forces your hero into the dark places we’re supposed to shun, and readers can’t wait to go along for the ride. We’ll discuss our favorite bad guys and girls, and the motivations for their amoral behavior. Learn how to give readers what they want, a wicked guilty pleasure.
Panelists: Mario Acevedo, Juliet Blackwell aka Hailey Lind, Mark Henry, Diana Rowland, Jeanne C. Stein

I’ll also be at the Book Fair on Saturday. Otherwise, look in the bar!

Apr 25


Digging out from under my terrifying to-do list…

So, last week I made a trip up to New York City for meetings with my agent, my editor at DAW, and my editor at Bantam (though not all at the same time!) It was an enormously productive trip, and lots of great stuff was discussed and accomplished. But the biggest news (for now, at least) is that we have a release date for the third Demon book:

Secrets of the Demon will be out from DAW on January 4th, 2011! (Yes, I know, it seems like an enormous length of time to wait. Part of the reason for this is the change in publishers. (More info on that here.) However, it’s really only about a month longer than the wait between Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon. And I have high hopes that the next few books will be coming out with even less time between releases!)

The other bit of cool news is that the Demon series is going to get new cover art. Now, I’ll say right now that I absolutely love the covers of the first two books. However, I knew that the switch to another publisher would most likely mean a change in the cover design. I had a fair amount of trepidation about this, but all of my fears were set aside when my editor told me that they were getting Dan dos Santos to do my covers! *swoon* I LOVE his work! (Plus, she promised me that there would be NO tattoos..haha.)

Jack and The Kid came up to New York with me, and did touristy stuff while I did business stuff.
Jack and The Kid

The Kid would have been perfectly happy spending the entire time in Central Park and FAO Schwartz, but Jack managed to drag her away and they saw everything from the Museum of Natural History to Battery Park to Little Italy and Chinatown.
The Kid in profile

We don’t have mountains or hills in South Louisiana, so the Kid thought that the Big Rocks in Central Park were the coolest thing Evah!
The Kid climbs a mountain

The one bit of touristy stuff that I was able to participate in was a Thursday night Yankees game. Jack is a HUGE Yankees fan, and had been talking about seeing about getting tickets–nosebleed seats, since that was probably all we’d be able to afford. But then we had a HUGE stroke of luck! A friend of ours is an MLB Umpire, and it turned out that he was calling the Thursday night game! He offered to get tickets for us, and we were more than glad to accept them. (And they were NOT nosebleed seats!)

Jack and Diana at the Yankees game

This was only the second game that Jack and I have been to. The first was on our honeymoon, so bringing the Kid to this one was extra special.

In other news, I’ll be at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention April 27th through May 2nd. I’ll post my schedule later today to make it easier for people to stalk me. :-)

Apr 8

Winner Ping

Bianca F and Nicole L, I haven’t heard back from you yet, which means that either my email to you went astray, or you’re trapped under a piece of heavy furniture. Either way, please email me as soon as you can so that I can get info from you re your prize! diana at dianarowland dot com. (With the “at” replaced by the @ symbol, and the “dot” replaced by a “.” You know the routine. :-) ) Thanks!

To the rest of you, I’m stupid busy this week, and am struggling to get caught up on everything. I hope to resume my usual irregular and spastic posting very soon!

Mar 28

Demontastic Winners!!

Yes, finally, the panel of unreliable judges has come through with the winners. Yay!

By the way…Holy Crap, this was hard to judge! From the simplest entries to the most complex, every single one was fantastic and delightful, and I’m incredibly grateful to all of you for taking the time to create and post a pic. Looking through all the entries was a rare thrill. Lots of pictures with pets, religious artifacts, not-so-religious artifacts, kids, smiles, the whole nine yards.

But, as I said, it was a bitch to judge, and I am doubly grateful that I was able to dump the hard part onto others. Honestly, I don’t think I could have picked any winners on my own. I loved them all!

Now, as you might recall, the prizes were:

An autographed copy of Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
An autographed copy of Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy
An autographed copy of Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
TEN autographed copies of Mark of the Demon or Blood of the Demon (winners’ choice)
A $10 Barnes & Noble gift card contributed by Michele Bardsley

As well as TWO GRAND PRIZES of New Orleans-y gift baskets with all sorts of cool New Orleans goodies, both books, along with a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card each.

And, a couple of prizes have been added to the pool! Jeanne Stein has very kindly offered to donate a signed copy of The Becoming, along with book cover magnets and other goodies.

AND another $10 B&N card was added by one of the unreliable judges, simply because it came down to a decision between two entries, and it was most easily resolved by adding one more prize.

All of the above prizes (except the grand prizes) will be distributed to the following winners:

Best Picture with a Cat–Hilda

Fire Cat!!

Best Picture with a Dog–Heather

Doggy thinks demons are tasty!

Best use of Accoutrements–Ambika

Sharp implements!

Best use of Statuary–Rene

Awww... daddy demon is reading to baby demon!

Most Artistic-Amy

So evocative!

Best Drawing–Bianca F

I've had mornings where I've felt like this

Best Summoning Circle (ebook version)–Cheryl H

Awesome salt squiggly!

Best Summoning Circle (print version)–Melissa T

Successful summoning!

Best Incorporation of Alcohol–Jani

Rowdy drunks--the best kind of readers

Best Use of Religious Icons/Texts–Nicole L (I especially liked the inclusion of a coffee-mug as a religious artifact. I completely approve!)

Coffee is MY god

Best Collage–Robin K

That's some serious reading!

Best Foreign Entry–Julia The Brazilian

I didn't notice a thing!

Most Impressive Collection of Cool and Bizarre Stuff–Jon Hansen

Almost as much weird shit as me!

Best LOLcat version–Julie Wood

All hail Basement Cat!

Best Montage (which, unfortunately has to be a link, because there was just no way I could get it all over here!)–Pearl


And, The Cutest–Van P


And now for the two Grand Prize Winners!! These were unanimous decisions from the unreliable judges:

Grand Prize #1–Crissi B (Who, by the way, does NOT have a twin!)

Double Trouble!

And, Grand Prize #2–Tynga (I LOVED this one!!)

SO awesome!!

Thanks again to everyone who participated!! Winners, I’ll be emailing you soon (hopefully tomorrow) with details and information about your prizes! (This is assuming you left a valid email address when you posted your comment. If not, I’ll blog and tell you to email me. :-) )

Mar 27

And another…

The good news: The panel of unreliable judges has finished judging, and we have Winners!

The bad news: I was tied up with family stuff all day, and don’t have all the winning pictures formatted all purty-like just yet. But, I have a significant chunk of time blocked out tomorrow for doing just that, and the winners and their pics will all be revealed tomorrow!

Thanks for your patience. :-)

Mar 26

And a deadline whizzes on by…

Unfortunately, this was the self-imposed one that had to do with announcing the winners of the Demontastic contest. [wince] Sorry!! Today was stupid busy, but I PROMISE I’ll announce the winners tomorrow!! (It doesn’t help that there were so many AWESOME entries! Curse you all for being so clever!)

Mar 23

Contestastic stuff!

Wow, y’all are seriously creative!!! Thanks to everyone who participated in the Demontastic Contest To Hell! The contest is now closed, and I’m planning on announcing winners this Friday.

And the cool news is that there are other neato special offers going on RIGHT NOW on other highly worthy blogs! For a limited time, Mario Acevedo is offering you the chance to get a bonus story from Jaye Wells, Kat Richardson, or Carolyn Crane. All you have to do is order Werewolf Smackdown from BarnesandNoble.com by 10AM, Thursday March 25, 2010. Go to www.marioacevedo.com for the details!

And, the lovely and talented Nicole Peeler is running a terrific contest for the talented and lovely Carolyn Crane, whose debut novel Mind Games releases today!

So, go forth and enter! And, be sure to check back here on Friday for the winners of the Demontastic Contest To Hell!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (because I don’t think I’ve used enough exclamation points yet..LOL)

Mar 15

The Demontastic Contest To Hell!

So, most (normal) authors do a big promotional push for the release week of their book. This makes sense, see, because those first week numbers are considered super-important blah blah blah… And, for Mark of the Demon I did do a big push during the run-up to the release and the release week itself.

But, as you’ve all no doubt figured out by now, I’m not normal. Or sane, or sensible, (or organized), or anything else that could possibly make this whole Profeshunal Riter thing easier. (Plus, I was busy finishing up Secrets of the Demon before its deadline, which conflicted beautifully with the release week of Blood of the Demon.)

So, I’m officially embarking on a WEEK FOUR DEMONTASTIC PUSH TO HELL! (See what I did there? Normally it might be “from hell”, but since I write about demons I thought it would be funny to say “to hell” even though that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since the demons in my book aren’t from hell anyway, but I’m on a bunch of bronchitis meds and steroids and crap, so right now it’s TOTALLY HYSTERICAL. To me, at least.)

Anyway. Here’s the deal. I’m going to run a Big Neato Demontastic Contest To Hell! (Hence the title of this post.) Here are the prizes so far (and more may be added as the week progresses):

14 runner-ups will be chosen and be placed in random order to choose from–

An autographed copy of Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
An autographed copy of Accidentally Demonic by Dakota Cassidy
An autographed copy of Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
TEN autographed copies of Mark of the Demon or Blood of the Demon (winners’ choice)
A $10 Barnes & Noble gift card contributed by Michele Bardsley

And TWO AWESOMELY GRAND PRIZE WINNERS will receive New Orleans-y gift baskets with all sorts of cool New Orleans goodies, both books, along with a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card each.

Now, to be entered into the Demontastic Contest To Hell, all you have to do is:

1) Take a picture of yourself/someone else/a random sculpture/your pet/anything else with either Mark of the Demon or Blood of the Demon. And, because I don’t want to make it so that you have to buy a copy of the book to enter (I don’t want this to be something where you have to pay to participate) it can be a borrowed book, an e-book, a library book, or–if all else fails–a picture of the cover of the book.

2) Post said picture on your blog, or your twitter, or your facebook, or an online photo-sharing site (flickr or that sort of thing. Most are free and easy to use.) along with a link back to my website.

3) Come back and comment here with the link to where you posted the pic. I’ll be collecting all the winning pics and putting them on a page for all to see. (By posting your pic and commenting here with the link, you are giving me permission to repost said pic on the winners page. ‘Kay?)

4) PLEASE please please do NOT email me pics or files or anything like that. I’m super nervous about opening files from people I don’t know, and I’d rather not lose my work due to a virus. Thanks.:-)

Winners will be chosen by a panel of untrustworthy judges. Completely arbitrary and subjective points will be awarded for coolness, creativity, and WOW factor. Contest will close this Sunday, March 21st at midnight Louisiana time. Winners will be announced within the following week.

Go wild!!

P.S. Feel free to spread the word about the contest.

Mar 11

Various updatery

Well, Blood of the Demon is loose in the wild, and you should be able to find it at booksellers everywhere–or in just about any e-format you might prefer! And, if for some reason you don’t see it in the “R”s in the Science Fiction section, check the New Releases section, or if you’re at Books A Million, check the Romance section. I’m not sure why BAM insists on shelving my titles in Romance, but hey, at least they carry them!** (And, if all else fails, ask at the customer service desk.)

Other news that I think I forgot to mention here is that Mark of the Demon has gone into its third printing! Huge thanks to all of you who made that necessary!

And, other cool news about MotD and BotD is that French and Thai rights have sold. Soon I’ll be able to say that my books are published in four languages! ***

And, finally, I’ve been receiving quite a few wonderful and awesome emails begging to know when the next book will be out. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you yet. Since I’m switching publishers, there might be a bit of a pause in the production schedule. However, the operative word there is “might”. I really don’t know anything at this time, but I’ll be sure to make a big announcement as soon as I do!

The good news, though, is that I’ve finished and turned in the third book–Secrets of the Demon. And, while I’m waiting for my editor’s revision letter, I’ve started working on book four–Sins of the Demon. In fact, here you can see the Plot Wall of Doom for the fourth book, wherein I attempt to keep track of everything I need to keep track of, both in this book and in the series as a whole.

Butcher paper and painters tape, and my plot brainstorm/outline for book 4

(In fact, plotting has suddenly become Very Tricky, since I’m essentially having to juggle two plots. I’ve been referring to previous books quite a lot lately to try to make sure that I don’t slip in any contradictions.)

And, finally, I have to say that I’m stupidly tickled to hear that “Team Ryan” and “Team Rhyzkahl” factions have been forming. All I can say for y’all is that you’re gonna LOVE Secrets of the Demon. [cue evil laugh]

** For what it’s worth, I have absolutely nothing against Romance (and actually read quite a bit of it) and the only reason I have any issue with the books being shelved in Romance is because the Demon series isn’t technically romance. Yes, there’s romantic tension, but there’s an expectation that books in the romance genre will have a Happily Ever After, or at least a Happy For Now–and my books don’t have that. Now, that being said, there will be a (hopefully) satisfying resolution to various romantic tensions by the end of the series, but it’s going to take several more books to get there. Anyway, I hate the idea that a romance reader might buy my book and be disappointed in it, solely because it doesn’t fulfill the (justified) expectations of the genre.

***English, German, French, Thai!

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