Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25th Round Robin Blog Fest


Welcome back to the Round Robin Blog Fest! How do you like our new logo? 

I sure hope you're enjoying the glory days of summer, I know I am! Before we get into the question of the month, I'd like to announce that there will be a new book in my Gilda Wright Mystery series coming November 1st. I am currently knee deep in writing Life is Better Brunette for Gemma Halliday Publishing. How exciting!

Now on to this month's topic:
Have you used pets or other animals in your stories? What function do they perform in the story? Do they need to have a function? Can they be a character?

Up until recently, I have rarely used an animal in any of my books or stories. In a new book I'm working on a book for Gemma Halliday Publishing as part of their Danger Cove series, my main character, Laken, finds an Old English Sheepdog puppy and takes it in without realizing the downside of owning a teething dog. Not only does Sammy become her sidekick since she can't leave him alone without coming back to mass destruction, but he is also her ally in solving a murder. 

In the novella Death of a Christmas Witch I did for Cozy Christmas Capers, an anthology released only during December and January this year, I had another dog. A Golden Retriever-Husky mix much like a dog I grew up with. Drake, the dog, had a love/hate relationship with my main character Audra's husband Rex. For me, Sammy will be a recurring character, as was Drake, but that doesn't need to be the case in all books.

My favorite animal books belong to Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who... series where the cats are major characters in crime solving capers. If you're looking for a great animal read, these are fabulous cozy mystery novels!
  1. The Cat Who... is a series of twenty-nine mystery novels and three related collections by Lilian Jackson Braun and published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, featuring a reporter named Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats, Kao K'o-Kung and Yum-Yum. Wikipedia
As far as being characters, I find the animals usually steal the scene they are in, Whether that's intentionally done by the author or just where my attention becomes fixated is debatable. But I do love a well written mystery with or without animals. Even Janet Evanovich uses animals in her books. Stephanie Plum has a hamster named Rex, a dog named Bob, and even ends up taking care of a monkey named Carl.

Look for more animals in my upcoming books and make sure you hop over to visit the fabulous Anne Stenhouse and see what she has to say regarding writing about animals. While you're at it, stop by and say hello to all our contributing authors:

Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.webs.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Skye Taylor  http://skye-writer.com/blogging_at_the_beach



Monday, June 8, 2015

RELEASE DAY for Hardheaded Brunette!


I am SO proud to announce the release of my second book in the Gilda Wright Mystery Series HARDHEADED BRUNETTE from Gemma Halliday Publishing!!

What's Hardheaded Brunette about?

Gilda Wright's life seems to finally be on track. Her love life is looking up with her hot boss, Mick, and she's planning and promoting a grand opening extravaganza for his new martial arts school. But things go awry when their special guest referee for the opening's exhibition match is found dead on the beach. To make matters worse, the school's sexy new weapons instructor, Kane Garrick, stands accused of his murder. In spite of her promise to Mick and to nearly everyone else in town not to get involved, Gilda--a.k.a. the Brunette Sherlock--wades into danger one more time. The only question is, can Gilda catch a killer before the killer catches up to her?

Both Hardheaded Brunette and the first book in my series, Can't Keep a Brunette Down, are only 99c for a limited time! Get your copy today by clicking on a cover!




Looking for a few more good reads? Stop by and check out my fellow authors at Gemma Halliday Publishing. Including out upcoming short story collection KILLER BEACH READS coming July 16 which will include my short Gilda Wright story Brunettes Just Wanna Have Fun.





Saturday, May 23, 2015

Are Romance Novels a Thing of the Past?


Welcome back to another episode of the ROUND ROBIN BLOG!! 
This month's blog post is based on the topic:
What changes have you seen in romance novels in the past decade? Is there a change in romance novel direction? Is there still a market for non-explicit sex stories?

Even though I don't write romance novels, I do incorporate non-explicit romance in my mystery novels. Why non-explicit for me? My mom and my grandma read them! Seriously, I write to please a portion of my audience. That and I just don't enjoy writing explicit scenes...unless they are very well written.

Cover your eyes if you loved 50 Shades, but I couldn't get past the first paragraph of Chapter One because of the writing. I'm not that much of a masochist. I want to read books I can relax and lose myself in.

Don't get me wrong, I've read both romances and mysteries with sex scenes (explicit and non). If the book is well written, a surge of heat through the body is welcome. I do know a lot of people who write erotica, which have explicit scenes on nearly every page. Many people read for the sexual content, an escape from a boring job, boring life, etc. Many people find it a turn off that things that "should be private" are laid out bare (sorry, bad pun) for the world to read.

I think there will always be a market for both explicit romances and non-explicit. There will always be the variety of people to accommodate both, just as there will always be readers of every genre out there. Different genres go through surges of readers and may fall off in popularity for a while, but there will always be another surge. For those of us who prefer our romance with less spice, rest assured, our favorite types of stories will always be there!

Feel free to hop over to Rachel Kosinski's blog and see what she thinks about today's topic!! While you're at it, stop by and meet all of our great writers!

Love ya, 
Diane


Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Skye Taylor  http://www.skye-writer.com/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Round Robin Blog Fest April 2015


Welcome back to another edition of the Round Robin Blog Fest! 
I've been absent from the tour for a bit due to other obligations, but now I'm back!
This month's topic is: What glues you to a story start to finish? And/Or what hooks do you use to capture your readers?

What glues me to a story from start to finish are great characters and a plausible story line. If I'm not hooked into a book within the first page, I will put it aside - or toss it across the room as in some cases. Rarely do I force myself to read on unless someone has already read it and tells me it is worth it. Usually, it's not.
A plausible story line to me is something that, while it may be a bit far fetched, could be possible. Improbable Possibility refers to a situation that is a possibility in the real world, but is extremely unlikely. A lot of movies thrive on this, particularly the older James Bond movies.
I also appreciate a good story where I don't have to hunt to follow the story line. One of my least favorite books was The River King by Alice Hoffman which tended to meander like a river. Jumping from one character to another, including a dog, the book made for a very difficult read in what should have been a really good story.
What hooks do I use to capture my readers? I decided the best way to tell is to show. Here are some samples of my hooks and the books they are in:



"I directed traffic and tried to ignore the wailing from up the beach. The crime lab boys arrived via Ken Allured’s fishing boat about half an hour ago. They kept busy doing their thing, which included scraping finger nails and collecting everything on the island that looked suspicious. Well, everything except me." - from Murder on Manitou, Wynterblue Publishing.


 "Danny Walker fought the urge to grab Paulina. Rather than get directly involved, he leaned against the back wall of Gerard Maddox’s home office while she swayed and clutched the arm of the chair next to her. Her face, perfectly made up, was as pale as her platinum hair. She stared at her champagne flute, apparently unable to swallow another mouthful. Considering the conversation that floated around her, he hardly blamed her." - The Bookstore Lady, Books We Love Ltd.

"Danny awoke to a cool draft and snuffling near his face. Images flashed through his head sleepy mind. Sitting in an overheated car, a drive through the country, scraping old paint off walls, falling asleep in a dusty sleeping bag at three o’clock when he could no longer keep alert. Finally, he remembered falling asleep in the old sleeping bag at the old Victorian house he’d purchased last month.
Only now he wasn’t alone." - The Mystery Lady, Books We Love Ltd.

"After taking a lukewarm shower then rummaging for clothes that would pass for clean, Leo Blue opened the curtains and groaned. More snow. The fir trees along Main Street blossomed with colored lights and lamp posts stood adorned by wreaths. Christmas had taken the small town of Packham by storm overnight, but in his opinion the holiday ranked right up there with root canals and broken ribs. He should have fled to Tibet right after Halloween." - The Bakery Lady, Books WeLove Ltd.

"Gilda’s cell phone vibrated next to her plate, making the ice in her half-full water glass dance. She groaned, her stomach churning, as it had all week. “Not again.”" - Can't Keep a Brunette Down, Gemma Halliday Publishing.

(Coming June 8,, 2015!)

When Sensei Mick Williams dreamed, he dreamed big—much to the chagrin of his receptionist Gilda Wright. After spending a late night designing fiery logos for the new Phoenix Martial Arts school and printing off scorecards for Mick William's MMA extravaganza, Gilda had fallen asleep on top of her covers with nightmares of martial arts clip art coming to life and chasing her through the new training hall. - Hard-Headed Brunette, Gemma Halliday Publishing.

Thanks for joining me on my blog today! You can find all my books (except Murder on Manitou which is out of print right now) on Amazon and my fan page on Facebook.

Hope you pop over to check out Ginger Simpson's blog and the other great authors joining us this month!






Monday, March 2, 2015

Spring Has Sprung?


After a month of "extreme cold" weather days, I'm posting a picture I painted years ago just for a taste of summer! While we have had a lot of snow this winter, it's the bone-penetrating cold that has me the most down. In the past I would go tanning to take the edge off. This winter has been busy since September with my workload increasing at work, events, health issues, kids' activities, etc.
Top off all the local insanity with the book I had due to my publisher March 1st and I've been a meltdown waiting to happen!

I'm glad to say two great things have happened this past month.

  1. I got Book Two in my Yin-Yang Mysteries done! Woohoo!
  2. We are rebranding the entire series for a relaunch.
What does that mean? It means all those copies of Death of a Jaded Samurai will be worth money one day. The new series will be called Gilda Wright Mysteries and will soon have exciting new covers! It also means they books will have new titles. Sorry, no sneak peeks just yet. I'm gnawing on my fingernails in anticipation as well. I can tell you that there will be a new anthology coming this summer that will include a new Gilda Wright mystery.


Just had to squeeze in one more painting. It's been such a long time since I pulled out my paints. While today won't be the day, I think I will have to make time soon. One of my best memories of being a kid was sitting on our back porch painting. I didn't have a lot of skills back then, but I certainly had the passion! I think that's one thing I need to rekindle. My passion, both in my books and in my art.

Watch for some great new paintings, great new books, and a lot of awesome energy!
Yes, spring has certainly sprung - even if only in my imagination!

Diane

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February Round Robin Blog Fest

GOOD MORNING!!
Welcome back to another episode of:



My apologies for disappearing for the past couple of months, between getting Book 2 done for Gemma Halliday Publishing and a few other things, I've pretty much been hiding in a cave! I promise you, the results will be worth it!

If you are unfamiliar with the Blog Fest, grab a cup of tea and sit back to jump from author site to author reading their answers to the question: If you have (or even if you don't have) a bucket list, what top priority thing(s) do you want to accomplish?

This made me think of the movie The Bucket List, which I thought was very funny and stirred both my mind and emotions. Aside from the movie, I've been thinking about this question a lot lately. Every January in karate class, we set our goals for the year. The three basic ones include: Something karate based, something personal, and one other. This year, like every year, my goals include earning my next belt and getting a book published. I'm proud to say I exceeded my goals for last year. I had three books published, ran two 5km events, and earned my blue belt. This year may be a little more difficult.

This year's goals include earning my brown belt, publishing two more books and losing 20 pounds - sorry, Letting Go of 20lbs. With one book already off to my agent for submission to Gemma Halliday Publishing, I've started the fourth book in my Wild Blue Mysteries series for my other publisher Books We Love. I'm also at work on a short story for Gemma to put into an anthology this summer and we are doing a revamp of my Yin-Yang series to give it a different vibe and reach a wider audience. 
Eventually, I would like to start a whole new series of books once the Wild Blue Mysteries are done. The characters and settings are already waiting in the wings!

The physical side is where I'm running into trouble. Last year my goal was to run a 5km race. I ran one and ended up walking one. Something in my body has held me back to the point I struggle to walk some days and am in pain most days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a whiner by any means. I've still done karate and yoga classes up until karate became too painful. Yoga helps alleviate the pain, but only for a while.

On the upside, I've been to my doctor. I have an anti-inflammatory and have had vial after vial of blood taken to find out what's going on. Then I can get my goal to become a black belt (eventually) back on track!

From here, you can jump over to visit Victoria Chatham and see what she's written on her list! Below is the list of all the writers on our tour. Feel free to check them all out and show them some love!
Stay warm,

Diane


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Taking Time for Mom

 As I sit and stare at the remains of Christmas, I can't help but wonder what 2015 will hold in store. This past year has been very busy! I've had three books released - The Mystery Lady (March), The Bakery Lady (Sept) and Death of a Jaded Samurai (November). I've done a few author events, taken on a second part-time job, and been overwhelmed with many things in both my personal and professional life that have made me seriously consider major life changes. 

Yet, here I sit.

Over the next year:

  • I have a deadline looming for Murder of a Fallen Fighter (Book 2 in my Yin-Yang Series).
  • I need to finish The Painted Lady (Book 4 in my Wild Blue Mysteries Series).
  • I want to grade for my Brown Belt in karate.
  • I want to integrate both Yoga and Meditation into my life to help keep my sanity. Eventually becoming a Yoga Teacher one day.
  • I'd love to keep in touch and spend more time with my friends and family (even though they're 2,000 miles away!) Going to Las Vegas this fall with my mom, brother and sister-in-law was a definite start!
  • I need to become more balanced and not let the negative things others say affect me so deeply.
  • I want to map out several more books for over the next few years. The ideas are there, I just need to make a plan. Including one fabulous idea given to me by a neighbour. Lots of research needed for that one!
Baby steps - just as in the movie "What About Bob?" with Bill Murray. Whenever I have a large task to get through, I break it down into a series of baby steps.

Bob Wiley: (to himself) ...baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps...

I wish you all a wonderful 2015 filled with both big events and baby steps,
Happy New Year!