Playing for Keeps

Author Diana Rose Wilson

This website is for Diana Rose Wilson and her upcoming events and releases of her books including the Forbidden Secrets series.

Swag Phase 2 - The Imprint

Thank you so much for the feeback on the first survey!  (I'm still collecting answers in case you wanted to submit your answers.  

Now, onto the artwork!  I'm leaving out the artwork for just my name and website that would be all the space available for a pen or some of the smaller items.  Instead, I'm focused on the big ticket swag.  Pick the image you'd like to see.  If you'd like something else, let me know here or in the survey.

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Swag Advice

As I do my own search for the most epic swag at a convention, I reached out to other writers for feedback. 

Aside from the general advice to know your budget and know your audience I received some great nuggets of wisdom.  And also an anti-swag voice.

Lucy Farago cautions that many swag-hunters are the grab-and-go type.  ‘Swag junkies,’ she says. I know this is true. I’ve seen people shovel handfuls of loot into their pack without even looking twice.  Lucy suggests that swag is not the best use of marketing money for authors who don’t have an established brand.  Her suggestion for new authors is to use swag for small reader events

Jo McNally recommends checking on the fine print before pulling the trigger on your purchase.  An item that seems cheap might be too good to be true.  Make sure you’re taking into account things like setup fees and shipping costs. You don’t want a $2 item to end up being $15 when you factor in all the minor charges.

Ava Cuvay remarks that readers/swag-hunters might not understand the use of certain items.  For example, the wine charms a reader thought were naval rings. (That’s quite some jewelry if you’re brave enough to try it. Owie)

She also notes that promotional plastic fans make for dual purpose ice scrapers. (Pro tip)

Now for the fun part!  Links to your swag shopping pleasure!

www.vistsprint.com – Great for paper promo items and pens. (My experience with Vista Print has always been great.  I haven’t seen much of their higher end product but have seen pens, mousepads and of course business/post cards.)

https://www.uprinting.com/ - Great for paper promo items.  (My experience with Uprinting has been spot on.  I created some large brochures and they came out great. Lots of options including mini & pocket brochures.)

www.stickermule.com/‎ -- Stickers and magnets

www.stickeryou.com – Stickers, Magnets and even Temporary tattoos!

www.journalbooks.com – Journals/Notebooks

www.4imprint.com/‎ -- Put your logo on everything! It is a deep, dark rabbit hole. You’ve been warned.

www.anypromo.com/ -- Another site with promo items to slap your logo on.

http://www.eversonbrand.com – Higher end swag

www.themagnetgroup.com – Higher end swag

http://www.logomark.com/ – Higher end swag

I’m sure there are more sites out there, this is just a scratch on the surface, but it should keep you busy shopping for a little while.  Thank you for reading and if you haven’t, please complete the survey.

 

 Swaggity Swag Swag #swag

Swaggity Swag Swag #swag

Swag'tastic Swag

This Swag’s for YOU

Once again, I’m faced with the question of what to create for give-away goodies. I vacillate between the quirky that borders on downright goofy and cute, all the way to expensive, elegant items. The reality is that my budget doesn’t change just because I want my awesome readers (And future readers) to have high end swag.  This means I end up with options ranging from 1000 postcards or 1 custom framed map of the Spirit Lands.

The only way out of this mess is to cry for help! 

What do you like to take home as swag?  What sort of swag would encourage you to throw your name in to WIN?  What would rock your world to get from me as a goodie?  (Don't forget to check out the survey!) SURVEY

Diana Rose Wilson’s 2018  Swag’stravaganza

Tee-Shirt

Pros: Awesome new clothes! Great branding impact.

Cons: Very limited quantity and sizes (Probably can only do one size Large or XL). Challenging to display.

Bag/Tote

               Pros: Fantastic new tote for your shopping. Great branding impact.

               Cons: Very limited quantity.

Drink Containers (Mugs/Glasses)

               Pros: Classy. Multi-use items. Good branding impact.

               Cons: Limited quantity. Challenging to display. Possibly fragile.

Toys-Stuffed Animals/Stressballs/Toys-Puzzles

               Pros: Cute/quirky. Good branding impact.

               Cons: Dust collectors. Ends up in trash.

Bottle Opener (Corkscrew and/or church key)

               Pros: Affordable. Quirky

               Cons: Who uses these?  Limited impact for branding.

Printed Short Story

               Pros: A free chance to meet my character(s) and see if you want more.

               Cons: Lots of freebie shorts out there, will mine get lost in the shuffle? Not personalized for my current readers.

Pen/Pencil

               Pros: You get a pen! You get a pen! Everyone gets a pen!

               Cons: Everyone already has a pen. Why would you need mine? Limited impact for branding.

Notebook

               Pros: It’s always good to have a high end notebook, particularly for writers.

               Cons: Mostly writers will pick up rather than readers.  Will fans enjoy this?

Paper-Items (Bookmarks, postcards, business cards)

               Pros: Easy/fast/affordable. Flexible branding opportunity.

               Cons: ‘Cheap’. Boring. Ends up on conference floor.

Magnets

               Pros: Reusable. Customizable. Affordable. Flexible branding opportunity.

               Cons: Uninspired. Danger of ending up on conference floor/trash high.

Stickers/Tattoos

               Pros: Fun/quirky. Flexible branding opportunity.

               Cons: Limited usability. Use it and loose it.

Adult Items (Condom/Lube)

               Pros: Fun and quirky. Ahem. Unique. Fits the theme of my books.

               Cons: Too risqué? Legal issues with adult theme? I’ll offend SOMEONE.

Candy/Food

               Pros: SUGAR!

               Cons: I don’t want to be a junk-food pusher.  Limited branding impact. Use it and loose it.

Tech: Flashdrive

               Pros: Small and easy to showcase. Load with stories/art/fun stuff!

               Cons: Limited impact for branding. Danger of someone accusing virus issues.

Tech: BatteryCharger

               Pros: Useful gadget!

               Cons: Very limited quantity. Limited impact for branding.

Tech: Other (Cables/Cellphone holders)

               Pros: Toys for techie geek-readers. Clever and useful.

               Cons: Limited impact for branding. Not sure the holders work for ALL cellphones.  Some items seem outdated already. (iphone 4??!!) 

 

So, that's my rundown, so far.  Let me know what you think.  Am I on point?  Disagree with my opinions?  Give me some feedback. 

 

 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8Z8VSWX

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8Z8VSWX

Swag, Swag, Baby!

Swag seems like the easiest thing to do. Get some cute dust collectors, slap your name on them and hand out to everyone and their sister and red-headed step-sibling.  Boom. Instant success. Everyone knows about you. Retire wealthy.

However, I routinely obsess about this very topic. What do I get? What do people want?

Because, it’s not about what I want. It’s not even about what the general Joe-conference-attender wants. It’s about what YOU want. You: my reader.

You are my reader, right? 

                          ...    Hello? 

Well, I’d like you to become my reader and I want to provide next level swag that won’t end up in the trash, convention floor, or in the bottom of a desk drawer. Also need swag that won’t break the bank. Have some pity on this little author! 

Over the week, I’ll be sharing and spreading the word about a couple polls with some of my ideas. I know my readership is shy, but please take a moment to click some buttons for feedback. 

Not a reader, but you’re a writer looking for ideas?  I’ve got you covered. I’ll be sharing stories from other writers in the same situation (Swag-Lock) and give advice and tips for making some fun swag, and how to avoid the pitfalls.  Also, looking for guests to give their stories, good and bad, about their swag experiences.  I’ll provide you with MANY links to swag-sites where you too can lose yourself down the rabbit hole of swag’topia. There will be so many sites, you will beg me to stop!

For today, however, we have the first poll!  Please take a moment to answer the questions.  It’s for your own good. ;)

 

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Reading Order

“Where do I start?”

It’s a question I usually ask when someone recommends a new author to me.

My stories are made to fit together.  If I do this right, there will be big, epic, awesomeness <TM> as all lines converge. At least there will adventures (good and bad) for all involved.  Some books you can read out of order without the risk of spoilers, but others really work better in sequence. (As of April 2018)


The chronological order option:

An End to Summer (Spirit Lands)

Lies that Blind (Spirit Beasts)

Wicked Masquerade (Forbidden Secrets)

Snow Mistress (Forbidden Secrets)

Taming the Brat (Forbidden Secrets)

Blood Feathers (Forbidden Secrets)

Paying the Dragon’s Price (Forbidden Secrets)

Dangerous Seduction (Forbidden Secrets)

All Thorns Eve (Gems)

Heart Bound (Forbidden Secrets)


This is the 'From Reality, Straight Down the Rabbit-Hole' reading option:

Wicked Masquerade (Forbidden Secrets)

Snow Mistress (Forbidden Secrets)

Taming the Brat (Forbidden Secrets)

Blood Feathers (Forbidden Secrets)

Paying the Dragon’s Price (Forbidden Secrets)

Dangerous Seduction (Forbidden Secrets)

All Thorns Eve (Gems)

Heart Bound (Forbidden Secrets)

Lies that Blind (Spirit Beasts)

An End to Summer (Spirit Lands)


Other mix-and-match order:

Although I recommend reading about Ursa, you can jump in at Blood Feathers (Forbidden Secrets). After that point in the series you might run into spoilers.

Lies that Blind (Spirit Beasts) and An End to Summer (Spirit Lands) can be read at any point. The stories don’t hinge on the later or earlier books of any series as of the posting of this timeline. They share characters with the other series that will give you glimpses into things to come, or provide insight on things that happened.

All Thorns Eve (Gems) and Heart Bound (Forbidden Secrets) should be read after Dangerous Seduction, but can be interchanged in the reading order.


To current readers:  What say you? 

What order did you read the stories?   

 Of the sea and air.

Of the sea and air.

Happy Book Birthday!

Yay!  Dangerous Seductions is out today

Amazon                        B&N                        IBooks                          Google 

I've been waiting impatiently to share this with everyone.  It's challenging to be a book-parent(Story Creator) and keep all these secrets inside without sharing them with anyone.  I look forward to hearing what you think about the story and hope you enjoy it.

I put together this electric music list and I hope you'll give it a listen to while you read.  I realize that there's a mixture of types of music and it might not all be your speed, but I tried to go for songs that either inspired me when I was writing, songs that resonate with the story and songs that were requested for the list. 

Dangerous Seduction Playlist

 

I'm happy to add more music, just leave a comment here or on any of the social links! :D 

 

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Books so far in 2018

I started out the year devouring a bunch of uber dominant, male paranormal novels until I had to switch gears and clean my palette.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy a powerful male, but after that run I had the desperate desire for just one suby or switch guy who wasn’t a ‘true dom’. (Alpha, whatever...)

Rated from higher to lesser Dom rather than order of reading (Or book order).

Jax - Kym Grosso @KymGrosso

Léopold’s Wicked Embrace - Kym Grosso 

Kade's Dark Embrace - Kym Grosso 

Luca's Magic Embrace - Kym Grosso 

Tristan's Lyceum Wolves - Kym Grosso 

Logan's Acadian Wolves - Kym Grosso

Dimitri - Kym Grosso

Lost Embrace - Kym Grosso

Jake - Kym Grosso

Solstice Burn - Kym Grosso

Carnal Risk - Kym Grosso

Blood Rising - Amber Anthony @WriteAmberA 

No disrespect for the authors in this group, I enjoyed the heck out of these, but I needed a different flavor after all that.

So, I read some other romance books:

Forbidden Nights - Lauren Blakely @LaurenBlakely3

The Thrill of It - Lauren Blakely

Called Out - Jen Doyle @jendoyleink

And then heard about this ‘Cinnamon Roll’ hero and I wanted to see an example.

Beary Christmas, Baby - Sasha Devlin @SashaDevlin

That was a shorter book, but much more my speed in regards to toning down that ‘true alpha’ thing.   (Clearly I’m into the Cinnamon Roll heroes. Extra sugar, please.)

Then I went back to my beloved Sci-Fi

Voice of Mars - Glynn Stewart @glynnstewart

Alien Arcana - Glynn Stewart

Judgment of Mars - Glynn Stewart

Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan @quellist1

Neogenesis -  Sharon Lee & Steve Miller @ClanKorval

(Do yourself a favor and go pick up one of their books.  I suggest THIS. Read. Report back.)

The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro @RealGDT

Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein

Then, I switched to some real classics and went to Jane Austen, as one does.

Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

Emma - Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

I know you’re asking, “Where is Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice?”  Well, I read P&P last year and I haven’t gotten around to S&S yet.  I really enjoyed Northanger Abbey.

Up next:

Ride Hard - Laura Kaye @laurakayeauthor

I got this last year at the RWA conference and started reading it in January. Nothing against the writing or the book, it’s just not fully in my wheelhouse.  I thought I’d like a book about bikers, but somehow other stories keep leap-frogging over this one. I’m about a quarters into it.  I really should give it my full attention. Maybe this weekend I’ll biker up.

(Oh! --As I'm writing this, I see on her twitter: My Dear Hamilton. Stephanie Dray @stephaniehdray . That's on my list now too. :O  ) 

Dawn on a Distant Shore - Sara Donati

I’m not so far into this one. I enjoyed the first book so much that I jumped into the sequel.  Then I got to the sex bit and she’s lactating and he…well… I just couldn’t.   Yeah, yeah, natural and all that, but not my kink.  I put it aside to cool and other books jumped ahead.  Still in my ‘in progress’ list.

Hope's Folly - Linnea Sinclair

This one I haven’t even started but I read the first two books after meeting Linnea Sinclair at RWA. I really enjoyed the world she’d created and I’m looking forward to tearing through this one.

Wanderlust - Lauren Blakely

Just started

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café - Jenny Colgan @jennycolgan

Just started

 

Have some suggestions for me?  Want me to read something you have?  I’d love to see some Sci-Fi romance in whatever heat-flavor you’ve got, or you love. <3 

 Reading will set your ass free. :)&nbsp; Your mind too, probably.&nbsp;

Reading will set your ass free. :)  Your mind too, probably. 

Sneak Peak - Spirit Beasts 2 ~

I wanted to share this from my Work in Progress for the second Spirit Beasts book. :D  Events in this scene happen right after Lies that Blind:


Chaze bared his crooked teeth. “Someone real stupid went and split my lip.” There was a definite nasty sneer towards Dave before he tapped his temple and then turned and continued to lead the group of firefighters off towards the building.

“Chief?” Dave rasped.

Frankie too was having trouble reconciling that information. She’d assumed Chaze was just a biker. Well, of course he would be more than just a hulking brute on a motorcycle. It explained the leathery skin, and his rasping voice. Is that how he earned the horrible scar across his throat?

“Knights Valley crew.” Mano turned back to Frankie. “Let the kid check your arms. He’s….” He wiggled his fingers and Frankie wasn’t sure if he was trying to convey ‘safe’ or ‘one of us’ or ‘mystical’. Maybe everything.

“Knights Valley? You are so full of shit.” Frankie’s head spun from more than the pain in her arms. Knights, rooks, kings, queens and….

“Read a map, Mouse.” Mano smirked at her.

Christopher pulled her against him when she tried to lunged for Mano. “I’m not letting you go anywhere until someone looks at your arms.” His jungle green gaze trapped her when she looked up at him. Christopher Harris-Wallace stood almost seven feet tall, and he was utterly perfect. He had smudges of ash and blood across his high cheekbones, like war-paint. He held her as though he wanted to shelter her from the world, rather than protect the world from her.

She didn’t frighten him.

She was pretty sure nothing scared him.'

March 2018 Knights Valley 3.jpg

Book Cover Love - An End to Summer

First, I would like to thank my awesome cover artist, Kelly Martin (https://www.kam.design/book-covers)!  She has done ALL my books so far and she is so great at making my vision come through in images. I am amazed and awed by the results.

Take, for example, my request on the cover for An End to Summer. I wanted one of my heroes to have feathers for hair.  It's kind of a part of that character in the story.

Kelly and I had a few back and forth exchanges where I sent her suggestions; 'like a Hawkhead parrot, but also kinda of like a cockatoo, but don't make it look goofy. Oh, and also?  He needs to be sexy. '

I'm demanding. I know. 


Hawkhead.jpg
Sulphur-Crested-Cockatoo.jpg

I mean, the look is supposed to look a little unusual and a little silly, as Alexander finds it in this first introduction here:


              There was something strange about the warriors though. Their hair was brilliant red banded with stripes of purple and blue.  He realized with a shock that what covered their head was not hair but feathers.

              The man at the center of their group looked over at their approach, his haughty features guarded. He seemed the youngest and handsome in a razor-edged way that made Alexander stare. He swept a look over the stallion with an arrogant little curl of his upper lip.  Then his eyes fell on Alexander.  The feathers on his head lifted into a comical crest like a cockatoo.

               It looked ridiculous.  Thankfully his cough of amusement sounded like a rumble rather than mirth. There was nothing funny about the glares that the men fixed on him.


AnEndToSummer_Cover2.jpg

I think Kelly did an outstanding job picking out Alexander and although I wanted him to have his scar, I think that might have been a bit much for the cover.  What do you think? Would you have rather seen him scared face if possible? 

 A sketch of Alexander.&nbsp;

A sketch of Alexander. 

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6 Unusual things about me:

1)      Owned by …ahem…10 cats and one African grey parrot (Who is 27 this year)

 

2)      For the span of over 3 years spent 10+ hours day, every day, playing on a text based Roleplay game where I …er…my character, was a Duchess.  (Also played on Pern based MUSHes from 1994-2010. I won’t share the number of hours I spent playing on an average day.)

 

3)      I am a Pteraphile.  For those not familiar with this word:  lover of all things feather/winged related. Primarily humans with wings.  Wings need not be feathered; I’m also rather attracted to bat-like wings (Dragons/demons). Not in particular interested in Angels due to the accompanying religious significance, although I must say the show Lucifer is f*n awesome.  ;)  


4)      My husband took my last name when we got married.

 

5)      I have a full sleeve leg tattoo. It wraps completely around my leg, extending from my ankle to my hip-bone.  The image was inspired, in part, by unfortunate events that happened to my brother.

 

6)      I’m 4’10.

 Bird Fight

Bird Fight

Trina, oh Trina

I’ve been writing about Trina and I’m happy to announce that she’s turning into more than just a Harris puppet/tool/weapon. On the surface, she’s out for her own self-interest but the things she did in her youth still hang over her and no one will let her forget it, particularly those Harris boys. It is awful to have the actions a 16 year old self thrown back as reminders of wrongdoing dozens of years later. Through that lense, it’s easy to see how someone would simply stop confiding/sharing with people and believe they can never move on or change or find forgiveness for what they’ve done.

I wrote this poem when I was fleshing out the character, shortly after An End to Summer. A peek into Trina’s frame of mind. Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? (Names of boys changed to protect the..erm…’innocent’.)

I’m Trina <3

I’m the girl in the flame-red lipstick. 
Fire flicking from my fingertips and
sparks dancing off my stilettos. 
I’m the girl in Andy’s car, 
in Andy’s arms, 
in Andy’s lap. 
I’m adrenaline and
gasoline and
matchsticks and
supercharged lust.

I’m the girl with the rainbow hair. 
Stars spilling from my mouth and
moonbeams gleaming off my skin. 
I’m the girl in Billy’s car, 
in Billy’s arms, 
in Billy’s lap. 
I’m firecrackers and
dynamite and gunpowder and all
the risky choices mother warned you about.

I’m the girl on the fast path to the top. 
The American dreams, 
stuffed in an apple pie cooked by
the comet’s red glare. 
I’m the girl in Cory’s car, 
in Cory’s arms, 
in Cory’s lap. 
I’m booze and
coke and
speed and
the heartache hangover worth wrecking your life.

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March 2018 Update

Updates on Works in Progress:

Spirit Beasts #2 – 32k’ish words.

Spirit Lands #2 – 35k’ish words.

Spirit Lands #3 – 10k’ish words.

Gems Book #2, #3, #4, #5 – 21k’ish words.

Technarian – 45k’ish words.

Unnamed Sci-Fi story – 75k’ish words.

My muse was hijacked in October when fires devastated my community. I had very deliberate plans for Frankie that included her demonstration of strength and flammable temper.  Danger to her friends and unexpected revelations add up to a pretty explosive tinderbox for her and the characters in my fictional world.  To have this situation thrust on me in reality has altered my outlook on this plot-point as you might imagine.  The place I love most in the world burned to the ground.  My plan for Frankie’s reckoning played out in reality has been very intense.  It’s been difficult to write out those events with dispassion when I drive through the aftermath every day. 

More recently the real-life town of Yountville had a horrible and tragic incident at the Veterans Home. That center will, at some point, have an important place in my fictional world.  Not to be too spoiler’y, but it’s the nation’s largest Veterans center and  if you’ve read through the stories thus-far, you’ll understand why this would be important to Frankie and Marcie’s new world.  Retired warriors…waiting for their time… need I say more?  It’s interesting how real life events are impacting my characters and the fictional world and how I’m viewing it.   All I’ve wanted to write this week is Frankie Welton opening a can of whoop-ass on anyone who dares fuck with her warriors.

 Burning Bright

Burning Bright

Happy Day After National Pizza Day

I apparently think with my stomach, and so I'm still in pizza bliss after having a massive overload of home baked pizza last night.  I hope those checking out the blog had an equally nice day/night.  It seems like it should be a bigger holiday than Valentine's Day.  

I love Romance, but not particularly the forced holiday that makes primarily men feel guilty if they don't go overboard with displays of affection.  I'm more of a: Romance every friggen day, girl.  

I have been negligent in my posting since my past Aug post, because we had a massively brutal fire here in October.  We luckily survived the fires and we're safe and whole, but it has rocked a lot of people I know. I haven't quite bounced back to the fun stuff of writing and fiction as my attention remains focused on real life events.  

I have noticed that a few people have been subscribing to the blog!  Yay!  So, I will try to be more active with at least some little things.  I am still working on my Science Fiction romance story and this weekend putting together the synopsis and pitch for it.  I'm looking forward to getting this and the sequel off the ground and see how readers like it.

Paying the Dragon's Price came out this week, I hope to hear how people like it. Dangerous Seduction, Heart Bound and All Thorns Eve will be released in the next few months.  I will have a release cover for Heart Bound around Valentine's Day.  Ooh, fancy, right?

Alright, that's it for now.   Thanks for reading!

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A 'story' about scars?

As part of my ‘5 year goals’, I’m taking a creative writing class. Not only as part of the steps to get where I want to be, I thought it would be fun. So far it’s enjoyable and a little unsettling.  I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone to be more social and meeting people in class and reading my 'stuff' aloud. Ugh.  It also allows methe opportunity to have some structure in my writing. While I like my nightly routine, lately I haven’t been as dedicated to my work.  My latest assignment is to write something (Poem or prose) about the question: How Did You Get that Scar?

I instantly thought about Chaze and his scar and the story behind how he got it.  What say you, readers? Want to know how Chaze got his scar(s)? Or should I just write something fluffy or introspective about the scars in the soul we cannot see?  I’m not above some navel gazing and throwing down some super fluffy metaphoric nonsense about that or any number of little things.  HOWEVER—I’d spend the weekend on a mini Chaze story too. There’s no romance in that story though. Just want to warn all ya’all.

I thank you for responses. ;)  In advance.

 27'ish days until An End to Summer!&nbsp;

27'ish days until An End to Summer! 

Are they plans or plots?

I came across this article on the Harvard Business Review this morning that really got me thinking.  Here is the article.

You’re Never Done Finding Purpose at Work

Take a moment to review. I’ll wait.

 

As my previous post mentioned, I’m at a crucible moment right now and so finding this article couldn’t have come at a better time. 

The main take away for me is the exercise to evaluation of mindset about work.  The idea that there’s a Job mindset that focuses primarily on the cash, the Career mindset that is the goal of upward mobility and power and the Purpose mindset that is that achievement everyone wants to have. Feeling fully focused and rewarded by the work you’re doing. They say people who find that job will never work a day in their lives.  Right?

Anyway, it’s not my purpose to re-write that article, but you should read it.  I think I will keep a running tally on my temperature towards my multi-tiered jobs and use it to decide what’s best for me and really what I want in my future.

That leads me to the other article that is hyperlinked on the one above. I’m going to list it here so you (and I) have it.

From Purpose to Impact

It’s much longer than this but when I read these questions, it felt like a serious reality check.

  • What do you enjoy doing in your life now that helps you sing your song?

Anyone who is reading this blog likely knows me or has followed me down the rabbit hole as I’ve been writing and maybe even gotten caught up in the stories too.  There’s not even a hesitation for me to answer that question.  My writing is my song. 

It is what gives me the deepest, sweetest joy. 

When I finally allowed myself to write about characters falling in love and gave myself permission to be sappy and sentimental, and paint them in wild and fantastical lives, my life changed.  It has been the most enjoyable experience in my whole life.

As mentioned in my previous post, I have been struggling with my other life dream of getting a horse again. And last weekend a friend reminded me that the pretty copper pony is not the horse for me.  Reality check: In a real five year plan, is that a realistic goal? 

Those are questions for me, but I think other writers and readers might benefit from doing the exercises in the articles as well.  We can all use a little push towards a happier work + life equality.

Now, here are some pretty horses to look at while you ponder those questions.  Have a great weekend.

 I photographed this horse at the Fresno Horse park and she inspired me to create Spear Eater. &nbsp;Few things are more bad ass than a one eyed horse going crosscountry.

I photographed this horse at the Fresno Horse park and she inspired me to create Spear Eater.  Few things are more bad ass than a one eyed horse going crosscountry.

I like this series of shots.  The horse was a little uncertain about going over that big drop.  Didn't refuse though. 

Don't know about this boss.jpg
Don't know about this boss 2.jpg
Don't know about this boss 3.jpg

And just a couple more...because: jumping into water looks cool in still frame.

Woodwide - Aug 12 - x-country 3.jpg
Woodwide - Aug 12 - x-country 4.jpg

Multi-tasked

I realized as I was driving into work how much my life exists in a duality.  For example, in my work life, I have responsibilities in at least two specific areas.  Part of my time, I take care of my supervisor and the other half I handle budgetary work.  Sometimes while balancing those two very different expectations, my boss has me cover for her and I manage the calendar for her boss.  Then I come home and I balance creative writing with editing and marketing.

I have balanced these conflicting job responsibilities so long, I’m not sure how I’d cope with reducing my work level to a singular focus.  How much more effective could I be as a worker and human being if I were able to spend my waking time writing/creating?  Would I create more or would the vacuum of that much excess time/energy consume me?

About this time last year, my husband offered me a choice.  I could keep working, or quit and write full time.  I have yet to take him up on the offer of following my dream.  In part because the writer lifestyle would require some serious belt tightening. To be honest, dear readers, I am not much into belt tightening.  Besides, I love my job and the people I work with.  I have an opportunity where I work that many people would sacrifice for.  Walking away from this feels like shooting myself in the foot.  And although I have 10 books finished and contracted, I still don’t feel confident that I can do this writing thing.  My previous publisher went belly up and my new publisher…well…while that’s a topic for another blog post.

I can’t seem to cut the cord and just risk being a full time creative soul.  How can I turn my back on a consistent paying gig for something that likely won’t pay much more than a bottle of soda pop every week?  I think about how I will pay for all my marketing and when needed, an editor.  Right now, I could pretty much support owning a horse in full training for the cost of being a writer.  Which is fine with me because, like owning a horse, there are fulfilling things about writing and being published.  Sure, I wanted to earn some dollars from this writing thing, but in the place I’m at.  I have to pay for readers to notice me.  I think that’s how it goes right now in the industry.

I pitched my Sci-Fi story at RWA and it re-inspired me to complete my revisions and send it out. However, by the time I get home from the J.O.B. and do my marketing for the current published stuff and my social media’ing my leftover time is pretty limited.  If I take the plunge and write full time.  I certainly won’t have the $$$ to support the marketing for another book.  So, I circle back around to needing the full time job to support my writing habit. 

I’d like to think that having an agent would make things smoother but I thought having a publisher would take some of the weight off my shoulders too.  I wonder if the agent’s percentage would come out of my pocket if I’m in the negative with my marketing dollars.  That’s kind of frightening. (I have heard the arguments towards the good things agents can do for you.  My doubt is based on the experiences I’ve had so far in this adventure.)

Maybe it’s time for me to focus on the horse dream again.  Get that big red horse I’ve had my eye on for the past year and call this writing experiment completed.  Because of the shift in publishers and the year long pause button getting a new publisher, I’ve lost the readers I had who inspired me to continue along to tell them the stories of Ursa and Leo and all the other crazy stuff I cooked up.  So, might just be a 10 book chit for RWA and then I tap out.  I really do appreciate the readers who started me on the journey.  (And if you are one of those people who are reading this, I will send you a previously unpublished story!)

For now, I’ll continue to work and edit/market and polish up the Sci-Fi story and after the fate of that one is decided, I’ll see what steps to take. 

 Attitude! &nbsp;(These youngsters are so cute)

Attitude!  (These youngsters are so cute)

 

 

When writers aren’t readers - Searching for my tribe

I believed that I would find my people when I went to the Romance Writers of America conference. 

1) I’m writing romance.

2) I enjoy romance

AND 3) I’m with romance writers who are writing fantasy and science fiction. 

These should have been my people.

I expected to be welcomed in with open arms and talk about the stories/books that I love and that are important to me.  Instead, I found that their arms were already full.  It wasn’t easy to connect with anyone because they were already knitted into their cozy groups.  Unlike the other writer conferences I’ve attended, there wasn’t the equal footing for people who didn’t have a group to fit into.

Everyone was very nice, but despite that, I was on the outside of the bubbles, only peeking in.

Well, that made sense, I didn’t know anyone and although I expected to make friends as I had during the PNWA conferences, I understand it might take more effort.  Besides, maybe I needed writers who were writing closer to what I'm writing.

I thought I’d fit in better with the science fiction (fantasy) romance writer crowd. Surely they would be my people.  I heard throughout the conference about how the writers wanted to have the science-fiction romance group better distinguished.  Awesome! 

Me too.  As a reader, I want more of these books. (More bodice rippers in space please!)

I mentioned in my earlier post that I was going deep tracks on my Liaden costume and I was so excited to get into the costume and expected these sci-fi romance writers would totally get it and me. I even got the hubby geared up and excited about the event.

Except not a single person at the whole event knew who we were dressed as.

Even during the contest the MC had to ask us twice ‘Who are you trying to be again?’ (Ok, so maybe I failed with the details.)

Diana Rose Wilson Liaden Costume - 1.jpg

Even after explaining, no one knew the series.

At the ‘contest’ part of the show, the winners were a group in Star-Trek shirts and Orphan Black.  I wasn’t aware either of those shows were considered romance.  And to rub salt in the wound of my reader’s heart, they aren’t even based in written fiction.  So, we have TV based heroes/heroines, and these are the characters people know.  Even the women in their creative and very cool alien costumes got a backseat to the known quantity that of the popular, off-the-shelf, TV-show. 

 Taking this cosplay seriously, man!

Taking this cosplay seriously, man!

To me, as a writer, this is a little sad.   Even if I’m able to write something seriously bad-ass, I will must struggle to get people to see/read my work. It (and yours) is competing against TV/Movies/video games/comics. This was a wake-up call as it should be for all writers.

 Here’s my question then:

Are we readers of the genera we are writing?  Or are we only writers? 

And: Where the heck is my Tribe?

90's Cosplay throwback

I promised I would send pictures of my 90’s Mercedes Lackey cosplay and I have found a picture.  It’s not so great quality but it's what I have.  Here it is. ;)

 Oh, here's some details!

Oh, here's some details!

 You can't even see the awesomeness of the embroidery and beadwork I did but-just imagine it's way cooler th

You can't even see the awesomeness of the embroidery and beadwork I did but-just imagine it's way cooler th

I think it was someone’s birthday and they were getting spanked but for the life of me I can’t remember.  This was a Dragon Con ‘pajama party’ event with a reading of Owl Flight before it came out and there were shenanigans in progress.  Being socially awkward as I was/am, I was just trying not to completely melt down like an uber dork. I’m sure I said/did something awkward and uncomfortable to those around me. Thank goodness I’m not plagued by those memories.  

I do recall being in the elevator with Mark Shepherd and I was so nervous I thought I was going to faint.  He was very kind but it had to be awkward for him.  Sorry Mark.

 

 Hotty bodyguards. &nbsp;

Hotty bodyguards.  

There was also this strange thing that happened that year at D*C, apparently there were death threats (?) and so ML and her people had two security guards with them.  It seemed perfectly reasonable at the time but looking back it seems really odd, particularly when you see pictures like this from one of the panels. 

And at the end of D*C they had an auction and I won this pretty necklace and the line edits of Winds of Change (Half of it anyway, somehow the organizer of the event tricked me and I never did get the full manuscript. Still worth it.  Used to dry my writer's tears for many years. Just kidding, we all know writer's tears are pure alcohol and must be bottled with care.)  

 I wonder if she ever wonders: 'Where did I put that necklace.....?'&nbsp;

I wonder if she ever wonders: 'Where did I put that necklace.....?' 

And now that I've shared my memories with you, I'm back to sewing for my latest obsession.  I'm not even going to Confluence where Sharron Lee and Steve Miller are attending. :P  I'll be in Florida, hanging out with Sci-Fi Romance writers at the RWA conference.  

I'm putting the jacket and vest lining in today and hopefully will have pictures soon!

Thanks for reading! I can't wait to meet more writers and discover new obsessions! 

Release Dates!

Wicked Masquerade: Forbidden Secrets Book 1

Release Date: June 29, 2017

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68299-251-7

 

Lies that Blind: SpiritBeasts Book 1

Release Date: July, 2017 (no date yet) 

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68299-239-5

 

Snow Mistress: Forbidden Secrets Book 2

Release Date: August 7, 2017

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68299-253-1

 

An End to Summer: SpiritLands Book 1

Release Date: September, 2017 (no date yet) 

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68299-247-3

 

Taiming the Brat: Forbidden Secrets Book 3

Release Date: October 19, 2017

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68299-259-3

 

Blood Feathers: Forbidden Secrets Book 4

Release Date: December 2017 (no date yet) 

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68299-248-7

 Cozy!

Cozy!

Copyright © 2016 - 2018 Diana Rose Wilson