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.

Filtering by Tag: Readers Life

May Reads

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I know, I just did a: 'What I'm currently reading', but here's a full roundup of the Month's reads.

Queen of the Darkness - Anne Bishop

Catch of the Day - Kristan Higgins -  @Kristan_Higgins

The Next Best Thing - Kristan Higgins  - @Kristan_Higgins

Somebody to Love - Kristan Higgins - @Kristan_Higgins

Halfway to the Grave  Jeaniene Frost - @Jeaniene_Frost

In Flight - R.K. Lilley @authorrklilley

My Wicked Valentine - Ann Mayburn @AnnMayburn                                                            

Current Reads:

The Wolfe (de Wolfe Pack #1) - Kathryn Le Veque - @KathrynLeVeque

Kneel, Mr. President Lauren Gallagher - @GallagherWitt

Ride Hard (Raven Riders, #1) Laura Kaye - @laurakayeauthor

Another goodie-basket from RT BookLovers.

During the RT BookLovers Convention, I won a lovely gift basket from Louisa Bacio @Louisabacio for my costume at the 'Steampunk High Tea Party' (I will eventually convert all readers to Liad through costumes and my big mouth. It will just take some time.)

I wanted to give an update regarding the books I have in my greedy hands thanks to the gift card included in the basket:

Border Town (SLICE Agency #1)

Lucky Charms

Once Upon A Twisted Time (Twisted Fairy Tales, #1)


I still have a little for a book or two more, so if anyone has recommendations, let me know. :D

Also: Thank you for the goodies, Louisa Bacio @Louisabacio

April Reads

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café - Jenny Colgan  @jennycolgan

Wanderlust - Lauren Blakely @LaurenBlakely3

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton -Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie    @stephaniehdray @laurakayeauthor

(Now I want a Hamilton + Laurens novel. Someone. Please. It doesn't need to be particularly historically correct.)

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking -Malcolm Gladwell

Hope's Folly - Linnea Sinclair 

(The Rapey-Rape Saga) Special thanks to L Scott Brown at the Book Nook @booknookfresno who always sets me up with the good reads.)

Daughter of the Blood - Anne Bishop

Heir to the Shadows – Anne Bishop

Up next:

Pretty much all of Anne Bishop’s rape-rape books. (Obviously even the abuse/rape/torture isn’t keeping me from these. I stopped reading Mercedes Lackey due to how often she used rape as a darkest moment for her heroines/heroes, so we'll see how far I get before I'm tired of it. I’m holding out for just one happy sex scene.  It’s like anti-romance. These are so well written that I hope the rape-factor lightens up.  I forgot how much I love pure Fantasy.)

(Bumped by the rape-rape books)

Ride Hard - Laura Kaye @laurakayeauthor

Dawn on a Distant Shore - Sara Donati

An actual image of me after reading something good.

An actual image of me after reading something good.

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.

Raven 3 2018.jpg

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! – 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.) - 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.)‎ -- Stickers and magnets – Stickers, Magnets and even Temporary tattoos! – Journals/Notebooks‎ -- Put your logo on everything! It is a deep, dark rabbit hole. You’ve been warned. -- Another site with promo items to slap your logo on. – Higher end swag – Higher end swag – 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


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.


               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.


               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.


               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.


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

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


               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.


               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.

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.

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. 

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?

Copyright © 2016 - 2018 Diana Rose Wilson