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: writers Life

Only eat the best chocolate

I write because it's fun. Even at the point in the process I’m stuck in right now, where I have to force out every….single….word……I remind myself that this is fun. 

It should be fun.

I began this hobby because I loved creating life in fiction form.

It’s a bit like eating really good chocolate.

I only want the good stuff, because, it’s not healthy for me, but I don’t want to live without it. Life is too short to waste on bad quality chocolate. It's also too short to waste on something that doesn't bring me joy.

When I first started writing, I wrote Fantasy, but I heard it was hard to get published and so I put it aside. When I began writing Paranormal Romances, I was told the exact same thing. I thought about writing something that sells, even though I didn't enjoy it. I decided to just go for the good chocolate; the stories that made me happy.

Now, as I’m forced to come up with something new, better, and marketable…. I wonder if it’s worth it.

Would I eat bad chocolate? Should I just stomach it?

I work to make money to support my hobby.


My writing  was once my fun time. Is changing my genre going to better my situation? Gain me readers? Can I craft it with honesty without my passion and joy of the story behind it?

I don’t think so.

So, I’m going to keep on eating the good chocolate and write the stuff that makes my heart happy. To hell with that chalky, waxy crap! (And hey, you should write what you love too and totally kill it!)

March 25 2018 Goats Oaks and hillside.jpg


RT Booklovers Conference is coming up next week in Reno!  Unfortunately, I am going swag-light. I'm disappointed, but last month was full of much bigger disappointments.

What am I looking forward to?

1)      Meeting fellow writers.

2)      Meeting new readers. (AND getting to meet face to face some current readers!)

3)      Meeting readers passionate about the same books I love!

There are also quite a few writer’s craft panels that I specifically want to attend:

Make Marketing Your B*tch! (Wed)

Beyond Tall, Dark, and Brooding – Because… Mano. (Thursday)

Worldbuilding in Sci-Fi & Fantasy (Friday)

Oh, and I’ll also be sporting my Liaden outfit at the Steampunk High Tea Party (Thursday)  It’s not really steampunk, but I’ll get to wear my knee boots,spurs and saber. Don’t judge me.

Russian River, on the way to the sea! <3 

Russian River, on the way to the sea! <3 



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.

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


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! 

Copyright © 2016 - 2018 Diana Rose Wilson