Sunday, July 28, 2013

Writing outside our genre

When Nora Roberts wanted to write a detective novel, she and her publisher decided to write under the name J.D. Robb. They figured regular readers of Ms. Roberts' romance novels wouldn't like it if they picked up her newest novel and discovered it wasn't romance, but something else entirely.

More recently, J.K. Rowling wrote a mystery and created a new name, not to see if she could sell using a different name, but to "brand" her writing. Rowling writes young adult (specifically one particular series), Robert Galbraith writes crime novels. Same person, two different names.

The point here isn't the branding, however, it's the fact that authors have many stories inside us. The genre that makes us famous isn't necessarily the genre we want to write in for the rest of our lives. In fact, most of us would tell you the story dictates the genre and sometimes we writers don't have a lot of say in the matter!

Which is why I have released a book of poetry.

Yes, you read that right: a book of poetry.

I've been reading poetry all my life. In fact, nursery rhymes are the first poems most of us learn by heart. My mom wrote poetry for special occasions - I still have the poem she wrote for my fourteenth birthday when they said yes to a school trip to New York City and my dad used to write couplets on our hard boiled eggs. I was the only kid at the table who had an egg everyone wanted to read before I cracked it!

So it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that I've been writing little pieces for years. I've never tried to publish any, however, until now. Diana's Little Book of Poems contains eighteen of my favorites and is now available for purchase!

In tribute to my mom, here's the poem I wrote about her (it's included in the collection):


I never thought much of my mother and the English language,
Except to note that her grammar wasn’t good,
Neither was her spelling.

But then one day as we drove past a field of wheat, she made mention of the fact
And then said,
“I like to watch the wind dance across the tops.”

My mother is a poet.

(May 26, 1995)

Once you've read the poems, please consider leaving a review. Thanks and play safe!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Story Behind "Trouble in Boots"

Last summer, I was at my hairdresser's getting my hair dyed…uh, cut and styled, when I received a call from my agent. She wanted to know if I was interested in writing two novellas for Kensington Aphrodisia for upcoming anthologies—one firefighter story and one cowboy story. Such a silly question! Of course I wanted to write them.

So what to write about for the cowboy novella? Although I was born and raised in Texas, I'm far from a country gal. I know nothing about rodeos or ranching or anything to do with cattle, other than I like steak. Luckily I have a friend who used to have a lot of cattle, so I could use him as a resource.

After a conversation with my friend, I decided my hero would be a cattle rancher. I liked this idea because I think there's something very sexy about a guy on a horse. My heroine would be a waitress in the local Western bar.

Now that I had my characters, I had to come up with a way for these two to fall in love. I asked myself, what if they've secretly loved each other since high school, but circumstances have kept them apart? What if they can now be together, but different circumstances still interfere with their happiness?

The answer to those questions can be found in "Trouble in Boots" in the In a Cowboy's Bed anthology, coming July 30th from Kensington Aphrodisia.

Here's a little except from "Trouble in Boots". I hope you enjoy it.

* * *

It should be against the law for a man to look so sinful in a pair of jeans.

Keely Sheridan waited at the end of the bar for her drink order and watched Nicholas Fallon talking and laughing with the other three guys at his table. He sat with his chair half-turned toward the bar, giving her an excellent view of the enticing bulge behind his fly. The mild, late autumn temperatures meant he wore a simple T-shirt that showed off his forearms. He had the tall, lean body of a man used to physical labor. His muscles came from working on his cattle ranch, not from a gym.

She admired the way his dark brown hair curled over his ears and nape. Olive skin that came from his mother's Italian heritage, a straight nose, high cheekbones, perfect white teeth, and smoky gray eyes made him one of the most attractive men she'd ever seen.

Her heart clenched every time she saw him…as well as other, lower parts of her anatomy.

"You're staring, honey," Dolly said with humor in her voice.

"I know." Keely answered Dolly Mabery, the woman who owned Boot Scootin', without taking her gaze off Nick. "I can't help it. Nick is just so gorgeous."

"Yes, he is." Dolly placed the last bottle of beer in Keely's order on the round tray. "Why are you staring at him instead of dragging him off to your bed?"

Keely released an unladylike snort. "Yeah, right, like that's ever going to happen. Nick doesn't know I'm alive except when it's time for another beer."

"You might be surprised. I've seen him watching you while you wait on tables."

Keely studied the woman who had been her boss and second mother for the last two years. With her poofy, dyed blond hair, false eyelashes, and heavy eye makeup, she looked like a throwback to the go-go girls of the '60s.

Keely adored her.

Dolly didn't know about the one time Keely had been with Nick eleven years ago. Having loved him since her freshman year in high school, Keely took advantage of his less-than-sober state the night of their graduation and had freely given him her virginity. He'd never acknowledged what happened between them. He'd been completely wasted, so she doubted if he even remembered it.

Pushing aside the memories, Keely picked up her filled tray. "He's a guy. He's going to look at my breasts and ass every chance he gets.

"Looking can lead to more."

Keely shook her head. "Not with Nick."

She wove her way through the tables with fresh drinks, staying a few moments to chat with each customer. She knew everyone in the bar, which didn't surprise her. Unlike the restaurants along the main road through Lanville, which drew tourists, the location of Boot Scootin' on a small county road made it more of a locals' hangout. Rarely did someone come in who Keely didn't know.

She caught and held Nick's gaze as she walked toward his table. A thrill shot through her when his gaze slid down her body to her thighs and back up to her face. A crooked grin turned up the corners of his mouth.

Despite her heart pounding and her palms growing clammy, she did her best to appear calm and in control as she picked up the empty beer bottles from the table. She glanced at Kory Wilcox in time to see him looking down her scoop neck T-shirt. That didn't surprise her either. Like she'd told Dolly, a man would look if he got the chance. "You ready for another, Kory?"

He flashed her a boyish grin, one that probably made many gals tumble into his bed. Since she thought of him as nothing but a friend, it didn't affect her. "Sure."

She looked at the other two men at the table. "Ready for another?"

They both nodded, which left only Nick to place an order. She faced him, her tray propped on one hip. "How about you, Nick? Want another cold one?"

He slouched a little more in his chair, hooked his hands together at his belt. His movement drew her attention to his fly again. The bulge appeared bigger than it had a few minutes ago.

"Yeah," he said in a low, husky voice. "I want another."

* * *

In a Cowboy's Bed available July 30th in ebook and print. More information on my website.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Books...and A Clean House

When I’m planning a trip, big or small, two things loom large in my mind: When do I clean my house? And what am I going to read?

These are seriously the two most important items as I prepare.

I have to time the cleaning so everything is bright and sparkly when I leave (so I can’t clean too early) but I also have to make sure I have enough time to clean everything. 

The week before a major trip usually sounds like this in my head...

“On Monday, I’ll pick up the living room. Tuesday, I’ll do all my laundry, Wednesday I’ll vacuum the house and Thursday, I’ll clean the bathroom and the kitchen.”

I love the feeling of coming home to a clean house...though with my normal state of untidiness, I sometimes feel like I’ve come home and my house as been robbed (what happened to all my clutter?!).

My second focus is what I’m going to take to read on my trip. I’m planning a two-week trip to Scotland here soon. I’ll be traveling with my iPad-mini to read and good old pen-and-paper if I feel the need to right. 

I'll be staying at a house with no wi-fi and I cannot, cannot, run out of things to read (it's happened and it's not pretty).  I need to load up my iPad with plenty of books. And yes, I’ll be carrying a paperback as well (take offs and landings) but still, I want to be prepared.

So, any recommendations for what I should take with me? I like steamy books but it’s not a necessity. Primarily romance (m/f or m/f/m or m/m/f or m/m) but I’m open to a good thriller now and then.  

Let me know what you think would make a great summer traveling read!