Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street seriesre

Chronicles of The K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street seriesre
Rescued Dogs' Stories

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Diana Duncan is here today, January 21st on Come In, Sit Down, Tell Us about...

This blog is a meeting place for authors and others in the arts .... each week as others are directed to our door or just stumble on by, they come and leave us information about themselves so they can tell about their new books or drawings or photos or to tell us about their new blogs. ****PLEASE be sure your comments are appearing on the latest most timely blog insuring your inclusion in the sending off to Google plus land at the end of the week.*****

Here is the link to Gwen’s site: G.D. Steel's blog is free promoting of your arts. As I am wont to say {as does Facebook} our site is free to comment and share and always will be free.  

For the rest of the month of January and possibly into February of 2012,we will be interviewing new and seasoned authors, first at Gwen's and then over here.

Today, Saturday the 21th of January, we have with us Diana Duncan. She is a romance writer who decided that the conventional route is not always the path we need to travel. I have long been a fan of her romance novels and now I also call her friend. I would love to give you a run down on this zany lady but she tells it so well in her bio ~ let us welcome Diana: 

When her dreams of becoming a ballerina were quashed by early-onset klutziness, Diana Duncan took up the safer vocation of writing. Her first thrilling masterpiece—written in orange crayon—was titled “Perky the Kitten,” and became an instant bestseller with her grandparents. 

Her childhood growing up as a military brat gave her the ability to leap into a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime…and she always discovers a new friend in the process. This gift of gab perfectly equipped her for a career that involves making stuff up. 

Diana is famous for using seven words when one will do. She wields smart-assery like a samurai sword, and will be the first to volunteer in a catastrophe. Of course, she was probably the one who caused the catastrophe. 
She’s fiercely loyal to her friends and family…but in the event of the upcoming zombie apocalypse, she won’t hesitate to use them as human shields. 

She loves her job as an author, and claims writing is the most fun she’s ever had while wearing her sock monkey pajamas. She also enjoys gardening, cooking, and adopting abandoned curbside furniture to refurbish into treasures. 

What inspired you to write? 

I was read to, and started reading on my own, at a very young age (Grannie was a librarian and took me to work with her for the first three years of my life). Writing was the natural expression of my love affair with fictional characters and their stories. There was no single “aha” moment…I’ve loved writing as long as I can remember. 

When I was 14, I discovered a bag of romance novels in my mom’s closet and was immediately entranced by the sexy, caring heroes and strong, smart heroines. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home situation, and reading romances taught me what a true, lasting, loving relationship should be like. Those books taught me not to compromise for anything less than a wonderful man who treated me right. I found him…and we’ve been married 33 years! (Okay, I was 8 when I got married, b/c I am not *that* old. *G*) 

After my daughters started school, I began writing romances, because I had the desire to share what I’d learned with other women. I wanted them to know you don’t have to settle for a man who doesn’t treat you or respect you like you deserve. 

Do you have anyone you show manuscripts to and get advice from or are you a loner doing it all yourself? 

I have two regular, fantastic critique partners: published authors Susan Gable and Jennifer August who brainstorm with me, and ruthlessly edit for me. In addition, my oldest daughter (who is also writing YA novels set in the same magical world I created for “Sword of the Raven,” has a degree in journalism, plus a paralegal degree – and she is an eagle-eyed proofreader. (And her snarky comments make me LOL. After the 5th love scene in “Raven” she noted: “Dude, she’s gonna start to chafe.” ) 

As the final step before a manuscript goes to publication, I print it out and scrutinize it word-for-word, on a search and destroy mission for overlooked problems or errors. One of the reasons I don’t produce new books as fast as I’d like to is because I have this annoying perfectionist (anal) trait. *G* Everything that carries the Diana Duncan brand is as thoroughly researched, scrutinized, and as flawless as I can humanly manage! I’d rather produce 2-3 high quality books a year than churn out 5 or 6 so-so ones. 

What genre do you normally write in? Also, is there a genre you've always wanted to write in, but don't feel you could pull it off? 

My first 6 books published by a NY publisher were romantic suspense – mostly because my mind automatically “goes there.” I remember brainstorming one of Susan Gable’s warm-hearted family stories with her, and suddenly I’m off on a crazy tangent about how the mailman could be a double agent with a secret agenda and is stalking the heroine… Then we both cracked up. 

I was discouraged from doing anything other than romantic suspense, because they wanted to build my name in that sub-genre. They cut out a *lot* of the humor from my books, b/c they felt it reduced the suspense. They also forced me to “tone down” my heroines b/c they felt they were too strong, too snarky and “undermined the heroes.” ::snort:: I also had to “tone down” my love scenes and was restricted from certain “unpopular” geographical settings or story themes. My own editor, the one who first bought me, was terrific, and I learned a ton of skills under her wise tutelage. But company policies put me in a tight box and it squelched my creative process. 

The NY print houses want their authors to stick to one thing, only the tried and true. They buy two years in advance for things that are trendy today, and new acquisitions are controlled by the marketing department, who won’t take a risk on anything different. 

Now that I’ve gone rogue with Indie publishing, I’m having a blast writing sexy contemporary romance with snarky humor, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. And loving the freedom! I can write what I want, when I want, set wherever I want! And I can let my hero and heroines’ natural sass and sexiness out to play! 

I adore reading paranormals, but I wasn’t sure I had enough imagination to explore all the otherworldly possibilities within the genre. I’d had the basic premise for “Sword of the Raven” running around in my head for years and years, but I was terrified that I didn’t have the writing chops to pull off such a complicated, intensely emotional story. 

I finally knew I was meant to write it when I was given an unmistakable sign. The new senior editor of my line at my former publishing house had rejected 12 complete, new proposals in 18 months, and I finally got a clue and decided it was way past time to cut my losses. My confidence and creativity were at an all-time low, and I was angsting over what to do, and what to write next. A good writer friend of mine was out walking and she was praying for me and my uncertain future. She had headphones on and wasn’t paying attention to where she was going. She looked down and saw a rattlesnake curled directly in her path! Then out of nowhere, a raven swooped down out of the sky and scared the snake away! 

When she called me to tell me what had happened, we discovered that unbeknownst to either of us, her maiden name was Morgan, the same as my heroine’s last name! Okay, really, after that, how could I *not* write the book? 

Delaney Morgan and I share a lot in common, including a background of abuse. I’ve never cried more writing any story, ever, and it truly is the book of my heart. 

Then I wrote “Deal with the Devil” because after the intensity of “Sword of the Raven,” I needed a comedic break! Rory Devlin is smart and funny and smoking hot. Having the complete freedom to write exactly the type of hero I needed to lighten up my life a wee bit was exhilarating! I’ve never laughed more writing any story, ever, and it’s now one of my favorites! 

Do you ever base your characters on people you know? 

Absolutely not. Any resemblance between the villains that I kill in intensely satisfying ways and people who have stabbed me in the back, given me grief, or just pissed me off in general is purely coincidental. 

What advice would you give to someone who was just starting off in writing? 

Don’t let *anybody* tell you that “you can’t.” It took me five years of butt-busting work and eight finished manuscripts to get published the first time. Then after six award-winning, top-selling novels, I unexpectedly smashed into a wall at my former publisher. I spent another two years trying to break out with something different – only to receive rejection after rejection from agents and editors. The print market is so tight now that only “sure things” are being purchased by the big NY houses. Nobody would take a chance on my snarky, sexy paranormal. 
I thought my lifelong dream of being an author was dead. My self-esteem went into the crapper, I lost my creativity, and I felt like a complete failure. 
Thanks to my wonderful critique partners, I battled my way out of a serious depression, looked at my options, changed course and, to quote Sinatra, decided to “do it my way.” 
My battered dream awoke off life support, and was revived in an entirely different form from what I’d ever envisioned. 
All I’ve ever wanted to do is reach out to readers and entertain them – and hopefully help them during difficult times in their lives—just like my favorite authors have helped me get through the hardest times in my own life by letting me escape into wonderful stories. 
What’s your dream? What have you been told is impossible? Look at it from another perspective. Try solutions you’ve never before attempted and just take that first, scary step. Be inventive. Be persistent. Be courageous. 
Don’t let anyone discourage you. 
I *can.* And so can you. 

Do your stories tend to have morals, or special messages, included within them? 

Yes, but subtly. I hate it when authors beat readers over the head with the obvious. In “Deal with the Devil” I touch lightly on the idea of non-traditional moms and the pressure women feel to be perfect at everything. 
“Devil May Care” is the second in my “Devilish Devlins” fun, sexy contemporary romance series with Irish heroes. Part of the story deals with a gay secondary character who’s been shunned by his family. I know a terrific guy who came out to his parents right after college…and they told everyone in their hometown that he’d died. Since they lived on opposite coasts, many of his own friends didn’t find out the truth and even know he was still alive until years later. And he didn’t understand why so many of his friends had stopped calling him. 
Prejudice and intolerance on any level horrifies me, but the fact that his own parents hurt him in such a deliberate way made it so much worse. Sounds like an odd topic for a fun, sexy romance doesn’t it? Which is why it’s the perfect venue. You get to know Travis Ross, love him, feel what he feels, and empathize with him without a “heavy-handed” story. Since Travis is a secondary character, we don’t learn every detail of his life. But maybe, hopefully, it might inspire some thought about the consequences of how we treat one another. 
Then there’s “Sword of the Raven,” which is the first book in my new contemporary paranormal romance series about Celtic Warrior Mages. Delaney, the heroine, was sexually abused as a child. She’s dealt with most of it by the time the book opens, but suffers a few lingering self-doubts. As someone who personally experienced childhood abuse, I wanted to show the moment when those doubts rise up to attack Delaney, and her triumph when she realizes (with the hero’s help) that shame and fear and doubt no longer have any power over her. 
The entire theme of the book is how we can’t always stop or control the things that hurt us, but we can choose to triumph over them. I have to admit, I cried when I wrote that part. As I mentioned before, I cried more writing this story than any other, ever. But when I made it through to the happy ending, it felt really great. 

This question was posed by a fellow author and I loved it so much I decided to throw it into the mix ~ Oh no! One of your characters has escaped. Luckily, I have caught them! I will interrogate them with the help of a lie detector. Welcome! Take a seat, make yourself comfortable. You will be returning to your book once this is over. What's your name, where are you from and what is your role in the book? 

Aye, and my name is Rowan MacLachlan, Chieftain of Clan MacLachlan. Almost a century ago, I was born in a wee village in the Highlands of Scotland. I am one of the Shining Ones, a semi-immortal Tuatha Dé Danann Mage. My element to command is water, and I have total control over water in every form…including human beings’ brains, which are comprised of 80% water. I fought my way up the ranks of warriors, and my job as a Clan Enforcer is to track Supernaturals who’ve gone Dark and misuse the ancient Magic for evil. I’m hunting the Sorceress who imprisoned me in chains and forced me to watch as she slaughtered my entire village—and butchered my family. Nothing will stop me from destroying her…not even my own death. 

Tell us why we would enjoy reading your books? 

To be 100% honest, not everyone will. I worship the ground Nora Roberts walks on, but some readers can’t stand her. So I can’t say for sure you will enjoy mine. *G* However, I can tell you that I pour every bit of my heart and soul into every story. I never write anything just because I think it might have commercial value. I live, eat, and breathe my characters, and they become as real to me as my friends and family. I care deeply about each and every one, and I let *them* dictate the way their stories should go. 

So I hope you can suspend disbelief, dive in, and ride along on the adventure. My wish is to make you laugh, make you cry, have tons of fun…and to turn that final page with a satisfied sigh and a smile on your face. 

Diana has left her links to her site and books so do let your fingers stroll on over ~ 

My website has links to purchase my books in all formats, as well as free excerpts and lots of fun stuff like hunky men in kilts. Do sign up for my newsletter so you always know the scoop, and friend me on Facebook (also linked on my website). I love hanging out with other readers! 

[Last edited about 17 hours ago]