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Monday, August 20, 2012



I can’t ever remember not reading—or writing, for that matter—mostly poetry and short stories until my late twenties. Classical literature (except for every Nancy Drew mystery available until I turned twelve )and history pretty much consumed me until I entered high school. While I’ve never stopped reading and studying both, at fourteen I discovered current bestsellers and decided I needed to broaden my horizons.

Still, incredibly inspiring and demanding teachers, along with my lifelong love of great literature, propelled me into a 22-year secondary language arts teaching career. So, hey, I know how to write, right? Narrative, expository, persuasive, argumentative. I understand POV, plot, theme, story arc, pacing.

Then, I found The Flame and the Flower in my late twenties, and well-written romance sucked me in for life. Unfortunately, I also found that while I loved good fiction of any genre, I didn’t know beans about how to write it. It’s another universe from “scholarly” writing. So, much as I’m being dragged kicking and screaming into the technological 21st Century, I’m learning that if you want to be published, grammar is flexible—horrors!—and a thick skin is mandatory if you’re going to benefit from constructive criticism. My critique partners, agent, and beta readers are wonderful, brutally honest, priceless gifts.

I’m a “pantser” or “fly in the mist” writer, not a “plotter”. My stories are never planned from A to Z; they evolve as I go and are character-driven. Usually, a character or characters appear in my head; they and the setting as clear as an HD picture. In Cherish the Knight, my 11th Century historical romance which released July 27th, a Scarlet Rose (spicy!)for The Wild Rose Press, my hero popped into my mind while I was floating in the pool. And I thought, “Aren’t you pretty?” The heroine joined him moments later, and I could hear them talking to each other.

Weird? I don’t know. That’s just how it happens for me. And when I saw the two of them together, it was a YES moment! I knew their names, who and what they were, and the story grew from there.

When I’m not writing, I read—surprise!—make custom jewelry and bookmarks, and bake. I also have an ongoing love/hate relationship with Zumba.

Raised on the Jersey Shore, I’m a water lover. I and my high-school sweetheart, now husband of 41 years and a retired firefighter, live in Southwest Florida. We have one grown son, a talented airbrush artist, welder, and fabricator. We divide our time between we-love-winters-in Florida (though we’re there—at least for now—most of the year) and our beloved South Carolina Upstate lake home as often as we can get away.

A member of SW Florida Romance Writers and RWA for eighteen years, my two wonderful, multi-published-author critique partners and I have dubbed ourselves the Three Musketeers. :-) After a long day of writing and editing, that phrase always makes us smile. A reminder that it’s all about the journey... personal and professional...and never forgetting to enjoy it.

Honesty will cost her her freedom.

Silence will cost her more....

Ambushed as he approaches the English estate promised him by William the Conqueror, Lord Cort Dornogard dares trust no one...least of all the spirited Gaelic healer, Alexis Fallon, who fascinates even as she defies him.

The magnificent Norse warrior threatens both Alexis’ heart and her cherished autonomy, for she harbors a secret she cannot reveal about the ambush. Honesty will cost her her freedom. But silence may cost her far more.

Cort harbors a damning secret of his own—one guaranteed to foment rebellion among his new subjects. Escalating attacks and accidents on the estate further confirm that fear. His foes, both English and Norman, will exploit what he hides to destroy him, his dreams, and the woman he’s grown to love.

Snared in a web of castle intrigue, passion, and betrayal, Cort and Lexi are far more than either suspects. If they do not learn to trust, their enemies will destroy them both. Will they discover too late that truth is a two-edged sword?


Debby said...

Sounds like we have a lot in common. I loved the interview and the information about your book. Thanks so much.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Ingeborg said...

I enjoyed the post and learning more about you. I love historical romance so I am very interested.

Lorie Langdon said...

Hi Diane!
For me the book that changed my life was WHITNEY MY LOVE by Judith McNaught. I've been in love with historical romance ever since.

I love that you and your crit partners call yourselves 'The Three Musketeers'! I also have two critique partner who are close friends and I don't know how I'd survive without them. ;-) I think we need a name...

Beth Vrabel said...

Where would we be without crit partners! They make all the difference, don't they?

Thank you for sharing your journey!

Cecy said...

Like you, I can't remember not reading or writing. You are amazing.

Mia Downing said...

I loved the Flame and the Flower! I love Johanna Lindsey and all of the others from that era. Devoured them.

It was nice to learn a little more about you!

Julie Ann Walker said...

I haven't read an historical romance in ages, but now I'm thinking it's time to pick one up. I wonder which that should be... LOL! Love the post!

Lynnwrite said...

One of the Three Musketeers here. Great post, Di. I always love hearing how characters and stories come to be. And I love Cherish the Knight--as well as The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove. It might be time to get those out to read again.

Jaime Rush said...

I loved Cherish the Knight! Great read. I too loved Whitney by Judith McNaught. Did you know that she was paralyzed by the fear of not writing something as good as that? She told a workshop group that many years ago. I wish she'd write more.

But now we have Diane O'Key!!!

Anonymous said...

You women are amazing! How wonderful and supportive of you all to leave such lovely comments :-)
Thanks to those of you who've read CTK and enjoyed it. Trite, perhaps, but it's "the book of my heart". Fell in love with Cort at "first sight" ...and never fell out.
Wish you all the best and, again, can't thank you enough for stopping by and making me smile--BIG!

Patty Campbell said...

A very entertaining read. By the time I was about a third of the way through I couldn't put it down. I burned the midnight oil staring at the screen on my Nook. It's been a while since I've read such a compelling story.

Nona Raines said...

Very enjoyable post, Diane. I'm another one who was turned on to romance by Kathleen Woodiwiss. How funny that your hero the knight appeared to you as you floated in a pool! Going to have to add this book to the TBR pile!

nona at nonaraines dot com

amorvincitomni said...

Sounds like a good read! I love historical.

LisaRayns said...

Seriously, great post. I love my critique partners too! I've only read one historical romance so far but I loved it so I may have to make time for some more.

Lauren Layne said...

I've been totally in the mood for a good historical lately, and this one has totally captured my interest. Thanks for the suggestion!

Lauren Layne