Friday, November 9, 2007

Rita Winner Dianna Love Snell is in da Lair!


by Cassondra Murray

Get inspired by a fearless, fast-track writer, and enter to win one of three awesome prizes!

It was just about this time of year, two years ago, when Dianna Love Snell emailed me to ask if I’d sent in my Golden Heart entry.

“Well,” I typed, “I entered last year and finished in the bottom quarter. I wasn’t going to enter again.” I hit send. It took about two seconds for this email to pop into my inbox.

“You never stop putting your pages in front of them. Never.”

I griped my way to FedEx and sent my entry. I finaled. And the world shifted a little. I’ve believed in my writing a LOT more since then, and it’s because one lady took the time to push me when I needed it. It’s my honor and great pleasure to welcome that lady to the Bandit lair for the first time. Dianna, thanks for joining us.

Thanks for asking me to blog on this great site! I’m really a newbie at blogging – this is my first guest appearance, so thank YOU. I hear about the Romance Bandits all over the place. Yes, as Cassondra said, I get pushy when it comes to seeing any of you miss a chance to get your pages in front of an editor. Everything you do is a step forward no matter how large or small, so you have to keep taking those steps.

Dianna, you didn’t come into the world with pen (or keyboard) in hand. It was a paintbrush wasn’t it? You’ve built a phenomenal career creating specialty art projects. Will you tell us about your journey to writing award-winning Romantic Suspense?

I often joke that I fell out of the womb an artist. I won an art competition in third grade. I’ve had a love affair with pen and paper my whole life. I enjoyed writing in school, but it wasn’t my goal as a teen. My passion – to sketch and paint photo-realistic portraits - led to the businesses I built starting at age seventeen when I was faced with living alone and supporting myself. Small signs were okay, but I gravitated to painting walls 100’ long and murals.


People in outdoor advertising needed someone who could paint lifelike faces 15’ tall on billboards, and would climb two-hundred feet in the air to do it. Over the years, I created several companies and sold all of them except the one I now have, where I create large marketing projects that are three dimensional or Electronic.

After years of hanging hundreds of feet in the air alone, I started to amuse myself by creating stories. I’d gotten to the point I could paint and do something else mentally at the same time. Once I shifted gears in business to producing
projects that required neon bending, sign fabricating, steel workers, electricians, engineers and cranes, I had huge chunks of time when I wasn’t physically doing the work myself.

It’s not possible for a Type-A to be dormant. My husband says I’m like a shark, always moving.

I’d built and installed three 25’ tall fiberglass Coca-Cola bottles for Fenway Park (Congrats to the Red Sox winning the World Series this year!) in the late 90s. In 2001, during flights back and forth from Atlanta to Boston for another Fenway Park project, I started writing down ideas I planned to give to a “real” writer.

I caught the bug and couldn’t stop – the result of that beginning was WORTH EVERY RISK (Silhouette 2005). It didn’t take long before I had every bit as much passion for writing as I’d always had for art and could not get enough when it came to learning the craft.

Of course, that publishing success didn’t happen overnight. Dianna writes kick-butt heroines, but for me, she is the model of the tough yet tender lady we’d all like to emulate. Note the gorgeous Harley in the photo below.

Side note—she and her hottie husband, Karl, do bike trips across the US for fun. On separate motorcycles, thank you very much. That bike is her baby and you better not mess with it...... .uh….. .ahem…oh yes, I did have a point….

Dianna, I’ve noticed something consistent about the way you do almost everything. You decide what you want, and then you go and get it no matter the odds. Your drive is almost a tactile thing, like a ramrod that, once you’ve headed in a given direction, seems to clear the way for you. Were you born with that inner drive?

I’d have to say I was born with a drive I can’t tamp down. I do believe you can increase your drive or decrease it – based on your positive or negative mindset, the people you allow (and I do mean allow) in your inner circle and the value you place on your time. I place far more value on time than I do on anything else in this world with the exception of my husband and family. I follow my passion.

That hasn’t always come easy has it? I’ve learned bits and pieces of your story over the years. Will you share some of your background here?

I started my first job in the ‘70s in a steno pool at a large corporation and knew I’d never be happy working at a desk. People thought I had lost my mind when I handed in my notice because that was an era when you stayed at a job, especially at a big company.


People I had covered work for, celebrated their weddings and child births, had gotten to be "friends" with turned their backs on me and would not speak. It was amazingly hostile. They said I'd never amount to anything because I was leaving a job after a year.

I worked two restaurant jobs (one at night during the week and one all weekend) because they fed me a meal, the money was good and I liked the work. Customers came in and offered me office work. When I said no, they'd say, "Don't you want a job with some prestige?" I told them I couldn’t eat or pay rent with prestige. The only place that would rent an apartment to a single woman (they thought you were a prostitute if you were living alone at my age) was over a bar. I had to nail the window shut at night because it opened to the walkway.

Looking back, I realize my "live on my terms" attitude threatened many of them who maybe wanted to leave, but were terrified of the possibility that they might never work for a company that big again, with all those benefits.


My mother died at 42, two weeks after I graduated from high school and on the first vacation we'd ever taken. The way I saw it, there were no guarantees about how long we get to do what we want here.


And that’s your point, isn’t it? You followed your heart against the odds, and your business and career grew from there? I’ve heard you speak of this before—that if you’re not passionate about it, you just don’t do it.

I will always go back to passion when searching for the drive to accomplish a task or reach a goal. Here’s the secret - “If you truly want to do something, you will find a way.” I have never known where life would lead me, but figured if I followed my passion I would at least be happy during the journey. It hasn’t always been an easy journey, but it has always been a satisfying one. I find it much easier to get up in the morning and face a long day working at something I love than something I tolerate.

You’ve hit upon one of the reasons I wanted you to be our guest. You once said to me, “Don’t play their games…you take what you can use and you walk away and let the rest slide off.” Whether that’s a judge’s irrational comments, an editor or agent’s rejection, the loss of a coveted contract, promotion, or anything else in life, can you tell us how you use that to keep your head and heart on your own true path?

I do believe we drive our lives either in a productive way, a destructive way, a boring way, a strong way...not just in a good or bad way.

I needed money to buy paper when I was in middle school because we had a large family and a notebook was for school work only. Things like a blank sheet of white paper were frivolous. I drew charcoal portraits for supply money to feed my art habit.

People stood over my shoulder when I drew, which will make or break you when it comes to putting your work out in the world for criticism. 99% of the walls and murals I painted were done in front of the client and the world. So by the time I started writing, I had been through much worse as a teen than being told someone didn’t like my character or there wasn’t enough conflict.

When I started my business in Tampa it was frowned upon for a female to work out in a “labor” type environment. Men did not want women in the sign business – it was the ‘70s after all. Once you’ve walked into twenty-five businesses a day for weeks on end to be told, “We don’t want a girl painting our sign,” you have to decide to fade away or buck up and prove them wrong. I decided that if I proved I could paint as good – or better – than their male painters, they could not afford to turn me away.

I focused on becoming the best in my field. I was the only female doing that work in the ‘80s, and eventually I was the lead contractor in some of largest outdoor companies in the country.

You think life got simpler then? Nope. Five different times other painters sabotaged my work so I’d have to repaint the art, and some stole my equipment.

Eventually, the small minded people always fall away because they focus on the wrong things.

So you see, my philosophy is still the same – follow my passion, work at my craft to be the best that I can, act professionally and be good to others. That’s why in writing I try to help anyone I can.

Creative endeavors are not just hard work, but to create is to make a withdrawal from your muse bank. It’s easy to overdraw and think you are going to be bankrupt once in a while. That’s when you may need a helping hand from a friend.

Your passion for writing is paying off. I was thrilled to be up front, in the audience as a GH finalist when, in 2006, you won a Rita for Best Long Contemporary for your first book, Worth Every Risk, a Silhouette Intimate Moments. Did that change you or your writing?

To win in my category – Long Contemporary - was really a shock.
I can not tell you how much the cheers that
night meant to me. Even typing now it touches my heart to think about how many people wished me well.

I want that for every one of you.

As for what winning did for my writing - my agent started banking the award as soon as she got home—using it for leverage on submitted projects. We sold a novella not long after that. I don’t think an editor will buy a book because of an award, but I have had quite a few editors and agents come up to speak to me since winning, so the RITA – like the Golden Heart - definitely brings your name and face to the attention of the industry.

The first Worth Every Risk book out of my box of early copies and RITA, as Karl calls her, sit on our mantel and reminds me every day that anything is within my grasp if I’m willing to reach for it.

You have exciting things on the horizon—A novella, MIDNIGHT KISS GOODBYE, is scheduled for release in October 2008 as part of a St. Martin’s Press anthology DEAD AFTER DARK. This would suggest your writing has taken a paranormal turn, but you’ve included paranormal elements from early on, right?

I’m really flattered to be included in this anthology. Lead author is NYT best seller Sherrilyn Kenyon (who just hit #1 on the NYT list!) plus two more NYT best sellers – J. R. Ward and Susan Squires – then me.

I’ve had this strange paranormal series for a while, but didn’t let my agent take it out during the onslaught of Vampire and Werewolf submissions and releases because I don’t write those and no one wanted anything else. There are plenty of great authors already producing top Vamp and Were stories.

I’ve always had a keen interest in the paranormal, but the stories that came to me were a bit different. In fact, two editors have been interested in them, but when they pitched the stories at editorial meetings they were told marketing didn’t know how to market them. (Sidebar – Sherrilyn tells me she heard much the same thing about her now famous Dark-Hunter series, building an inch thick file of rejections on this series during the year before the first Dark-Hunter book sold.) The big thing about creating in a different subgenre is that I haven’t changed the core of my writing – I still write romantic suspense.

As authors, we will always be faced with morphing what we create to follow the change reflected in society and what readers want, but in my opinion this doesn’t mean to write whatever the latest hot streak is. I had one editor suggest if I changed my paranormal into a vampire story she’d take it. Hard offer to pass on, right? Not really. If it’s not what I write, then it will show in my story no matter how hard I try. Yes, I might get a “contract,” but if the story is not what I do best then will I build a reader base? Will I enjoy continuing the series?

A contract does not guarantee that you’ll continue with a house. Readers buying your book is the best guarantee. I’ve seen several new authors jump to change their stories to something they really don’t write only to have poor sell throughs, which ended in going out of contract. The next publishing house always wants to see your numbers. So there’s a lot more at stake than just getting a contract if you plan to build a career. Give serious thought to every opportunity.

I want readers to feel what I feel when I’m writing. If done appropriately and for the right reasons, passing on a project is not going to end your relationship with an editor. I’m still in dialogue with this editor on other things. The novella I sold is a taste of my paranormal series and I give kudos to Monique Patterson at St. Martin’s Press, for publishing something a bit strange. She’s an incredibly sharp editor. I’m excited about all four of the stories in the anthology and feel privileged to be included in such talented company.

Another release, waiting in the wings, is creating quite a buzz. You and Sherrilyn are co-writing the next B.A.D. Agency book for Pocket (June 2008). Will you tell us how you and Sherrilyn came to work together on this book?

Sherri asked me to tour with her the first time in 2006. I agreed because she had become a good friend who needed help so that she could give her best to her fans at each stop.

Touring 101 – with us - is hitting a city in mid afternoon, rushing to the hotel (“if” there is time to do that first) to change clothes, then racing to make the signing. Eating and sleeping are not optional and not generally part of the schedule most days. Somehow, we both manage to walk in on time. That’s when it’s all worthwhile.

Sherri draws over 150 fans at signings and many will have been sitting there for hours waiting. Some will have driven 6 hours or flown in. They bring friends and family. Sherri talks and does a Q&A until they are ready to sign then she takes her time with each one, chatting as she signs their stacks of books.


What amazes me is that Sherri knows so many by their names. We’ve turned these signings into fan events and the time spent from entering until we collapse in the car is exhilarating. I’ve learned a great deal by touring with someone like Sherri. I’ve also become better known by booksellers and readers due to Sherri’s generous nature – she always takes the time to introduce me as an author. Along the way, we became better friends ( touring like this will make or break a friendship, and don’t even think about doing it with a spouse).


It was on this last trip that we started discussing her next book for the B.A.D. Agency series. When she told me the blurb for the story, I naturally started suggesting things that could happen, then the two of us were brainstorming like mad.


Sherri’s reaction was “wow, that is so cool, why don’t we write this together?” What was my answer? Well, let’s just say my momma drowned all her stupid kids.

This collaboration is a contemporary romantic action/suspense. Can you give us a taste of Phantom In The Night?

On loan to the New Orleans police department, Terri Mitchell is working undercover for the Bureau of American Defense. The B.A.D. Agency suspects a drug kingpin of funding terrorism. When bizarre rumors begin to surface of a ghost interrogating members of that ring, she becomes suspicious. She doesn't believe in the paranormal, but an eerie encounter with someone in a dark house leaves her shaken. Could he be a phantom?


Most of all, the encounter leaves her beguiled and intrigued. She has to get to the bottom of an investigation that takes a deadly turn at every corner. Is this phantom really a spirit conjured up from the depth of the bayou, or a man set on a course of vengeance? The search for that answer puts her life in jeopardy when faced with exposing the worlds and plans of powerful people behind an unconscionable attack against innocent citizens.


To succeed, Terri will have to also reveal her phantom's secrets that will destroy him…and any future with a man who has captured her heart and soul with his dark passion.

The deadline looms for that June release, right along with holiday madness, and I know you’ve been holed up in the writing cave. I’m so pleased you were able to join us in spite of all that. Is there anything else you’d like to say to writers or readers about how you’ve tackled the ups and downs of the writing life so successfully?

Yes, speaking of deadlines…. All of you have a deadline of some sort right now. If it isn’t at home or in your day job, then it’s your own personal writing deadline.

Right now, many of you face finishing your Golden Heart submission in time to ship. I wish for all of you to have understanding and supportive families, but I bet there are some who catch grief while trying to finish their book so they can get into this prestigious contest. It’s hard to explain why you aren’t cooking a meal, visiting a friend, watching television with your significant other, making a ball game or why you are just plain grouchy from burnout when there isn’t a book deal on the line.

That’s why I am always confused by authors writing on contract who go on and on bemoaning a deadline.

Well, duh. Wasn’t that the point in going after a book contract? I’ve been around some very prolific authors who are on perpetual deadline and never utter a word about it. It’s their job, what they agreed to do.

Yes, I am in my writing cave this week typing furiously...and thrilled to have a deadline looming. Selling books and having a deadline is the good news that should be celebrated. It’s much more difficult for an unpublished author to forgo things they’d really like to do to finish a book and do revisions with no guarantee of a contract. I definitely know what that is like and empathize with those of you still waiting.

Get those manuscripts out there so that you can have a contract and deadline. When you do, remember to celebrate reaching your dream.

Everyone has a different journey on the way to reaching goals. Is there a time you’ve gone against the grain, stood up against the odds? Or would you LIKE to do that?

What home, family or writing deadline are you facing at the moment? And how do you handle the pressure when deadlines loom and stress levels mount?

And inquiring minds want to know….Is there chocolate involved?

All who comment will be entered to win one of the following three great giveaways:

1) An autographed copy of Worth Every Risk! (no longer available except through those in the know—ahem….that would be YOU, Bandita friends (grin) )

2) A five-page manuscript critique—in time for the Golden Heart if you’re entering!


3)A certificate for an autographed copy of Phantom In The Night—signed by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love Snell, to be delivered as soon as the book is out!

100 comments:

Donna MacMeans said...

I snagged the rooster - waahoo!!!

jo robertson said...

Dang you, Donna! I was sure If was going to snag the rooster! Waahhhh, I wanna rooster!

My goodness, Cassondra, what a great interview! And Dianna, I can't imagine that you have so many interests and abilities. Welcome to the lair; we are lucky to have you. The series with Sherri sounds great. I enjoy her Dark Hunter series and look forward to this new venture.

I admire your attitude of being true to yourself. I think many of us forget that advice in our eagerness to get published.

I'll check back in the morning, Cassondra. I think some of the post isn't up yet.

Cassondra said...

You know, I'm not actually certain it's FAIR to snag the rooster when it's not yet midnight, and the blogger is trying desperately to get the blog to actually POST! (grin). Dianna will be along late morning/early afternoon to answer questions and talk to everyone. She's on the road driving this morning.

jo robertson said...

Okay, I think the rest got posted! Thanks so much, Dianna, for your encouraging words.

I've entered one manuscript in the Golden Heart, but am struggling with the second one. I entered it last year, but it bombed (totally, one judge gave it a 2 and one a 9). I've been trying to figure out why because the same manuscript took the overall Daphne.

Your encouragement gives me some clarity about writing the book that I want to write rather than trying to please judges. Thanks!

jo robertson said...

Oh, poor Cassondra. Shame on Donna (snicker)! Time zones, what can you say?

Donna MacMeans said...

Dianna - Excellent post. You are truly a force to be reckoned with AND you looked great in that white dress with RITA in your hand *g*.

I agree that once you're published, it's a bit easier to tell the family to back off - I'm writing. Deadlines, though intimidating, make the best kind of incentives. I think it behooves every unpublished author to get into the habit of making time for writing because it only ramps up once you're published - and I wouldn't have it any other way ;-)

Jo - the full post was up when I signed on the blog, I just jumped in for the rooster and then went back to read the blog. Desperate chicks demand desperate measures.
Bwahahah.

doglady said...

Hey Dianna! This is Pam! My best friend, Gaill, and I met you the first time at a readers' luncheon in little ole Wetumpka, Alabama. We've seen you since at a couple of B'ham luncheons and at a readers' luncheon in Atlanta. You even announced my Avon FanLit win at the Birmingham luncheon at the Galleria. Ladies, Dianna is just the sweetest, most encouraging person you will EVER meet. She is one of the people responsible for me getting the courage to let people read my work. This interview just blows me away, but it does not surprise me. Dianna is just a ball of energy and Worth Any Risk is a fabulous book. The characters are SO real. Sherrilyn mentioned the book the two of you are writing at the readers' luncheon in Birmingham last Saturday and everyone is extremely excited about it. Oh and I have one of the highly coveted Dianna Love Snell tote bags. I have to keep an eye on it because Gaill keeps trying to steal it.

My deadline? I am entering the Golden Heart this year and I am so nervous I wake up in a cold sweat. This is so scary. I am determined to do it. I want to be published by the time I am 50 and only have until December 2008 to do that!

Kirsten said...

Pam (Doglady) I can't wait to see you final in the Golden Heart!! We will all be waiting to see that! :-)

Dianna and Cassondra, thanks for an inspiring, thoughtful and real post! Wow. I'm just amazed at the energy that flows through that energy. I don't even remember what the question was any more.

I better check back tomorrow morning when I'm more coherent.

It's almost FRIDAY. You know what happens on Friday? Let me give you a hint. It's round, and has a hole in the middle.

Helen said...

I love the post Cassondra, Dianna what a wonderful Lady you are I love that kind of determination good on ya you deserve all the accolades for the hard work you have put in over the years
and the enjoyment you have gotten out of it all and what you have given to other people. I am not a writer but an avid reader and I have just had 3 very bad days at work with procedures changing and new terminals and the way I coped with the stress was to turn off when I got home from work and pick up a book to read with some yummy tim tams to eat and I do have a wonderful family that know when I need to have my time to read. Thanks for the post Guys.
Have Fun
Helen

Cassondra said...

I cannot believe it's 11:30 here and there are nine posts on this blog. NINE!

Everyone, be sure to check back tomorrow afternoon after Dianna gets online. I know she'll want to visit with you.

I feel like I kinda scored getting her first blog guest spot EVAH!

Cassondra said...

Hey Doglady,

Gaill is not the only one who will steal that DLS tote bag. Don't leave it sitting around anywhere near me. I've been coveting those since I first saw them!

H Maree Davis said...

Thank you Dianna! This is very timely for me - I bombed in two comps this week. The comment about taking the useful and letting the rest slide off was just what I needed to hear.

Eats, shoots and leaves baby! Or even eats, shoots, and leaves, (oooh look, an Oxford comma; the publishing world will never look at me if I do that). *g*

Jo - isn't it supposed to be a sign that you have a strong voice when you get very diverse opinions about your work?

H! ready to stop muttering about comma removal changing sentence meaning and concentrate on the useful criticism instead.

Joan said...

Dianna, welcome to the lair.

Your post was..to use a cliche...inspiring but then I think that is as inherent to you as breathing.

I attended several of your panels at Dallas last year...Pro retreat and the GN retreat. There flowed from you a quiet but strong belief and passion not only in your own work and accomplishments but in ours. I swear, you could almost feel the support washing over you from your words of encouragement.

And I love the response you sent back to Cassondra when she unthinkably thought NOT to enter the GH. Now when she wavers you are not alone....she has Banditas in bucket boots and crops to shoo her to the Fed Ex office LOL.

I think I'll be ok with deadlines(pay attention Cassondra) when I sell. Last year I was determined to enter a second mss. I paid my entry fee and then had a 2 week marathon (working 12 hour days in between) to finish the last 100 pages. I was kind of surprised at being able to do it and contemplated trying to do 300 pages this year for another entry.

But my CP's begged "Please! Dont' put US through that again" VBG.

Tell Sherri Joan says "Hi"

PS Donna, if I hadn't fallen asleep on my couch for a pre-bed nap I'D have the GR!

Cassondra said...

H Maree Davis!

Great to see you back in the lair! We've missed you. Phooey on the judges with the crazy comments. (grin)

Cassondra said...

Kirsten said:

It's almost FRIDAY. You know what happens on Friday? Let me give you a hint. It's round, and has a hole in the middle.

Donut Day!!!!!!

Woooot! Eat a plain glazed one for me, will ya? With a glass of milk. I need my calcium ya know?

Tawny said...

Hi Dianna :-) Your interview is so inspiring -thank you for sharing your journey with us. And thanks, too, for sharing a peek at your awesome paintings. WOW.

I totally believe that passion and drive are vital - and really think that comes through in the story.

I can't wait to get your new book- congrats on your successes.

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna! Welcome to the Bandita lair. And thank you for taking the time to give us such a wonderful interview. Cassondra, you are da bomb! I remember the huge scream of excitement that went up in the auditorium when you won your RITA. Congratulations!

Stacy S said...

Welcome Dianna! That was a great interview. You do so many different things! It's great to have you here today!

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi everyone -
It took me a minute to figure out "snagging the rooser." lol

Thank you, Cassondra, for making my rambling answers sound coherent and for all the work you did on this post.

I'm so excited for all of you who are entering the GH the first time and again. Cassondra's experience proves why you can't just take a couple of opinions on your story.

Jo - Congrats on that overall Daphne and keep that in mind while working on your manuscript, especially since you obviously write romantic suspense/mystery. (Isn't the engraved plaque awesome!).

Donna - you are so sweet. I am really not much of a fashion person and told my husband I bet I was committing a major fashion no-no in white, but I'd had the dress forever (from a New Year's event many years ago) and no time to shop. You're absolutely right about grooming yourself to meet deadlines before you publish.

Okay, reading more...

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi Pam -
Thanks for stopping by and for the wonderful words. You and Gaill are just a pleasure to hang out with. I'm thrilled over how far you have both come with your writing. Great goal to shoot for and kudos on getting that GH entry in.

Kristen - Round with a hole in the middle? Are you bringing donuts to our Friday play day? ;) I'll serve coffee.

Hi Helen - Glad you stopped in and you remind me of something we all need to do when we start writing, but tend to forget. READ! That's what got us here. Make time to read. You deserve it, your muse needs the break and a book is a gift to yourself.

Okay...speaking of reading, I'm gong through more posts. You are all the best to come out today.
Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

H maree davis - If anything I say helps you turn away from the negative and focus on the positive with your writing so you can keep moving forward, I'm thrilled. Trust me, during that year when I had I dont' know how many finals and 9 wins, I got critiques that told me to basically don't quit my day job. But I also got contests entries back where I finalled, but the one person who scored me lower (the dropped score) actually gave me some great feedback. That's why you stay open minded, but protect the work from destructive comments.

thanks for stopping by, Dianna

AndreaW said...

Hi Dianna! My, my, what a wonderful interview! You have certainly accomplished so much in your life. Very admirable. And how cool that you were a Florida native and now live near Atlanta . . . me too! I lived just south of Tampa for over 16 years and now live just south of Atlanta.

~Andrea

Dianna Love Snell said...

Joan -
Wow, that's so nice to hear about the panels. I tend to speak from the seat of my pants and always wonder if I sound like an idiot. ;) I was flattered to be asked and really enjoyed doing the panels. I got to meet Tawny Weber for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed doing the PRO panel with her. I'm a major supporter of the PROs and feel you PROs will be a dynamic wave of new authors.

I'll definitely tell Sherri hi. We are sooooo excited that Sherri's newest book - Upon The Midnight Clear - hit #1 on the NYT list, a real benchmark.

Love that you hit your deadline last year (but completely sympathize with the groans from your cps - I tend to be the one causing the groans [grin]).

Dianna

Dianna Love Snell said...

Tawny - Hi! Thanks for the congrats and back at you. :) I had no idea when we met at national that you were a Bandita. :)

Anna - I'm tickled to be here. It's definitely a refreshing break from my writing cave. I get energize by being around all of you. :)

Stacy - Thanks for coming by. I'm enjoying the visit and give kudos to Cassondra for putting all this together. I'm always intrigued by the different backgrounds of writers and know many of you have unusual ones. I really thought I'd get thrown out of my first GRW meeting once they figured out I was an artist and I did not have a creative writing background. I loved finding out I wasn't in the minority. [grin]

Andrea - Hi Tampa girl! Love Florida, but Georgia has been my home what seems like forever. I do miss getting to fish more often, but get my saltwater fix when I visit family in Biloxi. :)

As Cassondra said, I'm supposed to be on the road pretty quick so I'll be back later when I get stopped again.

Thanks and I'll be back - Dianna

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Dianna! thanks for dropping by the lair! I appreciate your message about "never stop putting your pages in front of them" more than ever today. I'm never tempted to stop writing--I'm incorrigible that way--but I AM often tempted to stop submitting. It's so easy to talk myself into putting off rejection.

But your story of staying true to yourself, following your own path & ultimately finding the sweetest kind of success--success on your own terms--is inspiring. Thanks so much for the much needed kick in the pants! I've been putting off & putting off polishing up my GH entry (both a new one & one that received a decidedly lackluster response last year) but no more! Today I will polish, print & SUBMIT!!

Thanks!

Susan

Christie Kelley said...

What an inspirational blog today and just what I needed! I feel like I got a kick in the butt and strangely enough, I liked it. Thank you, Dianna for joining us today!

As far as going against the grain, it takes a lot for me to do that. I'm more of an introvert. But I'm definitely feeling the pressure lately. My family is living/sleeping in our living room while our house is undergoing a complete rehab. I'm talking new roof rafters and everything (hopefully they are going up as I type this). And my wip is due March 1.

It sounds like a long time but with the holidays coming up it will fly by. So I'm dealing with all this by leaving my cold house and heading for my local Atlanta Bread Company where I plug in my iPod and start writing. Speaking of which, I really need to get going.

Thanks again for the kick in the pants, Dianna!

MsHellion said...

*LOL* Congratulations Donna on snagging the rooster!

Deadlines: I freak out. It's more like work deadlines (no husband, no kids, though that doesn't mean I'm any less stressed; it just means I'm not cooking for 4 and doing people's homework). I'm a stress horse. Horrible procrastinator until I need to do something, then I buckle down and whip something brilliant up. You can't give me all the time in the world...I will waste it. On blogs *grins* and the like.

Maybe I should do imaginary deadlines? I'm good at pretending (since I write), I could actually possibly fool myself into thinking it was a real deadline!

In any case--Dianna, you sound like an extremely lovely person and I hope I have the opportunity to meet you in real life. You're very fascinating! (And I'm awed and a bit envious you're such good friends with Sherrilyn Kenyon! *LOL*) I love this blog...I find so many new and interesting writers I need to read!!!

Buffie said...

What a fabulous interview!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entire thing. Dianna, I find your career in the sign industry so interesting. Maybe that is because of the Coca Cola signs (and I live in Atlanta). You sounds like a very driven woman, who goes after all life has to offer. We should all be that way!

Cassondra said...

Tawny said:

And thanks, too, for sharing a peek at your awesome paintings. WOW.

Aren't they amazing? I LOVE the one with the horses--I think she said that was the top floor of some building in Atlanta--she said which one, but I can't remember now.

It's inspiring to me when I see somebody who has that Renaissance thing going--they excel in--and succeed at--more than one thing. The current thinking is so "you have to pick one thing and do THAT." I think there are a few people who prove that philosophy to be nonsense.

Of course, if I got up at 4 in the morning (which Dianna does) instead of MID-morning, (which I do) maybe that would be the key. ;0)

That's me, born the vampire.

Cassondra said...

Andrea said:

Hi Dianna! I lived just south of Tampa for over 16 years and now live just south of Atlanta.

Andrea is it warm there now? It's gotten cold here this week. Brrrrrr.

That area south of Atlanta is growing like mad, isn't it?

Cassondra said...

Susan said:

I'm never tempted to stop writing--I'm incorrigible that way--but I AM often tempted to stop submitting. It's so easy to talk myself into putting off rejection.

SmoovT! My soul sister. Me too. I have NOT been submitting this year as I should. (smacks hand) Bad Cassondra! I was, once again, tempted to NOT enter the GH--but the Banditas got to me before Dianna kicked me in the tail this year. My money's in. Just gotta get the entry polished.

Cassondra said...

Christie said:

I feel like I got a kick in the butt and strangely enough, I liked it.

I'm thinkin that would be a good skill to have--butt kicking and making people think they like it. (grin)

M. said...

what an inspiring story. i especially 'felt' the part about how bewildering and hurtful it is when people you thought of as your friends are the ones who treat you badly. i'm going to have to remember not to let that lead me into a 'what is wrong with me?' mindset.
would have loved to see more art!
thanks for sharing.

Cassondra said...

mshellion wrote:

Horrible procrastinator until I need to do something, then I buckle down and whip something brilliant up.

You know, when I was in journalism school, I learned that this was just my process. It's the way I wrote then. I WAS working on it, mentally--my subconscious was figuring out how to put it together, and then the night before it was due I'd sit down and write it, and as you said, it was usually good. So even though I wasn't writing, I was working on writing and I had to learn to respect that.

BUT with book length fiction, it doesn't work. I can't sit down the night before a deadline and whip out a 400-page novel. Dang. And I'm still not settled on my process because of that. I'd learned to respect my "article" process and flow with it for years, but now....I'm having to re-learn because of the length of the work. So I'm right there with ya girlie, on the procrastination thing.

I think Kirsten said she never procrastinates--yet another PERFECT thing about Kirsten--She doesn't procrastinate, and she has donuts. Kirsten, I'm coming up there. Did you save me a donut?

Angie Fox said...

Hi Dianna! What a great story. I saw you speak in Dallas, but had no idea just how much you went through to get where you are. Truly inspiring!

Cassondra said...

m. said:

especially 'felt' the part about how bewildering and hurtful it is when people you thought of as your friends are the ones who treat you badly. i'm going to have to remember not to let that lead me into a 'what is wrong with me?' mindset.

I'm that way too. I tend to go, "so what's wrong with me, what, did I grow an extra three heads or soemthing?" Gotta stop that.

p226 said...

Hmmm, what an inspiring interview in what for me is the strangest of places.

I've stated before that I don't read romance and come to you Banditas via a different road. However, reading this interview was quite inspiring. I'm pretty sure that if anyone emulated that drive and focus in any endeavor, success would be all but guaranteed.

It also left me with something else quite unexpected. If I take Dianna's energy and focus and hold it up next to mine for my own (very different) endeavors, I feel kind of lazy and disorganized.

Hrmph.

Gotta love it when folks set that bar up there. *g*

Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Dianna, we are very pleased that you could join us in the lair! Thanx soo much for your inspiring interview! Please ignore Jo-mama and Donna squabbling over that rooster. The Oz contingent usually has it firmly lodged down under so it's been a no holds barred assault to wrest it away.

Oh, and Kirsten, step AWAY from the donuts! Or at the very least, share. :-P

Cassondra, my process is a lot like yours. I'm always thinking about my characters and scenes in the book. As I've admitted here before, sometimes I even DREAM scenes. The trick is to think/dream/whatever in smaller chunks like chapters or scenes. Then you CAN sit down and hammer it all out in a day. Or not... Sometimes getting those words out of my head and onto the screen is the equivalent of a root canal. UGH!

AC

Cassondra said...

p226 said:

If I take Dianna's energy and focus and hold it up next to mine for my own (very different) endeavors, I feel kind of lazy and disorganized.

Yup. Me too. It's why she's always the butt kicker and I'm usually the kickee.

But hey, I just realized--you guys have something in common. Bikes. I've seen pics of YOUR bike, and I bet Dianna would like it. When she and Karl rode up here to Kentucky to shoot my husband's sniper rifle, they rode up on matching (I think BMW) bikes. They didn't look exactly like the pics I've seen of your bike, but they were sort of close.

But back on subject--People have told me I have that kind of ramrod-like drive once I get going on something (a house restoration, an event coordination project, etc) and I guess it's true. But when it's my OWN initiative--to write or submit--I sorta fall flat.

Cassondra said...

Auntie Cindy said:

Cassondra, my process is a lot like yours. I'm always thinking about my characters and scenes in the book. As I've admitted here before, sometimes I even DREAM scenes.

AC, I do this too! I dreamed the premise for The Ritual, my GH finaling manuscript, and I've dreamed several others. I actually wrote the first draft of that book in three weeks because I had to just sit down and get it out. Finding the time for those marathons now is more difficult. I was at a different place in my life then.

The trick is to think/dream/whatever in smaller chunks like chapters or scenes. Then you CAN sit down and hammer it all out in a day. Or not... Sometimes getting those words out of my head and onto the screen is the equivalent of a root canal. UGH!

It is painful for me and I don't fully understand that part. I often say, I hate writing. I enjoy "having written." It's always been this way for me. I'm not sure why. But I enjoy "having written" more than anything else I've ever done except painting (yes I do that too, but not nearly as well as Dianna, and I have no CLUE how she gets those ginormous murals correct---I have to step WAY back and look at my little paintings--I can just see the results of "stepping back to check the work" when you're 200 feet in the air). (grin)

Allison Brennan said...

I have always loved and admired Dianna, and I greatly enjoyed reading this interview because I learned so much about her that I didn't specifically know. I knew about her love of art and her big billboards and grand 3-D designs, but not how she started.

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra -
I'm a painter as well, or rather I used to be. I won some small awards but found breaking out the paints around children was just too much of a temptation for them. Writing is cleaner *g* and I still get that "lost in the project, unaware of the passage of time" zone. Everyone needs to have something that gives them that kind of passion in life.

And although I can procrastinate with the best of them, I'm very deadline driven as well. I'm actually most productive with my writing during tax season (of course that could mean I'm just procrastinating doing tax returns - but can you blame me?). So MsHellion, I hardily support creating your own deadlines - with proper rewards when you achieve them.

Speaking of rewards, Susan - how do you reward yourself for submitting? You should, you know. That trip to the post office is one of the most important you'll make. I know it's hard, but everything is made easier if you reward yourself for the effort. (Chocolate comes to mind).

Donna

Jennifer Y. said...

This was a wonderful post!!! I am not an aspiring writer (just a reader), but I loved reading this post.

I believe I saw you Dianna at the GRW Moonlight and Magnolia's booksigning...but like the wimp I am when it comes to approaching authors I was too nervous to say anything...LOL. I went to the big booksigning they had that was open to the public.

Cassondra said...

JoMama said:

I've entered one manuscript in the Golden Heart, but am struggling with the second one. I entered it last year, but it bombed (totally, one judge gave it a 2 and one a 9). I've been trying to figure out why because the same manuscript took the overall Daphne.

Jo, you know what? It was Dianna who told me something really important on the first day we ever met. She and Anna DeStefano were on a panel together some years back with Music City Romance Writers. Actually, I think our own TRISH MILBURN was on the panel too. It was a panel of GH winners and finalists. It was about making the most of a GH final, using it to make a spot for yourself in the industry whether you win or not.

Anyhow, it was Dianna and A. DeStefano who said that when you get a lot of really high AND really low scores on a manuscript, it's a sign of a strong writing voice, and that's a GOOD thing. So h maree davis is right.

I've always looked at it that way ever since.

Unfortunately, all contests are crapshoots, and it's a roll of the dice whether you get judges that "get it" or ones like h maree's Oxford comma nitpickers.

I've always appreciated those words of advice from that panel, cuz knowing that kept me from crashing and burning when I started entering contests.

Cassondra said...

Allison said:

I knew about her love of art and her big billboards and grand 3-D designs, but not how she started.

Hey Allison! So nice to have you visit! I think Dianna's story is
SO inspiring. Learning how someone else overcame tough odds is always a kick in the rear for me. Kind of makes me go "YEAH! She did that....I can do this!"

Cassondra said...

Jennifer Y said:

I believe I saw you Dianna at the GRW Moonlight and Magnolia's booksigning...but like the wimp I am when it comes to approaching authors I was too nervous to say anything...LOL.

Jennifer, I bet you DID see her there. And I'll tell ya, NEVER be nervous about talking to Dianna. BUT be warned--don't start talking to her if you have somewhere else to be. She's so personable, you won't get to leave until you're good friends!

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi all -
I'm back for a while. I missed you. :)

Susan - Glad to hear you're polishing and doing something positive for yourself. It's funny what gets us moving sometimes. I have a published friend who said she just realized one day she was not driving her career, but reacting to what happened to her so she got busy at the steering wheel.

Christie - LOL - I;ve had men on my crews who would warn you not to encourage me. I hate to see potential not pushed to it's limit. Ugh on the major house repairs. I hate living in that kind of turmoil (and have done so during recovery of knee surgery), but think you have the right idea. If I'm feeling "flat" on my writing, I'll go somewhere different to write just to wake up my mind. I've written in some really strange places. ;) Good luck on your wip and congrats on having a deadline!

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi mshellion (is that M Shellion or MS Hellion, my favorite version [grin])-I think we all have something we procrastinate about at some point. I'm a "type-A must get it done" person, but I hate paperwork (business). So I set deadlines and decide I can't do something I want if I don't get my paperwork done. However, I'm not sure there is a carrot big enough to get me to do housework until company is pulling up in the drive. ;) I hope to meet you in person some time, too. As for my friendship with Sherri, it just happened and she;s a wonderful person. Watching us travel is scary entertaining. Keep setting those deadlines and they will get better.

Dianna :)

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, thank you so much for taking the time to give everybody such great replies. If your typing arm can stand it, we'd love to have you visit again some time! And thank you to everyone who came by to comment - wow, Allison Brennan! P226 - we love your masculine perspective on things. Thanks for braving this lair!

Dianna, the Golden Rooster is a hotly fought over beast who used to live at my place until I sent him to Joan with the chained gladiator I had in the back shed. Her need was greater than mine ;-)

And Ms Hellion is definitely MS HELLION!

ChristyJan said...

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your story/post.

Dianna Love Snell said...

Buffie -
Thanks for your kind words. You live in Atlanta too? You should come to a GRW meeting sometime. Would love to meet you.

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

M – There will always be small minded people and those who criticize others for taking a risk they won’t. You’re right to not to let anyone’s insecurities interfere with reaching your goals and dreams.
Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Cassondra said...
"...I'd learned to respect my "article" process and flow with it for years, but now....I'm having to re-learn because of the length of the work."

I've heard a lot of different ways to approach how to hit a deadline, but I think Cassondra has a good point. Even if you're someone who is driven to hit deadlines, sometimes you have to let your mind work on the story, then figure out the process that works for you, which may not work for me or the next writer. I heard one author say her husband locks her in a room until she gets her pages. My husband is adorable, but he would never do that because he values his life. ;) But it works for another author.

Dianna :)

MsHellion said...

Dianna--*LOL* It's Ms Hellion, with good reason. Thanks again for visiting the Bandits...this was a great blog! :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi Angie Fox - So nice to see you here. Thanks for attending one of my events at national. I'm glad I didn't put you to sleep. ;)

P226 - I love your post...a bit mysterious. I'm curious. What brought you to the Romance Bandit Blog and what do you read/write? I'm not sure you're being fair to yourself with the comparison, because I'm really a lazy person at times. I know some people are rolling their eyes, but that's why I have to do something I'm passionate about or I wouldn't be near as productive. The thing is I'm very honest with myself and find targeting my strengths/passions helps me work around my flaws.

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Auntie Cindy said...

"I'm always thinking about my characters and scenes in the book. As I've admitted here before, sometimes I even DREAM scenes. The trick is to think/dream/whatever in smaller chunks like chapters or scenes. Then you CAN sit down and hammer it all out in a day..."

What a great way to approach putting your scenes down on paper. I think your subconscious is always working for you even when you think you've turned your mind off. People would often ask me how I painted a 100' long wall and I'd tell them I can only work on the 3'-4' right in front of me at a time. So I never thought of it as too big to tackle. You're so right about small chunks.

And thanks for having me here. It's been great fun today and very heart warming. You're a wonderful bunch, but I do think Kristen is going to need more donuts.

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi Allison -

So nice of you to join us. Yes, I'm sharing my odd journey *g* to writing and loving all the interesting posts. Great to see you and congrats again on hitting the NYT list with your last trilogy!
See you in San Francisco next year!

Dianna :)

anne said...

What an uplifting and wonderful post. it is inspiring and so great to read this story. Gives us all hope. Best success.

Dianna Love Snell said...

Donna - I'm loving all these artists - you, Cassondra...who else? It's not that unusual to find creative people in cross over fields. Good idea about the paint and kids not mixing. I got in real trouble painting the water pump when I was a kid. It was ugly. Probaby my first outdoor mural. *g*

lol on the procrastination theory - me, too. That's what I meant about me being lazy at times. I'd much rather work like a demon at something I want to do than spend a half hour doing something I really do not want to do. ;)

Good question - what does everyone use as motivation to get through those hard days?

I tell myself I'll take a day to do nothing but ride the backroads with my hubby on our bikes if I get X done. My carrot is usually time spent doing something I enjoy with my husband and/or friends. I really treasure time above chocolate. ;)

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Jennifer - Never say you're JUST a reader - You're the reason these stories find daylight and the reason we're all writing. Having a person read your story is one of the greatest gifts of all - IMO.

So great of you to stop in and visit. And don't ever hesitate to walk up to me anywhere. Just because I looked like a maniac at M&M (I was the conference chair for this year's Moonlight & Magnolias Conference in Atlanta) shouldn't stop you. ;) Thanks a bunch for attending our signing. Did you meet Roland Haas, the CIA guy?

Hope to meet you the next time we're in the same room. :)

Dianna -

sabrina said...

I am so in awe of your accomplishments. Your diverse talents and careativity have certainly been a wonderful boon to your success.

Cassondra said...

Dianna said:

Good question - what does everyone use as motivation to get through those hard days?

I tell myself I'll take a day to do nothing but ride the backroads with my hubby on our bikes if I get X done. My carrot is usually time spent doing something I enjoy with my husband and/or friends. I really treasure time above chocolate. ;)


What a great question! Actually, I don't think I use rewards for myself nearly often enough. I've caught myself recently saying, "okay if I get ________ done, I can take tomorrow afternoon and read ______ book."

Nowadays that's almost always a book by a friend--one of the Banditas or one of the guests we've met here in the lair. That's a big deal for me--just getting to read.

I want desperately to go fishing though. I used to fish with my dad, but I haven't been fishing in probably 20 years. I don't even know where to GO to fish any more. But I love fishing. Actually I think I love just sitting still out in nature, whether any fish get involved or not. (grin)

Joan said...

Wow, a girl goes out to Christmas shop and comes back to some fabulous comments.

Welcome to all our new visitors and jennifery...NEVER say you're JUST a reader. Dear, Lord without readers like you only me, Demetrius (the um, gladiator) and the Golden Rooster would be reading my stories.

And P226...you ARE mysterious LOL. You do know there are now dozens of little writer brains making up stories behind the mystery, right?

Dianna, how did it feel to win the Rita?

Nathalie said...

Great inspiring story :)

Thanks for sharing!!

Lily said...

I was at your website the other day... and Phantom of the Night seems great :)

Cassondra said...

Haha!

I just opened a Dove Dark Chocolate Promise--inside the wrapper it says "You're allowed to do nothing."

Ha! It's fate I say.

Cassondra said...

Oh, I forgot!

You all need to get Dianna to tell you about the OTHER cowriting project she has going with Mary Buckham. They're doing this amazing book plotting template series--you can literally plot your book in two days. This fits in perfectly with our "get motivated" and "deadlines" discussions. I've got the website here in my notes....lemme find it and I'll be back....

Dianna Love Snell said...

Cassondra said...

"I've always appreciated those words of advice from that panel, cuz knowing that kept me from crashing and burning when I started entering contests." (in reply to Jo's)

Let me tell you about contests. When I first started writing, I was finaling in a couple with just 3 chapters. After I finished my first full, I did a retreat at Haywood Smith's (Historical author, before she wrote Red Hat Club that hit the NYT list) house, because I wanted to make it the best I could and told her to not hold back on critiquing. She suggested I change my hero's occupation to a pilot. I did and that caused a ripple of changes through the book, but I was really excited about the new look of the story and the characters. I put it in a major contest (not saying which one) and did not final. Ok, fine. But the two critiques I got back were as if I had no clue about writing anything. Pretty disheartening.

I had to really think about what to do next - go back to the original story that had been finaling or stick with this one. I really liked my story, so I decided to give it a run through all the major contests, including the GH and Daphne. That's when it finaled and won quite a bit, but about every two contests, I'd get a low "don't quit your day job" score and critique.

You'll never get a consensus on your writing. Ask any top author out there and they will tell you there is always a percentage of unhappy readers. So consider the contest circuit training. Yes, you need to final to reach the editors and agents, but don't let one or even a couple low scores and biting critiques take you down.

Consider it a challenge. I'm really one to rally for a challenge. ;) My husband says I'm as bad as Bill Murray in Caddy shack going after the gopher. The one person I refuse to let beat me is myself. Be your own cheerleader when you need to and when you need to feel encouraged go back to read the very first part of a novel you wrote. You'll see how far you've come.

If you got to this point there is no reason you won't continue to where you plan to go, so never let a handful of people in this universe stop you.

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Anna said...
"...the Golden Rooster is a hotly fought over beast who used to live at my place until I sent him to Joan with the chained gladiator I had in the back shed. Her need was greater than mine ;-)"

Oh, man, I see women booking tickets to Oz. ;) That must be some rooster if the fight isn't over the chained gladiator. *g*

I'd love to come back some time - thanks for asking. This is such a fun group. :)

Dianna

Dianna Love Snell said...

Christy - Hi! (Dianna waving from down south). Thanks for coming by.

MS Hellion - lol, I like that you've earned that name. I'm glad Cassondra asked me to do this. It's been a pleasure.

Dianna :)

Jennifer Y. said...

Thanks Dianna and Joan...I have been told not to say "just" a reader before, but have a problem remembering that...LOL.

Cassondra said...

Dianna said:

That must be some rooster if the fight isn't over the chained gladiator. *g*

We tried. Joan won't let him go.

Dianna Love Snell said...

Anne - Thanks so much. You should have hope no matter what, because writing is like riding (motorcycles). We have a saying - the more you ride, the better it gets...which means the better you get.

Sabrina - I appreciate your kind words. I was fortunate to have been born an artist. I believe everyone is creative in some way. I met someone whose mother came from South America to live with her when her mom was in her 80s. She couldn't speak English (but her daughter could and was in business here), so during the day she'd watch television - a guy teaching the basics of how to paint. She'd never painted, but picked up a brush and by the end of a year she was painting beautiful still lifes. Who knew? All she had to do was try. Good luck with your writing.

Dianna :)

Joan said...

We tried. Joan won't let him go.


LOL, Cassondra. Who do you think I was Christmas shopping for? Demetrius, Marcus, Lucius so many....stocking stuffers to buy.

VBG

Kate Carlisle said...

Dianna, welcome and thanks so much for your inspiring words. I'll add my name to the list of those who needed to hear them today!

And I remember your fabulous white dress, too. I was sitting in the row in front of you at the awards ceremony that night and remember turning around to kibbitz and comment on how gorgeous you looked!

Thanks again for sharing your wonderful spirit with us.

Cassondra said...

Okay I found the notes:

Dianna and Mary's series on how to plot your book in two days is at
www.BreakIntoFiction.com

I've heard amazing things about this collaboration, so if you're stuck with your plot, or want to try a new approach or get faster, this is the stuff.

That's one of the things I worry most about--WHEN I sell (there you go, Joanie--just for you) I'll have to write much faster than I do now--or have a non-career. :0/

I'm looking for any available way to get my stuff on the page faster and more "whole" the first time.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Wow, I feel like going out and doing something stupendous, and I am not even a writer! It was just a wonderful interview and I can't wait for the new book, yet another author feeding my addiction :::sigh::: I am going to be so bankrupt, but I am going to have plenty of reading material!!

Dianna Love Snell said...

Jo said...
"Dear, Lord without readers like you only me, Demetrius (the um, gladiator) and the Golden Rooster would be reading my stories..."

I'm really going to need more details on this captive gladiator...

"Dianna, how did it feel to win the Rita?"

Pretty amazing. I was so shocked when I got the call I'd finaled (both times) and would not even think about winning, particularly with the amazing authors in my category. I hate to be disappointed so I try not to get excited over something that is our of my control. I didn't get nervous until I got dressed and realized I was actually up for a RITA. It doesn't feel real - to me - until you walk in that room with your husband and see your book up on the screen. The minute they called my title, my heart seriously stuttered a beat. The RITA is something you think about, but I couldn't imagine winning one on my first book.

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Nathalie -
Hi - thanks for stopping by. :)

Lily - Thanks for visiting my website. I love the cover. :)

Cassondra - I want your candy supplier... *g*


Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi Kate -
I remember you from your photo. :) Thanks for stopping by. So nice to see you again. :)

Dianna

Dianna Love Snell said...

hrdwrkdmom -
It's this addiction that got so many of us into writing. ;) I would be lost in a world without them so it's a justifiable addiction. *g*

Thanks for stopping in.

Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

P226 -
What bike do you ride? I've got BMW ll50RT and my husband has a BMW 1200GS. We just rode 4000 miles this summer in ten days (I didn't have a lot of free time).

I've had Harleys and such, but love the BMW. It's great for 400-600 mile days.

Dianna

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yeah Donna! The Rooster returns to the US! :>
Dianna, welcome to the Lair! (Waving madly) For those of you who didn't make it to Dallas this year, Dianna was one of our guests at the TGN Retreat. She was just as inspritational in person.
Pam, cool that Dianna was such an motivation to you. It's great to meet her in person, isn't it? We'll look for YOUR gorgeous pic up there amongst the finalists in SF, Pam!
Its so great to see our usual crew here - Buffie and MsHellion and Helen - but wow, Hi to Allison Brennan, (Allison, you and I shared a drinking table in the bar in Dallas. Great to see you here too and congrats on the NYT!) and Angie Fox, and Jennifer Y...this is great!
Dianna I think its great that you and Sherri are doing the Phantom book. I'm looking SO forward to it. And to the one you're doing w/ Mary too. I took Mary's synopsis course. It was great, so I'm sure your collaboration will be too.
I'm big on the carrot/carrot reward system for working. I do as I do with my children and reward even "approximate right behavior." Ha! As Cassondra said, reading is usually my reward nowadays, or a long, long walk with the dog, as opposed to the run around the block and throw the ball for forty-five minutes we usually do. Sometimes the whole reading IS better than chocolate - CTC, Mrs. Brimley, Scandal's Daughter, Double Dare...etc. :>
I'm looking forward to your next book and to seeing you in SF!
Grins.

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi Jeanne -

Good to see you. I loved doing the TGN panel. I'm really looking forward to San Francisco. I think Karl will come out there, too. I hope to see all the new GH finalists...and hear about lots of "bootings" at the TGN reception. :)

This has been a lot of fun.
Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

Cassondra and Banditas -

A special thanks to Cassondra for all the work she put into creating my post. She and Steve are very dear friends I think the world of and very talented writers. It's only a matter of time before Cassondra gets the golden boot.

I'm going to have to sign off after this for a while and get some work done, but I really appreciate being asked to come here. It's been a pleasure to hang out with all of you. I hope all of you who are eligible get busy with your GH entries so I can come back in March to celebrate the finals then meeting you in SF. And celebrating the ones who final in the RITAs and those getting booted in SF. And getting my books signed by those at the literacy signing. So, you've got a lot to do. *g*

I've added a few more books to my TBR for when Sherri and I finish this book we're on. I think I read a comment from Cassondra's Wed post about the kiss in Anna's CTC. Hmmm. Can't wait.

Thanks again for the invitation and warm welcome. I'll definitely pop in to visit again.

Dianna :)

Cassondra said...

Thanks so much for joining us Dianna. This has been a blast! Get ready, cuz I'll be asking you to visit as our guest blogger again soon!

Everyone, thanks for a wonderful day and for your great comments! This gets more and more fun all the time. ;0)

Beth said...

Thank you so much for a wonderful interview, Dianna and Cassondra!

Dianna, you are truly an inspiration!

Right now I have a personal deadline to get a two book proposal in to my editor by next Weds. So far so good *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Dianna, the TBR pile! Don't talk about it. And every time we have a guest, it gets another few storeys high! Hope you enjoy CTC when you make your way down the hill to it ;-)

p226 said...

Dianna,

I currently ride a Honda CBR1000RR. Silver and black. It's insanely stupid fast. I've seen 175 indicated on the speedo.

I recently sold my race bike. That was a CBR600F4. I really miss racing. There's no experience quite like dragging your knee along the asphalt at 120mph inches from the guy in front of you. All the while you can hear the engine of the guy behind and he's closing fast.

For all the writer brains conjuring explanations for my presence here, I'll just say that at least one among you knows how I found my way to your lair.

Donna MacMeans said...

P229 - I hope Cassondra warned you that once you find your way in, there's no guarantee that we'll let you find the way out *g*. Be sure to come back again. We like your perspective.

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

Caren Crane said...

I'm very late to this party, but wanted to say THANK YOU to Dianna for guest blogging with us and reminding us all to follow our passion. I, too, am a firm believer that if you want something badly enough, you can get it. Drive, determination and a fair amount of stubborn will get you most anywhere you want to go. Thank you, Dianna, and we'll see you on the shelves! *g*

Caren Crane said...

S.J., that is too funny about the Swiss banning chocolate! I was there this summer and consumed my weight, I'm sure, in hand-dipped chocolates at Shuh. Best. Chocolate. Ever! Of course, it doesn't travel well. *sigh*

Keira Soleore said...

Talk about being extremely late in commenting here, but I've been overwhelmed by a case of star-strucknes. I've read and re-read your blog, Dianna, many times, meaning to comment every time. But I've not known what to say. How do you tell a mountain, it's tall?

Cassondra said...

Keira said:

Talk about being extremely late in commenting here, but I've been overwhelmed by a case of star-strucknes. I've read and re-read your blog, Dianna, many times, meaning to comment every time. But I've not known what to say. How do you tell a mountain, it's tall?



Oh, Keira, I don't think a more profound comment has ever been made! This is the way I feel about Dianna too--she just always has the right "kick in the rear" when I need it most, and I think it's because she's lived it herself--she knows how to, as one of my friends so graphically puts it, "grab herself by the buns and get going" (grin).

Okay, honesty moment--I put the blog together, and I've still read through it a few times for my "Fix" of inspiration to get going on my latest work in progress.

Dianna Love Snell said...

[Reply to Beth and Anna :)]

Beth said...

”…Right now I have a personal deadline to get a two book proposal in to my editor by next Weds. So far so good *g*”

***YAY – love to celebrate those deadlines. 
Dianna



Anna Campbell said...
“Oh, Dianna, the TBR pile! Don't talk about it. And every time we have a guest, it gets another few storeys high! Hope you enjoy CTC when you make your way down the hill to it ;-)”

***I know – my TBR has taken on an actual shape. ;) I’m sure I will love CTC.

Dianna

Dianna Love Snell said...

p226 –
Yes, those are crazy fast. My husband is a motorcycle safety instructor so he rides 30,000+ miles a year on a bike. I gave him a weekend with Keith Code (they use ZX-6Rs) that he really enjoyed. I spent the weekend with him since we’d been a part so much due to my schedule. My husband really enjoyed it. I was impressed by the entire organization and had a great time watching my hubby have a blast.
It’s amazing to watch them running in tight packs at that speed.


I can see how you’d miss racing. That’s something that stays in your blood once it’s there. I’ve only had my Beemer 120 and not through curves.

I’ve done the Iron Butt, but prefer 400-600 miles per day on a trip so I tend to cruise along. “g”
Thanks for stopping by the lair. Ride safe.
Dianna :)

Dianna Love Snell said...

[Reply to S.J. and Caren]

s.j.simon said...
lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this

***Too funny. ;) Thanks for stopping by.
Dianna



Caren Crane said...
I'm very late to this party, but wanted to say THANK YOU to Dianna for guest blogging with us and reminding us all to follow our passion.

***Hi Caren – thanks for stopping and the sweet note. Always good to see you.
Dianna

Dianna Love Snell said...

Hi Keira –
I am so flattered by your comments. Thanks for the kind words. I never think of my life as being extraordinary while I'm doing these things. That’s why I’m always encouraging everyone to go for it. I figure if I’m here and published, there’s no reason any one else who wants to do this can’t since I certainly didn’t come from an academic or creative writing background.

Thanks for stopping in. :)
Dianna

Dianna Love Snell said...

Cassondra -

You're the best. I don't think you need inspiration, just to get your pages in front of the right editor who likes fast paced edgy suspense with a sexy hero.

Dianna...who appreciates you greatly :)