Sunday, April 3, 2011

Welcome Mystery Author Diana Orgain!

By Kate

Please join me in welcoming my mystery pal Diana Orgain to the Lair for the very first time! Take it away, Diana!

Thanks so much to Kate and the Romance Bandit for having me here today. I’m the author of the Maternal Instincts Mysteries Series. The first in the series is BUNDLE OF TROUBLE, followed by MOTHERHOOD IS MURDER and most recently FORMULA FOR MURDER.

The series is about a new mom, who doesn’t want to return to the corporate world after having her baby. Instead, she decides to start her own business as a PI – only, you guessed it, it’s not as easy as she thinks.

I’m a busy mother of three (ages 7, 3 and 2) and the question I get asked most often is how I find the time to write! For those aspiring writers - below are my top three tips.

3 Steps to getting started on your own novel:

1. Make the time to write: You have to put aside time (ideally daily) to write. Don't wait to FIND the time. That will never happen. Something will always take the time - remember Nature hates a void. So don't wait. Schedule the time to write and do it.

2. Get feedback: Take a class or join a critique group (there are tons of writer's organizations – even virtual). You can join your local chapter and create your own critique group. Getting unbiased feedback is critical to moving ahead. You have to learn how to polish your work and a class or group can help you move ahead faster.

3. Make a habit of finishing: Don't leave your draft unfinished, whether it is a short story, poem, play, novel - doesn't matter. You must finish. As creative people we are always lured to the next idea. It's fresher, funnier, better in some way but this is a temptation that must be avoided. After all, the new idea will need to be completed also and if you never get to the end of a project then you won't know how to finish. This step alone is the single most important piece of the creative process.

For more information on me or my books – you can pop over to my website at or listen to the first chapter of BUNDLE OF TROUBLE at

Now it’s your turn, tell me one of your favorite tips (doesn’t have to be writing related) in the comments and I’ll enter you for a chance to win a signed copy of my latest book FORMULA FOR MURDER. And if you’re feeling lucky I’m running a contest on my webpage for a beautiful LibraKnits baby cap – you can see the details at

Thanks for visiting today, Diana! And good luck, everyone!


Donna MacMeans said...

Whoa - Did I get the rooster? (Or is it still April Fool's Day?) Grin -

Congrats on managing a growing family and a fabo career Diana. My tip is - if you have to invest time in a job, make sure it's something you love. Life is too short to do otherwise.

Love that cover!

Kim in Baltimore said...

Aloha, Kate and Diana! Your three tips hit the nail on the head - make the time, get feedback, and finish it.

But I'll add a Hawaiian proverb,

He po'e ho'opiha wa'a

Translation: Useless people slow the canoe.

Get rid of the dead weight. Focus on your goal. Don't let naysayers hold you back. Don't let anything not related to writing to distract you.

Book Chatter Cath said...

Always agree with your mother-in-law.......then do what you want when she's not looking!!!!!

Helen said...

Well done Donna have fun with him


The series sounds really good and you are busy 3 young children and writing and I agree if you really want to do something make time for it and think positive and it will work.

Something my Mum always taught us treat other people the way you would want to be treated

Have fun

Laney4 said...

Don't forget "me time". Whether you are soaking in the tub (with a good book, of course) or out for lunch with a girlfriend, you need down time in order to better handle those busy periods in life.

Gillian Layne said...

I'm a Mom of three myself, and I love the look of your books. It's a great concept! :)

Surround yourself with things that make you smile, and make time for laughter each day. I listen to Big Bang Theory dvds while getting ready for work each morning, and always leave the house with a grin.

IandSsmom said...

Always tell the truth is saves a lot of time and effort in the end!! This sounds like a great book!! I can't wait to read it!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Donna, you nabbed the rooster! congrats! I'm sure he can help you fill out those tax forms today. Snork!

Isn't Diana's cover great? They did a really good job with all her covers. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Ooh, Kim, excellent advice! As far as dead weight goes, I would include any bad habits that have accumulated over the years that get in the way of focusing on what's important. Like for instance ... um ... well, I'm looking at all those stacks of "important" papers and crap piled all over my desk. Seriously, they just overwhelm me sometimes. I think I'll just toss them right out of this canoe today. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

LOL Cath! Great advice on the MIL issue! Something tells me you might've had some personal experience with that recently. I love it. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Helen! I hope you had a great time at the Readers Conference. My goal is to make it to the next one. :-)

Your advice sounds very similar to the Golden Rule. Definitely words to live by, so thanks for the reminder.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey Laney, thanks for coming by the Lair today! That's a really great tip and so important, too. I mean, how can you take care of others if you forget to take care of yourself? I wish I could do that more often, but I rarely remember--and I don't even have the excuse of three kids!

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh Gillian, your tip made me smile! I love the Big Bang Theory and the thought of starting the day listening to laughs like that is so much fun. Thanks for sharing your secret with us. :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi landSsmom, thanks for coming by the Lair and thanks for the great advice!

I can highly recommend Diana's books! I hope you'll get a chance to read them soon.

And that's the truth. :-)

Unknown said...

Looks like a great book...can't wait to read it!

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

I like Diane's comment re: writing and always finishing. That is so important. There will be times when the finished product isn't to your liking and you have to put it aside, but you can say it's finished and move on. That's actually a good motto for life. Finish things, say goodbye, and move on. [Not always as easy as it sounds, is it?]


Louisa Cornell said...

Quick, Donna! Figure out a way to add the GR as a dependent! Lord knows he costs enough!

I never really thought about it, but being a mother is excellent training for being a PI !! My Mom ALWAYS knew what we were up to when we were growing up. She can still spot a quick clean of the house before her arrival faster than Charlie Sheen can come up with something completely inane to say.

And my Mom loves a good mystery series. (She LOVES your books, Kate!) We'll both be looking for your books Diana.

Hmm. Best writing advice?

"Finish the damned book!" Anna Campbell

Best life advice?

"Your rights end where the other guy's nose begins."

My Dad

Unknown said...

Sounds wonderful. I love a good mystery!!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Avery!! How fun to see you here! And you are so right about finishing a project before moving on to the next one. I used to come up with an idea, write a few chapters, then lose interest and set it aside. I don't do that anymore, thank goodness! In the beginning it takes tons of discipline to complete a project--but there's no better feeling than writing "the end." :-)

Kate Carlisle said...

LOL, Louisa! Love your mom's P.I. abilities!! That's so true, my mom could do the same! Guess it's a mom thing. ;-)

And I'm so happy she enjoys my mysteries! Yay!

Love your words of advice from La Campbell and your dad. Both are brilliant!

Okay, the two best pieces of writing advice I ever got was,
(1) Write every day, and
(2) write fast!

(That second bit of advice came from Carolyn Hart via Hannah Dennison. Gotta love it!)

Gillian Layne said...

Louisa, my mom also loves Kate's books. It made me grin when I read that, because I was in the mood to reread If Books Could Kill...then I couldn't fine it...because my dear Mom has "borrowed" it. :) I'd better start buying in double!

My Mom would love anything that was "mom" related so I'll have to get her Diana's work.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Diana - welcome to the Lair.

Great advice! I agree wholeheartedly with all three, but no 3 especially as that's what' happening to me at the moment. I'm revising a ms for an editor and yet my next book is a tempting siren!

My favourite writing advice is to write - even if it's rubbish. Keep the momentum going - you can always fix the rubbish.

My favourite life advice - you can't fight gravity. In other words, don't worry about things over which you have no control.

Oh and - be here, now. ie don't keep looking forward to what's coming, enjoy your life today.

I think I'll add a third - no regrets.

Anna Sugden said...

Kim - love that proverb!

Louisa - your dad sounds like my kinda guy!

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, the rooster hasn't been to you for a while! He must be missing you!

Diana, what a great lot of advice. I 100% agree with you on finishing things - not finishing things was a real problem for me in my apprenticeship until I learned that the shiny new idea was going to lost its glow just like the last one did, so I may as well finish the last one! Congratulations on the books - they sound like great fun!

Kate Carlisle said...

Hi Brandimhoenig, thanks for coming by the Lair today!

Jean, I hope you'll give Diana's books a try!

Aww, Gillian, I love your mom! And you, too, of course. :-) Thanks for sharing my books with mom!

Hi Anna!! I love all your advice. "No regrets" is a particularly tough one for me, but I know I would be happier if I lived by those words. Thanks! And lots of good luck with those revisions. ;-)

Kate Carlisle said...

Ms. Campbell, lovely to see you!! Lots of great advice here today, isn't there? I had the same problem you mention when I was getting started. I didn't know how to follow through on anything. I'm hoping I've gotten better through practice. I know YOU have, m'dear! :-)

Diana Orgain said...

Wow ladies. Thank you for such a wonderful warm welcome AND all the stellar advise. I love the Hawaiian proverb, but everything everyone has shared is great!

cyn209 said...

Hi Diana!!!
congrats & good luck to you!!!

i'm new to cozy mysteries & am sooooo loving them!!!!

one tip i like to share is:

make a tight fist; hold it for a few seconds.....then slowly open your fist......that's you letting go of whatever is bothering/frustrating you...........

thank you for the giveaway!!!


Louisa Cornell said...


I bought my Mom her own copies of Kate's books for just that reason! And Anna's books (she is so proud of her signed copies!) and several other authors. It keeps her from prowling around on her visits to my house in search of something to read. She never returns them! I have to go on the hunt every time I visit her!

Louisa Cornell said...


Thank you! I consider that a great compliment for my Dad. He said that to all three of us at one time or another after we'd gotten into a fight, at school, if memory serves, but he often reminded us to apply it to all sorts of situations in life.

I miss him every day. What I admired most about him was the love and respect he always showed my Mom.

Diana Orgain said...

Louisa - Oh yes, being a mom IS excellent training for becoming a PI - like right now - it is too quite in my house - something is going on!