Monthly Archives: April 2012

Diana Duncan Does it Again!


Diana Duncan is one of my favorite authors. Why? Because she writes so very well! Her work is consistently amazing and delightful to read.  I’ve read several of her books and look forward to reading many more. After waiting a long time for her busy life to slow a little, I have a wonderful interview to share with you. 

Diana, thank you for taking time out from your fast paced life to answer my questions. Welcome to Dellani’s Choice!

When did you start writing?

My grandmother was a librarian, and she was my primary caregiver for the first three years of my life. She took me to work with her, and I developed a love affair with books practically from birth. *G* I wrote my first “book” at age four… “Perky the Kitten” was crafted in orange crayon, and illustrated with pictures cut from a magazine. I think my mom still has it somewhere. *G*

I’ve been writing all my life, mostly essays, short stories, poetry, and plenty of highly opinionated letters to everyone from the local newspaper to various Presidents. *G* Around 1996, I began writing Fan-Fic for the TV series “Highlander,” because Duncan MacLeod stole my heart and spoke to me as everything a hero should be! However, I was way too chicken to show my writing to anyone.

Then I made a good friend online in a Scottish interest chat room who also shared my massive Duncan love, and eventually she convinced me to let her read my work. As soon as she was done, she emailed me with a photo of her home library, standing in front of shelves filled with hundreds of romances, and said, “Your stories are better than all of these. You HAVE to write a romance!”

I’d been a romance reader since the age of 14, so it really wasn’t that much of a stretch to at least give it a try. In 1998, the two of us eventually met up in St. Louis and flew to Scotland together for the research trip of a lifetime (that fun true story—complete with pictures—is on my website under “Di & Berny’s Excellent Scottish Adventure.”) After I got back, I began my first novel.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

Years ago, before I started writing fictional stories, I kept dreaming the same dream. Over and over. For five years. Always the same dark-haired kilted warrior. Always the same ending (which I can’t tell you, lest I spoil it.) *G* But that dream haunted me until I wrote out that ending scene. Way back then, I didn’t have the knowledge or skills to write the rest of the story and do it justice. So I put it away for the right time. When I returned from Scotland, I spent 18 months writing a 450 page book, inspired by that dream, (with Berny reading my efforts and bullying me all the way thru it to keep going *G*).

Of course, the minute I finished it, paranormals dropped out of popularity with the marketing big-wigs and nobody would touch it.

But I couldn’t forget this deeply emotional Scottish novel that truly was the book of my heart. Fourteen years later, I spent another year extensively revising it, and it became my paranormal Celtic romance, “Sword of the Raven!”

What genre do you write?

I write in three different genres. Contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. I have series for all three planned out that are going to take me the next 10 years to finish. I plan to keel over at my desk when I’m 99, writing a hot love scene. *G*

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

I’m so blessed to have two wonderful critique partners, authors Susan Gable and Jennifer August, who encourage me, support me, and when necessary, kick my arse to keep me going. *G* The three of us do 30 minute sprints throughout the day. We write for 30 minute stretches, with no email, no Facebook, absolutely no distractions allowed. So if you have to pee, you gotta go before you start. No leaving the chair or stopping writing unless there’s gushing blood or active flames somewhere. *G* Then we report in to each other via email on word count. Take a 10 minute break to run to the bathroom and get re-caffeinated, then go again. Rinse and repeat the entire day.

This method has tripled and in some cases, quadrupled, my output within a month! If you don’t have people to sprint with, you can sprint alone (which is what I do when my pals aren’t available), or you can issue an open challenge in a writing group or Facebook page and have others sprint with you. The spirit of friendly competition truly does help!

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?

I used to work on only one at a time, but I’m trying to teach myself to branch out and I’m currently working on four different projects. Not recommended if you want to keep your sanity, BTW, but a writer has to do what a writer has to do. *G*. And I’m motivated by the fact that my husband’s job isn’t exactly stable right now and I have to start bringing in a lot more income if we’re going to stay afloat!

What is your writing process?

I always begin with characters,. They pop into my head and start speaking to me, and then I have to dig and question and search until I figure out what the beginning of their story is about. Then I write…never really knowing where I’m going until I get there. I’m a Pantzer, not a Plotter, which is scary as hell. *G* Sometimes I have no idea what will happen from minute-to-minute until my fingers type it out.

What is the theme of your novel?

My newest release (available May 1st) is “Devil May Care,” the second book in my “Devilish Devlins”contemporary romance series. The theme is that nobody is perfect. And life isn’t perfect. It’s messy, unpredictable, terrifying…and embracing that is what makes life fun and interesting.

Marisa Matheson, my wedding planner heroine, is a total control freak until Irish bad boy Flynn Devlin roars into her life on his Harley and shakes up the status quo. Watching her relinquish control to the freewheeling, fun-loving, sexy Flynn was a blast. I can honestly say I had more fun writing this book than any other I’ve ever done. And it’s my all-time favorite (so far). *G*

Do you consciously use symbolism in your book?

My books contain a lot of symbolism, but I don’t consciously put it there…rather I’d say my subconscious does it. I don’t see the symbolism or recognize it until the book is done and I’m rereading…then I’m always amazed. Wow, where did that come from? Thank you Muse. *G*

What is your latest release?

Devil May Care,”the second in my “Devilish Devlins” contemporary romance series.

Free-wheeling rogue Flynn Devlin roars into Marisa Matheson’s well-ordered life on a Harley, with a devil-may-care attitude, a body made for sin, and an Irish lilt that could charm the panties off a nun. Exactly the kind of bad boy she doesn’t need.

Except Flynn also possesses magic talent with a camera—something she desperately needs to keep her wedding planning business from tanking after her regular photographer is injured.

Flynn Devlin is the only thing standing between Marisa and complete financial ruin. He’s also hiding a damning secret from her. All in the name of love, but still…Flynn knows that when the lass who’s capturing his heart as easily as he captures images finds out he’s not quite what he claims to be, all hell will break loose.

And his devil-may-care attitude doesn’t include his heart. Because this devil doesn’t want just a one-night fling with his stubbornly independent lass…he wants forever.

I also have two new romantic suspenses coming out this summer. 🙂

What other books do you have published?

I published six books—two of which were nominated for RITA awards—with a traditional NY publishing house before going indie.

Current releases: “Deal with the Devil” Book 1 of the “Devilish Devlins.”

Devil May CareBook 2 of the “Devilish Devlins.”

Sword of the Raven,” a Celtic mythology paranormal

Coming soon are:

Laws of Attraction” (a romantic suspense) in June

Big Bad Wolfe,” (the sequel to LOA) in July

Where are your books available?

You can visit my website to read free excerpts and find clickable links to buy all my books. They’re available for purchase in most e-formats at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Also please friend me on Facebook and sign up for my newsletter to stay current–links are on my website. Thank you so much for having me, Dellani. 🙂

Bulletproof Bride

Tessa Beaumont thinks she’s happy. She’s got a great job and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. She should be happy, right? So why isn’t she smiling? Her life changes dramatically when the mysterious bank robber takes her hostage, spiriting her away to a creepy warehouse.

Posing as the robber, Special Agent Gabriel Colton finds himself strongly attracted to the spunky redhead. She stands up to him, even manages to escape—twice! Not only that, she’s determined to get married as planned, making it impossible for him to protect her.

Tessa finds out that she’s stumbled upon a multimillion dollar scam involving the bank. She and Gabe work together to uncover the truth, not the least of which is their love for one another.

Duncan’s plot, inspired by an actual bank robbery, grabs readers and takes them on a thrill ride. The characters are funny, spirited and playful. The dialog is great! The plot well paced.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes a blend of mystery and romance.  

Five Golden Acorns

Lethal Attraction

Sabrina Matthews is in the middle of something she doesn’t understand. Someone wants her dead! If not for long time friend, Grady O’Rourke, they’d have been successful. Like always, Grady’s there to protect her.

The mysterious package from her late grandfather seems to be the key to the mystery involving Sabrina. Together, she and Grady put the pieces together and discover their love is something neither of them can deny.

“Lethal Attraction” is a fast paced thrill ride. Duncan’s characters are well rounded, interesting and fun. The dialog, particularly between the two main characters is snappy and playful. Their verbal sparring establishes their long time relationship, as well as their attraction to one another.

Duncan’s plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end. “Lethal Attraction” is a great read for anyone who likes action, adventure and a little romance!

Five Golden Acorns

 Deal With the Devil

 Cynthia Wagner has a deadline to meet. She has 19 days to be brilliant or she’ll lose her job as a software developer. Taking a leave of absence, she rents a friend’s house, hoping for solitude.

Enter Rory Devlin – and his niece – and twin nephews and the dog…. The saucy Irishman is babysitting for the summer and his life is anything but quiet. Problematic, since the chaos lives next door to Cynthia.

When the twins’ actions cause a catastrophe in her home, damaging her computer, Rory makes Cynthia a deal she can’t afford to refuse. She can stay at his house, use his computer to complete her work and he will fix up her house and replace her computer.

Despite her overt displeasure with the sexy Irishman, Cynthia can’t help but find him devilishly attractive. Maybe dealing with the Devlin isn’t as bad as she thought?

Once again, Diana Duncan finds the two people least likely to fall in love and shows them the error of their ways. Her characters are engaging, her plot compelling. I love the lighthearted humor and sexy bantering between Rory and Cynthia. Duncan’s dialog zings off the page, moving the plot forward with each well chosen word. The teasing and wordplay are so true to life, it fleshes out her characters well.

“Deal With the Devil” is a charming romance and I highly recommend it for all those who love a great romance with a few sparks flying between the main characters. Risking a spoiler, let me add that I loved the closet scene! Steamy, sexy, satisfying. 

Five Golden Acorns!

Sword of the Raven

 Delaney Morgan has a problem. He’s about six foot five, muscular, half drowned – and naked. Washed up on the beach, the unconscious man presents a problem. Of course, his being there is no worse than anything else that’s happened to Delaney in the past year. Her fiance, Zack, dumped her. He was her brother’s partner on the police force and he betrayed him. Connor’s in prison and in constant danger from other inmates. If that weren’t bad enough, the judge who put Connor away is corrupt. Now, she has a huge, muscular, handsome, sexy…. half drowned, unconscious man to deal with. Damn!

Little does Delaney know that her life had changed forever. By finding the man, Rowan MacLachlan, on the beach, she’s opened a door to a realm that only seemed real in her nightmares.

Once again, Diana Duncan nails it. Sword of the Raven is an amazing paranormal thrill ride from beginning to end. I always love Duncan’s snappy dialog, her character’s snarky comments to one another make the novel come alive. I love dialog that zings. Duncan’s verbal sparing is spectacular.

The characters in Sword of the Raven are well rounded, complex and haunted by their past. Duncan takes their vulnerabilities and makes them strengths as the characters grow closer to one another. She takes two very independent people and watches as they, reluctantly, fall in love.

I strongly recommend Sword of the Raven for anyone who enjoys sword fights, steamy love scenes and the triumph of light over darkness. Of course, the hot, jacked, six foot five Scotsman always makes a girl feel better. 

Five Golden Acorns.

“Fairy Casanova” Will Leave You Breathless!


Fairy Casanova by Gracen Miller is a remarkable short story that will, literally, leave you breathless. Below is the review I recently wrote for her.

 Sadie Sinclair isn’t a one night stand kind of girl. After ending a long term relationship with a cheating liar, she’s ready for a night of unhampered fun and sexual frolic.

Expecting a bad, leather clad biker boy, imagine her surprise when the man waiting for her is clean cut, handsome and looks rather like a lawyer. He certainly doesn’t fit the criteria she’d listed: Unique & Unusual, Disrespects Uncle Sam and Other Worldly – or is he? When they make love, however, she finds out just how wrong she was and how right Jace is for her.

Fairy Casanova is not for the fainthearted or prudish. The sex scenes are explicit and highly erotic. I recommend this story to anyone who needs a racing pulse. Five Sensual Stars

Rachel Rueben – Breakout Artist of the Month!


Rachel is quiet, self-effacing and understated. What she doesn’t tell you is how much is going on underneath. She’s witty, capable, intelligent and talented. Just reading her breakout novel, Hag, shows you that. I was fortunate to be able to get Rachel to do an interview for me after sharing her wonderful book with me.

Rachel will be my guest on Dellani’s Tea Time Monday June 11 at 4:00 PM Eastern time on Blog Talk Radio

When did you start writing?

I wrote my first book at the age of 12, it was for an English project. We were given physical books to work and write in. My friend was the illustrator and my other friend was the editor and I handled the actual story. It was called: The Shadow and our teacher loved it. We would have gotten an A, but my friend turned it in late. I learned then, never to work with amateurs!

What gave you the idea for your first book?

Hag was inspired by an Oprah show about men on the Down Low. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s basically where closeted, gay men live publicly, as though they’re straight. They get married and even have kids meanwhile, they’re having sex with men, on the down low. After the show, I wrote a very brief outline and walked away for two years.

I didn’t actually sit down and write the book, until a string of suicides of young, gay men made the news. The outrage and confusion, just made my mind explode with ideas.

What genre do you write?

Young Adult and Children’s.

What do you do to keep yourself focused?

I’m driven by results, I need to see my ideas become reality. So when I say I’m writing a book about transvestite werewolves, I’ll give myself a timeline in which to do it. I hold myself accountable. If I miss a benchmark, I take time out of social life (What little is left!) or I even miss out on sleep to catch up. The threat of sleep deprivation is always a good motivator! 

Do you stay with one project or do you work on multiple projects?

Right now, I’m sticking with just one, but I’ve been known to juggle many projects at once.

What is your writing process?

It varies with each project. Children’s stories come easily to me. They just flow for me and I can’t really explain that. YA on the other hand, requires a lot of thought because it’s harder to keep the attention of a teenager for 100 pages. Also, you can’t take liberties like you do with little ones. I usually write a more thorough outline and research a lot more for a YA novel.

How do you find your voice?

I don’t, I just keep my mouth shut and let the characters tell their story. It’s sooo not about me!

Do you know your ending before you begin?


What is your latest release?


What other books do you have published?


Where are your books available?

Currently Hag is published only in eBook form at Amazon, but in July, it’ll be available at all major eRetailers. The print edition is due out April 20th.

HAG – Rachel Reuben

 Audrey Saldano has learned to be tough. Living on the less posh side of Cleveland, she’s learned to defend herself. The only thing she can’t defend herself against is the pain she feels when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Desmond, with his new girlfriend, Raquel.

Even the appearance of a hot, interesting new guy, Roddai, can’t make her feel any less upset. In fact, Roddai irritates her even more. He’s persistent and, eventually, Audrey finds that she enjoys his company.

Audrey isn’t quite sure what’s going on when Desmond shows up at her home and wants to be friends again. In fact, he asks her out to a carnival and she agrees to go. While there, he’s jumped by a bunch of boys from another school. Desmond fights them off, but gets surrounded. Fortunately, Roddai isn’t far away and jumps in to help Desmond, scaring the other boys off.

For a time, life seems pretty good. She and Desmond are back together and she’s friends with Roddai. Everything is fine until Desmond decides to get even with the guys who jumped him at the Winter Carnival. This time, things don’t go so well and Desmond is seriously hurt. Audrey’s life falls apart. Desmond’s death reveals secrets he’d been keeping, even from her.

Hag is an intense, real life drama for teens. Gritty and hard hitting, Hag closely examines Audrey’s situation and asks the question, “What would you do if…?”

The characters in Hag are well fleshed out and seem authentic to the reader. Audrey is an especially good, three dimensional character. Her grief and anger are very real. While we might not agree with her actions, we can see why she reacts in the way she does. She is tough, independent, self-sufficient and doesn’t rely on others to fight her battles for her.

I really enjoyed Hag is a great coming of age story for young adult readers 16+ and adults. It will make you laugh, cry and cheer.

Destiny’s Blood – Marie Bilodeau


Layela and Yoma Delamares have not lived exemplary lives. Struggling to survive without their parents, the two girls turned to theft. Yoma, more than her sister, has led a life as a thief for so long, it’s all she wants. For Layela, that life wasn’t enough. They save their money and buy a flower shop on the world of Collar.

Unfortunately, their dream falls apart when Yoma leaves the authorities start harassing Layela. With the help of Avienne and Ardin Malavant, Layela escapes. She and Josmere, Yoma’s best friend, arrive on The Destiny.

The excitement is just beginning for Yoma and Layela. They soon discover nothing they knew about themselves was true. Their fate is entwined with that of Josmere and Destiny’s crew.

“Destiny’s Blood” is a fast paced sci-fi adventure of love, politics and betrayal – with a little magic mixed in. The characters help draw the reader into their world, through the many twists and turns of the plot.

I greatly enjoyed “Destiny’s Blood”. It’s an interesting blend of sci-fi, paranormal and mystery. The characters are well delineated, their journey compelling. Author Bilodeau clearly shows the love between Yoma and Layela, as well as Ardin and his sister, Avienne. The bond between the siblings keeps them strong and determined as they fight to protect one another.

I recommend this book to anyone liking a lively adventure across space. Five Golden Acorns