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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Introducing Diana Duncan - author of the Sword of the Raven & Deal With the Devil

When destiny calls…you don’t hit ignore.

Releasing Thursday, Oct 27 , but you can win a download of this ebook here! 
Comment below for a chance to win! 

One day while perusing one of my favorite Facebook groups, Barbara Vey's Beyond Her Book, up comes a post by Diana Duncan that went something like this --

Sorry to be away from the internet so long, but with family things, and cranking out five new novels to release by the end of this year, I'm just now seeing the light of day.... 
That's not a quote, it was just the gist of her post. 
But... 5? 

Well, I just had to check out this writing machine! 

The author I've come to know on Facebook - Diana Duncan - is a delightful writer/ mom/ dog lover / men-in-kilts lover/ shopaholic who "exists in the perpetual state of Confusion," and owns an "Olympic medal in Dish Tossing." Go read her bio here to find out what that means!
She has a wicked sense of humor and a fondness for men in kilts - and she  answers the age-old question we all wonder - what do you wear under that there skirt young man?! -  that comes through in her Devilish Devlin series. 
But ...
 her heroes! Let's just say they'll warm you this winter, like a single malt McAllen scotch drunk from  a crystal glass. Your throat might burn a little at first, but then the tingles begin... in all the right places! 

Here's the blurb for her newest paranormal romance that releases Today ! - Comment below and maybe you'll get to win a download from the author herself!

When destiny calls…you don’t hit ignore.
Rowan MacLachlan is a Scottish Water Mage & Supernatural Enforcer. Escaping from a Sorceress who slaughtered his family, he’s drawn to Delaney Morgan’s awakening Powers.
Delaney vows to help him, if he teaches her to wield her Magic.
Passion flares & so do their Powers. But Rowan must vanquish the Sorceress who killed his family. Even if it means betraying the woman he now loves.
Can love conquer betrayal? Evil? Even death?
Delaney is about to find out. Because she’s destined to become the 
Sword of the Raven.
We live on different corners of the country, but Diana Duncan is like the neighbor whose back door is always open. She's warm and easy to get to know, so read on for some fun information about this talented author who's about to take on the Indie Romance World! And don't forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win an ebook in the format of your choice: Kindle, Nook, or PDF. 

  1. Me: Okay, forgive me but I was always a tight jeans/leather jacket kind of girl before I saw the AWESOMEST PICTURES of MEN IN KILTS on your site! And… what they Don’t wear under them! 
    So…. Where & how did you get those pics, and who’s the guy with his hands on the wall & the um…, I dunno… is that a thong he’s wearing?
    There’s just something about a man in a kilt that sets the pheromones to buzzing, aye? As my Facebook friends can attest from my “Visual Aids” posts, I’m seriously dedicated to locating hunky pics. I’m not sure exactly how I do it…it’s like bat sonar. *G*

    Love of all things Celtic runs deeply in my blood. My paternal Granny was Scottish, and my maternal Granny was half Scots and half Irish. And I was lucky enough to be able to attend the University of St. Andrews and live on the Scottish coast. Which is why you’ll find lots of yummy Scottish and Irish heroes in my books. With kilts and without. ;)
    I have no idea who Kilted Thong Dude is, sorry. But if anyone out there does know, I’d definitely offer a bribe of chocolate to get that information. 
4. You like to use real life issues in your books that make people think about them in a non-threatening way. What are you including in your upcoming book?

In “Deal with the Devil” I touch lightly on the idea of non-traditional moms and the pressure women feel to be perfect at everything.
This month and next, I’m releasing two new books, and both bring up subjects that are near and dear to my heart.
“Devil May Care,” coming in November, is the second in my “Devilish Devlins” fun, sexy contemporary romance series with Irish heroes. Part of the story deals with a gay secondary character who’s been shunned by his family. I know a terrific guy who came out to his parents right after college…and they told everyone in their hometown that he’d died. Since they lived on opposite coasts, many of his own friends didn’t find out the truth and even know he was still alive until years later. And he didn’t understand why so many of his friends had stopped calling him.
Prejudice and intolerance on any level horrifies me, but the fact that his own parents hurt him in such a deliberate way made it so much worse.
Sounds like an odd topic for a fun, sexy romance doesn’t it? Which is why it’s the perfect venue. You get to know Travis Ross, love him, feel what he feels, and empathize with him without a “heavy-handed” story. Since Travis is a secondary character, we don’t learn every detail of his life. But maybe, hopefully, it might inspire some thought about the consequences of how we treat one another.  

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<<Quick Review here:  Rory & Cyn's journey to home, family & love - with some 
triple trouble thrown in for a lot of fun!   Haven't read Flynn's story yet, but for the excerpt in the Deal with the Devil.  Ahem... Bad boys, motorcycles, and leather. 'Nuff said. 

Then there’s “Sword of the Raven,” which is the first book in my new contemporary paranormal romance series about Celtic Warrior Mages. Delaney, the heroine, was sexually abused as a child. She’s dealt with most of it by the time the book opens, but suffers a few lingering self-doubts. As someone who personally experienced childhood abuse, I wanted to show the moment when those doubts rise up to attack Delaney, and her triumph when she realizes (with the hero’s help) that shame and fear and doubt no longer have any power over her.

The entire theme of the book is how we can’t always stop or control the things that hurt us, but we can choose to triumph over them. I have to admit, I cried when I wrote that part. In fact, I cried more writing this story than any other. But when I made it through to the happy ending, it felt really great.

Where do you get your ideas from? And how do you stay inspired, focused, and on schedule? Since you’re “going rogue” which I assume means you’re going indie, how do you set your daily work schedule?

Would you believe my Muse—who, by the way, looks and sounds exactly Vin Diesel—slips ideas under my pillow at night when I’m sleeping?
Ha, I wish! Diesel Muse is too capricious. The truth is, brainstorms strike at random—anywhere from inside the shower, to driving to an appointment. When an idea hits, I have to immediately write it down, or it evaporates forever. I have—honestly—jotted notes on napkins in restaurants, on fast food wrappers while driving (sorry, officer), on my own arm in the grocery store (talk about getting strange looks), and yes, even on toilet paper with lip-liner at a party. New lip-liner: $7.95. Inspiration: Priceless.
Everything around me inspires ideas, with all five senses. An evocative song, a solitary walk on a fog-shrouded beach, a compelling photo of a bare-chested hunk with mystery in his eyes. Even a bottle of chocolate syrup and handcuffs…oh, wait…that’s a whole ‘nother story. (Did I mention the third book in my Devilish Devlin series has a cop hero?) *G*
My new Celtic Warrior Mage series came from a dream. Years and years ago, before I started writing, 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 that ending out. 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.
One of the characters in “Sword of the Raven” is the Celtic goddess Morrigan, who appears in raven form. When my traditional publishing career hit a brick wall and I was adrift and questioning what I was supposed to do next, I asked the Man Upstairs for a very clear sign. The next day, a dear friend of mine was out walking in a rural area and praying for me about the struggles I was experiencing. She had headphones on and wasn’t watching where she was going, and she looked down and saw a huge rattlesnake in her path. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a raven swooped out of the sky and scared the rattlesnake away.
And if that wasn’t enough to freak you out, when she called me to tell me what had happened, we discovered that unbeknownst to both of us, her maiden name is the same as my heroine’s in this book. 
Yeah. Gave me shivery goosebumps, too.
So I got out that “dream ending” and spent eighteen grueling months writing the story that went with it. Totally by the seat of my pants—no planning, no prep, no outline. I had no idea from one day to the next what would happen, and it was a scary, surprising adventure.   
As to my schedule, what is this schedule of which you speak? *G* Working from home is fraught with interruptions, especially when my daughters were younger. I get up every morning, make coffee, open my Word file…and then that file doesn’t get closed and the coffee pot isn’t shut off until I finish my pages for the day. Even if that means I get interrupted 14,000 times and have to stay up until 3:00 a.m.—and I often do.
The wonderful news about Indie publishing is that I have total control. The bad news is that I have total control. Not only do I have the responsibility to write a killer book, I also have to design an enticing cover, write a selling blurb copy, format, and then upload the completed files so readers can buy it. I have two incredible critique partners, authors Susan Gable and Jennifer August, who keep me sharp with proofing and edits, and vice versa. Which means we also have to make time to read and critique each other’s work.
And in a fantastic recent development, Daughter #1 has been brainstorming with me, and has decided to write young adult books about the paranormal world we’ve created. I’m so excited and looking forward to working with her!
My house looks like Sherman and his army camped out here on their way to Georgia, but I’ve never been happier. 
Favorite writing book or article or teacher or online class.

The KOD (Kiss of Death) online chapter of RWA has the most fabulous online classes! They usually offer one craft of writing class that applies to all writers and one “specialized” class that is specific to romantic suspense each month. They’re very affordable (especially if you’re a member) and well worth every penny. I’ve taken jillions of them and have learned so much!

My favorite writing books: “GMC, Goal, Motivation & Conflict” by Debra Dixon—every writer should read this. GMC is what drives a story, and if you have a firm grasp on it, you can’t go wrong. “Characters & Viewpoint” by Orson Scott Card. Hey, he’s Orson Scott Card. ‘Nuff said. Seriously, this book is one of my “go to” helps when I’m stuck. “Complete Writer’s Guide to Hero & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes” by Sue Viders, Tami D. Cowden, & Carol Lafever. I can’t live without this book!

I also love studying Enneagrams (the nine different basic personality types and how they mesh and conflict). There’s a ton of free Enneagram info available online. I even take the free online Enneagram tests as my hero or heroine to help me get a fix on their type and what’s going on inside their heads.  

Is there a real life lesson you can relate to writers? A cautionary tale? Or “learn from my mistake” type thing?

Hoo, baby. Do I ever. First: Don’t ever let anyone tell you, “you can’t.” “You can’t have snarky heroines who undermine the hero. You can’t have so much funny banter. You can’t write contemporary fun, sexy romances, and romantic suspense, and paranormal romances…so pick just one.”
Hello, I’m Diana Duncan, and I live to write flawed alpha males and strong, capable—and yes, snarky—heroines who kick the hero’s arse when he behaves like an arse. And a lot of readers enjoy reading them. Readers are way savvier and open to far more variety than editors/agents give them credit for.
“Can’t” kills the Muse. I fell into the trap of trying to please editors and agents instead of myself and my readers…and poor battered Diesel Muse went into a paralyzed coma. It took over three awful, wretchedly painful years to bring him back off life support.

Secondly and most important: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. No matter how much you want to believe your agent and/or publisher have your best interests at heart, you come in a distant second after their profit margin. Lines change. Editors change. Trends come and go and “the big six” traditional NY publishing houses single-mindedly follow those trends like bloodhounds. Diversify as much as possible. Seek new opportunities and grab them. Don’t let yourself be pigeonholed into one slot at one publishing house. You are the only one looking out for your career. 
Do you use any writing software or programs you can recommend to other writers?
In a word: techno-challenged *G* I do use Microsoft Office’s “One Note” for making virtual notebooks for each of my stories. I used to make actual huge 3-ring binders for every book, and “One Note” has rescued my teensy office space from the threat of avalanche. You can put in text, pictures, actual working links and organize them all by color-coded subject tabs—it’s a packrat writer’s paradise! (And easy to use, thank heaven.) “Evernote” is a free online version, and you can easily view and share files with another writer – which is what my daughter and I are doing with our new series. It’s terrific for writing partners.
If I were at a coffee shop & you walked in, would I have to lower my voice to avoid clandestine eavesdropping? Or do you walk around in a muse-induced haze?
Not only would I eavesdrop, I’d take notes. And cell phone pictures.
Ask Daughter #2. A few years back, when she was still a teenager, we were waiting in a long line at a coffee shop. We were standing behind a uniformed cop. I stuck up a conversation with him, which I am infamous for doing. I will talk to anybody at every opportunity. Never one to waste research potential, I convinced him to take me out to his patrol car and handcuff me to that hook in the floor between the back seats so I could see if my bad guy had any way to escape.
My daughter wouldn’t go out with me for the longest time afterward. Such a spoilsport, that girl.
How’s mom?
As you know, she’s recovering from her 2nd open-heart surgery in three years. She’s doing very well. My mom is the embodiment of the word “heroine.” She been through so many terrible trials in her life—any ONE of which would bring someone else to their knees—and every time she gets slammed, she picks herself up and keeps on going. While making everyone around her laugh in the process. Mom passed her wacky sense of humor on to me, and I thank God for her every day. She’s a constant source of inspiration, and my best friend. Thanks for asking about her!
Are you running in the race to cure Alzheimer's Diana? What causes do you support? 
I sure would if I could. Being an awkwardly uncoordinated klutz, if I tried to run anywhere, I’d end up in the hospital as the subject of a charity marathon myself. *G* But when I published my first book in 2004, I made a promise to the Man Upstairs that I would donate 10% of the proceeds of every book to a worthy cause. They differ with each book. I’ve donated to the Humane Society, a local women & children’s domestic violence center, Meals on Wheels, Susan G. Komen foundation, a local foster children’s scholarship fund, Green Bean’s “Cup of Joe for a Joe” coffee for a soldier program, and I pledged a donation to a friend who isrunning in the Alzheimer’s race.
I think it’s very important to give back, and there’s no better feeling than being in a place where you’re able to help someone else. It’s one of the things I missed most during the years when I wasn’t earning any income.

Pamela, thank you so very much for your hospitality in hosting me on your blog. I had a blast. I hope everyone will stop by my website for a visit, and please friend me on Facebook. I love meeting new people (even if you don’t have handcuffs. *VBG*)

Thank YOU, Diana! 
Diana answered even more questions I posed on my Writers To Readers Community page here too, so click on the page link in the green bar above and check those out also. 
Don't forget to comment below for a chance to win an ebook download of Diana Duncan's newest release, the Sword of the Raven! Winners will be announced Monday here on WriterMason. 


  1. Awesome Interview and post! Love the cop story, even told it to hubby. Wow did we laugh! Keep up the great books Diana and Pamela, u rock girl!

    Many hugs from a fan of you both!


  2. Muuuah! Leanne! Thanks for being such a good friend and faithful follower!
    Diana's pretty funny, I agree!

  3. Loved the post and interview. I am always in awe of people who have "no fear" and talk to everyone. I do, however, feel for your daughter, although I really want to know what it was like?
    Thanks so much to both of you.

  4. You know, my mom used to talk to everybody too and it always embarassed the @#$% out of me, but I find myself doing the same thing. I think God/Fate sends us what we need when we need it, including people and ideas. When my husband had a medical procedure a few weeks ago, the nurse said when she found out I was writing romances, that her best friend used to work with Teresa Medeiros, when she was a nurse in Kentucky. How cool is that? So glad you found an outlet for your talent and your audience is finding you. Keep up with the unconventional stories, please!

  5. What a fantastic interview! And exactly what I needed to read right now. (Saving for re-reading when I'm feeling like I'm doing everything wrong, several times a week.) :)

  6. Love, love, love this interview!!! I have been a fan of Diana's since forever and I'm very happy she decided to go indie with her publishing. Can' wait to read her next "Devilish Devlins" installement and her new paranormal!

  7. This is super nice to 'see' a favorite author and learn even more about her through a great interview...glad too, to be friends on Facebook!

  8. Thank YOU, Leanne. So glad you got a chuckle out of me embarrassing the heck out of my daughter. *G*

    Shanon, it was actually really fun (and the cop was really cute *G*). But it was only fun because I wasn't actually under arrest. *G*

    Julee, you are so right! In fact, this book would't have gone live today without God bringing me a marvelous formatter to help me with a huge problem I was having with the file! And exactly when I needed it, too!

    Hang in there, Judy! As my Mom is always telling me, "This too, shall pass." :) HUGS.

    Aw, Maria, love you, too, girl. Thanks so much. <3

    And Paula, I'm so honored to be among your favorite authors!!! :)

  9. lol... Diana, I can always count on you to bring a smile to my face!!

  10. Thanks, Pam, for introducing me to yet another set of books to put on my to-read pile! Now, can you just send me some time to read them all? LOL Here's my "men in kilts" story--I was in Chicago for business around March 17 one year. My plane home was leaving at 7 am, so around 3-ish, I was leaving the hotel. When the elevator opened, there were three very hunky men in kilts! Normally, I don't talk much to strangers, but before my sleepy mind could filter my mouth, I said, "Well, this is something I never expected to see when I got on an elevator." We all had a chuckle. Turns out they were there for the St. Paddy's parade!

  11. Michele! LOL! Too funny.
    That's why we all get along so well - no filter on our mouths! At least until we drink that first pot of coffee!

  12. Diana, I LOVE the story about having the cop cuff you in the back seat. You are an inspiration to Moms everywhere. Yes, go ahead, embarass the heck out of our children, because God knows, they've embarassed US enough times, right? lol.

    Schedule? Ummmm....well, Diana keeps to a semi-schedule only because Jen and I prod her with electric cattleprods. And sometimes we dangle pictures of men in kilts as motivation for her, too.

    While I am admitedly an unabashed Diana Duncan fan, and love the humor in her books, I think her new book, Sword of the Raven, might be the first time she's made me cry as well. And I can think of no higher praise from a reader than "You made me laugh AND cry."

    Diana Duncan is a keeper -- and so are her books. Love ya, girl!

  13. Great interview, Diana. Very funny and informative and now I really want to read your books! I'm of Scottish and Irish ancestry (and a little German for good measure) myself. ;-)

  14. Very nice intro to Diana. The books sound wonderful as well. Thanks for giving me a peek at your life and personality. I look forward to seeing your books on my Kindle. :D

  15. April, so glad I could make you smile. Smile a lot, it makes people wonder what you've been up to. *G*

    Michele, if I was in an elevator with 3 men in kilts, I'm afraid I would've had to hit the "emergency stop" button so we'd all be there for a while. Hehehe!

    Susan, and don't think I don't appreciate the prodding. Cause you know I need it! LOL!

    Thank you, Leslie! I do hope you enjoy the books (and connecting with our mutual Celtic roots. Not to mention the hunky men. *G*)

  16. Thanks so much Carol! I really hope you enjoy my stories. :)

  17. Let's see if blogger will let me comment on my own blog again now that it's had its lunch....

    Shanon! shy...You? Don't think so!

    Julee - So cool! Now how would you learn that gem unless you spoke up?

    Judy - so glad you were encouraged here today.

    Maria - thanks for commenting! Comment some more - we love commenters!

    Paula - happy to have you here. I hope to see you again soon.

    April - we all need to smile more; I vote we keep Diana around for a long, long time!

    Susan - you are a good friend. We need more cattleprodders like you!

    Leslie - good to see you! Did you see Diana's going to be publishing 5 by year's end? Five. My brain boggles.

    Carol - so glad to see you again! We had so much fun with Turk & Zeenie!

  18. Well, 5 is the "big goal," but I might only make it to 4. Hubs is having...surprise!...surgery the week before Thanksgiving and will be home for 6 weeks. So we'll see how that (and the Holidays) impact my schedule. *G*

    And Blogger isn't letting me sign in with my ID at all. Keeps telling me I'm "not authorized" to comment, even when it accepts my sign-in. So I'm having to do the name/url thing. *G*

  19. Excellent blog from a prolific author. Now I feel as though I know you. Thanks, Pamela, for bring this guest to us!

    I have written through pain by letting characters experience it for me.

  20. Diana - Ack! I knew I should've fed the blogger monster some kilted men on this post!

    Mary - your characters' pain is that much more real to your readers for that. Good advice to know.

  21. Hi Pam and Diana,
    Pam, thanks for hosting Diana today.

    Diana, I enjoyed getting a peek into your life and your writing. Congrats on 5...omgoodness, makes me tired just thinking about it...books and hope you have many, many more soon.

  22. Fantastic interview, Diana. I'm so proud of you! Keep kicking butt!

  23. Mary, it's always fun to meet a new friend. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    And thank you, Sandy. I'm actually pretty tired myself, but hey, I'm my own boss, so who do I complain to? LOL!

    And thank YOU, Cindy. I have my butt-kicking boots on, just like my heroine. *G*

  24. This is a great interview! And, after I pry myself away from those Kilt pictures.... What was I saying???

    Oh yeah. I love the sound of these books. Will definitely be adding you, Diana, to my list.

    I'm glad to hear your mom is doing well. I think women like what you describe her to be are truly an inspiration. I can only hope to be half as great as people like that.

    LOVE the Alzheimer's donations. I'm running a 5K in a couple of weeks. My dad has Alzheimer's and I can only hope that I can help out as much as possible before this becomes something my own son has to worry about.

    Thanks for introducing me to a new-to-me author. Can't wait to read these.


  25. Thank you for adding me to your "to buy" list, Tami. If it's anything like mine, it stretches into the next room. LOL! How terrific that you're running for Alzheimer's and that you've taken up the cause for your son. Best of luck to you and your family and HUGS!

  26. The covers are great. And 5 books! i'm impressed. Thanks for sharing about yourself and your books.

    Susan Carlisle
    Heart Surgeon, Hero...Husband? 1/12

  27. Tami! I'm training for Alzheimer's Run too! We'll need to combine forces. My MIL is gone from us - too sad.

    Susan, how's it going?! Glad you got here; I've missed you! Everytime I drink my mocha java, I think of you.

  28. Great Interview! I am now looking into your books! :) I love to find new authors! And a special Thanks to Pamela for letting me know about this page and contest! :)


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