Category Archives: Diane’s Life

Words … All Messed Up

For as much as I adore the English language, I can butcher it with the best of them. It usually happens that just as I’m in the middle of saying something really dumb, I hear it in my head and at that point, I can no longer back away from it.

I’ve told you before that my mother had a huge vocabulary, but one of her favorite things to do with that vocabulary was splice it up, put it back together, and come up with something new. Now, Shakespeare could get away with that … he was a famous playwright. Mom’s words just got her naive children in trouble.

Like the time I was standing in front of my highly-educated handbell choir, directing a rehearsal. The conversation moved to what authors we were reading (yeah, we took too many breaks, but they were just that good). I announced that I was reading a book by Fletcher Knebel. But I was halfway through his last name when some of the ladies started laughing and it hit me that I’d pronounced it kuh-nee-buhl, instead of using the silent ‘k.’ Because … yes, you guessed it … Mom. She did it as a lark. She also pronounced knife – kuh-nife. At least I could self-correct when it came to asking for the sharp utensil.

Or rhinoceros. If I don’t focus, I’m well into the second syllable before I realize I have to start over or stop right away. Mom pronounced it ri-no-sore’-ass. Pronounce it in your head the correct way … that second syllable is a short ‘o’, not long. If you shorten it to rhino, you use the long ‘o’ sound. Well, mom’s way uses the long ‘o’ sound and from there on out, you’re just in trouble. And let me tell you, if I’m talking about rhinos, most of them have a flaming red hind end.

My sister sees the world differently and this usually comes out in what she says. This is another girl who has a huge vocabulary, but she mixes it up without knowing why. Not her words, but her phrases and sentences. We teased her mercilessly because what she said was just that funny. One day my dad put the snowblower into the van to clear a large space at a local lake (pond) for the youth group to do some ice skating. Carol insisted he was blow-drying the lake. That’s what she saw in her head. Or the time she asked how much a 49 cent coke cost at McDonald’s. It took a few moments to figure out that she was asking which size was being sold for 49 cents (yeah, that was a long time ago – it was a medium coke).

Last night as I was writing, I insisted that a word was correct. However, spell check insisted I was wrong. I love having access to a dictionary online. Oh, was I wrong. No matter what I wanted, indignance is not a word – indignation was just not what I was looking for, but I needed to give it up. I re-wrote the sentence.

We all have our stories about language – from screwing up words because we speak too quickly, to those words we never really learned, to discovering surprising meanings to words we’d always used one way … on and on.

Anyway … do you have a favorite story about your personal language mess-ups?


Business Stuff

Remember – publication dates for the books are always the 25th of  March, June, September, December. If you’re wondering when the next book is coming out – there ya go.

SHOP NOW button on the Facebook Bellingwood page. That button is a little bit of Diane-magic. It takes you directly to the list of books … in order … on my website. All of the Bellingwood books are listed right there. If you wonder whether you’ve missed out on something, there’s the list. If you’re looking to get the link to Amazon, there’s the list. It’s all right there. If you don’t understand why Amazon is giving you enough information, that’s cool, get it from me on this page.

PAPERBACKS for all the books are available on Amazon. If you can’t get to them through your Kindle … well, that’s because it’s a Kindle, not a computer.

The short stories are published in the paperback they are closest to. For instance, book 16 also contains #16.5 – stuff like that, there. The only thing not available in paperback are the vignettes. I don’t know that they ever will be. They’re awfully short and can be found on the website, in back issues of newsletters, and yes, on Kindle.

BOXED SETS. I’ve had several queries about when I’m going to build a third (fourth, fifth) boxed set for the series. That’s a good question. I know that twenty books is a lot to absorb if you’re just getting started, and yes, I will continue to build out boxed sets, but I don’t really have those set into a schedule. Will the third one hit in 2018? Probably. When? I can’t be sure. I’m sorry that I don’t have more precise information for you right now.

I’ll keep saying it over and over – thank you for being part of this crazy little world I spin. I’m so thankful that I have this chance to get to know you. What an incredible blessing you are to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully express my gratitude for the time and care you give to me.

I Love Winter

I love winter. I love snow. I love cooler weather. I love blankets. I love snuggling fur-babies. I love wearing sweatshirts. I love bright blue skies. I love blizzards. Really … I love winter.

I’m not fond of ice and I’m not a fan of below zero temperatures. If I could have winter without those things, that would be pure heaven.

The last two weeks have been cold here and that cold is permeating much of the northern half of the US. Just, plain, brr. So I made a choice. I’m not going anywhere. I can look out my windows and see all of the beauty of winter. Then I can snuggle in with my fur-babies, my sweatshirts and my blankets (oh my gosh, I love blankets. Truly, this could be a serious addiction).

Today the temperature rose into the thirties. I practically exploded from the house. There were things to do out there and I didn’t need to wear a coat (one is always in my Jeep). All I needed was my sweatshirt (seriously, love those, too) and a pair of gloves to deal with the snow still on my Jeep.

Off I went to the post office, then down to Boone for some groceries. Are you using that grocery online ordering / pick-up thingie? Glory be, I don’t have to wander a stinking grocery store ever again. Some young kid can wander it for me. I will tip you to do that, thankyouverymuch.

The world felt alive today. People were smiling and happy to be outside. I can’t tell you the number of kids I saw building snowmen and snow forts. My favorite was the dad outside by himself building a snowman. I had an image of his three kids standing in the front door with their snowsuits on, trying to hurry before he finished. Maybe the guy just likes to build snowmen. Or maybe he escaped from their noise and chaos to the quiet of the front yard.

There are many of you who have very good reasons to hate winter. I get it. That’s your deal and your life.

I’m thankful for the seasons that I get to experience. I am grateful to finish with one and move to the other … about four times a year. Look how that works out! I don’t have to wait long – it never lasts forever, though trust me, by September I’m completely finished with summer. By the end of March I will be WAY over winter. But that’s the beauty of it. It will all change in its time. Not because I’m complaining or whining about it, but because it is time.

That’s the way of so many things. I get to love and enjoy and find joy in so much because I choose to allow the earth to spin without my complaints and negative opinions. There is much out there that I can find fault with, but my opinion won’t change a thing … well, except for my attitude.

So I choose to love winter. You don’t have to get on board with that. It’s okay. I still choose to love you, too.

There’s another snowstorm forecast to come through on Thursday. I can hardly wait. Fresh, white snow will drop all over my valley. Yeah. I’ll have to clear the Jeep again before I get out of here, but that’s okay. The absolute peace and beauty that a gorgeous snowfall brings will be worth it to me.

The pictures in this post were taken last year after a particularly beautiful snowfall. This is where I write. This is the beauty that surrounds me. Can you blame me for loving it?


A few random things.

1. I had the worst time getting the paperback for Love’s Surprises published. The company that prints these completely lost their minds this week. It took several conversations with customer service and a great deal of patience, but they finally figured out that they had created a problem and I could do nothing about it except tell them to look a little deeper. It’s live on Amazon now.

I’ve placed my order. If you regularly order paperbacks from me, now’s the time to let me know you’re ready to do it again. They’ll be shipped out within the next two weeks or so.

I’m sorry it took so long – it was far out of my hands – my very frustrated hands.

2. On the Facebook Bellingwood page you will see a ‘Shop Now’ button near the top. That little button takes you directly to the list of Bellingwood books on my website.

That is the list that tells you what books come where in the canon.

Amazon doesn’t allow for creative numbering (i.e. 12.5, 16.5, 20.5). This forces me to put the vignettes and the short stories outside the canon. Don’t trust anything else but my website. It’s better that way.

3. On the Bellingwood book page of my website, I am also placing the ‘Notes and Characters’ PDF files for you to read or download. I’m up through Book 6. That should keep you occupied for, oh, about a day or two. Again, hit the ‘Shop Now’ button on the Facebook page to get to the list.

4. Really … check out my website. I get a lot of questions that I’m glad to answer, but if you dig around, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for. There is a map of Bellingwood, sketches of Sycamore House and its environs, and sketches of the Bell House.

I’ve had requests for a more sketches. One of these days, I’ll put one together of the Bell House and land around it – where the tunnel is, etc. I see it all in my mind, so I’ll get on that.

A sketch of the downtown shops is a little more iffy. I’m not sure when I’ll ever get that done. I’d love to tell you that I have every single shop and space figured out, but that would be a lie. I know I should – maybe one of these days. For now, your imagination will just have to do.

Christmas Card Postcards

Have I told you how much I love Bec Schreiber and the way she draws my cats? My nammynools are so much fun and she ‘gets’ them. This is as close as any of them will get to a Christmas tree. That’s Grey climbing up the side of it. She would hardly be able to contain herself.

This year’s Christmas card has been drawn and delivered. I love it.

Would you like to receive a physical postcard from me this holiday season? I would love to send one to you.

Even if you don’t live in the US, this is absolutely one of those things that I can send out to you, though I will only hope that the international postal systems will get them delivered before Christmas.

Send your mailing address to me using the Contact Form on the website or to nammynools (@) gmail (dot) com. Please do NOT send a message through Facebook.

Please let me know by December 15th. However, if you see this after that date, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll have plenty.

By the way, if you’d like to send me a card, I’d love to hear from you! You can mail them to me at PO Box 441, Stratford, IA 50249.

Five Years of Writing About Polly

Things got a little chilly in here one evening. Blankets were everywhere! Grey wonders why I never leave them alone.

As I wrote the final chapter in Book 20 last night (yeah – I thought I’d just lead with that – voila! I’m right on target), I flashed back to November, 2012. I was eight months from finishing my Master’s Degree and had spent the previous four months trying to figure out what was. I had given myself some runway. The last thing I wanted to do was go to work for someone else, especially after twenty years of owning my own business.

There were options in front of me and I was considering all of them, but self-publishing was quite tantalizing. I read book after book about this wonderful new way to get your stories published without fighting with big publishers and facing rejection letters in the mail on a regular basis. I read and absorbed everything from why I should write and self-publish to the actual nitty gritty processes of doing the work.

That all began for me in June of 2012. While I was in the middle of writing more papers for my coursework than I’d ever written in my life, I hashed out a story line that grew more and more interesting to me.

Polly showed up in a very different story setting than we know now that June. She was twenty-one years old, her last name was Mason and she’d just moved out of her parents home to a new apartment about four hours from them. Her parents were both still alive and four sisters and brothers still lived at home.

On November 2nd, I recognized that time was running out and I had to either start doing something or give up my dream. A friend pressed me to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which happens during the month of November. I didn’t want to, knowing that so many other things would demand my writing time, but I had to begin somewhere.

I wrote my first chapter that night and Polly came alive for me. On November 28th, I wrote the last chapter of “All Roads Lead Home.” I was exhilarated. For the first time, I’d started and finished something that came from my heart.

Then I wrote the first Christmas short story. This was really happening.

In January of 2013, I hit the button to publish All Roads Lead Home and it was suddenly live on Amazon. I panicked. What had I done? I still can’t believe I took that leap, but thank goodness I did.

During these last five years, I’ve had ups and downs and worried myself sick over every single aspect of the publishing process. I’ve met incredible people and poured more of myself out on paper than i could have ever expected. The only thing I wish I would have done differently was to have started much earlier. I can’t believe the fun I’m having.


While I was looking back through Evernote (which holds all of my notes, thoughts, stories – everything), I came across these two little bits.

The first I sketched out on November 2, 2012 – just before I wrote Chapter 1:

Now, the mystery is cool stuff. Polly is my main character. She has left New York City to come back to rural life. Everyone thinks she’s nuts, but she’s just done with the craziness. She’s meeting great people and it’s not her fault there’s a damned dead body that washed up on her land from the river. But, it brings a lot of activity and she’s just that snoopy. Since she’s new, no one really knows her, but now when she goes into town, people recognize her and just start talking to her. It’s freaking her out because, living in NYC, she was always keeping to herself, never making eye contact. No one just talked to her. Now, she has to know people and talk to them and answer questions … and crap, the guy who died was a local veterinarian that everyone knew because he was always in their barns and taking care of the animals.

His wife is a terrible bitch. They have three kids and those kids are tied up in knots because the old hag has run them around all their lives. The two oldest boys have long since left home, but the youngest went to college at a local university and has come back to help his dad with the practice. The bitch has decided that she now hates Polly, simply because of the circumstances, so she is making up stories about Polly and spreading rumors.

Polly – cozy mystery

It will be a ‘cozy’ mystery. Polly opened a cute little shop in the small town, selling crafting and knitting materials as well as having a little bookstore / library and a wifi coffeeshop. Kind of a one stop place for the women. She only sells coffee and some baked goods, but it’s enough for people to come in and settle in to unwind. She sells a few books and some supplies every once in a while and she is doing some writing, too.


The second I wrote on November 3, 2012 – just after finishing Chapter 1. My mind was working through the entire story. You can see some of my original character development. And then? Then they took off and decided to tell the story by themselves. They didn’t need me any longer.

Polly – some thoughts

Quite some time ago, I had an idea about a story set here in Iowa. It was pretty undeveloped, until last night – or maybe Thursday night late when I started thinking about the story again. Yah. Because last night I emailed a little bit of what I had in my head to Rebecca and then it began exploding. I drove past the school house in Luther and realized that would make a great location for the story. I really need to think about the town’s name. I don’t want it to be Stratford, but I want it to be a lot like Stratford. I don’t want it to be Luther, because there really isn’t anything going on there. I do want it to be in this neck of the woods because I want to have access to all of the larger communities … ok, probably some of the smaller communities as well. I know these roads and I know the towns and I know what Iowa people are like. How can I possibly go wrong?

I’ve been in enough little town schools, I think I can pull off the redecorating. And yes, I believe that it will be a school rather than a re-claimed church. I just can’t make that happen in my head.

The school will be far out on the edge of town, almost in the country. Because of this, there will be a lot of land around it. Polly will buy up a bunch of the unusable land. She’s going to put a barn out there and probably have some livestock of some sort. Goats, maybe. A couple of sheep. Maybe not. Maybe horses. Alice can help me with that … and so can other friends that I have.

The first death of the series will actually happen in her unfinished house. I think she’s going to have to get a dog. It will either be a Great Dane or a German Shepherd mix. Maybe a lab / shepherd mix. That would be awesome. The dog will come home with her from the shelter and when they get there, it will be on a Saturday. She’ll walk in and find the body hanging in one of the downstairs rooms. Oh yeah … that’s going to go over really well in the town when she tries to promote it. It will be not only the murder house, but the murder room.

I’m going to have to think about what Polly will do with that room. She’s going to take advantage of it, that’s for sure. I think it might be the little cafe. Yeah. People are going to have to eat there.

Of course, there will be a kitten that shows up. No, I think the dog will bring it home some night in its mouth. Mewling little thing, all in a mess with fleas and stuff. A lot like TB. We’ll slowly but surely build up animals around Polly. She had lots of pets when she was growing up on the farm, but they were always outside pets.

She’s going to need a fence around the property and then a fence for a pasture for her animals. She might have to hire a farmhand type of guy. A young kid – maybe one of the kids of the girls. He’ll do the chores and take care of the outside of her school, mowing and moving the animals between the pastures, etc.

She’ll meet the veterinarian once – when she takes the kitten in to get all of its shots, etc. He’s the one who will be dead in her house.

I’ve barely touched on Sylvie. We’re going to save her story for another book. Her husband just took off one day and left her with two kids. That happened about eight years ago. Her kids are now twelve and fifteen. She’s only forty years old, but the stress makes her look older.

Speaking of … I think that I’m going to make Polly be 31 years old. I’m going to have to think about former boyfriends. Maybe there was an engagement that broke up and that’s why she left Boston. He’s going to probably show up at some point, trying to find her, especially now that she has money. Lydia will absolutely hate him. And, by the way, so will the dogs. He’ll move into her house just as things are getting crazy, telling her how much he loves her and wants her to come back to Boston … toss everything out that is here.

He’s a dentist.

That will be part of the plot, her questioning her decision to be in Iowa. Maybe she made it too quickly and it was a bad decision. She said she had enough money to recover from a mistake and maybe she will be able to find someone to buy the schoolhouse for less than she bought it for and invested in it, so that she can go back to Boston where she belongs.


Thank you!

You can see how things changed and transformed as the story spun itself out. That is the great joy of being creative for me – allowing what I think should happen to be molded and re-formed into a story that wants to be told.

Thank you for being part of this crazy life I lead. I’m thankful that you have given me so much along the way, making it easy to keep telling my stories.

Five years has passed more quickly than I ever expected and it’s only the beginning. I’m just getting started and so is Polly. Who knows where it’s heading next!


Publication Dates

Book 20 will publish on Christmas Day, December 25th. The Christmas short story will publish on January 1st, 2018.

Now I just need titles and cover art, but that comes together when I focus.


Christmas cards

I’m getting artwork together for my Nammynools Christmas card. Bec Schreiber has been at it again – showing off my cats in all their glory. After Thanksgiving, I will ask you to send me your mailing address if you’re interested in receiving one of these. Not yet, but soon! I can’t wait.


Creativity Friday

This Friday, November 17th is Creativity Friday! Watch for a post on the Facebook Bellingwood page. It will be a fun day of celebrating what we’re grateful for together. We’ll do one more in December

Me Too

Being posted on social media right now

Me too.
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.


I’ve been uncomfortable since I posted “Me Too” on my Facebook page. Really uncomfortable.

There are many reasons for my discomfort.
– This is something I don’t talk about
– This is not how I want to be identified
– I’m not looking for pity
– I don’t want people wondering ‘who’ did ‘what’
– I don’t want any attention for this

It took several days of seeing the “Me Too” Posts before I chose to respond. Then I nearly took it down.

But this is a big deal. If the fact that I need to face my discomfort for a day or two helps expose how immense this problem is, I can do that. Because right now … right this minute … today … tomorrow … there are too many women whose “Me Too” is spoken silently while they live in abuse and pain. There are also too many others who aren’t able to post for reasons too numerous to list.

Comments I’ve seen on other posts break my heart. “Mine wasn’t that big of a deal, I don’t want to draw attention to something that isn’t as bad as what others have dealt with.” Oh yes it was. If you still remember it, it’s a big deal to you. No one should ever take advantage of you.

There is so much more I could … maybe should … say about harassment and assault, but for now, this is enough.


Last night Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, posted this and it’s the right thing. (Jenny writes hilariously funny and deeply honest books as well as a hilariously funny and deeply honest blog. She’s got more courage than I can even describe. Follow her Facebook page or her blog site.)

My timeline is full of men and women proclaiming “me too” regarding being the target of sexual harassment and assault.

If you are one of those and are speaking out I am proud of you.

If you are one of those but don’t want to share your story publicly I am proud of you for setting boundaries that are safe for you.

If you are surprised by how widespread it all is and take this opportunity to examine how you can help I am proud of you.

If you are having hard talks with your children about this to ensure they are less likely to become victims or victimizers I am proud of you.

If all of this is too much and you decide to leave social media until it’s a safer place for you I am proud of you for taking care of yourself.

No matter your story, and no matter how or whether you share it, you are far from alone.


You are not alone. I am not alone. We are all in this together, no matter our stories.

Thank You

TB is posing for me. This picture was taken two years ago – just before the kittens came into our lives. He had no idea what was about to happen to him. (Neither did I.)

This has been a terrific week.

Now, to be honest, most weeks are pretty awesome, but the week after I publish a new book is filled with generous words from you and it fills my heart.

One difficult thing for me, though, is responding in kind to your outpouring of love. ‘Thank you’ never seems to be enough when you tell me how my books have affected you in such personal ways. And yet … those are the times when you bring this mouthy girl to silence. I absorb it all and find that all I have are those two imperfectly perfect words – thank you.

I was very young when my mother spoke with me about this type of experience. As the daughter of a United Methodist minister who also played the piano and sang, I spent a lot of time performing in front of people. My sister and I sang together from an early age. People always stopped us to tell us how wonderful we sounded. As little girls, learning how to take compliments gracefully and gratefully was something that needed to be learned. It wasn’t innate. One Sunday, after I’d evidently not been gracious enough, Mom sat with me and discussed the relationship that was built between a performer and her audience. For those few minutes, that person connected with me. If they wanted to acknowledge how it made them feel, I needed to put myself in their place and ask what my expectation might be. I needed to change my perspective. The performance wasn’t about me – it was about them.

That discussion changed everything for me.

Writing and publishing these books is my job. This life is my passion and I am privileged in ways I can not describe that I can do this. I work hard and live through frustrations, fear, rejection … oh, and fear. LOL. The thing is – the end result isn’t about the published books. It’s about you. For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to be creative and establish relationships that last longer than the creative moment.

The snippets of life you share with me along the way are treasures that I hold close. I will often screw up and forget that you’ve already told me something or that your name is Donna, not Marie, or that you’ve given me your address three times already. Trust me, as soon as it happens, I feel horrible. I’m so danged human – it frustrates me more than you know. A little bit of superhero stuff would be helpful some days. But you mean the world to me.

So as I continue to do my job and you continue to respond, hopefully we will all recognize what an amazing relationship is being built here.

Sometimes all I can say is ‘thank you.’ My heart is so filled with wonder at your generosity it overwhelms my mind and I have no other words.

Thank you.

Birthdays and Trivia and a Release Date, Oh My!

Here we are … two and a half weeks out from the release of Book 19 – Boundless Dreams. Sometimes It seems like that date is far, far away, and yet, it also feels like time is rushing forward so fast I can hardly catch my breath.

A few things will happen between now and September 25th and I don’t want you to miss out.

1. September 8th (Friday) is my birthday. Whee! Nope … not telling you how old I am. My life is filled with too much fun for me to concentrate on a number. Besides, most of the time, I’d probably be mistaken. I can never remember.

To celebrate my birthday, I think I want to give away a couple of mugs. To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is post a comment on Facebook (under this post) or here on the website as a response to this post. Tell me one place (one place only) on this earth that you dream of visiting. Just one place. Your biggest and wildest dream vacation place.

You have until Sunday evening (September 10) to respond. I’ll choose winners and reply to your comment as well as post names on the Facebook Bellingwood page.

2. September 15th (Friday) is our last Wine & Trivia Night of the year. I won’t host one prior to the December 25th release because the holiday season is so overwhelming. More information will come next week, but join us on the Facebook Bellingwood page between six o’clock and eleven o’clock central time for a lot of fun, trivia questions about Bellingwood and prizes!

3. September 18th – 20th. The Bellingwood Boxed Set: Books 1-3 will be FREE on Amazon. More notification will come regarding that, but if you have friends or family who should be part of this community, let them know!

4. September 20th (Wednesday). Keep an eye out on the Facebook Bellingwood page that day because it is Polly Giller’s birthday! I will post a fun question for you to respond to and then choose winners who will receive an eBook copy of Book 19 – Boundless Dreams.

5. September 25th (Monday) is release day! Make sure you’ve signed up for the email newsletter (you can do so here). At six o’clock in the morning, the newsletter will land in the email boxes of all the good little girls and boys (seriously, Diane – you should have saved that for the Christmas release).

I can hardly wait for you to get to this next chapter in Polly’s life. Things never slow down for that poor girl, but she loves her life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Book 20 is already in process, so my next target is December 25th. Hopefully there will be one more surprise between now and then. (The teasing will never end.)

Thank you all for being part of this wonderful community!

Editing, Cats, and Some Eclipse Pics

I’m in the middle of the first week of re-writes, proofreading, editing, etc. This is great fun for me. As much as I love writing, I love going through the book over and over – hashing out problems I created for myself, remembering things I wrote two months ago and being thrilled that I actually maintained continuity for most of them. As odd as it sounds, I do love the editing process. I have learned so much in the last five years and five years from now, I’ll have learned that much more. The English language might feel frustrating at times, but it is absolutely glorious.

This morning (hah – morning for me starts at 12:05 pm) it was time to print out the manuscript. Doing so requires a great deal of preparation. Why? Because … cats.

Every flat surface needs to be clear around the printer because my three cats will come flying in from all over the house. They are also skittish and freaked out. I don’t dare touch them during this process because they jump. TB’s first inclination is to bite me. If I go near him at all (to take papers out of the hopper, anything), I move slowly and talk quietly.

He hates watching the paper go into the printer – or loves it – or something. He will only bat at the paper a couple of times. He’s jammed the thing up with his antics before and I’m not a fan. Earl tries to crawl into the paper feed area – there just has to be something in there he can play with. Grey finally got bored with the whole about halfway through.

The next bit of excitement comes when I pull out the red pen to actually begin editing during this phase. The cats like to play with that thing that skitters across my pages as I work. No matter what pen or pencil, Earl believes its only purpose is for his entertainment and will sit beside me and attempt to chew on the end. It makes writing quite interesting.

But I adore them and will put up with most anything.


This week I am also focused on the title, cover and a vignette. These and other fun things are coming out in Friday’s newsletter! Make sure you’ve signed up HERE to receive it!

The newsletters arrive in your email inboxes on the 25th of every month. The September newsletter will announce the publication of Book 19! We’re getting close.


Max was in western Nebraska this weekend in anticipation of the Eclipse. He captured some beautiful photos. I have two to show you right now. He got home late last night and only had time to process these. More will be coming and I’ll let you know that they’re up.

The first is that beautiful diamond ring image. Isn’t it incredible that something like this is predictable? We know what to look for and the sun / moon always come through for us.

The second is just gorgeous! What wild excitement I feel when I see these images!

Lost Kindle Content? Not Really …

A large percentage of you (us … whoever) own Kindles of one sort or another. Over the years, I’ve helped readers with some technical issues as they’ve come up, and it hit me today that you might not be making use of the powerful database that is your personal Kindle library.

Every Kindle book you’ve ever purchased from Amazon is yours forever and resides in the cloud on the Amazon servers. Even if you can’t find the content on the Kindle you hold in your hand, you still have access to it – you just have to find it and download it again.

If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your device and choose not to because you think you’ll lose everything – have no fear. Amazon has your back.

A couple of months ago, my Kindle was inundated with books that I was no longer interested in reading. Buried deep in the bowels of my Kindle list, behind all of those duds, were books that I had completely forgotten I owned. I wiped my Kindle clean – erased everything from it and started out just like it was a brand-spanking new device. Ahhh … perfection.

How did I get to the books I wanted to read? There are several different ways … read on, MacDuff.

Of course, there is a search function on the Kindle – just be sure you are searching the cloud – not your local device (unless you know for certain the book is already downloaded). Using that, you can download a book / any book you’ve ever purchased. You won’t be charged for it again.

Or … you can do the work from your computer. I grabbed a couple of screenshots along the way.

And no, you can’t go to the book page on Amazon and download from there – silly of them, I know.

1. You must go to your Account page and then find “My Content and Devices.”

Here is where you will find every electronic device attached to your Amazon account.

But more importantly for this situation, you will also find all of the content you’ve purchased (even if it was free).


2. Here’s what that page will look like when you arrive (only with your content – not mine):

Do a quick search (over there on the right side of the page) for the book you want to send to your Kindle again. The book will present itself to you (how cool is this?)

Then, click on those three little dots (ellipsis) beside your book.

3. A popup – much like this one will happen, giving you many options.

If you want to deliver it to your Kindle or any of the other devices on your account, you can do it right there.

Et voila – finis!


A couple of notes about books delivered to your Kindle.

  1. If you delete a book and re-download it, I’m almost positive that if the author has sent up freshly edited content, you will receive the newest edition. I haven’t verified it, but seriously, why would Amazon maintain multiple edited copies of a book?
  2. In the past, many of you have informed me that there is something dreadfully wrong with the book on your Kindle – missing pages, chapters half gone, etc., etc. No, that’s not actually something that I did – the file was corrupted somewhere between your Kindle and Amazon. Simply delete the file from your Kindle and re-download it. All will be well.


And now … back to Book 19. Many, many words to write before I sleep.

Late Night Crazy Brain

It’s that time again.

I’m two weeks out from the next newsletter. When that hit me today, I’m pretty sure all of the air inside me left in one fell swoop. Whoosh.

Over these next two weeks, I will finish Book 19 and get through the first round of re-writes and edits. I will come up with a cover and a title and write at least one vignette. I will do my best to stay connected online. (There will be much fun in the newsletter, make sure you’ve signed up! Click here to get ‘er done – then come back and finish reading.)

I will also snuggle three cats as much as possible and try to sleep whenever they allow. They’re not terribly agreeable with my morning sleep time. No, it’s not because they want food or water or clean litter. I make sure to have that all in place before I drop into bed at whatever weird hour I finally land there. No … it’s attention they want.

TB is a brat. There are two things that he knows drive me crazy when I’m attempting sleep – scratching on the window beside me and meowing at me. I can’t sleep through those noises and he knows it. The horrible, rotten cat that I adore will sit on the ledge of the cat tree, scratch at the window and meow, then stop and look at me to see if I’m paying attention. If I don’t respond appropriately, he does it again. And then again. And then again. Until I’m about to crawl out of my skin.

You see, I try to avoid responding to it because the last thing I want is for him to believe that his bad behavior will get the response he’s looking for, but good heavens, I can’t help myself. I just want to sleep. He also picks at Earl, knowing that will elicit a reaction.

Then, both Earl and Grey, knowing that I’m fully awake, land on top of me looking for attention and affection.

I know, I know … it’s a terrible life, but guys, I need sleep! Yep … I’m a whiner. My creativity is gone when I’m exhausted. Fortunately, a nap always helps. Even if it’s a twenty minute chair nap with a cat on the desk in front of me and my face buried in their haunches. At least they’re good for that. (I do adore my kitties – don’t believe my sarcastic comments for a minute.)

So what I need from y’all are kitty and puppy pictures, Star Wars memes, funny stories, heartwarming tales and reminders that there is a real world beyond my imagination. I’d ask you to send M&Ms, but I’m afraid you would and I’m just kidding. (No I’m not / yes I am / no I’m not / of course I am). Okay, I have the M&Ms covered. It’s okay. Well, they’re not M&Ms, but close enough. Are you confused yet? Maybe coffee instead (good heavens, will the crazy Diane shut up so we can finish this post? You have plenty of coffee in the house).

There, I dealt with the crazy person who lives up there in my brain. Do you realize that sometimes she talks to me in a weird French accent? It’s like Pepe le Pew has taken over my internal dialogue (not a monologue, there are too many words for that). It’s really kind of strange. And then there are the times when instead, it’s a cowboy drawl. Not just Texas or North Carolina or even Oklahoma. Really bad – movie-bad – cowboy drawl. It’s been known to show up as a Scottish accent, or even Cockney. Which is ridiculous because I can’t mimic an accent out loud to save my life. I’m awful at that.

And … there you have the insanity that happens to me when my really awesome nap ended at 8:45 pm and I’ve written four thousand words and my brain is still wired.

Tomorrow morning is going to be here soon and three cats will vie for my attention. The funny thing is – when I finally crawl out of bed, they’re satisfied and go off to hide for their own naps. It’s just not fair.

Okay, I have to give you a link to a hilarious video on 9 Weird Habits of Writers. I won’t put it on my Facebook page because she’s pretty raucous and there’s some blue language, but this is nearly spot on. I sent it to my sister last week and she laughed and laughed. Just about the time I thought I was unique, this video explains my life exactly (well, except for the taking my laptop with me everywhere – I don’t do that). But be forewarned – if you are offended by this young woman’s language – I warned you. From here on out, it’s your responsibility. (Link HERE – and it’s about an 8 minute video.)

Good night!