Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feedback is Coming In!

Y’all, I’m super excited at the feedback that’s coming in on the first 8 chapters of my full-length romantic comedy. I wanted to share the first third of the story with select fans who had the time to read it and give me constructive feedback on what they thought. Of course, alpha readers are always going to find typos and miscellaneous mistakes…so there are plenty of those. The characters, the elements of the story, and the pacing are always what I want to hear more about. Did you like them? What did you like most? Was the pacing ok? My first group of alpha readers is delivering strong feedback and I’m happy to share some of it with you.

General Feedback

“You could not change a single thing, and it’s already amazing.”

“I loved this. I cannot wait to read more.” 

“I LOVED it and I can’t wait to see where this relationship goes!”

When you get to the end of a chapter do you want to keep going?

“Yes, for sure. I was reading it just before going to sleep each night, and I fought closing my eyes each night.” 

“I was pulled In! I could not put it down, I just needed to know what would happen to Zach and Marina next.” 

Were the romantic moments swoony?

“Loved the last few pages as they connect for their first kiss. Very swoon-y!”

“They are very sweet. Zach has game but seems genuine.”

“Love the way you have written the romance it’s funny, yet with a twist of real life thrown in.”

Does the story flow well? How is the pacing?

“I think the story flows well from chapter to chapter. I read the whole thing in one sitting!”

It’s sounding pretty good! I’ve received some great constructive feedback on miscellaneous things like my two main characters stand up TWICE in the opening chapter. LOL. There are weird things that need to be tweaked because they’re confusing or can be described better. Overall, I’m very happy with the feedback.

As of right now, I’m writing chapter 10 and should have Act II of the book done sometime in July….at which time I’ll be asking my newsletter subscribers to sign up to read Act I and Act II for feedback. Not subscribed yet? What are you waiting for? You can sign up here. My subscribers always get the info on everything first. 🙂

Why Bravery Is a Big Deal

In order to tell this story, I have to take y’all back to the dark days: the 80’s. If you were around then, maybe you were having a great time. I wasn’t. I had just suffered through the break-up of my first significant relationship and was absolutely heartbroken. I had a dead-end job at a retail store with weird hours. I was rapidly gaining weight, extremely unhappy, and completely unable to figure out how to fix my life. I didn’t have the grades in high school to go straight to college, but I knew that’s what everyone “should” do…so I signed up for some classes at my local community college. Two of those classes were writing classes.

I remember coming home (I still lived with my Mom) and being so excited after my first writing class. I’d reconnected with my first love: writing stories. I finally, FINALLY knew what I was going to do with my life. My oldest sister was visiting, so I excitedly told both her and Mom about my new goal in life: I was going to be a writer. It was perfect.

You can’t be a writer. You need a real job. You’ll never support yourself that way. You need to find something else to do that’ll make you money so you can have a life. That was the response I got. It put a huge dent in my new ambition, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. What did they know? Maybe it could work for me.

Fast forward a few weeks later. I was still heartbroken over the break-up and still eating all my feelings. I had an assignment in my Writing for Television class: write a scene in a hospital. I did it, but I wasn’t happy with it. I wasn’t inspired by the topic, but I also couldn’t see straight because my feelings were everywhere. I got to class knowing that my scene was bad. Still, I figured the important part was turning it in.

Instead of turning them in, our instructor told us to pass our papers to the person next to us so they could read it out loud. Holy crap. Please no.

My classmate was not kind when she read my scene. She laughed at how bad it was. She made a show of laughing about it. Others joined in, to my horror. And the instructor did nothing to stop it. Mortified, I held back my tears until it was time for break and I went to the car. I cried my eyes out. Sobbed. Something broke in me…and I knew that I was never going to be a writer because I wasn’t any good. I didn’t think it…I knew it. Big difference. They all got to me to the point of convincing me I was never going to be able to do it. I knew I was a failure. I never went back to class.

I went to therapy. I quit retail and got an office job. And I shut all creativity out of my life. I saw my creativity as a stupid dream. Something that other people are successful at, but not me. I put up the wrong kind of boundaries everywhere. I stayed that way for years.

When I met my husband, I eventually told him that story and he was the one who pointed out that my class mates and teacher were jerks. Besides, who judges themselves on one bad assignment? (Spoiler alert: I do, I guess.)

Several years later, I got a job with a major airline. I took a huge demotion just to get my foot in the door, but I landed in the communications department. You see where this is going? I ended up reporting to a manager who saw me. She saw my ability. My creativity. And she nurtured it. Eventually, guess what? I was promoted to a full time management role in….COMMUNICATIONS. I was making a living as a writer.

Side note: Mom and I made peace about this a thousand years ago. She loved me more than anyone and always did her best for us. There are NO perfect parents. We forgive the ones we love. Anyone else doesn’t matter.

The point is…all of this woke up the fiction writer in my heart…and so here we are. However, when I finished “Maybe” I realized I needed to share the story with someone to get feedback. So that entire experience from the 80’s…the writing class from hell…came back to haunt me. I was afraid to share my writing, even with friends who care about me and would never be cruel. I had to talk myself through it, reminding myself that these friends care about me.

I ended up gathering my courage and trusting a few friends to read “Maybe” and I wasn’t disappointed. I told them I wanted to know the good and the bad…and they gave it me. Kindly. Helpfully. And here we are!

So I guess what I want everyone to take away from this is…do the brave things. Don’t listen to people who try to tell you what you can’t do (unless it’s play with a grizzly bear…probably don’t do that).

Go do the brave things. ♥

Now Available for Pre-Order!

I’m super excited to share with you that my novella “Arrivals & Departures” is ready for pre-order on Kindle! The Kindle version will launch on March 28th, which would have been my Dad’s birthday. Since he would have been super proud that I’m publishing something, I thought that was the perfect date.

The paperback version is actually available now, as it takes time for shipping if you don’t have Amazon Prime and I want you to be able to have it before March 28th. 🙂

You can grab it on Amazon at this link.

Thanks so much for your support, everyone…it means the world to me. Please be sure to leave a review on Amazon and Good Reads. ♥

Validation

I’ve just finished the Romance Writers of America’s Indie Author Weekend Workshop and I have to say…it was so fun. Not only that, but so much of what I learned only validated that I’m already on the right road and doing the things I need to do. I feel great about it.

Now that it’s over, I have to put my nose to the grindstone again. I’ve created a newsletter and have 33 people already signed up for it. I plan to make it a weekly thing. We’ll see if I have that much to share since I’m only starting out.

This coming Wednesday I’ll release my first newsletter! I plan to release important news and opportunities to my newsletter subscribers first…so if you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? See the “Subscribe” button up there? CLICK IT.

This week is all about continuing to flesh out “Collision on the Concourse”. I really want to get it done by Friday. Think I can? I guess we’ll see!

Hello, 2024!

Y’all, I can’t tell you how many years I’ve been saying “I need/want to publish something!” My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Vanderkam, would be mortified to know that I am still an unpublished writer. She was the first teacher of many to tell my mom “This kid is a writer” during parent/teacher conferences. Sorry, Mrs. V!!!

Last year, “Publish Something” was on my list of resolutions…which I find fun, not daunting…but when I found out my Mom had a brain tumor at 96 years old, all bets were off in 2023. We lost her in March and it’s been a rough road. Even though we were lucky to have her for such a long time (go, DNA, go!) no one ever prepares you for losing your mom – at least not when she’s your biggest cheerleader.

Not wanting 2023 to be a total flop, I’d been working on a romantic short story to flex my writing muscles. As New Years Eve got closer, I realized I had a pretty good shot at finishing it. Just about two hours before we rang in 2024, I finished my very first romantic short story and sent it off to a handful of awesome friends to review. There’s a lot to unpack here: finishing a piece of fiction was major for me, but so was being brave enough to share it. After a humiliating experience in a writing class back in my 20’s, I have a serious amount of fear pent up about ever sharing something again. But I was brave…and I did it.

As of right now, two friends have returned their comments to me about the story and I am both happy and grateful. They both liked the story…and they both found part of it needs a tweak. Can’t tell you more than that, but I’m pretty happy with the feedback. Oh, and typos…there were typos and punctuation weirdness. Totally fixable.

Right now I’m not sure how often I’ll post here on this website, but whenever I do I’ll share it on my Facebook author page and on Instagram. If you’re not following me on those platforms, I’d love for you to do so!

Happy New Year, friends!

Dianne