The launch of my second erotic romance Tiny Dancer, Dance of Love, Book Two was so much fun. As Tiny Dancer is set in the Moulin Rouge Paris, a group of friends and readers joined me for the French-themed event, where we drank bubbly, ate delicious food and generally partied to celebrate. I love my book launches as it gives me a chance to interact with my readers. I love to hear how the characters in my books impact them – who they like, who they don’t like and what their favourite part of the story is. Some people had already read Tiny Dancer in eBook and one reader told me she loved it so much, she actually slowed down so she didn’t have to read The End. Now that’s what every author loves to hear. Others related to the situation in the story and thought I must have peeked into their own lives to write the plot. Many also commented on how they enjoyed I wrote the story by pulling my tarot cards which then ended up in the story as the cards pulled by Madame Lucette. In some cases, people went out and bought their first pack of tarot cards and began doing daily I-ching. What greater compliments can a writer receive?
When have you followed your heart and been thanked for it?
Insight…Doing what you love can never lead you astray
As a woman who has always done things differently to most people, the question of being ‘too out there’ has been a constant in my life. Never one to back down from a challenge or to stand up for the rights of others, I have found myself on the leading edge when others falter. It is the eternal spirit within compelling me forward to express the truth of me, no matter how crazy the world may see me. The same can be said of my writing. Although I started my writing career with erotic romance, I had to include the spiritual side of life and love in my stories. Never one to understand why sexuality and spirituality are mutually exclusive, I have included the guidance of the divine feminine in my stories as I believe strongly in the serendipitous aspect of life. In my Dance of Love series, the hand of the divine feminine is always there and that’s what makes my stories a little out there compared to the usual erotic romance. The wonderful thing is, that readers who’ve read my stories are touched by this magic and find themselves compelled to explore their own spirituality. In my second book, Tiny Dancer, I actually work with the tarots cards and use their messages in the story. I love the interconnectedness of everything and if being ‘too out there’ helps in the evolution of human consciousness, then count me in….
When has serendipity led you to a wonderful event in your life?
Insight…Always listen within and follow the nudgings of your soul
I love meeting and talking with people. And at the Readers & Writers Down Under Convention on the Gold Coast in March, I was in my element. My workshop Putting Eros into Erotic Romance gave readers and writers the opportunity to learn not just about creating successful sex scenes, but I also shared with them how I work with the divine feminine in my writing process. Another highlight was finally meeting some of my readers (and new ones) and having the chance to speak with them. Fabulous! It was inspiring to see some avid romance readers so prepared. With snapfish books they’d already paged and printed, they went to every attending author for autographs and photos. What is more rewarding than to see people not only reading, but who are thrilled by the stories we as authors offer them. If I could, I’d do these types of book signings every weekend.
Who are the people who inspire you to keep going with your passion?
Insight… Always say thank you to those who inspire you.
On 1st March, Tiny Dancer, Dance of Love, Book Two was released. The merry-go-round spins once more. Gotta claim the book on all the Amazon websites, Goodreads and the rest. Spend more time sending out newsletters, Facebook posts, blogs etc, telling everyone about your new release. I’m on the never-ending promotion wheel for Tiny Dancer while simultaneously desperately trying to sell Dancing Queen. I guess what I learned is…I can’t do everything or be everywhere no matter how hard I try. Although, this revelation goes against what is expected of you as a writer/author in the publishing world, it is the bald-faced truth. Today, it is up to you as the creator of your work to promote and sell, promote and sell, even if you do have a publisher. It appears gone are the days where you have an enormous publishing machine supporting you. That only happens if you hit the big time fast. But if you work your way up, learn the craft and desire to write quality works in whatever your genre is, you’re pretty much on your own. Fortuitously I was born with the drive and I learned the discipline as a dancer it takes to succeed. So onwards and upwards to the next challenge.
Did you ever give up when the going got tough?
Insight…It’s always easier to give up than continue.
Do you remember the timeless musical The Sound of Music? Where the Captain and Maria finally reveal their love for each other as they stand in the rotunda in the moonlight? And she sings, For somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good… Well that’s exactly how I felt on 14 February… somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good! Dancing Queen was voted Readers Choice Best Book and Best Cover 2015 in Luminosity Publishing’s Awards. Woo-hoo! What a wonderful Valentine’s Day surprise.
When was the last time something unexpected happened which made a joyous difference to your day, career or life?
Insight…Celebrate your successes and make the most of them.
The new year started with a bang! Aside from the hurly-burly of promoting Dancing Queen and preparing my workshop presentations for the Readers & Writers Down Under Conference in March, I began plotting Dance to a Gypsy Beat, Dance of Love, Book Three.
Whenever I begin a new project, I also take the time to get to know my location and characters inside out, so when I write I can just be in the zone. For example in Tiny Dancer, Dance of Love, Book Two – due for release 1 March 2016 – my heroine, Samantha O’Brien is a dancer at the Moulin Rogue.
Having seen the shows there I had an intimate knowledge of the showroom and as a dancer myself, I interviewed some ex-dancers from the Rogue who could give me specifics I needed for backstage. I collected images of dancers which reminded me of Samantha and as I had a real life muse – a young dancer I’ve watched grow up and who is now dancing up a storm in the UK – I began to construct my story folder. I chose and documented Samantha’s birth dates, numbers, numerology, flaws, virtues, fears and motivators. Her family, friends, past and distant past histories, life events, nicknames and a myriad of other facts and figures. These all went into the melting pot of inspiration and from an embryonic idea of who she was, Samantha O’Brien was born as a living, breathing human being.
I do this in-depth process for all my major characters and in a lesser degree for my secondary characters. Then I plan my Timeline for the story. In Tiny Dancer, critical events happened around the full moon, so my facts had to be correct for the moon’s cycles in the northern hemisphere in 2015. A timeline keeps me on track and ensures the action is happening when and where it should. Finally, I begin adding to my Plotting and Pacing worksheet which gives me the turning points and roughs out significant scenes for the beginning, middle and end of the story. Then I’m away!
The amount of time I spend plotting, mulling over possible scenes and becoming intimately engaged with my characters, provides me with the freedom to write head-long into the story. It is at these times, the pantsing or intuitive writing takes over and subtle or wildly surprising changes may occur, which I follow to new twists and turns. Some days I churned out over 3500 words without an effort.
For me, plotting and pantsing go hand-in-hand in the writing process. Neither one is better than the other. Though I’ve found, like a good bottle of red wine and a superb cheese, together they enhance the dining experience.
What type of preparation do you do for major projects in your work or life?
Insight… Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance
I cannot recall recently hearing anyone exclaiming they have enough time to do all the things they need or want to do. The usual catch-cry from all of us, particularly writers, is that there isn’t enough time. It seems that everyone suffers from time debt and as I neared the end of this year, I had to keep affirming to myself there was enough time, there was enough time.
One of the important lessons I learned throughout my busy life is that I am the master of my time and not the other way around. Since I was a little girl I had to make my time stretch.Like taffy, I had to pull it apart slowly and carefully so it wouldn’t break and dangle worthlessly from my hands. Juggling dance classes, singing lessons, school, homework, family and recreation made me a proficient time manager. And I couldn’t be more thankful for my busy, disciplined full younger life that taught me so many skills and competencies.
Now as the end of this year sped towards me, I knew time would slip through my fingers if I didn’t master it. Every day a sinister voice tried to block me by saying I was running out of time, there wouldn’t be enough time to accomplish all my goals, that I’d never get the second book finished, that I’d never solve the issues with my other business and all its unexpected challenges, that I’d never be able, in the midst of all this calamity, prepare for a big family Christmas and keep up to date on my other writing commitments. The dreaded time debt list droned on. But no! I had the same twenty-four hours as anyone else. So I kept my head down, my tail up and got it done.
On November 26, I wrote The End to my second erotic romance in the Dance of Love series. And on December 18, I signed the publishing contract for it. Now it was time to frock up and enjoy Christmas
When have you found more time to finish what you started and accomplished all you set for yourself?
Insight… There is never someone or something to blame if your plans don’t work out. Not even you. The key is to get it done in the first place.
This is a biggie for authors. Will people like my book? Will they get me?
Since I write love stories laced with the divine feminine and with a twist in the ending, I wasn’t sure how readers would respond.
Writing a book is like making an investment in your future and honest reviews are indicators whether you’ve made the right investment. The greatest compliment you can give an author is to write an honest review, particularly if you enjoyed their work. Your review inspires them to work hard and keep investing in their writing and in turn, the readers get to enjoy more of the author’s work. It’s a win/win for everyone.
For me, so far, the Reader Reviews for Dancing Queen have been favourable. It’s still early days yet but for a first time author, it’s encouraging.
Have you left reviews for books you’ve enjoyed? If not, why not do it and gift the author with your thanks.
Insight…My worth doesn’t depend on another’s opinion. Still, good reviews are hugs from heaven
I had to laugh when the Gold Coast Bulletin article appearing soon after my book launch referred to Dancing Queen as Fifty Shades of Diane. Although not quite the case, the universe’s irony was not lost on me at all.
Erotic Glimpse between the Covers… It seems Gold Coasters love to write. Another to release a book is Diane Demetre who has penned Dancing Queen, an exotic, erotic and steamy romance novel which is loosely based on her life and times as a dancer. “This is book one of the Dance of Love trilogy and follows the sexual adventures of Michele Johnston, a recently divorced, 42 year old ex-dancer from the Moulin Rouge who sets out on a journey of discovery. I wanted to write an erotic romance novel from a unique perspective and having a woman in her forties going on a sexual adventure is different to the usual erotic romance heroine,” said Diane. To celebrate, Diane held a book launch at Spaghetti & Jazz Ristorante in Robina with many friends and supporters along for the merriment. Add a reading of some steamy passages from the book, wine and food and you have a different way to spend an afternoon. Fifty Shades of Diane indeed.
Insight…When the universe tickles you, laugh
What a silly question… you can never have too much fun in life!
As someone who loves a party and has been responsible for directing and managing multi-million dollar events, I thoroughly enjoyed my paperback book launch.
Autographing copies of Dancing Queen, reading excerpts and chatting with my friends, readers and the press was seriously fabulous. I can’t wait for the next book launch.
Have you always celebrated your successes?
Insight…Always celebrate your successes. Never let them slip through your fingers without gratitude and joy