Sunday, October 19, 2014


Just thought I'd share some of my negative experiences as an author so that other's might avoid the same fate.

 Reader's Favorite Proofreading, I paid over $300 for crap editing...this "doctor" basically just went through my book changing all my capitalized Moms into moms. Which is right? "Can you hand me that knife, Mom?" or "Can you hand me that knife, mom?" If I remember correctly from grade school, when a title is used in place of a name, it's capitalized. Duh...I did not just pay some guy on the internet over $300 to play around with my book...Oh yes I did.   FOR SHAME!

CBL Book Tours, changed their name to Book Review Bay. I paid $50 for a review tour, and all I got was the runaround.
At first everything was perfect! Then, the tour just never happened...She ignored my emails for weeks. When she finally did answer it was only because I contacted PayPal and asked for my money back. She said that only 10 bloggers signed up to do the tour (That would have been GREAT!!!!) But, instead she cancelled it without telling me and kept the money for herself. And what, I was supposed to forget all about it? She said she didn't just cancel the tour I paid for, she cancelled the program altogether. She did offer to pay back the money OR put Fatal Retribution through another program of equal value. I agreed to give her a second chance.  Guess who never ever received anything at all from Book Review Bay... I should have never gave her a second chance. Don't give her a first...

Best advice ever, never pay for a blog tour or a book review, I repeat NEVER PAY FOR A REVIEW. The only thing I ever exchange for a review is a free book, and a link on my website and blog.

I still haven't found an editor, so if you have any recommendations, that would be great. Meanwhile I rely heavily on friends, family and beta readers to clean up my writing.

As far as bloggers, I'd recommend the links at the side of my blog if you want good honest reviews.

Luckily I'm artistically inclined, so I have no bad experiences with graphic artists, but if you have any bad experiences you want to share in the comments, feel free. I'm thinking about creating an Author Beware Page.

Oh, and here's a good website for promotional business, Author Marketing Club. It's time consuming, but it's effective for promotions. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014


I've been writing for more than ten years, and it took eight of those years to write the first Paranormal Washington book. Which is only $0.99, not because I think it's worth that much. I keep the price ridiculously low so people will take a chance on an unknown author. Advice on pricing is all over the place. Some say keep your prices low $0.99 - Free, to encourage readers to take a chance. Others say your prices should be $2.99 - $5.99 because really, how good can a $0.99 ebook be? A can of soda costs more.

I found a nice compromise between the two schools of thought. My first book is $0.99, so readers will take a chance on a new author. However, the other books are $2.99,so as to better reflect their value...but still keeping it low enough for people to feel it's worth it to buy a second or third book from an unknown...

But these days it takes more than just a well put together book and a fancy cover. Now you have to have an entertain presence online as well...Years ago it never occurred to me to use social media to help my writing career. I used Facebook and Pinterest for fun only,and  now I feel ever left behind. I see these authors giving away tons of stuff to bribe new followers, without having published a book yet, and when they do publish many of their followers buy the book and leave reviews. I'm rubbish at this tactic... But its put some charismatic writers on the fast track.

But what is a socially awkward girl supposed to do?  I spend my days trying to be a social butterfly. Trying to master; Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Booklikes, Goodreads just to scrape the surface, and run my own blog and website as well. Websites cost money and everything takes hours a day...and what for? Money? Ha-ha Silly, writing is no get rich quick gig. Independent writers do it for love, and nothing else.

Writing does not pay the bills. The most I've ever made in one month was $30...and at royalties of $0.30 a book, that's a lot of books. So what kind of crazy person spends her own money and hours a day working to nothing? You have to really love writing to keep it up without much positive reinforcement. My fans, (few in numbers compared to other authors), my reviews (same story there) and my love of wordsmithing alone keep me going...barely. The reviews are what really keep me pushing on.
I guess I just feel like everybody else is so much better at this than me. Every day is a struggle between work, family, writing and the beast that is online media. Oh blah, if I whine anymore I'm going to need some cheese and crackers...LOL

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Lovers of Paranormal is a Goodreads group full of great people and so many forms of entertainment: games, chats, programs and other activities to keep any lover of the Paranormal genre busy.

One such program they offer is R2R, great for readers, bloggers and authors. The gist of R2R is an author agrees to give away a certain number of books in an agreed format, and in exchange the reader agrees to write a review for said book two weeks after it's delivery. The waiting list to get your book on this program is pretty long, but that just speaks to how great the program is.

At the beginning of 2014 my first book, Fatal Retribution, participated in this program. Fatal went from having only 11 reviews on Amazon to having 27 reviews. My sales have increased due to these great honest reviews from readers who love the genre as much as I do.

Recently my second book, Mortal Sentry, has been approved for R2R starting November 3rd!

I'm excited and scared. Right now Mortal Sentry has only 4 reviews on Amazon;1 five star review, and 3 four stars. It needs more, obviously, but one of the biggest problems independent writers face is exposure...another one is being taken advantage of by "legit" editors and graphic artists,but that's a story for a different blog.

Cross your fingers for me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twisted Recipe #2 Loaded Potato Bread


Anyway you make them, I love them: Baked, Mashed, Fried, Totted and LOADED. I love them all...except scalloped. Scalloped potatoes are a concoction of pure evil. 

I have a similar passion for bread. There is no better smell than freshly baked bread. It was a cool October night when the thought came to me. My family and I were sitting in the living room and it struck me like lightning. Loaded Potato Bread. I'm no baker. I've made bread exactly twice in my whole life, one of them was even edible. In spite of my failings (which are many, and that's where Clella comes to the rescue) I simply had to eat this loaded potato/ potato bread. 

We start with a simple Potato Bread recipe. Makes two loafs of bread. Ingredients are: 
  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tbs active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 5 cups of flower
  1. Make Mashed Potatoes: pill,dice,boil, mash.
  2. Stir in Sugar,Salt, Yeast & Warm Water. 
  3. Add flower until the mixture is doughy. 
  4. Kneed dough on a flowered surface for a few minutes.Then set it in a greased  bowl for over an hour. RISE, my dough, RISE!  

  5. While we wait lets gather up our other ingredients:
  • Fresh Chives
  • Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream.
  • Bacon
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Garlic Salt
6. Chop those Chives, Dice that Bacon, Stir that Cream, Shred that Cheese...unless you're like me and you buy it pre-shredded. (Lazy lady)

7. When the dough is up to the task  (Get it? That's punny)  fold the ingredients into the dough and place it in a greased bread pan for another 40 minutes...or 20 minutes if you're like me and can't wait....
...I almost forgot the cheese!
That's better.
8. Bake at 375 Degrees for 40 minutes. Once it is done, butter the top and sprinkle on some Garlic Salt. Trust me, it is SO worth the time and energy. Literally the best bread I've ever eaten in my whole entire life!


Want more Twisted Recipes? Click Here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twisted Recipe #1 Pumpkin Apple Pie

I have another blog I've just started with my sister, Clella, I've named Twisted Recipes. Here is the blog Address. Our goal at Twisted Recipes is to add a twist to traditional recipes. We will flex our creative muscles to bring you some great new ideas. And though we may blunder at times, luckily our first recipe idea turned out amazing!

 It's October, the season for Pumpkin everything. I LOVE pumpkin flavored things, from lattes to cookies, from cakes to bread, if it's pumpkin, I want it. But what about good old American Apple Pie? It never fails. Every Thanksgiving I'm left with a terrible choice. I've just finished my holiday dinner and I can't eat another bite! I have maybe room for a slice of pie, but which one? Pumpkin or Apple? I CAN'T DECIDE! Now you don't have to. Introducing Pumpkin Apple Pie.

Yes folks, you heard that right. Pumpkin Apple Pie. This recipe makes two pies, and it takes all the same ingredients as the traditional pies you know and love, which means you can change it any way you like to.

Apple Pie Filling: 1 Cup of Sugar, 5 Apples, 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon, 1 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
Skin, slice and boil the apples until tender. Drain water. Then stir in sugar and spices.

Pumpkin Pie Filling: Can of Pumpkin, 2 Eggs, 1 Can of Condensed Milk.Combine all those things and mix well...

Pie Crust: 3 Cups of Flower, 1/5 Teaspoon of Salt, 2 Teaspoon of Sugar, 1 Stick of Soft Butter, 5 Tablespoons of Ice Water.
Mix everything but the water. Kneading the dough with your hands or a dough mixer. Then drizzle the water. Cut the dough into two pieces, and flatten them for the pie pan. 
(Because I am exceedingly lazy, I used a pre-made crust...I know, I know, I bring shame to my family)
***Mother's correction, Butter should be cold NOT warm***

Put the apple filling on the bottom:

Put the pumpkin filling on top, making sure it's smooth:

Bake at 425 degrees for ONLY 15 MINUTES. Then turn the temp down to 350 for an additional 50 minutes. When it's done, let it cool, then ENJOY! It looks like a normal Pumpkin Pie, but there's a surprise in there. ^_^

Vacation Post...NOPE. Nascosto chapter 3

I'm supposed to be writing about my vacation in Portland Oregon...but I find myself not feeling up to it. I really don't have much to say. They have a law against pumping your own gas, which I found weird. They're roads confused me, their homeless made me weary, and their nontaxable goods made me spend way too much money...  I visited a few shops, saw a waterfall, visited their zoo and saw a cheap movie and then I walked along the Columbia River at sunset with my husband and daughter.


That was nice...But, I'd rather share with you the 3rd chapter of Nascosto, Nick Kirkland's untold story. If you haven't read the first two chapters Press HERE. If you're completely unfamiliar with Nick Kirkland, please Press HERE.

Book 2.5
Nil’s Journey

By Diana Graves

Copyright © 2014 Diana Graves
All rights reserved.
Book cover & format by Diana Graves,
Kindle Edition


     The scent of pine filled his nostrils as he woke with a deep inhale. He was naked, lying on his back in the dark. The gauze was gone and his body was no longer stiff, but his moments were still restricted as he ran his hands down the wood that surrounded him. He was in a box. He sensed no movement and heard no sounds. He took in another deep breath before pushing against the wood with a grunt. The face of the box few across the dark room and hit the far wall hard. Nick was surprised at how easily it came off. It was just wood and nails, but he’d kept himself a sickly vampire from day one. His strength was still alien to him at times.
     He was free of one box only to find himself in another; a small room with no windows or doors. It was just him until a calm female voice called out from the dark, “Nicholas Cadell Kirkland.”
     Nick stood from his box and spun on the spot, trying to find the source of the voice. “Where are you? Who are you? Where am I?”
    “Sit,” the voice said firmly, and he sat back in his box, unable to move or speak as a naked woman appeared before him, seemingly out of nothingness. She was near seven feet tall with bronze colored skin and long flowing white hair. She looked down at him with large glowing eyes, but for a reason Nick could not discern, he was not afraid of her. Quite the opposite. He felt an instant trust and bond between them.
     “Good,” she said. “You may speak, Nicholas.”
     “My name is Nil,” Nick corrected her. She frowned but agreed with a shallow nod of her head.
     “Nil, then. You were brought to Nascosto in chains for your safety and you remain bound now for the same reason. The Nasco tell me you are self-hating. They say you want death?”
     Nick closed his eyes for a breath. “Who are you? What are you?” he asked with downcast eyes.
     “Classic deflecting, but alright. I’ll answer your questions. As for who I am, the Nasco call me Leah, but that is just one of many titles I have been gifted. As for what I am. I believe your people refer to my kind as Angels.”
     Nick looked at her then. Intellectually he knew he should be suspicious of this woman who claimed to be an angel, but there was a warm and comforting air about her that rendered him positively tranquil.
     “Why are you here?” he asked her.
     She shrugged and kneeled down to him, causally taking a seat beside his box.  “The Nasco call on me from time to time, for help and guidance. I’m here to vet you, to make sure you’re no danger to them or yourself.”
     “And what if I am—a danger to myself?”
     “I’m sure they’ll deal with you as they see fit.”
     “And who are they?”
     “People not unlike yourself. What the humans of this world would call monsters. Many of them are vampires, but there’s also a large pack of werewolves, a coven of witches, centaurs and fairies, trolls and ogres.” Leah tapped her finger on her chin as she thought. “I’m forgetting one—oh yes, dragons.”
     “Dragons?” Nick questioned in disbelief. The world believed dragons had been extinct for decades. The only dragon Nick had heard of living past the turn of the century was famously showcased in a traveling menagerie based out of Germany. He’d always thought it tragic that the poor creature had lived and died in chains, the last of her kind. “Real dragons,” he mused to himself.
     “They hide in the ground mostly, sad things. I wish they could fly free, but for their skin and their bones they are too greatly desired by hunters. That and they’d draw far too much attention to this place. The Nasco care for them, but they remain locked away. It’s a wretched existence.”
     Nick looked out at the room, imagining being locked away forever. “Yes, wretched,” he said thoughtfully.
     “So are you a danger to yourself?” Leah asked, getting back on track with what was asked of her.
     “Maybe. Yes. I don’t think I can live with what’s happened.”
     “Ah, yes,” Leah said. “Alistair sent you with a note detailing your troubles. “You and he are alike in a lot of ways.”
     Nick tried to raise from his seated position but he couldn’t. He wanted to lash out at her in anger, but all he could muster was a sour face and a controlled disagreeing tone of voice. “I am nothing like him.”
     “So you say—you have done horrible things with the best of intentions. His body has done horrible things to spite his best efforts to stop it.”
     “What does that mean?”
     She shrugged. “It means that everyone has good and bad inside of them. It means that no one is perfect.”
     Biting his lip, Nick gave her narrow eyes. “How can you be so casual about his crimes? He’s skinned people alive. How can you sit there and defend him?”
     “This isn’t about him. This is about you. This is about how you will live in Nascosto peacefully, as a contributing member of their society.”
      Nick crossed his arms. At least he could do that much. “Then they might as well kill me, because I will if they don’t.”
      Leah exhaled sharply. “This back and forth is becoming tedious. You will not talk any longer. I will tell you how it is and you will listen.”
     And just like that, he could no longer talk. He sat in his crate for what felt like hours listening to her talk about all the world’s troubles, all the pain, all the suffering, nations at war, mass starvation, and mass genocide. She talked about the gods and angels and how they try to sway mankind this way and that to minimize the cost of lives and the hurt to nature. She spoke of worlds light years away from Earth, and their troubles. She spoke of watching a star grow old and collapse on itself, and then explode into a brilliant, toxic supernova. She told him a personal story of loss. Of the half human son she had given birth to once many hundreds of years ago when she fell in love with a man of Earth. Her son was only a baby when he was murdered in his crib by a fellow angel.
      But she spoke of beauty and life, too. She told him stories of triumph. How the gods successfully evacuated and relocated worlds of creatures to escape that exploding star. She regaled him with the description of the supernova eventually becoming a whole new solar system, with new planets and new creatures, ones that could feel depths of emotions the likes of which the gods and angels had never felt before. A beautiful planet of such diversity and love.
     “Greed and anger are louder and devastating, but this planet is full of such love. Ordinary people doing heroic, lovely things doesn’t always make it to the news. Criminals always do.”
      “Raina loves you, Nil,” Leah said. “And I know you love her. She needs you. Believe it or not, she will always need her big brother. So you can’t die, not yet—you may speak.”
     Nick didn’t know what to say at first. His worries seemed small in the shadow of the universe. But, still, “What’s happened to me…”
     “What’s happened is in the past,” Leah interrupted. “You cannot control your past, only your future.”
     “How am I supposed to just get over it, just like that?”
     “No control means you don’t have to do anything, Nil. No control means no worries. There is nothing at all that you can do. You must simply do what needs doing in the moment, for the future.”
    “I can’t live with what I’ve done. I killed people, Leah.”
     “Then you must do good, be a good person in their memory. You can’t undo a wrong. It will always be your burden to carry. But do as much good in this world, with this life that has been given to you, and you will find that living is not so horrible as you may think.”
     Listening to her words, Nick could feel a weight lift from his heart as he began to understand her.
     “Leah…” he began, but when he looked up she was gone and he could move freely. Just then a hidden door opened on its own accord, spilling light into the room. He was free in many ways.