If you don’t know this about me, here it is: In 1992 my first romance novel was published; in 2006 my last romance novel was published. There were 19 novels in total. My first few manuscripts were accepted by a Bantam Books imprint. Then I wrote several for Silhouette Books, which was eventually slurped up by Harlequin, so my last works were for those fine folks. None of this is important, except to say that in those days, self-publishing was not a thing to even think about. On the contrary, we got actual advances (in large-ish sums, depending on our sales) from the publishers who wanted to release our books, and (hopefully) royalties down the line, after we had earned out our advances. In our contracts there was a clause that allowed us to get the rights back to our books ten years or more in the future. I never thought I’d need that clause. Hah.
Fast forward to the totally different world of publishing today, and what an amazing change it has been! I have the rights back on a total of 13 of my old books. That means I can put them up on the internet for sale, after I do a lot of work to make it happen. That means that friends and some loyal fans can read much of my backlist. The mind boggles. As does the fear mechanism that kicks in when something new and especially something technical is next up for me. But I shall persevere. One by one I will be letting you all know which book is available on the usual e-book platforms and maybe a few of you will actually want to read them.
I am of two minds about editing these treasures of mine; books are like our babies, we really don’t want anyone to mess with them. Here’s the dilemma: so many were written before the internet was as big and as powerful (not to mention invasive) as it is now. Oh, and before texting and IM-ing and tweeting. In other words, before everything became digital, not to mention INSTANT. We had (gulp) answering services and then answering machines. You actually had to WAIT sometimes to get messages (the horror!)
So shall I try to update the stories? Will they affect the plot? Will I have to do massive re-writing to make it work? Or shall I simply let the reader know the year of its original publication, leave it as is, and hope that she or he can adjust?
Earth shaking, QUALITY problem, folks. I will adjust and there will be books. Be sure and put your name and email address on my home page, so I can let you know all about release dates. Okay? Sending love your way.
I have been thinking lately of all the wonderful mentors I’ve had over the course of my very blessed life. Why do I use the word “blessed”? It’s because I truly do feel that luck played a huge part in what happened to me, professionally and personally, not to mention serendipity and friends and being ready, willing to work hard, show up on time and not be a pain in the ass. Oh, yeah, and talent. It’s funny how little talent can mean if all the other stuff isn’t working for you. I know amazingly brilliant, gifted actors and musicians and writers who simply never could get their careers off the ground.
But I digress. This is about mentors: Along the way, there were these wonderful people who encouraged me or turned me in a different direction. I will write about them from time to time, because they deserve recognition and I need to salute them.
My number one mentor was my mom, when I was around 5 or 6. You see, I had a horrible stutter as a child and was dreadfully shy; I hid behind her skirts. Trying to form a complete sentence was agony so I often didn’t try. Mom decided to take me to the Henry Street Playhouse, a Greenwich Village gathering place for all kinds of free classes. We took the bus and the subway from Queens all the way to downtown Manhattan once a week for several weeks. There was some kind of class for young children who had speech impediments, I think. My memory is fuzzy about any other details except the important one: eventually, all of us kids had to get up on the stage and recite a poem. I was terrified, absolutely terrified. I don’t know how I found the courage, but I got up there, recited the poem (can’t remember which one) and…. I did not stutter. At all.
Not only that, but guess what? I LOVED being on stage. I mean, it was home from the start! Ta-da!!!!! The entire experience totally turned me around (thank you dear, sweet, smart Mom). The stutter didn’t disappear overnight, but it gradually went away. And my personality changed from withdrawn to gregarious, even somewhat loud-mouthed on occasion. (Gee, really? I can hear my friends and family saying with a wry smile.)
That experience formed the direction of the rest of my life. I knew when I grew up I was going to be an actress and nothing and no one was going to stop me!
So here we are, Diane, your first blog on your new and fabulous (thanks, Kristy Sproul!!!) web site. And what are you going to say?
The previous two sentences are examples of me talking to myself, which I do often. As do you, admit it. And no, we are not crazy, we have not invented mysterious “friends” we mutter to and which makes people passing us by cross the street or look away in fear or disgust. We simply talk to the one person who needs to hear what we have to say, and that person is ourselves, right?
I don’t know about you, but my head spins pretty much all day with ideas, worries, theories, reminders and so on. Poor brain, so much data, so little time to organize it for optimum usefulness. The solution? Say it out loud. Verbalize it. Get it out of our head and into the universe, where it belongs. And where some of it might stick and be useful. Right? Thus we talk to ourselves.
So back to: this is my first blog post and I have successfully avoided coming up with a topic. Yay me. Mind you, there will be many more of these and most of them will have a topic, perhaps even an Important Topic. But for today, let me just say that the reason I have this new web site is because (1) while I have been in show business for years and years (and yes, years), and (2) while I have earned a decent living in show business (only 5% of SAG members can say that, so boy, am I lucky), and (3) while I have toiled happily in anonymity for many years, circumstances have changed that. I now have people who want my autograph! Seriously. I have met them at Comic Cons, I have answered letters, I have done podcasts and interviews, I have done private signings for all kinds of folks I didn’t know were out there. I have a “fan base,” which is weird to me but, yes, okay, not unpleasant.
I have this web site to let you in on who I am and what I have done, if that doesn’t sound too self-centered. It’s been a roller-coaster of a life, both in show biz and out, and you may find something that is of interest here. Oh, and please do sign up for my list of people who want to be notified of appearances, an occasional newsletter, maybe a recipe or two. Important Topics. General stuff. Yes? Good.
I send you thanks and love.