Guest Blog with Diana Duncan

Today, I’m featuring romance author Diana Duncan. Her piece is really moving and can make you think. She gives the best advice I’ve heard in a while and I for one believe I’ll be following it. Hope you enjoy. Don’t forget to comment.

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The Good Stuff

Starting out as a newbie writer, I gleaned my most  valuable piece of advice from an online “how to” article. I wish I could  remember who the author was, but I’ll never forget what she said: “Don’t hoard  the good stuff.”

Taking that to heart, I have poured every emotion,  every twist, every creative fiber of my being into every single story…as if it  were my only book. My final book.

Because you just never  know.

When my best friend’s mother-in-law “Mary” died several  years ago, it fell to my friend to clean out Mary’s house. What she found was  shocking, and horribly sad. Literally hundreds of Christmas, birthday and  Mother’s Day gifts – brand new appliances, brightly-colored quilts, beautiful  warm sweaters…all sitting, untouched, in boxes. For decades, Mary had been “making do,” using stained, faded bedding and tablecloths, and half-broken  appliances, and wearing ragged clothing marred by  holes.

She’d been hoarding the good  stuff.

And after Mary died, all her lovely things were given  away to others to use.

That was a huge wake-up call for me. Because while I  never hesitated to pour my very best into my writing, I’d been short-changing  myself in so many other ways. Waiting for “someday.”

My mom’s emergency open-heart surgery the following  summer hammered home the point. It was a scary, stressful time and we nearly  lost her, but thanks to God’s grace and an amazing surgical team, she pulled  through.

And I was totally done waiting for “someday.”

I now use my best dishes, tablecloths and flatware any  old time I feel like it, even if we’re just having mac & cheese. I scrunch  up “decorative” pillows and toss ‘em on the floor and lay on ‘em to play video  games with my daughter. I wear the prettiest outfits from my closet to the  grocery store if I want. I try not to worry about how much I weigh, instead  focusing on health and a positive mental image. I crank up the music and dance  in the middle of the day. Vacuuming can wait another few hours until I finish  the new bestseller I’ve been looking forward to reading for  months.

But more than that, I now tell my mom that I love her  every day. And my step-dad, daughters, son-in-law and husband. I call my sisters  more often. I tell my best friend how smart and talented she is and how much I  admire her. I stop writing and go out to lunch with my husband on his day off,  pause while cooking dinner to give my kids random hugs or kiss my hubby. I  strive to be slow to take offense and quick to  forgive.

I wasn’t holding back any of the good stuff, in any  area of my life. Not anymore.

Then I got the phone call from the Emergency Room that  nobody ever wants to receive. The car that my husband and daughter were riding  in was slammed – hard – by a drunk driver. Again, thanks be to God, they’re both  okay. Even thinking about the horrible realization that I could have lost them  both still makes me physically sick.

But I also had the peace of knowing, deep down, that  I’d freely given them everything in my heart. I wouldn’t have regrets about love  left unsaid, hugs not given, forgiveness not  granted.

What’s hidden in the back of your closet, tucked away,  carefully wrapped in tissue? What are you saving for “someday?”

What are you depriving yourself of – special things you  could be using, wonderful feelings you could be experiencing, right here, right  now?

Fling open that door! Liberate your dreams, your hopes,  your love, and yeah, even your grudges and your fears. Make today your own  personal Independence Day.

Get out your good stuff. Live every moment. And enjoy  it to the fullest.

Which is why I recently wrote “Deal with the  Devil,” the first book in my “Devilish Devlins”  series featuring a family of wonderfully wicked Irish  heroes. Times are hard right now, and I wanted something that would make readers laugh. Something that would make them  forget the all the bad for a while and just enjoy  themselves.

The idea came to me years  ago when my daughter was three. She was quite a “handful,” and from the moment  she could talk, always spoke her mind. We were in the park signing up for swim  lessons, and as we finally reached the registration table—with a long, long line  behind us—she took one look at the bald man sitting there, and announced clearly  and loudly to the entire crowd. “Some men don’t wear  hair.”

Luckily, he had a great  sense of humor, and just chuckled.

I went home, took three  Ibuprofen, then called my mom and groaned, “Thank God she isn’t twins.”

Deal with the Devil

Deal with the Devil by Diana Duncan

But what if she had been? My imagination took off from there, and  created a fun, sexy, contemporary romance featuring a smoking hot Irish hero, an  introverted heroine who doesn’t want children…and the naughty twins  who coax her out of her shell and teach her that life is incomplete without  love and laughter.

Visit Diana Duncan at her website: http://www.dianaduncan.com where she features hunks in kilts and other fun  stuff.

Join her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/dianaduncan1#!/dianaduncan1

“Sword of the Raven” Diana’s  contemporary Celtic paranormal romance will be released at the end of  October.

“Devil May Care,” the second book in  the “Devilish Devlins” series will be released at the end of  November.

Author Bio:

When her dreams of becoming a ballerina were quashed by  early-onset klutziness, Diana Duncan took up the safer vocation of writing. Her  first thrilling masterpiece—written in orange crayon—was titled “Perky the Kitten,” and became an  instant bestseller with her grandparents.

Her childhood growing up as a military brat gave her  ability to leap into a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime…and she  always discovers a new friend in the process. This gift of gab perfectly  equipped her for a career that involves making stuff  up.

Di is famous for using seven words when one will do.  She wields smart-assery like a samurai sword, and will be the first to volunteer  in a catastrophe. Of course, she was probably the one who caused the catastrophe. She’s fiercely  loyal to her friends and family…but in the event of the upcoming zombie  apocalypse, she won’t hesitate to use them as human  shields.

She loves her job as an author, and claims writing is  the most fun she’s ever had while wearing her sock monkey pajamas. She also  enjoys gardening, cooking, and adopting abandoned curbside furniture to  refurbish into treasures.

Diana published six books for Silhouette Romantic  Suspense before recently going rogue with indie publishing.

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17 Comments

Filed under blog, guest blogging

17 responses to “Guest Blog with Diana Duncan

  1. Love this essay. When I read it the first time I was already using my best dishes, even though I’m alone. But I feel like I’m still holding back. This was a timely reminder, because I think when we don’t live fully we’re living a lie, and I’m trying to stop lying, especially to myself.

    The book sounds like fun! Will it be available in paperback or only e-format?

  2. maria

    Lovely story, thank you for the wake up call!

  3. Thank you, Judy and Maria. Judy, the book will only be available in e-format. However, you can get a free Kindle app or Nook app for your computer or smart phone and read it that way. That’s the way I read ebooks for several years until I could afford a refurbished e-reader. It’s really quite fun and there are so many free and bargain e-books that it’s super budget friendly. By cutting out the NY publishers & agents, I was able to price my book at $2.99!

  4. Cool, you gave me a lot to mull over. This was a great interview! Nice meeting you Diana,
    Neecy

  5. So so true! Thank you for the reminder.
    And for the lesson – you don’t hold back on the good stuff, & I thoroughly enjoyed Deal With the Devil!
    I have a MIL with Alzheimer’s, & I’m so thankful for all the love she showered us all with when she was able. And my own parents – they do their best in their own way, but they’ll be hoarders to the end. How many times have I heard “You’ll come into this one day,” ? EEp! I won’t be able to enjoy it when I do… and that’s IF I still want it.
    Someone else said it’s a well, not a warehouse… and I think the lesson applies here too. The more you give away, freely and without reservation, the more that comes back to you, overflowing & spilling over (proverbs, but sorry I don’t know which one)…. Anyway, flinging open the storehouse doors brings back so much more than you could ever save.
    What a wonderful post and lesson! Thanks so much for sharing this piece of your life! Thank you Sara for spotlighting Diana today! Nice to be here.

    • Hi, Pamela! And I LOVE the well analogy … how true! We can dip into it for ideas and insight and it just keeps filling back up. 🙂 So sorry about your MIL, that is very hard. HUGS.

  6. Live each day as if it’s your last…because we never know when it actually might be.

    Something important for all of us to remember.

    And I promise — you WILL laugh if you read Diana’s romcom.

  7. Cynthia Wright

    GREAT post, Diana! I had a wake-up call myself 3 years ago. It sent me back to college and, more lately, spurred me to transform my 13 backlist titles into ebooks. Now, I feel like I am sucking all the juice out of each day – though sometimes it’s leisure & play that get shortchanged. Your post helped me focus a bit more in that direction.

    I also love your attitude toward writing – pouring yourself into each new book as if it could be your last. I’m taking that to heart. 🙂 Best of luck with your new books!

  8. dellanioakes

    Wonderful, insightful article, Diana. Thank you for emphasizing what’s important in life. Knowing you has certainly enriched mine. You’re a talented, special lady. I love your books and enjoy them over and over again. Good luck to you, my friend! Dellani

  9. Di, your article made me cry. You expressed so beautifully the very thing I’ve been needing to hear–to live life to the fullest right now, right this minute. I hope I can hang on to the way you’ve made me feel tonight. You are awesome and I am proud to call you my friend. Hugs and lots of love!!

    • Thanks so much, Tess. As you know, things have been very, very stressful in my life the past several years. Lately, I’ve taken to whispering to myself, “Right now, right this moment, I’m okay. I’m not going to worry about anything beyond right this moment.”

      Okay, it sort of makes me feel like the crazy dude in “What about Bob?” but it works! LOL!

      • Hey, I’m in favor of doing whatever works!! Talking to yourself is great. I mutter to myself all the time. And I have had times in my life when I would give myself five minutes and think “I can stay alive for five minutes”. Look at the clock. Five more minutes. Look at the clock. Five more minutes. I got through whole days like that sometimes. Life is hard. God is good. But sometimes, life is just hard. I admire you so much. :)) Hugs!!!

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