Do you judge your self worth by numbers?

How many of you authors start your day by looking at your ratings and sales on Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords? When you see the numbers, do they determine the mood you’ll be in for the rest of the day?It seems there’s a number attached to almost everything we do and we’ve become reliant on these numbers to tell us how we should feel about things.

What about the morning weigh-in? Do you panic because the numbers on the scale show you’re up a pound, and then you beat yourself up for having finished dinner last night with the chocolate mousse?

Are you checking the stock market throughout the day to see how your stocks are doing? And what if they are down? Do you moan and groan that you never should have bought xyz?

Do you determine your children’s worth by the grades they get or numbers or letters a teacher assigns to their tests?

When you look at your watch and see that it’s almost noon or whenever you usually eat, do you think you should eat, because it’s that time? Even if you’re not hungry?

And what about some of the bigger numbers such as age. Do you judge how old you are by the number of years you’ve been on this planet or by how you feel and act?

I could go on and on, but I think we often place our self-worth in numbers such as the ones above. We’ve lost the ability to tune into our bodies and listen to when we should eat, when we should sleep, and how we feel, regardless of the candles on the cake or the numbers on the scale.

Stock markets rise and fall. Anyone who’s in sales of any type knows that numbers fluctuate. Some days, months, or years are great, others not so. Sure, these are benchmarks to watch, but that’s all they are, simply a guide to what’s happening at this moment.

One of my favorite chefs, Jacques Pepin, says a recipe is but a moment in time. And so is each of these benchmarks. We’re far more than an hourly rating! A common recommendation to combat stress is to be less reliant on email, television, social media, and other electronics. They maintain that you’ll also have more available time. I’d recommend not allowing number to determine your self-worth and create stress!!!

A Brilliant Writer overcomes a disability

I recently discovered an author I think is one of the most gifted writers I’ve run across in a long time. Brilliant is not a term I use lightly, but when an author can create a world in a few short pages and leave me thinking about the book for a long time, that’s brilliant!

He agreed to do a guest post for me and I invite you to enjoy his wonderful mind and please, please, give yourself the gift of his books. They are diverse and simply wonderful. And now, here’s Dab 10:

Welcome to my world, little surprises around every corner but nothing dangerous. I control the horizontal I control the vertical – (too dated? Oh well lol).

Dianne Harman thought I would make a good guest blogger (no mind control or blackmail involved) I asked what a guest blogger does as this is my first time and she gave me a few ideas. So with everything else I will grab the idea and run with it ;).

Now I know most authors say they sit and play out the story like a movie in their minds, some write out a plan. I start with a core idea and build around it. I will explain with examples, if you will indulge me a bit.

We’ll start with Princess Gives It Away. It’s the free story I put out so people could get a feel for my writing and humor(my humor slips in to everything I do). http://smarturl.it/PGIA

 

The core idea was how a dog. through love and devotion, could out it’s mistress’affair. Sounds easy enough, but now that I have that premise I need to set the scene. In this case I built the motel where the dog jumps out of the car and runs to the motel scratching at a particular door. Which leads to the motel person seeing the dog, recognizing it and giving the affair info. I know everyone tells me that’s backwards. But that’s what I do. Then I picked out characters and gave them personalities. Then there were scenes I’d like to see. like the friends quoting Roxanne (Steve Martin movie very funny).

Now at this point I would actually start writing. Yes I did all that in my head in about 3 minutes, for me that’s the easy part. The next bit needs some explanation as it has lots to do with my writing, I grew up with a learning disability call a graphomotor skills deficit (my brain worked too fast for my hands so at a young age I thought my way around, rather than using fine motor skills). It’s left me with some horrible hand writing and the biggest problem is that I spell phonically. Not a big problem you think, but I need to consentrate to pick the right homophone (words that sound the same but mean different things) so anyone looking at my first draft sees the wrong there, here, and our and even bad spelling. If you sound it out it might be a word so bad even spell check couldn’t help.

First I tried friends to help, but there are two distinctly different types of readers out there: ones who pick apart every word (great for editing) and those who read sentences (much faster reading). There is a third way where when you’re into the book your eyes are on the page but you’re seeing pictures in your head (that’s the greatest). but I digress. Most people are the second type and with my friends, most just grabbed the meaning from the sentence and overlooked the misspelled words or were too picky and couldn’t even get through the story. Then one friend told me about an online editing tool that will point out homophones (and no it’s not a cell phone for gay people, I was asked that once after a blog post), and give the options of the different words (salvation), not perfect, but good enough to get through Smashwords’ meat-grinder (their name for the software they use to check the books for errors, spelling and format).

Now for the one Dianne wanted to know about Something Bad, you see I used a different prose then normal writing, (not my favorite cover but I am still on a shoestring budget) http://smarturl.it/SBDAB10

 

The core idea I started with was what if someone had the ability to know that bad things were about to happen, but not know what or be able to change them. Easy enough premise and one of the scenes I wanted to add was a speech I gave at my brother’s wedding (if you just remove the video and music that was pretty much it). Now I write in a narrative style (one person telling the story or from one person’s perspective). When I was putting it in my computer in a normal fashion it was too smooth for the character’s thoughts. I wanted it to feel more disjointed. That’s when I thought of the style I chose. It’s more used in poetry, but it makes a person read a line at a time.

Something bad is going to happen

I have had this felling before

I feel it in my bones

Not a little bad that you feel in the back of your neck

Or the slight bad that you get

When you get Goosebumps

Or the soon bad you feel right behind the eyes

 

Now when I did it this way it had the choppy feel that I get in my thoughts when I’m agitated so it felt perfect, add a little jumping from here now to the past, and back and it worked for me. Now some thought this a stroke of genius and others not so much (I received an email saying “this was dum” just note they left the b off dumb not me). For me it was a solution to a problem.

Right now I have one other book out – She Found Them. When I was going to tell my wife that I wanted to try writing books I was a bit nervous and it translated to this story (that’s the only part that has any truth and my wife helps with my editing now) http://smarturl.it/SFTDAB


  The premise is simple a guy stuck at a meeting, gets a text: I found some interesting files on your computer. We will talk when you get home. And the story is about his thoughts as he sits in the meeting and his drive home.

As for what is coming I have a full length novel ‘Ed’s Journal’ (working title) in final revisions. Still no cover lol, young man coming of age, raised by his military grandfather and grandmother. Add a touch of esp and humor. I have a few other slightly longer, but still short stories, just about ready and 50 or so ideas running from one line description to first chapter.

So now I return control of the blog back to Dianne and thank her for her help and indulgence. (Dianne when I snap my fingers you will return to full wakefulness lol).

And I thank you for reading

Dab10

Web site https://sites.google.com/site/autherdab10/

G plus http://ow.ly/q7lfs

Twitter https://twitter.com/Dab10ten or @Dab10ten

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dab10-Auther/283224235147264?ref=hl

Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Dab10/e/B00DBXTQTY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1382578437&sr=1-1

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Dab10?ref=dab10

goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7075086.Dab10

You don’t want to miss this indepth interview

Just have to share this great interview. Thanks Meglena! And I would be remiss if I didn’t give you her site:  http://meglenaivanova.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/a-moment-to-share-with-dianne-harman/ or http://meglenaivanova.com/?page_id=660 .

A MOMENT TO SHARE with Dianne Harman

BY MEGLENA IVANOVA OCTOBER 24, 2013

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Dianne Harman author of Blue Coyote Motel, Tea Party Teddy and Coyote in Provence. Dianne draws her stories and characters from a diverse business and personal background. She owned a national antique and art appraisal business for many years, leaving that industry and opening two yoga centers where she taught yoga and certified instructors. Dianne has traveled extensively throughout the world, most recently dividing her time between Huntington Beach and Sacramento, California, where her husband is a Senator. A gourmet cook, she has entertained Governors, Congressmen and numerous other political figures in her homes.

Hi Dianne, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background? What were you like at school? Were you good at English? What are your ambitions for your writing career? Which writers inspire you?

I was an English Major in college and yes, I was good at English. Those classes were effortless, but like so many, I never felt I had fulfilled the criteria for being an author, such as attending special schools for writing, support groups, etc. I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” a little over two years ago and loved his kind of “Do It Now” philosophy. And so I did.

  • What was your life like before becoming an author?

Eclectic. A mother, a wife. I owned a national antique and art appraisal business for 20 years and then bought two yoga studios. I taught yoga internationally and certified teachers. My husband became a politician and eventually a California Senator. I spent 12 years dividing my time between Sacramento, California and Huntington Beach, California.

  • When did you decide to become a writer?

When my husband and I stayed at a motel in Palm Springs, California, and attended a wedding. Our son was the best man. It was October and 106 degrees out. The air conditioner was silent and welcome. I’ll never know why, but I turned to my husband and said, “What if someone put a ‘feel-good’ drug in the air-conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” He looked at me and said, “There’s your book.” And so Blue Coyote Motel was birthed that afternoon on my iPad. It later went on to become a quarterfinalist in the ABNA contest and a Book of the Month, both on e-thriller and Goodreads Psychological Thrillers. Who knew???

  • Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?

Probably an overall idea for the novel. I develop a character, and quite frankly, the characters begin to tell me where the story is going.

  • Why do you write? What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

People have always told me their stories. I guess I’m easy to talk to. The best advice to an aspiring writer – just start writing.. With each book, article, or short story, you’ll improve. And don’t let age stop you. I wrote Blue Coyote Motel when I was in my late 60’s.

  • So, what have you written? /*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest. /

I presently have three published books: Blue Coyote Motel, the sequel to it – Coyote in Provence and Tea Party Teddy, a satiric novel about California politics.

  • Where people can buy or see them? /* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included/

My books are all available on Amazon. Here’s my main page: http://ow.ly/q90K0

  • Give me an insight into your main character from your last novel /first novel/. What does he/she do that is so special?

When I gave Blue Coyote Motel to several people for beta reading, each one asked what was going to happen to Maria? I realized I’d written a character that people had become interested in. I think what makes her special is that she overcomes adversity. Kind of there’s hope for all of us, no matter what.

  • What sparked the idea for your book/s?

 

The air conditioner in Palm Springs was the genesis for Blue Coyote Motel and then went on to Coyote in Provence. Tea Party Teddy has an interesting background. I had a front row center seat in the California political arena. One night at a reception, I was seated next to the most bigoted, biased, politician I’d ever met. The next night, by coincidence, I was seated next to him at a dinner. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I wondered if he was married, what his family life was like, and what the future held for him. The novel came out of that experience.

  • Are there any character traits in your book that are based on someone you know? /*Even if the whole character isn’t based on them?

Teddy was born because of the politician I wrote above, but he became a composite of politicians. As for the other two books, not actually based on them, but I don’t think a writer can completely separate themselves from their experiences. For instance, in Blue Coyote Motel I write about Jill trekking in Nepal to go to the Mani Rimdu Festival in the Himalayas. I did that. In Teddy, there’s a scene where a woman comes up the head table at a Boys and Girls Club dinner and comments on the fact that Nina is wearing the same outfit she wore a year ago. I had that happen.

  • Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I read 4 – 5 books a week and as for favorite authors, it changes with whatever I’m reading. If I take the time to go beyond 20 pages, I like the book.

  • Where is your favorite place to read and write?

I like to read on the couch in the family room or in bed in the evening. I write in my office.

  • How do you market your book/s?

I made the decision to do digital marketing almost exclusively. I’ve spoken to several book clubs, but at this stage of my life I have no desire to go from bookstore to bookstore hoping someone will take a couple of books on consignment and at this age, I probably don’t have years and years to experience rejection letters and then finally find some publisher who will take me on. I decided to self-publish and have never regretted it.

  • Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Spend at least as much time marketing your books as you do writing them, if not more.

  • What do you do to get book reviews?

For Blue Coyote and Teddy, I relied on friends, and then the more people who read the books, the more the reviews came in. For Coyote in Provence, I decided to frontload it by having an event on Goodreads, an Advance Review Copy event. I sent the people who indicated an interest, the book in whatever format they preferred, and they agreed to write reviews for me on Amazon and Goodreads. The book has only been out a couple of weeks and it’s already gotten a number of reviews.

  • What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Write the best book you can write. Set aside a budget for someone to do the cover and get a copy editor. Both of these are relatively inexpensive and I think, critical, to publishing a book that you’ll be proud of. A lot of people try to cut corners by doing everything themselves. No matter how good of a story you write, if the book is sloppily edited, that will take precedence over the story.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Absolutely nothing. You’ve done a fabulous interview and, I think, covered everything that needed covering. Thank you so much for asking me to do this interview!

  • How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: http://www.dianneharman.com
Blog: on website
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianneHarman
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianneDHarman
Amazon Author Page: http://ow.ly/q90K0Smashwords:

Book Links:

Blue Coyote Motel – US http://amzn.to/soSO8uIj UK http://ow.ly/q948d
Tea Party Teddy – US http://amzn.to/ZgKwIB UK http://ow.ly/q93TZ
Coyote in Provence – US http://ow.ly/pQr7c UK http://ow.ly/q94iX
Goodreads – http://ow.ly/q94su

It was a great privilege for me to get to interview Dianne Harman, who has inspired me in many different ways. Thank you Dianne!!! Good Luck with everything!

Mystery Blog must read

I’m honored that EKKO Mysteries is featuring me today on their blog. Here’s their link:

http://ekkomysteries.blogspot.com/2013/10/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-ja-x.html

EKKO Mysteries has long admired hard working authors, which is why we started the EKKO Mysteries Author Spotlight Series, focusing on emerging authors and their stories.

This week we interviewed

Dianne Harman

author of Blue Coyote Motel.

What’s the title of your book? 

I’ve published three, but let’s go with my newest one, Coyote in Provence.

Where did the idea come from?

My first book was Blue Coyote Motel. So many people wanted to know what happened to Maria after she left for Provence, that I had to write the sequel.

 

What genre do your books fall under?

Blue Coyote Motel is a psychological thriller dealing with drugs that could stop people from aging and combat depression. Coyote in Provence is more of a cozy mystery, full of romance, art theft, food, and wine.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I’d like to see Penelope Cruz as Maria. As for Jordan, hmmmm.

How would you describe your book in one sentence?

Maria and Jordan share a love of food as they try to find out who stole the California Impressionist paintings, and who are the little Afghan girls in the barn at the suspect’s family home in Provence?

Self-published, published, or represented by an agency? 

I am self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

A couple of weeks.

What books would you compare  Blue Coyote Motel  to?

I can’t really say because the books has the premise of people inadvertently becoming addicted to a “feel-good” drug and an anti-aging serum. I’m not familiar with any that are comparable.

What was your inspiration for this book? 

Blue Coyote Motel was the genesis for Coyote in Provence, came about at a hotel in Palm Springs, California. It was 106 degrees out and the air conditioner was silent. I turned to my husband and said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone put a ‘feel-good’ drug in the air conditioner and all of people’s problems went away?” He looked at me and said, “There’s your book.” And so it was.

What might pique the reader’s interest? 

If someone likes art, romance, Provence, food or wine, this is your book!

Kudos to Dianne Harmon!

Discover more about Dianne’s books at the following places:

Blue Coyote Motel http://amzn.to/SO8uIj 

Tea Party Teddy http://amzn.to/ZgKwIB

Coyote in Provence http://ow.ly/pUZW2 

Goodreads Author Pagehttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6568284.Dianne_Harman

Facebook Author Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorDianneHarman

Twitter Username http://www.twitter.com/@DianneDHarman

Website: www.dianneharman.com

The Boomer becomes an Author

Thank you Christoph Fischer for the wonderful interview on your beautiful blog: http://www.christophfischer.com

Today I have the pleasure to present the complete works of Dianne Harman and an interview with this wonderful and upbeat writer.

“Blue Coyote Hotel” by Dianne Harman has at its heart an excellent idea and an intelligent concept that is very well presented and told with irony as well as compassion.
The main character Jeffrey is an idealistic scientist very much in love with his beautiful wife Maria. Working on an anti-ageing drug initially he compromises his work life for Maria, loses his job and ends up pursuing his dream of making the world a better place by other means at the Blue Coyote Hotel. The book actually begins with the story of one of the visitors to the Hotel and how his stay in their specially ‘air conditioned’ rooms positively affects his life. Throughout the book Maria and Jeffrey’s story is interspersed with segments about visitors whose lives miraculously change after staying at the hotel. For me this concept worked extremely well as we get to see the potential of Jeffrey’s dream and almost accidentally get to know some of the characters that will become more important for the plot later.
Harman has created two very interesting main characters with a lot going on in their lives and heads and she takes us honestly and compassionately through their changing circumstances while adding some other very colourful and entertaining people to the mix: A catholic priest, a Native Indian Doctor and an overweight business executive to name some of them.
With all the care that was put into the story and the people populating it, the book does an excellent job at making us feel for the characters, even if they bend the rules or are involved in ‘drugs’. You get to see where each character comes from and how their motifs are quite often benign and honourable. Told with wit and a great sense of irony this is a complex and engaging read that stayed with me for a long time after I finished it. With romance, idealism, moral aspects and even some suspense in the story this is a remarkable debut novel by a confident and compelling new writer. Harman tells her story with a perspective changing, confident voice which translates into a great narrative. I read the book in almost one sitting, completely involved, taken in and curious were the story would end.
Original, fascinating and very well written this is highly recommended.

 

Hi Dianne, thanks for taking the time for this little interview.

Thank you for having me!

Tell us a little about yourself. Have you always written?

No. I entered the game pretty late. Actually I was 68 when my first book, Blue Coyote Motel, was published. Had always thought about writing. Who doesn’t? But I didn’t feel I had the necessary credentials such as critique groups, workshops, etc. I happened on Stephen King’s book, On Writing, and he more or less says “Just Do It” and so I did!

How did you have the inspiration for your stories?

Blue Coyote Motel was a curious thing. We were at a boutique hotel in Palms Springs, California, for a wedding. Our son was the best man and the family had taken over the hotel for the event. It was 106 degrees in October. The air conditioning was wonderful and so quiet. The old hotel had recently been refurbished. I remember turning to my husband and saying, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone put a ‘feel-good’ drug in the air conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” He responded, “There’s your book.” And so it was.

My recently published sequel “Coyote in Provence” came about because so many people asked me what happened to Maria. The continuation of her story needed to be told. And am in the process of doing the final editing for the third book in the Coyote series.

Tea Party Teddy came about because my husband was in the California Legislature for twelve years and we entertained Governors, Congressmen, and people of every political persuasion. I had a front row center seat watching the political world unfold, and so I satirized the experience. It was an interesting time!

Is one of your books more important or personal to you and if so, why?

Whatever I’m writing is my favourite. It’s as if the characters dictate where the story goes. I just sit back and write what they tell me.

Do you have personal experience with politics or the pharmaceutical industry?

Pharmaceutical, no, politics, yes.

Did you do a lot of research for the books?

I research when the events call for it. For instance, in Coyote in Provence, California Impressionist paintings are stolen and smuggled into France. I was on the phone with the Los Angeles Art Fraud Division and Interpol finding out if the US could get the paintings back and what their policy was.

Would you say you have a political or personal message in your books?

I have been told there is a theme of good vs. bad in my stories, but I don’t write the story with a message in mind.

How much of the storylines was fixed before you started writing and how much changed during the process?

My writing is totally organic. I start with an idea, but I never know exactly how it’s going to come out.

Tell us a little about your writing and editing process.

I am very fortunate that I don’t have to work outside the home and I have far more time to write and edit than most people. I’m usually at my computer marketing and writing from about 7 or 8 in the morning until 5 at night and I usually write in the mornings on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, family and other things certainly cut into that time. Marketing is a big part of it, and I believe in digital marketing. As far as editing, I have a copy editor I usually send my books to first. Then I send them to beta readers. My husband is an excellent editor and reads everything two to three times. It’s amazing what you miss when it’s your own. My copy editor places a lot of emphasis on emotions, dialogue, etc. while my husband is much more plot oriented, so there’s a good balance.

Have you always written?

I wrote a book when I was nine about a little girl who goes to China. What was up with that and what did I know? Nothing! No novels until I was 68, but I wrote for newspapers, etc. during those years.

What is your writing environment like? Can you tolerate music or noise or are you a reclusive writer?

I guess I would be a reclusive writer. I don’t have music on. I sit at my computer to write and often in the morning I’ll wake up early and do marketing and email on my iPad while I have a cup of coffee in bed.

Which of your characters was most fun to write?

Slade Kelly, without a doubt. He’s simply a fun reprobate and everyone asks when I’m going to make him more of a major character. Haven’t quite worked that out.

Who would play them in a film?

I don’t know.

Are you like any of the characters?

Some have said that I’m somewhat like Nina in Tea Party Teddy, a politician’s wife. I don’t really see the resemblance, although a couple of the events in the book did happen to me. One which I still remember was being at a Boys and Girls Club dinner at the head table when a woman came up to me and told me how great it was a politician’s wife would wear the same outfit that she wore last year! Who remembers things like that?

What is your life like?

I live the dream life. I’m doing what I love and close enough to the Pacific Ocean I can walk to it. I have a great family, good health, and a husband who has taken over most of the household work so I can write. What’s not to like? I consider myself extremely fortunate!

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

I seem to be influenced by whatever I’m reading. I remember years ago when I made the decision not to finish a book because I wasn’t interested in it. Now I probably only read about 10% of what I pick up. Ayn Rand made a huge impression on me. I remember picking it up the first semester of college during final exams. Not smart. I couldn’t put it down and my grades that semester reflected it! I never would have thought I would be writing a lot of thriller/suspense books, even romantic suspense, but certainly Michael Connelly, Dennis LeHane, and Daniel Silva are three that come to mind. I’m a fan of Woody Allen and love his movies!

What are your views on independent publishing?

Pro and con. I see a lot of books that are self-published that have gross errors in them and have obviously not been copy edited. That’s a shame because it certainly bears on how a reader regards the writer and the story. An excellent story can be completely ruined by sloppy editing. The great part about it is that an author doesn’t have to wait by the mailbox for years hoping for a letter of acceptance.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

I love B.R. Snow. I think his books are absolutely comically wonderful. I’ve read everything he’s ever written and am anxiously awaiting his next one. John Dolan is a brilliant author who writes great stories, primarily centered in the East. He’s an extremely erudite man, and I love his references to things. And Christoph, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that your book, “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” was one of the best literary fiction books I’ve read.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

Best – I really care about people. Oddest – even though I’ve been in the public eye because of past businesses I’ve owned, antique & art appraiser, yoga studio owner, international yoga teacher, and credentialing yoga teachers, as well as having a husband in politics for 18 years, I love to be by myself. At heart I’m an introvert, not the extrovert everyone thinks!

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

My favourite animal is my 90 pound brindle boxer, Rebel. My favourite color is probably rust. As for an outdoor activity, it’s changed over the years. Used to love backpacking and have trekked in the Himalayas. I love the ocean, so probably a walk on the shore!

What would you take to a remote island?

I’d hope it has WiFi because I have become quite attached to my iPad!Yes.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

Buddha. I’m fascinated by Eastern philosophy.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

At the moment, I’m editing  two and three in the Teddy series as well as a boomer novel that interests me. You can find me on facebook (Dianne Harman) or (Dianne Harman Author), twitter @DianneDHarman, or on my website,  www.dianneharman.com

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Every book is a challenge, will this work? Will that? Does it make sense? Would a character do that? I write for the Huffington Post, over 50, and recently wrote a column entitled “Oh Wow.” As we get older, we tend to have fewer and fewer of those moments. Writing keeps my mind and opens me up to a multitude of new things and a lot of “Oh Wow” moments!

I couldn’t wait to read “Tea Party Teddy” by Dianne Harman ever since I finished her debut novel “Blue Coyote Hotel” to see where this promising and sharp minded writer would take her creative career. Tea Party Teddy is a perfect follow up, playing once again with themes of corruption and political ideals. Cleverly set up and plotted the book follows a Republican politician on his evil, ruthless and harmful campaign trail, the enemies he makes and the debt he builds and the impact of his career on his private life.
Harman does an excellent job at creating great suspense by planting plenty of plot seeds in the beginning of the book that push the story forward at perfect pace. As the story unfolds the author writes with insightful details and competent manner about the party politics, the lobbyists and corruption, infidelity and revenge.
You love to hate Teddy and with so much going on and emotions and politics going wild this is great entertainment and a fascinating and educational novel written with excellent sense for irony and dry sense of humour.
A very compelling and rewarding read with a moral component and a lot of bite.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of “Coyote in Provence” by Dianne Harman, the long awaited sequel to her excellent novel “Blue Coyote Motel” and I am pleased to have found it just as remarkable and enjoyable as the first one.

Maria, the ageing Mexican beauty and widow of an American scientist, is hiding in France under a new identity. Harman did a splendid job at tying everything up at the end of the last book but manages to unravel the story again easily. Maria is still ambitious and somewhat of a loose agent who won’t be satisfied with a boring and secluded life and therefore attracts people and problems. Of all people she falls for a detective from Southern California on a field trip to locate stolen art.
A separate narrative introduces a filthily rich Afghan business woman with a big heart. I don’t want to give away much more of the plot to avoid spoilers. All I will say is that said woman is an amazing character and a great and intriguing addition to the already well composed and wonderful cast. Harman really knows how to write entertaining and thoughtful stories with characters caught in the grey areas of morality and legality. With clever juxtaposition and sharp dialogue Harman makes several important points about those (too often contradictory) concepts.
I was impressed how the narratives then come together and how the themes from book one returned so naturally and organically into this story. As far as sequels go this is masterfully crafted and particularly pleasing as the plot is not predictable and the book contains a lot of new elements, yet retains the original character of the series / trilogy (Maybe we can persuade Harman to go beyond the third book?).
I found this a gripping and compulsive read and – although I really hate to use this worn out phrase in reviews – I cannot wait for the next book to find out more about how the remaining issues will be resolved. 
A great equal to book one and a real treat.