Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Interview with Diane Nelson author of "Dragon Academy" and much more.

Welcome Diane.

Let's begin by asking some getting to know you questions.

Are you married?

No, I am currently single, although I was a widow, then a divorcee in that order.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Philadelphia, PA and lived there until age 10. We then migrated to the ‘country’ in what passed for suburbs in the 50’s to a town called Maple Shade, NJ where I lived until I married in ‘66.

Where do you currently live?
Currently I share a domicile with my ‘firstborn’, alright my only-born but it devils him for me to refer to him that way. We are a few miles north and west of Allentown, PA - again nominally ‘country’ if you overlook the McMansions sprouting like mushrooms in every field.

You have a deep and abiding love of horses. Have you always been involved in the equestrian world?
My Dad was quite the aficionado of the ponies - some might refer to it as TB horseracing - and we lived within easy driving distance to some of the major racetracks of the day: Garden State, Atlantic City, Monmouth, Delaware Park and the harness tracks outside Philly. Back then, jockeys weren’t quite the rock stars they are now. I worked at Howard Johnson’s [HoJo’s for those with a flair for nostalgia] and many of the top jocks of the day stayed at the motel. I had the early morning shift, coinciding with morning works, so I got to know most of them and their breakfast preferences. Back in the day, going to the races was a family affair and I cut my teeth on the Racing Form and padded my college fund with some well-placed … analyses of form.

I didn’t actually own my first horse until I was in my late 20’s and that’s a story for some wine and cheese and suspension of disbelief. My next one wasn’t much better but I finally lucked out with a good ole boy needing a forever home. Sonny taught me all I needed to know with grace and equine humor. I moved on to dressage, eventing, hunter-jumper and then discovered my true calling in distance riding.

When did you realize that you wanted to write fiction?

As with many writers, I *always* wrote. Shy, quiet - painfully so - the only outlet I had during some truly dreadful high school years was my writing. My ability to compose a decent English sentence held me in good stead through a 30 year career as x-ray diffractionist and sometimes technical writer. With the birth of the internet and email and forums of every ilk, I embraced the new media with enthusiasm and entertained far-flung family and friends with stories of our escapades and disasters, with and without our equine companions.

So when I retired from Air Products, no one asked, “So what are you going to do with yourself?” They, and I, knew unequivocally … Diane was writing full time.

So it began with “Sculpting David” How long did it take to complete the manuscript?

I tend to be a marathon writer. I may have a story stew for days, even weeks. I may think of a scene, then search for a particular piece of music that I will listen to over and over and over [noise reduction headphones are a must-have accessory in my household] and I choreograph that scene using the rhythms that become hard-wired in my brain. Once I begin, I write straight through to a logical stopping point, sometimes a chapter or more. But most times, if it’s a short story, I simply write until it is completed. I’ve done 15000 words in a single 24 hour period. Sculpting David probably took a total of three days and clocked in at >22K words initially.

What came next, the short story Anthologies or Dragon Academy?

In Nov. 2009, I was taking an online class on ‘how to write sex scenes’ . One of the participants thought it good fun to have a scene on horseback so I came up with a list of reasons why that wasn’t the best idea and from that morphed my first equine short story: “Finish Line”. I realized I rather liked the characters and had, in fact, several renting apartments in my brain, all of them anxious to have their spot in the sun. So while I integrated my equine disciplines and discovered the quirks and strengths of each main character, I used Authonomy as a bellweather to hone my craft and learn from other authors.

Two Authonomites challenged me to write a short story dealing with dragons and parasites. I wandered away for a few days, then came back with 10K words, with the working title ‘Dragon Academy’. I did about a chapter every two days and at the end of five weeks I had a full length novel.

How long did it take you to complete each of your full length novels?

DA - 5 weeks. I have two dark urban fantasies that I completed in about four months [my first two cringe-worthy efforts]. A normal working day for me would be in the 5K word range, and - no - I never have writer’s block. I simply write, whether or not it is ‘good’ is less important that the act itself. My son swears I go to another dimension because I seem to leave my body as a shell, impervious to sight, smell, or sound - a fact attested to by the number of ‘burnt offerings’ that pass for meals in the hacienda.

Have you always had a fascination with fantasy writing?

Back in the day the number of genres was far fewer - we had historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, science fiction and plain old fiction, all shelved alphabetically without regard to subject matter. So I learned to love a wide range of genres as I worked my way through our small library’s catalogue. At some point in the last five years I gravitated away from SciFi and latched onto mysteries/thrillers/spy novels. I embrace a total immersion philosophy. When a friend lent me Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country novels, I immediately ordered *all* of his works [Amazon and I have a long-standing relationship]. Then I attended my first DragonCon three years ago and fell head-over-heels with Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Frost, Lilith SaintCrow and a dozen other worthies.

The erotica in Dance Macabre is subtle yet very effective, how did you approach writing erotic scenes?

Dance Macabre is more noir with erotic undertones, a psychological study of dominance and submission. Some of the most sensuous elements are implied - I like a slow burn that lets the intensity simmer until the characters, and the reader, are taken to the point of no return.

You not only write, you also edit the anthologies. Is editing something you enjoy, or a necessary evil?
I spent a substantial part of my technical writing career ‘going over’ professional submissions to technical journals for many of my colleagues. In the past year, I’ve had as many as 14 authors submit manuscripts for critical reading or line-by-line editing. Most come to me by word of mouth. I love establishing a dialogue with an author, exploring continuity issues and character motivations. So yes, I enjoy editing … as long as it’s not my own.

After Dragon Academy came Mounted Exercises, a large swing away from the fantasy genre. Which did you enjoy writing the most? Or did you enjoy both, but for different reasons?

Dragon Academy was a total hoot to write. I grew up with Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, all ‘wholesome’ and very 30’s and 40’s visions of family life in America. I wanted to recreate that vibe with characters who are basically nice kids who make a few errors in judgment, who just happen to find themselves training dragons, and who have a chance to save the day. I threw in a few oddball characters for comic relief - and yes, I drew from certain real life people I’ve known along the way.

Mounted Exercises gave me a chance to combine feel-good romanticism with erotic elements and my abiding passion for all things equine. Hot chicks, cool dudes and horses - I can’t think of a better recipe for winding down after a hard day.

Do you have a special space where you create your work?

If the laptop has space on the lap, that’s my workspace. I have a rickety table that serves as my ‘desk’, a rocker recliner that does neither because I’m generally hunched over the keyboard … and all of this is conveniently located in front of the 42” flat screen. I am, if nothing else, a modern woman with needs - media needs, that is.

Do you like music playing when you are writing or is it a distraction? What music do you prefer to listen to?

Sometimes, if the scene is especially intense, I want absolute silence, to the extent I’ll wear the noise reduction headphones to block out ambient noise. If I am editing, I usually run through a particular playlist depending on the genre - historical fiction rates Chris Isaak, SciFi a more hard-driving rock sound, soft romance often merits a classical piece. The firstborn keeps me up-to-date on Dido and Pink and the other chick-singers.

Are you a disciplined writer with a set routine?

Lessee, ‘disciplined’ … is that a euphemism for OCD? That would be a big ‘yes’. I am mentally alert in the early, very early, morning and then very late at night so I plan my writing around that.

You have recently set up your own Independent Publishing Company, that is exciting, why did you do that?

I believe the future of publishing is digital and the market place is undergoing a sea change with the major Houses unwilling or unable to recognize or adjust to the changing landscape. There are books, and authors, of exceptional merit who are not published and should be. I want to seek out fellow travelers in the YA, fantasy and romance genres, both novel and novella lengths, and even short story collections, authors who tell us a story we want to read with characters we will fall in love with.

The publishing world is undergoing enormous change, do you think the novel in book form will become obsolete?

I sincerely doubt that will ever happen - at least not in our lifetimes. There is a cache about holding a book in your hands, an almost sacred trust that the reader and author share through a medium that has defined and directed cultures and societies.

What genres are you seeking to publish?

I have a singular fondness for YA, in fact some of the best stories are being written for that market. Fantasy and romance (with erotic elements) are the other two that tweak my fancy, but, in truth a good story is a good story, whatever the genre, and I don’t wish to restrict or exclude a manuscript because it does not fit into a preconceived pigeonhole.

Tell my readers a little about ‘Shotgun Shorts” and how the idea originated.

I love short stories. I adore flash fiction. I admire economy, making every single word count. The skill set is substantially different from that used to write a novel. I find it engages the senses more fully, more creatively. I have the uncommon good fortune to have access to some extraordinary authors who excel at the ‘shorts’ and who had a small library of diverse works in a variety of genres available. We put together, in a truly collaborative effort, short stories, poetry and essays that encompass a broad range of genres - some very serious, some jaw-droppingly funny.

How many hours a day do you dedicate to your own writing? And how many to running the Publishing site?
As a start-up company, with a single employee (moi), 16-18 hour days are the norm. My son often finds me doing a face-plant on the keyboard in the wee hours as I run out of energy before I run out of things to do. Right now, I do not have the luxury of devoting substantial periods of time to writing so I indulge in flash fiction and shortie shorts to keep my craft sharp. My single biggest time sink is developing a professional website - a task I find onerous. I am in the market for a savvy six year old to take over those duties.

Do you find yourself needing to schedule your offline activities more carefully?

To be honest, my son has taken over virtually all of those off-line duties. I do the grocery shopping as a recreational sport and make an official foray into polite society by attending Cons. My horses stare at me with a “…and who are you?” look. Once in awhile I accompany Kevin to a competition and participate as his ‘pit crew’ but that is a rare occurrence nowadays.

You have an enormously busy time ahead, given that do you have anything in the works yourself?

I participated in the Denyse Bridger FaceBook Romance and Fantasy ‘create a novella’ challenge called ‘The Shadow of This World’ which I just finished editing. This will be published by XoXo Publishers with the proceeds going to the Italian Earthquake Relief Fund. It is a historical romance/fantasy set in 1515 Venice. I had a minor in medieval history as an undergrad so I jumped at the chance to weave a story set in that turbulent time in history. I intend to continue the story as a trilogy with ‘Shadows on the Heart’ taking shape in my subconscious. Once I have Sculpting David sent off to Red Sage, and Pfoxmoor Publishing on solid footing, I will start the sequel.

I also have the first two of a 4-part dark urban fantasy series called ‘The Guardian Chronicles’ which needs some tweaking - those characters have been knocking on my door with some insistence lately.

And I promised a certain 12 year old girl that the sequel to Dragon Academy was in the works.

Where would you like to see yourself both personally and professionally in 2011.

I want to have Dragon Academy II, the Shadow trilogy and perhaps the Chronicles written and hopefully launched. I want to find 10-15 books for Pfoxmoor Publishing to bring to the reading public.

And I want to take a bit of time for myself and return to a place of true fantasy and magic that I discovered just this year, a place where I found new friends, people who ‘got me’ in ways that touched my heart and soul.


With high school finished for the summer, Nick looks forward to visiting his aunt and uncle in New Jersey. What awaits him is a heat wave like no other - and the last two Greywings on the planet. Nick has an innate ability to train horses but will he be able to translate his amazing skill to these teenage dragons?

The steaming soup of mid-summer heats up tempers and tests resolve as Nick vies with fellow trainers, Keith and Maxie, for mastery over their new charges. The dragons, Nikita and Michael, typical teenagers themselves, have other ideas.

Nick treads a torturous path through a minefield of competing demands: the expectations of his aunt and uncle, recalcitrant horses, the Academy’s female students and the overwhelming egos of Nikita and Michael. One small mistake erupts into a conflagration that hurls everyone into a race against time and forces of nature.

[S]uitable for both adults and teenagers. The writer jumps right into the story, and the action and quick paced dialogue keep this moving from the start. [t]his is a polished piece of work. I like realism, especially when it comes to fantasy. The smart dialogue here, the descriptions of a very real environment, helped me to immediately place myself. The humour was perfectly applied and also believable. Diane Seamlessly blends genres. [t]he read is engrossing, funny, sometimes an edge of your seat thing that is ridiculously entertaining. I certainly recommend it…
Paul Neto

Action, humor, teenage angst, dragons-this one has it all. And [it] isn't just for teens. A lively cast of characters-quirky, entertaining, and downright laughable: Nick and his not-quite-girlfriend, Uncle Dietrich- strong silent type-and Aunt Anna-less silent, excitable type-there's plenty to like. And did I mention BillyBob and BobbyRay, hillbilly truckers with IQs lower than a snake's belly? Pacing is excellent and dialogue crisp. Diane's writing style [is] smooth, easy to read, packed with action and imagery. Dragon Academy is a wonderful story for anyone's fantasy collection.
Mark Marker

An email from a young fan that made my day:

Subject: dragon Academy

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I finhised the book. it was AWESOME I loved it I couldnt put it down I read it for 7 hours straight (really im not kidding). Is there a sequel, because if there is I really want to read it when it's finished.

I finished reading Dragon Academy and sat smiling to myself for a while. It captured my imagination and took me on a marvelous journey. Diane appears to write effortlessly, the flow and pacing as near to perfect as it gets. It does indeed cross genres and it does with such skill that the reader loses all sense of time and place. We are there, the characters are causing us to laugh delightedly or in some cases like Billybob and BobbyRay wish we had a gun handy.

A read...not only for the YA market. Older folks with a young spirit and sense of adventure will love it, as I did.

Suzanna Burke


Mounted Exercises chronicles the lives and loves of four equestriennes, whose passion for all things equine can only be exceeded by mounts of a different sort.


Horses, leather, whips, hot chicks and hotter instructors – take a lighthearted, erotic ride with Hannah and her friends, saddle optional.

In Riding Miss Daisy, Hannah Reich fulfills a dream, and on her first dressage horse on the first day of the rest of her life, the new German ex-Olympic trainer sets her mane and tail on fire.

Can Hannah rein in the stunning blond hunk that she’s named Captain Tightpants? Will the Teutonic splendor bring his alpha mare under his exclusive control and take her to the next level?

And ask not what a saddle can do for you …

 Suzannah Burke on Aug. 10, 2010 :

Mounted Exercises is a delight. A delectable, delicious, daring, delight. diane Nelson utilizes her marvelous talent and takes the reader into several journeys of temptation, love and a good healthy slice of lust.

Centered around the equestrian world, where being mounted doesn't necessarily mean just riding a horse! I smiled, laughed and lusted right along with the witty, very human and likeable characters...Bravo. Diane Nelson...I am sooo pleased I purchased this book.

Sessha Batto said...

An intriguing collection of erotica with an equestrienne theme - if you like horses and sex (and what woman doesn't) you'll love these stories!


 Shotgun Shorts serves up a hodgepodge of sensory delights: fiction that flashes, wee love stories for a long drawn-out sigh, foodie delights, kitties and dogs, nostalgia, humor, rollercoasters, dragons, magick and more. Stretch out on the sand, curl up on the sofa, or steal a moment from that report-go on, you know you want to-and prepare yourself for a smile, a knowing wink, and an "aaah" moment.


Eight authors from around the globe unite to bring you a cornucopia of delights. Stories to titillate, enthrall, enrapture.

Explore, if you dare, dark, dangerous worlds where passion reigns supreme, where lust and love meet in a pas de deux of wanton desire and longing.

Sip from a frothy mix of delicious seduction. Eyes blind, your senses fly free, yearning, seeking, believing. Savor the re-imagining of ancient tales, brought to life with a modern, often humorous, twist. Tread carefully down a dangerous path of deadly seduction. Open your mind to new possibilities, indulge the senses.

Feel the subtle sway, the press of hot flesh to hot flesh, embrace the intricate weave of pleasure and pain, body and soul, heart and mind.

Do you know the steps? Are you sure? When the music starts, who will lead, who will follow?


Perfect for steamy summer nights, July 21, 2010
By Marisu Fronc

Dancing in the Dark: An anthology of erotica (Paperback)

Do you like erotica? Be honest, everyone does. This is the perfect erotica volume to have on your shelf. The stories are wonderfully diverse, running the gamut from funny to emotional to pulse quickening. Whatever your particular tastes, there's something inside that will get your blood pumping. It makes a great night table book - stories short enough to finish in one sitting and steamy enough to be sure you'll have sweetly racy dreams all night long.

Feeling Hot Hot Hot, July 20, 2010
By Book Rants Book-Rants.blogspot.com

Dancing in the Dark: An anthology of erotica (Paperback)

While all the stories are well done, the one that stands out the most is Sweet Seraphim by T L Tyson. The fact that Seraphim is blind is a nice twist to a fantastic erotic tale. Having Seraphim dive into a new world of sensual experiences is an excellent way to pull in a reader while also keeping the reader interested in the characters lives and where these experiences will take them. This will definitely leave you wanting more from this author.

Sites where books are for sale/published/reviewed:





Dragon Academy: Diane Nelson

ireadiwrite Publishing: http://www.ireadiwrite.com/Dragon-Academy.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/16995

Kindle Books: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Academy-ebook/dp/B003STD9XU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1278246818&sr=1-1

OmniLit: http://www.omnilit.com/product-dragonacademy-441514-251.html

Books on Board: http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?BODY=searchresults&SEARCH=dragon%20academy


Barnes & Noble: http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=EBOOK&WRD=diane+Nelson


Dancing in the Dark: An Anthology of Erotica edited by Diane Nelson

[Sessha Batto, John Browne, Robb Grindstaff, Diane Nelson, Noelle Pierce, JD Revene, Kate Rigby, T.L Tyson]

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Dark-anthology-Diane-Nelson/dp/1453608877/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278247159&sr=8-1-catcorr

Kindle Store: http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-in-the-Dark-ebook/dp/B003U8WVBK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1278247217&sr=1-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/19097

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Dancing-In-The-Dark/book-bEo0DUAM8EWQbfwnR7uTBg/page1.html

Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/9781453608876/?itm=1

The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781453608876/Dancing-in-the-Dark

Mounted Exercises: Diane Nelson

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Mounted-Exercises-Diane-E-Nelson/dp/1453671226/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278247284&sr=8-1-catcorr

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Mounted-Exercises-ebook/dp/B003VPX09O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1281530187&sr=1-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/19096

The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781453671221/Mounted-Exercises

1 comment:

  1. Obviously a very talented Woman. Mounted exercises sounds like a great read. Diane Nelson has so much energy, the mark of a great writer. I appreciate her going into her own world when she writes. The interview was in depth and left me feeling I knew the author.


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