Saturday, October 01, 2011

Me among the birdies

I swore I would never Tweet. Actually, I doubted I was mentally capable of mastering this new weird art form.

A few years ago, I tried. I set up an account and tried to figure out what to do with it. Who would I Tweet to? What wonders of the modern world would reach me via Twitter? How many zillion books would I sell with my brilliant twiddling and twaddling?

For about fifteen minutes, I clicked on things and got nowhere. Frustrated, I quit.

Recently, I’ve been reissuing some of my beloved older books, including Regencies and mysteries, in digital editions. (Quick sales pitch: On my website,, they’re all listed on the right side of the Books page, with links. Some as low as 99 cents.)

Now the hard work: publicity. A friend of mine, legal thriller author Rebecca Forster, insisted I learn to Twitter. I cried, moaned and threw a tantrum, but it was no use. She stood firm.

This is just a theory, but either someone improved Twitter or my brain has become magically attuned to the digital age. I figured out what to do in about five minutes. Well, it took me a day or so to find Rebecca. She had a little trouble finding me too, but we finally got our acts together and now we chirp at each other regularly.

Next issue: how to write messages in 140 letters and spaces or less. Fortunately, I had experience that made Twitter look verbose.

During my newspaper days, I not only reported but also did some editing in an age when there were still street editions with screaming headlines. One day, I was working on a copy desk and got handed a story about a Las Vegas brothel persuading the IRS to treat its payments to prostitutes as a business expense.

The headline requirement: three lines, each no more than 10 letters and spaces. Here’s what I wrote:

Wages of

Sin Said


The editor liked it. He came out and praised my 20-something-year-old self. I remember it clearly 30-plus years later.

And so, this past month, I began singing with the birdies. My handle, in case you’re wondering, is @Jacquediamond. I post writing tips, news about writing and publishing, and stuff about my books. If you Tweet me, I’ll Tweet you back.

Thanks, Rebecca, for pushing me out of the nest.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Craft Idea ~ Hallowe'en Decorations

My passion for thrift stores and my never-ending hunt for a good bargain took me to Value Village a couple of weeks ago. For years their stores have been Hallowe'en central, and now they even have a large rack of free cards filled with costume, makeup and decorating ideas using recycled items.

One that caught my eye was their Sinister Ceramics - Decorating Idea #2, with instructions for turning old ceramic figurines into hair-raising decorations. They used owls but for my project I settled on cats.

I found two cats and bought rhinestones at a bead store to use for eyes.  Here's what I started with.

Okay, those cats were already pretty hair-raising! I removed the dried flowers from the pink cat, gave a both a light sanding to scuff up the surfaces, sprayed them with glossy black paint (I did this outdoors), and let them dry overnight. The next morning I used my hot glue gun to attach the rhinstone eyes, and they were done!

Here's what they look like now.

The total cost for both was about $7.00. I have them sitting in a little alcove in my foyer, but I think they'd also make cute decorations for a child's Hallowe'en party or for decorating a classroom. Or...?

You'll find lots of spooky ideas on the Value Village website or in one of their stores. Have fun, and have a safe and happy Hallowe'en!

Until next time,
The Christmas Secret (November 2011)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn Harvest

The arrival of autumn always makes me a little nostalgic for summer, but there are things I love about it, too. The crisp morning air, the fall colour—which we get a taste of, even here in the Pacific Northwest—but most of all I love fall produce. Apples are ripening on the trees, pumpkin patches are bright orange, and the farmers’ markets are brimming with cabbages and corn.

This year my daughter and I decided to try our hand at canning tomatoes. Those are the only things I buy in cans—everything else we eat is fresh and made from scratch—but as a two-time cancer survivor I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the carcinogenic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) found in the lining of almost all food cans.

So last weekend I purchased 35 pounds of tomatoes from a local organic farmer, borrowed my neighbor’s canning pot, bought two dozen jars with lids and rings, and looked up “how to can tomatoes” on the Internet. The printable PDF file on this site is easy to follow and includes great illustrations.

On Sunday afternoon my daughter and I rolled up our sleeves and got to work. The job turned out to be a lot less work and a lot more fun than we expected. Three hours later we were admiring the fruits of our labor—sixteen quarts of tomatoes, chemical free and no salt added.

The only thing we couldn’t figure out was why on earth we weren’t doing this years ago.

Do you have a fall favorite? What about canning tips? Please share!

Until next time,
The Christmas Secret
November 1, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Heroes of Alaska


This month I ask all of you to come and write on my blog at my website (, and sign up for my newsletter. For a chance to win two autographed books. I’ll be finding the winners by who writes the most pithy replies. While your there please stop by and learn how to recieve a free book plate signed by me. All you have to do is send in a S.A.S.E., to the snail mail address, I have located on my sight. This will be a fun month so keep looking and you just might find some more surprises.

In a mere couple of days my second book THE FIREFIGHTER’S CINDERELLA comes out as an October pick. It’s the sequel to my first book, A DAUGHTER’S DISCOVERY, found in the novella entitled A MOTHER’S WEDDING DAY.
I personally like to call these books my HEROES OF ALASKA SERIES. Another book in the series is due out next year.

THE FIREFIGHTER’S CINDERELLA features C.J. Powell, the twin brother of Ranger Jake Powell from A DAUGHTER’S DISCOVERY.

Captain C.J. Powell of the San Francisco Fire Department, the ruggedly handsome man who has broken many women’s hearts, is trying to escape the past he left in Alaska years earlier.

It’s been a year since his best friend and fellow firefighter Tim McGuiness died from cancer. During a marathon set up to honor Tim’s memory, C.J. helps the other firefighters cut off racing tags from the runners crossing the finish line.

One runner crosses the finish line who looks vaguely familiar and collapses in his arms. He rushes her to triage where he learns that the beautiful woman he’s caring for is none other than the one girl he could never have, Natasha Bennington. She loved his deceased best friend Tim without ever expecting love from him in return. Instead of being the heavier set woman C.J. remembers, she’s turned into a slim swan.

The sparks fly between these two friends who were friends of Tim’s. Now they unite and find out they really were meant for each other. Only Natasha’s work as a Pro-bono attorney has become dangerous. The people she’s trying to protect are working for a dangerous drug cartel ring leader named Mendez who’s making threats against her life.

Now C.J. must take Natasha and their new found love up into the wilds of Alaska until Mendez can be caught. Can their love survive ? Or will they fall prey to the dangers lurking in Alaska? Find out in this exciting read.
I’ve loved writing this book. The elements of the Cinderella story are all here as Natasha becomes the beauty that she always was on the inside, making this such an exciting part of the novel. I hope you fall in love with C.J. and Natasha’s story just like I have.