Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yay for the Old, Yay for the New

I usually make an effort on this blog--and I hope it pays off--to stick with material that serves the reader at least as much as myself. But for this entry I'm going to be totally selfish and post some personal reflections on my life in 2006 and plans/hopes/dreams for 2007. And who knows, maybe it'll even be vaguely interesting to you too.

Coolest Stuff of 2006

The year started out with me excited about my upcoming book release, Soulful Sex Volume III, a dream that was quickly squashed by the news that my publisher was going out of business. Turned out, however, that it was the best thing that could have happened. Not only did I have a blast having full control of my publications (under my own publishing house, Living Beyond Reality Press, my sales income ended up more in 2006 than the previous two years combined.

I was invited by Romantic Times BOOKclub to speak on the erotica panel at their national convention in Orlando. This came on the heels of my participation in the magazine's big issue on erotic romance. It was quite a thrill to work with the number one publication in the romance fiction business.

Another big dream of mine was realized in May when I released Diana's Deck Romance Fortune Telling Cards, which I designed and illustrated. Obviously I get to work with words all the time, so it was awesome to get to work with pictures. I really love how the set turned out. It was really exciting when Non Sport Update featured the cards in their August/September issue.

2006 was a pretty good year for me too for awards. I was voted Featured Author of the Year 2005 by The Romance Studio Blue. In the 2005 Preditors & Editors poll I received two Top Ten Finishes: 6th place in Non Fiction Article for my essay "Man-Devil-Angel: The Perfect Erotic Partner" and an incredible 5th place (out of 266 entrants) in Best Author! In April I received a big surprise: "Je t'aime, Etienne" from Soulful Sex Volume II was a Finalist in the Best Story from an Anthology category in the 2005 RIO Awards of Excellence, presented by the Reviewers International Organization. Last but not least, my essay "The Successful Author, Revised" won first place in the 2006 Funds for Writers Annual Essay Contest.

One of my biggest thrills of 2006 was the great review I received from the infamous Mrs. Giggles for Soulful Sex Volumes I & II. It's no easy feat pleasing Mrs. G and I was very grateful (and relieved!).

I had planned of course on releasing more anthologies of "erotica with soul" in 2006, but made the last minute decision to write a non-fiction book about my experiences with self-publishing, titled Do-It-YourSelf-Publishing. The book got the attention of a lot of different websites and publications, and was featured by Funds for Writers, Mrs. Giggles, About Freelance Writing, Write and Publish Your Book, BookHitch, and TheNextBigWriter, among others. Best of all, it was endorsed by famed fantasy author and epublishing supporter Piers Anthony.

Meanwhile, the local Milwaukee media gave me some good press this year: An interview with me was the lead story in the entertainment section of, entitled "Tech-savvy Milwaukee author publishes her own books."

I met an awful lot of great people via the web in 2006 but must give special mention to The Lipstick Mystic, who has promoted my work on her website and newsletters, and featured me in a truly outstanding interview in December. But I can't even begin to list here all the cool new fans--both of my books and this blog--I encountered this year, many of whom I'm happy to consider new friends.

And outside of the romance writing biz, 2006 brought me such great events and discoveries as these:
  • My hero Guy Carbonneau becoming head coach of the Montreal Canadiens
  • Rereading The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Cody Willard
  • James McAvoy in "Children of Dune"
  • The return of Superman
  • "Lady in the Water" (yes, I loved it!) and "The Man Who Heard Voices" by Michael Bamberger
  • Les Stroud aka "Survivorman"
  • Adam and Jamie aka the MythBusters
  • My 50th birthday
  • "Tranji" and the "So You Think You Can Dance" gang
  • The Chicago Bears
  • Hiro and "Heroes"
  • "Battlestar Galactica"
  • Edward James Olmos (who deserves a separate bullet point of his own)
  • "The Office" (it just gets better and better)
  • Our new Sony Grand WEGA 50" 1080p Rear-Projection SXRD HDTV (I lurve it!)
  • The Pirates! adventure books by Gideon Defoe

Looking Forward to 2007's my "resolution" for next year, an idea brought up to me by my friend Jennie. It's this: "Keep It Fun."

When you're an ambitious person such as myself, it's easy to get caught up in projects to the point that they stop being fun. It's one thing to have to labor in your job, but in your hobbies and avocations a person needs to be sure not to lose sight of the point: to have fun. I'm 50 and lord willing will live another 50 years, but however long I have left, I want to enjoy it.

So I'm hoping to keep that in mind in 2007, and spend plenty of time with family and friends and doing enjoying the many blessings I am so fortunate to have. I'm sure I'll work hard anyway--I'm weird like that--but I'm hoping to have a little more fun as well.

Would that you all had such nice, happy resolutions for the New Year. Well, while you're working to lose weight, exercise more, or whatever tough and dreary challenges you're taking on in 2007, I hope you too will Keep It Fun. And I hope part of that will be plenty of visits to this blog!

Happy New Year!


Melanie said...

Great post, Diana! And great advice for a nre year's resolution - Keep it Fun will be my motto in 2007 as well.

Happy New Year!

Diana Laurence said...

Thanks, Melanie! It's day one of 2007 and so far I'm keeping to the resolution pretty well, LOL.

Happy New Year to you too and thanks for posting!