A while ago on Facebook, I was grumbling about stubborn characters who refuse to do what I want. I promised to explain who was giving me trouble and why, after Book 17 was released.

But meanwhile, here’s a teaser: I’ll reveal the culprit and the “conversation” we had; and I bet you’ll recognize the situation as soon as you get to it in the book!

The culprit: Former secret agent John Kane.

The conversation:

Me: Okay, let’s move this forward.

John: No.

Me: What?!? You can’t tell me ‘no’. I’m the author. I control your every move.

John: I don’t care who you are; I won’t do that.

Me: You sure as hell will!

John: *stubborn silence*

Several frustrating days later, after no writing progress…

Me (wheedling): Come on, John. I spent a week figuring out how to make this work, and it took three chapters to set it up. Just do it, okay? You know you want to.

John: No.

Me (fighting dirty): Arnie would do it in a heartbeat. And he’d make it hot as hell.

John: Good for Arnie. But he’s not here. And I won’t do it.

Me: Yes. You. Will!

After another week of fruitless writing, re-writing, and discarding…

John: It doesn’t have to be this difficult, you know. Just let me do it my way. And I promise… (deep seductive rumble) … I’ll make it hotter than hell.

Me: Gah! Okay, fine! Do it your way… (under my breath) … jerk.


Me (fanning myself): Whew! Okay, John. You were right, and I was wrong…

And now for another reveal: The cover and jacket blurb are finally done(ish) for Book 17; and we have a release date, woohoo! But I have two options for the cover, and I can’t decide. Please help me by voting for your fave:

Back cover blurb: Secret agent Aydan Kelly is investigating an international arms cabal when drive-by shootings target her lovers, her Director, and Aydan herself.  Her trusted informant delivers the chilling news:  All their covers are blown.

The hitmen keep coming… and they seem to know exactly where Aydan and her team will be.  Someone in the Department is betraying them, and Aydan is forced into a deadly race against time.  Can she catch the traitor and stop the cabal before they slaughter the people she loves?

Live And Let Spy will be released October 28, 2022! If you’ve signed up for my mailing list, you’ll soon receive an email with pre-order links. Plus, I’ll post links on my Facebook author page and here on my webpage as soon as they’re available. Thanks for reading!



  hours  minutes  seconds


Book 17: Live And Let Spy goes live!

47 thoughts on “Revealing!

  1. I did option 2 as for whatever reason it caught my eye first…really not sure why, but it did. Maybe it was because I was still laughing at the fact you let John have his way…’re so good to your characters. LOL!! Looking for to the release….love it!!!


  2. Hi there- I like the title on the right, to me it just flows better that way. But whatever you decide I’m looking forward to the book!!
    PS- Personally I don’t understand why you wouldn’t always let John Kane do whatever he wants in whichever way he pleases😜


  3. I’m glad I’m not the only one having conversations like that in my head. But, wait a minute, I’m not a fiction writer…

    Congrats on getting close to release day. Very exciting. I hate to sound ignorant, but I don’t know what a “cabal” is. That’s not a familiar English word to me. Not sure if your audience is international.


  4. Hi Diane – I voted for #1 for these reasons… to me, the picture looks clearer, color looks more even in tones (esp. in hair, skin), the progression across the total pic from light to dark is better, and the placement of the figure lower on the page looks more natural (like she’s actually walking on the ground, not up in the air). Stacking the print with ‘right margin justification’ is visually interesting… where stacking with ‘left margin justification’ kind of emphasizes where her butt is. Image B does give a bit of the appearances she’s moving – but makes her look bigger on the page overall. Stacking the words to the right margin also leaves the sharper edges of the letters in sync and over the darker background looks cleaner.

    Counting the days to find out what happens next in Ayden’s world!
    – Maggie J


    • Wow, what an awesome analysis! Thank you so much. (Hubby thanks you, too — he says, “I knew I was right, I just couldn’t say why.”) Those are all excellent points, and I think the vote just tipped heavily toward Option 1! 🙂


      • Thanks, Diane – blame a few years in advertising at a farm-supply company. Every supplier wants their squeeze chute or coveralls to look glamorous in the flyers!?! There is also no training for proof-reading better than annual parts catalogues – pages & pages of numbers and letters that make no sense at all!


        • Aha, I thought that sounded like an expert opinion! If you managed to make coveralls and squeeze chutes look glamorous, I need to hire you as my image consultant. 😉 Thanks again for sharing your expertise!


    • You’re right about that — these characters are definitely headstrong! I’m glad, actually. It’s much easier to write them (usually) when they have strong opinions. Whenever I get “stuck” in a novel, it’s because my subconscious knows I’ve gotten something wrong and it won’t let me move ahead until I correct it. The trick is figuring out where I screwed up. 😉

      Thanks for your vote! You and Hubby are in the same camp on the cover. I just hope the vote swings definitively one way or the other.


    • Yep, John definitely worked his magic! Apparently I didn’t have much choice in the matter. I swear, I tried to write it “my way” for nearly two weeks and got nowhere. 🙂

      Thanks for your vote! I was leaning toward Option 2 as well, but just couldn’t decide.


  5. Best news I’ve had all day in a wet day in Holland and Germany, still its been good.

    Can’t wait for October now. Oh and both my mum and I love the first cover better but I guess we only count as one vote


  6. Hey Diane,

    I vote for title on the left – it leads you into the book – inviting you to open it – which I can’t wait to do!

    Jo A

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Thanks, Jo! I felt the same way about Option 2, but Hubby put in a solid vote for Option 1 so I was torn. So far the votes are about 50/50, so I guess the good news is that no matter which one I choose, at least half my readers will like it. 😉


  7. Wrestling with your novel character is like reasoning with an 18 month year old who just learned the full power of using the word “No!”. Only in parenthood, the parent usually wins that battle. 😁

    I went with Option Two. I think it’s because the letters in the title are left-justified. Maybe subconsciously I feel it’s slightly easier to read?


    • Thanks, Rudy! It’s such a tough choice. So far it seems as though the votes are evenly split, so I guess I’m not the only one having a hard time deciding. I leaned toward Option 2 as well, because it feels like she’s dashing off the cover into the book. But… I can’t decide! Hence the poll.

      And you’re exactly right about these characters. Which is all okay, until I realize that I’m actually arguing with figments of my own imagination. 😉


  8. Option One, please. I like being able to see some of the surroundings in the photo. Also in Option Two it seems like the bit of Aydan’s profile is blurred out or her gun seems closer to her face. Maybe it’s just my eyes but I definitely like Option One best.


    • Thanks for your vote! You’re right, her profile is a bit obscured in Option 2 — I think it’s because the figure is actually a bit larger. I could fix that by shrinking the image, but it still wouldn’t bring in the background the same as Option 1. So many things to consider! 🙂


  9. Hi Diane,

    Okay you are hilarious!! Looking forward to Book 17. Oh I like #1 best because it draws the eye towards the right, which leads to opening the page. And I did vote just a minute ago. Also, I love the conversation you had with John. Priceless!!!

    Later, Cait Needham


  10. Diane, I think I prefer the title on the left side… it seems to give a little more movement and urgency to the image.
    And all of my characters have minds of their own, deciding amongst themselves where the story should go… I just try to get down what I see happening now! Until, that is, they back themselves into a corner and need help getting out!
    Good luck with your new book! 🙂


  11. I’ve had similar conversations with some of my characters. A new person struts confidently onto my stage, steals the WHOLE scene while I’m not even looking, and inserts herself irretrievably into the story. Then she kills her unstable boyfriend just before he starts killing the main characters in a fit of rage. All I could do at that point was to simply get out of her way. 😜🤪


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