Friday, March 16, 2012


There are days we need tougher coffee!

My guest is romance author, Diane Kelly. She's a sassy Texan, and a Bandita, who writes laugh out loud adventures of an IRS Special Agent, Tara. I think she and Diane grew up together, lol! But I do appreciate her topic on trust and especially learning to trust yourself and your instincts. It came at just the right time for me and the whole trust issue resonated with me. I hope you enjoy it as well.

            My road to publication has been a long lesson in trust.  I’ve learned that trust can be misplaced, that learning to trust again after a breach can be hard, and that finding people whom you trust and who trust you back is essential.

            As a girl, I ventured into bookstores and saw those beautiful, cloth-bound journals on the racks.  But I was just a flat-chested adolescent with acne and braces who lived in a cookie-cutter suburb.  Who was I to think I had anything worthy of writing in such a pretty journal?  Instead, I went to Eckerd’s and bought cheap spiral notebooks to write in.  They were less intimidating.  If I messed up, I could just rip the page out.  Though I loved writing and my teachers often complimented me on my talents, I was too insecure then to trust in myself.  So when it came time to pick a major for college, I took the safe route and chose accounting.  I enjoyed my undergraduate government class and decided why not go to law school?

My first job was working as an assistant state attorney general.  What a naïve thing I was back then!  Fifteen pounds lighter, too, but let’s not go there.  Because of my accounting background, my boss assigned me to represent the board of accountancy in disciplinary actions against CPAs.  What an eye opener it was to face CPAs who had assisted clients in defrauding investors, lenders, or the IRS.  My innocence was already in jeopardy when the attorney general was arrested for illegally diverting settlement funds from the tobacco company lawsuits to his cronies’ law firms.  The person who was supposed to be the ultimate symbol of justice for the state couldn’t be trusted.  Sheesh!  I then took a job with an international accounting firm and worked with a partner who appeared squeaky clean on the surface.  To my shock, he was arrested for tax shelter fraud.
If I didn’t learn to better choose employers, I feared I’d get swept up in a scandal and end up in an orange jumpsuit awaiting a conjugal visit.  Self employment seemed like a good idea.  At the same time, my muse kept nagging me to get my butt in a chair and write something, dammit!  My brushes with white-collar crime had not only led me to be intrigued by these complicated offenses and the untrustworthy people who commit them, but also provided perfect fodder for a novel.  I’d matured by this point, had some successes that gave me confidence, and figured what did I have to lose?

            When I finished the manuscript, I was thrilled when an agent presented me with a contract for representation.  Some of the revisions the agent suggested didn’t ring true to me, but I figured she knew better than me so I did everything she asked rather than trusting my instincts.  After two rounds of revisions, she said my manuscript still needed more work than she had time for.  I’d been dumped!  I later worked with another agent who led me through a round of helpful revisions but didn’t offer representation because she didn’t believe my work was marketable yet.
As difficult as these experiences were, they taught me a valuable lesson – that I needed to trust myself more.  Frankly, at that point, the only person I still trusted was myself.  I hustled, entering contests, attending conferences, anything to get my work in front of editors.  It paid off.  I sold to a major publisher on my own, a coup that is pretty much unheard of. 

            Now?  Things are awesome!  I have wonderful people on my team, whom I trust completely.  My critique partners have my back, catching unintended blunders in my drafts and offering valuable suggestions.  My agent is a straight shooter and works incredibly hard for me.  I couldn’t ask for a better editor, either.  She believes in my work.  There’s no better feeling than that!   In return, my agent and editor trust me to work diligently and write the best books I can.

  • Has someone you trusted let you down?  
  • Have you had an experience when you should have trusted yourself more? 
    Share your thoughts!

Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte AVAILABLE IN PRINT AND EBOOK.

IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is at work again.  This time, she and her partner, Eddie, are after Marcos Mendoza, a financial expert and suspected loan shark with cross-border ties to questionable businesses and people in Mexico. Mendoza hasn’t just cheated the U.S and Mexican governments, he may have left a trail of bodies, too. Neither the Texas Rangers nor the FBI could prove a link between Mendoza and the suspicious deaths of his employees and associates, but the sheer number of bodies indicates the deaths aren’t mere coincidence.  What’s more, Mendoza bought off Special Agent Nick Pratt, who’d earlier been assigned to the investigation, and set the traitor up in a luxury condominium in Cancún, Mexico.

He must be stopped.

Unfortunately, Mendoza is as elusive as his activities are illegal. Tracking down this tax cheat proves much more difficult, and more dangerous, than Tara anticipated.  Given the highly sensitive nature of the case, Tara is forbidden to disclose the details to anyone, including her boyfriend, Brett Ellington. Secrets nearly tore the two apart in the past and history seems destined to repeat itself.

As Tara and Eddie delve deeper into Mendoza’s business enterprises, they realize his illegal activities extend far beyond high-interest finance. They also learn Mendoza will do anything to protect the profitable illegal empire he has created.

When Tara receives an unexpected call from a surprising source, she must decide whether to follow orders or follow through. Tara must risk it all—her relationship with Brett, her job, and her life itself—to put Mendoza out of business for good. Excerpt 
“PREPARE TO LAUGH YOUR ASSETS OFF.”—Jana DeLeon, author of the Ghost-in-Law mysteries 

A CPA and tax attorney, Diane spent several years at an international accounting firm where she had the pleasure of working with a partner later indicted for tax shelter fraud. She also served a stint as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas under an AG who pled guilty to criminal charges related to the tobacco company lawsuits. Given this work history, Diane decided self-employment might be a good idea. She also realized her experiences with white-collar crime made excellent fodder for a novel. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her "Death and Taxes" mystery series.

Diane won the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award in 2009 and has earned over two dozen RWA chapter awards.

Diane lives in Texas with her very own sexy leading man, two talented teenage kids,  and enough cats and dogs to violate several city ordinances.

Diane loves to hear from readers! Visit Diane at While you're there, sign up for her quarterly newsletter. 

You can find Diane: BlogFacebookTwitter, Website.  


Candy Lynn Fite said...

Hello, fellow Texan, Diane! I enjoyed reading your road to publication. Ups, downs, bumps and sometimes smooth sailing. Thank you for sharing with us. :))

Thanks, Sia!

Shirley Wells said...

Great post, Diane. Trusting our instincts is a hard lesson to learn - far easier to listen to Crows of Doubt that sit on our shoulders. (They sit on my shoulders, at least. :o))

Tonya Kappes said...

YES YES YES!!! Someone I've been super close to for over 35 years has lost all my trust. It was a very hard process to go through over the past six months. This blog was very timely. It has to do with every aspect of my life, including writing. Even non-writers become very jealous of your life. It's hit me hard. . . but being a mystery writer. . .I KILLED THEM OFF:))

Diane Kelly said...

Tonya has a great solution - if someone breaches our trust, we should just put an end to them! Love it! Thanks for stopping by Candy Lynn, Shirley, and Tonya!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Non writers don't always understand the change in priorities and deadlines that come with a writing career. The focus on promotion and the reshuffling of time. Other writers will also be jealous and get irritated when it's what you talk about. It hurts when people are insensitive and judgmental and that's especially true when they're suppose to be friends cheering you on.

Hey, I've *killed off* a few myself, lol!

Addison said...


What a great post. I'm so glad for your success with the Death & Taxes series - I'm loving Tara's adventures!!!


Margo Kelly said...

Great post and sounds like a fun book.

Jo said...

Failure of trust with someone close or lack of trust in oneself can be devastating. I think we have all gone through it at some time or another. If you're not a writer you can't kill them off so you just have to "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again" difficult.

Bev Pettersen said...

What a road, Diane! Glad you kept your sense of humor. Congratulations on your new book:)

Carol Kilgore said...

Truly a great post. We all butt up against this trust thing from time to time - usually when we least expect it.

Nice to meet you. I'm a Texan, too, in San Antonio.

Waving to Sia!

Diane Kelly said...

Thanks for stopping by, Addison, Margo, Jo, Bev, and Carol! Addison - glad you're enjoying the books! Margo - great last name! Jo - great advice! It's critical for us to learn to try again and keep moving forward. Bev - yep, my sense of humor remained intact, or perhaps was even strengthened. Humor is definitely my coping mechanism. Carol - nice to hear from a fellow Texan! I got engaged in San Antonio on the Riverwalk so the city has a special place in my heart.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Carol, you call it right.

Hey, I'm not a Texan, although I do have family in Elgin--about 20mi from Austin--but I did live for awhile up in that same area.

Jo, my mom's mantra, Quit feeling sorry for yourself and get up and dust yourself off, and keep on moving. We do that whether we're writer or not. :-)

Laura said...

Hey there - your book sounds fantastic! And great to read about your background and all the hard graft you put into your writing journey

Talli Roland said...

I always love reading about other writers' road to publication. Thank you for sharing - and the book looks great!

Anonymous said...

Law student, eh? Started thinking about that future job yet? May I make a suggestion? Check out JD Match in between the papers and exams. I work with JD Match and it’s a great step for any law student looking for an AmLaw firm job and a little weight off their shoulders.