Monday, 29 April 2013

Welcome Etopia Press author, Dianne Hartsock...

Hi, Dianne! Nice to meet you and welcome to my blog. It's exciting to be a part of your ongoing tour and I wish you lots of success :) Delicious cover, by the way! Let's get started with the interview...

  When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?

I've been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, but when my first grade teacher pinned my very first attempt at a fiction story to the board for everyone to read, I was hooked. I loved that something I had written was being read and liked by my friends. I still love that feeling of accomplishment. Also, I had a wonderful creative writing teacher in seventh grade who encouraged me to submit my stories to the local newspaper for a writing contest they held every year. I won! Seeing a story of mine in print clinched it for me.

 What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?

Best advice I've ever been given is to be true to myself and my writing. Don't try to write like anyone else. Simply put the words that come to you down on paper (or computer). It's the only way to find your own unique writing voice.

Worse thing? That I still need to work on 'showing' a story rather than 'telling' it. Sometimes it's hard for me to see the difference until it's pointed out to me.

Favourite author/s?

Ray Bradbury: The imagery in his stories captivates me. 

Dean R. Koontz: That a story can be terrifying yet still have an underlying message of peace and love.

J.R.R. Tolkien: For obvious reasons.

What is your typical day?

To begin with, I get up an hour earlier in the morning than I need to, to get in some writing before work. I'm a full time floral designer, so I put in my eight hours, come home, have dinner. Unwind with my husband. Then I have about two hours in the evening after he's gone to bed to write.  On my days off I squeeze in as much writing as I can, but still make sure I leave enough time for my family.

 Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?

Tris: Shia Labeouf
Aiden: Jared Padalecki

 Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?

I've always loved the tragic hero, full of angst and courage. When I started writing WITHOUT AIDEN I had a vague idea where I wanted the story to go. I knew what tragedy Tris would face, how Aiden would react to him, and that we needed a Happily Ever After. But mostly I just started in on the story and let my characters guide me.

What surprised you the most when you became a published?

All the promoting! Don't get me wrong, I love connecting with readers and other writers, but I didn't really believe there would be so much to it. I've had to adjust my writing schedule to include time for social networking, but I've become used to it, and now it's just part of the job of being a writer. And when I have feedback from a reader is the best of all. It means they took the time out of their busy lives to read my book and tell me how they felt about it. I love that!

Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?

This last summer my son started college and moved into his own apartment. I got his room!  All my lovely things are here with me, pictures and artwork, an oriental rug on the floor. There's a large picture window facing west so I can watch the sunset and overlooks the garden. My desk's in front of that, bookshelves behind me. There's also a bed and TV in case we have guests (or I want to spend a lazy afternoon doing nothing).

What’s next for you?

And I've signed a contract for the Ad-Dick-tion Anthology coming out later this year from Breathless Press. I also have a story submitting for another anthology with them I'm waiting to hear back on.

Also, at the moment I'm working on another contemporary m/m erotic romance, Jack and Peter, that I'm really excited about! I don't want to give away too much yet, but Jack finds a beautiful stranger sleeping on his patio who captures his heart but also puts his life in danger.

Oh, and I'm working on two 'free reads' to be released this summer.

Dianne Hartsock


Is a gift of love enough to open Aiden’s heart and let Tris back in?

After the car accident that killed his parents and left his sister paralyzed, Tris is left with nothing. His family is destroyed. His reputation is shot. And all he has is the guilt of knowing it was all his fault. People in town know he’d been drinking that night, and know he should never have gotten behind the wheel. And even Aiden, the man he thought he’d be with forever, blames him too much to stay.

But Tris can’t let him just disappear. After months of loneliness and isolation, Tris brings Aiden a gift on his birthday, a hawk he’s carved from a chunk of wood they’d found in the forest during an afternoon of love. A small chink seems to open in Aiden’s heart, the first sign of forgiveness. With renewed hope, Tris takes a job renovating one of the older homes in town and tries to rebuild his life. But the townspeople have long memories, and when his sister’s condition worsens, forgiveness—and Aiden—seem to slip even further out of reach…


The car slowed and came to a stop. Tris looked out the front windshield at the aging building with the garish neon signs in the windows. Murphey’s Diner? Day just kept getting better.

“Do you mind? I have class in forty-five minutes and Murphey serves the quickest breakfast.”

“It’s fine.” Tris pushed open his door and climbed out into the crowded parking lot. “Think we’ll get a table?” he asked over the roof of the Fiat.

“There’s usually room at the counter.”

Tris shrugged and followed Aiden into the bustling restaurant. He probably imagined the silence when they walked through the door, but then again everyone had known his parents. Three months were a blink of an eye in the small town of Cherry Creek.

He lifted his chin a trifle as they crossed the crowded room and tried not to notice the whispers behind him. Conversation resumed as they sat at the counter. Aiden seemed impervious to their attention, and Tris picked up the paper menu, acknowledging he was probably being overly sensitive. The waitress smiled as she brought coffee and took their orders, and Tris relaxed enough to enjoy the precious minutes with his estranged darling.

“What class do you have this morning?” he asked and took a sip from the steaming mug. If nothing else, Murphey’s always had good coffee. Aiden shifted on his stool to face him. Tris thrilled when their knees touched and Aiden made no effort to move away.

“Chemistry. I’d ditch out to celebrate my birthday with friends, but there’s an important lab I need to finish up.”

Tris’s lips quirked. “That never stopped you before.”

“That’s only because you were a bad influence.”

Tris chortled into his mug of coffee even as a flush heated his face. It had never taken long to persuade Aiden to stay with him. A soft kiss on the sensitive skin behind his ear. A nip on the neck. Gentle sucks on Aiden’s full bottom lip, the snug silver hoop driving Tris crazy with want. He heard Aiden’s drawn breath—as if his thoughts had gone the same route—and all the blood rushed to his groin. Damn. His dick was going to need some serious attention once he got home.

He smiled secretly when Aiden had to clear his throat. “Are you coming back to college?”

The question caught Tris off guard, though he should have expected it. “Once Candice is better…” Familiar panic churned in his stomach.

Aiden’s gentle voice tore down his shaky defenses. “How is she?”

“I don’t know,” Tris whispered and swallowed the tears that would come, damn them. “I left her with the doctor. I couldn’t stay in the house.”

Their food arrived. Tris picked up his fork, stomach queasy at the sight of the greasy mounds on the cheap plate. But he dug into the eggs and spicy hash browns anyway, to stop the screams of helplessness in his head. Despair leaned its heavy weight on his shoulders. He jumped when Aiden touched his arm.

“I’m sorry, Tris. Can I see her?”

“Of course. She’d like that. She asks about you.” Tris moved the fork around on his plate. When he and Aiden had first hooked up after years of flirting, Candice had been their biggest supporter. He didn’t have the heart to tell his sister they’d broken up after the accident that had left her paralyzed. Maybe he didn’t want to believe it and saying the words would make it true. It couldn’t be true. They’d been so good together! No one knew him as well as Aiden did. No one else could drive him wild with a single hot glance.

He remembered the long nights they lay under the stars, made love, and planned their future. Aiden wanted to graduate with a science major. Tris had whispered in his ear that he really didn’t like making furniture. He had the odd wish to be a pastry chef. Aiden licked Tris’s lips and said he made a wonderful dessert.

Tris bit his lip to hide its tremble. No, he’d never admit he and Aiden were through. He’d rather live with the hope they could work things out.

After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, Dianne now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.
She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms her hands which kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.


Dianne will be awarding a $10 All Romance Ebooks Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  


  1. Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Rachel!

  2. WITHOUT AIDEN sounds great. I don't think young adults (or often even some older ones) stop to think through their actions before doing something like drink & drive. Such a small (yet stupid) decision can alter or end lives in the blink of an eye. It would have to be hard to live with the knowledge that you killed & injured your family members.
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

    1. I agree, June. And it's been hard for people to forgive Tris. Thanks for stopping in!

  3. I loved this book but I love all Of Dianne's books!

    1. *hugs* Thanks Cathy! Glad you made it by. :)

  4. Being a floral designer must be so gratifying to create beautiful arrangements from flowers, floral items etc.

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

  5. Ahh~~ I wish I had a room all to myself where I could have all my books and my whole little "office" feel to it. LOL!! Ahh... one day... LOL..
    Thanks for the contest! :)