Category Archives: Books

Frequently Asked Questions about My Patreon


As you all know, since I was not offered a contract for the remaining Shadow World novels, I decided to go back to my fandom roots and start posting one chapter at a time, hoping for the thrill of immediate feedback.  The problem is, that doesn’t pay the bills.

Enter Patreon, an idea that gave me happy Snoopy dances.  With Patreon, an artist or other creator uploads a work, and people contribute money to support that work.  The artist can create long-term goals (like “Help Me Buy a New Laptop,” or “The Electricity Will Be Cut off in 3…2…1…”) or just accept whatever people are willing to give.

My Patreon is set up on a monthly basis rather than a per-work basis.  Here are some of the things people often ask about it – what you get if you join, why do I do it like I do it, et cetera.

1 – Why do you do the monthly instead of per-work?

It encourages me to regularly produce content for my patrons.  If people are paying every month, they expect more than just a half-assed blog post or freebie.  If I did per-work, chances are I’d get out of the habit of posting and eventually people would get bored and leave.

2 – So what do I get if I contribute?

You get to read chapters of the new Shadow World book *immediately* after they’re written.  Basically I finish them, edit them, send them to Beta, edit more if need be, and post those bastards.  The writing can be a bit unpolished, as they haven’t had a professional edit, but most people find the ability to get the new story right away instead of waiting a year for a whole book very appealing.

I am also publishing new chapters of the next big Shadow Agency story, Song and Cipher; I’m not as far along on that one, so it’s coming out every two or three weeks in among the Shadowstorm chapters.

Both of these works will be available as full length books – both digital and printed, I hope.  But there’s a looooooot of work that goes into that, and I love the instant gratification of people reading my stuff as much as people love finding out what happens next.  The finished books will be available for the public to buy, and as soon as the works are done and I have a release date ready, I will post that everywhere.  Shadowstorm is officially half written, so it’s going to be a bit before non-patrons see it.

Also, Patrons get to read new Shadow World extras before anyone else; those will be uploaded on my blog like they always were, about a week after the Patrons get it.

You also get access to the Patron feed, where you can chat with other readers; and I can make random comments, answer questions, and generally be a nuisance.

I’m planning to offer other bennies too, I just haven’t come up with anything I’d really be willing to do.

All of that, for $3 a month.

3 – How many levels of support do you have?

I only set up two, although you are of course welcome to contribute as much as you want.  *laugh*  There’s a $3 subscription level, as I just described; and a $5 level, which is exactly the same except you get a signed adhesive book plate mailed to you, to be stuck in any one of my books that tickles your fancy.  I am hoping to add more perks, but I don’t want it to be a big separation between the two levels – 3 dollar people are what I anticipate the most of, and anything above that is just delightful icing on the badass cake.

A lot of Patreon users have all sorts of perks for really high donations like writing you as a minor character into the story, but I haven’t quite the wherewithal for that.  I wanted to keep it simple, and above all cheap.  $3 a month for you is a cup of coffee.  $3 a month for me from 1,000 people is a livelihood.

You can read more about the nuts and bolts of being a patron over on Patreon’s FAQ.

So, if you know anyone who loves my work, please do forward this post along.  I’m very happy with how things have gone so far, and I’m comfortable with the system we’ve got.  I’ve been getting a lot of writing done thanks to Patreon.

I’d love to see you there if you’re not already!  I just posted the last chapter of Shadowstorm: part 1 this week, and it’s a doozy.  I love sharing my doozies!  It’s a great opportunity to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives you love.

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Me and a Bear

Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.

Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.

I’ve had quite a few people, particularly on Facebook, asking for an update on Shadow World Book 6 (and also the next Agency volume).  I figured I’d better talk about it over here on the blog so a wider swath of my readers could see it.

Book 6 is not finished yet.  Like, nowhere near.  I just finished Chapter 4 for the third time, if that tells you anything. Aside from story issues out the wazoo, this year has been fraught with personal problems as well as, I have to be honest, absolutely zero confidence in my abilities anymore.  There’s a reason most of my blog posts have been about planners and crafts and stuff like that.  (Two reasons, actually, the second being that I love those things.)

I don’t want this to be like the time That Horrible Harridan destroyed my love of writing and I didn’t touch it again for years.  Mostly now I’m dealing with some serious confusion and disillusionment over where my career is going, or rather not going.

The upshot is:  At this point I cannot give you a firm date when Book 6 will be out.  It doesn’t even have a name yet.  Even after I finish principle writing I have to get it edited, find a cover artist, and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t quite figured out yet because I’ve been too paralyzed by my own feelings of inadequacy to do any real research on self-publishing.  But getting the thing written is the first goal.

Since the Agency stories were originally released one by one, not in full book format, I’m also having trouble deciding how to handle them.  If I can make any progress on this next one I might just release parts of it for free.

If I could come up with a new idea, even a germ of one, I’d love to start a third series and have it go the way the Agency went, where it’s free until I’ve got enough material to start creating volumes out of it.  I miss the instant gratification of putting something out there for people to read and respond to right away.  Writer egos are particularly delicate.

Anyway – as soon as I have more specific information on the next book, I promise I’ll say so, here and on Facebook and anywhere else you want me to.  I’m working very hard to get through the mess in my head, and hopefully someday the blue fairy will turn me back into a real writer.  Please just bear with me.


Unusual forms of suicide: Boop this nose.

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Now Available…The Agency, Volume 4

Happy New Year!  As we give 2013 a resounding boot to the back end, let’s welcome 2014 with some paranormal shenanigans.

Yep, it’s time for another one – the fourth volume in my way-back-when series, The Agency, is now available for download in the Amazon Kindle Store for only $4.99, or as a pdf download below.

710cytBHYNL._SL1500_Shadow Agent Sara Larson is in a rather uncomfortable position: pregnant with an impossible baby that may or may not be one of the saviors of the entire planet, the child of an Elf who may or may not be a lost god. She and Rowan, her lover and friend, retreat to Clan Willow in the Hill Country of Texas to try and find answers about the mysterious forces converging on the Shadow Agency. 

Meanwhile back in Austin, Rowan’s partner Jason tries to heal the rift between himself and Rowan while the cause of that rift, Lex the Seraph, finds himself a target of his own kind. Two opposing entities appear to be conjuring Seraph to do their bidding – but who are they, and where does Lex himself fit in? 

Time is running out for all of them, as a shadowy figure from a past Rowan doesn’t remember reaches out, calling them all: Come to the Dreaming Gate.

The Agency, Volume 4 pdf – $4.99 USD

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In addition, if you were hoping for a pdf of Volume 3, it’s finally available – go to the Volume 3 post to purchase.

Happy reading and happy 2014!

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…and the Wheel Turns Round and Round

The Circle WithinTen years ago this month, The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition was published.

I felt that the occasion merited a blog post, even though (obviously) I can’t maintain the blogging habit for more than a couple of days at a stretch.  I sat down with a gigantic chocolate chai and my writing playlist queued up, opened up a Word file, and asked myself, “What do I want to say about that?”

Twenty minutes later I had the two above paragraphs.

I could talk about the book’s history, but I’ve done that already.  I could talk about the process of writing it, but the only people who care about writing process are writers and, well, I don’t think most of them really mean it.

That might just be me.

I could talk about how my life has changed since TCW came out.  I suppose that would be the most honest and interesting direction to head.

As you probably know, I’m no longer a Wiccan.  I’m not even sure how Pagan I am, but it has nothing to do with any inadequacies inherent in the traditions.  I’d love to say I converted to another religion and left Wicca behind, because that would mean I went somewhere, and I could point to specific reasons or incidents that led me away; instead, I was blown off course by a series of storms that sent me farther and farther off my heading, sometimes crashing into a reef and sometimes just drifting in the doldrums, and by the time I corrected my course enough to remember where I was going, I no longer understood why I was making the journey.

I still don’t know.

I am, and remain, immensely proud of the book.  For one thing, it’s awesome.  (How many books on spirituality use the phrase “humping women’s legs like a crack-addled Schnauzer?”) For another, at the time it was written, there were very few books like it on the market.  Wicca was big business in the 90s and Aughts; the shelves of every bookstore ran over with cookie cutter books with the same ten or twelve chapters (actually there were usually thirteen) that went to the same depth with the same subjects.  Elemental correspondences, holidays, moons, the history of Wicca (ranging from feasible to laughable), a chapter or so of rituals, a bunch of spells, and stuck in there somewhere, a chapter on Deity.

TCW was not like that.  I’m still amazed at my own temerity, but 26 is a ballsy age (Yep, 26. Actually I started writing it when I was 24).  I wanted to be part of the future of my religion, which I viewed as young and dynamic and unique – the very lack of provable history so many authors were flailing over excited me.  How many people can say they were part of the beginning of a religion?  You know, without being stoned to death in the streets?

There are a number of things I would change were I to write it now:  I would update some of the theological terminology (the word “panentheism” had barely entered common discourse then).  I would dial back the anti-magic stance, as my understanding of the Craft itself changed over the years.  But mostly what I shake my head over is the anti-Christian tongue waggling; I was merely trying to draw comparisons, but there are a lot of ways to do that without sounding like an immature jackass.

We all go through it, of course; after a breakup we put distance between ourselves and the ex usually with a good deal of bile, but over time as we grow we remember there was a reason we got involved with ol’ Flaccido Domingo in the first place, and some of those negative memories begin to lose their venomous edge, allowing us to remember and cherish the good.  It is unfortunate how many of my coreligionists never grew out of that first stage; it’s difficult to be taken seriously on the world religious stage if your answer to every criticism is “Yeah, well, Christianity sucks!  Nyah nyah nyah!”

But I digress.

I remember the first time I saw TCW in the wild:  it was release day, and my BFF and her then-SO went with me to Borders to see if they had it.  There it was, sitting on a table in the very front of the store.

I had to sit down.

There really aren’t words for how it felt; no matter how many books you publish, only one will be the first one.  There’s actually a better feeling, I have discovered – being offered a two-book contract for your first novels, given writing novels is the only thing you’ve ever truly wanted to do with your life – but very few moments of my life have ever managed to cram so much awe, gratitude, and joy into my body at once that I couldn’t even remain upright.  I’m not sure what it would take to make me feel that way again, but I live in hope that I will one day, if only for a moment.

In fact I would like to invite the universe to take me up on that, or possibly better.  There’s cupcakes in it for you, universe.  Fluffy happy cupcakes delivered by unicorns and made with the finest free-range double rainbows.

With sprinkles.

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Now Available: The Agency, Volume 3

Yep, it’s time for another one – the third volume in my way-back-when series, The Agency, is now available for download in the Amazon Kindle Store for only $4.99, or as a pdf download below.

agency cover 3

“The third volume of Dianne Sylvan’s Agency series features three stories – The Fires of Beltaine, Last Dance, and Altitude.

Now that Sara Larson is a full-fledged Shadow Agent, she expects to find herself in dangerous and weird situations galore, but things in the Agency are about to go from weird to epically strange as her lover and friend Rowan discovers his true identity. Meanwhile Jason, the lead Agent and Rowan’s partner, makes what is either a horrible mistake or a miracle, and brings someone new into everyone’s lives…a creature even stranger than Elves and vampires…a creature with wings.

But something even bigger is coming for Sara. Even with all of the paranormal and dangerous adventures she has had, there’s one adventure she never expected to go on, a fate she never wanted…and the choices she makes in the face of that fate will change everything…for everyone.”

As usual, expect a good bit of adult content in this book.  The first story’s centered around Beltaine, after all.

The Agency, Volume 3 pdf – $4.99 USD

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