Diana Belchase is Now Top Secret Washington!

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Hi everyone!

First, I want to thank you all for being such wonderful supporters all these years. If this sounds like a retirement speech, it most definitely is not. I’m still around, but I’ve moved the content of this website elsewhere.

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Being a writer and a reviewer, I am constantly being asked to give my opinions on books and I alway want to support deserving authors. But the reason I wanted to write a blog, wasn’t to focus on books, but on my life, as an author, here in Washington, and as I travel the world. There is so much I want to blog about, but the message was getting a bit muddled.

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I’ve been lucky enough to be invited into D.C. embassies, into homes that are closed to the average person, into places in the government or private sector that people from outside of D.C. often wonder about. So, Top Secret Washington: Diana Belchase Behind Closed Doors will focus on those things. Here is the website address: TopSecretWashington.com.  I hope you’ll join me there.:-)

But for those of you who love the bookish side of me, don’t despair. Those posts and reviews are now on BookSmartTV.wordpress.com which is where you’ll also see news about my new TV show, BookSmart and also my latest author video interviews. I hope you’ll join me there, too!

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And for your convenience, the two sites are linked.  Look in the top tab of either site and you’ll see the other site listed. Click on that tab and you’ll be able to go seamlessly from one to the other. And in the right hand corner, you’ll see what’s new on the other site and be able to click on those articles directly.

So, I hope you’ll continue to support me and like the new look.  If you have any questions, you can use the contact form here or on either site to get a hold of me.

Sending you great big hugs!

Diana Belchase

My First Writing Retreat

Jo-Ann Carson

Settled deep in a soft, black, leather sofa beside an enormous, stone fireplace I tapped away on my laptop keyboard, sculpting sentences out of the slop of an early draft. Through the French doors I could see the full moon hanging low over the lake illuminating its surface with an eerie light. The silence of the wilderness echoed in my soul. Stillness fed my muse.

lakeIt was my first writing retreat and it won’t be my last. Four of us gathered at a lodge on Shawnigan lake, thirty miles north of Victoria on the southern end of Vancouver lake1Island. You can see us in the top photo taken by Judy Hudson (from left to right: Judy , me, Marion and Jacqui).   Marion invited us and organized the whole event. I am sooo grateful to have been included.

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What does one do at a retreat?

lake4Write, chat, lake3walk, write some…

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Hot Lines Sunday – Scenery, #RSsos #RomSuspense #Writers

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Source: Hot Lines Sunday – Scenery, #RSsos #RomSuspense #Writers

Sisters of Suspense

Hello, Sunday Readers! This week the Sisters of Suspense present…scenery. Learn more about each story and its creator by clicking the book cover or author photo.


Diana PR Thumbnail photoA sudden onslaught of nerves and disorientation brought her to a stop. The business district was confusing and chaotic, jam-packed with people and cars. Overhead, laundry flapped in the wind and yellow, red and green signs in Chinese blasted across the streets.

Diana Belchase, Sister of Secrets and Spies
The Spy in the Mirror (a work in progress)


Jacquie BiggarIt seemed like only seconds later the beam transported him to a textured surface sort of like the topping on his favorite dessert, lemon meringue pie. There were hills and hollows all in creamy shades of tan and white as far as the eye could see. It made him queasy, almost seasick.

~ Jacquie Biggar, Sister of Suspense w/Attitude
Angels Among Us (a work in progress)

#Book Review of Cold in the Shadows by Toni Anderson

Jo-Ann Carson

I have eclectic tastes when it comes to reading and favorite authors in many Toni Anderson bio picgenres. My very favorite Romantic Suspense writer is Toni Anderson. I’m totally a “fan girl” of her work and I particularly like her Barkley Sound Series because it is set on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I also like her new series, the Cold Justice Series.

This review is of her latest book, released this week.


tonie shadows click cover for link

Review – Cold in the Shadows (Cold Justice Series, Volume 5)  by Toni Anderson

There are three reasons I love Toni Anderson’s books.

  •  Her rich prose  pulls me into the story
  •  Her characters are complex and very human.
  •  Her plot twists shock me every time.

In Cold in the Shadows she delivers another awesome read.

The story opens with the heroine Audrey walking to her home in the Columbian rainforest. Anderson’s precise prose puts me…

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Working for Readers, Always

QA Productions

QuinnPrincessI signed up for a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. In hopes, no doubt, that it’ll keep me from busting my budget. (Yeah, right.) On the plus side, I’m discovering new authors I greatly enjoy. On the down side, I’m seeing a lot of piss-poorly produced ebooks.

When I’m shelling out the cash POS, I shop carefully, reading samples so I can avoid the formatting atrocities that disrupt my reading pleasure.  With KU, if I read a description that catches my interest, I download it and give it a try. Why not? My money is already in the pot. Have to tell you, my DNF (Did Not Finish) rate is running almost 60%.

To be fair, my DNF rate has always been on the high side. I’m not one of those readers who feels compelled to finish every story I start, no matter how much I pay for it. Either a…

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SNIPPETS OF SUSPENSE, Anthology #1

Sisters of Suspense

Have you ever bought a book after reading the back cover blurb and been disappointed? I have. It’s bound to happen to all of us one time or another.

Interested in a better way to find new authors?

Well, do we have a deal for you. A FREE Romantic Suspense sampler. And there’s nothing better than free, right?

The Sisters of Suspense Anthology  #1

Snippets of Suspense MED

Spine-tingling mystery and suspense

with a steamy side-dish of romance.

Delicious characters, intriguing story-lines, fun, love, and laughter—all there to introduce you to new authors you’re going to love.

A collection of opening chapters from ten very different books by ten very different award-winning authors:

Veronica Forand, Melissa Keir, Jo-Ann Carson, Jacquie Biggar, Marian Lanouette, Jacqui Nelson, Pat Amsden, Marsha R. West, Kathryn Jane, and McKenna Sinclair

Here’s the kind of story you’ll get:

*Brilliant art appraiser, Alex Northrop’s ex used stolen art to fund his…

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Fire-Breathers and Criticism: Daddy Long Legs Rules at the Davenport Theatre

“Isn’t it terrific?” I gushed at intermission during a performance of Daddy Long Legs at Manhattan’s Davenport Theatre.

“No less than a creative masterpiece”

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“I wouldn’t say that,” the man next to me replied. I thought he was going to be funny and try to find some other superlative. Instead he continued, “the singing is very nice, but other than that ….” He shrugged his shoulders and wrinkled his nose as if he’d caught the scent of bad fish.

Astounded, I kept thinking about his lack of enthusiasm as I went to wait on  the interminable lady’s room line. I knew I’d try to get more out of him. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to be combative, or even trying to change his mind, I just wanted to know why.

Megan McGinnis and Paul Alexander Nolan in DADDY LONG LEGS

When I approached him, he rolled his eyes and said, “Can you honestly say that’s the best thing you’ve ever seen? I wouldn’t use the word ‘terrific’ for anything less.”

To my mind, what we’d just seen was no less than a creative masterpiece. Based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Mark Twain’s niece, Jean Webster, John Caird’s witty dialogue and Paul Gordon’s music and lyrics succinctly trimmed a novel — which spanned more than four years, multiple locations, and covered topics as diverse as the treatment of orphans, the education of girls, suffrage for women, and socialism — down to two characters, and 120 minutes, without missing a beat. Megan McGinnis in DADDY LONG LEGS

Paul Alexander Nolan in DADDY LONG LEGS

Further, the performances of Megan McGinnis as the orphan sent to college and Paul Alexander Nolan as the crotchety, anonymous benefactor were flawless.

Their singing was exceptional, their love story poignant, and even though only one kiss was shared at the very end, their chemistry was apparent from their first moments on stage. This is in stark contrast to Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse’s film version, which although delightful, left the viewer in doubt of actual attraction between the protagonists.

Like Clare Booth Luce’s Pulitzer winning play, The Women,the creators and actors of Daddy Long Legs were able to conjure an unseen cast with a few words of dialogue and the notes of an excellent score. (Click HERE to hear some of the songs.)

Paul Alexander Nolan and Megan McGinnis in DADDY LONG LEGS

Special kudos also go out to  David Farley whose imaginative and detailed set and quick-change costuming outdid many Broadway musicals this season.

At its heart, Daddy Long Legs is about a relationship between a man and a woman overcoming the barriers of social inequality to find a way to continue together. I wondered if the romantic plot might be the reason why the man at the theater felt so differently than I did.

It reminded me of the times when I gave a book a five star rating and was amazed to see others score it a one or a two. To make matters worse, when I had questioned the man a second time, he’d made some nasty comments about my taste and the fact my husband wasn’t with me — raising his arm to indicating my hubby must be off in a corner drinking. I realized this guy wouldn’t be content to low rate a book or play, he’d be the anonymous critic who’d bash the author and leave them cringing in a corner, possibly never to write again.

It also gave me courage.

Too often we don’t see or hear the applause, but only the negative criticism. We allow the crazies to color our own opinions of ourselves and our work. This extends to other reviewers who are oft times too cowed to express a different opinion in view of a fire-breather’s ultra-confident scorching.

Paul Alexander Nolan in DADDY LONG LEGS

But thankfully, theater is different than publishing. At the end of the performance, Daddy Long Legs received a standing ovation from men and women alike. The fire-breather was definitely in the minority and the vast majority of the audience saw the brilliance and hard work of an incredible cast.

The charming and intimate Davenport Theater is about a block from the traditional Broadway theaters. While this show is aimed at adults, it is definitely suitable for children age eight and up, particularly for fans of Anne of Green Gables or the American Girl dolls and books.I wonder how long before theater producers realize a Jerusha doll would be a big seller. If they ever make one, I’ll be the first in line.

Unfortunately, the author of Daddy Long Legs, Jean Webster died in childbirth a few years after her novel was published. I think it wonderful that her work is being brought to a whole new generation and am sure she would be pleased with this delightful production.

Click here for more information on Daddy Long Legs.

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Daniel