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Welcome to my comfy backyard patio, where the temperature is exactly right and there are no bugs (electronic or entomological) to bother us.  Let’s do some introductions!

What city/country are you commenting from?  What’s your ideal virtual patio chair?  What’s your backyard beverage today? And if you had to choose three words to describe yourself, what would they be?


To kick off the book discussion, which book in the Never Say Spy series is your favourite and why?  Has your favourite changed as the series progressed?

Which character would you choose for:  A best friend?  Partner in crime?  Sworn enemy?  Lover?  Spouse?

73 thoughts on “Introductions

  1. Hi all, I’m Karen, I’m 37 years young. I’m in the UK up in the cold north Newcastle upon Tyne. And very single, although I do have a couple of kinda.

    I discovered Diane’s books by accident but I became an addict, I have the books in both paperback and e-format.

    My face male character is most definitely Hellhound! I love the way he is written he is most definitely ‘real’ I also love ‘Spider’.
    I’d love to be Aydan when I grow up.

    I found the network stuff a bit hard to swallow at first, but relaxed into it and find it fun.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi, I’m Susan and am a huge fan of the series. I love each and every character (mostly) for what they bring to the series. As much as I love Hellhound, I think I may love John a little more! And I especially love Aydan. Love how she’s a normal person in abnormal situations. And that she’s not 28 like every other series.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi, gang! Lynn B. here. Texas is home. Me in three words? Gee. I. Dunno. Wow, that was easy!

    Downloaded the Book 1 freebie and was sucked in before the third page. Blitzed through, I think, Book 5, hit the end of the trail, and have been wishing Diane would write faster ever since.

    My patio chair? Something wide, soft, that reclines…with a chilled beverage within easy reach. Hey, if I need hot chocolate, I won’t be out on the patio, right? 🙂

    Chilled beverage du jure? Well, how about a Kostritzer beer? Or not chilled, maybe a nice Malbec. I like a couple from Argentina’s Mendoza Province. Don’t really know anything about wines; I just drink what I like, and not very much of it at that.

    Love the network stuff. Don’t love how it makes Aydan scream with pain every time she exits. Aydan’s a buddy, okay? I don’t like to see my friends hurt.

    Favorite book? Probably the one I happen to be rereading at the time. 🙂

    Favorite character? That’s a hard one. They are all well-written, and each has his/her place. I think Linda, the nurse and Spider’s wife needs some more air time. After all, she does work in the “B” wing of the hospital.

    And Tom is about due for a break, I think. Poor guy always gets stepped on, one way or another. This’ll kick over the hornets’ nest, but I think that, after the smoke clears and something magic happens and Aydan gets to ‘retire’ still breathing and with all her parts still functioning, Tom is the one she needs, well, not to settle down with, but spend a little quality time with on occasion. Maybe take advantage of that ‘friends with benefits’ offer from a while back.

    Tom will, of course, need to get a clue about Aydan’s (very sane, I think) refusal to be confined in a relationship, but I think he is the one for Aydan. John and Arnie, of course, are the center of her work world, but after retirement, that will need to change. Too many issues, too much baggage, too much water under the bridge. WUTB: My little euphemism for torture, gunshot wounds, constant death threats, earth-shattering explosions, burning plane crashes, hair-breadth escapes…you know, mundane stuff like that there. 🙂

    Buddy? Aydan, of course. And/or any of the ‘good’ guys and gals. Enemies? Not me. Brock? Nah. A douche-weasel avoided is a crisis averted, I always say.

    But that’s just me…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Poor Tom. In the ‘Who would you choose’ poll, Hubby keeps voting over and over for Tom. I’ve already told him the votes are filtered by IP address so his extra votes aren’t being tallied, but I wouldn’t put it past him to hack in from different IP addresses just to give Tom a chance. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t feel Tom is ‘man enough’ for Aydan. May have to go back and reread them again. I just feel he’s kinda innocent it so makes me howl with laughter over the ‘cougar in the woods’ I just don’t think he could cope with Aydan.

        Now throwing a true curve ball out there Cosmic River Song, coz right now I can’t remember if its Stemp or Stamp (sowwy) I know he’s married and its all hush hush but I thinks very sweet on Aydan maybe a little sexual tension there 😉😈😂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Almost forgot! Loved the glimpse into the ‘back room’ of Sirius Dynamics! That was a brilliant thing to do! I’d certainly like to see more of that, a lot more. And did I detect just a touch of, well, a connection between Aydan and the head of the weapons research lab? Huh? Huh? Did I? Huh? 🙂


        1. And Dr. Roth! Love the blend of iron will, compassion, and raw competence. Deffo want to see more of her. (Thanks for the new word, Karen!) And thank you for the alien porn, Diane! Want to see more of that…well, a little bit at a time. 😜

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree I loved the new weapons guy, we so have to see more of him. He deffo won’t let Aydan play the bookkeeper card not after all of her samples!

        But Diane I know its only April, but book 12 late in the year, whimpers you gotta write quicker. No that’s not fair I have to patient even if I so don’t feel it. Still gives us all time to re-reading and analyse the books and read a couple of others from our ever growing piles

        Oh and thanks for the link to bookbub the other week, my pile grew even more hehe

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I really like the weapons guy too. And the lab, and the others who lurk down there making it a caution to open the doors to storage closets and such. He makes Aydan’s kick-ass personality look like an “Old Aunt Violet” by contrast. Y’know, she’s the one baking cookies and doing needlework who blushes if people get talkin’ frisky. He does seem to be on alert that Aydan might be just his style. We already know Aydan can deal with a busted face. Hmmmmm.

          You already know I’m on Team Hellhound (love the Hellbound spelling, Shirley). I was just thinking, If Aydan and he went in for an exclusive, yet not quite committed relationship that included getting together for two or three nights per week as often as their schedules allowed or as mutually desired, what would they do together other than make/enjoy music and make love? Is Arnie handy in the garage, garden, or renovations of Aydan’s world? Other than his PI and sniper work, and his need to keep fit, what does Arnie do in his spare time other than crochet great afghans and play his guitar? Travel on Hogs in the summer for a month or two, but what do they do for the rest of the year?

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yes!!!! Glad I wasn’t the only one to get that impression! Reggie Chow….hmmmm…..I definitely got the impression that there might be more with those two in the future!

        I really liked going into the research lab…seems like some new fun characters in there!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi everybody! I’m Diane, and I’m a bookaholic… oh, wait; wrong meeting.

    Nice to see everybody’s pulled up a comfy chair – mine’s one of those ‘anti-gravity’ recliner lawn chairs with a little side-table for my ice-cold beer: Rickards Red, Keith’s Red Amber, Old Vienna, or Corona, depending on the mood. Or possibly my latest discovery: Elderflower-flavoured Strongbow Cider. Yummy!

    I’m from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and the three words I’d use to describe myself are “persistent”, “empathetic”, and “informal”. (Others might say “pig-headed”, “a bleeding-heart”, and “undignified”, but they’re not here right now. Ha. I win.)

    I love writing all my books and I never quite know how they’re going to turn out, but I have to confess that from a reading standpoint my favourite book so far has been Book 4: Tell Me No Spies. Maybe it’s just because I always have a soft spot for the underdog – I loved watching Dave develop as a character.

    I’d choose Lola for my best friend and Nichele for my partner in crime (because it’s good to have rich partners in crime). I don’t do ‘sworn enemies’ (see “bleeding-heart” above), and lover/spouse? Well. Let’s just say I’m very happily married so I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Love your I Spy Series. I have read them all, your characters are all from real life, more or less and that makes them friends. I am older than most of you but at 75, I think that is new 55. LOL! Keep the books coming. What will John do about the ex wife and his son??

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Hey everyone! Julie Hyland here, I live in humble Des Moines, Iowa…corn central!!!
    My favorite patio chair is a glider… I love to rock gently in the wind, and don’t want to rock onto the dogs tail…so glider it is!
    Today I’m drinking some ice tea…Liptons, because the others just don’t taste as good! No lemon, and not sweet! Lots of ice….delish!
    In three words: Greek, Opinionated, Honest

    How to pick a favorite in the series???? Too difficult, but “least favorite” would be Spy Away Home (#10). Why??? Because I didn’t like that both Aydan and John lost themselves and were just not “happy”….. was a sad situation!!!!

    A best friend? Aydan….she’s so devoted, and willing to go to the N’th degree.
    Partner in crime? Lola….How fun would she be????
    Sworn enemy? Tyler – because he’s an @$$!!!!
    Lover? Hellhound
    Spouse? Tom

    I LOVE these books! I’ve read them all at least twice. Like Lynn B. above, I got the first book on a “free” find…and ended up reading all that were available within the next 3 days! (Yes, I will forsake sleep for a good book).
    Since the beginning, Hellhound has had Sam Elliott’s voice, and it could be why Arnie has a bit of an edge over John for me! LOL…. but as far as a Spouse goes, steady and out of danger works best for me, so Tom wins hands down….plus, who doesn’t love a cowboy?!??!!

    Strange wish: That these people were real, because I would move up into the cold north to live in a small town, just to know them!!! You write great characters!!!! Can’t wait to see how all this unfolds: and to have Spider and Linda have babies…and Nichelle and Dave, too!!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. so….reading through some of the comments above, I just wanted to clarify…. the vote for Tom for Spouse above would be MY choice! LOL If we’re talking who should Aydan marry…. I don’t know…. I would be hard pressed to choose between Arnie and John…. and I think she would be, too! Only time will tell!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree, its a hard choice between John and Arnie. I’m a sucker for a bad boy biker so Arnie will always win for me, I’d have John on the side though, as as Arnie doesn’t do commitment it would work out maybe.

        Like you book 10 wasn’t my fave but I think Arnie saved them both. I could have done with my own Arnie a few years back I stayed with a guy who left me a little bit dead inside, OK more dead than before I met him. I have to say my ex wasn’t abusive to me, I’d most likely be reading the books from jail if he had as I’d have shown my hate of violence. But he eventually left on his own, you could say I swapped him for a telly lol coz I do.
        He ended up with a neighbour who had the same name, I got her old telly she got him, it was a fair swap. Ok I got the better deal the telly left when I wanted it to.

        Felt ive overshared there but it makes me laugh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think Tom is a little ‘shady’ maybe a whole lot shady, don’t believe the “I am just a nice farmer guy” line. Diane will figure him out!! Arnie, may already have a wife, thus no commitment, but maybe not.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OMG! Arnie has a wife!!!! BITE YOUR TONGUE!!!!! Where did this come from?

          Poor Tom – will he never have a fan base??? Hmmmm….maybe it’s too American of me to root for the Cowboy?!?!?!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Glad you responded to this first Julie. I’ve tossed this over wondering how someone could assume not wanting commitment means married.
            Me personally I’d rather just have ‘a physical relationship’ than a commitment and no I’m not and never have been married.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Well, we all know how Arnie is “allergic” to weddings and such! LOL
              I am happily married, although I can’t talk my hubby into getting a beard or even a gotee??? So I think I’m missing out on whiskery kisses! 😦

              Liked by 1 person

          2. No way does Arnie have a secret wife. Kane would know, and he’d never let Arnie lie about something so vital. Arnie’s just been badly burned. Haven’t you met a lot of people who have been so damaged by previous relationships that they are done with relationships forever? Maybe given enough time, they will heal and move on, but at that moment, they can’t look at the opposite gender with any fondness nor hope.

            Example 1. I was a school bus driver for a few years. The company hired mostly men, and those who weren’t married or in a relationship were mostly so traumatized that they didn’t even talk to any of their female co-workers, especially young available women.

            Example 2. In 1977 or ’78 I had an instructor in college that if the rumors were true, had just survived a very nasty divorce. The course description was exactly what I wanted to learn. It was how to handle a wide variety of different sculpting materials such as wood, steel, clay, plastics, and lost wax and other forms of metal casting. He did all he could to discourage the women in the class by starting with steel. We shopped for steel at a recycling yard and then learned to cut and weld using acetylene torches and arc welders. We bent steel in huge rollers. Cool stuff! At the first class critique, he attacked the women on a personal basis and complained that we were trying to make pretty arrangements out of steel and declared that sculpting was just for men and that he had no intention of teaching anything to the enrolled women. We went en mass to file a complaint and NOTHING happened. He was let off the hook by the administration of the college for his discriminatory behavior and we got no tuition refund nor an offer to switch classes. The instructor finished out the year but wasn’t back the following year. In fact, he never taught anything to the women in our class. We learned everything from the guy hired to check out the tools and from our own trial and errors. I suspect we complained to a wounded man about another wounded man, and they both had a hate on for all the feminists infiltrating a supposedly male domain.

            Arnie’s been burned but he understands that he can’t hate women and in fact honors and is protective of women. He also likes them for sex. A man who demands total honesty (without revealing classified information) and promises the same honesty back would never omit such an important detail to Aydan.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Ah, yes, the seventies. Remember it well. I started a new job, desperately needed to make ends meet. The manager’s first words to me were that he didn’t approve of married women working. Way to feel included. And my mother went back to teaching, but wasn’t able to open a bank account without her husband’s written permission. Not missing the seventies at all.

              Liked by 1 person

      3. I wonder if the future holds being a very active dad for John, possibly a reunion with his ex- if she can gain some understanding of John’s traumas, and then he might retire from being an active agent, and a new love triangle could form with Reggie Chow and Arnie. I just can’t see how Aydan can overcome her claustrophobia whenever she’s in Kane’s arms or “trapped” under him. Arnie causes none of that angst for Aydan. Time is not on John’s side, and he wants a wife and family. He should figure it out that Aydan is not the one for him.

        Tom is handsome, nice and safe, but how can he be so clueless? He’s an EMT, so he should have figured out the B-Wing of the hospital by now. Certainly, one might expect all the frequent injuries Aydan has endured could have been a result of violent relationships, but there have also been friends in the military using her land for training and her closest male friends so buff, and with both John and Arnie having an alertness that must read as cop or military, her protests that Arnie is the most gentle man she knows and that Kane is trustworthy should start making another story more viable. I think she’s sucked into the excitement to such a degree that Tom is only good for a quiet night by a fire after a nice meal.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Jai,
            If firefighters are trained the same in Canada the same as in the States, they are all trained as first responders. They take training to deal with medical emergencies in addition to fires and carry first aid equipment in the fire trucks. Firefighters get to the site more quickly than ambulances and they assess the situation and relay information to the ambulances so they are better prepared on arrival.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s interesting. I don’t know if that happens in Australia, something to research. I would expect firefighters to have first aid skills but I’m not sure if it would go as far as a full EMT thing. Although we are always reading about how firefighters or police have delivered babies that arrive faster than expected, usually on the side of freeways.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. So… I was entertaining the thought that Stemp would finally retire, bring his family to Canada, and take over the commune from his folks….. seems like a nice way to wrap things up for him…. then John can be promoted to Stemps position (sparks will fly over Dermott not getting the job done….maybe some sort of nefarious betrayal could be worked in???) and he can work on being a Dad, and possibly get together with his ex…but I’m NOT rooting for that, she seemed like a b!tch!!!!! Besides, John and Aydan have that spark that will never die out… Like they are twin flames vs. soul mates….constantly drawn together, but never meeting eye to eye!

          I think it would be interesting to see what could happen with Reggie….but I’m not discounting Tom. As a volunteer firefighter I don’t think he would have much access to the B-wing, as the paramedics would most likely be more apt to transport than a firefighter would. Also, like most men, he sees only what he wants to see, not what’s right in front of him. Seriously??? How can he confuse cries of passion with a cougar???? GET A CLUE!!! But I still have hopes for him and Aydan, for a least a tryst or two! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. The thought of Charles Stemp running the commune is really quite overwhelming. On the one hand, I want to double over and guffaw until I wheeze at the thought of the most straight-laced, straight-arrow guy on the planet hanging with, and being administratively responsible for, well, commune members. On the other, I can see that such a thing might actually be possible after mom and dad–and Skidmark–come clean and take him through the command center and fill him in on it all. After getting past at least some of their issues, of course. Might be something he *could* just glom on to. Still processing that move, frankly. Doable, though.

            Dermott? Deffo needs a clue, either one that comes to him on its own, or one that comes to him after he’s been talked to by hand, as Dad used to say.

            Holt? I can see him coming around after he gets past the combat fatigue and stress and personal crap…and maybe getting his ass kicked six or eight times a day for a couple of months for being a jerk. He strikes me as a slow learner in that regard, but not hopeless…yet. Then again, he might win a couple of nice medals for valor and above-and-beyond, etc., in the next episode or the one after. Posthumously. Just sayin’…

            Tom? Been thinking about him some more. I really, really want him to brain up and be somebody…but then again, his real value to the series may remain in being the guy that always causes uncomfortable situations and gets stepped on and made to back down. But, one way or another, such people have a limit, the point at which they will no longer back down for any reason, regardless. A hard and fast limit. Glad I’m not the one who has to figure that one out. 🙂

            Gee, if I can’t read the next book, the next best thing is talking about the existing ones and kibitzing the next one(s). Dunno about y’all, but I’m getting a kick outta this! 🙂


            1. Stemp: totally agree on that! Once his folks and he are on the same wave length (can that happen??????) I think the commune would be ideal for his retirement – with the entire family. After all, having his love and his child 24/7 should be enough for him to overlook the “hippy-dippy” of the commune….as long as he hangs with Skidmark behind the scenes!!!!!

              Dermott just needs to be cut down in size…his ego (and Holt’s) are not right for being team players…. they have BMOC Syndrome, of the XXL size!!!! 😀

              And alas (sigh) Poor Tom! I just get angry when he starts trying to mark territory!!! He needs to stop – because he isn’t winning any votes! The problem is he wont allow Aydan to have her own thoughts (why do you let guys like this…. blah blah blah) and wanting to rescue all the time! He needs to “John Wayne” up!!! Let the girl know what she’s missing, and let her come to him!!!! (again…I think some skinny dipping might be in order…..) I just love me a cowboy!

              Arnie: I will go to my grave loving him the most! ❤

              Liked by 1 person

              1. btw…. I am TOTALLY LOVING THIS, TOO!!!!! So fun to chat about the “people we know” that others are clueless to, even though I’ve tried to clue them in!!!!!

                Liked by 1 person

              2. In our own way we all know a ‘Tom’ marking their territory giving their opinion. I do find him annoying at times. Maybe it’s just me but I groan most times he is in the story, its nice he looks out for our girl, but it’s not like he’s ever really helped, he mostly gets in the way and causes problems. Nearly giving Dave a heart attack, almost stumbling on a body a couple of times at Aydan’s.

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                1. It may be that Tom is just around to help with farming Aydan’s land and bringing the occasional leftover food over for his neighbor. And to cause uncomfortable situations. There have, after all, been some really cringe-worthy ones due to him! 🙂


  7. Hi from Miramichi, New Brunswick. My lounge chair is in the sun, margarita at hand and all 11 books at my side. Three words….mmm. dam good bookkeeper. Yup me and Aydan have something in common. Well more than that as I used to live in Calgary as well. So you can just imagine when I read the books I am totaly lost in them. When I finish it is like coming out of the network ( without the pain). I would say best friend would be Lola. Way too much fun to be had there. Partner in crime, Spider. I think he would be loyal and help hide the bodies. Sworn enemy.. fuzzy bunny of course! Lover, Hellbound , Hellbound, Hellbound.
    Spouse, bit your tongue!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Hi, all, I’m Jai, joining you all from Cootamundra, Australia, on a warm and smoky autumn day. Because of the smoke my lounge chair will be inside, my trusty leather couch, scene of much reading over the years, with a long cool glass of Murrumbidgee water by my side.
    My favourite book — I like all of them.
    And I can’t see why Aydan should have to choose between all the various men, there’s nothing wrong with her as she is. Their problems are theirs alone.
    I truly sympathise with Aydan on one thing, though. It would be bad enough trying for work-life balance as spy / asset / bookkeeper, but having to add porn star into the mix is just dreadful. But very, very, funny.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree, that’s how I feel now adays when people comment about my size or shape. Despite the medical profession suggestion that I am over weight, and should have all sorts of things like diabetes and heart issues and what not.
        I’m healthy, no matter how many times I’m tested re blood sugar I come back normal, it seems without trying I cost the NHS nothing well apart from what ever the cost of the pill is, and considering I get it free I’ve no idea.
        But anyway the point is until I tell someone what I weigh they look at me and say I’m normal, a little knowledge isn’t always a good thing.

        I’m not prejudice to any one for anything, I have issue with one small group of people but I have a valid reason I won’t go into. But my point is we should get to know someone before you judge them. Walk a day in their shoes, and considering I wear a UK size 10 they should fit most people even if they are a tad big for some.

        If you don’t like to be judged and I’m sure no one does don’t judge others

        Sorry for the rant ish, I’ll go sit in my corner on my fluffy pillows and sip a cool drink now

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, everyone. I’m Laurie, aka el Tea. I’m sitting on my deck in my Adirondack-style rocking chair made by a fellow Minnesotan drinking a not-too-sweet lemonade squeezed just a few minutes ago with my Mom’s glass juicer. I’m loyal, empathetic, and a recovering diffident. (No meetings to attend! Everyone is too shy to attend meetings.)

    My favorite NSS book? I liked book 2 “seeing” Aydan get all dressed up and do so well at the party, yet hang with the guys camping, riding motorcycles, riding in and driving a sports car, and bailing out of a window to escape a potentially bad situation. The suspense and adventure never let up. Yet I’m also with Lynn enjoying the Never Say Spy book I’m reading at the time. No other author has ever had such a run as you, Diane. At some point, other authors’ work can feel formulaic or the characters are no longer developing and the plot doesn’t ring true, and I wonder why I’m still bothering. The emotional lives of Aydan and her friends and colleagues are so real that I have no problem swallowing a bit of virtual web surfing or the phenomenal new covert weaponry. I am willing to wait for what’s next in book 12 and am NOT urging Diane to speed up because a rushed book might have a lack of all the great humor, wonderful cast of characters, emotional depth, and inventive spy gear, and the new book would instead be full of plot holes, formatting issues, typos, and net a lot of unhappy book buyers. Take all the time you need to do your best work, Diane. I’ll wait. While waiting I’ll re-read the series again. I’ll also read other books, and prove that you are still the best.

    I think Blue Eddie might be best friend material since he loves the blues and is eager to help in a crisis or to just lend an ear. I think he could use a good friend too. Lola is ready for anything going down, so she’d be a good partner in crime. I don’t see any sworn enemies, just a few people who need to be handled with tender loving care. Holt, Dermont, Brock, and Weasel all fit that mold. Aydan and her team have luckily killed off the unredeemable few. I’d share my bed anytime with Arnie, if he’d have me. I’m pretty independent, but I think I might get too attached for his comfort level. I’m with Shirley- no spouse is a good spouse. I’m all for Arnie rolling in for a Thursday night jam session at Blue Eddies, we could hang out a while, share a night or two of delights, then leave me some peace and quiet the rest of the week. Not every week will work out? Excellent! Hang with him at his place sometimes? Yah sure, you betcha.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love the ‘recovering diffident’ moniker, Laurie! After I changed careers a few years back, I would introduce myself as a recovering engineer, then quickly divert the conversation somewhere else. Got some strange looks. 🙂

      Nicely done.


      1. I love that you understand my sense of humor, Lynn. Perhaps I inherited my diffident ways and sense of humor from my electrical engineer father. For being a first generation computer nerd (1940’s- ’70’s), he was surprisingly gregarious. May I ask you what there is to recover from in your engineering history? Or was that era something to recover from because of one or more of those nightmarish bosses you endured?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No, just something a little skewed to say that always makes me smile when I say it. Loved the profession; still do, in fact. I don’t keep up with everything the way I used to, but that’s only because I have new interests that I devote my time to. I’ve worked with and for some of the finest people I’ve ever know while employed as an engineer. But the other end of that spectrum is equally true, too. Probably about the same ratio as everyone else encounters.

          The ‘recovering’ thing is almost always associated with alcoholism or some other form of strong addiction, so it always makes me giggle a bit when I hear it used in any other context. There’s a lot of depth in your ‘diffident’ thing; more so than in my ‘engineer’ thing, I think. Still makes me chuckle at all the nuances. You done good.

          Gad, what would it have been like to be a first-gen computer wizard? Everything from vacuum tube machines with refrigeration units as big as the computers themselves to deal with the massive heat load; punch cards, which are clearly an instrument of the devil (tried that back in the late sixties/early seventies as a non-typist and thought that must be where bad people go when they die); and so much more that I do not even suspect.

          Your dad must’ve been quite a guy to maintain his sense of humor through all that. 🙂


          1. Yup, my dad was really quite a guy. I imagine my dad might have only been only vaguely aware of punch cards- he had nothing whatsoever to do with programming or use of his designs. He never used or owned a computer until years into his retirement when PCs entered the average home.
            You’re spot on about the old vacuum tubes. At one point he and a colleague were tasked to figure out which was the better direction to follow- tubes or transistors? They went with Dad’s plan. I think he loved his job and his colleagues. They loved telling jokes and playing pranks on each other. Every day they had lunch out at decent restaurants. I’m sure with the relaxed culture that a lot of ideas were tried out and developed long before they made it to a drafting table.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I can see ’em now, sitting in a restaurant after a meal, the empty dishes stacked on the corner of their table, each with a half-empty beer glass or a cup of cold coffee, scratching new circuits out on a cocktail napkin. And those circuits and concepts and ideas shaped the world we live in now. That image is as clear to me as though I were looking straight at ’em from the next table.

              I’d love to say, “Excuse me, miss. May I have the check for that table over there, please?” And after I paid it with a healthy tip, I’d leave before they ever knew I was there. Just because.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I’m sure your vision is 20/20. I thank you for the virtual lunch on behalf of Dolan, Jim, Seymour, John, Peter, Chuck, Bob, Bill, and the rest of the guys.

                I too like the idea of those lunches out rather than today’s reality of a pitiful lunch grabbed on the fly at your desk or in your car.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. There’s much to be said for a lunch in a place fancy enough for all that to take place, but someone fairly famous said a while back that most of the greatest innovations of the last fifty or more years were figured out late at night with pizza on the table.

                  Personally, I like your dad’s way better.


  10. Hi everyone! 😃 I’m Sherry and I’m a Canadian writer and former comic now living in Belfast, N. Ireland. My patio chair would be at the family caravan (holiday trailer) near the sea at the foot of the mountains of Mourne in County Down. I would be unapologetically holding a very oversized cup of Earl Grey tea in one hand (milk, two sugars) and a large joint (NO tobacco) in the other….it would be wonderful….if the rain ever stopped and the sun actually appeared.

    I think book 7 is my favourite thus far. Not really sure why, as I have found something entertaining about all of them. I think maybe it packed in the most punch, the most twists, and the most suspense.

    I was glad when Aydan had the chance to move outside the sym world and flex as a pro-active developing agent.

    The porn star cover was badly thought out on the part of the authorities. Surely it would have been obvious that such a cover would cause more problems and draw more unwanted and potentially violent sexual attention than a less inflammatory one. I have questions as to how and why that got past Stemp.

    I think Tom is lovely and maybe has begun to figure out that Aydan is involved in something serious in a professional capacity. I’d like to believe he’s instinctive that way and maybe feels he can’t ask her about it yet.

    The triangle between Kane and Aydan and Arnie….tough one that. But I think Kane got a bit too clingy there for awhile. A little out of character when everything else in his life is controlled and cautious – but then maybe that’s exactly why.

    I think I liked his strong, silent and in control side better though. Might add to him more if we actually knew a few more details of what sort of horrid assignment he had been through recently. That might explain a lot.

    Kane being a dad now will occupy a lot of his spare time and might bring back some much-needed balance to his love life where Aydan is concerned. He might relax and focus more on what he has than what he doesn’t have.

    I think ultimately Aydan is best suited to the unorthodox ‘relationship’ she has with Hellhound. The truth is that the trust and ease that exists between them is unsurpassed by her other love interests.

    It is Hellhound who understands her better than anyone else, and accepts her as she is without judgement. It is he that she never lies to. And their relationship has evolved and deepened more than any of the others. Slowly but surely they are overcoming their personal baggage – together.

    I am glad to discover Diane, that you seem to write much the way I do – without knowing what the characters will do or say until they do it. Is this right? Do you sketch out a plot line for each book or have an overall story arc for the entire series before you start writing, or do you trust it to unfold on its own?

    I’m curious because I’m stuck on my own book at the moment.

    Anyway, great to be able to talk to other people about a series I have come to enjoy so much! I look forward to our future discussions – and book 12!!!

    Nice to meet you all…😚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sherry! You’re right, my process is pretty loose. When I’m beginning each book I do a quick summary of each character’s headspace so I know I’m on track with the series story arc. I let the details develop by themselves, but I do have a big-picture concept for the series.

      At the book level, I always know where the book starts and where I want it to end (I often write the final sentence when I’m halfway through the book). I decide roughly what the main plot and subplot(s) will be, and then I throw all the characters into the mix and see what they’ll do. I love writing that way because often it’s a much a surprise to me as it is to everyone else! But I can’t do it unless I’m really inside the characters’ skins, so I take a lot of time to figure them out.

      I sometimes get stuck on a book, too – maddening, isn’t it? If I get stuck it means one of two things: 1) There’s a plot problem in what I’ve already written and my subconscious won’t let me move on until it’s fixed; or 2) I haven’t figured out my characters’ motivations clearly enough, so my writing feels aimless and I dribble to a halt until I figure out the problem.

      Good luck with your book – writing can be frustrating, but it’s also a blast! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, that’s funny Diane! I usually have the last sentence first…then start from the beginning and it naturally falls into place.

        But with my current book, I am simply writing each bit like a scene in a movie. Whatever ‘scene’ I visualise and hear in my head, I then just write down the way I see and hear it. That’s why it has no real sense of structure or cohesion at the moment. It’s just this collection of random scenes as if you were channel-hopping on your TV….they’re not even in the right order yet.

        But I think you have helped me find where I’m stuck!

        It’s in my characters motivation and the overall story/plot. I have some heavy work to do (sigh)

        But thanks for that!

        I forgot to add, Stemp and his folks…yeah, some truth gotta break through that family. For everyone’s sake. And I love that Stemps mom and dad’s can share each other in love….which sounds seriously hippie, but makes me wonder if Kane, Hellhound and Aydan can take a lesson from that….😉

        Looking forward to this group!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I still laugh about the porn star cover! Stemp’s straight-arrow persona slipped a bit when we could see him enjoying Aydan’s angst a little too visibly. I gained a little respect for him when he admitted to regretting it later. But still…what a mess to have to navigate one’s very complicated life through.

      You done good, Diane. 🙂


      1. Stamp’s work persona is indeed pretty straight-arrow, but have you forgotten that in Spy High Stemp’s mother described him as “sexually uninhibited”? There are clearly hidden depths that Aydan has yet to witness in Stemp’s private life to explain how he could choose to assign her a porn star cover identity. In addition, to be fair, remember that in the first place the porn cover was first suggested by the most outwardly inhibited character, Spider, as an explanation of all the porn videos made by Lawrence Harchman.
        Kudos to Diane for giving these “minor” characters hidden depths.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh that’s right! Well, all that button-down formality needs an outlet somewhere! Very funny. And yes, the porn star cover works but will inevitably create so many headaches…

          I like Stemp. Lots more room to develop him. And the gadget/tech weapons gang too.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s so good to see everyone visiting here – what a great group! 🙂 Stay tuned for our first ‘real’ discussion question tomorrow (and remember you’re welcome to submit your own discussion topics, too). I’m looking forward to the conversation!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bwahaahaahaa! I can see the conversation now:

        Diane, walking up to the counter in her local phone store: Hi, I need to talk to someone about a new phone, please.

        Customer Service Rep: Certainly, I’ll be glad to help you!

        Diane, pulling a charred, nondescript lump of plastic from her waist pouch and placing it on the counter: This one seems to have had, erm, issues.

        CSR: That’s a phone? Seriously?

        Diane: Well, not anymore, obviously, but it was until 3:36 this morning.

        CSR: (pauses, shaking head) …That’s a phone? Seriously?

        Diane, still exhibiting patience, but her other hand is gripping one of the heavy-bladed clasp knives in her waist pouch, knuckles white: Until early this morning it was. The e-mail tone kept dinging nonstop, so I reached over on my nightstand to shut the sound off, but…the sound was already turned off. The e-mails just kept coming so fast that they overloaded the ‘off’ switch and burned out the speaker. But it still kept dinging and dinging and getting hotter and hotter until it just burst into flame! That’s what happened to my phone, so, as you can clearly see, I do, in fact, need a new one.

        CSR: …That’s a phone? Seriously?

        Diane, exasperation peeking through: C’mon, will ya? I gotta get to the electronics store. My router looks just like my phone!

        Yep. You should get some spares ahead of time, Diane. It’s gonna happen. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Diane, I wonder if you will soon regret launching this book club? You have in the first week more than doubled your normal quota of comments to read and possibly respond to, and if there are several topics running concurrently, well um, Julie said it so well. If you spent additional time on this, will we ever get to read a book #12?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! Don’t worry, I plan to ration my time here – I want this to be reader-driven. I’m only going to check in and drop a few comments here and there about twice a week. To make time for the VBBC, I’ll be cutting back some of my tech/industry reading. I won’t miss that because after a several years in the ‘biz’, my learning curve is evening out. At least that’s the plan… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Plan? Yeah, right. The best laid men of mice and plans…no, wait. The best laid mice of planning men…no, that isn’t it. Oh, you know what I mean. 🙂


  13. Hi everyone, I’m Sue from Coralville, IA (a “suburb” of Iowa City. My ideal patio chair is a sky chair hanging from a very long rope, while drinking something chocolate and alcoholic like a mudslide. Three words, huh…adventurous, honest, kind.

    It’s really hard to pick a favorite book, I love the whole series.

    Picking characters is also hard. Best friend-Spider, because I’m a geek too. Partner in crime-Hellhound, he would have my back, no questions asked. Sworn enemy-Brock or Dermott. Lover/spouse-I’m going to pass, I’m happily married!

    Looking forward to getting to know everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello Everyone,
    I am Janet from the Seattle area. I am an old lady, retired from my career in laboratory medicine, specializing in problems with blood clotting –or not. My patio chair unfortunately has wheels on it as a result of too many adventures. Assorted broken bones and other injuries over the years finally took their toll. My adventures these days have to be vicarious and doesn’t Diane provide them beautifully?
    I was divorced from my version of Steven back in the mid-70’s and decided I wasn’t going to do the marriage thing ever again and have never regretted that. I get the non-commitment thing. Hellhound is my favorite character, I think Tom is a pain-in-the-ass. I also wonder why Lola hasn’t noticed Hellhound.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Janet – welcome to the patio!!! We all are “addicted” to Diane’s drug….she’s our “word pusher”!!!! LOL Enjoy the books!!!!
      So many LOVE Hellhound, but don’t worry any about Lola…keep reading, she’s a feisty one, that Lola!!!!


    2. I would also like to warmly welcome you to Diane’s virtual backyard book club. Nice to relate in some small way to Aydan’s world, even if it meant enduring for too long a marriage to someone like Steven and having so many good adventure tales to tell.
      I think Lola has never actually seen Arnie or perhaps never seen him with Aydan. If they ever went shopping in Lola’s shop while she was on duty, I’m sure she’d be full of questions, comments, and suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

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