Posted On July 1, 2011 by Print This Post

Duffy Brown: The Importance of Plan B

Call it a parachute, a safety net or a Plan B – it’s what we fall back on when our best laid plans go awry. When you think the worst has happened, try not to panic. It may be an unanswered prayer. Today the fabulous Duffy Brown – you may know her better as Dianne Castell – talks reinventing herself. Dianne is one of the organizers of Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together. Read about the amazing Mystery Party she hosted the night before the event here.

Signing one contract does not mean you will be published for evermore.

When Kensington told me to get lost and didn’t renew my contract I went back to Harlequin where I started out. I asked if the editor I knew and loved there would take a look at my work. Sure, she said. Great idea.

But Harlequin is heavy, somber, angsty and not in love with mysteries or humor, the things I do best. I now hated writing. I dreaded sitting down to my computer and writing each day. It was torture but, I wanted to be published and this was my best shot. I lit candles, made novenas and promised works for charity for the next ten years if I’d sell. I still got rejected.

I decided I could be unemployed writing what I loved as easily as I could be unemployed writing what I hated. I love Sherlock Holmes and that TV show Castle.

I did the leap of faith thing and ditched fifteen years of writing romance and started over in cozy mysteries. It took me three months to write a proposal and sell it to Berkley Prime Crime for a three book deal! I am now Duffy Brown. The series is Consignment: Murder.

If you’ve got enough reject letters to paper your office maybe you should rethink what you’re writing. Instead of that erotic romance maybe a thriller, a cozy, a children’s book, YA, a cookbook!

You like to read romance and watch romantic movies but what else do you read or watch for a break? Of course you have to keep an eye on the market. See what else is selling right now. Is it time to put away that romance manuscript you’ve reworked five times and start something new…really new?

I’m not a believer in the do or die routine. I’m more of If this isn’t working then give something else a try.

If you didn’t write romance what else would you write? What other movies and TV shows spark your interest? Is there another story lucking in the recesses of your brain?

Are you ready to try something new?!


Have you ever had to make a major career change? How did it work for you?

Happy Independence Day! RU celebrates the 4th of July with C. J. Redwine and, hopefully, you!



Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own for Berkley Prime Crime.

Iced Chiffon, out October, 2012, is the first book in the Consignment: Murder series. Duffy writes romance as Dianne Castell, is a USA Today bestselling author, won Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, HOLT-Medallion Award, has been on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine and the Waldenbooks Bestseller list.

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20 Responses to “Duffy Brown: The Importance of Plan B”

  1. Morning Dianne!

    Thanks so much for posting with us today….=)

    If I didn’t write romance, I’d write MG. Actually I’ve got one in the works! I’d love to be able to write mysteries, but since *I* never know whodunit, I think it’s out of my realm…..=)

    I’m glad your plan B is working out for you, best of luck with your new books!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 1, 2011, 6:45 am
  2. Hi Dianne,

    I love the idea of branching out. A writer is a writer. I love Sherlock too. I write what pops into my head. Mostly for my own enjoyment. I don’t need anymore rejection.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | July 1, 2011, 8:21 am
    • Oh, Mary Jo, the reject thing is really tough. I have enough reject letters to paper my office!
      Don’t give up on submitting your fav stories. Right now the market is really tough. Hang in there.
      Keep me posted how you’re doing.

      Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:23 am
  3. Hi, Dianne –

    Thanks so much for being at RU today. I’m curious what type of soul searching you did to decide what genre to change your focus to. I’m trying to decide between the pursuit of two sub-genres so any insight is much appreciated!

    Happy Friday!

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | July 1, 2011, 8:36 am
    • Hi, Kelsey
      I thought of what I liked to read and watch on TV and what movies I liked to go to. I came up with mystery. Not the blood, guts and gore type but the ones where the characters are really the story.
      Try that and see where your interest is. Best of luck! Taking that leap of faith in yourself is never easy.

      Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:26 am
  4. Good morning, Duffy/Diane and all! (I never know what to call you anymore!)

    You are such a talented, positive person, I know you’ll succeed no matter what career path you take. Having read a bit of the first book in your new series, I’m sure it’s going to be a hit!

    Thanks for all the work you do for the Lori Foster Reader Author Get Together. It’s not only my favorite event of the year, but it’s wonderful that you’re able to donate so much to good causes every year with the money raised at the event. You rock! (So do Lori and Linda!)

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | July 1, 2011, 9:36 am
    • Hi, Becke
      thanks for having me at RU! So sorry I’m late getting here.

      Lori and I and Linda have such a geat time planning the get-together each year and the money for OneWay Farm is an added bonus.

      The Mystery Dinner Party I had the night before looks as if it will be an annual event! Hope you can make it when we do Bootleg, Babes and Bodies. Get out your Charleston legs and polish off your Tommy gun. 🙂

      Thanks again for having me.

      Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:31 am
  5. As Dianne’s/Duffy’s agent, I wanted to add that Duffy is one of the most resilient, flexible authors I represent. She’s industry savvy and, after leaving romance, was willing to work very hard to establish herself within a new, exciting genre. I can’t wait for her Consignment mysteries to hit book stores! Duffy has definitely hit her stride.

    Posted by Roberta Brown | July 1, 2011, 11:20 am
    • Hi, Roberta!!!

      Thanks for visiting! Wonderful seeing you in NYC on Wednesday. Roberta is the best agent around and I am so very lucky to have her.
      We are friends as well as have a professional relationship. I’m so very lucky to have Roberta as both.

      Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:33 am
  6. Roberta – I agree! I loved the way Dianne/Duffy’s voice just sparkled in the chapters I read, and I think the Southern flair of the story is going to hook readers right away. I can hardly wait for the books to come out!

    BTW – I feel a special kinship with this series since I’m a fan of the consignment shop that was Dianne’s inspiration!

    Posted by BeckeMartinDavis | July 1, 2011, 12:34 pm
    • The Snooty Fox it a great place to shop! Come see me on any Thurs or Fri night, Becke. 🙂

      I just bought the cutest Kate Spade bag there for $35!

      I named the consignment shop in my series the Prissy Fox since it takes place in Savannah.

      Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:35 am
  7. Hi Duffy!

    Your story is an inspiration to all writers. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I absolutely love the title “Iced Chiffon”!

    I worked in the same industry for many years, but toward the end, I took a part-time job during the holidays at Williams-Sonoma. I ended up staying there part-time for five years (okay, the generous employee discount had something to do with that). I love to cook and in a strange way, working there allowed me to shift my focus from my stressful day time job to something I could get excited about…pots and pans, cookbooks and good olive oil. 🙂 I know it sounds a little weird, but it was impetus I needed to explore the creative side of my brain.

    Thanks for being with us today!

    Posted by jennifer tanner | July 1, 2011, 3:43 pm
  8. Nice to know I’m not the only one constantly shifting gears! I write romances and mysteries as an indie author; and my new Summer Westin outdoor mystery series comes out in December with ENDANGERED from Berkley Prime Crime. Now for the hardest part: “branding” oneself as an author when trying to sell in multiple markets. But as with everything having to do with publishing these days, I do believe that persistence is the key. There’s way too much gloom and doom floating around the book biz thes days. Thanks for an interesting, hopeful post.

    Posted by Pamela Beason | July 1, 2011, 4:38 pm
  9. Sorry I’m so late. Out of town guests and the holiday have made this one busy weekend.

    Pamela, I agree about persistance being everything. Good luck with the series. Don’t you just love writing for Berkley Prime Crime!

    Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:16 am
  10. Hi, Jen
    I work at the Snooty Fox two nights a week. It’s an upscale consignment shop and lets me switch gears too and talk to people. Gets me from behind the computer and look at pretty clothes. Like you said, the discount is great too. Wonderful being here at RU! Have a great 4th!

    Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:19 am
  11. Thanks everyone for chatting with me this very busy weekend! Thanks Becke for having me at RU!

    Anyone wanting Duffy Brown goodies email me at with your snail address and I’ll send along stuff.

    Thanks for chatting and have a wonderful 4th of July!!

    Posted by Duffy Brown | July 4, 2011, 4:41 am

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