Diane Sawyer Newsletter/Blog #5 March 2013

Diane Sawyer Portrait


Hi everyone,

Welcome back and a belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you enjoy my fifth newsletter, the March 2013 edition. Thanks for your emails. I appreciate them and you. Fondly,

Diane Sawyer



People often ask me if authors have any input about the design of the covers on their novels. Here is my experience. The editors at Avalon welcomed suggestions from their authors, but I declined because I lack artistic ability. Although I was very pleased with the covers their illustrators designed for the first three novels, I regretted that I hadn’t challenged myself and become involved. So for my fourth novel, The Cinderella Murders, I made minor suggestions and the illustrator incorporated them.

Inspired, I became more creative with my fifth novel, The Treasures of Montauk Cove. I suggested red, white, and blue, the colors of the American and French flags to highlight the connection between the two countries in the story. I recommended penmanship reminiscent of the Declaration of Independence to harmonize with the events referred to in the novel. The illustrator worked those ideas into the background and emphasized the plot by featuring a wine bottle rolling in with the tide. I liked that because when the heroine found that bottle, the story was set in motion and her curiosity then propelled the plot. I enjoyed the collaborative spirit and appreciated the illustrator’s talent in pulling everything together. Now I often think maybe we should judge a book by its cover.

Following are the covers of the hardcover edition, published by Avalon.

Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella Murders Montauk Cave

     When World Wide Mysteries and Amazon Publishing published the paperback editions of my books, they created variations of the covers. They are gorgeous too! For example, here is The Montauk Steps, hardcover (Avalon), which gives the appearance of a beach seen through a camera lens (the heroine is a photo-journalist). The paperback edition (World Wide Mysteries) (see page 3 below) emphasizes the rocky steps, mysterious surroundings, and a red object which plays a key role in the story. I can’t wait to see the covers that will be created for my future novels.

 Montauk Steps                    Montauk Steps L


Last month’s travel news, “Around the world in two days,” brought an interesting email from a reader. She wrote that she liked the idea of seeing the world without ever leaving home. That got me thinking about the “armchair travelers” who love to read about far-away places, even though they may never have the opportunity to visit them. Movies are capable of that too. Many people comfortably escape to foreign lands as they enjoy popcorn and soda in their own home or in a movie theater.

I have come up with a purely subjective list of wonderful movies set in foreign places. If you’ve seen them, the list may inspire you to see them again or try ones you’ve never seen before. With help from a list of Academy Award best-picture movies, here are those I think you’ll enjoy. I emphasized older movies, because the recent ones are probably still fresh in your mind. Happy viewing, happy reading, and “Bon Voyage!”

  • Africa: Invictus, 2009; Out of Africa, 1985; Zulu, 1964. Lawrence of Arabia, And a special favorite of mine: Nowhere in Africa, 2003, Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, subtitles.
  • Australia: Australia, 2008; Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1976. Also I’d like to recommend a non-fiction book, The Fatal Shore, the epic of Australia’s founding, by Robert Hughes.
  • China: The Last Emperor, 1987.
  • England: Tom Jones, 1963; The King’s Speech, 2010; Shakespeare in Love, 1998; Miniver, 1942.
  • France: Chocolat, 2000; An American in Paris, 1951; The French Connection, 1971.
  • Japan: Empire of the Sun, 1987. Lost in Translation, 2003.
  • India: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011; Slumdog Millionaire, 2008; A Passage to India, 1984.
  • Ireland: Ryan’s Daughter, 1970: The Quiet Man, 1952.
  • Italy: Two Women, 1961; The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999; Roman Holiday, 1953.
  • Scotland: Braveheart, 1995.
  • Wales: How Green Was My Valley, 1941.

Creative Cooking

Tired of the same old salads? Try ruby red grapefruit salad. It’s different and delicious and pretty too.


2 ruby red grapefruit

1 large head frisée lettuce (or any curly-leaf lettuce)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 scallions (3” of green left on), thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method: Section grapefruit. Discard pith and peel. Save sections and juice. Make a vinaigrette of 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk constantly, slowly drizzling in the olive oil and continue whisking until slightly thickened. Reserve. Place the chopped frisée in a large bowl. Add the grapefruit sections, scallions, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss with 3 tablespoons of reserved vinaigrette. Arrange the walnuts on top of the salad and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of chopped parsley. Bon appétit!


This and that

Did you know that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world—and in many different ways? Here’s a very small sampling culled from hundreds of possibilities.

  • The island of Montserrat, called the Emerald Island of the Caribbean, was founded by Irish refugees from the nearby islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis. On Montserrat, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday.
  • In Florence, Italy, there is “Fiesta Irlandes,” a celebration which lasts for ten days and features an Italian style potato soup, smoked salmon, beef soaked in Guinness, and huge amounts of stout.
  • In Moscow, Russia, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade includes numerous floats, marching bands, and…Cossack horsemen.
  • In Oslo, Norway, St. Patrick has a red-bearded chauffeur who drives him about in a horse and cart.
  • In Tokyo, Japan, Irish and Japanese flags line Omotesando Avenue for the big parade.
  • Seattle, Washington, devotes an entire week to St. Patrick’s Day festivities, including the painting of a green strip down the center of Fourth Avenue.
  • Tampa, Florida, tinted the Hillsboro River green.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, includes a classic car show in their festivities. (I was expecting Elvis!)
  • And my personal favorite? The celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana, includes Irish dancing, a parade with jazz bands and float riders who toss strings of beads along with cabbages and potatoes to the spectators.



I will leave you with the following thought.

May your blessing outnumber the shamrocks that grow,

And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

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