Psycho Babble

Just released–and just in time for the holidays–it’s Psycho Babble: The Rants, Raves & Riffs of an Uncommon Blonde!

Cover B-Psycho Babble

Comprised of more than 50 of my favorite posts–remixed and retooled for the paperback market–Psycho Babble offers up laughter in six chapters, including:

On Children and Parenting: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger crazy.
On Marriage and Relationships: And they lived happily ever after. And they lived.
Random Fears, Frustrations, and Fantasies: Hoping for the best while preparing for the (absolute) worst.
Obsessions, Confessions, and Possessions: For those for whom there is no such thing as too much information.
On Politics and Culture: Alienating friends and family one paragraph at a time.
Serial Thrillers

Plus Bonus Material, including one short story and the first chapter from my upcoming novel, Forty-Love.

For more information visit or go to!




Truth and Confer-ences

Let me first apologize for the title of this post. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bad pun. That’s the first truth in this story. The second truth is that I LOVE a bad pun. The badder the better, as far as I’m concerned.

But the real star of this post is neither the pun nor the truth, but the confer-ences. Specifically writers’ confer-ences.

If you’re not a writer yourself, you may experience an irrepressible urge to flee or fall asleep at the mention of the such an event. Even some of us who ARE writers may bristle at the idea. For although most writers enjoy writing, not all of us enjoy talking about writing.

Now when I say I may not enjoy talking about writing, I don’t mean talking about what I write. In truth–there it is again–that’s the easy part for me. The characters in my books and short stories–not only those I’ve published but also those still fluttering around in my head–are all so real to me, that I can carry on about them for hours and hours provided I have the time, space, and access to a willing audience. And sometimes even the willing isn’t a requirement.

So what gives me trouble is not talking about WHAT I write, but talking about the HOW. I know it’s sometimes necessary to talk about things like character development and plot pacing; but for me, talking about the elements of a story is like talking about the ingredients of a gourmet meal or a decadent dessert: I know they’re important, but I’d rather talk about the dish or the dessert itself–what it tastes like or what kind of wine to pair with it–rather than the taste, smell, color or consistency of all the stuff that went into it.

It’s not that I don’t care about the elements of a good story. Combine the wrong ingredients–to use the cooking metaphor, again–and you may not get what you set out to make. To paraphrase Rita Rudner, you can mix flour and water to make glue, but if you add sugar and eggs (and baking soda) you’ll get cake.

So the components ARE important when it comes to food–and the same is true for a story–be it a novel or a bit of flash fiction. If you don’t have the right elements, you may not get the product you’re aiming for. But for me, I’d rather talk about the story itself–the characters, what they do, and where, when, how and why.

Which is why this weekend you will find me at the Lakefly Writers Conference at the Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center in Oshkosh. I won’t be presenting on any of the elements of writing. Nor will I be attending any of the workshops discussing any of the elements of writing.

Instead you’ll find me at a table at the Author’s Showcase. I’ll be there, behind a stack of my books and bookmarks, talking about my stories–but not necessarily how I wrote them or why.

It’s About Time

After more than twenty years, my first book is finally going to print. Yes, after many false starts, a few forced stops, and several revisions, Thinner Skin will finally see the light of day as a complete work by yours truly.

That paragraph may be confusing to those who have purchased and/or read Unmatched, so I will explain:  Although Unmatched was released first, it was actually written eighteen years after Thinner Skin for the purpose of entering it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition in 2012.

I had planned to enter Thinner Skin in that same contest in 2011, but had to scrap that plan when I realized its word count exceeded the contest’s limit by a substantial amount. With only weeks to go before the contest—and having tried and failed to reduce the word count several times in the past decade—I decided I had a better chance of writing a new book before the contest deadline, than I did of trimming Thinner Skin by almost 20 percent.

Although I made a good show of it, I missed my deadline for the 2011 contest by a mile, which is how Unmatched came to be a 2012 entry instead. And although it made the first round of the competition, it failed to place in the second round, which is how it came to be released as an indie novel in October 2012.

Since then, I have spent my time promoting Unmatched, writing this blog, and revising Thinner Skin. Although it still exceeds the Breakthrough Novel Award competition word limit by a smidge, it is significantly lighter, funnier, and cleverer than at any point since its conception. Although I do not have a firm release date yet, I am confident it will be available sometime this month.

And so, without further ado—and in the interest of stoking your interest in reading the rest—I hereby present the prologue of Thinner Skin.

Bon Appetit!


Thinner Skin, by Billie Jean Diersen


I’ll never forget the night I met the only man I’ve ever killed. Despite my efforts to erase it from my mind, I remember it as clearly as I do the night my mom died, the day I got married, and the days both of my children were born.

That’s not to say I make a habit of committing to memory my every experience—much less the circumstances surrounding each new acquaintance. For example, I have no idea how or when I met my husband. Nor do I recall meeting any of my closest childhood friends. Although I can ballpark the geneses of these relationships, when I try to summon specific dates or memories of the occasions, I draw a total blank.

Maybe that’s how it is for anyone who’s moved around as much as I have. You come into contact with so many people over the years that you don’t stop to document the moment you become aware of their existence. Unless you keep a diary—or have OCD—you don’t bother; there just isn’t time.

So the kid who sits behind you in fifth grade gradually becomes Tony Zeigler and, later, the first boy you ever kiss, while the girl with the pink-rimmed glasses becomes your science partner and, over time, your best friend, Quinn. You don’t remember your initial meeting or when you first spoke. Unless there was something special or significant about the event, you only know that at some point they appeared on your radar and you somehow learned their names. You also learn that relationships are fluid, and you don’t expect them to last.

That’s how it should have been with Rob Copeland. And yet, although there was nothing at all significant about that Friday, I remember it as if it were yesterday, and in fine detail. I don’t recall the date, but I can name the location right down to the zip code. I also remember what he wore, what he was drinking, and nearly every second I spent with him until the moment he was no longer of this earth…


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