New Book Out!!

Source: New Book Out!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Book Out!!

Cover: Ozzy and the Baby Birds by Diann L. Tongco

Cover: Ozzy and the Baby Birds by Diann L. Tongco

Just a quick post to let everyone know that my latest and greatest book is out. This one is a children’s book, written and illustrated by me. This was my contribution to a fun art exchange my daughter arranged.

While not strictly a work of art, the book started as a series of pencil sketches of my curly-coated retriever, Ozzy. Then I added the story of the baby chickadees who’d populated our deck this summer. Of course, I then had to draw baby chickadees and crows (the story’s villains) which I’d never drawn before. In the end, it turned out pretty well and my two-year-old grandson loves it. Mission accomplished.

If you have a small child who might like a story of a brave dog protecting baby birds with accompanying drawings or if you are a collector of all things relating to curly-coated retrievers, this might be for you.

Now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Climbing Mountains


We all have mountains to climb, goals to achieve and seas to swim. Don’t ever doubt yourself of, if you do feel doubt creeping in, remember that you have messages to communicate and gifts to share that are uniquely yours.  Take another step. Put one foot in front of the next. Keep moving forward.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Walking Dead?

Dublin, CA cemeteryNot going to post a long diatribe about modern society and the parallels to zombies. Rather this is a gentle reminder from me that as artists, we need to be creative every day and also to be cognizant of the beauty and art surrounding us.

I love spring because the new flower buds, green sprouts and unfurling leaves are delicate, beautiful and full of promise. In the autumn, the color palette shifts and I love the warmth of the crimson and orange leaves, the pumpkins, textures of the scarves and jackets and the gray skies above.

None of this is, strictly speaking, art, but all of it inspires me. Don’t just stumble through each day, zombie-like, without taking a look around you and soaking in the loveliness. Brains are good but beauty is the food of artists.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring flowers 2013

photo (10) photo (11)

Posted in Art & Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Monitoring Tools



I’ve been researching social media monitoring tools lately in an effort to simplify my life – I have far too many  social accounts to efficiently monitor and track and I would hate to miss anything important. As it is, I sometimes don’t respond to Tweets in a timely fashion and it’s definitely not because my followers aren’t important to me. 

So I’m asking you, the smartest, most wired and innovative people I know what tools you use and recommend. Are there any betas available? I’m particularly interested in free or very low cost tools in part because I’m cheap but this is a realm that changes so often and I want to be remain nimble.

Please share your favorites or even just monitoring tools you’ve heard good things about. I’m keen to learn all I can.



Posted in Non fiction books, Novel writing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon Grape Blossoms

Oregon grapes were always one of my favorite plants as a child. I loved smashing the dark berries and seeing the purple-blue juice squish out. We used them to draw on sidewalks and once even dyed fabric to make doll clothes. You had to be careful because the leaves were edged with little spines that would scratch viciously. But I don’t think I ever noticed the pretty, delicate yellow flowers that produce the luscious dark berries.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lunar New Year!

Red Envelope

I’m a little late, but I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Snake! May your creative endeavors be fruitful.

Posted in Art & Photography, Novel writing, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Guide to getting more readers

I recently got an email from a friend who’s just getting started using social media to reach out to new audiences. In replying to her, I thought perhaps some of you might find my reply helpful. I offer it up here for anyone who can use this help:
My friend writes:
Howdy do! I am starting to revise my blog stuff/website through the coaching resource I had mentioned to you.

I have some new action happening below. You are most welcome to attend any of my stuff pro-bono, cause I just sooooo appreciate your willingness… I was curious, how can I connect with other bloggers or get my blogs more noticed? I had “’ who liked my blog. They are in NY and I have no clue how they found this latest blog. Should I just email back and say love to link to you..not sure what to say? And, I am not Tweeting yet or on google+, etc. yet… first things first.

I was just wondering where I might go to ‘get connected’? BTW… you are a great writer!!!!

have a great day!

My response:

Hi J,

Congrats on growing your blog audience organically! This is the beginning. Yes, I would definitely reach out via email and ask how they found you and if there are any particular blog topics that would be of interest to them. If (and this is a big if) the person is articulate, intelligent and has something to offer your blog visitors, you might ask them if they’d care to guest blog on your site. This is a great way to get their readers (assuming they have any) over to your site and vice versa. At the very least you can learn how they found you and consider generating more of the same kind of content/using similar tags for your posts.

One of the best ways to “meet” other bloggers is by visiting their sites and leaving comments. I follow a number of blogs – new posts get emailed to me – and when I see a subject I feel like commenting on or read a particularly good post, I have a link in the email that allows me to quickly and easily visit their site and comment on it. Your blog comments should ALWAYS include a link to your site. You never know when someone will agree with what you’ve said and want to read more.

I get a lot of new blog readers from Twitter because every new post is tweeted out to my followers. It’s one of those games where having a large audience helps you get more readers/followers but getting started is slow.

I’d love to come to a workshop or attend a teleconference but the week of the 25th is our big trade show in San Francisco and I am committed all week. Maybe a Ben Lomond workshop? I’d love to see what you offer and if there’s any way I could develop a social media aspect to the classes to help your students amplify their coursework if appropriate. Let me know what you think of that and if it works with your vision.

I’m so glad you like my writing. It’s always good to hear that you’re appreciated!

All the best,


Question, readers: how do YOU grow your audience? Any hints or tips to share with my friend? I know she’d love to hear what worked for you. Thanks!


Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diann Writes

Dear Diann,

I throughly enjoyed your “Stillness in the Garden” 😉

Very detailed with an engaging story line: twists and turns of teenage life behind private gates, a woman’s questioning her longing for a past relationship, all woven through two murders.

The only steady dependable man in Ariana’s life is her curly-coated retriever !

I loved the character of Yvonne Adams. Sooo spicy ! All your characters mesh very well throughout.

The characters have solved two murder mysteries, but, you have left me wondering: What happens to our reporter Ariana and Thunder ?

Who, what and where does Ryan Taylor go and with whom ?

I learned so much about Temecula … it has grown !!

As, I read the pages, I saw you as Ariana 🙂

Well done, Diann …

Thank you for a lovely trip to Temecula and the vineyards 🙂 Glad there is a Trader Joe’s !!

View original post 8 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment