Diane Patrick is a freelance editor and
writer who is in the business of helping
publishers, editors, agents, academics,
legal professionals, entertainers, and
business owners get their words out.
portfolio: bookshelf
In case you thought I was sitting around eating bonbons, take a look at some
(yes, SOME!) of the books I've authored and co-authored.
Making It Happen: Stories of
Success, Abundance and
(Essence Books, 2004)

Wisdom of the Ages:
Extraordinary People 19 to 90
(Essence Books, 2004)

I was a co-author of these books,
which expanded some of the pieces
from the popular features which
have appeared in
magazine over the years. Patricia
Hinds was the editor, and we had a
lot of fun on both of them!
Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction
(Plume, 2001)

I was minding my business, being a NONFICTION writer when my friend Carol Taylor called
and asked me if I'd be a contributor to an anthology of erotic fiction she was proposing to a
publisher. Looking down my nose, I said, “Absolutely NOT, missy! I don’t DO that kind of
thing. Erotica is NASTY! And I’m ROMANTIC! Plus, I can’t write fiction–I’m a journalist!”

“Oh, just think about it anyway,” she said, and hung up.

I thought about it. I spoke to some friends about it. One said, “Why don’t you base it on what’s
going on in your life right now?” And that struck a very deep chord… so I changed the names
and circumstances, and wrote the story “Never Say Never” as a tribute to a very special man.
He knows who he is...
(St. Martin’s Press, 1999)

It was time to graduate from those children’s books… so I called my agent and asked, “Can you
get me an ADULT project?” A few weeks later she called me and said, “St. Martin’s Press wants
a book called
The Unauthorized Biography of Terry McMillan. Do you want to do it?”

“Sure!” I said. I liked Terry’s books, and as a writer I admired how she’d created her own career
out of her fascination with her own circumstances. “But does this mean I’m not supposed to
speak to Terry?” (That was the researcher talking… as both a reader and a writer, and with my
legal background, well, I prefer to get my information from as close to the source as possible.)

“No, you can talk to her if you want.”

It turned out that Terry didn’t want to talk to me, though, and finally I gave up and wrote the
book as a tribute to how a writer can make her own reality if she is serious enough about it.
The New York Public Library Amazing African American History: A Book of
Answers For Kids
(Wiley, 1998)

This is the whole timeline of African American history–and I'm talking from the 1500s
to the 1990s–written not in narrative, but in question and answer form! I’m STILL
patting myself on the back for such a good job! (Yes, I’m shallow, what can I say?)
Toni Morrison
(Raintree/Steck-Vaughn, 1996)

Walter Dean Myers
(Raintree/Steck-Vaughn, 1995)

Colin Powell
(Raintree/Steck-Vaughn, 1995)

Barbara Jordan
(Raintree/Steck-Vaughn, 1995)

As you can see, these four books are part of a series.

What you
can’t see is that the manuscripts for all of them were due about the same time–
and if you think that’s something, right in the middle of the writing them I got married in
October 1994. I was so busy on these books that I was not able to move in with my
husband (I was giving up my apartment to move to his house) until March 1995! (I
should write a book about THAT, huh?)
The Executive Branch: A First Book (Franklin Watts, 1994)

The assignment here was to explain the executive branch of government in a way that young
readers could understand. Mission accomplished!
African Americans, Voices of Triumph: Perseverance
(Time-Life Books, 1993)

African Americans, Voices of Triumph: Leadership
(Time-Life Books, 1993)

My dear friend Roz McPherson had just been named v-p of marketing at Time-Life Books
and called to ask if I’d be interested in contributing to a new series; my segments were on
the Scottsboro Boys, the brave black students who were the first to integrate Southern
schools, the March on Washington, and more.
Family Celebrations
(Silver Moon Press, 1993)

As part of my consulting services to this small publisher, they asked me to write this
book on the way families mark important milestones.
Book of Black Heroes Volume 2: Great Women In The Struggle
(Just Us Books, 1991)

My friends Cheryl and Wade Hudson, publishers of Just Us Books, asked me to contribute to
this book, and I wrote about 20 of the profiles within.

It was later chosen by The New York Public Library as one of its “Books for the Teenage”, and
also chosen as a title for the popular PBS program
Reading Rainbow. (And yes, it was a thrill to
hear LeVar Burton say my name!)
Coretta Scott King
(Franklin Watts, 1991)

After the MLK book, my agent called again to
offer this one. I decided to spotlight Coretta in
her own right, as opposed to the wife of MLK.
It was chosen by The New York Public Library
as one of its “Books for the Teenage.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.: A First Book (Franklin Watts, 1990)

The subtitle refers to the age group of the readers... but it was my first book too! My agent
called and asked: "Do you want to write a biography of Martin Luther King for young
readers?" And that was the beginning of my habit of saying "Yes!"

As a long-time fan of reading biographies, I found it exciting to be doing research to write
one of my own. It was a gratifying experience that convinced me that researching and
writing biographies was just the niche for me!
Copyright © Diane Patrick 2008-2013.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.