Diana Tregarde

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Name: Diana Tregarde
Creator: Mercedes Lackey
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Diana Tregarde is a series of books by Mercedes Lackey. They are thrillers with focuses on a Wiccan who combats evil.

They are in the Elves on the Road Series.

This series was a main component in Lackey's controversial 1997 open letter: The Last Straw.

Began in Fanzines

These stories had their beginnings in fanzines, specifically issues of Shadowstar.

  • Merry Xmas to All (Diana Tregarde's first appearance) (1982) (#8)
  • A Friendly Place (#11)
  • Worldwalker (crossover with Star Wars) (#14)
  • Night Moves ("Diana Tregarde faces a nameless horror who stalks and kills in the streets of New York, and her only help is a benevolent vampire.") (#14)
  • Over the Rainbow? (crossover with Indiana Jones) (1984, #16)
  • Selkie, Selkie (1984, #16)
  • Not for Burning ("Gifted with the Sight, befriended by animals, orphaned, and forced to flee in the face of accusations of witchcraft in Puritan England, Cassandra Tregarde is led to a fate she has only dreamed...") (#17)
  • Crucible (how Diana Tregarde became a Worldwalker) (#19)
  • Troubleshooter (crossover with Grimjack) (#23)
  • Swan Song (#28)

Some of Lackey's Statements on Inspiration

Must say that I see no problem in writing derivate [sic] fiction; ultimately, all fiction is derivate — we are our roots. You'll notice that, though my stuff is supposedly "original," it owes tons to Tolkien ("Merry Xmas"), Andre Norton ("Graduation Day"), and Fred Saberhagen ("Night Lord"). The piece enclosed ((this issue's "Were Hunter")) owes its entirety to the song/video by Duran Duran,"Hungry Like the Wolf." So, as my postdoc friend Di (the direct inspiration for Diana Tregarde) says, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke." Or, in translation, "If you don't like what I'm doing, ignore it or shut up about it." [1]

Lackey's 1988 Statement: Quitting Fanfic

Shadowstar #28 (1988) has a letter of comment from Mercedes Lackey about her retirement from writing fanfic:


Some of you I've met; rest of you I haven't — but you've had the kindness to enjoy what I've written at least as much I enjoyed writing it. But... well, things change. One of those changes is that after MJ cleans out the files, there won't be any more Misty Lackey fanfic.

I literally can't afford to take the time to write it, anymore. And - no kidding — I wish I could. There's things I'm dying to do that I can't get away with in "pro" fiction. More Derek and Darla, for one thing. I'd love to get my hands on Star Trek: the Next Generation and space the empath. Diana Tregarde and Vincent from Beauty and the Beast. But — I have three novels under contract to write before the end of the year. I'm contractually obligated to a Merovingen Nights novella in September, and a Blood of Ten Chiefs novella in December. And, heaven help me, a science fiction "astrology" story for Andre Norton (there's a strange mix!) and a Darkover story for Marion Zimmer Bradley. And a full-time job. Social life? What's that? I see at most one TV show a week.

I hope you don't take this as bragging; it isn't meant to be. I just want you to know why I'm not writing fanfic, why I'm not going to cons, why I seem a little strained when I do go. This is the (I hope) last uphill rush; I hope to be able to quit my job soon and write full time. My agent is cautiously optimistic about my being able to make the same next year from writing as I now make on my salary. And since we've been saving the book money, we're not used to living on more than that salary. If this dream does indeed come to pass, I will be able to be a human being once again. I'll be poor, but a human being!

This does not mean you're going to lose all the "friends" you've met in my stories. One at least has graduated into the "real world." February will see the publication of Burning Water from TOR horror, and in it you will find a slightly altered Diana Tregarde. She's good for two more books as well, one of which is due by year's end — and if the series does well, who knows? And pay close attention to the dedication (surprise, MJ): it's "To Mary Jean and J.R. Holmes, who gave Diana a place to grow up."

Nor does this mean you have to stop seeing fanfic about the characters I created. Like Marion Bradley, I approve of fanfic. Those of you out there who wish to "play in my sandbox," be welcome! Take the "Patrol Universe"; borrow DT and Andre; have fun with the Cross-Timers! I would like to see these permutations of my creations, MJ, but I would never dream of censoring them. And (although I'm sure my poor agent would have hives if he knew I was saying this), if MJ wants to collect the Dawntreader or DT stories, she has my carte blanche to do so. For that matter, if any of you wish to do Herald fanfic, be my guest. You'll only be starting exactly as I started; maybe you'll end up in the same place. It's hard work — but I think that it's worth it.

But whether you just do it for fun or with the goal of trying for "prodom," you are giving something of yourself to those who will be reading it. And you will be joining the long line of us that goes right back to the caves, the ones who are moved to respond when someone says:

"Tell me a story."

All my best.[2]

The Diana Tregarde Books, Some Fan Reactions, and Controversy

From Lackey's Official Website


Q: You stated that the Diana Tregard series didn't sell well and it seemed your reasoning had something to do with the whole Guardian thing and Diana's beliefs. You did, however, add Guardians, the Wicca, and several other similar thing to the Bedlam Bard series. Any ideas why people seem to like those books while the Diana Tregard didn't sell? I can certainly understand not wanting to write book the people just won't appreciate.

A: I have a couple of theories on why they didn't sell well; partly I suspect it was a case of being "ahead of my time" since Buffy and her ilk are doing well these days. Partly it was getting lost in the crowd of all the other horror writers who were flooding the market at the time. Partly it was that the books were not Classic Fantasy, which was where my market was building. For whatever reason, they did all right, but not spectacularly. I might try to revive the series some day.[3]

[2002]: I'd like to start with saying how much I've enjoyed *all* of your books, although I've never read the Diana Tregarde ones. Maybe I should, just to see what sparked all this controversy you talked about in "The Last Straw." (I enjoyed that, by the way, as well as "Camel's Back" - I've never seen such raw anger on my screen before. I'm sorry that all had to happen. . . .[4]

[?]: Well, I guess I'm one of the few, the proud, Diana Tregarde fans. However, given the kinds of nutcases you've described, I understand your decision not to write any more DT books.[5]

Other Fans' Fanworks

Fan Comments


Misty Lackey is proving to be quite a prolific and good writer! I couldn't help but think of Piers Anthony while reading "A Friendly Place," although Anthony's nightmares are much nicer beasts. Sun Nyun Moon wouldn't, I think, take too well to the spelling of his name, however... "Were-Hunter" was excellent, and although a bit short, kept me satisfyingly spellbound, awaiting the out come. Nice ending, that! "Chameleon" was also quite entertaining. There will be more of Darla and Dawntreader, will there not? Misty must keep writing! [6]


Personally I'm really mad to have JUST LEARNED that Mercedes Lackey wrote a bunch of short stories about Diana Tregarde and her vampire boyfriend having wacky adventures. Why didn't I have any way of knowing that (or finding the stories) like twenty years ago when I was Prime Lackey Age and thought Diana was the coolest shit ever? My younger self was ROBBED, meme!

That's actually how I found out about Diana Tregarde! I borrowed one of the Bradley anthologies from the library and fell in love with the characters in a short story. I actually didn't know there were more. Damn would I like to find more of them!
They were originally published in fanzines, nonny.[7]


I enjoy Misty's stories because she's not afraid to spotlight alternative lifestyles and beliefs and treat them as commonplace. Her use of strong female protagonists in many of her books--especially Diana Tregarde, Tarma and Kerowyn--kept me reading and wishing that I could meet these women in person! [8]


The Diana Tregarde books (well, the first two, at least) are, I think, the best of Mercedes Lackey's writing. For once, we don't have to read about the poor abused main character and angst angst angst. In the third book, Diana morphs and becomes the author's avatar/Mary Sue (and there are totally unbelievable teenagers which doesn't help either). But for the first two books, you can almost see why people think Mercedes Lackey can write.[9]

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ a letter of comment by Misty Lackey in "Shadowstar" #11
  2. ^ "Shadowstar" #28
  3. ^ Ask Misty Archive - Writing, Archived version, accessed September 26, 2016
  4. ^ scroll down: Ask Misty Archive - Writing, Archived version, accessed September 26, 2016
  5. ^ scroll down: Ask Misty Archive - Writing, Archived version, accessed September 26, 2016
  6. ^ a letter of comment in Shadowstar #12
  7. ^ "fail_fandomanon: FFA DW Post # 388 - Re: Why didn't anyone TELL me?". Archived from the original on 2022-05-24. (March 10, 2016)
  8. ^ Queen's Own Interview with Laura Cameron
  9. ^ comment at My problem isn't (necessarily) Marion Zimmer Bradley