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Jan. 26th, 2015

me

Thinky thoughts: religion

First caveat: This was in part inspired by an event that I am still not over a few years ago, where someone who talked a good Christian game, did something really awful involving my husband and myself, and did it unapologetically and without any sense of the irony that comes with doing something totally against what he claims to be.

Second caveat: I in no way assume Christians are generally or mostly not living their religion.

So those two things said, I got to thinking about the first event yesterday and then moved on to wondering how hard it is to live your religion. I see a lot of Christians who don’t act very Christian, as I understand the Bible (admittedly I’m not super well-versed as many). I see a lot of people who break the commandments and who also don’t follow the general habits of living taught by Christ. I wondered if that’s because those things are inconvenient, or if it’s so tough to actually do the things the Bible tells them, or if it’s that they don’t believe everything in the Bible, and if they are selective. Or if, perhaps, they follow different interpretations of the Bible, or different versions (obviously the Catholic Bible is different from the Protestant Bible, for instance.) I suppose there are other options as well, that I’m not thinking of.

So that let me to wonder then, how difficult is it for other people to live their religions? I’m far more familiar with Christianity than any other religion, so I have no clue on other people. And then, within every religion, there seems to be variations of orthodoxy and so on.

But that doesn’t answer the question–how hard is it to live their religion? There are food requirements of course, but also behavioral, clothing, and so on. What if you don’t want to do things? Do you do it anyway? Do you do as told or select the bits that make best sense to you (and if I were religious, I know I’d fall in this last camp).

My point it, I suppose, is that I’m wondering how fundamental religion is in any given person’s life, and how many find it difficult to follow their religion, and what happens in a person’s mind when they break their religion’s tenets (to bring this back to the first caveat–did he even CARE?) This both me being a human and wondering, and me being a writer and wondering.

Then I wonder, for instance right now, how hard it is to live your religion if you’re Muslim. Because you will very likely get crap from somebody for just appearing to be Muslim. So do you you change? Do you avoid places or people? Do you alter your appearance? Do you let certain religious obligations slide? And of course, the same questions could be asked of Jews in history and now, depending on location, and so on.

Please be aware in this post that I’m not at all meaning to be controversial or be judgey. I’m seriously wondering. I am not a religious person. I can’t answer these questions. I can’t really posit a legitimate answer. I’m wondering if anyone out there has thoughts, based on personal or observational experience.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Jan. 18th, 2015

me

multiple things make a post. One hopes.

I do my twittering through Hootsuite. Hootsuite remembers my password. I, however, do not. So I was trying to go on to Twitter for some reason I no longer remember–it’s been hours, already–anyhow, Hootsuite may remember my password, but I don’t. I had to decide if I should reset the password, which would mean resetting Hootsuite, or just say forget it and worry about it another time. I went the lazy route.

I really sympathize with Charlie Hebdo and I really believe in Freedom of Speech. I even understand the “nuanced” argument of the editor that they go after religions which make political statements. Wouldn’t matter if I didn’t, though, because I do believe in freedom of speech, no matter how ugly. But at the same time, I really don’t like the way US culture and clearly other cultures all over the world, are willing to be deliberately hateful and offensive to other groups. The way we tend to go after each other as if we have a right to tell anyone else what to do. And yet . . . shouldn’t some things be stopped? Like genocide? Like child abuse? Like human rights abuses? Even if those things are legal and morally acceptable in other parts of the world?

Obviously I have no answers. I’m terribly torn. I hate knowing that if you’re black or Muslim and you’re walking down the street, everybody is a potential threat these days. I hate the way you can’t send kids out to play without worrying they’ll be accosted by a pedophile, a rapist, a killer, a gangmember, an idiot texting, a bully . . . I hate the rape culture. I wonder with all our progress in this world, how have we become so dangerous to each other? Yet I support the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. I support freedom of religion and of speech and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I also believe in the social contract, that supporting our neighbors supports ourselves and leads to a healthy nation.

These are the things I’ve been thinking about today.

I’ve been knitting and learning new things. Posted a new picture up on facebook. Unfortunately the picture is too big to post here until I shrink it. But I”m working on something new and will likely post it. It’s remarkable how well I’m doing (ie that I am satisfied with what I’ve made) in such a short time. I’ve only been knitting a month. Thanks to Devon Monk, I’ve recently learned to knit with double points in order to make mitts in the round, and I’ve managed to make a new pattern. I also read it and followed it accurately, even though it left out a key direction and I figured that out, too. I’m very proud of myself for that.

I’ve been revising Edge of Dreams. I’m planning to send it back to my editor a week from tomorrow (Jan 19th). I *think* I can get it done satisfactorily by then. Kids are out of school tomorrow, so I do have doubts about how much work I’ll manage to get done tomorrow. And then there’s the dentist appointment tomorrow for the girlie . . . .

I lulled myself into thinking that it’s almost time for spring here. It actually is, compared to the fact that Montana spring is about five months away. I expect to see the camelias starting to bloom within the next few weeks. My primroses are actually blooming. All the same, it’s not going to be spring for at least a couple of months. Of course it’s very green and warm here, so it’s not like it’s ever been the twiggy, sere wasteland of winter that happens in Montana. Which is lovely, but I prefer the green.

The boy went four days without getting sick, then he threw up for two, and today he’s not yet barfed. I’m trying to figure out what might have set him off. If anxiety somehow got to him (but on the weekend didn’t make a lot of sense), if he ate something different (didn’t figure out what), or if it could be just a normal part of healing from an ulcer (I can’t find a lot of that info on the net). Still haven’t figure it out.

Laura Anne Gilman blogged about bagels in Seattle the other day. The result was me craving bagels. I am no New Yorker, and I like fruit bagels with cream cheese. I do like a chewier bagel, but I got some at Costco and while they were not chewy really, they were tasty and hit the spot. Yum. I’ll be bageling my lunch this week, methinks. I can’t even remember the last time I ate one.

I keep thinking that I’m doing nothing very interesting, nor thinking anything very interesting, and so I’ve not been posting. I’ve got to work on that. Maybe just thinking more. Perhaps that would be a useful thing. Where on the web is the best source of world news? And US news? I tend to skip around and try to catch the evening news, but not find anything that I really like for a regular source of news. Suggestions?

 

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Jan. 13th, 2015

me

Social butterfly. Or Pterodactyl. Uncertain.

I got to hang out with three different writers this week. Michaela Roessner was in town and I visited with her at her sister’s farm. I pet lots of puppies and horses, and took a walk around the land and it was so lovely. I just wish we’d had more time.

Then I visited with Devon Monk, who taught me some more knitting stuff, so I’m that much closer to learning how to make socks! It’s exciting. Really.

Today I met Barb and JC Hendee in person, and Barb and I went into downtown McMinnville and wandered about and we ended up in the yarn store and the quilt store (the quilt store had lovely quilts on display.) Gorgeous sunny day, today.

Now Joyce, when are we getting together????

Boy got through yesterday without vomiting. I so hope it’s a trend.

Tomorrow I take a knitting class and write write write.

My head went back to feeling sluggy and exhausted. Stupid cold. Here’s hoping it’s better tomorrow. Not enough caffeine.

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Jan. 10th, 2015

me

the mucous recedes . . . ish

The cold is a lot better. I’m still coughing and my head is thick, but at least things are improving. I would like to be completely well, though. Just in case the cold germs want to just get the heck out of Dodge.

Boy of size got tons worse last night and today. Why? He snitched food he shouldn’t eat. He now regrets it. Hopefully the lesson is well learned.

I get to see several writer friends this week. Looking forward to that. I got the revision letter for Edge of Reason, yesterday. I’m looking forward to digging in. Hoping the revisions aren’t too horrible.

Been reading Alex Gordon’s Gideon. This the pseudonym of SF writer Kris Smith. She is more than a little bit talented. Her SF is some of the best I’ve ever read and this book is just engrossing. It’s amazing. Trust me. Pick it up. You won’t be sorry. Then tell all your friends.

Watched The Rock today, uncut. I love that movie. I especially love the song that plays at the end when they go to the church.

Hopefully that shows up so you can hear it. Though there are spoilers if you’ve never seen it.

And here’s a snippet from what I’ve been tinkering with:

Blaze halted before the door at the end of the corridor. He hated this place with all his being and he hated dealing with the man on the opposite side of the door even more. His body clenched and he forced himself to relax, aware of the cameras watching him from a half-dozen angles. Hagen always made him feel like a twelve year old boy caught with his hand in his pants. You’d think a diamond-ranked mage would have bigger balls than this. He scowled, wishing for a whiskey. Better yet, he wished he was back in Damascus where at least the torture was honest, and enemies didn’t pretend to be anything else.

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Jan. 6th, 2015

me

Trace of Magic is on sale today

you can get Trace of Magic today on the Kindle Daily Deal! $1.99. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the time. And spread the word! Let’s see if I can grab up some new readers!

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Jan. 3rd, 2015

me

Third day of the new year

Yep, made it three days in to the new year. Whoohoo!

Boy of size has been feeling mostly good, to the point of bounciness. It’s really nice to see him to happy. Course he just got up out of bed and I suspect vomiting. I suppose I’ll find out soon.

We did some cleaning and organizing today. Need to do so much more. But at least we did that much. And I made words. Here are some of them, good, bad, or indifferent (from Crossointe 5):

“You should stay here on the Root,” she announced. Her eyes had turned the color of wildfire, orange flames billowing hotly.

Shaye just smiled blandly. They’d had this conversation before, and no doubt they’d have it again. “No.”

“You can’t risk yourself. If you go back, Jutras majick will infect you—you’ll go insane or die.” Tears welled in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. The silver drops sizzled on the wood when they fell.

______

Yep, boy got sick. I thought maybe he’d get through today without, but at least it’s only once. I’m clinging to that.

Tomorrow we hope to move some plants around to prepare for some yard work in the back yard, and go to Costco. Unless it rains. In which case there won’t be plant moving. Plus I plan to write.

I’ve been toying with this idea that wants to be written. But I am needing to research some military jargon and hierarchies. I’m likely to need some help. I’m going to have to do some research, apparently. Some is language, some is interactions, some is how systems function. Not that I have time to write this. But it may not wait.

I have been knitting and learning more. I am enjoying that, but I’d like to expand my knowledge and do some more. Socks are my biggest goal right now. And then bigger things. And color. Though frankly I lose count quickly and I’m a real beginner and don’t know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. Like how to fix my work when I screw up. At least I can do some things and my stitches are even.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Jan. 1st, 2015

me

John Hartness is raising hell in the new year

Hi folks! Happy first day of 2015!!

I want to introduce you to someone. Everyone, this is John Hartness. John, this is everyone: JMT_4570

John is a writer. A good one. An entertaining one. I downloaded his recent The Black Knight Chronicles omnibus a couple weeks ago, and then he generously offered to let me read “Raising Hell,” his new novella. This is a story of Quincy Harker, who is a wizard, and who exorcises demons. His uncle is Dracula, and he’s got a guardian angel named Glory. He’s a smartass and while John points out the story isn’t funny, Quincy certainly has his funny moments. Morbid, but funny. So anyhow, if you can’t tell, I really liked this story. As in, read it fast and then started chomping at the bit for more. Which means I”ll be tackling that omnibus first thing this new year.

In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about John, and to let him speak a little about “Raising Hell.”

Here he is, in his own words:

 

Going to the Dark Side (there aren’t really cookies)

So most people, if they know me at all, know me as the funny horror guy. Or just the funny monster story guy. And that’s fine with me. After twenty-plus stories in the Bubba the Monster Hunter universe, and five novels in The Black Knight Chronicles universe, I’m pretty comfortable being funny.

Until I’m not. And sometimes I’m not funny. My short story “Fair Play,” which was included in The Big Bad anthology last year – not funny. Frankly, that story creeped me out a little, and I wondered about even publishing it. But then I decided that I liked the story a lot, and ran with it. So I’m not always funny.

Quincy Harker is not a funny man. His is not a funny series. It’s a dark world, more Batman than Elastic Man. Way more Tim Burton than Tim Conway (you young’uns go look that up). So this series isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few chuckles, a few one-liners. All my characters will have a certain level of snark to them, ‘cause how else could I write dialogue? But there’s a real level of danger with these stories. I don’t have much faith in the forces of good triumphing in these books, and bad things are going to happen to Harker and his cohorts, things that they might never recover from.

So why go there? If I’m happy being the funny dude, why go all grim on everybody? Well, for one thing – comedy doesn’t sell as well as the dark stuff. Funny stories are a weaker sell, and that’s the business part of writing a darker, grittier series. For another thing, I’ve never felt like I was only one kind of writer. I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of characters running around in my head, and some of them are pretty ugly. This series gives me a place to explore those darker nooks and crannies, and that’s part of the artistic side of writing a new series.

But the main reason I decided to write a darker series, featuring a part-vampire pseudo-immortal wizard is the same reason I write everything – the voices in my head wouldn’t shut up until I told their story. Quincy Harker needed to come out, to live on the page, and he wasn’t going to leave me alone until I wrote his story.

So I did. The first novella featuring Quincy Harker is called Raising Hell, and it releases on January 20. I hope you’ll click the cover below and pre-order, and I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

me

John Hartness is raising hell in the new year

Hi folks! Happy first day of 2015!!

I want to introduce you to someone. Everyone, this is John Hartness. John, this is everyone: JMT_4570

John is a writer. A good one. An entertaining one. I downloaded his recent omnibus a couple weeks ago, and then he generously offered to let me read “Raising Hell,” his new novella. This is a story of Quincy Harker, who is a wizard, and who exorcises demons. His uncle is Dracula, and he’s got a guardian angel named Glory. He’s a smartass and while John points out the story isn’t funny, Quincy certainly has his funny moments. Morbid, but funny. So anyhow, if you can’t tell, I really liked this story. As in, read it fast and then started chomping at the bit for more. Which means I”ll be tackling that omnibus first thing this new year.

In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about John, and to let him speak a little about “Raising Hell.”

Here he is, in his own words:

 

Going to the Dark Side (there aren’t really cookies)

So most people, if they know me at all, know me as the funny horror guy. Or just the funny monster story guy. And that’s fine with me. After twenty-plus stories in the Bubba the Monster Hunter universe, and five novels in The Black Knight Chronicles universe, I’m pretty comfortable being funny.

Until I’m not. And sometimes I’m not funny. My short story “Fair Play,” which was included in The Big Bad anthology last year – not funny. Frankly, that story creeped me out a little, and I wondered about even publishing it. But then I decided that I liked the story a lot, and ran with it. So I’m not always funny.

Quincy Harker is not a funny man. His is not a funny series. It’s a dark world, more Batman than Elastic Man. Way more Tim Burton than Tim Conway (you young’uns go look that up). So this series isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few chuckles, a few one-liners. All my characters will have a certain level of snark to them, ‘cause how else could I write dialogue? But there’s a real level of danger with these stories. I don’t have much faith in the forces of good triumphing in these books, and bad things are going to happen to Harker and his cohorts, things that they might never recover from.

So why go there? If I’m happy being the funny dude, why go all grim on everybody? Well, for one thing – comedy doesn’t sell as well as the dark stuff. Funny stories are a weaker sell, and that’s the business part of writing a darker, grittier series. For another thing, I’ve never felt like I was only one kind of writer. I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of characters running around in my head, and some of them are pretty ugly. This series gives me a place to explore those darker nooks and crannies, and that’s part of the artistic side of writing a new series.

But the main reason I decided to write a darker series, featuring a part-vampire pseudo-immortal wizard is the same reason I write everything – the voices in my head wouldn’t shut up until I told their story. Quincy Harker needed to come out, to live on the page, and he wasn’t going to leave me alone until I wrote his story.

So I did. The first novella featuring Quincy Harker is called Raising Hell, and it releases on January 20. I hope you’ll click the cover below and pre-order, and I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Dec. 29th, 2014

me

The year that was but not really

It’s the time of year to reflect back on the last and make plans for the next. Reflection is difficult for me this year. So much went by in a blur.

My son was sick. And still is sick. That dominated much of our year. Things I had wanted to do with the family couldn’t be done. Adventures, mostly. I’m hoping for better next year.

Writing was good-ish. The Cipher and The Black Ship were re-released, and Trace of Magic came out. I wrote the sequel to Trace of Magic, but am waiting on edits, and I’ve reviewed and revised the reissue of The Turning Tide. Working on The Hollow Crown and struggling with writing the last book. I’ve been working on releasing Path of Honor as an ebook, and also on getting a new novella out there that is mostly done. Just not enough time.

Teaching: I got a chance to teach in the WSCU MFA program in genre writing. That’s been . . . an experience. Some really good, some not so good.

Spent my first entire year in the new house and in the new state. I have loved it. If only the boy of size were not sick, it would be perfect.

Money has been tight. I’m working on that.

Have been feeling quite melancholy and stressed the last few months. Am working on that, too.

Have learned to knit and am enjoying that. Have made new friends here and more online. It’s crazy how good people can become friends without ever having met in person.

I have gained back some of the weight I lost. I think this is a stress thing and I’m hoping to focus on de-stressing and being healthier this next year.

I haven’t blogged as much of late, which I miss. But see above with melancholy and stress. Have felt stupid and lacking. I did find my SAD light, which is helping, and I’m using a melatonin/GABA pill to help with sleep. Though of course, last night the boy was sick and the girlie had nightmares, so I was awakened a few times. I don’t really mind. I like that I can be there for the kids when they need. I like that I can make them feel good. Girlie isn’t prone to nightmares, so she was unnerved.

Since moving, and since they bought a house near us, I’ve spent more time with my folks, and I’m so grateful to have that time. My dad’s 85th birthday is on Monday. He’s been through a lot of medical crap over the years, and still hanging in there. The folks have been married 57 years as of yesterday. This year will be my 25th wedding anniversary. My husband and I met 28 years ago. Been together ever since.

I read 32 books this year. I wanted to read more. I need to read more.

The goal list I set myself last year I didn’t hit as well as I’d like. I will set another and try harder to make those goals. I’m hoping time permits and my son’s health cooperates.

I’m sure there’s more I want to write. I can’t think of anything right now. Tell me, how was your year?

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Dec. 23rd, 2014

me

musings on the tasteless

We made cookie cutouts today. I didn’t use sugar cookie dough, but this sour cream cookie cutout recipe I got from a friend years ago. It’s not got a lot of flavor. I divided it in half and mixed cocoa powder into half. The bad part is that it didn’t really mix and came out more marbled. What I like about this cookie is that it’s soft. What I don’t like, is that it’s kind of tasteless. I should probably add some sort of flavoring–almond or orange or cinnamon or something. I did not do a good job making up some icing (I should have found a recipe). But the girlie had fun with the store-bought tubes. I have to get more. Anyhow, the point is that she had a blast and I’m not terrible tempted by the cookies.

Tomorrow I make pies and rolls. I did roast the pumpkin so that I can make pies. Next week girlie will require pumpkin cupcakes.

I started a crochet hat today. Hmm. Scratch that. I restarted it. I’d started it with too big a yarn and hook, because I was told I could, but the gauge was way off. So then I got a new yarn and worked with a smaller needle, but started it, only to find I’d created a mobius strip. Took that out and decided to shrink up the size  a little. Then I started again, but managed to screw up some row beginnings to make a mess. So now . . . I have finished six rows or so, and it’s very pretty, and going well. I’m really pleased with it so far.

I suck at reading patterns. I just am not in the habit. I also don’t do well with gauge. That’s because if I get the yarn and do the gauge and it doesn’t work, do I get new yarn? Go for bigger needles/hook? So I’m trying to practice a little.

I’m ready to do something a little more complicated with the knitting. I’m not sure what. I still have tons to learn. Things like adding and reducing and oh, if I drop a stitch I’m in a lot of trouble. I haven’t figured out how to pick them up even though my mom says blithely, it’s so easy! I’m probably going to join the knitting group at the shop in the new year, and take some mroe lessons. I really want to learn to make socks. Elizabeth moon makes socks. I have envy.

Boy of size has been slightly better. Not throwing up as much, but still regularly. I’ve been trying to keep him focused on other things, which always helps. He did help make the cookies this morning–the dough, anyhow. Then he was sick. He’s so frustrated with it and doesn’t want to be sick on Christmas, of course. I feel so rotten for him.

Then I got to feeling shitty. My temperature wouldn’t regulate today. I got so cold I was shivering something terrible, and then warmed up to sweating. The funny part is that I was slightly feverish when terribly cold, and way low when hot. Sigh. My son flips out if I am remotely not feeling well. He starts to cry. It’s totally his excitement and stress of the holidays, and I just let him go as he needs to. He needs the outlet. Poor guy.

Other than baking and cleaning, I’m fairly ready for Christmas day. Kids are about to bust. They are so disappointed that the man has to work tomorrow. He took Friday off, though. And he’ll be off for the boy’s test next week. I need to get some writing done. Maybe I’ll manage that.

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Dec. 22nd, 2014

me

T’was the day after solstice

I am slow to post these days. Struggling with some personal stuff. The boy of size has been sick a lot and that weighs. He’s got a text scheduled for next week and I’m hoping it actually shows us something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of faith, given the way things have been happening with his testing thus far. There is some other stuff that isn’t resolving very well, and it’s very difficult for me to manage stress-wise. I’ve got a deadline looming and the words are coming slow.

Tomorrow, however, I’m going to make cookies with the kids. I couldn’t find my cookie cutters at all, so had to borrow some from a friend. I plan to add cocoa to half the batch to make some chocolate cookies. One of the cutters seems to be in the shape of a hatchet. I don’t understand that, but I’m sure it will be fun to figure out.

In other news, Edge of Dreams is available for preorder!

I’ve got an interview up about the Weird Wild West anthology and you will learn something new and odd about me you may not already know. Spread the word and encourage people to support the antho!

My dog is looking at me desperately, hoping for a rescue from the boy who is manhandling him.

Not much more to say. Anybody have big plans for Christmas? For New Years?

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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me

T’was the day after solstice

I am slow to post these days. Struggling with some personal stuff. The boy of size has been sick a lot and that weighs. He’s got a text scheduled for next week and I’m hoping it actually shows us something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of faith, given the way things have been happening with his testing thus far. There is some other stuff that isn’t resolving very well, and it’s very difficult for me to manage stress-wise. I’ve got a deadline looming and the words are coming slow.

Tomorrow, however, I’m going to make cookies with the kids. I couldn’t find my cookie cutters at all, so had to borrow some from a friend. I plan to add cocoa to half the batch to make some chocolate cookies. One of the cutters seems to be in the shape of a hatchet. I don’t understand that, but I’m sure it will be fun to figure out.

In other news, Edge of Dreams is available for preorder!

I’ve got an interview up about the Weird Wild West anthology and you will learn something new and odd about me you may not already know. Spread the word and encourage people to support the antho!

My dog is looking at me desperately, hoping for a rescue from the boy who is manhandling him.

Not much more to say. Anybody have big plans for Christmas? For New Years?

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Dec. 12th, 2014

me

many a things are happening

We had a Catastro-tree. We decorated it, then we made it fall over and things broke. Oddly, when you try to put things back on, the tree still looks a little rumpled and discombobulated. Only ornaments were hurt in the fall, however. Fur beasts and humans survived.


I am no longer taking the drug the doc gave me to sleep. Was just more than my body could take. So now I’m trying a pill with a mix of melatnonin, gaba, and a couple of other things. It helps. I do wake up in the middle of the night. I understand that there’s a slow release melatonin and I wonder if that would be better.


I love Christmas lights. I love driving around looking at them. My daughter is just as joyful about them. I also like going into the mall to look at the big oversized decorations. I was in NYC just after Xmas one year and the displays were so fun. Other than that, I’m staying out of the mall.


I have learned to knit. I am not necessarily all that fabulous at it, but I have learned. Now to make what I want to make (I’m working my way toward socks. I want to make socks). I am working up stuff at night by way of stress reduction. Apparently this does not work for some people who find it more frustrating than not. I get it. Still, I am enjoying it.


Been out walking the dogs and taking bad pictures of the moss that’s been growing. I love the moss. It’s so delicate and looks like it hides fairies. It’s small and amazing and so very green. The bad pictures stem from the fact that I hold my phone in one hand and two dogs with the other.


I have never seen Into the Woods on the stage, but really looking forward to seeing the film version because it just looks so fun.


My folks are coming up this way tomorrow. So looking forward to seeing them. Hoping to head out next week to the coast with them for a day. Will be very fun.


I got tired today and lay down on the couch. The dog jumped up and made himself comfy on my head. Hmm. Now that would have been a picture worth having.


I no longer know how to put my itunes player on my computer on repeat. Shuffle, I’ve got nailed. I can repeat a playlist, I think, but not a single song. I find this irritating.


Our TV had some pixels get stuck. Suddenly there was a big bright sort of half square that wouldn’t move. Can’t afford new TV. Looked up ways to maybe help, went to try said method, and apparently the pixels had got scared because now they were a moving and the spot left. Happy news there.


One of the dogs has always has this thing going on where at night, he wants to sit on the couch and be pet, then he turns into a cat and doesn’t want to be touched. At all. Because he wants to sleep, apparently and he gets quite annoyed if you touch him when he’s snoozing. Or so that’s the way he’s been. All of a sudden, maybe in the last month or so, he’s changed. Now he’s decided that he wants laps. And snuggles, and woe betide you if you move while he’s sleeping on you. There will be comments. He’s been stealing the other dog’s snuggle spot, and I’ve been getting a great many wounded looks from said other dog. Because, while other laps are good, mine is apparently the place to be. I chalk up to the fact that I’m a sucker.

And I’m part of this! It’s a great idea for an anthology. I really hope it makes. Check it out and support if you are feeling the love!


I can't get the embedding to work, so just follow the link if you will.

And now back to the actual writing job.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Dec. 3rd, 2014

me

Dooby dooby dooo

So I’m still having weird anxiety dreams, when I don’t have total insomnia. Last night there was a bad guy who was taking other people’s stuff (because they “owed” him) and storing it at our house (including a tractor, a massive travel trailer and so on. This was the house I grew up in on the ranch). One of his men took a liking to my son (not in that way) which helped us get away in the end. Somehow, a small pig got involved, as did another family and there were guns and threatening and the main thing I wake up with is that baby pigs can’t have their pens in the house with the dogs and on the hardwood floor. Yeah. That really is an odd take away. For the record, I did raise piglets as a kid, so this was a fairly accurate dream as far as that went, and I already knew that about piglets and doglets.

Also my temperature keeps fluctuating ridiculously, and I won’t go into yesterday’s not feeling good. So I guess it’s time to call the doc. I’m staring at the phone now trying to convince myself it isn’t stupid to just do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been poking at the WIP with a sharp stick.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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me

Doobey dooby dooo

So I’m still having weird anxiety dreams, when I don’t have total insomnia. Last night there was a bad guy who was taking other people’s stuff (because they “owed” him) and storing it at our house (including a tractor, a massive travel trailer and so on. This was the house I grew up in on the ranch). One of his men took a liking to my son (not in that way) which helped us get away in the end. Somehow, a small pig got involved, as did another family and there were guns and threatening and the main thing I wake up with is that baby pigs can’t have their pens in the house with the dogs and on the hardwood floor. Yeah. That really is an odd take away. For the record, I did raise piglets as a kid, so this was a fairly accurate dream as far as that went, and I already knew that about piglets and doglets.

Also my temperature keeps fluctuating ridiculously, and I won’t go into yesterday’s not feeling good. So I guess it’s time to call the doc. I’m staring at the phone now trying to convince myself it isn’t stupid to just do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been poking at the WIP with a sharp stick.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Nov. 29th, 2014

me

in way over my head anxiety dream

I had a dream last night that demonstrated to me that while I’ve been doing a hell of a job postponing my oh-shit-I’m-in-serious-trouble moments, my unconscious has decided to let me know that indeed, the shit heading for the fan has not gone unnoticed.

So apparently I was in a hotel with my husband and kids. At some point I needed to do laundry. Got it done, but couldn’t collect it til the next day. Also, my husband ended up going somewhere and I spent the night alone in an outhouse–I do not know why. When I got up to get dressed, I had no underwear. I went to fetch my laundry, while people gave me odd looks and tried to use my changing room (ie outhouse). I chased them away, but they got snotty. (Did I mention there were three beer fountains in the outhouse at one point and all put out just foam?)

At this point I learned that my laundry was gone and I was going to have to go commando in jeans. Yay, me. Then I couldn’t get back into my hotel room (you know, the one I had but slept in an outhouse anyhow?) In fact, there was no record I’d ever had a room. I had to stand in multiple lines to find all this out, and when I finally got to the head of one, the woman got on the phone to get Who tickets and so couldn’t talk to anybody because her phone was across the room and she was going to be waiting for hours to get Who tix. So then I went to the main hotel desk and found the owner who immediately started to dig into it. By this time, my husband had returned from fixing the cars, which somehow were broken. He watched the kids while I sat there.

At this point, something weird happened. A guy I was standing near got a steak and was eating it in the lobby. Apparently I was getting a steak, too. Then we all morphed into a weird battle scene in which we were on a highland above a long slope of brambles leading down into water. Attackers were coming up from below somehow and we had to fight them off. (And yes, they did seem to want my laundry). So we’re fighting them off and I realize that they have these portable sorts of bridges they are using to cross the brambles. I get pissed and grab a couple of the guys and try to steal a bridge and then I start getting pounded and I’m pounding and then the guy who was eating the other steak shows up and then my husband and we win. We now have the bridges. And now we morph back to the hotel to find out that my laundry will never show up and I’m out of underwear luck.

We go home. Not to my home, but some home I’ve never been to, only to discover my father-in-law is there and the place is a mess. I retreat to my bedroom to get on underwear, only to find a woman sleeping in my bed and the place looks like a tornado hit. I wake her up. She’s apparently my father-in-law’s girlfriend and is chatty and apparently I have met her. I tell her to get out of my room. She won’t go! I keep screaming and yelling at her to leave my room and she won’t go. So I shove her out. And then she walks back in and the door handle pops off and I can’t lock her out. I ask my husband to make her go. She won’t. Then suddenly her brother is there and he’s the same way. They WON’T GO! As in, just into the next room. They ignore me.

I totally melt down. I’m screaming at them and I can’t even retreat to quiet down because they follow me and won’t leave. They are perfectly nice about it. Chatty and friendly, but they won’t go!

And then my husband woke me up because I slept until 11 a.m., which I never do. He tells me of course I did because I’m sick. Okay, so yeah, I might be. Anybody heard of this sort of sick? We got one of those forehead temperature takers because we needed to check my son’s temps this last week when he’s had a fever and our old thermometer wasn’t working. It gives an error message if you don’t measure above 93.9 and if you measure above 108. I’ve been giving off a lot of the low error messages. I range between about 94 to about 101 this last week. When I’m low, I feel hot and headachey and sick. I’ve been drinking lots of fluids. Typically my normal is about 97 something. Right now I’m about a degree higher than that. So I can’t decide if I’m sick or if my thyroid meds need adjusting. But I’ve been sleeping hard (with weird nightmares obviously) and late. This ends on Monday when the kids go back to school and that’s not allowed anymore.

so there you have it. anxiety dreams of getting smashed by all that has to be done and my brain translates that into sleeping in an outhouse with foamy beer fountains, not having any underwear, fighting bad guys, eating steak (it was very fatty steak, too), and guests that not only won’t leave, but they invade all the spaces and won’t leave me alone, chatting endlessly.

For the record, I am wearing underwear.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Nov. 26th, 2014

me

In the mood

I’m in the mood to bake. I have been for awhile, but I’m actually getting off my ass to try some stuff out. Today I made upside down cranberry cake. I stupidly made it in a springform pan, which let a lot of juice leak out. But it was still tremendously good. I love the tartness of the berries. Is there any such thing as Cranberry jelly? Because I’m thinking I want to try to make some. I googled, and apparently jelly is usually cranberry sauce. So I’m going to have to experiment, methinks.

Tomorrow I want to make some cranberry orange bread, and also some cinnamon rolls. If I have time. I also plan to go to Costco for some last minute stuff I didn’t realize I need. I can’t go until well after open, since I have an extra minion spending the night tonight. So it will be an adventure of the harrowing kind. Wheee! Oh, also need to make a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. It’s a tasty thing.

The boy has been running a fever. It was around 103 plus a bit today. Tonight it’s all gone. I expect it will be back. He’s thrown up some, but not as bad as last week by far.

Made white chicken chile today. One of my favorite meals. So that means I don’t have to cook tomorrow. I can just do some baking and errand running. Or one errand to Costco that takes a long long long long long time.

Oh, found a flourless chocolate cookie recipe I am going to try, also.

Oh, and last night the boy bites his lip in the middle of the night and comes to wake me up. He seriously bit it. His whole bottom lip was fat. So I got up and gave him some ibuprofen and ice and sat up with him for awhile and then went back to bed. So last night was long. Again. Sigh. And I”m up late tonight because the slumbering girlies are not slumbering and they keep getting up.

I have a holiday craft project in mind and I’m looking forward to getting started on it. I hope it turns out. I want it to turn out pretty.  I have to admit I like sappy holiday movies and the lights and decorations of the year. I am not such a fan of all the retail crap, but I love Christmas music and baking and friends and just the holiday feeling. Makes me want to write a Christmas story of some kind. I should consider how I could do that and try. Not this year. No time. But I’d like to. Maybe a short story or a novella, because, you know, I’m likely to go long.

 

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Nov. 21st, 2014

me

Friday on Friday

Boy of size has had a really hard week. He’s been really sick, frequently in the middle of the night. That means that a) I’ve been a worried wreck, and b) I’ve been up much of the nights and during the days, and c) I haven’t gotten a lot of work done because even though he’s physically man-sized, he’s still a boy and he’s been in need of cuddling and snuggling and petting. So I have been taking care of him. I’ve been crazy tired.

And you know what makes it worse? So today, he woke me up about five times between 4 a.m. and 7:30. He needs a hug when he’s sick and I’m his choice. That’s what I’m for, so I don’t have a trouble with that. Except. This particular morning I was having these recurring dreams in between him waking me up. Each time I’m trying to do a puzzle of some kind. Sometimes it’s figuring out a combination lock, sometimes it’s putting in the proper code into a phone to get through to the right person after being on hold for awhile, and I remember one about finding my way driving through a massive city that I was totally unfamiliar with, and I had to figure that out, and also get somewhere where I put in a code. I know I desperately needed to solve the puzzle in every case or BAD THINGS would happen. Anyhow, the upshot is, I NEVER got to put in the code. He woke me up just before EVERY TIME. Like he was in my head and messing with me. So I woke up all the more exhausted by the fact that I couldn’t finish my damned task and I was so close and criminy, but it was frustrating. And that makes being tired all the worse.

I love Solmate socks. Love them. They are stupid expensive, and I tend to buy a pair to reward myself on finishing a book. I found out that they are on sale. Money being what it is, these days, I’m not partaking. However, I thought I would enable those of you who are interested.

I’ve an urge to make a cranberry bread. I may do that.

 

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Nov. 18th, 2014

me

It’s not as cold as Montana

And we don’t have six feet of snow. Or five. Or four. Or any. So I’m all about the happy on that front. It’s been cold here, but not as cold as Montana. Friend of mine sent me a card with the return address “Bitchin’ cold.”

Found out that they are rehiring my position at UMW. They’ll be hiring an assistant professor higher than what I made, and I’d been there 14 years with full prof. This is part of the problem with Academia: salary impaction. In order to get a raise, you have to get an offer somewhere else, and if they say no, you pretty much have to leave. On top of that, UMW pays some of the lowest salaries in the country for universities of comparable size.

Boy’s been sick again. Sicker. Hoping he improves for tomorrow.

I somehow forgot how much a sequel in a series has to recap what came before, and in the fifth book, that’s kind of a pain. Still, progress is being made. I hope. I think. I hope, again.

And, now, therefore, a Crosspointe snippet:

“Earthquake, or so it seems,” Keros replied mildly, breathing slowly as the majick swept over him. Did this happen to the Jutras priests? Did majick constantly assault them from all sides? He could lose himself in it, in the dreadful bliss of it. As good as it felt to hurt, he had not doubt he’d enjoy his own death. It was a sobering prospect.

“Why did you do this?” a woman accused, pointing a shaking finger at him. Her thin face was pale and exhausted bruised her eyes purple. “I told you we couldn’t trust the majicars anymore. He’s trying to kill us all. In our sleep!”

Someone grabbed his collar roughly and shoved him. Keros staggered. A grating caught his attention. It wasn’t so much a sound as a vibration in the air. He jerked back around, majick spinning around his hands.

 

So I’m not at all sure the characters are developing properly, but they are developing, and right now, that counts for a lot.

Also, I’ve decided to go to the Romantic Times Convention in Dallas. That means I’ll miss Miscon and Norwescon, this year. If you’re in the Dallas area, they have a big public signing. Feel free to come!

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Nov. 11th, 2014

me

news and news and news and news

Or perhaps just a little news.

This last weekend I attended Orycon, which was a lot of fun. My panels mostly went well and I enjoyed them. I got to talk about torture and the woman in the fridge, about urban fantasy and crime and noir and so on. I didn’t have a many people at my reading, which was too bad. I did get to hang with a number of friends and had a great time. Got to know some new folks, and that was terrific. Got a little bit of writing done and signed books at Powells on the last day. I laughed a lot. Unfortunately, I can’t remember many of the things overheard at cons sorts of phrases that I should have. Sorry. Bought some books and then came home and fell into a coma.

Wow, reading this, I suck at con reports. The upshot is I had a great time. Oh, and the green room had real food. Nutritious food. Wonderful. Next year the con moves to a different hotel across the river, and closer to the Brazil meat restaurant that Amy Thompson and I were drooling over, but didn’t get to. Sadness.

Went swimming today at a local aqua center. They had a lazy river pool and a water slide and several other things, but the kids and I had a good time floating and sliding and giggling. That is until I went down the slide and managed to mash my head into the water in such a way that I got a nasty headache. Bleh.

On the really cool good news side of things, Trace of Magic has been nominated for best urban fantasy novel in the indie/self-pub category by Romantic times. The other nominees are awesome. I’m in great company. A whole bunch of other great books have been nominated in other categories, too.  Congrats to all nominees! I’ve never been to RT, but I’d really like to go. It costs a lot to go, though, so not sure if I can manage.

We also talked to contractor about doing some work in our back yard. We have a drainage issue, and we want to expand our patio and maybe put in a retaining wall to help with the drainage. Waiting to hear how much that might cost.

Wish I could have spent more time with some people at Orycon. Joyce Reynolds-Ward, for one. We only got a few quick moments here and there. Same with John Pitts. Not enough time.

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Nov. 5th, 2014

me

Between here and there

First, I will say that I’m disappointed that Measure 92 in Oregon did not pass. I hope it comes up again and makes it. I would really like to know what’s in my food. As for all the rest of the measures and elections across the country? I worry about the Republicans being in charge, because there has been such an anti-woman bent to their agenda. That said, they claim that the Democrats are the problem with a lot of things, and maybe they are. Now the Republicans have two years to show whether they are interesting in showing up for the people or not. I don’t hold out high hopes. The political track record for the past 10 years or so has been dismal for both parties.

But that isn’t really what I want to talk about. It’s been gray here the last week or so. I’ve been recovering from coldbola, and and I haven’t been sure if I’ve been feeling fatigued and down from sickness or from the gray. Went out walking yesterday and today. I try to go most days, actually. I go in shirtsleeves or a light jacket. I revel in the greenness. I realized the other day why, even if the gray bothers me some, I still prefer Oregon to Montana. In Montana, everything dies back in winter. It’s lovely, in a sere sort of way. Often there is bright sunshine and blue skies. I did like that, even though walking was nigh unto impossible for me because of the ice on the sidewalks and everywhere else, and the cold was always annoying, because your snot freezes in your nose and your eyes ache from windchill and cold.

In Oregon, it’s green. Not only that, in winter, a bunch of stuff starts to grow again, like moss. I love moss. It’s everywhere here. Under trees, in crevices of walls and sidewalks, and on roofs. It’s emerald green and it has tiny little flower stems popping up. More than that, all sorts of grasses are growing, and even though trees are dropping leaves, down the road, a hydrangea bush is covered in bright blue blossoms. Tons of things are still flowering, including my dahlias. I know camelias will start up in just a couple months or so. Outside the window, the trees are red and orange and yellow, with the cedars still green. My favorite tree is around the corner–a monkey puzzle tree. I so want one of my own.

So even though my back yard is muddy (we need to put in some drainage), I can’t complain. The rains aren’t that heavy most of the time. More like thick air.  I walked this morning in the mist and it smelled lovely. That’s another thing–in Montana, you just can’t really smell much in the winter because it’s so cold. Except the lovely scent of woodsmoke. That you could smell and I do love it. I really want to go over to the coast and walk on the beach in the cold. Go walk after a storm and look for fossils. Go whale watching.

And as expected, the political ads have vanished and been replaced by Christmas shopping ads. Sigh. However, I have vowed that I will attempt to decorate for the holidays earlier than I usually get to it this year. Like in early December. My folks will be here for Christmas and I really look forward to it.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Nov. 3rd, 2014

me

My Orycon schedule and Powells signing

My Orycon schedule: I hope to see some of you there!

Also, on Sunday at Powells, Cedar Crossing, there’s a mass signing of SF/F authors. Information is below my schedule:

 

Diana Francis

Speaking Schedule

Friday, November 7

3:00pm

4:30pm

Saturday, November 8

10:00am

11:00am

5:00pm

Moderation Schedule

Friday, November 7

2:00pm

Sunday, November 9

11:00am

Sci-Fi Authorfest 8 at Powells Cedar Crossing On Sunday!!!A starfleet of science fiction and fantasy authors descends for one galactic booksigning event. Attending authors include: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, J. A. Pitts, Phyllis Irene Radford, Mike Moscoe/Shepherd, Kristine Kathyrn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Andy Mangels, Leah Cutter, Jason Hough, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Daniel H. Wilson, Wendy Wagner, Steve Perry, Diana Pharoah Francis, Adrian Phoenix, Mark Ferrari, Shannon Page, Brent Weeks, Devon Monk, Ru Emerson, Jason Gurley, Ken Scholes, Todd McCaffrey, Jennifer Brozek, Annie Bellet, and Lindsay Johnson. The Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Imperial Legion and the Kashyyk Base of the Rebel Legion will also be on-hand.</p>

Sunday, November 9th @ 4pm Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 30th, 2014

me

squid-crud

The crud I have has still got me wrapped up in serious tentacles. Gah! Everything from chills and sweats to headache, sore throat, stuffiness, sneezing, nausea, stomach pain . . .  Yeah. I’ve had it for coming up on two weeks now. I’m tired of it. Seriously tired of it. Oh, and it makes me killer tired while at the same time gives me insomnia and oh, yeah, let’s not talk about the intestinal stuff because why wouldn’t that be a part of it, too?

My plot thickens. Unfortunately, it’s a hot, sticky, thick gelatinous mess, that sort of looks like boiled phlegm. I hope I can turn it into something lovely, though how one might make boiled phlegm pretty is going to be a major question.

In the meantime, I was sick enough to be taking selfies with me in the dog cuddling on the couch today. I’m a sad sad person.

2014-10-30 14.13.50

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Oct. 28th, 2014

me

say what now?

Girlie: Momma, you’re the best mom ever!

me: aw, thanks sweetie

Girlie: roughly speaking, you’re also kinda mean.

O.o

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 24th, 2014

me

Kindle sale!

Great news! The Cipher is on the Kindle Daily Deal today for $1.99! If you haven’t read it, if you know someone who might enjoy it, or want to give it as a gift, today is the day to get your copy! Please share the word!

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 23rd, 2014

me

Pause in the rain

I spent a bunch of time today with Devon Monk talking writing, business, family, promotion, and all sorts of other things. It was lovely to get together and chat. We’ve both been swamped with work and life and haven’t had a chance to get together for awhile. It was quite fun.

Boy of size is sick again. Or rather, back to sicker, because he’s never achieved wellness. He’s missed the week of school. I hope he’ll make it back by Monday. I’ll get him up for tomorrow, but chances are he won’t be able to make it. But Monday he’s going to go no matter what, and call me if he needs to come home. We’re hoping just getting back into the routine will help.

I’ve been working on some plotting. I realized the problem I’m having with the current novel is that I don’t have a villain. I have a general–those people over there are bad ones, but I don’t have A Villain. Or even a couple of them. No one specific. This is a problem. I am working on solving this. I have a lot of threads to sort out and then weave together. It’s a super hard to figure out where the story is in this book and how to tell the personal story inside of telling the larger story. It’s the problem of epic, but worth doing. Just hard. I can do this. I will do this.

In the meantime, I’ll be signing books at The Reader’s Guide on Edgewater St. in Salem, Oregon, on Saturday, October 25th, from 1-3. We may do a little bit of a reading, but certainly we will be entertaining. Please come out if you can!!

I will also be at Orycon–more on that later.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 18th, 2014

me

Saturday, in the park, and also in Costco

I slept late today. Totally lazy. Let the kids sleep in. Let the dogs sleep in. All were happy. Also, Voodoo managed to eat all his brother’s dinner tonight, for no good reason.

There had to be a Costco run today, to stock up on all those things that we’ve been running out of, but which seem important, particularly milk and toilet paper. Boy of size was very ill today (bad day for him) and so girlie and I headed of. The man went hunting, though fruitlessly. Sads for that. Would like some venison. So anyhow, on the way, stopped for some chai and got a text my friend that she’d stopped by at the Saturday market and that my pendant was ready, and should I not come soon, she’d make off with it. Ahem. So off we went there first.

A couple of years ago, I bought this really cool stone for a pendant. It had sort of a tigereye/flame look, all in blues. I loved it. It had a hole drilled in the top and I thought I’d try to get a setting made for it to wear. I love the work of this woman I met at the Saturday Market. She and her husband have a booth and have marvelous rocks. She does the jewelry side. Anyhow, Nadyra, who rarely does commissions, said she look at my rock. I brought it over and both Peter and Nadyra were just excited. Apparently I had a really nice piece of Namibian Pieterite, which is not that available in the US, and this rock is particularly fine. Also, the hole through it is hard to drill. Nadyra agreed to do the setting for me.

Here it is. Mind you, I took a crappy pic with my phone, but you see the idea. Isn’t GORGEOUS? She did a lovely job. So thrilled. I need to take a better picture. The stone is just amazing. It’s probably 2-3 inches long.

pendant1 pendant2Isn’t it ridiculously lovely? I can’t tell you how pleased I am with it. I have the perfect chain for it, too.

After mooning over it, we went to Costco where we overfilled the cart and I got a soundbar with surround speakers for the TV. I’m so hoping this fixes the fact that I simply can’t hear voices half the time. But getting it hooked up properly–that was a tiny, little bit aggravating. Still haven’t figured out how to configure the TV remote to run the speakers. I’d like to do that.

I also have been rereading Wen Spencer’s Tinker, a book I’ve loved for many years and continue to love. If you’ve not read it, you should. It mixes magic and science and Quantum Physics and elves. It’s amazing. Love it.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 13th, 2014

me

Chop wood, carry water

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

Which is to say, I finished Edge of Dreams, sequel to Trace of Magic, and now must begin the last Crosspointe book, which may or may not be called Blood Jewel. I think I’m happy with the way it turned out, as much as I hated a lot of it going through. I just wasn’t sure I could make it pull together to hit the right notes. But I think it did. I hope editor and agent agree, but if not, at least they’ll be able to tell me why not and how to solve the issues. But as there is no rest for the wicked, and no slowing the deadlines, I must start tomorrow on the last Crosspointe book. I am spending today with the boy, who has no school. We’ve done some shopping at Lowe’s and the grocery store, and now are settling in to be goofy and possibly watch a movie.

I also want to finish the book I’m reading, which is killing me because I can tell that it’s going to be one of those that knot me up and then make me wait for the next one and the next. Damn you Patricia Burroughs!!! But The Crumbling Pageant is a really, really good book. Unusual and well done. I’m halfway through and totally recommend it.

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 10th, 2014

me

Crazy, Toys in the Attic, Going Crazy

You might wonder where I’ve been. I’ve been knee-deep in the book. I’m almost done. Within a tantalizing couple of inches, but those inches are proving tangled and thorny. I persevere.

Boy of size is not feeling well. Having a significantly rough day. It was, however, a traumatic day, with vaccinations and a blood draw, so I hope this is what accounts for it. Anxiety does worsen things for him.

Other than that, been doing school stuff, cleaning stuff, yard stuff. Oh! And we got a new front security door/screen door. So we can leave it open and locked and it’s very safe and the doggies can see out and there’s a breeze and we love it. Doggies also love it.

The Black Ship has rereleased! I’ll post more on that soon, but it’s available on BN and Amazon and will soon be out in other venues, if it isn’t already.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 26th, 2014

me

Where’s the rubber ducky?

I’m hip deep in shit creek and no rubber duckies in sight. Book’s due soon, and I’m not done. I’m trying to make doneness, but progress is slower than I want. Also, a few days ago, the z, x,c, and v keys on my desktop keyboard ceased to work. I used a Kinesis keyboard. I called the company, and they are sending me a replacement part, and hopefully it arrives asap. But that means writing on my laptop and for whatever reason, that undercuts my creativity. Plus I’ve been having some weird sick stuff happening this week. Possibly as a result of stress, possibly as a result of not sleeping nearly enough, possibly as a result of total panic, or maybe I’m really coming down with something. My guess is the last one is unlikely.

So in an effort to procrastinate while still feeling productive, I’ve started a patchwork afghan. Which is to say, I’ve learned the patch pattern and am working them up. I started a couple days ago. It will take me a long time to complete the project. In the meantime, I realized I have got to start making stuff to get rid of some of my yarn horde. (Some of which was given to me by my mom, so it’s not *all* my fault.) The idiocy is that I saw a skein of cool yarn at the store, bought it, and came up with the patchwork idea for the afghan because I couldn’t think of anything else to make with it. Unfortunately, It’s not a good match with most of my yarn horde. I found one yarn that I can use with it, but may have to, ulp, buy more. This was not the plan.

More people should use shawls. I make this lovely and soft shawl (which a friend taught me to make–thanks Melissa M.!). Here’s the pattern. Only I make it in supersoft, jewel-toned yarns. I wonder who I could make some for? Hmmm. I also make afghans. I guess I could make one of those. I made a bunch to give away for Xmas a few years back. I sometimes make fingerless gloves and I learned a slouch hat last year. These things are nice to work on while watching TV or driving (as a passenger–I know you were wondering). I used to work on them at faculty senate meetings so I wouldn’t kill anyone, and so the meetings would have some sort of redeeming value. It’s not like we got anything accomplished otherwise.

Booklist likes Trace of Magic!

And here’s the usual please please please spread the word on Trace of Magic, post reviews, and otherwise blather about me as much as you’re willing!

All right, back to making fictional words. Oh, here’s a snippet, just because (and no context for you!):

“She’s the empath, correct?” Touray asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Should I assume you know everything about me? What deoderant I wear? The results of my last PAP smear?”

He smiled slowly, his eyes hooded. “I think it’s a safe enough assumption.”

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 19th, 2014

me

Author idiocy

Most writers know better than to read reviews. Good, bad, or indifferent, they just aren’t healthy for the writerly condition. It is a condition. A kind of mental disease, I sometimes think. Good reviews are wonderful and they stroke the ego for about two seconds, but then you start thinking–what if this next work can’t be as good? What if I fail? What if everyone pans it after setting such high expectations? There’s actually a long litany of how a good review can turn bad on a writer, but you get the point. Then the indifferent review is just as bad, because you think, mediocre? They gave me a mediocre meh! I thought it was so much better than that!! What if everything I write is meh and I don’t even know it? What if I’m one big pile of undifferentiated beige? And then there’s the bad reviews. These are always far more believable than the good reviews, because, writer–>mentally diseased with writerly neurosis. So you get a bad one, and it kicks you in the stomach because it confirms everything you suspected all along: you suck as a writer, your book is shit, and here are all the many ways that it sucks. Probably worst of all, it teaches you to distrust all your beta readers, your agent, and your editor, because obviously these people lied to you about your work. See? Writerly condition–>mental disease. I can say that right now, even as I’m lost in bad review wallowing land.

I shouldn’t read reviews. I mean, to some extent it’s my job to collect up those reviews and pass them along to the agent and editor and keep clips for promotional purposes, but at the same time, it’s idiotic because my writerly mental disease flares up whenever I read one. If I’m in the middle of tricky writing or slogging through a bout of “I suck as a writer” (more normal than not) then reading the reviews just makes things that much worse.

I read a review this morning. It slammed Trace of Magic, big time. So now I’m wallowing and trying to scrape my ego back together in order to be able to write. I want to make a declaration  that I will avoid reviews until at least the WIP is finished. If I do so declare, I’m not sure my willpower will aid my resolve. But . . . I need to try. So I declare that I WILL NOT look at any reviews at least until Edge of Dreams (Tracer #2’s working title) is turned in. And hopefully I won’t after that, either. It ain’t healthy.

Reaching the end of another school week. Boy has done pretty well overall, and the girlie has begun band. Both seem happy, which makes me happy. Well, except I haven’t been sleeping, but that’s a whole nother kettle of insomniac worms. And yes, I did just split another into two words.

I am working on getting Path of Honor back out at least as an ebook. Hopefully in the next month or so.

And now, to go get on the job. Oh, finished reading a cowboy romance by Kathleen Eagle called The Last True Cowboy. Wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, because yanno, no sf or fantasy elements, and not a regency, and no mystery . . . Basically not my usual story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was as much about the family relationships between a Grandmother, mother, and two daughters, as it was anything else. It was set in Wyoming on a ranch, which really brought memories back for me of growing up. The details were right and vivid. I’d recommend it.

And the theme music for today’s blog, as it seems appropriate:

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

me

Author idiocy

Most writers know better than to read reviews. Good, bad, or indifferent, they just aren’t healthy for the writerly condition. It is a condition. A kind of mental disease, I sometimes think. Good reviews are wonderful and they stroke the ego for about two seconds, but then you start thinking–what if this next work can’t be as good? What if I fail? What if everyone pans it after setting such high expectations? There’s actually a long litany of how a good review can turn bad on a writer, but you get the point. Then the indifferent review is just as bad, because you think, mediocre? They gave me a mediocre meh! I thought it was so much better than that!! What if everything I write is meh and I don’t even know it? What if I’m one big pile of undifferentiated beige? And then there’s the bad reviews. These are always far more believable than the good reviews, because, writer–>mentally diseased with writerly neurosis. So you get a bad one, and it kicks you in the stomach because it confirms everything you suspected all along: you suck as a writer, your book is shit, and here are all the many ways that it sucks. Probably worst of all, it teaches you to distrust all your beta readers, your agent, and your editor, because obviously these people lied to you about your work. See? Writerly condition–>mental disease. I can say that right now, even as I’m lost in bad review wallowing land.

I shouldn’t read reviews. I mean, to some extent it’s my job to collect up those reviews and pass them along to the agent and editor and keep clips for promotional purposes, but at the same time, it’s idiotic because my writerly mental disease flares up whenever I read one. If I’m in the middle of tricky writing or slogging through a bout of “I suck as a writer” (more normal than not) then reading the reviews just makes things that much worse.

I read a review this morning. It slammed Trace of Magic, big time. So now I’m wallowing and trying to scrape my ego back together in order to be able to write. I want to make a declaration  that I will avoid reviews until at least the WIP is finished. If I do so declare, I’m not sure my willpower will aid my resolve. But . . . I need to try. So I declare that I WILL NOT look at any reviews at least until Edge of Dreams (Tracer #2’s working title) is turned in. And hopefully I won’t after that, either. It ain’t healthy.

Reaching the end of another school week. Boy has done pretty well overall, and the girlie has begun band. Both seem happy, which makes me happy. Well, except I haven’t been sleeping, but that’s a whole nother kettle of insomniac worms. And yes, I did just split another into two words.

I am working on getting Path of Honor back out at least as an ebook. Hopefully in the next month or so.

And now, to go get on the job. Oh, finished reading a cowboy romance by Kathleen Eagle called The Last True Cowboy. Wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, because yanno, no sf or fantasy elements, and not a regency, and no mystery . . . Basically not my usual story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was as much about the family relationships between a Grandmother, mother, and two daughters, as it was anything else. It was set in Wyoming on a ranch, which really brought memories back for me of growing up. The details were right and vivid. I’d recommend it.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 12th, 2014

me

Friday and yay for that!

Boy made it through the whole week of school. Some sickness, but he has been decently cheery and he’s so welcomed by his teachers. Hopefully he’s making friends again. Girlie, in the meantime, has decided to play the clarinet in band. She also liked the oboe and the flute, but decided against them.

We’ve had lovely weather this week, and yet I’ve had horrible sleep. I’m not sure if I’m staying awake, or not sleeping deeply, or just tossing and turning and not sleeping well. I wake up exhausted. I’ve tried short naps, but can’t fall asleep. I’ve been out walking, not a lot of help. I did end up waking up soaked in sweat last night. Makes me wonder if I’m a little under the weather, though who knows. The annoying thing is that it slows my thinking for writing.

Speaking of writing, Trace of Magic has his #89 on the Kindle romance fantasy book list. Yay! I’m here to remind you again that I’d love a review anywhere if you’d be willing. Spreading the word for me would be fabulous.

And to encourage you, a snippet from the next Book:

“We are not done with this conversation,” he said. It sounded like he’d pushed the words through clenched teeth.
I laced my fingers through his as he wriggled his right arm under me and pulled me tight against his chest.

“Yeah, we are,” I said.

“Not a chance, Riley. We’re having it out.”

I smiled as I felt myself sinking into sleep. I yawned hard, my jaw cracking. It took all the effort I could muster to have the last word. “I know,” I said, loosening my fingers from his and patting his hand. “But when you find out the rest of the story, you’ll be far too pissed to come back to this.” Whatever this was. I wasn’t entirely clear.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 5th, 2014

me

First Friday of September

The boy’s birthday is tomorrow. I have wrapped things. Probably going to be buying a cake, mostly because I’ve no time to bake. That could change. We’ll see.

Boy and girl have also successfully gone to three days of school. For girlie, not a surprise. For boy, a milestone. He’s managing his illness as best he can and he’s been really chipper and upbeat when he comes home. He’s going to have to see about testing out of his math class. It’s advanced math, but last year he swooshed past it. He’s going to get bored if not. Girlie is making friends and she likes her teacher. She’s been a giggly thing all week.

I have been attempting to get into a work routine. I haven’t done as well as I wanted, but then I haven’t been sleeping and that does seem to take a toll. Today I cut out of work to go to a farmer’s market with my mom and get this dragon by Jessica Douglas framed. Mine is a copy, not the original. One day I hope to get one of her original dragons. She’s a phenomenal artist. (I also have a print of her Crap Fairy, which I love).

Trace of Magic continues to wander a bit in the wild. I’m hoping people are enjoying.

And finally, I’ll close with this: All About the Bass, by Meghan Trainor, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots. Even though I love the song, I love it more with The Roots and Jimmy.


 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 3rd, 2014

me

Contest right now!

Today only! Come on over to Bitten by Books and hang out with me, ask questions, and maybe Win money! Contest is all day today, September 3.

And while you’re at it, I’m at The Quillery talking about the magic in Trace of Magic. Please come by and say hello. She has a review, also. A very nice one. She finishes with: Bottom Line: Trace of Magic is a wonderful start to the Diamond City Magic series and Riley Hollis is one of new favorite Urban Fantasy heroines.

Waiting to see you!

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 1st, 2014

me

Contest and Trace of Magic!

Bitten By Books is hosting me this Wednesday for a question and answer session and a contest. You can go now to start grabbing extra entries. You could win Amazon bucks!  Tell a friend!

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

me

On laboring on labor day

The family seems to be developing a cold. I have not been immune. Stuffy head, scratchy throat, and worst of all, stuffy ears. Blech.

I slept poorly last night. Here’s the issue. We have an air-bed. Each side had two air sections–one for lumbar, the other supporting legs and torso. Mine has been going flat for awhile now. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. In an effort to figure out where the issue is, we’ve done a couple of different tests. The first one, we switched the air hoses on the mattresses to that mine were on the man’s, and his were on mine. Over the course of a couple weeks, I still was going flat. So–obviously it’s the bladder, right? So we take the bladder out and fill it up. Then the man lays on it and it stayed totally full. So now we have no idea where the issue is.  The problem is mostly in the lumbar area. And the man says that air seems to be filling up in his side. Is the problem inside the pump? Is it somehow in one of the valves in the bed? Uncertain. Not sure how to figure that out.

Got up this morning and felt like I’d been run over. All the same, labor must be done, right? So we had breakfast and I dug into weeding. Got nowhere near done, but filled up a five gallon bucked twice until it got too hot. Then came in and folded three loads of laundry and cleaned the bedroom. now to do more laundry. I also want to get some writing done. And classroom stuff.

I’m making a “honey-do” list. But really it’s not honey-do so much as crap we have to get done and we aren’t keeping track of so we never get around to doing it. List. Hopefully we’ll still get some more done today. Like finally hanging up some wind chimes. We have three sets that we’ve been meaning to hang for awhile.

We had a fish die. I think the sucker fish attacked it. Not sure why. It’s really huge. I’m wondering if I should try to give it away and get a smaller one. I do love that fish though. But I’m noticing it seems to be attaching the other gold fish too. They are looking sad in some ways. Pretty soon we may have nothing left but a sucker fish. A really big one. He’s about six or eight inches long.

I now have seven reviews on Amazon for Trace of Magic. I need more. And on other sites. Here’s the thing–the more reviews an author gets, good bad or indifferent–the more they get promoted on Amazon. So please, if you are feeling love or irritation, please post reviews. It’s a huge help.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Aug. 29th, 2014

me

Book Birthday!!

Trace of Magic made it’s way into the wild today. I totally couldn’t scrape together a coherent thought. Could not write. I’m doing that thing where I stand in the middle of the room and go one way, then another, then another, and then start flapping my arms in curious spasticity as I spin in circles making sounds that aren’t quite human.

Instead of writing, I went to a “downsizing” sale. So a glorified garage sale. They had rocks. I like rocks. They had the prettiest cathedral amethyst geode I’d ever seen. Deep, deep purple. It was about 4.5 feet tall and about 18 inches wide at the bottom. No exaggeration. They wanted 7,000 for it. I drooled on it, but forced myself away. What I did end up getting was a piece of brilliant green obsidian, a Holly Blue agate, a piece of something green and cool with a lot of druzy quartz worked into it, and a piece of petrified wood with a wonderful knot and also two places where druzy crystals had worked into it. So basically I got a haul.

I then did some web surfing and tried to focus and did not succeed. I talked on the phone a bit, entertained children, did a little shopping, and took the girlie swimming. So basically, I dithered and flithered and got nothing done. Tomorrow I’ll do some stuff with my mom. It will be fun. Not word-productive, but fun.

I did get a great review on Amazon of Trace of Magic! This is very exciting. I need all the reviews I can get–good, bad, or indifferent. But I’m always pleased–more like ecstatic–when readers connect with a book. That sounds like a no duh! sort of statement, but the whole reason a writer writes is to entertain and hope the reader loves the book as much as you do. So I’m delighted. Hopefully many more happy reviews will follow.

On a really cool note, the man and I were driving home, and a great blue heron flew over us and landed on the top of a house. I stopped. I’ve never seen a blue heron perch that high before. I tried to take a picture, but it flew off before I could. It was like a blessing from Mother Nature on the day.

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Aug. 28th, 2014

me

Instead of ranting

I have things to rant on. Longmire is canceled, which pisses me off to no end. I hope someone else picks it up. The writing is too good, the acting too good, the show too damned good, to just let vanish. Also, I am irritated by something I happen to listen to today involving a Christian mother and grandmother condemning the son/grandson for being gay. It was an entirely recorded conversation of the event and let me just say– No. I won’t. So I’ll say this. Being gay isn’t a choice. I have more rantiness on the subject, but I don’t want my head to pop off. Also, on an unrelated note, science is. Deal with the facts.

Now, instead of ranting, I shall tell you what I bought today. I got an old butter churn of the turn-the-handle variety, and I got a typewriter. I’ve wanted one a long time. This has some cool bells and whistles. I’m not sure I know how it all works. I cleaned it up a little, but I need to do some more. It’s very dusty. But I really love it. I’ve wanted a cool old typewriter for a long time. I found it at an estate sale.

2014-08-28 11.19.44Tomorrow is the release of Trace of Magic. I’m nervous. And I really need some reviews in places, so again, let me plead for buying, reading, reviewing, shouting the news. You will have my undying gratitude. If you happen to be at DragonCon, check out the Bell Bridge books booth for print copies.

I’ve got a post and a tiny snippet on Literary Escapism today.

I leave you with an earworm. But with a purpose! First, thing get the BeeGees Nightfever in your head. Then change Nightfever to Light Saber. And then . . . come up with more words so someone can filk that baby. Let me start you off–

Gimme a light saber, light saber,

Obi wan can do it!

Swing that light saber, Light saber,

close your eyes and kill it!

 

now you. Go!

 

 

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

Aug. 26th, 2014

me

On the more disgusting side, and also happy news

I don’t brush my dogs’ teeth. Instead, I clean them by letting them chew on beef bones. This has never failed before.

*Cue last Saturday*

We were heading out to the state fair, so I decided it was a good time to give the doggies a bone. They could chew all day, and they’d have clean teeth when we got home. It was a good plan. Then . . .

I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. It was a miracle I didn’t step into poop. I came back to bed and for whatever reason, I turned on the light. And there, a gift lay on the floor. I cleaned it up. What else could I do?

Then the next morning, what should my husband encounter right in front of the door, but another gift? He cleaned it up. He leaves for work. (that was a 4:45 a.m.). I go downstairs to let the dogs out around eight and found yet another gift from sometime the night before. I know almost when and which dog.

It gets better.

The next night, I let the dogs out and left them out for a couple hours before bed. Apparently they decided they’d go chew on their bones and not do any other business. You see where this is going. Yep, the next morning there was not one, not two, not three, but FOUR pee spots right near the door. These had either occurred after my husband departed, or he got amazingly lucky getting out the door.

That afternoon, we deep-cleaned the carpet up and downstairs. Then the dogs spent last night in a corral in the kitchen. They will be there tonight, as well. They made no house gifts today.

Either I must a) brush the dogs’ teeth, or b) cook the bones? Something? Yeah.

But wait! It gets better!

My son gets in the shower on Sunday. We have a tankless waterheater. This means that he can stay in there for a year and the water won’t get cold. He used to take short showers. They’ve been gradually lengthening. This one was probably a 1/2 hour long. Periodically we’d been finding damp spots downstairs in the laundry room. We thought it had something to do with the washer. Nope. The upstairs tub/shower. As my son’s shower goes on, water drips out of the vent fan in the laundry room. Drip splat! Drip splat!

The plumber came today and changed out a cartridge in the faucet. He believes this will solve the problem. I am hoping.

Also, the good news! Trace of Magic releases in just two days!!! You can preorder the print version from Amazon right now.

BN and other outlets will follow shortly. I’ve got a post up on Magical Words this week about it and where some of the ideas came from.

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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