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Feb. 25th, 2017

me

Running away from home

I did that. Ran away from home and to the Rainforest Writers Village where I got less work done than I wanted, but I did finish the fourth Diamond City Magic book (Yay!!!) and did some work on the second Mission Magic book. I also got to meet a lot of people I didn’t know, and spend time with others I do, and it was a good time. Patrick Swenson is so amazing for organizing and running this. He’s just fabulous.

I came back to aid the husband who had had his wisdom teeth out right before I left and developed dry sockets, which were very bad. Painful bad. He’s improved, but is still having some pain. In other news, the girlie is quickly becoming a teenager and I’m quickly losing my mind. My stress level is up and I’ve got a raging headache at this moment. I’ve got to seriously figure out some way to get through these next five years or so. Ten? Shit.

I need to learn to meditate. And maybe yoga. And exercise myself into the ground. This might get me through the hateful hormones.

Now I’m watching this very odd movie that is alternately bizarre and funny. I’m very amused. It’s called Mr. Right with Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell. Tim Roth has always been a good actor, but in this, he’s awesome. He does southern accent like nobody’s business. Plus he’s a really a fabulous actor.

Today was lovely sunny. Tomorrow the rain returns. Damn. I was looking forward to another walk in the sun with the dogs tomorrow. Maybe it will be a rainy walk. Or I’ll do some reading. I’ve been managing to enjoy some lately. Hoping for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Feb. 13th, 2017

me

Writers Club: Plotting

Plot is necessary for novels. This seems like a no-brainer. It’s the causal sequence of events in a book: This happened because this happened because this happened and so on. Events happen, problems, conflicts, and everything escalates until there’s a final conflict and resolution. Usually there is at least one secondary plotline, and often more. After all, most people have more than one thing going on in their lives.

Here’s the trouble, at least for me: I often have trouble developing the plot in advance. More often, my brain wants to see what happens as I go along. In some respects, I think this is because I’m out to entertain myself with my stories. I don’t want to know what happens in advance any more than my readers do. I want to discover as I go. I’ve a friend who calls the first draft the “discovery draft.”

The trouble with not knowing the plot is that you make a lot of wrong turns and go off to random spots, find hidden trails, and sometimes–even often–find treasures you never knew you were looking for. That makes writing exciting. It also makes it stressful. You always wonder where you might end up. Will the book make sense? Will it become a well-woven whole or will it be a mess of spaghetti dripping over the edge of the plate?

I would like to work with a plot outline. I’ve tried a lot of different methods. I used to be able to establish the major plot points that I wanted to hit on and then I could navigate toward those points, weaving in the secondary plot lines as I went. But my brain refuses to do that much anymore. I’ve been working on tricking myself and forcing out a plot outline. And of course, it always changes and is never correct. In fact I don’t really expect it to be, which ought to sound bizarre–I mean why do it at all? But having a sense of the path does help.  It frees my mind to play a little bit. Knowing that, I don’t know why I can’t just write down a possible plot direction. I’m such a weird contradictory mess in that regard. A plot outline frees me, but writing it feels like I’m fixing it permanently in place and my brain rebels.

In order to make myself do it, I focus on projects that I’m not planning to write right away. That takes the pressure off getting it done to try to get it written. It lets me play with the story in my head for awhile, and lets me be goofy with the possibilities. That last often gets me to where I want to be–an original plot line. I get acquainted with my characters, developing who they are until they feel real to me and have a voice and I know what they would and wouldn’t do, which of course leads to more adventures.

I wish the process didn’t have to be so messy, but it is and I just have to suck it up. So this is me, sucking it up. *dives back into the mess*

(crossposted from the BVC blog)

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

Feb. 10th, 2017

me

Book Review: Dark, Witch, and Creamy by H.Y. Hanna

Book provided by NetGalley

Dark, Witch, and Creamy is a fun little contemporary fantasy with the beginnings of romance in it. Here’s the back of the cover blurb:

A witch, a kitty and dark chocolate magic…
Caitlyn is used to being the ugly duckling in her glamorous showbiz family… until the day she learns that she was adopted as an abandoned baby. Now, her search for answers takes her to the tiny English village of Tillyhenge where a man has been murdered by witchcraft – and where a mysterious shop selling enchanted chocolates is home to the “local witch”…

Soon Caitlyn finds herself fending off a toothless old vampire, rescuing an adorable kitten and meeting handsome aristocrat Lord James Fitzroy… not to mention discovering that she herself might have magical blood in her veins!

When she’s dragged into the murder investigation and realises that dark magic is involved, Caitlyn is forced to choose. Can she embrace her witchy powers in time to solve the mystery and save those she loves?

I enjoyed this book. It’s sort of on the cozy side of the mystery continuum, with fun and colorful characters and of course, chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I enjoyed Caitlyn and Widow Mags quite a bit, though I wish a little more about Caitlyn’s background had come to light. I also had some questions about Viktor and I hope those get answered in the future. I thought the magic elements were charming. My major complaint about the book is that while the bad guy is identified, the story seems a little unfinished (trying not to spoil it here). There is another book in the series that I think I’ll probably pick up. All in all, the book is fun and worth reading.

4 out of 5 stars

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

Feb. 8th, 2017

me

Book review: Combatting Fear by Sandy Vaile

I obtained this book through NetGalley.

I really wanted to like this Combatting Fear by Sandy Vaile. The description pulled me in and I thought it was going to be a fun romantic suspense. Plus it’s set in Australia, which was a big attraction to me (though there were no spiders in this book, which I found surprising. Or venomous snakes.)  Let’s start with the back cover copy:

How far would you go to save a child that wasn’t yours?

Mild-mannered kindergarten teacher Neve Botticelli leads a double life. Thanks to a childhood tragedy and her paranoid father, she’s a trained warrior with extreme survival skills who lives off the grid.

When self-made billionaire Micah Kincaid storms into town in search of his son, Rowan, he’s pushy, entitled, and stands for everything she despises. Micah can’t believe a kindergarten teacher is barring the way to him getting crucial information or even just a glimpse of the boy his cheating ex kidnapped. They share only one thing in common: either will do anything to protect the four-year-old, who they soon discover is being held for ransom by an outlaw motorcycle gang.

But as they work together to get Rowan back, they start to see beyond each other’s masks. Could falling in love be even more dangerous than hunting down deadly criminals?

The writing of the book is really good, and the end relationship stuff was well done. Plus there were a lot of elements in the book that worked well. The moments between Tony and Neve especially. The descriptions were evocative and made me feel like I was there. Where I ran into difficulties was with 1) the relationship development, and 2) uneven/contradictory character development.

I’m going to start with the second issue first. Both Neve and Micah were engaging and likeable. But they were also inconsistent and constantly waffled on issues for no good reason. There were no real triggers for much of their–but what if? thoughts. I got annoyed with both of them. Vaile justified their qualms and fears with a solid foundation. I got why Neve was suspicious of Micah and why he’d doubt her–at least at first. But then it kept feeling artificial as they got to know each other and still had the very same doubts without any real trigger for them.

Then Neve is billed as leading a double life. Not really. I was disappointed in that. And that she’s a trained warrior. It didn’t really come across. She’s weepy and nervous and generally sort of passive. And then she’ll have these sudden moments of warrior action and thinking, and then go back to the other. It’s aggravating. The warrior stuff comes out somewhat in the end, but still wasn’t all that warrior-like. I felt a little bit like there’d been a bait and switch.

The relationship development was also odd. Their attraction came at odd times and sort of out of the blue. The final development was really well done, but the development just didn’t feel organic or natural.

In the end, I felt the book was okay, but I didn’t come away feeling satisfied.

2 out of 5 stars.

 

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

Feb. 5th, 2017

me

Food that was made

Tonight we made chow mein and fried rice. Didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, but was still really good. I figure I’ll change some things up next time. For one, I forgot to put oil in the water for the noodles so they stuck together before I could put them in the stirfry. The order on the fried rice was off so next time I”ll change that up. Plus I’ll try to cook the rice the day before instead of the day of to get it better dehydrated and really cold. The sauce I found was really good and I made a bunch extra and put it in the fridge for future use.

Tomorrow is leftovers. Yum.

 

 

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

me

Book Review: At Close Range, Laura Griffin

I really love the Laura Griffin books. They are romantic suspense and have great characters and engrossing plots, but hot and compelling romance. At Close Range is the latest in her Tracers Series, of which I’ve read most, if not all. I have to check. This one includes characters from previous books, though it can totally be read independently of any of the others.

The book revolves around a double murder that quickly grows into more murders and a twisted investigation. Dani, our main character, is the lead investigator on the case. This is her first time leading, and she’s very nervous, though also very competent. Scott Black is a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL who works at a local lab that provides forensic services to law enforcement all over the country. Dani and Scott go back to their teenage years. He practically grew up in their house–her brother’s best friend. His career in the Navy ended with an injury, and now he’s become a primary expert in his field. The two of them have sparks, but he’s not ready to cross the brother-friendship line to mess with Dani, and she’s pretty sure he’ll break her heart.

He is one of the experts called in on the case, but soon is implicated as a suspect. That puts them on opposite sides, because even though Dani believes in him personally, a good detective works on facts and evidence. Secondary characters are introduced and play important roles in the story, all the way to the end.

I didn’t love this story as much as some of Griffin’s previous books, but I liked it quite well. I thought the relationship between all the characters–professional and personal–were deftly written, particularly Dani’s relationship with her fellow cops. Her relationship with Scott had some places that I winced at, but I think that was a personal thing, and overall I thought it developed organically and realistically and romantically. The sex scenes were both hot and emotional, which is an art to do. The only major problem I had with the book was that the ultimate bad guy seemed a little bit farfetched. The twisted plotline was wonderful and kept me guessing, but I wish the ultimate villain had been more on the page pulling strings.

I would rate this 4.5/5 stars and totally recommend it and all the others in the series. Good writing, good suspense and mystery, wonderful romance. I read it pretty much in one sitting as soon as it showed up on my Kindle.

 

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

Feb. 3rd, 2017

me

A Friday Riley snippet

Because it’s Friday and because I can!

From book 4 of DCM (which is yet title-less)

I pulled back my wandering mind to focus on the task at hand. The difficulty in this situation was me. Null magic in particular. It didn’t want to weave together with other magics. It wanted to kill them dead. Suck all the juice out of them and leave them dried husks of nothingness. That wouldn’t be all that bad, except that the result was a little bit like setting off a nuclear bomb. I don’t know why. It’s like the magics went to war, though it would have made more sense if the null power just sucked up the other one.

That’s the reason why you didn’t get a lot of null magic crossovers. I probably should have mentioned that to Price, but what he didn’t know couldn’t stop me from trying. The good news was that if things went wrong, the backlash would come at me, not him.

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

Feb. 1st, 2017

me

The Ideas that Rise and a snippet

I had this image pop into my head: A glass army. I thought about the fact that though the blood would run off them, it would still cling and dry and then I wondered how impervious they would be, if at all. Seems to me they would have magical qualities.

I want to write another traditional fantasy and this may be the first seed. Hard to say. But then I had another image so I started a poem out of nowhere and here it is, even though it’s awful, it does get at one really cool image:

Glass army:
The sun shone bright over the glass army
shed rainbows in a halo
flickered and dulled under the clouds
drifted and bunched across
the sun smothering it into the darkness
couldn’t be seen through
the clear glass in their hearts
sparkled clean.

And then just a little bit of Price and Riley:

“How the hell am I going to help you if you won’t even stay in the same room with me?”
I was yelling. I don’t know if it was more from fear, frustration, or fury. With incredible restraint, I did not pick up the chunk of petrified wood sitting on the shelf beside me, and I did not sling the hunk of rock at Price’s head. Though I stayed in reach to keep it an option.

“If I stay in the same room with you, I’m going to kill you. Is that what you want? What will you do then? Haunt me?”

Price’s voice emerged through clenched teeth. He faced me from the doorway thirty feet away. Running away as soon as I came in the room. Every muscle in his body looked to be clenched tight.

“You can kill me from a football field away,” I pointed out. “Probably a lot farther. Your logic is completely stupid.”

“God dammit, Riley. This isn’t a fucking joke,” he said, plowing shaking fingers through his shaggy black hair.

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

Jan. 22nd, 2017

me

More Poetry

I heard the term “Alternative Facts” today. It reminds me of gaslighting. And this is what came to my heart:

 

alternative facts say he
loves you
love tap
love bites
stop crying or he’ll
love you so
hard
you break
your heart
bones
blood spills
stop screaming or he’ll
love you to
the hospital
to the moon Alice
to death
or worse
stop dreams
and joy
and life
and will or he’ll
love you loudly
with knuckles
with snarls
with bruises
and breaks
and then he’ll love
the kids as much
as he
loves
you.

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

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Jan. 21st, 2017

me

Hate and the march

I’m so proud of all the marches across the country today. The turnout gives me great hope. I’m not a good poet, but this arose out of the last year, yesterday, and my fears going forward and this is the thing that the marches today defy:

 

the shape of hate is diffuse
smoke at night invisible
desperate
agent orange, thalidomide, love canal
health
prosperity
winning
termite gluttony gnawing chewing
needing
what they can’t find
and crave and demand
tasty hate
that stretches the stomach with
sawdust

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

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Jan. 15th, 2017

me

Whirlwind already

The past couple weeks have proven to be a whirlwind. Already.  I’m almost done writing two different books. I plan to be done by the end of January. One is DCM 4, the other is this book that came out of nowhere and is huge fun. For me, anyhow. The writing has gone fast on the second book. Crazy fast. DCM 4 is complex and digs more into the the Tyet stuff and has some really cool twists. A couple are even shocking, I think. I can’t wait to see what my editor thinks.

Am in the mood to go digging rocks, which of course is not possible given that a) there’s snow everywhere, and b) the ground is frozen.

I have to confess I have yet to take down the Christmas tree. Part of that is sheer laziness. Part is the fact that we got it up late and I’m still enjoying it. But it has to come down, so I think since the kids have the day off tomorrow, I’ll make them help me do that.

We have a deep love of rocks, not that I know much about them. We sometimes go rockhounding to look for different things. We’re just getting started figuring out what we’re doing. We also go to estate sales and that sort of thing to look for rocks. This weekend, we went to an estate sale and had some great luck. Found a bunch of rocks and many were very cool. Some were already cut, some were rough. Hampton Butte petrified wood, tiger iron, lots of agate, lots of jasper, some other stuff I have no idea what it is. But very pretty.

Makes me want to go out and dig holes. We’re going to try to get to look for some limb cast as soon as the snows go. We figure the runoff this year will expose some good stuff. Or so we hope.

 

 

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

Jan. 3rd, 2017

me

Writers Club

I’ve been doing a series of posts over at the Bookview Cafe Blog. I’m going to start mirroring them over here. They come under the heading of Writers Club. These are the Rules. Or Guidelines. Or something. Anyhow, here you go:

 

I’m not saying that self-editing is bad. It’s not. It’s just we often do it while writing and that’s when it’s evil. Sometimes we do it when we aren’t aware and that’s when it’s really awful.

When I first started out writing, I wrote for me and me alone. I was trying to entertain myself and so I didn’t worry about whether this would be offensive or that would be sappy or if readers would hate my characters. None of that entered my mind because it was all about the fun of telling myself the story and getting lost in it.

Then I published. This was a dream come true. But that’s when the evil self-editor started sneaking in to my creative zone. I’d write something and then delete it because it was too something: too off-color, too disgusting, too violent, and so on. That limited me in ways that I stopped noticing. I internalized those limits and made them an unacknowledged part of my writing process. It’s like a house. You don’t pay attention to where walls are or light switches because they just exist and are necessary and you’re glad they’re there doing their job.

Only really, the self-editor at this point in the process is really a saboteur. It’s a swarm of termites eating away your writing in secret and you have no idea it’s even happening.

Recently I accidentally started a . . . something. Since it’s well-over 45K by this writing, I guess it’s a novel. It started as just a fun thing I wanted to write down. My main character–Beck–is obnoxious and says things that are not polite and yet are very funny to me. I found myself writing on it constantly and racking up big word counts. I’d stay up late. I write through obligations. I’d forget time. At some point, however, I realized that I was losing her voice because I’d begun self-editing. I began to worry about what readers might think or how they might respond. So I slowed down. I started thinking more and being more careful about how I was telling the story, rather than focusing on actually telling the story and entertaining myself.

Not so coincidentally, I slowed down. I didn’t feel like writing on it as much. It took me a few days to figure out why and I wanted to smack myself for doing it. The thing is, the self-editor is important. Finding and questioning the issues of your story is very important, but not until you’ve written and know what it is and what it needs. I also don’t think your words and story should necessarily change because a reader my object or feel a little annoyed. You have to decide what’s good for the story. You don’t have to throw glitter on the ugly or soften all the rough edges. You have to tell a good story with powerful, compelling characters that engage your readers and carry them on a fun ride from beginning to end.

Writers Club rule: Revel in the creative, and chase the editor off with a pitchfork. Hunt it down, put it in a mayonnaise jar with holes in the lid until you’re ready to let it chew through your manuscript.

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

Dec. 31st, 2016

me

Over the shoulder and straight ahead

It’s that time when we all look at the last year and make goals for next year.

Looking back, last year was rough in a lot of ways. The world lost a lot of talented people, I lost friends, the family went through some tough times, and the world seemed to turn a lot darker. I also had a lot of joy in my life. I wrote things I am proud of. I made some new friends and I did some things that were on the bucket list. So it was a year with good and bad like most years. The difficult thing is I have real worries about what will happen next year and over the course of the next four. I worry for many things and all I can think of it we’d root ourselves deeply and hold on tight and try to look out for one another. Stepping into this next year feels like walking into a minefield. 

My goals for next year are a little unformed. One thing I want to do is get regular exercise, for my mental and physical health. I also want to go do some cool hikes to places I want to see. I didn’t do much of that last year and I wish I had. I want to get bills under control and some debt paid down. That means I need to get more writing out there.

For writing goals, here are things I want to accomplish.

  1. Finish DCM4 by end of January
  2. Finish Beck book by end of January
  3. Finish 2nd Job book by end of February.
  4. write the anthology story I owe
  5. write a Crosspointe book.
  6. Release the Job book

Those are the things I know I want and need to do. After that, I’d like to do a 3rd Job book and write the southern spider story. I really want to do that last one. I also want to do a better job keeping track of what I do in the writing and how I’m progressing. The first three items have about 70-100K left to be written. The Crosspointe book may turn out to be more than one and so I’m not sure. Minimally it will come in at 120K.

 

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

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Dec. 27th, 2016

me

In which I pass along words of–

I’ve been asked to put together a promotional blog post for my publisher. I can’t think of what to write because of brain fry. Husband and son decide that this is what I should write:

Don’t be a Twit, Read my shit.

I don’t think this is as helpful as they seem to think. What about you?

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

Dec. 24th, 2016

me

Merry Christmas!

For those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah for my Jewish friends and readers. For everybody else–actually, for all of us–I wish you a day of peace and joy with laughter and no room for anger and depression.

Today we went to see the  Cirque Dreams Holidaze show. It was stunning and so fun. It was so wonderful to be there with my family and just get to enjoy. It was so fun and the performers–so very very good.

Tomorrow we have an unconventional meal planned, with fun and laughter and hopefully a dog walk, because the boys would love it.

From my family to yours, have a lovely day!

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

Dec. 21st, 2016

me

Snippet

A taste of my sneak project: (no context for you!)

“Are you saying Damon doesn’t get you hot and bothered?”

I flushed. “Unfortunately, no. He does. And now that I have a little better idea what’s going on, I have even less reason to trust him.”

“How so?”

“Because for all I know, he’s thinking about how sexy my DNA is and how he’d like to contract the hell out of me.”

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

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Dec. 14th, 2016

me

Ugly Christmas Ornaments

Actually, I prefer to call them hideous. I look for them. I buy one each year. This I only started a couple years ago. This one is this year’s choice. I found it at Michael’s in the bargain bin. Made me wonder how many they’d ordered and why? Are there other crazy people out there deliberately wanting ugly hideous ornaments? Okay, yes. I have a friend who would definitely pick this one out. Hmmm. Make that two. Megan and Christy, you know who you are. 

This is a horrible picture. The light’s bad. But it’s a flamingo in hot pink high heels with a gold sequin tube top with a pile of blond hair with pearls around her head. Isn’t it awesome?

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

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Dec. 13th, 2016

me

My holiday newsletter is out

Here’s a link to my newsletter with a short story for you to read.

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

Dec. 3rd, 2016

me

Bad bad things

I’ve got sidetracked onto working on something I shouldn’t be because of *fun*.  Don’t know if it will ever see the light of day, but if you want a taste . . . here you are! Oh, but first, A HOLIDAY SPECIAL!!! If you’ve not read The Incubus Job, you can get it for just $2.99 at BVC in your preferred e-format. Check it out.

“Tell me about your mother.”

“She’s dead.”

The detective gave me a studiously bland look. “I’m aware. Do you think this is funny?”

I pretended to consider. “Funny–no. Ironic? yes.”

“Do you care to explain yourself?”

“Because I get to plan her funeral.” I already was. It would have to be the tackiest, white trashiest, low-rent trailer park sort of affair for kicking off the dearly departed. I’d definitely serve beer. Oh, and champagne. With Funions and pork rinds and pigs in blankets and deep-fried twinkies. And confetti. Maybe fireworks. Oh! Should I go with a viewing? Dress her in a K-Mart special with blue eye shadow and crimson lipstick? Regret slid through me. No. She’d need to be cremated. I needed her cremated, just to be sure she couldn’t come back as a zombie or vampire. Maybe I’d be allowed to light the match on the fire.

“Miss Wyatt?” The detective said, tapping my knee and interrupting my happy daydream.

I focused on her. She could have used some under-eye concealer. Maybe a little lipstick. And some rouge. The woman looked like death. “What?”

“I asked how you would categorize your relationship with your mother?”

“She pretty much hated everything about me and I tried my damnedest to earn her malice.”

Her brows rose at my candor. “So you didn’t get along with her?”

Was she deaf? Or just stupid. “Didn’t I just say that?”

“Did you?”

The detective needed her ass kicked. “Yes.”

“ . . . relationship contentious . . .” she muttered as she wrote in her notebook.

Such a mild word. Like my mother hadn’t been the wicked witch of the west. Like she hadn’t spent every minute of every day criticizing and castigating and moaning over my flaws and failures, which is all I was to her. I don’t even know why she’d had me. Or kept me.

“Did she have any other family? Do you have siblings?”

“Don’t know and no.” Because if there was one thing that was true about my mother is that she kept her life a secret from me.
“What about friends? Or enemies? Anyone you can think of who might want to hurt her?”

“Grab a phonebook and start with the A’s,” I suggested.

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

Nov. 26th, 2016

me

Talking about the Rogue Mage world

So as you might have heard (because I’ve been shouting about it), I have a short story, Ashes and Dust, in the soon-to-be-released Trials: A Rogue Mage anthology. Faith Hunter wrote three novels about Thorn St. Croix. She’s a neomage in a post-apocalyptic earth where seraphs have killed most of the earth’s population. There are those who believe the seraphs are messengers of God, sent to punish people for sins. Others believe they are aliens  (though those people hide because just saying so is sinful). There are a variety of magics and evil in the shape of the Dark–demons and fallen seraphs. Humans and the human world are the battle ground between the Light and the Dark.

Thorn is a neomage–which means she is forbidden to exist, except in what amounts to internment camps for neomages. She lives under the radar as a jeweler, but all too soon, bad things start to happen and she has to take serious risks.

I love this world. It’s so rich and strange and amazing. So I was excited to get a change to play in the world. I was also a little bit panicked. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never even considered anything like fanfiction–playing in someone else’s world means knowing everything about it, and writing in such a way that you’re faithful and don’t break it. I really loved the books, though, and I absolutely wanted to try. It helped that there’s an RPG game based on the world, and I could use the books for that as a reference. And of course, Faith herself.

The conditions of the story were that it could be set in any time pre, during, or post-Rogue Mage stories. I set mine slightly later, and across the country on the west coast. I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted to do, and thought that it would be easier (and less likely to break the world), if I created my own place in the west where I didn’t have to worry all that much about previously described areas or people.

Writing the story was terrific fun. It flowed out of me fast and was too long. I did my best to cut a lot, but it still ended up on the longish side. Luckily there was room. I think the coolest part of the Rogue Mage world is figuring out how to fit in the world and still bring your own creative ideas to the table. You have to color within certain lines, but there’s still a lot of room for crazy colors and textures and shapes.

Mistral is my main character and what I like about him is that he doesn’t fit well anywhere. I’ve felt like that a lot in my life, and then I found my tribe. He’s looking for that, too, only he doesn’t quite know it. He wants to define himself and choose his own path. The thing is, others don’t exactly want to let him. His story is about standing up for himself and choosing the kind of person he wants to be.

Mistral is an unusual being, which accounts for why if anybody discovered what he is, he’d be dead meat. He’s born of a Dark rma1_trials-ebook-cover-correctedMage mother and a captured seraph father. He’s kylen, with unique neomage powers. There’s no other like him in the world and that’s a tough thing. He knows he’d be hated by everyone if they knew, and so he has to hide. But others also want to use him as a tool for their ambitions. He despises both the Light and the Dark. For much of the year, he travels as a ti

nker and trader. For the rest of the year, he suffers at the hands of an evil master.

When I got to the end of the story, I loved it for approximately 5 seconds. Then I was sure it was a big pile of stinky poop. I was sure it moved slowly, that it wasn’t any good, that it was a dumb plot, and that the whole thing needed to be scrapped. (All of which is pretty typical of finishing things for me). Faith, though, seemed to think it was pretty good. I had some kinks to work out where I’d crossed lines I couldn’t cross–world facts, for instance–and I had to revise my prose, but mostly the story in the anthology is as it was when I finished.

I was also really happy with the ending. A lot of the time writers tell stories by feel. What I mean by that is we are searching for that ending that clicks and says more than just the simple plot. That it delves into character and makes the story robust and interesting in ways that weren’t clear until the end. It’s like going through maze and looking back to see that

all those little twists and turns were really a glorious pattern.

Now I need to go back to work on finishing my fourth Diamond City Magic book, which remains untitled. It’s so close to done, but I’m looking for that ending that clicks, and I have a feeling that a little farther away than I hope it is. I feel the story coming together toward that finish, though, and I’m super pleased about it.

I also am working on the second Mission: Magic book, and I just turned in a Horngate Witches story for an upcoming anthology. It jumps about four years after the end of the last book. And then I got blindsided by a dream last night that is parlaying itself into a book idea that I think is pretty awesome, but needs to be fleshed out a whole lot more.

Here’s a little snippet from the story:

    They’d not gone much farther up the rutted road — perhaps a mile — when Ebet emerged from the shadow of a tree. He moved into the center of the road to face Mistral, his movements flickering fast. The daywalker was inhumanly beautiful, with black hair that hung to his waist and a lithe, muscular body. They were all of a kind — black hair, slender, piercing eyes, and Michelangelo faces. And evil.
    “You are late for your lessoning,” Ebet said, his voice sweet as a clarinet. “The master grows anxious.”
    “The roads washed out south of the delta. I was trapped on the wrong side.” The floods and delay were not news. Nor did they make the delay forgivable.
    Ebet dipped his chin, a slow, vicious smile curving his mouth. “I am to remind you to hurry.” He lifted his hand and held it out. Dangling from his fingers was a collar.
    Mistral blanched despite himself.

If you’d like to order Trials, here’s a quick link to Amazon. You can preorder now, and it releases on November 28. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

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

Nov. 25th, 2016

me

Book Review: The Doctor’s Christmas Proposal

I like Christmas romance, and especially this year, it seems like a good inoculation against the unhappiness in the world and the stress of life and the holidays. I picked up Eve Gaddy’s The Doctor’s Christmas Proposal off NetGalley. I really like Eve’s writing and expected to really like this book. And a lot of it I did. But one unfortunately central element kept bothering me and while it was addressed somewhat at the end, not enough for me.

So here’s the story (blurb off Amazon):

Betrayed by his ex-fiancée, Dr. Wyatt Gallagher turns to the one woman he can always trust – his best friend, Mia Watson. 515tvf7nqlAfter moving away, Wyatt has realized he wants more than friendship with the beautiful artist. With that in mind, he convinces Mia to come to Marietta for the Christmas holidays. But wooing Mia is surprisingly difficult — especially given the passionate night they’ve already shared.

Though Mia Watson has loved Wyatt Gallagher for years, he’s always seen her as a friend, never a lover. Except for one unforgettable interlude when comfort turned to passion. Then Wyatt moved back to Montana, leaving Mia with an unexpected consequence of their night together–and soon, heartbreak to follow.

Faced with the fulfillment of her dreams, Mia knows she must reveal the consequences of their night together to Wyatt. But having withheld the truth for so long, will her confession destroy his trust in her, ending their friendship and any hope of a future together?

So obviously there’s some cool angsty stuff going on. Also, the setting is Montana, and having lived there for 15 years, I loved reading about it. From that third paragraph, you can guess that Mia got pregnant from Wyatt on their one night stand years before (which for her was not one, and for him–very confusing). More on that below.

The family and secondary characters were fun and interesting and warm. This isn’t a book of high drama, it’s quieter and more family focused. It’s a fairly gentle story in many ways. I liked Wyatt and Mia quite a bit and felt that their emotions and feelings for one another were real and strong.

Now this is going to be a spoiler, so if you don’t want to have that, don’t read more.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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

Nov. 24th, 2016

me

Thanksgiving

It’s been a tough year all around. I’m deeply worried about the next four, and that’s a reason to look hard at what I have to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for my family. For laughter. For the dog-boys. For a house and a comfortable life. For good friends. Good books. The ability to do what I love to do. For joy. For the sunrises and sunsets, for growing things, for kindness. For fans who buy and read my books. For tasty food. For everyone who stands up to prejudice, bigotry, and racism. May we all reach out to each other in kindness, generosity, and hope.

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

Nov. 23rd, 2016

me

Dentistry–Its own ring of hell

Went in this morning to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. I hadn’t been for a number of years, thanks to getting busy with, well, moving, writing books, my son’s illness, everything else that happens in life . . . you know the drill.

Anyhow, I have cavities, plus old fillings that need to be fixed and redone. It’s going to be expensive. Very. Expensive. Sigh. I don’t really care about the pain of it–After all my health issues (all of which involved significant pain), I can handle it. The first cavity I ever had was when I was around 38 years old. Yes. I didn’t go to a dentist for something like 25 years after seriously bad experiences with my dentist as a kid. Yet no cavities. I don’t know why I developed them suddenly. Possibilities include change in body chemistry, drug prescriptions, anemia, thyroid issues, lack of fluoride in the water, the significant mineralization of the water, not to mention gnomes, mouth rats, tooth termites, and toothquakes of the mouth. Really impossible to say.

Anyhow, my first cavity involved a root canal. Go me! Overachiever! Then I had several more, even though I brush my teeth and floss and got checked twice a year. So looks like I’ll be in to see the dentist a fair bit this next couple of months. So exciting. Not.

I have everything I need to fix Thanksgiving dinner, but now am contemplating making lasagne instead. It just sounds good. With pie. And rosemary rolls. I’ll probably just make regular Thanksgiving dinner.

I hope everybody out there has a lovely Thanksgiving day, without any strife, fear, difficulties, or sadness.

 

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

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Nov. 19th, 2016

me

Cool Exciting News!

I want to announce my inclusion in a new anthology that will be out very very soon. bloodring

Faith Hunter writes some fabulous books. One trilogy is the Rogue Mage series–which are really really good and if you haven’t read them yet, you should (e-version of the first book is $2.99 right now). She asked me if I’d like to write a story set in that world for an anthology. I spent a little time squealing and dancing and then said yet. Cuz, duh!!!!

The title of my story is Ashes and Dust, and I’ll tell you more about it later, but for now, here’s more info and the cover:

rma1_trials-ebook-cover-correctedThe Rogue Mage world began long ago, when the epic battle between the High Host and the Darkness was won and lost. Now, nine writers—including Faith Hunter herself—take fans of Thorn St. Croix into the past, before the opening pages of BLOODRING. These stories, set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world, are adventures with new characters and old, facing dangers unimaginable. And they must save the world all over again.

If you ever wondered what happened between seraphs, kylen, second-unforeseen, mages, seraph-touched, spawn, dragons and their creatures, and humans before the series, now is your chance to delve deeper and wider. The ebook TRIALS presents twenty-one vignettes and short stories. TRIALS will be followed soon by TRIBULATIONS, and then by the trade paperback omnibus TRIUMPHANT. Enjoy!

TRIALS Authors: Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Lou J Berger, Ken Schrader, Spike Y Jones, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Christina Stiles, Tamsin Silver, Melissa McArthur.

TRIBULATIONS Authors are Lucienne Diver, Jean Rabe, Spike Y Jones, Christina Stiles, Faith Hunter.

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

Nov. 17th, 2016

me

The Cutting Room Floor

I’m working on a Horngate story for an anthology. It is a Giselle/Shoftiel story–no Max. I cut this today and figured you might like to see it:

Salt Lake City still looked like itself, though now the sulfurous stench of the lake was replaced by fumes of tar. Shoftiel rolled down his window, sucking in deep breaths as his deprived senses rejoiced.

The closer they came to the city, the more he realized that in fact, it had changed. One of the biggest changes came in the shape of jewel-colored drakes circling above, some carrying riders. Vines climbed up every building and dripped in curtains. Other plants clung to whatever surface they could find. Trees grew sideways with leaves from every color of the rainbow.

Many of the building had turned into giant trees or tall pillars of salt. Others look like melted candles, some of which had molded together. While he watched, a squat brick lump of a building got up on seven thick yellow elephant-like legs and walked off toward the shimmering rainbow mountains, settling down on top of a broad, flat-topped place covered in brilliant scarlet fur. Or perhaps it was some kind of fairy grass.

On the right, the tar bog spread out like a great, black quagmire. Heat waves rose from it, distorting the air. Hummocks and islands scattered thickly over its gleaming surface and boats poled through the tarways between.
They continued south, passing the former airport. This was now a field of bushes. They were heavy with long, fuzzy pink fruits. Or vegetables.

“What are those?” he asked, no expecting an answer.

“They call ‘em pinktails. Pretty good. Tart. Green on the inside like kiwis but with big red seeds running down the middle. The fuzz is used to make cloth. It’s a lot like cotton.”

Giselle continued to play tour guide. Shoftiel’s curiosity was insatiable and he peppered her with questions.

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

Nov. 13th, 2016

me

So. Thinky Thoughts

I have been trying to gather my thoughts to express my feelings about this election and the next four years. I feel scared. Really scared. And vulnerable. That’s the word that sums it up best. I can’t imagine how other targeted groups feel, but as a woman, as a mother, as someone in the middle class, as someone who believes in equality for everyone–I’m really really scared. I’ve found myself crying these last days out of stress and those fears. I’ve been trying to pick myself up with some family things and also watching Christmas movies. But I still have lead in my stomach and I still want to curl up in a ball and pull the covers up over my head.

One of my friends said that she’s been in a low level panic. I’d say that I’ve been the same. My blood pressure is up, I’ve been in a constant state of nausea, and it’s been a real struggle to keep myself from sort of collapsing. This too shall pass, but I fear that these next four years will leave behind an aftermath like Hurricane Katrina. Only much much worse.

I have no idea how to feel better. I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with this new normal. Never in my life have I been so frightened by and for America’s future.

I’ve been trying to focus on writing and thinking maybe I need to write some lighter escapist sort of fiction. It’s not a lot to give to other people sharing my fears and panic and sense of danger, but it’s something. I have to focus on the the people around me and buoy them as much as I can. I need to be a port in a storm for whoever needs it. I need to raise my voice against hate. I need to speak out for those who are endangered and threatened. I need to be as much a light in the darkness as I can be.

 

 

 

 

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

Oct. 28th, 2016

me

I just . . . can’t, plus cool stuff

I’ve run across things that are just no. No no no. And yet funny. And just interesting.

So first, VI Poo. The catchphrase is: “Even VIPs need to poo.” And also, “it traps the evil smell of your devil’s donuts.” I watched a commercial. And then rewound because–how could I not? And now I’m sharing with you because I’m evil like that.

Then I keep getting spam emails for “Derwin.” It makes me feel like Darren Stephens on Betwitched whenever Pandora botches his name.

Our first tank of gas in our new-t0-us Prius got us 430 miles on just 10 gallons of gas. I’m just besmoggled by that.

And I should tell you that there’s a neat giveaway happening! You can win over 50 paranormal romance novels, including The Incubus Job, and a Kindle Fire to read them on. Just go here or click the graphic below. You only have a little over three days to enter, so what are you waiting for?

paranormalromance-francis-oct2016

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

Oct. 18th, 2016

me

Cool stuff

Here Be Dragons talks about lesser known authors who she loves. I’m one! And I have to say I agree on the other authors. Check it out.

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

Oct. 17th, 2016

me

Brat, Beer, and Cheese soup

I mentioned I made this soup and folks have asked for the recipe, so here it is:

(This makes a lot of soup. It does freeze pretty well).

Brat, Beer and Cheese Soup

I’ll give the original recipe followed by my modifications. This originally came out of Penzey’s catalog I think.

3 bratwurst sausages, cooked and sliced
3 TB olive oil
1 cup onion, minced
1 cup celery, minced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/4 flour
1 lb potatoes peeled and diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 12 oz can of beer
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Modifications:

I like hickory smoked kielbasa and other meats, so put in whatever you like. I like them diced up smaller than slices so you get some meat and other things on your spoon at the same time. Also, the family likes more meat than less, so I double or more the meat.

I use Avocado oil because you can heat it higher without burning

All the measurements for the vegetables and the potatoes are off. At least if you want a thick soup, which I do. I used a big onion, usually 10-12 stalks of celery, 10-15 carrots, depending on size, and usually 10-15 or so large russet potatoes.

I don’t mince. I chop the celery and onion, but I don’t mince.

The recipe calls for garlic granules. I use fresh cloves. Usually two or three minced.

I use a bottle of beer which is sometimes more than 12 oz but I don’t care. I’m already adding tons more to the soup so it’s okay.

I use 1/2 and 1/2 and I use a full little carton–2 cups I think.

The sharper the cheese the better, but I’ve sometimes added parmesan cheese also, and it gives a lovely flavor

 

Cooking it:

Keep in mind that the meat is added LAST. This is important.

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat (use a big pot. Really. Big).

Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook for about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring every so often to keep from sticking

Stir in flour. Cook about a minute

Add potatoes, stock and beer. Bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Add spices (I don’t wait until things are tender as the recipe says. I add them as soon as I add the potatoes, stock and beer and just stir them in).

Remove from heat.

Combine 1/2 and 1/2 in a bowl with Worcestershire sauce. Pour slowly into the soup while stirring.

Add the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.

Remove 2 cups of vegetables and some liquid and put it in a blender or a food processor, or do like me and use a submersion blender. (I remove more like five cups or more, but I like the creaminess along with the chunkiness of this soup). If you add meat before this step, you puree the meat, and you don’t really want to, though I’ve been known to add the meat early on accident and the soup is perfectly yummy.

Stir the puree back into the soup.

Return to low heat and add the meat. Cook until the meat is warm, around 5 minutes.

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

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Oct. 16th, 2016

me

Soup and caffeine

I made it through today without caffeine. Well, I had a chai, but I mean the diet soda caffeine. I wasn’t groggy today, so that was both surprising and really nice. Not that I got a ton of things accomplished, mind you, but I was awake for my laziness.

We made soup tonight. It’s got potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, beer, cheddar cheese, half and half, sour cream, chicken broth, hickory smoked sausage, with some spices. Some of it gets blended up to make it creamy. It’s the family’s favorite soup. I’ve been meaning to make it awhile, and finally did. Perfect for cold rainy days. Even though it really isn’t that cold.

The dogs were entirely beggy for the entire process, for which they were richly rewarded with some dropped carrots, I think. Which they liked. Because they are corgis and corgis like to eat.

I’m craving pancakes and sausage and bacon and eggs. I’m going to have to make some this week.

 

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

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Oct. 14th, 2016

me

The update of the week

It’s raining. Pouring and windy. We’re already almost three inches above normal for the season and the season started October 1. The river looks swollen and it’s beautiful. Muscular and lovely. I did get the last of the peppers out of the garden. Plus I also got the potatoes out. Making a vat of potato beer soup tomorrow. It’s a family favorite and the fam has been bugging me to make it. Given that it’s sort of a family project to make it, so we’ll have a good time and it will be delicious and it will be perfect for the weather. Today was oddly sunny giving the big storms that are moving through the state.

We also bought a car. It’s a used Prius and it’s got higher mileage than it should for its year, but we got a pretty good deal for it and it runs well. We will hopefully save a lot of money in gas. Plus it means we have a second reliable car, which we needed. Getting used to driving a hybrid will be a little bit entertaining. Plus figuring out some of the tech, and it’s not all that high tech, but higher than we’re used to. It’s a pretty blue, too, and since beggars can’t be choosers, I figured we’d take what we could get.

Writing-wise, I’ve been making good progress on Diamond City Magic #4. It’s definitely going to be longer than the other books. The difficulty is that it’s complicated and weaving it all together is taking me some time. But if it comes together the way I’m hoping, then it may be the best one so far. One day I’ll have to give it a title. Hmmm.

I just have to mention that I watched this mystery movie on the Hallmark Channel that I taped a week ago and they are showing tons of Christmas commercials. This is unsettling at best. Plus it makes me panic because I’m already late on everything for Christmas. Don’t ask. It’s a mental thing.

I gave up diet soda a long time ago and then a few months ago went back to drinking it. As of today, I stopped again. I don’t have a good caffeine substitute. I drink tea, so hopefully that will do, but I’ve got a feeling that I’ll be feeling sort of hungover for a few days. Or a week.

I’ve also screwed up my knitting and I have to figure out how to fix it. Gah.

I kind of want to drive over to the coast and see the storm, but I also want to stay wrapped up here with a book. Anybody got big plans for the weekend? Oh, forgot to mention that last weekend we went out to the river and found a bunch of rocks. Mostly red, green, and yellow jasper, some petrified wood, and a couple pieces of carnelian. Looking forward to seeing them polished up.

 

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

Oct. 6th, 2016

me

Sirens Anthology Release Day

This is a really cool anthology that I wanted to share with you. I asked Cynthia, one of the contributors and one of the people who came up with the idea of the anthology, to come and talk to you about Sirens, her story, and the anthology in general. So without further ado, please welcome Cynthia:

My name is Cynthia Porter.  I’m here today to tell you that writing a blog post about Queens & Courtesans: A Sirens Benefit Anthology, is only slightly easier than writing my short story, Affairs of State, that is included in its pages.

Sirens is a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature.  The conference describes itselfqueens as “part scholarly conference, part enthusiastic convention, part networking weekend, and part personal retreat.”  Attendees include readers, authors, librarians, booksellers, educators, scholars, and publishing professionals.  Queens & Courtesans is a labor of love created to benefit the conference where we all met.

This is the first time I have ever written a story to a writing prompt.  When we created the idea of the anthology, the request was for stories with a Queen and a Courtesan.  None of my current projects had characters like these.  I had to almost start from scratch.  The almost part was because the world I chose to set the story in was one I’d created years ago.  I shifted south of where my other stories have taken place and found myself in a royal court.

I knew I wanted my queen to be a mature woman, not a teen/young woman who has no idea of the trials ahead of her.  I wanted my characters to know who they were, to be confident in their abilities and their lives.

I think I wrote three drafts before my queen character finally got her name.  This is very unusual for me.  My stories are character driven.  Typically I know nothing about a story until I have a name.  That name brings the character’s personality, their back story, their hopes and dreams, and the plot!  With a normal story I’m stuck without a name.  Except for this queen.  She was more than happy to share her story, she just didn’t see the need to share her name with me.  It drove me crazy.  I would talk to her while staring at the story on my computer screen.  “Name, name, name– you need a name!”  She’s one of the rare ones who knew who she was without a name.  I had to work to find a name that fit her temperament.  Not my most difficult character ever, but absolutely one of the most quietly stubborn.  She was the Queen.  What more did anyone need to know?  Her name, as it turns out, is Arcalys.  True to form, it took about four drafts of this post to realize she’d done it to me again!

Lenzienne, or Lenzi, my courtesan, knew exactly what her name was from the very beginning.  She walked into a room, completely furious, and snarled her opening lines.  Her name flowed onto the page and the story followed.

The really difficult characters in Affairs of State were the secondary characters.  Three of them hung on to significant roles in the story.  A couple more exist as, well, names and nothing more.  The others all got cut from various drafts of the story.  Why?  Because they thought they were populating a novel.  I prefer the longer forms of storytelling because invariable my characters bring big ideas, themes, plots trailing behind them—none of which fit into a short story.  Borders, Barriers, Refugees, Magic, all this exploded into larger and larger arcs.  I shoved most of them aside, telling them “later”.  My editor, Jessica, jumped on several more.  She helped me focus what was more of a prologue for a novel down into a short story.

While my queen and my courtesan are happy with their “little” story, I’ve acknowledged that their novel needs exploration.  Once Queens & Courtesans is well and truly launched into the world, I’ll be letting all those characters, all that world-building, all those themes and plots to swirl out from the door where they’ve been lurking.

To get your copy of Queens and Courtesans in print or ebook, click here for Amazon, or  here for BN.

 

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

Oct. 3rd, 2016

me

Throws Up Its Leaves

My Father In Law has been visiting, which makes getting work done a little bit tricky, but I’ve managed some. I’m hopefully all finished with a short story that I owed. I’ve made some progress on DCM4. It’s coming along.

I decided I want to make socks again. I need to work on learning some techniques. Youtube here I come. I just hope that my wrist cooperates.

I’m reading a good book by R.J. Blaine. It’s an ARC, so you can’t get it yet, but when Water Viper comes out, you’re going to want to read it if the first bit is anything to go by.

I’m being snuggled by corgis. This is good.

Watched the Saturday Night Live parody debate. It was so funny. Love it. Alec Baldwin did a fabulous Trump and Kate McKinnon killed me with her Hillary.

 

 

 

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

Sep. 29th, 2016

me

Wind blows, fire burns

Finished revisions on a short story set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world. I’m pretty happy with it. At least until I find out if Faith likes it. Been doing more writing on Diamond City Magic 4. You know, it really needs a title. I should think of one of those. It progresses, but it will be much much much longer than the previous books. I’m also working on plotting a Horngate story for an upcoming anthology. It will star Giselle and Shoftiel.

Here’s an anthology I wish I’d written story for. I couldn’t come up with a good idea to submit. I’d still like to write a story though. I really like the idea.

I’m trying to come up with a good knitting project. I think I want to do socks, though I’d like to do another shawl. I also want to get some purple into my hair. I got my Orycon schedule today. It looks fun. I’ll also be doing the big Powell’s author signing that weekend.

Bought my husband a Keurig coffee maker, but he wanted one that could be programmed to brew into his travel cup. We don’t think we can with this one. It also may not take fill-your-own pods, even though one came with it. We’re still trying to figure it out.

 

 

 

 

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

Sep. 24th, 2016

me

Doing Stuff

I like to go to estate sales. They sell all sorts of things that either I want and didn’t know it, wanted and didn’t want to pay full price, or stuff that’s interesting but I don’t want. My favorite thing is to find really old stuff that I have no idea what it’s used for. I usually take pictures and then go find out, or sometimes people at the sale know (usually customers). I’m just tickled when I find that stuff.

This weekend I ended up going to three different sales. Two were normal–fairly recent ranch houses with your usual kinds of stuff. I got cheap knitting books (six of them!), some cds, a really cool iron rose trellis (I’ve so wanted one of those but didn’t want to pay the retail price for them), and a kitchen spoon. I seem to melt those or toss those out with alarming frequency. Anyhow, they just disappear.

At another sale, I coveted a metal plant stand. It had six round pot holders and they all folded up under each other. You could position it in a circle or a line or a zig-zag. But it was more than I want to spend. But I did get a black marble rolling pin. I waffled on it, then decided it could work well for me. It’s freaking heavy. I got home, washed it, and then used it to roll out some bread dough before rolling it back up and putting it in the pans to rise (sourdough buttermilk bread!). It worked like a dream. So much easier for my daughter, too. She wanted to help. This will be really nice for making cutout cookies, too. And a couple weeks ago we got a gingerbread house form so it will probably help us make that.

The other sale was in a really old house. It was in not so great shape, but the woman who owned it had been a spinner and a sewer. There were at least 5 spinning wheels. So cool. And at least as many sewing machines, some antique. The owners hadn’t thrown anything away for a long time. I went because of rumors of a yarn stash, but it was mostly gone before I got there. But! I mentioned they had the wheels to a friend. She told me her sister wanted to try spinning. I took pictures of all the wheels and emailed them to her. Her sister ended up buying one.

I think spinning is so very cool. They even had this handcranked carder machine. I didn’t even know those existed.

We also took stuff over to donate. This is stuff that’s been in the garage waiting for us to want to use it. Since I didn’t anticipate it happening any time soon, I decided it would do better helping other people.

One house I went to this summer had really cool lights. They’d made them out of salvaged materials and were so cool. Wish I’d taken pictures. I sometimes find really cool rocks at sales. It’s one of the main reasons I go. I’ve found some really cool desert rose, giant pieces of obsidian, a lot of petrified wood, and

Now I’m doing some writing.

And for you–a snippet from the next Diamond City Magic novel! I hope you like.

     “These shoes are Louboutins,” she seethed, gracefully hopping over a slushy puddle.
“How does an FBI agent afford those?” Patti asked.
“I’m frugal.”
“You’re on the take,” I corrected.
She shrugged. “And I’m frugal.”
“I thought that word meant cutting coupons, eating peanut butter and ramen every night, buying generic, using one-ply toilet paper, and shopping at dollar stores,” Patti said. “I can’t picture you doing any of those.”
“Your lack of imagination doesn’t interest me,” Arnow said loftily. “How much longer must this idiotic adventure go on?” she asked me.

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

Sep. 17th, 2016

me

I hate titles I never know what to write

Yep, that’s my title for today’s post. I’ve been doing lots of stuff and yet I can’t seem to recall much of it all. Writing–check. Cleaning–check. Gardening–yep. Baking bread–yum. Errands like shopping and such–done. Dog walking–check. Feeding the family–done. Playing Pokemon Go. Yes to that, too. There’s a slew of other stuff, too.

I’ve been getting some reading in. Started reading The Poisoner’s Handbook, which is about the genesis of toxicology in forensics. I haven’t got very far in, but am enjoying it quite a bit.

I need to do some planting. Oh, and I’m going to can some enchilada sauce and hopefully some roasted peppers. And jelly some fruit and peppers up. I also need to winterize the garden and dig potatoes.

Boy, I wanted to have something more useful or interesting to say, but I seem to be running out of words for now.

I just heard there was a bombing in New York. Pressure cooker bomb. God, why can’t this stop?

 

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

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Sep. 7th, 2016

me

Link roundup

I am over the moon to say that Eloisa James likes my books! In an interview, she says so. I’m so very excited!!!!

In other news, Path of Fate is on sale this month on Amazon for $1.99. If you haven’t read it yet, now’s the time!

Theodora Goss has posted a lovely poem about being a witch. I adore it.

Ilona Andrews made a post about Russian history and dress with a link to some stunning pictures. Visit her post first because the explanation is really cool, then go look at the pics.

BookPushers posted a very nice review of The Incubus Job.

This has been my go-to fast chocolate cake recipe for birthday cakes. It’s incredibly chocolatey and moist and delicious and not a lot of work.

I’ve just read through all of Lexi George’s Demon Hunting in the Deep South series. It’s over-the-top romance in some ways, but doesn’t take itself all that seriously in that regard. Really funny stuff, though. And all the side characters are just too much fun. They are total candy/popcorn reads, and totally worth it.

 

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

Sep. 3rd, 2016

me

Other Interesting ‘Found’ Research

Today I found out that they use liquid nitrogen at my husband’s worksite. He’s a machinist and they use the liquid nitrogen to shrink the metal enough to slide it inside a hole and when it heats back up, it expands and is a press fit. I had no idea that it could be available at places like this. I don’t know what I might use that bit of information for in books, but I like it.

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

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Sep. 2nd, 2016

me

Poisons

For no particular reason, I started looking at poisons today. I figure it’s something I’ll stash in the back of my head for future writing use.

The one I discovered today is Thallium Nitrate, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s a heavy metal. It cause hair to fall out, vomiting, organ failure, and general system failure, plus causes a burning/prickling sensation in the limbs. It will kill you in a high dose, but in low doses, it’s a slow road to death. There’s no antidote for it, and if caught soon enough, you can survive. It can be found by blood, urine, and hair. It leaves the blood pretty quickly, though, so if the blood test is all there is, then it might not get discovered.

I thought it could be a pretty good poison for a poisoner. Especially if it can be put into food. Be good for someone who wanted to cause a slow, diminishing death.

The stuff was used in the 50s in rat poison.

I’ll probably talk about more poisons in general. I find them interesting. I’m working on some murder/suspense stuff that could benefit from this sort of info.

In the meantime, I’ve a bunch of roses to plant and the weather is fine and the puppy boys are happy. Been reading Lexi George’s Demon Hunters books and they are frequently very fun. Just like candy, and funny urban fantasy romance.

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

Aug. 26th, 2016

me

Where does the time go?

How cliche is that question? It’s summertime and therefore the kids are home, the folks are up here (they are snowbirds), friends have visited, events have needed attending, and then all the kid fun stuff that has to be done, along with errands and appointments and it’s been a whirlwind it seems. I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of August.

I’ve been trying to get in some reading this summer, with some success. Just been reading Lexi George’s Demon Hunting in the South series and it’s quite fun. Enjoying them. In other news, my left wrist has not healed up particularly well from my fall. Am wearing a brace on it 24/7, but it still will pop painfully even so. I fear that I will need to get further doc evaluation and possibly treatment. Makes typing a little bit of an adventure.

I’ve been playing Pokemon Go. It’s horribly addictive and I started it to help make the kids want to walk with me and then I got hooked. I’m now just 30K xp away from level 25. In other news, the dogs caught kennel cough somehow and so I couldn’t take them out walking for about 2 or 3 weeks. Basically, I didn’t want to risk spreading it to other dogs and it can remain contagious for awhile after symptoms disappear. I figured I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Also been doing estate planning. Not planning on dropping off the planet anytime soon, but we’ve been neglectful about having any sort of will that takes care of the kids. So that’s the impetus on getting this done. It’s way overdue.

We went to an iris festival earlier this summer and ordered some gorgeous irises. Received them a couple weeks ago and got them planted. Hopefully not too deep, and hopefully they bloom next year. I don’t even remember all the colors but at least one was a velvety purple/black.

The kids start back to school in a couple of weeks. As much as I’ll miss them, I’m looking forward to getting more things done. We didn’t get much rock hunting done this summer since I fell and hurt the wrists, and then the boy had a minor toe surgery that made him really gimpy. Shoes were uncomfortable for him on the one foot. He was wearing one regular shoe and one birkenstock (don’t ask).

The summer here has mostly been lovely and cool. Only a few days in the 100s and 90s. Been getting out with the man and doing some walking in the park along the river. Just beautiful.

I’ve made some wonderful blackberry pies of late. Yum. A friend brought us these amazing plums. They are red and the insides are so dark red it’s almost black. And delicious. Wow. And the peaches! I’m summer fruit heaven.

I’m sure there’s more updatery to do, but probably next time.

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

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