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Oct. 1st, 2015


Today I mourn

I am weeping. Ugly crying. A mass shooting occurred at a community college south of here. A good friend teaches there. He is okay. Others are not. One paper reports a student eye-witness saying she saw her writing teacher get shot in the head.

Too, too close to home. A friend. A job I used to do. Students who are children and brothers and sisters. So much tragedy, so much hurt. I have no words for how awful this is.

I have just learned that my friend’s best friend was the first shot. My heart is broken.

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

Sep. 29th, 2015


All the Ways I Love This Book: Silver on the Road

First, a qualifier. I know Laura Anne Gilman and I got an advance reader copy of the book from her because I whined and moaned. I’d heard her read from it at an SFWA reading and I so wanted to have a chance at it as soon as possible. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I already want to read it again.

What’s the book? Titled Silver on the Road, it’s the first in The Devil’s West series. silver on the roadHere’s description of it:

A heroic fantasy by an award-winning author about a young woman who is trained in the art of the sinister hand of magic, but at what price?

Isobel, upon her sixteenth birthday, makes the choice to work for the devil in his territory west of the Mississippi. But this is not the devil you know. This is a being who deals fairly with immense—but not unlimited—power, who offers opportunities to people who want to make a deal, and they always get what they deserve. But his land is a wild west that needs a human touch, and that’s where Izzy comes in. Inadvertently trained by him to see the clues in and manipulations of human desire, Izzy is raised to be his left hand and travel circuit through the territory. As we all know, where there is magic there is chaos…and death.


Now first, don’t go making the mistake that this is YA because Isobel is 16. It isn’t. It’s a coming of age story, a story of becoming (and not just for Isobel) and a story of change and exploration.

Set in The Territory, where magic is normal and the world is very dangerous, Isobel travels with her mentor, Gabriel, to learn about the territory and The Road. On their journey, they uncover something dangerous and evil and must attempt to deal with it, for Isobel is the Devil’s Left Hand, and while she doesn’t know what that means at first, she has to learn.

There’s so much I love about this book. The characters have such depth. The writing is deft and rich and I could smell and practically touch everything inside. It’s well researched, which you only notice because you can immerse so deep into the world and the story. The deftness of the story-telling left me a little breathless with envy. Especially conversations.

There’s not a lot of religion in the book, though the devil is there, as are some monks from Spain. It’s more about the west and the Territory’s own peculiar rules and habits. It turns history on its head and makes it both utterly familiar and entirely new.

I’ve read Laura Anne’s other books. I like them. A lot. But this is a whole new level of writing for her and it’s truly stunning. If I sound like I’m gushing, it’s because it’s one of those books that you want to pass around to everybody you know to read and you want to put it up for awards because it’s just that good. So do yourself a favor and get a copy. Read it. Savor it. I did. I will again. It releases on October 6th. So go get yourself signed up. I promise you won’t regret it.


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

Sep. 25th, 2015


Title Announcement

The new title for the third Diamond City Book is . . . Are you ready?

Whisper of Shadows

The release will happen sometime in January, maybe February. More on that when things get definite.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a side project. I’ve been working on it for a long time in my “spare time.” I totally love it. I’m going to be self-publishing it. It’s called The Ghost Job and here’s a little bit (rough–not been revised yet) of the beginning:


I got the fish-eye stare from the concierge when I walked past him into the lobby. I passed through the security net, feeling it ripple across my skin like seeking fingers. My lips tightened smugly. I could go out and come back again and totally change my aural signature. It might remember this version of me forever—and it probably would—but it wouldn’t do it a damned bit of good if it never saw this me again.

Effrayant was a mashup of the Bellagio and the Bates Motel, with a little dash of old school English castle for flair. The outside was brick and tile with a few thousand windows and a mansard roof that went up six or eight stories on top. The rooms up there were probably long-term residences. The central tower was a good forty stories high, with the four wings sprouting like spokes from its shoulders. Their rooftops boasted pools, clubs, restaurants, and helipads.

I wasn’t there for the entertainment; I was on a job.

Inside was dark wood, modern furniture, soft lights, and museum quality art. Muted opera music wandered through the cavernous lobby. The staff all wore Italian wool uniforms in gray, burgundy, and navy, while customers dressed in designer glitz and blue-collar chic.

I couldn’t blame the bellman for looking at me sideways. Wearing Levi’s, a longsleeved cotton shirt from the Goodwill, a pair of knee-high leather boots that had seen better days, and a blue ball-cap, I definitely didn’t look glitzy or chic.

Add in the fact that my luggage was nothing more than a ratty backpack, I was a little surprised that the security guards inside didn’t stop me. With force. Given how obcenely expensive it was to stay at the exclusive and highly discriminating Effrayant, I figured these guys should have been all over me. Sure, the ghosts make people want to turn and head the other way and let me be someone else’s problem. Security guards ought to be better trained. They shouldn’t let the heebie-jeebies get the better of them. I get that it’s not every day that you get the ghost push-off from someone made of flesh and blood, but Effrayant liked to brag their security was the best of the best.

I walked in and all six of thick-necked best of the best got busy picking lint off their coats, making me the check-in clerk’s problem.

Poor thing. I could tell she wanted to be anywhere else. That’s Tabitha’s fault. She can put the fear of Jesus into just about anyone without hardly trying.

Tonight she was trying.

She didn’t want to come into Effrayant. She thought it was too dangerous. She was right, but that didn’t change the job. I wanted to tell her to suck it up and settle down, but she was only a thirteen year old girl and dead or not, her hormones were raging. She wasn’t going to listen to me, of all people. Plus she still had a lot of PTSD issues from how she got killed. Or so I assumed. I had no idea how it had actually gone down. I only knew she was pissed as hell and she had nightmares that occasionally leaked into my dreams. If any of what happened in those nightmares had actually happened to her, she had a right to her attitude. Hell, she had a right to have gone right over the edge into insanity-land. I didn’t think she had, but it’s not like she talked to me. Another issue she had going on was that she didn’t trust anybody and when she got scared, she killed first and asked questions later.

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

Sep. 21st, 2015


The Dreams are Weird

I only remember dreams sometimes, and most of the time they are strange and I don’t really interpret them to mean much of anything, unless I can get a story out of them. Last night I had an odd dream about one of our dogs getting taken. Right out of our car. The thing is, this dog has been dead for about seven years now. She was a full blood malamute and it’s unlikely that anybody in actuality could have taken her in real life. She wasn’t so trusting of strangers and she was big. Right now we have two little dogs that would probably go with Freddy Krueger if he came by. The dream was quite upsetting because we didn’t get her back. Course I woke up before the dream ended. It was a constant disappointing search. What I can’t quite figure out is why my lizard brain decided to freak me out about a dog who’s been dead for years. I mean, huh?

I am also catching a cold. My daughter has had it for a week or so and I’m downing vitamin C and Zicam in an effort to avoid it, plus drinking lots of tea. Sleeping soundly would be a good thing. Sadly last night was not such a night.

I need to start tinkering with chai recipes again and see if I can make one I really like. Oh, yesterday we picked and smoked a bunch of red jalapenos, which turns them into chipotle peppers. I ground some today. They are delish. Plan to grind it all in the mortar and pestle. Next year will consider canning some. I also picked a lot of other peppers. Need to fire roast them and freeze them.


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


Sep. 18th, 2015


Friday of the week

Another week of school down. That’s two weeks. And it’s wonderful. I think I’m getting closer to a title on book 3. I’m excited! More when it’s finalized. I’ve also started planning out book 4. Hoping I can write it much more quickly than this last book. I’d like to get back into my groove and not be doing so much medical junk. Wouldn’t that be fab?

I spent a lot of time at the end of this book cutting stuff. I found that I’d inserted some funny stuff that just didn’t fit. Sadly I did the cutting without keeping anything really amusing to share. How’s that for an obnoxious tease? Sometimes I get asked how do you know what to cut. I look for redundancies–as in, beating the dead horse. Saying the same thing over and over. Repeating myself. See what I did there? Uh huh. I’m in one of those moods.

I look for things that simply don’t fit the scene. They don’t forward the plot, add to character, raise tension, and so on. Sometimes there are little bits that actually do one of those things, but actively undercut one of the others, and I’ll cut it for that reason. Like a little snarky aside that loses tension or pacing at a moment when I need to sustain or build it.

I look for wordiness. Places where I’ve used three words where I might use one, or more likely, ten words where I can get away with one. I want to speed the reading process. In that same sweep, I’m looking for repeated language and echoes–I want to get rid of as many of those as I can. I also happen to like using There is or There was constructions. Like: There was a bookshelf near the fireplace. Instead of something like: A bookcase loomed near the fireplace. It’s both more active, and less wordy, and more to the point, which makes for a better book.

I look for things that are out of place. Stuff I tossed in that doesn’t fit. It seems to, but then the more I look at it, it doesn’t. Or there’s backstory that doesn’t need to be there.

I comb through pretty carefully and it’s a balance between keeping the flavor that I want while revving up the story and making a good reading experience.

And now, I’m thinking about a demon divorce story. I’m going to go poke at it.

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

Sep. 16th, 2015


Book 3 of DCM

I need a title. I’m scrounging in the couch cushions and finding nothing. Here’s the thing. It’s got to be set up like this:

Noun of noun, where the first noun is a measurement of some kind, no matter how you might interpret that (trace, edge are not traditional measurements by any means).

Word I like is Skim. A skim of something. That may not go anywhere.

Anyhow, I could use help if anyone wants to take a crack at it. The themes in this book are betrayal, family, loss, courage, discovery.

I shall now go think and hope you come up with something good. There may be prizes.

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

Sep. 11th, 2015


The week that was

It’s been quite a week as the kids go back to school and I can finally dig into writing again. It’s crazy how soothing it is to be alone in the house. I never knew until I didn’t have it how much I needed not just time alone, but also alone without the risk of intrusion or needing to keep the antennae up just in case. It is, in a word, lovely.

Both kids seem to be enjoying school, For this I am grateful. Both started new schools, which was anxiety-provoking for both, and yet both seem to be embracing it. Except for getting up early. They are none too enthused about that. I’m not either, but on the other hand, the sunrise with Mount Hood in the distance has been terrific. The dogs have been positively joyful that I’m back into my routine, though they find that I’m not spending near enough of my time on the couch petting them, or on the floor petting them, or anywhere petting them. They are, however, delighted by the extended driving to and from school. Me too, in that I have this collection of paranormal stories on cd that I’ve never listened to before, and I’ve begun to do that. I find that part quite wonderful. Though it’s a drag to have to turn off the story partway through when I get home.

It’s getting to be that time of the year where I eye all the stuff I meant to get done this summer and realize I’ve barely touched any of it. Hopefully as it cools, I can actually dig in and get a few things done. Such would be nice. Plus I noticed there are a ton of weeds in the yard and I suppose I should attack them as well.

I’ve been trying to get out walking. Unfortunately I did something weird to my wrist just before coming home from Sasquan. Weird because I have no freaking clue what happened. One minute it didn’t hurt, the next it did. Luckily when I type on my Kinesis keyboard, I don’t have pain, otherwise I’d be a lot more worried. The pain is in the outside of my right wrist, and hurts most when I twist it at all (say to open a door or a jar or stir a pot) or when I lift anything at all. I’ve been wearing a brace to immobilize it, since I figure that’s what a doctor would say, and rubbing some Badger Joint Rub into it, which does help. Still, it’s not back to normal yet. Improving some, but not normal. Anyhow, this means I’ve avoided riding the bike in the case I make it worse, but I think I’m going to say screw it and get out on Sunday with the fam. If they let me, which they might not.

A friend of mine turned me on to this paper, which is something I’ve been looking for for a long time. It allows you to take notes on the right, and then go back on the left and add things. A really nice tool for plotting. I’d found it many many many moons ago and at that point I thought it was something that lawyers used, but I’d not been able to find it again. Now Levengers has it. So I ordered some and as soon as I’m done with the current thing on my desk, I’ll start using it to plot some things.

I got a Fitbit Charge Hr a little bit ago. I wanted to use a fitbit, and I wanted a strap that buckled on and came in extra large. It also comes in purple! It’s like it was meant to be. Anyhow, I do like it and I like that it tells me how I sleep. Which is crappy this week because I’d rather stay up late and get up late, but since I have to get up early, I’ve been going to sleep early, and sleep has not really been something I’m doing a lot of until later because my entire being rejects going to bed at 10. Or even earlier. I shall overcome. Possibly. Or not.

This weekend I am going to see if I can smoke some peppers in the smoker, and maybe do some flame roasting of others and see about either canning or freezing them. Also we’re going to try to make some ice cream.


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

Sep. 6th, 2015


Skins thick and thin

I got snubbed at Sasquan by someone who I’ve interacted with online and I thought was a very nice person. The circumstances were thus: We were in the greenroom getting some food one a.m. and I thought I’d introduce myself and say hello. He waved me out of his way and continued about his business without saying a word.

Now here’s the thing. He could have been in a hurry. He could be a terrible morning person. He could be shy and I could just have been one more person at the wrong time. I get that. It still hurts my feelings. Yes, I’ll get over it. He’ll never remember me in that situation and one day we may meet again and it may be perfectly nice. The more petulant side of me keeps thinking that it wouldn’t have taken anything to give me a little smile and a hello and then keep going. Or a sorry, but I’m in a hurry.

Anyhow, I don’t really know why I’m posting about this except it still bothers me and if I just get it off my chest, maybe I’ll be done with it and get over myself.

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

Sep. 3rd, 2015


Sometimes you kick yourself

I have this book that’s been poking at me for a long time. It’s not anything to do with anything else. I read a bit of it at Miscon a couple years back and folks there have been asking for more. Haven’t had time to work on it and I’m not sure when I will. But that’s not the only reason I haven’t touched it. The fact is that I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know what’s happening with some of the things. I wrote three chapters and stopped, and the second chapter doesn’t fit.

I realized, just now, a few seconds before starting that post, that I don’t actually HAVE to know where it’s going to write it. I mean, I could try just exploring and seeing. These days, that’s not a waste, because I can always self-pub if no one wants it. The thing is, I like these characters and this story. A lot. It’s definitely romantic, and more of a lighter, dreamier urban fantasy. I wanted to get at the sense of wonder of magic in the real world, rather than the grittiness and danger.

But it does have spiders. Lots and lots of spiders.

So I’ve decided that in the little spaces between projects and such, I’m going to write on it. I’m going to explore and have fun and see where it takes me. And enjoy the ride.

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

Aug. 27th, 2015


Diamond City Magic Book 3 snippet

This is the opening. It has spoilers. Don’t read it if you haven’t read book two, or do, if you don’t care about spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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


Diamond City Magic Book 3 snippet

This is the opening. It has spoilers. Don’t read it if you haven’t read book two, or do, if you don’t care about spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

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

Aug. 26th, 2015


Sasquan recap

I’m digging in to my recap, but I have no idea how far I’ll get. So here I go.

We left on Weds. Devon Monk and I and our friend Dejsha went to the Amtrak station to catch a bus to Portland. All was good. It was about 98 outside, but the bus trip was only an hour or so and then we’d be on the train to Spokane. But then the AC on the bus wasn’t working. So we sat in a sauna. A bathroom smelling sauna. It was a relief to get off. Actually it felt cool. So that was an amusing to the journey.

We loaded up on the train pretty quick and got underway. The seats had lots of room. We didn’t board til about 4 in the evening, and we were getting in about 12:15 a.m. It was a fun ride. When we arrived, the fabulous Char and Randy MacKay came and picked us up and hauled us to the hotel.

Okay, the hotel. It was new. Like only open a month. Everything was WHITE and futuristic looking. Dejsha named the regal elevator voice Duchess. Which she was. We reach our room, and it’s lovely. The shower is an entire room by itself. It’s full of mirrors (eek!) and the beds are super comfy. There was also a red wingback recliner type chair with a footstool. It was a Dr. Evil chair.

We got to sleep about 1:30 a.m. then jumped out of bed around 8. We got down to breakfast around 9. By this time I’d realized I’d forgotten my fitbit charge cable, and the heroic Tracy Erickson lent me one, bringing it to breakfast, where we discovered we both like the same chai, prepared the same way, but I like mine extra hot. Anyhow, thanks to him, I was able to charge my fitbit. Whoohoo! After breakfast, we went to get registered, and then wandered a little bit before I had my signing.

My signing was lovely. People came! I signed books and lots of other stuff, and even though my books weren’t in the book room at all (I think my name was left off the list that went to the dealers), I still had stuff to sign. I met up with Minerva Zimmerman and we wandered the dealer room. I admired much, but did not buy. That came later.

I also met up with Chrysoula Tsavaelas and Rachel who’s last name is simply vanishing from my brain. At this point, I’m failing to recall the rest for that night. In fact, I’m terrible with many things. Skipping ahead . . .

I know I ate lunch and dinner, and I know I saw many friends. I hung out in the bar for a bit in possibly the most uncomfortable chairs ever, and then sacked out.

Friday was my super long day. I had my reading, the writer’s workshop, and a writers round robin. I had great attendance on the reading. I read from Grasping Rainbows, the story I wrote for the Weird Wild West anthology. It was quite well received, which made me very happy. I love this story. The workshop was fun and though one participant wasn’t there, we managed to cover a lot of ground and I hope we were helpful to the writers. We were David Levine and Madeline Robins. Our moderator, Jim Doherty, was absolutely awesome. The only terrible thing was that smoke from the wild fires moved in about halfway through. A huge gust of wind blew open the glass doors of the room and a choking cloud of smoke moved in.

The smoke was seriously bad that day. I can’t begin to tell you. It filled the convention center halls and ballrooms with a thick haze. I’m lucky in that I don’t have asthma or allergies, but some were really struggling. The round robin was a lot of fun and though I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, it really was a fun and hopefully useful event.

Went to the Book View Cafe party that night. It was the only party I attended. I’m not a big fan of crushes and the parties tend to be so crowded. Oh, had dinner with Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Devon, and Dejsha. The food was awesome. At the party, I got to meet a lot of people in person I hadn’t met before, including Nancy Jane Moore, Chaz Brenchley, and Cynthia Felice. Plus I got to hang out with other friends, like Laura Anne Gilman, and admire the cover of her upcoming book, Silver on the Road.

I came back to the room and crashed. No, that’s not true, we hung out and talked and giggled and then crashed.

Saturday was the noir panel with John Pitts, Katherine Addison (aka Sarah Monette) and Richard Kadry. It went really well. After I spent a couple hours with Leah Cutter learning InDesign. Well, starting to learn it, anyhow. Also got to spend some time with her new husband, Blaze Ward, who is funny and charming.

I didn’t plan to do the Hugos, but ended up watching it on livestream. I was surprised about a couple of things, but thought the show was fun and campy. Sunday, I was on a future sex panel with Brenda Carre, Rob Carlos, S. A. Bolich, and Kaja and Phil Foglio, with Char MacKay moderating. I can’t tell you want we talked about. What happens at Spocon stays in Spocon. But I will offer this: Tantric Telepathic Tribble Dishwasher sex.

Later that night, our train was delayed and we didn’t get out until 4 a.m. And home Weds.

Okay, some highlights. Getting to have lunch with John Pitts and his wife Kathy and daughter Emily. Huge fun. I fangirled all over P.C. Hodgell. She is awesome, and I was a dork. I met Elizabeth Bear, who is lovely and fun. I was happy to get a chance to see so many friends: Carol Berg, Juliana Hinckley, Justin Barba and his father who is awesomely talented, Laurey Patten (so not enough time and I missed your jewelry), Jean Carlos (more time next time), Debbie Lentz, The Miscon Crew, Clay Cooper, meeting Brenda Clough, Kate Elliot, Michelle Sagara, and Aliette Bodard in person. I also grabbed a few minutes with Patty and Mike Briggs. I managed to catch up with some other people, but I’m doing a lot of name dropping. Mostly the key is that I managed to have a fabulous time because I got to see my tribe. And a special shout out to Theresa and Jordan. It was so fabulous to see you.

Another highlight–getting to meet some dedicated fans. You are awesome. You made my weekend.



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

Aug. 19th, 2015


Heading off to Sasquan

Yep, I’m off to Worldcon in a couple of hours. This is my schedule, should you want to find me. Please do! I’m looking forward to it, though I’ve been pretty much in panic mode for the past couple of days. Still am. I way overpacked because I don’t have a clue what I want to wear. We’re taking a train. I may get some writing or reading time on board.

I found a facebook group all about rockhounding. I can’t tell you how time-sucking that can be. Next weekend we’re going to go to Glass Butte to hunt obsidian. That’s going to be fun. Apparently it’s quite plentiful.

I am hoping to actually take some pictures this time at Worldcon. I am so bad about doing that. I always forget.

This is sad because it’s true. It‘s funny, but oh, so painful.

And this is the corpse flower that is currently blooming in Denver. You can watch the live cam and I have been. It’s pretty cool to watch.

And this amuses me. How does one describe the damage to the insurance company?

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

Aug. 13th, 2015


The updatery

It looks like Boy of Size may be getting through this latest set back. I hope so. We’re bracing for the beginning of school. He’s looking forward to it, but even though it’s going to be good stress, it will be stress. So we’re working on our strategies.

On the exercise side, I’ve now gone 23 days straight of exercise. So I hit and exceeded my 21 day plan. I am still not sure that I want to let myself take a break at all. Mostly because I’m afraid of stopping. I haven’t really lost weight. I’m not sure why. But I know that the fall I took on my bike was less of an issue because of exercise and more flexibility. Also I’m feeling more capable and healthy.

We may get rain tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed.

The goldfish may be dying. I think it’s sick. I”m going tomorrow to try to get stuff to help it. Hoping it’s enough and in time.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Busy busy.

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


Aug. 12th, 2015


Conversation with the boy of size

About to go bike riding (driving to where we’re biking):

Me: kids, we’re about to go. Use the bathroom.

both kids: don’t have to go

Me: try anyhow. There might not be a bathroom.

Boy of Size: *rolls eyes* If I have to go, I’ll just pee on a tree.

Me: I hate boys.

On the ride, I ended up wiping out on my back. Had a great time otherwise. Came away slightly bloody. The bruises will be the real problem.

Have you been into the bra section of a store lately? The boobs are prefilled. In fact a lot of camis have that going on. Makes me feel like there are ghost girls hanging on the hangars. That when you get a bra, you get a ghost. Take her home. Who is she? What does she want? What if you get several bras? Will the ghosts get a long?

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


Aug. 10th, 2015


Book Review: Finding It by Leah Marie Brown

Book received from NetGalley

When I first got Finding It , I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. The cover and description said Chicklit in the traditional form, and I thought it would be a fun, light romance.

From the back of the book:

Anything can happen in a year! Unemployed, homeless, and left at the altar, Vivia Perpetua Grant could see her future as a flannel pajama wearing spinster—or worse, a bag lady shuffling around Golden Gate Park. But for a girl obsessed with rock music, Chinese take-out, and the color pink, misfortune is another word for opportunity. Vivia has found her niche as an international travel writer and the long-distance lover of Jean-Luc de Caumont, an über-hot French literature professor and competitive cyclist.

Still, even with so much going right, Vivia can’t help but wonder if something isn’t missing. The long distance thing is taking its toll on a girl who didn’t have that many tokens to begin with. And fate seems to be tempting her at every turn, first with a hunky Scottish helicopter pilot, and then with a British celebrity bad boy…Will Vivia continue to keep it real or will she discover some old habits die hard?

At first, I found the book to be glib and really silly. It was a little too over the top for my taste. As in Sex in the City meets Friends meets Bridesmaids. It seemed to lack any real character depth. I kept reading and what was lovely was that the characters developed far more deeply. There was romance in the story, and silliness and glitz, but it’s really about a woman deciding who she wants to be, and what is important to her, and how to have relationships with other people. Specifically, how to have friendships.

Though there’s a lot of silly moments, and a lot of funny scenes, at the same time, Brown turns those scenes into deeper explorations of the characters and their choices. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s well worth my time.

I recommend this book. I give it 4/5 stars.

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

Aug. 9th, 2015


Bits and Pieces

The fam and I met up with Laura Anne Gilman today in Portland. We had a lovely brunch and I got to see some GISHWES pictures. It was terrific.

I’m so annoyed with the ongoing Hugos business. I know these awards are important, but at this point, I’d rather ignore them and just pretend they don’t exist. Maybe that’s because I have no dogs in the hunt and am likely never to have. My books don’t generate that kind of award interest. I might just be selfish. I also have to much to do to worry about that kind of stupidity.  I also think that people ought to be more civil and less shitty.

The book is not done, but getting closer. Still no title.

I have garnered several unhappy reviews on Amazon of late for Edge. Note to self–stop reading the damned reviews already.

We figured out how to get the plum jelly to set up. We pitted a bunch and put them in the freezer for later canning. I also have a bunch of peaches I picked up to peel and pit. I was cutting some up for dinner tonight and a pincer bug crawled out of the pit. I screamed. I admit it. Then I killed it. But one doesn’t expect bugs to craw out of the pit.

I finished two different books that I need to review. I liked them both, though they were quite different from each other. I get to start another tomorrow, as I’ll be doing dentist appointments with the kids. And later this week will be doc appointment with the boy. Appointments are reading time.

Last night we went to see a drive in movie. It was a double feature. People drove in with loveseats in the backs of their trucks. *boggles*  Anyhow, it was fun, but started later than I expected. We watched Inside Out, and we left before Antman, since it started at 11:30 and we had to be up early this a.m. It was fun, but the sound wasn’t great. You tune into a radio station. That’s great, but we were sitting outside and even though lots of people had their radios up, the sound wasn’t great. Next time, I think we’ll bring a portable radio to boost the sound. We hadn’t done this since before the kids were born, and it was huge fun. Kids sat in the front seat of the truck and thought that was massively cool.

We still want to go out and pick more blackberries, but I’m not sure that we will get back out. Which makes me sad.

The garden is growing well. At least the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and vines are. But the beans are questionable. Not sure they are going to produce. I need to make some banana bread and some peach/blueberry something in order to use those all up. Maybe a cobbler or a crisp or something.

I need to get some work done around the house this week. I need to seal the wood on the porch, and also get a bunch of weeding and other stuff done. But the book first. I think. I might get up stupid early Tuesday and work on the porch.

We took the bikes out last night for a short ride and it did not go well. For whatever reason, I overheated, almost like heat stroke. Except I wasn’t that hot and we didn’t do that much. I was well hydrated, so I don’t know. The man had the same problem.

That brings me to my exercise update. So like I said before, I wanted to do 21 days in a row. I have two days left to go and I’ll make it. Then I hope I’ll keep going without a break. That’s my hope. I’ve been really resistant the past few days, but I’m really going to try hard.

That said, I almost screwed up seriously the other day. It was late, I hadn’t exercised, and we had some errands to run. So I said I would walk a ways and the fam could pick me up on the way. We live on a hill. I walked down it. Now down seems like it ought to be great, but I was going faster and it was steepish, and put a lot of pressure on the tops of my feet and my ankles. Then I came to a big long hill and I huffed and puffed up it. By this time, my ankles were starting to lock up. I tried to stop and stretch, and I also drank from my water. Then I started on a long downhill again. By the time they caught up with me, I’d hit flat land, but my ankles and the tops of my feet and my calves really hurt. And they kept hurting. Today when I went walking, it took about a mile for my to just loosen up enough not to be in agony. I wasn’t walking very fast, either. I was just trying to move and to loosen up. By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty good. So I hope tomorrow I’m still feeling good.

We are working on getting my treadmill set up as a walking desk. I don’t know if that will work, but I’m hoping to just move a little more. I don’t know how much I”ll be able to write while doing it, but hopefully I can do things like reviews, or reading, or things like that, will be easy enough.

And now, it’s time to sleep, perchance to wake up and take children to the dentist.


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


Jul. 31st, 2015


Nine days of pain

I’m out of shape. Way out of shape. I also have gained back a lot of the weight that I previously lost. I refuse to beat myself up about this. The main reason why it’s slipped so much is because of my son’s illness, my deadlines, and general life. I have been stress eating, even though I have also tried to eat healthy meals. I have not exercised regularly, though I have tried to keep moving as much as I can. Now that life is easing some, I’ve decided to get moving.

Toward that end, I decided that I would exercise for 21 days straight. Why 21? Well, no good reason. The main goal I was shooting for was that I didn’t want to stop. I know myself. I knew that this would make me sore. That I would go five or seven days and take a day off and then another, and then another. I wanted to go long enough that I would hopefully keep it up, even if I took a break. I wanted to just do it every day as a matter of course, and not fight myself.

So I started out. I returned to my old elliptical workout. That meant 33 minutes on the elliptical, and then stretching. Or walking about 2 miles. I also have been doing some weights, but not counting them as the exercise, mostly because I need the aerobic every day. Those have been my two choices for now. So I started. And I got sore. Especially my hips and feet. As the days passed, I kept wondering just how long it would be before I stopped hurting. And more days.

Well, the magic number is nine. I got up today and didn’t feel sore and stiff. When I did my elliptical today, I managed to go 40 minutes instead of 33. Anyhow, that’s 10 days down now. Eleven more to go. Except I’m hoping that I don’t take a break then. I’m hoping I just keep going and make it a regular part of every day. I don’t know that exercise will ever be something I enjoy, but I am hoping it becomes something that I at least will do without a lot of resistance.

I read this article about habits. It said something about how you first go through a honeymoon period, and then you go through a resistance period. Once you fight through resistance three or four times, then you will be in a place where you will keep going without having to fight too hard. If you stop, then you’ll likely have to fight resistance again and overcome it. I don’t know if that’s true. I’m at the point where I’m still resisting, but it isn’t as much of a struggle.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve lost a couple of pounds and that I can see a difference in my body already, and in my stamina, and in strength when I do things. My energy is somewhat lagging, but then it’s freaking hot. So that may be an issue. I’ll report back in eleven more days. Now that I’ve got double digits, the idea of stopping before my 21 and having to start all over again is unpleasant. That’s a positive.

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


parenting and writing

I need to write. Obviously. Book is pretty much due. I have many more words to go.

Went out this a.m. with the folks and the girlie. Get home. Tell the girlie she can watch a 1/2 hour of TV.

Girlie: But mom, I watched everything I DVRed.

Me. Okay, so then watch a show on Netflix in the spare bedroom.

Girlie: But mom, every time I watch there, I have to input the WiFi code.

Me: So input it. No big deal.

Girlie: But mom . . . *whining*

Me: *totally fed up and feeling deadline biting at my heels* Fine. No TV. Solves the whole problem.

Girlie: shrieking and wailing . . . No! No! I didn’t mean it!

Me: go away. I’m writing now (repeated with some frequency as the previous continues). Girlie stomps upstairs in her room above my office where more wailing and weeping commences. I turn on the music to drown out said noise.

Sigh. I’m sure there’s a more appropriate way of handling this.

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


Jul. 30th, 2015


Book Review: Needs a Little TLC, Ines Saint

I received the book from NetGalley.

Needs a Little TLC is a charming romance. I mean that in the best way. This is a contemporary romance, about Cassie and Sam. They were childhood sweethearts, but had a bitter breakup and Cassie left their small town. Now she’s returned as a realtor, wanting to market the thirty or so houses he’s been renovating. It’s a lucrative opportunity for both them, if they can work together.

One of the best things about this book is the down-to-earth reality of their lives. They each have scars, not just romantic, but from events in their pasts, and from difficult relationships with their parents. Both are genuine, nice people. I like that the difficulties of the romance were not manufactured out of irritating behaviors or convoluted problems. Both of them are not always easy to get along with, though neither is a jerk. It’s just that people aren’t always nice to one another.

The romance progresses naturally and they have to deal with figuring out who they are as adults, as well as who they were as children together. They are surrounded by friends and family who have known them for years, which both helps and hinders things. Both are driven by particular demons and in the end, they learn that asking for help and accepting help is not weakness.

I really appreciate that this book was not straightforward in some ways. This really was a journey for both leads, and both struggled. I like that Jake was not made of cardboard, and that Heather was not stereotyped. As a fan of HGTV and DYI, I also loved the house renovation stuff.

I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it. 4/5 stars

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

Jul. 28th, 2015


Relearning an old writing lesson

Jake Lake once said that he liked to write a book over a period of no more than 3 months. For that long, he said, he could hold the whole plot in his head and he didn’t lose things. Longer than that, and bit and pieces started to fall away and he had to work a lot harder to get the story down. At that time, the idea of writing a 3 month book was absolutely crazy to me. I couldn’t imagine ever succeeding at that.

But then I did. I learned he was right. For about three months, maybe four, I didn’t have to worry about taking a ton of notes on where I was going or what the characters were up to. I could hold the story in my head. In writing that speed, I kept the pacing sharp and I also had a lot of fun. I never felt bogged down in a scene, because the scenes went by too quickly for quagmire. If they didn’t, that meant the scene had a problem.

I learned this lesson. It’s hard, because writing that fast means discipline and sticking to a schedule. It also means the words damned well better flow. One truth for me is that the words tend to flow better when I stick to a schedule, get sleep and exercise, and I eat reasonably health. I feel energized and creative.


My son got sick and that took a lot more out of me than I ever expected. Part of it was having to go to the neverending doctor appointments. Part of it was having to watch him suffer and being helpless. Part of it was trying to be strong for everybody in the family, and especially my daughter. And it kept going on and on. Still is, really, but at least he’s improving.

Anyhow, my creativity grew thick and dense and unwilling. Writing was more miss than hit and I did fewer and fewer words as my schedule fragmented. I have no regrets–I was and am spectacularly happy to be available to the kids when they need me. Not everyone, not even most, can do that and I can and I have had no problems making them my priority.

I ended up having to reschedule my books and give myself much longer to finish them. That meant that I was going to plan for six months rather than three months per book. While that has been necessary, it has also made a difficult creative process even more difficult. Because I feel like scenes lag because I spend more time on them. I feel like I lose the character voices. I feel like I lose track of what I wanted the story to be. It’s infuriating.

In the fall the kids (both!) go back to school. I hope to regain my routine and hopefully my production. I hope to dive deeper into the creative ocean and live in it more so that the story will flow better. I have a lot of things I still want to write.

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

Jul. 22nd, 2015


Mental flush

Someone I know used to tell me that I need to learn to flush the crap out of my head and let it be gone. Don’t let it keep bothering me. This is much harder to do than I like. The older I get, the more I’m convinced I need to do it, and just let it go.

I’ve not been given to grudges in my life. I don’t particularly hold them. There are some people, however, who I would as soon never have anything to do with ever again. Occasionally I think of them and feel my blood pressure rising. Luckily, I think of them less and less frequently, and I’m slowly–if not forgiving–I am forgetting them. I’m remembering that they have no impact on me. They are not important. Their opinions, their past actions, their voices–none of that matters now. I handled them the best that I could at the time, and while hindsight always offers woulda coulda shoulda moments, on the whole, I am happy with my integrity and honor intact.

That said, someone posted something today that really peeved me. It had to do with what happened with the last teaching gig and I realized I wasn’t over with the way things played out and the ways some people behaved. I have and had no control over them, only myself. But this brought up terrible doubts. I live with imposter syndrome anyhow, and so I fell today into an awful funk about whether or not I am a good teacher. I miss teaching, I miss students, and so this was particularly painful to me, especially since in so many ways, that was my dream job.

I am not over it. But I have decided that I am letting someone else have too much control over me. I’m letting him into my head rent free. I have to decide to let it go. It’s in the past. Stewing about it will change nothing. Worry and regret are useless things. I have to believe in myself. That’s an extraordinarily tough thing to do sometimes. Especially right now with the end of the book fighting back tooth and nail.

To let it go, I have to deliberately cut ties. One of the reasons I saw what this persona said, was because he had followed me on FB and his post came up in my feed. I have unfriended him. I am considering how many others I need to unfriend. I have to resist temptation to go checking in on what they might be saying. I have to resist thinking about them at all. I have to deliberately turn my mind away from those thoughts whenever they come up. This post, will hopefully be the last of it.

I chose to write this post because I think I needed some sort of personal closure. Or maybe I needed to write down instructions to myself to move along and quit wallowing in the woulda coulda shouldas. I needed to acknowledge that I feel hurt and angry, but I have to acknowledge that I don’t need to. I can kick the squatters out of my head.

So as of right now, that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to have some self-discipline about staying on the positive road. I’m not going to let the bastards grind me down.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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


Jul. 20th, 2015


Book Review: Jonathan Kellerman’s The Murderer’s Daughter

I received this ARC via NetGalley.
I just finished Joseph Kellerman’s The Murderer’s Daughter (which will come out August 18). It’s amazing.
From the back of the book description:
A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ death in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.cover68324-medium
What I like about this book is the depth of characterization and the way all the characters resonate together along the same theme. The main character, Grace Blades,  is the daughter of a murder-suicide with both parents being truly terrible. Their deaths are merely the culmination of an awful early childhood.  She ends up in the foster system with a lot of shitty situations, arrives at a good one, and eventually it turns horrible, but not in the way you’d expect.

She ends up adopted by a couple who are very good to her, letting her become herself and encouraging her on every level. Grace is extraordinarily gifted mentally, able to zip through school with few real challenges. Before she’s thirty, she becomes a revered psychologist specializing in trauma victims. She’s very good, very empathetic, partly from her own background. But. She’s also very distanced and observational–almost living her live in third person. She’s extraordinarily self-aware on some levels, and on others, she’s oblivious. She doesn’t recognize as an issue the leftovers from her own traumas–from courting dangerous situations, to sucking her thumb, to being unable/unwilling to have real relationships of any nature.

One of her risky behaviors leads her to get mixed up in a murder, and soon she realizes she’s become a target of the murderer. Now she has to figure out who that is and why he wants her dead. Only, the why and the who are a lot more complicated than they seem to be.

The thing about Grace is that she’s unemotional and very focused. She’s also brilliant. She makes plans and executes them with determination and nerves of ice, breaking down only occasionally. She makes mistakes and figures out her next steps. She forges on, the need to survive driving her. She is a survivor. That truth is fundamental to who she is and takes precedence over almost every other aspect in her life.

The thing a reader has to be aware of is that Kellerman presents Grace as cold person. Readers may find even her repulsive, though she is skilled, empathic, and she genuinely cares about her patients and helping them through their traumas. But whether you like Grace, you can sympathize with her. Plus Kellerman builds the tension so that you have to keep turning pages. You want to know what is happening and who the players are and why the murders. For me, Grace is not unlikeable, but Kellerman definitely doesn’t give Grace a lot of soft, easy qualities. The book is told in a first person narrative, but despite that, the narrative is related in a distanced way. But that is the point. Grace is meant to be difficult to like, so that the book can investigate its main theme.

It’s clear to me that Kellerman suggests Grace is a sociopath, or at least, verging on one. We know this because she’s so cold-blooded in her observations and her choices, she’s manipulative–usually for good, and she’s unfeeling in many ways. The question is, was she born sociopathic or did she become that way because of her childhood? And how much does it matter? And is who you are about your choices or about nurture or about genes?

All the various characters represent different possibilities of Grace, different aspects of her. In the end, the reader decides if she is a valuable person, if her choices are right, if she’s good or evil or something else entirely.

The mystery is good, but I recommend this book because it does such an amazing job of exploring the nature of a sociopath, of what happens to children of abuse and trauma, how much genetics plays a role in who you become, and who you must be.

Five out of five stars.


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

Jul. 16th, 2015


Sasquan Schedule

My Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention​ schedule:

Autographing – Diana Pharaoh Francis, Nichole Giles, Nancy Kress, James Van Pelt
Thursday 12:00 – 12:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)
Diana Pharaoh Francis, Nichole Giles, Nancy Kress, James Van Pelt,

Reading – Diana Pharaoh Francis

Friday 11:30 – 12:00, 301 (CC)
Diana Pharaoh Francis

Writers Workshop section 05
Friday 13:00 – 16:00, 201A (CC)
David D. Levine, Madeleine Robins, Diana Pharaoh Francis

Fantasy and Supernatural Noir

Saturday 12:00 – 12:45, Bays 111C (CC)

Dark speculative and (frequently) dark detective works are best-sellers these days.  Our panel talks about earlly supernatural noir and where it’s headed now.

Diana Pharaoh Francis, Richard Kadrey, Katherine Addison, John Pitts

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

Jul. 15th, 2015



Parenting is fucking hard.

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


Jul. 13th, 2015


Edge of Dreams on sale

The kindle version of Edge of Dreams is on sale today for $1.99. Yay! So if you still don’t have a copy, it’s time to grab one. And spread the word for me, okay??

And now to go back to work on book 3 and see what damage I can do to my poor characters . . . Remember, adversity builds character. Bwahaahahahahahaha!

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

Jul. 11th, 2015


Napping with dog(s)

I developed a headache today after doing some running around this a.m. and some chores. I have no idea why. Totally lovely day. Blessedly cool. Anyhow, late this afternoon I decided to crawl into bed for a nap. Of course Voodoo followed me and jumped in with me, snugging up into the back of my neck before moving down into the small of my back. So I fall asleep, only to wake up sometime later with a wet dog nose in my hand. Different dog. Viggo does NOT jump onto the bed. He requires the staff to elevate him up. I did not do this. Curious. Apparently other staff members helped him. He felt compelled to wake me a so I could have the opportunity to scratch his ears, which I did, and then went back to sleep.

Later, upon getting up, I did yard work and came away bloodied, but unbowed. The roses fought back, as did the blackberry bushes. Our neighbors grow them, and some have decided to colonize beneath the fence. They have been knocked back for now. I also discovered some blueberry bushes along the side of my front yard that I was unaware existed. I am going to have to find a way to get them some more sunlight.

The kids were highly concerned about the blood running down my leg. Mom! Did you know you were bleeding! As it happens, I did not know. I wasn’t surprised. It’s a rare day when I don’t add a bruise or a scrape or a cut to my collection. The main thing is I didn’t get blood all over my clothes. That would have been annoying.

Oh, I also knocked my noggin into the bird feeder and THAT hurt. Oh my, ouch. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market today, and so didn’t pick up raspberries. I need to go find a fruit stand.





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


Jul. 10th, 2015


Sweet sweet coolness

After weeks of heat, today we were able to leave the windows open all day. I think the weather should hold for another few days at least. Hopefully we can get out and do some things. I’d like to go hike to a falls.

I did get decent writing done this week. Book 3 of  Diamond City Magic is getting close to done. I hit a bit of a snag today when I couldn’t remember where in a book I included something, or if I put it in and took it out again. I didn’t find what I was looking for in the first two books, but it could be earlier in this book. So I still have to dig. Annoying. I’ll look tomorrow, I think.

I also started a new knitting project. It might be a Christmas present. Hush. I know it’s far away, but if you’re knitting, you have to start much earlier. This is a fact. I also found a cool crochet hat pattern I want to try. I’m still not that great at reading patterns, or following written patterns–I get confused–so it can be a slow process. The one I started tonight has fairly simple cables and repeats, so it’s making up reasonably quickly. Using some yarn out of the stash. Given I just added to the stash, this is a good thing. Also, crochet projects make up faster. Just saying.

Tomorrow will hopefully be some yardwork, some writing, and hopefully some fun stuff. Next week the boy starts a summer “camp” which is more like a class. He’s excited about it.

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

Jul. 7th, 2015


*gnashing teeth*

Today has been a crappy writing day. And by that, I mean I hardly got anywhere. Lots of typing and erasing and doubting and, well, see the title of his post.

I did write a little bit I do like, so rough as it is, I’m sharing:

I contemplated what to do. The trouble was that doing wasn’t exactly an option. That meant my only option was to open the door on the spirit world inside myself. Easy peasy. And for my next trick, I’d fly to Mars and back, and then jump a tornado to Oz.

The trouble was, I didn’t have any other choices, reasonable or not. It wasn’t like I was going anywhere. I took a breath and let it out and focused my attention on the problem. That’s when I noticed how uncomfortable I was. Let me say this: any reasonably well-endowed woman lying face down is for any length of time is going to start to feel a certain ache in her boobs. Before long, it’s going to turn into a raging ache. My panic attack had distracted me from the mild discomfort portion of the show, and now I had to bite my lip to tolerate the ever-increasing throbbing pain. Maybe I could shoot for a trifecta and get cramps and my period now, too.

If I could have, I would have shaken my head. As it was, I mentally smacked myself for going off track—not to mention tempting fate–and pulled myself back to the problem at hand.

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

Jul. 6th, 2015


Progress made

You may not know this, but the third Diamond City Magic book is due at the end of this month. And I’m yanking my hair out. Mostly because where I thought it was going to end isn’t going to be where it ends and I’ve got to figure out a solid ending. But I have plenty of stuff to put into the next book. I left Riley in a rather bad place today, and oh! I managed to squeeze in an Elmer Fudd reference. Cuz yanno. That’s always entertaining. For me anyhow. And really, if I’m not entertained, how will you be?

Family is important in this book, as you might guess. And someone just found a family skeleton in the closet. It’s so fun!!!

And a small snippet:

“The FBI brought you here,” he said, his voice lifeless.

“They thought I could help,” she said with a little nod.

“Help them break me.”

“If I could. They needed to see you for what you are.”

His head tipped. “What am I?”

Her lip curled. “An abomination. A demon from the depths of hell. Satan’s own spawn.”


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

Jul. 2nd, 2015


Book review: Sally MacKenzie’s What to Do With a Duke

I took the boy to his doctors appointments today. Knitted on the way up, then read this book while waiting, and got stuck in traffic on the way home (the man drove up, I drove home). Anyhow, I’m a sucker for regencies, so I was looking forward to this one.

Caveat: I received this from NetGalley.

The description of What to Do With A Duke intrigued me. The Duke of Hart is going to his family estates to find the next spinster to be installed in Spinster House. It seems that 200 years ago, the wealthy orphaned daughter of a merchant set up the house for a spinster from the village who needed a place to live independently. When the current spinster marries or dies, the Duke must choose the new resident from the candidates who present themselves. In the meantime, the same woman who founded the house, apparently has also put a curse on the Dukedom. Every duke will be doomed to die before his heir is born. So he marries and gets his wife pregnant, and before she can deliver, he dies. So far, five dukes have suffered that exact fate.

Enter Cat (short for Catherine) who is desperate to get away from her loud, boisterous family. At 24 years old, she never has room or time for herself, constantly helping take care of her many siblings. She has no interest in marriage and desperately longs to be installed at the Spinster House. Marcus, the current Duke, at thirty years old, is feeling lonely and wants a companion, though he believes in the curse and is certain that when he marries and gets his wife pregnant, he’ll die. All his friends and servants buy into the curse as well. Of course, when he and Cat meet, sparks fly and soon they find themselves drawn to each other, and uncertain anymore what they want or believe.

I loved the dialog in the book. It felt realistic and was witty and funny. The supporting cast were wonderful, from Cat’s family, to the village locals, to the duke’s servants, and his estranged mother. Their attraction to each other was startling to both and fun to watch grow. On the whole, I really enjoyed the book. I also loved the idea of the Spinster House, and the history of the curse and Isabella (the merchant’s daughter).

I did have a few issues, though. First, I had a hard time believing that Cat’s good friends, even jealous and angry with her, would do what they did (avoiding spoilers here, so apologies for the vagueness). Second, Marcus spends an awful lot of time thinking about his cock. After awhile, the word gets really repetitive. The thing I didn’t like the most was the curse. I had a hard time that Marcus believed it so strongly. The author reinforced it so much that it felt a little bit like “the lady doth protest too much.” I love the conceit, but I wanted to see more showing of how it affected his life and his choices, rather than having that summed up by his mother and by introspection.

I’d give this book a solid 3.5 /5 stars.

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

Jul. 1st, 2015


Books I’ve been reading

I’ve read about five books in the last few weeks that I haven’t reviewed here. Mostly they didn’t thrill me and I didn’t feel like talking about them. They were okay, but not particularly good or bad. Well, one was kinda bad. Anyhow, if I didn’t get them from NetGalley, I don’t feel obligated to review them. And even then I don’t. If I don’t like it enough, I send a note the publisher saying so. Mostly I prefer to review books that I find meaty to review. By that I mean interesting problems, or damned good reads, or books that move me in some fashion. These others have simply been fine. Entertaining on some levels, but nothing I care to spend time on reviewing.

Tomorrow, or almost today, is a doctor day with the boy. I don’t have to drive this time, so I’ll knit on the way up, read through the two appointments, and knit on the way home. I hope I have enough yarn for these socks. I put a horrible little light blue cuff on the the top of the first one. The bind-off was too loose for my taste. It’s a short sock and very wearable, but I bought a book to learn how to do better socks. Anyhow, have to do the second sock of this pair first.

I need to figure out a good pattern for a baby blanket. Crochet or Knit. Haven’t found anything I love yet. Starting to think about making stuff for Xmas gifts. I know, crazy, but since it takes time, I figure I out to start thinking.

Still worried about dad. No real change yet. Spent the evening with the folks and that was nice. Tried to go out and see the Venus/Jupiter conjunction but couldn’t find it. I don’t know if we weren’t looking low enough on the horizon. Thinking about heading outside to try again. And then sleep.



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

Jun. 30th, 2015


Rewind, rip, state of confusion

Let’s start with what has nothing to do with the title. My dad’s foot is infected again. Apparently the bone infection wasn’t completely gone. He’s now getting daily infusions for the next month, so they put a PICC line in. There’s a scary possibility that there might be gangrene. I’m not sure when we’ll know. Anyhow, we wait and hope.

As for the subject of the post, I hit a wall with the book. I backed up and chopped out about 3K words and now I’m trying to pick up where I”m going next and how this book is going to finish out and I’ve got about fifty gallons of stuff to stuff into a teaspoon. I can do this.




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

Jun. 25th, 2015


More movie snark

The problem with Jurassic Park III (as if there’s only one) is that Billy is played by the same guy who played, Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park, which means that I can’t get my head around him being a paleontologist student. Also, when he goes and jumps off to rescue Eric, I kept humming, “Billy, don’t be a hero, don’t be a fool with your life . . .”

On the other hand the rest of the cast rocks it. Love Sam Neill, Tea Leoni, and William Macy, not to mention Michael Jeter. And of course, love the velociraptors.

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

Jun. 23rd, 2015


snarky movie stuff

We’re watching Jurassic Park 2, aka, The Lost World. There are some wonderfully fun moments. I especially love the velociraptors. But then I always do. This may be the only movie I ever liked Vince Vaughn in.

But here’s the thing. This movie suffers a great deal from Horror movie stupidity. The kind that sends people wandering outside with the nasty killer out there. The dinosaur experts apparently have absolutely no idea what dinosaurs are, practically. There are two of them, including the Julianne Moore character (what a waste of talent for this movie) who don’t seems to have read or studied any of the stuff that Dr. Alan Grant did, because they haven’t any clue. It’s ridiculous.

Then there’s when the boat crashes. Nobody gets out of the way, even though they see it coming.

There’s oh so many other ridiculous moments, but still it’s fun. Jeff Goldblum is really not very well utilized, but at least he has some good lines.

I want so much to MST2K this movie over Twitter with someone.

I’m still rooting for the dinosaurs.

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


Jun. 21st, 2015


Hurtling through time

My birthday is now over. I’m one year older and wow, my life these days seems to be hurtling by. I need to do more stopping and smelling of the roses.

That’s it. That’s all I got. Except for this. A good reminder.


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


Jun. 19th, 2015


Book review: Killer Run by Lynn Cahoon

I managed to read most of this book while waiting at my son’s doctors appointments yesterday.

Received from NetGalley

Killer Run by Lynn Cahoon is the fifth in her Tourist Trap mystery series. I’ve not read any of the earlier books, and that turned out to be a bit of a problem. The premise of this story is that the town has organized a 5K run. During the event, the body of a woman is discovered. The main character, Jill Gardner, owner of the local coffee shop, is one of the organizers. She’s also been known to solve some mysteries, which apparently has resulted in some trouble for her. This time, however, she’s promised her detective boyfriend, Greg, that she will keep out of it.

The book is definitely a cozy sort of mystery. It focuses on a lot of the local relationships between Jill and her friends, family, and frenemies, more than it does on the solving of the mystery. I enjoyed reading the book, but I did wish it had a little bit more depth in terms of those relationships. I found it difficult to believe that Jill’s aunt was actually 70, given the way she spoke. Their relationship was fun, but I found that frequently situations turned a little emotional, then went unresolved as neither spoke about their issues. I also thought that the relationship with Greg was a little cold. I wondered if that was because I hadn’t read previous books, but I wanted a little bit more feeling of connection there.

I also wondered about Lille’s animosity toward Jill. It didn’t seem to have any reason behind it. Then the resolution of the truck story kind of came out of nowhere. There were no real clues about it, except that Jill worried a little about the person behind it.

The main mysteries of the vandalism and the murder were fairly well handled, I thought. There were clues that built toward the resolution, though honestly, in the end I found all the culprits’ motivations a little bit thin.

It’s funny. As I read the book, I was interested and wanted to read more, but now that it’s done, it’s a little disappointing, The writing was good and I think that if I’d read earlier books, I’d probably be a lot more connected to the characters. For me, this book gets 3.5/5 stars.





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

Jun. 17th, 2015


Trace of Magic on sale today

Hi Everyone! Trace of Magic is $1.99 on sale today on Kindle. I have no idea how long the sale lasts, so grab a copy now, and please tell everybody you know. Link Here.

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

Jun. 15th, 2015


Letter to all the acronymical offices who might be now watching me

Dear Law officers and interested parties:

Yes, I did spend time looking up breachers tape, detcord, explosives, detagel, c4, semtek, and so on. Yes I am working on blowing up a building. No, it is not real. It’s in a book. Entirely fiction. Just trying to get the details right to make the scene plausible. Please don’t arrest me.



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


Book review: Jane Casey’s Hide and Seek

I received this book from Net Galley.

After reading Jane Casey’s The Kill, I was curious about Hide and Seek. I wondered how her writing skills would translate into writing YA, so I was eager to read this book, and I really liked it. I thought it was engaging, with a cool mystery and a good twist. The interweaving of the secondary characters and their relationships really made the story robust.

The book is set in England. Jess Tennant is a teen. I’m not entirely sure how old she is, but I’m guessing seventeen or so. She’s living with her mom and her aunt and uncle. In a previous book, her parents apparently divorced and they moved back to her mother’s home town. Jess is really happy, especially because her mother is happy. So the fact that her father has moved to town to get back together with her mom worries her. Her father is portrayed as selfish and he cheated on his wife, as well as demoralized and attacked her sense of worth. In other words, he’s not been a great dad or husband, and Jess doesn’t want anything to do with him.

A complicating factor to all of this is that her mom and a local police detective were teenage sweethearts. They had some sort of difficult breakup years before that led both to unhappy marriages. Now both his wife and her ex-husband suspect that they are getting together again. They aren’t the only ones. This is a complication for Jess, who is dating the policeman’s son. She and Will are deeply in love, but have a tendency to argue and fight. He’s been away at school and has just returned for the Christmas holiday.

The story begins with Jess at a party. At that party, Gilly, a schoolmate, seems to have been cornered by some other girls who are trying to get her to talk about something. Pretty quick, Jess tries to step in. Gilly ends up breaking a glass and deliberately cutting herself, even as several people around her make curious comments.

Later that week in school. Jess’s history teacher is making a project assignment and oddly, Gilly refuses to work with her assigned partner. Jess–who has nosy detective sorts of tendency–is instantly curious, especially after the weekend party. She ends up assigned to work with Gilly. Despite asking several questions, Jess is no closer to finding out what’s going on. She makes plans to meet with Gilly later in the week to work on their assignment. Gilly never shows up.

The rest of the book focuses on the hunt to find Gilly. Did she run away? Was she killed? Kidnapped? There are a variety of possibilities and Jess is determined to find out what happened. On the way, she has to deal with her boyfriend’s police detective father, her own father, and the drama of her own life. She’s caught up in trying to decide who she is, who she wants to be, and whether or not she should follow the rules.

The mystery in the book was really good, as was the interweaving of Jess’s personal life. I thought some of the backstory could have used a little more bolstering. I know there are a couple books earlier in the series and I felt that reading them first would have made this book a lot better, especially understanding the relationships between the major and secondary characters. I also was a little confused on Jess’s relationship to her cousins, particularly Hugh. At times she describes him as if he’s threatening, and yet she loves him and seems to feel she has a really great relationship with him. I found that confusing.

Another thing I found confusing was the relationship she had with Will. That could have used a little bit more from previous books, too. It made sense going deeper in, but at the beginning, I wasn’t sure what sort of relationship they really had. At first they are totally in love, but then he turns angry and cold and dismissive. It’s very hot and cold for reasons I can’t see, possibly because the foundation is laid in earlier books.

Another thing I found odd was that the adults didn’t seem to mind Jess’ and Will’s pdas. Especially later on when it’s happening at night. There simply was no comment and no interest in what they were up to, and I found that odd. Especially given the foundation of unwanted pregnancy, it seems odd that only Will’s father says anything at all.

Despite those minor drawbacks, I enjoyed the story a lot. I figured out what had happened pretty quick, but I didn’t see the twist coming, and I was surprised by Jess’ father at the end. I’d like to read the earlier books in the series. Jane Casey is a hell of a writer and I definitely recommend the book.

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

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