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Jul. 31st, 2015

me

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.

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me

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.

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Jul. 30th, 2015

me

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

me

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.

However.

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

me

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.

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Jul. 20th, 2015

me

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

me

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

me

Parenthood

Parenting is fucking hard.

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

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Jul. 13th, 2015

me

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

me

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.

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Jul. 10th, 2015

me

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

me

*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

me

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

me

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

me

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

me

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.

Crap.

 

 

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

Jun. 25th, 2015

me

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

me

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.

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Jun. 21st, 2015

me

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.

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Jun. 19th, 2015

me

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

me

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

me

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.

Sincerely,

me

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

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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.

Jun. 13th, 2015

me

Book Review: Minutes to Kill by Melinda Leigh

I received this book from NetGalley.

Minutes to Kill is the second book in a romantic suspense series. The first book is entirely unnecessary to reading and enjoying this one, however. The story revolves around Hannah Barrette. After a corporate gathering in Las Vegas, she finds herself in the middle of a kidnapping. She tries to help the girl escape, but fails. With a concussion, she returns to her home in Scarlett Falls, NY, where she plans to recuperate and keep and eye on her brother’s dog while he and his family are traveling. Unfortunately, the kidnapper snatched her purse and knows where to find her. He and his brother decide it’s too hot for them in Las Vegas, and they want revenge on the woman who got away.

That sets up the story. Previously, one of Hannah’s brothers was murdered and she became acquainted with Brody McNamara, a local cop in Scarlett Falls. Pretty quick, they find themselves spending a little bit of time together. All too soon, murders start happening in town, neither of them aware that in fact the murderers are the same men who Hannah fought in Vegas.

I’ll admit, as much as I enjoyed the characters and the development of all the relationships, and the story, I had a hard time reading this book. The bad guys are bad. Really bad. I just knew that they were going to do awful things to Hannah and I didn’t want to get there, so I kept putting this book. As a first-time reader of Leigh’s, I didn’t know if I could trust her to make this story work for me.

I was mistaken. The second half of the book is powerful and yes, it’s got violence, but the story plays out in an exciting way that didn’t go where I expected. Don’t get me wrong–the bad guys were bad and Hannah and Brody ended up in serious trouble with them–but it was thrilling and didn’t go where I feared. I  loved the way that Hannah’s and Brody’s relationship developed and the way their pasts and their stories entertwined and influenced the way the story evolved.

The romance was realistic and powerful, and the characters were well drawn. The story was complex and felt real. I totally recommend this book.

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

Jun. 12th, 2015

me

Some word meanings in Path of Fate

I dug this up recently. It’s my worksheet for names in the Path books. You’ll notice that Kebonsat’s name was originally Nomaksat. My editor didn’t care for that name and so I came up with something more workable. Kegonsat doesn’t have any specific meaning. I didn’t use all these and some I modified. But I figured you might want to see some of the background on the books.

I wanted names for Kodu Riik and Patverseme that were linguistically close, but unique. I drew words for each country from Latvian and Estonian dictionaries, and did some modifications to make them work for me as I went. Some stuff is straight out made up, but a lot wasn’t.

path word meanings

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

Jun. 7th, 2015

me

On cops and McKinney, Texas

I posted this on Facebook, and then decided to repost here. I’m deeply upset over the video of what happened in Mckinney, Texas. So I’m talking it out.

I can’t tell you what the context of what happened in McKinney, Texas is. I can show the video and let you see what I can see. But I do have a lot of very mixed reactions to it. I don’t know why the police were called, and I don’t know at what point the filming started. I know that the officer at the center has been put on leave. I know there’s going to be an investigation. I have very little faith that the investigation will turn up the truth. I hate to say this, but I don’t trust that the police can police themselves. That bothers me a great deal. I have a lot of respect for the people who go out into the world and put themselves between me and danger. The day to day front lines of that are the police. I admire them. And yet I’m learning to fear them.

And then there’s race. It’s a visceral reaction, but when the cop is kneeling on the girl (who turns out to be 14) all of a sudden I’m put in mind of the days of slavery, when black women were nothing more than livestock. There was something about seeing her mostly naked body, face down, helpless, under the weight of a white man in uniform telling her not to fight, not to struggle or it would go worse for her. I wanted to throw up. At 14, I would have wanted to fight the touch of this strange man. I would have felt attacked. I wouldn’t have been able to think. Instincts would have said fight and scream and escape, no matter what. Find help. Yet there is no help. The other men mill about watching, and her friends can do nothing. This girl has great courage and presence of mind to lay still. Or perhaps she’s got enough wherewithal and sense of self preservation to recognize that this man is dangerous. This man could hurt her. This man could kill her. Not only that, he just might. This man who is paid to protect her.

The story of this event may be quite different from the story that I see. But the story that I see is terrifying. It speaks to a world where authority is dangerous, not protective. Where uniforms are symbolic of menace. Where even the men most semiotically demarcated as guardians, are in actuality demons. Cops are supposed to be dangerous, but they are supposed to be the warriors guarding the people. The warriors seem to be turning against us.

I wonder what cops see when they look at this video. Do they see people who’ve turned against them? I don’t know. This is not an easy situation and I fear that the bad is escalating as both sides see each other as enemies, as they fear one another. Rightly so on too many occasions, as we’ve seen. So here it is. The video.

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

me

Finally from RT

I finally am loading up pictures from RT. Here goes:  roxie and me



<—-This is me with Rachel Caine at the Random Penguin Party. There’s a number of pictures from the party.


Read more...Collapse )


melanie and me







This is Melanie Fletcher from said party. —>






patti and me











<—-This is the least blurry picture of Patty Briggs and I. We took several but apparently we’re always moving.






charlaine




<—-This is the lovely Charlaine Harris. She is amazing, everyone. Kind, nice, sweet, generous, and just a little bit snarky. Very cool woman.






samantha and jeanne






These are Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne Stein, who write lovely things apart and together chloe and jeannette and meare SJ Harper. —–>








<———–That’s Chloe Neil, Me, and J. Kathleen Cheney at the party before the crowd hits.



gordon



ilona





These two hooligans are Ilona and Gordon Andrews. We were eating breakfast and got a table in the quiet back room. Until of course it filled up with people. It pays to be slightly early for breakfast at a con.


pooks me carole and snape















This is Me, Patricia Burroughs, Severus Snape, Mad Tea Partyand Carole Nelson Douglas after a panel. No, we aren’t troublemakers, why do you ask? ——–>












<——–Then we have the Mad Hatter Tea Party and sorry, I took some blurry pictures. Some really great Nicole and me signingwriters in there, and unfortunately, I can’t remember all their names. Obviously my roomie J. Kathleen Cheney is down there second to the last on the right.








<———This is me and Nicole Peeler at the mass signing. All those people behind us? writers. There were at least 400 writers there. Amazing. And Nicole had the best dress of all.










Speaking of the signing, here are two pictures to give you a sense of scope:



bookfair1



bookfair2














Now I have to get to the river of pee. You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you? So all the floors in the hotel had this particular carpet pattern. Now you tell me–river of pee? Or something else?


pee1pee2RT was nothing but fun. I had a great time and I suck at recapping, so I’ll just say that this was truly a comicon for readers. I love it.pee3


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

me

Sunday and the quiet

The quiet is nice. The man took the kidlets away to fish so I could have peace and quiet. School gets out this next week for both of them, so soon I will get no relief. I love my kids, but sometimes alone time and quiet is necessary.

Speaking of kids, Boy of Size came into our room at about 5 a.m. Seems he couldn’t sleep and was freaking out. So I let him climb into bed with me and the man (I tossed the Voodoo dog out of bed–he’s been sneaking up when he thinks I’m not looking) and then rubbed his shoulders and back and tried to calm him down. Voodoo immediately bounced back up because jealousy. Anyhow, boy felt a little better and went back to sleep.

On the positive side, he’s been having fewer seizure episodes. He’s been going with days between. Bad side is he’s had a rough week. Nausea, pain, some vomiting. Setbacks have to be expected, so I’m hoping that next week looks up.

 

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

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me

Book Review: Run You Down, Julia Dahl

I received this book from NetGalley.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Trying to convert back to reading from TV watching, frankly. It’s been glorious. Anyhow, Julia Dahl’s Run You Down caught my eye, so I requested it and I’m glad I did.

Rebekah is a reporter for the New York Tribune. She’s recently gone through a terrifying event (in book one of the series). This event is not described, just the after effects of depression and difficulty with living her life and doing her job. One day she receives a phone call asking her to investigate the death of a Jewish woman from a very conservative and orthodox (Haredi) enclave. There’s no body and no autopsy (the woman having been buried swiftly following Jewish doctrine), and no real police investigation. Since Rebekah has a history of reporting on orthodox Jewish issues, she’s contacted to find the truth.

The book is a mix of both Rebekah’s own story (and her mother’s) and the story of Pessie, the dead woman. As the story progresses, Rebekah learns that Pessie’s murder and her own story will collide in unexpected ways.

I wasn’t too sure how I was going to like the story at first. We start in Aviva’s point of view (Rebekah’s mother) and then switch chapter by chapter between Aviva and Rebekah. I was a little bit annoyed that I had to leave each person’s perspective and the two didn’t seem to be converging. So the first third or half was a little slow in some ways, though at the same time, I was rivetted by each story and wanted to stick with it. Then suddenly the two stories weave together in a necessary and compelling way and suddenly the rollercoaster starts running downhill at high speed.

The book was complex with a lot of action and the investigation felt realistic and fascinating. I thought the ending was unique and compelling. I don’t want to give spoilers, but the denoument really fit the reporter aspect and it situated this book in the larger world, making the individual stories more universal.

The book deals with a lot of various subjects taboo within the Orthodox Jewish community. Something interesting and compelling that Dahl did with Sammy and Ryan was to show how similar their extraordinarily opposite backgrounds really were and that fundamentalism of any kind can be dangerous to the soul, mind, and body. Seeing the ripples of that in Rebekah, Aviva, Saul, Isaac, and Pessie really give this story enormous depth and power. Dahl’s extensive experience as a crime reporter really inform this book in rich ways.

I give this book 5/5 stars. It’s the sequel to Invisible City, Dahl’s first book.

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

Jun. 5th, 2015

me

A corgi post

happy voodooThis is Voodoo. Voodoo is happy.

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

me

Book Review: After the Storm by Linda Castillo

Caveat: Book received from NetGalley

This is a really good book. Apparently it’s the latest in an ongoing series about Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police of Painters Mill in Pennsylvania. While it’s clear there’s history, After the Storm reads as a stand-alone. The book starts with several scenes from 1985, before entering into the present. At this point, Kate and her live-in boyfriend are visiting with her very orthodox Amish brother and sister and their families. Before long, a tornado bears down on the town, interrupting the event. The tornado wreaks a lot of damage and causes a number of deaths. It also uncovers a collection of bones, which becomes the central investigation in the book. Investigating a year’s old murder is complicated by a lawsuit brought against Kate and the town, as well as someone seems to be hunting her, determined to kill her. Her homelife gets quickly complicated and Kate has a lot to deal with. She does so realistically and with smarts.

I was quickly engrossed in the story. The details of the Amish life were fascinating and played into the story in an integral way. The balance between the modern and the Amish made for a difficult line for a police chief to walk. The fact that she was raised in a conservative Amish household doesn’t always help, or even often help. Nevertheless, she sticks to her investigation and uncovers the layers of truth. The mystery was complex and believable and made a lot of sense when revealed. The personalities of the town and the Amish were well-drawn and helped make this book a page turner.

The writing was sharp, the dialog fast and delightful, and the various minor characters well-drawn and vibrant. Kate’s a sympathetic character and her relationship with Tomasetti felt genuine and sometimes heart-wrenching.

All that said, I did have a couple of issues with the book. First, it’s told in present tense. While this mostly works to create a lot of tension as events unfold, it also can be disconcerting. Sometimes it threw me out of the story. That may be entirely personal. The other thing was the hog part of the story. I grew up on a ranch and had pigs. What’s in this story is all accurate, except for the part about the pigs beings very hungry/starving. Why would any farmer starve his stock? Farmers want to make money. If they can’t feed their animals, they sell them. So this part really tripped me up. Especially since there was plenty of at least hay to feed the animals, and they could have been let out to forage and fenced into a larger area. Pigs eat anything, including table scraps and carrion. I just find it kind of unbelievable that they are so underfed. This is the reason I give the book 4 instead of 5 stars.

All in all, this is an engrossing mystery. It makes me want to pick up more in the series.

 

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

Jun. 3rd, 2015

me

Book review: Last Shot by Eve Gaddy

I gave this book five stars.

I received this book from NetGalley.

I so thoroughly enjoyed this Last Shot by Eve Gaddy. I couldn’t put it down, in fact. It’s a romance with a mystery. Nick is a homicide cop who’s coming off a bad case, and Della is a waitress with a troubled background. Both Nick and Della were amazing characters. They had depth and the problems between them felt real and not manufactured. I wondered if I’d feel that it went on too long, but it didn’t at all. I thought the emotional growth and development was perfect and realistic.

I thought that the bad guys (names redacted for spoilers) might be a little thin and wish there’d been a little bit more development there, but in the end, it didn’t detract from the story. I was afraid that the redeemed (ish) bad guy would get forgiven, but he wasn’t.

Allie was well-drawn as a kid and the relationship between her and Della was right on. It was lovely to see a kid who was part of the story and not just tacked on for effect.

All in all the writing on this book was compelling, the relationships so realistic and powerful, and the ending pulled everything together perfectly. I so enjoyed this book.

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

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Jun. 1st, 2015

me

days pass

This weekend we took my dad to the emergency room to get his foot checked out. He’d had an infection that wasn’t getting better. So they did an ultrasound and no clots. Gave him more antibiotics and he seems to be improving. They drove to CA today and we are watching their dog, who is a littermate for our dogs. He’s pushy and demanding and my dogs are jealous. Pet pet pet pet.

Working on writing stuff. Am now past the halfway point in the next Diamond City Magic book. I have yet to have a title for it. But I’m excited to have made it past the half. At the same time, I look forward at what I have to pack into the now less-than-half and I start freaking out that I will never be able to get it all in. And so the neuroses of writers evolve throughout a book.

This is a snippet from something totally different I’m working on here and there, when especially when I get stuck:

 

Which means that the trap was meant for us in particular. Why?”

“Because of the box, of course,” a young, feminine voice said.

I spun around to face the door. Just inside was the young woman from the elevator who’d seemed so familiar.

That’s when I realized who she was. The incubus had killed her in Vegas. She was a corpse.

 

 

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

May. 24th, 2015

me

the meaning to and the doing

I’ve been meaning to make another RT post with pictures. Obviously I have not done that yet. I still plan to. But I have to resize the pics and that’s going to take a little bit, cause I can’t do that with my laptop. Or rather, I might be able to, but the program I use is on my other machine.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting writing done, doing boy of size health stuff, taking care of girlie who got sick this weekend, and now I’m trying to overcome a barfy tummy myself. The dogs are doing their best to help by laying next to me and looking very cute.

We went to the coast today and walked on the beach. That was fun. Haven’t been in awhile. Boy did okay, though he did have one seizure episode, but it was short. Girlie had a blast. Found all sorts of cool shells and rocks. Also, the seals were begging from the crab fisherfolk. I think one of them thought that the corgi boys were seals that had found a way to run along the beach. I think it wanted them to come swimming.

I finally got a monkey puzzle tree!!! There’s a nursery that specializes in them out near Pacific City, and so we went there. They had some bigger trees that I couldn’t begin to afford. So this one is only about two feet tall max. It’s a slow growing tree, so I think we’re going to put it in a container for awhile until we can decide to figure out what to do next. And that’s to say where we want to plant it or if we can move other things to plan it and that sort of thing. It’s a girl tree, we think. Apparently boy trees have limbs that go down and then up, and girl trees have limbs that go up from the trunk. Gotta have both if you want to make viable seeds. At this point we don’t. The next tree I want to get is a red dragon contorted filbert. I just have to figure out where to get one.

The drag is that summer is quickly approaching for having kids home. That means my writing could get more fouled up than ever. I hope not.

Oh, went to the farmer’s market on Saturday. Bought some pepper plants. Tomorrow I have to get them in and hopefully plant some other seeds. Melons, cukes, and that sort of thing. I may need to go get some seeds. My cilantro and dill didn’t really take so I’m going to have to replant those. My tomatoes are doing super well. I planted them a little too early, but it hasn’t worked against me yet. Hopefully they’ll start setting fruit soon. Oh, and we’re getting strawberries! The blueberry bushes have berries and so does the loganberry. We put in some new raspberries and I hope they get rooted in nicely for next year.

We still have a bunch of stuff we want to do in the yard. I have a bunch of groundcover seeds to plant, too. So I’m hoping to get them in this week.

Oh, got this ring at the farmer’s market. It’s made by a fabspider ringulous local artist. The ring is silver, the spider is cut from a soda can, and the top is gemmy quartz. I have wanted one since I saw the one she made for herself. I’m working on a spider story and have been forever it seems, and this is motivation to finish. I just love it.

The other ring, btw, I got at RT. You can’t see it well, but it’s rainbow moonstone. I love moonstone and this has really nice rainbow flash.

And a little snippet of something I’m working on. It’s rough, but hope you enjoy:

With a flick of Law’s fingers, the magic surrounding the demon melted. Instantly the creature leaped to his feet, propelled by powerful legs and the sharp downsweep of his outstretched wings.

He faced us. The shine on his skin had faded along with the layer of lubricant goo. His eyes had gone black with small hole of orange in the center, just as they’d looked in Tabitha’s memory. He swayed like he was going to pounce, wings upraised, his bony fingers curling, talons clacking together.

Happy Memorial Day. I am so grateful for all those who serve. I planned a post to talk about it, but I don’t know if I’ll pull myself together, so I’m seizing the day. I’m grateful for those who put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

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

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May. 17th, 2015

me

Back from RT

I’m going to have to do a more thinky post and right now I’m dead tired. My roomie woke me up 20 minutes early before my alarm because she had a dream that I had changed my flight time. So the weird part came when we checked my flight time online and holy crap! It HAD changed to almost 2 hours earlier. Now that could have happened anytime between when I bought the ticket and today. I didn’t get a notification that I’m aware of. I should have checked online earlier, clearly. And then also in the middle of the night we got a flash flood warning alert on the phone. So sleeping was . . . limited. But I’m still amazed that Jeannette got me up early based on a dream and was right.

The flights was easy and I got home fine and snuggled and hugged and turned over a bunch of my collected swag to the kidlets, then we had food, and then I slept. Now I’m wrapping my head around RT and all that happened. I have so many pictures. Well, some anyhow. I have to size them down so I can post them.

I wonder if I should do a Tumblir or something. But I know nothing about it. Is that a good picturey posting place? Instagram? I have no clue.

RT was amazing on a whole lot of levels. I will hopefully do a post on that soon.

 

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

May. 15th, 2015

me

All the things

I want to report on all the things, but my memory is slippery and fuzzy. So some highlights. I had breakfast with Jeannette Cheney, Ilona and Gordon Andrews this morning. That was a lot of fun. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Ilona and Gordon and so it was nice to get caught up. Yesterday I had breakfast with Jill Smith, the woman who reviews my books for RT. She was awesome. So neat to get to meet her in person and actually get acquainted. I had a late lunch with Patty and Mike Briggs today, again, it was so nice to catch up. I’ve missed seeing them and they are as wonderful as ever. All of the above–good people.

Had a fabulous panel today. Met Nicole Peeler, who was captain, and then Chloe Neill was moderator. Other panelists were Jeanne Stein, Samantha Sommersby, Patty Briggs, Richelle Mead, and Diana Rowland. We had a good time. After, I got to talk to some fans and then I had the best moment ever. A gentleman approached Patty and he was so overcome, he got teary. He was such a fan. So I took a picture of them together and tried not to get all weepy myself.

I’ve talked to a lot of different writers, here, and it’s so fascinating to see how romance writers approach cons, and publishing, and promotion. It’s so very different from my experiences in a lot of ways. Jeannette did another post on swag, with more pictures. Let me tell you, there’s an amazing amount. And odd stuff. You could come home with a suitcase or more of just free stuff. I’m boggled. I haven’t done as many of the fan events as I’d have liked, but I did help set up the Mad Hatter tea party, and then I stayed to play and watch. It was a lot of fun and I really was wowed. I wonder if I could get a few authors to want to do something like it at an sf con.

One thing I want to mention is the pattern on the rugs in the hallways on the room levels. It’s a gray carpet, with, what appears to be, a river of pee running through the whole thing. I’ve been meaning to take pictures. I will attempt to remember this. But it is now and forever going to be, the river of pee.

I had a fun panel yesterday with Jenna Black, Carol Nelson Douglas, Patricia (Pooks) Burroughs, and a lifesize cutout of Severus Snape. And I got to meet my Samhain editor, Latoya Smith, who is totally amazing. I also cheated on my dogs with another corgi. I needed some puppy love and it was a corgi. What could I do?

I’ve spent some time in the bar drinking fuzzy navels (don’t judge!) and screwdrivers. I tried a beer that was way too hoppy for me. And bitter.

Tomorrow is the big signing. I’m told this will be a huge event. I can’t wait to see what it will be like really. I hope that I’ll see a few fans.

I haven’t taken nearly enough pictures. I always forget to do that.

I’m sure I have more to report, but my head is stuffed so full of experiences I can hardly sort it out. Oh! But I walked by the JFK memorial and took some pictures. I saw the grassy knoll and the Texas Book Depository building. It seems so close together.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Having a good time. Hope you all are, too.

 

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

May. 13th, 2015

me

So far from RT 2015

RT officially really gets off to a start today. I’m stunned at the hotel. Rather, at the amount of swag that we got that authors or publishers pay for, and you should see the banners and such. They wrap every surface, some twenty or thirty foot tall. My cool little nametag holder was donated, so was the canvas goodie bag, I got pens and notebooks, a flashlight, books, and tons and tons of other stuff. I can’t even tell you. My roomie, J. Kathleen Cheney, posted about it with pictures. Have a look. Seriously. Have a look. And that doesn’t even include the goody room (which had a line ten miles long out of it today) or the promotion alley. It’s pretty boggling the difference between this convention and general SF conventions. AND stir in the fact that on Saturday for the big signing, apparently a lot of non-attendees will flood in. I can hardly wait to see that. I hope some come to see me!

Went to a presentation by the Wattpad people. It sounds really cool, but then Lori Perkins (agent) mentioned that there are copyright issues for going on to publish beyond Wattpad and so it requires some thought. The statistics were interesting. Eightfive percent of users use mobile devices to access Wattpad. Including writers who write on their phones, frequently. Forty-five percent of users are 13-18, and 40% are 18-30. The site is growing by leaps and bounds, and they started an offshoot/separate window called After Dark for stuff that’s a little racier. It sounds interesting and really has potential as a promotional tool, but then again, there are copyright worries for future publishing, so care has to be exercised.

Next up for me is my panel on Happily Ever After: Writing Beyond the Kiss. Should be a lot of fun.

There are a lot of people here. The hallways to and fro remind me of Norwecon’s panel hallway between panels. It’s really astonishing. I’m really excited to be here.

Planning on barconning tonight.

 

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

May. 11th, 2015

me

Texas I am in you

And I’m spreading my germs. Bwhahahahaha!

I’m here for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, which looks to be a lot of unholy fun. The flight was smooth and the TSA check-in was weirdly fast, and generally all went well getting here and getting installed in my room. Tomorrow J. Kathleen Cheney arrives so that we can wreak havoc!! (Little does she know).

I hear the puppies are very sad and one may need a little puppy prozac. Poor thing. He suffers so when I abandon him.

I started to read a book on the plane. Found it to be unbearable (received from netgalley), and moved on to a different one, which was candy. Not particularly well-written, and yet compelling all the same. A good plane book. I have read 17 books this year. That’s horrifically low in many ways, especially eyeing my TBR books, but at the same time, given my own writing, it’s not as bad as could be. I expect I’ll read another on the plane and more while at the pain clinic with the Boy.

Tomorrow is still early for the convention, so I may write, or go wander about if it’s not too hot and rainy.

 

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

May. 6th, 2015

me

Really cool unusual and witty title

I’m working on getting ready for RT Booklovers in Dallas. I have never been and I have little by way of swag to give away. Part of me feels a little bit like a failure before I go–that I’m not making the best use of the convention and it ain’t cheap to go. My major hope while there is that I’ll get to meet some readers and have fun with them, plus get to meet some writers. I just have to focus on having fun. I’ve been really nervous and antsy about it. I think it’s the flight. I’m hoping not to run into thunderstorms while flying. I get to room with the marvelous J. Kathleen Cheney, and I’ll get to meetup with Patty Briggs, whom I haven’t seen in awhile. And I’ll get to meet Jill Smith and some other people I know online and have never met in person.

I put some purple in my hair today. Not sure how well it took. May have to repeat. I also picked up some new business cards to hand out at RT.

Boy of size was sitting on his new fitball the other day, working on his PT. The damned thing popped. He dropped like a rock. Hurt his butt. I couldn’t stop laughing.

So it looks like he has something called PNES. Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. That means the seizures are more a result of trauma/physical illness. So the long ongoing illness, the tests, the move, the year we lived apart from his dad, new school–all that has contributed. The treatment is similar to what he’s been doing for his stomach (and the stomach is all part and parcel, likely). I hope we can get this handled. In the meantime, he did his interview to get into the Early College High School Program. We’ll find out in a week or so if he gets in.

For whatever reason, I’m sort of emotionally down. Melancholy. Hopefully I pick up. I take the boy to the pain clinic tomorrow, and the next day we see the Cirque de Soleil. I’m really excited about it. Less exciting is that both trips to Portland coincide with a visit by President Obama. I’m hoping the traffic isn’t insane.

 

 

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

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May. 3rd, 2015

me

What happened, happened

That probably sounds ominous, but isn’t. The weekend passed. I even got some things done. Tried to give myself heat stroke. That was silly. Mostly we planted things, did yard things, house things, and tried to sort through the health things. I am trying not to read book reviews or lament that so few reviews have popped up for Edge. I hope people are reading and enjoying.

And now must run. Boy of size is getting sick again.

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

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