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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.

May. 2nd, 2015

me

Naomi Novik, Uprooted review

received this book from NetGalley. And while I’ve seen it referred to as a Temeraire book, it’s not. It comes out May 19th, I think.

Uprooted  is a total keeper. It reminds me of books by Patricia McKillip and Robin Mckinley, and that’s a serious compliment. It’s a kind of a fairy tale, the kind the Grimms might have told. The language is both plain and lyrical. The book celebrates magic, but it’s not a light book. It has a lot of darkness, both of magic and in the souls of people. It’s a story about choosing who you want to be, and right and wrong is not easy to choose or know.

I loved the magic–and there’s a lot of it. It’s a rich story with rich, deep worldbuilding. Agniezka (and I’m probably butchering that name) is a wonderful character. She’s young and foolhardy, yet wise and brave. She’s loyal to a fault. The other characters are less developed and maybe a little thin. I didn’t have trouble with that, because it fit with the fairytale nature, and they were full enough for me, plus Agniezka is well-developed. One complaint I have is about Dragon. While I can see why she comes to like him–whatever he says, his actions show loyalty, friendship, and kindness, even as they frequently show the opposite–I wanted him to have a few more signs of likeability. Possibly more demonstrated emotion aside from annoyance, anger, and frustration.

The book is very complete and stand-alone, though I’m hoping for more to come because I love the world and the history and I want to know more.

I don’t want to offer spoilers, so I’m not going to go into more specifics, but I totally recommend this book. It’s delicious to read and I didn’t want to put it down. Absolutely worth the time and money.

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

Apr. 26th, 2015

me

Sunday sunny Sunday and Trace of Magic is on sale!

This week has been a rollercoaster. We’ve been working on getting Boy of Size into a neuro, which is not so easy, as they seem to have long lines. Same with getting the EEG. He is doing better the last couple days and not sleeping so much. He’s grown more, though, so maybe some of the sleeping is growing. It’s just really hard to watch him go through this and not to be able to help.

It has only been a slight distraction from the release of Edge of Dreams. What reviews I’ve seen have mostly been positive, so that’s good. But I still feel itchy that there aren’t more of them appearing. I keep feeling that no one is reading. I know, author paranoia. And the thing is that really, all I can do is keep writing.

And that brings me to the problem that I’m having a terrible time writing this week. See above on Boy of Size. So I’ve been reading. I discovered SM Reine. How is it possible I never picked up her books before? I know she’s been recommended to me. Sigh. I’m behind. I’m pretty sure I have other books of hers on my kindle, so I’m going to have to do more.

I’m trying to read more and do some reviews. Partly because some of the books are coming from netgalley, partly because I like to talk about the books. It’s crazy how easy it is to stop reading and watch bad TV. So now it’s more of a goal. I do keep track of the books I read in a year in the hopes that I’ll notice when I am not reading. Maybe keep myself honest.

I have some twisties going on in the next Diamond City Magic book. Kind of unexpected (a lot unexpected) but totally perfect. Picture me chortling.

Trace of Magic is on sale for the kindle at $3.99! So if you know anybody who hasn’t tasted the book yet, now’s a great time. Spread the word!

I had nightmares last night in which I was required to do math problems. Math. Problems. WTF???

I have to fly to Dallas in a couple weeks for RT and with all the weather reports, I’m growing unenthusiastic. Gulp! I’m an RT virgin, so I’m also a little bit floundery about that. It should be tons of fun, once I’m on the ground.

The girlie’s birthday is today. I’ve got to make a cake. I’ve got to go to the grocery store. I should get on that. I did wrap stuff. So I am on top of that.

What are you doing today?

 

 

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

Apr. 24th, 2015

me

Book Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

First, the caveat. I got this book from Netgalley as an advanced reader copy.

This is one of those books that makes you think. It makes you consider what you’d do in the same situation, and it makes you consider what choices you’d come to–what would be the most important thing to you.

I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’m going to try to be careful. I plan to err on the side of vague. The book is about Em, who wakes up in a coffin. She breaks out and discovers she’s in a dusty room with several other coffins. She doesn’t know her name. She has some memories, but a lot of blank spots. She soon finds several others in the same boat, and now they have to find out where they are, who put them in the coffins, and most importantly, find their way home.

One of the things that some people will find off-putting is that the story is told in present tense. Normally that would drive me nuts, except that the present tense makes a lot of sense because it works well with the element of discovery. Em is constantly discovering things–she has little sense of the past or the future, so the present is where she lives. All her decisions have to be based on the now because she has no experience or any sense of what the consequences might be. It makes her situation tense, to say the least.

I enjoyed the story. It was gripping and at times grim. It didn’t shy away from the difficult aspects. In fact, it embraced them, but focused more on the personal consequences of the choices and the events. Each character has to learn who s/he is. This is a story about identity. What makes it unique is that the identities the characters have no outside references to decide who they are, or what they should do or not do. This means they are stuck with making decision based on simply who they are without any external guidance or pre-existing framework of morals, except for a handful of memories that aren’t all that useful.

The book raises a lot of meaty themes. The question of nature vs nurture when it comes to personality and self. Then there’s the question of religion and what value it has. Leadership is important, and loyalty and friendship. When does the group outweigh the individual? There are questions of consequences and whether you can choose beyond your nature.

My only complaints about the book are that the religious element comes a little out of nowhere. I wish it had been eased in a little more intuitively rather than just arriving. It made sense and fit perfectly as the story went forward, but the arrival was awkward and unexpected. I also thought the leadership quandary was a little bit heavy handed, though a lot of it made sense and the doubts were important as well as the choices eventually made. Especially in light of the fact that they were based on the here and now and what logic the people could scrape together. There was no way to predict consequences and that made choices really scary. Another oddity, to me, was the basis in Aztec/Mayan culture. I wasn’t entirely sure why that was the case. I also wanted to know how and why the monsters appeared as they did–I won’t say more, since that would be spoilerific, and it really isn’t very important to the story, but just something I’m curious about.

Once several revelations/discoveries are made, the development of the relationships become more interesting and important. I don’t want to say much more because of spoilers, but just that there were some really cool and smart developments between the characters that blossomed in unusual ways by the end of the book.

Also, it was fun how Sigler mixed races in this book in unusual ways.

I’d totally recommend this book. I am hoping there will be a sequel. I’m totally going to have my kids read it.

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

Apr. 20th, 2015

me

Book review–Jennifer Estep’s Cold Burn of Magic

First, the caveat: I got this book from Netgalley.

I’m a fan of Jennifer Estep’s writing. I’ll start with that. Cold Burn of Magic is first in a new YA series. Now I have to admit, I often don’t care as much for the YA series because they are a little too young for me. They deal with stuff that I’m long past and while they are good, it’s about 50-50 that the book will grab me. Exceptions include Robin LeFevers’ His Fair Assassin series, and now, Cold Burn of Magic. Not that it won’t appeal to its intended audience, but just that it appeals to me, too.

I thought the world was really cool. It’s a mix of modern and medieval, but it totally makes sense. There’s cool magic and a cool mythology. In the town, you’ve got open magic, and people with magic have unique talents, some more unique than others. The town is run by mob families and there’s a lot of danger. (For those of you who’ve read my Diamond City Magic books, you’ll smile at that familiarity). Anyhow, the story revolves around Lila Merriweather who is a teenaged thief and weapons expert who’s been living off the proverbial grid for four years since she left the foster care system. Her mother was murdered, and she’s alone, except for Mo, a friend and pawnshop broker.

Lila gets involved with a mob family and gets roped into a working as a bodyguard. The family is under attack, and so things quickly progress from there.

I really enjoyed the characters. The teens were believable, and so were the adults. Lila was a well-written character, and likeable. Oscar, the redneck, cowboy fairy, was absolutely awesome. Claudia, the head of the Sinclair family, was a lovely mix of loyalty and ruthlessness. The roots of romance were established, as well as a Romeo and Juliet situation. Nothing was resolved in the romantic department, and I think that will be fun to see play out.

I read the book quickly and didn’t want to put it down. I really loved the worldbuilding, the interplay between the characters, and the development of Lila. She had angst, but totally believable and not annoying. She made mistakes, but never fell into the too-stupid-to-live category. She had to make unforgiving choices. The mystery is good, and while I suspected the bad guy, there were twists that I didn’t see. The bridge seen was well foreshadowed, maybe too well, but it was necessary, I think.

I totally recommend this book. It was fun and I’ve already preordered the next one. I hope there is more of the wild world in the next one, and I know we’ll see more of the dangers of the mob families. I look forward to seeing the relationships develop, and not just the romantic ones. The other relationships are compelling and fraught and so well done.

I’d give this a 4/4 stars for me. I would totally recommend this book and I plan to encourage my son to read it.

Here’s a link to have a look for yourself.

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

Apr. 17th, 2015

me

a snippet from Diamond City Magic book #3

I am so eager to hear how people are responding to Edge of Dreams. I’ve chewed my nails to the quick and Costco is having a sale on double carmel Magnum bars, which has only partially settled me down. I’ve only (or already!) got 4 reviews on Amazon and this makes me nervous that everybody is either thinking, meh, don’t feel like reading that any time soon, or everybody hates it and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Obviously the world is terribly concerned about my feelings. Give me another Magnum Bar.

So in honor of my total anxiety, what snippet from the yet nameless book three, written today. Bear with the roughness and the mispellings and poor grammar and all that.

“Looks like Savannah Morrell knows him better than you do,” I taunted, though there wasn’t much to feel triumphant about. After all, Touray had been captured by his Tyet enemy, and Morrell wasn’t exactly known to be Glinda, the good witch. She was more the psychotic witch from the land of We Are So Fucked. The only thing that was going to keep Touray alive was the fact that he had some of the Kensington artifacts, and she wanted them.

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

Apr. 15th, 2015

me

Happy Book Birthday to me!

Edge of Dreams has officially been born. I’m totally excited and yet absolutely panicked that nobody will like it. So pretty much, all is normal.

I have been thinking about what I should talk about on the day of book birth. You know, in childbirth, people just coo over the baby and don’t expect much from the mom. I can’t really set out party favors and streamers and serve cake. That’s seems sort of rude when nobody is nearby to attend. That leaves me to just babble on in interesting and hopefully entertaining ways to possibly whet your appetite.

I’m thinking I want to talk to you about Diamond City and what makes it special. First of all, it’s built on a prehistoric volcanic caldera. It’s such an old and deep volcano, that there are diamonds inside it. I love that setting. Just the idea of an enormous treasure place. Maybe it’s the fact that I love rocks and I want to learn to rockhound my own. I go scouring estate sales and riverbeds and the coast looking for treasures. So Diamond City is dear to my heart. I wish I had a place like that that was full of such treasure to dig in.

Under the caldera are ley lines of great power. I love the way magic becomes organic to the place. Some are given magic talents and some aren’t. What’s fun is how silly some of the talents are. I haven’t thought of all of them yet, but some are very limited. I should have you give me some ideas on useless magical talents. Anybody? Like maybe speeding up broccoli cooking on the stove? Or the ability to summon slugs.

We learn some cool stuff in this book about the area, that would be terrifically spoilerific, so I’ll not talk about those. I like the way there’s a diamond dole. That everybody makes a base amount from the diamond mines–sort of like the way people get money from oil in Alaska. It helps people in Diamond City afford to live there, for one. And also keeps people happier living there.

I’ve figured out some new stuff for the third book, or maybe the fourth, that I can’t mention here, but are really cool things about the Tyet factions and how that works. I’ll be looking at the larger world beyond Diamond City, and maybe even traveling to some other places.

There’s a lot of wealth in Diamond City–from diamonds, from illegal activities, and from legal activities. I love the idea of digging into a society that has a lot of money, some have magic, some don’t, and yet people aren’t necessarily happy. There’s so much fear and corruption in the culture that it’s impossible to ever feel truly safe. That’s a truth of many people all over the world historically and in the present, and I wanted to explore that.

I wanted mystery and that noir feel of the world. I may not be a hugely noirish storyteller, but the world has some of that shape and color. It’s got that kind of dirt and edginess.

I like romance. On top of that, I think people are driven by those sorts of feelings to do many things. Jealousy, lust, love, pride–all those sorts of things. So there’s romance. It’s not easy, and there will probably be more (I’m not sure between which characters yet and I’m not sure when, but again, romance/sex is a part of life).

I’m also digging into Riley’s past and you’re going to get to meet some more of her family. I’m not going to say anymore than that yet.

Diamond City has great beauty and great ugliness and a lot of secrets. These are things I plan to keep exploring.

 

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

Apr. 13th, 2015

me

Counting down

Tick tick tick . . . It’s almost April 15th . . . taxes are due and Edge of Dreams arrives!!!!  You can now preorder the print book, and you can read the first chapter here on my website. Just click through the Diamond City Magic tab and scroll down to read an excerpt. Or . . . I could save you all that trouble and just give you the link. LINK.

I’ve been trying to figure out things to blog about. My editor wants me to encourage reviews, particularly on Amazon. There’s a method to that madness, because the more I get, the more likely they can talk Amazon into doing a specific promotion. So I would love for you to review and spread the word and go forth and help me conquer. It doesn’t help that I haven’t really prepared anything for promotion. The stuff with my son has monopolized me, and the work on book three, which is coming along well and I’m enjoying a lot. Between that stuff, mom stuff, and generally keeping my head afloat, I confess I’m a little bit panicked about the launch of this book. I so want people to read it and enjoy it. I know it sounds crazy, but one thing I want is for it to get more reviews on Amazon than Trace of Magic. Like that’s actually any measure of anything. But I’ve never had a second book do better than a first and I don’t even know if it’s possible.

It’s writer neurosis. It’s like a bubbling hot acid mix of 16 year old hormones, PMS, that terror you get when your plane is crashing, and the feeling of riding a roller coaster, all rolled into one and magnified by about 30. That. Right there. Get me some chocolate, chai, and alchohol STAT!!!

I cleaned my kitchen in an effort to make myself feel better. It did not work. My stomach is literally in knots. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced this on a launch before.

Okay, I’m going to shut up now and read something. Or snuggle a dog, because . . . fuzz therapy, as my son calls it.

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

Apr. 10th, 2015

me

Finishing books

I have always finished books that I’ve started. It’s an innate sense of obligation that I have to. I have no idea what engendered that need in me, but I wonder if as I’ve become a writer, it’s partly the mentality that I would hate people not to finish my books. Yet I’ve started several books this year that I haven’t finished. The worst part is I actually liked two of them A LOT. The others kind of petered out and bored me. I don’t understand why I haven’t gone back to finish the ones that I like, and I’ve felt only slightly guilty in not picking up the ones I felt meh about. I’m reaching the point where there are too many books and too little time.

The funny thing is that the books aren’t necessarily bad. I have no violent urge to put them through the garbage disposal. Mostly they just don’t have anything going that makes me want to keep reading. This is not necessarily the fault of the book. I’ve become a little bit distractable. Here! Shiny! and off I go. I’d like to change that. I’d like to read more in general. I have tons of books on the TBR mountain, and so I have plenty to choose from.

How about you? Do you ever not finish books? Why? or

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

Apr. 9th, 2015

me

working and thinking and doing

The story on the boy is that he likely has functional abdominal pain syndrome, and functional vomiting, which means there’s no real physical cause like a tumor or cancer or a disease. Instead, his nerves are responding incorrectly to stimuli. It could be that he’s too full, or gas, bloating, anything like that. Even hunger. His nerves are not processing things right and so he’s in pain and sick. There’s no silver bullet treatment, or a drug. There are a couple drugs we can try, and there’s the pain clinic. That’s the thing that’s most likely to help him.

I am exhausted. Or sick. I haven’t decided. Whatever it is, I can’t seem to want to wake up. I’m a little bit congested, so wondering if I have a cold of some sort. Or maybe it’s the stressload.

I’m making good progress on book three of Diamond City Magic. And the new book comes out in a week and I’ve done nothing for promotion. So spread the word if you like. Please? It’s a really good book. Promise.

There’s a lot going on with the kerfuffle over the Hugos. Right now, I can’t bring myself to care about them. At all. Maybe because I will likely never be a contender and so they’ve never really been front and center in my world. This year it has more to do with the fact that it takes a lot of energy to care about all the nonsense, and because I don’t have the spoons for them. I do feel sorry for those who were nominated and are caught up in this. Many are talented, deserving of winning awards, and yet they are getting maligned and celebrated and hardly know where to turn.

 

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

Apr. 5th, 2015

me

home again and tired

Had a fabulous weekend of few responsibilities, lots of laughter, and general fun. I saw tons of people, met new ones, and f-bombed my way through the weekend. It was that sort of a weekend. I spent most of my time in the bar. I slept precious little, however, thanks to fun and talking and a less than comfortable bed. Came home and napped and am about to climb into bed again. I had meant to get some work done this weekend, but didn’t do any. Tomorrow I take the boy up to Seattle for a consultation and maybe tests. I have no idea. no idea how long we’ll be there or what. It’s play it by ear.

Dogs missed me. Have been clingy since I’ve been home. Feel bad I’m abandoning them tomorrow again.

I’d like to say more interesting things at this point, but really, my brain is total mush. So I’m going to bed. I will check in as I can.

 

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

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Mar. 29th, 2015

me

of news and news

So first, this. You can win a copy of Edge of Dreams from Goodreads! Enter now.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Edge of Dreams by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Edge of Dreams

by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Giveaway ends April 13, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


In other news, I sort of fell off my bike and hurt my wrist on Friday. It’s feeling better, but it was stupid. I’m working on building up stamina to do hills on my bike, since I live on hills and that’s the only way to functionally ride my bike is if I can manage to pedal up inclines. I did the sort of fall off upon arriving back in my own driveway, because I’m an idiot.

I will be at Norwescon. Did I mention that? No panels. Just hanging out, so let me know if you want to get together.

I will be taking my son to Seattle to the children’s hospital the week after in the hopes they will be able to actually treat him. We consult first, and then hopefully they can do other things within a day or so.

In the meantime, I’m writing, trying to squeeze reading in, trying to clean the house and organize and etc.

 

 

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

Mar. 25th, 2015

me

Not dead yet

There are bad things going on in this country. I hate that people are passing laws to permit discrimination. It’s so very wrong. Why do people have to be such fucking assholes?

The boy has up days now and down days and I’m battling with the doctor for a referral. Or not so much battling, as getting ignored and pissed off. But I’m going another route, so hoping to have progress tomorrow.

Great progress on the next Diamond City Magic book. Which is to say, I’ve been writing it and it’s coming along well as far as I can tell. I’m at least entertained at this point, which counts. For me anyhow. Remember, Edge of Dreams comes out in less than a month!!!! I’m so excited. I can’t wait to hear what you all think. So long as you think good things. I can really wait on the other.

And since I forgot to post this, The cover!!!  (sorry, I don’t have an actual image of my own yet, so the link). I love it. What do you think?  Actually, that wasn’t the cover, was it. It’s Do you want to hide a body, which I find terribly amusing, so I’m leaving it.

And the actual cover . . . .

Also, the proofer for the manuscript sent my editor some really cool comments on the book.  How cool is that? I’ve never had that happen before.

And The Black Ship got a great review!

I’m going to be at Norwescon. I’m going to be incognito–no panels. Just being social. So if anyone is going to be there, let me know. I’ll be up for hanging out.

Also, I did not commit child murder today. This was a good. Teenagers are hard. Sick teenagers are harder. But I was able to channel my irritation into the scene in my book. No death, but a good argument.

 

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

Mar. 11th, 2015

me

David Coe’s Spell Blind

As I mentioned last week or so, I read David Coe’s Spell Blind. I really enjoyed it. It’s a murder mystery/police procedural/noir/fantasy novel with great characters and well-developed relationships. I can’t wait to see how they play out. There’s Justis’ old partner, his dad, his enemy from the police force, his informants, and many others. So much richness and a cool magic system. I want to blather on more, but I don’t want to offer spoilers. Suffice it to say, this is a really great book, and one that you should read. sbBuy it now.

I asked David if he would come by and answer a few questions for me, so without further ado, here’s David:

1.  Why don’t you start by telling us a little about SPELL BLIND and the Case Files of Justis Fearsson?

Sure. This is a contemporary urban fantasy set in modern day Phoenix, Arizona. My lead character, Justis “Jay” Fearsson, is a weremyste, which means that he is a conjurer, a wizard, a mage — whatever you want to want to call him. But every month, on the night of the full moon, and the nights immediately before and after, he loses control of his mind and his magic. His hold on reality weakens, but his power strengthens. And over the long run, these phasings, as they’re called, are going to drive him permanently insane, just like they did his father, who is also a weremyste.

Jay used to be a cop, but the phasings cost him his job and so now he’s a private detective. And as the book begins, he is drawn back into the investigation of a serial murder that haunted him during his time on the force.

2.     This book is quite different in some ways than previous books you’ve written (though clearly you’ve done mystery with your fabulous Thieftaker books). Talk about how and why you came to write this book.

I first started working on the Justis Fearsson series nearly a decade ago, after finishing the last book in Winds of the Forelands, a five book epic fantasy series that had consumed me for years. (Before that I write the LonTobyn trilogy — also epic fantasy.) As I began the Fearsson book (in a form that bears little resemblance to the finished product) I also started writing Blood of the Southlands, an epic fantasy trilogy. And so I was looking to do just what you say: I wanted to write something that was as different from my older work as it could be.

I wanted to write mystery, I wanted to have modern characters who could speak and act and curse like people do in our modern world. I wanted them to drive cars, because I was sick to death of writing about horses. I wanted them to go to malls and movies and night clubs, because I’d had enough of castles. And, most important, I had an idea for a character whose access to magic was slowly driving him insane, which is the central premise of this new series. Setting it in our world seemed like the natural thing to do, not only because it would be something new to write after all those epic fantasies, but because the power of his descents into madness would be amplified by having him deal with the mundane things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

As to how, I wrote the book, that’s a more convoluted story. This book has been through so many rewrites it’s not even funny. I have changed the main plot, the magic system, the pacing — everything. Or rather, everything except the characters, who I love. It was my love of them and their interactions that kept me working on this manuscript long after any sane writer would have given up. But I finally got it right, and I really love the finished product.

3.     One of the toughest things I find about writing a mystery is keeping the book moving while still maintaining the suspense. You did a really great job of capturing the procedural, developing characters, and pacing the mystery. What sort of difficulties did you run into writing the mystery and how did you solve them?

Well, as I say, I went through many, many rewrites on this book. So I certainly didn’t get it right at first. Thanks, though, for the kind words. I think the toughest thing for me was pacing the action. Early incarnations of the novel really dragged in the first quarter. I wanted to build the action gradually, to ratchet up the tension. I realized though, with the help of beta readers, that I was holding back too much in those early pages. In the end, I found that the best way to overcome the slowness of those early pages, while also not giving away too much too soon, was to introduce my magic system in the opening chapters. And when I say introduce the magic, I don’t mean explain it. Rather, I wanted to show my reader the magic through early conflicts and action scenes, and through my protagonist’s interactions with his magical mentor, who is a really cool character.

Magic lies at the heart not only of the plot, but also of the mystery and the motivations of the big bad. And so using the magic in this way was not at all a distraction. Quite the opposite; it set up the later revelations that are so central to the novel’s ending. And, as I say, I took care of those early pacing issues.

4.     You mention in the acknowledgements that you consulted with members of the police and ME departments in Phoenix to get the details right. What did you learn that surprised you?

I’m not sure that I was surprised by anything in particular. Being surprised implies that I had pre-conceived notions of what I would learn, and I was so totally ignorant about police and medical examiner departments that I didn’t have any notion of what to expect. But what I got from those conversations and email exchanges were the tiny details that make the procedural aspects of the novel come to life. Things like:

— Police headquarters in Phoenix is called “620” because it sits at 620 West Washington Street in downtown Phoenix.

— Detectives used to have their own offices, but cutbacks at the department forced them into cubicles. And since their work spaces were no longer secure, many of them had to go out and buy those fireproof safes that they sell at Target so that they would have a place to store sensitive documents.

— And so many other little tidbits about sign-in procedures at the ME’s office and the appearance of the various body storage facilities.

I could have faked this stuff, or not included those details, and most people wouldn’t have noticed. But small details like that are the bread and butter of a writer. They lend a sense of realism, of verisimilitude to what we do. Without them, our books are more bland, and less convincing. With them, our stories come to life. That’s what I got from those conversations with the generous professionals at the Phoenix police and ME departments.

5.     Where is the next book going, if you can do that without spoilers. I have to admit, I want to see Justis work with his dad. When will we be able to find it on the shelves?

The second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson is called HIS FATHER’S EYES, so you’re going to get your wish. Justis’s father, who, as I said before, is also a weremyste, and who has largely lost his mind at this point, is being tormented by dark sorcerers for reasons Jay can’t figure out. And so Jay has to help him, and eventually work with him, in order to solve the mystery. This next volume also features a billionaire financier with ties to dark magic, a ruthless drug kingpin, were-creatures, a terrorist attack, and the murder of a powerful runemyste.
I really love this book and am pleased to say that it will be out on August 4.

 

Di again: As I said, I loved this book, and I can’t wait for the next. I really wanted more on Justis’ dad, so I’m over the moon.

This is a link to David’s website, and has a link to a sample chapter from the book.

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

Mar. 10th, 2015

me

Home again

The writing retreat was wonderful. I wrote about 18,000 words in four days. Actually, most of that was in three days, with about 1500 on the last day before we left. I had a great time. I got to meet new people whom I thoroughly enjoined, and I got to see friends from last year. I really want to go back next year and every year. The weather was incredible. No rain, which is not what one expects from the Rainforest. I wanted to get out and walk some of the trails, but I kept writing. It felt imperative. I finished a draft of my Weird Wild West story, and nearly finished this novella I’ve been working on.

It was good to get away from home responsibilities. Though apparently the doggies missed me terribly, especially Voodoo. Everybody was still alive when I returned, so that’s a positive.

Yesterday I did a whole lot of work, and precious little of it was business. But I got through all my list, including getting the boy started on enrollment into an online school. All is in the school’s hands now, so I have to wait for them to process stuff.

I wrote a bunch more here, but the blog demons ate it. So . . .

 

 

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

Mar. 4th, 2015

me

Wandering away in a hurry

I’m about to depart for the Rainforest Writers Village for five days, where I hope to do much writing. I’m running away from family and responsibilities. Trying not be overwhelmingly tense about that. It’s not that the man won’t be here to take care of everything, but lately worry has been my best hobby.

Copy edits for Edge of Dreams landed last night, so I”m going to get on those as soon I get back and try to get them out the door in a matter of a few days. Of course, my daughter is having oral surgery next week to remove three baby teeth–two can come out normally, but the third is fused to the jaw, hence the oral surgery. That’s Weds. I also have to see about getting my son moved over into an online school. I found one that will hopefully be a decently robust learning experience. I believe in the classroom learning environment, but since he can’t do that, this school has both a do it on your own time sort of classroom, combined with a virtual together classroom with the teacher and other students. I’m hoping this will work for him. The pain and nausea have in no way decreased for him.

Planted a bunch of plants in the last two days. Have some more to put in when I get back. Bulbs, too. I need to find some rocks to create a succulent patch.

Been reading House Immortal by Devon Monk. Love it. The sequel came out yesterday. I already know I’ll be snatching it up.

Now to get going. I will have limited wifi on the trip, so may or may not post. I should be able to answer emails, however.

 

 

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

Mar. 2nd, 2015

me

Monday hits again

This Monday wasn’t seriously horrible, actually. Boy of size is still suffering a lot of pain. The MM helps for periods, but not for any sort of duration. He’s utterly miserable. The antibiotics don’t seem to be doing much yet, painwise.

I’m going to the Rainforest Writing Retreat on Weds. for five days. I’ve been working on my talk that I’ll be giving there and wondering what the hell I was thinking suggesting this topic. Here’s hoping I get it sorted out. I’ve already written up a bunch of stuff and I’m not at all sure it’s coherent. I suppose I shall make it so.

In the meantime, I’m developing what I can in preparation for a writing blitz and hoping I can find my head and creativity. I’ve got a short story I’m working on for the Weird Wild West anthology I’m a part of. I also have a third Diamond City Magic book to start drafting. A fifth Crosspointe book to think through some more, and a couple of novellas I’ve been toying with. So plenty to do, and maybe too much.

Over the weekend I read David Coe’s Spell Blind. Go read it. Very good. Magic, police procedure, mystery. Well written and I just loved it. Can’t wait for the second. I started reading Devon Monk’s House Immortal today. It’s really good and I can’t wait to read more of it.

We planted some bulbs today, and some pansies. We’ve a bunch more to plant, but I figure progress is good, and it was a bright sunshiny day. I took the dogs for a longish walk, which was also good. The trees on the street are all bursting into bloom, and there are daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, and azaleas everywhere. It’s such a difference from Montana. I feel a little like I’m in wonderland.

 

 

 

 

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

Feb. 26th, 2015

me

ne’er do wells and woebegones

Boy is now on a high powered antibiotic, plus tetracycline. He can have no dairy and no alcohol–not even hand sanitizer. The one cost nearly $500. I hope to hell it works. Plus we got more Medical Marijuana. Trying to figure out a mixture that works. The pain has been beyond awful. It’s so hard to see and not be able to help.

I cut my finger with a knife today and it refused to stop bleeding. Now it hurts.

People are extraordinarily kind. Strangers and friends have offered wonderful help and comfort. My heart is terribly bruised with all that’s happening with the boy and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the kindnesses people have granted me.

I found that one of the raspberries we planted last year and that promptly died has chosen to resurrect. Planted peas and broccoli and early carrots yesterday. Need to get in some lettuce. First I need lettuce seeds. Also planted rose cuttings hope they take.

I kind of want to go around taking cuttings of plants to get started in my garden. I’m not sure people would be very happy with me. Some azaleas up the street are blooming. Lovely. Meanwhile we’re cutting ours out. They are up against the house and very sad. They need to come out. I need to amend the soil and then plant smaller things there.

 

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

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Feb. 22nd, 2015

me

Composting

Oddly, the whole life is about composting. Throw in all the leavings and scrapings and bits and leftovers, and let it molder and turn it into good things that grow other things. That’s my writing process, that my life in general.

The medical marijuana seems to be helping the boy get to a level of tolerable pain. I hope he goes to school this week.

The batteries (two) on our truck died. We charged, and they are running, but we have to get new ones because they are ten years old and this isn’t their first death.

Went to Costco today. Bought boy of size his first electric razor. He’s not enthusiastic about using it. He needs it, however. The fuzzy caterpillar under his nose is one thing, but he’s starting to get weird beard hairs that stick out oddly. Also bought bulbs, which I hope to get in the ground this week.

Also went to a local nursery and bought a bunch of soil amender (compost really) for the garden beds. Plan to get that all rototilled in this week so we can plant some peas, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, and so on.  Sadly, they did not have a monkey puzzle tree, but I put my name down for them to call when they come in. I have a deep love of them.

Had my second sweater knitting class. Now working on the back of the sweater. I’m a little terrified. But jumping in with both feet.

Also been writing. And copy editing. I just hope the boy makes it to school this week. We dragged him out with us this morning even though he was hurting and didn’t want to go. I gave him some MM and just dragged him. I wanted him to see that he can do things despite how he feels and that once the MM kicks in, he’s a lot better off. Hurts my heart to make him do it though. I feel like I’m torturing him.

 

 

 

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

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Feb. 19th, 2015

me

The week flies by

It’s already Thursday night and I look around and don’t know what I’ve done. Lots of kid stuff. Go figure. I did do some writing, and I’ve worked some on my writing. Made some good progress, I think, but not enough. The weather has been absolutely lovely. Warmer than normal. That, I’m sure, is galling for those of you in very cold, very icy, very snowy places. Stay warm and stay safe. I’ve lived in the midwest and the Rockies, and yeah, done cold and icy and snowy and I don’t envy you one bit.

Our patio is mostly in. There’s some small things yet to be done, but apparently that’s going to take another week or so to get the people in. In the meantime, though, there’s a cover for the dogs to keep them out of the rain.

One good thing about drones: the awesome pictures that can be taken, like Niagra Falls from right above and out in front.

Just heard about the superbug that’s going around in LA. Scary shit. The picture of it they show in the news looks like fuzzy pink tic tacs. What’s really scary is that the instrument that they didn’t clean well enough is one that could have been used on my son. Freaks me the hell out.

I want to go on a hike. I’m out of shape and don’t know where I’d go and I the boy is sick, but I’d like to go.

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

Feb. 15th, 2015

me

Bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day

It was a gorgeous day today. About 65 and brilliantly sunny. Crocuses and primroses are blooming in the yard. We took the dogs walking out in a big park downtown. 90 acres, lots of trees. It was delightful. I also met with my knitting teacher to figure out how I’d screwed up my knitting, which was worse than I thought, but we mostly fixed everything. Next time we move on to the next steps.

The boy did acupuncture for the first time yesterday. It may be helping. It’s too soon to tell. I am hoping. I got him to exercise twice today, and that’s a big plus.

I’ve been getting some writing done, along with some reading. That’s all good.

Here’s a little snippet with of the WIP:

He held his hand out. She made herself take it, gripping firmly through her gloves. She didn’t like touching mages. She pulled away, shoving her hands into her coat pockets and curling them into fists.

“Hagen tells me you can read the room,” he said.

Cady’s lips tightened. She forced a smile. “Hagen says a lot of things. Some are even true.”

“Can you read the room?” he demanded.

“Probably.”

“Cady,” Hagen chided, his hand on her shoulder tightening.

Blaze flicked him an irritated glance, which won him a point in her book. The enemy of my enemy . . . Not that the bald giant was her enemy. He’d done everything in his power to protect her since she’d left fieldwork.

That earned an inward grimace. Left it. Like she’d had a choice. Yet here she was, about to go back out where all the boogeymen waited, including Blaze Watkins. Hopefully he didn’t plan to put a knife in her back. Hagen insisted the she could trust the mage, had shown her all the files on him. Or at least the files Hagen wanted her to see. She had no doubt there were more hidden somewhere.

Blaze Watkins had had a stand-up career with the PCIA, and then had gone private after he’d disobeyed orders he didn’t like. Most of that episode had been redacted, but Hagen claimed the mage had had good reasons. Which, coming from the head of the PCIA, could be viewed as a positive endorsement. But then again, only some of the things Hagen said were true. She usually found out which when she was hipdeep in a shit creek with crocodiles chewing her ass.

“You aren’t sure?” Blaze asked.

“I never am until I am,” she said. She bent down to pick up her pack and slung it over her shoulder, dislodging Hagen’s hand in the process. “We’re burning daylight.”

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

Feb. 12th, 2015

me

a week that’s shot

Pretty much this week has been one where precious little gets done. First, my phone is wonky. It shuts itself off and refuses to charge. It won’t take pictures, but won’t tell me why. It freezes and gives me a black death screen. I don’t have any extra apps on it. I use it mainly for pictures, phoning, texting, and email.

My son has had an awful week. These fucking ulcers should be getting better, but his pain and nausea only seem to increase daily. The doctor isn’t offering much help at this point and I am not sure where to turn next. His insurance (which is new this year) doesn’t like the new drug because it’s expensive and want to know if we’ve tried other drugs, so it’s taking forever to actually get any of the new drug. The doc gave samples, but tomorrow we run out and the doc has no more. The primary care doc has approved a medical marijuana card, but apparently my son needs a state approved id and his passport is expired. So we have to go get the id tomorrow.

Because he’s suffering, I’ve been spending more time with him to help keep his anxiety (read panic) down to a manageable level. Been working with him on breathing, on mindful meditation. I did get him to agree to accupuncture, so have to see when I can get in. He’s constantly asking if there’s anything else we can do to help him. I’m really coming to a breaking point and trying not to.

I have done some writing, but precious little words are accumulating and I’m trying not to panic or freak out about how much worse the boy seems to be getting when he’s supposed to be getting better and no one seems to know why and the gastroenterologist isn’t in a hurry to figure it out. She’s sure it will get better. I’ve lost faith that she’s right. I don’t know where to take him next, except maybe the Mayo. All I know is that something is wrong and they need to find it and they need to look harder.

 

 

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

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Feb. 8th, 2015

me

Knitting

I am taking a class on making a sweater. I’ve only been knitting not quite two months. Was feeling pretty good about how well I was getting along, and then the class started. Oh boy. This cable thing is hard. And I’ve committed to a lot of it. And I committed to hard ones. because, idiot much?

I’ve made agonizingly slow progress and my teacher has fixed a whole buttload of my mistakes. She showed me how to fix, but that doesn’t mean I can do the same. So freaking out a little. All the same, going to keep plugging away. Because pain is my friend.

Other than that, I have been attempting to gain control of my house and my life. With little success I might add. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Nope, not a chance. I’ll be writing. And orthodontisting with the girlie. Hopefully the boy will be at school.

And now, to possibly vegetate or knit. Oh, and my yarn ball turned into a tangle. Apparently I really need to winde it before I start, even though it looked like a center pull ball. I may never buy Cascade yarn again after this. So frustrating. Anyhow, I got it wound after much annoying time. Cause I needed to be annoyed more.

 

 

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

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Feb. 5th, 2015

me

Piles of piles of crap

The boy was sick today. Stayed home. Is there an echo in here? Feels like I say that All the Time. It’s old. So fucking old. And then I nearly got in two accidents today, because, well, let’s call a spade a spade. I was driving while awake, but apparently without a clue. I don’t know what happened, but I decided that I don’t want to drive anymore today, and oh, by the way, I could use a stiff drink. My stomach is in knots though, and refuses any drinks, because when I stress, drinking is impossible. In fact, when I’m truly stressed, eating is fairly impossible, so not even potato chips or chocolate cannot save the day.

I did some knitting while sitting with the boy to help him calm down. He freaks out when it gets bad like today. I don’t blame him. I offer what comfort I can. Anyhow, he was in a lot of pain. At least the knitting right now is soothing, rather than hugely frustrating. That may change, however, as I start a sweater class on Saturday this is going to teach me things I do not know, and things that may make me want to go throw myself at the ground as hard as I can.

 

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

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Jan. 31st, 2015

me

When the revision cuts aren’t snippet worthy

Been working on Edge of Dreams revisions. Made a bunch of cuts and thought hey, I could post a snippet or two from the cuts. Except they aren’t worthy. I suppose that’s why they get cut. I didn’t even want to share some darlings that I cut. They lost their shine. So no snippets.

I write on a mac. I use Microsoft word 2008 for make. It’s getting really buggy. Keeps crashing during my revisions. I have no idea why. I really don’t want to update to a newer version. Course I don’t know if I have to subscribe now or not. I hate the ribbon version. I wonder if I should just reinstall from the disk, but then I wouldn’t have all the updates. I am used to word, so I don’t really want to change. I’m not sure what to do. I have Scrivener, but need to learn to use it. I could use Pages, but again, don’t know if it will work for me. I really don’t want a learning curve.

I have no idea what I want to do. Dammit.

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

Jan. 30th, 2015

me

The end of the week

The boy’s been sick. The ulcer treatment is not working well yet. Been adding in some herbal stuff to help, but he’s still got a fair bit of pain and vomiting. On a 1 t0 10 scale, he’s been pretty hard in the 9-10 pain and nausea range. I got him to go to school today for all of two hours. It was a start. I’m proud of him for trying. I’m hoping next week he does better. He’s got to just keep trying, keep struggling through. I hope he can. I hope the medications start to really make a difference soon for him.

Work in the back yard has commenced. It’s all ripped up. Soon we will have better drainage, a bigger patio, and a covered area. With spring coming (and it is! Trees are blooming and so are camelias and primroses!)

I’m getting close to finished the revisions on Edge of Dreams. I’m pleased with it. I hope all of you will be.

 

 

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

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Jan. 26th, 2015

me

Thinky thoughts: religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jan. 18th, 2015

me

multiple things make a post. One hopes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Jan. 13th, 2015

me

Social butterfly. Or Pterodactyl. Uncertain.

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

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow I take a knitting class and write write write.

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

 

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

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Jan. 10th, 2015

me

the mucous recedes . . . ish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Jan. 6th, 2015

me

Trace of Magic is on sale today

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

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

Jan. 3rd, 2015

me

Third day of the new year

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

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

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

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

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

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

______

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

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

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

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

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

Jan. 1st, 2015

me

John Hartness is raising hell in the new year

Hi folks! Happy first day of 2015!!

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

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

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

Here he is, in his own words:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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