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Nov. 21st, 2014

me

Friday on Friday

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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Nov. 18th, 2014

me

It’s not as cold as Montana

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

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

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

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

And, now, therefore, a Crosspointe snippet:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Nov. 11th, 2014

me

news and news and news and news

Or perhaps just a little news.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Nov. 5th, 2014

me

Between here and there

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nov. 3rd, 2014

me

My Orycon schedule and Powells signing

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

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

 

Diana Francis

Speaking Schedule

Friday, November 7

3:00pm

4:30pm

Saturday, November 8

10:00am

11:00am

5:00pm

Moderation Schedule

Friday, November 7

2:00pm

Sunday, November 9

11:00am

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

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

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

Oct. 30th, 2014

me

squid-crud

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

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

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

2014-10-30 14.13.50

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

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Oct. 28th, 2014

me

say what now?

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

me: aw, thanks sweetie

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

O.o

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

Oct. 24th, 2014

me

Kindle sale!

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

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

Oct. 23rd, 2014

me

Pause in the rain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 18th, 2014

me

Saturday, in the park, and also in Costco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct. 13th, 2014

me

Chop wood, carry water

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

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

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

 

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

Oct. 10th, 2014

me

Crazy, Toys in the Attic, Going Crazy

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

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

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

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

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

Sep. 26th, 2014

me

Where’s the rubber ducky?

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

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

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

Booklist likes Trace of Magic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep. 19th, 2014

me

Author idiocy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

me

Author idiocy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep. 12th, 2014

me

Friday and yay for that!

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, we are,” I said.

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

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

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

Sep. 5th, 2014

me

First Friday of September

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

Sep. 3rd, 2014

me

Contest right now!

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

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

Waiting to see you!

 

 

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

Sep. 1st, 2014

me

Contest and Trace of Magic!

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

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

me

On laboring on labor day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 29th, 2014

me

Book Birthday!!

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Aug. 28th, 2014

me

Instead of ranting

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

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

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

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

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

Gimme a light saber, light saber,

Obi wan can do it!

Swing that light saber, Light saber,

close your eyes and kill it!

 

now you. Go!

 

 

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

Aug. 26th, 2014

me

On the more disgusting side, and also happy news

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

*Cue last Saturday*

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

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

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

It gets better.

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

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

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

But wait! It gets better!

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

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

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

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

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

Aug. 23rd, 2014

me

The time–it flies!

In this last week, I’ve been trying to get caught up on so many things, get the kids prepped for school, and write. I’ve successfully built a large section of my class, bought school supplies for the kids, written some words, done a bunch of laundry, and slept poorly, for whatever reason.

We went to the state fair today. It wasn’t as fun as I’d have liked it, largely because barf boy had another bad day. I had hoped he would have a good one and he’d enjoy himself. Unfortunately, things went from bad to worse and then I took him home. I went back, and it was really hot. The girlie and the man had been riding a few rides. I joined them to watch (I really don’t do heights and most carnival rides involve going too high for me). We then played a few games and eventually found my parents and we then proceeded to go to Red Robin and eat bottomless root beer floats, as that seemed entirely appropriate. I was sad that I didn’t get to go look at all the things people had made or the working dog demonstrations.

When we got home, we watched Pterodactyl vs Sharktopus. My son kept trying to figure out the logic and I kept asking why he would expect any kind of logic at all? He seemed to think there ought to be some despite the title. I told him his expectations are far too high.

I hurt my knuckle weeks and weeks ago, and it still hurts. I sort of bent it to the side. It feels like I jammed it, but I didn’t. Wish I knew how to fix it.

Trace of magic releases in just six days! There will be a print copy available. I hardly know what to do to get the word out. I’m a bit frazzled.

 

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

Aug. 18th, 2014

me

There and Back Again

We made the trip to Montana and to Spocon without terrible incident. And by that, I mean the boy was relatively okay most of the trip. Some nausea and vomiting, but he made it through. I was proud of him, because I knew he had to fight through it several times.

On the trip, I realized that I haven’t been exercising very much here this summer. I used to walk a lot. I walked a lot in MT and in WA. The comparison then is clear and the solution is that I just need to get out more. I will do that.

I got to see a lot of friends, and yet not all of them. So it was bittersweet. I had some moments of intense sadness and wondering if we’d made the right decision to move, especially seeing how much my family has missed some of the people and the places. Yet the reasons for moving still stand and they were to benefit for the whole for the whole family. I hate doubting.

The dogs were well spoiled. They slept on our beds every night and went everywhere with us. They couldn’t have been happier. Now that we’re home, they are feeling slightly let down. After all, the kids keep hogging the couch and our bed is too high to jump up on. Oh the woe! Right now one of the doggies is snuggling up tight to me.

I got no writing done, but I did get a lot of work done on my syllabus and teaching schedule for the fall. That was a good thing. I also finished reading the book that I mentioned previously that I’d had a hard time with the beginning. After the first few chapters, I found that I did enjoy it. It wasn’t cookie cutter, though I’m seeing a fair bit of predictability in one of the main male leads and also with the ultimate bad guy. It definitely leads into another book, and it’s possible that where I think it’s going isn’t where it’s really going. We’ll see.

Spocon was a bit of a disappointment. I had two good meaty panels, and the Diversity panel was particularly good, but sadly, no author readings or signings ended up on the printed schedule. That meant I had a tough time finding them and the attendance was very very poor–if anybody found it at all. I also had some of the self-pubbed authors hawking their books like carnies along one of the hallways. I hate that–chatting and visiting with people is one thing, but hollering at people to ask if they read or that sort of thing . . . not cool. Costumes were really terrific, though, and the riverwalk was lovely.

We were supposed to have sunblocking shade screens installed before we came back, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Apparently the frames are backordered so we have to wait a week or so.

Lots of stuff going on this week. We have appointments and school preparation and lots and lots of stuff. I will hopefully get some sleep. I’ve not been sleeping well for most of the trip or even on the home night. And weird dreams. May have those.

And you’ll notice that the website is slightly updated with Diamond City Magic on the menu bar.

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

Aug. 6th, 2014

me

You’d think it would be easier

Maybe it’s just that my life isn’t terribly exciting, but I can’t seem to find things to say to update my blog. Or maybe I’m busy. Sure. That’s it.

I’m busy writing the untitled second book of the Diamond City Magic series. And I have a cover for Trace of Magic! Let me show you . . .

Trace of Magic  Isn’t it pretty? Remember, you can preorder for Kindle, right now. There will be a trade paperback available on August 29th. I’m not entire sure why it is they can’t do print preorders, but the book itself will be lovely. Bell Bridge does a stunning job. So if you’d like to wait for a print copy, it will be available, and through all the major outlets.

In other news, we’re heading to Montana for a week, and then to Spocon. If you want to catch up with me, let me know. I plan to get into whatever local stores I can to sign books. But I’m happy to meet up with people at a coffee shop or at the con if you are interested. Let me know.

The boy of size is still barfing. He’s terrible low in Vitamin D, so he’s going to get a prescription for that. He was taking it OTC, but that’s not doing enough. Despite the barfing, he is determined to go to Montana to see friends. I worry he won’t manage, but here’s hoping he’s okay. Maybe it will be just what he needs. The dogs are coming with us. They get to be on a corgi panel at Spocon. The stars of the panel. Spoiled rotten little beasties.

I read J Kathleen Cheney’s The Golden City and Seat of Magic. Both are amazing books. If you haven’t seen them, have a look. They are historical, magical, police procedures, and just delightful.

I’m now reading a book I don’t like at all. I’ve got to decide if I’m going to fight through it or read something else. What do you do when you don’t like a book? I paid for it, so I figure I ought to read it. But then again, with so many books out there, do I waste valuable reading time by reading something that I dislike? The thing is, lots of people like this author. Is there something wrong with me?

Tomorrow I go in bright and stupid early for my yearly physical. There’s only one word for that: Blech. Don’t want to do it.

 

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

Jul. 31st, 2014

me

A snippet for your entertainment

As the title says, I wanted to give you some entertainment. Here’s hoping I succeeded. A snipped from the WIP:

 

“They split up,” I said. “Three of them went to the far right, two others went to the second left.”

“Which way did Trevor go?” Lauren asked. She sounded faintly winded and the last word trembled off her tongue.

“With the three,” I said. “We should split up.”

“And how do you expect to follow both trails? We only have one tracer,” Dalton said.

I could hear him sneering.

“Leo can ask the metal,” I said, before looking at my brother. “Can’t you?”

The light from the toe lamps hollowed at his face, making him look harsh and dangerous. “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.

“We’ll follow the boy,” Dalton declared. “It’s too dangerous to split up.”

“What if the others are hurt? Maybe dying?” I dug my heels in. “We have the means to go after both. We should.”

“No,” Dalton said.

I ground my teeth together. I couldn’t make Dalton do anything he didn’t want to do. Unless of course I decided to run off my own into the mines. That was a spectacularly bad idea, so much so that even I understood it. I looked over my shoulder.

“Leo?”

He sighed heavily and shook his head. “I hate to, but I agree with Dalton. Better we stick together. We’ll come back and get the other two after we find the three.”

I flexed my fingers. I could grab the trace of the two and then I’d know if they were in danger. But then I’d have to put my hand back into the spirit dimension and that was enough to make me think twice. Plus I didn’t want Dalton or his crew to know I could do it. Basically there was no way I was going to argue myself into a win. I decided to give in gracefully.

“Fine,” I said. “I hope to hell they don’t die.” Or maybe not so gracefully.

Dalton strode out down the far right branch. Maggie followed quick on his heels. The two yanked me after them before I had a chance to think about moving. I stumbled forward, stepping on Maggie’s heels. She swore and twisted sideways.

“Walk on your own damned feet, would you?”

“But yours are so much more comfortable,” I said. “Hey, that reminds me. Where were you when I went down to the Bottoms earlier today?”

She scowled at me. “Fuck off.”

“Trying to, but damn if you and your buddies can’t take a hint.”

“Maggie,” Dalton said before she could retort, his voice cracking like a whip.

She flinched and spun away from me.

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

Jul. 29th, 2014

me

news of one sort or another

I made it home from Colorado. The teaching was a lot of fun, but exhausting with all that was going on. Sadly, a good friend died on the same day I came home. She’d been fighting cancer for some time, and she let me know when I was in CO that she was going into hospice. I had a chance to say those things you always wish you’d have a chance to say to someone you love before they are gone, which I’m glad I did. I’m heartbroken, for her family and myself. She was younger than I by several years, and her daughter is younger than mine. We are hoping to go to MT in a couple weeks. I’d hoped to see Laurie then, but it wasn’t to be. I’m hoping we can see her family.

That brings me to the next bit of news. We went to see the specialist for boy of size today. He’s had up and down days. He was feeling pretty good today. The doctor wants me to take him off most everything he’s on–herbal and not–except for omeprazole and Ondansetron–and she’d like me to wean him off the latter as much as possible. Just about everything he’s been taking either lose effectiveness after awhile, or begin to cause the problem you take them to prevent, ie. vomiting. Peppermint is one of these, so is ginger root. This means vomiting could increase, but hopefully it will subside. He’s supposed to avoid fructose, which can cause stomach upset in these circumstances. He can have fruit, but not fruit leather, juice, and that sort of thing. So things could gt really ugly. I hope my heart can take watching him suffer.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get caught up on life from being gone. I have to get my own blood drawn for my annual physical sometime soon. I need to call and arrange the blood draw. I’m also trying to get writing done. Lots and lots.

Trace of Magic is up for preorder on Amazon Kindle. Other formats will be coming soon, including print. I’ll let you know more. I’ll maybe nag you to pre-order. Tell your friends. All that sort of thing.

It’s food time now. Going to go put something together for the family. Also, I read Michaela Roessner’s Walkabout Woman. It’s phenomenal and like nothing you’ve read. Go read it. Seriously. And I’m currently reading The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney. I’m loving it. Definitely recommend it already.

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

Jul. 24th, 2014

me

Over the hump. Ish. Or not.

As I sit here debating walking to get Starbucks and wishing for a magic Starbucks fairy to deliver my nectar (never happens, oddly), I am considering the next few days. I try not to consider too much farther at this point, as I will have to sit in the corner and sob. At any rate, I’m done with the summer teaching, short of finishing one more paper, doing grades, and turnings said grades in, and meeting again with my thesis students. Instead, today Writing the Rockies begins and tonight I have a reading and tomorrow a panel presentation. Luckily the presentation tomorrow is a variation of one I did at the Rainforest Writers Village, so I will hopefully not make a total ass of myself.

In the meantime, I’m trying to commit words. The trouble is that I’m not sure of one element of the novel. Something popped in as a lovely and cool idea, and now I have to figure out how to make it work, because dammit, it’s perfect for the novel. I have to figure out some backstory, which won’t really appear in this novel overtly, but will make sense of actions and players on the ongoing development. But my brain is sluggish and wants to nap and have Starbucks and . . .

I go home Sunday, and then next week is piled with appointments. Boy of size is finally getting to go into the research hospital to see if they can figure out the problem. And I know I have stuff I need to do that I forgot to put on my calendar (duh!) and so I’m hoping I have notes on my desk at home to remind me. I think I need a secretary. Maybe a keeper.

I shall now post this, and then go make my Spocon hotel reservations, which I’ve totally been forgetting. Crap.

Adieu

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

Jul. 20th, 2014

me

Silence of the busy

I’ve been woefully silent here of late. I’ve spent the last week teaching in Colorado. I’ve got another week to go, plus the Writing the Rockies conference. Been sleeping okay, so that’s good, but today I felt quite unwell. No idea why. I had an outbreak of ocular migraine-itis, which is to say, got dizzy spells, some floaters, some moments when my vision totally blurred out, moments when I’m grabbing a wall so I don’t fall down . . . The usual. I don’t take anything for it, so I suffer through. I’m hoping tomorrow is better. I did take a tiny evening walk across campus and that was wonderful.

I did manage to finish the proof pages on Trace of Magic tonight. I gasped for a bit of air and then have dived back into the copy edits on The Black Ship. With luck I’ll get rid of those in a few days. Luck and caffeine, that is. I’m also working on getting words down on the Trace of Magic sequel, which is going both well, and yet I am seeing a muddle for the middle that I need to plot out. I have assigned that to my lizard brain and am hoping that it’s working on it well below my subconscious. I say well below, since I’m not noticing any action and I am hoping that just means it’s so far down I can’t see it yet, rather than my lizard brain is in a chocolate coma or has drunk itself into a stupor. Entirely possible. My lizard brain can be quite a hedonist.

I do have good news. For me anyhow. Romantic Times gave me a spectacular review. I’m practically fainting from it. Seriously.

RTReviewTraceofMagic

It will take a couple of clicks so that you can see it, but I can’t figure out right now how to turn the PDF into an image.

 

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

Jul. 14th, 2014

me

A snippet from the WIP

I very much doubt this will make the final version of this nameless book. And yet, I love this so much I have to share. It is wrong. So, so, so, wrong:

Lately my dreams had been divided equally between erotic images of the two of us together that left my thighs aching and the rest of me more frustrated than an impotent priest on free fuck night at the local brothel, and erotic images of *him with someone else, which left me wanting to skin him alive. I really have mental problems, I swear.

 

* pronoun added to prevent TMI on the book.

 

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

Jul. 12th, 2014

me

getting squared away

I am here in Colorado and working on getting settled into my new position. I have to say, I didn’t fully understand the curriculum here for the MFA in genre writing, but I after learning more, I think it’s the best structure out there for getting people to publishable status. That is, going over the skills and getting the business information you need to get there. Here’s why. First, the first year is devoted to learning a lot of the basics of craft, and also learning a lot about various genres. It’s strictly commercial genres. So no matter what, you’ll get a sense of horror, spec fic in all its forms, fantasy in all its forms, romance in all its forms, and likewise with westerns. You do a lot of writing and reading and a lot of feedback from working writers. Then the second year gives you more intense drilling down and also some pedagogy on teaching, should you decide to go that route (both creative writing and freshman comp, since those are the two my likely for teachers), and planning for what you will do when you graduate. You also do an out of concentration course in poetry, screenwriting, or non-fiction. All the staff in all the classes are working, publishing, directing, filming, writing and etc, in their fields. Then you also participate in summer residencies with more concentrated courses, and the Writing the Rockies conference which each year brings in really good talent (open to the public if anyone wants to check it out). In your second year, you also write a thesis.

Unlike other programs, instead of working with a different mentor each semester, you take two six credit online courses with other students and there is workshopping and regular course assignments. That means the curriculum is more standard for everyone, and the department can make sure the standards are being met across the board.

Does this mean you’ll be able to publish your novel when you get out? Hard to say, the market being what it is. But many of the students begin publishing in their first year with the writing that comes out of the courses. I know a lot of people and writers especially wonder about the efficacy of MFA programs, but this one is completely and totally devoted to getting published. If you’re thinking on one, definitely check it out.

In other news, I’m sitting here in my dorm room working on the next novel and bashing my head on my desk to help shake out any plot ideas that might come from a concussion. Drinking might be a better idea. Sadly, I’m at 7500 feet, and that means that alcohol will go to my head super super fast, and also, walking not far makes my head spin. Hopefully I settle down soon. Usually it takes a couple of weeks for people to develop more red blood cells to cope with altitude, which will be just about the same time I go home. Rawr.

Boy of size continues to be sick. Hopefully when we get back the OHSU appointment will get him on the road to wellness. I sure as hell hope so.

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

me

getting squared away

I am here in Colorado and working on getting settled into my new position. I have to say, I didn’t fully understand the curriculum here for the MFA in genre writing, but I have to say, I think it’s the best structure out there for getting people to publishable status. That is, going over the skills and getting the business information you need to get there. Here’s why. First, the first year is devoted to learning a lot of the basics of craft, and also learning a lot about various genres. It’s strictly commercial genres. So no matter what, you’ll get a sense of horror, spec fic in all its forms, fantasy in all its forms, romance in all its forms, and likewise with westerns. You do a lot of writing and reading and a lot of feedback from working writers. Then the second year gives you more intense drilling down and also some pedagogy on teaching, should you decide to go that route (both creative writing and freshman comp, since those are the two my likely for teachers), and planning for what you will do when you graduate. You also do an out of concentration course in poetry, screenwriting, or non-fiction. All the staff in all the classes are working, publishing, directing, filming, writing and etc, in their fields. Then you also participate in summer residencies with more concentrated courses, and the Writing the Rockies conference which each year brings in really good talent (open to the public if anyone wants to check it out). In your second year, you also write a thesis.

Unlike other programs, instead of working with a different mentor each semester, you take two six credit online courses with other students and there is workshopping and regular course assignments. That means the curriculum is more standard for everyone, and the department can make sure the standards are being met across the board.

Does this mean you’ll be able to publish your novel when you get out? Hard to say, the market being what it is. But many of the students begin publishing in their first year with the writing that comes out of the courses. I know a lot of people and writers especially wonder about the efficacy of MFA programs, but this one is completely and totally devoted to getting published. If you’re thinking on one, definitely check it out.

In other news, I’m sitting here in my dorm room working on the next novel and bashing my head on my desk to help shake out any plot ideas that might come from a concussion. Drinking might be a better idea. Sadly, I’m at 7500 feet, and that means that alcohol will go to my head super super fast, and also, walking not far makes my head spin. Hopefully I settle down soon. Usually it takes a couple of weeks for people to develop more red blood cells to cope with altitude, which will be just about the same time I go home. Rawr.

Boy of size continues to be sick. Hopefully when we get back the OHSU appointment will get him on the road to wellness. I sure as hell hope so.

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

Jul. 8th, 2014

me

The news that fit or not to print

Tomorrow I take off for 2.5 weeks to teach in Colorado. I’ll be at 7500 feet or so, in Gunnison. I’m teaching in the Western State Colorado University MFA in writing program. I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it. At the end is a conference open to the public called Writing the Rockies. There are some stellar speakers going to be there, including Joe Haldeman. I met him many many moons ago in passing. Hoping that I get a chance to talk to him this time.

I’m not taking leaving home that well, however. I’m worried about the kids, about the boy in particular, and already missing everybody. I don’t like this part. I have tons of appointments lined up for when I get back. No rest for the wicked, I guess.

I sent out all books that I had addresses for. I have not redrawn any names because I wouldn’t be able to send them. I probably will try to do that this next week and then send when I get home. We’ll see how everything goes.

I haven’t flown in many moons, either, so having some angst about that. I really don’t care for landings and takings off from Denver because there frequently is turbulence. Vallium anyone? Sigh.

I’m pretty sure I’m all packed to go, but for a few last minute things. Oh, and granola bars. Need to grab some of those.

I should be posting from Colorado. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying your July.

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

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Jul. 2nd, 2014

me

Winners!!!

The following people are winners of The Cipher. I used the random number generator to pick the winners. You only have until Saturday to give me your address, or I’ll have to go back and draw more names. Email your addy to me at dpf AT dianapfrancis DOT com

 

And the winners are . . .

Leann Rasch

Jenny Jeffries

Dianna whose favorite color is Sapphire blue

Louise Steer

Amber at Casual Readers

JulieAnne Brown

 

And for those who didn’t win, thanks for playing! And the book is available for purchase or hopefully at your local library. Have a read!

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

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Jun. 27th, 2014

me

Must do a Giveaway!!!!

Look what I got in the mail today!!!

The book is gorgeous. You have no idea. I’ve updated the information page on it with the updated first chapter.  ciphercoverbox

So it seems to me I need to give some away. I’m going to. Let’s see, I need posts here or on my Mad Libs blog. And they should say . . . that you want a copy. And you should give me a color. Any color.

If you have any, I’d love recommendations for where I might send a copy to get reviewed. If you know a reviewer, point them out to me. I’d love to get noise on this. And I’d love to do some blog appearances or anything else. So if you can help me out, please do! Everyone from anywhere is free to enter. I’ll get the book to you.

 

Deadline to Enter is July 1 at Midnight!

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

me

Must do a Giveaway!!!!

Look what I got in the mail today!!!

The book is gorgeous. You have no idea. I’ve updated the information page on it with the updated first chapter.  ciphercoverbox

So it seems to me I need to give some away. I’m going to. Let’s see, I need posts here or on my Mad Libs blog. And they should say . . . that you want a copy. And you should give me a color. Any color.

If you have any, I’d love recommendations for where I might send a copy to get reviewed. If you know a reviewer, point them out to me. I’d love to get noise on this. And I’d love to do some blog appearances or anything else. So if you can help me out, please do! Everyone from anywhere is free to enter. I’ll get the book to you.

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

Jun. 24th, 2014

me

The wild book in progress

This is from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. It’s my go-to book when writing becomes thorny. Here’s where I’m at now. She says it so well.

 

I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better

This tender relationship can change in a tinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. AS the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter in its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, “Simba!”

 

I highly recommend that you read this book. That you read it often or open it and read a bit here and there whenever you need a little inspiration.

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

Jun. 23rd, 2014

me

the dogs, they shed so MUCH

They keep sending tufts of fur out like porcupine quills. I have dog-hair dust dinosaurs. They are growing. And growing.

We had our first hummingbird on the feeder today. I’m very excited. It showed up at dinner time. I hope it comes back.

Picked some strawberries and few blueberries off the new plants. I’m not sure the blueberries are getting enough sun. These might not set any more berries ever. Might have to move them. Also, some roses we didn’t know we had are blooming. We discovered them after we took out some trees this year. They are much happier out of the shade.

Boy barfed much of the day. Finally he felt better and asked if we could go bike riding. We did and he successfully had dinner. He had a rough night last night, too. Still hoping for a cancellation to get us in earlier to OHSU.

I managed some work done on the book today. I want to get my character into a situation and I’m not sure how. I want to get her into the situation right away, but doing so means making her be ridiculously stupid or completely not herself. I need to find a good reason to motivate her. That means delaying this and I’m not sure it’s the right idea. Also, coming up with a good enough reason is going to be a tough one. Why can’t I just write a stupid character? Why why why???

I shall now go think thinky thoughts.

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

Jun. 22nd, 2014

me

Book Pricing

It’s come to my attention that the paper versions of Shadow City and Blood Winter have now become much more expensive. As in, around $22 dollars. I feel like I need to address this. First, you should know that I don’t have any say in pricing. I never had and doubt I ever will, unless I self-publish. It’s all up to the publisher. You might be wondering why, if the books originally priced at $7.99, why are they suddenly now almost three times that? To be honest, I’m not entirely certain. They will be available using Print on Demand (or POD) technology. I’m not sure what the costs involved in that are compared to the mass market price. It does seem strangely high to me, but again, I don’t know the ins and outs. I am just sorry that readers will be asked to pay such a high price. The price of ebooks remains quite reasonable, so that’s a positive. Unfortunately, the cost is higher to you, and also to me, insomuch as I can’t imagine a lot of these pricey books will sell.

Trade paper is obviously more expensive. These will be of a trade paper size, I believe.

I’m told that this is happening to a lot of books across the board, so a lot of writers are stuck with this pricing, though it’s the first time it’s happened to me. It also means that in time it could happen to more of my books. Anyhow, I wanted all of you to be aware of this, and also that authors have absolutely no say whatsoever in the matter. It’s entirely the publisher’s choice.

I thank each and every one of you who spend your precious money and time on my books. I endeavor to the best job I now how to do so that it’s worth it.

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

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