Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for July, 2012



Friday, July 27th, 2012
Getting ready for the coast

I finished the copy edits on Blood Winter this week and sent them back. It’s crazy how much of that book has been written or otherwise in this travel trailer. Not exactly the best atmosphere for working, and no reference books here at all. Gah. All the same, I really like Blood Winter. I’m not sure there will be any Horngate books after that, but it’s a really good finish if not. I think you’ll like it.

Tomorrow we head out for the coast. The man can only stay with us a couple of days because he has to work (no vacay earned yet). We’ll be camping with my folks, my sister and brother and their families, and my parents’ dogs. Yes, the corgis are worthy of separate mention. Speaking of which, I did not see the opening ceremonies and missed all the corgis. What happened?

We’ve also been looking at some houses. It’s so hard to decide what we want or what we’ll accept. I say the latter because we aren’t finding exactly what we want the drawbacks seem fairly large, though all different. We looked at this one slightly dated place with some updates and gorgeous property, but they had an in ground pool inside that they covered with wood and it’s still there. That room is dank and smelly and it worries me to have it there. That place is at the top of our price range and I’d want the pool taken out, but I don’t think they’d go for the expense. And I’d want it done before I bought.

I’m trying to figure out how I want to live and what I’ll need. While I want some property to grow things, the other side of that is that property requires time and effort and care. Do I want to do that? Do I want something smaller that I can better manage? If so, how small and can I find a place like that? (I say I, but really mean we, since this is something we’re struggling with). And our house still hasn’t sold. So.

Haven’t had much of a chance to get out and do anything really fun here. Now that the copy edits are done, I’m hoping to. Plus do some writing and some reading. When I get back home I’m going to have to prep classes, so it’s time to do some playing.

I’m not sure what sort of connectivity I’ll have next week. I hope to have some, but if not, I’ll be back online posting in a week. IN the meantime, feel free to tell anybody and everybody about my books and see if you can get them to get reading them. Seriously. I won’t object. I’d be super grateful, as a matter of fact.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012
In Salem

Made the drive to Salem in about 13 hours and in one day. So happy to see the man and to be able to spend time together.

Sunday we went and looked at some houses. It’s amazing how awful some can be. Then we went puttering through some open houses. Those were nice, but the one I like the most was SPENDY. But gorgeous. Room for a lot of stuff. Except a tiny lawn in back and I wanted to garden and have dog room. But wow. Gorgeous. You should have seen the master bedroom bathroom and walk in closet. I’ve never been in such a big closet. Seemed almost as big as the bedroom. My son has decided it is the house. Course that’s because the rooms were nice and big and there was an enormous bonus/game room. I liked it a lot too. Would be great for games, hobbies, and so one.

What we’d really like is a fairly new house in West Salem with some property. An acre or so would be great. So if you know of anything like that . . .

In the meantime, I’m trying to wrap up the copy edits for Blood Winter. And hang out with the kids, walk dogs, have fun with friends. Next week we hit the coast for a week. The man can only come for a copule of days because of work, but I’ll get to see my family and play in the ocean with the kids and hike around. Should be a good time.

I’m also doing some reading and getting some writing done. I’m reading the Lady Julia Grey books by Deanna Raybourn. They are really good. Mysteries. They do an amazing job of capturing the Victorian world and the writing is good with excellent dialog. There are traces of romance, but mostly these are mysteries and I’m thoroughly loving them. You should try them. Seriously. The first one is called Silent in the Grave, and I know you can buy the first three in a bundle on a Kindle, and probably also in other formats.

The doggies are so far enjoying the trip. Took them to a park yesterday and let them off the leashes for a bit. They romped like little crazy beasts and had a blast. Since we’re staying in our trailer, it’s good to let them get out and romp as much as possible. Right now they are napping.

Also last night the kids wanted to watch a movie and so we watching Spaceballs. Which has more bad language than I remember. They thought it was hilarious.

Oh, did I mention the can of soda I dropped this morning? It got a pinhole spray leak and sprayed me right in the eyes. Sigh. I’m really good at that sort of thing.

And now, off to do actual work for awhile.

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
In the name of updatery

Did you know that if you don’t write a blog post, nothing happens? I mean, no words magically appear? It’s exactly like book writing. If you don’t write the words, they don’t just show up on the screen. Darnit.

I’ve been scrambling recently. I’m working on the copy edits for Blood Winter. This is the stage where the manuscript comes back to me after having been checked over by a copy editor who looks for grammar, consistency, and a few other things. I have to check and make sure any changes that were made are good. Now one of the things that happens is the like/as if change. Basically a lot of people don’t use as if in appropriate places. They say like. So even though a lot of those likes have been changed to as ifs in the manuscript and I have to change some of them back. Why? For voice.

Included in the Copy edits are some notes from my editor for cleaning up some stuff, so I’ve got to do that at the same time. I’m hoping that in making those revisions I’m not introducing a lot of errors.

I has a post up on SF Signal this week on Monarchies in secondary fantasy and why they are so common. I’m part of a group of writers talking about it and it’s really fascinating. If you haven’t read it, go, because it really makes you think.

I’ve also been trying to get read to go on a trip to Oregon. Basically, if you don’t know, my husband got laid off here and his asshole boss told unemployment that he quit voluntarily (despite witnesses that said otherwise.) There’s absolutely no work around here, so he applied in Oregon, and got 4 interviews and 3 offers. One of which he took. That was almost 3 months ago. So we’ve been living apart and it’s fucking hard. I don’t like it at all. This is all until the house sells. So send good house selling vibes.

Anyhow, we’ll be going to visit him for a month. Can’t wait. But that means doing some preparation here. So I’ve been doing that.

Then I’ve been having a weird problem with one of the dogs. He’s really attached to me. In the past week he’s been acting really funny in a way he hasn’t before. For instance: I went to put them out the other day and he didn’t want to go at all, even though I knew he had to pee. He’d been in the house awhile. I went outside with them, and he stayed on the top of the back steps like he was terrified. Then I tried to coax him down and he peed down the steps. Finally he came about a foot onto the lawn and peed and then wanted immediately back in. he’s only done that once, but it was very strange. Like he was afraid to come outside.

Then at night, the boys usually sleep in crates. Always have. They usually like their beds. Except lately both have been reluctant to go on and Voodoo (peedog from above) has been going to my side of the bed and cringing down to the floor when I come to ask him if he wants to go to bed. So last night I let him sleep with me. I couldn’t bring myself to force him into his house. I don’t know if all this change is because my husband isn’t here and they are starting to feel that, or if it’s something else. Don’t suppose any of you have ideas?

Right now, btw, he’s sprawled out on the arm of the couch as I type this because he’s feeling needy. And he’s part cat. It makes it very difficult to type. You might think that if I moved my laptop he would take my lap, but no, he likes the arm. The other dog, however, would come running and jump up.

Did I mention to you the limb that fell down during a storm last week? It fell nearly on a friend and on the fence. The damage to the fence wasn’t horrible, but it did need repair. Last night the fence guy came and I swear you can’t tell that anything happened to the fence. It’s amazing.

Friday, July 13th, 2012
Friday Funnies

I ran across this one and thought it was pretty amusing.

ADULT:
A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.

BEAUTY PARLOUR:
A place where women curl up and dye.

CHICKENS:
The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.

COMMITTEE:
A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

DUST:
Mud with the juice squeezed out.

EGOTIST:
Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

HANDKERCHIEF:
Cold Storage.

INFLATION:
Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

MOSQUITO:
An insect that makes you like flies better.

RAISIN:
A grape with a sunburn.

SECRET:
Something you tell to one person at a time.

SKELETON:
A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.

TOOTHACHE:
The pain that drives you to extraction.

TOMORROW:
One of the greatest labour saving devices of today.

YAWN:
An honest opinion openly expressed.

WRINKLES:
Something other people have, similar to my character lines.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Writing

Progressed some on the writing today and it’s interesting to see how the world develops and how the characters develop. It goes slower than I want, but sort of in that way that happens when you’re wandering through an antique store and getting lost in the corners because they are cool. Or digging carefully through an archeological dig and sorting out how they lived and figuring out how to put together all the puzzle pieces.

So it’s a process of exploration of the world, and getting to know the characters. I’m in one POV right now, and I believe I got him and some of the characters hammered out. The next one will be interesting to see. The epic nature of the story makes it somewhat difficult to plot out and to figure out where things will go next. I’m feeling my way along blindly, which is both exciting and terrifying. I just hope it’s good. Entertaining.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Bad luck comes in ???

Today I woke up to find a dead fish in the fish tank. He looked pretty rough. I think he might have been doing things he shouldn’t. Anyhow, he’s gone to a burial at sea.

Later today, a big windstorm/thunder/lightning storm blew up and dropped a big limb off the green ash in the front of the house. It fell on the fence and right where a friend had been sitting just a cool minute before.

Is there more bad luck coming? Or was it good? Because yanno, while there’s little good in a goldfish dying (which was black, so that’s weird), unless one makes a snack of him, which we did not, then there is luck in the fact that the fence was not destroyed and will only need minor repairs, plus my friend did not get conked over the head with a big ole hunk of flying wood.

On the positive side, there’s an awful lot of drive by interest in the house (ie people picking up flyers). Still no one coming in to look or buy. Dammit.

Writing is progressing.

Next week Leverage returns. This makes me happy.

Sunday, July 8th, 2012
computer talk

Let’s start by saying I’m not a tech person. I frequently have NO idea what I’m doing. But I found out about this program call CleanMyMac the other day and so I got it for my two macs. Cleaned up a lot of stuff and freed a lot of space. I guess there are programs out there that will get rid of duplicate stuff on my computer. I may get something that will do that. I’m also trying to decide if I like Voodoopad enough to keep using it, or if I want to try using Scrivener to keep notes and track novel information. Just not sure.

I do think that the CleanMyMac was fairly miraculous with how many gigs of stuff it freed up. That was pretty cool.

Other than that, making progress on the work in progress. I like it so far. Which is kind of dangerous. I always worry when I like something I wrote. Yeah, neurotic writer is neurotic.

Saturday, July 7th, 2012
Things that infuriate

I was checking out my stats today on my blog, and it was disheartening, nay infuriating, to discover that several people had found my website by searching for free versions (aka pirated versions) of my books. I’m assuming that after stopping here, they went on to rip me off. It’s infuriating because I work so hard on my books and I want to make a living at this. But when people steal the books, that’s money out of my pocket, money that I’m not able to pay bills with or feed my kids with. I don’t get why stealing books electronically is so very okay with some people. I’m sure they think it’s a victimless crime, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not. That’s real money I’m not making and it’s infuriating knowing that there’s not a thing I can do about it. I report the sites to my publisher when I find them, but in the end, that’s like dropping a cup of water on a wildfire. Not much use. Pirates pop up everywhere.

The only cure is for people to stop choosing to pirate, and unfortunately, they don’t seem to want to. Ironically, they are destroying the careers of their favorite authors. Those authors who can’t make a living writing will stop writing in order to make enough money to eat. Or slow down at the very least. Think about it. I work a day job and writing has become hard to fit into the demands of the job. Stir in the fact that I have a family and that family has needs that I fulfill, I don’t write as much as I like.

If you ever get the chance to protest piracy, do it. Please.

Friday, July 6th, 2012
Lucky

I am one of the lucky ones at the moment. The temps here are in the 80s. (I’m a heat wimp, so that seems hottish, but nothing like so many others). I’d rather be out on the Oregon coast right now though. Course remember that in the dead of winter I’m often too many degrees below zero, so it’s not like I don’t pay for this weather.

How is it possible that I just ate dinner and I’m hungry already? I want ice cream. Vats of it. That’s probably a sign of something.

I actually committed words to a project today. They are the beginning words and likely will change, but at least it’s a place to start. I’m good with that. Now to produce more. But this is epic fantasy, and tends to be something I write more slowly, where I have to research even the smallest detail. For instance, a caul is a kind of a hat. It’s a peculiar kind of a hat, though the one I’m writing about doesn’t have any material in it. It’s tremendously important in the worldbuilding for reasons I can’t explain at the moment, but on the surface, it’s just a hat.

Now here’s the thing about writing. You can’t let yourself get bogged down in little details. They will derail your writing so fast it will make your head spin. Yet at the same time, you have to nail the details in order to make the story work. Some writers will leave notes to themselves to find things out and keep going. Other writers will dig until they find the right detail. I am usually one of the latter, but mostly on details that truly matter. I usually know what those are, because they tend to reach out roots into a lot of scenes and characters. Believe it or not, that hat does. Not because of any inherent quality to it, but because it relates to another important element of the world that is completely fundamental. I know, sounds bizarre. It’s a hat, for dog’s sake. But there you have it.

I’m wondering about the rest of the writers out there. How do you work?

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
a day in the life

Went Crystal digging two days in a row, thanks to the encouragement of a good friend and my kids. Turned out to be lucky. I found a lot of little crystals and one gigantor crystal the size of a small nectarine.

Pretty cool, huh?

Tonight I went to a progressive dinner at which was a lot of friends including one who has liver cancer. Started out elsewhere and ended up in her liver. She’s stage four, and she’s younger than I am. She’s had half her liver removed and the tumors all grew back. Anyhow, she’s going to be going overseas for immunology treatments that aren’t available in the US. Except for the fact that she’s got cancer, the treatments are really cool in terms of the science. She’s a scientist and has done a ton of research, talking to some of the cutting edge research scientists and it’s kind of amazing what they may be able to do if it works. And they’ve had some good luck with it.

In other news, I did a post today about Jim Hines today on his blog. It’s hopefully funny. Go have a read.

In other news, it’s still hot.