Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for September, 2012

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Thursday, September 27th, 2012
food and a call for help

I’ve spent a bunch of time today setting up promotional events (blog tours stuff mostly) and some interviews, and my Shindig event, which is going to me doing a reading online for all of you and whoever wants to attend (the more the merrier) and answering questions. I’m still working on gathering more dates and more events, so if you or anyone you know want to host me on a blog or other place, if you have ideas for where I might do something, or again, if you want to do a review, let me know.

BTW, I’m going to start asking for reviews now on Amazon and BN. The more the better–good, bad, or indifferent. The reason why has to do with the way the sites promote books. They push those with more reviews and ratings. So I’m asking, begging, trawling, etc. And not just the new one, the old ones too.

I made a blueberry-peach pie today. Haven’t tried it yet. It’s recent out of the oven. Made a creamy potato soup, also, at the behest of my son. Very tasty. Yum. You should have been here.

I’m going to also ask here for blog topics. I’m going to be doing some guest blogging, and I’d like some topics to work off of. Whether they have to do with books, Spock, Waxing a dog’s legs (which I haven’t done nor would I, but anyhow), or something else. Clearly I need some help. Please . . . help.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
when books fail

I started a book today. Reading it, that is. I didn’t get far. Maybe two chapters, and I don’t really like it. I’m going to keep reading, because I thought the premise was so interesting, but I hope things improve. Here’s the major issue I’m having: over-explaining. For instance, a new character enters and begins talking to the other character, and the conversation is very As-You-Know-Bobish. The dialog is fairly stilted as well and instead of letting me sort through the clues, the writer gives clues, and then explains just in case I missed it. I’m not that stupid.

This is a common problem for newer writers (This is the writers fourth or fifth book, so . . . but I digress). It’s really easy to not trust your readers and yourself. It’s easy to say too much and not trust that your descriptions and your dialog will tell the story. It’s like saying: “Don’t do that!” he shouted. Do we need he shouted? I mean, isn’t it redundant? Or take this from my WIP:

He slipped her arbret sprinkled on a goldfruit, knowing she’d pleasure herself insensible with little help from him. As it was, he chewed malda bark to keep his prick hard and sat her on his lap facing away so that she couldn’t see the agony etching his face as she vigorously rode him. There was no danger—or hope—for pregnancy, the malda bark saw to that.

I’m hoping you figure out by the description that they are about to have sex, that he isn’t all that into it, that he’s sick and doesn’t want her to know, and he doesn’t want to get her pregnant. That, to me, should be fairly obvious. I could add on to it and actually say it again, but really, I only do that on some important enough to merit repetition. Sadly, the book I’m reading has a lot of obvious stuff that is then explained, yanno, just in case. So it’s driving me nuts. And like I said, I picked the book up because I love the premise. I should have downloaded the sample, I guess.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Please welcome Morgan Keyes!

I have been friends with Morgan for quite some time now. She’s fabulous–both as a person and as a writer. I’m so delighted to introduce her to you, so without further ado . . .

Morgan Keyes grew up in California, Texas, Georgia, and Minnesota, accompanied by parents, a brother, a dog, and a cat. Also, there were books. Lots and lots of books. Morgan now lives near Washington, D.C. In between trips to the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art, she reads, travels, reads, writes, reads, cooks, reads, wrestles with cats, and reads. Because there are still books. Lots and lots of books.

Many thanks to Di, for allowing me to visit and tell you about my middle grade fantasy novel, Darkbeast. Due to the generosity of my publisher, Simon & Schuster, I will give away a copy of Darkbeast to one commenter chosen at random from all the comments made to this post by 11:59 p.m. EDT tonight.

In Darkbeast, twelve-year-old Keara runs away from home rather than sacrifice Caw, the raven darkbeast that she has been magically bound to all her life. Pursued by Inquisitors who would punish her for heresy, Keara joins a performing troupe of Travelers and tries to find a safe haven for herself and her companion.

Darkbeast is a special book for me, a return to my novel-writing roots. Like Di, I started out writing traditional fantasy novels. In fact, we both had our first novels published by Roc. We shared an editor, and we learned the ins and outs of the publishing world at the same time, in the same way.

Those early novels were like the books I read voraciously; they were the stories I loved in my heart of hearts. I could not imagine writing any other sort of tale.

Until I found that the market was shifting. And my Very Very Dark, Very Very Grim Traditional Fantasy Novel For Adults could not find a publishing home.

After a bit of consternation, I tried writing something else – urban fantasy. See? Di and I continued to have a lot in common! I’ll see her Horngate Witches and raise her a few series of my own! Okay. Our professional paths weren’t identical. My urban fantasy was a bit lighter, a bit less violent. I tended to joke a little more, and the romantic undertones of my stories were somewhat more prominent. [And really really fun to read, I might add –Di]

But then, I found traditional fantasy stories arguing for my attention once again. Like Di digging deep for her Crosspointe Chronicles, I started to hear Keara. I thought about darkbeasts and godhouses, Travelers and great theatrical competitions. I wrote Darkbeast.

When Di and I met over a decade ago, I never would have envisioned the shapes of our careers. I never would have predicted the different publishers, the varied editors.

But looking back, I can see that everything makes sense. Di and I both want the same thing. I’m putting a lot of words in her mouth by writing this post, and she might chime in to tell me I’m totally, completely wrong. But in the end, I think it comes down to this: We authors tell the best stories we can, in the most interesting ways possible. And right now, the best story I can share is about a twelve-year-old girl who finds herself alone in the world because she chooses to save the life of her best friend. [Di says you are not wrong, and it’s a good story and I’m glad you told it!]

What about you? Have you changed the type of story you read, over the years? Are you willing to follow authors from genre to genre, or do you stick pretty close to home?

Morgan can be found online at:

http://www.morgankeyes.com
http://www.facebook.com/morgan.keyes.author

Darkbeast is for sale in bricks-and-mortar and online bookstores, including: Amazon | B & N | Indiebound

Monday, September 24th, 2012
Whatta day

First barfboy returned and thusly spent the day intermittently barfing and sleeping and annoying me. In between barf bouts he always feels good, and then it comes upon him, and voila! Puke.

Also, I fell back asleep today hard on the couch. It was like going into a coma. I could barely wake up enough to answer my son’s questions. I’ve been having some sleep issues of late and I know I’ve had some sinus issues, but I wonder if I’ve actually got something. On the other hand, maybe it’s all that stress from last week coming back to visit and once I get caught up on rest, I’ll be okay. I feel okay now.

The box elder bugs have invaded our house. This is one:
This happens every year. They come in to hibernate and I spend a lot of time killing them and vacuuming them up. They are harmless really, but annoying and they fly randomly at me and really, who wants that? I don’t seem to get them upstairs. They only seem to come into my living room, actually. And my one front kitchen window, but I don’t open that window and so now they are trapped.

Then tonight, the toilet started leaking. We don’t know why. Unrelated to use. But suddenly we discovered water everywhere and leaking down into the basement, and the floor was inches deep. But here’s the thing. It was leaking from the bottom of the tank, not the bowl. I got the water shut off and all the water sopped up and am now running laundry. I’ll see if I can get the plumber out right away and get it replaced. I have an appointment to get that done next week, but of course, it decided not to wait.

Tomorrow I’ll have a guest post by Morgan Keyes (aka Mindy Klasky).

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
writer neuroses

Actually, this comes under the topic of neuroses, but I’m only covering one here. The fear of running out of ideas. That includes general plot ideas as well as world ideas, characters, and even clothing and food ideas. I live in perpetual fear of this, and thus write down all my ideas as they come up and so far, my mind has never failed me. But that doesn’t alleviate the fear.

What’s funny (ironic funny) is that frequently writers get mugged by ideas that come out of the blue and demand to be written right now. Right. Now. Even in the middle of fearing a dearth of ideas, idea muggings happen. Today that happened to me. Only it wasn’t exactly a new mugging. It was one that I’d had a little while ago and managed to shunt aside and today it popped back and said, Time for me!!!! It’s a bit of a blindside and I’m trying to take some notes. It’s a hugely fun idea and could be both hilarious and action-packed. I’d have a blast writing it. But first . . . I have the other projects. Think it will wait a few weeks for me to get those nailed down a bit?

Friday, September 21st, 2012
Official and other news

It’s official. I have signed contracts to make my Path novels and my Crosspointe novels into Audio Books through Audible.com. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to hear how they sound.

And in other news, if you’re a blogger or a reviewer and want to get copies of Blood Winter or any of the other Horngate books, pop me an email and I’ll get it done. Giveaways are also possible. And if you’d like me to guest blog or interview or podcast or anything of that sort for you, let me know. dpf @ dianapfrancis.com

I wish I knew how to do a book trailer. I’d like to have one for this release.

And now, someone is coming to look at the house shortly, so I’m going to go finish cleaning and making the house smell of cookies.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
blebity glub

I’m tired. I’m so tired, that every time I sit down to make a post, I have nothing worth saying. In fact, I have gibberish. My life for the last week has involved nothing more than grading papers and teaching. Well, and a bunch of paperwork that doesn’t involve teaching, and oh, yeah, that whole being a single mom thing–since the man is working in Oregon. Also, cleaning, for a house showing the other day, and we have another on Friday, so there will be more cleaning. Also, flag football for the kids starts this Saturday. And I have some more grading to do. Plus I haven’t been sleeping. Actually, I had managed some sleep last night for awhile, but then the power went out and when it came back on, my computer’s surge protector decided to beep about it.

I have a desire to spend a day or so reading and vegging with the dogs. And napping. Tomorrow is a day off from teaching and so I can do all that, except for the grading I need to do. Which means there will be dogs, but no vegging. Also I have a rib that is acting up and I think I need to go to the chiropractor. I don’t want to.

Well, reading that over, I think I’ve demonstrated that I’m still blathering gibberish. I hope I get over my gibberishness soon. I’d like to string coherent words together and not just here.

It’s 9:30. I never go to bed this early. But I think I am tonight.

Friday, September 14th, 2012
Welcome YASMINE GALENORN to my blog with a giveaway!!!!

Yasmine Galenorn, fabulous writer of, well, a lot of great books, but most notably the Indigo Court Series and the Otherworld Series, has consented to guest today (no threats or arm twisting was involved–well, not much, anyhow). Please welcome her! (note that this should have been posted earlier today, but I’ve been pukey sick and therefore behind).

First, thanks Di, for having me on your blog—and yes, I’ll be having a giveaway at the end of it.

For those of you who don’t know me, here’s the official blurb: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes two urban fantasy series for Berkley: both the Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon and the Indigo Court series. In the past, she wrote mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and nonfiction metaphysical books. Her books have hit the New York Times, the USA Today, and the Publishers Weekly bestseller lists numerous times. Yasmine has been in the Craft for over 30 years, is a shamanic witch, and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos. She lives in Kirkland WA with her husband Samwise and their cats.

Now that we have that out of the way…

I’m a writer. Storyteller. Bard who works in print/ink/the written word. Dreamer of dreams, weaver of words, witch of the wild. I spin my dreams into stories into words into books. As arachnophobic as I am, I very much appreciate Arachne and Grandmother Spider—for they are the muses of story.

From the time I was three years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I remember the day—something, somehow triggered the realization that people made the books I was learning to read—they didn’t just magically appear out of thin air. And right then, I knew…absolutely knew…I would grow up and “make books.” And I never wavered from that decision.

For me, the process of writing a book is like following a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest. I get a glimpse of something—a character, a scene, and begin chasing it. I start at the beginning, and step by step, track the story and the characters through the labyrinth, through the dangers and illusions, through the snow and ice and driving rain.

Often I’m asked if I plot out my books. Here’s how it falls out for me: I know the basic elements of the overreaching story arcs that cross all the books in each series. I know the beginning, the highlights, and the very end of each book as I begin it. I write a 1-2 page synopsis and go from there.

The evolution of my books comes through the writing, hence—unlike some authors—I never write chapters out of sequence. Now and then, I’ll catch glimpses of things to come and I’ll jot down lines here or there, or notes on the synopsis, but I go crumb by crumb, following the trail the characters leave as they plunge into the deep dark forest.

I work in my subconscious for a number of things—subplots, especially. Sometimes I’ll write something and think, “What the hell is that all about?” and then, a chapter or three or five down the road, I’ll realize just what I was foreshadowing. My mind is constantly working—if not consciously, then on a subconscious level.

Not all writers work this way, mind you—but it works for me.

And now, a sneak peek from my next release, Shadow Rising—book 12 in the Otherworld Series. The series runs round robin through three sisters, half-human half-Fae, points-of-view. This book is from the youngest sister’s POV, a vampire.

Shadow Rising

Book Description:
We’re the D’Artigo sisters: sexy, savvy ex-operatives from the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Being half human, half-Fae means our powers go haywire at all the wrong times. My sister Camille is a wicked-good witch, with three gorgeous husbands. My sister Delilah is a two-faced werecat and a Death Maiden. And me? I’m Menolly, a jian-tu turned vampire, and I’m dating a sexy werepuma and the godfather of vampires. Unfortunately, life is about to get very, very nasty…

Nerissa and I can’t decide on what we want to do for our promise ceremony and we’re bickering like an old married couple. My sisters and I head to Otherworld for a meeting with Queen Asteria, where we discover that Shadow Wing has dispatched Telazhar to reignite the Scorching Wars. And as soon as we return back home, we find Gulakah, the Lord of Ghosts, waging a battle to control the magical beings over Earthside. Caught between two terrible enemies in a battle spanning two worlds, we can only hope we’re in time to stop all-out annihilation.

Excerpt:

“The fragrance of ylang- ylang and jasmine filled the room. Roman picked up the vial and opened it.

A strange smell filled the room, heady and intoxicating, making me lick my lips. I wanted to ask what it was but forced myself to remain silent. He carefully tipped it over the goblet and dropped
one . . . two . . . three drops of the coppery- colored liquid into the blood, then took the silver blade and stirred it. Corking the vial again, he put down the knife and picked up the goblet.

Turning to me, he dipped his thumb into the blood and pressed it against my forehead.

“I anoint you in the name of the First Mother.” Once again, he coated his thumb and this time he motioned for me to pull back the folds of the gown, exposing my chest. He pressed his thumb against my heart.

“I anoint you in the name of Blood Wyne, my sire and mother.” A third time, and this time he pressed his thumb against my lips.

“I anoint you in my name— Roman, Liege of the Vampire Nation, Son of the Crimson Veil.” He lifted the goblet to salute me, then drank half of it. Handing it to me, he nodded. “Drink.”

I swallowed the blood and it tasted like spice, like cinnamon and cloves and fire and copper. As it bathed my throat, the room began to spin; slowly but surely, I swallowed my fear with the crimson nectar.

~End excerpt~

Giveaway:

And now, I’ll pick two winners from everyone who leaves me a question on Diana’s blog, and each person will receive a $10 online gift certificate to either Barnes and Noble.com or Amazon.com—their choice. Please leave your contact info in your comment so my assistant can contact you.

Thanks, Di, for hosting me!

Yasmine

Website: www.galenorn.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorYasmineGalenorn
Twitter: http://twitter.com/yasminegalenorn

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
worthy of mention

Read in a student paper today: “he had Ivies coming out if arms.”
–I rather think that could be interesting in a story, actually. It’s far more interested in the IVs he undoubtedly had.

Read in a student text today: “So, um, can’t make work today because my boyfriend came to purpose to me.”
–Purpose sounds quite dirty, doesn’t it? We also admired the tone, which was quite bland for getting purposed (or even proposed to).

Have a post on Magical Words today about comparing and despairing or inspiring.

From WIP:

He eyed the merti board. A frown creased his forehead and sat back up. For the second time that evening, a chill raised gooseflesh on his skin. In the pattern of play Yeron had made was an arrow made of opals pointing to the northeast.

Coincidence. It had to be. Or more likely, silverborn insanity.

Or maybe it was prophecy. The possibility skittered through Seavik’s mind. Then he shook himself, wincing at the lance of pain that ran through his belly. He swiped an impatient hand over the board. Stones clicked and rolled across the floor. Foolishness, he scoffed at himself and lumbered to his feet.

But as he retreated to his chambers, he wondered . . . .

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
Excellent news!

I am more than pleased to announce that Audible.com is going to be making audio books of the Path novels and the Crosspointe Chronicles. I’m so excited. I’m bouncing off the walls.

I don’t have much else for you today. I’m just a blathering idiot about this. Pardon me while I go dancing.



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