Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for October, 2012

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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Winners!

Okay, thanks to the random number generator, I can tell you who the winners of the giveaway are. Thanks for playing all!

Paul @Princejvstin Wins card the first.

Van P. wins card the second.

Send me your preferred email and I’ll send the codes to you to claim the $$ from Amazon. dpf AT dianapfrancis DOT com

In other news, made witch hat cookies for the girlie’s school party tomorrow, carved pumpkins, got my hair cut, made a huge vat of soup, and generally now need to go to sleep. Oh, and did that teaching thing.

I’ve also been watching coverage of Sandy. Wow. It’s stunning. I don’t have the words. My thoughts are with everyone who is struggling with the aftermath of the storm.

Monday, October 29th, 2012
Skylanders Giants

First, I’ve been watching coverage of Sandy and worrying about everyone on the east coast all day. Please know you’re in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you’re all safe and warm.

Now, onto the actual subject of my post. I got my kids Skylanders Giants this weekend. Well, actually they paid for half of it and I went in on the rest because I’m a sucker. Anyhow, they love it. But girlie wants a character call Ninjini because she’s a girl, and she’s a giant. Trouble is, the only place I can find it is Amazon and it’s $68. Ouch. So I’m looking to find one that’s reasonably priced. Apparently I may be able to find them in stores. So I’m asking you all if you would keep your eye out. Or maybe it’s not released yet. Does anybody know? I’d like to find one for Christmas for girlie.

Friday, October 26th, 2012
Doing a Give Away

I have some money to give away. Two Amazon Gift Cards, thanks to all of you who use my links to buy things. (And if you keep using my links, I’ll keep giving away money!!! So when you buy at Amazon, click on one of my links please and there will be money to win).

They aren’t big giveaways, but on card if for $10.92, and the other is for $19.59.

So here’s what we’re going to do. To win one of these cards, you need to respond to this post (on my website blog or the LJ blog) and you need to tell me something about something you know nothing about. Go ahead.

You have until Monday at 5:00 Pacific Time. (And yeah, it will be a random drawing.)

Go!!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Single parenthood

Someone on facebook asked if it was hard to be a single parent. Or maybe it was is it it harder to be a single parent. I didn’t answer there because in truth, I’m not a single mom, I’m just playing one at home for the nonce. And it is hard and harder. You don’t have a partner to shoulder the drama, the homework, the chores, the decisions, and so on. And I expected that. But what I didn’t expect with the sort of mental and emotional exhaustion that comes from being the one. My kids are really good kids. They help out, they do their homework, they are sweet, and though they have moments of upset, they are mostly fairly happy-go-lucky. Even so, it’s hard to be the one that fixes everything, answers everything, is company, is the boss. There’s a new phrase in my house: Careful, or mom will go banshee on us.

Sigh.

I didn’t realize how much emotional and mental burden The Man carried just by being present. Not that things are easy on him. He’s got to struggle with being alone and not getting to see us every day. The best part of the day for me is going to tuck the kids into bed (and not just because they are going to bed and the house will be quiet–shush), but because I can snuggle and talk to each of the kids separately and it’s always a good moment.

The good news is that he’s coming to visit for a week next week. Providing things don’t fall through on the job end of things. Can’t wait. Haven’t told the kids. They will be so surprised.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
A bizzard? Really?

We had a blizzard today. A thunder blizzard. It didn’t last long, but we had whiteout conditions and meanwhile the thunder was just rolling. It was pretty cool actually, but mostly because I was in the house, not outside trying to walk around in it. Very little snow stuck, but I’m expecting it will be nasty slick in the morning. Can hardly wait.

Other than that, I have little to report. Oh! Except that I read the first chapter of Kelly McCullough‘s upcoming Crossed Blades novel and was totally blown away, and then promptly ordered all three books. You should go check out his website, sample chapters and dig in.

Also, in other news, I want brownies.

Monday, October 22nd, 2012
consider this an interesting title

My favorite pizza place was closed tonight. It’s not permanent. The place will reopen soon. It moved and just hasn’t yet reopened. Darnit. I was in the mood to have food brought to me. Sadly, no one else delivers. Okay, another pizza place will, but I didn’t want their pizza. I was too lazy to go pick up other food, or to go to the DQ down the block. Okay, that isn’t true. I didn’t want fast hamburger food. There is no Taco Bell in Town. So basically I’m full of whine and whoa. I ended up making scrambled eggs with peppers and onion plus some sausage and some grapes. So basically I was forced to cook by sheer laziness.

In other news, it snowed today. Didn’t stick, but I supposed it could tonight if it snows again.

The house showing went supposedly well, but the person who looked had one concern, plus has to work out the job situation. So it’s definitely positive, but nothing is going to happen very soon. Sadly. At least the house is clean.

The girlie stayed home sick today. She wasn’t very, but I didn’t want to risk it. She ended up coming to class with me and staying in my office. Plus calling my cell phone to tell me that her stomach hurt. Then showing up in class to tell me so, so I cut it short and took her home. I then get severely little accomplished all day.

I had to wipe the paws of my boys who were muddy. But one of them was really unhappy with me, like he hurt himself. Course I know he doesn’t like people messing with his feet, but usually he isn’t this bad. So I’ve got to figure that out.

Sunday, October 21st, 2012
Where did I put that nap?

Yesterday and today I did a bunch of cleaning of house and yard in order to prepare for the showing tomorrow. I am tired. Plus I did my syllabus for tomorrow’s first day of class. I like teaching this class and I’ve taught it before, so it’s not hard to do. What’s hard it corralling all my ideas and figuring out how to cram all I want to do in just 3.5 weeks. I usually make students hate me by the end. Because they revise and rewrite and draft and I nitpick the hell out of everything. Why? Because this is writing for publication, where they start thinking about ways they can write as a career. It’s not creative writing, but writing for magazines, newsletters, and that sort of thing.

I have no idea what to fix for dinner. The problem? The kitchen is clean. I do not want to make it dirty. Cooking would make it dirty. At the same time, I don’t want to go out. Nothing sounds good. Except a taco salad. That would be good.

I’m also trying to figure out a good pair of shoes for winter. I usually get Merrell’s Junglemocs, which slip on and have a good tread. Do I need slip ons? no. But I do like them. But then I started looking at these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003JJB238/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&smid=A2STVS5NH7N4AB They are more expensive, but they have better tread and the problem with winter for me is that I fall down on the ice. The slip ons are nice, also, for if I want to wear a different pair of shoes at work. Okay, so here’s the issue. I can’t try them on. Usually Merrell’s run a full size too small. But I was looking at the reviews and nobody mentioned that. I’ve looked on other websites too and haven’t figured it out. I guess I’m going to have to just order and try them out. I wish I could find some to try on. But I live where that’s not feasible. And guess what? It’s going to snow/ice this week. Supposedly. Unless Oftenwrong (weatherman) is, oh, wrong. Could it happen?

Also, by way of way too much info, but looking for suggestions, my feet are getting pretty dry and cracked and peeley, thanks to the weather. Does anybody have suggestions for treatments that might help? I’ve tried epsom salts, which help some. I’ve tried desitin and shea lotion, but still not that good. So my good friends out there, help?

Friday, October 19th, 2012
A long snippet from Blood Winter (Max is Back!)

We’ve got a showing on the house on Monday. That means I have to clean this weekend. I mean, really clean. Plus rake leaves. I have some help from children, but mostly it will be me. Plus I start a new block on Monday, which means prepping the course and all that. I mean, I’ve been getting ready, but I have to get more ready and things printed and so on and so forth. So keep good thoughts for the showing.

Otherwise, I’ve been getting some writing done and wrangling kids. They’ve been out of school for a couple of days and having lots of fun with friends. Also there’s the whole doing laundry, feeding them, being mugged by dogs, and all that sort of thing.

And now, for your snipped of Blood Winter:

“What is this stuff?”

As Tyler complained, he brushed at his clothing. A streak of bright red dust clung to the shirt wrapping his lean, muscular frame. His long blond hair was tied at the base of his neck, and he sported a Three Musketeers-style mustache and beard.

Max sipped at the concoction in her glass, wincing at the thick, syrupy taste. Now that food was getting a lot harder to come by, Magpie, a Circle-level witch and the covenstead’s cook, had come up with a high-calorie drink made from honey, berries, and who knew what else. It tasted like the worst kind of cough medicine, but Shadowblades and Sunspears didn’t have much choice. They needed a minimum of twenty thousand calories a day each to fuel the spells that created them, and going to Costco or Walmart for tubs of peanut butter and pallets of power bars was no longer an option. The Ugly Juice, as everybody was quietly calling it when Magpie’s back was turned, was the only answer they had come up with.

“Maybe you rubbed up against something,” she suggested unhelpfully as the red smudge refused to budge. “Or someone.” She lifted a brow suggestively.

“The same something—or someone—you rubbed up against?” He glared at her arm. His blue eyes burned in his narrow face, and he spun a knife around the fingers of his left hand. It never seemed to leave his grip anymore. Like a deadly security blanket. He was perpetually angry, always needing to move. As if he was hunted.

Max glanced down at herself and frowned. A streak of red dust ran down her forearm. She wiped at it. The stuff might as well have been spray paint. She shrugged and gave up. “Probably something one of the witches concocted. Likely Kyle,” she said, wincing again.
Her brother had all the power of a Triangle witch and all the training and self-control of a toddler. He tended to experiment with spells before considering the consequences, with frequently messy and sometimes dire results.

“He needs a keeper,” Tyler said, taking half a biscuit drenched in gravy and offering it to the beast lying at his feet.
The Grim stared up at him with unworldly green eyes for a long moment, before closing Tyler’s entire hand in her jaws and scraping off the biscuit, leaving welts across his skin. The creature was at least two hundred fifty pounds of pure muscle and stood about three feet tall at the shoulder. Her bearlike fur was blue-black, developing into a ruff behind her heavy, square head. Her tail curled around her legs.

“Nice doggy,” Max said, eyeing the scrapes on Tyler’s hand. His healing spells kicked in instantly, and a moment later they vanished. “What’s she do when she’s pissed off at you?”

He looked down at the Grim. The beast looked like a cross between a dog and a bear, but she was something far more magical and dangerous. Not to mention unpredictable, moody, and very possessive of Tyler.

He grimaced, and then the corner of his mouth turned up reluctantly. “It’s not what she does when she’s pissed that’s the question, it’s what she does if she isn’t. That I’m still waiting to find out.”

Max snorted. “You do seem to attract sketchy women.”

“Like you?”

“I was thinking of the witch-bitch herself. Giselle.”

He chuckled. “You’ve got a point there. Apparently, I like hard-assed women with vicious tendencies.”

“Good thing, too, given that you’re surrounded by them. And sleeping with one,” she said, jerking her chin at the Grim. “Does she hog the bed?”

Tyler winced. “More like I am the bed. I usually wake up with her sprawled across me and with a mouthful of dog hair.”

“Sounds romantic.”

“Shut up. What about Beyul? Alexander’s Grim doesn’t exactly strike me as the sort to sleep at the foot of the bed.”

“He likes the couch.”

“What about Spike?”

Spike was a Calopus and looked a lot like a silver wolf, except for the two thin horns that curved from her skull and the multitude of poison spines along her back, chest, sides, and tail. She had taken a liking to Max and had become her regular companion. Just at the moment, she slept under the table, her chin resting on Max’s foot.

“The couch is big enough for her and Beyul both.”

“You and Alexander are probably too loud and energetic for either beastie to sleep well if one of them tried to share the bed. But maybe they like to watch,” Tyler said, waggling his brows up and down. His knife still spun between his fingers.

Max flushed despite herself. She wasn’t used to having someone special in her life and in her bed. Ever since becoming a Shadowblade, she’d kept everyone at arm’s length, resorting to one-night stands to scratch her sexual itches. But then Alexander had come along and changed all that. Sort of. She was still trying to figure out how not to fall back into the habit of closing him out. During the days in bed, when she could float on the amazing feelings he awoke in her, things were just about perfect. But then nights came, and she had to deal with all her fears and knee-jerk patterns of shutting down rather than dealing with too many conflicting emotions. Alexander had a lot patience, but it was running out. After that— After that was something that was starting to give her nightmares.

“Maybe they do watch,” she said with a shrug. “’Course, I wouldn’t know. I keep busy, you know.”

“Which reminds me, where is the fair Alexander tonight?” Tyler glanced around at the other tables in the covenstead’s dining commons, where several other Shadowblades and Sunspears were eating. “You didn’t forget to unlock his handcuffs, did you?”

“No, just wore him out. Turned him into a puddle of satisfied man-goo.”

“Way too much information,” Tyler said, sitting back and making a face.

“You asked.”

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Kicking butt and taking names

First, I have an interview up on Short and Sweet Reviews. Come visit! . Come visit and see what I have to say. You might find something out about me you didn’t know . . .

In other news, I may be feeling better. I took a long walk with the dogs today, accomplished some writing, showered, shopped for groceries, did laundry, did parent teacher conferences (which for the middle schooler was looooong because you walk from classroom to classroom and wait in line with other parents for your five minutes. No appointments). I also did homework with girlie and listened to the boy play his clarinet. So busy day. I did have some sleepy moments in there, but given that I didn’t sleep that well last night, it counts as much improved.

And a snippet from today’s writing. I know I’ll be playing with it to clarify pronouns as much as possible, but here for you anyhow:

“Come on, then,” he said. “Don’t just stand there. You want me. Come get me.”

The one on his left lunged first. Terval stepped into him, snatching his arm as it swung down. He yanked the other man across his body, twisting his arm up behind him as he sent the other man careening into the attacker on the right. He felt bone break. The cudgel fell to the floor as his attacker let out a shriek of pain.

“I told you to come get me. I didn’t say I would make it easy,” Terval taunted. The center attacker smiled in an almost friendly way and inched closer. Meanwhile the man on the right had untangled himself and dropped his whimpering companion to the floor. He now turned his attention back to Terval who had edged toward the balcony doorway.

Both of his attackers lunged at once. Terval sidestepped. The center man grappled him around the waist, slamming him against the still-closed door to the balcony. The breath exploded from Terval. He drove his knife into the attacker’s back up to the hilt, then kicked out and shoved him into the third attacker, even as his cudgel crashed into Terval’s shoulder. Pain erupted in his arm and then it went numb.

Sunday, October 14th, 2012
One small spurt of creativity and words

Today turned out to be one of those days where I did extraordinarily little but hang out with the kids. I did make them clean their rooms and scoop dog poop. And I read. I finally had a creativity/writing push and wrote a fair bunch of words, but the problem was that soon the children followed me up the stairs to hang out. Girlie drew on the whiteboard and boy sat and talked to me for awhile and then laid down because he was morphing into barfboy. He threw up twice today. I’m really hoping he gets over this. Whatever it is. He did manage some dinner and is now asleep. I hope.

I was really happy with what I wrote today. It’s a lot of worldbuilding stuff, and in the end I don’t know how much will be needed, but I love the way the world is fleshing out and how the characters are fitting into it. Very happy about that. I just wish I’d had more uninterrupted time to take advantage of the energy and the creativity. At least the ear infection is clearing up. And the kids are happy. And it’s not snowing, though the horrible smoke rolled in yesterday again.



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