Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for February, 2013



Thursday, February 28th, 2013
The Winner

Wow, you all made that a really difficult contest. I had a tough time picking a winner, but I decided on Ken because I loved the story and it totally made me think about those summers nights when I was a kid. Those perfect summer moments. So shoot me your email Ken!

In other news, someone came to look at our house yesterday, which is largely why I wasn’t posting here yesterday. No idea how it went really. I’m trying really hard not to get my hopes up and forget they even looked. Need to preserve my sanity. Oh hush. Yes there is something there to preserve.

I heard from my agent on my sample pages. She likes them, but also had suggestions for revision. Now I knew there would be revision suggestions and they are good. But the little kid inside always wants a gold star and some confetti and a hearty “it’s perfect! It’s going to be the best thing EVER!” Sigh. Yeah. Reality never matches that particular fantasy for anyone, and if it does, chances are they’re from Nigeria and want me to give them my bank account numbers, passwords, social security number, and possibly plasma. Anyhow, that means digging in on revision and I’m looking forward to that.

Are your reading Moon Called? Because Discussion happens here on Saturday!!!!

I had this weird dream last night that involved a big skyscraper hotel with some sort of day spa and was also situated in the middle of an amusement park. I’m terrified of heights, so I don’t do roller coasters and gravity drops and so on. At one point in this dream, I’m at the day spa pool with my dogs and for some reason they let me bring them into the pool, so long as I stayed in this little shallow scalloped out pool of our own, which frankly was pretty cool. A bit later, I’ve got some reason to go up to my room without the dogs, so I go get on the elevator. Only the elevator doesn’t go up and down in a traditional way, it is a roller coaster car that goes through a bunch of curves, rolls, hills and so on in order to get to any floor. Except I didn’t know that until we’re going through the first wild turn and down into the first hill. Yeah. Maybe it was a nightmare.

And sticking with that scary theme, I want to leave you with this TERRIFYING idea of fun. A huge (read insane) rope swing. Watching makes me want to throw up. I’m sure some of you are thinking, Cool! Where can I sign up? Now which one of us is insane?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Win free money!

I have to gift cards to give away. The first one happens today. Enter by Midnight tonight, 2/26! I’ll be choosing my favorite answer. Here’s the question, if you could travel back in time in your lifetime, when would you go and why?

This winner gets an Amazon gift card for $13.10 (from you all using links on this page to buy stuff on Amazon–it’s rewards for you time!)

And now, go! (enter on my LJ or my website blog. Either is fine)

Monday, February 25th, 2013
Grass and torture devices

I love Sheri Tepper’s Grass. It’s a really good book on a lot of levels. If you haven’t read it, you should. Part of the novel involves riding these native animals for long distances for long periods of time. The riders practice on these electronic practice animals for hours and hours. Days even. So when I saw this on Amazon, I felt like Grass had become suddenly very real. saddle I’d like to say more, but the spoilers would be bad. But if you have read Grass, tell me if you have a reaction to that picture.

I have mostly completed the list of work I have to do today. Yay for me! I’ve got another stupid meeting tomorrow. I suppose napping through it isn’t possible.

Has everyone started/finished reading Moon Called? We talk about it this weekend!

Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Oscars and the writing business

I did not watch the Oscars. I wish I could see just the musical performances. Those I would have liked to have seen. And heard. How about the rest of you. Did you watch? Was there anything you really enjoyed? I remember a few years back watching some of the music performances and I saw Alison Krauss with Sting and by herself. It was pretty cool.

In other news, it was a very lazy day. I need to learn to meditate. De-stress. Or get my ass on to the elliptical with more frequency. I cooked with the boy and he had a good time. Trying to teach both kids how to cook and why to fix things certain ways (i.e. browning meat before roasting, sauteeing onions, etc.). He had a good time.

Watched a McDonald’s commercial for these new fish bites. Even taking into account that all fish makes me instantly want to throw up, they look really really really really disgusting. Blecho.

Still have not baked bread. I don’t know why. Tomorrow I have a department meeting and am taking the dogs to get washed. I could do it at home, but right now, everything that doesn’t add to my stress is good, and this would. Mostly because there’s still snow outside and no way to really dry them and if I put them out I’d panic that they were going to get sick. So. Dog spa for them.

I need to learn excel. I don’t know how. After my previous post, I think it’s likely to be the best choice I have for now. If it was cheaper, I’d be tempted by the whole neatdesk thing, but really, my receipts and etc., aren’t that voluminous (I’m not sure that works at all in this context–actually, yes it can. So I’m keeping it) and it isn’t worth the expense. I don’t know what it would have to cost to make it worthwhile, actually. I wish I had someone here to give me Excel lessons though. I’m using the 2008 version of office. Wonder if I can get a book on it? Or maybe just look up tutorials (I have a mac, btw). I wish I had a quick and dirty 1 or 2 page how to guide of how to set up Excel and use it for simple stuff. Mostly I want something for income, outflows with specific categories, and then something to keep track of contracts. The fabulous Mindy Klasky has been posting some information on spreadsheets on Magical Words, so I’m hoping with those as a guide, I can make this work. It’s either that or creating a table in word with different categories and using the sum above formula. I think that would be less workable. I have a feeling Excel is probably more flexible and more capable.

Oh, I’m going to be at Norwescon at the end of March. Anybody else going to be there?

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
Taxes and nutty old men and their socks

Every year I vow to do a better job of organizing tax information/financial information, as well as keeping it updated. I did a pretty good job for a little while last year, and then . . . stopped. Today I worked a number of hours on organizing some information. I really need to learn how to use Excel and spreadsheets. You’d think that I’d have learned by now. I’m sure it would be really helpful. I guess that’s something I need to commit to very soon. Like maybe next week. Sigh. Of course, once I get it going, I have to remember to enter the data. That’s the part that I really get slow on. Or . . . stopped on, to be more accurate.

I did not sleep the day away today. That’s a good thing. It snowed. That’s a bad thing. I couldn’t go outside to exercise, thanks to the slabs of ice under the snow. I’m a clod. I will randomly fall. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. In the meantime, better warm up my elliptical again. I did sit in front of my SAD lamp.

Tried to play rolled-up-magazine swordfight with the kids. The dogs did not like this. They attacked the swords, attacked me, attacked the kids. Bit at the swords and climbed all over us (we were sitting down) and barked like mad. I don’t know if they were trying to participate or telling us to stop. But wave a rolled up magazine at them, and they cower. Wave it at each other, they go nuts. Kind of hilarious really. Corgis taking care of business.

Four or five months ago, my dad had his hip replaced. Again. A couple weeks ago, he dislocated it. Emergency room trip and they put in. He did this while getting his socks. Now you have to understand he’s 83 years old, and most of his back and neck is fused, and he can’t feel the bottoms of his feet or his hands that well. So okay, he somehow planted a foot wrong or twisted wrong and Pop! Then about a week later, when they were going to the Palm Desert to stay for a couple of weeks to help his arthritis, he does it again. This time in the bathroom because he was too impatient (oh yeah, that’s my dad) to wait for the handicap stall. So he dislocates again. Nuther Emergency room trip followed by a very long drive home and now he has a brace he refuses to wear at home. Because, yanno, he doesn’t do this sort of thing at home *eyeroll*. So my recommendation for mom is to duct tape the brace to him and no longer allow him to wear underwear and socks. (The underwear because when I blew my back out the worst, I did it putting on underwear and what good is experience if you can’t foist it on someone else?) She isn’t taking my advice. Not even with the duct tape.

There you go, random family story for your Saturday night. Now go forth and be extra careful with all your undergarments, but especially socks and underwear.

Friday, February 22nd, 2013
Whatta day

I slept a lot today. I’m trying to figure out if I’m sleeping because I need it, or if it’s because I’m getting hit with the blues. I hesitate to call it depression, or to really name it at all at this point. The reason for that is that this week is bad, next week may be better. It may be SAD. I did get outside today and that seemed to help. I just have to make a very concerted effort to exercise, get outside, eat healthy, and take my vitamins and see what effect that has. And yes, I am definitely down. The fact that the house isn’t selling is incredibly discouraging and I get very worried about what happens in six months and where I’ll be. But one day at a time, I suppose.

The other thing that’s knocking on me is taxes. Usually this is something I do with my husband and this year it’s all on me. Not the actual doing of. That all goes to our fabulous accountant. No, this is just the gathering of materials and I’m terrified (literally), that I will somehow totally fuck it up. This is not contributing to my sense of well being.

In other news, a woman I went to grade school with was on CSI: NY tonight!!! She’s not an actress, but she does a lot of photography for the Lieutenant Dan Band. It’s pretty damned cool. And she wrote this very cool book.

I also wondered today about pornographic dog pictures. Specifically, dogs who roll on their backs and show all of their privates are not actually committing pornography, but humans in the same situation are. Also, dogs are much cuter in such positions and cause reactions like “aw, how sweet,” where as humans in the same positions cause other reactions from “oh baby,” to “Ew.” I wonder why that is. Is this secret animal privilege? Hmmm.

Yes, I am feeling a little bit silly tonight. Why do you ask? I think I need to bake some bread. I haven’t done it in a really long time and it’s past due. Maybe something with rosemary and garlic . . .

Thursday, February 21st, 2013
effort

In an effort to not get swamped by the blues today (to some slight success), I cleaned and did laundry. Cleaning is important because of course, at any time someone could come look at the house. Or so I hope. I did a bunch of vacuuming, I washed the thing that goes under an area rug to keep it from sliding, I did a ton of laundry, changed sheets, folded clothes, and worked a bit on taxes. I did not get outside and exercise the way I wanted to, so tomorrow I will do that. Tomorrow is the presidents day off day for the kids, so I’ll be home with them. Plus I promised to take them out to lunch.

In the meantime, the dogs have begun shedding. Ack!!! Already? So now I have to get on brushing them about every day. Corgis lose hair like they are making it in a factory.

I also realized in working on my synopsis, that I don’t know enough about my bad guy. I know what he looks like, but not a lot of his background, and I really need to figure that out. Having realized this, I started sorting out his background. One of the things I do know is what’s driving him on one level. But what I don’t know is what’s broken inside him. There are often dueling desires that are mutually exclusives in a character. I know what one desire is, but I’m not sure what the other will be. Or rather, I do, but I don’t know if it’s enough. Between the need for the brokenness and the duel desires, I know what I need to do next. Easy to say, of course.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
Cowardly mom

I fled my children tonight. I admit it. I did all the mom things I was supposed to do. I helped with homework. I did laundry. I fixed dinner and fed them. I made one go shower. I read half a book so I could help boy with his homework. (Fun book–The Westing Game). Or rather, I was trying to do that, when things devolved with the kids. Girlie has discovered a new and deep love for My Little Pony. I was going to let her Netflix an episode. Boy was reading. No problem. Until–can’t we watch something I want to watch too? Fine, I’ll look. Nothing is on. I’m wasting time at this point that I need to be reading to help him. Also getting a bit infuriated because all of this conversation involves some whining. So I say finally, just let her watch this so I can read and we can talk about your homework. Fine. Until he made a little whiny sobby sighing sound. I was DONE. Turned off the TV, left the room. Went upstairs to read on my bed. Girlie followed crying. I told her to go away.

Yes, I fled. It was that or make somebody bleed or lay on the floor and throw my own tantrum. There must be some sort of saying that fleeing is the better part of maturity.

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
Recovery

As I mentioned, yesterday I finished my proposal chapters. Late last night, I finished polishing them up to send to my agent. Part of that polishing revolved around consistency. I had changed some name spellings and some capitalizations, and I had also given several names to one place. That stayed. It’s so important that people have given it multiple names and apply them depending on who they are and what their situation is. It required making some decisions, which will influence the plot and world as I go along. Amazing how just a little thing can cause such a storm later. I guess it’s the fictional version of the butterfly affect.

Today was a muddle of trying to catch up on sleep and motivate myself to get some things done. I’m afraid that muddling was more successful than anything else. This is a problem of getting the writerly crazies and diving in to the work and finding yourself worn out and exhausted and having to recover. I’m always delighted when the muse grabs me and runs with me, but at the same time, sometimes I wish it didn’t come with such side effects.

I now have to work out the synopsis for this book. Actually more than one book. But I’m not really an outliner or synopsifier, and so this is tough. I know a number of things that will carry me forward to the middle of the book, maybe more. But I don’t really know how the threads will play out. There are several major plot lines and I only know how one will resolve. The others are fuzzier and require me to, oh, write the book before I really know. yet I have to submit a synopsis. So I have to figure something out. But it makes me want to poke my eyes out with a spork.

That will be my project for tomorrow, along with chores and other business that I got behind on in the last couple of days. The chores are good for letting me think through some of the snarls of the plots. Nothing like cleaning toilets and that sort of thing for thinking. Gardening is good too, but sadly, it’s freaking cold. Meanwhile, I chomp my nails until I hear from my agent and start focusing on my other project. That’s a more contemporary fantasy and will be set in the south. I have been collecting language and habits of speech, but I would love it if you happened to know of any sayings, ways of speaking, anything that’s very southern in eating, dressing, whatever you can think of–please let me know.

Monday, February 18th, 2013
ritual words

Last night I was going to bed and then suddenly had a burst of energy and creativity, and stayed up til 3 a.m. to finish the chapter on the WIP I was working on. It was a little bit difficult because this chapter had magic and ritual in it. I knew the magic and new the movements of the ritual, but not the words. I’m not good at ritual words. They need to have heft and weight, plus mystery and mysticism. I don’t want rhyme necessarily, but I do like rhythm and assonance and alliteration. I always feel that mine are too much like: Hey magic! Do your thing and heal! (If it’s a healing spell.)

This is one of the ritual speeches I arrived at:

Spirit twine mind and heart,
Sing the blood,
Stitch the bones,
Wake the breath inside this husk.
Spirit bind sweat and sinew,
Sing the marrow,
Stitch the flesh.
Muster life inside this shell,
Bloom once more among the living.

I think it works for what’s happening. I’m hoping it all ties together in the end. Right now I’m polishing, and trying to get it ready to send to my agent. Again, this is just the bit for submitting to publishers. It’s about 125 pages long.