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Archive for December, 2015



Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Book Review: Thinning the Heard by Adrian Phoenix

Received from Netgalley

Thinning the Herd by Adrian Phoenix is a damned fun book. You’re going to want to read this one. Before I tell you why, let’s start with the back of the book description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Rush of Wings and The Maker’s Song series, a humorous, action-packed urban fantasy about a werewolf pack and an animal control officer in way over his head!thinning

Someone is picking off fortune tellers and hippies in Oregon, snatching them out of their Birkenstocks mid-stride. And when the legend himself, Hal Rupert, Animal Control Officer, gets a whiff of the mystery, he knows he’s the man to solve it. In between proudly wrangling out-of-control cats and dogs, he’s noticed a peculiar uptick in another sort of animal…werewolves.

Hal infiltrates the country fair to investigate the disappearance of the flower children. But his real priority is protecting the love of his life, Desdemona Cohen, whose long purple tresses and black-glossed lips captured his heart the moment he first saw her standing behind the register at Hot Topic. Desdemona may have nicknamed Hal “Creep,” but he’s determined to win her heart. And, you know, save everyone else, too.

So first of all, you can tell from the tone of the description, that this is a tongue-in-cheek sort of romp. It’s entertaining as hell with a lot of fun stuff going on. First of all, Hal is a dog-catcher and his weapon of choice is a catchpole. At first I thought, oh, dear, this could go horribly awry. I should have known better. It’s so fun. Hal is partially a Walter Mitty, slightly delusional and believing he’s a secret superhero, and he’s also a secret superhero saving the world from terrible evil. The mix of his own delusions overlaps with reality in a lovely way.  All the characters are well drawn and–I know I keep repeating this–they are so fun. There’s snark and wit and silly jokes and reversals and seriously, you’re going to want to read this one. It releases on January 4th, and right now the electronic version is only $1.99. I’m telling you, give it a grab. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
The old year

I’m noticing a trend across the net and elsewhere, that people are reflecting on the year that was lately. I don’t really feel like it. First, for me, the new year started on the winter solstice. It always does. I mean, that’s really the turning of the year if you think about it. That’s the longest night of the year, and the next day is the shortest day, and then the days get longer from there. So yeah, new year.

Anyhow, last year wasn’t such a grand one that I want to spend time looking back on it. It’s not that it was particularly bad. In fact we discovered my son’s treatment and he returned to school. That’s HUGE. I did some publishing and writing as is to be expected of a writer, and generally the year seemed to go by in a blur of mostly chores with some really great days and some really shitty days. I call that life.

I think part of it was that in the emotional aftermath of my son’s illness, I apparently got depressed. I am now on Wellbutrin. The doc is still figuring out the dose, but it does seem to bring me back more to myself. I do worry that I will lose my creativity, but hopefully not. Some writers who’ve taken it have gone off it for that reason. I suppose there are alternates if it fails. I’m hoping this means that my life will be less blurry and there will be more memories of the bright spots. And more energy.

I did read a lot more this last year than I did in previous years. I’m up now to 62 books and may finish another before January 1. Maybe 2, who knows? I still have a huge number in the to be read mountain so hopefully I will keep reading a lot. I enjoy it. Duh. That kinda goes without saying, doesn’t it? But sometimes I get in the habit of mindless TV. Probably the depression, I guess.

I have knitted a lot of things this year. I’m improving, which is good. I kinda keep making the same things over and over. I’ve got to branch out. But I’ve had requests, you see. And I’ve got to learn more sock heel methods.

I also started to lose the weight that I’d previously lost and then gained back with the Boy’s illness. Hopefully that keeps going. I’d like to be healthier and more fit.

I did complete my first self-published project. Several years in the works, I might add. Working in between other things. But I’m going through the process and plan to release in the beginning of March. I love this story and I hope you will, too.

Well, that’s about all the year worth talking about, I think. I did get out and do a little hiking this year, but would like to do more next. Oh, and we went rockhounding. That’s been huge fun. Definitely we’ll do more of that this  next year.

So I guess it’s a recap of sorts afterall. Now onward and upward. Once more into the breach! let’s have fun storming the castle!

Sunday, December 27th, 2015
Book review: Cold Girl by R. M. Greenaway

I received this book from Netgalley.

I just finished R.M. Greenaway’s Cold Girl. This is a mystery and a police procedural. It revolves around a disappearance–what happened to the pretty singer of a local up-and-coming Canadian band? The main characters are Constable Dion, who has survived a terrible car crash and a year later, is still not able to think the way he once did. Once a hot-shot detective, he’s now relegated to the backwaters of Canada doing scut work. The other main character is Leith, a detective who has been pursuing a particular serial killer and thinks that maybe this case is related.

What unfolds is a picture of a place–the cold remote back country of Canada where people eke out a living. It’s isolated and unrelenting and oh, so cold. In this tiny town, there are too many suspects. Pinning down motives and who did what and when is a difficult task. Worse, Dion has a terrible time articulating himself and he begins to perceive patterns and clues, but his memory and mind won’t work properly. He’s frustrated. Everybody is frustrated with him. He’s hidden his past, not wanting pity, so everyone sees him as inept at best, incompetent at worst. He quickly finds himself at odds with the other local law enforcement cold girlofficers and scrutinized by his higher-ups.

Leith is feeling burned out, angry, and left behind. Even when he solves one major mystery, he’s left with more piling up. He’s not sure he’s happy in his marriage or his job, and he’s not sure what he wants or where he wants to be. But soon, the missing girl becomes important to him and he finds it imperative that he solves the case.

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. Neither Dion nor Leith are particularly likable. But they are fascinating. And watching Dion both fall apart and pull himself together at the same time is agonizing and yet I kept hoping for him. The mystery was somewhat slow to unfold, but then, while this book is about the whodunnit, it’s more about the characters searching and the place and the local world.

The mysteries (they build as you go) are tied up and a satisfying way. Less so are the characters. The ending is slightly muddy for me and I wish it was a little clearer. Two small things are dropped in and I just don’t know quite what to make of them. Also, a lot is made of Dion looking native, and yet nothing comes of it. I kept waiting for it to matter.

I do think this is a really good book and I enjoyed it. It comes out in March, so look for it.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
news and baking

First, The Weird Wild West has been released! My story, Grasping Rainbows, is included. I really love this story. weirdThere are som fabulous writers in the book and I’m honored to be included. I hope you enjoy!

In other news, the kids and I baked today. We made lemon cookies, peanut butter pretzel chocolate bites; a Bailey’s, chocolate, cream cheese, white chocolate cookie; Rice Crispy S’more pinwheel; and chocolate chip cookies. We also made a brownie cookie dough that’s uber chocolaty and we’ll bake it tomorrow.

On top of that, tomorrow I need to make pie, dinner rolls, and also cut out cookies of two varieties. I’m already tired. Oh, and I need to make either cinnamon rolls or a blueberry breakfast cake.

My kids were quite helpful in various almost-helpful ways. We also listed to my daughter’s favorite Christmas CD about a dozen times. I need to get her another one. *facepalm*

We’re about ready for Christmas. Or rather, about as ready as we will get. I feel like we’re about to embark on a dangerous journey. Luck should be wished for us.

Monday, December 14th, 2015
Wahoo!

Whisper of Shadows went back to my editor today. At long last. It took me forever to revise. It’s lucky my editor is patient with me. I do like it and I hope you will, too. There’s a lot that happens. We start right where Edge of Dreams left off and then run forward. You’ll get to see more of Riley’s dad, her family, Touray and of course Price. And then Arnow and Dalton were back. I can’t wait for you to see it!

Finishing also means that I can and *need* to dig into holiday preparations. So tomorrow I have to hit the ground running. We still have to decorate the tree and I have wrapping and baking to do. Plus I have to send some things and still shop for kidlets. I didn’t get the knitting done I’d wanted to. I just couldn’t pull it together.

I am annoyed. I tried to make an order from Teavana. They were doing a big discount, and then if you bought so much bulk tea, you got an additional discount. Only for me, the additional discount wouldn’t come through properly. So I emailed customer service with the explanation. After several days, the reply was, hey, sorry, but you should call us. We have people who can help you. Um. I emailed you because your website said you could help me. And I couldn’t seem to manage to remember to call during their open hours. I was, afterall, working. Sigh. So I was screwed out of that discount and I’m irritated. Both at the so-called customer service, and the crappy website.

 

 

 

Saturday, December 12th, 2015
Bake fail

I made cinnamon rolls, which were tasty, except they didn’t cook all the way through. I’m not sure what happened. I don’t know if my oven wasn’t cooking properly, if the pan I used (which was an insulated jelly roll pan) was wrong, or something else. I did use convect, so maybe that’s the problem The tops cooked well, but it seems the bottoms and betweens didn’t get cooked all the way. I need to try again, but not sure how to fix it.

I also managed to clean my wood floors yesterday, but already I need to clean them again. Thanks to the rain, the dogs, the kids, and oh, everything else.

Watched Cake Boss this a.m. Now I want cake.

It continues to rain here and it looks like there’s a lot of snow dumping in the mountains. This is good. We’ve been in a drought with a lot of fires of late, plus the lakes and reservoirs have been awfully low and maybe things will fill up. It would be very nice. That said, I’d like a lull so we could go get the tree without getting soaked. I doubt that will happen. Good thing for soaker tubs to warm me back up again after the fact.

I really want to go out to the coast to see the waves, but the roads are a little dicey out there right now. Sinkholes and mudslides.

I have to take the girlie shopping for performance choir clothing and I am afraid we won’t find what we need, which amounts to a lot of black. She’s adult-sized, despite being only 11, so it’s hard to find age-appropriate clothes and though black seems like it ought to be easy to find, turns out there’s a lot of color that gets splashed around.

Had a lovely visit from friends last night. They had to leave far too soon.

I need to start wrapping things and get things sent to people. That’s  must-do for this week. And yet I still have so much other work to do . . . I’m going a little bit nuts. Or a lot.

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
Gah

This may come across as vaguebooking. I just want to say that being a mom some days is harder than I feel like I can manage. I feel I’m down in a hole I can’t climb out of. As a result I’m not feeling in the holiday mood and I don’t really know how to get there. We also went to cut a tree tonight, but the place was closed. I guess we’ll get it later.

Other than that, I keep trying to start this one knitting project and it isn’t working. I think the yarn is wrong. I’d better change it. Or just do something else.

I think I forgot to mention that Trace of Magic and The Cipher are on special $1.99 sale on Kindle this month.

Sunday, December 6th, 2015
Holiday prep

Is everybody else behind on holiday prep? Because I would totally like to think I wasn’t the only one. We meant to get a tree today, as the weather isn’t going to be cooperative any other day, but because of kid needs, we didn’t. I did do a major errand and laundry and bed changing, but did not dig into the cleaning I had planned. Otherwise, I am quite ill-prepared for anything holiday related. At all. Plus there is a ton of rain coming through and I have no idea if or when we’ll get outside decorations up. Am considering trying to get some into the windows to compensate.

I need to find a knitting pattern for mitts that I like. I want them to make up quickly and I’d rather they were on circulars than double points, but either is good. The thing is, and I probably won’t explain this well, but I want a separate thumb. The previous mitts I made I did in such a way that I increased for the thumb and at a certain point I closed the thumb off and finished the palm area of the mitt. That leaves a hole behind and I don’t want to do that. I want to do the thing where I put the thumb on waste yarn and finish it after. I don’t suppose anybody has suggestions?

The San Bernardino shooting hit me hard. Especially after Umpqua. I don’t have much I want to say about it now. I’m so sad, so disappointed in the people of this world, of America, of haters. I’m so sad for everyone.