Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for March, 2016



Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Things have been happening

First, Trace of Magic is on sale for one more day. Only $1.99 for the ebook. If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance to get in cheap.

Second, Whisper of Shadows, the third in the Diamond City Magic series, is available for preorder. There will be a print version, but I don’t think that preorder is available. Below is the back of the book blurb:

War is coming . . .

When the FBI uses an anti-magic law to arrest and torture Riley’s boyfriend, they have no idea what hell they are about to unleash. If Riley can’t rescue Clay before he breaks, the result will be a disaster of epic proportions.

With time running out, Riley and her family must rely on two people more likely to stab them in the back than actually help. And, even if Riley manages the rescue, she’s still got to deal with two kidnappings and the return of her dad from the dead–the same dad who’d been willing to see her dead to protect his secrets.

What’s a girl to do? Kick ass, take names, and protect those she cares about at all costs.

I finished a short story today for an anthology set in Faith Hunters Rogue World. If you haven’t read those books, they are wonderful. You should.

I manage to nearly break myself today, but only came away bruise and battered. Who knew gardening was a contact sport?

I was part of an SF Signal Mind Meld where a bunch of authors were asked about good, recent “popcorn” books or TV. Here are the answers. Just in case your TBR pile/mountain was too small.

I put a bunch of colors in my hair and still have one more to go. Pictures later. But I’ve got blue, orchid, and pink in, and violet to follow.

In other news, the corgi boys are still spoiled rotten.

Friday, March 25th, 2016
Rocks and dogs

We went rockhounding yesterday. Got up at 5:30 and got on the road. Went to look for moss agate, but there was a gate up, so went to search for limb cast instead. I had a rotten day and found very little, but the Boy of Size and my husband found lots of good stuff. We were going to stay the night and do more looking for thundereggs, but the boy started feeling sick with my death cold and we decided it was better to come home so he could rest and not be sick for school on Monday. Today I’m so tired. The drive home was rough. There was a lot of snow, and though the road was mostly just wet and the truck is a 4×4, it was still about 11 ish before we got home last night (got up at 5:30).

Today I’m sore. I climbed hills and dug. And my chest and throat hurts from panting. With the cold and the sudden elevation, plus exercise, I had a tough time. So I went slow and rested frequently. It was a lovely day. A bit windy and some chill, but bright and beautiful. Also, and here’s a TMI, my butt bones hurt from sitting on rocks where I had to go to the bathroom. One of the dogs stayed near the truck the whole time, the other one followed me everywhere and laid down between my feet every time I

I’m trying to work on finishing a story for an anthology that I owe. I had a plan for the end, but now I’m thinking maybe I want to find something twistier. So I think that’s what I’m going to do. At least try. See what I can figure out.

 

 

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Upright and breathing

I’m better. Insomuch as I am upright and breathing, although mostly without the use of my nose. I wish my model of body had come with a removable head that I could take off, scrub out, and put back on. That would make things much easier for me.

I finished proofing Whisper of Shadows, which means, if you don’t know, that I went through and looked hard for mistakes and found some, though certainly I missed some and now I can worry about that in the middle of the night when I can’t breathe because my nose is not working properly. Although it’s still there, and I know this because I have to blow it all the time and it’s chapped.

I’m now reading the Incryptid novels by Seanan Mcguire. I had some on my shelves, but couldn’t find them, so in my cold-induced stupidity, I bought more copies. Then promptly found the old copies. But the fifth one just came out, so I only have one of those. I do love these books with great big love.

Heard from a good friend at my old job and the powers at be there continue to be shitty employers, and my old department continues to be sub-par humans. Why can’t people treat others professionally and kindly? I’m just saying. Sigh. Wish I could help her.

I have avoided watching the news today and have only heard a tiny bit about the bombings. I’m trying not to hear more at the moment. It’s just too much right now. My heart weeps for us.

 

Saturday, March 19th, 2016
Sicko snippet

Ever been so sick that you can’t remember what happened five minutes before? Like emailing something important to someone? Or not. Right now, I’m there. Also the dogs thing that since I’m sitting here in 3/4 of a coma, that I should be petting them. Nonstop. If I do stop, I get poked with a cold, wet nose. And they throw hair onto my keyboard.

Sigh.

Just a reminder. The Incubus Job is available! And Whisper of Shadows will be out in under a month! (that’s the third in the Diamond City Magic series). And this is me also reminding you to put up reviews. That would be awesome.

And a teensy tiny snippet from Whisper:

When had my life turned into a soap opera? Pretty soon I’d find out
that an international billionaire-spy-sheikh uncle I never knew about had
fathered Price and that Taylor was pregnant with Touray’s illegitimate
baby, and Dalton was the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Reading

I started out the year reading a whole bunch and then this month I’ve not been reading that much. In fact, only one book in the last couple of weeks. Finished it today. I didn’t really like it–it wasn’t particularly well-written and there was a lot of info-dumping, the villains were cardboard and rather silly, and the romance was, for lack of a better word, stupid. And by that, I mean that there’s an epidemic that’s killing millions of people, and the doctors from the CDC who are desperately trying to figure out what’s going on, two of the them are making happy cheerful flirties and then perky sex while being hunted down and you can see why this is stupid. I mean, people can fall in love in desperate situations and they do–I mean, they might die–but they aren’t going to be all happy and flirty and smiley and winky. Oh, and one of the doctors kept making muffins and cookies at the drop of a hat. In the jungle. With MILLIONS of people dying.

You might wonder why I kept reading. Basically I wanted to see how the story finally pulled together or if it fell flat. Some of the elements were done decently well. Others . . . yeah, no. But here’s the thing I discovered–even though I could have just not finished it, I felt compelled to. And yet I didn’t want to read it, so I didn’t read at all. Then I decided I should try something else, so I’m reading Stealing the Elf King’s Roses, which is fun, but I misplaced the book and sigh.

And now I’m having constant acid reflux. Which is not typical for me. I do not know if this if because I’m sick (and I have had some symptoms in that direction), or if I’ve suddenly developed it. As it is, Tums isn’t doing the trick so I need to pick up something else. I cannot stand this feeling of having something stuck in my throat. Blech.

Sunday, March 13th, 2016
Bread baking

I did some bread baking this weekend. Made a beer batter bread. Quick bread. It turned out pretty well. Made it whole wheat with Black Butte Porter. I then made a whole wheat bread dough. I grind the flour myself. I made it really liquidy to let the wheat absorb really well and stuck it in the fridge overnight. I baked it tonight and it seemed to come out well, but I’ve still got to cut into it. I also made cinnamon rolls and they finally turned out right. Which is to say, they cooked through. I baked them much longer than it called for. I also made a very sticky dough. It was hard to roll them up, but that’s okay.

Otherwise it was very wet and blowy this weekend. I did get some housework done, much as I tried not to.

I also spent an inordinate amount of time scratching dogs. They’ve both decided that only I can pet them properly and therefore they will smother me and force me to use my hands for good. And good for them is feeding them or petting them. They are gluttons. And to force me to cooperate, one of them will lick me and the other will rub his cold, wet, slimy nose all over whatever exposed skin he can find. Blech. And no amount of me telling him not to will prevent it. They both just give me the big eyes. I’m such a sucker.

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
Win The Incubus Job

Click this link to my Amazon giveaway and you could win a copy of The Incubus Job.

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
It isn’t avoidance if it’s important to do

Who am I kidding? Of course it is. But anyhow, I was supposed to be working on a story today, which I did a little, but I needed to put together an image to advertise The Incubus Job. It needed to be of a certain proportion and I wanted something to catch attention, as it will be in amongst many others.

I haven’t used Photoshop in forever, and when I did use it, I wasn’t particularly good at it (as in, almost lacking all skills). It is not an intuitive sort of program, either. It does, however, let me play at being an artist and also lets me manipulate images and text, so I decided to dig in. Here’s the image I ended up with:

giveaway ad

The first thing I did was create the background. I did that using an interesting brush that kind of randomly splotted, and then used a bunch of colors. Specifically, I used purple, red, yellow, and pink. You’ll notice that none of those colors appear in the background. I’ll explain. After dabbing all the colors in, though not entirely covering the background, I took the smudge tool and started smudging. I tried to go at a diagonal, from bottom left to upper right on a slant. I moved the colors both down and up so that the pattern distributed in a way that I liked. Once I was done, I moved on (it still wasn’t blue yet).

I then put in a layer with the cover and managed to figure out how to tilt it, and then I figured out how to make a bevel on it and a glow around it. I arranged those in a way that I liked (lots of options for doing both), and then moved on to the text. I tried out a bunch of fonts and didn’t like most of them. I finally opted for this one, which is a little like the cover font. I managed to make it have a gradient from white to yellow, but I really don’t know how. I was trying to do some different things. I also had to figure out the text, which I finally came up with, though now I wish there were fewer ‘expecteds’ in there.

I figured I was pretty happy, but then managed to look at another one that was much better. More polished looking. I decided that I would at least try to put a lighter color box around the text. It’s at this point that I clicked a button and turned the background blue. I don’t know what I did exactly. But I liked the blue, so I kept it. I managed to insert a layer with the box underneath the text. I colored the box a light blue, and overlayed on the background, it looks like the above.

I then saved and closed out and in doing so, managed to flatten the images instead of keeping a .png which would still have the layers. So I can’t modify this. I’d have to recreate it. What I wish I could do is go back in and make a border around the text box, I’d also like to round the edges of the whole thing.

I think I need to play more with photoshop in general, but also to try to create some advertising materials. Maybe even play a little with some digital art. That could be fun.

I use an older version of photoshop, and can’t afford to upgrade to the monthly fee. I hope I can figure this one out in more depth.

 

 

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
It’s a book birthday!

The Incubus Job is now available for download! I didn’t know I’d be this nervous. I’m literally in knots. I kind of feel the need to throw up. I don’t remember the last time I felt this nervous about a book release. I don’t even know quite why. Except this book means a lot to me and it’s my first indie publication. I swear, though, my head is going to pop off soon. *breathe, Di, breathe*

A lot of people ask how they can help an author, so I’m posting the following, which I stole from Seanan McGuire, who also has a book birthday today. It’s one of her Incryptid books, which are amazeballs good and if you haven’t read them, go do it. If only for the mice. So here’s the how to help an author recommendations:

DO buy the book as soon as you can. Sales during the first week are very important—think of it as “opening weekend” for a movie—but they’re not the end-all be-all. If you can get the book in the next few days, get the book. Remember, books make great gifts!

DO post reviews on your blog or on Amazon.com or Goodreads. Reviews are fantastic! Reviews make everything better! Please, write and post a review, even if it’s just “I liked it.” Honestly, even if it’s just “this wasn’t really my thing.” As long as you’re being fair and reasoned in your commentary, anything you say is perfect. (I like to believe you won’t all race right out to post one-star reviews, but if that’s what you really think, I promise that I won’t be mad.) Reviews help authors get better standing and advertising at the online stores and hopefully helps generate sales.

DO tell your friends if you happen to like the book. Word of mouth is so helpful. I mean, how many times have you picked up a book because a friend told you it was good?

That’s about all I have. I will now go back to pacing and chewing my nails.