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Friday, December 12th, 2014
many a things are happening

We had a Catastro-tree. We decorated it, then we made it fall over and things broke. Oddly, when you try to put things back on, the tree still looks a little rumpled and discombobulated. Only ornaments were hurt in the fall, however. Fur beasts and humans survived.

I am no longer taking the drug the doc gave me to sleep. Was just more than my body could take. So now I’m trying a pill with a mix of melatnonin, gaba, and a couple of other things. It helps. I do wake up in the middle of the night. I understand that there’s a slow release melatonin and I wonder if that would be better.

I love Christmas lights. I love driving around looking at them. My daughter is just as joyful about them. I also like going into the mall to look at the big oversized decorations. I was in NYC just after Xmas one year and the displays were so fun. Other than that, I’m staying out of the mall.

I have learned to knit. I am not necessarily all that fabulous at it, but I have learned. Now to make what I want to make (I’m working my way toward socks. I want to make socks). I am working up stuff at night by way of stress reduction. Apparently this does not work for some people who find it more frustrating than not. I get it. Still, I am enjoying it.

Been out walking the dogs and taking bad pictures of the moss that’s been growing. I love the moss. It’s so delicate and looks like it hides fairies. It’s small and amazing and so very green. The bad pictures stem from the fact that I hold my phone in one hand and two dogs with the other.

I have never seen Into the Woods on the stage, but really looking forward to seeing the film version because it just looks so fun.

My folks are coming up this way tomorrow. So looking forward to seeing them. Hoping to head out next week to the coast with them for a day. Will be very fun.

I got tired today and lay down on the couch. The dog jumped up and made himself comfy on my head. Hmm. Now that would have been a picture worth having.

I no longer know how to put my itunes player on my computer on repeat. Shuffle, I’ve got nailed. I can repeat a playlist, I think, but not a single song. I find this irritating.

Our TV had some pixels get stuck. Suddenly there was a big bright sort of half square that wouldn’t move. Can’t afford new TV. Looked up ways to maybe help, went to try said method, and apparently the pixels had got scared because now they were a moving and the spot left. Happy news there.

One of the dogs has always has this thing going on where at night, he wants to sit on the couch and be pet, then he turns into a cat and doesn’t want to be touched. At all. Because he wants to sleep, apparently and he gets quite annoyed if you touch him when he’s snoozing. Or so that’s the way he’s been. All of a sudden, maybe in the last month or so, he’s changed. Now he’s decided that he wants laps. And snuggles, and woe betide you if you move while he’s sleeping on you. There will be comments. He’s been stealing the other dog’s snuggle spot, and I’ve been getting a great many wounded looks from said other dog. Because, while other laps are good, mine is apparently the place to be. I chalk up to the fact that I’m a sucker.

 

And I’m part of this! It’s a great idea for an anthology. I really hope it makes. Check it out and support if you are feeling the love!

And now back to the actual writing job.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Dooby dooby dooo

So I’m still having weird anxiety dreams, when I don’t have total insomnia. Last night there was a bad guy who was taking other people’s stuff (because they “owed” him) and storing it at our house (including a tractor, a massive travel trailer and so on. This was the house I grew up in on the ranch). One of his men took a liking to my son (not in that way) which helped us get away in the end. Somehow, a small pig got involved, as did another family and there were guns and threatening and the main thing I wake up with is that baby pigs can’t have their pens in the house with the dogs and on the hardwood floor. Yeah. That really is an odd take away. For the record, I did raise piglets as a kid, so this was a fairly accurate dream as far as that went, and I already knew that about piglets and doglets.

Also my temperature keeps fluctuating ridiculously, and I won’t go into yesterday’s not feeling good. So I guess it’s time to call the doc. I’m staring at the phone now trying to convince myself it isn’t stupid to just do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been poking at the WIP with a sharp stick.

Saturday, November 29th, 2014
in way over my head anxiety dream

I had a dream last night that demonstrated to me that while I’ve been doing a hell of a job postponing my oh-shit-I’m-in-serious-trouble moments, my unconscious has decided to let me know that indeed, the shit heading for the fan has not gone unnoticed.

So apparently I was in a hotel with my husband and kids. At some point I needed to do laundry. Got it done, but couldn’t collect it til the next day. Also, my husband ended up going somewhere and I spent the night alone in an outhouse–I do not know why. When I got up to get dressed, I had no underwear. I went to fetch my laundry, while people gave me odd looks and tried to use my changing room (ie outhouse). I chased them away, but they got snotty. (Did I mention there were three beer fountains in the outhouse at one point and all put out just foam?)

At this point I learned that my laundry was gone and I was going to have to go commando in jeans. Yay, me. Then I couldn’t get back into my hotel room (you know, the one I had but slept in an outhouse anyhow?) In fact, there was no record I’d ever had a room. I had to stand in multiple lines to find all this out, and when I finally got to the head of one, the woman got on the phone to get Who tickets and so couldn’t talk to anybody because her phone was across the room and she was going to be waiting for hours to get Who tix. So then I went to the main hotel desk and found the owner who immediately started to dig into it. By this time, my husband had returned from fixing the cars, which somehow were broken. He watched the kids while I sat there.

At this point, something weird happened. A guy I was standing near got a steak and was eating it in the lobby. Apparently I was getting a steak, too. Then we all morphed into a weird battle scene in which we were on a highland above a long slope of brambles leading down into water. Attackers were coming up from below somehow and we had to fight them off. (And yes, they did seem to want my laundry). So we’re fighting them off and I realize that they have these portable sorts of bridges they are using to cross the brambles. I get pissed and grab a couple of the guys and try to steal a bridge and then I start getting pounded and I’m pounding and then the guy who was eating the other steak shows up and then my husband and we win. We now have the bridges. And now we morph back to the hotel to find out that my laundry will never show up and I’m out of underwear luck.

We go home. Not to my home, but some home I’ve never been to, only to discover my father-in-law is there and the place is a mess. I retreat to my bedroom to get on underwear, only to find a woman sleeping in my bed and the place looks like a tornado hit. I wake her up. She’s apparently my father-in-law’s girlfriend and is chatty and apparently I have met her. I tell her to get out of my room. She won’t go! I keep screaming and yelling at her to leave my room and she won’t go. So I shove her out. And then she walks back in and the door handle pops off and I can’t lock her out. I ask my husband to make her go. She won’t. Then suddenly her brother is there and he’s the same way. They WON’T GO! As in, just into the next room. They ignore me.

I totally melt down. I’m screaming at them and I can’t even retreat to quiet down because they follow me and won’t leave. They are perfectly nice about it. Chatty and friendly, but they won’t go!

And then my husband woke me up because I slept until 11 a.m., which I never do. He tells me of course I did because I’m sick. Okay, so yeah, I might be. Anybody heard of this sort of sick? We got one of those forehead temperature takers because we needed to check my son’s temps this last week when he’s had a fever and our old thermometer wasn’t working. It gives an error message if you don’t measure above 93.9 and if you measure above 108. I’ve been giving off a lot of the low error messages. I range between about 94 to about 101 this last week. When I’m low, I feel hot and headachey and sick. I’ve been drinking lots of fluids. Typically my normal is about 97 something. Right now I’m about a degree higher than that. So I can’t decide if I’m sick or if my thyroid meds need adjusting. But I’ve been sleeping hard (with weird nightmares obviously) and late. This ends on Monday when the kids go back to school and that’s not allowed anymore.

so there you have it. anxiety dreams of getting smashed by all that has to be done and my brain translates that into sleeping in an outhouse with foamy beer fountains, not having any underwear, fighting bad guys, eating steak (it was very fatty steak, too), and guests that not only won’t leave, but they invade all the spaces and won’t leave me alone, chatting endlessly.

For the record, I am wearing underwear.

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
In the mood

I’m in the mood to bake. I have been for awhile, but I’m actually getting off my ass to try some stuff out. Today I made upside down cranberry cake. I stupidly made it in a springform pan, which let a lot of juice leak out. But it was still tremendously good. I love the tartness of the berries. Is there any such thing as Cranberry jelly? Because I’m thinking I want to try to make some. I googled, and apparently jelly is usually cranberry sauce. So I’m going to have to experiment, methinks.

Tomorrow I want to make some cranberry orange bread, and also some cinnamon rolls. If I have time. I also plan to go to Costco for some last minute stuff I didn’t realize I need. I can’t go until well after open, since I have an extra minion spending the night tonight. So it will be an adventure of the harrowing kind. Wheee! Oh, also need to make a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. It’s a tasty thing.

The boy has been running a fever. It was around 103 plus a bit today. Tonight it’s all gone. I expect it will be back. He’s thrown up some, but not as bad as last week by far.

Made white chicken chile today. One of my favorite meals. So that means I don’t have to cook tomorrow. I can just do some baking and errand running. Or one errand to Costco that takes a long long long long long time.

Oh, found a flourless chocolate cookie recipe I am going to try, also.

Oh, and last night the boy bites his lip in the middle of the night and comes to wake me up. He seriously bit it. His whole bottom lip was fat. So I got up and gave him some ibuprofen and ice and sat up with him for awhile and then went back to bed. So last night was long. Again. Sigh. And I”m up late tonight because the slumbering girlies are not slumbering and they keep getting up.

I have a holiday craft project in mind and I’m looking forward to getting started on it. I hope it turns out. I want it to turn out pretty.  I have to admit I like sappy holiday movies and the lights and decorations of the year. I am not such a fan of all the retail crap, but I love Christmas music and baking and friends and just the holiday feeling. Makes me want to write a Christmas story of some kind. I should consider how I could do that and try. Not this year. No time. But I’d like to. Maybe a short story or a novella, because, you know, I’m likely to go long.

 

 

 

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Friday on Friday

Boy of size has had a really hard week. He’s been really sick, frequently in the middle of the night. That means that a) I’ve been a worried wreck, and b) I’ve been up much of the nights and during the days, and c) I haven’t gotten a lot of work done because even though he’s physically man-sized, he’s still a boy and he’s been in need of cuddling and snuggling and petting. So I have been taking care of him. I’ve been crazy tired.

And you know what makes it worse? So today, he woke me up about five times between 4 a.m. and 7:30. He needs a hug when he’s sick and I’m his choice. That’s what I’m for, so I don’t have a trouble with that. Except. This particular morning I was having these recurring dreams in between him waking me up. Each time I’m trying to do a puzzle of some kind. Sometimes it’s figuring out a combination lock, sometimes it’s putting in the proper code into a phone to get through to the right person after being on hold for awhile, and I remember one about finding my way driving through a massive city that I was totally unfamiliar with, and I had to figure that out, and also get somewhere where I put in a code. I know I desperately needed to solve the puzzle in every case or BAD THINGS would happen. Anyhow, the upshot is, I NEVER got to put in the code. He woke me up just before EVERY TIME. Like he was in my head and messing with me. So I woke up all the more exhausted by the fact that I couldn’t finish my damned task and I was so close and criminy, but it was frustrating. And that makes being tired all the worse.

I love Solmate socks. Love them. They are stupid expensive, and I tend to buy a pair to reward myself on finishing a book. I found out that they are on sale. Money being what it is, these days, I’m not partaking. However, I thought I would enable those of you who are interested.

I’ve an urge to make a cranberry bread. I may do that.

 

 

 

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
It’s not as cold as Montana

And we don’t have six feet of snow. Or five. Or four. Or any. So I’m all about the happy on that front. It’s been cold here, but not as cold as Montana. Friend of mine sent me a card with the return address “Bitchin’ cold.”

Found out that they are rehiring my position at UMW. They’ll be hiring an assistant professor higher than what I made, and I’d been there 14 years with full prof. This is part of the problem with Academia: salary impaction. In order to get a raise, you have to get an offer somewhere else, and if they say no, you pretty much have to leave. On top of that, UMW pays some of the lowest salaries in the country for universities of comparable size.

Boy’s been sick again. Sicker. Hoping he improves for tomorrow.

I somehow forgot how much a sequel in a series has to recap what came before, and in the fifth book, that’s kind of a pain. Still, progress is being made. I hope. I think. I hope, again.

And, now, therefore, a Crosspointe snippet:

“Earthquake, or so it seems,” Keros replied mildly, breathing slowly as the majick swept over him. Did this happen to the Jutras priests? Did majick constantly assault them from all sides? He could lose himself in it, in the dreadful bliss of it. As good as it felt to hurt, he had not doubt he’d enjoy his own death. It was a sobering prospect.

“Why did you do this?” a woman accused, pointing a shaking finger at him. Her thin face was pale and exhausted bruised her eyes purple. “I told you we couldn’t trust the majicars anymore. He’s trying to kill us all. In our sleep!”

Someone grabbed his collar roughly and shoved him. Keros staggered. A grating caught his attention. It wasn’t so much a sound as a vibration in the air. He jerked back around, majick spinning around his hands.

 

So I’m not at all sure the characters are developing properly, but they are developing, and right now, that counts for a lot.

Also, I’ve decided to go to the Romantic Times Convention in Dallas. That means I’ll miss Miscon and Norwescon, this year. If you’re in the Dallas area, they have a big public signing. Feel free to come!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
news and news and news and news

Or perhaps just a little news.

This last weekend I attended Orycon, which was a lot of fun. My panels mostly went well and I enjoyed them. I got to talk about torture and the woman in the fridge, about urban fantasy and crime and noir and so on. I didn’t have a many people at my reading, which was too bad. I did get to hang with a number of friends and had a great time. Got to know some new folks, and that was terrific. Got a little bit of writing done and signed books at Powells on the last day. I laughed a lot. Unfortunately, I can’t remember many of the things overheard at cons sorts of phrases that I should have. Sorry. Bought some books and then came home and fell into a coma.

Wow, reading this, I suck at con reports. The upshot is I had a great time. Oh, and the green room had real food. Nutritious food. Wonderful. Next year the con moves to a different hotel across the river, and closer to the Brazil meat restaurant that Amy Thompson and I were drooling over, but didn’t get to. Sadness.

Went swimming today at a local aqua center. They had a lazy river pool and a water slide and several other things, but the kids and I had a good time floating and sliding and giggling. That is until I went down the slide and managed to mash my head into the water in such a way that I got a nasty headache. Bleh.

On the really cool good news side of things, Trace of Magic has been nominated for best urban fantasy novel in the indie/self-pub category by Romantic times. The other nominees are awesome. I’m in great company. A whole bunch of other great books have been nominated in other categories, too.  Congrats to all nominees! I’ve never been to RT, but I’d really like to go. It costs a lot to go, though, so not sure if I can manage.

We also talked to contractor about doing some work in our back yard. We have a drainage issue, and we want to expand our patio and maybe put in a retaining wall to help with the drainage. Waiting to hear how much that might cost.

Wish I could have spent more time with some people at Orycon. Joyce Reynolds-Ward, for one. We only got a few quick moments here and there. Same with John Pitts. Not enough time.

 

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Between here and there

First, I will say that I’m disappointed that Measure 92 in Oregon did not pass. I hope it comes up again and makes it. I would really like to know what’s in my food. As for all the rest of the measures and elections across the country? I worry about the Republicans being in charge, because there has been such an anti-woman bent to their agenda. That said, they claim that the Democrats are the problem with a lot of things, and maybe they are. Now the Republicans have two years to show whether they are interesting in showing up for the people or not. I don’t hold out high hopes. The political track record for the past 10 years or so has been dismal for both parties.

But that isn’t really what I want to talk about. It’s been gray here the last week or so. I’ve been recovering from coldbola, and and I haven’t been sure if I’ve been feeling fatigued and down from sickness or from the gray. Went out walking yesterday and today. I try to go most days, actually. I go in shirtsleeves or a light jacket. I revel in the greenness. I realized the other day why, even if the gray bothers me some, I still prefer Oregon to Montana. In Montana, everything dies back in winter. It’s lovely, in a sere sort of way. Often there is bright sunshine and blue skies. I did like that, even though walking was nigh unto impossible for me because of the ice on the sidewalks and everywhere else, and the cold was always annoying, because your snot freezes in your nose and your eyes ache from windchill and cold.

In Oregon, it’s green. Not only that, in winter, a bunch of stuff starts to grow again, like moss. I love moss. It’s everywhere here. Under trees, in crevices of walls and sidewalks, and on roofs. It’s emerald green and it has tiny little flower stems popping up. More than that, all sorts of grasses are growing, and even though trees are dropping leaves, down the road, a hydrangea bush is covered in bright blue blossoms. Tons of things are still flowering, including my dahlias. I know camelias will start up in just a couple months or so. Outside the window, the trees are red and orange and yellow, with the cedars still green. My favorite tree is around the corner–a monkey puzzle tree. I so want one of my own.

So even though my back yard is muddy (we need to put in some drainage), I can’t complain. The rains aren’t that heavy most of the time. More like thick air.  I walked this morning in the mist and it smelled lovely. That’s another thing–in Montana, you just can’t really smell much in the winter because it’s so cold. Except the lovely scent of woodsmoke. That you could smell and I do love it. I really want to go over to the coast and walk on the beach in the cold. Go walk after a storm and look for fossils. Go whale watching.

And as expected, the political ads have vanished and been replaced by Christmas shopping ads. Sigh. However, I have vowed that I will attempt to decorate for the holidays earlier than I usually get to it this year. Like in early December. My folks will be here for Christmas and I really look forward to it.

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
My Orycon schedule and Powells signing

My Orycon schedule: I hope to see some of you there!

Also, on Sunday at Powells, Cedar Crossing, there’s a mass signing of SF/F authors. Information is below my schedule:

 

Diana Francis

Speaking Schedule

Friday, November 7

3:00pm

4:30pm

Saturday, November 8

10:00am

11:00am

5:00pm

Moderation Schedule

Friday, November 7

2:00pm

Sunday, November 9

11:00am

Sci-Fi Authorfest 8 at Powells Cedar Crossing On Sunday!!!A starfleet of science fiction and fantasy authors descends for one galactic booksigning event. Attending authors include: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, J. A. Pitts, Phyllis Irene Radford, Mike Moscoe/Shepherd, Kristine Kathyrn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Andy Mangels, Leah Cutter, Jason Hough, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Daniel H. Wilson, Wendy Wagner, Steve Perry, Diana Pharoah Francis, Adrian Phoenix, Mark Ferrari, Shannon Page, Brent Weeks, Devon Monk, Ru Emerson, Jason Gurley, Ken Scholes, Todd McCaffrey, Jennifer Brozek, Annie Bellet, and Lindsay Johnson. The Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Imperial Legion and the Kashyyk Base of the Rebel Legion will also be on-hand.

Sunday, November 9th @ 4pm Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. (800) 878-7323

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
squid-crud

The crud I have has still got me wrapped up in serious tentacles. Gah! Everything from chills and sweats to headache, sore throat, stuffiness, sneezing, nausea, stomach pain . . .  Yeah. I’ve had it for coming up on two weeks now. I’m tired of it. Seriously tired of it. Oh, and it makes me killer tired while at the same time gives me insomnia and oh, yeah, let’s not talk about the intestinal stuff because why wouldn’t that be a part of it, too?

My plot thickens. Unfortunately, it’s a hot, sticky, thick gelatinous mess, that sort of looks like boiled phlegm. I hope I can turn it into something lovely, though how one might make boiled phlegm pretty is going to be a major question.

In the meantime, I was sick enough to be taking selfies with me in the dog cuddling on the couch today. I’m a sad sad person.

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