Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis
HomeAbout DianaBlogFree StoriesArticles & EssaysAppearancesFAQContact
Horngate Witches
Crosspointe ChroniclesPath Books
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
The day is long

Got up at early dark thirty and took the boy for his test in Portland. He got me up twice last night to let me know that he’d been sick, poor kid.  The traffic was more obnoxious than I hoped for, but not as bad as I feared. We got checked in and boy ate his radioactive food, then started getting x-rays. We sat for hours with intermittent x-rays. In one two hour slot, we went to the gift shop where I bought a dragon and earrings. Then we went for a walk (fairly slow) and came back to wait awhile longer and then get the next x-ray. Eventually we got food and drove home. I managed grab a twenty minute nap before picking up girlie, then we went to see Captain America. I enjoyed it. I have questions yet, but I guess I’ll have to find someone who saw it too and knows more of the Marvel mythology.

Tomorrow I have to get organized and packed for Norwescon, and then I have to go run errands. Thursday I head to Seattle for Norwescon. I am seriously hoping I get some sleep tonight.

Saturday, April 12th, 2014
Bad movie watching

Watched Pitch Perfect. Far more bad language than anticipated, but the girlie loved the music and dancing and there were some moments of fun. Watching Battleship now. Same thing. Moments of fun, lots of action, and humor. Good cast. Not a great movie. But fun on a Saturday night if you don’t look too closely at the plot. The chompy whirley wheel things are awesome. I kind of want the Taylor Kitsch character to morph into Gambit. That would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it?

Tried to do some clothes shopping this morning for Norwescon. I didn’t like anything I was able to find, but I did come home with some stuff for an upcoming child birthday and also some very bright and pretty couch pillows. They are also comfortable to nap on, as I was forced to take one today. Am not feeling that great. Not sure if it’s stress or something else. Not horrible, but tired and my intestines are a little unfriendly.

The Boy of size continues to be very very sick. He’s getting a test on Tuesday at stupid early thirty, but I’ll take it. Anything to help him. The doc increased the dose of the new medicine, but still no real effect. It takes time to build in the system, so I hold out hope.j

We cut down birch trees in the back today. Three of them. The next thing will be to get the rest of the bushes taken out, the vegetable and herb beds built, and then plant some fruiting things. Maybe an apple tree, some blueberry bushes, maybe raspberries. Girlie really wants raspberries and I would love the blueberries. Also, a friend knows about grafting and has some lovely plums, and so I’m hoping he’ll graft a plum onto our tree. He also gave me some corkscrew willow cuttings so I’m going to see about getting one into a pot. I would like to keep it dwarf sized. Bonsai sort of thing. But not super tiny like an actual bonsai.

Yesterday I did some good walking, less today. Dogs were exhausted but happy. I am going to have to go “tennising” with my girlie tomorrow. She’s eager. Mostly it will involve some short volleys, but we’ll have fun.

Plus I will be revising. Somewhere in there. Along with hugging barfy boy who is miserable.



Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Digging through the work

I’ve got deadlines massing. Like when they talk about earthquakes swarming before a volcanic blast. Just like that. I’m working on Trace of Magic revisions, which are coming along nicely. I turned in an essay and expect revision notes soon. I received the next stage of The Cipher along with some other copy to read, and then I received The Black Ship to start revisions on. Plus I need to get then next Crosspointe under way. So pretty much, I’m trying to work and keep up and get stuff done.

Meanwhile, boy is still sick. No end in sight.

Meanwhile girlie is having trouble dealing with it. Trying to help her.

Plus trying to help my folks buy a house long distance. We’re hopefully going to get our vegetable beds built this weekend. Crossing my fingers.

I’m tired. Why am I tired? Going to go pass out now.


Saturday, April 5th, 2014
A Horngate Witches Announcement

I’m super pleased and over the moon to be able to tell you that Samhain Publishing has contracted to publish two more books in the Horngate Witches series! The titles will be Bone Dreams and Stone Thaw. I’ll be writing them in 2015, and I’m not sure when the release will be. But so excited!!!! I hope you are too.

In other news, boy is still sick. More tests in the offing. He’s also trying a new drug.

We went to the first day of the Saturday market today. It was lovely. Lots of starts for the garden and a lot of greens and radishes and that sort of thing. A little bit overcast, but very nice. We need to make beds before we can start planting, so we went to the lumber store to check the cost. I really want to try this thing out, but it’s expensive: The Garden Tower Project.  Anybody have opinions? I like the idea of the composting and worms. The other idea for strawberries we are considering is something like this: raingutters.


Monday, March 31st, 2014
Welcome Marianne de Pierres

Peacemaker Tour Banner


Hi Everyone. I’ve talked about Marianne’s books before and I adore them. She’s got a new book out titled Peacemaker. I can’t wait to read it. I’ve got a copy burning through my kindle right now.

Before I introduce you to Marianne, here’s a description of Peacemaker:

Peacemaker-CR_webVirgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller. When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path

Doesn’t it sound like a great read? And now, let me turn you over to Marianne, who has kindly agreed to blog today.

Gin Jackson

Developing a character from a short story to a novel

I wrote a short story back in 2003 entitled Gin Jackson: neophyte ranger. It was a far future, science fiction tale set in outback Australia about a young woman who was a ranger for a vast, sparsely inhabited area. It had recognisable SF trappings: a town in an environmental bubble, bio-modified part-mechanical horses, and some other nifty technology. I found it a challenge to create the world and tell a self-contained story in three thousand words, but I think I did an O.K. job. The short story was published and then republished. It didn’t win awards but it was out there and got read by a few. More importantly though, it took root in my subconscious. I liked the main character. She was the capable, energised kind of heroine that I enjoyed hanging with.

Years passed. Literally … like seven years. Time came to begin a new novel, potentially a series. Gin Jackson starts banging on the inside of my skull, demanding to be let out. Before I even know what I’m doing, I’m writing about her again. She’s still as opinionated as ever, still as capable, but the Gin who’s been trapped in my subconscious has undergone a few changes (imprisonment can do that to you). Short-stoGR author pic_webry-Gin had inherited the ranger’s job but didn’t really want it. She also had a problematic relationship with her father, and life sucked way out there in the bush.

The gal in the new novel insists on being called Virgin, LOVES her job and is her father’s greatest admirer. More changes follow these. The setting becomes the city, and the endless outback becomes an endangered park. The Wild West takes over the Australian West, and her sidekick turns out to be a real life cowboy. Go figure?

So why am I telling you this?

A writer’s hindbrain is an unfathomable, fascinating, and unpredictable place. Stories can brew in there for years, or they can strike like lightning. There is no way to chart the its anatomy. It’s a rabbit hole of Lewis Carroll dimensions, capable of creating a perfect storm. Like the red spot on Mars, it churns and boils and never ever stops. All you have to do to keep it in working order, is to live life.

And the one thing I have learned in twenty years as a novelist  is … to trust it. We do our best thinking when we’re not!

Learn more about Marianne and her books

Order off Amazon here: Peacemaker

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
Whoohooo!!! and celebration occurs

I don’t want to be too soon on this, but today was the first no-barf day for my son in 2014. I’m beside myself. He’s on the super expensive medication that costs 4 dollars a pill and he can take up to six a day as needed. Yep. $275 for a 10 day supply. On the positive side, he took only two today and wasn’t fighting nausea all day. I’m holding my breath, afraid it won’t last. Still, the first no barf day in three months. It’s kind of a miracle.

In celebration, we are going to OMSI tomorrow. We’ve never been, and we’re looking forward to what it has to offer. The nice thing is is that we became members, so we can come and go all year, so if boy gets to feeling bad, we can leave without feeling like we’re wasting the money.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

I read this book yesterday. It was light paranormal fantasy with some romantic elements or hints of it. It was terribly flawed, yet I read to the end, eager to see what happened and why. I think I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out. I’m thinking about why, though. As many flaws as this book has, I should have stopped reading and moved on to another book. So what did it have going on?

Let’s start with the flaws, or what the book needed to overcome. First, there were a lot of spelling and other errors, like changing names of characters in a scene or mis-referencing the various characters in their actions. Second, there was some info dumping, and then some weird pacing issues. Some of the character interactions seemed odd and inexplicable. When a big event happened, there was little believable reaction. Things seemed to develop in an unconnected way. Little of the magic was explained, and what was, was repetitious. There wasn’t enough showing to go with the telling.

Okay, that’s a lot to overcome. So what made me keep reading and wanting to keep going? First, the magic was fun and the world was different. I loved the interactions between the characters and I liked them. I was curious about some of the events and I wanted to know more. There were a lot of episodic moments that ran to completion, which I liked, even though they didn’t seem interconnected. I didn’t like the bad guy was predictable and that one of the main sort of bad guy (not bad, but significantly obnoxious) fell off the radar and turned out to be completely unimportant to the story. I didn’t buy certain motivations. And yet I still liked this story! I did enjoy the voice of the character. She wasn’t stupid, and she wasn’t over the top brave/kick-ass. She was a quieter sort of protagonist.

So my take away from this is that you can make a lot of mistakes and still pull readers in if you have good characters, an interesting world, a good voice, and entertaining action. It’s so far from perfect it isn’t funny, but it was a fun read.

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Today I had an absolutely lovely day. Took girlie shopping and we had a lovely outing until . . .

I had to go into Costco to get another prescription for boy (his nausea medicine) and a few other things. We decided to get a slice of pizza and so sat down to eat before we left. This smiling older gentleman sat down opposite us and his wife beside me. He started chatting, and pretty quick he dove into politics. He firmly believes in Glenn Beck. I firmly believe Glenn Beck is mostly delusional. He insinuated that if I in any way supported Obama, I therefore did not support the constitution. Voting for Obama even though much of the Republican party lately is (from my perspective and based on legislation passed by Republicans and blocked by Republicans at a Federal and State level) anti-science, anti-education, anti-gay marriage, anti-women’s rights, anti-middle-class worker, and into privileging companies over people, is a vote for the end of the world apparently (Biblically, for these people). They quoted information at me that I found to be problematical and/or downright wrong. Also, the Bible is not a convincing support for me. Sorry. Unless you’re going with the Do Unto Others rule, which I support.

I consider myself an independent voter. I’m not enthusiastic about any of the party offerings for the most part, but right now, there’s very little that would convince me to vote for a Republican. I’d rather vote for Randy of the Redwoods (an old MTV reference, for those who don’t know). I am also not convinced that the Republicans can and will save the economy. Their track record is not that good. So while those people who tell me I should be voting Republican will acknowledge (some if not all) the problems I mentioned above, they will say it doesn’t matter because the economy matters more than everything else and only the Republicans can save it.

I don’t buy it. I’m not saying I’m a particular fan of Democrats. I see tons of problems there and frankly I think if a politician’s lips are moving, s/he is lying. (Although I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Warren). I think that too many politicians have no idea how ordinary middle-class people live and I think that all too often they’re in it for the prestige and power and money. I am not enthusiastic about the NSA spying. I’m really disgusted by the recent attempts to make it possible to refuse services to people because your religion might not accept the way they live and who they are. Suck it up sunshine. This America. We believe in equal rights.

I like guns. I like equal rights and human rights. I like the environment. I like for women to have equality under the law. I like universal healthcare. I like lower taxes. I like education. I like decent wages. I like the separation of church and state. I like unions and protections for workers. I like a woman’s right to choose. I like freedom of religion. I like gay marriage. I like the constitution. I don’t believe corporations deserve the rights that people do. I think quality education is vital. I believe in evolution and science. I believe people have a right to defend themselves in their homes and kill if necessary (I’m thinking home invaders here and abusive spouses, and imminent danger).

I hold both conservative and liberal beliefs and a range in between. I’m not Christian, but neither do I know what I am. I’m not sure I’m atheist. I’m just not convinced in any particular direction. I honor and respect those who do have faith, no matter what it is, though I’ve no respect for people who are hypocritical about their religion. Of course, I don’t respect hypocrits in general. I believe in Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. I also believe in the Wiccan Rede, An it do no harm, do what ye will.

I got up and walked away from this couple. Mostly because I was done eating and I wasn’t going to change their minds and they weren’t going to change mine and I didn’t want to be preached at, and I didn’t appreciate their judgements of me.

On the positive side, after a horrible bout of barfing this morning (brought on I think by a coughing attack), boy has had a good day.

Monday, March 24th, 2014
A snippet for you

The boy barfed up a ridiculously expensive pill tonight. Nuff said on that.

And now for a snippet. This is from my nameless novella, and I have not written any words on it for awhile. Same as my other work. But I hope you enjoy. It’s rough. Be patient.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Whoever killed the incubus was targeting him. Finding him, luring him down here—it was well-planned.”

I nodded, my brow furrowing. This was reasonably obvious. “Yeah?”

Law grimaced. “If he is after the stolen box, you’ll be going after him.”

“That’s the job,” I said.

“This thing is dangerous,” he said.

I was beginning to see where this was going and anger rolled through me. “It is.” I offered nothing more. I was going to see if he was really going to jump off this bridge.

He was.

“What if you can’t handle it?” he asked bluntly.

It was a fair question, and if it had been anyone else but him asking, I’d probably have taken it better. As it was, all I knew was that he was doubting me, questioning my ability. Maybe because of the lich incident, or maybe because I’d failed to grab the box already. Maybe the ghosts made him think I was weak.

“I guess if I can’t handle it, I’ll end up painting the walls like the incubus,” I said. “Let’s hope I’m better than that.”

Law dragged his fingers through his hair. “Damn it, Mal! This is serious.”

“I’m well aware of that, Law,” I snapped. “I just didn’t realize that you had such low opinion of my skills.”

He gripped my shoulders, jerking me against him. “This has nothing to do with your skills, and you know it,” he seethed between gritted teeth. “We don’t know what this thing is, but we know it’s smart and it’s dangerous. What makes you think you can handle it by yourself?”

I shoved myself back. He extended his arms, but didn’t let go. “What makes you think I can’t?” I demanded.

“I don’t think so, but I also don’t know that you can. For one, you’ve decided you’re anti-killing. All well and good, but that handicaps you whether you like it or not. For two—” He broke off.

I waited, chin jutting stubbornly. He didn’t continue.

“That’s it? I don’t kill so I’m doomed to fail? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” This time I succeeded in pushing out of his grasp.  “Good thing I broke our partnership up when I did. I knew you wouldn’t trust me to guard your back any more.”

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
Sand in the shoes

We went to the beach as planned. Boy was sick this a.m. but he managed to get through the day with only nausea. We walked on the beach and it was lovely. The waves were a rich blue green and the sun was shining bright and the wind was light. Girlie played in the waves, boy hunted for treasure, and the doggies played tumble, roll, and chase. We had fun. Ended up waiting a billion years for lunch because it was crowded and the kitchen was slow.

The one weird thing I did today was forget to rinse the conditioner out of my hair. It was disgusting. Stiff and greasy feeling. Spent the whole day that way. Blech. Don’t ever do that.

And boy just got up and got sick. Sigh. So much for the end of a lovely day.