Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis
Home About DianaBlogFree StoriesArticles & EssaysAppearancesFAQContact
Horngate WitchesCrosspointe Chronicles
Path BooksDiamond City Magic
Sunday, May 24th, 2015
the meaning to and the doing

I’ve been meaning to make another RT post with pictures. Obviously I have not done that yet. I still plan to. But I have to resize the pics and that’s going to take a little bit, cause I can’t do that with my laptop. Or rather, I might be able to, but the program I use is on my other machine.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting writing done, doing boy of size health stuff, taking care of girlie who got sick this weekend, and now I’m trying to overcome a barfy tummy myself. The dogs are doing their best to help by laying next to me and looking very cute.

We went to the coast today and walked on the beach. That was fun. Haven’t been in awhile. Boy did okay, though he did have one seizure episode, but it was short. Girlie had a blast. Found all sorts of cool shells and rocks. Also, the seals were begging from the crab fisherfolk. I think one of them thought that the corgi boys were seals that had found a way to run along the beach. I think it wanted them to come swimming.

I finally got a monkey puzzle tree!!! There’s a nursery that specializes in them out near Pacific City, and so we went there. They had some bigger trees that I couldn’t begin to afford. So this one is only about two feet tall max. It’s a slow growing tree, so I think we’re going to put it in a container for awhile until we can decide to figure out what to do next. And that’s to say where we want to plant it or if we can move other things to plan it and that sort of thing. It’s a girl tree, we think. Apparently boy trees have limbs that go down and then up, and girl trees have limbs that go up from the trunk. Gotta have both if you want to make viable seeds. At this point we don’t. The next tree I want to get is a red dragon contorted filbert. I just have to figure out where to get one.

The drag is that summer is quickly approaching for having kids home. That means my writing could get more fouled up than ever. I hope not.

Oh, went to the farmer’s market on Saturday. Bought some pepper plants. Tomorrow I have to get them in and hopefully plant some other seeds. Melons, cukes, and that sort of thing. I may need to go get some seeds. My cilantro and dill didn’t really take so I’m going to have to replant those. My tomatoes are doing super well. I planted them a little too early, but it hasn’t worked against me yet. Hopefully they’ll start setting fruit soon. Oh, and we’re getting strawberries! The blueberry bushes have berries and so does the loganberry. We put in some new raspberries and I hope they get rooted in nicely for next year.

We still have a bunch of stuff we want to do in the yard. I have a bunch of groundcover seeds to plant, too. So I’m hoping to get them in this week.

Oh, got this ring at the farmer’s market. It’s made by a fabspider ringulous local artist. The ring is silver, the spider is cut from a soda can, and the top is gemmy quartz. I have wanted one since I saw the one she made for herself. I’m working on a spider story and have been forever it seems, and this is motivation to finish. I just love it.

The other ring, btw, I got at RT. You can’t see it well, but it’s rainbow moonstone. I love moonstone and this has really nice rainbow flash.

And a little snippet of something I’m working on. It’s rough, but hope you enjoy:

With a flick of Law’s fingers, the magic surrounding the demon melted. Instantly the creature leaped to his feet, propelled by powerful legs and the sharp downsweep of his outstretched wings.

He faced us. The shine on his skin had faded along with the layer of lubricant goo. His eyes had gone black with small hole of orange in the center, just as they’d looked in Tabitha’s memory. He swayed like he was going to pounce, wings upraised, his bony fingers curling, talons clacking together.

Happy Memorial Day. I am so grateful for all those who serve. I planned a post to talk about it, but I don’t know if I’ll pull myself together, so I’m seizing the day. I’m grateful for those who put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 17th, 2015
Back from RT

I’m going to have to do a more thinky post and right now I’m dead tired. My roomie woke me up 20 minutes early before my alarm because she had a dream that I had changed my flight time. So the weird part came when we checked my flight time online and holy crap! It HAD changed to almost 2 hours earlier. Now that could have happened anytime between when I bought the ticket and today. I didn’t get a notification that I’m aware of. I should have checked online earlier, clearly. And then also in the middle of the night we got a flash flood warning alert on the phone. So sleeping was . . . limited. But I’m still amazed that Jeannette got me up early based on a dream and was right.

The flights was easy and I got home fine and snuggled and hugged and turned over a bunch of my collected swag to the kidlets, then we had food, and then I slept. Now I’m wrapping my head around RT and all that happened. I have so many pictures. Well, some anyhow. I have to size them down so I can post them.

I wonder if I should do a Tumblir or something. But I know nothing about it. Is that a good picturey posting place? Instagram? I have no clue.

RT was amazing on a whole lot of levels. I will hopefully do a post on that soon.

 

Friday, May 15th, 2015
All the things

I want to report on all the things, but my memory is slippery and fuzzy. So some highlights. I had breakfast with Jeannette Cheney, Ilona and Gordon Andrews this morning. That was a lot of fun. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Ilona and Gordon and so it was nice to get caught up. Yesterday I had breakfast with Jill Smith, the woman who reviews my books for RT. She was awesome. So neat to get to meet her in person and actually get acquainted. I had a late lunch with Patty and Mike Briggs today, again, it was so nice to catch up. I’ve missed seeing them and they are as wonderful as ever. All of the above–good people.

Had a fabulous panel today. Met Nicole Peeler, who was captain, and then Chloe Neill was moderator. Other panelists were Jeanne Stein, Samantha Sommersby, Patty Briggs, Richelle Mead, and Diana Rowland. We had a good time. After, I got to talk to some fans and then I had the best moment ever. A gentleman approached Patty and he was so overcome, he got teary. He was such a fan. So I took a picture of them together and tried not to get all weepy myself.

I’ve talked to a lot of different writers, here, and it’s so fascinating to see how romance writers approach cons, and publishing, and promotion. It’s so very different from my experiences in a lot of ways. Jeannette did another post on swag, with more pictures. Let me tell you, there’s an amazing amount. And odd stuff. You could come home with a suitcase or more of just free stuff. I’m boggled. I haven’t done as many of the fan events as I’d have liked, but I did help set up the Mad Hatter tea party, and then I stayed to play and watch. It was a lot of fun and I really was wowed. I wonder if I could get a few authors to want to do something like it at an sf con.

One thing I want to mention is the pattern on the rugs in the hallways on the room levels. It’s a gray carpet, with, what appears to be, a river of pee running through the whole thing. I’ve been meaning to take pictures. I will attempt to remember this. But it is now and forever going to be, the river of pee.

I had a fun panel yesterday with Jenna Black, Carol Nelson Douglas, Patricia (Pooks) Burroughs, and a lifesize cutout of Severus Snape. And I got to meet my Samhain editor, Latoya Smith, who is totally amazing. I also cheated on my dogs with another corgi. I needed some puppy love and it was a corgi. What could I do?

I’ve spent some time in the bar drinking fuzzy navels (don’t judge!) and screwdrivers. I tried a beer that was way too hoppy for me. And bitter.

Tomorrow is the big signing. I’m told this will be a huge event. I can’t wait to see what it will be like really. I hope that I’ll see a few fans.

I haven’t taken nearly enough pictures. I always forget to do that.

I’m sure I have more to report, but my head is stuffed so full of experiences I can hardly sort it out. Oh! But I walked by the JFK memorial and took some pictures. I saw the grassy knoll and the Texas Book Depository building. It seems so close together.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Having a good time. Hope you all are, too.

 

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
So far from RT 2015

RT officially really gets off to a start today. I’m stunned at the hotel. Rather, at the amount of swag that we got that authors or publishers pay for, and you should see the banners and such. They wrap every surface, some twenty or thirty foot tall. My cool little nametag holder was donated, so was the canvas goodie bag, I got pens and notebooks, a flashlight, books, and tons and tons of other stuff. I can’t even tell you. My roomie, J. Kathleen Cheney, posted about it with pictures. Have a look. Seriously. Have a look. And that doesn’t even include the goody room (which had a line ten miles long out of it today) or the promotion alley. It’s pretty boggling the difference between this convention and general SF conventions. AND stir in the fact that on Saturday for the big signing, apparently a lot of non-attendees will flood in. I can hardly wait to see that. I hope some come to see me!

Went to a presentation by the Wattpad people. It sounds really cool, but then Lori Perkins (agent) mentioned that there are copyright issues for going on to publish beyond Wattpad and so it requires some thought. The statistics were interesting. Eightfive percent of users use mobile devices to access Wattpad. Including writers who write on their phones, frequently. Forty-five percent of users are 13-18, and 40% are 18-30. The site is growing by leaps and bounds, and they started an offshoot/separate window called After Dark for stuff that’s a little racier. It sounds interesting and really has potential as a promotional tool, but then again, there are copyright worries for future publishing, so care has to be exercised.

Next up for me is my panel on Happily Ever After: Writing Beyond the Kiss. Should be a lot of fun.

There are a lot of people here. The hallways to and fro remind me of Norwecon’s panel hallway between panels. It’s really astonishing. I’m really excited to be here.

Planning on barconning tonight.

 

Monday, May 11th, 2015
Texas I am in you

And I’m spreading my germs. Bwhahahahaha!

I’m here for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, which looks to be a lot of unholy fun. The flight was smooth and the TSA check-in was weirdly fast, and generally all went well getting here and getting installed in my room. Tomorrow J. Kathleen Cheney arrives so that we can wreak havoc!! (Little does she know).

I hear the puppies are very sad and one may need a little puppy prozac. Poor thing. He suffers so when I abandon him.

I started to read a book on the plane. Found it to be unbearable (received from netgalley), and moved on to a different one, which was candy. Not particularly well-written, and yet compelling all the same. A good plane book. I have read 17 books this year. That’s horrifically low in many ways, especially eyeing my TBR books, but at the same time, given my own writing, it’s not as bad as could be. I expect I’ll read another on the plane and more while at the pain clinic with the Boy.

Tomorrow is still early for the convention, so I may write, or go wander about if it’s not too hot and rainy.

 

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
Really cool unusual and witty title

I’m working on getting ready for RT Booklovers in Dallas. I have never been and I have little by way of swag to give away. Part of me feels a little bit like a failure before I go–that I’m not making the best use of the convention and it ain’t cheap to go. My major hope while there is that I’ll get to meet some readers and have fun with them, plus get to meet some writers. I just have to focus on having fun. I’ve been really nervous and antsy about it. I think it’s the flight. I’m hoping not to run into thunderstorms while flying. I get to room with the marvelous J. Kathleen Cheney, and I’ll get to meetup with Patty Briggs, whom I haven’t seen in awhile. And I’ll get to meet Jill Smith and some other people I know online and have never met in person.

I put some purple in my hair today. Not sure how well it took. May have to repeat. I also picked up some new business cards to hand out at RT.

Boy of size was sitting on his new fitball the other day, working on his PT. The damned thing popped. He dropped like a rock. Hurt his butt. I couldn’t stop laughing.

So it looks like he has something called PNES. Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. That means the seizures are more a result of trauma/physical illness. So the long ongoing illness, the tests, the move, the year we lived apart from his dad, new school–all that has contributed. The treatment is similar to what he’s been doing for his stomach (and the stomach is all part and parcel, likely). I hope we can get this handled. In the meantime, he did his interview to get into the Early College High School Program. We’ll find out in a week or so if he gets in.

For whatever reason, I’m sort of emotionally down. Melancholy. Hopefully I pick up. I take the boy to the pain clinic tomorrow, and the next day we see the Cirque de Soleil. I’m really excited about it. Less exciting is that both trips to Portland coincide with a visit by President Obama. I’m hoping the traffic isn’t insane.

 

 

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
What happened, happened

That probably sounds ominous, but isn’t. The weekend passed. I even got some things done. Tried to give myself heat stroke. That was silly. Mostly we planted things, did yard things, house things, and tried to sort through the health things. I am trying not to read book reviews or lament that so few reviews have popped up for Edge. I hope people are reading and enjoying.

And now must run. Boy of size is getting sick again.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
Naomi Novik, Uprooted review

received this book from NetGalley. And while I’ve seen it referred to as a Temeraire book, it’s not. It comes out May 19th, I think.

Uprooted  is a total keeper. It reminds me of books by Patricia McKillip and Robin Mckinley, and that’s a serious compliment. It’s a kind of a fairy tale, the kind the Grimms might have told. The language is both plain and lyrical. The book celebrates magic, but it’s not a light book. It has a lot of darkness, both of magic and in the souls of people. It’s a story about choosing who you want to be, and right and wrong is not easy to choose or know.

I loved the magic–and there’s a lot of it. It’s a rich story with rich, deep worldbuilding. Agniezka (and I’m probably butchering that name) is a wonderful character. She’s young and foolhardy, yet wise and brave. She’s loyal to a fault. The other characters are less developed and maybe a little thin. I didn’t have trouble with that, because it fit with the fairytale nature, and they were full enough for me, plus Agniezka is well-developed. One complaint I have is about Dragon. While I can see why she comes to like him–whatever he says, his actions show loyalty, friendship, and kindness, even as they frequently show the opposite–I wanted him to have a few more signs of likeability. Possibly more demonstrated emotion aside from annoyance, anger, and frustration.

The book is very complete and stand-alone, though I’m hoping for more to come because I love the world and the history and I want to know more.

I don’t want to offer spoilers, so I’m not going to go into more specifics, but I totally recommend this book. It’s delicious to read and I didn’t want to put it down. Absolutely worth the time and money.

Sunday, April 26th, 2015
Sunday sunny Sunday and Trace of Magic is on sale!

This week has been a rollercoaster. We’ve been working on getting Boy of Size into a neuro, which is not so easy, as they seem to have long lines. Same with getting the EEG. He is doing better the last couple days and not sleeping so much. He’s grown more, though, so maybe some of the sleeping is growing. It’s just really hard to watch him go through this and not to be able to help.

It has only been a slight distraction from the release of Edge of Dreams. What reviews I’ve seen have mostly been positive, so that’s good. But I still feel itchy that there aren’t more of them appearing. I keep feeling that no one is reading. I know, author paranoia. And the thing is that really, all I can do is keep writing.

And that brings me to the problem that I’m having a terrible time writing this week. See above on Boy of Size. So I’ve been reading. I discovered SM Reine. How is it possible I never picked up her books before? I know she’s been recommended to me. Sigh. I’m behind. I’m pretty sure I have other books of hers on my kindle, so I’m going to have to do more.

I’m trying to read more and do some reviews. Partly because some of the books are coming from netgalley, partly because I like to talk about the books. It’s crazy how easy it is to stop reading and watch bad TV. So now it’s more of a goal. I do keep track of the books I read in a year in the hopes that I’ll notice when I am not reading. Maybe keep myself honest.

I have some twisties going on in the next Diamond City Magic book. Kind of unexpected (a lot unexpected) but totally perfect. Picture me chortling.

Trace of Magic is on sale for the kindle at $3.99! So if you know anybody who hasn’t tasted the book yet, now’s a great time. Spread the word!

I had nightmares last night in which I was required to do math problems. Math. Problems. WTF???

I have to fly to Dallas in a couple weeks for RT and with all the weather reports, I’m growing unenthusiastic. Gulp! I’m an RT virgin, so I’m also a little bit floundery about that. It should be tons of fun, once I’m on the ground.

The girlie’s birthday is today. I’ve got to make a cake. I’ve got to go to the grocery store. I should get on that. I did wrap stuff. So I am on top of that.

What are you doing today?

 

 

Friday, April 24th, 2015
Book Review: Alive by Scott Sigler

First, the caveat. I got this book from Netgalley as an advanced reader copy.

This is one of those books that makes you think. It makes you consider what you’d do in the same situation, and it makes you consider what choices you’d come to–what would be the most important thing to you.

I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’m going to try to be careful. I plan to err on the side of vague. The book is about Em, who wakes up in a coffin. She breaks out and discovers she’s in a dusty room with several other coffins. She doesn’t know her name. She has some memories, but a lot of blank spots. She soon finds several others in the same boat, and now they have to find out where they are, who put them in the coffins, and most importantly, find their way home.

One of the things that some people will find off-putting is that the story is told in present tense. Normally that would drive me nuts, except that the present tense makes a lot of sense because it works well with the element of discovery. Em is constantly discovering things–she has little sense of the past or the future, so the present is where she lives. All her decisions have to be based on the now because she has no experience or any sense of what the consequences might be. It makes her situation tense, to say the least.

I enjoyed the story. It was gripping and at times grim. It didn’t shy away from the difficult aspects. In fact, it embraced them, but focused more on the personal consequences of the choices and the events. Each character has to learn who s/he is. This is a story about identity. What makes it unique is that the identities the characters have no outside references to decide who they are, or what they should do or not do. This means they are stuck with making decision based on simply who they are without any external guidance or pre-existing framework of morals, except for a handful of memories that aren’t all that useful.

The book raises a lot of meaty themes. The question of nature vs nurture when it comes to personality and self. Then there’s the question of religion and what value it has. Leadership is important, and loyalty and friendship. When does the group outweigh the individual? There are questions of consequences and whether you can choose beyond your nature.

My only complaints about the book are that the religious element comes a little out of nowhere. I wish it had been eased in a little more intuitively rather than just arriving. It made sense and fit perfectly as the story went forward, but the arrival was awkward and unexpected. I also thought the leadership quandary was a little bit heavy handed, though a lot of it made sense and the doubts were important as well as the choices eventually made. Especially in light of the fact that they were based on the here and now and what logic the people could scrape together. There was no way to predict consequences and that made choices really scary. Another oddity, to me, was the basis in Aztec/Mayan culture. I wasn’t entirely sure why that was the case. I also wanted to know how and why the monsters appeared as they did–I won’t say more, since that would be spoilerific, and it really isn’t very important to the story, but just something I’m curious about.

Once several revelations/discoveries are made, the development of the relationships become more interesting and important. I don’t want to say much more because of spoilers, but just that there were some really cool and smart developments between the characters that blossomed in unusual ways by the end of the book.

Also, it was fun how Sigler mixed races in this book in unusual ways.

I’d totally recommend this book. I am hoping there will be a sequel. I’m totally going to have my kids read it.