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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.

2014-10-30 14.13.50

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
say what now?

Girlie: Momma, you’re the best mom ever!

me: aw, thanks sweetie

Girlie: roughly speaking, you’re also kinda mean.

O.o

Friday, October 24th, 2014
Kindle sale!

Great news! The Cipher is on the Kindle Daily Deal today for $1.99! If you haven’t read it, if you know someone who might enjoy it, or want to give it as a gift, today is the day to get your copy! Please share the word!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Pause in the rain

I spent a bunch of time today with Devon Monk talking writing, business, family, promotion, and all sorts of other things. It was lovely to get together and chat. We’ve both been swamped with work and life and haven’t had a chance to get together for awhile. It was quite fun.

Boy of size is sick again. Or rather, back to sicker, because he’s never achieved wellness. He’s missed the week of school. I hope he’ll make it back by Monday. I’ll get him up for tomorrow, but chances are he won’t be able to make it. But Monday he’s going to go no matter what, and call me if he needs to come home. We’re hoping just getting back into the routine will help.

I’ve been working on some plotting. I realized the problem I’m having with the current novel is that I don’t have a villain. I have a general–those people over there are bad ones, but I don’t have A Villain. Or even a couple of them. No one specific. This is a problem. I am working on solving this. I have a lot of threads to sort out and then weave together. It’s a super hard to figure out where the story is in this book and how to tell the personal story inside of telling the larger story. It’s the problem of epic, but worth doing. Just hard. I can do this. I will do this.

In the meantime, I’ll be signing books at The Reader’s Guide on Edgewater St. in Salem, Oregon, on Saturday, October 25th, from 1-3. We may do a little bit of a reading, but certainly we will be entertaining. Please come out if you can!!

I will also be at Orycon–more on that later.

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
Saturday, in the park, and also in Costco

I slept late today. Totally lazy. Let the kids sleep in. Let the dogs sleep in. All were happy. Also, Voodoo managed to eat all his brother’s dinner tonight, for no good reason.

There had to be a Costco run today, to stock up on all those things that we’ve been running out of, but which seem important, particularly milk and toilet paper. Boy of size was very ill today (bad day for him) and so girlie and I headed of. The man went hunting, though fruitlessly. Sads for that. Would like some venison. So anyhow, on the way, stopped for some chai and got a text my friend that she’d stopped by at the Saturday market and that my pendant was ready, and should I not come soon, she’d make off with it. Ahem. So off we went there first.

A couple of years ago, I bought this really cool stone for a pendant. It had sort of a tigereye/flame look, all in blues. I loved it. It had a hole drilled in the top and I thought I’d try to get a setting made for it to wear. I love the work of this woman I met at the Saturday Market. She and her husband have a booth and have marvelous rocks. She does the jewelry side. Anyhow, Nadyra, who rarely does commissions, said she look at my rock. I brought it over and both Peter and Nadyra were just excited. Apparently I had a really nice piece of Namibian Pieterite, which is not that available in the US, and this rock is particularly fine. Also, the hole through it is hard to drill. Nadyra agreed to do the setting for me.

Here it is. Mind you, I took a crappy pic with my phone, but you see the idea. Isn’t GORGEOUS? She did a lovely job. So thrilled. I need to take a better picture. The stone is just amazing. It’s probably 2-3 inches long.

pendant1 pendant2Isn’t it ridiculously lovely? I can’t tell you how pleased I am with it. I have the perfect chain for it, too.

After mooning over it, we went to Costco where we overfilled the cart and I got a soundbar with surround speakers for the TV. I’m so hoping this fixes the fact that I simply can’t hear voices half the time. But getting it hooked up properly–that was a tiny, little bit aggravating. Still haven’t figured out how to configure the TV remote to run the speakers. I’d like to do that.

I also have been rereading Wen Spencer’s Tinker, a book I’ve loved for many years and continue to love. If you’ve not read it, you should. It mixes magic and science and Quantum Physics and elves. It’s amazing. Love it.