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Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
news of one sort or another

I made it home from Colorado. The teaching was a lot of fun, but exhausting with all that was going on. Sadly, a good friend died on the same day I came home. She’d been fighting cancer for some time, and she let me know when I was in CO that she was going into hospice. I had a chance to say those things you always wish you’d have a chance to say to someone you love before they are gone, which I’m glad I did. I’m heartbroken, for her family and myself. She was younger than I by several years, and her daughter is younger than mine. We are hoping to go to MT in a couple weeks. I’d hoped to see Laurie then, but it wasn’t to be. I’m hoping we can see her family.

That brings me to the next bit of news. We went to see the specialist for boy of size today. He’s had up and down days. He was feeling pretty good today. The doctor wants me to take him off most everything he’s on–herbal and not–except for omeprazole and Ondansetron–and she’d like me to wean him off the latter as much as possible. Just about everything he’s been taking either lose effectiveness after awhile, or begin to cause the problem you take them to prevent, ie. vomiting. Peppermint is one of these, so is ginger root. This means vomiting could increase, but hopefully it will subside. He’s supposed to avoid fructose, which can cause stomach upset in these circumstances. He can have fruit, but not fruit leather, juice, and that sort of thing. So things could gt really ugly. I hope my heart can take watching him suffer.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get caught up on life from being gone. I have to get my own blood drawn for my annual physical sometime soon. I need to call and arrange the blood draw. I’m also trying to get writing done. Lots and lots.

Trace of Magic is up for preorder on Amazon Kindle. Other formats will be coming soon, including print. I’ll let you know more. I’ll maybe nag you to pre-order. Tell your friends. All that sort of thing.

It’s food time now. Going to go put something together for the family. Also, I read Michaela Roessner’s Walkabout Woman. It’s phenomenal and like nothing you’ve read. Go read it. Seriously. And I’m currently reading The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney. I’m loving it. Definitely recommend it already.

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Over the hump. Ish. Or not.

As I sit here debating walking to get Starbucks and wishing for a magic Starbucks fairy to deliver my nectar (never happens, oddly), I am considering the next few days. I try not to consider too much farther at this point, as I will have to sit in the corner and sob. At any rate, I’m done with the summer teaching, short of finishing one more paper, doing grades, and turnings said grades in, and meeting again with my thesis students. Instead, today Writing the Rockies begins and tonight I have a reading and tomorrow a panel presentation. Luckily the presentation tomorrow is a variation of one I did at the Rainforest Writers Village, so I will hopefully not make a total ass of myself.

In the meantime, I’m trying to commit words. The trouble is that I’m not sure of one element of the novel. Something popped in as a lovely and cool idea, and now I have to figure out how to make it work, because dammit, it’s perfect for the novel. I have to figure out some backstory, which won’t really appear in this novel overtly, but will make sense of actions and players on the ongoing development. But my brain is sluggish and wants to nap and have Starbucks and . . .

I go home Sunday, and then next week is piled with appointments. Boy of size is finally getting to go into the research hospital to see if they can figure out the problem. And I know I have stuff I need to do that I forgot to put on my calendar (duh!) and so I’m hoping I have notes on my desk at home to remind me. I think I need a secretary. Maybe a keeper.

I shall now post this, and then go make my Spocon hotel reservations, which I’ve totally been forgetting. Crap.

Adieu

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Silence of the busy

I’ve been woefully silent here of late. I’ve spent the last week teaching in Colorado. I’ve got another week to go, plus the Writing the Rockies conference. Been sleeping okay, so that’s good, but today I felt quite unwell. No idea why. I had an outbreak of ocular migraine-itis, which is to say, got dizzy spells, some floaters, some moments when my vision totally blurred out, moments when I’m grabbing a wall so I don’t fall down . . . The usual. I don’t take anything for it, so I suffer through. I’m hoping tomorrow is better. I did take a tiny evening walk across campus and that was wonderful.

I did manage to finish the proof pages on Trace of Magic tonight. I gasped for a bit of air and then have dived back into the copy edits on The Black Ship. With luck I’ll get rid of those in a few days. Luck and caffeine, that is. I’m also working on getting words down on the Trace of Magic sequel, which is going both well, and yet I am seeing a muddle for the middle that I need to plot out. I have assigned that to my lizard brain and am hoping that it’s working on it well below my subconscious. I say well below, since I’m not noticing any action and I am hoping that just means it’s so far down I can’t see it yet, rather than my lizard brain is in a chocolate coma or has drunk itself into a stupor. Entirely possible. My lizard brain can be quite a hedonist.

I do have good news. For me anyhow. Romantic Times gave me a spectacular review. I’m practically fainting from it. Seriously.

RTReviewTraceofMagic

It will take a couple of clicks so that you can see it, but I can’t figure out right now how to turn the PDF into an image.

 

Monday, July 14th, 2014
A snippet from the WIP

I very much doubt this will make the final version of this nameless book. And yet, I love this so much I have to share. It is wrong. So, so, so, wrong:

Lately my dreams had been divided equally between erotic images of the two of us together that left my thighs aching and the rest of me more frustrated than an impotent priest on free fuck night at the local brothel, and erotic images of *him with someone else, which left me wanting to skin him alive. I really have mental problems, I swear.

 

* pronoun added to prevent TMI on the book.

 

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
getting squared away

I am here in Colorado and working on getting settled into my new position. I have to say, I didn’t fully understand the curriculum here for the MFA in genre writing, but I after learning more, I think it’s the best structure out there for getting people to publishable status. That is, going over the skills and getting the business information you need to get there. Here’s why. First, the first year is devoted to learning a lot of the basics of craft, and also learning a lot about various genres. It’s strictly commercial genres. So no matter what, you’ll get a sense of horror, spec fic in all its forms, fantasy in all its forms, romance in all its forms, and likewise with westerns. You do a lot of writing and reading and a lot of feedback from working writers. Then the second year gives you more intense drilling down and also some pedagogy on teaching, should you decide to go that route (both creative writing and freshman comp, since those are the two most likely for teachers), and planning for what you will do when you graduate. You also do an out of concentration course in poetry, screenwriting, or non-fiction. All the staff in all the classes are working, publishing, directing, filming, writing and etc, in their fields. Then you also participate in summer residencies with more concentrated courses, and the Writing the Rockies conference which each year brings in really good talent (open to the public if anyone wants to check it out). In your second year, you also write a thesis.

Unlike other programs, instead of working with a different mentor each semester, you take two six credit online courses with other students and there is workshopping and regular course assignments. That means the curriculum is more standard for everyone, and the department can make sure the standards are being met across the board. It means you also end up with working closely with all the faculty fiction faculty, which is really good.

Does this mean you’ll be able to publish your novel when you get out? Hard to say, the market being what it is. But many of the students begin publishing in their first year with the writing that comes out of the courses. I know a lot of people and writers especially wonder about the efficacy of MFA programs, but this one is completely and totally devoted to getting published. If you’re thinking on one, definitely check it out.

In other news, I’m sitting here in my dorm room working on the next novel and bashing my head on my desk to help shake out any plot ideas that might come from a concussion. Drinking might be a better idea. Sadly, I’m at 7500 feet, and that means that alcohol will go to my head super super fast, and also, walking not far makes my head spin. Hopefully I settle down soon. Usually it takes a couple of weeks for people to develop more red blood cells to cope with altitude, which will be just about the same time I go home. Rawr.

Boy of size continues to be sick. Hopefully when we get back the OHSU appointment will get him on the road to wellness. I sure as hell hope so.

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
The news that fit or not to print

Tomorrow I take off for 2.5 weeks to teach in Colorado. I’ll be at 7500 feet or so, in Gunnison. I’m teaching in the Western State Colorado University MFA in writing program. I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it. At the end is a conference open to the public called Writing the Rockies. There are some stellar speakers going to be there, including Joe Haldeman. I met him many many moons ago in passing. Hoping that I get a chance to talk to him this time.

I’m not taking leaving home that well, however. I’m worried about the kids, about the boy in particular, and already missing everybody. I don’t like this part. I have tons of appointments lined up for when I get back. No rest for the wicked, I guess.

I sent out all books that I had addresses for. I have not redrawn any names because I wouldn’t be able to send them. I probably will try to do that this next week and then send when I get home. We’ll see how everything goes.

I haven’t flown in many moons, either, so having some angst about that. I really don’t care for landings and takings off from Denver because there frequently is turbulence. Vallium anyone? Sigh.

I’m pretty sure I’m all packed to go, but for a few last minute things. Oh, and granola bars. Need to grab some of those.

I should be posting from Colorado. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying your July.

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Winners!!!

The following people are winners of The Cipher. I used the random number generator to pick the winners. You only have until Saturday to give me your address, or I’ll have to go back and draw more names. Email your addy to me at dpf AT dianapfrancis DOT com

 

And the winners are . . .

Leann Rasch

Jenny Jeffries

Dianna whose favorite color is Sapphire blue

Louise Steer

Amber at Casual Readers

JulieAnne Brown

 

And for those who didn’t win, thanks for playing! And the book is available for purchase or hopefully at your local library. Have a read!

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Must do a Giveaway!!!!

Look what I got in the mail today!!!

The book is gorgeous. You have no idea. I’ve updated the information page on it with the updated first chapter.  ciphercoverbox

So it seems to me I need to give some away. I’m going to. Let’s see, I need posts here or on my Mad Libs blog. And they should say . . . that you want a copy. And you should give me a color. Any color.

If you have any, I’d love recommendations for where I might send a copy to get reviewed. If you know a reviewer, point them out to me. I’d love to get noise on this. And I’d love to do some blog appearances or anything else. So if you can help me out, please do! Everyone from anywhere is free to enter. I’ll get the book to you.

 

Deadline to Enter is July 1 at Midnight!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
The wild book in progress

This is from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. It’s my go-to book when writing becomes thorny. Here’s where I’m at now. She says it so well.

 

I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better

This tender relationship can change in a tinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.

A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. AS the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter in its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, “Simba!”

 

I highly recommend that you read this book. That you read it often or open it and read a bit here and there whenever you need a little inspiration.

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
the dogs, they shed so MUCH

They keep sending tufts of fur out like porcupine quills. I have dog-hair dust dinosaurs. They are growing. And growing.

We had our first hummingbird on the feeder today. I’m very excited. It showed up at dinner time. I hope it comes back.

Picked some strawberries and few blueberries off the new plants. I’m not sure the blueberries are getting enough sun. These might not set any more berries ever. Might have to move them. Also, some roses we didn’t know we had are blooming. We discovered them after we took out some trees this year. They are much happier out of the shade.

Boy barfed much of the day. Finally he felt better and asked if we could go bike riding. We did and he successfully had dinner. He had a rough night last night, too. Still hoping for a cancellation to get us in earlier to OHSU.

I managed some work done on the book today. I want to get my character into a situation and I’m not sure how. I want to get her into the situation right away, but doing so means making her be ridiculously stupid or completely not herself. I need to find a good reason to motivate her. That means delaying this and I’m not sure it’s the right idea. Also, coming up with a good enough reason is going to be a tough one. Why can’t I just write a stupid character? Why why why???

I shall now go think thinky thoughts.