Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'writing business' Category



Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
It isn’t avoidance if it’s important to do

Who am I kidding? Of course it is. But anyhow, I was supposed to be working on a story today, which I did a little, but I needed to put together an image to advertise The Incubus Job. It needed to be of a certain proportion and I wanted something to catch attention, as it will be in amongst many others.

I haven’t used Photoshop in forever, and when I did use it, I wasn’t particularly good at it (as in, almost lacking all skills). It is not an intuitive sort of program, either. It does, however, let me play at being an artist and also lets me manipulate images and text, so I decided to dig in. Here’s the image I ended up with:

giveaway ad

The first thing I did was create the background. I did that using an interesting brush that kind of randomly splotted, and then used a bunch of colors. Specifically, I used purple, red, yellow, and pink. You’ll notice that none of those colors appear in the background. I’ll explain. After dabbing all the colors in, though not entirely covering the background, I took the smudge tool and started smudging. I tried to go at a diagonal, from bottom left to upper right on a slant. I moved the colors both down and up so that the pattern distributed in a way that I liked. Once I was done, I moved on (it still wasn’t blue yet).

I then put in a layer with the cover and managed to figure out how to tilt it, and then I figured out how to make a bevel on it and a glow around it. I arranged those in a way that I liked (lots of options for doing both), and then moved on to the text. I tried out a bunch of fonts and didn’t like most of them. I finally opted for this one, which is a little like the cover font. I managed to make it have a gradient from white to yellow, but I really don’t know how. I was trying to do some different things. I also had to figure out the text, which I finally came up with, though now I wish there were fewer ‘expecteds’ in there.

I figured I was pretty happy, but then managed to look at another one that was much better. More polished looking. I decided that I would at least try to put a lighter color box around the text. It’s at this point that I clicked a button and turned the background blue. I don’t know what I did exactly. But I liked the blue, so I kept it. I managed to insert a layer with the box underneath the text. I colored the box a light blue, and overlayed on the background, it looks like the above.

I then saved and closed out and in doing so, managed to flatten the images instead of keeping a .png which would still have the layers. So I can’t modify this. I’d have to recreate it. What I wish I could do is go back in and make a border around the text box, I’d also like to round the edges of the whole thing.

I think I need to play more with photoshop in general, but also to try to create some advertising materials. Maybe even play a little with some digital art. That could be fun.

I use an older version of photoshop, and can’t afford to upgrade to the monthly fee. I hope I can figure this one out in more depth.

 

 

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
Writing in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world

This is oh so cool and now I can make the announcement:

 

Have you read Faith Hunter‘s Rogue Mage series? If not, you should. It is an amazing trilogy. Except . . . There’s news. The trilogy is getting some extras and I get to be part of it!!!

Anthology Set in the World of Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage Series
Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 1, 2016

Bella Rosa Books is pleased to announce two e-book anthologies and a trade paperback omnibus set in the world of Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage series. Editor is Spike Y Jones. Writers contracted to write short stories for the anthologies are: Diana Pharaoh Francis, Lucienne Diver, Tamsin L. Silver, Ken Schrader, Lou J Berger, Christina Stiles, Spike Y Jones, Melissa McArthur, Jean Rabe, Misty Massey, and Faith Hunter.

The two ebooks are titled Trials and Tribulations, and the trade paperback omnibus is titled Triumphant. They will be published by a new line of original and reprinted spec fiction and fantasy, through Bella Rosa Books, called Lore Seekers Press.

bloodring

Friday, January 8th, 2016
It’s Coming

March 1st. More info when I’ve got it.

The Incubus Job

It’s tough to have a conscience when you kill for a living.

So six years ago, Mallory Jade gave up killing. Now she’s a fixer. Got a problem with a demon? She can help. Infestation of pixies? She’s got you covered. Kidnapped by an undead lich? She’s on her way. Anything you need, so long as she doesn’t have to kill. It’s her one unbreakable rule.

Aside from a few near-death experiences, her new life is good, until her job dumps her in the lap of the man she walked out on six years before. Law Stanger, her former partner and lover, wants her back in his life. He’s not above playing dirty. But Mallory knows it can never work. She has secrets Law can never understand or forgive.

All Mallory wants now is to finish her job–track down an incubus and the precious box he stole–and get the hell out of town before Law shatters her heart again. But it wasn’t fate that drew her and Law together after all these years, it was cunning calculation. Now they must face an enemy more powerful than they can imagine, one that has no intention of leaving anybody alive.

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.

 

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Gender, writing, SFWA

Tonight I was talking to my husband about gender. He says, why should the woman (on the TV) call herself transgender? She’s a woman now, why not just call herself a woman? That’s what she is, isn’t it? I pointed out that she has to talk about it and call herself transgender when she’d probably love to just be a woman, because society demands that she identify as what she was born as. That she has to worry about what bathroom she is allowed to use, and she has to worry about whether she is legally committing fraud if she says she’s a woman, and so on. His reply–*rolling his eyes* that’s just stupid. She’s a woman. All that other is just bullshit (I do love this man).

That brings me to all the crap that’s been floating around the internet this last week involving a certain petition put together by a guy who does not belong to SFWA complaining that now that the SFWA is trying to a) be more professional, b) not demonstrate regular bigotry against much of its own membership and women the world over, c) attempting to be more inclusive and respectful of people of color and women, that it’s being turned into a politically correct travesty of a professional organization. It was much better when the professional organization not only permitted but celebrated bigotry against women and POC. Rah Rah. It’s all couched in terms of political correctness is evil and freedom of speech is being destroyed and anybody who loves freedom of speech should sign the petition. Here’s the link if you want to go have a gander.

My response, in a nutshell, is horseshit. Here’s why. The reason why “political correctness” has been demonized and vilified is because it questions the privileging of certain people, language, religions, and so forth. Why shouldn’t women be called lady-writers and men be called writers? After all, it’s accurate, at least to a point. The reason why it’s offensive is because the language is andro-centric. It privileges male experience as normal and all other experience as other. That means by definition, anything that is not male is other (there’s a lot of logic and theory that sustains this argument and I won’t go into it here.) Male experience is also valued and other experience is not. Let me give you a for example. The typical name for an unmarried man is bachelor. No negative connotations are associated with that term. You could also go with stud, player, gigolo (to play up the sexually fertile idea), all of which are not pejorative. Think of the unmarried woman. Bachelorette–that is the friendliest one, and it still defines a woman in terms of the masculine idea. But look at the other terms: spinster, hag, maiden (which implies virginal, because a sexually active woman is a bad thing) virgin or to go the sexual route–slut, whore, bitch, as only a few examples. (Notice how these terms value women only in relation to their sexuality and relevance to the masculine eye). The language (and the hegemony behind it) perceives women as not-men, which means failed or flawed men. Specifically women are vessels to be filled by men, and if they fail in that regard, they have no purpose (spinster/hag/bitch/slut comes from this perspective). This valuation goes back to the story of Eve. She grows out of a spare part of a man, and not even an important one, and she’s responsible for getting kicked out of Eden because she is too emotional, too greedy, too passionate (I’ve heard it a lot of ways).

I firmly think that the language you use matters. It matters because we create the world through words. We know our world through the language we use. We all know that the old nursery rhyme “sticks and stone may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Again, horseshit. Think about it. We forget physical injuries fairly quickly, but we can remember the names we were called forever. On top of that, I believe that treating people in a fair and respectful manner is important, but it is fundamental to a professional organization like the SFWA. Yes, I’m a member. The petition keeps talking about a vocal minority that is moving toward these terrible changes that would silence bigotry (but it’s just a joke! Why must you be so thin skinned? Don’t you have a sense of humor?  oops. Sorry, but those sorts of rhetorics are always the excuse for this kind of bigotry). This isn’t a minority. It’s a sea change within the organization. We want professional standards and we want members to meet them in our professional communications. I’d love people to be respectful in all their communications, but I know that won’t happen.

So let me share some things with you. Here’s Mary Robinette Kowal’s account of being harassed as an officer of SFWA. Here is her follow-up to that, given the current petition. A lot of is truly repulsive, repugnant, and disgusting. Here’s The Daily Dot talking about the current situation. Here’s a really good post by Juliette McKenna about why talking about it and why shouting back is fundamental. I’ve been reading a lot of posts about this and reading a lot of really horrifying nastiness on the parts of those who are fighting to keep their ‘rights’ to be shitty people. They squeal freedom of speech and wave flags saying they have a right to say what they want the way they want in any and every forum. Here’s the problem. They don’t. The SFWA isn’t a public organization. It can have civil standards. It can have rules against bigotry. It can say, we will not tolerate the denigration of some members by other members. Not only can it, it sure as hell should.

These same people complain when others take them to task for their speech, claiming freedom to say what they want. That part is true. They can say it. But other people can speak too. One person’s freedom of speech does not negate another’s, and just because you have a right to say it, doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to tell you that what you said was stupid, ridiculous, bigoted, and downright nasty.

So that leads me to this post by John Scalzi.  It begins with this quote:

“The problem is that the ‘vocal minority’ of insects who make up the new generation of writers don’t scramble for the shadows when outside lights shines on them—they bare their pincers and go for the jugular. Maybe it is a good thing that SFWA keeps them locked up. The newer members who Scalzi et al. brought in are an embarrassment to the genre.” — (name withheld) on SFF.net, during the recent unpleasantness.

This quote is meant to be insulting, comparing those who would protest hate speech as insects who refuse to crawl away and shut up when this verbal vomit is spewed forth onto the unsuspecting SF community. In response, John says this:

Mary and I are no longer officers of SFWA, but I think our commissions at the head of the Insect Army are still in effect: After all, not every “insect” is in SFWA (yet). And so I say to you: Join John and Mary’s Insect Army! You must write! You must be fearless! You must stand your ground in the face of deeply silly insults, clacking your pincers derisively at them! And, if you believe that every person — writer, “insect” and otherwise — should be treated with the same dignity and honor that you would accord yourself, so much the better. Together we can swarm to make science fiction and fantasy awesome!

Join our ranks!

insect

I’ve wanted to speak out on this since it broke, but I’ve had quite the full plate. Boy’s MRI is tomorrow and this weekend he’s backslid. I’ve also had a professional piling on. I don’t have time. Except this is one of the most important things any of us can do–stand up for our ideals. Maybe the nasties believe it’s only a vocal minority because more of us don’t speak up. I have before, and who knows if anyone will look at this blog. Nevertheless, this is my torch lit against the city of dreadful night. Bigotry should be fought against whether we have time or not.

I am an insect. I am a writer. I am vocal.

 

 

Sunday, February 9th, 2014
The Cipher

I finished my revision of The Cipher for reissue and sent it off to my editor. I feel like I made HUGE changes, and yet, most of the book is the same. The changes are minor, and yet I feel I’ve shifted things to make the book hugely better. I’m not entirely sure how to explain it, except if the characters make the book (and I believe they do) then this book is much better because I’ve deepened the characters and made them more three-dimensional and more interesting. I hope my editor agrees.

We had about a foot of snow in the last few days. A guess a lot of people got freezing rain too, but we lucked out. It warmed up today and it started melting. The streets are a mess. They’ve canceled school for tomorrow. It will keep warming up, though and I expect it will all be gone in a few days.

Tomorrow I want to dig into working on plotting some things and getting prep done on a coupe of talks I’ll be doing at a writers retreat in a couple of weeks. I need to work on taxes and finding bits of paper and receipts that I probably didn’t keep good track of while moving and long after. Can hardly wait to do that. Sigh. I really should be better throughout the year.

I’ve got a couple of stories trailing through my head that need development and thought. I need to work out elements of them to see what I want to do or what they might be. I’m not sure that they’ll be turned into stories. The key is that I need to dig into my characters and adore them. Get attached, then cause them pain and terror. Writers are such nice people, aren’t they?

I’m talking some more about The Cipher and characters over at Magical Words Monday. Come have a read.

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
Planning for the New Year

This is actually a very strange thing to do for me. Usually, my plans revolved around teaching and surviving through the year and the New Year always came mid-academic year, so planning just didn’t seem timely. But now I’m a full time writer. I should be making goals. Trouble is, I’m not having much luck there. But let’s start with the basics:

Complete a new Crosspointe Novel by September 1

Complete a new Tracer novel by December 15th

Write four short stories (or 2 novellas)

get a contract on a one of the book proposals I have going on

Work on Southern Novel

Self pub something (ie. figure out how to do it and do it–probably something shorter).

The first two are already contracted. Well, my deadline for the Tracer book is out a bit further than that, but that’s when I’d like to be done. I’m actually hoping to finish the Crosspointe book by mid-May, providing I can get it all laid out and ready to go. That will be what I’m working on starting next week. It will involve rereading all four books and making notes.

I don’t know if this is a realistic list or not. I don’t know if it’s undershooting what I can do or overshooting. I’m also planning to attend the Rainforest Writers Workshop, Norwescon, Miscon, Spocon and Orycon. Hopefully I’ll hit all these targets.

Monday, November 4th, 2013
Crosspointe, Trace of Magic, Ticks, Pie!

I had a good weekend and busy. Lots of cooking and baking. Made hot apple cider, too, with sliced oranges, cranberries, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Tasty. It went well with the pumpkin pie and all the rest. Unfortunately, boy of size is sick today. Throwing up. Just don’t know what the trouble is. I suppose it’s okay. Last week at the end of school he twisted his ankle and staying home gives him another day to stay off it. That’s a good thing.

We’re getting a lot of rain here in the next couple of days. I’m eyeing the leaves on the lawn with baleful intent.

Am starting to read some of the books that have been languishing in boxes (it’s a bad idea to pack the To Be Read mountain because then you only form another one).

This next weekend is Orycon. I need to post up my schedule. I read on Friday at 5:30. I’m nervous about that. Not sure what to read. I only have a 1/2 hour, so I am going to have to figure it out.

Incidentally, it’s officially official: contracts are signed for the re-release of the Crosspointe books and the next in the series! I suppose I could have led with that . . . But anyhow, I’m really excited. The Cipher will re-release in February. Trace of Magic will be out in August, unless things shift to earlier. More on that later.

And just because this is crazy creepy and cool, this is an article on ticks and how they work, with really awesome video showing how they attach and do their work.

Friday, August 9th, 2013
Happy News!

I can now let the cat out of the bag. (Though why anyone would have a cat in a bag is a big question. A box, sure. Cats love boxes, but a bag?)

I have sold two books to Belle Bridge Books. They take place in an alternate America where Colorado is the center of the world’s diamond trade. It’s controlled by a magical mafia. Riley Hollis, a tracer–she can trace magic like a bloodhound traces bloodscent–gets dragged into working for a local mafia enforcer, while at the same time trying to track down her sister’s kidnapped ex-fiance. Before long, she’s in serious trouble with the mob.

The first is called Trace of Magic.

I’m really excited about this. I love writing this world and I can’t wait for you to read these books. Wheee!

Sunday, June 16th, 2013
Musings

Today I did some more packing and cleaning, despite being exhausted. funny how the last week has taken it out of me. The man and kids did some as well, and fetched a dump trailer to take some stuff to the dump. That will be nice. So essentially we have five days to get a whole lot done, but at least I made some progress today.

But that isn’t what I’m musing about. I wanted to go to Westercon this year. It’s near my parents’ house and I’ve never been to a con in my hometown area. I sent a couple of emails but never got any sort of response. So I won’t be going. Yes, I could just go, but for business reasons, I need to go as a pro and be on paneling.  So I’m a little bit sad about that, but then again, the house will be closing near to that time, so maybe it is better this way.

My roses here are blooming. I’m very pleased. I thought I’d miss them.