Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for 'Revision'

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Saturday, January 10th, 2015
the mucous recedes . . . ish

The cold is a lot better. I’m still coughing and my head is thick, but at least things are improving. I would like to be completely well, though. Just in case the cold germs want to just get the heck out of Dodge.

Boy of size got tons worse last night and today. Why? He snitched food he shouldn’t eat. He now regrets it. Hopefully the lesson is well learned.

I get to see several writer friends this week. Looking forward to that. I got the revision letter for Edge of Reason, yesterday. I’m looking forward to digging in. Hoping the revisions aren’t too horrible.

Been reading Alex Gordon’s Gideon. This the pseudonym of SF writer Kris Smith. She is more than a little bit talented. Her SF is some of the best I’ve ever read and this book is just engrossing. It’s amazing. Trust me. Pick it up. You won’t be sorry. Then tell all your friends.

Watched The Rock today, uncut. I love that movie. I especially love the song that plays at the end when they go to the church.

Hopefully that shows up so you can hear it. Though there are spoilers if you’ve never seen it.

And here’s a snippet from what I’ve been tinkering with:

Blaze halted before the door at the end of the corridor. He hated this place with all his being and he hated dealing with the man on the opposite side of the door even more. His body clenched and he forced himself to relax, aware of the cameras watching him from a half-dozen angles. Hagen always made him feel like a twelve year old boy caught with his hand in his pants. You’d think a diamond-ranked mage would have bigger balls than this. He scowled, wishing for a whiskey. Better yet, he wished he was back in Damascus where at least the torture was honest, and enemies didn’t pretend to be anything else.

 

 

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Trace of Magic Snippet

I finally FINALLY finished my revision of Trace of Magic and sent it back to my editor. I really like it and hope that I’m right. Anyhow, in honor of finishing, here’s a snippet for you.

 

A week later, I walked into the Diamond City Diner a little after two in the afternoon. I’d spent the night before following a carpet cleaner who was stealing supplies from his boss. I’d slept a few hours after tracking him to his storage unit, then turned in my report and collected my fee. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before and I was starving.

Patti glared at me when I walked in. “You look like shit.”

I had not grounds to argue. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last week. Nancy Jane and her mother had been rescued alive. I should have been over the moon. Instead I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. I spent hours reinforcing my nulls and I’d taken to carrying my gun everywhere I went, along with the Chinese baton I hid in my sleeve. I usually kept one or the other on me, but tended to leave them behind when I went shopping or to going to visit my family. Not any more.

“Thanks. I spent hours on this look.” I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, with my usual uniform of jeans, hiking boots, a long sleeved shirt, a heavy jacket, a hat, and gloves.

“It’s cold out there. Got anything to eat?” I asked, unzipping my coat and stuffing my gloves and hat into a pocket before hanging it on a hook fastened to the bench of my usual booth. A snow storm had moved in, the first of several to come, all piled up like cars stuck on an LA freeway. By the time they were done with Diamond City, we’d be buried.

“Hold your horses, Laraby.” Patti glared at the dentist who was waving a check at her. “I’ll be there in a second.” She grabbed a clean coffee cup off the counter and set it down in front of me and filled it. “I’ll get you something to eat.”

Ten minutes later she returned carrying a white oval plate mounded with an omelet, hashbrowns, pancakes, and a half dozen slices of bacon. I didn’t want an omelet, but Patti tended to get me what she thought I needed, not what I wanted. It was loaded with vegetables and cheese. Tasty, but not the burger and fries I was craving. Arguing wasn’t going to do me any good. I’d eat what I was given and try to look happy about it.

“Give me a few minutes,” she said. “We should slow down soon and I’ll join you. People are trying to get home before the weather gets too heavy.”

I glanced through the front window. Snow was falling in a thick curtain of fat flakes. Already the ground was white. I was willing to be there’d be an inch or two on the ground by the time I finished eating. Giving lie to her promise, the door jingled and half a dozen people came in, stomping their feet and dusting the snow off their clothing.

Patti zipped off to help them. I cleared my plate and immediately wanted a nap. I considered heading upstairs. Patti kept a room for me in her apartment. I spent two or three nights a week at the diner, sometimes more, depending on the jobs I had. Right now I didn’t have anything lined up. I was planning to hit the grocery store and go home and hole up until the storms blew themselves out.

I took my dishes to the bus tub, waving at Ben, Patti’s partner in the diner, through the kitchen window. I grabbed a pot of coffee and topped off my cup before sliding back into my seat. I didn’t bother looking up with the bell on the door rang again. I was checking the weather radar on my phone.

A shape loomed over me suddenly and Clay Price slid into the seat opposite me. My mouth dropped open. As far as I knew, he’d never even set foot in the diner before.

“What do you want?”

He slid my coffee out of my hand and took a sip, then eyed it in surprise. “That’s good,” he said.

“Not to mention it’s mine,” I said, eyeing him balefully.

He set the cup down, then ran his fingers through his hair. He was he carefully controlled type, so his gesture startled me. I examined him. He didn’t look any better than I did. His eyes were sunken and grooves cut deeply around him nose and mouth.

“You know, if you’re hungry, there are other tables. Empty tables,” I pointed out.

He sipped my coffee again. “But you’re not sitting at the other tables.”

A frisson of foreboding rippled through me. I shivered. It had nothing to do with cold. “You came looking for me?”

“I knew you were a smart woman.”

“Why?

He pulled a manila file from inside his leather jacket and set it on the table. “I want you to do a trace for me.”

Like I said before, my cardinal rule is not to be stupid. Taking a case working for Price—a cop and a Tyet enforcer–was the dictionary definition of stupid. Insane even. I didn’t even think before I said, “no.”

 

Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Making progress

I wrote that title, making progress, like I actually am. But it’s snail’s progress. The office will be ready for furniture and shelves by Saturday. It would have gone faster if I didn’t want two colors. Tonight we’ll touch up and finish the trim painting. I say we, but if I want to trim paint, I’ll have to battle the two kids.

I’d really like to get a second home on the coast. Maybe like a mobile home. I’d want it to be on the west side of 101 and within walking distance to the beach. Maybe rent it out part of the year or something. I wonder if that’s a feasible thing. Which is to say, I wonder if I could rent it out enough to cover the mortgage, taxes, and insurance.

Incidentally, it’s very difficult to type when trapped between two corgis on the couch. One is on the arm of the couch and sliding over so that I have to lean, and the other is on the other side nosing me about petting him. Both are releasing hair like dandelions. Clearly I need to brush them and still need to trim toenails.

I’m only making slow progress on my revision. Not because it’s hard, but because I’ve not been sleeping well, and frankly, I’m not in my office. Apparently I have less discipline while sitting on the couch. It isn’t that it’s making me watch TV, but just that I’m not focusing on the work very well.

I had a really good review of Bitter Night yesterday. It’s really nice to see people are still reading it. Think of my books at Christmas time when you’re thinking about gifts. Or any other time you’re thinking about gifts.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
The cutting room floor

I finished the revisions of Blood Winter. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, I cut a whole lot and added a whole lot. At least half of the book is new. There’s a whole other blog post to be written about that. For now, I wanted to post a scene that I loved and could not save. It just didn’t fit, along with many others. I hope you enjoy:

Alexander’s teeth clamped on the spoon and he felt the metal bend and perforate. Slowly he pulled it out of his mouth. “Yes,” he said. What did Oz know? What had she told him? Giselle did not actually like Alexander much either. She was willing to use him, mostly because she had no choice, but because she had won him from another witch, and because she could not control him the way she could Oz, she did not trust him.

“Get out of the way, you mountain of testosterone,” came Lise’s voice from behind Oz.

Alexander grinned as Oz staggered forward and then whipped around. Lise stood behind him, unfazed by the violence rippling through his body. She stood five foot nine with a delicate face and a slender body. Her burnished walnut hair fell about her shoulders in rich waves.

Not long ago, she had been turned into something resembling hamburger by a rising Fury. Alexander could not look at her now without the memory of her mangled form filling his mind. It put him more on edge. He should have protected her, not that he could have.

Logic did not matter. He should have done better.

She glared at the three men, her eyes brilliant blue. “Holy shit, how can you three breathe with all that male hormones flying around in here?” She waved a hand in front of her face to disperse invisible fumes.

Thor chuckled. “Don’t look at me. I don’t have a rooster in this fight.”

“Cock,” she corrected. “And I’ve not yet met a man who doesn’t have his in every fight,” she said. “Don’t feel bad that yours is just smaller than the other cocks on the playground,” she said with syrupy sweetness, patting his shoulder in mock sympathy.

Thor snorted and choked on his peanut butter.

Alexander grinned despite himself and Oz chuckled as Thor bent double, great coughs bellowing his ribs.

“Someday that mouth of yours is going to get you in real trouble,” Oz said to Lise, reaching out to take a power bar from the cupboard.

“What else is new?” she said. “Is someone going to give him mouth to mouth or something? Before he dies?”

“Not me,” Oz said, biting into the bar. “I’m not kissing him.”

“Nor I,” Alexander said, licking peanut butter off the spoon, forcing his tense muscles relax.

“Well don’t look at me,” she said, brushing imaginary lint off the front of her shirt. “I don’t kiss men. Women taste better, smell better, and they are soft in all the right places.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Oz said with a wolfish grin.

“Nor can I,” Alexander said, humor rising up through the shroud of worry that encased him.

Thor at last straightened, his voice raspy. “I wouldn’t want any of you kissing me anyhow. Specially Lise. She’d probably bite off my tongue.”

She patted his butt. “No probablies about it, Tex. Now, aren’t you two supposed to be getting into bed? Dawn is just about to break. If you fry inside the RV, we’ll never get it clean.”

“You’re concern for us is overwhelming,” Thor said, grabbing a jug of lemonade and sweeping up the rest of his food hoard into his arms.

“Somebody has to care,” Lise said with a pirate smile. “Where are we?”

Alexander explained. “Do try to hurry,” he added. Then as an afterthought, “but do not drive us into trouble.”

“Can’t have it both ways,” she said airily as she pulled a hunk of cheese out of the small refrigerator. She whipped out one of her knives and sliced off a piece, as she headed to the driver’s seat. “Either you want to go fast or you want to go safe. Which will it be?”

Friday, June 8th, 2012
one for the OMG file

I was Googling the Demon Lovers: Succubi antho, just to see if anyone had talked about it, and instead came across this, titled, Incubi and Succubi: Sexual Relations. It is, in a word, a primer on how to have sex with demons on an astral plane. This, it says, is particularly a good route for “those who are in prison or incarcerated in any way.” Well, that’s a no duh. Seriously. But anyhow, it goes on to explain how you go about having sex with a demon, from attracting and selecting one, to masturbating to help the process along. I’m not making this up.

Anyhow, as much as I laughed at this, it did spark an idea for a story. At least a the initial seeds of one. Just goes to show you can find stories anywhere.

On another note, I’ve been gutting Blood Winter and writing gobs more. It really isn’t the same book as before. It’s better, but I’m sad about losing some things.

Wanted pancakes today. Tried to find the local IHop but couldn’t. Didn’t want Denny’s. Guess I’ll have to get some stuff for making them.

Monday, May 21st, 2012
Of chickens and revision

Today I got a call from a friend who’d been attacked by a wooden chicken while cleaning and ended up with two broken bones, a chipped bone, and some ligament issues in one of her hands. This same friend is going to have significant surgery on Thursday. She tells me that it’s my fault. That my clod genes are catching, sort of like the flu. I’d like to tell her she’s totally wrong. Sadly, she might be right. Did I pass my clod cooties to her? Or was it a sign from above (it fell from above)? Or, did she make the singular and unholy mistake of cleaning? Was that the issue? I think maybe so. Anyhow, went to see her after the hospital visit, I gave her a bag of ice, wished her happy birthday, and laughed uproariously at her. I’m that way.

In the meantime, I’ve been revising. This is what it’s like. I am doing things to the front of the book, which, like cracks in a windshield, spread out through the book. Then I make more corrections, attempt to fix more cracks, and more cracks happen, digging further into the book. Rinse and repeat. (Am I madly mixing the metaphors or what?)

Anyhow, the process is a bit terrifying, since I’m not entirely certain that I’ll catch all the inconsistencies and cracks, or that the fixes I’m making are causing irreparable faults later in the manuscript. So what now crops up is a clash between getting the revisions done and terror of doing them wrong. I’m trying not to freeze solid.

In the meantime, hopefully I won’t be attacked by any wooden chickens.

Saturday, May 5th, 2012
Ready, set, action!

I’m working on the new first chapter for Blood Winter. One of the issues is how fast to get into the action. It used to be that you could get into action after a few pages or even a chapter. With urban fantasy, things sped up and it started to be something you wanted to see on the first page. Now I’ve begun to seriously think about where the action should begin. It has to mix in with a number of things: establishing characters, setting, situation, action . . . Plus getting the reader’s attention/sympathy/interest. That’s a lot to get done on the first page.

I’m starting at a different point in the revisions of Blood Winter in order to develop some more of the story and to add a few action scenes to set up character. The thing is, the action stuff might not happen on the very first page. It might take me more than that to get things going. The question is this: is the stuff I think is important enough to delay the action really as important as all that? I might end up having to cut it out. At this point, I’m back to the drafting element of things where it’s more important to get the words down than to edit. I’ll see what it looks like when I get it done.

But what do you think? How patient are you in getting to the action? What books are your favorite for starting well?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
The end is nigh

Tomorrow is the end of the semester. Well, except for Saturday’s graduation and the two theses I have to read and hand back to students for revision. They are a bit (a lot) last minute, so I’ll be spending some time with them over the next few days.

I also am working on revisions for Blood Winter. Got my editorial letter and what my editor says gels with what my agent said and what my gut had been telling me. I’m planning a talk with my editor this week to hash out some stuff, but then I’ll be hopefully rolling. Course I have a ton of kid stuff going on and some family coming to visit–which will be very very nice. They are coming to get rescue dog. And Miscon is coming at the end of the month is coming in quick. Can’t wait for that. Somehow in there I have to work in some significant rewriting.

I just saw that someone found my site looking for free Crimson Wind. I hate book pirates. Writing is real work and time consuming. To have books stolen just makes me mad. And very sad. I want to do this full time, but theft makes that tough.

Friday, April 27th, 2012
and the cold came back

We’re under a winter storm watch. Again. I don’t think we’ll actually get snow, but it had to come the night before the girlie’s birthday party. To which people have still not RSVPed, so I don’t even know if anyone is coming. I desperately hope so, and not just because of the mass of cake that I’ll be forced to eat if not. I do have some games to play, so that will be excellent. I also have a fire going in the woodstove and am hoping that frost doesn’t kill all the leaving out plants. Poor things. A few days ago it was almost 80 degrees.

IN the meantime, I got notes from my editor on Blood Winter today. I have to read and absorb them. He’s a new editor to me and he pointed out some issues that I had figured out and offered some intriguing suggestions. So I have to put all that together with some ideas I had for restructuring/revising, and polish the coal off my diamond. I’m excited about it, but with that everpresent fear that I won’t be able to pull it off. But I will! I’m determined.

In the meantime, the block ends in a few days, as does the semester. Hard to believe. But Twisted Ink, our webzine, is coming together nicely. They are doing a good job, as crazy as it’s making them.

Saturday, April 21st, 2012
Murder board

As I mentioned previously, I’m working on doing some replotting Blood Winter. Well, not all of it needs to be replotted, though the back half is going to change according to how the front half changes. Yeah, I like to state the obvious. I’m in a mood. It’s one of those listen to a lot of loud music, swear like a trucker and swing swords sorts of days. Dogs are eyeing me with trepidation and wondering when I’ll stop long enough to become their bed.

Anyhow, so the murder board. My white board is metal so I can use magnets on it. I’m taking note cards and writing down plot notes and questions and other notes and I’m going to arrange them in plot order. Some of this is really thin, as in, something attacks here. Or these disappear here–why? and so on. But I’m trying to lay out the basics, even with what I don’t know. I actually know a lot. I’ve also brainstormed stuff that likely won’t show up. I’m putting it all up and playing the mess with puzzle pieces game and working through it in my head at the same time.

The idea is to play with what I have and put in the skeletal elements of the other and come up with ideas of how it will all fit together, and then be able to jump in and just do it. I’ve not worked it out this way before, but I have to say I’m having a hell of a lot of fun. I think part of it is that I stand up to do a lot of it and physical movement is helping. Who knew?

So this is how the board looked a little while ago. There’s much more on it now and more to come. I hope to have it mostly sorted out with details tomorrow.



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