Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for 'WIP'



Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Snippet

A taste of my sneak project: (no context for you!)

“Are you saying Damon doesn’t get you hot and bothered?”

I flushed. “Unfortunately, no. He does. And now that I have a little better idea what’s going on, I have even less reason to trust him.”

“How so?”

“Because for all I know, he’s thinking about how sexy my DNA is and how he’d like to contract the hell out of me.”

Save

Save

Monday, June 27th, 2016
What do you think?

I’m trying to write a non-fantasy romantic suspense. Sort of a side thing for fun and relaxation. This is my current beginning. Very rough. All the same, I need to know: What do you think? Seriously, what do you think?

He was on his way home just after midnight on a Thursday night when the call came through. A disturbance at Utopia, Trinity’s new night club and restaurant. Injuries onsite, ambulances needed. Chase was only a couple miles away and tired as he was, he wasn’t in the mood to go home yet. It wasn’t as if anybody was waiting for him.

Troopers had beaten him there. Flashing emergency lights strobed across the parking lot. People stood in groups or perched on the hoods of cars, watching the action. Not that there was any action to see, as far as Chase could tell.

He parked, leaving his suit jacket in the car. He paused to avoid the ambulance that rolled through the parking lot and up to the front doors of the club side entrance. A second one turned in a few seconds later, blowing past him in a cloud of diesel.

Chase drew a tired breath and let it out. What was he doing here? He should go home and get some sleep. He had a meeting with Sloan and Rossitch at 8:30 in the morning. He grimaced at himself. Who was he kidding? Even if he went home, he’d be lucky to get three hours of sack time. He’d flip channels on the idiot box while he ate, then he’d spend an hour or two banging his head against the Shore murder. Four years and he still didn’t have the killer. Not that he was allowed to investigate it anymore, at least, not officially, anyway. He shook his head, putting his frustration aside. Things on the trafficking case were heating up. That’s what the meeting was about. Once that was cleared, he could get back to work on the murder.

Chase rubbed a hand over the stubble on his jaw, still wavering. He hadn’t been inside Utopia yet. Now was as good a time as any to check the place out. His stomach rumbled. That decided him. Maybe the kitchen was still open and he could get a burger. All his refrigerator held was beer and frozen dinners. He didn’t doubt both were better here.

“Hey, Lieutenant, what’s homicide doing here?” Jason Thomas stepped away from the woman he was interviewing and reached out a hand to Chase as he approached. He was young, maybe twenty four. He was sharp, though, and ambitious. He planned to make detective by the time he was twenty five. Probably would, too. Chase liked him, even though at thirty one he felt like the kid’s grandfather. The downfalls of working homicide. No innocence left.

“Was heading home. Heard the call and figured I’d have a look around, maybe see if they were still serving food. What’s the situation?”

Thomas shook his head. “Domestic disturbance. Husband’s drunk and shooting pool, the wife is a cocktail waitress. He decides she’s flirting with the customers and goes after her with a pool cue. The manager yanks her out of the way before he can crush his wife’s skull, though the manager took a hard hit to her shoulder. The husband gets hotter and starts throwing punches. Customers and the bouncers take him down. Hard. He’s got a busted nose and maybe a broken wing.

Chase nodded without any sympathy for the bastard. He got what he deserved, attacking his fucking wife. He was probably lucky to have her.

“Good work, Thomas. I’ll leave you to it,” he said. The Trooper grinned at the praise. God, had he ever been that young?

He left Thomas to get statements and wandered up toward the club entrance. Tall pillows held up a broad overhang. Beneath danced a fountain. Not too long ago, the place had been a car dealership. The guy who owned it decided to divorce his wife, probably trader her in a newer model. It had been ugly. Her father owned the land the dealership was on and had kicked the husband off the property. The building sat vacant for awhile before someone had bought it to turn into a restaurant and club. From the looks of it, they’d done a good job. Word was that the food was good, too.

The old showroom was now the restaurant, with the bar housed in the repair bays. The exterior had been covered in a rock façade, with lush trees and flowers sending up a sweet, rich fragrance. White firefly lights wrapped the front pillars, outlined the windows, and layered the roof in a pattern like fish scales. A six foot iron fence with spikes along the top surrounded the outside the rollup bay doors like a large, flagstone-paved corral. Within was a covered stage, picnic tables, a dance area, and a barbecue pit. The stage was dark and the pit was cold tonight. Maybe it was a weekend thing.

The June night was warm and one of the bay doors had been rolled up. Inside, Chase could see pool tables and red-tile floors. Customers still shot balls, uninterested in the drama outside.

The scent of cooking meet wafted out to meet him as he drew close to the entrance. His gaze continued to rove over the spectacle outside, taking in the faces and other details.

Lightning thrust through the center of his chest. What the hell was she doing here?

Chase stopped dead, hard gaze locked on her. Four years since her mother’s murder, three and a half since he’d last seen her. Then she’d been pinched and washed out, her beauty hidden under the drab blanket of hard grief. Now–

She was a wet dream walking. Sunstreaked dark hair framed her face. Tanned skin smoothed over high cheekbones, a strong nose, and narrow chin. His gaze ran greedily over her. Her curves had firmed and her body was lithe and lean except for her breasts. They rode high and full beneath her vest and shirt. The last few years had turned tempered her. She held herself with assurance and confidence, like she didn’t take shit. His chest tightened as her wide, full mouth broke into a smile as she looked up at the paramedic. What the fuck? Was she hurt?

Chase didn’t think. His legs started moving before he knew what he wanted to do. He thrust through the rubberneckers, making a beeline for her.

Behind him, someone complained in protest, but Chase didn’t slow down. He couldn’t have stopped if he’d wanted to.

 

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Today ran by fast

I spent the morning doing a lot of outlining work for a short story I’m working on. It’s set in Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage world (awesome books, btw, if you’ve not read them), and so this requires me to do a lot of research in the world and making sure that I can write the story I want and that I stay within the already designed confines of the world. I figured out a lot of great stuff today and I have a strong idea of most of the story. I hope to write many words tomorrow.

Have you ever gone shopping and bought clothing that you had to take back because it smelled? I bought these jeans that I really liked. But they had a chemical smell to them. I washed them twice, and the smell didn’t even abate a little. That meant I had to take them back today. I suppose it’s good shorts weather is almost here.

Tomorrow I also plan to start some seeds. I haven’t prepared the garden yet, so I’ll get the seeds started now and plant in the ground in a couple weeks.

I’ve been doing a series of posts on Magical Words about self-publishing. Today I talked about choosing covers.

 

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015
Coolios

I just got invited to be in a really awesome anthology based on another writers oh so awesome world. I can’t give details. Sorry. But it’s going to be amazing and so I’m rereading the novels starting today.

In other news, Boy of Size got the upper rack of his braces on today. All went smoothly, thank goodness. We even got there on time, despite traffic and events conspiring against us.

I’ve been working through a revision on this WIP. It’s a little bit aggravating how slow it’s going. Mostly it’s my fault because a little tweak here becomes a serious fix later. And then I have to cut things that I really liked because they no longer fit, so then I have to go back to the tweak and see if it was worth it or could be done differently . . . Sigh. Today I cut out a scene I really really liked. It doesn’t work anymore.

I’m also trying to bolster up some of the emotional depth of one of the characters. And cut the redundancy from another. It’s just depressingly slow, and that’s to some extent because I’m distracted by life. I have to stop that. And stop being online when I’m writing. I need to focus, avoid the news and too much research.

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Relearning an old writing lesson

Jake Lake once said that he liked to write a book over a period of no more than 3 months. For that long, he said, he could hold the whole plot in his head and he didn’t lose things. Longer than that, and bit and pieces started to fall away and he had to work a lot harder to get the story down. At that time, the idea of writing a 3 month book was absolutely crazy to me. I couldn’t imagine ever succeeding at that.

But then I did. I learned he was right. For about three months, maybe four, I didn’t have to worry about taking a ton of notes on where I was going or what the characters were up to. I could hold the story in my head. In writing that speed, I kept the pacing sharp and I also had a lot of fun. I never felt bogged down in a scene, because the scenes went by too quickly for quagmire. If they didn’t, that meant the scene had a problem.

I learned this lesson. It’s hard, because writing that fast means discipline and sticking to a schedule. It also means the words damned well better flow. One truth for me is that the words tend to flow better when I stick to a schedule, get sleep and exercise, and I eat reasonably health. I feel energized and creative.

However.

My son got sick and that took a lot more out of me than I ever expected. Part of it was having to go to the neverending doctor appointments. Part of it was having to watch him suffer and being helpless. Part of it was trying to be strong for everybody in the family, and especially my daughter. And it kept going on and on. Still is, really, but at least he’s improving.

Anyhow, my creativity grew thick and dense and unwilling. Writing was more miss than hit and I did fewer and fewer words as my schedule fragmented. I have no regrets–I was and am spectacularly happy to be available to the kids when they need me. Not everyone, not even most, can do that and I can and I have had no problems making them my priority.

I ended up having to reschedule my books and give myself much longer to finish them. That meant that I was going to plan for six months rather than three months per book. While that has been necessary, it has also made a difficult creative process even more difficult. Because I feel like scenes lag because I spend more time on them. I feel like I lose the character voices. I feel like I lose track of what I wanted the story to be. It’s infuriating.

In the fall the kids (both!) go back to school. I hope to regain my routine and hopefully my production. I hope to dive deeper into the creative ocean and live in it more so that the story will flow better. I have a lot of things I still want to write.

Friday, July 10th, 2015
Sweet sweet coolness

After weeks of heat, today we were able to leave the windows open all day. I think the weather should hold for another few days at least. Hopefully we can get out and do some things. I’d like to go hike to a falls.

I did get decent writing done this week. Book 3 of  Diamond City Magic is getting close to done. I hit a bit of a snag today when I couldn’t remember where in a book I included something, or if I put it in and took it out again. I didn’t find what I was looking for in the first two books, but it could be earlier in this book. So I still have to dig. Annoying. I’ll look tomorrow, I think.

I also started a new knitting project. It might be a Christmas present. Hush. I know it’s far away, but if you’re knitting, you have to start much earlier. This is a fact. I also found a cool crochet hat pattern I want to try. I’m still not that great at reading patterns, or following written patterns–I get confused–so it can be a slow process. The one I started tonight has fairly simple cables and repeats, so it’s making up reasonably quickly. Using some yarn out of the stash. Given I just added to the stash, this is a good thing. Also, crochet projects make up faster. Just saying.

Tomorrow will hopefully be some yardwork, some writing, and hopefully some fun stuff. Next week the boy starts a summer “camp” which is more like a class. He’s excited about it.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
*gnashing teeth*

Today has been a crappy writing day. And by that, I mean I hardly got anywhere. Lots of typing and erasing and doubting and, well, see the title of his post.

I did write a little bit I do like, so rough as it is, I’m sharing:

I contemplated what to do. The trouble was that doing wasn’t exactly an option. That meant my only option was to open the door on the spirit world inside myself. Easy peasy. And for my next trick, I’d fly to Mars and back, and then jump a tornado to Oz.

The trouble was, I didn’t have any other choices, reasonable or not. It wasn’t like I was going anywhere. I took a breath and let it out and focused my attention on the problem. That’s when I noticed how uncomfortable I was. Let me say this: any reasonably well-endowed woman lying face down is for any length of time is going to start to feel a certain ache in her boobs. Before long, it’s going to turn into a raging ache. My panic attack had distracted me from the mild discomfort portion of the show, and now I had to bite my lip to tolerate the ever-increasing throbbing pain. Maybe I could shoot for a trifecta and get cramps and my period now, too.

If I could have, I would have shaken my head. As it was, I mentally smacked myself for going off track—not to mention tempting fate–and pulled myself back to the problem at hand.

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Progress made

You may not know this, but the third Diamond City Magic book is due at the end of this month. And I’m yanking my hair out. Mostly because where I thought it was going to end isn’t going to be where it ends and I’ve got to figure out a solid ending. But I have plenty of stuff to put into the next book. I left Riley in a rather bad place today, and oh! I managed to squeeze in an Elmer Fudd reference. Cuz yanno. That’s always entertaining. For me anyhow. And really, if I’m not entertained, how will you be?

Family is important in this book, as you might guess. And someone just found a family skeleton in the closet. It’s so fun!!!

And a small snippet:

“The FBI brought you here,” he said, his voice lifeless.

“They thought I could help,” she said with a little nod.

“Help them break me.”

“If I could. They needed to see you for what you are.”

His head tipped. “What am I?”

Her lip curled. “An abomination. A demon from the depths of hell. Satan’s own spawn.”

 

Monday, June 1st, 2015
days pass

This weekend we took my dad to the emergency room to get his foot checked out. He’d had an infection that wasn’t getting better. So they did an ultrasound and no clots. Gave him more antibiotics and he seems to be improving. They drove to CA today and we are watching their dog, who is a littermate for our dogs. He’s pushy and demanding and my dogs are jealous. Pet pet pet pet.

Working on writing stuff. Am now past the halfway point in the next Diamond City Magic book. I have yet to have a title for it. But I’m excited to have made it past the half. At the same time, I look forward at what I have to pack into the now less-than-half and I start freaking out that I will never be able to get it all in. And so the neuroses of writers evolve throughout a book.

This is a snippet from something totally different I’m working on here and there, when especially when I get stuck:

 

Which means that the trap was meant for us in particular. Why?”

“Because of the box, of course,” a young, feminine voice said.

I spun around to face the door. Just inside was the young woman from the elevator who’d seemed so familiar.

That’s when I realized who she was. The incubus had killed her in Vegas. She was a corpse.

 

 

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.