Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for 'writing business'

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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Love triangles and why I’m coming to hate them

Love triangles in books used to just sort of annoy me, but now I am actively becoming resentful and angry at them and they will cause me to not read a book. So far, this seems to be the case in UF and paranormal romance, but less so in epic fantasy. I’m not sure if this is because epic fantasy broadens the scope of the story to include a larger variety of characters and events, or if it’s because I’m running across it less there. Doesn’t matter. The point is that I’m not real fond of them at the moment and I want to talk about why. This about me and how I approach them as reader, not a general rule for readers. YMMV. Plus I’ve certainly read triangles that I’ve enjoyed, but in general, right now, they make me want to puke.

I started noticing I was putting down novels quickly that had any sort of a love triangle and I began to ask myself why. What’s the problem with them? I think a great deal of it feels disingenuous. Like I’m being deliberately lied to. That’s strange, because what is fiction but a deliberate lie? This is different, though. I felt that the author was deliberately manipulating me to like two characters, knowing only one could get chosen, or luring me to like one character that eventually would turn out to be an ass, while I was supposed to hate the jerk who would eventually become the hero. The author, of course, knows that she’s misleading the reader, pushing me to sympathize with one character only to pull the rug out from me later.

So the second part of the problem for me, aside from feeling manipulated, is that I can’t invest in the characters. Not any of them. Because the central female or male who must choose, is going to be as mislead as me, and then the other two are not at all what they seem and sooner or later I’m going to find out why one is redeemable and the other is not. For variation, the one that is supposed to turn into the total ass may turn out to be the one redeemed, but essentially, one must be an ass and one must be the love interest. But if I care about one and he turns into a bastard, I feel cheated and like I never should have cared. So I start to read with less empathy for the characters and quickly I lose interest in them because I simply cannot force myself to care. Instead I’d rather go read something else.

Does anybody get irritated by it? I don’t mind when a relationship seems to sour because a new person shows up and it’s a natural progression, and I see why the change happens in the feelings and the rug doesn’t get pulled out where original romantic interest suddenly turns into a monster. People change and fall in and out of love and relationships. I just hate it when it feels like I’ve been tricked.

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.

 

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.

 

 

Monday, June 10th, 2013
Self and Indie Publishing

I’m interested in the potential of self/indie pubbing, particularly for doing some novellas or stories in my various worlds. I’m also interested in the idea as an industry changer, so I try to keep up-to-date. Anyhow, one of the things that I’ve encountered is that those terms are not defined as I expected. Which is to say, I made some assumptions about what the two terms meant and that everyone bought into the same idea. Turns out, not so much.

I essentially thought that the terms were interchangeable, and frankly, to me, they always will be. Independent publishing and self publishing are all about independently publishing your own work without a publisher. Which is to say, you take on all the roles of publisher yourself–editor, copy editor, designer, cover artist, and so on. Obviously you might and probably wouldn’t do all that work yourself; you’d likely hire out to someone who could do the work better than you. But in the end, you’re in charge; you’re the one who makes all the decisions.

What I’ve heard, though, is that Indie publishing refers to small press publishers. I just don’t buy that because no matter what size they are, they are still publishers. That means they acquire books, have editors, copy editors, and so on, and they contract with the writer for the right to publish the books. So to me, it’s not that they are independent, so much as just publishers. They may be smaller and more agile, but I don’t see them as exactly independent, except that they are not beholden to big corporations.

Obviously there will be others who disagree, and I’m willing to be schooled, so feel free. What do you think? Is there a difference? Is there another publishing term out there that I’ve not heard of at this point?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
I swear I did do something today

I’m just not sure what it was that I did do. I did a lot of tinkering on the website, with some help from my web editor who did a tune up on some things, bless her. Makes it significantly easier to do some things. I now have an appearances and FAQs pages, and I they are updated, something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. I started combing through pages to get some more things updated, though I’m not done yet. There are some consistency things I need to work on that will take more time. I attended my daughter’s recorder recital and my son’s band concert. He wore green: green shoes, green shorts, green shirt, green glasses. Guess what his favorite color is? It rained today a lot, something we desperately need. Soaked the dogs who did not go into their houses while we were at the concert tonight. So now the house stinks of wet dog fur.

Poked at the manuscript some more. But essentially I did a fair amount of website work, and it really doesn’t look like I did that much. How aggravating.

The lilacs have all popped, as have all the trees in town. Smells so amazing outside.

Just saw the news on Grandbury, TX. Oh, hell. What a terrible disaster. Never again do I want to live in tornado country. Feel like I got out of the midwest by the skin of my teeth when I see stories like this.

Monday, March 25th, 2013
Scary publishing

My Horngate books are published by Simon and Schuster (also known as Pocket Books), and so this particularly effects me, but it also effects readers. Right now, Barnes and Noble is not ordering a lot of S&S books into its stores. They say it’s because they want S&S to pay more for in store promotions, and that people come in and look at the books, and then order them online (though let’s face it, BN has been reducing how many books they carry and really pushing the bestsellers and stocking up on those, which sounds very much like what Borders did before total fail. How can you be a bookstore and not carry books? but I digress). BN also wants to pay less for the books. I don’t know if that’s because they want to discount them or because they want better profit margins. They already pay somewhere around 40% of cover price, if they are like my local indie, but given their size, it’s possible they get greater discounts. I don’t know. bloodwintercover1

Here are some articles on the subject:

Christian Science Monitor
New York Times
Wall Street Journal

The heart of the heart of the matter is that authors are being hurt. If people can’t find their books, they don’t buy them. Especially new authors. I’m aware of an author whose last book in her series was canceled almost as soon as the contract was signed because of this. Order are down and if orders are down, it must be because people don’t want the books. And yet if readers don’t know about the books, or if they can’t find them, then exactly why are they being penalized? On top of that, there’s fairly little promotion that happens around midlisters (those authors who are not bestsellers, and even bestsellers may not get that much, depending on who you are).

The point is that word of mouth becomes even more important. Really spreading the word on books you like. And Indie bookstores become crucial–support the places that carry the books is what readers have to do. I’m not saying don’t shop BN, what I’m saying is, BN is making itself irrelevant to readers because it isn’t carrying books. Indie bookstores tend to pay attention to customers and work hard to provide the books that you want.

The thing is, readers don’t see what’s happening because frankly, it’s happening off the grid. It’s just that all of a sudden the books you want aren’t available, book contracts are cancelled, and you’re stuck without. What to do about it? Tell BN. Tell S&S. And spread the word on authors you like so that even if their books aren’t on the shelves, other readers have a way of discovering them.

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Snippet of Soul Mage

It’s cold. As in a miserable wind chill. Of course, by the looks of the storms hitting east of here, from Minnesota to Main to Florida, I’ve nothing to complain about. So I will endeavor not to.

First day of block today. It’s advanced lit theory and we’re focusing on Postcolonial theory. Went well. Tiny class, which is fun. The only bad thing is that I can’t find this one Pears Soap ad (which were incredibly racist and devoted to the colonial project) and it’s killing me. Looked online, on my saved files (a bunch of which seem to be missing), and in my files. Can’t find it.

The final revisions on my WIP titled Soul Mage went off to my agent to be shopped around. Now I have to both wait and start on my other idea.

And in honor of that event, a snippet:

Seavik ran a finger over the odd black and red design ribboning along the edge. Something bit his finger. He jerked back sharply, making a startled sound. A bit of skin and several drops of blood dribbled onto the page. Then as he watched, the blood and skin absorbed into the pale sheet and vanished, leaving the page pristine except for the writing.  He shoved himself back, his chair tumbling as he lunged to his feet.

Acting on instinct, he drew his dagger, skewered the invitation and flicked it into one of the braziers burning along the wall to light the room. Flames licked the page and the paper twisted as if resisting. A keening sound filled the room, making Seavik’s skin prickle. The paper knotted up and then melted flat. The design on the edges rose like blind, toothy worms, jaws snapping. The fire turned blue and green and the paper exploded in a puff of ash. The room quieted.

Seavik stared. What manner of magic was this?

Slowly he sheathed his knife and looked at his finger. An oval divot had been sliced out of it. He blotted his finger on a napkin as he considered. The ambassador could not have expected the attack to go unnoticed. Seavik would have to make a bloody reponse. Which begged the question, why do it?

He recalled the way his blood and skin had disappeared into the paper. His hand clenched around the cloth. What sort of magic did these visitors posses?  What evil had they brought to Keatu-Safi?

He reached for the bell to summon— Who?  He blinked. What was he doing? He turned, confused. His attention fell on the pile of papers on his desk. Something to do with—

Whatever it was slipped from his mind. He shrugged, rubbing his hand over the everpresent ache in his stomach, then reached for his cooling cherza. He glanced down at the napkin in his hand. There was blood on it and a small oval cut on his finger. His brow furrowed. How had that happened?



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