Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for June, 2014

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.

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014
Book Pricing

It’s come to my attention that the paper versions of Shadow City and Blood Winter have now become much more expensive. As in, around $22 dollars. I feel like I need to address this. First, you should know that I don’t have any say in pricing. I never had and doubt I ever will, unless I self-publish. It’s all up to the publisher. You might be wondering why, if the books originally priced at $7.99, why are they suddenly now almost three times that? To be honest, I’m not entirely certain. They will be available using Print on Demand (or POD) technology. I’m not sure what the costs involved in that are compared to the mass market price. It does seem strangely high to me, but again, I don’t know the ins and outs. I am just sorry that readers will be asked to pay such a high price. The price of ebooks remains quite reasonable, so that’s a positive. Unfortunately, the cost is higher to you, and also to me, insomuch as I can’t imagine a lot of these pricey books will sell.

Trade paper is obviously more expensive. These will be of a trade paper size, I believe.

I’m told that this is happening to a lot of books across the board, so a lot of writers are stuck with this pricing, though it’s the first time it’s happened to me. It also means that in time it could happen to more of my books. Anyhow, I wanted all of you to be aware of this, and also that authors have absolutely no say whatsoever in the matter. It’s entirely the publisher’s choice.

I thank each and every one of you who spend your precious money and time on my books. I endeavor to the best job I now how to do so that it’s worth it.

Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Happy Solstice

When I was in Montana, I found this day to be a very melancholy day. Even though the hottest days of summer were ahead, this was always this beginning of the slide into winter, which would begin in September frequently, but always by October. Winter would last until well into April, and often into May. So instead of celebrating all the flowering and the growing and the sweet breezes, I would get sad. I’m fighting that a little bit today, but I got out and finished planting my garden, which was wonderful. We had wanted to go to the coast and walk on the beach, but sadly, the boy was very sick this morning. He’s better this afternoon, but it made for an impossible trip.

Anyhow, I’m enjoying the day. I hope you are as well.

Friday, June 20th, 2014
what to say?

I was going to post something interesting and useful and entertaining today. Sadly, I got nothing.

Today is my birthday. I was asked by my children not to get up on time, but to wait until they came for me. I agreed. They brought me breakfast in bed consisting of blueberry lego waffles, syrup, and some raspberries. I promptly dropped my onto my sheets. Oops. I rescued the food and ate, then my son collected the plates, dripping syrup all over the floor and dog bed. I got up, sliding across the syrup. I stripped the sheets and cleaned the carpet and dog bed, then got in the shower. Oh, I also got all syrup all over the toilet seat. Cleaned that up. Maybe that story is entertaining. Huh.

Going to go over to the coast tomorrow and run the dogs on the beach.

Did I mention that I’m a semifinalist in the Amtrak Writer Residency program? Apparently 16000 writers applied and 115 people made the semi finals. I’m a little bit stunned and excited and hopeful. It would be awesomely cool.

Monday, June 16th, 2014
writing frustration and the barf boy

I’m frustrated with the writing. I’m not capturing the voice the way I want to, and I feel like there’s a lot of talking heads in this scene and not enough going on. I figure it’s likely to get cut later or get gutted in some way, but I’m still stumbling over the writing and it’s driving me up a wall. Doesn’t help that the kids want attention. And the dogs. I did get out and bike ride with them for a bit today. Then the boy had to barf.

So speaking of the boy, my SIL is visiting and she suddenly remembered that her mom got horribly sick while flying one time and that she went into the airport bar to see if she could get something for relief. They gave her bitters mixed with club soda and apparently it worked like magic. My SIL said she used the concoction with my niece and nephew and for herself with success. So I gave some to the boy. While the man was fetching the bitters and club soda (not something I keep in the house), I thought, hey! I have dramamine. Wonder if that would help? So gave him some of that. It’s like 5 years old, so I don’t know if it’s any good, but he got both and now he’s sleeping. I will have to try them separately tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15th, 2014
A funny thing

One of the things that has changed for me since leaving Montana is that I don’t leave the house to go to work. I go other places, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t leave to go to work. Therefore, I don’t have these long hours away from home before I come home to do things like make dinner, laundry, and etc. I bet you’re wondering, so what? I got to thinking about it. I perceive my home in a different way, I think, that those people who go away from theirs do. They come home and it’s a refuge. A place to recuperate. They might miss it when they are away. They might wish to be on the couch or hanging out in sweats or digging in the dirt while they are stuck in a meeting or behind a counter, or doing whatever it is that they do. It’s the place where you can rest and be yourself, with only the demands on you that are part of your life.

My house isn’t a refuge. This is hard to explain. It’s my space. I exist here all the time. I have habits here and the dogs and a pattern that is more well-worn than if I left every day and went to another space that was also my own. All my lives coalesce in this one space. I got to thinking about why that would matter, or how it would matter in terms of perspective, particularly if I was thinking about characters. I’m not sure I have any clue, really. At least not that I can articulate very well. I am remembering back to when I would leave and come home from work in Montana and before. The way that things for work had to be set here and there so I could remember where they were (though I frequently brought work home and I did have an office for my writing). But there’s this feeling I got when I walked in the door. A kind of relief, maybe. Or a feeling like you just scraped something off at the door. The outside, maybe. The needs and demands of that outside life.

I don’t really get that here. When I shut the door now, it’s more like closing away the noise of life, but not the little hooks and harpoons. When you work in your home and when most of your life takes place there, that sense of relief and refuge doesn’t seem to happen. I don’t know that that’s a bad or a good thing. But it is different. I do have different spaces in the house for primarily work or play. I do notice that my attitude changes with moving in between those rooms.

I don’t know if this makes any sense. I’m maundering quite a bit. I wonder, do you have a better way of articulating how working and living at home is so different from the going away and returning home sense of home?

Friday, June 13th, 2014
See? I can learn a lesson if I want to

Last night while either trying to fall asleep, or after having woken up, I had couple of writing epiphanies about the next Tracer book. I turned on the light and wrote them down. This morning I’d forgotten one of them. I got around to looking at the note today, and thought Wow! that means everything! I had a plot issue I hadn’t figured out how to sort out, and there it was, all laid out. But here’s the crazy part: I actually turned on the light and wrote it down. I have learned. I really won’t remember it in the morning, no matter how vital and vivid it seems (and may be). I will forget. I must make the note while it’s in my head.

See? Old dog–new tricks.

The man was fired yesterday and hired today. His employer sold the company and the new one took over today. Apparently it’s a thing they do that they fire and rehire. We’re hoping it will mean good things down the line. This is ATI (Allegheny Technologies) and is a global company. That may mean better health insurance, retirement and so on and so forth. Maybe a better salary. They do better contributing to 401K, we know already. So that’s a plus.

We took the bikes out today to practice. The boy of size was on my old bike–a diamondback mountain bike, 18 speeds. It’s a men’s bike, and much taller than he’s used to, plus speeds, so he had to get used to the bar and everything else. He’d by far grown out of his old one. Girlie was practicing with hers. She’s not entirely comfortable riding on sidewalks and going in straight lines, or turning. (We went to the high school parking lot for the space and the ability to practice turning and so on). The man took his diamondback out, and I road my new townie style/beach comber style. What was weird about my new  bike is that the arms are higher, and the pedals are slightly forward of where they are on a mountain bike. What this means is that I can’t stand up to gain torque from my weight. The bike has seven speeds, but even so, going up slight hills was a struggle. We live in a very hilly area. Anyhow, I figured out quick I need to build up some muscle if I’m going to use it around here. All well and good. I need to build muscle and get exercise. But it made me glad I didn’t just willy-nilly go out hill-riding. They look less oppressive when driving or even walking them. I did like that there was a lot less pressure on my wrists, shoulders, and back. That was much better.

Anyhow, much fun was had. Boy didn’t get sick or too queasy, and got his mind off things. Earlier we took the doggies walking in the park (short walk sadly) but at least he was outside today. Tomorrow the man is taking them fishing again (while I work on behind book). I might get out and ride around the neighborhood a bit. Or at least try.

I still haven’t gotten around to planting a bunch of my seeds. I need to work on that this weekend. Also I need a haircut.

Doggies are looking at me accusingly like I should not have the computer on my lap. I apparently need fuzz beast therapy. They may be right. They also need to be brushed. A lot. Porcupines of fur.

Monday, June 9th, 2014
fish and barf

yeah, that’s a hell of a title, isn’t it? Why must blogs be titled? I suck at titles.

The man took the kids fishing this weekend while I worked. On Sunday, they caught 15 trout. I don’t like fish. Don’t like the smell (bad fish experience as a kid). So they cleaned and took the fish to those friends and relatives who appreciate such things and much gratitude rained down. The kids had fun, especially the boy, who seemed to be magic with the fishing pole.

Speaking of boy, he’s still barfing. It was a little better this weekend, then it went really wonky. I’m not sure, but it’s possible that sugar exacerbates the problem. Not fruit sugar, but ice cream and that sort of thing. Don’t know about other sugars. I am not yet certain, but I think it could be true. Tonight I forced him to eat against his will. Gave him corn on the cob, a piece of watermelon, and a hamburger. Actually I only required the first two (fiber being requisite for making sure there’s no backing up of the plumbing). I don’t think he barfed after. So I am going to try to keep him on plain, simple food for a bit and see what happens. If he cooperates.

I’m still plotting. Wrestling with making it work, but getting closer. The boy’s last tutoring was today, and we had a doc appointment. I got him to the park today to have a little walk, and I also had to do some stuff on a class I’m sitting in on later this week. Thanks to waiting at the doctor, I also read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey. I loved it. Course I love Jane Austen, and this is definitely in that style, but with magic. So good. So so good. Can’t wait to read the next book. Totally recommend.

Also out now, is Jamie Lee Moyer’s Barricade in Hell. I read it in ARC form a few months ago and I loved it as much or more than the first book, Delia’s Shadow. Do read this. Seriously. Wonderful book. Read both books. Don’t wait.

Tomorrow is the girlie’s talent show. Also I will have been married for 24 years. I’m still so in love with the man. Hard to believe it’s been so long. Not sure what we’ll do by way of celebration. Not sure we’ll be able to do much. Sadly, we never had a honeymoon and I’m beginning to feel like we should do a better job of celebrating, but with boy feeling so awful, I can’t think we can do anything much. So another one will slip by relatively unremarked. Sigh. Maybe next year. (I say that every year).

The Cipher is rereleased, at least as an ebook on Amazon, but not the full release yet. The cover is lovely, but I”ll post more later when it’s more widely available. And I’ll be begging for reviews and all that sort of thing. And of course I can send out arcs to reviewers. Let me know.

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