Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for December, 2014

Monday, December 29th, 2014
The year that was but not really

It’s the time of year to reflect back on the last and make plans for the next. Reflection is difficult for me this year. So much went by in a blur.

My son was sick. And still is sick. That dominated much of our year. Things I had wanted to do with the family couldn’t be done. Adventures, mostly. I’m hoping for better next year.

Writing was good-ish. The Cipher and The Black Ship were re-released, and Trace of Magic came out. I wrote the sequel to Trace of Magic, but am waiting on edits, and I’ve reviewed and revised the reissue of The Turning Tide. Working on The Hollow Crown and struggling with writing the last book. I’ve been working on releasing Path of Honor as an ebook, and also on getting a new novella out there that is mostly done. Just not enough time.

Teaching: I got a chance to teach in the WSCU MFA program in genre writing. That’s been . . . an experience. Some really good, some not so good.

Spent my first entire year in the new house and in the new state. I have loved it. If only the boy of size were not sick, it would be perfect.

Money has been tight. I’m working on that.

Have been feeling quite melancholy and stressed the last few months. Am working on that, too.

Have learned to knit and am enjoying that. Have made new friends here and more online. It’s crazy how good people can become friends without ever having met in person.

I have gained back some of the weight I lost. I think this is a stress thing and I’m hoping to focus on de-stressing and being healthier this next year.

I haven’t blogged as much of late, which I miss. But see above with melancholy and stress. Have felt stupid and lacking. I did find my SAD light, which is helping, and I’m using a melatonin/GABA pill to help with sleep. Though of course, last night the boy was sick and the girlie had nightmares, so I was awakened a few times. I don’t really mind. I like that I can be there for the kids when they need. I like that I can make them feel good. Girlie isn’t prone to nightmares, so she was unnerved.

Since moving, and since they bought a house near us, I’ve spent more time with my folks, and I’m so grateful to have that time. My dad’s 85th birthday is on Monday. He’s been through a lot of medical crap over the years, and still hanging in there. The folks have been married 57 years as of yesterday. This year will be my 25th wedding anniversary. My husband and I met 28 years ago. Been together ever since.

I read 32 books this year. I wanted to read more. I need to read more.

The goal list I set myself last year I didn’t hit as well as I’d like. I will set another and try harder to make those goals. I’m hoping time permits and my son’s health cooperates.

I’m sure there’s more I want to write. I can’t think of anything right now. Tell me, how was your year?

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
musings on the tasteless

We made cookie cutouts today. I didn’t use sugar cookie dough, but this sour cream cookie cutout recipe I got from a friend years ago. It’s not got a lot of flavor. I divided it in half and mixed cocoa powder into half. The bad part is that it didn’t really mix and came out more marbled. What I like about this cookie is that it’s soft. What I don’t like, is that it’s kind of tasteless. I should probably add some sort of flavoring–almond or orange or cinnamon or something. I did not do a good job making up some icing (I should have found a recipe). But the girlie had fun with the store-bought tubes. I have to get more. Anyhow, the point is that she had a blast and I’m not terrible tempted by the cookies.

Tomorrow I make pies and rolls. I did roast the pumpkin so that I can make pies. Next week girlie will require pumpkin cupcakes.

I started a crochet hat today. Hmm. Scratch that. I restarted it. I’d started it with too big a yarn and hook, because I was told I could, but the gauge was way off. So then I got a new yarn and worked with a smaller needle, but started it, only to find I’d created a mobius strip. Took that out and decided to shrink up the size  a little. Then I started again, but managed to screw up some row beginnings to make a mess. So now . . . I have finished six rows or so, and it’s very pretty, and going well. I’m really pleased with it so far.

I suck at reading patterns. I just am not in the habit. I also don’t do well with gauge. That’s because if I get the yarn and do the gauge and it doesn’t work, do I get new yarn? Go for bigger needles/hook? So I’m trying to practice a little.

I’m ready to do something a little more complicated with the knitting. I’m not sure what. I still have tons to learn. Things like adding and reducing and oh, if I drop a stitch I’m in a lot of trouble. I haven’t figured out how to pick them up even though my mom says blithely, it’s so easy! I’m probably going to join the knitting group at the shop in the new year, and take some mroe lessons. I really want to learn to make socks. Elizabeth moon makes socks. I have envy.

Boy of size has been slightly better. Not throwing up as much, but still regularly. I’ve been trying to keep him focused on other things, which always helps. He did help make the cookies this morning–the dough, anyhow. Then he was sick. He’s so frustrated with it and doesn’t want to be sick on Christmas, of course. I feel so rotten for him.

Then I got to feeling shitty. My temperature wouldn’t regulate today. I got so cold I was shivering something terrible, and then warmed up to sweating. The funny part is that I was slightly feverish when terribly cold, and way low when hot. Sigh. My son flips out if I am remotely not feeling well. He starts to cry. It’s totally his excitement and stress of the holidays, and I just let him go as he needs to. He needs the outlet. Poor guy.

Other than baking and cleaning, I’m fairly ready for Christmas day. Kids are about to bust. They are so disappointed that the man has to work tomorrow. He took Friday off, though. And he’ll be off for the boy’s test next week. I need to get some writing done. Maybe I’ll manage that.


Monday, December 22nd, 2014
T’was the day after solstice

I am slow to post these days. Struggling with some personal stuff. The boy of size has been sick a lot and that weighs. He’s got a text scheduled for next week and I’m hoping it actually shows us something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of faith, given the way things have been happening with his testing thus far. There is some other stuff that isn’t resolving very well, and it’s very difficult for me to manage stress-wise. I’ve got a deadline looming and the words are coming slow.

Tomorrow, however, I’m going to make cookies with the kids. I couldn’t find my cookie cutters at all, so had to borrow some from a friend. I plan to add cocoa to half the batch to make some chocolate cookies. One of the cutters seems to be in the shape of a hatchet. I don’t understand that, but I’m sure it will be fun to figure out.

In other news, Edge of Dreams is available for preorder!

I’ve got an interview up about the Weird Wild West anthology and you will learn something new and odd about me you may not already know. Spread the word and encourage people to support the antho!

My dog is looking at me desperately, hoping for a rescue from the boy who is manhandling him.

Not much more to say. Anybody have big plans for Christmas? For New Years?

Friday, December 12th, 2014
many a things are happening

We had a Catastro-tree. We decorated it, then we made it fall over and things broke. Oddly, when you try to put things back on, the tree still looks a little rumpled and discombobulated. Only ornaments were hurt in the fall, however. Fur beasts and humans survived.

I am no longer taking the drug the doc gave me to sleep. Was just more than my body could take. So now I’m trying a pill with a mix of melatnonin, gaba, and a couple of other things. It helps. I do wake up in the middle of the night. I understand that there’s a slow release melatonin and I wonder if that would be better.

I love Christmas lights. I love driving around looking at them. My daughter is just as joyful about them. I also like going into the mall to look at the big oversized decorations. I was in NYC just after Xmas one year and the displays were so fun. Other than that, I’m staying out of the mall.

I have learned to knit. I am not necessarily all that fabulous at it, but I have learned. Now to make what I want to make (I’m working my way toward socks. I want to make socks). I am working up stuff at night by way of stress reduction. Apparently this does not work for some people who find it more frustrating than not. I get it. Still, I am enjoying it.

Been out walking the dogs and taking bad pictures of the moss that’s been growing. I love the moss. It’s so delicate and looks like it hides fairies. It’s small and amazing and so very green. The bad pictures stem from the fact that I hold my phone in one hand and two dogs with the other.

I have never seen Into the Woods on the stage, but really looking forward to seeing the film version because it just looks so fun.

My folks are coming up this way tomorrow. So looking forward to seeing them. Hoping to head out next week to the coast with them for a day. Will be very fun.

I got tired today and lay down on the couch. The dog jumped up and made himself comfy on my head. Hmm. Now that would have been a picture worth having.

I no longer know how to put my itunes player on my computer on repeat. Shuffle, I’ve got nailed. I can repeat a playlist, I think, but not a single song. I find this irritating.

Our TV had some pixels get stuck. Suddenly there was a big bright sort of half square that wouldn’t move. Can’t afford new TV. Looked up ways to maybe help, went to try said method, and apparently the pixels had got scared because now they were a moving and the spot left. Happy news there.

One of the dogs has always has this thing going on where at night, he wants to sit on the couch and be pet, then he turns into a cat and doesn’t want to be touched. At all. Because he wants to sleep, apparently and he gets quite annoyed if you touch him when he’s snoozing. Or so that’s the way he’s been. All of a sudden, maybe in the last month or so, he’s changed. Now he’s decided that he wants laps. And snuggles, and woe betide you if you move while he’s sleeping on you. There will be comments. He’s been stealing the other dog’s snuggle spot, and I’ve been getting a great many wounded looks from said other dog. Because, while other laps are good, mine is apparently the place to be. I chalk up to the fact that I’m a sucker.


And I’m part of this! It’s a great idea for an anthology. I really hope it makes. Check it out and support if you are feeling the love!

And now back to the actual writing job.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Dooby dooby dooo

So I’m still having weird anxiety dreams, when I don’t have total insomnia. Last night there was a bad guy who was taking other people’s stuff (because they “owed” him) and storing it at our house (including a tractor, a massive travel trailer and so on. This was the house I grew up in on the ranch). One of his men took a liking to my son (not in that way) which helped us get away in the end. Somehow, a small pig got involved, as did another family and there were guns and threatening and the main thing I wake up with is that baby pigs can’t have their pens in the house with the dogs and on the hardwood floor. Yeah. That really is an odd take away. For the record, I did raise piglets as a kid, so this was a fairly accurate dream as far as that went, and I already knew that about piglets and doglets.

Also my temperature keeps fluctuating ridiculously, and I won’t go into yesterday’s not feeling good. So I guess it’s time to call the doc. I’m staring at the phone now trying to convince myself it isn’t stupid to just do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been poking at the WIP with a sharp stick.