Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'my life' Category

Friday, September 11th, 2020
Back! From Outer Space!

Yes, I’ve not been here for a long time. Why is that? Well, Covid for one. It’s been tough with the family and helping out my elderly parents. We helped them sell their house and move. Well, basically we had them take what they wanted and then leave everything else and we cleaned their house out and cleaned their house and turned it over to the new owner.

I finished a draft of the fifth Diamond City Magic book, but oh, it was such a struggle. It’s super long, and now I have to revise and add a point of view, so I’m still working on that. I also don’t have a title for it yet, which is totally silly of me, and yet the title isn’t really coming together. I finished The Pixie Job, which will be out in early January in an anthology with novellas by R.J. Blain, Faith Hunter, and Devon Monk. The anthology is titled Dirty Deeds and I think you’re going to love these stories. They are so very fun.

Now what’s interesting is that The Pixie Job is the third in the Mission: Magic books, with The Incubus Job being the first. But wait, you say. Where’s the second? There is no second! But in fact, there is. It’s not quite done, but it will be out sometime before Dirty Deeds. I’m shooting for the end of October or middle of November. I’ll let you know more when I have more. It’s titled The Elf Job and it’s so much fun, I can’t even begin to tell you. Actually, both of them are.

I’m in Oregon and of course there are fires raging here. We’ve not been in any evacuation zones, but we’re really near the Beachie Creek/Lionshead/Riverside complex of fires. We’re across the river and the interstate, not to mention a lot of city, so we’re not concerned about ourselves, but I’m so concerned for some friends who have evacuated, and others who’ve lost homes. It’s just awful and I can’t seem to stop watching the news constantly for updates. On the positive side, it distracts me from the pandemic. That’s good, right?

Sadly, west of us on the coast where I wanted to go this weekend is also on fire and evacuated. But one of my friends who had to evacuate has learned their house is still standing. Hallelujah.

Dogs are doing great. Merlin (formerly bitey boy) has become super lovey and all three of them are lap hogs. My son returns to college in a week. His apartment, anyway. His classes will be online. My daughter will be doing her classes from home. She’s so thrilled (not). My husband will be losing his job soon. They are closing the machine shop where he works. We just don’t know when he will be laid off. They plan to close by the end of the year, but whether they lay him off before that is unclear. He’s taking some online classes to help boost his cnc programming skills.

In the meantime, I’m struggling with all the 2020 crap. Oh, we are remodeling our kitchen and it’s going slowly. Sigh. But progress is happening. Incredibly slowly.

With the smoke, I’ve been inside all week and have been going a little bit nuts. I really need to get on my elliptical. I’m drinking a lot of water to try to stay hydrated because it’s been so dry and hot. Some of my plants are getting really crispy. My tomatoes are going nuts and so are my cucumbers and squash and it looks like I’ve got some good peppers going on. Excited about that.

I promise to check in more. I stopped because I had this feeling that no one was paying attention. Mostly that was because I was doing the thing where everything is so overwhelming that I just sort of crawl into a cave and try to deal triage-fashion. But I’ve missed this part of connecting with people so I’m going to keep blogging here, even if it is into a void.

*waves hi to the void monkeys*

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Ack!

How are all of you holding up with the coronavirus? Got fun stuff going on at all? Want to kill family members?

I get out every day to walk the dogs, though a lot of the time I just want to hide under the covers. I have zero writing discipline. Both kids are home and the girlie really doesn’t like me homeschooling her. Sigh. I’ve accomplished things like grading for my class, writing a letter of recommendation, cooking food, and not really doing well at writing. Trying to give myself a break because all of this coronavirus thing is getting to me. I need to avoid the news and especially news from the Whitehouse, but I can’t seem to do that very well. At least in Oregon, the social distancing is helping. Right now we should have enough ventilators for w

hen the peak gets here. This makes me happy because my husband has asthma. I’ve been making my family wear cloth masks out in public, especially at the grocery stores. It may not help us not get the disease, but it will help us not spread it, especially cashiers.

I kind of want to go for a drive up into the mountains or out to the coast, but I know there aren’t any bathrooms open, so . . . Staying home like we’re supposed to.

I have been trying my hand at amigarumi. My first project has its problems, but it looks reasonably like what it’s supposed to. It’s crochet, so that’s a little easier on my weird shoulder/elbow tendonitis thing. That’s my little dude, there. He’s a flat mouse, because it’s supposed to be a bookmark. I need to iron it a little, I think. But at least it’s looking kinda like what it’s supposed to. I’m going to make a cat next, though I have to wait for yarn to get here, unless I can find some smaller cotton yarn in my stash.

My writing is almost nonexistent this week. I’ve got to find a way to get back on task. I’d like to get outside and do some gardening, but we’ve had rain. So I’ll have to wait. I need to call an order in to the garden store so I can go pick up some things like sawdust for my blueberries, and a trough and various other things to be a planter for my cool weather veggies. It’s tough because I’m trying to work out a schedule that will work for my kids and me. You know, the me who doesn’t want to do anything right now.

I have been doing some reading. I have been reading some romantic suspense, and have a billion other books to read, so I’m going to have plenty to choose from. I just finished a book by Laura Griffin, one of my favorite writers. This one was a stand alone, except there were cameo moments from her Wolfe Security and Tracers books, which I appreciated. None of her books have to be read in order, so I’m going to dip into the series again here and there. I’m reading some Netgalley books, so I may be bringing you a review or several. I don’t review what I don’t like. I don’t want to tear authors down.

So what have you all been up to to pass the time? Been able to find all the things you need? Flour? Yeast? Toilet Paper? Cleaners? Dish Soap? (that one floors me that it’s been running out).

Stay safe!

Friday, March 20th, 2020
checking in

I haven’t posted in a long while and I don’t know why. It’s crazy. Updates seem silly given the coronavirus, but yanno, life has to go on to.

But let me ask you how you’re doing? I’m in Oregon and right now we are okay in the house. Moved my college-going son home because all his classes are going online and it’s safer to have him home not going to the dining centers on campus for his meals. My high-school-aged daughter is out until April 28th, but I think it will be the rest of the school year so I’m trying to come up with some homeschool plans. My husband has asthma, so I’m deeply concerned about him, but at least he works in a machine shop and so social distancing isn’t a thing there because everybody’s distanced by their machines, so they are all very far apart. All the same, I wish I had some masks for when I go shopping so that I don’t bring it home.

In the meantime, we’ve had a seriously sick little corgi, but he’s a lot better now. Last week we were in the vet several times and I was really worried. We’re getting out to walk the dogs and I plan to get out gardening, but otherwise staying away from people.

I’m working on DCM 5 and it’s Loooooong already and getting longer. I’d hoped to be all done well before now, but I’m not, so I’m plugging away.

I’m trying to find some TV shows I want to watch, but can’t find anything I like right now. I like romantic suspense, but more in books. I like funny and light, but I’ve seen a lot of those, and some that a lot of people like, I don’t. Documentaries are my next go-to. Actually I’ve been watching some YouTube stuff where experts talk about how things are portrayed in movies and TV shows. Like a spy disguise specialist talking about spy disguises, or a jewel thief talking about stealing, and so on. I’m hoping to write some romantic suspense, so watching these are useful and also really fascinating.

I think I want to watch some how-to stuff and get some knitting projects finished. I keep stopping halfway. Cuz I’m a dork. Yes, I am.

Merlin, the bitey puppy, is a lot better and hasn’t bitten us in a really long time. He’s still working out some issues with the older dog, but he’s learned he really loves attention and doesn’t like hurting us. It’s funny because when he makes his groaning noise that could mean he’s happy or that he wants us to stop, we all do a hands up sort of thing to show him we’re stopping and we’re backing off and giving him his space. He’s finding that he doesn’t like us stopping. We don’t want to tell him not to growl because we need the warning, but we also don’t want to get bitten. But he’s figuring out that he’s in control and doesn’t have to be afraid, since a lot of his aggression was fear-based.

I hope to be reporting in here a little more often. I hope you are all doing very well and your are staying healthy. Please do that.

Thursday, December 5th, 2019
Brain Fatigue

I was talking with a friend today about the concept of brain fatigue. This is when your brain slows down, becomes uncreative, thinking is labor intensive and so very difficult, and you’re walking around in a fog and you’re forgetful. What causes it? Too many demands. Too many people you’re emotionally or physically supporting. Too many worries about paying bills, about children or parents or pets or the broken-down car, too many fears, too many jobs to do, too much to think about, too many balls in the air. Just too damned much.

It’s like the well is getting sucked dry and you’ve got nothing left, but the pump is still pumping, taking every last bit of you and leaving a wreck behind.

It’s kind of like depression, except for the fact that you feel relatively functional, even though you know you have so. much. to. do. and it’s never going to get done. Even though you’re running like hell and getting nowhere. But you’re not thinking about suicide, and you’re only wishing you were in bed with the covers over your head. So you’re not that bad.

You just aren’t good.

It’s a sucky way to live.

We didn’t come up with any good way to combat it. Except maybe getting together with friends, trying to find laughter, and plowing through like you’re fine, as you always do. Not happy, but still upright and breathing.

I’ve had brain fatigue for years now. How about you?

Saturday, August 31st, 2019
Diamond City Magic 5

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been off the radar. I’ve been getting my son ready for college, running around with my daughter for band, dealing with a very sick dog, going to the emergency room with my son who dislocated his knee, minor car accidents, and various other things. So I’ve done a piss poor job of visiting here. I’m going to try to be much better.

I’ve become a fan of Midsomer Murders. I enjoy the mysteries quite a bit and the characters. I also want to go bike riding in some English villages. Though I suspect there will be many places where I’d bap my head on the doorways and other low ceiling type of areas.

But I’m posting because I’ve had a number of questions about DCM5. Yes there is a fifth book! And I’m writing it now. It’s come along a little bit slowly because while I know what needs to happen, I’ve had trouble braiding the strands together. It’s become complicated and I’m working on sorting out the best way to tell the story. That means a few false starts and a number of backtrackings to throw out a bunch of stuff and rewrite. Plus the plans I had all along for one plot thread have become a problem for the turns I’ve taken and so now I have to come up with a better explanation for that.

But it’s definitely in process and I hope to start sharing some snippets very soon.

Di

Monday, July 8th, 2019
Are you Near Seattle? A Very Cool Event is Happening This Weekend!

Hi Everybody!

This Saturday, July 13, is Readers and Writers Seattle, 2019. I will be there along with many other writers, selling books and giving away swag, and chatting and hanging out.

If you can make it, do! I’d love to see you. Here’s a link to the Facebook Page.

In other news, I’m still alive. I know, I’ve been really quiet here lately. Life has been overtaking me. But we have my son registered for college in the fall, we’ve been working with Merlin to get him past biting, though the fireworks really upset him and he bites when he’s scared. And vomits. A lot. Ten times on the third. On the fourth we tried to drug him up with an anti-anxiety medication. It took the edge off for him, but wasn’t super great. The next day we got a sedative from the vet, but it was like Merlin ate Crack. The dog was lively. Sigh.

I was almost done with The Elf Job when I realized it had jumped the shark and I have to scrap and rewrite the last third or so. I hate it when that happens, but at least I discovered it before I published it. I just have to keep reminding myself that that’s a good thing.

I’m also working Diamond City 5. Plan to turn that in to my editor in September. I just have to get on top of the writing. Seems like every time I turn around I’ve got life stuff to deal with . I kind of want to go be a hermit for a month or so and get some work done.

I hope all is well with you. I’ll report in again soon.

This is a picture of some roses from my yard. I have a lot of rose bushes and this year I’m finally getting enough that I can have fresh roses in the house at all times. I’m delighted with this. Aren’t they pretty? And they smell diving.

 

 

 

Monday, June 24th, 2019
Pillow Sagas

I have journeyed far and wide, searched through stores and catalogs and even kickstarter, searching for the perfect pillow. My demands are not too grand or onerous, I think. I believe myself to be perfectly reasonable, searching for a pillow that allows me to sleep and wake again refreshed, without a sore neck, shoulders, or spine. Alas I have come so close, even believing I have discovered The One, and then to find in a week or a month, that the pillow was leading me on, pretending to be perfect, mayhap hiding its extra fluff, sucking it in until it could no longer manage and then bursting into a giant puff all. Or supporting my neck and head at just the right angle, holding its breath until it could no longer and then slowly deflating into a torpid puddle. There has been down, chunked up memory foam, spaghetti memory foam, gel, fiberfill. There has been gussets and no gussets, King size and standard size. Strange bumps and shapes and traditional rectangles. Firm and soft and medium and medium firm and medium soft.

And yet, my neck and shoulders and spine continue to ache.

Woe unto me. Woe. Where is The One? The pillow destined to make me the happiest of women? What will I have to sacrifice to obtain it? First born? My soul? Where is my fairy godmother to deliver me into sleeping bliss?

Monday, June 10th, 2019
Di Versus . . . Whatever

Once again, I have lost. Was walking the dogs today in a lovely big park with tons of oak trees, a creek, lots of meadows and tall grasses, and squirrels. Lots of squirrels. The dogs find these highly entertaining and try to yank my arms out of their sockets as often as possible. However, the dogs had little to do with today’s events.

We were walking along a little stretch where there are lots of squirrels and the dogs were running back and forth to eagerly look at them. I was walking along, entertained by the puppies, when I stepped in a squirrel hole. These little guys excavate like crazy and while they do run up and down trees, the live in holes.

The hole I stepped in was really a divot because it had been filled in mostly, which actually made it all the more embarrassing when I fell. Like a freaking tree. I sat myself up and discovered that my left knee was all scraped up and painful. I managed to get up and get dusted off, and limp off into the sunset, so to speak. When I got home, I found I had the beginning of a really impressive bruise on the inside of my left wrist and heel of my palm. It’s growing bigger and more impressive every moment.

And lo, once again, Di lost in the game of Di versus . . . Whatever.

I want to mention that I do have a new book out,  called The Witchkin Murders and it’s a fantasy police procedural with some romance. If you’d like to read a couple of chapters for free, click here.

Also, today is my 29th wedding anniversary. My son graduated High School last week. So happy things!

 

Sunday, May 12th, 2019
Another exciting episode of Di v. . . . .

Today brings you three Di versus events, all of which, Di lost. Okay, the blackberries were a bit of a draw.

First:

In a case of Di v. the dog harness:

Merlin rolled over on my foot while I was scratching his tummy, and he scraped a plastic buckle over the top of my surgical toe scar from November. It, uh, hurt. You know that paralyzing hurt where you can’t swear or do anything but hope it goes away before you pass out? Like that. Nerve pain sucks.

The weird part is that it sent a reaction through the rest of me and now I’m still shaking (literally) a bit, and my head is throbbing. The foot pain has calmed, but walking isn’t a real treat and I’m guessing shoes aren’t my friend right now.

Also, it hurts just to touch it, and yeah, I know, so don’t touch it, idiot. But even something brushing up lightly against it like cloth is fiery.

Second:

In the case of Di v. the blackberries and roses:

We have a serious blackberry incursion in the back yard. It came from beneath the fence and then proliferated during the winter. Today I went out to attack it. It covered about twelve feet of fence out to about five feet or so and tangled up in the rosemary, the roses growing there, and has totally smothered the little bed that I can’t hardly remember even existing.

I bravely went out and started snipping and pulling. I wore long pants and leather gloves. I didn’t wear a long sleeve shirt because it was hot and it doesn’t usually help me that much. I chopped and hacked back the rose (which needed pruning in a serious way and then sprayed with neem oil for fungus. I hadn’t pruned it in a really long time.

By the time I was done, we’d filled the green waste can. There’s still a few feet to go and I’m almost to uncovering the smothered bed. I lost a fair bit of blood and am scraped up a bit, but I count it as a good thing. Next thing I need to do is go spray a lot of vinegar on the weeds I can’t seem to pull up. A lot of it is grass, but a lot is just weeds. After that, there will be mulch I think.

Third:

In the case of Di v. Merlin and the computer cord:

Merlin got himself wrapped in my laptop cord and yanked it out of my computer. I went to disentangle him and he bit me. Blood and bruising. It was a pinchy sort of bite, so not terribly serious, but painful and annoying.

We’ve an appointment in June with a Veterinarian behaviorist, so I’m really hoping that we start getting this under control.

In other news, I was able to pick roses off six of my bushes and now I have a bunch of roses in the house on my table. I want to grow more flowers that I can bring in the house. I have a bunch of irises blooming, too, and some peonies about to pop. The lilies are coming up and my rhodies are blooming and the dogwood is busting out, too.

We also got fencing to put around the garden to keep the puppies out and hopefully will be putting that up soon. And to keep them out of the blueberries.

I hope you all have a terrific week.

Friday, March 22nd, 2019
Spring is Springing

Usually this time of year I’m ready to dig into the garden and grow things. This year . . . not so much. Part of that is because I can’t do any garden things until we put up a dog fence around the garden beds. We also have a lot of cleanup and repair to do on various things in the yard. Even so, I usually can’t wait to get going. This year is weird.

It may be because of the funk I’ve been in. It’s been long and difficult. It may also be because I’ve got to get a lot of work done and decluttering and spring cleaning and little house projects I’ve needed to do and really make me feel itchy. So gardening seems to be a little bit on the back burner.

Speaking of itchy, I’ve been having some sort of skin rash for about five weeks now. It’s freaking itchy and I’m guessing it hives. Trouble is, allergy medicine doesn’t do much. I’ve got some topical cream from the doc, but it’s not doing that much either. It’s driving me freaking nuts. I’ve got to go to the doc again and see if there’s more to be done.

We’ve been walking the dogs a lot and that’s been fun. The weather’s been nice and everything’s starting to bloom. The air smells divine. Merlin likes to crash into me when he comes running back with the ball we throw, which is giving me bruises on my legs.

Planning on going to Miscon this year. Looking forward to it. I should have book coming out in April, but more on that later. And I’m working on wrapping up the second Mission: Magic series.

And now, back to work!