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Archive for the 'Novels' Category

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
Mid-October

I’m typing away on The Elf Job. It’s the second Mission: Magic book. It’s going to be really fun (I’m nearly done), but I’m converting it from 1st person to 3rd person and that makes for a bit of a slodge because I’m constantly fearing I’m overlooking an I, me, my, myself, our, we, etc.

I thought I’d go ahead and share a little snippet from what I’m working on today. Here you go. Enjoy:

 

The new elf stood well above six feet tall, which was about average elf height. Her hair hung to her knees. Mal had never seen an elf with black hair, though even in the moonlight she could pick out hints of blue, green, and purple. Strands of gems and gold wove through the long tresses. Maybe all that weight gave her a constant migraine.

Her clothes were white on white on white. She wore gossamer-thin layers that floated up at her slightest movement. A train flagged in the breeze. The thing that caught Mal’s attention, though, was the circlet on top of her head. It was made of a bright blue metal inlaid with intricate designs. In the middle was a star sapphire the size of a plum.

Crowns on elves could only mean court royalty or a high priestess. Both of which were on Mal’s bucket list of ‘don’t do this ever.’

She continued to look and after a minute it occurred to Mal that she was waiting for some kind of obeisance. A curtsy or maybe groveling in the dirt. Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

“Why am I here?”

“I summoned you.”

Fucking elves. They even evaded direct questions. Mal bit back the urge to tell Lady Enigmatic Asshole to fuck off. She’d thought LeeAnne was obnoxious.

“Are you going to tell me why?”

“I wished to speak to you, of course.”

“Then can you say what you want to say? I’ve got things to do and not a lot of time to get them done.”

“Yes. The talisman of Cat Barf. You seek it.”

Once again name of the talisman was impossible to make out. “Like I told Merrow, I don’t know.”

Her brows lifted. “You don’t know?”

“I’m after a talisman. I have no idea what it’s called, and to tell the truth, I don’t really give a fuck.”

“Ah.”

Just that and nothing else. She continued to stare. Unlike Paeteric, she had mastered the art of the bland expression. She also had the elven appreciation of time in spades. The concept of hurry was totally alien to her.

“Why do you care whether or not I’m after this talisman?”

“I don’t care if you are after it.”

Now it was Mal’s turn to be confused. “Then why do you keep asking about it?”

“It matters not if you seek it.”

Crap. Elf double-talk again. “Okay, if I find the damned thing. Then you’re interested, correct? Why?”

“It is not for Paeteric of House Yonnarlistral to possess.”

“He doesn’t seem to agree with you on that.”

“The Talisman of Cat Barf may not be used in this war.”

The smart ass part of Mal wanted to ask which war it could be used in, but she clamped her teeth on the comment and swallowed it back down. This elf just might answer and they’d end up so far off on a tangent she’d never get back to work.

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.

Friday, November 8th, 2019
Dalton

Here’s the thing about Dalton: he’s the tall, dark, and handsome type who rarely talks. Think Clint Eastwood in all the Spaghetti Westerns. Or even John Wick. But this book he’s got to be more talkative. Because it’s important. So I know his backstory and how Vernon came to help him and therefore why Dalton feels he owes him, but all of a sudden I want to hear your ideas about all that.

So . . .

In the comments, tell me what you think Dalton’s backstory might be and/or how Vernon might have helped him. Answer as many times as you want. Your idea may end up in Diamond City 5! With your name in the acknowledgements.

I’ll just share my inspiration picture for Dalton to help you with your thinking.

Entries close on November 13th, so hurry!

If you’re reading this on a mirror site, come to my blog: https://www.dianapfrancis.com/2019/11/08/dalton/

Thursday, November 7th, 2019
DCM 5

It appears Josh (Taylor’s ex-fiance and kidnap victim from Book 1) has returned. His first meeting with Taylor (and Dalton) doesn’t go so well. There appears to be some friction. Wonder why that is. Hmmm. *grin*

This scene is a lot of fun. A lot of fury and angst and a lot of character building.

This book isn’t going quite as I expected. Not sure whether it’s going to come together the way that I want. This is a complicated book with a lot of threads, and I haven’t even gotten to some of the really big characters yet. I don’t want to skimp on any of the stories/plot lines, so this will either be a very long book, or two books. Gack.

In the meantime, I’m finding myself having a tough time structuring my day so that I get everything done. I don’t know how people do this and I have friends who are so freaking organized and on top of things that it’s almost miraculous. I have no idea how they do it.

So I’ve started watching the Amazon Jack Ryan series and I think one of the most wrenching scenes is watching a man pray with his kid, visit with the grandfather and do really ordinary family things, then sling on his Automatic rifle on his shoulder, hug his kid goodbye, get on his scooter and ride off. It’s that slinging on the weapon that really kicks you in the stomach. So normal in such an awful way. And then he passes burned out bombed places. Just wrenching and this is how so many people live. Not just in what we think of as war zones, but also places where drug cartels are everywhere.

As a writer, these are the sorts of scenes that we value as we write. The ones that juxtapose two powerful images and then make them part of the deeper narrative.

These are the things that I strive for

Now I’m thinking of a character who gets neck deep in some dangerous life and then just decides to stop. But will that life let him stop. Will his own feelings and loyalties let him stop?What will happen? Will he go back? Get dragged back? Or find himself falling into a place he never wanted to be.

Another character who is fascinating is the one who kills from a distance, using a drone. He clearly struggles with his job and what that turns him into.

 

 

 

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, May 6th, 2019
A snippet that was cut

From the second Mission Magic book, a little chopped out snippet:

 

“So when Arcadia decides you’re a threat and starts lobbing magic bombs at you, you’ll what?”

He gave a knife smile. “I will open up the heavens and rain hell down on earth.”

I stared, trying to figure out if that was a euphemism or not. “What does that mean?”

“It means that no matter what happens, people are going to die. I can push the hatchlings toward Arcadia, but when they attack me, the hatchlings will go wild. I’ll be killing anyone who comes at me. The hatchlings will run wild and all these innocents will become the banquet the elves destined them to be.”

For a few minutes I’d had a slender hope that with So’la’s help, things wouldn’t go worst case scenario. Now I had to wonder if anybody could be saved at all. It was too much to hope that So’la would be willing to sacrifice himself for anybody else. He wasn’t the type.

“Do you have a point?”

“I do.”

“Get to it then,” I said curtly. I shoved my hands deep into my pockets, my body rigid with tension. What the hell was I going to do? How was I going to keep all these innocent people alive? And all the Arcadia personnel?

 

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
Dog Battles

The battle to a) not get bitten by Merlin, b)teach him not to bite, c) keep him supremely occupied and entertained, is ongoing. He’s doing better in a lot of ways. We’re also giving him a calming treat with some CBD in it designed for dogs. That helps him with anxiety, which I think he has a little bit of. He seems to bite/snap when he’s relaxing and we start petting him. It’s odd. Yesterday he came and snuggled onto my lap and I went to pet his head and he snapped. He didn’t really get me (I’m learning to move quick) but it’s not just me, is it? That’s weird?

We’re still considering taking him to a veterinarian behaviorist. But first I have to get copy edits in on The WitchKin Murders and I have to get my taxes together and off to the accountant.

We’ve been taking the dogs out every day for their walk and then to throw the ball for Merlin who loves to chase it, even when he’s dead tired. It’s hard to find places where we can take him off leash, though. And we’ve discovered if one of us throws the ball and the other takes the other dogs off walking, he comes looking for the walkers. He gets really worried as soon as he can’t see the walkers. So we do the walk first and then the older dog rests and the younger corgi plays and sniffs while Merlin runs after the ball. I’ve also been making fleece tug toys that both puppies love. It’s a whole lot cheaper than buying them.

After three and a half weeks, I still have itchy hives and allergy medicine isn’t helping. Hoping to talk to the doctor today. She’s been out of the office the last few days.

I’ll post a snippet of The Witchkin Murders soon, so look for it!