Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'Novels' Category

Monday, September 24th, 2018
The Real Fantasy

My book, Putting the Fun in Funeral, came out earlier this month. It’s one I enjoyed writing quite a bit. It made me laugh a lot. That was a relief, at the time of writing. I used the novel as an escape. Dealing with politics, the schisms in our society, the horrors of various manmade and natural disasters, and on top of that . . . teenagers. I needed a place to hide out where I could have fun and not think about reality.

That said, Putting the Fun in Funeral has a dark side. I’ve got a morbid sense of humor, and I that definitely comes out. I got to thinking about the dark elements in the past couple of weeks, and I had a bit of a realization. In this book, as in many of my books, there’s a lot of hardship and some terrible people who do terrible things. Those terrible things are truly awful. Heinous.

A lot of the dark stuff happened before the book starts. It’s what makes Beck who she is and the girls who they are. I needed that dark stuff to be there, but I didn’t want it on the page. I didn’t want to have to wallow in it. I just wanted the reader aware of what Beck has fought against in her life. I wanted the focus to be on the relationships, on dealing with the aftermath, on not only surviving, but triumphing.

I’ve had a review or two (I try not to read reviews, but couldn’t help myself because I love this book so much) where people have said that I don’t show enough of Beck’s scars, of the PTSD she must surely have.

I got to thinking about why that might be and my conclusion is that I wanted to write this where part of the fantasy of the book is saying that you can escape the scars and the evil, that you can overcome those things, that evil can be put behind you. Yes, it leaves a stain and I’m not trying to suggest it doesn’t. We all know it does and we all know you don’t just “get over it.” But I really wanted to show someone moving on with strength and determination, with a feeling that she can get past it and live a great life.

I wanted her to triumph over her enemies by taking back her life and living it with joy. I wanted a story where the effects of the bad can be fixed. I think that’s something we hope for in today’s world, even if we know it’s not so easy a thing to accomplish. That’s the fantasy. That’s my sort of happily ever after.

Read the first chapter here.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
Book Release Day!!

Today is the release of Putting the Fun in Funeral, book 1 of my Everyday Disasters series. Click the link to read the first chapter.

I love this book. I had such a good time writing it. I let things happen that I worried wouldn’t fly, and yet they made the story so much better. I have unexpected twists, and a fun group of girlfriends, a mysterious handsome sorcerer, and a murder, a curse, a kidnapping, and best of all, a dog rescue. If I had to say what makes this book special to me, it would be the relationships between everybody. They feel so real to me, and so strong. There’s more to Beck’s story, and in time I want to get to Stacey, Jen, and Lorraine.

I wanted to tell a story where good can conquer evil; where evil, even when it’s strong, can be overcome by good people working together. I also want to tell a story of someone going through a hard time and coming out the other side. Maybe there are a few cracks and chips, but she’s whole and optimistic. I wanted to tell a story with romance and with a happy ending.  I wanted something with a lot of humor, even though there’s darkness in it. I wanted a story of hope.

I can’t begin to say how much I want all my fans and everybody else to read this book. To pass it along. To want to talk about it. I just adore it.

Finally, I’ve got two words for you. Two words to tantalize: banana buddha.

And then a snippet:

I was a little surprised she wanted me dead. She’d spend my whole life controlling me and making me suffer. So why was *name redacted* so certain I was dying? Had mom fucked up her curse? Maybe she didn’t know shit about magic either. Or maybe it was me. I’d never let her know I could do magic. I’d done all I could to keep it a secret from her. I’d probably made it go haywire somehow. Plus, I’m pretty sure if Mommy Dearest had wanted me dead, she’d have found a horribly painful method, not death by coma.

Okay, then. She probably hadn’t wanted me to die, but she’d accidentally sent me on the way to my coffin anyhow. She’d cursed me without knowing I could do magic and that could have caused a bad reaction. Sorry, Doctor Witch. I had a bad reaction to the curse. I’m allergic. Note that on my chart, would you? Can we try a different one? Maybe get me an anticursetamine? Benadrylahex? Benakillacurse? Calacurse lotion?

Thursday, June 28th, 2018
A snippet

Because the center cannot hold, a fun snippet:

The snake venom from the magical snakes tended to have magical consequences, making their bites dangerous in whole new ways. Most people avoided the area, and those who traveled the river used magic shields to protect themselves.

As they passed through, snakes lunged at the boat, some launching up into the air almost like they had wings. They struck viciously at the boat. Several landed on top of the boat shield, slithering in midair above and snapping their ire at the intruders. Ray couldn’t help but watch them warily, even knowing they could not break through.

“Sometimes I wonder if they have their own witches,” Annette said as she watched them slither and slide off the shield and drop back into the water. “If some of them can do spells.”

“That’s comforting,” Ray said.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018
Work In Progress Snippet

No context, but this amused me, so I’m sharing:

She closed her inner eyes and just let herself feel. For a moment it was too much. All the information coming in from every single connection that tied her to the land and people of Portland. She let that all go fuzzy, like ignoring an itch. Instead she concentrated on the sword. It throbbed and hungered. It wanted to dominate, to control, to take.

It was like one of those terrible nighttime cravings for barbecue or ice cream, one that required you to get out of bed and go get what you hungered for as fast as possible.

Kayla had no intention of giving into this craving. Barbecue, sure, but god-chow? No thanks.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A Snippet From the Work In Progress

No context, but it’s still fun–if a whole lot rough:

Ray boiled as he strode behind Kayla. He wanted to shake answers out of her. His hands clenched and unclenched and magic sluiced through him in a hot torrent. It built inside him like steam in a kettle. He couldn’t let it blow. Normally when this happened, he found a way to discharge a bolt of the energy–into the ground or the river or an asphalt parking lot.

But here? In his current mood? He’d be almost guaranteed to kill trees, and the dryads would most definitely take offense at that. The myths that said they were gentle beings lied. The best you’d get was live and let live. Fuck with them, and they’d come after you with a vengeance. He’d heard stories of them reaching out through uninhabited trees and plants and dragging people under the dirt and burying them alive. The rest of the time they fought dirty.

He dragged in a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to make himself relax. An almost impossible task with Kayla in front of him. Half of him wanted to shove her up against a tree and kiss the living shit out of her, and the other half wanted to throttle her until she finally gave up the truth. The fucking dryads knew more about her than he did.

He had no idea what to make of her claim she could handle magic. She wasn’t suicidal, and yet she was acting like it, thinking she could go up against this killer alone. Not that he’d let her.

A voice in Ray’s head jeered at that. Like he could stop her. What was he going to do? Handcuff her when he wasn’t around? Maybe if he handcuffed himself to her she might not go off on her own, but he wouldn’t bet the farm. On the other hand, he’d have to sleep with her . . .

His entire body flushed hot as he imagined her curled up against him, his arms around her. How far gone was he that neither of them were naked in his little daydream? How far gone was he that just the idea of cuddling her made his dick hard?

God, but he was fucked up. The last thing he wanted to do was start something up with any woman, but with Kayla least of all–even if she’d cooperate, which was highly unlikely. Besides, if he did manage to get her in bed, it couldn’t end well, and he’d lose her all over again.

Talk about a dose of frigid reality. The possibility froze his body and cooled his magic. Fear stalked across his soul. He wouldn’t let it happen. Whatever had taken her away, he’d fix it, no matter how much anger and hurt he had to swallow. He didn’t need his pride; he needed her.

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
Writer Insanity

I is helping, Momma. Will you pet me now?

Why is it I keep coming up with new novel ideas–especially first in a series books, or stand alones? I have other things I need to be focusing on and yet . . . . My mind just keeps producing more and more new things and all I can do is take notes and get everything I can down on paper and try to make time later to write. I need to write faster, obviously.

A little WIP snippet from my Horngate world novel:

Even after the nightmare of the Witchwar, even though nobody trusted a witch, people still swarmed into the Night Market looking to buy spells. Some witches had gone so far as to open up shops in the city, despite the continuing hatred for their kind.

His aversion rooted deeper than that, though. He didn’t like that some invisible force could come out of nowhere and create havoc or save the world. He didn’t like that you couldn’t see it coming and had no idea when it might show up. It was like relying on God. Send up your prayers and maybe you’d get a miracle or maybe you’d be damned, or more likely the bastard would just ignore you. Only magic came around a lot more often than any god or devil, and it fucked things up. It fucked people up.

And yet–

Thursday, January 11th, 2018
The Winner of the Giveaway

 

Karla Weaver! You are the giveaway winner. I need you to tell me your email address. Post it here or send it to me through the contacts tab. Congratulations! And thanks everybody for the good wishes and for playing!

 

And a small snippet from a very very very drafty draft of my Horngate book. If you hate it, don’t tell me.

“You don’t think they deserve justice?”

“I think this is a magical crime and without a human involved, it falls out of my jurisdiction.”

“That’s bullshit.”

The accusation and condemnation in her voice put his hackles up. “We don’t have a choice. There are only so many of us to go around and we can’t spend time on cases that fall outside our mission.”

“Your mission?” Her brows rose.

“To protect and to serve. Humans.”

“But the city is far more than humans now. You don’t think they deserve to be protected? Or are they just disposable?”

“They have to take care of themselves, unless and until they harm a human. Then we step in.”

It was a cold, hard truth. It didn’t sit well with Ray, either, but he understood it. After the Magicfall, humans hated witchkin. For turning their lives upside down. For deforming the landscape and killing so many people all over the world. The resentment, suspicion, and hate ran deep. Even in Portland, the proud home of all things weird, people didn’t welcome any witches or witchkin.

Kayla shook her head and muttered something.

“What did you say?”

She leveled her gaze at him. “I said, good thing I got out when I did. How can you stomach that crap?”

Ray jerked like she’d struck him. Fury ignited. His voice turned sharp as an arctic wind. “Maybe if you hadn’t left, things might be different, so you can take your judgement and shove it up your ass.”

 

Saturday, January 6th, 2018
Five and a half weeks post surgery report

I eat too much. It’s really hard to connect the visual of how much I can eat with the actuality of what I can eat. So I end up feeling a little bit sick and too full and I’m working on that. Other than that, I’m down about 25 lbs since surgery, almost 50 since May. I feel good. Energy is up. I have recently had some intestinal issues which I am not sharing here, but I’m figuring those out and hopefully all will be good soon.

I’m looking forward to my next blood test results. I don’t know when that will be, but I really want to see how my A1C numbers are, as well as some of the others.

One of the keys of post surgery life it to make sure I get enough protein and water each day. So far I’m nailing those numbers, usually getting more water. So this makes me happy. And I’m getting my vitamins as required. So basically, the upshot at this point is so far so good. I just got cleared to lift more than 10lbs, which is really good. Though I still am working on curing the tennis elbow. It’s getting slowly better. I bought a nighttime elbow splint that I started wearing last night and that should help.

In the meantime, I’ve begun work on the next Horngate book. It’s a Horngate world story, so it’s set in the world, but at this point doesn’t include the characters from the first books. That also means that people coming in to the story with this book will hopefully feel situated. I do want to bring the characters over, or else write a further about those characters. I’m not really thrilled with the beginning, but that’s because I’m info-dumping and I’ll have to clean it up later. But right now I just need to get a skeleton down.

 

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
Day 6 post surgery

I ITCH!!! And I cannot scratch. Misery, thy name is itchiness. But it is a sign of healing.

I’ve been out walking today and I feel pretty good but for the itching.

Other than that, not a lot new to report. I have made some more progress on the new Horngate book. I’m enjoying it. I’ll give you a snippet soon.

I’m also hugely angry about the tax bill and about the GOP support of Roy Moore. I am so angry I don’t have any polite words right now to say anything about it. But on my FB page, I have been posting more stuff.

The family and I get to go see an pre-screening this Friday of Jumanji. I’m really excited. I love the actors and can’t wait to see them. I haven’t been into a movie theater in ages, so this will be fun as well. And this theater is one of those that serves food and such, so while I probably won’t be eating anything, the fam will be able to.

We’re also at the beginning of an extended sunny spell for the area. I’m excited because I’ll be able to get out and walk outside without rain. In my particular situation right now, that’s amazingly nice.

Now . . . back to work. And not to itch. No. No. No.

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017
Day 4 post surgery

It’s interesting what I’m discovering about my body and brain. I haven’t been actually hungry. I eat because it’s time and there are rules–specifically at least 60 grams of protein–and 64 oz of liquid. That’s for the first two weeks. No, that’s actually forever, but for the first two weeks, it’s where I need to concentrate, with liquid being the priority. Because my new stomach can take in only limited amounts at a time, catching up on hydration can be very difficult without an IV.

I eat (drink because that’s the diet for healing) on a schedule. But yesterday I found myself craving. This is mouth hunger/brain hunger, not real. It happened when everybody else was having dinner. I tried to figure out why and that’s when I realized that most of the protein I ate yesterday was not savory. I think I was craving salt/savory flavors. So today there’s going to be soup/broth on my menu. Plus I think I might make white chicken chile. I’ll make it a bit more ‘loose’ or liquidy than usual, so I can pull some of it off for myself and the fam can eat the rest.

I’ve lost weight since surgery–no surprise. But what’s amazing is that I haven’t been hungry. That is crazy. I found out that standing up too long is bad. I’m supposed to walk, which I am doing, but I have to go in shorter bursts because gravity pulls at the incisions and even with a binder for support, it gets to hurting. For the most part though, my incisions don’t hurt a lot and I’ve been using just Tylenol to keep the pain under control. Plus come ice. And of course dog love.

Believe it or not, I’ve also been plotting the next Horngate World book. I think I’ve got it sorted out and I’m really looking forward to getting started on it.

So that’s the update and now your gratuitous corgi pics: