Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'Horngate books' Category

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
The cutting room floor

I finished the revisions of Blood Winter. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, I cut a whole lot and added a whole lot. At least half of the book is new. There’s a whole other blog post to be written about that. For now, I wanted to post a scene that I loved and could not save. It just didn’t fit, along with many others. I hope you enjoy:

Alexander’s teeth clamped on the spoon and he felt the metal bend and perforate. Slowly he pulled it out of his mouth. “Yes,” he said. What did Oz know? What had she told him? Giselle did not actually like Alexander much either. She was willing to use him, mostly because she had no choice, but because she had won him from another witch, and because she could not control him the way she could Oz, she did not trust him.

“Get out of the way, you mountain of testosterone,” came Lise’s voice from behind Oz.

Alexander grinned as Oz staggered forward and then whipped around. Lise stood behind him, unfazed by the violence rippling through his body. She stood five foot nine with a delicate face and a slender body. Her burnished walnut hair fell about her shoulders in rich waves.

Not long ago, she had been turned into something resembling hamburger by a rising Fury. Alexander could not look at her now without the memory of her mangled form filling his mind. It put him more on edge. He should have protected her, not that he could have.

Logic did not matter. He should have done better.

She glared at the three men, her eyes brilliant blue. “Holy shit, how can you three breathe with all that male hormones flying around in here?” She waved a hand in front of her face to disperse invisible fumes.

Thor chuckled. “Don’t look at me. I don’t have a rooster in this fight.”

“Cock,” she corrected. “And I’ve not yet met a man who doesn’t have his in every fight,” she said. “Don’t feel bad that yours is just smaller than the other cocks on the playground,” she said with syrupy sweetness, patting his shoulder in mock sympathy.

Thor snorted and choked on his peanut butter.

Alexander grinned despite himself and Oz chuckled as Thor bent double, great coughs bellowing his ribs.

“Someday that mouth of yours is going to get you in real trouble,” Oz said to Lise, reaching out to take a power bar from the cupboard.

“What else is new?” she said. “Is someone going to give him mouth to mouth or something? Before he dies?”

“Not me,” Oz said, biting into the bar. “I’m not kissing him.”

“Nor I,” Alexander said, licking peanut butter off the spoon, forcing his tense muscles relax.

“Well don’t look at me,” she said, brushing imaginary lint off the front of her shirt. “I don’t kiss men. Women taste better, smell better, and they are soft in all the right places.”

“Can’t argue with that,” Oz said with a wolfish grin.

“Nor can I,” Alexander said, humor rising up through the shroud of worry that encased him.

Thor at last straightened, his voice raspy. “I wouldn’t want any of you kissing me anyhow. Specially Lise. She’d probably bite off my tongue.”

She patted his butt. “No probablies about it, Tex. Now, aren’t you two supposed to be getting into bed? Dawn is just about to break. If you fry inside the RV, we’ll never get it clean.”

“You’re concern for us is overwhelming,” Thor said, grabbing a jug of lemonade and sweeping up the rest of his food hoard into his arms.

“Somebody has to care,” Lise said with a pirate smile. “Where are we?”

Alexander explained. “Do try to hurry,” he added. Then as an afterthought, “but do not drive us into trouble.”

“Can’t have it both ways,” she said airily as she pulled a hunk of cheese out of the small refrigerator. She whipped out one of her knives and sliced off a piece, as she headed to the driver’s seat. “Either you want to go fast or you want to go safe. Which will it be?”

Friday, June 8th, 2012
one for the OMG file

I was Googling the Demon Lovers: Succubi antho, just to see if anyone had talked about it, and instead came across this, titled, Incubi and Succubi: Sexual Relations. It is, in a word, a primer on how to have sex with demons on an astral plane. This, it says, is particularly a good route for “those who are in prison or incarcerated in any way.” Well, that’s a no duh. Seriously. But anyhow, it goes on to explain how you go about having sex with a demon, from attracting and selecting one, to masturbating to help the process along. I’m not making this up.

Anyhow, as much as I laughed at this, it did spark an idea for a story. At least a the initial seeds of one. Just goes to show you can find stories anywhere.

On another note, I’ve been gutting Blood Winter and writing gobs more. It really isn’t the same book as before. It’s better, but I’m sad about losing some things.

Wanted pancakes today. Tried to find the local IHop but couldn’t. Didn’t want Denny’s. Guess I’ll have to get some stuff for making them.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Oh Hell Yeah

The Blood Winter Cover:

Have you preordered yet? how can you not?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Blood Winter snippet

“Just because you’re winning don’t mean you’re the lucky one.” Guns N Roses

Now the snippet:

“Let’s get these bodies in the ground. Simon, go bring back the backhoe.”

As the others obeyed, she and Alexander wandered around, accompanied by Beyul and Spike. They came to the spot where the red-haired preacher had suddenly appeared. Max stared at the broad circle of red dust on the dirt road, then squatted and touched it, rubbing it between her fingers. Where it touched, it didn’t come off.

Beyul sniffed it and padded through it. None of it clung to him. Spike sneezed and edged carefully around the circle.
Slowly Max stood and looked up at Alexander. Her expression was troubled. “This stuff is all over Horngate. It’s all over us. Somehow he got inside the mountain. Before the wards broke. He got in without tripping any alarms.”

“How is that possible?” Alexander asked, unease prickling along his neck.

Max shook her head. “That’s just it, Slick. It isn’t.” She looked back down at her fingers. “What the fuck are we dealing with?”

Saturday, May 5th, 2012
Ready, set, action!

I’m working on the new first chapter for Blood Winter. One of the issues is how fast to get into the action. It used to be that you could get into action after a few pages or even a chapter. With urban fantasy, things sped up and it started to be something you wanted to see on the first page. Now I’ve begun to seriously think about where the action should begin. It has to mix in with a number of things: establishing characters, setting, situation, action . . . Plus getting the reader’s attention/sympathy/interest. That’s a lot to get done on the first page.

I’m starting at a different point in the revisions of Blood Winter in order to develop some more of the story and to add a few action scenes to set up character. The thing is, the action stuff might not happen on the very first page. It might take me more than that to get things going. The question is this: is the stuff I think is important enough to delay the action really as important as all that? I might end up having to cut it out. At this point, I’m back to the drafting element of things where it’s more important to get the words down than to edit. I’ll see what it looks like when I get it done.

But what do you think? How patient are you in getting to the action? What books are your favorite for starting well?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Blood Winter is done

Yes that is right. It is done. It’s got rough edges, especially since I wrote more than half of it in the less than the last two weeks. Yes, that’s right. This is not my normal process, but I had to push through some things and just do it. Sometimes life is no excuse.

Things I can tell you. This book has a lot of action. A lot. Did you think it wouldn’t? Some startling things happened. You will be surprised I think. There’s some good snarky bits. A lot of bleeding (what else is new).

Right now I am sooooo tired and I can’t scrape together any braincells to say anything more intelligent. I’ll be back with more tomorrow. Promise!

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
I’m not dead yet!

I know, I haven’t been here the past couple of days. I’ve been writing. Today I didn’t get nearly the words done that I wanted, but I got through a sticky scene. Very emotional. Especially important given some earlier stuff. I also figured out part of the ending. A big huge part. Sort of the key. There are some other elements to wrap up, and I really don’t know how well the whole story hangs together overall, but I think I like it so far. The scene is pretty awesome, though, that I just finished. Sadly, I can’t share because, well, spoilers. But you’ll like it. I hope. Apparently I’m so running out of words that I can sustain a long or complex sentence. It’s all short and choppy.

In the meantime, we may be able to see the northern lights tonight. Although it’s really overcast, so I’m not sure. I hope so. I’ve never seen them in person.

Sunday, March 4th, 2012
And another Blood Winter snippet

Yes, the writing proceeds well. And in honor of the flow, another snippet. Max is in trouble. Again.

She looked down at herself. A complex pattern had been carved on her skin. There were strange letters and symbols overlapping in what looked like an Egptian cartouche, though there the writing was nothing like Egyptian hieroglyphics. These were flowing and snakey and jagged and harsh. The design bled and did not heal.

When it spoke again, it was only inches from her face. Max jerked her head up, forcing herself not to fall back.
“That is my seal. When you come, they will know you and you may pass without question. Do not take long. You will want to see what becomes of the ones you search for.”

“I’ll be coming,” Max said, finding her voice. “But you aren’t going to win.”

The creature tipped its head. “And who will stop me?” It spread its red wings. “Not the angels,” it whispered, sweeping up in the air to hover over first Tutresiel and then Xaphan. “For you have laid them low and even I cannot wake them easily.”

It focused on her again, its body and wings pulling inward until all that was left was the face surrounded by a red nimbus of smoke. Its hatred boiled in the room. What had she done to piss it off so much?

“When I am done, you and every spirit you care for will be destroyed. Their souls will be torn to shreds and scattered across worlds and time.” Its words started low, but with every moment, they resonated louder until the ground vibrated like a struck bell. “Everything you love and everything you know will be struck from the face of this world. Your name will become a byword for betrayal. Now come to me if you dare.”

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
Blood Winter snippet

I managed almost 5K words today. Whoohoo! I’m in a groove at last. So in honor of that, a snippet. Keep in mind it’s very drafty and so it will likely change. Hope you like it.

The witch stared at Alexander for a long moment, then shook his head. “I don’t see anything. I can look more deeply, but if the being that attacked us set a spell on you, I might not be able to detect it.” He looked at Thor. Do you smell anything out of place on him?

The Blade glared at Alexander and strode forward, sniffing around his neck and down his chest. He cirled around him, then stepped back and shook his head. “Nothing out of the ordinary. You could use a shower,” he added.

“I am not the only one,” Alexander retorted. He cocked his head at Gregory. “Check me out.”

Gregory came forward. “Turn around.”

Alexander turned to face the stove. The witch put his hands on Alexander’s shoulders and green magic flared bright. It slid into his flesh like curling scalpels. He stiffened and his Prime roared awake, the tiny shack swelling with his power.

“Easy,” Gregory muttered, his fingers clenching tighter.

“I did not know you were going to try to kill me,” Alexander said through clenched teeth, his body rigid.

“It’s just a perk,” the witch said dryly. “Besides, you’re a big boy. You can handle it.”

“Remember that when I dropkick your ass across the city.”

“Hmph. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed tonight?”

The magic cut deeper and it felt like he was going through a meat slicer. “You seem chatty all of a sudden,” Alexander said. “Maybe you have are under some sort of spell. Perhaps we should cut you open and see what’s hiding inside of you.”

“Now you’re just being unfriendly,” Gregory said. “Why don’t you hush up now and let me work.”

Friday, March 2nd, 2012
Blood Winter–you can order it now!

Yes! There is a fourth book coming in the Horngate Witches series. It’s titled Blood Winter and it is already available for pre-order. I would love it if you did pre-order. It would make my editor so happy and possibly help make sure more Horngate Witches books coming out in the future, not to mention how happy I would be.