Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'Novels' Category

Sunday, July 31st, 2016
The Compost Process of Writing

Pulling bullshit out of your ass and piling it on the page until it turns into a story. Hopefully a good one.

Monday, June 27th, 2016
What do you think?

I’m trying to write a non-fantasy romantic suspense. Sort of a side thing for fun and relaxation. This is my current beginning. Very rough. All the same, I need to know: What do you think? Seriously, what do you think?

He was on his way home just after midnight on a Thursday night when the call came through. A disturbance at Utopia, Trinity’s new night club and restaurant. Injuries onsite, ambulances needed. Chase was only a couple miles away and tired as he was, he wasn’t in the mood to go home yet. It wasn’t as if anybody was waiting for him.

Troopers had beaten him there. Flashing emergency lights strobed across the parking lot. People stood in groups or perched on the hoods of cars, watching the action. Not that there was any action to see, as far as Chase could tell.

He parked, leaving his suit jacket in the car. He paused to avoid the ambulance that rolled through the parking lot and up to the front doors of the club side entrance. A second one turned in a few seconds later, blowing past him in a cloud of diesel.

Chase drew a tired breath and let it out. What was he doing here? He should go home and get some sleep. He had a meeting with Sloan and Rossitch at 8:30 in the morning. He grimaced at himself. Who was he kidding? Even if he went home, he’d be lucky to get three hours of sack time. He’d flip channels on the idiot box while he ate, then he’d spend an hour or two banging his head against the Shore murder. Four years and he still didn’t have the killer. Not that he was allowed to investigate it anymore, at least, not officially, anyway. He shook his head, putting his frustration aside. Things on the trafficking case were heating up. That’s what the meeting was about. Once that was cleared, he could get back to work on the murder.

Chase rubbed a hand over the stubble on his jaw, still wavering. He hadn’t been inside Utopia yet. Now was as good a time as any to check the place out. His stomach rumbled. That decided him. Maybe the kitchen was still open and he could get a burger. All his refrigerator held was beer and frozen dinners. He didn’t doubt both were better here.

“Hey, Lieutenant, what’s homicide doing here?” Jason Thomas stepped away from the woman he was interviewing and reached out a hand to Chase as he approached. He was young, maybe twenty four. He was sharp, though, and ambitious. He planned to make detective by the time he was twenty five. Probably would, too. Chase liked him, even though at thirty one he felt like the kid’s grandfather. The downfalls of working homicide. No innocence left.

“Was heading home. Heard the call and figured I’d have a look around, maybe see if they were still serving food. What’s the situation?”

Thomas shook his head. “Domestic disturbance. Husband’s drunk and shooting pool, the wife is a cocktail waitress. He decides she’s flirting with the customers and goes after her with a pool cue. The manager yanks her out of the way before he can crush his wife’s skull, though the manager took a hard hit to her shoulder. The husband gets hotter and starts throwing punches. Customers and the bouncers take him down. Hard. He’s got a busted nose and maybe a broken wing.

Chase nodded without any sympathy for the bastard. He got what he deserved, attacking his fucking wife. He was probably lucky to have her.

“Good work, Thomas. I’ll leave you to it,” he said. The Trooper grinned at the praise. God, had he ever been that young?

He left Thomas to get statements and wandered up toward the club entrance. Tall pillows held up a broad overhang. Beneath danced a fountain. Not too long ago, the place had been a car dealership. The guy who owned it decided to divorce his wife, probably trader her in a newer model. It had been ugly. Her father owned the land the dealership was on and had kicked the husband off the property. The building sat vacant for awhile before someone had bought it to turn into a restaurant and club. From the looks of it, they’d done a good job. Word was that the food was good, too.

The old showroom was now the restaurant, with the bar housed in the repair bays. The exterior had been covered in a rock façade, with lush trees and flowers sending up a sweet, rich fragrance. White firefly lights wrapped the front pillars, outlined the windows, and layered the roof in a pattern like fish scales. A six foot iron fence with spikes along the top surrounded the outside the rollup bay doors like a large, flagstone-paved corral. Within was a covered stage, picnic tables, a dance area, and a barbecue pit. The stage was dark and the pit was cold tonight. Maybe it was a weekend thing.

The June night was warm and one of the bay doors had been rolled up. Inside, Chase could see pool tables and red-tile floors. Customers still shot balls, uninterested in the drama outside.

The scent of cooking meet wafted out to meet him as he drew close to the entrance. His gaze continued to rove over the spectacle outside, taking in the faces and other details.

Lightning thrust through the center of his chest. What the hell was she doing here?

Chase stopped dead, hard gaze locked on her. Four years since her mother’s murder, three and a half since he’d last seen her. Then she’d been pinched and washed out, her beauty hidden under the drab blanket of hard grief. Now–

She was a wet dream walking. Sunstreaked dark hair framed her face. Tanned skin smoothed over high cheekbones, a strong nose, and narrow chin. His gaze ran greedily over her. Her curves had firmed and her body was lithe and lean except for her breasts. They rode high and full beneath her vest and shirt. The last few years had turned tempered her. She held herself with assurance and confidence, like she didn’t take shit. His chest tightened as her wide, full mouth broke into a smile as she looked up at the paramedic. What the fuck? Was she hurt?

Chase didn’t think. His legs started moving before he knew what he wanted to do. He thrust through the rubberneckers, making a beeline for her.

Behind him, someone complained in protest, but Chase didn’t slow down. He couldn’t have stopped if he’d wanted to.

 

Friday, June 24th, 2016
Research, or please don’t arrest me

In the past day or so, I’ve researched sepsis, the symptoms, how you get it, and how long it takes to kill you. (Don’t get it, by the way, it really sucks hard.) I’ve also researched breaking out side windows in trucks using your feet. I’ve researched snub nosed .38 revolvers and whether or not someone can get to their feet with their feet and hands bound with duct tape. I’ve researched switchblades, spring-assisted knives, and butterfly knives. Oh, and gravity knives. I’ve discussed knives that are spring loaded and can open out the front and put an eye out. I’ve also looked into what law agencies do what and I’ve looked into human and sex trafficking.

Writers live interesting lives.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Owned

I am owned by dogs. I admit this. Corgi boys. They pretty much make me do whatever they want. Lately, they hear sirens and they want to howl. But it isn’t enough that they howl by themselves. Oh, no. They come running to me and no matter what I’m doing, I have to stop and howl with them. If I don’t, they bark at me until I do. So then I howl (I don’t even want to know what kind of crazy this makes me look like), and then when they decide they are done, they stop and I must pet them to soothe . . . I don’t even know what I’m soothing, but it’s needed.

And a snippet from the WIP, because it seems like a good time for it, from the current Diamond City Magic book:

I held out my hand. “Just give me my fucking phone.”

We played who-would-blink first game and he went down. I’m nothing if not stubborn. I was the champion in the family. Tiny dug in his back pocket and produced my burner phone.

I punched in Taylor’s number. She answered on the first ring.

“What?”

“I need to talk to Touray.”

Silence met my announcement. But where Jamie and Leo would have badgered me for information, Taylor stuck to business. “He’s gone. I’ll text his number. Give me a second.”

The phone went dead. A few seconds later, the blue message light began blinking. I dialed the number. My mouth was oddly dry. For some reason, I was nervous.

He picked up just as fast as Taylor had. “Touray,” he growled.

“Riley,” I said.

His shock lasted about a split second. “Where the hell are you? Is Clay all right? What’s going on?”

“We’re with a potential . . . partner,” I said.

I could feel his attention sharpening, drilling through the phone. I resisted the urge to take a step back. Like that would help. “Partner?”

“He wants to take control of Calavera,” I said. “Clean it up, get rid of the bad eggs and restore the community.”

“What the fuck is going on, Riley? Because I don’t have time for this shit. The city is wrecked and your father–”

A chill ran up my spine and my stomach knotted. “Vernon? What’s he done?”

‘That is what I’m trying to figure out, which is why I don’t have time for this.”

“Would you have more time if I told you we’re sort of captives and Price has a broken leg? We’re negotiating help.”

Touray’s voice went molten and quiet. I’ll admit I cringed a little and was very glad he was not in the same room. I glanced around the dingy walls that had been white and now were gray with age and dirt. I half expected to see him appear out of nowhere. He was a traveler.

“Explain.”

“You know about the trace job?”

“I am aware that you took one. I do not know the details beyond the fact that you’re looking for a teenage girl.” His words were carefully clipped and formal, and I could hear the taut wire of his patience stretching thinner with every second.”

“Story short: missing girl lured by a known rapist and and killer holed up in Calavera. We got jumped, captured, and Price’s leg broke. We need a tinker and some manpower, and Tiny here is willing if the trade is worth it. Maybe you should hear his terms,” I added and passed the phone over to Tiny before Touray could ask anything else.

“Hello?” Tiny said warily into the phone.

The room pulsed and crackled with sudden magic. Neither Price nor Tiny would be able feel it. “Shit,” I said and then a furious Gregg stepped out of nowhere and trained his gun on Tiny.

Monday, June 20th, 2016
Magic day

There’s something magic about the solstice and on top of that, a full moon, too. For me, it’s all stirred into the fact that today is my birthday. I don’t have big plans. Mostly to write and to catch up on stuff I’m behind on. And pet dogs, bed and rcause yanno, dogs and cute. And read. I think I’d like to read. I’ve been on a romantic suspense kick. Laura Griffin is my current favorite, but have had recommendations of other writers I”m working on trying out. Oh! And another birthday!!!

Devon Monk’s new book, Death and Relaxation, hits the shelves today!  You should check it out. I’m thinking it’s an excellent birthday present for me. Hey! That’s what I can read today! Yes, I’m a little slow on the uptake today.

I finished proofing all the Path books for their ebook reissue. I have to say that I was happily surprised. First, that they were really good. So I haven’t read these since I wrote them. I have always feared that they weren’t that strong. But I was really happy with them. I loved what I did with the characters and how they grew and changed. I really liked the narrative layering in the last book. It reminded me that that’s okay to do. I know, that’s weird. But I’ve been deliberately avoiding too many points of view. And by too many, I’ve been stopping at two. But if I do it well, I can get away with a lot more of them. And it makes the book a lot richer. This is what I needed to remember for the last Crosspointe book, and maybe for this Diamond City Magic book I’m working on right now.

The second thing that surprised me was how well they held up. It shouldn’t be that surprising, really. They are traditional fantasy, so the decade+ since their release hasn’t aged them in terms of cultural references. But I am proud of them. Really proud of them. I want to tell everybody to read them.

 

 

 

Thursday, June 16th, 2016
I bet you’re wondering

Did you think I fell off the face of the earth? Almost. I received proofs for all the Path books and have to read and proof in a little over a week. I’m done with Fate and Honor, and partly into Blood. Then the kids had their last couple weeks of school and we’ve been having some family issues that I won’t talk about here, but suffice it to say, the focus has been on those.

Then the Orlando massacre happened and I was lost at sea for a bit. What I know is this: hate is wrong. We need to care about each other. We need to be generous, charitable, and tolerant. We need to accept that no everyone will agree with us, but that doesn’t mean those who do deserve violence and death. We are a country built around tolerance and the urge to escape persecution. Let us live by our values. Let us talk to one another, accept each other, help each other, protect each other.

I’ll be at Westercon 69 in Portland over fourth of July weekend. Here’s my schedule. I’d love to have a chance to meet with you.

Other than that, things are going along well. And because you may have not noticed, up there on the Books Tab, you’ll see a Free Reads menu item. Go there for some short stories you might enjoy.

I’ve also got a post up today on Magical Words if you’re interested.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016
Miscon and black eyes

Just got back from Montana. Specifically, went to Miscon, the absolutely best con in the world. Well run, and fun people. Love it. I had to miss last year and was so sad about that. Justin Barba–the Con chair–runs a hell of a show.

But let’s begin with the black eye. Because that’s where the con begins. I’m a clutz. Clodzilla is my nickname. So we arrive in Missoula, Montana, after a pleasant drive wherein which we saw deer, elk, and bald eagles. We get checked in and into the hotel room, and we head to the lobby to get our badges. On the way back, the man and kids and dogs were horseplaying and I decided to fast-walk and then run a bit to get to the room before they did. Only just before I got there, my Birkenstock stubbed on the carpet and I went down. Hard. My face bounced off the floor, which seemed to be concrete covered in a thin layer of very thin carpet.

I iced, then we went to the emergency room where it was determined that I did not have any breaks or a concussion, and my wrists were not broken. But they hurt a whole lot. Still do. I posted a progression of pictures on FB. Here are two so you can see. What was cool was that all the swelling and color started on the top side of the eyelid and then slid down below it and low onto the cheek.

Photo on 5-27-16 at 8.39 AMPhoto on 5-29-16 at 7.38 AM

 

And then my friend from Montana thought it was so funny that she made me a hat to go with it. Here it is:

Photo on 5-28-16 at 2.42 PMIsn’t it awesome? I’ve got good friends. And she whipped it up in about eight hours. I wore it all the time. Oh, and another thing about Miscon–everybody wanted to help me. Jim Butcher didn’t mind me blaming it on him. Justin Barba brought me arnica gel.

Anyhow, my panels at Miscon went really well. I got to hang out with wonderful friends and fans, meet new ones, and I passed out a lot of buttons for promo. Actually, I passed out a handful and the man and children passed out a ton of them. They were awesome. And this time they hung out at the con more and that was uber fun.

I attended a few panels, particularly those by Clay Cooper, who was doing panels on losing a tail and tracking and guns. I also ate a lot of good food with some fabulous people. The only bad thing was that I didn’t get to spend time with everyone I wanted to. Oh, and I had to skip out on a panel on Monday that was going to be too fun for words. I had to, though, because I couldn’t help drive and so we wanted to leave earlier to allow all the driving during the day and while the man was more awake. The Boy of Size did a bit of the driving, which helped.

Anyhow, I had a great time and tomorrow I have to drive and I’m hoping my wrists can handle it. Been slathering on arnica to help with the bruising. I think it’s helping quite a bit. Though let’s face it, it’s a pretty ugly eye. Oh! And at my reading, I read from the next Job book and even though it was drafty, it was a hit. Yay!

So how are all you doing?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
Surprise giveaway!

 

Whisper of ShadowsTheIncubousJob-FJM_ARE_200x300In honor of the release of Whisper of Shadows in two days (April 22), I want to give away 4 e-copies of The Incubus Job. All you’ve got to do is leave a comment in this post. And a way for me to contact you later. Or make sure you check back. You’ve got until Monday, April 25, noon, Pacific Standard Time.

If you feel like it, tell me something about yourself in your comment. I’d love to know you better. Good luck!

 

 

 

Thursday, April 7th, 2016
What needs to get done

You’ll notice that the title is in passive voice so no one actually is implicated in the doing.

  1. I have to write a bio for my husband for a con. He’s going to be on a panel about being married to writers. I plan to lie. Totally and completely.
  2. I need to go through and delete buy links for some of the books and put in some explanations about when and how things will be available. For instance, The path books are currently unavailable new or in ebook. However, the ebooks will be coming back soon with new covers (from Open Road Media). After that, I will hopefully put together the print versions and have them available.
  3. I have to fully learn InDesign for laying out print books. I’m making progress
  4. I can’t begin to tell you what I need to do in my yard and around my house. I keep plugging away.
  5. I need to finish reading this book that I have and want to read.
  6. I need to brush the dogs and trim nails.
  7. I need to show you the new cover for Whisper of Shadows! It’s so pretty. It is up for preorder for ebook form now. The print book will be available soon, I think on the release day, April 22nd.

Whisper of Shadows

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Things have been happening

First, Trace of Magic is on sale for one more day. Only $1.99 for the ebook. If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance to get in cheap.

Second, Whisper of Shadows, the third in the Diamond City Magic series, is available for preorder. There will be a print version, but I don’t think that preorder is available. Below is the back of the book blurb:

War is coming . . .

When the FBI uses an anti-magic law to arrest and torture Riley’s boyfriend, they have no idea what hell they are about to unleash. If Riley can’t rescue Clay before he breaks, the result will be a disaster of epic proportions.

With time running out, Riley and her family must rely on two people more likely to stab them in the back than actually help. And, even if Riley manages the rescue, she’s still got to deal with two kidnappings and the return of her dad from the dead–the same dad who’d been willing to see her dead to protect his secrets.

What’s a girl to do? Kick ass, take names, and protect those she cares about at all costs.

I finished a short story today for an anthology set in Faith Hunters Rogue World. If you haven’t read those books, they are wonderful. You should.

I manage to nearly break myself today, but only came away bruise and battered. Who knew gardening was a contact sport?

I was part of an SF Signal Mind Meld where a bunch of authors were asked about good, recent “popcorn” books or TV. Here are the answers. Just in case your TBR pile/mountain was too small.

I put a bunch of colors in my hair and still have one more to go. Pictures later. But I’ve got blue, orchid, and pink in, and violet to follow.

In other news, the corgi boys are still spoiled rotten.