Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'snippet' Category

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Trace of Magic

It’s coming along quite nicely thus far. Though I’m heading for the potential middle slump. I hope not.

Here is the word count thus far

35995 / 90000 words. 40% done!
and a snippet, with errors, but I’m tired and I have to go pick up the girlie at school:

He gave me a sharp look and then finished removing the lid. Nestled inside was a long, thin piece of metal. It was covered in silver whiskers. They shifted and moved like they were underwater.

I brushed the fringe softly with my finger. The fine strands combed through my skin and blood welled and dripped. The metal piece convulsed and strands of silver shot out to capture my hand. I jerked back, barely in time. The box shook violently. Price grabbed the lid and pressed it down, holding it in place until the shaking stopped. Quickly he slid it back into the grooves and clicked it closed.

Blood was running pretty freely down my finger. I grabbed the washcloth he’d used to clean me up earlier and pressed it hard against my finger.

“That was unexpected,” I said. “Wonder what would have happened if it grabbed me?”

“I expect it would have torn you up like a wood chipper,” Price said. “I was wondering why you kept a blood null with you. Now I’m wondering why you don’t have more of them.” His eyes were hooded and grooves dug deep into the side of his nose and lips.

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
merrily we write

I had some great news this week, and that is The Hollow Crown finally reverted back to me. I have another publisher who wishes to reissue and finish the series. We’re working out details now, but hopefully I’ll have an announcement before too long.

Because of that, I begged out of my teaching job. I asked them to find another person to cover if they could–but promised I would not leave them high and dry if they couldn’t. I explained why–more books to write. They were fabulous and found another person quickly. Thank you Jeremy! That’s a lot of stress of my back.

The writing has been rocking this week. I’m working on Trace of Magic, the first of two books set in an alternative Colorado. It’s sensational fun.

Here’s a snippet:

He surveyed the room. “The FBI would have seized everything. I’m a little surprised they haven’t cleaned him out already.”

“Maybe the company was looking for evidence or sensitive documents. They had to know he was being investigated. If he was embezzling, presumably it was through work. Where else could he?”

“The question is, did they find what they were looking for?”

“Actually, the question is, what are we looking for?” I asked.  “And don’t go all Velma on me and say clues. Cause duh. What constitutes a clue?”

“We’ll know it when we see it.”

“Gee, thanks, Velma,” I said. I sat down at the desk. I was looking for whatever hadn’t been found. Josh has always been a straight arrow and not particularly imaginative, but he apparently had another side, which mean I should be looking for good hiding places.

Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Snippet and life

Today I got the kids to school on time. Both of them. I hope boy does well. He needs to make friends. He’s outgoing and sweet, but at the same time, he’s the new kid among kids who’ve known each other for awhile. I think girlie will have it easier and settle in quicker.

I also convinced my computer to talk to my scanner and my scanner to listen. This is progress.

I’ve been in a Jane Austen sort of mood. I wish my books were unpacked.

I suspect it has a little to do with the piece I’m writing, and since I have little else of worth to say today, I’ll leave you with a snippet:


To give Missy and Lord Stanworth a moment to talk, she engaged the Colonel in coversation.

“Tell me, Colonel. You are currently billeted here at The Tower, are you not?”

He bowed. “Indeed I am, Miss Isabeau.”

“How are you liking it? It must be quite a change from your previous duties in America.”

He smiled. “America has its beauties, but I am glad to be back home.”

“A return to coal smoke thick as fog and the wondrous noise and stench of the city—you must be positively delighted,” she said, then flushed. Her stupid tongue! One of these days she was going to have to put a nail in it to keep it from flopping around saying inappropriate things. She must remember to be demure and reserved, and not insult a man’s feelings or his home. She didn’t want to embarrass Lady Phillipa or Missy, nor did she want to be the reason her sister’s chances for a good marriage were ruined.

The colonel focused on her as if he’d not quite seen her before. He lifted a dark brow and smiled, his blue eyes sparking with humor. He was handsome, for a man of thirty. His face was tanned despite the early November weather, and he was quite fit, with broad shoulders, a determined jaw, and an aquiline nose. His smile softened his austere expression.

“Indeed, the air in London is most refreshing, compared to the quite bright beauty of America,” he said. “I cannot tell you how many times I have wished to find myself back in the fetid soup we like to call air. Truly refreshing.”

“I suppose you also had a great many parties and balls to attend in America,” Isa said, unable to stop her perverse tongue.

“Ah yes. War time is such a fertile time for balls. Why, I believe I hardly had a moment to give a single order or run a battle campaign. All my time was spent on silks and laces and learning the latest dances.”

She covered her mouth to prevent a most unladylike burst of laughter. “It’s a wonder you didn’t come back fat and gouty.”

“A wonder,” he agreed. His head tilted as he considered her. “You are a most unexpected young woman, Miss Isabeau.”

“Yes, much to my stepmother’s everlasting despair. I am sadly very poor company.”

“Not at all. I find you quite refreshing.”

She couldn’t help her small snort. “Just like the fetid London soup air.”


Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
That good ole beginning

I always have psychological trouble with beginnings. Even though I KNOW it’s not set in stone and that I’ll go back and revise it and probably it will vanish forever and be replaced with something else, I always have trouble overcoming my subconscious sense that this is it, the only beginning and it must be good. Great. It must be spectacular!

Yeah, so anyhow, I’m working on a beginning. I actually have the beginning and I’m hoping it will be enough that I can continue on smoothly. We bought a ceiling fan for my office, which, once installed, should make it much easier to get work done.

And I’ll have news shortly for you (really happy news) and so I’ll leave you with this snippet.

He looked back at us. Something moved across his expression as the overhead light faded slowly. He slowly set his gun on the console. The threat was clear.

“One more thing. I want to know what you aren’t telling me. Right now.” But he looked at me, not at Taylor.

I didn’t blink. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I didn’t either. I mean, I was hiding everything I could from him. How was I supposed to know what exactly had set off his radar?

“The haunters.”

“Oh. Them.”

Saturday, July 27th, 2013
A snippet for you

In honor of finishing a chapter and also getting my desk today (I can’t wait!) here is a snippet from the nameless WIP for you:

“I’d like to leave now,” she announced. “It was nice to meet you, Lisette.” She turned and stumbled down the trail, her head spinning. Her legs shook and she stumbled over a clump of grass. Her lungs were tight and she could barely breathe. Rounding a bend, she stopped and violently threw up.


She snapped straight and spun around to find Lisette’s father standing behind her. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, her stomach lurching again.

“I’m Lattimer Edwards,” he said, eyeing her warily. He’d been stung only a few times. “I want to thank you for helping my daughter. I owe you a debt.”

Her mouth tightened into a grimacing smile. Some thanks. Men holding her prisoner at gunpoint. Quite the Hallmark moment.

He seemed to read her mind. “We don’t cotton much to outsiders and we’re protective of our own. I—  My kids are all I’ve got in the world. I have to protect them as I can. You understand.” There wasn’t a hint of apology in his tone; he was merely explaining a hard reality, one that wouldn’t bend for innocent women.

The truth was that she did understand. Or rather, she’d desperately wished for the same sentiment from her own father. He’d failed her abysmally. Understanding, however, didn’t excuse or justfy this man and his companions threatening her.

“Mr. Edwards, while I appreciate your inclination to thank me, I don’t particularly care for your variety of gratitude. So if you don’t mind, and even if you do, I’d just as soon go home and never see you again, especially not on the other end of a gun.”

Taryn swung around again and hadn’t gone but two steps before he spoke again.

“I’m afraid I can’t oblige you,” he said with an odd combination of pride and apology. “I’ve gotta pay my due when I owe it.”

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
WIP Snippet

Here’s a snippet. Hope you enjoy. Also, I’ve got a post up on Magical Words on Cardboard Characters today. Do come and visit.

Taryn could only blink in disbelief. It was the stuff of children’s nightmares and old world witch burnings. Her gaze dropped to the book on the rock. She couldn’t argue that there wasn’t magic in Axton. And Granger had come notifying the Book List after Hattie’s attack. He wouldn’t have done that if there wasn’t real power in the books and in the women who claimed them.

Where there was power, there was danger.

Surreptitiously, she nudged the book off the rock into the pool. It sank without a splash.

“I wouldn’t ever hurt you,” she said.

“The question is, why would my Lisette think you would?”

Taryn spun around and fell hard on her butt, only to find herself looking up at the business end of yet another gun.

Saturday, June 1st, 2013
a snippet

This is from the Southern WIP. I read this chapter at Miscon. This is the end of that chapter, if you were there and want to see where it’s going. Otherwise, hopefully it’s just mercilessly tantalizing:


He reached into his right breast pocket and pulled out a folded paper. He set it on the counter, put on his hat, and walked out. A few moments later, Taryn heard his car start and his emergency flashers came on again as he drove out the gravel driveway. She noted all this while she stood staring at the paper, her stomach twisting tight.

She knew with every cell of her body that it was a bomb. It would blow her life to bits if she read it.

Mechanically she walked around the end of the island. She reached for the paper, her hand hovering above it. She wanted to sweep it into the trash and forget about it. Instead Taryn slowly unfolded the page and smoothed it flat with trembling fingers. It was thin onionskin paper. The edges had yellowed, leaving the center a gray-white. The Book List was scrawled in bold letters across the top in red ink. Two columns of names followed.

She scanned them. Cora Brody topped the list. She’d died seventeen or eighteen years ago. Cancer, supposedly, though gossip said she had drunk herself to death. Taryn was inclined to believe the latter. She continued reading, recognizing most of the names, which wasn’t surprising. She knew everyone in Axton.

Then her gaze hooked on two names in the second column. The air leaked from her lungs and she couldn’t breathe. Taryn clenched the edge of the granite counter top, her body sagging.

It wasn’t possible. Someone would have told her.  Granger had told her, a mocking voice whispered in the back of her mind.  Granger had given her the paper, laid it on the counter like a gift. A deliberate act of cruelty. She hated him more than ever.

For there on the page were two names she could never have dreamed would be together, much less written in bloody red ink  together on The Book List:

Leyani Scalise

Cecilia Clanton

Taryn’s dead mother and her father’s wife.

Just like that, the bomb went off and her world exploded in flames.


Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

I’m having doubts. This is the latest snippet. Does it make you want to read forward? Do you connect with Taryn at all? (I know, small snippet, but what’s your reaction?) I know it’s rough, so bear with me.


At the mention of the Brody name, Taryn went rigid. “That’s enough,” she said, pushing abruptly to her feet and collecting up her dishes. “I don’t need to hear any more.”

“What?” was Granger’s bewildered reply.

“I don’t need to hear any more,” she said, then turned around, folding her arms over her wrinkled blouse. “I don’t want to hear any more. Finish your pie and your coffee and get on with you.”

“But—  I have to tell you. You’re on the list.”


“You know. The List.  The Book List.”

He cast a look around the kitchen as if searching for the incriminating book. It lay on the end of the kitchen island, beside a vase of white camelias. The edges of the flowers were turning brown and starting to curl. It seemed like an omen.

Granger’s gaze skimmed right over the book without seeing it. Hard to believe, given that it was bound in wood with traceries of silver curling across it like whisps of mist. Dotting the cover and set into bezels of silver were cabochons of amethyst, tiger eye, agate, moonstone, and a dozen other stones Taryn had yet to identify.

She’d left the damned thing— Taryn let out a quiet sigh. She couldn’t remember where or even when she’d even picked it up, much less actually put it somewhere. It didn’t matter. The book followed her. Silently demanding. Open it. Write in its blank pages.

When gators tanned their own hides and turned themselves into boots, Taryn thought sourly and focused back on her guest. Invader. Granger was eyeing her with frowning sterness, like a father about to give his daughter a lecture. Or so she supposed. Her father had scarecely ever noticed her, much less lectured.

A spider slid down a thread directly above the sheriff’s head. A black widow, by the looks of her. She hung there, waiting silent vigil. If he were to threaten Taryn, the spider would act. She wouldn’t be the only one. A swarm of delicate spider feet tickled up Taryn’s legs and over her lap, climbing up onto the underside of the table. A silent, deadly army. Whether he knew it or not, Granger was in serious danger.



Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Some people take stupidity, hypocrisy, and self-pity to new heights

Got an email from a colleague tonight, which speaks to the title of this post. I won’t say anything about its content here, except what’s in the title, but I have to say I’m struggling with a reply. Which is to say, I’m struggling with not answering. Because frankly, there’s little point. It’s a lot like discovering that the Internet is WRONG and MUST BE CORRECTED. Banging a head on the wall, which only hurts my head. I’m taking note that Karma will take a bite out of his/her ass and trying to push it out of my head. I should note that the email was not to me, but the whole department.

And so, focusing on me and my writing, A snippet from my WIP

Taryn jerked awake, heart hammering against her ribs. She leaped up from her sewing table and stumbled over the piles of fabric surrounding her chair. She caught herself with a hand on the table and froze, her skin prickling. She strained to hear sounds of an intruder, but the thud of her blood through her veins drowned out all else. Her gaze darted across the cavernous room, searching the shadows at the far end where her sewing light didn’t reach.

Misty red and blue light pulsed through the space, turning the massed humps of clothing and fabric crowding the room to threatening monsters. She shivered and straightened her spine indignantly, spidering her fingers across her table to find her shears. Her jaw jutted furiously. This was her house and she’d be damned if she’d let some possum-faced coward slink about in the middle of the night and intimidate her in her own home.