Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'drafting' Category

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
The week flies by

It’s already Thursday night and I look around and don’t know what I’ve done. Lots of kid stuff. Go figure. I did do some writing, and I’ve worked some on my writing. Made some good progress, I think, but not enough. The weather has been absolutely lovely. Warmer than normal. That, I’m sure, is galling for those of you in very cold, very icy, very snowy places. Stay warm and stay safe. I’ve lived in the midwest and the Rockies, and yeah, done cold and icy and snowy and I don’t envy you one bit.

Our patio is mostly in. There’s some small things yet to be done, but apparently that’s going to take another week or so to get the people in. In the meantime, though, there’s a cover for the dogs to keep them out of the rain.

One good thing about drones: the awesome pictures that can be taken, like Niagra Falls from right above and out in front.

Just heard about the superbug that’s going around in LA. Scary shit. The picture of it they show in the news looks like fuzzy pink tic tacs. What’s really scary is that the instrument that they didn’t clean well enough is one that could have been used on my son. Freaks me the hell out.

I want to go on a hike. I’m out of shape and don’t know where I’d go and I the boy is sick, but I’d like to go.

Sunday, February 15th, 2015
Bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day

It was a gorgeous day today. About 65 and brilliantly sunny. Crocuses and primroses are blooming in the yard. We took the dogs walking out in a big park downtown. 90 acres, lots of trees. It was delightful. I also met with my knitting teacher to figure out how I’d screwed up my knitting, which was worse than I thought, but we mostly fixed everything. Next time we move on to the next steps.

The boy did acupuncture for the first time yesterday. It may be helping. It’s too soon to tell. I am hoping. I got him to exercise twice today, and that’s a big plus.

I’ve been getting some writing done, along with some reading. That’s all good.

Here’s a little snippet with of the WIP:

He held his hand out. She made herself take it, gripping firmly through her gloves. She didn’t like touching mages. She pulled away, shoving her hands into her coat pockets and curling them into fists.

“Hagen tells me you can read the room,” he said.

Cady’s lips tightened. She forced a smile. “Hagen says a lot of things. Some are even true.”

“Can you read the room?” he demanded.

“Probably.”

“Cady,” Hagen chided, his hand on her shoulder tightening.

Blaze flicked him an irritated glance, which won him a point in her book. The enemy of my enemy . . . Not that the bald giant was her enemy. He’d done everything in his power to protect her since she’d left fieldwork.

That earned an inward grimace. Left it. Like she’d had a choice. Yet here she was, about to go back out where all the boogeymen waited, including Blaze Watkins. Hopefully he didn’t plan to put a knife in her back. Hagen insisted the she could trust the mage, had shown her all the files on him. Or at least the files Hagen wanted her to see. She had no doubt there were more hidden somewhere.

Blaze Watkins had had a stand-up career with the PCIA, and then had gone private after he’d disobeyed orders he didn’t like. Most of that episode had been redacted, but Hagen claimed the mage had had good reasons. Which, coming from the head of the PCIA, could be viewed as a positive endorsement. But then again, only some of the things Hagen said were true. She usually found out which when she was hipdeep in a shit creek with crocodiles chewing her ass.

“You aren’t sure?” Blaze asked.

“I never am until I am,” she said. She bent down to pick up her pack and slung it over her shoulder, dislodging Hagen’s hand in the process. “We’re burning daylight.”

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
It’s not as cold as Montana

And we don’t have six feet of snow. Or five. Or four. Or any. So I’m all about the happy on that front. It’s been cold here, but not as cold as Montana. Friend of mine sent me a card with the return address “Bitchin’ cold.”

Found out that they are rehiring my position at UMW. They’ll be hiring an assistant professor higher than what I made, and I’d been there 14 years with full prof. This is part of the problem with Academia: salary impaction. In order to get a raise, you have to get an offer somewhere else, and if they say no, you pretty much have to leave. On top of that, UMW pays some of the lowest salaries in the country for universities of comparable size.

Boy’s been sick again. Sicker. Hoping he improves for tomorrow.

I somehow forgot how much a sequel in a series has to recap what came before, and in the fifth book, that’s kind of a pain. Still, progress is being made. I hope. I think. I hope, again.

And, now, therefore, a Crosspointe snippet:

“Earthquake, or so it seems,” Keros replied mildly, breathing slowly as the majick swept over him. Did this happen to the Jutras priests? Did majick constantly assault them from all sides? He could lose himself in it, in the dreadful bliss of it. As good as it felt to hurt, he had not doubt he’d enjoy his own death. It was a sobering prospect.

“Why did you do this?” a woman accused, pointing a shaking finger at him. Her thin face was pale and exhausted bruised her eyes purple. “I told you we couldn’t trust the majicars anymore. He’s trying to kill us all. In our sleep!”

Someone grabbed his collar roughly and shoved him. Keros staggered. A grating caught his attention. It wasn’t so much a sound as a vibration in the air. He jerked back around, majick spinning around his hands.

 

So I’m not at all sure the characters are developing properly, but they are developing, and right now, that counts for a lot.

Also, I’ve decided to go to the Romantic Times Convention in Dallas. That means I’ll miss Miscon and Norwescon, this year. If you’re in the Dallas area, they have a big public signing. Feel free to come!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Pause in the rain

I spent a bunch of time today with Devon Monk talking writing, business, family, promotion, and all sorts of other things. It was lovely to get together and chat. We’ve both been swamped with work and life and haven’t had a chance to get together for awhile. It was quite fun.

Boy of size is sick again. Or rather, back to sicker, because he’s never achieved wellness. He’s missed the week of school. I hope he’ll make it back by Monday. I’ll get him up for tomorrow, but chances are he won’t be able to make it. But Monday he’s going to go no matter what, and call me if he needs to come home. We’re hoping just getting back into the routine will help.

I’ve been working on some plotting. I realized the problem I’m having with the current novel is that I don’t have a villain. I have a general–those people over there are bad ones, but I don’t have A Villain. Or even a couple of them. No one specific. This is a problem. I am working on solving this. I have a lot of threads to sort out and then weave together. It’s a super hard to figure out where the story is in this book and how to tell the personal story inside of telling the larger story. It’s the problem of epic, but worth doing. Just hard. I can do this. I will do this.

In the meantime, I’ll be signing books at The Reader’s Guide on Edgewater St. in Salem, Oregon, on Saturday, October 25th, from 1-3. We may do a little bit of a reading, but certainly we will be entertaining. Please come out if you can!!

I will also be at Orycon–more on that later.

Friday, September 26th, 2014
Where’s the rubber ducky?

I’m hip deep in shit creek and no rubber duckies in sight. Book’s due soon, and I’m not done. I’m trying to make doneness, but progress is slower than I want. Also, a few days ago, the z, x,c, and v keys on my desktop keyboard ceased to work. I used a Kinesis keyboard. I called the company, and they are sending me a replacement part, and hopefully it arrives asap. But that means writing on my laptop and for whatever reason, that undercuts my creativity. Plus I’ve been having some weird sick stuff happening this week. Possibly as a result of stress, possibly as a result of not sleeping nearly enough, possibly as a result of total panic, or maybe I’m really coming down with something. My guess is the last one is unlikely.

So in an effort to procrastinate while still feeling productive, I’ve started a patchwork afghan. Which is to say, I’ve learned the patch pattern and am working them up. I started a couple days ago. It will take me a long time to complete the project. In the meantime, I realized I have got to start making stuff to get rid of some of my yarn horde. (Some of which was given to me by my mom, so it’s not *all* my fault.) The idiocy is that I saw a skein of cool yarn at the store, bought it, and came up with the patchwork idea for the afghan because I couldn’t think of anything else to make with it. Unfortunately, It’s not a good match with most of my yarn horde. I found one yarn that I can use with it, but may have to, ulp, buy more. This was not the plan.

More people should use shawls. I make this lovely and soft shawl (which a friend taught me to make–thanks Melissa M.!). Here’s the pattern. Only I make it in supersoft, jewel-toned yarns. I wonder who I could make some for? Hmmm. I also make afghans. I guess I could make one of those. I made a bunch to give away for Xmas a few years back. I sometimes make fingerless gloves and I learned a slouch hat last year. These things are nice to work on while watching TV or driving (as a passenger–I know you were wondering). I used to work on them at faculty senate meetings so I wouldn’t kill anyone, and so the meetings would have some sort of redeeming value. It’s not like we got anything accomplished otherwise.

Booklist likes Trace of Magic!

And here’s the usual please please please spread the word on Trace of Magic, post reviews, and otherwise blather about me as much as you’re willing!

All right, back to making fictional words. Oh, here’s a snippet, just because (and no context for you!):

“She’s the empath, correct?” Touray asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Should I assume you know everything about me? What deoderant I wear? The results of my last PAP smear?”

He smiled slowly, his eyes hooded. “I think it’s a safe enough assumption.”

Monday, July 14th, 2014
A snippet from the WIP

I very much doubt this will make the final version of this nameless book. And yet, I love this so much I have to share. It is wrong. So, so, so, wrong:

Lately my dreams had been divided equally between erotic images of the two of us together that left my thighs aching and the rest of me more frustrated than an impotent priest on free fuck night at the local brothel, and erotic images of *him with someone else, which left me wanting to skin him alive. I really have mental problems, I swear.

 

* pronoun added to prevent TMI on the book.

 

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
getting squared away

I am here in Colorado and working on getting settled into my new position. I have to say, I didn’t fully understand the curriculum here for the MFA in genre writing, but I after learning more, I think it’s the best structure out there for getting people to publishable status. That is, going over the skills and getting the business information you need to get there. Here’s why. First, the first year is devoted to learning a lot of the basics of craft, and also learning a lot about various genres. It’s strictly commercial genres. So no matter what, you’ll get a sense of horror, spec fic in all its forms, fantasy in all its forms, romance in all its forms, and likewise with westerns. You do a lot of writing and reading and a lot of feedback from working writers. Then the second year gives you more intense drilling down and also some pedagogy on teaching, should you decide to go that route (both creative writing and freshman comp, since those are the two most likely for teachers), and planning for what you will do when you graduate. You also do an out of concentration course in poetry, screenwriting, or non-fiction. All the staff in all the classes are working, publishing, directing, filming, writing and etc, in their fields. Then you also participate in summer residencies with more concentrated courses, and the Writing the Rockies conference which each year brings in really good talent (open to the public if anyone wants to check it out). In your second year, you also write a thesis.

Unlike other programs, instead of working with a different mentor each semester, you take two six credit online courses with other students and there is workshopping and regular course assignments. That means the curriculum is more standard for everyone, and the department can make sure the standards are being met across the board. It means you also end up with working closely with all the faculty fiction faculty, which is really good.

Does this mean you’ll be able to publish your novel when you get out? Hard to say, the market being what it is. But many of the students begin publishing in their first year with the writing that comes out of the courses. I know a lot of people and writers especially wonder about the efficacy of MFA programs, but this one is completely and totally devoted to getting published. If you’re thinking on one, definitely check it out.

In other news, I’m sitting here in my dorm room working on the next novel and bashing my head on my desk to help shake out any plot ideas that might come from a concussion. Drinking might be a better idea. Sadly, I’m at 7500 feet, and that means that alcohol will go to my head super super fast, and also, walking not far makes my head spin. Hopefully I settle down soon. Usually it takes a couple of weeks for people to develop more red blood cells to cope with altitude, which will be just about the same time I go home. Rawr.

Boy of size continues to be sick. Hopefully when we get back the OHSU appointment will get him on the road to wellness. I sure as hell hope so.

Monday, June 23rd, 2014
the dogs, they shed so MUCH

They keep sending tufts of fur out like porcupine quills. I have dog-hair dust dinosaurs. They are growing. And growing.

We had our first hummingbird on the feeder today. I’m very excited. It showed up at dinner time. I hope it comes back.

Picked some strawberries and few blueberries off the new plants. I’m not sure the blueberries are getting enough sun. These might not set any more berries ever. Might have to move them. Also, some roses we didn’t know we had are blooming. We discovered them after we took out some trees this year. They are much happier out of the shade.

Boy barfed much of the day. Finally he felt better and asked if we could go bike riding. We did and he successfully had dinner. He had a rough night last night, too. Still hoping for a cancellation to get us in earlier to OHSU.

I managed some work done on the book today. I want to get my character into a situation and I’m not sure how. I want to get her into the situation right away, but doing so means making her be ridiculously stupid or completely not herself. I need to find a good reason to motivate her. That means delaying this and I’m not sure it’s the right idea. Also, coming up with a good enough reason is going to be a tough one. Why can’t I just write a stupid character? Why why why???

I shall now go think thinky thoughts.

Monday, June 16th, 2014
writing frustration and the barf boy

I’m frustrated with the writing. I’m not capturing the voice the way I want to, and I feel like there’s a lot of talking heads in this scene and not enough going on. I figure it’s likely to get cut later or get gutted in some way, but I’m still stumbling over the writing and it’s driving me up a wall. Doesn’t help that the kids want attention. And the dogs. I did get out and bike ride with them for a bit today. Then the boy had to barf.

So speaking of the boy, my SIL is visiting and she suddenly remembered that her mom got horribly sick while flying one time and that she went into the airport bar to see if she could get something for relief. They gave her bitters mixed with club soda and apparently it worked like magic. My SIL said she used the concoction with my niece and nephew and for herself with success. So I gave some to the boy. While the man was fetching the bitters and club soda (not something I keep in the house), I thought, hey! I have dramamine. Wonder if that would help? So gave him some of that. It’s like 5 years old, so I don’t know if it’s any good, but he got both and now he’s sleeping. I will have to try them separately tomorrow.

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
things that happen while plotting

Plotting next Crosspointe book. Again. Some things that have arisen, and yes, these were said out loud to me by me because I can talk out loud to myself. Why? Also, the plotting music started out as Mumford and Sons and then went to Guns and Roses. It seemed to work better. No alcohol yet. So this may all be just me without any extra modifications.

I have an extraneous god. Who has an extraneous god? What do I do with him?

. . . plus the genocide thing is bad. Yay Conflict!

Who will die? People must die, dammit.

 

—–Took a few minutes to start some tomato basic soup. Calls for chopped onions and diced carrots. Learned that my new knife is very very sharp. Cut the same finger twice, and thank goodness for the fingernail. Am still bleeding. Making an effort not to bleed on the keyboard. Now back to the plotting . . .

Die die die. Crap.