Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for the 'drafting' Category

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.

Friday, May 30th, 2014
so far so

I finished the re-issue edits for The Black Ship. Not a lot of changes overall, but fixing scan errors and some clunkiness. I still like this book a lot.

It looks like Trace of Magic will be available August 1. I’ll give you more info when the preorder stuff starts to show up on websites.

Boy is not better. He had his last antibiotic pill today and now it’s a wait and see (a side effect of Rifamaxin is nausea and vomiting). Here’s hoping that it worked. In the meantime, in case, he scheduled for his stomach CT for Tuesday.

I am working on the next Crosspointe book. It’s working title is The Blood Jewel. If you read The Cipher, you can guess what that is. If you haven’t, why not? Keros is currently the only POV character, though there’s another unknown-to-you character who may become a POV character. It’s questionable, because she’s very very different. Not spawn, but still quite other, in a very cool way. So I have to decide if I want her to be on the mysterious side (no POV) or get into her head.

While at Miscon, witty, well-dressed, and wise, Mark Teppo, helped me use Tarot cards to generate plot for this book. It really helped me. I know have a blurry shape for this book. I dug out my tarot cards (I have five decks, even though I don’t know how to use them much), and am planning to try to internalize some of the card meanings over time, so I can make better use of the cards as a writing tool. There are a lot of cool possibilities for it. He also gave me an outlining tool that I’m going to see if I can use to make one. Outlines have defeated me with great frequency of late, requiring me to totally pants a book. But when you’re in the fifth book of a series, you need to be weaving the ends together and it would be better if I figure out how to at least do a lot of that before I get too far in.

On my way home, I had some ideas on the book hit me. I texted them to myself while driving. This required a) voice activation, and b) not looking at the texts whatsoever. I want to share them with you:

1. Haystak to the dead my cord wood in the notch k rose wood burn them when it was school his contributions to the board do fighting off the inventors it was a pitiful thing indeed.

2. Nextbook tablet jewel she will ask him to destroy the altar of chiles and that’s the goddess free and I don’t know what else someone can tell him we’ll have to be killed.

3. Priest will also feature is it and carols was work with him to catch the Explorer big is that as we’re both my sacrifice.

I know, I just gave away the entire plot, right? Luckily I vaguely remember what they are supposed to mean, so hopefully I can work them in. Interesting how Keros became both k rose and carols

Finally, a word on Jay Lake. He is reaching the end of his time in this life. He has only a short time left and apparently his mind is fading quickly. I don’t know him well, though he shines sharp in my memory those times I have been in his orbit. One of the things that my beloved eighth grade teacher, Mr. Henry,  said to us (shortly before he passed of fucking cancer), was that he had always endeavored to live his life so that when he left a room, people would miss him. I didn’t know he was dying at the time. He succeeded in that endeavor and I have always wanted to do the same. Jay has exceeded that. He’s brought bright joy into the lives of so many and I will miss his presence in this world.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Back in the saddle

The writers retreat was amazing. Just amazing. Here’s a set of the photos on flickr. I took my camera, but I grabbed the wrong charger, so all of these were taken with my phone. I only figured out using the flash on two pictures. Guess which.

I decided to work on the piece I posted last. I ended up writing about 15K words on it. Not sure how long it will be. I want it to be a novella and I want to try to self-pub it. I may be asking for beta readers on it when I get it done, though not sure when that will be. It was really nice to focus on writing and get in the groove. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get focused at home yet. I’m hoping tomorrow. I really want and need to get back in the writing groove.

In the meantime, my dad had surgery finally and is getting around a bit. Hopefully they will make it home reasonably soon. The boy of size is still sick, though started tutoring this week. That’s good.

I did send the tax packet off to the accountant today. I’m still waiting on a document, but hoping that comes very soon. I’m hoping I can actually file on time this year. It would be nice. Now I have to get all my stuff out from this year so far and get them into the spread sheet.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I made it to the retreat and got settled in. Met some fun people and a couple hours ago, i buckled down to work. I wrote the beginning of something. I’d like your opinion on it. Would you want to read more? I ask because it’s a little bit different from what I’ve written before and I’m feeling my way. It’s super rough, but thumbs up or down?


I got the fish-eye stare from the concierge when I walked past him into the lobby. I passed through the security net, feeling it ripple across my skin like seeking fingers. My lips tightened smugly. I could go out and come back again and totally change my aural signature. It might remember this version of me forever—and it probably would—but it wouldn’t do it a damned bit of good.

Effrayant was a mashup of the Bellagio and the Bates Motel, with a little dash of old school English castle for flair. The outside was brick and tile with a few thousand windows and a mansard roof that went up six or eight stories on top. The rooms up there were probably long-term residences. The central tower was a good forty stories high, with the four wings sprouting like spokes from its shoulders. The tops of the wings boasted pools, clubs, restaurants, and helipads.

I wasn’t there for the entertainment; I was on a job.

Inside was dark wood, modern furniture, soft lights, and museum quality art. Muted opera music wandered through the cavernous lobby.  The staff all wore Italian wool uniforms in gray, burgundy, and navy, while customers dressed in designer glitz and blue-collar chic.

I couldn’t blame the bellman for looking at me sideways. Wearing Levi’s, a longsleeved cotton shirt from the Goodwill, and a pair of knee-high leather boots that had seen better days, I definitely didn’t look glitzy or chic.

Add in the fact that my luggage was nothing more than a ratty backpack, I was a little surprised that the security guards inside didn’t stop me.  With force. Given how obscenely expensive it was to stay at the exclusive and highly discriminating Effrayant, I figured these guys should have been all over me. Sure, the ghosts make people want to turn and head the other way and let me be someone else’s problem. Security guards ought to be better trained. They shouldn’t let the heebie-jeebies get the better of them. I get that it’s not every day that you get the ghost push-off from someone made of flesh and blood, but Effrayant like to brag their security was the best of the best.

I walked in and all six of thick-necked best of the best got busy picking lint off their coats, making me the check-in clerk’s problem.

Poor thing. I could tell she wanted to be anywhere else. That’s Tabitha’s fault. She can put the fear of Jesus into just about anyone without hardly trying.

Tonight she was trying.

She didn’t want to come into Effrayant. She thought it was too dangerous. She was right, but that didn’t change the job.  I wanted to tell her to suck it up and settle down, but she was only a thirteen year old girl and dead or not, her hormones were raging. She wasn’t going to listen to me, of all people. Plus she still had a lot of PTSD issues from how she got killed. Or so I assumed. I had no idea how it had actually gone down. I only knew she was pissed as hell and she had nightmares that occasionally leaked into my dreams. If any of what happened in those nightmares had actually happened to her, she had a right to her attitude.  Hell, she had a right to have gone right over the edge into insanity-land. I didn’t think she had, but it’s not like she talked to me. Another issue she had going on was that she didn’t trust anybody and when she got scared, she killed first and asked questions later.

Tabitha’s a poltergeist—she’s a pretty effective killer when she wants to be—which is why I was glad the security guards hadn’t bothered me. I might not have been able to hold her back without force, and I didn’t like doing that. It reminded her and all the others that I could snuff them out without much effort.

That’s me—Mallory Jade, former Exterminator. In the bad old days, if you wanted something or someone killed, for a fee, I’d kill it—from ghost to banshee to terrorist to disgruntled employees. I don’t even know how many final deaths I’m responsible for; I don’t want to know. I quit that life; left it behind like dust in the rearview. I don’t kill anymore. I’m a fixer now. If you’ve got a problem, I’ll help you fix it, so long as I don’t take anybody’s life or half-life or dead-life. The money’s better and I get to sleep at night.

Unfortunately, these days I sleep with ghosts. They like to attach to magicians, but that’s usually guaranteed suicide. Most of us with enough power to attract ghosts also have enough power to send them off to the final death.  It’s a moths to the bug zapper situation. I’m the rare exception, since I’ve sworn off killing. I don’t even like binding them off so they can’t come near me. It’s not like they take up space or weigh anything, and they do have their uses.

Like helping me to fake my aural signature and making unfriendly types look the other way. Unfortunately, it looked like they were going to make the check-in clerk pee her pants.  I sighed and pushed down on Tabitha slightly. The girl-ghost recoiled and struck back at me. I held her tight against me. I didn’t need her flinging furniture and blowing up computers. It wasn’t any more painful than a bear hug, but I could tell she her fury was shifting to panic, and that would not end well.





Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
Ideas whizzing along

I had a story idea today. First line of something. Possibly a story. I want to write a story. I don’t particularly have time for this, but I’m curious to see what it is. Trouble is, I have no flipping idea where the heck it is going. This is what came to me:

We do try to keep the ghosts out—we are a quality establishment after all—but they do find a way. We do have an exterminator on call, however, so if one happens to annoy you, do let the front desk know.

I know absolutely nothing else. I need to find out, apparently.

Today was lovely. We did relatively little work, but did get some things we needed to do accomplished. We also got the kids out of the house and the boy only vomited once. He also does not have giardia. I also managed to twist or wrench my knee. Don’t know how. It hurts though. I would like it to stop now in case the gods of knees are listening.

Did I mention we found some patio furniture this week on craigslist? A table and four chairs all made of steel with some rust. We’ll have to clean them up but they are very nice and not nearly as expensive as new. As the weather improves, we’ll be having a lot of outside meals tea and whatever else sounds good.

Monday, February 10th, 2014
The day that got lost

This morning I started out a little late as school was canceled again (but not tomorrow!) and did some laundry, fed the children, and then got a call from the GI doc for the boy. They could see him today (after cancellation Thursday for weather) so we dropped everything and headed there. After lunch, we met with the doc to recap all that’s been done and talk about what to do next. He stopped one medication, then gave another. The boy will try it out for the few days and it will either work or not and be obvious if it does or not. He will also have an MRI and a test for giardia. Depending on results, we may be looking at an upper GI scan. So we wait to see.

I’ve been thinking about a story all night. I’m not sure what it’s doing or how I’m going to plot it out. I’m not sure what it wants to be. It’s something I’ll have to work on in my ‘off’ time, which is to say, when I’m not working on contracted things. Or taxes. I’m working on taxes this week and my two presentations. I am not sure what is going on with the story. It feels like it’s evolving, though slowly. What’s funny is that as each little appendage or bit of the story develops, I don’t know if it will work or not, or be useable or not. It might just rot off and become nothing. It might grow into something beautiful. I’m not sure if it wants to be a story or a novel. We’ll see what becomes of it.

The main character is named Esha. She’s female. The name refers to the infinitesimal moment between twilight and night, when color fades to black and gray.

Saturday, January 4th, 2014
What I’m tired of

I’m really of tired of not being able to plot out stories; of my head refusing to sort out a plot before I write. It’s incredibly annoying and it slows down what I want to do. Lately I’ve been getting an image or a character or both, and nothing more. I have to write to discover the story. I’m finding this incredibly frustrating. I need to figure out a way to get back to finding at least some major plot points to hang the story on. I need this. I just  have to figure out how.

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Beginning freezing

I posted that little bit  the other day of a story I wanted to work on. And then I promptly froze. It was so easy and so fun to write, and then I froze. I know a bit about the character, but not much. I wanted to just write a story and play. Emphasis on play. But then I started investing it with more importance in my head. I don’t know if I started thinking of it as a novel or what, but I got a deer in the headlights moment where I just couldn’t go forward. I had to choose what would happen and I kept thinking, what if it doesn’t work out? What if it’s wrong? What if I ruin this lovely beginning with a bad story?

I let that go on for about a day and then had a personal intervention from my friend, Sanity. It went like this.

Sanity: Don’t be dumber than you have to be. Write it. If it doesn’t work, that’s what delete is for. You know you don’t know if it will work out until you write it anyway.

Me: gibber gibber wasting time gibber gibber

Sanity: it’s not wasting time if you discover the story. Lots of stories have false starts. It’s called discovery. You do it all the time. Get over it.

Me: gibber whimper gibber whimper urban fantasy gibber whimper epic whimper whimper???????

Sanity: Oh please. Yes it could go both ways. Try it both ways if you must. But at this point, you have to start, so pick something and try it out and if you don’t like it, then go back and start again in the other. Duh. You know this. Why are you being such a baby?

Me: whine whimper whine whimper

Sanity: It’s called being a writer. You just have to deal with all the fears and self-doubts. You write well. You know it. So shut up and get in there and do it.

Me: biting my lip and trying not to whimper any more

Sanity: And no chocolate either. You can have some when you get some words down. Now. Pull up your big girl panties and go to work. Snaps whip menacingly. Before I have to use other methods to convince you.

Monday, December 30th, 2013
What to do?

I started a new thing last night. It’s going to be shorter (stop laughing). Either a short story or a novella. I think. I love the opening, but I’m trying to decide if it is going to be a Horngate piece. It would be set in the world of, but it won’t include any of the people, except possibly Xathan or Tutresiel. It’s a female angel. Deformed. I don’t know what call to make. Sigh. Help me Obi Wan! Feel free to voice a thought.

Here’s the so far for you to peruse:

Why would the gods give her wings and make them too puny for flight? She is doomed everymore to watching her brothers and sisters soar in the diamond reach, their wings limned in the glory of the light falling from above. Ever will she be tied to the land and the seas, never to know the sweet loft of the wind, the swoop and the fall, or the curl in the stomach that follows. She will be chained among the mud-trudgers, the wave-runners, the wood-crawlers, with no purpose, no reason for being. Her wings should be cut. Let her believe she was never one of us. Let her believe she was shaped from mud, salt, and sticks, not light. It’s a mercy.

And will cutting her wings teach her a lie? Can we alter her eyes? Her bones? Her hair? Her skin? Can we alter a heart pierced by quills? She is what she is. She is what the gods have intended. Are we to question their gifts? Their wisdom? It cannot be so. It must not be so.

Never has one of us walked among them as an equal. They will forget themselves. They will forget what we are and think us weak. There will be war.

If it must be, then we will fight.

This is a mistake.

This is life.

Sunday, December 29th, 2013
The to-do list

Another day without barfing! whoohoo! We’re on a roll now.

My to-do list is huge. First off, I need to clean the house from top to bottom. I started today, after running some errands. More will come tomorrow. I need to start taking down decorations as well. I also need to I also promised to play a rather lengthy board game with the kids. One that none of us know how to play. Sigh. I hope it’s fun and not heartburn-inducing.

I want to get some writing done this week also, despite the fact that I have kids home. Maybe I should abandon the idea of getting writing done. Hmmm. I don’t want to, though. I’d like to write a story, though I don’t know what. Maybe I should give myself a writing prompt and see what happens. I have an image in my head but I’m not sure what it’s trying to be. Not sure if it wants to be UF or a Horngate story or an epic sort of tale. I suppose I’ll find out if I can carve out some time away from the kidlets.

I started reading a book tonight and failed utterly when attacked by small (relatively speaking) people who wanted snuggles and hugs. And of course, the dog. We also watched Despicable Me 2 tonight. That was fun.

I also plan to get outside. Gotta get some walking in.

I really don’t want to clean, though. Not my favorite thing to do. But necessary. I figure I’ll get the rest of the downstairs done. Or at least mostly done.We’ll see. Depends on how much energy I muster. I accidentally suggested taking the kids to get something for their dad. They seem excited about it.