Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for 'Good books'

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
Some announcements

First, please remember that I’m taking part in the SFWA reading series. Laura Ann Gilman is hosting the program, Phyllis Irene Bradford will also be reading. To register, go here. That’s tomorrow (Weds., 14th) in Portland.

Mindy Klasky has a new book out today! SINGLE WITCH’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, the first volume in my Jane Madison Academy Series  is in stores today!

You can read the first chapter here:


Congratulations to all who made the World Fantasy Awards ballot.

It looks like we sold our travel trailer. We had it on consignment for all of a couple weeks. Amazing it went so quick. Good news though. We are trimming down on the bills and this was one of them. No more insurance or storage on it. That’s a good thing. We’ll miss it, but possibly we’ll downsize to a smaller trailer or go with a boat (I know nothing about them, but I’d like to be able to get out on rivers and lakes more).

And if anybody knows the answer to this–cordite is no longer used in the making of bullets. What exactly does one smell when a gun goes off? Obviously gunpowder, but what’s the smell from exactly?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Damn and Damn Again

The news worsens with my friend with spinal meningitis/encephalitis. She has a blood clot in her leg and has been sent to Salt Lake City. Because she also has a brain bleed, treatment is tricky. Praying hard for her.

On other subjects, David Coe, writing as DB Jackson, has a new book out today. It’s called Thieves’ Quarry and is a sequel to Thieftaker, which is an amazing book. Go here for more info. DB/David will be here on July 11th to answer some questions and talk about the new book and I’ll offer a quick and dirty review of Thieftaker. So mark your calendars.

So far things progress well with the house sale. Looks like the signing will happen on time. Really happy about that. Took the dogs walking this morning at a park while the kids played on the park stuff. It was reasonably cool and very pleasant. Then it started to warm up. The weather is supposed to break tomorrow. But it’s 111 today where my parents live. ACK! I don’t know how desert dwellers handle this heat–you know, the ones who live and work in it and not those who live in Dubai in AC with infinity pools on their 53rd floor balcony.

Found my bathroom scale today. This is probably a good thing. Because I lose weight in really small increments and so it doesn’t register on what I see or how my clothes fit that quickly,  the scale helps me stay encouraged that I’m actually making progress. I mean, it can take me a month to lose a pound. We’ll see what it says about how I’ve been doing during this whole process.

I just made orders for books. Working on a new super secret idea involving the Tower of London. So research must inevitably happen. Wish I had shelves to put books on. Still waiting on estimates for those. Hopefully I’ll know something this week. A desk would be nice, while we’re at it.

I can’t hear very well on my cell phone. It’s 3.5 years old and I probably need to upgrade, but I just don’t know if I want to go with a smart phone with a glass screen I could break pretty easily, or what. I prefer to have a keyboard also. Bah.







Monday, May 6th, 2013
And counting

One day down, two days left of this semester. Did my last faculty senate meeting today. That’s six years out of seven that I’ve served. I’m ready for a break. Kind of interested in a different committee though. Might talk to someone about it.

People looked at the house today but have decided to go with acreage I guess. Depressing. But at least the house is clean.

I wrote a page today on the WIP and don’t like it at all. I think it’s going too slow and that my main character isn’t quite right. She’s a bit cardboardy. At least on the page, though not in my head.

I want to go dig crystals, but I don’t know if Crystal Park is open yet. My feeling is that it should be and the roads should be open. We haven’t had that much snow.

I haven’t planned a book club book for May. I wasn’t sure anyone was up for it. Maybe start again in the fall? What do you think? I’m reading Thieftaker right now. Or rather, I started it, but then got caught up in other stuff and now I have to go back to it.

I keep wondering how my house shows in comparison with other houses. I know it’s old–1917. But it’s in really good shape with a lot of the original woodwork and fixtures. Sure, some of my room paints are on the bold side, but the kitchen is only 4 years old. I know we only have 1.5 baths, but I feel like there ought to be more interest. I just wish I could figure out what the deal is. We supposedly aren’t overpriced, but yet we aren’t getting much looks. And we’ve lowered the price.

Emptied off a bunch of my DVR recordings. Decided I was never going to watch this season of Person of Interest. I also deleted my Havens. I like the show but– well, I want to read more and write more.

My folks are going to be visiting for a few days. I’m looking forward to that. At least the house will be clean for them.

Monday, March 4th, 2013
Next book club nomination

Okay, opening up the book nominations. Pick a book published since Jan. 1, 2012, preferably something you haven’t read. Anything is fair game. Nominations are open until Thursday at noon, and then we’ll start voting. The next discussion will be a little bit later, on April 13th. So lots of time to get reading.

I’m going to nominate Thieftaker by DB Jackson (aka David Coe).

Pick a book!

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
A bizzard? Really?

We had a blizzard today. A thunder blizzard. It didn’t last long, but we had whiteout conditions and meanwhile the thunder was just rolling. It was pretty cool actually, but mostly because I was in the house, not outside trying to walk around in it. Very little snow stuck, but I’m expecting it will be nasty slick in the morning. Can hardly wait.

Other than that, I have little to report. Oh! Except that I read the first chapter of Kelly McCullough‘s upcoming Crossed Blades novel and was totally blown away, and then promptly ordered all three books. You should go check out his website, sample chapters and dig in.

Also, in other news, I want brownies.

Monday, August 20th, 2012
Today and Tomorrow

Tomorrow I start back to Montana. It should take two days. Actually I can do it in one, but I want to stop overnight and go to Costco before I go home. So I probably will.

On the really cool mystery front, this is about an Australian cold case that sounds fascinating. I wish I’d see it solved. Could be interesting for a story. Is it a murder? Is it a suicide? Was he a spy? And a book is the central clue. How cool is that?

next week I start back to school. Teaching that is. I have to go home and plan my class out some more. I have a tendency to change it up and so I’m going to. It will be easy this fall to teach about logical fallacy though, what with political ads and speeches. I mean, do politicians have a list and check it twice to make sure that everything they say is a logical fallacy? Seems like it sometimes. Anyhow, it’s fertile ground for working with logic and reason. Or lack thereof. I love teaching students how to be critical of commercials. And news. And politicians. Pretty much everything, really.

Been reading the Wishcraft series by Heather Blake. I do enjoy it. It’s magical mystery and kind of a cozy.

I also have to research southern living, southern style, southern language, southern behavior . . . I’m thinking of southern here to mean Alabama/Georgia, maybe South Carolina. So if anybody has suggestions for movies, TV, documentaries, books, youtube, anything really, that would help with that, I’d love to hear. I may hit you up for more of that on a continuing basis. Seriously, anything you’ve got would be helpful. I’ve got some things, but I’m looking for more. Lots more.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
A really good book

I don’t have a lot of time to read anymore, and worse, the time I have I sometimes (frequently) squander. A few months ago I got an ARC of a book by an online friend of mine. I was buried in day jobbery and my own writing, life and a few other things, so I didn’t get to it. I wanted to because it has an amazing cover, but I didn’t. I started reading it this week finally, after carrying it around with me for sometime. It’s probably got more than 3000 travel miles on it by now. Anyhow, I read it and I have this to say: Wow. Wow wow wow.

Let me tell you about it. First, the cover, because I think it really is one that grabs the eye:

Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tsavelas

This book is urban fantasy. It involves the faerie, angels, demons, and others. The plot revolves around a woman, Marley, who gets panic attacks and tends to run from life, and has a hard time keeping a regular job. She’s got a couple of really great friends, Branwyn and Penny, and she’s started hanging out a bunch with Zachariah and his two orphaned nieces, who are four year old twins. When Zachariah disappears, the girls call Marley for help and that sets off the plot.

There’s a lot going on here and you really have to pay attention, because things happen fast and there’s a lot of worldbuilding going on. The reader has to put a lot of the puzzle pieces together on the fly, because nothing is super obvious. I like this. I have to admit that for me, this was a page turner. I kept having to shoo people away while I was reading because they annoyingly kept interrupting.

I like the characters quite a bit, though I have to admit Tarn and Branwyn were my favorites. But I think what kept me going most was just wanting to find out what was going on and why. The mystery was really well built and the descriptions were compelling and vibrant. I also liked the way she portrayed the kids. They seemed real to me and not just incidental. They were important. I also liked the way that the magic was portrayed in this book. I really enjoyed it.

I do admit that I still have questions. I’m hoping they get explained in the future. Plus I want more of these characters and more of this story. More! Is it bad that I want to bug her for an early copy of the next one? I really hope there’s a second one coming. A lot.

Anyhow, this is a really good book and I recommend giving it a read.