Diana Pharaoh Francis | Diana P. Francis | Diana Francis

Archive for 'Tracer'

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Trace of Magic Snippet

I finally FINALLY finished my revision of Trace of Magic and sent it back to my editor. I really like it and hope that I’m right. Anyhow, in honor of finishing, here’s a snippet for you.


A week later, I walked into the Diamond City Diner a little after two in the afternoon. I’d spent the night before following a carpet cleaner who was stealing supplies from his boss. I’d slept a few hours after tracking him to his storage unit, then turned in my report and collected my fee. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before and I was starving.

Patti glared at me when I walked in. “You look like shit.”

I had not grounds to argue. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last week. Nancy Jane and her mother had been rescued alive. I should have been over the moon. Instead I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. I spent hours reinforcing my nulls and I’d taken to carrying my gun everywhere I went, along with the Chinese baton I hid in my sleeve. I usually kept one or the other on me, but tended to leave them behind when I went shopping or to going to visit my family. Not any more.

“Thanks. I spent hours on this look.” I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, with my usual uniform of jeans, hiking boots, a long sleeved shirt, a heavy jacket, a hat, and gloves.

“It’s cold out there. Got anything to eat?” I asked, unzipping my coat and stuffing my gloves and hat into a pocket before hanging it on a hook fastened to the bench of my usual booth. A snow storm had moved in, the first of several to come, all piled up like cars stuck on an LA freeway. By the time they were done with Diamond City, we’d be buried.

“Hold your horses, Laraby.” Patti glared at the dentist who was waving a check at her. “I’ll be there in a second.” She grabbed a clean coffee cup off the counter and set it down in front of me and filled it. “I’ll get you something to eat.”

Ten minutes later she returned carrying a white oval plate mounded with an omelet, hashbrowns, pancakes, and a half dozen slices of bacon. I didn’t want an omelet, but Patti tended to get me what she thought I needed, not what I wanted. It was loaded with vegetables and cheese. Tasty, but not the burger and fries I was craving. Arguing wasn’t going to do me any good. I’d eat what I was given and try to look happy about it.

“Give me a few minutes,” she said. “We should slow down soon and I’ll join you. People are trying to get home before the weather gets too heavy.”

I glanced through the front window. Snow was falling in a thick curtain of fat flakes. Already the ground was white. I was willing to be there’d be an inch or two on the ground by the time I finished eating. Giving lie to her promise, the door jingled and half a dozen people came in, stomping their feet and dusting the snow off their clothing.

Patti zipped off to help them. I cleared my plate and immediately wanted a nap. I considered heading upstairs. Patti kept a room for me in her apartment. I spent two or three nights a week at the diner, sometimes more, depending on the jobs I had. Right now I didn’t have anything lined up. I was planning to hit the grocery store and go home and hole up until the storms blew themselves out.

I took my dishes to the bus tub, waving at Ben, Patti’s partner in the diner, through the kitchen window. I grabbed a pot of coffee and topped off my cup before sliding back into my seat. I didn’t bother looking up with the bell on the door rang again. I was checking the weather radar on my phone.

A shape loomed over me suddenly and Clay Price slid into the seat opposite me. My mouth dropped open. As far as I knew, he’d never even set foot in the diner before.

“What do you want?”

He slid my coffee out of my hand and took a sip, then eyed it in surprise. “That’s good,” he said.

“Not to mention it’s mine,” I said, eyeing him balefully.

He set the cup down, then ran his fingers through his hair. He was he carefully controlled type, so his gesture startled me. I examined him. He didn’t look any better than I did. His eyes were sunken and grooves cut deeply around him nose and mouth.

“You know, if you’re hungry, there are other tables. Empty tables,” I pointed out.

He sipped my coffee again. “But you’re not sitting at the other tables.”

A frisson of foreboding rippled through me. I shivered. It had nothing to do with cold. “You came looking for me?”

“I knew you were a smart woman.”


He pulled a manila file from inside his leather jacket and set it on the table. “I want you to do a trace for me.”

Like I said before, my cardinal rule is not to be stupid. Taking a case working for Price—a cop and a Tyet enforcer–was the dictionary definition of stupid. Insane even. I didn’t even think before I said, “no.”


Friday, April 25th, 2014
accumulation of stuff

That title isn’t all that accurate. I’m not talking about actual stuff, but stuff I wanted to talk about. And life.

The first thing is odd. I was driving home from Norwescon and saw a billboard that said “Jesus died for your sins.” Not an unfamiliar saying, but my storytelling mind went instantly into what really happened. That people hated him. That they wanted to be rid of him. That there was plotting and intrigue of a Shakespearean quality, and then Jesus was set up, tortured, and killed. That’s the simple telling. Take his name out of it, and you could really play with the story, couldn’t you? I’d have loved to see Shakespeare tell it.

Another thing I thought about is plot stuff for the next Crosspointe book and the next Tracer book. The Crosspointe book is starting to really firm up plotwise. Oh, and I was listening to a song and I got to Costco and spent fifteen minutes scribbling in a notebook on a new Horngate something. I don’t know if it will go into one of the new novels, or if it will go into its own story. The song was Live’s “Lightning Crashes,” which is one of my favorite songs.

The girlie’s birthday is tomorrow, so I’m fetching cupcakes for her class and because I’m revising, I ordered her a cake. Oh, and I’m also sick. Not sure what it is. Some sort of odd virus. Anyhow, cooking is kind of unpleasant. It should pass soon. In the meantime, there is wrapping and did I mention revising?

So far on the revising I’m doing a lot of trimming and pushing on clarity. So far I haven’t made any huge cuts, but I expect to cut some scenes and tighten up others. When I get to them. I’m really pleased with the revisions thus far. I really hope you like this book. It’s alternate history urban fantasy noir and it’s first person and it’s very different from Horngate. I can’t wait to hear how you like it. (I say I can’t wait, but really I could wait if you hate it.)

The dog was sick yesterday with me. Had to run him to the vet. He was bleeding from his bottom. He’s okay. No tumors or anything. Maybe colitis, or maybe that his glands were full and irritated. Anyhow, he had his glands expressed and is on antibiotics. He seems pretty chipper, so I’m not going to worry. Yanno, because it’s so easy to just not worry.

Boy is still sick. New meds this week. All tests still normal. Poor kid.

Next con is Miscon. It’s my favorite. Small and well-run and an an amazing crowd. The hotel is super welcoming and basically, it’s a homecoming. BTW, Norwescon responded to me and said they are working on fixing the book dealer situation. That’s wonderful and that will make them a nearly perfect con.

Friday, October 4th, 2013
dribbling by the day

Here’s where I’m at for Trace of Magic. If all goes well, I’ll be done in 3-4 weeks. So far I’m pretty happy with it. I haven’t read it as a whole yet, so that could change. It’s also got romance in it. Today I wrote the “big confession moment” where the two admit their feelings to each other, right before they are about to go on a dangerous mission that will lead to Revelations and Big Danger. It was difficult to write. Part of my issue is that I have trouble with making it feel realistic when people fall fast and hard for each other. Yes, I did it with my husband, but now that I’m old and grizzled, I have a harder time with it. Yet romance writers make it feel really real. I hope I did. But I had to do it in a way that was more broken than just full on confession. Also, during the entire thing, one of them has someone  in her head making MST2K commentary. That amuses me to no end. It’s good to be amused by your own work.

Here is my lovelorn woman:

I don’t have a lot of practice baring my soul or giving romantic declarations of attachment. Love. Whatever I’ve been infected with.

54229 / 90000 words. 60% done!

I continued to be really annoyed by politicians. Go figure. I’m very worried about when we hit the debt ceiling.

In other news, I watched my daughter’s jogathon today (a school fundraiser). She was fabulous. I am so proud of her and so happy that I could just go without having to make sure my classes were covered or worry about getting grading done on time. I wrote above my quota for the week, so I didn’t have to write today at all if I didn’t want to.

I also went to Costco. I spent more time there than I wanted to–on account of helping a gentleman who had some physical issues, and then trying to talk to the shed guy for the second time (he deliberately ignored me), and on account of the crowd. Got out, got to the car and realized I had to exchange the windshield wiper blades I had forgotten to take in with me. So went back in, stood in line, made the return, went to get the blades (they’d been moved), then back to the checkout line . . . . Basically I took a heck of a lot longer than planned.

When I went in, it was foggy. The marine layer was hanging low. When I came out, brilliant sunshine and a crisp day. I rolled the windows down all the way home.