Diana Pharaoh Francis's Blog

July 12, 2014

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 my 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.


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.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on July 12, 2014 15:46

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 have to say, 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 my 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.


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.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on July 12, 2014 15:42

July 8, 2014

Tomorrow I take off for 2.5 weeks to teach in Colorado. I’ll be at 7500 feet or so, in Gunnison. I’m teaching in the Western State Colorado University MFA in writing program. I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it. At the end is a conference open to the public called Writing the Rockies. There are some stellar speakers going to be there, including Joe Haldeman. I met him many many moons ago in passing. Hoping that I get a chance to talk to him this time.


I’m not taking leaving home that well, however. I’m worried about the kids, about the boy in particular, and already missing everybody. I don’t like this part. I have tons of appointments lined up for when I get back. No rest for the wicked, I guess.


I sent out all books that I had addresses for. I have not redrawn any names because I wouldn’t be able to send them. I probably will try to do that this next week and then send when I get home. We’ll see how everything goes.


I haven’t flown in many moons, either, so having some angst about that. I really don’t care for landings and takings off from Denver because there frequently is turbulence. Vallium anyone? Sigh.


I’m pretty sure I’m all packed to go, but for a few last minute things. Oh, and granola bars. Need to grab some of those.


I should be posting from Colorado. In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying your July.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on July 08, 2014 15:04 • 15 views

July 2, 2014

The following people are winners of The Cipher. I used the random number generator to pick the winners. You only have until Saturday to give me your address, or I’ll have to go back and draw more names. Email your addy to me at dpf AT dianapfrancis DOT com


 


And the winners are . . .


Leann Rasch


Jenny Jeffries


Dianna whose favorite color is Sapphire blue


Louise Steer


Amber at Casual Readers


JulieAnne Brown


 


And for those who didn’t win, thanks for playing! And the book is available for purchase or hopefully at your local library. Have a read!


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on July 02, 2014 20:18 • 11 views

June 27, 2014

Look what I got in the mail today!!!

The book is gorgeous. You have no idea. I’ve updated the information page on it with the updated first chapter.  ciphercoverbox


So it seems to me I need to give some away. I’m going to. Let’s see, I need posts here or on my Mad Libs blog. And they should say . . . that you want a copy. And you should give me a color. Any color.


If you have any, I’d love recommendations for where I might send a copy to get reviewed. If you know a reviewer, point them out to me. I’d love to get noise on this. And I’d love to do some blog appearances or anything else. So if you can help me out, please do! Everyone from anywhere is free to enter. I’ll get the book to you.


 


Deadline to Enter is July 1 at Midnight!

Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on June 27, 2014 21:11 • 62 views
Look what I got in the mail today!!!

The book is gorgeous. You have no idea. I’ve updated the information page on it with the updated first chapter.  ciphercoverbox


So it seems to me I need to give some away. I’m going to. Let’s see, I need posts here or on my Mad Libs blog. And they should say . . . that you want a copy. And you should give me a color. Any color.


If you have any, I’d love recommendations for where I might send a copy to get reviewed. If you know a reviewer, point them out to me. I’d love to get noise on this. And I’d love to do some blog appearances or anything else. So if you can help me out, please do! Everyone from anywhere is free to enter. I’ll get the book to you.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on June 27, 2014 20:58 • 7 views

June 24, 2014

This is from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. It’s my go-to book when writing becomes thorny. Here’s where I’m at now. She says it so well.


 


I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better


This tender relationship can change in a tinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.


A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. AS the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter in its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, “Simba!”


 


I highly recommend that you read this book. That you read it often or open it and read a bit here and there whenever you need a little inspiration.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on June 24, 2014 20:03 • 7 views

June 23, 2014

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.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on June 23, 2014 21:25

June 22, 2014

It’s come to my attention that the paper versions of Shadow City and Blood Winter have now become much more expensive. As in, around $22 dollars. I feel like I need to address this. First, you should know that I don’t have any say in pricing. I never had and doubt I ever will, unless I self-publish. It’s all up to the publisher. You might be wondering why, if the books originally priced at $7.99, why are they suddenly now almost three times that? To be honest, I’m not entirely certain. They will be available using Print on Demand (or POD) technology. I’m not sure what the costs involved in that are compared to the mass market price. It does seem strangely high to me, but again, I don’t know the ins and outs. I am just sorry that readers will be asked to pay such a high price. The price of ebooks remains quite reasonable, so that’s a positive. Unfortunately, the cost is higher to you, and also to me, insomuch as I can’t imagine a lot of these pricey books will sell.


Trade paper is obviously more expensive. These will be of a trade paper size, I believe.


I’m told that this is happening to a lot of books across the board, so a lot of writers are stuck with this pricing, though it’s the first time it’s happened to me. It also means that in time it could happen to more of my books. Anyhow, I wanted all of you to be aware of this, and also that authors have absolutely no say whatsoever in the matter. It’s entirely the publisher’s choice.


I thank each and every one of you who spend your precious money and time on my books. I endeavor to the best job I now how to do so that it’s worth it.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on June 22, 2014 10:22 • 27 views

June 21, 2014

When I was in Montana, I found this day to be a very melancholy day. Even though the hottest days of summer were ahead, this was always this beginning of the slide into winter, which would begin in September frequently, but always by October. Winter would last until well into April, and often into May. So instead of celebrating all the flowering and the growing and the sweet breezes, I would get sad. I’m fighting that a little bit today, but I got out and finished planting my garden, which was wonderful. We had wanted to go to the coast and walk on the beach, but sadly, the boy was very sick this morning. He’s better this afternoon, but it made for an impossible trip.


Anyhow, I’m enjoying the day. I hope you are as well.


Originally published at www.dianapfrancis.com. You can comment here or there.

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Published on June 21, 2014 17:21 • 3 views