#WIPpet Wednesday: An excerpt from Recontact and the first attempt at a cover

In the last week, I’ve switched from editing Island of Glass to Recontact, the SF novella I wrote with Jay Lake that I’ve mentioned before. So today, I would like to share an excerpt from that again. I’ve uploaded the first 9,000+ words to be critiqued at the next Villa Diodati workshop, but just in case anyone is so blown away that they want to read more, I intend to upload the complete novella as well. Not that I think it’s going to happen, but who knows, I might get lucky. *g*

Given some of the feedback I got from beta readers, I did some reorganizing and made part of the second section of the book into a prologue. Rog, the narrator of this section, is a pretty foul-mouthed guy, so if that offends you, you might want to skip it (and forgive the asterisks — I don’t want this site to end up indexed or anything). Since this is going to be the new beginning, I’m hoping it’s self-explanatory. So without further ado, here are 16 sentences for the 16th day of the month:

Rogelio Crandall-Yui

Hesperides loomed from the iron-gray waters of Naxos Bay, the rusting stub of her narrow neck a monument whose meaning had long been lost. Or transubstantiated, I suppose, if the old mission logs and current radio transmissions were to be believed. The people on this planet had hand-wound crystal sets and a lot of passion. Just no Tesla yet to get them firmly on the road.
They’d find their way.
Meanwhile forty billion jo-dollars worth of hardware from the Smith-Ayapurtam expedition had been rotting in saltwater for well over a hundred years. Even if we were interested in salvage, we wouldn’t be getting much more than materials reclamation.
Hesperides had become the door to the heavens, or the gates to a particularly dissonant h*ll, depending whose theology you believed. One side or the other was even now setting fire to something big farther west along the bay. I hadn’t had the opportunity to see a city burn before, but I suspected I was now.
By all the gods and martyrs, had we f***ed this thing up. I’d never seen a Recontact in such a mess. Not even Hy Wyoming, which was literally the textbook case in How Not To Handle Recontact. The broken-backed starship with the flowering vines growing all over her lee side, crewed now by pale yellow monkeys who fished from the blown hatches just above the waterline — she was the literalized metaphor of the state of relations between the world of Bonificium and the rest of humanity. Ruined, filled with monkey sh*t, with no way back to where things belonged.

My daughter and I have also come up with a first attempt at a cover:

Recontact by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold

Very happy for any and all feedback on both the excerpt and the cover. :)

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

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The first rose of the year

Just to show you how weird the weather has been this year, when we were in the garden yesterday, I saw that the first rose had already bloomed:

Arthur Bell Rose
Arthur Bell in my garden

Once upon a day, I used to spend the first couple of weeks in May in North Carolina for a big three letter company, testing translations of computer programs. While there, one of the places I always visited was the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. The roses there were invariably several weeks ahead of those in Germany:

Fair Bianca Rose in Duke Gardens
Fair Bianca at the Duke Gardens

By the time I got back from the Triangle, my own roses were just starting to bloom. This year, most of my rose bushes already have buds, and I’m sure several of those will be blooming by the end of April.

My progress is not quite as rosy. I continue to move forward on the translation, but not as quite as quickly as I would like, with all the socializing going on with my daughter here. I don’t see her every day anymore, though, so that’s important.

On the writing front, I’ve switched temporarily from editing Island of Glass to editing Recontact. Another Villa Diodati workshop is coming up beginning of May, and I want to hand in the first several chapters for critique. Before I do that, I need to address the comments I got from my lovely beta readers. Thanks again, you guys. :)

So while progress is slow, it’s there. I’m happy with that, given everything going on at the moment.

Hope everyone is getting off to a good start this round!

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#WIPpet Wednesday: Walking on Broken Glass?

It’s Wednesday again, and I’m still revising Island of Glass. (I don’t think I’ll get back to any new writing until the translation project is finished.)

To keep things simple, I’m giving you 9 paragraphs for the 9th day of the month. In this excerpt, which follows immediately on the one I gave you last week, Chiara has presented glass slippers to a prince of Venice, and he is very enthusiastic about them, perhaps too much so:

Chiara didn’t know what to say. She could only hope that beneath his smiles and chuckles he wasn’t offended. Her plan to gain the prince’s favor was backfiring badly.
“Talented, beautiful, and unusual,” the prince continued. “And quite rich as well, I presume?”
She could tell from the heat of her cheeks that they must be flaming by now. She nodded mutely.
He raised one expertly plucked, aristocratic eyebrow. “And you want me to free your uncle.”
She almost heaved a sigh of relief at his change of subject. She hoped that was the end of his attempts to flirt with her; flirtation was not one of Chiara’s strong points. “The Fenice Glassworks cannot be run properly without Gianfranco Dragoni,” she said. “Surely the Council of Ten cannot wish for such a situation. The taxes we pay are an important source of revenue for Venice, after all.”
He didn’t answer, staring instead at the matching glass slippers. “I wonder if they would fit me. They look to be my size.” He glanced at her again with a suggestive smile. “As if you knew me intimately, my dear.”
Oh, no, she hoped he didn’t intend to actually try the slippers on! They were decorative, not meant to be worn. If they broke and cut his princely foot, he would probably throw her into the prison of the Doge’s palace right alongside Uncle Gian.
He sank into the nearest lavishly upholstered chair and snapped his fingers. “Remove my shoes,” he said to the servant who appeared at his side.
Chiara watched the proceedings, trying to remain composed, given her panic at what would surely happen next.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. :)

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#ROW80: My writing goals for the second quarter 2014

I realize we were supposed to post our goals yesterday, but I was tagged in the writing process meme, and I rarely have time for more than one blog post a day. Thus, writing goals for the second quarter 2014 are a day late.

The goals that I didn’t complete last round I am carrying over into this. A number of goals are a bit vague, since I have thirty pages to go on the Big Fat Translation, and I just don’t have enough time or creativity left for big picture writing goals while I’m still working on that. In the spirit of Kait’s excellent post, while I’m still translating this novel, I have to go easy on myself regarding my writing goals. Once that’s done, I can sit around with a spiral notebook for an afternoon, take notes, ask myself questions, and figure out what burns to be written.

On to the specific goals for the next quarter:

Writing:

- Work on writing related projects every day. Once the Big Tranlation Project is done, return to daily page goals.

- Move forward on A Wasted Land

- Finish edits on Recontact (collab eith Jay Lake)

- Finish edits on Island of Glass

- Start Facets of Glass

- Write 2 new short stories

Business:

- Be done with the Big Translation Project by the end of April

Writing business:

- Publish Island of Glass

- Publish Recontact (novella with Jay Lake)

- Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook

- Upload “Leaving Sweater” to Smashwords and make it free

- Publish “Mars, A Traveler’s Guide” to Amazon and make it free

- Make Author Page for Amazon.de

- Submit a short story a week to traditional publishers

- Start marketing my ebooks again

Wishing everyone a successful spring!

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The Great E-book Pricing Question

Ruth Nestvold:

Great post by David Gaughran on ebook pricing — when I have time for marketing again, I should do some more experimenting with pricing myself. :)

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

soulsale There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly.

Price/value confusion

Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value.

Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.”

Price and value are two different things. From Wikipedia:

Economic value is not the same as market price. If a consumer is willing to buy a good, it implies that the customer places a higher value…

View original 1,285 more words

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Blog Hop: My Writing Process

I was recently tagged to take part in the “Writing Process Blog Tour” by the lovely and talented K. L. Schwengel. This particular “meme” (as these things are referred to nowadays) is about authors sharing something about your writing process by answering four questions. In turn, we pass the torch to other authors. This way, it spreads like wildfire. When I googled “Writing Process Blog Tour” I got almost 24,000,000 hits. :)

Anyway, here’s my own contribution to the meme:

1) What am I working on?

Right now I have two main projects going:
- A Wasted Land, the third novel in my Pendragon Chronicles series that started with Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur. This novel revolves around Yseult’s son Kustennin and the fate of Britain after the Battle of Camlann, when former alliances begin to fall apart and the Saxon kingdoms on the fringes of Britain are growing stronger again. I’ve been working on this one for over a year now, since the publication of Yseult and Shadow of Stone — and a number of readers started asking for more — but for some reason, it’s still not completely coming together for me.
- Final revisions for Island of Glass, a YA novella. The novella tells the story of Chiara, a young glassmaker of Murano, who makes glass shoes for a prince of Venice to help save her uncle from prison. But the magic works in a different way than she had imagined…
- At any give time, I also have several other projects in the works. Right now that includes revising a novella I wrote with Jay Lake for publication, Recontact, as well as brainstorming further works in the worlds of Island of Glass and Looking Through Lace.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Anyone brings their own experience, their own way of looking at the world to what they write. Not only that, we each have different priorities, different interests, and different kinds of stories that move us the most. Any author who writes out of their own experience and interests is going to produce distinctive work, work that is recognizable in some way.

5th century Britain
One of my passions is for historical maps and what they signify. Make of that what you will. :)

For me, a couple of the interests that probably distinguish my work is my interest in literature, politics, linguistics, and cultural differences in general. For example, there is a lot of big picture cultural conflict in my Arthurian novels, Yseult and Shadow of Stone, probably more than is generally common in that genre. Or take my science fiction novellas in the Looking Through Lace series: they revolve around the linguistic and cultural misunderstandings of a first contact mission.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the books I would want to read, it’s as simple as that. My books and short stories contain the things that move me: events that break my heart, topics that get my back up or that I’m passionate about, my fears and my dreams.
I tend to package those passions in the genres of science fiction and fantasy because those are the genres I most enjoy reading. I have enough contemporary in everyday life. What I read and what I write is somewhere beyond or apart from that.

4) How does my writing process work?

Before I start writing a novel or short story, I usually do a lot of brainstorming and pre-writing in longhand on scrap paper and in cheap, sprial-bound notebooks. I’ve tried to use those beautiful Paperblanks notebooks for the purpose, but they’re too intimidating. I guess in order to free my playful brain, I need something that looks like it can be thrown away if it’s crap.
Once I’ve worked out the basic details of my world, my characters, and my plot, and have started playing with ideas for scenes to go with all of that, then I will start writing, jumping around here and there in the timeline as more scene ideas and plot twists occur to me. I don’t have everything mapped out from the moment I start to write, but neither can I start without any inkling of where the story is going to go. At the very least, I need to know the ending, so I will know what to shoot for.

An now, the folks who will be answer these question next! I did write three other writers, but one didn’t respond. Without further ado, here are my two “followers” who will be posting next week:

Shah Wharton: Shah loves fiction; horror, paranormal mystery, dark fantasy, and sci-fi are her favourites, although she also enjoys dark comedy, some romance, and an occasional young adult fantasy. She also writes poetry (two published in anthologies), short stories (one published), and ghost writes fiction as a freelancer.

Shah studied psychology, hypnotherapy, and counselling eons ago and once worked in a social work capacity with children, women with mental health issues and the homeless until her own mental health issues began to encroach on her abilities in 2005. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and speaks freely on her blog about how bipolar disorder has impacted her life.

As an infant, Shah’s father taught her to appreciate the written word through poetry. Now you’ll usually find her immersed in a story while slurping tea, cuddled up with her little family. Shah lives with her huge German Shepherd and her husband, anywhere between Dubai and United Kingdom.

Outside of reading and writing, Shah enjoys theatre, movies, zombies, varied music from old jazz to rock, travel, great food … and dogs.

Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.

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This #WIPpet Wednesday: Glass slippers for a prince — and the consequences

I’m still working on (hopefully final) revisions for Island of Glass. With my daughter visiting, there’s a lot less time for writing and translating, and the translation job has to come first. So this week, my WIPpet will again be from my glassmaking fairy tale.

Last week, someone said they would love to see the shoes, and I promised to provide a description. Now this is certainly a lovely glass slipper, but Chiara’s is even cooler:

Glass slipper art

I want to provide the description of Chiara’s art, but at the same time, I want to move the story forward a little bit. So this week I’m going to give you two short excerpts from the novella, 4 paragraphs each for the month, 4 from the completion of the glass shoes, and 4 from the scene of the prince’s reaction to the gift:

“Pasquale, could you heat the millefiori rod for me? I want to make a rosette for the front of the shoe.”
He grinned and pulled on an apron. “As the maestra commands.”
She extended the shoe into the heat again, while Pasquale prepared the rod that would become its laces.
When both of the glass evening slippers were completed, the workers in the hot shop stood back, admiring Chiara’s art. The blue glass of the shoes were decorated with glittering gems of clearest cristallo, and the rosettes at the front made of a mosaic of pure, colorless glass, combined with slices of colorful millefiori. The strips appeared tied together with the carelessness of a real shoe. The red heels had the exact curve of the elegant slippers preferred by the nobility of Venice.

So those are the glass slippers, and this is the way the prince reacts after receiving them. This snippet comes directly after the one I provided last week:

Chiara blushed, glancing at her footmen, his guards, and his secretary. They all stared into the distance with that lack of expression servants cultivated, as if they didn’t hear a thing. She knew that wasn’t true. Although the prince’s words had not been loud, they were easily audible to all in the room. But footmen and guards obviously did not matter to him — he treated them as little more than pieces of furniture.
He noted the direction of her gaze. “Do you want me to send them away?”
“No, please do not for my sake.” She tried to keep any hint of panic out of her voice.
He chuckled, placing the second slipper next to its mate on the gilded side table. “Most young women scheme for the opportunity to be alone with a prince of La Serenissima. Yet here you are, offered the chance, and you turn it down.”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. :)

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