The last excerpt from Island of Glass and a request

First off, I want to apologize for being such a bad blogger-friend and WIPpeteer in the last couple of weeks. Normally, I always try my best to at least return the favor and post on the blogs of those who posted on mine. But since my dear friend Jay Lake was admitted to hospice and died only a few days later, I haven’t even managed to respond to the comments on my own blog. I hope you will all forgive me.

For over the last week, I haven’t been doing much new writing, allowing my creative brain to recover a bit from mourning. Instead, I returned to Island of Glass, a project I’d put on ice when I heard that Jay’s condition was rapidly deteriorating, and switched to our last novella, Recontact — which I didn’t finish in time, unfortunately.

Anyhoo, my writing work so far this month has revolved around final editng, formatting, bio and blurb writing, and making the paperback cover for Island of Glass. I’m publishing this project ass-backward, for reasons I will explain later, and am doing the Createspace (hard copy) version first. Most of you have already seen the beautiful cover for the novella done by Rachel Cole of Littera Designs. Based on that, I started a paperback cover, which my daughter cleaned up, given her superior Photoshop skills. I then added the spine and back description:


It will probably be about two weeks before I publish the ebook version of the novella. If anyone would like to help out with a cover reveal, an interview, or anything else, please let me know, either in the comments or email. I’m happy to return the favor. 🙂

The last time I posted an excerpt from Island of Glass, Chiara had just presented decorative glass slippers to Prince Vittore. To her dismay, he is determined to try them on. (BTW, I have no math for this week’s WIPpet, just a snippet ending on a nice cliffhanger.) Here is what follows the last excerpt:

Once his feet were encased in no more than fine silk stockings, the prince looked at her. “Signorina Dragoni, the slippers please?”
He obviously meant for her to put the shoes on his feet herself. She repressed a sigh and fetched them from the side table. Kneeling in front of the prince, she lifted his right foot, slid the glass over his toes, and pushed it onto his heel.
To Chiara’s astonishment, it was a perfect fit.
“Amazing, Maestra!” Prince Vittore exclaimed. “I have had custom-made dancing slippers that do not fit as well as this crystal work of art. I will be curious to see if the second shoe is as perfect a fit as the first.”
She picked up the second shoe and looked up into the prince’s eyes. “My prince, even if by some miracle this slipper too fits, please do not try to walk on them. They are glass, they cannot hold your weight. They will break and cut you.”
He lifted her chin a touch higher with one finger. “Nonsense, my dear. As you say, it is a miracle. We are living in an age of magic, after all. You may not have grown used to that fact, but I am fortunate enough to deal with magic on a daily basis. I may be mistaken, but these shoes seem touched by magic.”
“I am no wielder of magic, Your Highness. I am a glassmaker.” She wasn’t about to tell him about the magic of Signora Gutfe, some of which she had learned.
He smiled. “And as a glassmaker, you must admit that glass itself is often much like magic. Or am I wrong?”
She nodded. Cristallo was the most magical substance she knew — and the stones for this glass had been delivered by the birds she had foreseen in the oil on Signora Gutfe’s serving tray.
“The second shoe, Signorina?” the prince reminded her gently.
Praying he was right about the magic in the shoes she had made, she pushed the second one onto the royal foot.
“Again, perfect!”
Prince Vittore rose. The glass slippers held.
From her kneeling position, she watched as the prince strode around the audience chamber. She was not the only one staring — the guards and servants all watched, their mouths half open in surprise. Sunlight from the high windows streamed into the room, and the slippers tinkled with bright music when they touched marble. The prince paced in front of an immense mirror, more expert work from the glassmakers of Murano, and admired his reflection. Cristallo, clear and in shades of red and blue, glittered in the spring sunlight, and the colorful slices of millefiori on the carelessly tied rosettes seemed to dance with the prince’s steps.
He halted in front of her and held out his hand. Chiara took it and rose.
“Did I not tell you there was magic in these shoes?” he murmured close to her ear.
“You did, my prince.” She tried to pull her hand out of his grasp, as was proper, but he held her fingers tight.
Once again, he lifted her chin with one finger. She repressed the urge to jerk her head away.
“Rich, beautiful, talented, unusual, and with hands like an angel and perfect knowledge of my feet.” He gazed at her with a slight smile and an intensity that scared her. “I believe I will marry you, my little glassmaker.”

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. 🙂

10 thoughts on “The last excerpt from Island of Glass and a request”

  1. No apologies are necessary, Ruth. 🙂 And put me down on your list for cover reveal and interview or guest post or whatever suits the bill.

    What a great excerpt but I really and truly do not like the prince. I was hoping the shoes would shatter but would hate for Chiara to have to face the repercussions of that.

  2. No need to apologize for self-care after your friend’s death.

    I’d be happy to help you out with cover reveal/whatever. You can use the contact form on my blog.

    I adore this story. I’m fascinated with glass, and I’m both drawn in by and repulsed by the prince’s sheer arrogance. I love the way Chiara has a much more normal reaction to the prince than in most fairy tales—she doesn’t seem pleased with this state of affairs.

  3. Never feel guilty for taking the time you need to mourn, remember and rejoice Jay’s life, Ruth. The fact that you needed that time so deeply is part of the depth your friendship took.

    I was so hoping the Prince would have fallen on his regal arse because the glass shoes and marble floor didn’t meet each other well (not because the shoes broke… that would be Chiara’s fault), whereas the pompous Vittore’s own clumsiness… ah well, he’d probably find a way to blame her for that too. :-/

    Lovely images

  4. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Ruth. There’s no need to apologize for taking time away from the blogging world to grieve and heal.

    Your cover is absolutely stunning. If you’d like to do a cover reveal over at my blog, feel free to shoot me an email and we can schedule something.

    Loved the excerpt. Sounds like a great read.

  5. You may well find your friend a part of your writing for a long, long time. You will remember his laughter and his encouragement as well as his creativity.
    The cover is gorgeous. If you’d like another place to ‘reveal,’ I’m happy to sign up for a blog hop/interview/whatever you wish.
    The tension in the Prince’s wearing of those glass slippers is enticing. I just know something bad is coming his way . . .
    Have a better week.

  6. As the others have said, there is certainly no need to apologise!

    I love this excerpt, the prince being so cocky and Chiara’s fears, and his announcement that he clearly doesn’t feel Chiara has a say in at the end. I’m really looking forward to reading this its entirety!

    1. Sounds like fun, but I find it interesting that they say Aphra Behn’s name was almost certainly not Aphra. I’ve done tons of research on her, and I haven’t heard that one yet. Lots of spelling variants of her name, but not that she made her name up.

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