Tag Archives: facets of glass

Riding down Golden Lane for #WIPpet Wednesday

Mea culpa! It’s been a while since I participated in a Round of Words or WIPpet Wednesday! The thing is, I just haven’t had the time to make the rounds of other bloggers, and if I can’t do that, I feel bad about posting.

So why have I been so busy? Well, I’m still not done with the translation, but it’s close now! I’ve also been doing a lot of experimenting with marketing, to try to lift my books out of obscurity. It’s working, kind of, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Finally, I’ve been prepping a novel idea for Nanowrimo, and I plan to dive in with lots of extra energy once the translation is finished — only a matter of days! In the meantime, I’ve managed to get a few pages done a day so I don’t fall too far behind. You can find me on the Nanowrimo site here. On Nano, I’m Specficrider if you want to be buddies!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Weeks ago in Facets of Glass, we left Gaetano arriving in Prague and trying to find his way around. By now, he has found the Goldmakers’ Street (Golden Lane in real life). My math today for 11/4 is 1+1+4 = 6 paragraphs:

He found the Friedrich glass shop between two “Alchymista,” one selling gold and one selling potions. He wondered which of the two did better business. While bigger than most of the other houses on the street, the glassmaker’s establishment was much more modest than the Fenice Glassworks where Chiara Dragoni had once been a maestra glassmaker of Murano. Gaetano asked himself what made her flee from such wealth to such simple circumstances.
He dismounted, tied the reins of his mare to a post, and pushed open the door. A tinkling bell alerted someone in the back rooms of the shop of his arrival, and an older man with thinning hair hurried in in, wiping his hands on his apron. He said something in Czech or German, and Gaetano shook his head. “Do you speak Italian?” he asked in that language.
“Only a little bit,” the man said in strongly accented Italian. “I will get someone to help you.”
Gaetano nodded his thanks. “Grazie.”
The old man disappeared through the doorway. Soon the curtain twitched again, and a young woman appeared, smiling pleasantly — at least until she saw him.
Chiara Dragoni — lost in the lagoon of Venice, and found again in a small glass shop in Prague.

Golden Lane, Prague
Golden Lane (Goldmakers’ Street) in Prague

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.

Advertisements

Gaetano goes to Prague for #WIPpet Wednesday

I skipped last week again and opted for a quarterly wrap-up instead. The thing is, I really have to concentrate on getting this translation finished, and blogging is not high on my list of priorities at the moment. But I will continue posting excerpts at least every other week. Not only do I want to keep in touch with other WIPpeteers, I also like the way it keeps me focused on this project.

So for today I’m giving you three paragraphs from Facets of Glass for the 3 in the day of the month. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and finds Gaetano on his way north to commission a glass coffin — and find Chiara:

Before setting out on his journey to Prague, Gaetano had been assured that his command of Italian and French would be sufficient during his travels. Unfortunately, his French was much worse than he had thought — at least when he tried to understand what passed for French among innkeepers on the road — and after leaving the borders of the Venetian Empire, speakers of Italian were much less common than he would have expected. The rest of his journey took him through the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, where German was the predominant language, and speakers of Italian rare.

At least his French began to improve with practice, and the farther north he traveled, the better was his command of the lingua franca.

He had been hoping that communication would become easier when he reached the imperial city of Prague, but here too men and women on the street spoke only some guttural language Gaetano couldn’t understand, either German or Czech. He couldn’t tell the difference and he didn’t care. All he wanted was to find someone who spoke a civilized tongue, and who could point him in the direction of Friedrich Glassworks.

Prague
A trip to Prague, almost 10 years ago now.

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.

Arguing about a mirror for #WIPpet Wednesday

I am slowly getting back into the swing of things again. Not only did I do a lot of marketing organization and research last week, finish my weekly page counts on the translation, and makes lots of jam and jelly out of a small percentage of our tons of apples (as well as relish and pickles from zucchini and cucumber), I also got 2700 words written. 🙂 That’s not where I want to be yet, but given that it is fall, and there’s lots to do in the garden, I’m inclined to cut myself some slack and be happy with the progress.

I’m already way past the projected word count on Shards of Glass, and while the end is in sight, I don’t think it’s going to come in at under 40,000 words. At the same time, I’m itching to get back to other projects. There may be some jumping back and forth in my near future. *g*

With that brief update, let us move on to an excerpt from Facets of Glass for WIPpet Wednesday. This snippet comes immediately following the one I gave you two weeks ago. The Dowager Princess has just learned the name of Chiara’s place of work in Prague with the help of the magic mirror. 16 sentences this week for the 16th, plus 2 to end the scene:

“If you have enough information, perhaps it would be possible for me to take the looking glass back to my own establishment?” the witch suggested. “You can still consult it at any time, Your Grace.”
The Dowager Princess gazed at the witch, while the image of the narrow street in Prague slowly faded in the smooth glass of the mirror. “As I told you when you first brought it,” she said slowly, “I do not want anyone else accessing its magic at this time.”
“I could make it available only to you.”
What was it that Vanna did not understand about her request to keep the mirror here in the Foscari palace?
“Is my steward not paying you enough?” Zilia asked.
Vanna glanced at the mirror. “It is not that. I am worried that something may happen … to it.”
Good, so their mutual distrust of each other was established. But it would be foolish of Zilia to allow the mirror to be damaged — she was still in need of its services. “Rest assured that I will see to it that nothing becomes of your mirror, Vanna.”
“Very well, Your Grace.”
Perhaps this was no more than an attempt by the witch to wring more money from her for keeping the mirror in her rooms? Well, Zilia was feeling pleased with what the mirror had shown them, she would afford to be generous. “I will instruct my steward to pay you more as long as this mirror remains with me. I hope that meets with your approval.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.”

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.

Back to the Evil Dowager Princess for #WIPpet Wednesday

Even with all the guests gone, I’m *still* not back to serious writing. As some of you may have already noticed, I have a 99c sale on Yseult running this week, the first marketing gig I’ve set up in a couple of months. While I have a number of ads running, I have also been doing some of the standard social media stuff.

I also tried to get a Facebook ad set up for Chameleon in a Mirror today, to test the clickability of the new cover image. Steep learning curve there, since I’ve never done a Facebook ad before, and the fact that I live in Europe and want to advertise to the US seems to complicate things a bit. Nor am I a Canva expert, which is what I used to create the image to go with the ad.

Chameleon in a Mirror

Even though they have templates for Facebook ads, I think next time I just use Photoshop. Let me know what you think!

Since Monday, I’ve only managed to get 600 new words written. That’s what marketing does to a gal … But without marketing, I don’t sell a damn thing (or close), and when I don’t sell a damn thing, I get frustrated and don’t feel like writing anymore. Which is why I have finally made my peace with the need to market. 🙂

Next up, WIPpet Wednesday! We are back to the evil shenanigans of the Dowager Princess, in a scene from Facets of Glass which I hope will speak for itself. 11 short paragraphs for 9 + 2:

The apple was lost, but Dowager Princess Zilia had other items from Chiara’s hand with which to find the wayward glassmaker. Before she sent Gaetano to Bohemia, she needed to know the glassworks where Chiara was working in Prague.
“Here, take this goblet,” she said, giving the witch a wine glass with delicate slopping sides that opened out much like the petals of a lily. “I need to find out more about the person who made it.”
Vanna caressed the wooden frame of the mirror and then stepped back. “Magic mirror please show to me,
“Where the maker of this goblet might be.”
After their reflections faded, a glassmaker’s workshop once again took shape in the mirror. This time, Chiara had what looked like a giant pair of tweezers in her hand and was plucking at a blob of glass on a rod. As interesting as this insight into glassmaking might be, it was not what Zilia wanted.
“Can the mirror show us the outside of the building?”
Vanna nodded. “Magic mirror, please move away.
“Out of the door and into the day.”
Zilia found herself wondering why the mirror had to be spoken to only in rhymes. Perhaps it wasn’t even for the mirror and instead was more for the client who booked Vanna’s services?
Either way, it worked. Chiara’s figure disappeared into the mists swirling through the mirror, and shortly thereafter, the image of a narrow lane with colorful houses appeared. As the image slowly focused on the front of the house, the dowager princess could discern a large window with a display of glass vases, beakers, goblet, and bowls. Above the window stood the German name “Friedrich Glas Prag.”
Zilia smiled. Now she knew where to order the glass coffin.

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.

Cover voting for Chameleon in a Mirror now open!

I’m late, but at least I’m showing up for the party. 🙂 So, as I predicted, I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done in the last week. I’ve done a lot of visiting with the visitors, kept up on the translation, and managed to write at least 100 words a day on Shards of Glass, to make sure it stays in my subconscious so that I can jump right back in when things calm down here again. I have also set up a 99c sale for Yseult for next week, for which I had to get the promotion organized. Also, my daughter helped me out with tweaking the new cover designs for Chameleon — and whipped together a third based on our old design, just simplifying it. Here is what can now be voted on:

Cover designs for Chameleon in a Mirror

You can take the poll here.

I have also uploaded all three covers individually to the Rate Book Cover site to see how they do on a “graded” scale. You can find the three covers above here, here, and here.

Do please vote and rate. It shouldn’t take much more than a minute of your time, and you’ll be doing me a huge favor. 🙂 Thanks in advance!

Now on the WIPpet Wednesday. No math this time: we’re nearing the end of the month and the end of the scene in Facets of Glass, so I have to decided to use that as my excuse to give you the rest. 🙂 For the sake of context, I’m also providing the last paragraph from the previous excerpt. After this, we will be returning to the evil Dowager Princess again for a while.

“Yes, but please do not tell anyone,” he said, addressing Anastasia again. “I might be accused of practicing magic illegally. In exchange, if you have not found a way to lift this spell by the time I return from Bohemia, I promise to do everything in my power to help you.” But what? He had no magic, and no access to those who did.
All he had was the trust of the Dowager Princess. He would need to use it well.
Anastasia nodded. “I can see that it might lead to problems for you.”
And you must promise me that you will not kill my step-sister, came Minerva’s voice in his head.
“That is an easy promise to make, seeing as it is impossible.”
I do believe that you truly do not know Chiara is in Bohemia.
He stared down at the prone form. If Minerva’s step-sister was alive and in Bohemia, it could only mean that his journey there to commission the glass coffin was a pretense.
And the Dowager Princess did not trust him as much as he thought.
But he could speak of neither without revealing too much to Anastasia.
“No, I didn’t,” he said. “Thank you for telling me.”
“Telling you what?” Anastasia demanded.
“That she is grateful to me for making it possible for her to speak with you,” he lied.
Anastasia’s eyes teared up. “I am grateful as well.”

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.

More covers, more progress, and more from Gaetano for #WIPpet Wednesday

As I pointed out in my last post on this blog, the cover of Chameleon in a Mirror didn’t do so hot at a cover rating site, so I decided to try a couple of alternatives. I’ve been tweaking them a bit since, and here are the results:

Do let me know what you think! When I have a chance, I plan to upload them as well to the cover rating site to see if they do any better, but the next week and a half is going to be crazy. We have a number of guests from the States arriving, and there will be a lot going on.

With all the work on covers and packaging that I’ve been doing recently, I haven’t been breaking any records on the new words front. But I did manage to get my quota of 2500 words written on Shards of Glass. It’s already several thousand words longer than I originally projected, and new scenes keep popping up, demanding to be written as well. It will be interesting to see how long the book turns out to be.

Since it is Wednesday, that means it is also time for an excerpt from a WIP for WIPpet Wednesday. Since Gaetano is a popular lad in these parts, we’re sticking with him for now, following wherever he needs to go. This snippet is 19 sentences long for the 19th of the month — plus 2 to end the paragraph. It follows directly after what I gave you last week:

Gaetano suspected that the dowager princess would somehow ensure that her daughter-in-law would be unsuccessful, but he didn’t want to tell her that. “It would be worth a try, Your Grace.”
“Would you tell her for me that I will consult witches in addition to doctors on her behalf?”
Tell her thanks, but I can hear her just fine.
“Signorina Minerva wishes you to know that she is grateful, and that she can hear what you say, she just cannot speak.”
“Except to you,” Anastasia said thoughtfully.
He nodded.
“Then I will be requiring your services on a regular basis to accompany me to Murano to speak with my sister,” the princess said.
“I am afraid that will not be possible, Your Grace,” Gaetano said. “The dowager princess will soon be sending me to Bohemia.”
Bohemia? Minerva called out in his mind. Is Zilia sending you to murder Chiara?
“No,” Gaetano said. “That makes no sense. How could she?”
“You truly are speaking with my sister,” Anastasia murmured.
“Yes, but please do not tell anyone,” he said, addressing Anastasia again. “I might be accused of practicing magic illegally. In exchange, if you have not found a way to lift this spell by the time I return from Bohemia, I promise to do everything in my power to help you.” But what? He had no magic, and no access to those who did.

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.

Book covers and an enchanted hero for #WIPpet Wednesday

I missed last week again, sorry. I was finalizing the paperback version of my latest collection of short stories, Oregon Elsewise, containing previously published works set in the state where I grew up — and that in many ways still feels like home. While I was at it, I decided to also finally put together the new paperback version of Almost All the Way Home From the Stars, the collection of published science fiction stories I wrote with Jay Lake. The original paperback version was done by Draft2Digital, and I was never completely happy with it, so doing it myself has long been on my to-do list. At the same time, I tweaked the cover a bit, trying to make the font stand out more. Here’s what I have now:

Collection with Jay Lake, new cover

For the sake of comparison, here’s the old:

I was noticing that in thumbnail, the font on the old version was looking unfinished somehow, so I decided to mess with it. Happy to hear any feedback you might have!

With all the work on formatting interiors and creating / messing with covers, I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done in the last week or so. Last week, I managed 1600 new words on Shards of Glass. I also did some editing, and cut 2000 words from the manuscript — which means I ended up with a weekly total of -400 words! 🙂

For Wippet Wednesday, we will back up and return to the previous book, Facets of Glass, which is also still in draft mode, so I’m not cheating. I’m just waiting to finish this last book before I go back and start on the edits of the second.

Two weeks ago, we left Gaetano talking with the unconscious Minerva while her sister watches in amazement. This excerpts picks up exactly where that one left off. Today I am giving you 12 sentences for the day of the month, plus 1 to finish the paragraph:

“Who are you speaking to?” Anastasia asked.
“Your sister. She asked me if I am the one who enchanted her. But I have no magic.” Nor did the dowager princess. But she had access to a bevy of witches and alchemists to turn lead into gold and beautiful young women into living corpses.
“Do you have any idea who might have done this to my sister?” Anastasia asked.
“No,” he lied. He still had to stay on the good side of the dowager princess. And he couldn’t trust Anastasia to keep his suspicions to herself.
Anastasia clapped her hands to her cheeks. “Enchanted! Perhaps I can find a witch to lift the spell.”

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.

More words and more from Gaetano for #WIPpet Wednesday

My new writing strategy (alternating organizational work and word sprints) is continuing to work well for me. The writing is flowing again, and without really too much effort, I managed to add 4900 new words to Shards of Glass last week, while still keeping up with the translation. I do hope this doesn’t let up! Balancing translation and original writing has always been a bit of a challenge for me, since they both seem to require the creative brain.

But something of course has to give, and I have to admit that I’ve been slacking horribly in the marketing department, and my sales figures are going down quite a bit as a result. This kind of a direct correlation makes it once again clear to me that if I want to sell books, I’ve got to do the work, and that means more than just writing the next one.

I’ve having too much fun writing right now, though. Besides, summer is always slow. I’ll get back to the marketing again once I’ve found a place for it in my new system. 🙂

Now let us return to Gaetano, shall we? We left him last week hearing Minerva’s thoughts in his mind. I’m picking up this week exactly where I left off, and giving you 22 sentences (29 – 7) for the day minus the month:

“She’s there,” he found himself saying, unable to help himself. He had no particular fondness for Anastasia when she first married Prince Vittore, but with time he had begun to feel sorry for her.
She stared at him. “What do you mean?”
“She’s there, but she can’t wake up,” he said, passing along Minerva’s words to her sister.
The princess laid a hand on his arm and gazed up at him, blinking away unshed tears. “How do you know?” she murmured.
“I heard her speak to us.”
She pulled her hand away and gazed back down at Minerva. “I am her sister, and I heard nothing.”
Tell her about the time we ran away from our mother after father died, came Minerva’s voice in his mind.
“She wants me to tell you about the time the two of you ran away after your father died,” Gaetano said.
Anastasia rounded on him. “Where did you learn of that incident?”
“From your sister, just now. I can hear her thoughts.”
“How?”
“I don’t know. We must both be enchanted somehow.”
Yes, I would like to know too. Did you enchant me with that apple?
“No, I did not!”

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.

A visit, some travel, & an update for #WIPpet Wednesday

I missed another WIPpet Wednesday last week, as a result of the first of a number of visits from the States this summer. This is what I was doing last Wednesday:

Weil der Stadt

Herrenberg

We went to Weil der Stadt (the birthplace of Johannes Kepler) and Herrenberg on Wednesday, and Maulbronn on Thursday, a UNESCO World Heritage site:

Maulbronn

While my brother was here, we also did general catching up, some local walking, visited a nearby beer garden, hung out with grandkids / grandnieces, went to the garden, and tried to stay cool (we’ve been suffering from a heat wave). I managed to keep up with my translation, but not my writing goals, only managing 1500 words of fiction last week.

David left for France on Sunday. And this week I started a new writing strategy, alternating bouts of research and / or plotting with writing sprints. I tend to write stuff that is heavy on the research, which makes it hard to just barrel ahead as many successful writers advise. So I figured I would try an alternate strategy: a stretch of research and organizational writing until I got to the point where I could sprint a scene or two.

The results are promising: 1200 words on Monday and 1000 on Tuesday, while still maintaining my translation goals. If I can manage to keep this up, I will be very, very happy. 🙂

With the update out of the way, we can return to Facets of Glass for WIPpet Wednesday. Today I’m giving you 7 paragraphs for the 7th month, including the last one from the excerpt I gave you two weeks ago for context. Gaetano has been having some odd visions he doesn’t know how to relate to:

Suddenly his vision returned, and he drew a ragged breath, staring down at the motionless form of Minerva. Was he imagining things, or was he somehow enchanted too? The feeling of being trapped in his own body had been so strong, it bordered on panic.
Please do not give up on me!
Gaetano shook his head. Was Minerva speaking in his mind now? He didn’t know if he could trust the feeling. He had little direct experience of magic, and during the early years of his life, many people had actually regarded magic as a superstition. But although he had been so young, he could still remember how he had felt the day magic had been set free, how the air had seemed brighter and the colors stronger, the terracotta tiles of the roofs brilliant instead of bland, the beige white-washed walls like sunlight.
“Come, a few moments more will not hurt,” Anastasia said, and he realized she assumed he had been shaking his head in response to her request.
“Certainly we can remain, Your Grace,” he said to sooth her.
“Ah, where has my sister gone,” the princess said, her voice sad.
I’m here, I’m here! the voice practically screamed in his mind. I just cannot wake up!

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.

Making a connection for #WIPpet Wednesday

I’m finally getting some writing done again, which is making me feel much happier about myself. I really can’t allow things to get in the way of my writing as much as I have recently — it makes me irritable. 🙂

The ideas were tumbling in like crazy the last couple of days, and The Glassmakers Trilogy is moving forward again. Today I return to the second book, Facets of Glass, and our reluctant hero Gaetano, who has just learned from the Dowager Princess that he is going to be sent to Bohemia to have a glass coffin made for Minerva. This is the beginning of the scene following, 8 short paragraphs for the 8th of the month:

When Gaetano returned to the Palazzo Dragoni the next day, Princess Anastasia was standing over the still form of her sister, her eyes red-rimmed from weeping.
Gaetano joined her, silent, and gazed down at Minerva, feeling for some strange reason as if his heart were breaking. Which made no sense. His only direct contact with her was as a servant, and the only time she had ever conversed with him was when he brought her the gift from Dowager Princess Zilia.
The scene he had briefly experienced through her eyes when he found the apple.
“Are you ready to return to Venice, Your Grace?” he asked softly.
And then his vision went black. Anastasia’s words reached him as if out of a fog. “Not just yet, please.”
He felt himself wanting to rise, wanting to cry out, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t open his eyes. He was frozen in place, aware of the people around him, unable to communicate with them.
Except for one.
Suddenly his vision returned, and he drew a ragged breath, staring down at the motionless form of Minerva. Was he imagining things, or was he somehow enchanted too? The feeling of being trapped in his own body had been so strong, it bordered on panic.

Maxfield Parrish, Snow White

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.