Tag Archives: facets of glass

Second quarter accounting, and a glass coffin for #wippet Wednesday

My final update for this quarter will be mercifully brief: I pretty much failed on all fronts. I did not keep up on my word counts, either writing or translation. I did not wrap up my indie author series, although I am now at a word count above what I was originally shooting for. I did not finish Shards of Glass or revise my short story “Pool of Souls” to start sending it out.

On the other hand, I did submit 10 short stories to traditional markets this round, the most I have managed in one quarter in years. Perhaps I can make it the basis of a new, better submission practice (not in the Shades of Grey sense …)

I also wrote the report for the most recent Villa Diodati workshop. And while my list of unfinished publishing goals remains much too long, I am getting nearer to a collection of my previously published short stories set in Oregon, where I grew up. The Scrivener file is nearly good to go, and here is the cover I put together the other day:

oregon elsewise

The photo was taken on the trip home in April, a big part of the reason I’m so far behind on all my goals. Do let me know what you think of the cover!

My update thankfully out of the way, we can move on to WIPpet Wednesday! That’s another thing I’ve been very bad about this round, so far behind on everything as I’ve been. Two weeks ago, I left you in Facets of Glass with Gaetano lying to the Dowager Princess. Today I give you 6 paragraphs from where we left off, 2+4 for the day of the month — and a brief reprieve for our hero:

She waved one graceful hand in the air. “It is no matter. You did your best. I have another task for you now. Minerva sleeps as if dead, showing no signs of waking, although she still breathes. The prince would like a glass coffin made for his sister-in-law, in which all can see her until that time she should wake.”
What a strangely morbid thing to do. Gaetano doubted if the prince had anything to do with this particular plan — if nothing else, he probably lacked the creativity to come up with such an idea.
“As the glassmakers of Murano specialize in fine, delicate glass, we have decided to commission a glassworks shop in Bohemia with the job,” the dowager princess continued. “They are much better in creating the hardier glass necessary. I have heard that many of their famous glassmakers are gem cutters as well as glass cutters.”
Gaetano nodded dutifully. “As you say, Your Grace.”
“Once we have worked out the details, we would like you to travel to Bohemia to an appropriate glassmaker there.”
“Alone, Your Grace? Or with a detail of Foscari House Guards?”

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 disappointing update and a return to the Dowager Princess

Even before the trip the the States, my desktop computer (aka my workhorse) was starting to act funky. It wasn’t any better when we got back. So last week, I finally gave in and ordered a new machine.

While I get a big kick out of new hardware, setting up a new computer with all my files and all my programs is a lot of work. And as far as progress is concerned, I’m back to where I was when we returned from the trip: barely making progress on the translation, and only getting around to writing a couple of times a week.

But I am writing this post on the new computer, so there is hope. I keep discovering programs I didn’t install yet, or peripherals that aren’t working for some reason (today it was the speakers, yesterday it was the printers), but those kinds of distractions should crop up less and less the longer I’m using this machine. Cross your fingers for me that next week I’ll have more to report than 7 pages of translation and 3 pages of fiction!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Two weeks ago (before the new machine arrived …), we left Gaetano in Murano where he had just pricked his finger on the stem of the glass apple, with some interesting consequences. In this scene from Facets of Glass, he is reporting back to the Dowager Princess. I give you 10 short paragraphs for the 10th day of the month:

Gaetano gazed just past the top of Princess Zilia’s head and out of the high arched windows of her retiring room, his back straight, his hands clasped behind his back. He hoped he still looked like the devoted Foscari house guard the Dowager Princess took him for.
“I am sorry to say that I was unable to find the apple, Your Grace,” he lied.
He detected the faintest purse of her lips. “Did you look everywhere?”
“I hope Your Grace will forgive me, but I had no opportunity to look everywhere. The prince’s sister-in-law has been removed to a day bed in a small room off of the audience chamber where she fainted.”
“And where she must have lost the glass apple,” Princess Zilia murmured.
Gaetano nodded. “There was a constant stream of guests in and out of the room, coming to pay their respects to the signorina. I could only examine what was in plain sight. Please forgive my honesty, Your Grace, but I fear it would have looked suspicious if I had gotten on my knees and started crawling around on the floor.”
That got an unwilling smile out of her. “And I fear you are right, Gaetano.”
He resisted the impulse to heave a sigh of relief. “There is also the possibility that the apple was retrieved by servants cleaning the room, or broke when Signorina Dragoni fell.”
“But then you would have heard the breaking glass, would you not?”
“True. I had not considered that, Your Grace.” He hadn’t heard the leaves and stem break off, but that might well have been more of a tinkling than a crash. And by that time, he would have already been kneeling next to Minerva, calling for help.

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.

The search for the apple for WIPpet Wednesday

In the last week and a half, I have managed to delete about 3000 words in notes and unnecessary scenes from Shards of Glass. Once I finished that task, I started added new (and hopefully better!) words this week. After having been up to 16,000 words, Shards is now coming in at 14,100. Progress is once again being made!

Of course, most of my time is being spent on the translation. I still want to devote a post to that relating to our recent trip, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe sometime in the next week or so, now that I seem to be settling into a more regular routine again.

On to WIPpet Wednesday! My math today: 2+7 for the day of the month to give you 9 paragraphs from Facets of Glass. Last week, we left our intrepid reluctant hero trying to figure out how he is going to find a glass apple with a room full of people nearby. In order to not bore you too much, I’m skipping some of the search scene. And here’s a nice photo from a palazzo on Murano to give you an idea what the room where he is searching might look like:

Gaetano marched purposefully around the chest of drawers to stand at attention at the opposite corner, nothing more than a soldier doing his duty. And no one noticed the oddity of his action.
From this corner, he would be able to sweep his foot both to the side and in the front of the cabinet. At the next opportunity, he tested the area in front.
Still nothing.
Several teary guests left the room where Minerva lay, breathing but lifeless, and exited through the double doors of the audience chamber. No one gave him a second glance. He was as much a piece of furniture as the commode and the cabinet between which he stood.
Once the group was gone and the audience chamber quiet again, Gaetano gently swept his booted foot backwards along the side.
And felt something. There was a tinkling on the floor behind him. But before he could turn to inspect the object, more guests entered the audience chamber. As soon as they disappeared through the side door, he glanced backwards.
An object red and round rested next to the wall.
There was still no activity in the audience chamber. He bent over as if to adjust his bootstrap and reached behind to grab the apple. Something sharp cut through his leather glove, pricking the skin beneath. When he examined the apple, he saw that it had lost its stem and leaves in its roll across the floor. It was the broken shard left of the stem that had pierced the glove of his right hand and the skin of his finger. But the apple itself was still whole.
Then for a moment, the image of the apple in his hands swam and blurred. When it came back into focus again, he seemed to be seeing the apple when it still had it’s leaves and stem intact — and he felt a distinct foreboding at the sight. Stranger still, beyond the apple he saw himself, dressed as a footman and looking mildly embarrassed. It was as if he were viewing the incident of the day before through Minerva’s eyes.

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 Facets of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday

I’m slowly getting back into a productive routine again after the disruption of travel and then recovering from jet lag. The translation is going well, and I’ve also gotten back to writing and marketing, organizing several new promos for my books in recent and upcoming weeks. I’m also submitting short stories to traditional markets again — something I have to do more of.

Quantifying the writing, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult. I’ve done a lot of work in hard copy, trying to map out the character arcs for Chiara, Gaetano, Vanna and the Dowager Princess in Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass. I’m very happy with the results and feel like I have a much better handle on where things should be going from here on out. On the other hand, one of the results was that I did a lot of radical weeding in the present manuscript, cutting over 1400 words. So my progress for the past week comes out to -1400. 🙂

After that cheerful news, let us continue on to WIPpet Wednesday! Today I am returning to Facets of Glass, and the place in the story where I was before I went on vacation. Gaetano has just been ordered back to Murano by the Dowager Princess to find the glass apple. I’m giving you 5 paragraphs for the 5th month:

Minerva had been laid out on a couch in a room adjacent to the audience chamber in the Dragoni family palazzo. At least that. It was going to be difficult enough as it was for Gaetano to find an opportunity to crawl around on the floor in search of a glass apple. But if all the people crowding around Minerva had been in the audience chamber rather than the room next door, it would have been impossible.
When they entered the alcove where Minerva lay as if sleeping, Anastasia pushed through the crowds and knelt at her sister’s side, tears streaming down her face, making grooves in the fashionable powder applied by her maids.
Standing at attention in the door frame, Gaetano stared at the scene. Whatever it was Minerva had done to invoke the wrath of the dowager princess, she did not deserve to be made a living corpse.
He turned away from the alcove and examined the larger room. In his mind’s eye, he could see the exact spot where Minerva had fallen, and where her outstretched arm, hand empty, had lain on the marble.
He gazed in the direction her arm had pointed. There stood a tall cabinet with short legs under which the apple could have rolled. Only how was he going to get a chance to look underneath it with all the people in these rooms?

Once Upon a Time, Ann Macbeth

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.

One of these days I will get back to posting regularly — once all the other stuff in my life has gotten more back to normal! Hope everyone is having a grand old time in the blogosphere in the meantime. 🙂

Villa Diodati 14 (and 13 too … )


A little over a week before we flew to the States to visit relatives, I got back from the most recent incarnation of the Villa Diodati workshop. VD14 was once again in southern Spain, but probably for the last time, since we are losing our venue, unfortunately. Ah well. We will find other cool places to meet, I am sure.

This workshop was one of the biggest we’ve had, with ten participants.

Group shot VD14
Front row: Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, Ruth Nestvold, Grayson Morris, Christian Walter, Jeremy Sim
Back row: Frances Silversmith, Bo Balder, Floris Kleinje, Jeff Spock, Stephen Gaskell

It was also one of the most reading intensive. We put a cap on submissions for critique at 10,000 words, and usually most participants play by the rules. This time, four out of ten submitted works that exceeded the 10,000 word limit, which meant a lot more reading and critiquing than usual. I think in future I will have to exert my dictatorial powers more effectively, and create truncated versions of the works submitted for critique that conform to the rules. 🙂

Critique session
Critique session

Despite all the reading and critiquing, we still had time for other exercises and discussions. Among other things, we had a long talk on marketing. I was encouraged to submit a novella I wrote with Jay Lake (and was revising when he died) to Analog, which is where it is now. I also got some ideas from the group mind as to where “Pool of Souls” would fit, the short story I brought to the workshop. Unfortunately, that is not yet out, since I haven’t had time to address the critiques I got at VD14.

We also did a wonderful brainstorming session around the pool, where a number of us tossed out ideas we had for input from the group mind, or described stories that were flailing and might need some outside input. Sylvia and I got some great ideas on where to go with a collaboration we’ve written.

Brainstorming around the pool

We even got a chance to play the Surreal Oracle game again!

And of course we ate, and ate well, like we always do at Villa Diodati workshops. 🙂

Eating well
Eating well


The autumn 2014 workshop took place in Picardy, France. When I got home, we had a bit of a family medical emergency, which was why I never got around to posting a report. I figured the report for VD14 would be a good opportunity to make up for that. 🙂

The fall workshop in France was much smaller than VD14, with only six attendants. Here in the group shot you see only five of us, since Sylvia Spruck Wrigley wasn’t feeling well when we took the pictures. At least her crocheted Cthulhu made it in (next to my knee):

Group shot VD13
Ruth Nestvold, Aliette de Bodard, Jeff Sock, Nancy Fulda, Grayson Morris

We did many of the same awesome things we usually do besides critiquing, such as brainstorming and market discussions. Jeff also gave a talk on creativity.

During the brainstorming, I got some excellent ideas on how to continue with the Glassmakers trilogy. Not only that, since Sylvia was crocheting her amazing Cthulhus while we did critiques, she promised me and Nancy our own personal monsters if we could finish the novels we were working on by the end of January.

Critiquing and Cthulhu-making

Since things got very complicated at home for a while after I got back, it was an incredible incentive for me to return to writing and finish the first draft of Facets of Glass by January 31. Nancy finished her novel as well. After all, who doesn’t want their own cuddly monster?

I think we really should consider adding incentives for each other to our regular agenda of activities. An outside deadline can be an incredible motivator.

Quarterly progress report and a #WIPpet snippet

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get to this today. I’m flying to Spain tomorrow for the next Villa Diodati workshop. But I’m almost done packing now, so my head is free for a blog post after all.

I’ll start with the final update for this Round of Words. If you’re here only for WIPpet Wednesday, feel free to skip. 🙂

Here are my goals from the beginning of the quarter:


– Write an average of 4000 words a week – MADE IT! 53,300 words in 12 weeks. The weekly output was up and down quite a bit, but it managed to average out to more than my initial goal. Nice when that happens. 🙂

– Finish Facets of Glass – First draft complete!

– Write 5 new short stories – Not quite – I wrote 3.


– Write a report of the Villa Diodati workshop (finally!)- Never got around to this, and now it just seems silly, so long after the workshop. :/

– Write a new installment of “Starting out as an indie author” every other week – YES!

– Update my book page (LONG overdue!) – Ooops, ‘fraid not …

Writing business:

– Write New Year newsletter for my subscribers – Didn’t get around to this one either …

– Schedule upcoming promotions for my books – Did a lot of these! And it’s paying off. 🙂

– List books with Babelcube & Noisetrade – Nope

– Publish last episode of Yseult – DONE!

– Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook – Nope

– Publish Chameleon in a Mirror to Createspace – DONE!

– Find reviewers for CIAM and Island of Glass – DONE!

I’m pretty happy with my progress this round. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! For today, 2+5 = 7 short paragraphs from Facets of Glass. This scene comes right after the one I gave you last week:

By the next day, all of Venice knew of Minerva’s mysterious fainting spell, and how she still had not regained consciousness. When Anastacia declared her intention to visit her sister, Gaetano was considering bribing one of the Foscari guards assigned to go with her when he was called into the dowager princess’s presence again.
“Gaetano, I would like you to go with the princess to Murano. While you are there, I need you to try and find the apple for me and bring it back. Do you think you can do that?”
Seeing as it was exactly what he’d been intending to do, he certainly hoped so. But if he did find it, he was not bringing it back to Palazzo Foscari. He did not know what magic the apple held, he only knew he did not want Princess Zilia to have it.
He bowed. “I will do my best, Your Grace.”
She gave him one of her most charming smiles. “Thank you, Gaetano. I will give you command of the house guard for the trip. That should allow you more freedom of movement.”
“Very good, Your Grace.”
He wondered how long he would be in her favor when he failed to find the apple.

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.

Because of the travel, I’m afraid I won’t be getting to other folks’ blog for several days — just a little “sorry” in advance. 🙂 But I’ll be “seeing” you all again soon!

What became of the apple? A #WIPpet Wednesday snippet.

Before I get back to Facets of Glass, a brief update on my progress for the week. I continue to move forward steadily on the translation. It certainly helps that the first book in the series, Ein Krieger der Wikinger, is selling like gangbusters. Since Jud and I have a translation model where I am paid much less up front for a much higher percentage of the royalties, that means it probably won’t be too much longer before I’ve earned out on my advance for the translation and will start earning from the first book. In addition, most of the reviews so far express eagerness to read the next book in the series. 🙂

Despite the translation work, I’m maintaining a much better balance between that and my own writing than I did while working on the first book. Last week, I got 3500 new words written, in a addition to the formatting of Chameleon in a Mirror for Createspace. So far this week, I got the wraparound cover made and uploaded and have gotten about 1200 words on my own stuff written. Not breaking any records, but as long as I can continue to make consistent progress in the face of translation, I’ll be happy.

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

With the update out of the way, let’s move on to Facets of Glass, shall we? Gaetano just reported back to the Dowager Princess after taking the glass apple to Minerva. Today I will continue the scene right where we left off last week, with 18 sentences for the day of the month — plus one to finish the scene:

“And the apple?” the princess asked — much too casually.
He pretended innocence. “The apple?”
“What became of it? The gift?”
Gaetano shrugged. “I fear I do not know, Your Grace. When the prince’s sister-in-law lost consciousness, I was only concerned for her well-being.”
“As of course you should.” To his ears, it sounded as if the words were recited by rote. A brief pause. “So you have no idea what became of it?”
“Of what, Your Grace?” he said, although he knew exactly what she referred to.
“The apple.” Now there was a hint of impatience in her voice.
“When the signorina lost consciousness, it must have rolled away. I did not see it after that.” Now he was almost certain that the apple had something to do with Minerva’s mishap. But what could the dowager princess possibly have against the young woman?

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.

Gaetano’s suspicions confirmed for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s WIP snippet day again! And I am just marching right along through the first draft of Facets of Glass, not worrying about spoiling anything for anybody. *g* This excerpt comes immediately after the one I gave you last week. Gaetano has reported back to the Evil Dowager Princess after delivering the glass apple to Minerva. Math today 11-3 = 8 for 8 short paragraphs — plus one, just because I want to give you Gaetano’s reaction to what the DP says:

Gaetano returned to the palazzo on the Grand Canal, confused, sad almost, and reported to the Dowager princess in her audience chamber.
“You delivered the gift successfully?” she asked.
“I did, Your Grace.”
“And?” she prompted. “How did Minerva like it?”
“I had no opportunity to ask her,” he said, watching the Dowager Princess carefully. “After she opened the package, she fainted. By the time I left, they still had not been able to revive her.”
There, the barest hint of a smile, a faint light in her eyes. If he had not been looking for it, he would have missed it. “How unfortunate,” she said. “I hope she is herself again soon.”
“I am sure she will be,” he lied. “Young women have a penchant for fainting.”
She nodded. “That they do, Gaetano. My physicians tell me it is because in their vanity, they truss their corsets too tight.”
Gaetano gazed at her perfectly preserved beauty, wondering how she could accuse others of vanity and exclude herself.

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.

As to the weekly update, I’m quite happy with my progress. I finished the first chapter of the translation on Monday, and I rewarded myself with some extra time for my own projects. Tuesday I got another installment of “Starting Out as an Indie Author” written — and while doing so finally got the interior of Chameleon in a Mirror formatted for CreateSpace, seeing as that was the subject of the blog post. 🙂 I am also making steady progress on Shards of Glass. I’m still not sure how the big showdown will play out, but I am inexorably moving towards it!

What was with that apple? #WIPpet Wednesday and an update

Snow White and the apple

As many of you have noticed in previous weeks, many of the motifs in Facets of Glass come from the fairy tale Snow White. But just as I used the motifs from Cinderella in very different ways in Island of Glass, so too in this book. It is not a witch who brings the apple to Minerva, or even the Evil Dowager Princess, it is the unsuspecting member of the Foscari House Guard, Gaetano. In this excerpt, which comes a couple of paragraphs after the one I provided last week, Gaetano is starting to suspect something after all. My math for 3/4: 3 + 4 = 7 paragraphs:

With Guilia gone, he took one of Minerva’s hands and gazed into her beautiful young face, quiet now, no longer vivacious. She lay stretched out on the floor, seemingly asleep, one arm flung wide away from her body. Gaetano recalled all the uncharitable thoughts he’d had about her when Dowager Princess Zilia asked him to bring her the gift of the apple.
Why had the smelling salts not worked? Could the apple have something to do with it? The gift he had brought?
At the thought, he glanced at her hands, but her palms were open. When she fainted, she must have lost hold of the apple. But there were no shards around her prone figure, so the apple had presumably rolled away.
The surgeon hurried in and took Gaetano’s place at Minerva’s side. The medicus was followed by at least a dozen family members, wringing their hands and making a worried racket.
He stepped back and watched the proceedings, hoping that the Signorina would soon be her normal lively self again — as superficial as he thought her vivaciousness.
But he had never before been offered refreshments by his superiors during his normal duties.
As Gaetano surreptitiously left Palazzo Dragoni, he worried about the role he might have unwillingly played in Minerva’s fainting spell. The thunk of her head as it hit the floor of the palazzo echoed through his mind on the trip back to Venice.

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.

On to the weekly progress report. I have a head cold, and as I am not one of those people who works well with a stuffy head (who is?), my word counts have gone down again. Add to that the next big translation project which came in on Friday. What it adds up to is that I am no longer flirting with 1000 words a day. Instead, I’m adjusting my goals downwards to 500 words a day. But since I had trouble even getting that done during the last big translation project, my main goal will be to find a better balance with this book. Up until now, I seem to be achieving it. Since I started on this Viking translation, I’ve been getting 400-500 words a day written as well. As long as I can continue to make consistent progress on both my own projects and the translation, I will be okay with that.

Improved word counts and sales, and Gaetano’s reaction for #WIPpet Wednesday

My blogging discipline certainly leaves something to be desired these days. But I guess a day late is better than a week late. 🙂

At least the writing continues to go well. Word counts are picking up, and I’m hoping to get back into 1,000 words a day mode again soon. Shards of Glass is taking shape, coming in now at 5900 words. As I develop a better idea of what exactly needs to happen, daily word production improves accordingly.

Sales continue to improve as well. This month, they are up almost 20% compared to my December and January numbers, so I seem to be doing something right in the promotion department. 🙂 (And those were already way up from the months before. :))

On to WIPpet Wednesday! My math today: 2 + 5 for the day of the month I should have posted this, giving me 7 short paragraphs. This excerpt from Facets of Glass follows right after the one I gave you last week. Minerva has just recognized Gaetano as one of the guards of the Dowager Princess. Here we switch of Gaetano’s pov for his reaction:

Gaetano stared at her, stunned that she had recognized him. Most people rarely looked at servants, even their own, and would hardly recognize them out of uniform.
“Why did your mistress send you to me with this gift — and out of livery?” she asked, her expression intense. All playfulness and flirtation had completely disappeared from her voice and manner.
“I — I do not know, Signorina,” Gaetano stammered.
She lifted the glass apple, shaking it slightly for emphasis. “What has become of Chiara?”
He blinked. Why was she asking about the glassmaker who had been engaged to Prince Vittore before her death, when everyone knew that she was somewhere in the depths of the lagoon?
But while Gaetano was still trying to puzzle out why she would ask such a question, Minerva suddenly fell in on herself like a puppet whose strings had been cut. He rushed forward, but not fast enough; her lovely head hit the floor with a clunk.
He knelt down beside her and began chaffing her hands, calling out the name of the servant. “Giulia! Your mistress has fainted! Bring smelling salts!”

Murano, the Island of Glass

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.