Tag Archives: Island of Glass

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.

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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.

The first draft of Facets of Glass finished!

I put in a pretty intense writing week in order to earn my little monster, as I explained in this post.

So in order to complete the challenge by the end of the month, I wrote 8000 words this week. The week before, my word count was 5700. And all of that constantly looking up details about glassmaking, travel times in the 17th – 18th century, Bohemian glassworks, regions in Venice, etc. etc.

I know from experience that writing projects that don’t require a lot of research can result in way more words in the same amount of time spent writing, but Facets of Glass isn’t one of those. Though I will admit that I ran by the seat of my pants in more than one scene, making notes to myself about things I will have to research later on the rewrite. 🙂

But now at least I have a complete first draft of Facets of Glass, the second book in the Age of Magic series after Island of Glass, even if it’s pretty rough on some of its edges. I also have a cover:

Facets of Glass

I’ve also been doing 20 minutes of yoga almost every day since the beginning of the new year, even though it wasn’t on my list of goals. 🙂 But it’s making my old joints feel a lot better — and I’ve dropped a kilo without really trying. So I think I’m a convert. *g*

“More precious than gold” : an update and an excerpt

We may already be two weeks into the New Year, but this “Invocation for Beginnings” just showed up on a list I’m on, and I had to share it:

Since I’ve gotten over the head cold, the year has been pretty productive for me. Here’s hoping I can keep up the momentum! Some of the things I’ve gotten done since my last update:

Yseult, Part IV – made the cover, formatted the text, and published the final installment of Yseult, Part IV

– published a new installment of my “Starting out as an indie author” series, “Why “write the next book” isn’t enough; Or: What to do if your books aren’t selling” — a long one, coming in at 2,000 words to add to my future how-to book. 🙂

– edited Recontact, the novella I wrote with Jay Lake, and submitted it to a traditional market

– organized upcoming promotions for 2 of my books

– wrote another 1800 words of fiction

That puts me a bit behind on my weekly word count goals, but given the fact that I got some important stuff off my to-do list, I can deal with being 200 words behind. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! I have come to the conclusion that I no longer care about spoilers. I figure, most of the people who read my snippets will probably have forgotten them when and if they read the books anyway. So I am just going to continue to move forward with Facets of Glass and not worry about giving away anything from the first book. So if you haven’t read Island of Glass, want to, and don’t want to know too many details from the second book, I suggest skipping my WIPpets as long as I’m still posting from book 2. *g* Math today: I’m giving you 15 sentence for the new year, plus 1 to finish the scene:

Gaetano often wondered why people still used the phrase “more precious than gold” when alchemists could now produce gold at will — as long as they had lead, that is, or whatever other base metals they needed. He wasn’t an expert, not having any alchemists in the family, nor any access to them, since the royal families of Venice controlled all magic in the empire.
He turned the apple in his hands, slowly beginning to appreciate the artistry of it. It was mostly red, but on one side, the color faded to green in much the same way as a real apple. And when he discovered the elaborately designed wormhole, he laughed out loud.
“Be careful with it!” the dowager princess admonished, her voice suddenly sharp.
At her words, he instinctively lowered the apple, looking to her for instruction.
“Here is the box,” she said shortly, her expression no longer warm. And to his surprise, he discovered wrinkles in her aristocratically beautiful face that he hadn’t noticed before.
Only he was standing above her now.
She seemed to notice the discrepancy at the same time he did and rose, taking the glass apple from his hands and placing it in the gift box. After closing it, she handed it back to him. “I want you to give this into the hands of Minerva of Murano and no one else. And do not wear your red and gold House Foscari uniform. My majordomo will find you something neutral.”
He nodded. “As you will, Your Grace.”
“Thank you, Gaetano,” she said, smiling again. But this time, he noticed that it did not seem to reach her eyes, and he found himself wondering why he’d felt so attracted to her when he first entered her audience chamber.

Please feel free to let me know if you stumble anywhere in the passage or there is anything else you think might improve by being changed!

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 with a magic mirror for #WIPpet Wednesday

Last week, I got a surprising amount of wordage written, despite all the preparations for the launch of Island of Glass. (Thank you all very much for your help!) Anyway, the book is now published, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things regarding marketing my fiction, and last week I added a total of 6,000 words to various projects.

I’m still undecided whether I will try to do Nano this year. I have so many projects going right now, I don’t really want to abandon any of them. Well, I still have a couple of days to decide.

I also wanted to mention that with Halloween coming up, I’m going to be giving away my short story, “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” from Oct. 30 – Nov. 3 FREE on Amazon. So if you don’t have it yet, grab yourself a copy!

After that brief update, let’s continue on to WIPpet Wednesday. Dowager Princess Zilia has just dismissed the witch Vanna and is very irritated with the magic mirror for not performing for her as it did for the witch. For Oct. 29, I give you 7 short paragraphs for the day of the month (9-2):

She put the precious apple on a side table and drew a deep breath, then another, and another. She had the magic mirror, and she could call on Vanna’s services at any time. She did not need to control the magic herself — she had a monopoly on the purveyors of magic in Venice.
The only person she could truly trust was herself. She much preferred to have the reins in her own hands.
On the other hand, while a witch or an alchemist was perfectly capable of deception, what was the case with a magic mirror? Zilia had seen the mirror’s answers with her own eyes, after all, and they were quite clear.
The dowager princess turned back to the mirror. “So, Mirror, can you lie like the rest of us? Or must you always tell the truth?”
The mirror remained silent, the images it reflected unchanging.
Zilia began to pace her retiring room, forcing the mirror to follow her lead. “Perhaps I should return you to Vanna after all,” she said to the mirror. “Seeing as you are useless to me without her. But no, it is as I told the witch, I do not want anyone else accessing your magic at this time.”
The mirror followed her movements patiently.


Another mirror, just because it’s so pretty

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.

Starting out as an indie author: Guest post on A.M. Leibowitz’s blog on the advantages of self-publishing

Starting out as an indie author

Today, for the publication of Island of Glass, my fellow WIPpeteer A.M. Leibowitz hosted me for a guest blog post on the advantages of self-publishing. Here an excerpt:

Speed

A traditionally published novel can easily take up to two years from the time it is accepted to the time it actually comes out. And that isn’t even counting the years of sending the manuscript out to agents and editors.

By comparison, self-publishing is almost instant. E-publishing may take up to a day from the time you hit the publish button until the time your book is available. Print on Demand (PoD) takes a little longer, but in my experience, the physical copy of your book is available in less than a week. Of course, that doesn’t include editing and cover design, but a self-publisher can probably have that completed in weeks rather than years.

You can read the rest of the article here.

To balance it out, I will eventually have to do a post on the disadvantages of self-publishing. But for now, all you get from me are the positives. 🙂

Island of Glass now live!

I’m happy to announce the publication of my YA novella, Island of Glass! Until the middle of November, it is still available for the introductory price of only 99c, after which it will go up to $2.99.

Island of Glass

Seventeen-year-old Chiara Dragoni is a master glassmaker of Venice, a position that is both a privilege — and a trap. For the glassmakers of Murano are forbidden to ever leave the islands of the Venetian lagoon.

When Chiara’s uncle is caught on the mainland and thrown into the dungeon of the Doge’s Palace, she must use all her talents, including magic, to help free him. But the gift she creates for the prince of Venice has unintended consequences, and now Chiara must decide whether to give up everything — and everyone — she knows and loves in order to save her dream.

Set in an alternate historical Venice with alchemists, witches and magic, the story uses familiar motifs from the beloved fairy tale “Cinderella” to tell a tale with a very different message.

Available on Amazon.

Some good news, and more from Facets of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday

As those who follow this blog know, I had a fairly successful free run for my time travel novel Chameleon in a Mirror last week. Nonetheless, my summary of the results were a bit on the skeptical side, and I predicted that CIAM would soon drop out of the Top 100 lists that it managed to get into again once it went back to paid.

I am happy to announce that I was wrong — so far. *g* Since Sunday, it has been slowly climbing in the rankings rather than falling. Here is where it was when I checked before starting this blog post:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,894 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#28 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > New Adult & College
#52 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy
#89 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

I have some ideas as to why that is happening, but I would like to save my tentative conclusions for a dedicated marketing post in my blog series “Starting out as an indie author.”

While the upside of the marketing is actual daily sales again for a change, the downside is less time for writing. I’m still hopeful that I’ll make my 4,000 words for the week, though. My total for Monday and Tuesday was 1400, which would put me still on target.

The Mirror by Frank Dicksee, 1896
The Mirror by Frank Dicksee, 1896

We have another mirror this week for WIPpet Wednesday. I’m still posting from Facets of Glass, the 2nd book in The Glassmakers series after Island of Glass. Dowager Princess Zilia of House Foscari in the Empire of Venice just dismissed the witch in last week’s installment and is now alone with the magic mirror. Here for the 22nd are 22 lines from the manuscript:

When the ornate double doors in shades of cream and pale blue closed behind the witch, Zilia turned to the mirror impatiently. What could be so magic about a white-haired witch? There had to be something in the mirror itself, and if there was, she would be able to call on it too.
Glass apple in hand, she turned back to the mirror, which now only reflected an image of herself in her retiring room — her favorite place in the world, her sanctuary.
“Magic mirror, please show to me,
“Where the maker of this apple might be.”
Nothing happened. The mirror stubbornly continued to display no more than her own reflection. Of course, the dowager princess had no complaints regarding her appearance; the heavy rust and gold brocade of her gown glittered with the sunlight coming in from the high windows, highlights in her hair complimented the colors in her gown, and the skin of her face displayed next to no wrinkles. She was often complimented on how young she looked, and she was quite sure that had she wanted to, she could easily have married again.
But while her own reflection was pleasing, the unresponsiveness of the mirror was not.
She tried again, taking a step forward and holding the apple closer to the mirror. “Magic mirror, please show to me,
“Where the maker of this apple might be.”
Still nothing! Zilia was sorely tempted to hurl the glass apple into the farthest corner of her retiring room, and fling the mirror to the floor for good measure. She did not like being shown up. She was one of the most powerful women in one of the most powerful empires in Europe. A mere mirror not obeying her command felt like an affront.

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 mostly marketing update, and more mirror for #WIPpet Wednesday

With the cover reveal for Island of Glass yesterday, the first free run in almost a year that I’ve organized for one of my books, and a lot of work on the big translation project, I haven’t had much time for actual writing so far this week. What free time I’ve been able to devote to my writing has been taken up with marketing.

But that is going VERY well! I want to thank you all so much who participated in the cover reveal for Island of Glass. The book isn’t even out yet, and it has already cracked a Top 100 list with pre-orders! Here’s where it stands as of this writing:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,198 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#50 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Fairy Tales & Folklore

You guys are the greatest! *Hugs* 😀

As to the free book, that’s my Aphra Behn time travel, Chameleon in a Mirror. I tossed that one out on the market earlier this year without a plan. It’s been limping along and still doesn’t even have enough reviews for me to advertize it anywhere. So I decided to try out “free” again for a change, in the hopes that a few people will download, read, and review. More on that decision tomorrow, since it’s free through Saturday, and I have time. Right now I just want to share with you how well it’s doing on its free run:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Fantasy
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > New Adult & College
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical

Chameleon in a Mirror

So grab yourself a copy while you can! Tell your friends so they can grab a copy too! *g*

On to WIPpet Wednesday. I’m still posting from Facets of Glass, the second book in the Glassmakers trilogy after Island of Glass. It’s getting a bit difficult to do without providing spoilers, so this excerpt is a page or so after the last one I gave you, skipping the bits with a bit too much information. So here are 15 sentences for the 15th day of the month. Princess Zilia has just seen what the magic mirror has to show her:

The dowager princess clenched her hands in the folds of her skirts, controlling her anger with an effort. She hated many things, but she particularly hated betrayal. That combined with potential pecuniary loss to the Empire of Venice made it all the more heinous in her eyes.
“I would like to keep this mirror in my rooms for the time being,” she told the witch.
Vanna pressed her lips together before she spoke. “With all due respect, Princess Zilia, this mirror is my main source of income.”
“And I would not dream of taking it from you without compensation,” she said, although of course she had. “I treasure your services too much. Inform my steward what your projected loss of income will be, and he will see to it that you are paid.”
The witch seemed to choke back a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Your Grace. May I inquire as to what you intend to do with the mirror, as you do not have the magic to ask questions of it yourself?”
“Keep it out of the hands of others, Vanna, no more and no less.”
“Ah, very wise.”
“You are dismissed. The apple please?”

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 reveal for Island of Glass

My YA fantasy novella, Island of Glass, is now available for pre-order for only 99c! It will come out on October 28, 2014.

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Chiara Dragoni is a master glassmaker of Venice, a position that is both a privilege — and a trap. For the glassmakers of Murano are forbidden to ever leave the islands of the Venetian lagoon.

When Chiara’s uncle is caught on the mainland and thrown into the dungeon of the Doge’s Palace, she must use all her talents, including magic, to help free him. But the gift she creates for the ruling prince of Venice has unintended consequences, and now Chiara must decide whether to give up everything — and everyone — she knows and loves in order to save her dream.

Set in an alternate historical Venice with alchemists, witches and magic, the story uses familiar motifs from the beloved fairy tale “Cinderella” to tell a tale with a very different message.
Island of Glass is a Young Adult fantasy novella of approximately 25,000 words, or 100 pages. It is the first book in The Glassmakers Trilogy.

Excerpt

The prince 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.”
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 most likely happen next.