Tag Archives: looking through lace

Tomatoes, jalapenos, and writing: progress on diverse fronts

Despite the title of this post, I have made a lot of progress on my writing goals in the last week — but the amounts of tomatoes, zucchinis and various spicy peppers ripening in our garden at the moment (not just jalapenos *g*) have made it necessary for me to take some longer breaks from writing in order to ensure that the harvest does not go to waste.

Some of the things I’ve done besides writing in the last week:

– 8 jars / bottles of BBQ sauce (made with fresh tomatoes and garden chillies)

– 5 jars sweet pickle relish with zucchini (turned out much better than my last attempt!)

– 7 jars jalapeno jelly (but they don’t seem to be jelling right and may need to be redone)

– frozen stewed tomatoes

– frozen tomato consomme

The last is something I highly recommend to anyone who is suffering from a glut of tomatoes. It’s a lot of work, but when you make a soup in winter from the almost clear essence of concentrated tomato, it’s like liquid summer. The taste is amazing. If anyone is interested, I will try to provide instructions in a future post.

That’s pretty much it on the harvesting front. On the writing front:

– I got Beyond the Waters of the World back from the editor today, but I haven’t had any time to go through the edits. In any case, I definitely seem to be on track for a publication date of August 31.

– Still working on the cover design for the first Alaska story, “In the Middle of Nowhere With Company” — and still not willing to share. 🙂 Soon!

– Got another 5,000 words done on the new version of Chameleon in a Mirror. That might sound like a lot, but I got past the section where I needed completely new material and have found myself typing in very similar scenes to what I had in the previous version. Makes me wonder sometimes how much use this system of mine is of rewriting from scratch. 🙂 OTOH, there are a number of times when the retyping inspires me to take things in a new direction, or add new details, or something else that seems to make the strategy worthwhile.

And now a storm is coming in and I have to go close windows …

Beyond the Waters of the World off to beta readers, new cover

The next installment of Looking Through Lace, Beyond the Waters of the World, is now off to beta readers. Yeah! Yesterday, my daughter also helped me with a cover:


At the same time, we also made a new version of the Looking Though Lace cover so that the fonts match. Although the images are very different, I’m hoping the style is similar enough that people will identify them as part of a series. I uploaded the new cover to Amazon today, but it usually takes a day before changes like that go live. I am now shooting for a publication date of August 31 for Beyond the Waters of the World. Please let me know if you have any suggestions / thoughts on the cover!

I got back to Chameleon in a Mirror today, but I haven’t made too much progress yet. I read through the last chapter to get my mind out of the future and into the seventeenth century, but that’s about it.

Oh, and the other day I made four big jars of dill pickles. That’s one thing I can’t get here in Germany, so I have to make my own. And since we have the garden, I’ve discovered that zucchinis make great dill spears! Just throw away the soft center, cut the rest into spears, and pickle just like you would cucumbers. Next on the canning list: sweet pickle relish (also with zucchini).

Hope everyone has a great week!

Of revisions, translations, gardening, and this elusive summer

Oh, dear, I’ve been horribly lax about my blog lately. But that has a couple of reasons:

1) Big translation project

2) The weather has finally turned better here in Central Europe

At the moment, #2 is probably the most important. We have a “garden” about a 25 minute walk away from our apartment, a plot of land in the vineyards between Bad Cannstatt, Fellbach, and UntertĂĽrkheim with seventeen apple trees, as well as pear, cherry, quince and plums. (A recent storm did a lot of damage, but that’s a subject for another post, and besides, I don’t have the pictures up on Flickr yet.) It’s our little piece of paradise in the middle of the city.

The Garden

It’s also a lot of work. But with the recent ongoing rain, we haven’t had a chance to do any normal maintenance. So the other day we were finally out again, admiring all the weeds that sprouted up while it was raining for weeks on end. And the roses are getting spots and the tomatoes are developing blight. It’s enough to make a gal throw up her hands in defeat and get back to writing.

Well, I did a little of both, gardening and writing. The last couple of days in the garden, I’ve had my eeePC with me, and I’m now once through Beyond the Waters of the World, the next novella in the world of Looking Through Lace. Not completely done: I’m still missing two scenes I noted during the rewrite that I want to add in. I’d intended to be done by this past weekend, but revisions were a lot more substantial than I thought they’d be. (Duh.)

And then there was translating and Summer! Finally! (When summer is so rare, I think it’s a perfectly good excuse to temporarily fall behind in writing goals. We all need our vitamin D, after all.)

Interview, free book, and hand-painted shoes

A bit of a potpourri today. First: Marshall Payne has started up his interview series with speculative fiction writers again, and today he posted an interview with me. You can read it here.

Also, Looking Through Lace is available FREE today and tomorrow, for perhaps the last time. I’ve opted to take it out of KDP Select so that I can try uploading it (and a few other things) to the Kobo store, which just came out of beta for indie authors. That means I will also republish with Smashwords, although the sales there are negligible. Anyway, pass the word along!

Finally, on a very different note, I wanted to point people in the direction of an amazingly original business idea that my niece Emma has come up with: hand-painted shoes.

E Design

Don’t they look stunning? Way to go, Emma!

The business of being your own publisher

I got very little writing work done this week, other than some rewriting of the next Looking Through Lace novella, Beyond the Waters of the World. I originally wrote the novella back when Looking Through Lace was published by Asimov’s, but it took me too long to finish, and by that time, Asimov’s was no longer interested in a further episode. Yet another of the many mistakes I’ve made during my writing career!

But now, after a number of reviewers have said they would like to read more about Toni and Kislan and interstellar cultural conflict, I pulled the old novella out from the depths of my hard drive and am in the process of blowing off the virtual dust and whipping the old puppy into shape. In preparation, I read through Looking Through Lace again and added an excerpt from the upcoming novella to the ebook.

While I was in ebook creation mode, I also rearranged the short stories in The Future, Imperfect, and fixed a couple of typos one of my readers found in Dragon Time. Then yesterday I uploaded new versions of three of my ebooks.

I’m about a fourth of the way through revisions and writing new new material for Beyond the Waters of the World now. (By the way, if anyone is interested in being a beta reader, let me know in the comments.) I also did an interview for Marshall Payne, which he will be putting up on his blog on Tuesday. But all of these things take time, and they take away from writing time.

On the positive side, I got some great placement on the Kindle Science Fiction and Fantasy page this week:

Featured in Fantasy

I never would have noticed it myself, since the default display is completely different if your location is given as Europe. Laurel Amberdine of Codex pointed it out to me, and with a couple of changed settings, I was finally able to see it on my own screen. Woot!

Wishing all a great week. 🙂

Writing progress and upcoming freebies

Just a short update today. This past week, I’ve been caught up in the business end of going indie, and the writing progress, while perhaps looking good in numbers, is less than I would have wanted. I am now at 51,000 words for Chameleon in a Mirror, but the 11,000 words added in the last week were edited rather than typed in from scratch, as I have been doing until now with this new version of the novel. But after rereading this section in the old version, it seemed to me that it needed less work than earlier chapters, so I decided to largely go with what I already had.

Business progress: after creating the new cover for The Future, Imperfect, (partly alone and partly with my daughter) I decided to schedule a freebie to test it and see if it gets better downloads now than with the old cover. So if you don’t have it yet, make a note that my collection of dystopian stories will be free July 10-11. If you download it and enjoy the stories, please consider leaving a review! I think it’s safe to say that reviews are more important for indie publications than for traditional publications. Reviews are the new gatekeepers. I got a great review of the collection on a blog, but it’s still reviewless on Amazon. Besides the lit-fic looking cover, I think that’s the other main reason the sales are so far behind my other ebooks.

In order to keep the link in the alsobots with the other science fiction title I have available as ebook, I will also be giving away Looking Through Lace on July 10. Please pass the word along!

Speaking of Looking Through Lace, I have contacted a cover artist for the second novella in the series, Beyond the Waters of the World. Next week, I will probably be putting Chameleon in a Mirror on hold for a while to whip Waters into shape. Once I’ve determined how much time I’ll still need, I will announce a publication date.

I wish everyone a great week!

A New Round of Goals

For a year now, I’ve been participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days, and it’s been amazing. I’ve published half-a-dozen ebooks, sold several stories to traditional markets, and made enough money off my writing (after a big dip in writing fortunes last year), to once again dream that I might yet be able to make it as a full-time writer. One of the sticky note on my monitor is a wonderfully practical quote from James Lee Burke to keep me grounded: “One of the things an author can always rely upon is that if he has success, it will go away from him again. When you have some success, put it in the bank because you will need it.”

Although in this day and age, who knows if the bank will still be there when you need it …

Anyway, my goals for the next 80 days:

– FINISH the new version of Chameleon in a Mirror, my Aphra Behn time travel. I’m 40,000 words in, so I think it’s doable. Yes, I thought so in the last round, but getting Shadow of Stone ready for publication took a lot more time than I expected. I don’t have any other projects that big slotted for this round, so I hope finishing CIAM and getting it off to my critique partner is fairly realistic.

– Do a new cover for The Future, Imperfect. The sales for this collection are way below that of all my other ebooks, and when I recently ran it through “Why Isn’t My Book Selling?” almost everyone said the cover was a problem — looked too much like litfic. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much …

– Get the next installment of Looking Through Lace up as ebook and brainstorm further episodes. My sf novella Looking Through Lace is one of my most popular titles, and one of the comments that frequently pops up in reviews is that readers wish there were more. Well, I have more. I once envisioned writing a series of novellas in the same world, and have quite a bit of material already. And now in this brave new world of indie publishing, I can return to it and maybe make a bit more out of all the work I put into those conlangs way back when. 🙂

– Release at least one more mini story collection of previously published fiction at 99c. The more the merrier, and the more books I have, the more often I can have a free promotion to get my name out there among the indie-reading-public.

– Revise and submit at least three short stories to traditional publications. I have too many stories I never got around to polishing and submitting, something I used to be so good about before I sold my first novel. But in the epub-world, the value of various lengths is shifting dramatically, and there is now a lot more potential income for novelette and novella-length fiction.

Good luck to all on their goals, whatever they may be!

Three free ebooks and “The Magician of Words”

The free ebook promotion I have going right now has been getting some nice attention from other blog sites. The latest is a listing on Free Kindle Books and Tips for Looking Through Lace. Yesterday, all three freebies (Looking Through Lace, Dragon Time and Other Stories, and The Future, Imperfect) were listed on SF Signal and Upcoming4.Me. Here’s hoping that will up my numbers enough to help Shadow of Stone when I publish it!

I also learned the publication date for my flash fiction piece “The Magician of Words.” It will be sent to Daily Science Fiction subscribers on June 14. A week after that, it will appear on the DSF site.

Shadow of Stone – editing process almost complete

Today, I finished the final editing pass on Shadow of Stone and gave it to my hubbie for a last spot check. I asked him to read the prologue and first chapter, as well as a couple of random chapters throughout the book, just to make sure we’ve done everything we can to make the book as error-free as possible. That includes the following:

– Putting various chapters and the synopsis through a couple of different workshops
– About 10 beta readers after the first draft was complete
– Letting the thing sit for half-a-year before tackling it again
– Another complete revision pass
– Hiring a copy editor
– One final editing pass after getting the manuscript back from the editor, both to address the things she found and to do my darnedest to make sure as few mistakes as possible slipped through.

I’m sure someone will still find something, but at least I can in good conscience say I did my best.

After handing off the manuscript, I enlisted my daughter to help me update the map from Yseult. The world is, of course, the same, but I needed to add some of the more important locations that only play a role in Shadow of Stone and thus were not included on the map for Yseult. That is nearly done now. Then once I get the manuscript back, I will start on the formatting. If I don’t meet with any major glitches, I will hopefully have the book done on the target release date of June 5. Yeah! Originally, I’d been intending to be finished with Chameleon in a Mirror by the end of this month, but I spent a lot more time on the final editing pass than I’d intended. It will be good to get back to actual writing again!

A reminder: my short story collection The Future, Imperfect is FREE through June 5, a little promotional freebie before I release Shadow of Stone. Tomorrow, Looking Through Lace and Dragon Time also go free. I got some wonderful promotion for my freebie splurge from SF Signal, and now The Future, Imperfect is up to #40 in Science Fiction on the Kindle free bestseller list. Thanks again, John!

I hope all who read this have a happy and productive week. 🙂