Tag Archives: Murano

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
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.

This #WIPpet Wednesday: Glass slippers for a prince — and the consequences

I’m still working on (hopefully final) revisions for Island of Glass. With my daughter visiting, there’s a lot less time for writing and translating, and the translation job has to come first. So this week, my WIPpet will again be from my glassmaking fairy tale.

Last week, someone said they would love to see the shoes, and I promised to provide a description. Now this is certainly a lovely glass slipper, but Chiara’s is even cooler:

Glass slipper art

I want to provide the description of Chiara’s art, but at the same time, I want to move the story forward a little bit. So this week I’m going to give you two short excerpts from the novella, 4 paragraphs each for the month, 4 from the completion of the glass shoes, and 4 from the scene of the prince’s reaction to the gift:

“Pasquale, could you heat the millefiori rod for me? I want to make a rosette for the front of the shoe.”
He grinned and pulled on an apron. “As the maestra commands.”
She extended the shoe into the heat again, while Pasquale prepared the rod that would become its laces.
When both of the glass evening slippers were completed, the workers in the hot shop stood back, admiring Chiara’s art. The blue glass of the shoes were decorated with glittering gems of clearest cristallo, and the rosettes at the front made of a mosaic of pure, colorless glass, combined with slices of colorful millefiori. The strips appeared tied together with the carelessness of a real shoe. The red heels had the exact curve of the elegant slippers preferred by the nobility of Venice.

So those are the glass slippers, and this is the way the prince reacts after receiving them. This snippet comes directly after the one I provided last week:

Chiara blushed, glancing at her footmen, his guards, and his secretary. They all stared into the distance with that lack of expression servants cultivated, as if they didn’t hear a thing. She knew that wasn’t true. Although the prince’s words had not been loud, they were easily audible to all in the room. But footmen and guards obviously did not matter to him — he treated them as little more than pieces of furniture.
He noted the direction of her gaze. “Do you want me to send them away?”
“No, please do not for my sake.” She tried to keep any hint of panic out of her voice.
He 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.”

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 from Island of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday

My daughter arrived for a visit from the States on Monday, and this morning, she and I had the youngest in the family because of a strike in the city day care centers. In the afternoon, I did some translating, but then I had to take a break to sleep off the effects of having to look after an energetic four-year-old until early afternoon. In the evening, my daughter and I went out to dinner together to what has long been one of our favorite restaurants here, Stadtgraben. And it was wonderful as usual.

With everything that is going on right now, I’m still working on the latest revision round incurred by the comments of my last beta reader for Island of Glass. So since that’s all I’ve been doing creative writing-wise for the last week, I will be returning to the novella this week. Which is appropriate, since the original short story was inspired by a trip I took with my daughter to Venice almost a decade ago, where we stayed on Murano.

Santi Maria on Murano

I was utterly fascinated by the history of glass we learned while we were there, and it inspired and fed into the story.

Anyway, I’m not going to give you any complicated math this week, just 26 sentences for the 26th day of the month. In this scene, Chiara has presented herself to Prince Vittore of House Foscari with the gift she made for him, inspired by the events of the last scene I shared:

Chiara bowed her head in acknowledgment. “May we inquire as to the exact nature of the crime of which he is accused?” she asked diffidently.
The prince laid the box on a table, removed the wrapping, and began to push aside the wood shavings. “Why, attempting to sell Venetian trade secrets, of course.”
Her heart sank, and she clutched her hands in the folds of her silk skirts. That was much worse than simply violating the ban on leaving the islands of Venice. “My uncle would never sell trade secrets,” she protested. “After all, it is in his own best interests if the glassmakers of Murano create glass that is in demand throughout the world. As long as we are the only ones with the knowledge to make cristallo, our wealth will continue to grow.”
“Then what was he doing on the mainland in Padua, can you tell me that?”
Chiara was considering the wisdom of pointing out that Padua was part of the Venetian Empire, when the prince pulled a velvet-wrapped bundle out of the box and pushed aside the fabric.
“Ah!”
Prince Vittore held the glass slipper up to the light streaming in from the high arcade windows, turning it in his hands to inspect her handiwork.
“It is one of a matching pair,” Chiara hastened to tell him.
“Beautiful,” he murmured reverently, and Chiara could feel her cheeks grow warm. He looked from the glass slipper to her face, his gaze intense. “From your hand, Maestra?”
She nodded.
“I’d heard rumors that the young maestra of the Fenice Glassworks did brilliant work.” He laid the shoe on a low table beside him and reached into the box for its twin. “Had I known how brilliant, I would have made your acquaintance long before this.”
He might be paying her a compliment, but she couldn’t help thinking that his voice had a slimy quality, reminding her vaguely of a reptile. “You do me too much honor, my prince.”
He pushed aside the velvet, his eyes still holding hers, and his expression had turned speculative. “Talented and beautiful,” he murmured. “A very intriguing combination.”

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 and progress report

I have my final cover for Island of Glass. Now all I have to do is revise, send it off to beta readers, find an available editor, revise again, format, and publish …

Right. Anyway, here’s the amazing cover by Rachel Cole:

If anyone is inclined to be a beta reader for a fantasy novella set in an alternate seventeenth century Venice and revolving around the glassmakers of Murano, please let me know! Right now, it’s in dormancy, an important step in my creative process, but I think after about another month, I’ll be ready to revise and then send off to my first readers.

Progress on Chameleon in a Mirror: I’ve completed revisions through chapter 13, of 31, which means I’m almost halfway through. Aphra Behn has just experienced the slave rebellion in Surinam that was the basis of her short novel Oroonoko, and is on her way back to England. My critique partner won’t have time to read it until April, but I still want to finish it as soon as possible, so that I have the whole book in mind while I do this pass.

The group promo this week was a lot more successful than the last one, but I’m not seeing much of a post-promo sales bump. At least I finally had some sales on Kobo and B&N. At some point, I will probably have some thoughts on things that could contribute to a successful group promo, but not today. 🙂

First draft of Island of Glass finished!

This incarnation of Island of Glass is finished!

But very definitely a first draft, so there is still work to do. In its present state, it is coming in at just over 16,000 words, so not quite novella length yet, but this version still has several “placeholders” — notes to myself where I need more description or whatever. So I am reasonably confident that the final draft will at least make it to the SFWA definition of novella (17,500 words).

Just for fun, I’ll share the beginning:

Chiara wiped her hands on her apron and lifted the goblet up to the light, inspecting her work critically. The fluted glass flared out like a lily beginning to bloom, and as hard as she tried, she could find no discoloring or bubbles. She breathed a sigh of relief; a nearly perfect piece. It would command a high price among the nobles of Venice. The work of the Murano glassmakers was in great demand throughout the world. It was the basis of their riches — and their curse. The laws of La Serenissima decreed that the glassmakers of Murano were never to leave the few islands that comprised the small city-state. Murano glass was more precious than gold. Anyone who knew the recipe of the alchemists could make gold, but only the artisans of Murano could make glass so fine, one could nearly touch one’s fingers together on either side; cristallo without an imperfection or blemish, clear as the sky, with a sparkle to rival that of diamonds.

Anyway, besides organizing the next group promo, that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days. Speaking of which, this is the LAST DAY of the Dollar Daze group promo! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter for lots of cool prizes. 🙂

Now that Island of Glass is done, I will set it aside for a while and do revisions on Chameleon in a Mirror, the time travel based on the life of Aphra Behn that I was working on last year. Then off that one goes to first readers, and I can get back to Island of Glass and polish it for external eyes.

I sincerely doubt if I will ever run out of projects. It’s more like — no way I will ever finish them all before I die. Every time someone asks me if I’m working on something new, what I really want to say is, “Duh!” But I’m too polite for that. 🙂

Wishing everyone a wonderful week and great progress on whatever you’re working on!

Considering a new title: Playing with Lulu’s Titlescorer

I’ve been considering changing the title of “City of Glass” for some time now, but I recently bought a premade cover for the book, so now it is definitely time for me to make up my mind. By the way, here’s the cover I bought:

While I like the title “City of Glass,” there is a YA book now in the top 100 on Amazon also called “City of Glass.” I wrote my short story “City of Glass” years ago, long before the novel of the same name came out, but it might still look like I was using the title to try and capitalize on someone else’s success. Even though it wouldn’t be true, I don’t much like the idea.

So I started playing with titles today, and to increase the fun factor, I sent them through the Lulu Titlescorer. I’m not quite sure how the Lulu app rates things, but it is based on 700 published titles. The most important element seems to be “grammar type,” and I’ve noticed the app seems to like “___ of ___” titles — like “City of Glass,” which promptly landed a 69% chance of being a bestseller. 🙂

Anyway, here are some of the alternate titles I sent through the Titlescorer, along with their respective rankings:

Empire of Glass – 64.8

Making Glass for a Prince – 55.4

Glass for a Prince – 10.2

Gifts of Glass – 41.4

Glass Magic – 63.7

The Glass Prison – 63.7

Prison of Glass – 69

Facets of Glass – 69

I would love some feedback on the titles! A little background: Chiara is a glassmaker on Murano in an alternate 17th century, at the height of the demand for Venetian glass. It is forbidden for glassmakers to leave Venice, for fear that they will sell trade secrets, and the Venetian monopoly will crumble. (This was true, by the way — just not the magic and princes in my story …)

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time the last couple of days to work on the novella, whatever it will end up being called. I completed the edits of From Earth to Mars and Beyond and got it uploaded again. I also had some formatting concerns I had to address for the Apple store version. I started putting together the ebook version of my story “The Leaving Sweater” and my short collection “Story Hunger.” To sum up, recently I have been concentrating on the marketing side of my career. This doesn’t fit with my goals, which had been to complete at least some writing each day before tackling marketing tasks. That plan doesn’t seem to be working for me, so now I’m considering alternating writing days and business days. Perhaps I will be more efficient if I can concentrate on one aspect of my writing career at a time.

Wishing everyone a great week!