Tag Archives: progress report

Very belated update, and Ygerna seeking a healer for #WIPpet Wednesday

A lot has been going on here in Central Europe, and I just haven’t been able to take the time for blogging while still moving forward on my writing. My sister came to visit — for the first time in over 25 years. Then we took a short trip to France, where we met her daughter and spent some time drinking champagne in Champagne. I still intend to write a blog post about that with pictures, but when we got back, I had better things to do: I FINISHED A COMPLETE DRAFT OF DRAGON TOUCHED TODAY! The rough draft was done end of February, but it was full of holes. That’s the way I work: first drafts are like a jumble of notes to myself and scenes that are completely written out. During revisions, I added another 20,000 words and deleted around 10,000. 🙂

This evening, I dived right back into Ygerna, inspired by the new cover by Lou Harper:


Do let me know what you think! It’s not finalized yet, and any feedback you have will be sent on to the cover artist. You can see the wraparound cover as well in my last post here on my blog.

I also never got around to a new goal post for this quarter, since that was up at the time my sister arrived, and shortly before we took off for France. I’m just going to carry over the goals from the last round. 🙂

I haven’t posted for WIPpet Wednesday for a while either. I’m sticking with Ygerna, but jumping forward to a scene I was just revising. Our protagonist has realized that she might be pregnant, and she goes in search of a healer who can help her do something about it. Thirteen short paragraphs for the 13th day of the month:

Ygerna reined in her horse on the outskirts of the small village and examined the roundhouses of daub and wattle. There was no help for it, she would have to ask someone which house was that of the village healer. She could only hope no one would recognize her; she wanted as few people knowing her secret as possible. That was why she hadn’t gone to the healer in the town across the land bridge from Dyn Tagell.
It wouldn’t do to be asking about herbs that would start her menses again there, where everyone knew the daughters of Erbin, the King of Dumnonia.
So she’d wrapped her distinctive red hair in a shawl, put on an old gown she usually only wore when she needed to help with chores, and set off for the next nearest village with a healer.
She dismounted and approached a woman throwing slops to the pigs. “Excuse me, can you tell me where the healer in this village lives?”
The woman set down the bucket and pointed. “The third house over there, Lady.”
Oh dear, the old mare and the old clothes had not been enough to disguise her class. Well, at least she knew no one here and no one knew her. They might call her “Lady,” but they didn’t know her name.
Ygerna lead the mare by the reins to the house indicated. A young woman perhaps a little older than Elen was tending a small garden of herbs and vegetables next to the house. A basket beside her contained some radishes, spring onions, and a couple of parsnips.
“Hello,” Ygerna said. “Are you the healer in these parts?”
“That I am.” The young woman rose, smiling, and wiped her hands on her apron. “How can I help you?”
Ygerna glanced around, unable to repress her nervousness. “May we go inside?”
The healer led the way into her modest dwelling, a roundhouse in the old style, and now Ygerna noticed that she too was pregnant. The belt of her gown was tied a little higher to allow for the gently rounding belly.
The healer closed the door behind them. “Let me guess, you need herbs that will abort an unwanted child.”

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

Revising, writing, and creeping through trees

I continue to jump back and forth between two projects that are largely completed, Ygerna and Dragon Touched, revising and filling in missing scenes as I go. It’s a lot slower than the mad rush to the end of Dragon Touched was, but I’m making steady progress. Last week, I got 4700 new words written and 7 pages edited.

What am I failing at? I haven’t been doing as much marketing, and my sales are slipping. I haven’t been submitting short stories like I intended. I haven’t started putting together any of the new ebooks on my list.

But I had a lovely day with my youngest granddaughter yesterday. We went on an adventure together, a walk to the river. We were creeping around and hiding behind trees, and taking a break on a bench to eat our “provisions” (“Proviant” is the word she used, which really surprised me). Writing and publishing are not everything. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Two women have come to Ygerna’s aid in the cave used for storage, where Uthyr took her by force. My math today for 3/9 is 9 – 3 = 6 paragraphs:

“Ygerna,” one of the voices said — a voice she couldn’t place. A gentle hand went to her shoulder. “Ygerna. You should get up, let us take care of you.”
She considered the suggestion. Slowly she began to feel the cold of the cave seeping into her bones, a cold that only moments before she had wanted to sink into forever. Now it was just another detail of her misery, a misery she wanted to escape.
Ygerna’s eyelids fluttered open, and she gazed into two faces she barely knew: Elen, her brother-in-law Bican’s sister, and Morigan, wife of Ambrosius Aurelianus — and sister-in-law of the man who had just raped her.
“You are alive,” Elen said. “Thank the gods.” She took Ygerna’s limp hand and pressed it tight. Elen’s hand was so much warmer than hers. She felt herself clinging to it as she allowed herself to return to the world.
It was dark now outside the cave. The scent of spilled wine and olive oil and packed earth filled her nostrils.
She rubbed her eyes and pushed herself up on her elbows. “What are you doing here?”

Pendragon Castle
By Oldfaw at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41064863

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

A New Tale of the Rose Knights, and More from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

Today, Daily Science Fiction posted the next installment in the Rose Knights series I wrote with Jay Lake, “Harlekin.” Here’s the real Harlekin rose that inspired the tale:

Harlekin rose
Harlekin rose by T. Kiya on Wikimedia Commons

Quite a beaut, eh? 🙂

My progress in terms of editing and new words continues to be nice and steady. Last week, I managed to get 4700 new words written, and 39 pages revised. I’m quite happy with that.

I’m slowing down on the marketing front, though. I didn’t get any more short stories submitted to traditional markets, nor did I get much done in terms of promo organizing. Oh, well. I’m sure I will notice it in sales at the end of the month, but I think right now it’s more important to get more books out. My experience of recent months tells me that having at least one serious promo a month is the best way I’ve found to maintain fairly regular sales and keep my books from dropping into obscurity.

Since it is Wednesday, it is also time to share a snippet from a Work In Progress, otherwise known as a WIPpet. My math today is 3 x 2 for the date = 6 short paragraphs.

TRIGGER WARNING! I’m not including the “bad stuff,” but it’s implied in the scene below. So stop now if you don’t want to read that kind of thing.

We last left Ygerna in imminent danger, even though she didn’t know it. From your comments, I’m pretty sure many of you did. For any number or reasons, I do no want to post the scene in which Uthyr forces her, so today we are going to skip ahead to where she is found.

Ygerna must have passed out on the damp floor of the cave. The next thing she knew, concerned voices were whispering above her, rousing her back to her misery.
“Does she still breathe?”
“She must. I would not have felt her pain otherwise.”
“I have heard of those who communicate with the dead.”
“The dead feel no pain.”
She heard the flickering of a burning torch, and beyond her closed eyelids, she sensed increased light. She pressed her eyes closed and rolled her body tight into a fetal position she never wanted to leave again.

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

A Golden Unicorn, an update, and Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

First off, I want to point you in the direction of the most recent story in The Tales of the Rose Knights that was published on Daily Science Fiction today, “Golden Unicorn.”

All of the Rose Knights of these stories I wrote with Jay Lake are named after real roses. Here the Golden Unicorn of this week’s title:

Golden Unicorn rose
Golden Unicorn

Speaking of Jay, I finally got another story I wrote with him revised and submitted to F&SF this weekend. I have such a ridiculously huge backlog of short stories at the moment that I’ve decided to try and get at least one story submitted a week until my database is no longer full of “ready to send” entries. :/

That will involve more time spent on revisions, however, and it’s reflected in my numbers for last week. My new words for the week were way down, only 3600, but I also edited / revised 28 pages (some more work some less, so hard to distinguish). I haven’t yet worked out how much pages edited are “worth” in terms of new words, but I figure I have to start counting them or else I won’t get around to finishing all the projects I have on my hard drive. If I only measure success in new words, then I’ll never finish anything.

I also spent a fair amount of time on marketing, setting up ads for a sale next week, and applying for another BookBub ad. Wish me luck!

Since it’s Wednesday, I also have another excerpt for you. Once again from Ygerna, even though I am mostly working on revising Dragon Touched and various short stories. But if you follow this blog, Ygerna provides the most continuity, and it’s still a WIP, so I think we’ll stick with it for a while. 🙂 10 sentences today, adding up all the digits for 2/17. This snippet comes just after Ygerna leaves the wedding banquet, disappointed with the behavior of her betrothed, Gurles (the excerpt I gave you last week):

Ygerna made her way from the upper hall where the festivities were being held to the nearly flat top of the promontory. Patches of mist and fog twisted and swirled around her, coming and going with the wind from the sea. Despite the buildings that dotted the near-island, gusts always seemed to find a way to whip her cape around and tug strands of red hair from her braid. She pulled them back from her forehead and walked to the edge of the cliff to gaze out at the ocean, the sea that was named for their enemies, the Erainn. The pirates who had killed their older brother and changed all their lives.
The position of the sun was barely visible through the fog, but a hint of brightness a handspan above the horizon indicated that it was evening. Late enough that her parents would not scold too much if she didn’t return to the banquet and sought out her bedchamber in the lower hall instead.
She turned, intending to seek out her room — to see Uthyr not far away, watching her. Once again, that pleasant nervousness overcame her at the sight of his charming smile.
“You left the banquet early,” he said.

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

Writing, sales, taxes, and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s amazing to me how inspirational regular sales can be for my writing. And I don’t think it’s just a matter of greed. *g* Just seeing a steady increase in books bought and pages read makes this whole writing addiction seem so much less like some kind of idiotic weakness on my part. It’s working! I’m finding an audience! Maybe I really can make real money at this someday!

And that puts all kinds of inferiority complex demons to rest, which in turn makes the writing somehow easier.

Speaking of which, the new Looking Through Lace boxed set is doing very well during its introductory 99c sale. I’ve sold 85 copies so far, and it’s made it into several top 100 lists. Here are the rankings last time I checked:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,633 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#32 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > First Contact
#34 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Galactic Empire
#38 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Exploration


On the less positive side, on Sunday I started doing our taxes, and all that wonderful writing momentum has ground to a halt. Our taxes are a very complicated affair, unfortunately. Last week, I got 5100 new words written. This week, only 200 so far. :/

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Last week, we left Ygerna making embarrassed excuses to her betrothed. Today I’m giving you 3 paragraphs for the 3rd of the month that pick up right where we left off:

“The weather,” Gurles repeated deliberately. “Then why does he keep looking at you like that?”
The few bites of honeyed custard she’d eaten — one of her favorite desserts — was beginning to feel like a stone in her stomach. Yes, why was Uthyr looking at her that way? At the same time, his intense gaze made her nervous in that strangely pleasant way she’d felt around him before. And when it came down to it, why was Gurles asking her such questions, as if she had done something wrong? She hadn’t even been aware of Uthyr’s attention.
She shook her head. “I don’t know.”

Igraine / Ygerna
Igraine / Ygerna

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

On Words, #WIPpets, and Freedom for #Nanowrimo

I haven’t posted on my blog for over two weeks, oh dear. But I had a good excuse: Ygerna and Nanowrimo. 🙂

Portrait of a Woman by Charles Allen Winter, often cited as Igraine

After I finished the translation of the second Viking book, I plunged into the Pendragon Chronicles prequel with a passion. (I can do alliteration!) And with the help of Freedom, an app that turns off the Internet, I actually managed to make the 50,000 words, for the first time in several years.

I bought Freedom quite some time ago, but this is the first time I’ve used it extensively for writing purposes. It is now definitely going to become part of my writing routine. With Freedom and no distractions, I can get 500 words written in 30 minutes when I’m on a roll. Of course, many 30 minute sessions I only got 250-300 words, but most days, I didn’t need more than 4 sessions (2 hours) to get my daily word count — and I was way behind as a result of the translation.

Of course, being a winner doesn’t mean I’m done with the novel. It’s still full of notes to myself and research ideas. At some point I will have to do a major slash and burn session. But with Freedom, I suspect the loss will be less than usual, since I couldn’t access the Internet during many of my writing sessions. I kept trying to remind myself that most readers won’t care if the historical background isn’t as accurate as in the other books — and many will be relieved. *g*

Besides, with this prequel, I have the advantage of all the research that has gone before. Of course I don’t remember everything, but often an earmarked book or an Internet search will bring back a lot.

That means that progress for the last two weeks was well over 25,000 words. And during that time I also did (a rather neglected) promo for Yseult — which still managed to get it over 100 sales and boost its rank to #4 in Arthurian fiction. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

My math for today: 12 sentences for the month, plus the last sentence from the last post for the sake of continuity, since I haven’t played for a while. Ygerna and her little brother Geraint are watching the guests arrive arrive for the wedding of their older sister:

“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.
She squinted, trying to see the wedding guests better. Not that it would help much — it had been nearly two years since she had last seen Uthyr, the Pendragon of Britain, not since the funeral of their older brother, Tudwal. Nonetheless, she well remembered his commanding presence and golden blond hair.
Then a figure neared the land bridge that matched her memories. She pointed. “There, I think that could be the Dux Bellorum.”
At that moment, the blond warrior looked up and spotted them. He grinned and nodded in their direction. Now Ygerna was almost certain it really was Uthyr. She blushed and lifted Geraint back off of the wall. “Come, we should join the rest of the family to welcome Argante’s wedding guests. Race you!”
How embarrassing to be caught spying on the arriving guests like a child! What would the Pendragon of Britain think of her? In a matter of months, Ygerna would turn fourteen, the age of choice for a woman. She was betrothed to Gurles, a neighboring prince from the stronghold of Dimilioc. They were to be married at Christmas in front of the impressive basilica of Isca.
And Argante had barely spoken to her for a week after the announcement was made.

All comments welcome!

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.

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.”
“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.

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. 🙂

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!