Tag Archives: progress report

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.

Many words, a story sale, and then off to France!

The word production has been going quite well since I decided to do Nano again. Last week, I got 13,000 words written, and so far this week it’s another 5400. Doing word sprints has been helping a LOT (thank you, sprint pals!) No writing so far today, though — I’ve been packing and setting up my little netbook for the trip. Tomorrow I fly to Paris for the next Villa Diodati workshop. We won’t actually be in Paris, though. This is where we’ll be:

Three days and four night of writing talk and good food and critiquing great fiction (which I finally have to make a bit more progress on! I’ve been concentrating too much on word production lately.)

I also have some good news: I sold another short story the traditional way, with payment on publication, to the online zine Abyss and Apex. It’s another one of my Alaska stories in the Tales From Far Beyond North series, “Degrees of Separation.”

Finally, I’m going to be giving away another book next week, Almost all the Way Home From the Stars, a collection of stories I wrote with the late great Jay Lake. So far this year it’s sold a handful of copies, so I pulled it from other venues and put it in KDP Select so that I would be able to at least push it with free runs. Although I published it over a year ago, it still doesn’t have any reviews. Of course, the people who pick up a book during free runs may not be my target audience (I’ve gotten a lot of negative reviews for short story collections that way), but with at most 1 sale a month, even some reviews complaining about the short stories being short would be an improvement. So mark your calendars for Nov. 17 – 21, and grab yourself a copy sometime next week!

Now we come to WIPpet Wednesday! Math is fast and dirty today: 12 sentences for the 12th of the month from Facets of Glass — plus 2 to end the scene. 🙂 The Evil Dowager Princess is planning some nasty stuff involving a glass apple:

The dowager princess lifted the apple of glass up from the table next to the raised chair where she sat and handed it down to the witch. “I was wondering if there were some enchantment you could give to this apple to create the illusion of illness in someone.”
Vanna turned the apple over in her hands. “Create the illusion of illness?” she repeated.
Zilia shrugged. “I am not the wielder of magic, so I do not know what is possible.”
She noticed the precise moment when the witch found the clever wormhole in the glass apple. Her hands stilled, and she gazed at the spot, her forehead creasing in lines of thought. The dowager princess was struck once again by how few wrinkles lined Vanna’s face, given her silver-white hair. It made it very difficult to guess her age.
Vanna looked up form her contemplation of the apple, and her eyes met those of the dowager princess. “I believe I could insert a spell in this apple through the wormhole that might, under the right circumstances, seduce a soul to leave its body and be one with the enchanted apple.”
Zilia found herself — totally against her inclination and training — wanting to clap her hands in glee at the witch’s suggestion.
If it worked, it would be perfect.

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.

Progress on various fronts, Spain workshop, and more Recontact for #WIPpet Wednesday

In the last week, my progress has once again mostly been on the translation, but I have good news — I’m done with the novel proper! All I still have to translate is the glossary and the list of characters. I’m hoping I can get that done tonight. Yay!

My writing progress has been limited to getting this revision pass of Recontact finished, a novella I wrote with Jay Lake. This round of editing too is done, although the novella is not. Next week, I’m off to southern Spain for the next Villa Diodati workshop, where my wonderful fellow expat writers will tear Recontact apart, so that I can put it back together newer and better.

This is where I will be come next Wednesday, working oh so hard on my writing:

Villa Diodati 12

Since I’ll be spending most of Wednesday getting there, and most of the Wednesday following getting back, I probably won’t be posting anything for WIPpet Wednesday the next two weeks. Instead, I may have a few pictures of Costa del Sol. 🙂

The WIP this week is still Recontact. My math for 4/23 goes like this: 23-4=19. So here are 19 sentences from the pov of Melia, a priestess on the planet of Bonifium:

Bent over her crystal voice, carefully sliding the prayer arm back and forth, Melia did not immediately register the ruckus in the courtyard below. She’d caught wisps of a noise which might be Holy Data streaming from the women in heaven. Like prayer, but aimed back down at the unworthy who scarcely had ears to listen.
She was focusing so much on the voice, it took a while for the noise of horses and new arrivals to disturb her concentration. When it finally began to penetrate, she reluctantly took the stairs down – with her hard face, the one that most people cringed from. All in her clade knew better than to interrupt when she was listening to her voices.
But in the courtyard outside, her anger slid away as fast as rain on tile. Her demi-sister Namma sat on a lathered horse, looking little better than her mount, while Petras the house-steward helped her dismount.
Namma had been in the command ranks at Fonstead – presumed lost in the siege.
“Sib!” Namma cried from the saddle, and slid off with a grunt. The fool Petras barely managed to catch her. Melia doused a surge of rage and ran to help.
“I was at Naxos Bay,” Namma got out. “They are back. I saw them.”
The cold stab which seized Melia’s heart could have come from a silvered knife tempered by moonlight and a man’s gut. She felt the surge of history moving, the sense of the land around her as strong as her own skin, the years marching through her thoughts on the feet of insects, until the potential of this moment felt fit to balloon her skin and spill out like light from all her pores.
“The Prophecy is fulfilled?” she gasped.
“The star, the strangers – it is the Second Landing. It must be!”

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 first rose of the year

Just to show you how weird the weather has been this year, when we were in the garden yesterday, I saw that the first rose had already bloomed:

Arthur Bell Rose
Arthur Bell in my garden

Once upon a day, I used to spend the first couple of weeks in May in North Carolina for a big three letter company, testing translations of computer programs. While there, one of the places I always visited was the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. The roses there were invariably several weeks ahead of those in Germany:

Fair Bianca Rose in Duke Gardens
Fair Bianca at the Duke Gardens

By the time I got back from the Triangle, my own roses were just starting to bloom. This year, most of my rose bushes already have buds, and I’m sure several of those will be blooming by the end of April.

My progress is not quite as rosy. I continue to move forward on the translation, but not as quite as quickly as I would like, with all the socializing going on with my daughter here. I don’t see her every day anymore, though, so that’s important.

On the writing front, I’ve switched temporarily from editing Island of Glass to editing Recontact. Another Villa Diodati workshop is coming up beginning of May, and I want to hand in the first several chapters for critique. Before I do that, I need to address the comments I got from my lovely beta readers. Thanks again, you guys. 🙂

So while progress is slow, it’s there. I’m happy with that, given everything going on at the moment.

Hope everyone is getting off to a good start this round!

It’s accounting time again! Me and my goals, first quarter 2014

Long, long ago, when I first came to Germany, I was given the nickname “Nessie” (for my last name), and I liked it so much, I kept it. Who wouldn’t want to be a big green sea monster, after all? Anyway, my son got me this excellent T-Shirt, which I think is very appropriate for a post where I have to fess up to all the things I didn’t accomplish in this round:


In case you can’t read the words, they’re “The important thing is that I believe in myself.”

Anyway, on to the accounting for the first Round of Words in 2014:


– Write every day, aiming for at least a page, or 250 words. This is really low for me, and once I manage to catch up on the translation, I can raise my goals. At that point, I will also add some specific project goals.

I did work on writing projects almost every day, but it was more revising and editing than creating new words. Still, as long as I continue to work consistently towards my writing goals, I’m pretty happy with myself.


– Be done with the Big Translation Project by the end of the round

Not quite. I am now on page 257 of 303. At least the finish line is in sight now. Maybe I can get it done before the next round starts.

Writing business:

– Publish Chameleon in a Mirror

– Publish Island of Glass

Nope. Only recently got the comments back from the final beta reader, so I’m still working on revisions on that one.

– Publish “The Shadow Artist”

– Upload “Leaving Sweater” to Smashwords and make it free
‘Fraid not.

– Publish Shadow of Stone to B&N, Smashwords and D2D

– Publish “Mars, A Traveler’s Guide” to Amazon and make it free
No such luck.

– Make Author Page for Amazon.de and Amazon.uk

I made my author page for Amazon UK! It’s not live yet, though. I’ll provide the link when I have it. I still need to do Amazon.de.

– Update my blog’s book page
DONE!! You can see the new page here.

– Submit a short story a week to traditional publishers

Not quite. I submitted four short stories this round, of which three have already been rejected. I added this goal late, but I still should have had twice the submissions. Maybe next time!

I did have a long list of goals, and the translation is keeping me very busy, so despite all the goals I didn’t achieve, I’m still pretty happy. Hope the rest of you are too!

Crossing things off the to-do list – and #WIPpet Wednesday

I was over on Goodreads the other day (something I don’t actually do very often, since the ratings system there tends to depress me), and I noticed that I had a personal message. It was a note from a reader, asking if there were any plans for Shadow of Stone to be published on any other platforms like Kobo? So I had to confess that I’d been intending to for some time, but just never got around to it.

I have to admit, one of the reasons I haven’t been publishing my books like a fiend on all platforms is because I hardly sell anything anywhere besides Amazon — a couple of books a month on B&N, and on Kobo even less, a rare book in the Apple store. But one reader wanting my book was enough of a push for me to finally get the epub put together and uploaded in those places and on Draft2Digital. I haven’t done Smashwords yet, though. They still discourage uploading Epub there, and formatting a doc file for SW always takes me way too long.

I don’t have any links yet, but I will share them when I do.

I also continue to make progress on the hard copy revisions of A Wasted Land. But since I’m working in hard copy now, for WIPpet Wednesday, I’m going to go back to almost the very beginning. If I were to take an excerpt from later in the story, I would have to resist the temptation to do some polishing before uploading it, for fear of making some changes that wouldn’t be in the paper copy I’m working on. (Does that make any sense to anyone but me?)

Anyway, for the third month of the year, I am going to give you three short paragraphs from the prologue of A Wasted Land:

Kustennin gazed after the retreating figures — Myrddin with the shuffling gait of an old man, Nimue and Taliesin carrying the litter.
Evening fog began to curl around their feet, teasing at hems and legs. Kustennin’s little sister Riona laughed in delight at the shifting shadows, chasing and dancing with them. He smiled at her antics, wishing he knew her better. But for most of her life, he had been at war.
When he glanced to the north again, he could barely see Arthur and his party in the swirling mist.

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. 🙂

Another excerpt from Jay Lake collab “Recontact” for #WIPpet Wednesday

This round of words, I’d been intending to get some new words written every day, but it hasn’t happened, or at least only rarely. Instead, I’ve been spending most of my time editing: first, Chameleon in a Mirror; then “An Airship for Elise”; and now, the novella with Jay Lake, Recontact. But for the time being, I am happy to say that Recontact is finished. I’ve sent copies off to Jay and my daughter, who will be helping me make the cover.

I also continue to make consistent progress on the translation. Less than 100 pages to go now! I may actually be able to finish it before the end of the round, as I wanted.

Now On to WIPpet Wednesday. Since Recontact is what I’ve been working on this week, that is what you get again. My math for today, 2/26, goes like this: here is an excerpt of 26 lines from Chapter 2. Sharan and Nowrie are watching a scene on a beach that will become very important for Sharan’s future actions:

A handful of Adyanii followed the crew into the pale sunlight, officers of the Partenos legion. She’d learned to recognize the uniforms. Someone in the original colony must have had a library of ancient Greek and Roman militaria, because these guys could have marched right out of history.
They strode up to the blue-clad crew and surrounded them with hands on swords. What were they to the Adyanii soldiers? Prisoners? Informers? Collaborators? If Becca truly was one of them, Sharan couldn’t imagine that she was helping the Adyanii.
Then Arnoldson walked out of the tent. There was no mistaking his forward-leaning stride or lank blonde hair.
At Sharan’s sharp intake of breath, Nowrie glared, shaking her head, one finger raised to her lips.
Sharan mimed a pistol with her index finger and thumb. “Him,” she said, voiceless as night air.
They had no captured offworld weapons — Arnoldson seemed to have kept that much of the Smith-Ayapurtam expedition’s protocols intact, even in the wake of his enthusiastic outburst of king-making. The range was several hundred meters. Nothing the Edarans had could reach that with the remotest accuracy. Besides which, Nowrie would not betray their position.
Oh gods, Sharan thought, what I wouldn’t give for a good rifle right now.
She used to be so dismissive of violence as a clumsy and hurtful solution to life’s problems. Once Arnoldson had spaced Mistress Ayapurtam, along with seven other undesirables — including two of Sharan’s closest friends from the Planetary Sciences section — she’d found her views rapidly changing.
Now the bastard had aligned himself with the roughest bunch of bully boys down here dirtside. Talk about reigning in hell instead of serving in heaven.
An accusing female voice rang out over the sands of the beach to their hiding place. Sharan couldn’t pick out the words, but she recognized the timbre and tone. It was Becca. She clenched her hands together, feeling helpless and afraid.
Arnoldson argued with the crew for a few minutes, then turned to look out over the water. He gave a single, sharp nod. The swords stabbed downward and blood flowed dark as sin in sunlight.
Nowrie clapped her hand over Sharan’s mouth and wrapped her in her arms as she was wracked by soundless sobs.

That’s it for now from Recontact — next week I’ll be back to A Wasted Land. But if you want to find out what happens, I’m looking for beta readers! As stands, the novella is just under 30,000 words; the RTF file has about 100 pages.

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. 🙂

Consulting the Surreal Oracle, and another excerpt for #WIPpet Wednesdays

When I wrote up my report on the last Villa Diodati workshop a while ago, there was something I forgot, and that was to explain a little game we played called The Surreal Oracle. Ben Rosenbaum introduced the game at a workshop in southern France a couple years back, and we’ve been playing it off and on at Villa Diodati ever since. The rules are fairly simple. Each person writes down five random questions and five random answers on a piece of paper, like this:

The Surreal Oracle

Then you go around the circle and ask you neighbor the first question on your list, and he or she answers with their own first answer. To mix it up a bit, after you’ve finished a round, you can switch directions, or change places at the table, so it isn’t always the same people asking and answering. With a group of crazy writers, you can get some amazing answers out of the surreal oracle. Of course, most of the time, the questions and answers don’t fit, but enough of them do that whenever we play, I usually end up laughing so hard it hurts. Here are some of the questions and answers we had at the last workshop:

Ruth: How can you tell an ass from a donkey?
Jeff: How should I know? The sun was in my eyes and I was finding it difficult to grasp the shot glass.

Sylvia: What do you think is my most attractive feature?
Christian: That’s the worst pick-up line ever.

Jeremy: What advice would you give to your daughter?
Ruth: I think it should be Floris.

Floris: What is the best aspect of good foreplay?
Grayson: Slow torture will pretty much work every time.

Sylvia: How do you motivate yourself to write?
Jeff: All I remember is the cult leader, white smoke, and the speakers blasting ABBA.

I highly recommend the game, especially in a round of creative types. 🙂

On to the Nanowrimo front, I continue to make excellent ground on the new project and am now at 43,579 words for the month. At this rate, I might win it after all! I hope everyone else is doing great and happy with their progress.

So now that I have fulfilled my duty to my fellow workshoppers, and posted my Nanowrimo progress, I can continue on to Wednesday’s normal feature, WIPpet Wednesday! My math today (11-27) goes like this: 27-11=16. So I’m giving you 16 sentences from my still unnamed fugitive story:

She thought about buying a gun, but she hated the things, now even more than before, and she didn’t know how to use them anyway. She would just have to make sure that the bad guys didn’t catch up with her. She paid for the big ticket items with her credit card, stowed them in her station wagon (officially a crossover, but she still thought of it as a station wagon). She’d parked in the darkest corner of the the parking lot, and she used her screw drivers to steal a front license plate from a nearby car.
Then she returned to the store and bought food, pens, some basic medicines, a couple of spiral notebooks, and some books — in several consecutive runs through the cash register, paying with her debit card and asking for the limit of a hundred dollars cash back each time. She paid in cash for a wig, hair dye, and some large sunglasses.
When she was finished with her shopping spree, she stole a few more front license plates, this time from the employee parking lot, replacing them with a couple of the themed plates on a North Carolina background that she’d bought. She only hoped that would keep the owners from noticing the theft right away.
After she left the superstore, she drove south on Fayetteville Road and pulled into the parking lot of a nearby church. Luckily, urban planning in North Carolina was very nearly non-existent, and outside of the actual city centers, suburbs and shopping malls and industrial parks were like bird droppings on the landscape, usually with plenty of undeveloped fields and trees between the buildings.
In the deserted parking lot, Amber took off her own license plates and replaced the front with one proclaiming, “Hell was so full I came back.” Then she replaced the back with one of the stolen plates. She didn’t want to get rid of her own plates so close to home — although, when she thought about it, once they started going after her, they would be able to trace her easily enough to the superstore up-road.
Across the street from the church was a thickly wooded area. She jogged across the street and hid the license plates under some bushes not far from the road.
By the time she was done, it was almost midnight — which meant she could plunder her bank accounts one last time.

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. 🙂

Quarterly update and a cover reveal for Gawain and Ragnell

It’s that time of year again, taking stock on how well I’ve achieved my goals in the last couple of months for “A Round of Words in 80 Days.” For those who are unfamiliar with ROW80, you can check it out here.

First off, to get it out of the way, here are the goals I didn’t achieve:

– I did NOT manage to get 50,000 words written on A Wasted Land

– I did NOT do much more experimenting with posting to Wattpad and similar sites

– I only managed to do a few experimental fast writing sessions, not enough to significantly increase my average word count

So what did I achieve?

A Wasted Land is now at 19,000 words, which is almost 18,000 more than the beginning of the round.

– I had a wonderful vacation to Iceland and to visit family, during which I got next to no writing done. 🙂

– I got Chameleon in a Mirror off to some more beta readers, and I’m still hopeful I will be able to publish before Christmas.

– I’ve started brainstorming the sequels to Island of Glass, Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass. I’ve also been in touch with the cover artist for the first book and will hopefully soon be able to book slots for the second two.

– I started a new, long-term translation job (one of the reasons the writing progress has been slower than I hoped).

– I did Konrath’s 8 Hour Ebook Challenge, writing and publishing The Destruction of Ys in 8 hours. I got such great feedback on my little short short, that I unpublished this week. And no, that’s not a contradiction. It appears Ys might be worth a bit more work than 8 hours, so I intend to expand it and republish once I’m happy with it. 🙂

– I’m almost done with the stand-alone version of Gawain and Ragnell (taken from an episode in Shadow of Stone). I’ve also been working with my daughter on a cover for it:

Cover for Gawain and Ragnell

So what do you guys think?

Anyway, even if I’m behind on my goals, I’m still happy with what I did manage to get done. Hope everyone else had a successful quarter as well!