Tag Archives: shards of glass

You win some, you lose some: 3rd quarter writing goals wrap-up

My main goal for this quarter was to get back into better habits regarding the writing. I’ve been semi-successful in that respect. Part of what has helped is my new goal to write at least 100 words a day, even if it’s late and I just finished the day’s translation. Because sometimes, if I start getting into it, 100 turns into 200 or 300 or more. I’m not quite up to the 2500 words a week regularly that I wanted to achieve at the beginning of this round, but last week it was 1900, and the week before 2700, so I seem to be learning how to balance the writing and the translation better.

Last week, however, I realized that I will have to up my translation output. Not only did I lose a few days here and there due to all the visits from the States this summer, the fact that German tends to be longer than English means that as I progress through the document, my goal gets farther and farther away. In the original English, the file I’m translating is 249 pages. The German file is now 273 and growing. When figuring out how many pages I had to do a day in order to finish by the end of October, I forgot to take that into consideration. I now have to adjust accordingly — which will mean less time for writing. :/

Specific goals and how I did:

Writing:

– Write an average of 2500 words a week.

Did so-so on this one. My average weekly word count for the quarter was 2200.

– Finish Shards of Glass

Nope. But if it were as long as I originally projected, I would be done by now. Right now, it’s coming in at 33,600 words. I was shooting for 25,000, and didn’t think it would get beyond 30,000. Wrong.

– Write 3 new short stories

Nope. Zilch, nada, nothing. Too busy with the translation.

– Revise “Pool of Souls” and send it out

Nope.

Writing business:

– 500 words a day of translation

I’m going to count this one a win, even though I am behind on the project. But given all the challenges I had this quarter, I think I deserve to count it as a success. I mostly kept up, after all. 🙂

– Schedule ongoing promotions for my books

DONE! This is probably one of my biggest successes for the quarter. And the sales of my books are picking up dramatically as a result.

– Publish Almost All the Way Home From the Stars to Createspace

DONE! My collection with Jay Lake is now also available in hard copy. 🙂

– Publish Oregon Elsewise to Createspace

DONE! Another big project off my to-do list. 🙂

Oregon Elsewise

– Submit 5 short stories to traditional markets

Nope. Must get back into the habit of submitting short fiction regularly again. I bombed out on all the rest of my to-do list as well (List books with Babelcube & Noisetrade; Publish “Starting Out as an Indie Author” as ebook; Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook; Put together collection of my writing articles with Jay Lake; Put together collection of fantasy stories with Jay).

Well, there’s always the next round. 🙂

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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.

And the winner of the Chameleon cover contest is:

New cover for Chameleon in a Mirror

I have tweaked the cover a bit in accordance with some of the comments I got here and on Facebook, so it isn’t exactly the one you voted on and/or rated, but it is still (for the most part) the winning design.

On the Help Me Choose My Book Cover site, it barely won, and on Rate Book Cover it comes in a little behind design A — but it also has more ratings, none of them negative. And on Facebook, this design won hands down. So when I count that feedback in, things look much clearer than on the two sites linked to above.

But when it comes right down to it, all of the new designs rank better than the cover Chameleon in a Mirror has now. Thanks very much to everyone who voted and rated! Of course, I won’t know if it actually helps until I do a promo of the book with the new cover. I will of course keep you all posted. 🙂

As to progress, that has been limited the last week. For most of the week, the apartment was Very Full. My niece’s boyfriend left Friday evening, my niece Saturday morning, and my daughter and her boyfriend today. I was able to keep up with my self-imposed translation schedule; writing not so much. From Monday to Saturday, I only wrote 1100 new words. But with the exception of one especially full day, I did manage to get at least 100 words on Shards of Glass written a day, so that it will at least stay in my back brain until I have more time to get back to it again.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive week!

More covers, more progress, and more from Gaetano for #WIPpet Wednesday

As I pointed out in my last post on this blog, the cover of Chameleon in a Mirror didn’t do so hot at a cover rating site, so I decided to try a couple of alternatives. I’ve been tweaking them a bit since, and here are the results:

Do let me know what you think! When I have a chance, I plan to upload them as well to the cover rating site to see if they do any better, but the next week and a half is going to be crazy. We have a number of guests from the States arriving, and there will be a lot going on.

With all the work on covers and packaging that I’ve been doing recently, I haven’t been breaking any records on the new words front. But I did manage to get my quota of 2500 words written on Shards of Glass. It’s already several thousand words longer than I originally projected, and new scenes keep popping up, demanding to be written as well. It will be interesting to see how long the book turns out to be.

Since it is Wednesday, that means it is also time for an excerpt from a WIP for WIPpet Wednesday. Since Gaetano is a popular lad in these parts, we’re sticking with him for now, following wherever he needs to go. This snippet is 19 sentences long for the 19th of the month — plus 2 to end the paragraph. It follows directly after what I gave you last week:

Gaetano suspected that the dowager princess would somehow ensure that her daughter-in-law would be unsuccessful, but he didn’t want to tell her that. “It would be worth a try, Your Grace.”
“Would you tell her for me that I will consult witches in addition to doctors on her behalf?”
Tell her thanks, but I can hear her just fine.
“Signorina Minerva wishes you to know that she is grateful, and that she can hear what you say, she just cannot speak.”
“Except to you,” Anastasia said thoughtfully.
He nodded.
“Then I will be requiring your services on a regular basis to accompany me to Murano to speak with my sister,” the princess said.
“I am afraid that will not be possible, Your Grace,” Gaetano said. “The dowager princess will soon be sending me to Bohemia.”
Bohemia? Minerva called out in his mind. Is Zilia sending you to murder Chiara?
“No,” Gaetano said. “That makes no sense. How could she?”
“You truly are speaking with my sister,” Anastasia murmured.
“Yes, but please do not tell anyone,” he said, addressing Anastasia again. “I might be accused of practicing magic illegally. In exchange, if you have not found a way to lift this spell by the time I return from Bohemia, I promise to do everything in my power to help you.” But what? He had no magic, and no access to those who did.

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.

Book covers and an enchanted hero for #WIPpet Wednesday

I missed last week again, sorry. I was finalizing the paperback version of my latest collection of short stories, Oregon Elsewise, containing previously published works set in the state where I grew up — and that in many ways still feels like home. While I was at it, I decided to also finally put together the new paperback version of Almost All the Way Home From the Stars, the collection of published science fiction stories I wrote with Jay Lake. The original paperback version was done by Draft2Digital, and I was never completely happy with it, so doing it myself has long been on my to-do list. At the same time, I tweaked the cover a bit, trying to make the font stand out more. Here’s what I have now:

Collection with Jay Lake, new cover

For the sake of comparison, here’s the old:

I was noticing that in thumbnail, the font on the old version was looking unfinished somehow, so I decided to mess with it. Happy to hear any feedback you might have!

With all the work on formatting interiors and creating / messing with covers, I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done in the last week or so. Last week, I managed 1600 new words on Shards of Glass. I also did some editing, and cut 2000 words from the manuscript — which means I ended up with a weekly total of -400 words! 🙂

For Wippet Wednesday, we will back up and return to the previous book, Facets of Glass, which is also still in draft mode, so I’m not cheating. I’m just waiting to finish this last book before I go back and start on the edits of the second.

Two weeks ago, we left Gaetano talking with the unconscious Minerva while her sister watches in amazement. This excerpts picks up exactly where that one left off. Today I am giving you 12 sentences for the day of the month, plus 1 to finish the paragraph:

“Who are you speaking to?” Anastasia asked.
“Your sister. She asked me if I am the one who enchanted her. But I have no magic.” Nor did the dowager princess. But she had access to a bevy of witches and alchemists to turn lead into gold and beautiful young women into living corpses.
“Do you have any idea who might have done this to my sister?” Anastasia asked.
“No,” he lied. He still had to stay on the good side of the dowager princess. And he couldn’t trust Anastasia to keep his suspicions to herself.
Anastasia clapped her hands to her cheeks. “Enchanted! Perhaps I can find a witch to lift the spell.”

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.”
“How?”
“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.

21 days to habit: Third quarter goals

Last round, I had a hard time getting back into a regular routine after the extended visit to the States. About the only thing I was able to keep on track with in accordance with my goals was the translation.

As a result, my main goal for the rest of this summer will be to somehow find my way back to the good habits I had managed to develop earlier this year in balancing translation and my own writing. It will be a challenge, since we have multiple visits from the States in the upcoming weeks, starting with my brother on Saturday. Habits are powerful things, as Kait Nolan pointed out. I’ve read that it takes 21 days to create a habit — for good or for ill.

It will be difficult to find those 21 days to get back to the good habits I lost, but I’m determined to find a way, especially given how frustrated I’ve been in recent weeks. Recently I’ve been cutting back on social media, and I’m seeing the first positive effects. The translation was up in the last week, and I’ve gotten a lot of my hard copy notes on Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass (the follow-up books to Island of Glass) into my Scrivener file, resulting in a nice jump in word count. Wish me luck in keeping that up!

Goals for this round:
Writing:

– Write an average of 2500 words a week.

– Finish Shards of Glass

– Write 3 new short stories

– Revise “Pool of Souls” and send it out

Writing business:

– 500 words a day of translation

– Schedule ongoing promotions for my books

– Publish Almost All the Way Home From the Stars to Createspace

– Publish Oregon Elsewise to Createspace

– Submit 5 short stories to traditional markets

– List books with Babelcube & Noisetrade

– Publish “Starting Out as an Indie Author” as ebook

– Publish “The Shadow Artist” as ebook

– Put together collection of my writing articles with Jay Lake

– Put together collection of fantasy stories with Jay

– Write newsletter update for my subscribers

– Find more reviewers for CIAM and Island of Glass

To wrap up, here one of my favorite distractions, my granddaughters:

Random weird fact: the summer sweater Lisa is wearing is something she chose to save from my old stuff, one of my favorites in (much) skinnier days. Hard to imagine it ever fit me at all as an adult, when I see it on a 13-year-old!

Second quarter accounting, and a glass coffin for #wippet Wednesday

My final update for this quarter will be mercifully brief: I pretty much failed on all fronts. I did not keep up on my word counts, either writing or translation. I did not wrap up my indie author series, although I am now at a word count above what I was originally shooting for. I did not finish Shards of Glass or revise my short story “Pool of Souls” to start sending it out.

On the other hand, I did submit 10 short stories to traditional markets this round, the most I have managed in one quarter in years. Perhaps I can make it the basis of a new, better submission practice (not in the Shades of Grey sense …)

I also wrote the report for the most recent Villa Diodati workshop. And while my list of unfinished publishing goals remains much too long, I am getting nearer to a collection of my previously published short stories set in Oregon, where I grew up. The Scrivener file is nearly good to go, and here is the cover I put together the other day:

oregon elsewise

The photo was taken on the trip home in April, a big part of the reason I’m so far behind on all my goals. Do let me know what you think of the cover!

My update thankfully out of the way, we can move on to WIPpet Wednesday! That’s another thing I’ve been very bad about this round, so far behind on everything as I’ve been. Two weeks ago, I left you in Facets of Glass with Gaetano lying to the Dowager Princess. Today I give you 6 paragraphs from where we left off, 2+4 for the day of the month — and a brief reprieve for our hero:

She waved one graceful hand in the air. “It is no matter. You did your best. I have another task for you now. Minerva sleeps as if dead, showing no signs of waking, although she still breathes. The prince would like a glass coffin made for his sister-in-law, in which all can see her until that time she should wake.”
What a strangely morbid thing to do. Gaetano doubted if the prince had anything to do with this particular plan — if nothing else, he probably lacked the creativity to come up with such an idea.
“As the glassmakers of Murano specialize in fine, delicate glass, we have decided to commission a glassworks shop in Bohemia with the job,” the dowager princess continued. “They are much better in creating the hardier glass necessary. I have heard that many of their famous glassmakers are gem cutters as well as glass cutters.”
Gaetano nodded dutifully. “As you say, Your Grace.”
“Once we have worked out the details, we would like you to travel to Bohemia to an appropriate glassmaker there.”
“Alone, Your Grace? Or with a detail of Foscari House Guards?”

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 search for the apple for WIPpet Wednesday

In the last week and a half, I have managed to delete about 3000 words in notes and unnecessary scenes from Shards of Glass. Once I finished that task, I started added new (and hopefully better!) words this week. After having been up to 16,000 words, Shards is now coming in at 14,100. Progress is once again being made!

Of course, most of my time is being spent on the translation. I still want to devote a post to that relating to our recent trip, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe sometime in the next week or so, now that I seem to be settling into a more regular routine again.

On to WIPpet Wednesday! My math today: 2+7 for the day of the month to give you 9 paragraphs from Facets of Glass. Last week, we left our intrepid reluctant hero trying to figure out how he is going to find a glass apple with a room full of people nearby. In order to not bore you too much, I’m skipping some of the search scene. And here’s a nice photo from a palazzo on Murano to give you an idea what the room where he is searching might look like:

Gaetano marched purposefully around the chest of drawers to stand at attention at the opposite corner, nothing more than a soldier doing his duty. And no one noticed the oddity of his action.
From this corner, he would be able to sweep his foot both to the side and in the front of the cabinet. At the next opportunity, he tested the area in front.
Still nothing.
Several teary guests left the room where Minerva lay, breathing but lifeless, and exited through the double doors of the audience chamber. No one gave him a second glance. He was as much a piece of furniture as the commode and the cabinet between which he stood.
Once the group was gone and the audience chamber quiet again, Gaetano gently swept his booted foot backwards along the side.
And felt something. There was a tinkling on the floor behind him. But before he could turn to inspect the object, more guests entered the audience chamber. As soon as they disappeared through the side door, he glanced backwards.
An object red and round rested next to the wall.
There was still no activity in the audience chamber. He bent over as if to adjust his bootstrap and reached behind to grab the apple. Something sharp cut through his leather glove, pricking the skin beneath. When he examined the apple, he saw that it had lost its stem and leaves in its roll across the floor. It was the broken shard left of the stem that had pierced the glove of his right hand and the skin of his finger. But the apple itself was still whole.
Then for a moment, the image of the apple in his hands swam and blurred. When it came back into focus again, he seemed to be seeing the apple when it still had it’s leaves and stem intact — and he felt a distinct foreboding at the sight. Stranger still, beyond the apple he saw himself, dressed as a footman and looking mildly embarrassed. It was as if he were viewing the incident of the day before through Minerva’s eyes.

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.

Shards of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday, and a request for feedback on the cover

Hi again, everyone! Long time, no read. 🙂

While I was off visiting relatives, assisting with deck building, doing garden work in the garden of my daughter’s new house, and eating fresh crab, the nearly final cover of the third Glassmakers book arrived in my inbox.

Shards of Glass cover

I’m pretty happy with how it looks, but my cover designer agreed to allow me to run it past my readers on my blog and Facebook before finalizing it. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time for blogging in the last few weeks, and am only now getting around to it now that we are back in Germany. So what do you guys think? The basic design will stay the same, but if you have any suggestions for tweaking, I would be happy to hear them!

Since I’m running the cover for the last book in the trilogy by y’all, I thought I would jump forward in fictional time and give you a first excerpt from Shards of Glass for my return to WIPpet Wednesday. Math: 6 short paragraphs for the sixth day of the month:

Dowager Princess Zilia of House Foscari was in a bad mood. Her morning chocolate tasted like dust, even though she was sure the cook had prepared it exactly to her liking, just as he always did.
No, it was not the cook’s fault that nothing could please her this morning — even though the sun shone bright through the tall arched windows and the reports she was reading were full of positive news regarding increases in Venetian exports of glass, silk and spices. All of which would mean sorely needed tax revenues for the ruling families of Venice.
Unfortunately, Zilia couldn’t enjoy it — not the chocolate, not the sun, not the news. All she could think about was her recent defeat. Not only had her plan to bring the traitorous glassmakers back to Venice been foiled, the magic mirror that had found them had been stolen.
Zilia was not used to being crossed. She was used to having her every wish fulfilled.
She put aside the reports and rose. Perhaps she needed to take a day off from her duties as mother of the most powerful prince in Venice. She would go to Lido, spend the day in the Foscari villa there, far from responsibilities and disappointments.
The Dowager Princess threw open the doors to her retiring room — and noticed that her favorite, Gaetano, was not one of the guards standing at attention on either side of her sanctuary. His absence had escaped her when she came down from her bedchamber, enshrouded in her bad mood.

Rough stuff still, very much first draft — any and all comments welcome!

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 progress, maybe I should offer you this:


Deck underway

And this:

Deck completed
Deck completed

That was our big accomplishment on our vacation. I didn’t actually work that much on the deck for my daughter’s new house, but I did do a lot of gardening, dirt shoveling, ugly shrub extinction, and planting while we were there.

Other than that, I was driving up and down the west coast between Eugene and Seattle and visiting relatives and friends I only rarely see. I did a little bit of translation, a little bit of brainstorming, and even less writing. But over the years, I have come to believe that it is okay to take a vacation from writing. I write 5 days a week on a regular basis, usually more, and I manage consistent word counts that I compensate for on days when the writing doesn’t go as well. Given those circumstances, I think I deserve a vacation now and then. 🙂

I may still blog in more detail about our trip, given time and opportunity, but I’m not promising anything. The incident with the lost camera would definitely deserve a post, if I can manage it! Not to mention my husband’s collision with a chainsaw …

Hope everyone has been doing great while I’ve been mostly absent. 🙂