Tag Archives: update

Showing Uthyr around Tintagel for #WIPpet Wednesday

I managed to increase my word count again last week a little. It’s still not where I want it to be, but I got 4100 new words written and edited another 20 pages. And that is despite having the granddaughters on the weekend and having to sew a bunch of Barbie dresses. *g*

I’m actually feeling pretty excited these days about getting a few more projects completed and published, and that’s helping a lot in creating new words. This month is not going to be as fantastic for sales as last month was, but I’m still in a place where this whole writing gig no longer seems as hopeless as it sometimes does.

On that positive note, it is time to turn to WIPpet Wednesday. Last week, Uthyr found Ygerna after she left her sister’s wedding banquet. Now she is showing him around the promontory. Math for today: 2 + 4 = 6 paragraphs for the day of the month:

Mist flitted in and out between the buildings as Ygerna walked with Uthyr to the edge of the cliffs on the north side of the near-island. She stared out to sea, pulling back wayward strands of hair with one hand.
“A truly impressive defensive site,” Uthyr said appreciatively. “It must be nearly impregnable. Has it ever been taken?”
“Not that I know of.” His words made her feel strangely proud of her summer home, although she did not like imagining it under attack.
Together they wandered along the perimeter of the cliffs. To the west, what could be seen of the sun through mist and clouds was nearing the horizon, looking like a bright silver ball. Beside them, the rocky slopes of the promontory dropped away almost straight down into the sea.
“Every time I see Dyn Tagell, I am struck anew at how perfect it is,” Uthyr mused. “If only it were possible to build fortresses as difficult to take as this one.”
Ygerna found herself relieved that he was thinking about defenses rather than staring at her, as he had at dinner. While his attention was flattering, at the same time it made her uncomfortable.

Tintagel
The promontory of Tintagel / Dyn Tagell. © Copyright Alan Simkins and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.

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.

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New ads for Yseult, and a late #WIPpet for Thursday

I was analyzing the Facebook ads I have running today, and I noticed that I’m getting very few clicks from women on my ads for Yseult. That strikes me as a bit unfortunate, since it’s a retelling of Arthurian legend giving some of the female characters much more prominence and more pov action. So I’ve decided to experiment with a new ad in addition to the old targeting a female audience. I will write new copy emphasizing the female perspective, and I’ve been putting together some alternative images today to test with it:

Yseult

Yseult

Do please tell me what you think! Anything is fair game, I don’t bruise easily. 🙂

Given the ad analysis and graphics work I’ve been up to, I’ve haven’t gotten any words written yet today, but generally the writing is going well. I think I may have written the last sentence of Dragon Touched yesterday. I was envisioning it ending in a different place, but then I realized that would end up being a bit much wind down. The first draft is still not completely done, since I have to backfill important elements that only occurred to me during the writing, and add more detail as well as the sex (something I tend to put off, much like battle scenes). But I think the complete shape is there now, and I’m coming up with more and more ways to continue this thing if there’s a demand. Pretty amazing to me how quickly I was able to knock off a first draft on this one! Hopefully I can learn something from the experience for my other projects.

Even though it’s Thursday already, I’m still going to throw a WIPpet snippet at you in parting. 🙂 Once more from Ygerna, which I will be returning to more seriously in the next few days. 14 sentences, for 11 + 2 (today’s date), and one to finish the scene. This comes right on the heels of the excerpt I gave you last week:

Gurles laid his own spoon down, without even having tried his custard. “Ygerna,” he murmured. “Uthyr has a reputation with women. I think you should stay away from him.”
She was grateful for the ambient noise of the wedding banquet, which she hoped had made his softly spoken admonishment impossible for all but her to hear. It would be much too embarrassing otherwise. In private, she might have excused his patronizing words, but in public she found herself fuming.
At a far corner of the long table, someone was raising their glass in a toast to someone else. Ygerna ignored it as if she had not heard, breathing deeply.
Eventually she trusted herself to speak again without lashing out.
“Thank you for your advice.”
She pushed her custard away and rose. “I find I have lost my appetite,” she said to the table at large. “Please excuse me.”

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.

Publication news and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. With this:

Looking Through Lace

And this:

Beyond the Waters of the World

And this:

Birthday
Six years old!

Sheesh. Hard to believe I’ve been a grandmother so long. I’m not that old! Or maybe I am, given the way my face is falling and my knee refuses to play along when I attempt the warrior pose when doing yoga …

But anyway, back to writing. I’ve gotten an awful lot done in the weeks I’ve been absent from my blog. Not only have I formatted and published the e-book boxed set of Looking Through Lace, I’ve published the POD version of the second book, Beyond the Waters of the World, and I’m halfway there on putting together the CreateSpace boxed set for both novellas. (I didn’t do the covers this time — that’s all the work of my fabulous new cover artist, Lou Harper.)

At the same time, my word counts haven’t been all that shabby either: 4300 last week, and 5500 the week before. I’m heading into the home stretch on two projects I’m working on simultaneously right now, Ygerna, and Dragon Touched, an Urban Fantasy set largely in the Woodstock neighborhood of Portland where my daughter lives. I started it on a whim during a recent Nanowrimo, wanting to see if the writing would go easier if I didn’t constantly have to research everything (or leave notes to myself to research this or that when I had the time).

It did and it does. Leaving notes to myself in the Pendragon Chronicles series doesn’t always work, since the fantasy is heavily based on what little we know of the Dark Age history of 5th and 6th Century Britain. Many times I can’t just wing it — I have to check my research notes, to make sure I’m using the right person in the right era.

Writing contemporary Urban Fantasy, I can wing it. I’ve wandered those streets, and if I don’t remember certain details, a place marker is enough. It’s not the same as not knowing who might have possibly been where in a certain decade, or what they might have worn, or who might have been their enemies or allies.

Sigh. Too bad I like history so much and have to keep using it in my fantasy …

Even though I’m jumping back and forth between two WIPs at the moment, I’m sticking with Ygerna for WIPpet Wednesday. The way I’m going now, I should be done with the rough draft of Dragon Touched in a couple of weeks, which means you might never see it again. 🙂 So here I give you 9 paragraphs, 2 + 7 for the day of the month. This comes shortly after the last excerpt, while the political discussion is still ongoing:

Vortimer pursed his lips. “I assure you, my father has the interests of Britain at heart.”
On the other side of the table, Bican’s sister Elen leaned her chin in her hand. “What if the Saxon warriors he has hired do not much care for British interests?”
Elen was something of a riddle to Ygerna. Despite her striking appearance, with her curly dark hair and intense hazel eyes, she was unmarried, although she was already into her twenties. But as daughter of King Aldroenus of Armorica, she must have had any number of princes and kings interested in marrying her.
Servants came by, setting plates of sweet custard in front of each of the guests, and interrupting the political discussion. Ygerna could tell Vortimer was relieved. His father might be High King, but he’d been elected to the position by the regional rulers of Britain, who could just as easily choose a new military leader if they were dissatisfied with Vortigern. It would be wise of him to take such grievances seriously.
Gurles leaned close, his spoon in his custard and his gaze at the head of the table. “What did the Pendragon want with you earlier?”
“Want with me?”
“When he walked back with you from the church. He certainly seems to want something now.”
Ygerna glanced at the head of the table. Uthyr was seated in a place of honor near the newly wedded couple — and he was practically staring at her.
Flustered, she laid her spoon aside. “We were only talking. About the weather.”

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.

Increased word counts and Ygerna at the wedding banquet for #WIPpet Wednesday

With my last big promo push over, I’m happy to say that my word counts are steadily increasing. For the last week. I’ve been getting between 700-900 words a day written — with the exception of Saturday, which was the father-in-law’s 90th birthday. 🙂

The new year is getting off to a good start so far. The two book promos at the beginning of the month were very effective as well. I will post more on that in a separate marketing post for those who are curious.

With that brief update out of the way, on to WIPpet Wednesday. 🙂 This week I’m jumping ahead a bit, skipping the weather and the wedding and taking you to the banquet. Ygerna is seated between Gurles, her betrothed, and Bican, her brother-in-law, and feeling somewhat bored, while her little brother is playing with his nephew. I give you 16 sentence for the new year. It’s a bit of historical background, so I hope it isn’t too dry!

As much as she wanted to be regarded as a woman rather than a child, Ygerna could not help feeling a twinge of envy — she had to sit here and listen to political arguments.
Across from her, Vortimer was defending his father’s decision to enlist Germanic mercenaries in the fight against Pict and Erainn raiders. Since Ygerna had never seen Saxon mercenaries anywhere, she didn’t know what all the fuss was about.
Bican brought his fist down hard on the table. “Vortigern has given Hengist and his barbarians free run of Ceint! Tell me, what have they done for the kingdoms of Britain that would justify that?”
“They have pushed back Pict raiders all along the eastern coast,” Vortimer insisted.
“Truly? Anywhere that they have not taken over themselves?” Bican muttered. “And what of the western coast? Moridunum is now in the hands of Erainn pirates. What’s next, I ask you?”
“There will be no next,” Vortimer said. “My father is in Ceint even now to work out a better agreement with the Saxons. Soon our western shores will be free of invaders, I’m sure of it.”
With the conversation turning to events she was familiar with, Ygerna found her interest in the conversation picking up. “My sister wanted to have her wedding in Isca,” she found herself saying. “But my father wouldn’t allow it because of the threat of Erainn pirates. He said he had to be in Dyn Tagell.”

Attacks on fifth century Britain.
Some historical background for the above discussion, courtesy of Wikipedia

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 few thoughts on goals for 2015, and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s late in Central Europe, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough brain cells to do a serious accounting post this time around, checking off various goals that have been achieved, and putting off the rest for the next year / round / whatever. I’ll do that when I put together my new goals for the first quarter of 2016.

I missed last week, since we had visitors from the States, my lovely nieces. On Christmas, we took them to Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a true German experience. *g*

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Hubby and nieces in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

So how do I feel about my progress for the year and the quarter? Mixed / positive. In general I can say that while working on translation, my word counts tend to be very low. I kept myself connected to my creative projects by committing to at least 100 words a day when I had other deadlines. That proved inspirational, because often when I thought I had no creativity left in me, the 100 words turned to 200 or 300 or more.

After completing the biggest translation project, I was able to “win” Nanowrimo in November with Ygerna, despite the fact that it is full of holes which I am now trying to fill.

Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass are completed in VERY rough draft. I see a lot of revising in 2016.

I’ve been putting more energy into marketing, with significant results — income that might even be a living somewhere in the world. 🙂

The big translation is finished — but not in the hands of the client, since my husband still has to do a pass for corrections, and he’s been inundated with work for the last few months.

I haven’t made much progress on my overarching goal of learning to write faster. It works for a week or two or maybe a month, and then life happens again, and I’m back to my pedestrian 500 word days.

That is my general summary off the top of my head — on to Wippet Wednesday! No complicated math, just the end of a scene for the end of the year. This comes shortly after the last scene I gave you two weeks ago, skipping some back story, which would probably only bore. Young Ygerna has caught the eye of the Pendragon of Britain, and her heart is all aflutter, despite the fact that she is betrothed to Gurles, a young man closer to her own age:

She couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t known Gurles. Ygerna had been more than happy to agree to the match. The two of them had played together as children, and she was sure they would be compatible.
But this excited nervousness she felt talking to the Pendragon of Britain was something else entirely.
“Please do not refer to me as a hoyden in my mother’s hearing,” Ygerna murmured. “She finds me difficult enough as it is.”
Uthyr threw back his head and laughed. “Ah, yes, I can imagine that you are a handful.” But somehow, the tone of his voice and the gleam in his eyes made words that would be a scolding from her mother sound like praise.
Ygerna watched the Pendragon walk away with the rest of his party, wondering why the few words they’d exchanged seemed so much more important than the usual pleasantries of a large social gathering.
Argante bent over and whispered in her ear. “You do know that Uthyr is married? And you are betrothed?”
“Of course I do!” Ygerna shot back under her breath. She felt the color rising in her cheeks.
But then she forced herself to calm down again. At least Ygerna wasn’t marrying Argante’s betrothed, Marcus Cunomorus. He was certainly handsome enough, but he made her skin itch. She didn’t know exactly what that meant, other than the fact that she avoided his company whenever she could.
Unfortunately, by the time this wedding celebration was over, he would be her brother-in-law.

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.

Wishing everyone a very happy and successful New Year!

And here’s one more picture of Rothenburg, just because it’s so Christmasy. 🙂

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber

More excuses and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

The last week has been filled up with marketing business and Christmas shopping, and my word counts have suffered accordingly. I had two 1000 word days in the last week, but I also had a couple with next to nothing, when I was formatting Looking Through Lace for Createspace, and everything else surrounding the new cover. The new ebook cover is now live, but the paperback is not yet available. I will let you know when it is.

I also managed to get a BookBub ad for Chameleon in a Mirror in the UK only, and I spent some time on various discussion boards, trying to figure out if it would be worth it. Pretty much everyone agrees it is, so I plopped down my $100 for an ad on January 5th. Maybe it will even get my sluggish UK sales going a bit. 🙂

Summary for the week: formatting, marketing, and 2900 words. 🙂

With that out of the way, I can offer you a little more fiction for WIPpet Wednesday. Today, I’m giving you 6 short paragraphs for the 6 in 16. This snippet comes directly after the one I gave you last week from Ygerna:

“My third eldest daughter, Ygerna,” Erbin said.
She stretched out her hand. “It is good to see you again. Welcome to Dyn Tagell.”
Uthyr took the proffered hand with both of his, hands so large they engulfed hers. “We have met before? I find that hard to believe. I am sure I would have remembered a young woman so beautiful.”
Ygerna felt herself blushing yet again — and wished her complexion did not always betray her so. “Several times, Dux. But if I remember right, the last time was over two years ago now, at the funeral of my brother.”
Vortigern’s chief commander released her hand and tilted her chin up with one forefinger. “Ah, yes, I think I recall a red-headed hoyden who might have been you. But now you are a woman grown. Forgive me for not immediately recognizing you.”
She stared into the Pendragon’s eyes, flustered, confused, and strangely happy, her heart beating so fast she could feel it in her chest. Her betrothed, Gurles, had never made her feel this way.

Tintagel, Wikimedia Commons
Tintagel, Wikimedia Commons

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.

Word counts slowing down, and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

For the last week, I’ve been catching up on other things, like marketing, that I mostly ignored during Nanowrimo. Since my last update, I’ve gotten another 4100 words written. Not as much as I would like, but at least it’s still steady progress. Seeing as the hubbie and I went out for a long bike ride on Saturday (yes, the weather here in Central Europe is still good enough for that); we had kids and grandkids over on Sunday for cookies and home-made ice cream; I got some more ads and a free promo for one of my books organized; and tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes from the garden made — I think I can be happy with that word count. 🙂

Ygerna is coming along nicely, and I’m still feeling enthusiastic about the project. That makes me hopeful that I can fill in all the holes I left in the Nano draft by the end of the year. Wish me luck! 🙂

On to the excerpt for WIPpet Wednesday. For the 9th day of the month I’m giving you 9 paragraphs. This excerpt comes immediately after the one I gave you last week.

Just before they reached the courtyard between the upper and lower hall, Ygerna grabbed Geraint’s hand and pulled him up short. She smoothed down the front of her dress, pulled his tunic into a semblance of order, and brushed his curly blond hair away from his forehead. “You must join the wedding party as befits a relative of the bride, looking respectable.”
He tugged on a lock of red hair that had escaped from her braid. “So should you.”
Ygerna grinned. “How right you are, little brother.” She wound the stray strand around her braid and tried to tuck the edges in somewhere before taking his hand again.
When they joined the rest of their family, her mother gave her a stern look.
Argante shook her head. “Where have you been, Ygerna?”
There was no time to answer, even if Ygerna had been inclined to do so, which she wasn’t. The first guests were already entering the courtyard as she and Geraint took their places next to their sisters according to age, with Argante at the head and Blodewedd between them. Names passed by in a blur as she curtsied and kissed hands and murmured words of welcome along with her mother and father and siblings.
That is, until Uthyr, leader of battles, stood in front of her. Suddenly the event was no longer a blur of unfamiliar faces. The Pendragon of Britain was the most handsome warrior Ygerna had ever seen, tall and muscular, with penetrating blue eyes, golden blond hair, and a short-cropped beard in the British fashion, not like her clean-shaven father who kept to Roman ways.
“Ah, the spy with hair the color of glinting rubies,” Uthyr murmured. “If you want to remain unseen, you should consider covering your head.”
Ygerna blushed and rose from her curtsy.


This gal is a little like I imagine Ygerna. Licensed through Shutterstock.

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.

P.S. After posting this, I got the new cover designs for “Looking Through Lace” — you would be doing me a huge favor if you would click to the next post and vote! Thanks in advance. 🙂

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. 🙂

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!

A visit, some travel, & an update for #WIPpet Wednesday

I missed another WIPpet Wednesday last week, as a result of the first of a number of visits from the States this summer. This is what I was doing last Wednesday:

Weil der Stadt

Herrenberg

We went to Weil der Stadt (the birthplace of Johannes Kepler) and Herrenberg on Wednesday, and Maulbronn on Thursday, a UNESCO World Heritage site:

Maulbronn

While my brother was here, we also did general catching up, some local walking, visited a nearby beer garden, hung out with grandkids / grandnieces, went to the garden, and tried to stay cool (we’ve been suffering from a heat wave). I managed to keep up with my translation, but not my writing goals, only managing 1500 words of fiction last week.

David left for France on Sunday. And this week I started a new writing strategy, alternating bouts of research and / or plotting with writing sprints. I tend to write stuff that is heavy on the research, which makes it hard to just barrel ahead as many successful writers advise. So I figured I would try an alternate strategy: a stretch of research and organizational writing until I got to the point where I could sprint a scene or two.

The results are promising: 1200 words on Monday and 1000 on Tuesday, while still maintaining my translation goals. If I can manage to keep this up, I will be very, very happy. 🙂

With the update out of the way, we can return to Facets of Glass for WIPpet Wednesday. Today I’m giving you 7 paragraphs for the 7th month, including the last one from the excerpt I gave you two weeks ago for context. Gaetano has been having some odd visions he doesn’t know how to relate to:

Suddenly his vision returned, and he drew a ragged breath, staring down at the motionless form of Minerva. Was he imagining things, or was he somehow enchanted too? The feeling of being trapped in his own body had been so strong, it bordered on panic.
Please do not give up on me!
Gaetano shook his head. Was Minerva speaking in his mind now? He didn’t know if he could trust the feeling. He had little direct experience of magic, and during the early years of his life, many people had actually regarded magic as a superstition. But although he had been so young, he could still remember how he had felt the day magic had been set free, how the air had seemed brighter and the colors stronger, the terracotta tiles of the roofs brilliant instead of bland, the beige white-washed walls like sunlight.
“Come, a few moments more will not hurt,” Anastasia said, and he realized she assumed he had been shaking his head in response to her request.
“Certainly we can remain, Your Grace,” he said to sooth her.
“Ah, where has my sister gone,” the princess said, her voice sad.
I’m here, I’m here! the voice practically screamed in his mind. I just cannot wake up!

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.