Tag Archives: update

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.

A disappointing update and a return to the Dowager Princess

Even before the trip the the States, my desktop computer (aka my workhorse) was starting to act funky. It wasn’t any better when we got back. So last week, I finally gave in and ordered a new machine.

While I get a big kick out of new hardware, setting up a new computer with all my files and all my programs is a lot of work. And as far as progress is concerned, I’m back to where I was when we returned from the trip: barely making progress on the translation, and only getting around to writing a couple of times a week.

But I am writing this post on the new computer, so there is hope. I keep discovering programs I didn’t install yet, or peripherals that aren’t working for some reason (today it was the speakers, yesterday it was the printers), but those kinds of distractions should crop up less and less the longer I’m using this machine. Cross your fingers for me that next week I’ll have more to report than 7 pages of translation and 3 pages of fiction!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Two weeks ago (before the new machine arrived …), we left Gaetano in Murano where he had just pricked his finger on the stem of the glass apple, with some interesting consequences. In this scene from Facets of Glass, he is reporting back to the Dowager Princess. I give you 10 short paragraphs for the 10th day of the month:

Gaetano gazed just past the top of Princess Zilia’s head and out of the high arched windows of her retiring room, his back straight, his hands clasped behind his back. He hoped he still looked like the devoted Foscari house guard the Dowager Princess took him for.
“I am sorry to say that I was unable to find the apple, Your Grace,” he lied.
He detected the faintest purse of her lips. “Did you look everywhere?”
“I hope Your Grace will forgive me, but I had no opportunity to look everywhere. The prince’s sister-in-law has been removed to a day bed in a small room off of the audience chamber where she fainted.”
“And where she must have lost the glass apple,” Princess Zilia murmured.
Gaetano nodded. “There was a constant stream of guests in and out of the room, coming to pay their respects to the signorina. I could only examine what was in plain sight. Please forgive my honesty, Your Grace, but I fear it would have looked suspicious if I had gotten on my knees and started crawling around on the floor.”
That got an unwilling smile out of her. “And I fear you are right, Gaetano.”
He resisted the impulse to heave a sigh of relief. “There is also the possibility that the apple was retrieved by servants cleaning the room, or broke when Signorina Dragoni fell.”
“But then you would have heard the breaking glass, would you not?”
“True. I had not considered that, Your Grace.” He hadn’t heard the leaves and stem break off, but that might well have been more of a tinkling than a crash. And by that time, he would have already been kneeling next to Minerva, calling for help.

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.

What became of the apple? A #WIPpet Wednesday snippet.

Before I get back to Facets of Glass, a brief update on my progress for the week. I continue to move forward steadily on the translation. It certainly helps that the first book in the series, Ein Krieger der Wikinger, is selling like gangbusters. Since Jud and I have a translation model where I am paid much less up front for a much higher percentage of the royalties, that means it probably won’t be too much longer before I’ve earned out on my advance for the translation and will start earning from the first book. In addition, most of the reviews so far express eagerness to read the next book in the series. 🙂

Despite the translation work, I’m maintaining a much better balance between that and my own writing than I did while working on the first book. Last week, I got 3500 new words written, in a addition to the formatting of Chameleon in a Mirror for Createspace. So far this week, I got the wraparound cover made and uploaded and have gotten about 1200 words on my own stuff written. Not breaking any records, but as long as I can continue to make consistent progress in the face of translation, I’ll be happy.

Chameleon in a Mirror cover

With the update out of the way, let’s move on to Facets of Glass, shall we? Gaetano just reported back to the Dowager Princess after taking the glass apple to Minerva. Today I will continue the scene right where we left off last week, with 18 sentences for the day of the month — plus one to finish the scene:

“And the apple?” the princess asked — much too casually.
He pretended innocence. “The apple?”
“What became of it? The gift?”
Gaetano shrugged. “I fear I do not know, Your Grace. When the prince’s sister-in-law lost consciousness, I was only concerned for her well-being.”
“As of course you should.” To his ears, it sounded as if the words were recited by rote. A brief pause. “So you have no idea what became of it?”
“Of what, Your Grace?” he said, although he knew exactly what she referred to.
“The apple.” Now there was a hint of impatience in her voice.
“When the signorina lost consciousness, it must have rolled away. I did not see it after that.” Now he was almost certain that the apple had something to do with Minerva’s mishap. But what could the dowager princess possibly have against the young woman?

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.

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!

Improved word counts and sales, and Gaetano’s reaction for #WIPpet Wednesday

My blogging discipline certainly leaves something to be desired these days. But I guess a day late is better than a week late. 🙂

At least the writing continues to go well. Word counts are picking up, and I’m hoping to get back into 1,000 words a day mode again soon. Shards of Glass is taking shape, coming in now at 5900 words. As I develop a better idea of what exactly needs to happen, daily word production improves accordingly.

Sales continue to improve as well. This month, they are up almost 20% compared to my December and January numbers, so I seem to be doing something right in the promotion department. 🙂 (And those were already way up from the months before. :))

On to WIPpet Wednesday! My math today: 2 + 5 for the day of the month I should have posted this, giving me 7 short paragraphs. This excerpt from Facets of Glass follows right after the one I gave you last week. Minerva has just recognized Gaetano as one of the guards of the Dowager Princess. Here we switch of Gaetano’s pov for his reaction:

Gaetano stared at her, stunned that she had recognized him. Most people rarely looked at servants, even their own, and would hardly recognize them out of uniform.
“Why did your mistress send you to me with this gift — and out of livery?” she asked, her expression intense. All playfulness and flirtation had completely disappeared from her voice and manner.
“I — I do not know, Signorina,” Gaetano stammered.
She lifted the glass apple, shaking it slightly for emphasis. “What has become of Chiara?”
He blinked. Why was she asking about the glassmaker who had been engaged to Prince Vittore before her death, when everyone knew that she was somewhere in the depths of the lagoon?
But while Gaetano was still trying to puzzle out why she would ask such a question, Minerva suddenly fell in on herself like a puppet whose strings had been cut. He rushed forward, but not fast enough; her lovely head hit the floor with a clunk.
He knelt down beside her and began chaffing her hands, calling out the name of the servant. “Giulia! Your mistress has fainted! Bring smelling salts!”

Murano, the Island of Glass

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

A little flirtation for #WIPpet Wednesday

The writing has been going quite well for the past few weeks. I’ve been consistently getting over 1000 words a day written, with a few exceptions here and there, like when I was putting stuff together for our taxes. It’s something of a breakthrough for me, since for years I’ve regarded it as a particularly good writing day if I get 700-800 words completed.

It started when I decided to power through and get the rough draft of Facets of Glass finished by the end of the month — which I did, hurray! (That is also the reason I didn’t participate last Wednesday, because I couldn’t afford to spend the time necessary for blogging.) But the tempo was becoming so natural, I decided to keep up with it. Today I already did my 1000 words, so I can afford to blog. 🙂

With that short update, let’s continue on to WIPpet Wednesday, shall we? Today I offer you 4 paragraphs for the 4th day of the month. This snippet comes immediately after the last one I gave you two weeks ago. Gaetano is delivering the gift from the Dowager Princess to Minerva, who is quite intrigued by him:

Minerva examined him more closely. He looked vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t recall where she might have seen him before. But when it came right down to it, from his posture and his build, he looked more like a soldier than a footman.
She looked at the small box he held, making no move to take it, enjoying the little guessing game too much. “Is it from the Marquess of Sagredo?” she asked teasingly, gazing at him from under her lashes. Despite the look, which she knew from long practice was very effective at persuading men to fulfill her every whim, the footman revealed nothing.
“He was very attentive at the ball last week,” Minerva continued, as Guilia arrived with refreshments. She took a glass of wine off the tray and gave it to him, then took the other for herself, enjoying the renewed hint of surprise on his handsome features.
“Or perhaps it was Baron Moneta?” she mused, still gazing at the oh-so-serious footman. She would love to get a real reaction out of him, but she was slowly coming to the conclusion that it was not to be. At the same time, the feeling of familiarity irked her. If only she could remember where she’d seen him before!

Snow White
A cool Snow White stamp from Grenada. I’m using many motifs from Snow White in Facets of Glass

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

The first draft of Facets of Glass finished!

I put in a pretty intense writing week in order to earn my little monster, as I explained in this post.

So in order to complete the challenge by the end of the month, I wrote 8000 words this week. The week before, my word count was 5700. And all of that constantly looking up details about glassmaking, travel times in the 17th – 18th century, Bohemian glassworks, regions in Venice, etc. etc.

I know from experience that writing projects that don’t require a lot of research can result in way more words in the same amount of time spent writing, but Facets of Glass isn’t one of those. Though I will admit that I ran by the seat of my pants in more than one scene, making notes to myself about things I will have to research later on the rewrite. 🙂

But now at least I have a complete first draft of Facets of Glass, the second book in the Age of Magic series after Island of Glass, even if it’s pretty rough on some of its edges. I also have a cover:

Facets of Glass

I’ve also been doing 20 minutes of yoga almost every day since the beginning of the new year, even though it wasn’t on my list of goals. 🙂 But it’s making my old joints feel a lot better — and I’ve dropped a kilo without really trying. So I think I’m a convert. *g*

An update and a suspicious gift for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s my granddaughter’s fifth birthday today. Which, of course, is really cool. But OMG was she in high energy mode today. Worse than Christmas (a comment I’m pretty sure most parents will understand.)

Mira birthday

OTOH, after I picked her up from day care and was bringing her home, we met a neighbor we don’t have much contact with, and she asked if Mira was my daughter. Kinda nice at my age to be mistaken for the mother of a five-year-old. 🙂

Anyway, with birthday and spaghetti and a sick older sister we had to pick up from school, it was a bit of a challenge to get my 1,000 words done today towards completing Facets of Glass by the end of the month. But I did it! My word count for the week is 3200 so far (Mon. – Wed.), putting me past my goals. A Cthulhu seems to be a good incentive. *g*

Most other writing goals are languishing by the wayside while I try to power through to finish this novella by the end of the month in order to get my own personal cuddly monster (and finish the damn thing …) But it’s amazing sometimes how much external goals can help. 🙂

With that update, on to WIPpet Wednesday. Once again, I haven’t skipped anything between the last excerpt to this. Only now we have moved from Gaetano’s pov to Minerva’s. Math for today is 21 – 1, to give you 20 sentences from the next scene of Facets of Glass:

Minerva gazed at the handsome footman with the small gift box in his hands. Who could have sent him? Not that it mattered — the man was quite pleasant to look at, and Minerva found herself wanting to keep him around longer than it would normally take to hand over a package.
“Is the gift from some secret admirer?” she asked with a laugh.
“I am not to say, Signorina.”
“No, I presume not, as then it would no longer be a secret.” She motioned a servant to her side. “Would you care for some refreshments?”
Surprise at her suggestion seemed to leave him temporarily speechless. “Refreshments?” he finally repeated.
“Yes, you know, something to eat or drink. Guilia, please bring us wine and biscotti.”
The maid curtseyed and left the room.
The footman with the broad shoulders and blond hair so dark it was almost bronze gazed after Guilia, obviously confused. “I am not a guest, Signorina, I am a servant,” he protested.
She waved his objections away, although she was beginning to feel bad about teasing him so. Still, she wanted to find out more about the mysterious gift, and flirting with the (very attractive) messenger seemed the best place to start.
“We are not so formal here on Murano as they are in Venice proper,” Minerva said. “You do come from Venice, do you not?”
The footman remained silent.

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.

Writing for (a) Cthulhu

My writing progress this past week has been better than usual, and this is the reason:


At the last Villa Diodati workshop in France, VD13 (for which I still have to write a report, mea culpa), Sylvia was crocheting these lovely little monsters, and she promised to make one for me and Nancy if we finished our WIPs by the end of January.

Well, when I got back from France, I got a bit distracted by Life complications that cropped up while I was gone. My writing suffered for a while as a result. But things are looking better now, and I really still want my Cthulhu. 🙂

When Life had calmed down a bit and I took a closer look at Facets of Glass, I realized I still had to get in about 1,000 words a day for the rest of the month if I wanted to earn my own personal monster.

This week I manged 6,800. 🙂

Wishing everyone a great week!

“More precious than gold” : an update and an excerpt

We may already be two weeks into the New Year, but this “Invocation for Beginnings” just showed up on a list I’m on, and I had to share it:

Since I’ve gotten over the head cold, the year has been pretty productive for me. Here’s hoping I can keep up the momentum! Some of the things I’ve gotten done since my last update:

Yseult, Part IV – made the cover, formatted the text, and published the final installment of Yseult, Part IV

– published a new installment of my “Starting out as an indie author” series, “Why “write the next book” isn’t enough; Or: What to do if your books aren’t selling” — a long one, coming in at 2,000 words to add to my future how-to book. 🙂

– edited Recontact, the novella I wrote with Jay Lake, and submitted it to a traditional market

– organized upcoming promotions for 2 of my books

– wrote another 1800 words of fiction

That puts me a bit behind on my weekly word count goals, but given the fact that I got some important stuff off my to-do list, I can deal with being 200 words behind. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! I have come to the conclusion that I no longer care about spoilers. I figure, most of the people who read my snippets will probably have forgotten them when and if they read the books anyway. So I am just going to continue to move forward with Facets of Glass and not worry about giving away anything from the first book. So if you haven’t read Island of Glass, want to, and don’t want to know too many details from the second book, I suggest skipping my WIPpets as long as I’m still posting from book 2. *g* Math today: I’m giving you 15 sentence for the new year, plus 1 to finish the scene:

Gaetano often wondered why people still used the phrase “more precious than gold” when alchemists could now produce gold at will — as long as they had lead, that is, or whatever other base metals they needed. He wasn’t an expert, not having any alchemists in the family, nor any access to them, since the royal families of Venice controlled all magic in the empire.
He turned the apple in his hands, slowly beginning to appreciate the artistry of it. It was mostly red, but on one side, the color faded to green in much the same way as a real apple. And when he discovered the elaborately designed wormhole, he laughed out loud.
“Be careful with it!” the dowager princess admonished, her voice suddenly sharp.
At her words, he instinctively lowered the apple, looking to her for instruction.
“Here is the box,” she said shortly, her expression no longer warm. And to his surprise, he discovered wrinkles in her aristocratically beautiful face that he hadn’t noticed before.
Only he was standing above her now.
She seemed to notice the discrepancy at the same time he did and rose, taking the glass apple from his hands and placing it in the gift box. After closing it, she handed it back to him. “I want you to give this into the hands of Minerva of Murano and no one else. And do not wear your red and gold House Foscari uniform. My majordomo will find you something neutral.”
He nodded. “As you will, Your Grace.”
“Thank you, Gaetano,” she said, smiling again. But this time, he noticed that it did not seem to reach her eyes, and he found himself wondering why he’d felt so attracted to her when he first entered her audience chamber.

Please feel free to let me know if you stumble anywhere in the passage or there is anything else you think might improve by being changed!

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.