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Glassmaking & Magic ~ Guest Post with Ruth Nestvold

**Editor’s note: Since I am currently out of town, and since the lovely and talented Ruth Nestvold has recently released Island of Glass,  today, I turn my blog over to her. Take it away, Ruth!**

I have a penchant for creating fantasy worlds based on history, and Island of Glass is no exception. The novella is set in a 17th Century Venetian Empire that never existed, and revolves around the fate of a young glassmaker of Murano who is unfortunate enough to catch the attention of a prince. In the world of Island of Glass, magic has been set free, and alchemy and witchcraft are trades practiced for profit, just like glassmaking. In this way, I’ve tried to make magic a little less glamorous, and glassmaking a little more magical:

The work of the Murano glassmakers was in great demand throughout the world. Their craftsmanship was the basis of their riches and their curse. Out of fear that they might reveal trade secrets, the laws of La Serenissima decreed that members of the glassmaking families of Murano were never to leave the islands of their lagoon. Murano glass was more precious than gold, after all. Anyone who knew the recipe of the alchemists could make gold, but only the artisans of Murano could make glass so fine, one could nearly touch one’s fingers together on either side; cristallo without an imperfection or blemish, clear as the sky, with a sparkle to rival that of diamonds.

The idea for the novella first began to germinate on a trip to Venice with my daughter, when we stayed on Murano, the “island of glass.”

Me and my daughter on the Venice trip that started it all.

The history of glass on Murano began at the end of the 13th century, after the Venetian Republic ordered the foundaries moved off the main island for fear of fire. Murano, an island to the north of Venice proper, became the new center of the Venetian glassmaking industry.

Map of Venice and the surrounding islands.

The secret of the fine glass made on Murano lay in the Venetian monopoly on the superior quartz pebbles from the nearby rivers, the soda ash from the Levantine region which was used as a fluxing agent, and the specially prepared manganese from Piedmont ? known as glassmakers’ soap ? to counteract discoloring, which made it possible to create the clearest glass then known in the world. With this monopoly on the rew materials, combined with the craftsmanship of the glassmakers, Murano was able to dominate the glassmaking industry for centuries. By the 14th century, the glassmakers of Murano, although originally craftsmen, were allowed to wear swords and marry into the noble families of Venice.

There was only one disadvantage to this higher status — they were not allowed to leave Venice.
What a perfect setting for story conflict!

Despite the laws against glassmakers leaving Venice, over the centuries, many risked it and found employment in other important glassmaking areas such as Bohemia. Eventually, the carefully guarded secret of cristallo was leaked to other glassworks in Europe and Murano’s domination in glassmaking broken. Many such details from the history of glass found their way into my narrative. In my research, however, it became increasingly obvious to me that glass was not only my subject, it was a wonderful metaphor for magic and alchemy and the power of transformation, since glassmakers are capable of turning rocks into works of art.

And so began the story of the island of glass where alchemists created gold for the nobility and glassmakers with witchery in their veins could make glass with a touch of magic.

Find Island of Glass on Amazon for a special introductory price of only 99c!

Island of Glass (Book I of The Glassmakers Trilogy)

Seventeen-year-old Chiara Dragoni is a master glassmaker of Venice, a position that is both a privilege ? and a trap. For the glassmakers of Murano are forbidden to ever leave the islands of the Venetian lagoon.
When Chiara’s uncle is caught on the mainland and thrown into the dungeon of the Doge’s Palace, she must use all her talents, including magic, to help free him. But the gift she creates for the prince of Venice has unintended consequences, and now Chiara must decide whether to give up everything and everyone she knows and loves
in order to save her dream.

 

 

 

 

Connect with Ruth Nestvold on the Internet:

Blog: https://ruthnestvold.wordpress.com
Web site: http://www.ruthnestvold.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ruth.Nestvold.Author
Twitter: @Ruth_Nestvold

 

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Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

*head, desk* WIPpet Wednesday & ROW80

Today I’ll be on my way to Illinois to meet up with my friend and start our road-trip down to Texas. I should have time on the road to fire up the kindle and check in on the rest of the WIPpeteers. I can’t promise as much for next week.

I am hoping, though, to be able to spare some brain power over the next week angled toward deciding what to do with Driev. Even though many of you have ideas *ahem* and I’m sure he would be very cooperative, I have to decide if I’m going to continue querying agents, or go Indie. My querying stalled with a no-reply from the last agent about a month or more ago. It’s been on my list to follow up on by gently rattling said agent’s cage to see if he received the query, or if it wound up in his spam box. I wanted to give him enough time to reply, and someone on Query Tracker suggested all of publishing takes a break from August through October and I shouldn’t nudge till after that. Hence the sitting upon it. That and I’m unsure of how exactly to nudge without seeming needy/whiny/pesty…And if I decide to take Driev Indie, I owe it to him and me to make a much bigger splash than my previous books have. Only, I’m not entirely sure how to accomplish that. I have some foggy ideas that need firming up, but nothing concrete.

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Yes, this about sums up the mental turmoil.

If anyone has any amazing ideas, or things that have worked for them, please feel free to share.

Now, onto the main event. My WIPpet this week is once again from The Adorned (or Adored, as the case may be–yeah, you know who you are ;)  ), and takes place shortly after last week’s excerpt. No complicated math. Simply 10 sentences for the 10th month.

Roe pursed her lips. Anyone threatening someone two times their size while backed to the wall could never claim any kind of smarts. Then again, she hadn’t really done one smart thing since coming across Fader Price bleeding in the snow. She should have left him there.

“Why won’t you just scat and leave me alone? What god did I spit on to deserve this?”

“We cannot undo that which is done.”

“Maybe not, but we sure in the hells can not make it any worse. Me talking to you is doing that, so I’m done. Now move out of my way before I reopen your side.”

Roe is definitely a feisty gal. I think Fader is going to find her quite the handful.

ROW80 update. Here’s the Linky Link in case you want to see how others are doing. I added words since my update on Sunday. Hurray! Words are a good thing. Thanks to Bill Katz over at Writertopia, the wayward meter I was using has been restored to functionality. More hurrays!

Anyhow, I’ve decided that once I get this first draft of EoD ripped from my soul and converted into bits of binary code or whatever it is that makes up words in a computer file, I’m going to do something I have only done on one other occasion: I’m going to ask someone to Alpha read it because I’m far too close to the trees, if you get my meaning. So if anyone who has read the first two books in my Darkness & Light serires has a burning desire to step forward and volunteer for the torture, let me know. Otherwise I’ll be knocking on some lucky person’s virtual door come…um…you know….a while from now.

(“How long’s a while?”

“As long as it takes. Now, go find something to keep you busy until then.”)

One more note, on Friday I’m turning the blog over to the talented Ruth Nestvold, fellow WIPpeteer, and renowned author. She’s going to talk about the art of glassmaking and magic for her latest work Island of Glass. So make sure you stop by and give a read.

Now, go forth and conquer. Just try not to get into too much trouble while I’m gone.

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Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Fall Into Fantasy Week Ten with G. Miki Hayden

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 10: Strings by G. Miki Hayden Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here.

Robert, an ordinary boy, finds himself in a newly chaotic world. Buildings move when and where they please, and time jumps around according to no known laws of physics. For Robert, getting to his regular school in the morning is next to impossible. As for getting home…

But then, Holden—a boy he and his friend, Nila, meet in a cave—offers them a string. No, not twine, but a string of the kind that forms the universe. Teeny and tiny, and invisible to the naked eye, this string will take Robert and Mila to their homes and way, way beyond…

Accompanied by a memorable cast of characters, Robert and his friends follow the string on a journey across time, space, and dimensions to discover the answer to a mystery: Who has caused the world to fall apart?

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble
Or add it on Goodreads

EXCERPT: 

Holden stood up, suddenly excited. “Yes, strings, Robert, strings. String theory says we live in a universe of multiple dimensions. Something is happening to the strings that form our everyday world, and now the universes are bleeding over into one another—merging. I have to figure out how to stop it, to separate the worlds again.”

“And we have to figure out how to get home,” Nila cried out. “What a mess everything is.”
The smoke from the small fire had made Robert’s eyes tear.
ABOUT G. MIKI HAYDEN

The author, G. Miki Hayden, strongly believes in alternate universes and has written about them in her adult novels Pacific Empire (which won a New York Times rave) and New Pacific.

 “Nothing in time-space is fixed,” Miki says, a distant look in her eyes.
Miki won an Edgar for an historical crime story and has a couple of writing books in print.
At the moment, she generally lives with millions of other people in New York City in a three-dimensional, temporal world but is exploring other realms.
Find G. Miki Hayden online: http://gmikihayden.tumblr.com/
Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

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Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Like a Cat in the Sun ~ ROW80 Update

Good morning, everyone! Wow, it’s Sunday. I’m at home. The hubby is still sleeping. No one but the dogs and me awake. Aaahhhhhhhh How did this happen? I know it won’t last, and I have much to do today as I prepare to leave on the 29th, but I’m going to spend a little time basking in the moment.

Yes. Like this. Basking…..

Okay, enough of that. How am I doing on my singular goal (Write the damn story.) for this round of ROW80? So glad you asked.

Not.

(Um…this was supposed to be my lovely writertopia meter but…it seems to have been eaten by aliens. Or is also basking in the sun. Regardless, my word count is now up from 44618 on Wednesday, to 45949 as of this writing.)

I managed to add another paltry 13hundred words, give or take. But any progress is better than no progress. I also finished a beta read, got in some more reading on a fantabulous anthology from Hypothetical Press:http://simple-author-solutions.com/hypotheticalpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Glasses_Cover_med_web.jpgand started another beta read. Oh, and I did some research on tattoos for my newly announced temporarily named new project The Adorned , which I’ve been sharing bits of on WIPpet Wednesday. So if you don’t know what that’s all about, look back at some of my Wednesday WIPpet posts.

The next two weeks I’ll be preoccupied with traveling to TX with some friends, trialing our dogs at the Australian Shepherd National Specialty, and generally hanging out with a bunch of crazy dog people. So if I’m not around much (though I’m going to try) that would be the reason.

Here’s your official linky link in case you want to see what other ROW80ers are up to: Official Linky Link. Have a great weekend.

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Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

 

 

 

Guest Post: Killing Them Softly by Mara Valderran

**Today I’m turning my blog over to the amazing Mara Valderran, while I sit back with my feet up, wearing my fuzzy bunny slippers, and eating bon bons. Yup. That’s me all over. Enjoy!**

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As a writer, one phrase you hear quite often is “Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings” and with some of us, we really aren’t. George RR Martin comes to mind, of course. Ever hear the one about George RR Martin, Steven Moffatt, and Joss Whedon? They walk into a room…

And then everyone you love dies.

It’s funny, and fitting for these three writers. One of the beautiful things about the Game of Thrones series is that George RR Martin is not afraid to kill off any character. Even his main characters. Even favorites. No one is safe, and that builds the suspense in ever situation. Most of the time, when you are reading a book, you might be scared for a character but in the back of your mind, you know they will probably be fine. After all, the Mockingjay can’t fly if Katniss bites it in book two, right?

As writers, we can’t be afraid to kill our darlings. Now, generally speaking, that phrase usually applies more to your words and scenes than characters. But with characters, it has to apply as well. We have to go where the story takes us. Sure, we’re in control ultimately, but a funny thing happens to me when I start trying to exert too much control over what happens. Everything starts to suck. No lie. Some of the worst parts of Heirs of War have been forced because the characters were going in a different direction than what I planned.

Know what I generally never have planned? Deaths.

Spoiler alert: People die in Heirs of War, Crown of Flames. And I didn’t see either one of them coming until right before. The second death, I had the hardest time with. I agonized over it and tried to figure out a way around it. I talked it over with my sister, my cousin, my friends–everyone who knew anything about my books. You’d think that they would have said “Noo! Don’t kill them!” but they didn’t. They could see why it needed to happen. Which is why you have them to thank for it. And this death has a really big impact, too. I hate killing my darlings. But it is so necessary sometimes. And sometimes you just can’t see anything else beyond a certain point for a character, and that’s how you know.

What do you think? Can you forgive authors for killing off your favorite characters if you know they were weeping at their keyboards instead of twisting their metaphorical villainous mustaches?

Now, follow this link to a Rafflecopter giveaway, and read below for more on Heirs of War and Mara Valderran.

ABOUT HEIRS OF WAR: The NA fantasy series Heirs of War has taken Wattpad by storm with over one million reads, and the second installment has arrived. Catch up on Heirs of War (#1) for just 99 cents now!

Heirs of War #1: When seventeen year-old Zelene finds herself thrust into a world of magic and prophecy, she discovers fighting destiny might not be the toughest battle she has to face. Now she must join with three other girls, complete strangers linked only by blood relation, to fight a war they know nothing of and rescue the twin sister she’s never met.

 

 

 

 

The adventure continues with Heirs of War, Crown of Flames

 

Heirs of War, Crown of Flames Heirs of War #2

 by Mara Valderran   Cover Art by Gretchen Byers

Weeks have passed since Ariana and Alec escaped from Kellen’s dungeon, but danger isn’t far behind them. The guilt of his past weighs heavily on Alec’s shoulders, and his secrets only push Ariana further away. As they travel through unknown lands and encounter multiple threats, their biggest challenge might be trusting one another.

The world appears to be going on regardless of the risks Ariana faces. The Duillaine insist that they are doing everything they can to find Ariana, but their actions betray that claim. Despite the danger and the war closing in around them, all of Anscombe seems to be more interested in the upcoming Imbolc festival and Terrena’s betrothal than rescuing Ariana.

Well…not everyone.

Tired of waiting for the Duillaine to help her twin, Zelene starts plotting on her own and finds a surprising ally in Rhaya, even as the Cynewards prepare to make a move of their own. But Zelene’s plans go awry when she finds herself with a new ability, a mysterious new friend, and more enemies within the walls of Anscombe than she thought.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she’s more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Find Mara Online: Website & Blog  Twitter  Facebook  Google+  Goodreads  Wattpad  Amazon Author

Sign up for Mara’s newsletter so you don’t miss news on new releases and fun contests!

To see where the tour has been, and where it’s going, check out the calendar below!

Monday 10/13
Krystal Wade Margo Bond Collins Here is What I Read Book Blog
Vicki Trask Jessa Russo Lorraine Harvey
Priya Kanaparti Nerd Girl Official Terry’s Book Addiction
Ali Dean Shooting Star Book Reviews
Tuesday 10/14 Wednesday 10/15 Thursday 10/16
Ali Dean (Review) Jan Farnworth (Review) James Wymore (Guest Post)
Terry’s Book Addiction (Review) Jamie Ayres (Promo)
Friday 10/17 Saturday 10/19 Monday 10/20
Emma Adams (Interview) Laveda Kasch (Excerpt #1) Eliza Tilton (Excerpt #2)
Elsie Elmore (Interview) Jessa Russo (Excerpt #3)
Cait Spivey (Guest Post) Shooting Star Book Reviews (Excerpt #4)
Here is What I Read (Interview)
Tuesday 10/21 Wednesday 10/22 Thursday 10/23
Michael Panush (Review) Book Lover Blog (Review) Ayden Morgen (Guest Post)
Friday 10/24 Monday 10/27 Tuesday 10/28
K. L. Schwengel (Guest Post) Katie Teller (Interview) Priya Kanaparti (Guest Post)
Charity Bradford (Excerpt #5) Sharon Bayliss (Review)
Vicki Trask (Review)
Sarah Anderson (Interview)

 

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Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

 

Who’s in Charge Here? WIPpet Wednesday & ROW80

Firstly, a huge apology to my fellow WIPpeteers for not making the rounds last week. I may still get caught up, but I make no promises as my schedule is on the insane side at the moment. I was gone from the 16th through the 20th, and I’m not sure you’ll see much of me at all between the 29th and November 12th as I’ll be down in TX at the Australian Shepherd National Specialty. If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, that’s okay. If you’re interested in that side of my life, you can always check out my other blog Shadowdance Farm. Anyhow, I trust the WIPpeteers will carry on in my absence, behave, and keep everyone entertained. I’ll try to check in as often as time permits.

In the meantime, my WIPpet follows, and my ROW80 update (such as it is) follows that.

Here is another excerpt from the unnamed fantasy that is currently my second project. Yes, I just made that official, didn’t I? Edge of Darkness still takes precedence, followed up by my What to do about Driev quandary. When not working on either of those, I promise to keep working on this. For now I shall call it The Adorned for reasons you don’t know yet, and because I have no brain capacity at the moment for devising a snappier title. For the 22nd of October, I give you 22 sentences–if I counted right. The last couple of weeks I have introduced you to the two main characters. This week, Roe has been trying to avoid Fader and not having much luck. Here he finds her after she’s had a bit of an altercation.

A large shadow leaned against the corner, the glow of street-side lanterns reflecting in light eyes as he watched Roe. She stopped. He didn’t move. She considered her limited options, then turned around and headed back down the alley–back the way Tuter’s boys had gone, because a sound drubbing might just possibly knock some sense into her, and she obviously needed that.

“Roe.”

She flipped a gesture at him and kept walking. His hand landed on her shoulder and she jumped, littering the night air with a string of curses colorful enough to make a docker blush. For a big man he could move incredibly fast and quiet.

“I need your help,” he said.

Roe twisted from under his grasp and backed until the wall stopped her. “I helped you once and guess what? I got trouble for it. Trouble in the name of Tuter Lighton. Do you know who he is? No? No, you probably don’t. But he was asking after a big, bald man with paintings on his skin, and when he asks it’s with his fists. Understand?”

“Did I not say that by aiding me you had put yourself against those who were against me?”

“Which is why I’m done aiding you.” She shoved her palms against his chest in a vain attempt to back him up. “Bugger off.”

Now, ROW80 progress. I missed Sunday’s check-in and will likely miss a few more. Re-read the first paragraph if you didn’t see why that is. I added zero words from last Wednesday to yesterday when I managed to squeak out a measly 1,672 conglomerations of letters. But, it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye, right?

 

 

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Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

Fall Into Fantasy ~ Week 9 ~ With James Wymore

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Click here for this week’s Rafflecopter giveaway!

Week 9: Salvation by James Wymore A man wakes on a frozen battlefield when a scavenging couple finds him among the dead. As they nurse him back to health, he is struck with the horrible realization he can’t remember who he is or anything about his past. Taken in by the kind pair, he begins helping with their farm. She even takes him to meet her family, especially her single sister. The ideal life offered in the high mountains of Winigh is shattered when he sees a transport bringing enemy monsters to the shores below. Cut off by high snow on the pass, their fate will soon be the same as the town his company failed to protect in the last battle, if this estranged soldier cannot help them fight off the next wave of invaders. Even worse, the people of the town don’t trust this Selene soldier. He has a strange resistance to their folk magic which some say make him as dangerous as the enemies preparing to destroy them.

Buy it from: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Kobo
Or add it to Goodreads


ABOUT JAMES WYMORE

On a lifelong search for fantastic worlds hiding just out of sight, James Wymore writes to explore. With three books and six short stories in print after just one year, he continues to push the boundaries of imagination. Journey with him at http://jameswymore.wordpress.com
Find James online: Website & Blog  Facebook  Twitter
Want to get involved with the Fall Into Fantasy promotional tour?

  • Don’t forget to join us at the Facebook party here
  • If you are interested in joining up as a blogger, you can always sign up here. We are happy to welcome more bloggers into the fold as the promotion continues. 
  • If you are an author or blogger and want to sign up to help with the party, please fill out this form.

chapflourish

Connect with me on Facebook     Goodreads     Twitter and now Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon   Smashwords   Barnes & Noble and other on-line book retailers.

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