Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adjust and Adapt

Since last week I've managed to grow a bit of a thicker skin regarding negative reviews and they're not bothering me as much. Even though the reviews weren't very constructive, I am using some of the information to make changes in my writing.

First, I will never publish something that short again - unless it has something to do with a series that's already been established. 

Secondly, I've lowered the price for the short story even more than what I had it at. 

Thirdly, I've made it very clear that the short story is just that, a short story, and a part of a serial. Granted, I already thought it was pretty clear to begin with. I had stated the word count in the description after all, but I made sure to mention it in the beginning as well. 

Now, since lowering the price of the short story, I've sold a few more copies and I may even earn a commission this month. Not a very large one, but hey, it's something (and I'll probably be a total dork and get a copy of the commission framed...)

Which brings me to something interesting I noticed - I seem to sell more copies on kindle than I do on nook. My husband and friends think this is probably because the kindle is way more popular than the nook. Even though I prefer the nook, I'm inclined to agree with them. For those that have published something, have you noticed a trend on which site sells more too?

Sadly I haven't done as much writing this week as I would have liked. I did get a start on the next part of the serial that the first short story was a part of. I also chipped away at the Descendants some more. However, I'm having a dilemma with a third story of mine (which is another one that will be eventually published under my pen name) I'm currently on the third draft, but I've been sorely tempted to go back to the second draft instead. There were changes between the second and third draft where the characters are a little older, and two side characters were cut out. Plus, it's set in a city that's closer to home, so I'm able to bring it to life a bit easier without doing a whole bunch of fact checking and staring at maps. I appealed to my beta readers to get their opinions, but they're not very helpful as they like both versions.

Cowrie hair falls are now available in my etsy shop! I'll also have more items up this weekend, including some men's clothing!

We're also having a sale for the Holidays! $10 off your order of $30 or more! Just use the code HOLIDAY13 when placing your order!

And now for WIPpet Wednesday!

Maya's prologue is still being stubborn. However, I do have a snippet from The Descendants that features the strange stone she saw in the ruins. This snippet also introduces Lucina* - who is another character that Vivian and Maya will travel with. Lucina comes from a very old and eccentric family. They're not exactly from our world, and they're very familiar with the story Bree told young Vivi in this snippet here. In fact, they believe they are descended from one of the girls in the legend.

This snippet is a very rough draft, so some dialogue may change later on. We'll see.

Here is 21 paragraphs from Chapter 3 of The Descendants. Since today is 11/13/13 I added 11 to 13, and came up with 24, then subtracted 3 from 2013, which added up to 21!

Lucina could remember running through the twisting maze of greenery with her cousins as a child. If she closed her eyes she could almost feel the warm summer sun from so long ago shining down upon her even though the evening air still held onto it’s spring chill. She trailed her hands along the leaves, terrifying the small animals that hid inside. The ran away from her, the branches crackling and bouncing against each other in the wake of their escape.

Grandmama tsked, and stopped her to wipe the dirt from her palms and tidy her hair as if she were a child. Even though Lucina was twenty two, she held still and put up with the old woman’s fussing - one did not argue with Grandmama unless one wanted to see the back of her hand.

Once Grandmama was pleased with her appearance - even though she lamented Lucina’s choice of clothing - she finally lead her around the final turn and into the center of the labyrinth.

Torches lit the large circular clearing, their flames snapping and dancing in the slight wind. Men and women dressed in ceremonial robes either sat on the marble benches sitting in a ring around the middle of the clearing, or stood around the perimeter in groups of two and three. They had been talking among themselves drinking wine from ornate goblets, their voices rising and falling in idle chatter.

In the middle of it all stood her father. Unlike everyone else, his robes were black as smoke, and decorated with crimson and yellow. His head bowed as if he was praying, and he held a heavy leather tome that Lucina had only seen twice before: the first time had been when her father had told her of her destiny to bring back the artifact, and the second time had been earlier that day when he had told her that tonight was the night.

“She is ready.” Grandmama said, her voice ringing with a confidence that Lucina didn’t entirely feel.

The men and women who had come to witness the ritual fell silent at the old woman’s announcement.

“Does she meet the requirements?” Her father asked, opening his eyes to stare at her. The pale blue irises were devoid of any expression or warmth, as if she were just one of his employees or a stranger he had passed on the street.

She resisted the urge to bolt, clenching her hands at her sides. Of course he was behaving coldly - he couldn’t show favoritism in such an important situation. He couldn’t show weakness, he had to remained focused on his task just like she needed to.

The guests in the clearing turned and studied her. Lucina lifted her chin up, suddenly defiant. She more than met the requirements; she had the purest blood of them all, and had been training for this task all her life.

As one the men and women nodded. They looked back at her father, murmuring their assent.

“Then step forward, chosen one.” He held out his hand towards her, beckoning for her to join him on the great stone disc that was set into the ground at the middle of the clearing.

Lucina did as he asked, quickly crossing the distance to where he stood. Some bowed their heads as she passed while others kissed their fingers. They grabbed at her clothing as she passed, whispering blessings and praying for her to have a successful journey. “You are our only hope,” some said. “The only chance to end our exile.”

Once Lucina reached her father, she kneeled before him, the carvings in the stone digging into the skin of her knee despite the thick denim separating the two. He touched her head, his fingers resting lightly against her thick black hair. “Daughter of Hestia, do you accept the spirit of *name* as he has accepted you as his own?”

“Yes, father.” She whispered.

“And you will follow his instructions and bring back the item as he has requested?”


“Your hand please.”

Lucina held out her hand for him to take. He took it firmly with his own, as he drew a knife from the folds of his robes. She licked her lips nervously, and he raised an eyebrow in silent reprimand. Taking a breath, she bowed her head. The pain would only be for a moment, she told herself, and the wound would heal quickly. Still she hissed as he sliced her palm, the sharp blade parting her skin without any effort.

Dark, red, blood immediately welled to the surface. Her father dropped her hand and stepped off the porta. “You know what to do.”

“Yes, father.” She closed her hand around the cut, squeezing it into a tight fist. The blood dripped between her fingers, falling onto the carvings at her feet as she began to chant.

To read more WIPpet Wednesday posts, go here.
To read more ROW 80 updates, go here.

*Lucina's name may change in later drafts.


  1. Great excerpt Christina. Beautiful descriptions and imagery. I got a good sense of Christina's apprehension and nervousness. Looking forward to reading more of your work. :-)

  2. Oooh, very lovely. Lots of great imagery and tension building here. But, dang, why does every ritual call for the slitting of the palm? It makes my hand hurt every time!! ;) I love how you play her nervousness off against her own rationalization and pride that she is the purest of them all.

    1. Thank you! I tried to think of a different way, since the palm thing is so over done, but it just kinda worked better. Maybe by the time I'm ready to edit I'll figure out something different to use :)

  3. Fascinating! I love the idea of a chosen one still needing to prove herself worthy of a task, and this is a chilling scene.

    As far as Nook vs Kindle, I don't think I've ever read a self-published author say they sell better anywhere than Amazon. Some only sell there because sales are so dismal elsewhere that they can't be bothered. As a Kobo owner, I like having everything available for many platforms, but I guess we can't have everything. :)

    1. Thank you! The chilling factor is definitely what I was going for with this snippet :)

      I've heard a lot of people use smashwords as well because they offer every format on their website, and if an ebook passes their formatting rules, they'll publish it to Amazon and Barnes and Noble for you - but I haven't sold anything over there yet.

  4. Lucina (I keep wanting to write Lucinda, but that's me...) has a lot of hopes to live up to here, doesn't she? I hope she can do what she needs to do, because she's more likely than anyone to beat herself up if she fails--I can sense she's that determined.

    The Nook/Amazon thingie has been a big issue with the Critters critique people too. Their small press ReAnimus books is thinking about withdrawing all of their titles from Nook because of issues they've been having with them.

    My (completely unreliable) thoughts on the matter are, if it isn't costing you much of anything to maintain books on the site, leave your story there. A sale or two isn't a lot, but eventually it'll add up. However, if they're charging you a lot to maintain the book there, then you should ditch them. Storage and money management shouldn't cost B&N that much. You deserve a fair amount for your product.

    1. Oh, I was going to leave it up on Nook regardless - I just thought it was interesting that I sold more copies on Amazon than Nook. I'm bigger fan of the nook and Barnes and Noble personally, but many of my friends have kindles. They reminded me that it's cheaper, better advertised, and I think it's been around longer - thus the reason why things sell better over there.

      I just wish the KDP website was easier to use. It seems like whenever I make a change to the short story (like update the price or description) it takes forever to update!

  5. From what I've seen of the two devices (my e-book reader is my 8 year-old laptop), I like the nook better too. And it sounds like you have a plan in mind anyway, Christina. I just figured I would share what little info I knew about B&N and their e-book store from a different direction

  6. Great imagery here. I could picture the scene. :D

    1. Thank you! I've been trying to work on adding more detail to things, and it's amazing how it's easier for some stories, like this one or TUO, but harder for others like the two projects I'm working on under my pen name.

  7. Oh, very mysterious. What did her family do to be exiled in the first place, I wonder.

    1. I have a basic idea, but I'm not clear on the details yet. I do know either her grandfather or father were directly involved though