Book Marketing Update – New Sites I have Discovered!

I wanted to provide a book marketing update on some new sites (at least new to me) that I have discovered and how things are going on the marketing front. I hope some of this will be helpful to you, too!

The first new site I want to talk about is YA Books Central. I found the site through a tweet that showed up in my feed. Since The Gemstone Chronicles is written for middle grade/YA and up, I decided to check it out to see if I could reach more of my target audience (not that I mind getting reviews from adults). I was impressed by what I found. Here are some interesting things I found out about the site:

  • The site has a ton of books and it has a separate place for Indie books. It makes it easier to find works by Indie authors
  • @yabookscentral has over 33K followers on Twitter
  • The site does offer reviews for traditionally published authors, and may review Indie books on occasion
  • YABC on Facebook has over 14000 likes
  • YABC is on Tumblr, too!
  • Once you submit your book and it is approved (it cost me $3.99 to list my book), it is listed on the site with a cover photo and a link for sales. In the 3 days (as of April 3) since I posted my book, I have had over 50 views of the book.
  • They also have a separate page for Kid’s books

Update! All four of The Gemstone Chronicles are now on YABC! In fact, Book One: The Carnelian is HOT on the site.

If you are a YA or Kids author, this might be a great place to list your book! To give you an idea of what the site looks like, here is a link to my book: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaindie/17879-the-carnelian-the-gemstone-chronicles-series-1

IndieBRAG: I found this site after seeing a fellow author’s BRAG medallion. BRAG stands for Book Readers Appreciation Group and they will award a BRAG Medallion for books that have passed the rigorous standards for their reviews. Here are some facts about IndieBRAG:

  • IndieBRAG is not a free site to submit a book. It costs $20 for a book to be considered for a review. Since I made a little money from the Augusta Literary Festival, I decided I would submit. We will see what happens!
  • IndieBRAG has over 9400 Facebook Likes
  • IndieBRAG has over 5300 Twitter followers

Update! I did submit my book to the site and guess what – The Carnelian was awarded a BRAG Medallion!

THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web 1

The last new place I want to tell you about is Cold Coffee Cafe. I stumbled across this site on Twitter. It’s a free site for authors to join and list their books and trailers. I signed up and haven’t finished setting everything up yet, but I do have The Carnelian listed and its trailer is linked there, too. More information on Cold Coffee Cafe:

  • Just over 600 Twitter followers
  • Just over 650 likes on Facebook
  • Offers promotional packages

My page link at Cold Coffee Cafe is: http://coldcoffeecafe.com/profile/WilliamlStuart

As far as my marketing efforts are concerned, things have picked up since I have been implementing my own marketing plan. I continue to refine my strategy and, once I stumble on the key(s) to successful (and low-cost) book marketing strategies, I will share!

In conclusion, here is my Book Marketing update! I don’t know how well any of these might work within your advertising and promotional budget and strategy, but give them a look!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, or send me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. Feel free to connect!!

 

 

 

2015 – A Year in Reviews!!

2015---A-Year-in-ReviewWeb

2015 – A Year in Reviews! 2015 was a busy reading year for me. As an Indie author, I realize the importance of reviews. Reviews provide feedback from readers, gives the author a chance to interact with readers, makes new friends, and generally improve his/her writing. In 2015, I decided I would write reviews for all the books I read, post them to as many sites as I could, and try to give constructive feedback to the authors.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I typically buy the books I read so I don’t create any obligation to provide a “good” review. However, since I am trying to help authors, if I cannot give at least a 4 Star review, I try to contact the author directly to offer my comments, rather than post the review. In this post, I wanted to list all my reviews, a link to the Amazon.com review, and the star rating I gave each book. So, without further ado, here is my 2015 review list from newest to oldest!

Darkspire Reaches by C N Lesley: 4 Stars

Scroll Back by Jay Stamatis and Steven Stamatis: 4 Stars

We Journey No More by Sahara Foley: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Lodestone Book 1: Witch Hunt by Wendy Scott: 5 Stars

Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller by Demelza Carlton: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Rys Rising by Tracy Falbe: 5 Stars

Daniel’s Fork: A Mystery Set in the Daniel’s Fork Universe by Zeece Lugo: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

The Wanderer: Book One of the Godsend Series: Section One by Timothious Smith: 4 Stars

The Battle for Brisingamen by Harmony Kent: 4 Stars

Timelapse by Lorrie Farrelly: 5 Stars

Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert: 5 Stars

A Pink Zombie, With a Mist by Jada Ryker: 4 Stars

Hero For Hire (Eno The Thracian Book 1) by C B Pratt: 5 Stars

Think Murder by Cassidy Salem: 4 Stars

The Dark Masters: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume II by David Wind: 5 Stars

Worlds of the Never (Tales of the Neverwar 2) by C J Rutherford: 5 Stars

Haunted Hearts – #1: A Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery by Kim Cox: 4 Stars

The Soldier’s Secret by Heather Anne Osborne: 5 Stars

Simple by Dena Nicotra: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

I Hero: The Beginning by Jason Zandri: 4 Stars

The Dry by Rebecca Nolen: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Glitter of Magic: The Knight and the Fairy (Myth Retold, Book 1) by J. R. Biery: 4 Stars

Dragon Fireside Tales: The Dragon Chronicles by Adam Boustead: 4 Stars

The Revelation Room (The Ben Whittle Investigation Series Book 1) by Mark Tilbury: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Everwud Book 3: Revolution by Marilyn Dieckmann: 5 Stars

Edge of the World: A Dystopian Story Set in the Daniel’s Fork Universe by Zeece Lugo: 4 Stars

Doom (The Heart of the Staff Book 6) by Carol Marrs Phipps: 5 Stars

Crystal Conquest by Doug J. Cooper: 5 Stars

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone: 4 Stars

Born To Magic: Tales of Nevaeh: Volume 1 by David Wind: 5 Stars

Bound to Survive: The Magic Within (The Magic Within Series Book 1) by Sharon Gibbs: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Forever Boy (Clockpunk Wizard Book 1) by Lita Burke: 4 Stars

Origins of the Never (A Prequel to The War of the Neverwar Series) by C J Rutherford: 5 Stars

The Unknown Sun by Cheryl Mackey: 5 Stars

The Reaper Witch (Heart of the Staff Book 5) by Carol Marrs Phipps: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Kyrathaba Rising (Kyrathaba Chronicles Book 1) by William Bryan Miller: 5 Stars

Elevation of the Marked by March McCarron: 5 Stars

The Secret of Excalibur by Sahara Foley: 4 Stars

Crystal Deception by Doug J Cooper: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Alien Nightmares by Sharon Delarose: 4 Stars

A Demon’s Quest: The Beginning of the End by Charles Carfagno: 4 Stars

Riddle of Prague (QuickSlver Legacy Series Book 1) by Laura DeBruce: 5 Stars

Tredan’s Bane by Lita Burke: 4 Stars

Division of the Marked by March McCarron: 5 Stars

Hunter’s Haven by Linda Thackery: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

Forest Bull (The Fearless Book 1) by Terry Maggert: 4 Stars

There you have my 2015 – A Year in Reviews list. Everything from fantasy, science fiction, paranormal romance, mysteries, thrillers, adult to middle grades, and a bit of dystopia thrown in for good measure. I hope maybe you can find a new author to read in 2016 based on this list.

If you do decide to read one of these books, or if you decide to read one (or more) of The Gemstone Chronicles, please consider leaving a review. And, if you do find something interesting to read, leave me a comment, send me an email, or connect with me on social media and let me know! I would love to read your review of the books!

Connect with me:

On social media, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com! Or, if you don’t want to miss a post, subscribe to the blog!

Happy New Year and best wishes for a fantastic 2016!

 

Christmas Offers from The Gemstone Chronicles!!!

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year (and I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was as amazing as mine was), the focus shifts to Christmas and gift giving. In the spirit of the season, The Gemstone Chronicles is proud to announce two Christmas offers!

Offer Number One (for US only): If you want to order a set of all four of The Gemstone Chronicles books in paperback (and autographed by me), the special price through December 15th is $45. You can also order individual copies of each book for $14 each.

 

  • Buy autographed copies of The Gemstone Chronicles for $14 each (and I will pay shipping and handling)!
  • Buy the entire 4 book series for $45 (which is $11 off the cost of buying the books separately – and I will cover shipping and handling)!

 

Just send me the ship-to address, who you would like the books dedicated to, and they will be on the way! Send the information to bill@williamlstuart.com. I will email you to let you know when the books ship (and I promise I won’t spam you or share your email address).

Offer Number Two: I decided to make the entire series, in ebook formats, $0.99 for the month of December. Not just the first book, The Carnelian, but also The Amethyst, The Emerald, and The Ruby. Perfect way to load up a new Kindle, iPad, or Nook for Christmas! And for less than $4! That is a hard deal to beat! And this one applies to my international friends, too, so check your country’s Amazon site, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, or other sites for the reduced price!

Christmas Offers The Gemstone Chronicles series

Take advantage of these two special Christmas offers and find out why Book One: The Carnelian was awarded a BRAG Medallion! And, if you are so inclined, consider leaving a review. I would love to know what you think of the series!

Christmas Offers THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web 1

Connect with me:

As always, you can connect with me on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to meeting new friends!

I also want to thank all of my new readers and readers from years past. Your comments, reviews, and feedback have made me a better writer, and will be instrumental in making my next book better by far! So, thank you!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!

The Carnelian – Time to BRAG Just A Little Bit!!!

If you recall, a few months ago I did a post about some new (at least to me) marketing opportunities I had discovered. One of those was IndieBRAG and the BRAG medallion. BRAG is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group and the organization brings together readers and book club members from across the United States and ten other countries to evaluate submissions of Indie books. I submitted The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian for consideration. The criteria for the BRAG medallion includes:

  • Plot
  • Writing Style
  • Characters
  • Copying editing
  • Dialogue
  • Cover/interior layout

According to their website, about 50% of books submitted are rejected in the initial screening, with another 40% being rejected during the review process. Only about 10% of the books submitted receive a BRAG medallion. Well, guess what? The Carnelian was awarded a medallion!

THE-GEMSTONE-CHRONICLES-BRAG-for-Web

When I received the emaiI announcing the award, I was chuffed (to use one of my Irish writer friends favorite terms)! And, they sent me files so I can add the medallion to my books covers! How cool!!

One of the other perks of being a recipient of a BRAG medallion is that I can submit my book to Awesome Indies as a pre-qualified submission. This opens up another avenue to get my book(s) noticed! I have to wait until early October to submit, and it may take a fair amount of time to get a response. And I will be sure to update everyone on that progress, too!

I hope my successful submission will encourage other Indie authors to submit their works to IndieBRAG and take a chance on getting their own BRAG medallion!

Have you submitted your book to IndieBRAG? If not, what are you waiting for? If so, let me know how you progress!

Connect with me:

I think that is enough BRAGging for now. If you want to connect with me, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or just email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to interacting with all of my new connections (and friends)!

Book Marketing Tools – The Latest Finds!!

I haven’t done an update on my book marketing tools, efforts, and new promotional finds. I have found a few new things and will be using one shortly, so I will be able to tell you how it worked out!

First, I want to talk about ebookdiscovery.com. I found the site on Twitter and checked it out. I think this will be a good resource for me! Here are some of the features:

  • Read and Review Club: I submitted my book to this feature. And I was accepted! I provided an .epub version of The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian and ebookdiscovery will offer it to up to 50 of their readers. The readers can submit the  review to any of the major ebook retailers within a couple of weeks of the offering. My offering will be July 14, so I should start seeing reviews in early August. I will let everyone know how it goes.
  • Current eBook Discovery Deals: Highlights free and bargain books
  • Subscription: emails come to your inbox with the latest deals
  • An ebook recommendation opportunity
  • Opportunity to become an ebookdiscovery.com reviewer

Check out ebookdiscovery.com! It might be just the things for authors who are looking for reviews or for readers who want to become reviewers!

Another new site to visit and check out is The Books Machine. This is not a free site, but they advertise offering up your book to thousands of potential readers for a pretty low price. This is how it works:

  • Register your book with the site and select your program
  • The author decides who gets the free review copies
  • The author must offer at least 5 copies per month, but if the author has multiple books, a combination of the books is acceptable
  • The reader has to contact the author and give a reason why they would be a good reviewer
  • Each reader has a star rating and the author gets to rate their reviewers
  • The reviewer generally has 30 days to post their review
  • The cost is $10/month, but there are discounts for longer term commitments

I haven’t tried The Books Machine, but I’m thinking it might be a nice way to pick up some reviews. After my ebookdiscovery.com run, I might give it a one month trial and see what happens!

That’s my latest update on the book marketing tools, efforts, and promotional opportunities I am currently working on for The Gemstone Chronicles. Except for one other thing I am contemplating. I think I might have a version of my bookmark turned into a magnet to attach to the tailgate of my truck and see what happens. I live in the Atlanta suburbs and my truck is seen by hundreds of drivers each day, so perhaps a reader will check it the books after seeing the information on the magnet. Here is the magnet:

Book Marketing Tools Sign-with-Layers-Small

What do you think?

Connect with me:

What new promotional and marketing opportunities have you found? What works for you? Leave me a comment and let me know. If you want to connect with me, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or you email me at bill@williamlstuart.com!

 

 

 

Inspirations and Ideas for My Books (or What Do I Write About)!

One of the more interesting questions I get asked when someone discovers I have written 4 novels is where I got the inspirations or the ideas. For The Gemstone Chronicles, it’s a very easy answer, but for my latest WIP, the inspirations and the ideas came from an entirely different source. I will talk about them separately below.

I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, although I can’t remember the first book I read. Money earned from my paper route in Lakewood, Colorado bought every single Hardy Boy book available at the time (early to mid-70s). I bought Nancy Drew books, Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators, and a myriad of others. The Science Fiction Book Club got a lot of my money. I read Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Roger Zelazny, Isaac Asimov, Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson, Ursula K. LeGuin, and the list goes on and on.

Why do I mention that? Well, as many of you know, I developed a fascination with gemstones after moving to North Georgia in 2007. While out hunting gemstones one summer afternoon, my grandson, Aidan, and I were discussing the “magical” and “mystical” properties of gems. Aidan, who loves playing World of Warcraft and similar games, told me I should write a book about gemstones, elves, and magic. Though I hadn’t aspired to be a writer, I agreed I would write a book. I knew a few things about world building from my reading of the authors mentioned above, I love to read fantasy, and I already had a plan on what to write. Thus, I had my ideas and my inspirations and the series was born! I even incorporated the gemstones on the covers of the books.

Inspirations and Ideas The Carnelian Cover

On the cover is the carnelian (first gem in the Elven Bow) along with the stones in the hilt of the Elven Sword, which include a sapphire, a garnet, and aquamarine, and a topaz. You can read all about the gemstones on the cover here.

It did take some time to research which gems would be integral to the story and which would have minor roles. I wanted to have gems with unique properties and I wanted the gems to tie to the personalities of the characters. This meant, of course, that I could draw inspirations and ideas from them. A win-win!

For my current WIP, I used to watch a program on History Channel called Brad Meltzer’s Decoded. One of the episodes was about the Georgia Guidestones. Lana, my lovely and adorable bride, and I visited the Guidestones one sunny afternoon and I came away with new inspirations and ideas for my next book. The Guidestones are mysterious. and have a fascinating history behind them. The stones are the subject of conspiracy theories and have been almost since the day they were erected. They lend themselves very nicely to what I have in mind. The book will be unlike The Gemstone Chronicles. It is a thriller (or at least it is now…who knows how things will change during the writing process).

This got me wondering what other writers use for inspirations and ideas? Do they get ideas from listening to the news? Do they have hobbies or interests that lead them down a certain literary path? Is it a current event? Something they witnessed or lived through? Ideas raised by other writers? All of the above? If you are a writer, please tell me what gave you the inspirations and ideas for your own works. I would love to hear about them!

Connect with me:

As always, I enjoy connecting with readers, writers, and anyone else who wants to leave me a comment. I can be found on Twitter, Google +, Facebook, and I can be emailed at bill@williamlstuart.com!

If you’ve read any of The Gemstone Chronicles, leave me a comment and let me know how you liked the books. If you want to let the world know what you thought, leave me a review on Amazon , Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, BookLikes, or Shelfari! I look forward to hearing from you!

Gemstone Hunting Secrets – The Process Revealed!!

Gemstone hunting! One of my absolute favorite pastimes and one that led to the writing of The Gemstone Chronicles. I have talked about it in previous posts and even posted some pictures from the trips. Today, though, I want to walk you through the steps I go through when I pursue this hobby of mine! Yes, my gemstone hunting secrets revealed!

All of the pictures were taken by me on Sunday, March 15 at my favorite spot, Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’ in Cleveland, GA. If you have read any of my previous posts on this topic, you already know some of this, but let me summarize for new readers. Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’ is part of a commercial gold mine in the North Georgia Mountains. The property was part of the Loud Mine and continues to produce gold today.

For gold prospectors and gem enthusiasts, it is a great place to go for a fun (and sometimes profitable) visit. The site offers buckets and a covered sluice for sifting through the dirt to uncover treasures. They also offer mining at the creek – which is my favorite part. Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’ puts dirt dug from the mine pit next to the creek that runs through the property. Diggers can then fill buckets with dirt from the pile, take it to the creek, and sift through it. Whatever you find, you get to take home!

When we arrived (we being my brother John, his daughter Simone, and me) on Sunday morning, we had a fresh pile of dirt to dig through. However, it was wet and heavy dirt from recent rains, and it made for some heavy buckets!

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Dirt Pile

Our process is to fill 5 gallon buckets with dirt from the pile and lug the buckets down to the creek. Trust me when I say that after 4 hours of toting buckets of dirt, you will be pretty tired! Here are my 4 buckets ready to be screened.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Buckets of Dirt

I like to stack my screening boxes on top of one of the buckets and fill from another bucket. Why? Because I can let the dirt sift through the screens and sift out larger rocks. This way, by the time I get to the last bucket, I have some sifted dirt I can put into my sluice box. More on that in a minute. First, I wanted to show how the boxes look when full of dirt and placed in the creek to begin the washing process.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Screening boxes

I try to let the creek do most of the work in the process. I tilt the boxes up on each other to get good water flow through the dirt. Most of the dirt simply washes away and leaves a box full of rocks. In the box below, I found a pretty sizable ruby. It’s always a bonus to find something so easily!

 

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Screen Box with Ruby Outlined

As I mentioned above, I like to work through all the buckets and then dump the sifted dirt into my sluice box. It isn’t necessary to sift it first, but with the sluice box, it makes it easier to run dirt through. Below is a picture of the sluice box in the creek. If there is any gold in the dirt, it will either catch on the black mat or get caught in the green carpet.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Sluice Box

Once the dirt is run through the sluice, I rinse the carpet off in a bucket and then dump the contents of the bucket into my gold pan. I didn’t find any gold on this day, but I have found a few flakes before. It’s a bonus when you find the gold!

So, what did I find during my first gemstone hunting trip of the year? I found a few nice rocks, but the take wasn’t as good as some trips. Nevertheless, any day of gemstone hunting is a great day! Here are the results. The first picture is some of the gemstones I found.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets March 15 gemstones

From the upper left moving clockwise, we have rubies, garnets, quartz, citrine, and aventurine. Remember the ruby in the picture above, well, here is another view. The scale is set for grams, so doing the conversion, the stone is about 35 carats. Unfortunately, I don’t think this one would be a candidate for faceting, so it isn’t worth much. I still like it, though.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Big Ruby

There you have the process we use to hunt for gemstones. I did find a smaller ruby (about 20 carats) that I plan on sending to my gem cutter to see if it is a good stone. When a stone is cut, you lose about 75% in the cutting process, but, if the stone is a good one, I could end up with a 5 carat ruby. Not bad for $15 visit!

What do you think about our process? It really isn’t secret, but it is tons of fun! Any suggestions on making it more efficient? If you hunt gemstones, what do you do and where do you go? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Connect with me:

You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.  can also be reached by email at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to meeting you!

 

The Augusta Literary Festival – Postscript!!

On March 7, 2015, I had the privilege to attend the 4th Annual Augusta Literary Festival in Augusta, Georgia. Before I talk about the Festival, I want to talk about Augusta itself. According to Wikipedia, Augusta is the second oldest city in Georgia (only Savannah is older) and was established at the direction of James Oglethorpe, the founder of the British colony Georgia. Oglethorpe sent troops to build at the head of the navigable section of the Savannah River and named to town Augusta (after the wife of the Frederick, Prince of Wales).

Other interesting facts about Augusta:

  • Augusta served as the capital of Georgia twice during the American Revolution
  • Prior to the Civil War, Augusta was a leader in the production of textiles, gunpowder, and paper
  • in 1845, Augusta was the site of the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Augusta is the home of the Medical College of Georgia
  • Georgia Pacific was founded in Augusta
  • James Brown (the Godfather of Soul) grew up in Augusta in the 1930’s and 40’s
  • The Savannah River Site is located near Augusta (and is the source for tritium for nuclear weapons)
  • EZ – Go and Club Car (the world’s largest golf cart manufacturers) are located in Augusta
  • The Masters Golf Tournament held annually at Augusta National Golf Club

There you have a quick list of facts about Augusta. Interesting place and one I am going to have to take some time to learn more about. But, now on to the Augusta Literary Festival and my experiences there!

We (the lovely and adorable Lana accompanied me – see the picture below), arrived Friday afternoon for the Festival. We wanted to attend the Author’s Reception at the Library and see who won the Yerby Award (Amanda Kyle Williams won for her book Don’t Talk to Strangers) and be ready for Saturday’s events!

Augusta Literary Festival Lana and Bill

The event started at 10 am and there were visitors aplenty! One of the giveaways we did was to include a tumbled and polished gemstone with each book purchased. For Book One: The Carnelian, we gave away carnelians and for Book Two: The Amethyst, we gave away amethysts. Not a bad bonus for buying a book!

Augusta Literary Festival Carnelians

Carnelians

 

Augusta Literary Festival Amethysts

Amethysts

 

I also had the chance to participate as a panelist for a discussion about self publishing. My fellow panelists were Alicia Michaels, a writer of fantasy, and Hasheem Francis, a bestselling author and businessman. We spoke about the self publishing process and our own lessons learned during our independent author journey. About 40 people attended our session, so I hope we gave some useful advice! Who knows, we might have spoken to a future Yerby Award winner!

By the end of the day, we sold some books, met some really great people and some outstanding authors, and generally had a wonderful experience. I’ll Look for my invitation to next year’s Augusta Literary Festival!

Did you attend the Augusta Literary Festival? What about book festivals in your area (if you don’t live in or near Augusta)? Do you enjoy interacting with the authors and finding new books? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or just drop me a line at bill@williamlstuart.com! Stop by and say hi!

Faceted Gemstones – Newest Additions!!

Regular readers of my blog (or my books) know that I’m a big fan of gemstones. I love faceted gemstones, cabochons, and tumbled stones. My books, The Gemstone Chronicles series, use the magical and mystical properties of gemstones as the basis of the magic the characters discover. I frequently go gemstone hunting at my favorite spot in the North Georgia Mountains, Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’, in Cleveland, GA. My two rock tumblers run almost all of the time, smoothing out the rough edges and polishing the stones I’ve found to a brilliant luster. Occasionally, though, I find a special stone that can be cut and faceted. Shown below is the first stone I ever had cut (an emerald)!

 

Faceted Gemstones Lana's emerald

Lana’s emerald

 

A 2.25 carat stone, it appraised nicely, and is still loose. Lana hasn’t decided on a setting yet. The stone is gorgeous, and since it was my first find, it is extra special!

My brother John found the peridot shown in the photo below. I had it cut for Lana. It weighed in at about 2.5 carats and I had it set in a sterling silver ring for her birthday. Beautiful!!

 

Faceted Gemstones

Lana’s peridot ring

 

Now, I have two new additions to the faceted gemstones family! I was hunting and found this rough ruby and sent it over to my faceting friend and he worked his magic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the rough.

After cutting and polishing, here is the final faceted stone. Not huge by any means, but still weighing in at 1.3 carats, it is a great little stone!

 

Faceted Gemstones Ruby

Faceted Ruby

 

Note the description in the picture says sapphire, which is true. Recall that red sapphires are rubies! Gene cut the stone in a Cushion Cut, and it turned out beautifully!

I also sent over a piece of clear quartz that was stunning as a rough piece. Gene cut me two round brilliant cut stones about 1.25 carats each. I wanted to see how the quartz would turn out in a traditional diamond cut. I think they turned out great! What do you think?

 

Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

What do you think about my faceted gemstones! I have some garnets that might facet well, but I have to get them cleaned up and see what they look like. A nice sapphire (blue not red) or a piece of aquamarine to have cut might be nice, but no such luck yet. I guess I just have to keep on looking!

Which of my faceted gemstones is your favorite? What setting would you use for the emerald or the ruby? Do you think the quartz brilliant cuts look like diamonds? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Connect with me:

If you want to connect with me, find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. You can always email me at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to meeting new friends! And, don’t miss a post. Subscribe to the blog!

 

Yggdrasil – The World Tree from Norse Mythology

Yggdrasil – The World Tree springs from Norse mythology, so it made perfect sense to me to use it as part of the elves story in The Gemstone Chronicles. Referenced in Book One: The Carnelian, by Findecano, the elf freed from the chiastolite fairy cross, the story of Yggdrasil dates back to at least the 13th century, though its first attestation in the Poetic Edda from that time is a compilation from earlier traditional sources (according to Wikipedia). Regardless of the source, I think the tale is fascinating!

Yggdrasil - The World Tree

Yggdrasil

 

Wikipedia says Yggdrasil is a Norse word thought by some to mean Odin’s Horse. Ygg(r) was one of Odin’s many names and drasill means horse. Gallows are sometimes called horse of the hanged, and Norse mythology holds that Odin hanged himself from a tree, so Odin’s gallows becomes Odin’s horse and now you have, Yggdrasil. There are certainly other interpretations, but I kind of like this one! In my book, Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree and provides connection to life and death as a natural cycle for the elves.

Yggdrasil, in the mythology, connects the nine worlds together and is the home to  the wyrm (dragon), an unnamed eagle, and others. The three roots of the tree extend into the well Urðarbrunnr, where the gods gather daily to meet and where the three Norns live, the spring Hvergelmir, that is near Nidhoggr, and finally, the well Mímisbrunnr, which runs to the land of the giants (Jotunheim). I think the wyrm, Nidhoggr, is particularly interesting. The name comes from the Norse word “nid,” which was a term for social stigma and loss of honor. In the mythology, Nidhoggr gnaws at the root of Yggdrasil. The picture below is from an Icelandic manuscript showing Nidhoggr at the roots of Yggdrasil.

Nidhoggr Gnawing at Yggdrasil

Nidhoggr Gnawing the roots of Yggdrasil

 

As mentioned above, Yggdrasil connects the 9 worlds, which are divided into three levels. The highest level is Asgard, home of the Aesir (Gods of the Vikings including Odin), Vanaheim (home of the Vanir), and Alfheim (home of the Light Elves).

Yggdrasil Light Elf

Light Elf

 

The second level consists of Middle Earth (home of the humans and connected to Asgard by the Rainbow Bridge, but no mention of Hobbits). Jotunheim (home of the giants), and Svartalfheim (home of the Dark Elves or Drow). Alfheim figures prominently in Book Four: The Ruby.

Drow

Dark Elf (Drow)

 

The lowest level contains Nidavellir (home of the Dwarves), Niflheim (to the north and somewhere under it is Helheim, home of the dead), and Muspelheim (to the south and home of the fire giants and demons). Here is a picture of how the 9 worlds might be connected.

Yggdrasil 9 Worlds

Yggdrasil and the 9 Worlds

 

Yggdrasil (or the World Tree) is not exclusive to Norse mythology, though. According to Wikipedia, there are similar myths among the Siberian shaman and ancient Germanic people. The notion of an eagle atop the tree and a serpent coiled around the roots has parallels in Asian cosmologies.

There you have a brief story of Yggdrasil. Very cool mythology and absolutely fascinating to me. I like to imagine the connections the myths have with events today. It’s a great way to develop story lines and future writing projects!

What are your favorite myths? If you’re a writer, have you used myths in your writing or do you plan to? If you are a reader, what myths do you like to read about? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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