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Works in Progress: Week Thirteen. Blood Bound and Bones of Earth

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

64415 / 95000 (67.81%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

42867 / 95000 (45.12%)

A good, productive week this past week. The words are flowing well in both cases, and I’m pretty pleased with my progress.  Blood Bound is on track to be done by mid-December, I think.  I’ve started running it through the ERWA Storytime list, and the crits have been awesome so far. Bones of Earth is running on the Patreon, and comments there have been fun.

Tomorrow, I get to do my favorite volunteer activity of the school year — I get to go in and talk to the middle school about being a writer.  Last year, I had a lot of fun and lost my voice. This year, we’ll see how I do! (You’re allowed to open book on what period my voice drops out — last year it was fifth or sixth.)

 

I’m starting to think around the edges about Cookiepocalypse 2019. It’s just around the corner!  (Oh, boy. It is, isn’t it? Thanksgiving is in two weeks!)

 

There’s not much else going on around these parts.  It’s been quiet, and I hope it stays boring. It might not — I’ll find out shortly if my boring will be short-lived. Yes, that’s a vague-book. I’ll be more specific when I know more.

 

A very brief excerpt. I really dig the art of kintsugi. I love the idea of finding beauty in the flaws. So I got to speak a little through Hiro in this bit:


“That is not true,” Hiro said. “You are not a mistake. You are Daniel. You are mine. You are perfect to me.”

“I’m not—”

“You are,” Hiro insisted. “Your flaws only make you more perfect.” He chuckled. “Wait.” He shifted, and Daniel sat up so that Hiro could leave the room. He came back a moment later carrying a pottery bowl that Daniel had seen on a shelf in the living room. The bowl was blue, and there were veins of gold that ran through it in crazed, zig-zag patterns.

Hiro sat down facing Daniel and held the bowl between his hands. “When Usagi saved my life, when she brought me back to her court, I told her that I wished only to die. She took this bowl and she shattered it. And she told me that I was not allowed to make such decisions in my pain. That I needed to wait, and heal.” He turned the bowl over in his hands. “On the day that she put her collar around my neck, she gave this to me.”

“It’s the same bowl?” Daniel asked. He bent at the waist, looking closer. “How’d they fix it?”

“Lacquer infused with gold,” Hiro said. “It will never be what it was before it was shattered. But it is beautiful nonetheless. More beautiful, perhaps.” He met Daniel’s eyes. “Do you understand what I am saying?”

Daniel nodded. “I’m not sure I believe it, though. Not really.”

“I have the patience to wait until you do. Because I love you, and you are worth the waiting.” He kissed Daniel’s forehead. “I need no grand gestures, my Daniel. I do not need your pain to prove that you love me. Nor do I require you to punish yourself for your flaws.” He turned the bowl again. “Your flaws, my flaws, they contribute to make us the men we are. They make us beautiful. Your flaws are part of you, and they make you Daniel. And Daniel is beautiful.” He smiled. “And Daniel is mine.”

 

 

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, BDSM Vampires, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, excerpt, Flesh and Blood, Heir to the Firstborn, I really want some dull, Teach-in, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Romance Writer’s Weekly: What’s in Your Spotify?

Hello to everyone in the audio radiance! Welcome to my spot on the web. Now, if you’ve never been here before and are jumping in from Brenda Margriet’s blog,  just go on and make yourself comfortable while I introduce myself.

Hi, I’m Liz. I write Erotic Romance science fiction and fantasy, and I write New Adult fantasy romance. I’m probably best known for my Steampunk BDSM novel House of Sable Locks. 

Here on my blog, I tend talk a lot about writing and my works-in-progress. Accountability helps keep me on target. I’m currently working on two pieces. The first is book three of my ongoing Patreon serial Heir to the Firstborn (a new adult fantasy romance. Forged in Fire, book two of Heir to the Firstborn was published just two weeks ago). The other work in progress is the first in an Erotic Paranormal Romance series that I’m tentatively calling Flesh and Blood. Book one is Blood Bound,  and you can find excerpts in my previous blog posts. It’s what I fondly call my BDSM Vampire series.

Now, I tend to listen to a lot of music when I’m writing, because it distracts the toddler part of my brain that wants to go play with new pens and coloring books and eat all the chocolate. If I turn on Spotify, I can focus more easily on words. I used to do this in grade school, and it drove my mother wild — she couldn’t understand how I could work with background noise. To me, though, it’s essential.

Now, what I listen to depends on what I’m writing. Ninety-five percent of the time, I’m listening to instrumentals. Words can be a distraction, because I like to sing along. Singing = not writing, at least for me. So instrumentals.  My current playlist of choice for instrumentals isn’t one that I made. It’s the house music from Eat Your Science, one of Alton Brown’s live shows. It’s all theme songs from classic science fiction TV and movies. My only complaint? There are only nineteen songs on the playlist, so it is over too soon!

Another playlist that I enjoy, and that is also too short, is courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda. His Write Your Way Out playlist is fun, and includes some artists that I hadn’t been familiar with before. I don’t listen to it as often as Eat Your Science, because lyrics. (Also, here’s a warning — this playlist has some explicit lyrics.)

Now, I do have my own playlists, and I’m playing with them a bit. When I wrote my BDSM Paranormal Romance Heart’s Master, I included a playlist in the endmatter of the book, made up of songs that were referred to during the course of the story. Music was fairly important in Heart’s Master — Stephen, the main character, was a triple threat (singer, dancer and actor) who lost his career  and his sight in a car accident. That accident also woke his magical abilities, and he discovers that he is a bard. And that there’s a mage in the Elvenlands who wants him dead.

I’m doing something similar in Blood Bound. There’s a playlist, but not because either main character is a performer. Well, one of them is a pole dancer, but that’s not his main job — Daniel is a bartender at night and a yoga teacher during the day.

In this book, each chapter title is the title of a song that matches the mood or the theme of the chapter. I set up a playlist in Spotify for the book, and the list and the link to this playlist will be included in the endmatter of the book.

Now, this is not the final version of the playlist, simply because I haven’t finished writing the book yet.  There are a couple of choices for chapters near the end that might change, if I find something that suits the mood better.  (Specifically? Chapter 19. I love Van Canto, but I’m not sure that particular song is what I want. However, I haven’t written chapter 19 yet. I know what’s going to happen in there, but until I have the words on the page, I won’t know for sure if that song is a good fit, or if the other song I’m thinking of will be better.)

And, because I am a masochist, I’ll be doing similar playlists for every book in this series (right now, I think there will be five books, with a possibility of seven. We’ll see.) So I have a master playlist where I’m collecting songs that I might use or that just put me in the right mood for writing this particular series.  There are several songs on the list that I’ve already earmarked for book three. (Yeah, I haven’t finished book one yet and am already planning book three. No, I won’t be jumping right to book three. Books happen in specific order — besides, if I write book three first, then I’ll just have to change it when I write book two and things happen that impact book three.)

Hopefully, your stop here has given you some new music to listen to, and some new books to enjoy while listening to that music. Your next stop on the merry webring is Jenna Da Sie’s blog. Let’s go see what she’s listening to today…

Posted by EASchechter in inspiration, music, Playlist, public displays of geekery, Romance Writer's Weekly, Webring, 0 comments

Works in Progress, Week Twelve, Blood Bound and Bones of Earth.

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

59930 / 95000 (63.08%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

37896 / 95000 (39.89%)

Good writing week all around, even if I did have some writing in reverse with Blood Bound.  (I cut something along the lines of four hundred words from chapter one, after running it through the Erotica Readers and Writers Association crit group. They’ve never steered me wrong, and I love them for it.)

Bones of Earth took off this week —  over seven thousand words written, and a major reveal that I’d been waiting to include. So anything from this point on in the story will be a spoiler… which means no more excerpts unless I have something short that won’t spoil anything.

So, remember how I said last week that once I finished Blood Bound, I wasn’t going to work on anything else other than Heir to the Firstborn until it was done? Yeah, I kinda forgot that I committed to a shared world project, and my synopsis is due by March, with the book due by December. I will be writing up that synopsis once I finish Blood Bound.  Working title on this one is John Zebedee and the Elf-King’s Son, and it’s going to be a new thing for me — a Wild West Paranormal.

Other irons in the fire — anyone else remember Web-rings? I’m participating in something very similar this week through the Romance Writer’s Weekly. On Tuesday, we’ll be writing all about how we use music in our writing, and to help us write. So when that post goes up, check out the other authors in the loop (if it works the way it’s supposed to, eventually, you’ll end up back here!)

So, excerpt time. A longer one from Blood Bound, to make up for the lack of one from Bones of Earth.   And this is me having a little fun — Daniel is having breakfast with Clara, who is a bond-slave to another vampire. What they’re having for breakfast is one of my favorite breakfasts from Proper and Wild, the little place in Winter Park, Florida, that Clara mentions. Yes, the black rice grits are that good. No, they won’t give me the recipe.


“What is that?” he asked as he entered the kitchen. “It smells wonderful.”

“Tempeh bacon, and it is,” Clara answered. “Hiro said you were vegetarian, but not what kind, so I went for vegan options. Chickpea scramble, tempeh bacon, black rice grits—”

“You’re Southern, aren’t you?” Daniel interrupted.

“Winter Park, Florida,” she answered with a grin. “And toast. Oh, and coffee.” Daniel sat down at the table and watched as she loaded a plate and handed it to him.

“For the record, I eat eggs and some dairy,” Daniel answered. He scooped up some of the black rice grits, which were purple. He took a bite, then he looked down at them. “And these. I will eat these. What’s in this?”

“I have no idea,” Clara admitted. “There’s a little place at home that makes them, and they won’t share the recipe. So my mother buys it by the quart and freezes it to ship to me. Grig likes the smell of it, but I can’t eat it too often, because of how rich it is. So I have a couple of quarts in the freezer at home.”

Daniel smiled and took another bite. “Thank you, for sharing. It’s wonderful.”

“Try the bacon,” Clara said as she filled a plate for herself.

Daniel did, and it was almost as good as the grits. Clara asked him questions while they ate, about his yoga practice and tending bar. When he told her that he’d been a performer at The Blood Bank before he started tending bar there, she laughed.

“That’s where I know you from!” she said. “I knew you were familiar. But… ah… wow, I’ve never actually said this before, but—”

“You didn’t recognize me with my clothes on?” Daniel finished, and she burst into giggles.

“Yes!” she agreed. “The night Grig and I were there, you were wearing… well, not a heck of a lot. Bike shorts, I think. Really little ones. And there was a gorgeous girl who tied you to the pole.”

“Her name is Daphne,” Daniel said. “I can introduce you, but she’s married.”

Clara wrinkled her nose. “Figures. Just my luck.” She laughed and refilled her coffee. “More grits?” she asked.

Daniel shook his head. “I’m stuffed, thanks. But more coffee would be good.” He let her fill his cup again, and took a sip. “So what’s it like, being a bond?”

She looked thoughtful. “I… may be biased. My family have basically been retainers for Grigori for five generations. Grigori seems to have a preferences for bonds from the Trella bloodine. So we kids grew up knowing that when my great-uncle stepped down or passed away, it would be one of us.” She shrugged. “Us being me, my sister, my brothers, and all of my cousins.”

“Big family?” Daniel asked.

“Huge,” Clara answered with a laugh. “Mom was one of six, Dad was one of nine, and I don’t think any of them can spell zero population growth. Family gatherings take all weekend. I’ve been with Grig six years now, and I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s hard work, but that’s mostly because vampires are stubborn breed, and sometimes you have to force them to take care of themselves.” She pointed at Daniel. “Hiro’s perfectly awful at it. He starves himself. I’m constantly shocked he doesn’t go blood mad.”

“What?” Daniel asked. “Clara, I’m on the outside looking in. There’s a lot I don’t know, and a lot that I’ve heard but don’t know if it’s true. Start at the beginning. I’m signing the contract. What does that mean?”

Clara nodded. “You have no training at all?” she asked.

“None. I didn’t finish college, and I couldn’t afford the prep school.”

“Oh, I see. You’re starting from the ground up. Okay. No wonder Hiro asked me to talk to you. To begin with, a vampire can live on poured blood for three to four days. After that, they have to drink living blood. They never take too much — usually it’s less than if you’re donating blood. But it’s every three days, usually. Any longer, and their judgment starts to go. Longer than five days, and they go wild. Which is why they have bond-slaves. Oh, and how they take living blood is a little different for each vampire. It depends on their preferences.” She paused to sip her coffee. “Vampires are apex predators. More so than humans are. So they need the hunt—”

“I know this part,” Daniel said. “It’s why they’re all into bondage, and I have a job.”

“It’s why most of them are into bondage,” Clara corrected. “For the illusion of captured prey. But for some, they’re more interested in the chase.” She grinned. “I think Grig picked me because I ran varsity track in college. Now, Hiro isn’t interested in the chase. He wants the fight. He wants the captured prey. He’s inventive, too. And considerate to a fault. You’re going to love him. He will drive you nuts, though. If there’s a religious site anywhere within walking distance, he wants to see it. I have no idea why, but he’s something of a spiritual tourist.”


And that’s where I’ll leave you. See you on Tuesday with my playlists!

Posted by EASchechter in 2019 plans, 2020 plans, accountability, BDSM Vampires, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, excerpt, Heir to the Firstborn, Playlist, progress, Romance Writer's Weekly, Webring, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Works in Progress, Week Eleven, Blood Bound and Bones of Earth

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

57165 / 95000 (60.17%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

30842 / 95000 (32.47%)

Progress! (Yes, even if it isn’t a lot of progress. The number lines moving upwards is progress.) At this rate, I’ll be finishing up Blood Bound by Christmas, as is my usual writing schedule. Bones of Earth will continue until morale improves/everyone learns to swim  it’s finished. And I’m not going to START anything else until both Bones of Earth and Wings of Air are finished. I think I’ve proven that working on two projects at a time is not the best use of my time. So hopefully, once I finish Blood Bound, the only thing that I will have to distract me from Heir to the Firstborn will be edits for things I have out in various slush piles.

Forged in Fire is out now, and doing well. There’s a five star review over on Goodreads (yay!)  Just a request to the audio radiance that writers love reviews. (hinthinthint)

I think I’m finally over the slump in Bones of Earth, too. The writing seems to be moving at a faster pace, which makes sense now that things have happened in the story, and someone has shook off their holding pattern and started moving forward.

That’s nice and vague now, isn’t it? Good. No spoilers.

I did have a pretty big surprise while working on Bones just before we went to Necronomicon. If you follow me on Twitter, you saw my “I did NOT see that coming” post. I’ve decided to share…

We meet Alanar in Forged in Fire. He is a blind Healer, and he and Owyn have become very close. Very close, as we see here. They’re about to leave on a journey, because reasons.


“I’m not going to lie to myself and say everything is going to be fine and wonderful. I know I’m walking out of the only safe place left in the world. And I know there’s something out there that would make me change my mind and not go, if I knew what it was. That’s why the Mother won’t let me see what’s coming. So I know I have to go, but I’m going to take every precaution I can. Like leaving behind things that make me stand out too much.”

“And I won’t?” Alanar asked.

“Nope,” Owyn answered. “Because we’re going to tell people who get nosy that you’re my husband, that we just got married, and that we’re going north to visit your family in the Solstice village and bring them the news.”

Alanar looked startled. “When did you think of that?” he asked.

“Last night,” Owyn answered.

Alanar coughed. “Last night. Really,” he repeated. “Then I clearly was doing something wrong.”

Marik burst into laughter. “More information than we needed, Alanar!”

Owyn reached over and took Alanar’s hand. “I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep,” he explained. “I didn’t want to wake you up, so I thought about ways to cover what we were doing to anyone outside the Water villages. Any objections? I mean, if you don’t want to be married to me—”

Alanar shook his head. “Stop that. You’re a perfectly fine husband, even if I only get to borrow you for a while.” He smiled, raising Owyn’s hand to kiss his knuckles. “Maybe I can ask Aria if it can be more than a while.”

Everything stopped. The entire world stopped. Owyn’s breathing stopped. His heart stopped. Everything just… froze. Then it all lurched into motion again, like it had been kicked by a mule. “I… what? What?”

Alanar’s smile faltered. “I… I’m sorry. Was that… too… I don’t know. Owyn?”

“No, no, no,” Owyn sputtered. “Stop. Just… stop.” He swallowed. “You… just asked me to marry you. Did you mean to do that?”

“Yes, I did, Owyn.”


“But wait!” I heard you cry. “Owyn is supposed to be with Aria and Aven!”

I know. I know! This was not in the outline!

But there’s also no reason why it can’t be. As we find out shortly after this scene, Companions can, indeed, marry, so long as their spouses (spice?) understand that they are entering a group marriage. So we’re going with it.

Because reasons.  And because when stuff like this flows out of my fingers without stopping for me to think about it, that means it’s usually the right choice for the story.

Meanwhile, over in vampire land, I’ve dropped several mountains on Daniel, and wrote a science fiction plot point into my story bible that later that same day turned into science fact. No, I did not know that was on the horizon. At least, I don’t think I knew.

I also just yesterday wrote a scene I’ve had in my head for ages, ever since I made Daniel have a day job as a yoga instructor.

The only thing you really need to know for this scene is that Hiro is much shorter than Daniel — Daniel is 6’2. Hiro is 5’5


He made his way back out into the living room, sipping his tea as he went to the window and looked out over the dark expanse of Central Park. Streetlights flickered and shone through windblown tree branches, and he could see the reflections of light in water. This window must look out over The Lake. It was a nice view. Must be pretty in the winter, when it snowed. It would be nice to watch the snow fall from this vantage. He took a deep breath. He was still tired. Overtired, maybe, and sore. He needed to go back to sleep. Maybe he could flow, and relax that way. It was worth a try. He put down his cup and moved in front of the window. He closed his eyes, shifting to stand in mountain pose, slowing his breathing, silently examining himself, looking for pain. He ached, but he didn’t hurt, so he started, sweeping upward into the salute. The sun salutations felt good, strong, and he flowed through them three times before he started seeking balance. High tree pose, raising his arms like branches over his head, then reaching down, catching his raised right foot with his right hand and reaching back into Dancer. He extended his right arm toward the window, and saw movement reflected in the glass.

“Well, that is a handsome pose,” Hiro said from behind him. “I could bind you like that, but then I’d have to stand on a box to do anything with you once I had.”


For this week, my main goals are to get really moving on Bones of Earth — there’s a good bit coming, and I can hit it maybe this weekend if I keep my words up.

Oh, and for the record, I am not doing Nanowrimo this year. I’d have to focus on one project to the detriment of the other. I’ll do Camp Nano in April.

Posted by EASchechter in 2019 plans, accountability, Adavar, BDSM Vampires, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, Elemental Project, excerpt, Forged in Fire, Heir to the Firstborn, new books, progress, research is fun, Ta-da, to-dos, WIP, wordcount, Write Faster!, writing, 0 comments

Necronomicon Roundup and Happy Book Day Eve!

We got home last night after a fantastic weekend at Necronomicon, in Tampa. It was my last outing for the year, and it was a good one. Nice and relaxed, with only three panels. The rest of my time was spent at my table in the dealers room.There was exactly no writing done. Which I’d expected. Next week’s blog post will have the two week word count.Friday, we got in early to set up the table in the dealers room. Which required some jiggery pokery, because I have what’s left of my jewelry from when I was doing THAT professionally. So I had to make room for shinies.

As an aside, a cosplayer dressed as Aziraphale was absolutely DELIGHTED when I told him that the jewelry was doing nobody any good in my closet. It needed to find a good home, so I was helping people with their shiny adoptions.

Friday night I had two panels. My earlier panel was The Many Face of Holmes and Watson, which was quite a lot of fun, and hosted by one of my favorite moderators at Necro. My late panel was on Slash Fiction, and it was… slightly confused. Apparently, there was a mix up with rooms, and I was told the panel would be in one room, but the moderator was told another. So I had a small panel going in my room, and she had a slightly larger panel going in her room, and when someone realized the mix-up, we combined them.

Saturday started way too early after a panel that ran until past midnight (what? I’m getting old!) There was liberal applications of coffee, and I met a God.

No, really. I’m not even joking.

Being a former jeweler, I studied a little about metallurgy. And I’ve always been a sword nut, so when I saw that a vendor had set up Saturday morning with swords and daggers, I went over to see them. Beautiful work! I picked up his card… and looked at it. Then I looked at him. Then I looked at the card again.

Dr. Jim Hrisoulas.

Now, if you don’t know swords, you probably won’t recognize that name. But he is a Bladesmithing LEGEND. And he was sitting there in front of me.

I did not squee. Not in public, anyway.

By the way? He is DELIGHTFUL, and I enjoyed meeting him so much! I hope he’s back next year.

My last panel of the day turned out to be a bit intimidating. I saw this panel in the schedule, and asked to be included. I figured I could talk on the Religion of Diets as well as anyone.I didn’t KNOW that the other three people on the panel were a retired medical doctor, a neurologist, and the neurologist’s son, who does something pharmaceutical that I can’t remember. And then there was me. I got a laugh when I said “I think I’m out of my depth here.” But I held my own — being a polymath means I can speak reasonably well on most topics, and on this one, I was the only one who had working knowledge of diet controlled autoimmune disorders, and of the variety of current diets available.

The rest of the weekend was spent at the table, adopting shinies and talking to people. And now I’m wiped out. But it was a good weekend, and I can’t wait for next year!

Now, tomorrow is BOOK DAY!!!! Forged in Fire releases everywhere. And I even remembered to upload the files to Smashwords (all the files — Heir to the Firstborn will soon be available on Smashwords. Not sure why I forgot to do it before.)Happy Book Day Eve!

Posted by EASchechter in 2019 plans, ex-cathedra from my navel, Forged in Fire, Happy Book Day, Heir to the Firstborn, Necronomicon, Release date, Updatey things, why-the-writing-is-slow, Writer on the Go!, 0 comments

Works in Progress: Week Nine, Blood Bound and Bones of Earth

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

48251 / 95000 (50.79%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

26509 / 95000 (27.90%)

I think I have resigned myself to the fact that Bones of Earth is a poky book, and I will not be getting as many words out as I am for Blood Bound. And that’s okay — there’s no deadline as long as I get my chapters up once a week. The fact is, I’m my own worst taskmaster.

Now, if you look at the wordcounts this week and compare them to last week, you might thing that I went completely all in on Blood Bound. I mean… over 10K words in a week?

Not exactly. Remember last week, when I said I’d put the first ten chapters up in a private crit group for people to see my worldbuilding? I managed to bork Scriveners on-board wordcounter when I did it, and didn’t realize that until the 11th, when the wordcounter said I’d only apparently written 333 words in over a week. I figured out the problem and fixed it. So really, that 10K is since October 2nd.

Words this week are probably going to be light — I am again fighting a cold (or something), and trying to get rid of it before Necronomicon this weekend. Thankfully, I have a light schedule this year. I’m on two panels on Friday, and one on Saturday. The rest of the weekend you’ll find me at my dealers table.

The panels this weekend are:

Friday 7 pm:  The Many Faces of Holmes & Watson

Friday 11 pm: Slash Fiction

Saturday 1 pm: The Religion of Diets

That Saturday panel intrigues me, to the point that I asked to be added to it when I saw it on the schedule. I mean, if anyone knows anything about the religion of diets, it would be Liz coming-up-on-ten-years-of-WW Schechter.

A rare,  mostly non-spoilery excerpt from Bones of Earth this week. There are two characters here you’ll meet in Forged in Fire (on sale next week! Presales available now!) Marik is Earth and Water, and has recently lost his left eye because reasons. Alanar is a Healer, and he is Earth and Air. He is also blind — in Forged in Fire, we learn that Airborn have an innate ability to know where they are in space, and use it very much like bats use echolocation.  Being blind, Alanar uses that ability in interesting ways.


“Are you ready for this?”

“I should see if I still remember how,” Alanar answered. He hefted the staff and walked out onto the field. Owyn stayed by the gate and watched as Alanar picked the staff up. He didn’t hold it the way that Owyn had seen other staff fighters do — instead of holding the staff in the middle, Alanar held it near one end, angled down across his body. He stood still for a moment. Then, with no warning, he lunged, stabbing the staff forward the way someone would use a polearm. Owyn caught his breath — a lunge for someone as tall as Alanar, and with a staff that was equally as tall, meant that he could strike someone at a greater distance than Owyn could reach with his whip chain. Alanar recovered, twisting slightly, the staff moving in front of him. Blocking, Owyn realized. Holding the staff that way meant that all Alanar needed to do was move slightly, and he could block a blow from any height.

“Oh, he’s practicing?” Marik said from behind Owyn. “Oh… he hasn’t forgotten much.”

“I’ve never seen anyone use a staff like that,” Owyn said without turning. He couldn’t look away — Alanar was just too interesting to watch. “I’m used to people holding it in the middle. This is a lot more flexible.”

“I’ve seen people fight your way,” Marik said. “Most of them learned it from someone Fire, or lived in one of the Fire and Earth villages in the eastern mountains. Further east, they fight that way, too. But this is how we learn it here. It might have some Air influence. I don’t know.”

Owyn finally made himself look over his shoulder at Marik. Marik was holding a staff in his right hand, and had a crossbow in his left. He set the crossbow down to lean against the fence, and stepped through the gate. “Alanar?”

“I thought I heard you,” Alanar called. He stopped, leaning on his staff. He wasn’t even breathing hard.

“I thought you said you were out of practice!” Owyn called. Alanar laughed.

“I’m alone in here,” he said. “Against an opponent?”

“You’re going to leave me all over the sand,” Marik said. He moved to the middle of the ring and picked up his staff. Then he frowned. “This is going to be interesting.”

“Why… oh.” Alanar nodded. “You’re right handed. So you’ll be putting your left side forward.”

“And that’s the side I can’t see on,” Marik agreed. “Take it easy on me, will you?”

Alanar nodded. “Of course. I’m not going to make more work for myself.”

“Oh, fuck you!” Marik laughed.

“Promises, promises.” Alanar raised his staff. “Any time you’re ready. I’ll defend.”

 

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, conventions, excerpt, Forged in Fire, Heir to the Firstborn, Necronomicon, new books, presales, public displays of geekery, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Writer on the Go!, 0 comments

Works in Progress, Week Eight: Blood Bound and Bones of Earth

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

37681 / 95000 (39.66%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

23620 / 95000 (24.86%)

Busy week behind me, busier week ahead of me. Busiest week next week, ending with Necronomicon.  I’ll have a table in the dealers room, so if I’m not on a panel, that’s where you’ll find me.  (Please come find me — ALL of the print books that I ordered have come in all at once! I have TOO MANY BOOKS!!!)

I do have to say that I really like the quality from Draft2Digital’s new print service.  The covers are crisp and shiny (okay, I’m not so fond of the shiny — I like a matte cover). But the quality is VERY good. I’ll have copies of both Heir to the Firstborn books at the table, from both printers, so you can come check them out.

Why was last week a busy week? Well, partly because of life jumping around and yelling “Pay attention to ME!” and partly because inspiration struck and I had THREE writing projects going last week.

I don’t recommend that.

I really don’t recommend pulling together a four thousand word short story in two days, hitting SEND at 11PM on the night the submissions period closes, and realizing the next day that you misread the call. That’s a doozy of a mistake — the editor did like the story, but it was not what she wanted for that anthology. Which, yeah, I understand that. Total brain flail on my part.  So I have this story that doesn’t have a home. I’m shopping it around, and if it doesn’t go anywhere, I’ll publish it myself. Watch this space!

I’m trying to focus more on Bones of Earth, even though Blood Bound is still being a lot more fun. Last week, I asked the question about if a vampire feeds on someone other than his bond, is he cheating? I posed this question in the forums of the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of the RWA.  Several votes for “No, he’s not cheating, he’s having lunch,” one vote for “He’s totally cheating,” and, surprisingly, one vote for “It’s abuse!” Now, considering that in a later book, I’m going to be exploring an abusive vampire bond relationship, that one was interesting.

I also ended up post the first ten chapters in our private crit group because people wanted to know more about the worldbuilding. No feedback yet, but it hasn’t even been a week yet.

Here’s the scene where Hiro wrestles with the idea, asking an older and trusted vampire for advice:


“Then you must call me Hiro.” Hiro glanced toward him. “You have had many bonds, I assume?”

“Yes,” Marcus answered. “As old as I am? Too many. None at the moment, I’m afraid. My sweet Benjamin had the markers, and we were both hopeful, but he didn’t turn.”

“I’m sorry,” Hiro said. “You were together a long time?”

“Fifty-three years. You have questions about bonding?” Marcus asked.

“I have never had a bond—”

“As young as you are? I’m not surprised. You’re only just come of age, haven’t you? I seem to remember granting a waiver to allow you to becoming a full Justiciar long before your majority.”

Hiro smiled. “And for that, I do thank you.” He merged onto the FDR, seeing Grigori’s Land Rover ahead of them. He nodded. “I know I do not know all the intricacies of relations with humans. But I am… concerned. I took living blood from Clara tonight.”

“She’s a delightful bond,” Marcus said. “Is there an issue?”

“Not with Clara, no. Never with Clara.” Hiro hesitated for a moment. “Do humans consider taking living blood from another to be adulterous?”

“Oh, I see. You’re asking if you’ve cheated on your Daniel by feeding from Clara. Because, I presume, she took pleasure from the act?”

“Yes, that is what I am asking,” Hiro said. “My Daniel… he’s been badly used. Has Grigori told you?”

“About the problem with Anton LaSalle’s bond? Yes. He’s also assured me that he’s handling it,” Marcus said. “I can understand why Daniel is skittish.”

“That is the word he used,” Hiro said. “It was not just Jethro Cantrell who hurt him. To quote him, Jess was not the first. He was the latest. And, as far as I am concerned, he was the last. No one will ever hurt my Daniel again.” He looked at Marcus, saw the king nodding. “He trusted me enough to bring me to his home. To his bed. When I left him today, he asked me to be safe, and to come back to him, because we had paperwork to do. I do not want to hurt him. And I had not considered before tonight that taking living blood from another might do just that.”

Marcus hummed softly, melodically. Hiro recognized the melody as something he’d heard on the radio, something with a wonderful piano bridge. He followed Grigori’s car off the FDR and onto a bridge, and they crossed into the Bronx.

“We only have a few minutes before we get there,” Marcus said. “So let me tell you what I think. I also had not considered that someone might be hurt by the… side-effects of taking living blood from another. To us, it is… a meal. But I can see why a human would be disturbed by it. Does he know how a vampire’s bite affects humans?”

“I do not know,” Hiro admitted. “He did know I would be feeding today. I told him as much. And… he offered.”

“You refused him?” Marcus asked. “Why?”

“Because he is not yet ready. He is still very wary.” Hiro frowned. “He used the phrase once bitten. Is there more to that?”

“Once bitten, twice shy,” Marcus answered. “Your restraint is commendable. I do not think there are many who would be able to turn down a throat offered willingly, from someone to whom they were going to bond. And especially not after not having fed for four days. So, I think that your first question to ask him when you see him next should be if he knows how humans react to our bite. If he does not, then explain it to him. Has he met Clara?”

“Briefly, yes.”

“He should speak with her as well. And any other bonded pairs you may trust with his welfare.” Marcus sighed. “I wish he could have sat down with Benjamin.”

Hiro licked his lip, then asked, “May I bring him to you?”

“I would be delighted, Hiro. We will talk more on this later. For now, we’re almost there, and we need to focus.”

Posted by EASchechter in a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, appearances, BDSM Vampires, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, conventions, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, I-can-be-an-idiot, inspiration-strikes-OW, Necronomicon, new books, to-dos, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Works in Progress, week Seven: Blood Bound and Bones of Earth

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

35474 / 95000 (37.34%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

18958 / 95000 (19.96%)

And again, I’ve been focusing a little too much on new and shiny, and I need to get myself back in balance. My focus this week is going to be on Bones of Earth. Chapter one will be going up on Friday, and I need to get myself in gear. I have no plans of taking time off on the serial, which means I really need to get back to work in earnest.

Forged in Fire is in preorders (and I just realized this morning that I misspelled “preorder” in last week’s blog title.) I’ve had some issues with the cover for the print edition (I missed the right dimensions by a hair, and Ingramspark kicked it out.) I think we’re good now, and as soon as I get approval, I’ll order an ARC copy. Once I check THAT, then I’ll have to rush them for Necronomicon. Maybe I’ll gamble and order the table copies without an ARC.  I can always discount them if the cover isn’t quite right, right? Release date is October 22nd.

Now, if you’re paying attention to dates, you know that Necronomicon is the weekend BEFORE Forged in Fire comes out. So if you see me at the convention, you’re getting an early release on my new book (shhh! Don’t tell anyone! It’s only for Necro attendees!)

I will say that I’m having an awful lot of fun with Blood Bound, both with the writing, and with the planning for the series. (Yes, I’m writing another series.) I have run into an interesting dilemma, though. In romance, cheating is definitely FROWNED ON.

I’ve reached a point where Hiro is called away, and while away from Daniel, has to feed. His mentor’s bond volunteers (and it’s implied that they’ve done this before) There is something chemical in a vampire’s saliva that causes a human a sensation of intense sexual pleasure when the vampire feeds on them. So, when Hiro feeds, the bond has an orgasm.

So, there’s the question. Is Hiro cheating on Daniel by feeding on someone else? He’s currently wrestling with the issue, because he doesn’t know how Daniel  will react — the reaction to the bite is not publicized, so Hiro is not sure if Daniel knows.

So… what do you think? Infidelity, or just cheating on your diet?

See why I’m having fun with this one?

Posted by EASchechter, 0 comments

Preorders and Words and Excerpts, Oh, My!

First, PREORDERS for Forged in Fire are LIVE!!!

You can order on Amazon here, from Apple here, and just about everywhere else by going here. New bookstores will be added to that link, so if your bookstore of choice isn’t there yet, keep checking back — it will be! There will be print, but those will come later — I’m waiting for proofs before I approve them for distribution.

Second, it’s week six on the two works in progress.

<

p style=”text-align: center;”>Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

29336 / 95000 (30.88%)

***

<

p style=”text-align: center;”>Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

16465 / 95000 (17.33%)

Blood Bound is being a  lot of fun. Enough that I kinda neglected Bones of Earth last week. Need to fix that — when I’m working on two projects, I really do need to work on both of them, even when one is new and shiny and the other is book three of a series. I’m about to hit a pivotal part of Bones, which means I need to actually, you know, write it down and not leave it in my head.

(Boy, telepathic storytelling would be a real timesaver. In a scary sort of way. But the edits would be a real mindblower and I’m stopping that right now before I have a new plotbunny….)

I shared an excerpt of Bones of Earth over on Facebook last week (edited for spoilers). Here’s something from Blood Bound.


Daniel laughed and turned to look at Hiro’s profile, and realized something — Hiro’s fangs were ever so slightly visible. He was certain they hadn’t been before. And he wasn’t certain of the etiquette — did he ask about them? Was it like seeing someone with their fly down? Or was it just something you weren’t supposed to comment on?

“Daniel, what is it?” Hiro glanced at him. “You are staring.”

“Sorry,” Daniel murmured. “Ah… your fangs are showing? A little? And… they weren’t earlier.”

Hiro nodded. “I know. I am feeling a touch… unkempt. I regret that I will not be able to spend tonight with you, my Daniel. It is time that I fed properly, and I have given you a promise.” He reached out and rested his hand on Daniel’s leg. He squeezed, then returned his hand to the steering wheel as they merged onto the Henry Hudson Parkway.

“I could—” Daniel started.

“No,” Hiro interrupted. “I want you to understand the commitment we will make to each other before you bare your throat to me. I want you to be completely comfortable with the idea.” He smiled. “I am not willing to frighten you the first time I bite you, and have that color the way we will continue. I will visit with the local Chancellor’s deputy, and make arrangements. That is how it is done when one does not have a bond.”

“Is it?” Daniel asked. “No one talks about that.”

Hiro nodded slightly, not turning from his driving. “These are things that are best handled in private. The taking of living blood is… deeply personal.”

Daniel coughed. “Right. Sorry?”

Hiro smiled. “Do not apologize for being curious. You may ask me anything. I may not answer immediately. I may need to think about my answer. But you may ask.”

“I’ll make a list,” Daniel promised, making Hiro laugh. Then he gestured out the window, toward the trees on the left side of the car.

“Before I forget, I want to go there.”

Daniel craned his neck to look out the driver’s side windows. “There… what’s up… oh, you want to go to the Cloisters? Sure, we can do that. It’s a nice walk from my place, if you don’t mind walking up hill.”

Hiro nodded. “We will do that. I will, as you say, make a list. I have never been in New York before a month ago. I want to see everything.”

Daniel grinned. “Sure, we can play tourist. I’ll take you on the subway. Maybe to a Mets game with Trace.”

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, BDSM Vampires, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, Elemental Project, Forged in Fire, forthcoming works, happy-happy- joy- joy, Heir to the Firstborn, presales, promotions, publishing, Release date, Self-publishing, upcoming books, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Works in Progress, Week 5: Blood Bound and Bones of Earth

Blood Bound
Flesh and Blood, Book 1

25254 / 95000 (26.58%)

***

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

14790 / 95000 (15.57%)

Slow work week this week. Again. I’m going to get into the swing of things soon, I swear! But not this week, I don’t think. Final edits are back on Forged in Fire, so I’ll be getting that ready to upload for presales. And I’m also trying to convince my body that it hasn’t caught a cold…

Part of my slow week was my non-writing life. Scholastic Book Fair volunteer on Thursday, personal eek on Friday, Keiser Supercon on Saturday and a 5K Sunday morning. I was hitting my wordcounts until Thursday!

Keiser Supercon was an awesome little convention, and I enjoyed myself greatly! For a first year convention, they really outdid themselves — one of their media guests was George Lowe, the voice of Space Ghost from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. And, in an very unusual turn of events, I was the “name” fiction writer. I’m not used to being one of the headliners on the guest list.

One of the other comic guests was someone VERY impressive — Athena Finger, granddaughter of Bill Finger, co-creator of Batman. She was the one who finally beat DC and forced them to recognize her grandfather’s work, after he was shafted by Bob Kane. She did a panel on the history of Batman in the media, which I have to say made the convention for both my husband and my son!

It was a good convention, and I hope we have a second one next year!

On to an excerpt. They’re all from Blood Bound, because anything I post from Bones of Earth is going to have spoilers in it. So those will have to wait until after Forged in Fire comes out.

***

“Daniel, you told me that your college major required a language,” Hiro said as he took his seat and picked up his mug. “You didn’t tell me what your major was.”

“Political Science,” Daniel answered. “With an emphasis on human-vampire relations.”

Hiro stared at him for a moment, then started laughing. “And you are not a bond why?”

Daniel shook his head. “I didn’t finish college. And I told you I didn’t have the money for the prep school. I have no degree, no certificate, and no family connections, which means that I don’t qualify for the lottery.”

Hiro shook his head. “That is not the only way to become a bond.”

“It’s not?” Daniel asked.

“No. It is the most common, but it is not the only way.” Hiro took another sip from his mug. “A vampire can choose their own bond, independent of the lottery. It is then their responsibility to provide their bond with anything that they lack.”

“I didn’t know that,” Daniel murmured. A sudden suspicion dawned, and he looked across the table. “Hiro—?”

Hiro smiled. “Eventually. It would please me a great deal,” he answered. “But I will not press you. Not so soon. You must be comfortable with me, with us. Just know that I am interested.” His smile broadened.
“Very interested.”

Daniel felt his face grow warmer. “I… I really don’t understand why.”

“Because you are not seeing yourself the way I see you,” Hiro answered. He picked up his mug and drained it, then leaned back in his chair. His smile slowly transformed into a leer. “Finish your tea, Daniel.”

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, appearances, BDSM Vampires, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Blood Bound, Bones of Earth, conventions, edits, Forged in Fire, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Keiser SuperCon, Necronomicon, public displays of geekery, run-writer-run!, slow-writer-is-slow., upcoming books, upcoming work, why-the-writing-is-slow, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments