Odds and ends

No round up on words today. If you missed it, I finished Ashes and Light two days ago. The first draft is off to my editor, and we’ll see how this goes.

I haven’t done much on Written in Water for the past two days, simply because my “I finished the book” house cleaning is coinciding with my “Thanksgiving!” house cleaning and food prep. Yesterday was shopping, and today I started cooking. So for most of today, my house smelled like mulled cranberry sauce.

This does not suck.

More prep and cleaning tomorrow through Wednesday, with some writing in between, I think. I’m coming up to my last big black moment in book one. Then comes the denouement, and  making sure I know where I’m going for book two. Over on Patreon, the story is just about at the halfway point, which means that the scenes I’m writing now won’t show up there until sometime in January 2019.  There’s still time to catch up, and be guaranteed a copy of at least the ebook once it’s available.



Posted by EASchechter in 2018 plans, Adavar, Ashes and Light, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Heir to the Firstborn, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, Written in Water, 0 comments

Draft Completed: Ashes and Light.

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

88325 / 85000 (103.91%)

Began: August 12th, 2018

Completed: November 16th, 2018

Total Days: 96 days

Total Words: 88,325 words

Average Words per Day: 920 words

Now to let this one sit for a few days. Then I’ll read through all three books and make sure the non-linear timelines agree with each other.  I think they do, but I want a fresh reread to be certain.

And I’m now officially off (except for fun writing for Patreon) until January.

Stay tuned for Cookiepocalypse 2018!



Posted by EASchechter in 2018 plans, accountability, Ashes and Light, forthcoming works, happy-happy- joy- joy, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, the-end-is-near, thirty, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work, yippee, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Ashes and Light, week twelve

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

80220 / 85000 (94.38%)


Just about a month ago, I attempted to walk around a box and missed, breaking the fourth toe on my left foot. This rather painful annoyance meant that I was banned from going to the gym. I wasn’t allowed to do much walking, and I was supposed to stay put and keep my foot elevated.


And, to my surprise, it also meant that I’d be finishing writing book a solid month ahead of schedule.


Ashes and Light looks to be on track to be called a draft sometime this week.  There’s about a chapter and a half to go, and two sex scenes to polish.


I think this might be the fastest that I have ever finished writing a manuscript. It will be probably a few days under thirteen weeks.


Now, I’m still working on Written in Water. That may go to the end of December. Or it may not — there are perhaps three or four chapters left before I call that one a draft, and start in on Forged in Fire. But I am not scheduled to start Forged in Fire or Table of Stone (the last Swords of Charlemagne book) until January, after school starts up again.


So breaking my toe also means that Cookiepocalypse this year is going to be amazing!
Posted by EASchechter in 2018 plans, accountability, Adavar, Ashes and Light, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Patreon, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, the-end-is-near, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Ashes and Light, week 11

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

72925 / 85000 (85.79%)
November has only just started and I can see the end of the book from here. Both books, actually. Ashes and Light and Written in Water will both be wrapping up sometime this month (although Patrons won’t see the end of Written in Water until sometime in January.)


I have no idea when Ashes and Light will be coming out, but I can say that Written in Water will be out sometime in the spring. I need to polish it and add in the sex scenes that can’t run on Patreon. I’m starting to look at avenues for distribution for the Heir to the Firstborn series, and I’ll keep Patrons and fans alike up to date on that.


If you’re interested in what I’m doing over on Patreon, now’s a good time to jump in — it’s the beginning of the month, so if you pledge today (a dollar a month is all it takes!) then you have an entire month to catch up on Written in Water before you’ll get charged.  I have to say it’s been an interesting experiment to write this book in real time, and get it out to the readers while it’s in process. It’s a fanfiction model, really. And it works.


No excerpts today. Everything I could post would be too spoilery.


And in other news, I’m still broken. Which is messing with me — I can’t go back to the gym until after my next set of xrays.  I’m just hoping that it stops being an issue before Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have too much cooking too do!
Posted by EASchechter in Adavar, Ashes and Light, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Patreon, Swords of Charlemagne, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Ashes and Light, week ten

Yes, I know there was no week nine. We had just gotten back from NecronomiCon, and I was tired. Also sore — I managed to break my toe on Wednesday the 17th… two days before we left for Tampa!

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

66361 / 85000 (78.07%)

The convention was amazingly fun, and I had an awesome time. Saw some friends, met a bunch of new people, got to sit with Mickey Zucker Reichert for our mutual signing, and succeeded in not fangirling at her.

And, amazingly enough, some writing happened last weekend. I wrote nearly 2K words longhand for Written in Water. And I find myself in the very odd position of being able to see from my chair the ends of two simultaneously written books. Patrons will see the end of the first part of Heir to the Firstborn in about three months, more or less — chapter 12 went live this past Friday, and I’m working on 19 now with a projected end by chapter 25 or so.

Then what? Well, then I put in the sex scenes that at the moment fade to black, polish it up, and publish the book. Patrons who get the ebooks or print books will see that first book probably at around the same time that the last chapter goes live in the Patreon.

I can also see the end of Ashes and Light from here. I’ve discovered that I have a favorite character who isn’t one of my main characters. I mean, really, I love Roland and Olivier and Turpin in the 800s, and Douglas and Margaret and Mystere in the 1890s. But I’ve had one character step forward and just win me over. He’s a Frank in Charles’ court, and his name is Engelier.  His is one of the names that came straight from The Song of Roland — he’s one of the Twelve Peers. We first hear his name in Hidden Things, but we don’t meet him until The Lady and The Sword.

He’s a bit of a character. He has been a retainer in Charles’ court for a while, so he has, in his own words, seen some things. (In a more modern setting, he’d been the stoner in the corner saying “I’ve seen some shit, my dude. You would not believe the shit I’ve seen.”)  He’s a bit of a smartass, too.

“Roland?” Olivier touched his arm. “Now what?”

“Now?” Roland leaned down and kissed Olivier. “Now that.” He turned, and saw Engelier standing with Nasir. The other Frank held his hands up.

“You don’t have to kiss me. I’m fine,” he said. Roland burst out laughing.

When I’m writing Engelier, I’m never quite sure what’s going to come out of my fingers.

So, what now?

Writing all the words. Same as always.

Posted by EASchechter in a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Adavar, Ashes and Light, conventions, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Hidden Things, Necronomicon, public displays of geekery, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, the-end-is-near, upcoming work, Waiting-for-the-other-shoe, WIP, Written in Water, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Ashes and Light, week eight

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

49718 / 85000 (58.49%)

Work is still humming along nicely on Ashes and Light.  So nicely, in fact, that part of me is wondering if the book is coming together too quickly.  I’m a week and a half ahead of where I expected to be at this point (my projected schedule for the book put me at about sixteen weeks or so for an 85000 word book.)

Am I rushing?

The answer, of course, is that I don’t know. Once all the words are on the pages, then I’ll go over the story again and see if I’m missing anything. I still have to make up my mind on rechaptering. I think I will be making that change, just because of how the story is working.

The way things are running, I’ll clearly have time to do that once I call it a book — I’m not due to deliver this until the end of December.

In other writing news, the first book in Heir to the Firstborn is also coming along very nicely. I’ve settled on titles for the individual books, and mocked up some covers that are really growing on me! Book one is Written in Water, and it’s looking like it will also be done by the end of December. Patreon posts are scheduled out until November at this point, and I’m about to put another chapter in the can sometime this week.

In other other news, my short story The Rape of Persephone comes off of KDP Select this week, and I’m going wide with it. What does that mean? It means that the story will be available for sale at all ebook retailers, not just Amazon. AND, it means that I’ll be putting it out to libraries as well, via Overdrive and Bibliotecha. I push the button to publish wide on Friday.

Instead of an excerpt this week, have some cover art.

That picture on the cover of Written in Water? I took that, at dawn as we were docking at Castaway Cay last year.
Right before I did this:

(That’s the medal for the Castaway Cay 5K.)

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, Ashes and Light, cover art, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, publishing, Swords of Charlemagne, The Rape of Persephone, upcoming books, WIP, wordcount, writing, Written in Water, 0 comments

Mirror: Titles

It’s becoming more clear to me that Heir to the Firstborn is, in fact, the name of the series and not the name of the first book. Which means that in starting to look at covers, I’m also starting to think about titles.

I suppose it makes sense to riff on elements, since this started as the Elemental project. And I do already know the title of the first book. That was the easy one.

So, in no particular order, here are the tentative titles:

  • Written in Water (Book 1)
  • Forged in Fire
  • Bones of Earth
  • Wings of Air


Posted by EASchechter in Adavar, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, thinking thinky thoughts, WIP, 0 comments

Mirror: Sex and the Single Merman

Working on chapter 13, and I just wrote the first sex scene in Heir to the Firstborn. Chapter 13 will go up at the end of October.

The sex scene will not appear in chapter 13 at that time.

And, now that I’ve confused you, let me explain. Patreon is cracking down on adult content, and some creators have lost their accounts even if adult content was posted for Patrons only. Since I do not want to lose my Patreon, the sex scene in chapter 13 will be a fade to black, left to my readers most fertile imaginations. All of the sex scenes that run on Patreon will be like this.


When the book comes out, the sex scenes will appear in uncensored form. So when the book comes out, there will be new content (aka, the good bits, to quote William Goldman).

So, there is something to look forward to.

Also, making a mental note that I really do need to write something other than a blog post entitled “Sex and the Single Merman.”

Posted by EASchechter in Adavar, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Elemental Project, Heir to the Firstborn, Mirror, Patreon, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Ashes and Light, week seven

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

43796 / 85000 (51.52%)

Half a book! Woohoo!

Things have been going really well on all fronts. I made my weekly words last night, so there was no writing done today. I made my monthly goals in the FFPRWA Monthly Challenge. It’s been a successful week all around.

In Ashes and Light, we now have a villain. Well, we’ve always had a villain, but now he’s on-screen, as it were. Here’s the grand entrance, with a little explanation. A church grim is a black dog that heralds a death, and it was not invented by JK Rowling.  They’re part of old English folklore.

We’re once again at the place in the story where it’s going to get harder to post excerpts without also posting spoilers.  I think I’ve avoided major ones in this week’s excerpt, though.


They made their way through the dark streets, listening for any sound that might be another church grim, and testing at crossings for the right path. It felt to Douglas as if they’d been walking for hours when Gerald stumbled and nearly fell.


“I’m sorry, Doctor,” Gerald said. He shook his head. “I’m knackered. I can’t remember ever being this tired before.” He reached into his pocket and took out his pocket-watch, tipping it to try and read it by the light from Hauteclere’s emerald. He blinked, raised the watch to his ear, then looked at Douglas. “Doctor? What time did we come up here?”

“Around seven. Why?”

“Because it’s past two.” Gerald listened to the watch once more. “And this is ticking, so it’s not run down.”

“Wind it again,” Douglas said, looking around. “I’m a fool, Gerald. You warned me about the confusions spells, and I should have taken precautions. We’ve been blundering around like drunkards for hours.” He looked at the sword. “And you couldn’t have done something about that?” he asked, and the emerald dimmed in response.

“Doctor?” Gerald said slowly. “Are you talking to your sword?”

“And I’ve apparently embarrassed it.” Douglas looked around. “I’ve no idea if we’re close to Mrs. Keith or not. And I don’t want to shout. In this place, it would sound like a riot.” He sighed and looked at Hauteclere again. “Let’s try this again, shall we? And this time, let’s do something about the spells, hm?”

The emerald flickered, flared alarmingly bright, then went dark. Magic flared all around them, leaving Douglas dazzled for a moment. A moment too long.


Gerald’s voice trailed off as growling came from all around them. Douglas swore softly and threw shields up around himself and Gerald, then set a mage-light floating overhead. It revealed what Hauteclere had tried to warn him of — they were surrounded by church grims. There were five of them, and as Douglas watched, a sixth one appeared out of nowhere.

“Well, now,” a familiar voice crooned. “Visitors. How nice.”


I still haven’t decided on the final order of the chapters. I have time — the book is only half done!

In Heir to the Firstborn, the words didn’t come quite as fast as last week. Instead of 8K words, I wrote just over 4K. I’m into chapter 13 now, and Owyn’s backstory. Aven and Aria have been sheltered. Owyn has not.  This starts in the middle of one of his lines.


“…So… that’s me. Orphan, thief, whore, slave.”

“Smith. Smoke Dancer,” Aven said.

“Companion,” Aria added, her voice firm. “In case you were thinking I’d change my mind about that last, once I knew.”

“You’re serious?” Owyn asked. “You really mean that? You still want me? After everything? I mean, I’m a marked criminal, and a slave. Mem, he treats me like his son, but I’m not, and I know it. I’m his slave.”

Aven slid his arm around Owyn and pulled him tight to his side. “Owyn, do you know what the Water tribe says about success and failure?”

Owyn’s brow furrowed. “No, I don’t think I’ve seen that in any of my books.”

“My mother says that the Mother has a ledger where she makes note of all of the deeds of all of her children. The successes, the times we come out ahead, she writes in ink.”

Owyn nodded. “And the failures?”

“She writes in water.”

Aria blinked. Then she smiled. “I like that.”

“I don’t understand,” Owyn protested. “If you write them in water, then when the paper dries, the marks… oh.” He stopped. “Oh. Really?”

“Really.” Aven turned, and found himself nose to nose with Owyn once more. “It’s written in water, Owyn.”

Owyn smiled slightly. “And all over the skin of my back.”

“You’re being obtuse,” Aven protested. “Your past is written in water. It happened, we know. It was written in the Mother’s ledger. But knowing it doesn’t mean we want you any less.”


The theme of failures being written in water will be coming up again in Heir to the Firstborn, and it’s all because of Van Canto. I own this album, but I hadn’t listened to this one song until it came up on Spotify. And it immediately became Aven’s song.

Tomorrow is the First of Halloween. A new month, with new goals.  I’ll be a guest at Necronomicon the weekend of October 19-21st, which means there will be very little writing done that weekend. If you’re in the area, I’ll be on several panels that weekend, and will be signing books on Saturday morning at 11AM. Come see me!

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, appearances, Ashes and Light, conventions, Elemental Project, excerpt, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Necronomicon, Swords of Charlemagne, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Ashes and Light, week six

Ashes and Light
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 3

38041 / 85000 (44.75%)
Nothing like remembering that you forgot the weekly blog update just as you’re about to fall asleep.
So here we are, starting week seven. I’m well ahead of where I should be, which is good. It’s good especially since I think I have to shuffle the chapters I’ve already written. I started Ashes and Light with Douglas and Margaret, in the Victorian era. Looking back at what I’ve written already, though, I think I really need to start in 778 AD, with Roland and Turpin and Olivier, which means taking chapters six through ten and making them one through five. Since I’m writing in Scrivener, that sort of change is trivial — one of the infinity plus one reasons I love Scrivener.
Decisions, decisions. I’ve got time to decide, though. I’m only about halfway done.
The excerpt this week from Ashes and Light:
“Olivier?” he called as he started putting on his clothes.
“Yes, Master?” Olivier called back.
“While I’m gone, keep an eye on Roland, will you?” he asked. “I know he’s recovered very well, but I still worry—”
The curtain opened. Turpin turned to see Roland standing there, looking furious.
“I don’t need looking after,” he said, his voice very quiet.
Turpin sighed. “I’m sorry, my love. I didn’t mean for you to hear that—”
“I don’t need Olivier to be a nursemaid,” Roland snapped. “And I really don’t like the idea that you were going to ask him to do it behind my back. I thought we were past hiding things, Turp. Am I a child now, that needs a nursemaid?”
Turpin was silent, pulling his tunic on over his head. He picked up his belt and scabbard, and fastened them around his waist. “You’re not a child. You are my beloved Roland. Almost losing you frightened me, more than I can put into words. I don’t think there are words for it, not in any language I know.” He smoothed the front of his tunic and turned to Roland. “It hasn’t been that long.”
Roland closed his eyes. His jaw was clenched, and Turpin could almost hear him counting, trying to control his temper. Finally, he took a deep breath. “Ever since the fever broke, ever since it was clear that I was going to live, people have been waiting to see how it broke me. It’s smothering. I am fine. I’m healthy, or I wouldn’t be on campaign. Correct?”
Turpin nodded slowly. “That is correct. Charles would never have allowed you to ride out with us if he hadn’t thought you hale.”
“Then stop treating me like an invalid!” Roland’s raised voice was like the crack of a whip. It left silence behind. Silence broken by the sound of someone outside the tent calling Turpin’s name. Turpin closed his eyes and sighed.
“I apologize,” he said softly. “I wish we had more time to discuss this. I don’t see you as less because you were so sick. I was frightened, Roland. Badly frightened.” He looked up at Roland. “I love you.”
Roland looked down. He nodded. “I’m just tired of being treated like glass.”
Turpin sighed. It was the best he’d get, and he knew it. He looked around. “Olivier, where are my packs?”
“Out in the travel cart. Grossaille is harnessed and waiting for you. And so is Nasir.” Olivier made a face. “Waiting for you, I mean. Not harnessed.”
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I had a really good writing week. Like, really. Almost 2400 words in a single sitting good. That was, however, on Heir to the Firstborn. Chapters eight, nine and ten are already written, proofread and scheduled to go up on Patreon on the next three Fridays, and I’m working on chapter eleven. And I’ve introduced one of the two characters that I have been impatiently waiting to get into this story. Owyn has what I think may be one of the more interesting descriptions that I have written for a character.
Aria nodded. “In a moment. Aven, lie down.” She moved in close to him and peered into his face. “You didn’t sleep, did you?”
“Not well,” Aven admitted. “The bed didn’t feel right.”
“How do you usually sleep?” It was Owyn, coming back in with a tray. He set it on the table, and brought two mugs to Aven. “Left is tea, right is broth. My left, I mean.”
“Thank you, Owyn. And how I sleep? Underwater, usually.” Aven sipped the hot broth, sighing as the salty warmth chased itself down his throat. “Oh, that’s good.”
“Can’t do anything about sleeping underwater,” Owyn muttered. “How else?”
“When we were out in the deep, I’d sleep on the canoe—”
Owyn frowned, looking fierce and distant. Aven glanced at Memfis, who smiled.
“What’s your thinking, Fire Mouse?” he called. Owyn nodded slowly.
“Underwater, he’s not going to weigh anything. Can’t do anything about that. It moves, don’t it? The water? On the canoe, it’s still going to move— I’ll be back.” He wheeled and ran out of the room.
“What’s he doing?” Aven asked, sipping the broth, then the tea. He offered the tea to Aria, who took a sip, then made a face.
“He put salt in the tea!”
“Good. He thought of that on his own. That means he’s paying attention. And as to what he’s doing? He’s creating,” Memfis answered. “I told you. He’s brilliant. But he doesn’t think the way most people do. Most people, they think in lines, one thought following another. For Owyn, those lines are broken. Sometimes they overlap, and occasionally his corners have curves.”
The salt in the tea is because Aven, as a merman, is biologically unable to drink fresh water.
The plans for this week? Decide on the order of chapters in Ashes and Light, and make it to the halfway point.  Finish chapter 11 in Heir to the Firstborn and start on chapter 12. And, of course, write all the words!
Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, Ashes and Light, Elemental Project, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Swords of Charlemagne, upcoming books, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments