Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, Week Five

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

Five weeks in, just about a quarter of a book done. I’m pretty pleased with how things are going. This week was a better word week, even though during a routine repair, our local power company managed to fix the junction box that supplies our house so well that we lost power for seven hours instead of the two to four hours that we were told to expect.

Skilled technicians, my arse.

That being said, I made up for it the next day, and I’m now ahead of where I should be… just in time for Spring Break. Tune in next week to see if I make my words!

Let’s have an excerpt. It’s getting harder to find excerpts for this book that won’t be spoilers for book one. I think this one will work, and I like indignant!Mystere.


Margaret fell in next to Douglas and followed Mystere up the stone steps and into the church. There was a definite sense of the familiar; Margaret had been to Chartres with her father, and they’d spent weeks here studying the legends of the Virgin’s chemise, a relic that was supposedly given to Charlemagne by the Empress Irene, and then given to the church by Charlemagne. That part of the story was a complete fabrication, her father had told her — the relic had actually been given to the church by Charles’ grandson, long after Charlemagne’s death. Privately, he’d told Margaret that he thought half the allure of that particular relic was the titillation factor — the story told that it had been the Virgin’s undergarment, and therefore had been in contact with her bare skin. Regardless, the belief in it had turned Chartres into a major pilgrimage site. She paused just inside, letting her eyes adjust to the dim light of the candles. She heard Mystere and Douglas coming toward her, and out of habit, she turned to the right toward the southern aisle.

“Margaret, where are you going?” Mystere asked. She turned back.

“Were we not going toward the altar?” she asked.

Mystere looked puzzled. “We are, but why are you going that way?”

Margaret blinked. “Because I was taught not to walk on the labyrinth,” she answered. “You weren’t?”

For the first time in either of her memories, Mystere looked blank. “I’m not certain what you mean, darling.”

She walked back to the men, and called a globe of light to her hand, setting it afloat over their heads. Then she pointed to the pattern on the floor. “The labyrinth. Yael, have you never walked the labyrinth?”

Mystere walked forward, up to the edge of the scalloping that encircled the massive pattern laid into the floor. “I never have. I don’t remember even seeing it the last time I was here. But I didn’t come in the usual way, so I might not have.” He knelt, touched the stones. “This is something like the devil’s thumb in Aachen, isn’t it?”

“I’m not sure,” Margaret answered, walking over to stand with him. “Pilgrims walk the pattern, and use it for prayer and meditation. I’m told it’s a substitute for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but Father said there was another reason behind it. That it mimics the mythic path to the underworld. Spiritual rebirth, he called it.”

Mystere looked up. “Pagan nonsense? In Chartres?”

Margaret laughed. “How many church rituals now were pagan nonsense when we were first on this earth, Turp?” she countered. He smiled and stood up, brushing his hands on his coat.

“Douglas, what do you think?” he asked, turning. He stopped and frowned. “Doogie?”

Margaret turned and looked, realizing for the first time that Douglas had vanished. “Douglas?”

“Up here,” Douglas called from somewhere near the front of the cathedral. “Come and see.”

Margaret looked at Mystere, who shrugged. Then he looked down. “Don’t walk on it?”

“Father said walk around it unless you were walking with a purpose.”

“Then we’ll walk around.” He took Margaret’s arm, and they went down the northern aisle toward the apse. Ahead, Margaret could see another globe of light, and Douglas. He was looking up at one of the stained glass windows. She frowned, then realized what he was looking at.

“You found the Charlemagne window!”

“The what?” Mystere gasped. Margaret just looked at him.

“You’ve been here, you said!”

“Yes, but—” He shook his head. “Never mind. It’s complicated. What is this window?”

“It’s beautiful,” Margaret answered. “And it tells the stories…” she stopped. Stopped talking, and stopped walking. Mystere stopped and turned to face her. “This is going to be very odd,” she said softly. “The last time I looked at this was before I knew.”

“Now you can show me,” Mystere said, his voice gentle. “Am I in the window, too?”

Margaret took his arm and started walking again, thinking. “I…no, I don’t believe so. No.”

Mystere sniffed. “I’m insulted. I was by his side for most of his life, you’d think I’d rate a few bits of colored glass.”

Margaret giggled. “You’d have to complain to the furriers, then. But they’re all six hundred years dead now, so it really won’t matter to them.”


Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, Week 4

Bit of an upside down week. I’m a bit methody — I like things to happen when they’re supposed to happen, and I don’t like unexpected schedule changes. This week we had both. I still got my words in, though.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

Here’s this week’s excerpt. Jump ahead to 1898 for a reunion between our “modern” heroes. Yes, it’s short.  It’s later than I like, and I’ve another upside down week this week (including scheduled maintenance on the local power lines that mean we’ll be without power for at least four hours on Tuesday morning.)


Douglas was quiet as they got off the train. He held on to Margaret’s hand, and even smiled at her. But there was something brittle around the edges of that smile, something ominous about the silence.

“Doogie, I wish you’d tell me what was wrong,” Margaret murmured, her voice pitched for his ears along. “Have I done something?”

Douglas shook his head. Then he nodded his head. “There he is,” he said. Margaret craned her neck, but couldn’t see over the crowd. Douglas took her arm and steered her in the right direction. Then the crowd parted, and she saw Mystere. He was standing near the wall, his hands in the pockets of his ridiculous long coat, looking as dark and as dangerous as ever. And absolutely wonderful.

“Yael,” Douglas called. Mystere saw them and smiled, coming to meet them.

“Oh, I’ve missed you,” he said. He embraced Margaret, kissed her on the cheek, then turned to Douglas, who offered his hand. Mystere blinked, looked down at the hand, then up at Douglas. “Have I done something wrong, that I don’t get a warmer welcome?”

“We’re in public,” Douglas murmured.

“We’re in France,” Mystere answered. “It’s not illegal here. And I frankly don’t care if it is. I’ve been alone for weeks now, for the first time in ten years, and I’ve missed you, you great bloody giant.”

For the first time since Margaret woke on the train, she saw Douglas smile. He passed the carpetbag to Margaret, then enveloped Mystere in a tight embrace.

Posted by EASchechter in a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, forthcoming works, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, week 3

So, my muse is a toddler. I can say this with good authority, being that I had one of those.

Me: “Okay, it’s time to write!”

Muse: “Yay! Vampires!”

Me: “What? No. No vampires. Not yet.”

Muse: “No vampires?”

Me: “No. Roland and Turpin. You like them, right?”

Muse: “Want vampires!”

Me: “Vampires later. Roland now.”

Muse: “Donwanna…”

In other words? This week has been a bit of a slogfest. I’m a little behind where I should be, but not too terribly much.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

And, I happily have enough written that I can give an excerpt!


Turpin looked up from the book he was reading — he’d dragged a chair out of his tent to sit in a honeysuckle-scented breeze. June in Pavia was really quite pleasant. Not too warm. Not too cold. The spring rains were over, and the hills and forests were lush and green, alive with birds and flowers. Somewhere off in the distance, he could hear swordplay and the laughter of young men. Yes, it was quite nice.

It would be even better if they weren’t encamped outside the walls, with the city under siege. He closed the book and sighed, rubbing his forehead. Somewhere in that city was Desiderius, the father of Charles’ former wife. The man had never struck Turpin as being an idiot, but he had to have known that Charles, as devout as he was, would raise his armies in answer to a threat to the Pope. Which brought them to Pavia. They’d been chasing Desiderius across Italy, and now there was a chance of ending this. If they managed to last longer than the town, that was.


Turpin turned in his chair and smiled as the dark-haired young man came toward him. “No swordplay for you, my student?”

“Bored with it,” Roland answered as he came to sit on the ground at Turpin’s feet. He leaned his shoulder against Turpin’s knee and looked up. “I finished the reading you gave me. Read it twice. I don’t really understand it, though. Do you have another treatise I can read that might explain it?”

“Did you discuss it with Olivier as I instructed?” Turpin asked. Roland didn’t answer. Instead, he tipped his head against Turpin’s thigh.

“I didn’t, Master,” he admitted. But there was something more.

Roland? Is there a problem?” Turpin asked silently.

I don’t know. I know you told me to talk to Olivier, that he could share his insight. And I tried. I did. I think he’s avoiding me. And when he can’t avoid me, he won’t answer my questions,” Roland answered. “He’s very polite, but asking him anything about our studies is like asking a wall.” He paused, then sighed. “It feels like— like the end of some of the relationships I’ve had. Someone who wants me gone, or wants to be gone, but doesn’t know how to tell me.

“It’s not his to say,” Turpin said aloud. “And I’ll tell him that myself. When did this start?”

Roland swallowed and looked up. “It started before we left Francia.”

“And you didn’t say anything?”

“I thought it was something I’d done. That I could fix it.”

Turpin nodded. “You were going to say something else. You compared it to the end of a relationship, but that’s not what you were going to say.

The way that Olivier has started treating me feels the same as the way that Ganelon has acted towards me my entire life.” Roland’s mental voice was small, and pain-filled. “I don’t understand why.”

“Nor do I. But I’ll find out,” Turpin said. He frowned, thinking. Olivier had been more quiet than usual since the Frankish army had answered the Pope’s call. He’d been spending less time in Turpin’s tent, discussing his lessons and reading the books that he needed to advance his studies as a Warden. And his presence as Turpin’s aide had become a much more infrequent thing. Turpin had dismissed it at the time — they were further from home than his students had ever been, and he’d assumed that Olivier was missing his wife and his sons. But now he wondered if that was all. “I’ll talk to him,” he said. He reached out and rested his hand on Roland’s head, then gently stroked his hair. Roland shivered, a wave of pleasure echoing down the mental link that they had shared since Roland had become Turpin’s student. It had been two years since Turpin had claimed Roland as an apprentice Warden. It had been slightly over a year and a half since Roland had gently, patiently, but very determinedly gotten his way, and had become Turpin’s lover. That, to Turpin’s mind, was far more dazzling than any spell he’d ever known.

“I haven’t been practicing, either,” Roland said, his voice low. “Not much. I haven’t had someone to practice with. So I wanted to work on that cloak spell that you taught me.”

“You mastered that spell the first time I showed it to you,” Turpin replied, puzzled. “I would say that you mastered it faster than any apprentice Warden ever has.”

“But I’m not sure if I can maintain it while distracted.” Roland looked up at him and grinned. “Want to find out?”


I love these two. Writing them is just plain fun.

When I can get a cranky toddler to give me the words, that is.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, excerpt, forthcoming works, progress, slow-writer-is-slow, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, week 2.

Busy, busy, busy! There’s been a lot of running, a lot of research, and not nearly enough writing this week. But I had a fantastic time at Coastal Magic this past weekend. If you need an excuse to come to Florida in February, this would be it.

Now, as to writing, I started the book on the 15th, as planned, and immediately bogged down. I finally figured out that I had started in the wrong place — I had initially started the book with a scene in 1898. Nope, Roland was not having that. So I went back and started over (yes, I did save what I’d already done), and I’m now in the middle of chapter 2. I’m thinking this book will follow the same pattern as Hidden Things — two or three chapters set in the past, then the “present” and the main storyline. So I’ll have one more chapter in 774, then go back to 1898 and get that ball rolling.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

By the way, I learned my lesson. If you want to know anything about anything? Ask a homeschooler! I posted on my Twitter about researching the location of the entrance to the Louvre museum in 1898. My Twitter posts crossposts to my personal Facebook. Where, after hours of my beating my head against a wall,  a friend of mine chimed in with “Oh, the original entrance was here. But then this happened, and they moved the entrance over there. And after that, they moved the entrance over to that spot there.”

Funny part? The entrance I finally decided on using, because I was tired of researching and not writing, and it was the closest door to where I wanted to be? Was the actual entrance after the wing that closed the palace courtyard was burned down during the French Revolution.

So, tomorrow, I get my nose to the grindstone and really get this book into gear!

After coffee.


Posted by EASchechter in Best laid plans, Best planned lays, forthcoming works, Hidden Things, Homeschool, progress, slow-writer-is-slow., Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, why-the-writing-is-slow, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword. Week 1

Back to work for me! I started in on The Lady and the Sword, which is the working title of book two of The Swords of Charlemagne.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

I started by rereading Hidden Things (aka book one). I didn’t realize that I’d missed Roland until I started rereading. Yes, I have a new favorite character. Made some notes of things that need to be addressed when I get edits back, updated the series bible (yes, I have one now!), and got started.

Sort of.

It’s starting slowly. Partly because I started in the wrong place, and partly because this week has been a little crazy, and the writing time hasn’t been there. Research takes up way too much time, then little disasters happen, and when I get to sit down, I don’t have as much time as I want to figure things out. But, since I wasn’t planning on actually starting this book for another two weeks, I’m okay with starting slow.

There’s not enough written yet for an excerpt. Hopefully, there will be one for you next week. But maybe not — next weekend I’ll be attending Coastal Magic, in Daytona Beach. So we’ll see if I get to write a post next weekend.

If I don’t write one Sunday, I’ll fill in on Monday morning.



Posted by EASchechter in appearances, Hidden Things, progress, research is fun, slow-writer-is-slow, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

New today! Well… sort of.

New release today! From Forbidden Fiction, my novella Chains of Light!


When Delan stumbled into the Temple, he wasn’t expecting to be welcomed as a Temple servant. He wasn’t expecting his only duty to be to serve Lyander, cloistered son of the High Priestess. He wasn’t expecting to fall in love.

Now, some of you might be thinking “Hey, this sounds familiar.”  You’re right. This is a reprint of my novella From Dusk ’til Dawn (published in 2013.) Which does NOT mean you should not buy this one. First, you can’t get From Dusk ’til Dawn anymore because that publisher went out of business.  Second, this version has been newly edited, which means I had to chance to clean up some timing errors that made me cringe every time I read the previously published version. Third, we have a wonderful new cover. I’m in love with the new cover art — at the top is Lyander, and that is exactly how I pictured him when I first wrote the story way back.

New book! Go enjoy!


Posted by EASchechter in Boosting the signal, Chains of Light, Forbidden Fiction, From Dusk 'til Dawn, happy-happy- joy- joy, new books, Release date, 0 comments

Complete: The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir

That’s a draft. The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir is done. I’m going to let it sit for a bit before I reread it and send it out to the beta-readers. But it’s done.

Total wordcount: 88,910

Total days: 112 days

Average words per day: 793.8

The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir
Sequel to Princes of Air (2011)

So, what now? Now, I’m taking a few days off. I’m cleaning my house this week, and prepping. On February 15th, I’ll be starting in on The Lady and the Sword, book 2 of The Swords of Charlemagne.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Princes of Air, round-up, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, The White Raven, thirty, to-dos, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The White Raven, week fifteen

The end is near!

No, really. I’m working on the last chapter of The White Raven, book one (title to be figured out at some point). Once that’s done, I have a few scenes to polish, then this thing is off to the beta readers.

The White Raven, Book One
Week Fifteen Total Wordcount

I’m hoping to have this done by this time next week. Fingers crossed!

What then? Then, I’m going to take a week or so to clean my house.  I’m going to sit and reread Hidden Things and go over the series bible for Swords of Charlemagne. Then… probably on or about February 15th, I’ll be starting the something approaching two year adventure that will be writing the three remaining books in a four book series!

Posted by EASchechter in Princes of Air, Swords of Charlemagne, The White Raven, the-end-is-near, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The White Raven, week Fourteen

Week Fourteen. The week in which a decision was made.

The White Raven will be two books. I’m committing trilogy again, because there’s just too much book here. When all is said and done on book one, the wordcount is going to be very close to my original 100K estimate. So what we have here is The White Raven, book one. Book two will come after I finish the Swords of Charlemagne books.

Now I need to come up with two titles.

The White Raven, Book One
Week Fourteen Total Wordcount

In other news, chapter 3 of Fools Rush in is live on the Forbidden Fiction website. (log in required.)

And we’ll finish this up with an excerpt. It’s been a while since I gave you anything, so here’s Lorcan in the arena. He and his companions are supposed to recreate the battle of Horatio at the Bridge — an impossible task, set up by someone who wants Lorcan dead.


“I’m expecting a wedge,” he said as they walked back toward the bridge. “I’ve put you in positions so that you can take the sides of the wedge. Stop them however you can. The ones that get past you I’ll deal with.”
Nona nodded. “And we build a barricade with the bodies, hm? Good plan.”

Lorcan swallowed. He didn’t want to have to kill anyone today, but the chances of avoiding that were slim. “Take your places and get your helmets on. And may all of our gods smile on us.” He went back to the bridge, watched as Nona and Ennius took their places. Linus waited for Lorcan to nod, then turned and shouted.

Across the arena, the gates opened. Men started to file out, forming ranks, and Lorcan started counting.

“I thought you said thirty!” he called. “A… what did you call it?”

“A triarius,” Nona called back. “And yeah, thirty.”

“That’s more than thirty,” Lorcan muttered. He swore softly, seeing Linus striding across the sand toward the assembled forces. A big man walked to meet him — Gaius. Linus gestured broadly, clearly incensed. Gaius turned, frowned, then stalked back toward his men. His voice was loud, and it carried across the sands:

“…told you only the triarius! Who are these men? And what do you mean, making me look like a fool? And in front of my father and all of Rome? Get the rest of these men off the sands now!”

Nona trotted over to Lorcan. “Someone made a big mistake?”

“Sounds like it,” Lorcan agreed. “I wonder who?”

“Whoever is acting as Gaius’ second, I imagine,” Nona said.

“At least we know Gaius is going to play fair today,” Lorcan said. “Go on back to your place.”

Nona trotted back into position, and Lorcan licked his lips. The triarius had formed ranks — three rows of ten across — and he finally had a good look at them. Their armor wasn’t anything like what he was expecting. Nothing at all like what he’d seen in the arena, nor what he’d seen on soldiers in the city. This armor was very ornate, very fanciful — breastplates ornamented with colored enamel and helmets with ridiculous metal crests. They carried shields that were slightly rounded squares, and to Lorcan’s surprise, they wore no leg protection at all.

“Nona, what are they wearing?” he called. “That’s the most ridiculous armor I’ve ever seen!”

“Oh, they’re supposed to be Etruscans,” Nona called back. “That’s the army that was attacking Horatius.”

“Etruscans dressed like whores going to war?” Lorcan called back, incredulous. He’d forgotten that there were more than just his men that could hear him, and that his voice would carry to the first rows of spectators, who roared with laughter. The laughter spread like waves through the crowd, as his words were repeated from seat to seat.

“Oh, they’ll be saying that for weeks, “ Ennius said. “That’s a good one.”

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, excerpt, forthcoming works, Princes of Air, progress, The White Raven, the-end-is-near, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The White Raven, week 13

Another week, more fight scenes. I’m starting to wonder why I set a book in Imperial Rome…

It’s been a long weekend. I spent the weekend at the Central Florida Highland Games, where I foolishly thought I’d be able to get some writing done.

I can hear you laughing, you know.

Luckily for me, I’d gotten enough done earlier in the week that not making my word count three days in a row didn’t hurt me at all. I’m still ahead of where I should be in total words, although I’m starting to wonder if I can bring this book in for a landing in 100K words. I’m at 68K, and I still haven’t gotten Lorcan out of Rome.

Umm… I wasn’t planning on having this be another trilogy, I swear.

The White Raven
Week Thirteen Total Wordcount

In other news, I’ve got a release date for the novella that was once called From Dusk ’til Dawn. The new title is Chains of Light, and it will be released by Forbidden Fiction on February 13th. I even have a pretty new cover!

I like this cover even more than the original!

Also, chapter 2 of Fools Rush In is now live on the Forbidden Fiction website. (log in required, but free!) Go read!

Posted by EASchechter in Chains of Light, cover art, Forbidden Fiction, forthcoming works, From Dusk 'til Dawn, Good news, new books, Princes of Air, promotions, Release date, slow-writer-is-slow., The White Raven, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments