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Monday, Monday…

And boy, is it being Monday-ish. It’s not even 11:00 here, and I’m already done!

At the moment, I’m working at the dining room table, waiting for the AC Service techs to show up to look over the air-conditioner. No trouble, just annual service. But having someone strange COMING TO OUR HOUSE AND COMING INSIDE THE HOUSE is pegging all the anxiety meters.

Then we have to leave the house, because going out to pick up a certain young man’s new glasses didn’t work on Friday — by the time we left the house, the optician had already closed for the day. And there’s a grocery pickup on the way back. So I have a full day, and I haven’t even figured in the writing yet!

Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4

43247 / 120000 (36.04%)

I might have to do some backwards writing today.  I threw out about four hundred words this weekend, and Wings of Air is better for it. I’m going to go through the last two chapters and see where else I can tighten — we’re meandering way too far off course. There are scenes in there that don’t advance the plot or the character growth, and I need to tighten the timeline.

Writing is rewriting is rewriting is rewriting… and I think I’ll have a better book out of it when I’m done. And it won’t (well, shouldn’t) change anything that’s already live.

In other news, John Zedebee and the Heir to Elfland (final title, darn it) has gone off to the box set publisher. I’m working on the outline for the next one, tentatively titled John Zebedee and the Monstrous Town, but I need the input of someone else who is working in the box set, because I’d like their characters to be part of it.

Not much else is going on here, and focus is at a premium, so I’m wrapping this up. Stay safe, everyone. Stay in if you can. Remember to wash your hands and wear your mask.

I want to see you all on the other side of this.

Posted by EASchechter in 2020 plans, accountability, crap-writing-is-crap, Heir to the Firstborn, I really want some dull, John Zebedee, why-the-writing-is-slow, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

(Insert Witty Title Here)

Maybe I’ll get back to that title. Or maybe not. That’s about the state of my brain this morning.

It’s been a long weekend. Not in a bad way, mind you. In a “it’s a holiday, so people around me are blowing things up.” kind of way.  They’re still blowing thing up — I heard fireworks going off as I wrote this sentence, at 12:41 Eastern on Monday the 6th.

Florida tends to go all in on the fireworks, and for DAYS.

We did what everyone else in their right minds did — stayed in, had our own personal barbecue, and watched Hamilton. 

Yes, there was ugly crying in Act 2. And I had massive amounts of restrain and didn’t sing along with… well… EVERYTHING.

There wasn’t a heck of a lot of writing. I haven’t actually written a word since Thursday. But last week was still a good writing week

Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4

40655 / 120000 (33.88%)

Things are progressing, and I think I might actually get Aria and her Companions out of the city and on their way by the start of the next chapter.

Maybe. I hope.

In other writing news, the deadline for John Zebedee has been pushed back, so I have time to explore the other stories that he’s been whispering in my ear. I’m plotting those out now, and we’ll see where they go. I have on my to-do list to edit the first book this month, and then get into reworking Sea Prince.  Once I’m done with that, I’ll dive back in to writing John and Ethriel.

In other, other writing news, there’s a new online bookstore out there — Eden Books. I spent a good bit of my morning getting set up there.  We’ll see how it works out.

Also, I’m running a Summer Sale from now until the end of July.  Written in Water is marked down to $2.99 on all platforms, and Forged in Fire is $4.50. Running a sale without spending any advertising dollars (because let’s not feed the FB hate machine) is a bit like yelling down a well. The books are on sale, but does anyone know about them?

Well, now you do. And if you don’t already have the first two books? Give them a try! There’s even a shiny new bookstore to check out!

Stay in, y’all. Stay safe. Read more books.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Forged in Fire, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, promotions, Updatey things, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

Time Travel, The Hard Way.

Since we entered quarantine, my son has grown two inches.

Which means, that since we entered quarantine, my son has grown to be taller than his grandmother, who lives barely twenty minutes away, but hasn’t seen him since March because quarantine.

And this reminds me of a Spider Robinson story from the first Callahan book — Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon. The story is The Time Traveller, and is about Tom, a man who is locked in solitary confinement for ten years, and who comes out to a world he doesn’t recognize, and for which he has no context. For example, when he was locked away, Nixon had only recently declared that he was stepping back from politics, and that the media wouldn’t have Nixon to kick around again.

When Tom returns to the world, Nixon is President.

I have a feeling that it’s going to be like that for a lot of us, once we come out of quarantine.

In quarantine, I’m baking a lot. Lemon donuts, this time. With lemon powdered sugar, because why not be extra? I’m exercising a lot more, and you can follow my fitness journey over on my Instagram. I’m cleaning, too. If you’ve been around long enough, you probably know that I usually let the cleaning slide while I’m working on a book, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But, since I’m not leaving the house if I can help it? My house looks like I’m expecting company all the time.

Funny, that.

And I’m writing. Part of my coping mechanism is exercise. The rest is retreating to my own worlds, where things might get dark, but it’ll all come out fine in the end because ROMANCE!

Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4

36556 / 120000 (30.46%)

Note that I bumped my wordcount. If Wings of Air follows the same pattern as the other books, it’ll come in at something over 30K words more than I think. Which means that this one is going to be a monster of a book.

Do I even need to say that there’s not much else happening? At least, not on a personal level.

In RWA news, we’re gearing up for our first ever virtual RWA National convention. The first of the workshops we’ll be offering have been listed, and this is looking like this is going to be an amazing event! It’s open to non-members, too, so even if you’re not an RWA member, check it out!

And that’s really about it in my neck of the woods. Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, baking, deep thoughts, forthcoming works, Healthy writer, happy writer, Heir to the Firstborn, progress, random thoughts, RWA, upcoming work, Updatey things, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Finished things and Things in Progress

John Zebedee and the Heir of Elfland

37123 / 40000 (92.81%)

***
Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4

30376 / 95000 (31.97%)

There’s a little of both today. A finished thing, and some things in progress.

John Zebedee and the Heir of Elfland (formerly Echoes of Light, formerly John Zebedee and the Elf-King’s Son) is DONE.

Sort of.

John and Ethriel have sort of moved into my skull, and there’s more to their story. So there will be a series of John Zebedee novella-length paranormal westerns set in the 1870s. Not sure yet how many novellas there will be — I need to work that out.  That’s one of my things in progress.

While that’s percolating, I’m working on Wings of Air. It’s going to be a long one, I can already tell. I’m nearly a third of the way to my projected wordcount, and the first major plot movement hasn’t happened yet. It’s coming, but so far there’s been a lot of little movement and a lot of character development that I didn’t realize needed to be done first.

Also in the back of my brain is The Sea Prince — something that I started a while back, stopped, started again, and stopped again. I’m going to attempt to restart it. Again. Which might require a scalpel. Or a machete. We’ll see.

There are other things currently wandering around the dark recesses of my creative mind: the series plan for the Flesh and Blood books (which may stay on hold until I sell Blood Bound.) The second White Raven book (also on hold, until I sell the first one.) It’s never really quiet in there. Always someone yelling for me to tell their story.

And in other, writer-but-not-writing-related news, I’ve declared my candidacy for the RWA National Board elections for the upcoming year. Yes, I’m running again. No, I have not lost my mind. Well, not much. I just want to see the work we’ve started continue. The best way to do that is to keep doing that.

Not much else going on in my wide, weird world. My son was fitted for his first pair of glasses today (so he joins the rest of the spectacular family — the only immediate relative he has who doesn’t wear glasses is his six-year-old cousin).  We’re holding on and staying in, and watching Florida go ever more insane — today the Governor redefined how to count occupied ICU beds — instead of all ICU patients, they’re just supposed to count the ones who need intensive care.

Ummm… Doctor Bashir, help me out here?

Nope, doesn’t make sense to Julian either.

Needless to say, we’re staying in.

Here’s hoping the world makes more sense in your neck of the woods. Stay safe, all.

 

 

 

Posted by EASchechter in 2020 plans, accountability, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, progress, Ta-da, thirty, to-dos, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

And That’s a Draft!

Echoes of Light

37123 / 40000 (92.81%)

And that’s the Wandrering Jew in the Wild West (which originally was John Zebedee and the Elf-King’s Son, changed to Echoes of Light, and which may change again, to John Zebedee and the Heir of Elfland). It came in a little under my original goal of 40K, but barring major edits, I think this is where it stops.

For now. John and his Ethriel aren’t done with me yet. There’s more story there.

So… I think I know what’s coming next in Patreon!

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, John Zebedee, Ta-da, the-end-is-near, to-dos, yippee, 0 comments

BangbangbangbangWHOMPWHOMPWHOMP!!!!

Today’s blog post is being brought to you by the roofers working on the house that backs up to mine. We had a pretty intense hailstorm down here a couple of weeks ago, and… well… damage was done. (Thankfully, our roof survived it pretty well. Neighboring houses? Not so much.)

How intense? This was a small hailstone.

In the fourteen years we’ve lived in this house, I’ve never seen hail like that. My car has a couple of good sized dents in the roof, but no windshield damage.

My office window looks out into the backyard, so I have the constant sound of saws, pneumatic hammers, and other things emphatically going *thump* as the soundtrack to my writing day.

Echoes of Light
29754 / 50000 (59.51%)
***
Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4
28031 / 95000 (29.51%)

Writing continues, as writing is wont to do in my house. Echoes of Light is building to a climax, and I’m hoping to have it done this month. I increased the wordcount, but now I’m not sure that I’ll make 50K. It’ll be 40K or thereabouts. Perhaps a little under, but definitely not much over. Which is well within the wordcount limits for the call for this boxset.

And I’m pretty sure there will be more stories about John Zebedee and Ethriel. They haven’t told me what they’ll be yet, but there will be more.

Wings of Air is already wandering off the outline. I think this is a new record — usually, we get to the first major transition before the characters get headstrong and go their own way. Not this time. They’ve decide on a subplot that is obvious in hindsight, but wasn’t on my radar when I started planning the book.

Still haven’t decided what I’m working on for Patreon after Heir to the Firstborn. I’ll tackle that once I get further into Wings of Air — I’ll need to decide before I finish, though. No pressure! None at all!

Once I finish Echoes of Light, I’ll be planning out the rest of the Flesh and Blood series, too. I have a nifty new Series Bible from Plot Your Work and I’m looking forward to setting it up.

Things are still really unsettled here — we have no idea what’s going to happen in the fall. The Governor says school will start on time and with the regular schedule, but at the same time Covid cases are spiking because the state reopened too soon. We’re being careful, but at the same time, we’re very much aware that there are a lot of people out there who are not being careful, or who think that the whole thing is a hoax, or a joke, or not as serious as it really is.

I don’t understand people sometimes. I just don’t.

Be careful out there. Stay safe.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, plot bunnies, progress, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, Write Faster!, writing-mom, 0 comments

Today is Baking Day

I had a light day planned, so I baked today. And while I was working on my gluten-free almond pound cake, I started thinking.

There’s an awful lot of baking going on. An awful lot of cooking. A lot of Instagram pictures of breads and pastries and cakes, and a lot of my friends complaining about how much weight they’ve gained during quarantine. (They’re not alone here…) There’s even a meme making the rounds about how the buttons on your jeans are practicing social distancing.

Why so much baking?

As I asked myself this question, I realized I already knew. I knew because it had come up at, of all places, Weight Watchers (yes, I know it’s WW. I predate WW, and I will always call it Weight Watchers. Deal.)

During a discussion of how quarantine has been impacting us on the scale, I realized something.

This is unprecedented, right? Normally, when the excrement hits the rotating blades, we have some idea of how to respond. But Covid-19? This is new. This is new and it is fucking terrifying, and we have no idea how to respond or what to do or how to react.

We’re all reverting to our earliest training. All of us. Because we literally have no other way to cope with what’s happening around us. We are all of us, with very few exceptions, reverting to a single lesson learned when we were very small.

That the cookie will make the skinned knee all better.

That ice cream will make losing the big game a little easier to take.

That a bad day can be made a little better by an indulgent meal.

That food equals comfort.

Right now, we have no safety net. We have no guidance. No one, NO ONE, knows what they’re doing right now, the government is in denial, and the science news changes almost weekly. We’re in a contant state of flux, and there’s no end in sight.

But there’s ice cream. And there’s cake. And there’s fresh bread, and cookies, and while that won’t make things go away, it makes things feel a little better for a little while.

And you know what?

Go ahead. Eat the cake. Eat the ice cream.

Do what you need to, in order to make it through the day. Through the week. Through that next bump in the road when everything changes and we don’t know which way is up.

Go ahead, because we want to see you on the other side of this.

There will be another side of this. We’ll get through this.

We might all be wearing a larger size of jeans when we do, but you know what? We’ll be there.

And boy, will we have recipes to share.

(This one, by the way, is the Land O Lakes Gluten Free Vanilla pound cake, except with almond extract instead of vanilla. I use Bob’s Red Mill One to One gluten free flour blend.)

Posted by EASchechter in baking, deep thoughts, From the Writer's Kitchen, 0 comments

Show of Hands?

Who else thinks that 2020 needs to knock it the fuck off already?

Yeah, me too.

This past week has been emotionally exhausting. I’m doing what I can to support BLM. I’ve been amplifying posts and signing petitions and honestly, I was not expecting Pride this year to go quite that retro.

(If I need to explain to you that Pride started as a riot… well… look, you learned something today. Gold star!)

There’s been writing. I can’t not write, especially when there’s too much and I get overwhelmed. I’ve heard other writers say that they’ve been having trouble during the quarantine because how can you be creative now? I have the opposite problem. Under stress, I tend to dive into a manuscript, because I know everything will be all right in there. Perks of being a romance writer, I guess. You’re guaranteed a happy ending in romancelandia. In real life? Not so much.

So there’s been writing. I might finish Echoes of Light this month.  And Wings of Air is promising to be a beast of a book — I’m eight chapters in and we still haven’t made the big move to take us on the first step to the end.

Echoes of Light

25389 / 50000 (50.78%)

***
Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4

24898 / 95000 (26.21%)

 

So, where do I go from here? Once I’m done with Wings of Air, what am I going to do with the Patreon?

Well, I have two options. I have The Willow Sword, a YA idea that I started ages ago, and that sort of lost momentum. That would be two books — The Willow Sword and The Stone Mountain. And I have The Sea Prince, which is a sort of steampunky, Master and Commander kind of thing that I started years ago with a friend. That one also lost momentum. That one would be three books — The Sea Prince, The Coral Throne, and one that I can’t remember what title I was going to use. It’s been a while, and I don’t think I wrote it down.

Between those two series, I think I’m set for Patreon fodder for a while.

I also need to plan out the rest of the Flesh and Blood series (those are the BDSM Vampire books). Five in that series, counting the one that I finished already.

I need to write the second White Raven book.

I need to figure out the third Tales from the Arena book.

And I need to go back through the outline for the next Drum Mage book (Holy Orders, sequel to Heart’s Master) and figure out what I did wrong that made it stop short.

And then… and then….?

I forgot I had this running list (and I completely FORGOT about The Mentalist’s Cat. That would work for Patreon.)

To Write

      • Wings of Air
      • Echoes of Light
      • The White Raven: Morrigan’s Wrath
      • The Sea Prince (started, shelved)
      • The Willow Sword (started, shelved)

To Edit

To Outline

      • Flesh and Blood (five books)
      • The Mentalist’s Cat
      • Holy Orders (Sequel to Heart’s Master)
      • Coral Throne (sequel to Sea Prince)
      • Tales from the Arena: Dead Man’s Hand (Tales from the Arena 3)
      • Men of Mortal Seeming (An Artificer novel)
      • Towers of Light (Metropolis project)

To Sell

      • The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir
      • Bonds of Blood and Steel
      • Blood Bound
      • The Ice Raven

To Self-Publish

      • Swords of Charlemagne (4 books)

So I’ll be busy and out of trouble for a while, it looks like.

Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by EASchechter in 2020 plans, accountability, BDSM Vampires, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Blood Bound, Drum Mage, Echoes of Light, Flesh and Blood, forthcoming works, Heart's Master, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, Planning, progress, publishing, Ta-da, Tales from the Arena, The White Raven, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work, Updatey things, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Progress, and the lack thereof.

Echoes of Light

23004 / 50000 (46.01%)

***
Wings of Air
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 4

20000 / 95000 (21.05%)

I spent most of last week plugging along, arguing with Amazon, doing promo for Bones of Earth, arguing with Amazon, prepping for the RWA Board meeting that happened this past weekend, and arguing with Amazon.

You know, the usual.

Why am I arguing with Amazon? Because the week prior, I did a giveaway of Written in Water, and a sale on Forged in Fire. Now, I can control the sale price, but setting Written in Water for free on Amazon is something only they can do, and only they can change it back. The prices reverted to $6.99 on every other platform last Tuesday. Amazon still hasn’t changed the price back.

Yesterday, I emailed them for the third time and asked them if they were planning on paying me royalties for the books that were downloaded for free after the price was supposed to have reverted. No answer yet.

I think, from here on out, I’ll be doing $.99 sales. Freebies are a pain in the posterior, and I have no control over when Amazon changes things.

(Note — I just went and checked and they’ve FINALLY put Written in Water back to the regular price. Apparently, telling them I expected them to made good on the consquences of their screw-up did something?)

Last week was also the last day of school — I now have a rising 9th grader. High school… eep!

Now, normally, this is the point in my year when I take time off — as much as I ever take time off, anyway. However, Heir to the Firstborn won’t wait. I’m going to keep on working to get Wings of Air up on time. Chapter two just went up on Patreon, and I’m working on chapter seven — I might be doing a little backwards writing on it, though. Owyn is in the kitchen, and whenever he goes to the kitchen, chapters tend start reading like a cooking show. Which is fun, but he’s not supposed to be taking over this book again.

(Owyn: “You only think so.”)

(Me: “Shut up, Mouse.”)

So I need to get out of Owyn’s head and back to Del’s.  And I need to wake Treesi up — she’s sleeping in at the point where I am in the book.

Echoes of Light is coming along nicely. I’ve just revealed the big bad, and he’s being big and bad. I’m slightly more than halfway through the book, I think. So we’ll have a short novel (40K), which is good for a box set. I’m hoping to get this to a draft sometime this month. We’ll see how that goes.

And that’s pretty much all here.

It’s in no way everything. There’s a lot going on out there. Lots of fear. Lots of violence. Lots of hate.

I am in no way qualified to talk about it, other than to say this — in my social media, I will amplify the voices of activists, the voices of BLM, the voices of hope and the voices that call for justice. I will use y platform to spread their words, because it is their words that are important here. Not mine.

Stay safe out there.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, Bones of Earth, Echoes of Light, Elemental Project, Forged in Fire, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, Patreon, promotions, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

Romance Writer’s Weekly: Speedbumps

Hello and good morning! Welcome in! It’s a lovely, albeit drizzly, day here in Central Florida, and I have a new book out!

I’ll talk about the new book in a minute. For now, let’s talk speedbumps. All writers have speedbumps, those scenes that slow their writing pace to a crawl. It’s always the same — you’re writing, the characters are really talking to you, you have the energy, you’re making words…. and WHAM!!!

Speedbump.

I have two speedbumps in particular, and they both happen for the same reason. What are they? What’s the reason?

For me, it’s sex scenes and fight scenes. Both of them slow me down to a crawl. Funny, right? A writer who has built her career on steamy sex can’t just (pardon me) bang one out? (I’m sorry!)

It’s true! I’ve been known to leave <INSERT SEX HERE> in a manuscript so I can search it up later and put the scene in, just so that I don’t break my momentum. So far, I haven’t handed a manuscript to my editor with a missing scene, but you never know. One of these years, it’ll happen.

So what do sex scenes and fight scenes have in common?

Blocking.

I can’t write a “count the number of legs in the bed and divide by two” sex scene (to quote one of my favorite Terry Prachett lines). A scene that essentially boils down to “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am” (or “thank you, man,” depending on which book we’re talking about) does nothing for me. Sex scenes have to flow properly and organically, and make sense when you go from one to the next. Otherwise they just don’t work for me. Which means spending a lot of time thinking them out, planning movements, researching positions and BDSM rope dress. I can tell you that my search history would make my mother wash my mouse out with soap!

Fight scenes slow me down the same way. Writing a fight scene can be very much like writing a sex scene, because the movements have to flow, and they have to make sense.

Writing The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir took forever because it’s a sword-and-sandal erotic romance. But it’s off with the editor now, so hopefully I wrote both sorts of scenes properly and it sells!

Now, there are fight scenes in the Heir to the Firstborn series, but there’s no explicit sex (it’s all behind closed doors), so I only had one speedbump to worry about. It didn’t slow me down too much, because Bones of Earth (Heir to the Firstborn 3) is out today.

For Owyn, saving the world meant losing everything.
Losing everything led him to something worth living for.
Keeping that something may cost him his life.

You can find it on Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play, or any other ebook retailer.  There’s even a paperback, although it’s not showing up on Amazon for some reason. (Working on that!) And if you want to follow along with the final book once you’ve caught up, you can jump into Wings of Air by joining me on Patreon.

That’s about all for my neck of the woods. Time to go back to writing, and hope I don’t hit any speedbumps. Your next stop on the RRW web cycle is over with A.S Fenichel. If you’re in the mood to take a chance, she’s running a contest! For me? I’m curious to see if her speedbumps are anything like mine!

Posted by EASchechter, 0 comments