Mirror, Mirror: How The Sausage Gets Made

Originally posted here
As I’ve said before, the level of detail I go into when I’m worldbuilding depends on the project. Right now, while I’m working on Adavar, I’m also rereading some Victorian history for when I go back to working on Swords of Charlemagne. I tend to have multiple projects going on in the back of my brain — I call it having a story percolate.
Now, what you’ll see as I’m working on building the world of Adavar (aka, the Elemental project) are things that will help me later on down the line. Things like the creation myth will give me a handle on how the people of Adavar think and react, because these are things that color how they see their world.
I think that it’s time like this when you really do see that I’m a frustrated anthropologist at heart. I don’t think I ever really got over my college adviser telling me that I couldn’t do a triple major (which would have been English, Secondary Education, and Cultural Anthropology).
Anyway, the creation myth gives me the foundation. Now I’ll be looking more closely at each tribe and how they interact, and I’ll be looking at how the government works.
My next Patron post will probably be within the next week or so, and I need some feedback. Do we stay with pay per post, or go to pay by the month? If we stay with pay per post, then I’ll be posting five or more paid posts in the next month or two. Then, once August starts, I’ll be tapering off because I’ll be getting back to Swords of Charlemagne. How do we want to proceed?
Let me know!
Posted by EASchechter in Adavar, Elemental Project, Mirror, Patreon, Worldbuilding, writer on writing, 0 comments

Mirror, Mirror: Groundwork (Patreon public post from 6/6/18)

I’ve realized just this minute that I need to mirror my public posts from Patreon over here in the blog.  This is the first of the public posts that happened over there.

As we go forward, I’ll start the mirrored posts off with Mirror, Mirror, and tag them as such, so that they’re obvious.


All right. It’s time to get this thing moving.

The amount of groundwork that I do for my writing tends to vary, depending on what genre I’m writing. Sometimes, it’s just historical research. Sometimes, it’s historical research with worldbuilding that harmonizes around actual events — Swords of Charlemagne, the current series, is like that, as is the entire Princes of Air universe, and House of Sable Locks.

And sometimes, the worldbuilding is everything. That was the Rebel Mage trilogy, Tales From the Arena, and now, this thing. Which still doesn’t have a name, so I’m going to continue calling it the Elemental Project.

I love worldbuilding, says the frustrated wanna-be anthropologist (my college advisor told me that I couldn’t do a triple major. Boo!) Creating the myths and religions and magic systems and the whys and wherefores of a culture is like catnip for me. The degree I will go to for a given project will vary — there was a little in depth work done for Rebel Mage, but much more for Tales From the Arena. Sometimes, things develop organically. Sometimes, I have pages and pages of notes before I even start writing.

This is going to be a pages and pages of notes project. Otherwise, why bother with the Patreon?

I’ve been thinking about where to start this project. Basic info about the world and government? Character information? Backstory and history?


Creation myths. Worlds begin when worlds begin.

That’s where we start. And that should be coming up soon. It will also be the first post that will be Patrons only. So, if you want to see it? You know what to do.

See you in a few days!

Posted by EASchechter in Elemental Project, Mirror, Patreon, Worldbuilding, writer on writing, 0 comments

The Opposite of War isn’t Peace. It’s Creation.

I can’t say I’ve never written a creation myth before. I’ve done it once or twice, for projects that never really got off the ground and that I might someday go back and revisit. So I know basically what I’m doing. And yet…

I homeschool my son, and one of the things that we discovered and incorporated into our homeschool day was Crash Course.  There are Crash Course series for just about anything — the History of Games was very popular in our house.

Then we discovered Crash Course Mythology. My son is already very interested in mythology (thank you, Rick Riordan!) so this seemed a logical choice of next series to watch. Hosted by Mike Rugnetta, it’s a fantastic overview of a variety of myths from a wide range of cultures.

Why is this a problem?

It isn’t, really. It’s just that I’ve heard so many myths told by Mike Rugnetta that now I’m hearing his voice narrating the creation myth I’m in the process of writing!

After the initial “Why do I have your voice in my head?” reaction, I decided that this was a good thing. If I’m writing a creation myth on par with the ones that were presented in Crash Course, I’m clearly doing something right.


So… wanna see this creation myth?

Come join me on Patreon.

Posted by EASchechter in easily amused writer, Elemental Project, inspiration, inspiration-strikes-OW, Patreon, public displays of geekery, research is fun, summer, Worldbuilding, 0 comments


I have an electronic planner in my phone, but I remember things better if I write them down. So I use a paper planner. I like paper planners. I have one for homeschooling, one for day-to-day planning, and a travelers notebook that comes along with me. And I have a bullet journal, for whatever I’m currently writing.

My planner of choice is from Plum Paper.  This is my everyday planner, with bonus Pusheen and rainbows. Yes, stickers and washi tape are a huge part of my planning.

I like the formats and the customization available with Plum Paper. The sizes are great (the one pictured is 8.5 x 11), and the paper is wonderful (there’s no bleed through no matter what pens I use). I have a bunch of 5×7 Plum Paper notebooks, too. But I’ve discovered that, while the spiral bound notebooks are every bit as wonderful as the planners, the perfectbound Plum notebooks are not quite as robust as I’d like them to be. Which is very, since I need this to go in and out of my purse or my laptop bag. , and last for the length of the series I’m writing.


That little owl notebook is my notes and plans for Swords of Charlemagne, and this is the second perfect bound notebook I’ve killed because I’m rough on my things. Once again, I needed something to replace the bullet journal. Then I discovered the Paperdori from Plot your Work.

Plot your Work offers several different sizes of Paperdori. This one is holds three 5X7 inserts (which Plot your Work offers as well). And if you can see on the left, there’s a planner charm — you can choose your charm, and I chose a fountain pen nib.

For my three inserts, I used a dotted journal (for my bullet journal) and two of Plot Your Work’s single project planners (with awesome hand marbled covers!).  This ended up being much more than I needed — I probably could have gotten away with using one single project planner for the last two books in Swords of Charlemagne.

Because I have a pocket sized ‘dori, there are only 28 lines on a dotted page. So I had to kinda had to format my monthly calendars to fit. This is where I’ll log my wordcounts, and my word totals, and I’ll make note of any professional events that will be happening while I write. You can see Indie Bookfest listed on those pages.

In the single project notebooks, there are a mix of dotted pages and project planning specific pages. I’ve used these before in the full sized Plot Your Work planner, and I like how functional they are.

Now, why I said that I could have used one of these single project for both books? That page there is an entire year of planning.  It takes me four to six months to write a draft — so one of these single project notebooks would have fit both books left in Swords of Charlemagne. But I wasn’t thinking of that when I set things up, so I wrote in both. I’ll remember this for next time — the way I use these planners, I can fit two related books into one single project notebook.

So, consider this an enthusiastic two-thumbs-up for the Plot your Work Paperdori! Very functional, and they definitely over deliver!



Posted by EASchechter in Boosting the signal, planner stuff, Planning, product endorsement, 0 comments

Swords of Charlemagne, the second pass.

This past week has been the second pass — first round edits on Hidden Things, and the first read-through and revision of The Lady and the Sword. I usually don’t read through so soon after finishing a manuscript, but I wanted to get into it while Hidden Things was still in front of me, and I could still make adjustments.

And I discovered something. I am never again going to write a book with a non-linear timeline. EVER!

(someone is laughing at me.)

See, in Hidden Things, the Carolingian parts are set in the years 772, 777, and 778.  In The Lady and the Sword, the Carolingian parts are set in 774.

Which means that there are parts of book one that refer to events that happen in book 2. But I didn’t know what those events were, exactly, because I hadn’t written the book yet. So I had to add them to book one.

This is where it’s a good thing that I write fast. If I was a slow writer, Hidden Things would be further along in the publication process, and I might not have been able to make those changes. Which would have led to issues in later books.

In the next book, Ashes and Light, the Carolingian parts happen in 778, but before the events in Hidden Things. So I had to add a character to the scene in Hidden Things  who looks like a spear-carrier now, but who will be very important when we get to book three, which happens a few weeks before the events in book one.

Are you confused yet? Try writing it! See why I said I’m never doing a non-linear timeline ever again?

(stop laughing)

Oh, and book four? The flashback scenes aren’t Carolingian at all. Well, one of them will be, but I don’t have to change anything in the planned scenes. It’s set after 778. The rest? I can’t say more, because spoilers. But that’s going to be the easy one!

This is why I have a series bible. Because I learned my lesson about trying to keep track of all this stuff when I wrote the Rebel Mage books.

Posted by EASchechter in Best laid plans, Best planned lays, edits, forthcoming works, Hidden Things, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, The Lady and the Sword, upcoming books, upcoming work, yippee, 0 comments

Draft Completed: The Lady and the Sword.

Began: February 15th, 2018

Completed: May 25th, 2018

Total Days: 99 days

Total Words: 83,963 words

Average Words per Day: 848 words

Now to let this sit while I edit Hidden Things. Then I’ll read through it again and send them both off.


Posted by EASchechter in accountability, edits, forthcoming works, happy-happy- joy- joy, Hidden Things, SQUEEE, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, The Lady and the Sword, thirty, to-dos, WIP, wordcount, yippee, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, week 14

The end is near!

I’m halfway through the second to last chapter of The Lady and the Sword, so I’m calling it. Draft by the end of the week!

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

78653 / 85000 (92.53%)
I have to say, for the record, that I am never again writing a book that has a non-linear timeline. Margaret, Douglas and Mystere are linear — their timeline starts in book one, and will continue unbroken until book four. Roland, Olivier and Turpin are not linear — their timeline jumps, and it’s been interesting.  Especially since the Carolingian parts of The Lady and the Sword happen between the first two sections of Hidden Things. I keep having to go edit the scenes in book one to fit what happens in book two.  Thankfully, the Carolingian parts of Ashes and Light will happen directly before the final Carolingian section of Hidden Things.  I know that part of the story already, so most of the edits to book one have already happened.  (That being said, I just thought of something that needs tweaking.)


Okay, now for what may very well be the last excerpt:


Roland nodded. He looked up, seeing the torches on the walls of Pavia. “There are bathhouses in Pavia.”

“Probably, yes.”

“Think we could sneak into the city and visit one? I need a bath.” Roland glanced at Olivier, who was clearly trying not to laugh. “What?”

“Little things that I never understood about you before. Now that I know you better, they make perfect sense.” Olivier answered. “We can’t visit a bathhouse, but you can still bathe. The surgeons will probably insist on it. And I’ll help you shave, if you want.”

“What’s funny about bathing?”

Olivier looked around, then switched to silent conversation. “When you were telling me about running wild as a boy, you said that you remembered two things. You remembered being hungry and being dirty. Ever since I’ve met you, I’ve marveled at how much you can eat. You’re thin as an arrow, and you eat more than anyone I’ve ever seen. And you bathe more than my sister’s cats.”

Roland blinked. “I… I never connected them.”

“You probably wouldn’t. You’re inside it. You can’t see the whole of it.”

Roland looked away, trying to think of something else to say. “I… you have a sister? Who has cats?”

“Aude,” Olivier answered. “She’s six years younger than I am. And she has three cats.” He sighed. “At some point, I really should find her a husband.”

“Not me,” Roland answered quickly, and Olivier burst into laughter.

“If you’re certain?”

“I’m certain,” Roland said.

“Then not you,” Olivier agreed. “Although, I admit that I wouldn’t object to having you as a brother.”

Roland swallowed hard and smiled. “Thank you, Olivier.” He frowned looking down at the dirt as they walked. “I don’t know that I’m ever going to marry. A woman, I mean.”

“Do you even like women?”

Roland considered, then nodded. “I like everyone,” he said. “I prefer men, but I like women, too. I know Uncle wants me to marry at some point. I’m just… I don’t know. The idea is terrifying.” He looked around, then pitched his voice low. “Olivier, may I ask you a question?”

“Let’s get you bathed first.” Olivier stopped outside the bath tent and looked inside. “We’ve got it to ourselves. We can talk in private. Come on.”

“I’m going to need help,” Roland looked down at his left arm.

“I know. You don’t mind my help, do you?”

Roland smiled. “I’m glad of it.” He stayed quiet as Olivier helped him remove what remained of his clothes, helped him scrub dirt from his skin, listened to Olivier grumble over the multitude of scratches and bruises.

“You look like you fought with a thorn bush and lost,” Olivier said, wrapping a drying sheet around Roland’s waist.

“Sit down and I’ll comb your hair.”

“Thank you. And I think I did. With the thorn bush, I mean.” He sat down on a bench and closed his eyes as Olivier started working the comb through his hair. It felt just as good as when Turpin did it. “Olivier, may I ask that question now?”

The comb went still, then started again. “Of course.”

“You have sons— ”

The comb stopped again. “I don’t beat my children, Roland. I don’t hurt them. I don’t treat them the way Ganelon treats you.”

Roland turned around to face Olivier. “I wondered. I can’t see you ever hurting them. But you’re here, and not there. You’re not with them.”

“Even when I’m with them, I would never hurt them,” Olivier said. “Not my boys.” He frowned, then set the comb aside and straddled the bench, facing Roland. “Roland,” he said gently. “Not all fathers are like Ganelon. You’ve seen Charles with his children, haven’t you?”

Roland nodded. “Yes.”

“My sons, they mean the world to me. I would never hurt them. Charles is the same. Your father, your real father, I imagine he would have been like that.”

Roland shrugged his right shoulder, then winced. “I don’t know. I can’t know. And… that’s why I won’t marry, Olivier. I’m not going to do to any child what was done to me.”

“You wouldn’t,” Olivier said firmly. “Because you know what it’s like.”

Roland frowned. “Is it that easy?”

“Being a father isn’t easy, Roland.” Olivier smiled. “When they handed Aquilante to me the first time, I was terrified that I’d drop him! But I’d never change it.” He paused, then nodded. “The next time I go to Vienne, come with me. I want you to meet my boys. Meet Gismonda.”

Roland smiled slightly. “I’d like that.”


The other news this week happened over on Twitter. Months ago, I paid in to have the cover of Heart’s Master included in advertising at the Romance Times Convention, which was this past week. I’d forgotten all about the ad until I got an email from the president of my RWA chapter — my cover was one of two that had been deemed unfit for public consumption in the hotel, and had been censored.
Now, I wasn’t at RT, but Cecilia Tan was. So I texted her and told her what was going on. And, oh, what a can of worms that opened!
Things did resolve happily, however, and the ads were replaced by the next morning. I also had a lovely conversation with the general manager of the hotel, who fell all over himself apologizing for the mess. All’s well that ends well.
Upcoming plans — once this book is in the can, I’ll be proofreading The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir so I can send that off to Circlet. Then I’ll proof this one and send it and the updated Hidden Things in to Forbidden Fiction (which just recently changed to Enspire Publishing).
And once those are in, I’ll spend the rest of the summer doing some worldbuilding for the Elemental thing. But for that, you’ll need to be following me over on Patreon.
Posted by EASchechter in accountability, can't stop the signal, censorship, circlet, cover art, drama, Enspire, Forbidden Fiction, forthcoming works, Heart's Master, Hidden Things, summer, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, The White Raven, the-end-is-near, this-is-why-we-can't-have-nice-things, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, week 13

It’s Mother’s Day, so I spent a good part of today away from my computer. There was Disney mini-golf (Fantasia themed), and really good food, and way too much traffic.

And words. There were words. There were a lot of words this week, too.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

70646 / 100000 (70.65%)

It’s hard to believe that this is almost done, but it’s almost done. I’m in the “wrapping up all the loose ends that get wrapped up in this book” stage.  Hard to say how much more there will be to this — at least another two chapters, maybe three. I should adjust that total word count. Next week, probably. Once I have an idea as to how many chapters.

We’ve reached the point where almost any excerpt I post is going to be wildly spoilery. So let’s have some ancient history that gives some backstory on Roland and Olivier. The parts from Roland’s side are actually part of his legend. Olivier’s backstory is original to me.


“You,” Roland said. “How do you do that?”

“Do… do what?”

“You have all that knowledge. All that education. I’d love to know what you know.” Roland grinned. “I’m jealous.”

“You? Are jealous of me?” Olivier burst out laughing. “You?”

Roland looked quizzically at him. “Why is that funny?”

“Because you’re perfect, that’s why,” Olivier answered. “Because you’re the best at everything you set your hand to, and everyone knows it.”

Roland blinked. “I… I’m not perfect. I’m not as good as every thinks I am.”

“You’re better,” Olivier said, his voice firm. “And I’m not the only one who wishes they were you. You should have heard Ganelon—”

“I’d rather not hear him, thank you,” Roland interrupted. “And no. You don’t want to be me. I’d rather have been you. You had a family that loved you. You had book learning. You had proper training. You didn’t live in a cave and steal to eat.” He stopped. “You’re looking at me as if I have six heads. You didn’t know that?”

“No!” Oliver gasped. “Roland—”

“My mother was exiled from court for marrying my father. My real father. Milon. You knew that, I think?” Roland didn’t wait for an answer. “He died when I was very small. I don’t remember him. What I do remember is being hungry all the time. Hungry and dirty. Mother did her best, but she was never in good health after Father died. We took care of each other, the best we could. But I was a little animal from the time I could walk. What you saw of me today, out there?” he nodded toward the woods. “That was my childhood, until Uncle Charles found us. I stole food, from the Frankish camp. I didn’t know who they were. I just saw all the colors, and all the people, and I thought they’d never miss that basket. Only Charles followed me back to the cave.” Roland paused. “Everything changed after that.”

“How old were you?” Olivier asked.

“I was ten, I think, when we came to live in court. I had to learn how to be civilized, and quickly. Mother married Ganelon that same year. And she died the next year, with the baby that would have been my sister. Ganelon remarried when I was twelve, and I came to court to be fostered with my uncle.” Roland looked at him. “You didn’t know that? You weren’t at court yet? You were… what, eighteen?”

“Seventeen,” Olivier answered. “You’re five years younger than I am. And when I was seventeen, I had been a novice in a monastery for four years.”

“You were where?” Roland gasped.

“I was just about to take my orders,” Olivier said. “I was the third son, Roland. My brother Wulfram was supposed to inherit Viennes, with Jocelin behind him. I was a distant third, and I was sent off so I wouldn’t be in the way.”

“That’s why you know so much?” Roland asked. “I had no idea.”

“Turpin knows.” Olivier sighed. “That year was madness for me. On the Feast of the Epiphany, I was a novice, preparing to take my vows at Easter. Then both Wulf and Joss died in battle. All at once, I was called home. I was invested as heir to Viennes. By Pentecost, I was married. And by the following Pentecost, I was a father. Gismonda… she was very patient with me. Is very patient with me. It’s hard, to put aside knowing that I was always the least. That if Wulf or Joss had lived, I’d have had none of this.”

Roland blinked. “That’s it, isn’t it? You think I’ve made you least again?”

Olivier didn’t look up. He hadn’t said anything about this to anyone. Not even Turpin knew the whole of it. At least, he didn’t think his master knew. He nodded. “I thought I was going to be put aside again. I didn’t want to go to the monastery, Roland. I didn’t have a calling. I didn’t want to be a priest. But my Father told me I’d no choice — I was never going to be like my brothers, so I had to be out of their way.” He swallowed and looked up to see Roland looking at him, a rare anger in his face.

“Is your father still alive?”

“No. He died before Turpin found me,” Olivier answered. “It’s been five years now.”

Roland nodded slowly. “When this is done, do you mind terribly if I go spit on his grave?”



Posted by EASchechter in forthcoming works, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, the-end-is-near, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, week 12

A very good word week indeed.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

64806 / 100000 (64.81%)

I can see the end from here. There are maybe five chapters left. The book won’t be a full 100K words, I don’t think.  I’m thinking something between 80K and 90K at this point.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say draft by mid-June.

I wrote one scene this past week that I’d been waiting to write since I started the book. Not going to give that one to you, though. Not yet.  Instead, I’ll give you the fruits of my research into the macabre — the Paris Catacombs.

This was something I put on Twitter this week:

There are estimated to be six million sets of bones in the tunnels below Paris. And Douglas gets to go down there in search of (spoilers):


He’d keep going until full dark, he decided, and cast the spell again. It swirled around him for a moment, then led him on across the intersection, and up to a building. Douglas blinked, peered up at the sign over the door.

Entree des Catacombes

“Catacombs,” Douglas murmured. “Oh, that’s just lovely.” He shuddered, then tried the door. To his surprise, it opened easily. He stepped inside, and conjured a light, passing by a desk that he assumed usually was occupied by a clerk of some kind. At the far end of the room was a staircase leading down. He stopped, and looked around. “Map. I need a map. If these are anything like the catacombs in Rome, they go on for miles.” He searched the room until he found what he wanted — a leaflet with a rough map. He studied it and whistled. “Just like Rome,” he murmured, folding the map and slipping it into his coat. He swallowed, then started down the stone stairs, sending the light on ahead. He started counting stairs, but quickly lost count as he descended deeper and deeper underneath the streets of Paris. Finally, he reached the gallery at the bottom. There was only one way to go, and he took a deep breath before setting off down the dark tunnel. It was eerily quiet — only his footsteps and a soft, distant dripping sound. The air was damp, and cold, and there was a sickly draft. In places on the walls, there were signs set into the walls, marked with names. Street names, he realized, and wondered if the passages marked the names of the streets above him. There were others signs, these marked with numbers and letters that made no sense to him. The passage ended at a junction, and Douglas cast his seeking spell once more, taking the right turn and following the path written in dust and magic. Another long, dark tunnel, with only echoing footsteps to keep him company. There was no signs of any other living being in the tunnels, and he wondered if he’d been sent astray. No. No, this spell had never failed. And as far as he knew, there was no way to fool it, no false trail that would circumvent his ability to find who and what he wanted to find. So he kept walking, passing through a series of rooms full of the most glorious an fanciful carvings of elaborate buildings, then passing a stair that seemed to end at a well of some sort. Finally, he reached a pair of columns that flanked a door. The columns were decorated to look like crenellated towers. He passed between them, and stopped outside the door that they framed. There was a sign: Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort!

“The empire of the dead,” Douglas murmured, his voice seeming unnaturally loud in the silence. “How bloody romantic.” Slowly, he passed through the door, finding another gallery on the far side, with stone pillars and a large stone carved with a long inscription. He didn’t stop to read it, but kept walking. Only to stop short as he suddenly identified the the odd pattern of the walls in the tunnels ahead of him.

The catacombs beneath Rome were orderly things. Long tunnels with niches carved along the sides, two or three high in places, and each niche occupied by at least one former Roman. Here, though… the bodies were no longer bodies. The walls here were made up of stacked bones and skulls. They were very neatly stacked, but there were no complete skeletons. No signs of which bones belonged to which skulls, or of who any of these bones had been in life.

Douglas stared in creeping horror, trying to calculate how many bodies were just in this section. There was no way to know. He swallowed and started walking again, trying not to think too hard about Parisians of the past who might have objected to having their eternal rest as being part of a wall. He knew a little about unquiet ghosts, but not nearly enough to deal with one. Nor did he have the time.


I’m trying to decide now if I want to take the Catacomb tour, should I ever have the chance to visit Paris. It’s supposed to be 45 minutes and cover about a mile of the I’m-not-sure-how-many-miles of catacombs.  I’m not sure though — given how much research I had to do for the chapter and a half, I might have already seen the entire tour!

I’ve decided that once this book is done, I’m going to do two things. Proofread Morrigan’s Heir, and start worldbuilding on the Elemental project. My book-plan doesn’t have me starting Ashes and Light (Swords of Charlemagne 3) until August. Given the calendar, I was thinking I’d wait until after Indie Bookfest to start.  I might just follow that schedule.

Think I can keep from working on this world for that long?

In other news, the rerelease of Tales from the Arena is in June. I don’t have a date yet. As soon as I do, I’ll let you all know!

Posted by EASchechter in 2018 plans, accountability, appearances, conventions, forthcoming works, progress, public displays of geekery, Swords of Charlemagne, Tales from the Arena, The Lady and the Sword, The White Raven, upcoming books, upcoming work, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Work in Progress: The Lady and the Sword, week 11

Remember last week I said there might be an announcement this week?

I now have a Patreon! 

I’m going to develop that Elemental project from the ground up, and start an ongoing… something. How long it will be, where it will go, all of that is stuff that we’ll discover together.

Since I’m still in the middle of Swords of Charlemagne, I set the Patreon up to be a pay-for-content, not as a monthly draw. That might change once I have a better idea of what the Elemental project is, and as it gets going. For now, now one pays anything until I produce something.

Speaking of Swords of Charlemagne,  last week I also said that I thought I’d be at the halfway mark by Wednesday?

Yeah, I didn’t make it Wednesday.

I made it Monday.

This was an uncommonly good writing week, all in all.

The Lady and the Sword
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 2

57109 / 100000 (57.11%)

That is, until I hit chapter seventeen.

Sex scenes slow me down. I’ve said that before. So do fight scenes.

So I, in my genius plotting brain, decided that The Lady and the Sword must have a fight scene that segues right into a sex scene. Because reasons.

It came together a lot faster than I though it would, because I had a lot of it in my head already. So here’s a bit of the unedited scene:


Douglas frowned slightly. He opened his mouth, but whatever he was going to say was lost as Mystere’s fist connected with his chin. Douglas stumbled backwards, regained his footing, and stared at Mystere like he’d lost his mind.

“I… you hit me!”

“Are you ready to listen now?” Mystere asked.

The answer quickly became obvious — Douglas charged at Mystere, roaring like a bull. Until that moment, Mystere would never have expected his Doogie to be a brawler. But clearly, there was a history there that Mystere had missed.

Also clearly? Punching Douglas to get his attention was probably not the smartest thing that Mystere had ever done in his lifetime. Douglas was both taller and heavier than he was, and Mystere quickly found himself in over his head. He refused to use magic, even though that would have stopped Douglas easily. No, there was something here. Something visceral that needed doing. Magic would only get in the way. He ducked too slowly, caught a fist in the cheek, and stumbled back. Panting, anger shredded any semblance of clear thought — Mystere rushed Douglas, bowling him over. He skipped backwards, watching, his back against the bedroom door. Douglas got to his feet, an odd grin on his face. He rubbed one fist with the other hand, and Mystere heard Douglas’ knuckles crack. His stomach dropped, and he fumbled at the door handle.

“Douglas, I shouldn’t have done that—” he stammered. Too late — Douglas rushed at him again, the force of his attack driving Mystere back into the door so hard that the frame shattered, and both men fell into the bedroom. Mystere landed hard, but managed to use his elbow to knock Douglas back, to get his weight shifted enough that Mystere could move. He rolled, kicking Douglas by accident as he tried to give himself some room to either fight or flee. But Douglas was faster than Mystere thought, and grabbed the back of Mystere’s waistcoat, dragging him back with enough force that the cloth tore. Mystere yelped as Douglas threw him bodily onto the bed, diving after him. The bedframe collapsed under them, pitching them at an odd angle — Mystere with his head pointed toward the floor, completely pinned down and unable to get out from underneath Douglas’ greater weight. He thought for a moment about throwing Douglas off with magic, but decided not to struggle. This was no longer about winning. It was about understanding. And it was time for Douglas to do… something.

He wasn’t expecting that something to be Douglas kissing him as if both their lives depended on it, hard enough that their teeth ground together. Mystere couldn’t speak, couldn’t move, even as Douglas tore at his clothes to bare the skin beneath. There had always been passion between them, a deep desire. This was different. This… the Greeks had a word for this.



There was a lot of consent juggling in this chapter. I do address the elephant in the room later in the scene.  It’s not as grim-dark as Rebel Mage. It’s more along the lines of Chapter 7 of House of Sable Locks. Maybe a little lighter, though.

Sometime next year or thereabouts, you all can tell me.

And now it’s time for me to go inside. Writing on the porch is lovely, until the mosquitoes wake up.

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