Prep and Promo and Sales and Wheee!!!

Nominally, we’re on vacation this week.

Notice that I said nominally. In reality, I’m prepping for a Facebook takeover tomorrow, and more next week. I may have blog interviews coming up, and the big Cavalcade of Authors book giveaway is coming up the weekend of August 4th (click the picture to sign up for updates!)

My takeover schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, July 25th, 1PM Eastern — Tribe Called Success Literary Cafe

Friday, August 4th, 1PM Eastern — Laverne’s News

Saturday, August 5th, 1PM Eastern — One-Click Book Addicts.

There may be other events, so keep an eye on my socials!

There’s another giveaway for the month of August — the Brave New Worlds giveaway, which starts August 1st and comes with a chance to win a $20 gift card

As far as I know, Written in Water is still in the running for SPFBO9. I know the blogger who was assigned my book has read it, but I haven’t yet seen the results being posted anywhere — they apparently come through slowly, as each blog posts their reviews and which books are being cut and which are being named semi-finalists. It’s a little nerve-wracking, to be honest. But the Discord where the entrants hang out is a good place, and there’s congratulations and commiserations in equal measure where appropriate. (I’m hoping for congratulations when it’s my turn, but we shall see!)

While waiting for the shoe to drop for book 1 of Heir to the Firstborn, I’ve been working on book 7.

Balance of Power
Heir to the Firstborn
, Book 7

3401 / 90000 (3.78%)

And I have two new favorite characters — Tiras and Gannet. Tiras is Aeris’ Fire, and Gannet is her Water. The pair of them… well, take a look:

“Her Air and her Fire were a study in opposites — Gannet was both unusually pale and unusually big for an Airborn — his long hair was almost white, as were his feathers, and he was nearly as large as Aeris’ uncle Othi. His wingspan was twice Aeris’ own, and she didn’t think he was finished growing. Tiras, on the other hand, was outwither — presenting as neither male nor female — and they could only be described as delicate. At eighteen, they were the youngest of Aeris’ Companions, and as dark as Gannet was pale. They were stunningly pretty, and so slightly built that it seemed as though they would blow away in a strong wind. But looks were deceptive — Tiras knew more about fighting than the rest of them put together, and had proved it by breaking Gannet’s nose less than a week after the Heir’s Progress had returned to the Palace.”

A word on the above — Tiras is described as outwither. Outwither is a word that was created by Josie Giles, based on existing dialect and etymological patterns of word development in Scottish, and it means non-binary. There’s also a Scottish pronoun that I attempted to use for Tiras, but I could not get my brain around it and remembering the usage was slowing me down. I may go back in and change it, but that will be on the editing pass (the pronoun is thon, and usage dates back to the 1850s. Neo-pronoun? Not hardly!) For more information on outwither, check out this Tiktok, by a Scottish poet who is teaching and spreading the Scottish language as far and wide as she can.

This isn’t the first time I’ve used Scottish in Heir to the Firstborn — in Wings of Air, I use the word mirligoes, which is also Scottish.)

I know I said I was done with this universe, but it’s nice to see some old friends. And once this is done, then the series is DONE.

Stop laughing.

Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Adavar, appearances, Balance of Power, Boosting the signal, contest, facebook, giveaway, Heir to the Firstborn, promotions, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

A Bolt of Brilliance!

I’ve been talking about the Unnamed 7th book of Heir to the Firstborn for a couple of months, I think? If you missed it, I thought the Heir to the Firstborn books were done. Completely done. No more stories to be had in that universe. Right?


I left loose ends. And a plot bunny named Kaspin came hopping out of my subconscious and said “Where’s my book?” So I plotted out his book. And… it had no title. None. And I told myself that I wasn’t starting until I knew what it was called.

The other day, I was walking upstairs to my office, and I SWEAR TO BOB I walked into the title. Seriously, it felt like something hit me in the middle of the chest and there was the title…

Balance of Power
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 7

1156 / 90000 (1.28%)

I started work on Balance the day after I finished Broken Feathers. There may be something more to that story, too, and I may go back to visit my ravens at some point. But for now, they’re done.

Will they stay done? Hrm…answer hazy. Ask again later.

I’m also working on The Sea Prince, going back and forth with the person with whom I originally started the novel a whole bunch of years ago. We’ve both grown quite a bit as writers since we started this manuscript, so there’s been a lot of bringing things in line with what we know now. And it’s been interesting in that we both write very differently now, so we have to learn how to write together again. LOTS of chat in Discord, lots of “Why did they do that? Where is their head at?” Which… I usually don’t think of these things until the characters tell me, so it’s been interesting. I’ll get a wordcount update on it once we finalize the rewrites on the existing chapters. Then I’ll get started on drafting and we’ll be off!

I wrote a little last week on the upcoming Cavalcade of Authors promotion, which will run August 4th through the 6th.

This is turning out to be a MASSIVE giveaway, and it’s only for one weekend, so click on the graphic to sign up for notification when it goes live. There will also be a couple of Facebook takeovers, so watch my social media for more information on those.

We’re officially three weeks until the first day of school. The first day of senior year. Eek! My son took his senior pictures on Saturday (who is this grownup who was just in kindergarten???), and today was a college tour (a 2 mile hike in 95 degree heat… stick a fork in me…)

I know time goes fast, but it needs to slow down just a little. Just… just give me a second to catch up!

Catch you all next week!

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Adavar, Balance of Power, children, Heir to the Firstborn, promotions, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, writing-mom, Written in Water, 0 comments

I Like Big Books…

This is the theme of a big promotion that I and a bunch of other authors will be participating in the first weekend of August. 200 books in a variety of genres, and I’m not even sure anymore how many authors.

If you’re interested in getting in on this giveaway, click the graphic and it will take you to signup page. My book in the lot is Written in Water.

The second graphic just makes me giggle. I love this theme.

Written in Water is also going to be free in the Brave New Worlds promotion in August. The page for that is not live yet — I’ll share it once we get closer to the date.

The final Written in Water news is something I keep forgetting to post. Written in Water is one of the three hundred books included in the 9th annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, a contest created to increase visibility for self-published fantasy. No news on anything yet, but we’ll see

I’m realizing as I get closer to the end of Broken Feathers that there might be another book in there. I need to let it percolate, but now there’s now a plot bunny hopping around my subconscious mind. But Broken Feathers will be done… maybe this week? If they cooperate? Then I’ll make some notes for this other book, and put my attention fully onto the reread and revamp of The Sea Prince with my original coauthor.

Yes, coauthor.

The Sea Prince and another project were originally written with my friend Danielle, who started WAY back in the misty vastness of time with me in The Night Court. (that play-by-email role playing game I’ve mentioned?) She had an attack of life, and I shelved the projects. I reached out to her two weeks ago to ask her how I should proceed with The Sea Prince, and if she wanted to jump back in. She said yes, so we’ve been going over what I’ve written already, and we’re going to jump into new chapters once school starts. Thank goodness for Google Docs and Discord!

Once school rolls around (one month from today!), I’ll also be turning my attention to the Still-doesn’t-have-a-title Book 7 of Heir to the Firstborn. Something to do with balance…

(No, I’m not taking suggestions.)

And that’s the state of the writer at this stage of the game.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, Boosting the signal, contest, giveaway, Heir to the Firstborn, promotions, summer, The Sea Prince, Written in Water, 0 comments


I’m writing this up on July 3rd, so we’re just past the hinge of the year, heading on toward the end. Time to reflect on what worked for the first half of the year, and plan for the rest of the year…

Yeah, I don’t really do that. It sure sounds good, though.

I do like the concept of the hinge, though. The hinge is where your direction changes. It’s where your potential changes. Things that were previously closed can now be opened. I talk a lot about pranayama breathing — specifically, box breathing or four-sided breathing. That’s where you breathe in for a set count (for beginners, you can start with a four count.) You hold it for four, then breathe out for hour. Hold it for four and repeat. It’s fantastic for helping center and quiet anxiety, and for increasing focus, but the pause at the top of the breath is where potential lies. It’s where tension builds up for the release.

It’s the hinge.

Hinges also factor into storytelling. If you’re writing three-act structure, you have a couple of hinges where your direction changes. But if you’re writing to a climax (stop laughing…), then the hinge is the midpoint and where you start to bring the story home. It’s where the tension releases and you start the slow descent off the mountain to the conclusion. You might have other, smaller hinges along the way — foothills are a thing, after all — but your major momentum is starting to release.

If you don’t like the mountain analogy, you can think roller coasters. I’m not particularly a fan of roller coasters, but it’s fun to watch them.

We’re starting to release toward the end of the year now. Yes, it’s still 90 million degrees out, and tomorrow there will be fireworks, we’re past the hinge of the year. Time to start thinking about bringing it home.

I’ve laid out my kanban board for the next quarter — I’m going to finish Broken Feathers (hopefully this week), and keep on researching for Imaginative Anthropology. I’ll be starting back with The Sea Prince in August, and D, the person with whom I originally wrote the first few chapters, is back on board to finish it! We’re going over the first thirteen chapters now. I have one or two pure business things to work on, and in three months, I’ll revisit and see where we are on the path of bringing 2023 to a close.

Right now? We’re about halfway.

SALES: My entire catalog is on sale at Smashwords for their annual sale, running July 1 through July 31. Because of Draft2Digital acquiring Smashwords, I have two catalog pages (that I’m assured with be merged later this year.) So you can find some of my books here, and the rest here.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, accountability, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Imaginative Anthropology, promotions, summer, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, thinking thinky thoughts, to-dos, Worldbuilding, writer on writing, 0 comments

A World of Blurry Dilation, 2023 edition

(I used this title last year when I had my annual eye doctor appointment)

I had an eye doctor appointment this morning, and they dilated both eyes. This was at 8:30AM. It’s now 2:30PM and I can almost see. Almost.

Days like this tend to put me off my routine, which leaves me feeling off balance. I’m set in my ways, durn it. Exercising at the end of the day feels weird. But there’s not much to be done over it. First thing appointments are necessary when I’m not going to be able to see to drive myself home.

I’ve been working on Broken Feathers over the past week, and it’s been slow because I’ve been distracted. Remember last week, I mentioned going back to look at the old game posts? Over the past week, I went back and took a look at the first novels I wrote. The ones that I trunked because they were took darned much work to revise and my co-author on them didn’t have the spoons to work on them with me. (Same co-author as The Sea Prince, for the record.) I reached out to her and said “I’m thinking of tackling revisions on our boys once I finish The Sea Prince. How do you want me to handle this?”

Her response was “I’m in. When do we start?”

(A couple of you know which manuscripts I’m talking about, and I can hear you squeeing.)

Right now, the plan is to finish The Sea Prince, then get into revising the first two novels (which were one novel, and we split them. We may put them back together again. We’ll see.) So for right now, my work has been putting all the notes into a shared file, so that we can work on it together. And trying to keep myself from going in and rereading what we had because if I do that, I’m going to want to work on that first.

Patience… patience….

I did print out the synopses of the books we hadn’t written yet (or started), so I can start a series bible. Which totally won’t backfire and make me want to work on it now, nopenopenope….


But, first things first. Finish the short story. Really. Finish it. Stop looking at the shiny thing. Leave it. LEAVE IT.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, 2024 plans, accountability, annoying-muse-is-annoying, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Planning, publishing, queue, Revisions, The White Raven, the-end-is-near, upcoming work, 0 comments

Late Monday

It’s later than I usually write my blog, but today has been a day of errands and distractions. I haven’t accomplished much in term of either research or writing today. I suppose this kind of counts as post-novel ennui. Which is okay — I’ve been reading, and basically taking a brain break. Which I don’t think I do nearly enough of. I’m out of the habit, really. Writing a weekly serial on top of writing a series does tend to eat a lot of your free time.

I’m currently reading Babel, by RF Kuang, which is fantastic and the world building features a magic system unlike anything I’ve ever read. HIGHLY recommend this one. But that’s not what had me distracted today. Nope. Today I got into my files and was reading some old game posts from back before I was writing full time. If you’ve been around long enough, you know that I really started writing when I started playing The Night Court, a Play-by-email Role play game based on the Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey. I still have all of those posts (saved from oblivion when Yahoo Groups went away.) Occasionally, I open the program that I had to use to download them and go back through them.

The Night Court was a grand time, and several talented writers honed their skills during the years the game ran. I’m not the only published writer who got their start in Yahoogroups, playing in Jacqueline’s sandbox (and with her blessing. She knew about the game, and her only rule was that we could not play with her characters. So our game was set several hundred years before the books.)

It’s fun to go back, on occasion, and revisit where you started. There was some good stuff in there, and now their find memories and a heaping helping of nostalgia. Back to where it all began.

But really, I need to stop revisiting the old stories and get on to writing Broken Feathers.


Posted by EASchechter in post novel ennui, thinking thinky thoughts, why-the-writing-is-slow, 0 comments

There’s No Place Like Home

Travel is fun, but it’s good to come home.

Yes, I’ve been away. We spent a few days in Charlotte with family, celebrating a high school graduation. Then we headed down to Savannah to look a the Savannah College of Art and Design (which is an impressive school, and their Game Design program is interesting.) Savannah is a gorgeous city that feels locked in the past — driving a car just feels wrong. You should be driving a horse and buggy. Although I doubt there’d be better parking for said horse and buggy. It’s not a driving city. It’s a walking city. And we did — after the tour, we walked over to a place that had excellent reviews for lunch… and which I failed to verify was open on Monday. So we walked to another place… which was also closed. We ended up at Mellow Mushroom, which was very good. And in all the walking, we saw the first synagogue in Georgia, which was started by a congregation of Sephardic Jews that came to Georgia in 1733. I’ve read that their Torah dates to the 15th century, but we didn’t get to see inside, because the Temple was also closed on Monday. We walked through two of Savannah’s Squares — Monterey Square, which is where Casimir Pulaski is buried (they think…) and Chatham Square. We walked past Pulaski Square, which is NOT where Pulaski is buried and I’m confused now. And we wandered through Forsythe Park, and saw the Fragrance Garden for the Blind (*amazing*) and the famous fountain from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

We also walked past the Mercer-Williams house, which is owned by the family of the Jim Williams, the antiques dealer who was accused of murdering his lover inside the house, and whose trial is the subject of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. (From what I understand, that book is NEVER mentioned in the tour of the house.)

There’s a lot more to see in Savannah, and unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see it all. We definitely need to go back and spend more time there.

But first? Sleep. It’s good to be home.

Posted by EASchechter in summer, Writer on the Go!, 0 comments

Wait… it’s Monday Again?

Who let it be Monday again?

Summer is being quiet, which is good. There isn’t much going on in this neck of the woods. I’m working almost entirely on research for Imaginative Anthropology, with some short story work going on around the edges (A White Raven adjacent short story entitled Broken Feathers. It will be the bonus material in the back of Morrigan’s Wrath.) I’m slightly less than halfway into Nebula winner Babel, by RF Kuang, and I am digging it (enough that when my library loan came due, I went and bought a copy instead of renewing the book.) It’s very good. If you like language and linguistics, and are interested in how this might play into a magic system unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, get thee hence and get a copy. And I’m waiting on edits, which will show up in my inbox eventually.

So, I’m really kind of off for the next few weeks. Which… is a little weird? I haven’t been off like this since I started serializing Heir to the Firstborn. My house is clean. I did some gardening. I’m caught up on Tasting History and The Mandalorian, and I might actually watch some of the other programs and movies that I missed because I didn’t have time.

A nice, quiet summer. This is novel.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, Heir to the Firstborn, Imaginative Anthropology, summer, 0 comments

Week One of Vacation… sort of.

Week one sort of because it wasn’t a full week — school was out Thursday. So it’s been about four days of vacation. And in the past week, I’ve finished up all of my planning and all of my worldbuilding. Things are ready to roll in the fall on completing The Sea Prince, and I even finally remembered how I was going to make this thing actually work.

It turned out that I had already done quite a bit of worldbuilding on The Sea Prince, but it was all over the place. Some was in the Scrivener file. Some was on my hard drive. Some was printed out and was in a notebook, and some was in another notebook. So completing the worldbuilding for The Sea Prince was largely compiling all of the existing worldbuilding and seeing what I was missing. Which wasn’t much.

Now it’s time for me to really start working on Imaginative Anthropology, which means that I’ll be reading a lot this summer, and taking notes, and making an outline. I have a very basic one already, but I need to tweak it and maybe move things around. Right now, the idea is to give a intro to cultural anthropology, a second intro to worldbuilding basics, and then bringing them together and making them play nicely. This is the first time I’m trying to put into words how I building the worlds in which I play, so it may end up being very similar to asking a centipede how it coordinates all of those feet…

I’ve filed one of the short stories I was working on in my “Unlikely to Develop” folder. It was a vague idea, and it refused to come together into more than a dozen paragraphs which had no ending. I’ll revisit it at some point in the future and either figure out the problem or let it go back into hibernation. So that leaves one short story to work on over the summer, which will go into Morrigan’s Wrath as bonus material. Working title is Broken Feathers.

And that is the current state of the state I’m in. Mental state, I mean. Physical state… well, I’m in Florida. If you have a vacation you’re planning, plan to vacation anywhere else. Literally ANYWHERE else. Because Florida: It’s not the humidity, it’s the hate.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, accountability, crap-writing-is-crap, Imaginative Anthropology, research is fun, summer, The Sea Prince, 0 comments

Productive Downtime

Productive downtime sounds like a contradiction in terms. Like jumbo shrimp and near miss (if you’re not familiar with George Carlin’s routine on contradictions, go see if you can find it.) It’s a contradiction, but it’s where I am right now. I’m not actively writing, but I’m being very productive.

The synopsis for Book 7 of Heir to the Firstborn is done, and all that needs is a title. I’ve also finished the synopsis for The Silken Courtesan (Iron and Silk, book 2), and am about to start worldbuilding for that series, while thinking about what book 3 might be about. I think that The Iron Virgin (Iron and Silk, book 1) may by my Spring 2024 book, but we’ll see where things lie when I we get closer to the end of Winter 2023.

I’ve also pulled together all of the little bits of worldbuilding that I’ve done on The Sea Prince, and realized that there was more than I thought. It just wasn’t organized. Now it is, and there was very little that needed to be added. So I’m ready to get back into working on the book, and this time I’m going to finish it!

I mean it!


Back to summer stuff. I’m rereading a manuscript that’s completed but unpublished, with an eye toward submitting it to a new imprint that’s opening up for Fantasy Romance. (Bramble Publishing, a Tor imprint.) I attended a webinar with the acquisitions editor this past weekend, and she says that they’ll be reading unagented submissions. I just don’t know when, so I want this ready to go when they announce. And I’ve started a bonus short story to go with Morrigan’s Wrath, because I left some loose ends for a character who needs his HEA, thank you very much.

Once those are all wrapped up, I’ll be spending the rest of the summer reading and outlining Imaginative Anthropology. I have an idea as to format, but I need to see if it’ll actually work the way I’m thinking. I should know by the end of the summer.

And just regular reading. I have a stack as tall as I am of books I’ve been meaning to read. Time to get to it! First on my list? Babel, by R.F. Kuang.

And that’s my plan for the next two months. Productive downtime.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, 2024 plans, Heir to the Firstborn, Imaginative Anthropology, Iron and Silk, post novel ennui, Reading, Revisions, summer, The Iron Virgin, The Sea Prince, The Silken Courtesan, The White Raven, Worldbuilding, 0 comments