Ashes and Light

Home Again, Home Again

And tired to my bones. But so, SO happy! The RWA Retreat in Nashville was amazing! Not just because I finally got to meet AND HUG some of the extraordinary people that I’ve been through Hell and back with, but because of the incredible sense of hope that came out of this past week.

The message of this entire weekend? We are romance writers. We are the RWA, and together, we can move mountains. We are going to come through this. Stronger and better than ever.


And the hotel — WOW! The Gaylord Opryland is amazing. And it’s a really short walk from the hotel to the Grand Old Opry, so like any country music fan? I made pilgrimage. (And I’m not ashamed to say that I was in tears walking up to the building. The sheer weight of history and passion in that structure is overwhelming.) There are too many pictures of the Opry and of the hotel to post here — my server would faint! So you’ll have to go look at my Facebook.  Opry pictures are here, and Hotel pictures are here.

There may be pictures of me from the retreat on someone else’s camera, from the Pen to Paper presentation, or from introducing Sherrilyn McQueen (writing as Sherrilyn Kenyon) on Friday morning.  I haven’t seen any yet. If I do, I’ll share them.

There wasn’t a lot of writing done while I was gone — most of what I did was in a notebook, in and around other things. (I did have some productive time, though. I finished my proofreading of Psionics for Skillskape, and I finished my readthrough of Metropolis and started planning out Tower of Light. That one is still in the squidgy early stages of story — have a vague idea of characters, but not much else. Which is fine, because I have quite a way to go on Heir to the Firstborn.

Heir to the Firstborn: The Crossroads
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

123553 / 150000 (82.37%)


It’s official — Heir to the Firstborn is two books. Heir to the Firstborn: The Crossroads, and Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home.  Which may mean some major revisions in Crossroads. We’ll see what happens once I get it to a point where stopping this one and starting The Way Home feels right.

Now, on the upside, that means that Crossroads should be out in November, in time to be my planned sixth release this year. And it also means I have a little more breathing room in figuring out what will be coming next on Patreon.

Tomorrow is a book birthday — Ashes and Light releases in KU. The paperback is up in Amazon today, and will be up everywhere else tomorrow… I hope. (There was an issue with Draft to Digital putting the paperback up for sale a month and a half early. They fixed it, but let’s see if it goes on sale tomorrow the way it’s supposed to!)


There’s not much else going on. This week is catch up. Next week is vacation, ending with the Vivian Awards, which will be livestreamed! I may be a mess coming itno that, because we will just be back from vacation. We’ll see.

No blog post next week! See you in two weeks, when I will either be a Vivian winner, or will in complete honesty say it was an honor to even final!

Tune in to find out which!

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, 2022 plans, accountability, Ashes and Light, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, new books, promotions, Release date, Swords of Charlemagne, Tower of Light, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Writer on the Go!, writing, 0 comments

On Your Mark…

This week starts the race that will be July. I have just over a week before I leave for the RWA Retreat, and I have THINGS that must get done between now and then.

Things I need to do:

  • Finalize the presentation that I’ll be giving at the retreat.
  • Save presentation to a thumbdrive  and put it in my travel purse.
  • Email the presentation to the office (just in case)
  • Finish the video logs for Unit 11. (These will be DONE before I leave, durn it.)
  • Write the Unit 11 quiz
  • Decide which knitting project I’m taking with me for the Fiber meet-up I’m hosting.
  • Decide which research materials I want to bring (Hrm… Tower of Light or SooperSekrit Edwardian-era project?)
  • Write up a packing list
  • Pull out my suitcase
  • Pick out clothes

And in and around all of that? Working on Heir to the Firstborn, prepping for the Ashes and Light release on the 20th, and maybe going out for dinner (to an actual restaurant – gasp!) for our anniversary right before I leave.

Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

118734 / 150000 (79.16%)

Heir to the Firstborn proceeds nicely, if slowly. I sincerely doubt that the 150,000 word target will stand for another week, which will then lead me to the question of… one book or two.

I know. I KNOW! I said this was going to be one book. But, I also said that about Wings of Air, and look where that got us (hint — 118,734 words into the second book of what was supposed to be one book.) Heir to the Firstborn is going to be massive. And while that doesn’t much matter in serial or as an ebook. In print, that’ll be a problem. Because there are only so many pages you can put into a trade paperback before it falls apart.

So we may very well have Heir to the Firstborn: The Progress and Heir to the Firstborn: <something that has to do with the second half of the book>

(Book one may not be The Progress. I have to decide. Book two will either be The Crossroads or The Way Home. We’ll see.)

But we’ll also get to meet an interesting character in that half of the book. I started writing his scenes already, and I love him to bits. Nope, not telling.

Now, if I do break this into two books, then I will definitely make the November release date that I was worried that I’d miss, because that part of the book is done.  I will need to make new cover art for the second book, those. Not a huge problem there.

I’ll make up my mind about it at the retreat.


Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, 2022 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Ashes and Light, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, cover art, Deadlines Go Whoosh!, deep thoughts, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Planning, publishing, Release date, Swords of Charlemagne, thinking thinky thoughts, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Write Faster!, Writer on the Go!, 0 comments

How to Get an Whole Week into One Day…

First, start with a Monday…

Today has been a very productive day, in all ways but one…

  • Got Teen Boy off on time to his second to last day of finals. (okay, I made sure he was in front of his computer…)
  • Worked out
  • Had a brief training on how to conduct an interview via Zoom — best video settings, that sort of thing.
  • Scheduled three Zoom interviews.
  • Prepped three different sets of questions for those interviews.
  • Reviewed Units 6 and 10 of Pen to Paper for two of those three sets of questions
  • Sent the interviewees out best practices for Zoom interviews.
  • Scheduled a meeting to discuss (REDACTED)
  • Scheduled three doctor appointments
  • Backed up the computer
  • Wrote the weekly blog (hi!)
  • Picked up groceries
  • Did my daily Tarot draw
  • Wrote this blog post

Notice what’s missing?

I haven’t written a durned word for Heir to the Firstborn today!

Good thing I had an exceptional writing week last week!

Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

91772 / 150000 (61.18%)

I wrote out of order last week. There was a scene that needed to be written, even though I’m not there yet — I just needed to get it down before I lost it. Which means that I wrote two chapters and a bit last week. And I’ll hit the pivot point in the chapter I’m just about to start, and the pace is going to pick up dramatically.

I’m wondering how much of the first half of the book is going to get cut when I get to edits. It’s slow. It’s all necessary, but it’s slow. So maybe I can tighten things up.

Or maybe not. I never made any claim to being concise.

I’m also starting to wonder if I’ll actually make the self-imposed deadline of a November release. It’s the end of May, and I’m only halfway done. Heir to the Firstborn might just end up being  my first book of 2022 at this rate. Which isn’t a problem, really. But it means that I missed out on my feat of publishing 6 books in a year that will NEVER EVER HAPPEN AGAIN I MEAN IT!


Tomorrow The Lady and the Sword releases in KU for ebooks. Print should follow along shortly (it’s in review because I forgot to hit publish yesterday.) And I discovered something. The Term of Service for Kindle Unlimited only cover EBOOK distribution. It says nothing about exclusivity of print.

So The Lady and the Sword will go wide in paperback next week (on June 1st).


Preorders for paperbacks of the rest of the series are loading to all major retailers now, and will release when the ebooks release in KU (In July for Ashes and Light, and in September for Table of Stone.)

And that’s about all here. Time for me to run off to my next thing — making dinner.

Then… maybe some words? Maybe?

We’ll see.

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, 2022 plans, accountability, Ashes and Light, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Deadlines Go Whoosh!, forthcoming works, Happy Book Day, Heir to the Firstborn, Release date, Swords of Charlemagne, Table of Stone, The Lady and the Sword, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Write Faster!, Writer on the Go!, writing, 0 comments

A week has five days, right?

And now you’re wondering just what happened, aren’t you? How did I manage to misplace two days?

I got my second COVID vaccination, that’s how. I am now a full member of House Pfizer. For me, that involved a lot of flu-like symptoms and a LOT of sleeping. Which is how I lost two days last week.

Needless to say, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of writing done last week.

Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

57416 / 150000 (38.28%)


But you know what? It’s worth it. It’s totally worth it to be taking that one step closer to being able to go and do and see. Reader events are happening this year, and now, I can be part of them.

(I do want them to hurry up and get the formula together for the 16 and under set. Hopefully before August, so someone might maybe have a high school experience in an actual classroom, thank you. Although getting up at ridiculous in the morning to go to school is overrated, especially for teens who need their sleep! Not to mention Moms who need their sleep…)

Page proofs of Ashes and Light wrapped up this past weekend, so the book is now officially up for presale. I started page proofs on Table of Stone on Saturday, and I may very well have all four books ready to go before The Lady and the Sword goes live in May. That’s… what am I going to do with myself?

(Answer… work on the Spiffy Secret Project, that’s what. Full details coming in… umm… goodness, is THAT the date? Two weeks!!!!)

(Oh crap. Two weeks. Umm…I’ll talk to you all next week. I have work to do!)



Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Ashes and Light, Eek!, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Swords of Charlemagne, to-dos, upcoming books, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Spring? Maybe?

The reason I say maybe is that we have 90 degree weather now, and will be going down to the 40s on Thursday. Whiplash weather means spring, right?

It also means allergies, and mine have been awful. I have complete sympathy for all of you out there who suffer through this season with itchy eyes, scratchy noses, and sounding like a pack-a-day lounge singer. There but for the grace of Loratidine go I.

Allergies make this season fun. When I had my first COVID vaccination, I spent the next three days sniffling and snorfling, and I have no idea if that was a vaccine reaction or allergies. Tomorrow is COVID vaccine, part two, and we’ll see how I feel over the next few days. I’ve heard that the days immediately after shot two are not pleasant. But it’s worth it.

I just don’t plan on getting much work done this week. And of course, it’s a newsletter week, so I’ll be prepping that well ahead of time.

I finished my edits on Table of Stone, and the proof copy is on the way. I’m almost done with the proofreading of Ashes and Light, so that means that Swords of Charlemagne is close enough to done that I can see the end from here. There are preorders up for the other three books and everything!

What the heck — have a cover montage:

In other writing news, Wings of Air released last week, and Heir to the Firstborn is a third of the way done! I think. Maybe. It’s a third of the way to my target words, at least,  and you all know how well I hit targets….

Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

54267 / 150000 (36.18%)
I think I’ll be close this time. We’ll see.
Not much else is happening here, except that I’ve been bitten by a non-fiction bug that requires research and that may turn into a craft article (writing craft. Not fiber craft). We’ll see if that pans out.
Stay safe,  everyne.
Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Ashes and Light, cover art, except-for-when-it-is, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, new books, plot bunnies, Swords of Charlemagne, Table of Stone, upcoming books, upcoming work, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments


Ever had your luck change so fast you get whiplash?

That was me today. Yesterday was a technological mess, to the point that I was ready to throw my laptop away and buy a Mac. I use Libreoffice, a solid, free open source office suite. It does everything that Office does.

Well, almost everything.

In one of the last updates, they managed to break something to the point that saving in .doc or .docx corrupts the files.  They become unreadable. I, of course, discovered this when I attempted to upload Ashes and Light to Draft to Digital for formatting.

Cue much thrashing and flailing, and finally purchasing Office. And then discovered that the corruption was embedded in the formatting — I could not copy the text from the .odt file and paste it into a Word document! It locked Word up solid.  What I ended up doing was copying the text from the .odt to Google Docs, then copying from Google Docs to Word. Which somehow fixed the formatting issue and it worked.

And then I ripped Libreoffice out by the roots.

But tell me again how technology makes your life easier…

Flash forward to this morning. File uploads like a dream, preorder is ready, print proof is ordered, and I go do my morning yoga. When I pick my phone up again, T-Mobile is reminding me that it’s Tuesday, so I should go check out my free stuff and play the giveaway game. I NEVER win the giveaway game, and as I spun the virtual wheel, I muttered, “I never win this. Why do I do it?”

And promptly won a $5 Visa gift card.

Now, the T-Mobile reminder also reminds me that it is Tuesday, which is when my county releases the new block of Covid vaccination appointments. They changed the criteria YESTERDAY, and I’m eligible for vaccination now. So I log into the vaccine portal…

And score an appointment. I get my first shot next Tuesday.

I think I may need to nip out to play the lottery…

Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

36493 / 150000 (24.33%)

Work continues on Heir to the Firstborn, and I’m ramping up for the release of Wings of Air on the 23rd. How, you ask?

A sale!

Starting next Sunday, and running all week (so, from March 7-13th),

Written in Water will be $1.74 (75% off).
Forged in Fire will be $4.49 (50% off)
Bones of Earth will be $6.74 (25% off)

The sale is already set up in Draft to Digital and Smashwords, but I need to set it manually in Amazon.

In addition, there will be a Kindle Countdown deal on Hidden Things, starting March 14th!

Wings of Air will go on sale everywhere on the 23rd.

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, accountability, Ashes and Light, Bones of Earth, Forged in Fire, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Hidden Things, promotions, Release date, Swords of Charlemagne, when technology rebels, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

May we please have some boring now?

It’s been an interesting week, hasn’t it?

Are we all completely fed up with interesting weeks? I know I am. I’d dearly love a solid week where there’s nothing in the news but feel-good stories and kitten videos. Heck, I’d settle for one solid DAY of nothing but feel-good stories and kitten videos!

Now the weather only impacted my week indirectly. Most of my team on the Super Secret RWA project are in areas hard by the weather, which meant that for most of last week, I was the only one with power. Sort of puts the kibosh on group work, but that just meant that I focused more on words.

Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

32677 / 150000 (21.78%)

I’m currently building up to one of those scenes that I’ve been waiting to write for months (there are four or five of those in this book.) And, because I really needed to get those words out so that I could write the other words, I’ve already written the ending. Now I just need to get from here to there.

I also worked on edits for Ashes and Light, and I’m almost done with the page proofs for Wings of Air. I should finish that tomorrow, which means that the final formatted manuscript will be uploaded by Wednesday at the latest, and we’ll be ready to go for March. Once I finish Wings of Air, I’ll start the page proofs on The Lady and the Sword.

Page proofs are usually the last thing that a writer does before the book goes to print. You’re checking layout, making sure the book looks good, and that words didn’t get left out. By this point, the book has usually gone through two or more rounds of edits, so there’s very little to do other than say “Hey, this looks good!”

Unless, of course, you’re me. And you just reread the first three books because why not, and you realize that you made one HUGE continuity mistake right in the middle of book 4.

Umm… oops.

So that was fixed, and I cleaned up all the stray periods that showed up in the middle of the manuscript (did I spill the punctuation bucket? I think I must have, for there to be odd periods in the middle of sentences. Weird.)

Ashes and Light is almost done as well, which means that I’ll be going in and redoing quite a lot of Table of Stone. The editor who read through the series to check my continuity pointed out a lot of problems with that manuscript, and since I have that one on the table as coming out in September, I have time to fix them all. (Depending on how Heir to the Firstborn goes, I might even be able to push Table back to November. We’ll see — I’ve been saying since I set the publishing schedule for 2021 that the last two books might switch places, depending on how things fall out.)

Not much else is happening here. I’m waiting (sort of impatiently) for the state of Florida to open up vaccinations to the 1C group. I’m hoping it will be before the summer — I want to be fully vaccinated before I have to to to Nashville for RWA Nationals. Until then… I’ll just keep on writing.

Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, accountability, Ashes and Light, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, I really want some dull, Swords of Charlemagne, Table of Stone, The Lady and the Sword, upcoming books, upcoming work, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

A Day Off? What’s That?

Why are days off so much more busy than the days when I’m scheduled? Answer? Because I try to cram everything I can’t get done on the days when I’m working into the days when I’m nominally not working. Because the truth of the matter is that I’m never not working. I’m a mom, and an independent business woman, and I run a household. I’m never not doing something, and I’m not sure I know how to sit and do nothing. Even when I do yoga, my mind never shuts off. Today’s post is much later than I usually post, because today I got up, exercised, ate something, went to Trader Joe’s (and encountered my first maskhole being escorted from the premises for refusing to wear his mask properly), came home, showered, had lunch, had a conference call, had another conference call, made dinner, redid two covers (The Lady and the Sword and Wings of Air) because page proofs arrived and showed that I screwed something up on BOTH covers, and now I’m writing this post. I might get more proofreading done on Wings of Air before bed, but I still have edits to do on Ashes and Light, and I haven’t written a word on Heir to the Firstborn. There are some social media things I need to do for an RWA chapter, and those won’t be getting done until tomorrow, and I’m putting off some things for the Super SEECRIT Spiffy RWA project until tomorrow, too. Hrm… no wonder I’m tired. Heir to the Firstborn is progressing.
Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)
28828 / 150000 (19.22%)
I wrote a scene the other day and posted it to my Facebook, and it’s a nice example of how a scene really does change between the time it flows from my fingers and the time the reader gets it. The initial scene, as written, was this:

Othi’s jaw dropped. He looked at Owyn, then shook his head. “I… I don’t think I’ve heard you swear like that. You didn’t, when we were out in the deep. Or did you, and I just missed it?”

“Probably missed it,” Alanar said. “Owyn is very sweary.” He smiled fondly at Owyn. “One of these days, love, I should wash your mouth out with soap.”

“You and what army?” Owyn growled.

Alanar laughed and turned toward him.“If I get you in the right position, you’ll ask me for the soap,” he purred, and Owyn turned pink.

“Enough of that,” Aria said. “We have to leave, and we cannot wait for the pair of you to crawl back into bed.”

Alanar straightened and turned to face her. He smiled. “Oh, I wouldn’t be the one crawling.”

It’s a good scene. But that last line bothered me. It was out of character for Alanar. It was right… but why did he say that? So I let it percolate, and the finished scene still includes this exchange, but it’s very different from the original. And I’m not showing it to you because spoilers. You have to wait for Heir to the Firstborn. Today, for the first time, I started thinking about what will come next. Once I’ve finished publishing Swords of Charlemagne and Heir to the Firstborn, what’s next year going to hold? There are the plans to republish the Rebel Mage books, and I’ll need to design new covers for those, but what new fiction is coming? I’m honestly not sure yet. The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir is over with Circlet, as is Blood Bound, Sapphires and Gold, and Bonds of Blood and Steel.  I don’t have any information on where those are in the process, so not data on them. The Chronicles of John Zebedee are off with the publisher putting together the box set, and those should be out in 2022. I need to write the second White Raven book, and I need plan out the rest of the Flesh and Blood series.  I think the series plan may be what I focus on once the edits are done for Swords of Charlemagne, while I’m finishing Heir to the Firstborn. As for the Patreon, once Heir is finally wrapped, I may try to resurrect The Willow Sword, and do that one next. Too many things. Not enough hours to do them.
Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, 2022 plans, accountability, Ashes and Light, BDSM Vampires, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Blood and Steel, Blood Bound, Flesh and Blood, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, new books, Patreon, Planning, progress, publishing, Rebel Mage, Sapphires and Gold, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, upcoming books, upcoming work, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, writing, 0 comments

Curiouser and Curiouser

The other day, my husband pointed out to me that when he came to my website on his phone, it still showed John Zebedee as the Work in Progress. Which is odd. Since I’m updating the website today, I took a look at it.

And discovered that according to my phone, my website hasn’t been updated since December. It’s not showing any recent blog posts or anything. Now I need to troubleshoot. WHEE!!!

Something got borked in an update, I guess. Now to find it and fix it.

Which was easier than I thought it would be. Fixed now! A plugin was broken.

Right, now that I’ve accomplished something on a Monday, I can go back to bed. Right?

Well, it was worth a shot.


Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)

23201 / 150000 (15.47%)

Work continues apace on Heir to the Firstborn, and edits are ongoing for Ashes and Light, which is Swords of Charlemagne, book 3.

Wait, what happened to book 2? Where’s The Lady and The Sword?

Right here:

Preorders are now available, and the book will release in May. I think this is my favorite of the covers. I think.

Preorders are also up for Wings of Air, and that one releases NEXT MONTH!

Wings will be available wide from day one, so you can get it at Amazon, Eden Books, Smashwords, or any other bookstore of your choosing.

What else is going on. Not too much — we’re still lying low. I’m signed up for vaccination, and hopefully I’ll have the chance for one before Nationals in July. Working on words, working on edits, working on super spiffy RWA project that you’ll hear about REAL SOON NOW! (I really can’t wait to tell you all about this. It’s going to be so amazingly awesome and I can’t wait!)

But, until it goes public, I can’t say anything. So we’ll all have to be patient.






Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Ashes and Light, except-for-when-it-is, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, presales, Release date, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, when technology rebels, Wings of Air, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Work in Progress: Bones of Earth

Bones of Earth
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 3

69859 / 95000 (73.54%)


Not gonna lie. I like those numbers. It was a good writing week. Best I’ve had since the year started, I think. Also a good editing week — I’ve finished edits on The Lady and the Sword, and tomorrow I’ll start on Ashes and Light.  Once I’m done with my reread of Swords of Charlemagne, then I’m hiring an editor to go over all four books at once and make sure that everything is seamless. Then…

Well, we’ll see what happens then when then happens.

For now, I’m focusing on recreational anarchy, various shenanigans, and writing Bones of Earth. Oh, and cooking. I spent most of my morning making Mexican Vegetable Soup (a recipe from WW, and VERY tasty! Also zero points on Purple!) and Mom’s Sunday Gravy.

You do know from Sunday Gravy, don’t you?

Other people might call it Marinara (or, if you threw meat into it, Bolognese). Or red sauce. But in my house, it was gravy. Usually made on Sunday. Therefore, Sunday Gravy. When Mom or Grandma made it, it was an all day thing — you started it first thing in the morning, and it cooked very low on the back of the stove until it was time for dinner.

It takes me two and a half hours, because I cheat. I don’t cook it in a pot on the back of the stove. I use an enameled cast iron cauldron, and I put it in the oven. Even heat makes for even cooking and caramelization of the sugars in the tomatoes — there is NO ADDED SUGAR in my gravy! (if you have to add sugar, you didn’t cook it long enough.)

Once it’s cool (it just came out of the oven), I’ll separate it into two-cup containers, and freeze it.  One batch lasts us six to eight weeks, depending on how it cooks down.  This batch will probably last us a four to five weeks, because some of it will go into lasagna this weekend.

If people are interested, I can post the recipe. But you have to let me know you’re interested!


Posted by EASchechter in accountability, Ashes and Light, Bones of Earth, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Swords of Charlemagne, The Lady and the Sword, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments