Best planned lays


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

The Space Where Fandom and Academia Collide…

That space is the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA), an annual conference put on by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. I’ve been attending since their first October conference in 2021, and it is seriously where academia and fandom collide. Four days of panels and readings and talking and networking and realizing you’re sitting right across from a writing LEGEND and trying not to die (okay, maybe that one is just me…)

I started going to conventions at 16, and I started with Lunacon, which was the New York regional convention. And I remember panels where experts spoke at length about different aspects of fandom and meaning and symbolism, and the panels at ICFA remind me of being at that sort of convention. I’m not sure how many of those are left — the old regionals seem to be passing to younger hands, and becoming more media focused. Which just shows that I’m part of the graying of fandom, I suppose.

No, I am not shaking my fist at clouds.

I was nominally supposed to also be on a writing retreat while at ICFA. Ah… that did not go as planned.

The White Raven: Morrigan’s Wrath
(The White Raven duology, Book 2)

54813 / 90000 (60.90%)

I didn’t get nearly as much writing done as I’d have liked. Which means it’s time to turn up the daily wordcount target if I intend to have this done by the end of the school year.

And since I’ve been playing catch-up all day, that means I need to get started on daily words. Here’s hoping for many more words this week!

Posted by EASchechter, 0 comments

Mondayist Monday that ever Mondayed

Today started with the disappointing news that, because of reasons beyond anyone’s control, production on the Hidden Things audiobook has to be canceled, and the contract dissolved. It’s not anyone’s fault, and everyone is very disappointed.  Back to square one, I suppose. Although I think I’m going to have a hard time picking a new narrator — Mark’s voices were just so absolutely perfect.

Mark and I are hoping that we will be able to work together again in the future. So here’s to that hope, — maybe with Heir to the Firstborn or The Sea Prince. We’ll see what happens once those two are done.

Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 6)

131341 / 170000 (77.26%)

The Sea Prince
(The Coral Throne, book 1)

31308 / 120000 (26.09%)

I may be putting The Sea Prince to the side for the next month — school is out one month from today, and I really want to have The Way Home complete by then. Or I can use it as a carrot — if I get my words in for The Way Home, I’ll get to go make some words for The Sea Prince. We’ll see which works better.

So… for now, I’m going to keep working on The Way Home, getting that finished so that edits can start and we can get the series wrapped up for a November release. I’ll revisit the Hidden Things audio in the fall, once there’s some distance and I’m not hearing the voices that we set up already. I was planning on working on some non-fiction for the summer anyway, so I may just take a total fiction break and pick up The Sea Prince in the fall, too. I think I might need a break. We’ll see.


Posted by EASchechter in 2022 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, audiobooks, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Deadlines Go Whoosh!, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Hidden Things, post novel ennui, publishing, Swords of Charlemagne, The Sea Prince, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, 1 comment

C is for Cookie. That’s Good Enough for Me!

Cookiepocalypse 2021 is done, and because my website is being a bit strange today (to go with everything else!) I can’t load the pictures to show you. But I can link to the Instagram hashtag, so you can see all the cookies in their carby goodness!

Writing also happened last week, in and around cookies. I’m now just about at the halfway mark for Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home, and it’s coming along nicely.

Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 6)

72587 / 150000 (48.39%)

Tomorrow is the day that Table of Stone goes wide — it’s out of KU already, but I give it a day to make sure that Amazon doesn’t get grumpy at me because I had the temerity to put something that’s coming out of KY up before they release it. Not all the bookstores are up in that link yet, but the book will be in ALL the bookstores. Which reminds me — I need to add it to Eden Books.

And it’s either a good thing or a bad thing that there were so many cookies in the house, because last week, in the midst of baking, I made the very difficult decision to walk away from the Romance Writers of America.

No, I’m not talking about it. I’m still processing. I probably will be for a while. But I know that the work I started will go on — I’ve passed all my notes, and all my contacts on, and I’ll be sitting down with my replacement tomorrow. The Romance Education Initiative will go on, so there’s some comfort in that.

But 2022 is going to be an interesting year.

I may not blog next week. We’ll see. If I don’t, then I wish you all the happiest of New Years.


Posted by EASchechter in 2022 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Cookiepocalypse, Happy Holidays!, Happy New Year, Heir to the Firstborn, Release date, sadness, Swords of Charlemagne, Table of Stone, Updatey things, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

New Beginnings Lead to New Endings.

This is it. I’m starting the last book in the Heir to the Firstborn series this week. I finished my first read-through of Heir to the Firstborn: The Crossroads (and discovered a couple of places where a Scrivener crash led to changes that I made not making it to the final document! Eek!) The manuscript is now in the hands of Darling Editor, and I’m starting Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home either later today or tomorrow.

It’s a little weird. I’ve been writing this series now for three years, posting it on Patreon one chapter at a time. It’ll probably be four years of writing by the time it wraps.

And then what?

Well, I’ll have six books and a short story to show for it. Two award nominations and one win. I’ve learned a lot. Grown a lot, both as a person and as a writer. Have I changed so much? Not sure, but I’m in the inside. I don’t know if I’d see it.

So where do I go from here?

Might be a little premature to ask that question. I haven’t written the book yet! But once it’s done, and in edits, then I get to decide what I want to do next. Do I keep the Patreon? What do I put there once Heir to the Firstborn is done? I have a couple of options there, I think. At least three projects that would lend themselves to the New Adult model I’ve already established on Patreon (If you’re keeping score, those possible projects are The Willow Sword, The Iron Virgin, and The Mentalist’s Cat.)

Things are currently in a holding pattern with other writing. The things that are out in slush piles remain in slush piles, and I’m waiting… which, in the traditional publishing model, is a lot of what you do. You write… and you wait.

That’s what I do. I write, and wait for things.

(I might need to put that on a shirt…)

The things I’m waiting for?

    • The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir
    • The Ice Raven
    • John Zebedee and the Heir to the Elvenlands
    • John Zebedee and the Monstrous Town
    • John Zebedee Meets the Witch Queen of the Elvenlands
    • Blood Bound (Flesh and Blood, book 1)
    • Bonds of Blood and Steel 

And that’s not even counting Sapphires and Gold, which has been under contract for a while, but things happened and more things got delayed.

Meanwhile, I keep writing. Because that’s what I do.

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, 2022 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, except-for-when-it-is, Heir to the Firstborn, Patreon, Planning, progress, publishing, submission tracking, The Iron Virgin, The Mentalist's Cat, The Willow Sword, the-end-is-near, upcoming books, upcoming work, Updatey things, Waiting-for-the-other-shoe, writer on writing, 2 comments

Down Time and Catching Up.

I’m taking a week or two to rest my brain before launching into Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home. I actually haven’t even started on the edits for Crossroads yet — I figured I’d work on them at the table at Necronomicon, and shoot to have them done by mid-October. Which means that the on sale date for Crossroads will probably be December. Once I have that set, I’ll announce it.

I realized just now that I’ve been sitting on the cover for Crossroads, too.

Choices must be made. But choices have consequences.

Part of my brain break has been laying the groundwork for what I’ll be doing after I finish The Way Home (or while I’m working on it, depending on things.) I’ve written a synopsis for Blood Brothers (Flesh and Blood book 2), The Iron Virgin (that Pirate and Princess thing), and I’m working on the synopsis for Tower of Light (the gay steampunk retelling of Metropolis that I was challenged to write years ago by one of the best editors I ever had). I’m hoping to get the rest of the Flesh and Blood synopses done before Necro, but Tower of Light is going slowly — I’m having to be very conscious of matching the beats of Metropolis. So I may save Tower of Light to actually write until I have nothing else going on.

Stop laughing.

I’m also still working on RWA things. Pen to Paper is running, and my team is working on incorporating our development tester feedback into upcoming units. I’m tech support on call for our participants, and having a great time with that. I’m also working on another couple of projects that are still in the warm Jell-O stages, and won’t be solidified until after our first Board meeting, which will be… soon? Ish? I don’t have a date for that yet. So there is a lot in flux in that area.

Coming up on the end of third quarter also means starting to look at what I’ll be doing and publishing in 2022. Right now, I know for certain that I’ll be wrapping up Heir to the Firstborn, releasing a box set of the Swords of Charlemagne books (February 1st, 2022!), and I will be rereleasing the Rebel Mage books — I have all new covers for them. I haven’t set up a schedule yet for most things yet, but I will next quarter. I need to decide if I will be doing a box set for the Heir to the Firstborn books, but I’m not going to decide on that until I finish The Way Home. If I do put one out, it will be late 2022.  That’s the publishing that I have control over. I’m waiting to hear what’s happening with John Zebedee (it appears that the project may have been pushed back, but no official word yet), and with the myriad of things over with Riverdale Avenue Books.

And that’s about it for this week. Back to work!



Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, 2022 plans, accountability, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Flesh and Blood, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Necronomicon, Planning, presales, publishing, queue, Rebel Mage, Self-publishing, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, The Iron Virgin, to-dos, Tower of Light, upcoming books, upcoming work, Worldbuilding, 0 comments

Best Laid Plans…

So I was planning on having a finished book before I left for Orlando Reads Books…

Yeah, that didn’t happen.


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


124023 / 130000

I’m closer to a finished book. But I’ve got a chapter or two before I can say Crossroads is done.

I said last week I was keeping an eye on my events for later this year? I have one fewer on which to keep an eye. Books at the Beach is still happening, but I have decided that I will not be going. I learned something this past weekend at ORB — doing a large event alone is something of which I am no longer capable. Not with the amount of STUFF that needs to be transported and set up. And the timing of Books at the Beach would require me to go alone. So I talked to the showrunners, cancelled my spot and my hotel, and announced to the attendees.

(If the show does end up being postponed because of Covid? Then my spot will carry over to the postponement dates. Which means I might have to make another decision down the line, but I’m okay with that.)

So my plans for this week? Finish this book, figure out my show layout and what I need to do for Necronomicon in September, and find a place to put all the things because it makes no sense to put them AWAY when I just need them out again in a few weeks.

ORB was a lot of fun, as usual. I do enjoy this event. They have the best parties, too. This year’s theme was Midsummer Night Faire, so we dressed for the occasion.

Teen boy declined to be involved in the picture. He attended as that most fantastical of creatures — the teenage boy who actually wants to hang out with his parents.

Yes, he heard me say that

And in other news, this lovely thing arrived while I was at ORB.

I need to get a frame for that.

Catch you all next week, with a hopefully finished manuscript!

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, accountability, appearances, award-winning, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, conventions, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Necronomicon, Orlando Reads Books, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Writer on the Go!, writing, 0 comments

Well, THAT was Fun…

I just had to brute force my way into my own WordPress site. That was more interesting than a Monday should be.

Apparently, something is broken in the newest update, and WP support is telling everyone to disable their plugins (didn’t work), change to the default theme (also didn’t work), and make sure that they are using their most updated browsers (also also didn’t work.)

What did work? Rolling WordPress back to the last version. But it took me nearly an hour to find the support forum that SAID that was the only thing that worked. I’m in now, and updating everything. Once I’m done, I’ll let WordPress update again and we’ll see if they fix things before next week.

Monday needs to not try so hard.

I’m in the home stretch with Heir to the Firstborn: The Crossroads! My goal is to have it DONE by Thursday, so I can take the pages with me to Orlando Reads Books.

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

120119 / 130000 (92.40%)

In other Heir to the Firstborn news, the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of the RWA announced the winners of the Prism awards on Saturday night, and I’m pleased to announce that Bones of Earth came in third in the Fantasy category. (The book that came in second also won Best New Book, which is impressive!) So, for this series, that’s high ranking placement in two major awards. Not bad!

Not much else — I’m keeping an eye on the events for later this year. One of the other Florida writers conferences cancelled just this morning, so we’ll see if the other in-person events I have planned this year actually happen.

I’m not fond of this whole “Wait and see” approach to life. I happen to like making plans!

And speaking of making plans, I have a meeting in a few minutes, so I need to wrap this up. Here’s hoping I see some of you at ORB!

Posted by EASchechter in 2021 plans, accountability, award-winning, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Bones of Earth, Heir to the Firstborn, Orlando Reads Books, upcoming books, upcoming work, when technology rebels, WIP, wordcount, 0 comments

Trying to Fit One Week into Two Days

What? Liz, why are you trying to fit a week into two days?

Because on Wednesday, at an ungodly hour of the morning, I leave for the RWA Summer Retreat in Nashville. So before I leave, I have to get all the other things done that are usually done in a week. And pack. And finish up things for the retreat. And… probably something I’m forgetting. There’s always something I’m forgetting.

So there’s not going to be a lot of writing done, at least not today and tomorrow. There’s a dedicated Writers Room at the Retreat, so I’ll get some work done there.


Heir to the Firstborn
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 5)
122957 / 150000 (81.97%)

And… I have come to a decision. See that total number there? And the percentage?

Yeah, Heir to the Firstborn isn’t going to be one book. It’s two. (Which, yes, I know. I said that with Wings of Air.) There’s still a lot of story left. This isn’t an issue with the serial — it’ll take as long as it takes to finish. But when I go to make print books? There’s a limit to how large a print book can be before it self-destructs under it’s own weight.

So, we’re looking at two books. Right now, I’m calling them Heir to the Firstborn: The Crossroads, and Heir to the Firstborn: The Way Home.

On the upside? This means that there will indeed be a November release, because Crossroads is almost done!

Today has been more than a little “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, because my brain is going in fifteen directions at once.

For example — I got a new fitness tracker today. I have screen protectors for it, so I left this post unfinished to that I could go into the bedroom to get the package. While looking for the package, I realized that when I’d packed this morning, I’d forgotten to pack jewelry. So I went through and picked out some things, including a pair of statement earrings that I haven’t worn in ages. Packed them away and went to put them in my carry-on. Realized I’d forgotten something else, and went back to the bedroom for it. Found the package of screen protectors and took those out to the kitchen. Realized what time it was and that I had to start dinner.

Nearly four hours later, I’m back at the computer to finish the blog post.

In other news this week, I’ve gone and done something I should have done years ago.

I now have my own logo. And it’s GORGEOUS!!!

I mean, seriously. Isn’t that pretty?

New business cards and other marketing paraphernalia have been ordered, and I’m working on figuring out what new swag I’ll be getting for Orlando Reads Books in August. I don’t want to get something cheap, or… well, ordinary. Remember, I’m the one who brought naughty dice to my first RWA National convention. I need something different.

Hrm… I had an idea….

See you when I get back from Nashville!

Posted by EASchechter in 2020 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, accountability, appearances, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, conventions, edits, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Orlando Reads Books, Swords of Charlemagne, Ta-da, to-dos, why-the-writing-is-slow, WIP, wordcount, Writer on the Go!, 0 comments