The Iron Virgin

At Loose Ends

At Loose Ends

Finished. The Sea Prince is FINISHED. After 15 years, and I’m not even sure how many starts, stops, revisions, rewrites and just throwing the manuscript under the virtual bed because this thing is broken, The Sea Prince is finished. Which means… I’m at loose ends until Morrigan’s Heir edits come in.

Now, being at loose ends doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. I’m figuring out where The Coral Throne is going to go, and deciding if this is going to be duology, or if I really want to tackle The Mancer Regent (answer to be determined during the writing of The Coral Throne, I think?) I’ve started the worldbuilding for Frog and Fae are Friends (I love this placeholder title, but at some point, I should name this baby.) I’ve finished one book for research for Children of the Swords, and I’ve got another sitting next to me ready to go, and I’ve been noodling with a synopsis for The Seer, which is book one of Children of the Swords. And I’m prepping for ICFA, which includes sewing a dress.

So… yeah, at loose ends doesn’t mean the same thing for me as it might for someone else. I’ve never been very good at downtime. Although I’m trying! I’ve been reading more, and I finally started playing a Switch game that my son gave me for a present. (Granted, I’ve had it for a few years now. But I started it! That counts for downtime!)

So, when will you see The Sea Prince? I’m not sure yet. I won’t be looking at it again until mid-June at the earliest. Then edits and revisions will happen. And then…I don’t know if I’ll be shopping it around, or if I’ll be taking it to Vella, or if I’ll just go ahead and publish. I do know that it won’t be a Patreon project — my Patreon is current unpublished because there’s nothing going on there, and this is a complete manuscript, so it doesn’t fit my serial stunt writing model for Patreon. The next Patreon project will probably be Frog and Fae, to be honest. I just need to get the worldbuilding a little more clear in my head before I start the story up. Again, probably not until mid-June. also in mid-June, I’ll be making the call on what my fall project will be — my plan for 2024 says either Tales from the Arena: Dead Man’s Hand or The Iron Virgin. I’m thinking it will probably be The Iron Virgin, since I’ll be going from one adventure on the high seas to another, but I haven’t yet started the research for that project, so maybe not? (What research? The society will largely be based on Venice and Venetian traders, and I haven’t done any reading on that yet. I have the books, but osmosis doesn’t work with worldbuilding.) However, if Blood Bound gets picked up before then, then I’ll be starting on Blood Brothers.

Who knows? By mid-June, something entirely new may have shown up. Flexibility is key, after all.

Works in Progress

The Sea Prince
(The Coral Throne, Book 1)

100187 / 100000 (100.19%)

Giveaways!

For the month of March, you can download a copy of my dark fantasy romance Counsel of the Wicked FREE through the On Fire Romance promotion. (Content warning — this book is the darkest thing that I have ever written, and includes on the page explicit sexual violence. Go carefully.)

Image of a flame. Text reads "On Fire. Free Spicy Romance Ebooks. March 1-31"

Sales!

The Smashwords Read an Ebook sale is this week, and all of my books are on sale! Now, given that Draft2Digital still hasn’t finished merging legacy Smashwords accounts, I have two links for you.

You can find the first six Heir to the Firstborn books and the collected Swords of Charlemagne here.
You can find book seven of Heir to the Firstborn and the rest of my books here.

Cartoon image of a female presenting figure with long hair, reading a book. Text reads "Smashwords. Your Ebook, Your Way. Read and Ebook Week. Smashwords.com/shelves/promos"
Posted by EASchechter in 2024 plans, accountability, BDSM Vampires, Blood Bound, Children of the Sword, Content warnings, Counsel of the Wicked, Frog and Fae, ICFA, promotions, Tales from the Arena, The Iron Virgin, The Sea Prince, thirty, WIP, wordcount, Worldbuilding, 0 comments

Keep It Simple

Otherwise known as the KISS Principle — Keep It Simple, Stupid (or whatever other s-word you want to have there. This is how I learned it). It governs a lot of forward facing properties from set design to costume design to websites. And translated into Liz Speak today, it means that I personally should not have two locations on my website to update the same information, because I will invariably forget that one of them exists.

Brought to you by the fact that I just remembered I had an Appearances page on this website, which hadn’t been updated since early 2021.

Oops?

It’s fixed now, and the Appearances widget has also been updated. I’m finished with appearances for this year, but there are two on the calendar for 2024 so far, and I’m waiting for more info on a couple of others.

Work is continuing, and I’m still waiting for edits on Morrigan’s Heir. My editor says that they are minimal, however, I don’t know how he defines minimal. Here’s hoping the turnaround will go quickly because this book was advertised for 2023, and I don’t want to let anyone down who was waiting. Once edits on Morrigan’s Heir are finished, I’ll go through Morrigan’s Wrath and make sure everything is consistent, and then send that in.

I’m hoping to have Balance of Power done by the end of the year. I just started chapter 14, and I’m starting to think this will be a shorter book than the others. My projection said 90K words, but I think it’s going to be closer to 65 – 70K. We shall see. And once that’s done, then I’ll go back to The Sea Prince and get that finished. Yes. Finished. This time I MEAN it.

And then? Well, I’m going to start the research for Iron and Silk, because my Pirate Princess is yelling at me. But is she yelling louder than Teren, the Three Day Emperor from Tales from the Arena, who finally told me his story and is just waiting for me to get it on the page? Or maybe, just maybe, I might pull out the bones of The Willow Sword and write that one — it’s started, but something wasn’t right with it, and I think it’s just that I’m not meant to write YA, and this needs to be aged up. Again, we shall see.

I do know that I’m going back to working on one writing project at a time. One in research, one actively writing, one in edits. I don’t seem to be able to balance two writing projects at a time anymore. I think I burned out that portion of my writing brain. But that’s okay. I’m still getting words on the page, and there are still so many books to write.

Works in Progress

Balance of Power
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 7

43409 / 90000 (48.23%)

The Sea Prince
The Coral Throne, Book 1

63623 / 120000 (53.02%)

Promotions!

My no longer final promo for the year is THIS FRIDAY, hosted by Stephanie Freeman. You can find more information and sign up here. For that event, you can grab free copies of The Chronicles of John Zebedee!

I’ve also decided to do that First in Series Friday for Black Friday, marking down Written in Water, Hidden Things, Counsel of the Wicked, and The Chronicles of John Zebedee. So keep an eye out for that information — I need to make graphics for it and get some ads set up.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, 2024 plans, accountability, annoying-muse-is-annoying, Balance of Power, Cavalcade of Authors, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, Hidden Things, Iron and Silk, John Zebedee, progress, promotions, Rebel Mage, Tales from the Arena, The Iron Virgin, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, The Willow Sword, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Worldbuilding, writing, Written in Water, 0 comments

Tenth Anniversary!

I have to lead with this gorgeous thing — the tenth anniversary cover for House of Sable Locks

Isn’t he LOVELY???

This went live sometime over the weekend, and I missed it until this morning, when I received a spam email from a book promoter about my “new book” House of Sable Locks.

That’s very much William… which is funny because that particular model is also on the cover of Infernal Machine! Clearly, the art director and I have similar tastes in steampunk cover models.

The tenth anniversary cover is still going out to all the booksellers and isn’t yet up everywhere. If you want one now, you can get it directly from the publisher.

In other news, I got the news this week that Written in Water was cut from SPFBO, and will not be continuing on in the contest. The reviewer was incredibly positive about the book, and loved the series as well. Really, I can’t complain — the entire experience has been amazing from start to finish. You can read the review here.

In and around working on The Sea Prince and Balance of Power, I’m planning out what the next book will be. Part of that depends on one thing that is out of my control — which books that are out for consideration sell. If I don’t have an answer for that by the time I finish with either of the two books I’m working on now, then I think the next thing I will write will be either The Iron Virgin (aka Pirate Princess), or Tower of Light (aka gay steampunk retelling of Metropolis). I’m not sure which, because it all depends on which one yells at me the loudest.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this whole full-time writer thing over ten years now. What a trip this has been! I have to say, it’s not getting old — I love every minute of it!

Works in Progress

The Sea Prince
(The Coral Throne, Book 1)

63523 / 120000 (52.94%)

Balance of Power
(Heir to the Firstborn, book 7)

34357 / 90000 (38.17%)

Promotions!

A new Cavalcade of Authors promo is coming this week, from October 13th through the 15th. Again, 200 books or more free for download. For this one, I’ve put both Written in Water AND Forged in Fire into the pot.

There’s also a single day event on October 27th, hosted by Stephanie Freeman. You can find more information on that and sign up here. For that event, you can grab free copies of The Chronicles of John Zebedee!

Posted by EASchechter in 2024 plans, a-writers-life-is-never-dull, Balance of Power, cover art, Forged in Fire, Iron and Silk, John Zebedee, kvelling, promotions, publishing, reviews, Sable Locks, The Iron Virgin, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, Tower of Light, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 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!

Really!

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

Thirty. Finished. The End

Well, I guess that clears up any question about the topic for this week’s blog, hm?

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

106550 / 106000 (100.52%)

I finished the draft a week ago, after writing over three thousand words in a single day. (That’s a lot for me. But I was SOCLOSE to being done!) and it occurs to me that I wrote last week’s blog post AFTER finishing the book! So this is not news, unless you missed last week’s post because I was so late in posting it.

The manuscript is now printed off, along with the editing notes that I made for The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir, and I have put them aside to wait for the edits to come in on Morrigan’s Heir. Once I have those, I’ll make my changes to Heir, then start my personal edits on Wrath. Once I’m sure both books agree with each other, then they’ll both go back to my editor. But I am now done for the summer.

Sort of.

I’ve spent the past week planning out the first two books in a new series tentatively called Iron and Silk (to be honest, the synopsis for the first book was already written — it’s that Pirate and Princess thing that came out of my trip to Nashville.) Book one is The Iron Virgin. Book two is The Silken Courtesan, which I just finished planning out today. This might be a trilogy, and book three is tentatively titled The Iron Queen. I still have to plan that one.

I’m also planning out book seven of Heir to the Firstborn, and trying to think of a title that fits the existing title patterns. The synopsis for this one is about a third of the way done, but I got distracted by The Silken Courtesan. Once this one is done, then I’ll dive into the worldbuilding for Iron and Silk, and for The Sea Prince.

And there’s research to be done for Imaginative Anthropology, which has been on the shelf for a bit while I finished up The White Raven. Time to get back to that.

Honestly, though? All of these are playtime. I am now off for the summer.

There are still five days left in the Red Hot book giveaway, where you can grab a copy of Hidden Things (or some twenty-five other books) FOR FREE! Click the image above to check out what’s available. I’ll have another giveaway later in the summer — keep an eye out for a Written in Water giveaway in August.

But for now, I’m giving myself a brain break and deciding what I’ll work on once August rolls around and school starts again.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, Heir to the Firstborn, Hidden Things, Imaginative Anthropology, KermitArms, Planning, post novel ennui, summer, The Iron Virgin, The White Raven, thirty, Worldbuilding, Written in Water, yippee, 0 comments

I Win!

Camp Nano, that is.

For the record, this win was for 30,612 words in 30 days. However, the book is still not done.

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

92924 / 108000 (86.04%)

Based on where I am, I figure that this book has about five or six chapters left. Yes, I know I said that last week. No, these are not eldritch chapters where you write a dozen and you still have a dozen left to go. Honestly, there’s nothing eldritch about that. That is totally normal. Really. I’m still on target for finishing this book by the 19th. I think. I did leave myself some wiggle room before the end of the school year, though.

And then? This house will be CLEAN!!! (Yup — the ritual “I finished a book, time to deep clean the house.”)

And then what? Well, research for Imaginative Anthropology. Worldbuilding for The Sea Prince. Synopses for the untitled Adavar book, and for a new thing that my brain fed me because it’s bored with ravens already and wants something new and shiny. Courtesans and merchant princes and intrigue, oh, my! Possibly set in the same universe as The Iron Virgin, which came about because of that trip to Nashville I took two years ago (the Gaylord Opryland had a Pirates and Princess event going on, and it percolated into something interesting…) The synopsis is written, and I’ll actually write that one of these years. The feel of the world is the same, so perhaps they are set in different kingdoms or something… I’ll figure it out once I know more about both of them.

It’s funny — I’m actually looking forward to taking the summer off. I haven’t in a few years, which I suppose was the downside of doing the serial. But that means I haven’t really had a chance to reset and refill my creative bucket. Now I’ll be taking that time. I’ll still be working on things, but I won’t be actively writing. And I’ll start back up in August with… something. Either jumping back into The Sea Prince, or picking up one of the new projects that are sitting on the back burner. We shall see what yells the loudest in August when I ask myself, “What am I working on next?”

Once more into the breech… this book isn’t going to write itself!

Posted by EASchechter, 0 comments

Wait, What Was I Doing Again?

(aka what I honestly just said when I came back to this tab on my desktop….)

It’s Monday again. Who let that happen? But since it is Monday, even though I do not recall saying the weekend could be over already, it’s blog day. Which leads to the weekly question of “what am going to blather on about today?”

Which, if you think that means I’m going to blather on about deciding what to blather on about, you’ll be pleased to know that you’re wrong. I’ll save that for Tiktok — I’ll only have to blather for one to three minutes there.

Work continues on The White Raven: Morrigan’s Wrath, and the list of notes on things I need to address when I get the edits for The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir continues to grow. For example, did you know that it was forbidden for the Flamen Dialis to handle bread? Yup, me either. Even though I researched Roman religions and the various restrictions on their priests before I wrote the scene in Heir, there the Flamen Dialis is, holding a load of bread. So I need to change that.

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

30463 / 90000 (33.85%)

Other changes involve inconsistencies with characters who have changed as I write them in the second book, characters who have come into the second book who were never mentioned in the first one but should have been, and some stylistic choices that need to be consistent throughout. Oh, and double checking that some of the herbs I have our healers using in Rome are things that they’d actually have in Rome at that time.

Yes, I’m going through a lot of trouble for a historical fantasy set in an entirely fictional, very idyllic Rome. I know that. I’m having fun with it. And there will be an author’s note that roughly says “I am fully aware that none of the history in the parts of the book set in Rome is accurate. This was deliberate. Don’t yell at me. Fantasy. Totally fantasy.”

Although… not in so many words, right?

I hope to have the edits for The Chronicles of John Zebedee finished by the end of the month, and I hope to have a cover reveal sometime in the next week. The latest cover mockup is really good, and I think we’re almost in the right place. Once this is published, I really need to start figuring out timelines and storylines for Children of the Swords — which is the series that will tie The Chronicles of John Zebedee into Swords of Charlemagne. No, I’m not sure how yet. There must be research because I know nothing about Edwardian England or World War I, and I’m not going to rely on Downtown Abbey as reference material. (Although I did use a floorplan of Highclere Castle as a reference for the Sussex estate in Table of Stone.)

Also… ah… surprise? There’s going to be a sequel series to Swords of Charlemagne. It will be focused on Margaret and Douglas’ children, and there are going to be elves in there! The series will start with Wesley, the working title of his book is Seer, and that’s about all I know at the moment.

Other irons in the fire? Getting back to The Sea Prince, which will happen once I’m done with John Zebedee edits, and getting started on either Tales from the Arena: Dead Man’s Hand or Tower of Light. Both of those are fully plotted out and just need to be written. Although I might stay in a seafaring mood, in which case I’ll start The Iron Virgin.

That should be enough to keep me out of trouble.

Stop laughing.

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, accountability, Children of the Sword, John Zebedee, research is fun, Swords of Charlemagne, Tales from the Arena, The Iron Virgin, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, thinking thinky thoughts, Tower of Light, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Worldbuilding, writing, 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