The White Raven

Fourth and Goal

No, I don’t watch football. Well, not anymore. I used to, but the last time I watched football really was… well, yesterday, to be honest. But it was the Funday Football on Disney+, where they did real time animation of the football game from London (it was hilariously glitchy.) No, In this case, fourth and goal doesn’t mean how far you have to go in football. It’s how far we have to go in 2023. October 1st marks the beginning of the fourth quarter. I’ve done my fourth quarter planning and my goals are up on my kanban board. It’s time to look toward bringing this year to a close.

Kanban, research shelf and Ink.

My immediate goals? Finish Balance of Power. Keep working on The Sea Prince. Edits on Morrigan’s Heir will be in some time this month, so I’ll be turning those around to get the book out by the end of 2023. And then I have to revise Morrigan’s Wrath to get that in to the editor. The anniversary edition of House of Sable Locks will be coming out soon (how soon? I don’t know!) and there are things to be done for that. There’s research that I really should get back to doing, although that’s lower priority to closing out the year and revisiting my business plan for 2024. I’m also considering pulling some of my short stories and getting them up for sale, but that may be a 2024 goal and not a 2023 goal.

Balance of Power
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 7

30416 / 90000 (33.80%)

The Sea Prince
The Coral Throne, Book 1

62124 / 120000 (51.77%)

Work on The Sea Prince has slowed down a little, and will slow down even more once the edits come in. Co-writing is much more of a juggling act than writing a book solo, because my interruptions rarely coincide with Danielle’s interruptions, which means that one of us is usually waiting on the other to look over things. We’ll eventually get the hang of this and get this book done.

The SPFBO judges have to announce their finalists by October 31st. This means that, at some point this month, I will find out if Written in Water will continue on in the contest. I’m surprisingly okay with either option. There are so many amazing books that have been cut already so if I am cut, I’ll be in fantastic company.

Keep an eye out for a special blog post/newsletter post in the next week or so — I’ll be able to show you the beautiful new cover of House of Sable Locks!

Promotions!

A new Cavalcade of Authors promo is coming this month, from October 13th through the 15th. Again, 200 books or more free for download. For this one, I’ve put 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 2023 plans, 2024 plans, accountability, Balance of Power, contest, cover art, edits, forthcoming works, Heir to the Firstborn, John Zebedee, planner stuff, Planning, promotions, publishing, Revisions, Sable Locks, short story, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, upcoming books, upcoming work, Updatey things, why-the-writing-is-slow, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

Calendar Fall

On September 1st, I saw something on the news that said that September 1st was the first day of calendar fall. Which… if you live someplace where you don’t have actual fall, like Florida, then having a purely calendar fall makes sense. I guess. School started a month ago, and Spooky season started July 5th, but sure, it’s fall now.

(If you think I’m joking about spooky season starting July 5th? There was Halloween merchandise on sale in Joann’s Fabrics over a month ago, and the wholesale clubs have the Halloween themed candy out.)

In two weeks we’ll be at Necronomicon in Tampa. I’ll be on four panels (I think it’s four? Maybe five) and I’ll have a table in Writer’s Alley. I WILL have print copies of Princes of Air (for the first time EVER!), but I will not have the new covers on House of Sable Locks just yet. (I MAY have a cover reveal for Sable Locks in the newsletter this week. Do you get my newsletter? Would you like to?)

I’ve heard from my editor about Morrigan’s Heir, and I should have edits in hand next month. He tells me that the edits are minimal, so there’s still a good chance that we’ll have this book out in 2023! More as soon as I know more!

In terms of current writing, things are moving slowly with The Sea Prince, as the characters reveal things that I hadn’t realized where there. And I am just about to finish chapter 6 of Balance of Power, racing to keep ahead of my Patreon! There’s a new myth in this book, which I’m currently working into the narrative, and which may show up as a short at some point later.

The Sea Prince
The Coral Throne, Book 1

49934 / 120000 (41.61%)

Balance of Power
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 7

18966 / 90000 (21.07%)

Two projects that I thought were hibernating have started to stir, one of which led me to reread Heart’s Master for the first time in an age. All I can say is that when I finally get around to writing Holy Orders (and yes, that’s the title of the next Drum Mage book), it’s going to be very obvious that there were a bunch of years and a lot of growth as a writer between the two books. Maybe I can talk to my editor about a re-edit at some point?

The other thing that started to make waking-up noises is the short/novella/what-is-this-going-to-be that will tie The Chronicles of John Zebedee into Swords of Charlemagne, and lead the way into Children of the Swords. The astute reader may have noticed the throwaway line in the first part of John Zebedee that told you it was the same universe. Did you catch it? Children of the Swords is still a few years down the line, because I know nothing of Gilded Age England, or about England in WWI, and I suppose I could just watch Downton Abbey, but that feels like cheating. I have to do research.

Written in Water is still in the running over in SPFBO, with just over a month left in the first round. The suspense is getting real over here!

And today… I applied to be part of the creative track at ICFA.

And that’s about where I am in my area. Planning for edits, writing words, creating worlds, and trying to keep ahead of my readers on Patreon. Busy, busy, busy!

Back to work!

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, accountability, Balance of Power, Children of the Sword, contest, edits, forthcoming works, Heart's Master, Heir to the Firstborn, ICFA, John Zebedee, Necronomicon, Patreon, Princes of Air, publishing, Sable Locks, Swords of Charlemagne, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, upcoming books, upcoming work, WIP, wordcount, Written in Water, 0 comments

Here Comes the Rain Again…

Here comes the rain again. And the wind. And the pressure changes. Hurricane season in Florida is a pain in the sinuses. Right now, Idalia is a Tropical Storm, but by the time it makes landfall on Wednesday morning (I think that was the last projection), it will be a Cat 3 hurricane.

Now, this isn’t our first rodeo. We have our supplies. We have water, batteries and charcoal for the grill in case we have to cook outside. The porch is cleared, and all that’s left are a few things that need to be moved to the garage tonight after dinner. And we’re well inland and, like Obi Wan, we have the high ground. We’ll be good.

However, now that all the prep is done, the waiting starts…

In writing news, today is the last day of the Narratess August Indie Sale. Hidden Things is currently 99 cents, and there are over 300 other books to choose from.

There’s still also the Brave New Worlds giveaway, which ends Thursday, and where you can win a $20 gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

Writing is going slowly at the moment, mostly because my sinuses are yelling, “Danger, Will Robinson!” (I can’t remember starting to feel hurricane pressure two days before the actual storm before…)

The Sea Prince
(The Coral Throne, Book 1)

49416 / 120000 (41.18%)

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

15803 / 90000 (17.56%)

I still haven’t gotten permission to show the new House of Sable Locks cover, but I do have a tentative schedule for edits for The White Raven: Morrigan’s Heir, so the end of my year is going to be PACKED. Touch wood everything goes well with that and we’ll be able to keep to the 2023 release date.

That’s about all for me. Now, it’s just the waiting.

Catch you all next week!

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, Balance of Power, forthcoming works, Hidden Things, Hurricane, progress, Sable Locks, The Sea Prince, The White Raven, upcoming books, upcoming work, Updatey things, 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?

Wrong.

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

Hinges

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….

Patience….

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

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

Late Post, But A Good Reason….

This is posting rather late on Monday, but there’s a very good reason for the delay…

That’s the final wordcount on The White Raven: Morrigan’s Wrath. That’s a draft, folks!

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

106550 / 106000 (100.52%)

So, now what? Now, this manuscript gets read over quickly, to make sure I didn’t forget any scenes that I meant to fill in later. I’ll compile it from Scrivener, and print it off… and then put it off to the side for a bit. I’ll be sitting on it until I get the edits back for Morrigan’s Heir, and then I’ll read both of them one right after the other. That way, I can be sure that the details in both agree. (and there are some edits that need to be added to Heir, because of things that changed in Wrath. And one character name that needs to be changed because the name Owyn is now retired.)

Once that’s done? I’m off for the summer! Which means… well, this house needs to be cleaned. And I have worldbuilding and research to work on. And SO MUCH READING to catch up on.

And I have a short story to write. There’s one thread in Wrath that didn’t get tied off, and one couple that’s getting their own short. But I’m in no rush.

In other news, Hidden Things is currently part of a giveaway, and you can check out the other books here. The giveaway runs until May 20th. Just in time for beach reading!

Since it’s late, that’s all there is. I’m going to bed now!

Posted by EASchechter in 2023 plans, accountability, giveaway, happy-happy- joy- joy, Hidden Things, kvelling, post novel ennui, SQUEEE, summer, Ta-da, The White Raven, thirty, WIP, wordcount, 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