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Writing the Other December 7, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Blog Tour, ex-cathedra from my navel, Forbidden Fiction, Haven's Fall, Rebel Mage, Release date, The School.
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In my initial outlines for Counsel of the Wicked, Matthias, the main character, was gay in a world of religious repression and rampant homophobia. Now, my characters have this habit of telling me things about themselves as I’m writing. It’s how I know I’ve written a good character, when one has taken on a life of his or her own. This tendency took an interesting turn in Counsel, when Matthias took the bit in his teeth in the middle of a chapter, and revealed that he wasn’t gay at all. He was asexual, and I had a problem. Every other time something like this has happened and I try to force the story back to where I thought it should be (no, the outline says you do THIS!), I’ve broken the story, so I’ve learned to go with it. But I had never written an ace character before; I had no idea how to write an asexual character without making them either a caricature or a stereotype. Which led to the question: What do I do now?

Well, like any good writer faced with a lack of knowledge, I started with research. I knew nothing at all about asexuality. Surprisingly, I found that Tumblr is actually a very good source of references for writers on alternative sexualities, with many links to websites that answered most of my questions and allowed me to finish the manuscript. Then I went looking for special beta readers—I sent out a request to my usual communities for readers who could tell me if I’d written Matthias properly. To my delight, I had eight people who identified as asexual come to me and volunteer. And to my dismay, four of them backed out when I gave them the trigger warnings for the manuscript. However, the other four read through the manuscript, and I was told that I’d written a good portrayal of a demi-romantic asexual character. I’d written a believable character who existed outside my personal identity.

I’d written “The Other.”

One of the biggest lies that creative writing students are taught is that they should write what they know. Really. I’m not sure how creative that actually is, but that’s what the book says. Write what you know. So, if I was writing what I know, I’d be writing books about an overweight, 40-something, Puerto-Rican/Italian, gluten-intolerant, bisexual, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom who’s been married for twenty years, and who is currently living in Central Florida. That’s a lot of adjectives, isn’t it? Well, if I’m writing what I know, that’s me, in a verbose nutshell. Now, tell me honestly, how many books do you think that would sell? One, maybe.

Needless to say, I’m not a big fan of “write what you know.”

I am, however, a huge proponent of the Rikki-Tikki-Tavi School of Creative Writing. When you don’t know something, run and find out. Odds are pretty good that you’re writing on a computer of some flavor, which means that there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips. Google is your very best friend, and there are always going to be people who will be willing to read what you’ve written, if only because it is important that all people be able to accurately see themselves in the mirror that is published fiction. Because all the stories can’t be about the overly-muscled white dude who saves the world, or the model with the lower back tattoo beating up on vampires or demons or whatever the monster of the week is in publishing at the moment. Sometimes, the stories need to be about the overweight, 40-something, Puerto-Rican/Italian, gluten-intolerant, bisexual, homeschooling, stay-at-home moms. Or the demi-ace boys.

A couple of months after Counsel of the Wicked came out, while I was hard at work on Haven’s Fall, I was invited to a dinner that had absolutely nothing to do with writing. It was a product demonstration, for a tester that you can use to see if there is gluten present in your food. It’s a fascinating little thing, a real boon to someone who can’t have gluten in any form, but who does have to travel and is at the mercy of restaurants more than is comfortable for someone to whom regular food can be poison. You know, like me.

Anyhow, I’m at this very nice dinner attended by all these big name bloggers and writers in the gluten-free industry, as well as others in the food industry. I spent most of my evening sitting next to the Head of Special Diets for Walt Disney World; that was pretty awesome! I’ll admit that by the time the salad showed up (the device said don’t eat the dressing!) I was wondering what the heck I was doing there. Then the organizer came over to talk with me.

“I wanted to thank you,” she said. “Your book is the first one I’ve ever seen with an asexual main character. My daughter is asexual.”

That is the why of writing outside your identity. Of turning your back on writing what you know and instead doing the work so that you can competently and respectfully write beyond your limits. Because it matters.

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Haven’s Fall is now available in print and ebook forms.

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Release Day for Haven’s Fall!!!! December 6, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Forbidden Fiction, happy-happy- joy- joy, Haven's Fall, new books, Rebel Mage, Release date, SQUEEE, yippee.
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Happy morning release day dance!

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Print and ebook available here

Guest Blogging December 1, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Blog Tour, guest post, Haven's Fall, Heart's Master, promotions, Rebel Mage, upcoming books, upcoming work.
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I’m guest blogging over at Science Fiction Romance Brigade. Go check it out — I’m writing about juggling chainsaws.

No, it’s not what you think.

Well, maybe it’s what you think.

Also, I missed when this one ran, but I had a post about my Nano Curse, and how that finally was lifted when I finished Heart’s Master. You can see that one over here.

Pretty!!!! October 27, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Counsel of the Wicked, cover art, Forbidden Fiction, happy-happy- joy- joy, Haven's Fall, KermitArms, Rebel Mage, upcoming books, upcoming work, yippee.
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Remember that secret?

Here ’tis! Brand new cover art for Haven’s Fall (Rebel Mage 2). Now with more Matthias and Solomon!

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We have a blurb, too:

Haven had been their goal since escaping the destruction of the School. Haven had promised safety, rest, an end to running and death. But things had gone badly wrong in the mountains. Tam and Linnea had to leave Matthias and Solomon behind to face the Elders, hoping to return for them once they’d found Haven. The reality does not live up to the promise. Isolated and dying, Haven fears outsiders almost more than it needs new blood. With only the griffon Dancer and the human healer Ilane for allies, Tam and Linnea fear that Haven’s rulers will prevent them from going back for their friends—then fire rains down from the sky, and things became so much worse for everyone.

Book goes live in ebook and print on December 6th, but you can pre-order it now!

I’ve got a secret…. October 21, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Boosting the signal, cover art, Forbidden Fiction, forthcoming works, Haven's Fall, new books, Rebel Mage, Release date, upcoming books, upcoming work, yippee.
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Wanna know what it is? Check back on October 27th.

But here’s a teaser…

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And if you want to know what’s inside that cover? Then the date you want is December 6th.

So… this happened. August 13, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, easily amused writer, edits, Forbidden Fiction, forthcoming works, happy-happy- joy- joy, Haven's Fall, Rebel Mage, Release date, Rights Reversion, Self-publishing, SQUEEE, Ta-da, to-dos, upcoming books, upcoming work.
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CounselWicked_CvrPDFSwirl Awards Finalist  Badge

I do not yet know when the awards will be announced. But yay!!!!

In other news, Burden of Truth has been retitled. It is now Haven’s Fall, and it is with the line editor. I’ve been told that I’ll have edits back soon, and we’re shooting for a November release.

I’ve seen the cover, and it’s AWESOME. And that’s all I can tell you, so there. NYAH!!!

Sins of the Father is coming along, and is so far off outline that I can’t see the original route from here. I’m fairly certain that it will still end up in the same place, but instead of my original map, I’m taking the scenic back roads. Which have been educational — I never would have figured out that THAT character was the ultimate big bad otherwise. (Seriously, this one character has been thumbing their nose at me for two and a half books now.)

And in other, other news, I’ve found out that one of my publishers is closing their doors, and will be reverting rights. They’re being very lovely and generous about the whole thing, and even including cover art in the reversion. I’m sorry to see them go. But just when I think I’m out of the self-publishing gig…

 

 

This, that and the other thing. June 29, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in a-writers-life-is-never-dull, Burden of Truth, contracts, forthcoming works, Good news, kvelling, publishing, Rebel Mage, SOLD!, the-end-is-near, upcoming work.
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This:

Allergies suck.

Allergies that turn into sinus problems suck more.

Allergies that turn into sinus problems that turn into bronchitis need to not exist.

That:

Since I have bronchitis, I haven’t really been able to do much. My son has been having a lot more screen time than he usually gets in the summer, and I have had to stop exercising this week (if you follow me on Instagram, you know about my workouts). I have to rest, so I’ve been focusing on a sedentary activity — edits on Burden of Truth. Those should go back to Forbidden Fiction in the next few days.

The Other Thing:

Did you ever forget that you applied for something? I did. So having a contract arrive in my inbox was a very nice surprise this evening.  I am pleased to be able to say that my BDSM vampire short story Layover will be appearing in the upcoming anthology Blood in the Rain II from Cwtch Press. This will be my first time working with Cwtch, and I’m looking forward to it!

Congratulations! It’s a draft! December 21, 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Happy New Year, Rebel Mage, Ta-da, The School, thirty.
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Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage

I’m calling it done. I’ll compile it and send it off to the beta readers and to the editor tomorrow. It’s rough, but it’s DONE.

Almost… almost….! December 20, 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, progress, Rebel Mage, scores, slow-writer-is-slow., Ta-da, The School, the-end-is-near, to-dos, wordcount.
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Writing:

Total words today:  2,715 words

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage

You might notice I’m over. And I’m not done yet. There’s about a thousand words or so of wrap up, which I’m hoping to get done first thing tomorrow morning.

Draft by TOMORROW!

Today December 18, 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in baking, Best laid plans, Best planned lays, Burden of Truth, Counsel of the Wicked, forthcoming works, Happy Holidays!, Homeschool, Rebel Mage, round-up, scores, slow-writer-is-slow., Ta-da, the-end-is-near, to-dos, upcoming work, wordcount, writing-mom.
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Homeschool:

Today we went to see The Nutcracker, which was awesome. Neither of us have ever been to the ballet before, so this was new and nifty. J. really enjoyed it.

Baking:

  • an indeterminate number of spritz cookies (I lost count).

This ends the holiday baking for 2015.

Writing:

I would have written more, but Nutcracker and baking. Spritz cookies are time consuming!

Total words today:  877 words

Total words on Burden of Truth: Book Two of The Rebel Mage