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Release Day!!! December 15, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in circlet, Drum Mage, happy-happy- joy- joy, Heart's Master, kvelling, new books, Release date, SQUEEE.
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Today is the day! Today is the day that Heart’s Master comes out!!!!

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Now, it’s early as I’m writing this, so when I say I’m doing handstands, I just want you to know it’s figuratively, okay?

But yes, definitely handstands. This book — it’s been a long, strange trip for this book. And it’s finally loose in the wild.

SQUEE!!!!

So, here. Have an excerpt:

***

I was just finishing another drink–my fourth or fifth–and I was feeling nicely squiffed when I saw the stranger coming towards us through the crowd. Tall, broad shoulders, long brown hair pulled back in a tail, early thirties at the most–this guy looked like he belonged on the cover of a romance novel. And he was heading towards us.

“Maureen, you shouldn’t have…” I murmured, leaning back and enjoying the view. She looked at me, then looked up, saw him and smiled.

“Nick!” she called out, waving. My jaw hit the floor.

“Nick?” I repeated. “That’s Nick? Your Nick?”

She grinned at me and stood up, hugging the stranger and kissing him lightly. “Nick, this is Steven Ahearn, the man of the evening. Steven, I’d like for you to meet Nicolai Vikentiyevich Rozhenko.”

I stood up and wiped my hand on my jeans before accepting his handshake, trying not to be dazzled by a pair of amazingly blue eyes. “It’s nice to meet you,” I said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.”

“As have I,” he answered, and I heard a hint of an accent in his voice. Eastern European, Russian, something like that. Sexy as hell. “Maureen tells me that you’re leaving, though.”

I smiled broadly, “My big break. I still can’t believe it…”

“Who the hell let him in here?” Maureen murmured, her anger plain in her voice. I turned to look and cursed softly. Joey, all six-foot-one of him, shoving his way through the crowd and leaving an angry, muttering trail of actors and stage hands behind him. I heard Nick’s voice, speaking in French, and Maureen answering in the same language. Then Nick was in front of me, standing between me and Joey.

“What do you want?” he demanded.

Joey stopped and stared at him, then asked, “Who the hell are you? For your information, I was invited. And you’re standing between me and my boy, so get the hell out of my way.”

I felt my temper flaring. His boy? Since when? Even from where I was standing, I could smell the alcohol on Joey. I knew he was a mean drunk–it was the main reason that I refused to let him keep hard liquor in the house. I knew where my money had gone now, and I was not looking forward to telling him that I was leaving him. But I also wasn’t going to let anyone else get hurt because of me. “It’s okay, Nick,” I said, stepping out from behind my new defender.

Nick looked at me, his eyes narrowed. “Steven? You’re sure about this?”

“Yeah. I’m fine.” I met Nick’s eyes and nodded once, then tipped my head ever so slightly to the side, towards the side door that had been propped open in the hopes of getting a breath of cooler air into the too warm room. Hopefully, Nick would get the message that I wanted him to follow us. “C’mon, Joey. We need to talk.” I turned without waiting for Joey’s answer and headed for the door, and nearly jumped out of my skin when a hard hand closed around the back of my neck. I winced as Joey’s fingers dug in, but he held on tight and shoved me forward, out the door and into the alley.

“You’re very full of yourself tonight, slave,” Joey snarled at me as we walked out into the cold night air.

I stopped and twisted, breaking his hold and stopping just out of his reach, “Enough of that shit, Joey. I’m not your boy, I’m not your slave, and I’m not your whore. I’m done with your little power trip bondage games.”

Joey looked at me like I was talking in another language. “What?” he sputtered. “You just wait until I get you home…”

“I’m not going home with you, Joey,” I interrupted. “I’m moving out.”

“Out?” he echoed. “What are you talking about?”

“Out of the apartment. We’re done, Joey. You went too far this morning, and I’m not putting up with your shit anymore. Go find yourself someone else to abuse.” I decided that I didn’t want him to know about my good fortune, or where I was going, so I deliberately didn’t mention New York. Instead, I started to go past him, back inside to my party. I was expecting Joey to turn, to stalk off the way he always did when he was angry. I was not expecting him to grab me and slam me back against the wall, hard enough to knock the wind out of me and bounce my head off the bricks. Before I could recover, he pinned me in place, his hands locked around my upper arms, his chest hard against mine.

“Let me go!” I snarled through clenched teeth. He laughed, leaning in and kissing me roughly. I tried to push him back, but he was bigger and heavier than I was. He shifted, pressing harder against me, his thigh hard against my crotch.

“Who’s being abused now, slave?” he crooned as he pulled back, his breath hot and stinking in my face. Under the alcohol, I could smell something else, something harsh, and I could see now that his eyes were glazed. He must have taken something. Suddenly, I was afraid. Drugs. When had he started using drugs? How had I not noticed? Shit, what had he gotten in to? “Tell me you don’t like this…” he rubbed his hip hard against my crotch, then stopped and looked down, his eyes narrowing. “Wait a minute….” He shifted, catching me around the throat with one hand, holding me painfully tight and leaving me gasping for breath while he pawed at me with his other hand. “Where’s your collar, slave?” he asked, sounding annoyed. “I told you that was supposed to stay on. So where is it?”

His fingers around my throat grew tighter, and I heard him laugh again as I struggled to breath. “Oh, yeah. I like this. There’s your punishment, slave. I’m gonna choke you out and fuck you until you wake up. And that’s only the beginning…”

No, that was the end–I grabbed Joey’s wrist in both hands to try and keep him from killing me outright, braced myself, and slammed my knee up between his legs. Never, ever give a dancer a chance to kick you in the crotch; he went down like a dropped brick, gagging and puking. I left him rolling in the trash and staggered back towards the door, taking long, shaking breaths and feeling the ache of incipient bruises on my throat and my arms. I wasn’t surprised to see Nick standing in the doorway waiting for me. However, I was surprised to see the baseball bat in his right hand. Where had that come from?

“Are you all right?” Nick asked.

I nodded and grimaced. “You should see the other guy,” I quipped. Nick grinned.

“Where is he?”

“Trying to pry his nuts out of his sinuses, I think. Let’s get out of here.” I brushed past him and into the restaurant, only to find Maureen waiting for me just inside the door.

“Baby?”

“He didn’t take the break-up well,” I said, slumping into a chair. I felt Maureen’s fingers on my chin as she tipped my head back.

“I can see that,” she murmured. “The bruises are already coming up. I think we should get your things tonight.”

“And call the police?” Nick asked.

“That will be tomorrow,” I said. “I’m not ready for that. And I need a drink before I do anything.”

I saw the two of them look at each other, then Nick took my arm and hauled me out of the chair. “Come on,” he said. “I know a place.” As we walked out through the crowd of people, I noticed that the bat was gone, and I wondered briefly what Nick had done with it.

The place turned out to be a vodka bar in Federal Hill. About half of the party moved with us, and for a while, I forgot about the break-up, about Joey and his violence, and about the fact that tomorrow I’d be talking to police about what he’d done to me. Nick decided that I needed to learn how to properly drink vodka, and I proceeded to get very, very drunk. I vaguely remembered Maureen telling me that we were going to go to my place to get some of my things, and then she and Nick were pouring me into the backseat of their car. After that, I didn’t remember anything until the truck hit us.

***

Heart’s Master is out of Circlet Press, and is available to order in all formats wherever you buy books.

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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.

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

Interviews and cover art December 4, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Blessed, Blog Tour, circlet, cover art, Drum Mage, Forbidden Fiction, Haven's Fall, Heart's Master, promotions, publishing, Release date, Ta-da, upcoming books.
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Today starts the Blog Tour for Haven’s Fall, which comes out Tuesday (OMG!!!!) Today, you can see an interview that I did with Forbidden Fiction, over on their website.

Also, now that Circlet had debuted the cover art for Heart’s Master to the Patreon patrons, I can show the art to everyone else! Heart’s Master comes out on December 15th.

hearts-master-cover-final-750px(We’re still waiting to find out if Amazon is going to faint over that cover…)

Do you want to see a cover? November 1, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Chessiecon, circlet, Drum Mage, Heart's Master, KermitArms, kvelling, new books, promotions, publishing, Release date, upcoming books, upcoming work.
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(that totally scans to Do you want to build a snowman?, by the way. Which is, of course, why I did it.)

I actually have TWO books coming out this December. Haven’s Fall will be coming out December 6th from Forbidden Fiction.

Heart’s Master — the long awaited novel about my blind mage Steven and his lover Nick — will be out either the week before or the week after (so, either December 1st or the 15th).

(If you don’t remember Steven, check out The Hand You’re Dealt in Like a Sacred Desire, or Snowbound in Jingle Balls, or here for free. And hey, if you like it, go grab a copy of Jingle Balls. There’s a Laura Antoniou holiday story in there, too.)

Now, Circlet is doing something fun. The cover art for Heart’s Master is a big secret (seriously — I helped choose the images, but that’s it. I don’t even know what the final cover looks like!!!) That cover is going to be announced on November 29th.

And you can be part of the announcement.

If you want to help spread the fun, click here and fill out the form! (If you want to review Heart’s Master, you can fill out the same form.)

Then, on the 29th, everyone gets to blitz the cover image all at once! Neat, huh?

Go sign up!

 

 

And in other news…. October 21, 2016

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in BDSM Vampires, Boosting the signal, new books, promotions, Release date, short story, upcoming books, upcoming work.
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Blood in the Rain II comes out October 25th, just in time for Halloween. Pre-orders are open now, and print will be available,

This anthology includes my short story Layover — sexy BDSM vampires!

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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…

 

 

Cover reveal: Like a Circlet Editor! September 21, 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in excerpt, giveaway, new books, promotions, Release date, upcoming books, upcoming work.
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I haven’t been doing anthologies much. I’ve been just too busy with the novel deadlines. But sometimes, there are projects that I have to do. This was one of them.

I got an email out of the blue from Circlet that basically said “Hi! We’re doing this anthology, and we need one more story. Think you could do something for us? We’d really love to have something from you.”

Really, how could I say no?

The anthology is Like a Circlet Editor, and features stories that give a look at the behind the scenes lives of Circlet Editors. Well, sort of.  We kind of zhooshed it up a bit.  My story in the anthology is entitled Raise the Dead, and I promise you, it bears no resemblance to anyone in the Circlet offices, living or dead.

I think. I’ve never actually been to the Circlet offices. I keep missing out on Porn Camp (aka, the annual Circlet retreat).

The anthology won’t be out until October 8th, but you can see it here, and pre-order it at Smashwords. Or, if you’re the lucky winner of the Rafflecopter drawing, you can win a copy of Like a Circlet Editor and TWENTY-FIVE other Circlet ebooks of your choice!

So, here’s a taste of what you could be winning. Have a look at the cover, and a snippet from Raise the Dead.

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Raise the Dead

by Elizabeth Schechter

I hate to contradict one of the great American geniuses, but three moves do not equal one fire. Sorry, Mister Franklin, but you don’t have to unpack after a fire. Granted, this was only one-third of a fire, but still… I’d been in my new place for over a month, unpacked I don’t know how many boxes, and it still looked like the place had been decorated by someone with a weird fetish for kraft paper and cardboard. I flopped back onto the couch, one of the only unoccupied seats in the living room and looked around at the ziggurats of unlabeled boxes.

“Fuck it,” I growled. “I’m done.” I combed my fingers through my hair, wincing as I got caught in the knots, and promised myself once again that I’d head to the barber once I got paid.

Paid. Yeah, if I wanted to go the barber, or go grocery shopping, or pay the next month’s rent on Foster’s Home for  Orphaned Cardboard, then maybe I should actually start doing the work I was being paid to do. I looked at the other side of the couch and the pile of printouts sitting there, fighting the urge to stick my tongue out at them. Why had I ever thought editing erotica would be glamorous or sexy? I’d been working as a freelance editor for years, and when the job came up, I jumped at it. After all, I’ve been reading, and occasionally jerking off, to Circlet books since college, and everything I’d ever read from them had been excellent. Funny how I never even considered what their slush pile would look like. There’s something called Sturgeon’s Revelation, named after the science-fiction author who came up with it. He said, “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” Nowhere is that more evident than in smut writing.

As a newly minted Circlet editor, it was my job to wade through that ninety percent of crap looking for the diamonds. Nice work if you can get it. And if you can keep from laughing long enough.  I’d been doing this for less than a month, and I’d already seen grammar that would make your eyes bleed, and sex written so badly it would make the Whore of Babylon seriously consider taking up celibacy. Or at the very least, knitting. One entire story had been written solely in text-speak. That may be the way of the future, but it’s not the future of any anthology I’m ever going to put my name on as editor.

I looked at the pile of printouts again, and considered getting up and getting a drink first. No. I’d forgotten my trail of breadcrumbs, and I just might get lost in the great cardboard jungle between the couch and the kitchen. So I grabbed the pile and shuffled it, pulling a manuscript out at random. I skimmed the first page. Let’s see… Contact information, and a name I didn’t know. Word count within the specified range for stories for this anthology. Good. Times New Roman, and those sure looked like one inch margins. Double spaced and first line of the paragraph indented. A very good sign; this one, at least, could read the submission guidelines.

“All right. You pass the first test,” I said. I picked up a green pen—I deplore red pen—and started reading aloud. Since I’d started working as a freelance editor, I found I do my best work when I read my editing work out loud—I can hear the flow better, and it forces me to read every word instead of skimming. It also annoyed the ever living fuck out of my ex. Which was just one of the many reasons he was now my ex. And why everything I owned was interred in cardboard coffins.

I shook my head as I lost my train of thought. No thinking about Eric. What point was there to that? He was an idiot, and I was better off without him. I flipped back to the first page of the manuscript and started reading aloud once more. Whoever this was, they had a nice flow to their writing. A couple of typos that SpellCheck missed, but nothing dire. The setting was vaguely Victorian, which either meant gaslight fantasy or steampunk. No way to tell which yet. On page three, I hit the sex:

He stripped slowly, the way she had taught him, revealing his long, lean body and his already attentive cock, folding his clothes away into the small chest that she kept for just that purpose. The chest locked as he shut the lid —the clothing would not be returned until Lucretia was done with him. 

“Move that into the middle of the room,” Lucretia said, pointing to a straightbacked chair. Once Jack had done that, she ordered him to sit, then turned and opened another chest, drawing from it a coil of silken cord. With the ease of long practice, she bound Jack firmly to the chair, then dropped her wrapper to the floor and straddled his lap, easing herself down over his cock. He caught his breath, closing his eyes as she settled against him. When he didn’t open them again immediately, she slapped him.

“Eyes open. Report.” 

I giggled. This Jack was obviously some kind of spy for Lady Lucretia. And she was an evil top, too. Making him report while she was riding him? I wondered what would happen if he messed up his report. That might be fun. I kept on reading aloud as he reported on the doings of several people who I hoped would show up later. Lucretia played with him a little, and he came. A little fast, but he was… what, maybe nineteen? I flipped back a page, but the only description was young. When I was that young, I’d have gone off like a Roman candle, too. Especially if someone had me tied up and was playing with me the way Lucretia had Jack. I shifted in my seat, adjusting my jeans and my erection. Mental note— until I had a steady lay again, work in sweatpants. Or naked. Naked would be good. I had lube… in a box, somewhere. I shifted again and started reading once more, grinning as Lucretia threatened Jack with some vague yet dire harm because he’d come first. I didn’t get any further because I was interrupted by moaning.

I most definitely wasn’t the one moaning.

I looked around, startled. The realtor said there weren’t any neighbors… which totally did not explain the guy sitting on the other end of the couch, his hand down his pants. He moaned again, and I wondered how the hell he’d gotten in, and how he’d gotten onto the couch without me seeing or hearing him. Then I realized that I could clearly see the pattern on the couch through his crotch, and that I had bigger problems. I yelped, and papers flew everywhere.

He vanished.

***

Not quite as off as I thought. May 31, 2015

Posted by Elizabeth Schechter in Forbidden Fiction, forthcoming works, new books, promotions, Release date, upcoming books.
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I forgot I’d be doing promo, too.

I’ve a new anthology appearance coming up in July! Preorders will start in June for Divine Desires, from Forbidden Fiction.

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My story in this one is a reprint — Fools Rush In, which I greatly enjoyed writing, and which first appeared in Like a Cunning Plan, from Circlet.

I’ll share  more information as I get it. Whee!!!!