Tag Archives: Writer’s Desk

Writer’s Desk, 24 May

a picture of Sandra Schwab's deskAt the end of the month, the WIP (Eagle’s Honor: Ravished) is due at my editor’s — and as always, I still have oodles of scenes to write, so I’m expect to go into full panic at some point next week….

It doesn’t help that I wrote the biggest part of this book by hand.

Which I still have to type up.


Writer’s Desk, 2 November

A picture of Sandra's desk
I had to finish doing my taxes today, but I did manage to squeeze in some novel-planning: I leafed through all the notebooks that contain the WIP and made a plan to see which scenes are still missing (= red).

Of course, I then started to worry that my Roman romance might be utter crap.

In other words: The same procedure as every year. *sigh*

Writer’s Desk, 25 October

Writer's Desk: preparations for the re-release of The Lily Brand
I’m still working on The Lily Brand: I’m now proofreading the final file, cleaning up typos and grammatical errors as I go along. It has made me strangely happy to realize that the rhythm of my prose hasn’t much changed in the course of the past ten, eleven years: I can easily pick up where my original text was changed and edited. These are just small things, mind you: a word that was cut, a sentence that was slightly expanded, but in many cases I’m still changing them back to my original text.

My ability to just do so pleases me to no end. 🙂

Writer’s Desk, 22 October

On Sunday, there will be a post by yours truly on the Queer Romance Month blog, where I will briefly talk about my motivation for including a gay couple in The Lily Brand. Writing the post served as the proverbial kick to the butt, for it finally made me knuckle down and start making The Lily Brand ready for re-release. It should be back up by Sunday, at the latest.

I hope.

*fingers crossed*

Anyway, I spent last Sunday fiddling around with the cover design, and this is the result. I hope you like it as much as I do. 🙂

the new cover for The Lily Brand

Writer’s Desk, 14 October

A picture of Sandra Schwab's desk (with lots of notebooks!)Today’s writing desk includes centurions, all the Roman legions, a Roman cookbook, and notebooks. LOTS of notebooks. At the moment I’m digging the slim, black Moleskines (you can buy them three a package). Blank, no lines. They fill up quickly, and each filled notebook gives you a nice sense of achievement. I’ve now reached notebook #7, and at least three of the books are filled with scenes of my characters having … um … fun.

Clearly, three sweet romance novellas with nothing more than kissing make for one very hot romance novel with rather lusty main characters. 🙂

(But never fear: I will tear their happiness apart in the course of the novel and make them suffer quite dreadfully before they can have their happy ending!!) (says the evil author)

With this new story (and if you look at the picture above you can probably make out its title) I’m reminded more than ever that in a good romance novel love scenes aren’t there for the sake of the sex, but are part of the exploration of the hero & heroine’s relationship. They are meant to push the relationship forward and to reveal to the reader (and perhaps even to the characters themselves) something new about this relationship. Ideally, they are also part of the character arcs, and as such play an important role in the characters’ journey / development.

In this novel the love scenes are particularly tricky because of the extreme imbalance of power between my main characters: Marcus, the hero, is a centurion and a free man while Lia, the heroine, is a slave.* But how do you navigate the realms of desire, affection, and love, when one of the characters, thanks to her social status, doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter?

As I said: tricky.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the further you go back in history, they higher the stakes are stacked against your characters and against their relationship. Of course, that also means that you can make the happy ending so much sweeter! 🙂


* I don’t particularly like slave romances, so imagine my surprise when this story turned out to be one! (I blame Spartacus & @holundergeist!) (Especially @holundergeist: she tweeted me a link to a Nagron video – and that was that….)

Writer’s Desk, 12 October

A picture of Sandra Schwab's deskSometimes, writing is a bit like archaeology: you dig around and find the most amazing and unexpected things. Yesterday I thought I ought to have a scene in which Marcus, my centurion, says goodbye to his mother. And lo and behold, not only did that scene become rather long, it also produced an unexpected piece of jewellery and, with it, an unexpected link between different stories:

It was an old piece, Marcus saw, the shape somewhat rougher than was fashionable now. A golden snake which would wind around the wearer’s arm. It must have been modified at some point because something had been inserted between the two rounds in the middle.

Marcus’s mother slipped her hand through the circlet and eyed it with a soft smile. “It is said that your grandfather many times removed gave this to the Cheruscian girl he took to wife as a token of his love. See?” She held out her hand. “He had his own signet ring set into it.”

Now that Marcus knew what it was, he could indeed see that the set-in piece was part of a rather battered man’s ring.

“The engraving on the stone?” he asked.

“Some kind of large fish. I’ve always thought of it as a dolphin – a harbinger of luck.” She took the armring off. “Ever since your forbear took home his Germanic wife, it has been a tradition in my family that the eldest son would give this piece to the woman he married. As the Gods did not bless my parents with sons, my mother gave it to me to give to my son.” She held out the armring to him. “And so I do.”

Marcus frowned a little. “But I’m not the oldest. Shouldn’t this go to Primus by rights?”

His mother gave a short laugh – and not a pleasant one. “My dear, can you imagine your brother’s wife wearing an old piece such as this? Besides, this has always been a token of affection, if not love. The only affection there is between your brother and Cordelia is for her family’s old name on his side and for our wealth on hers. I don’t think the dolphin and the snake would be happy with them. But perhaps your wife will find joy in wearing it?” She gave him a soft smile. “From the sounds of it, the armring would once again be a token of affection, wouldn’t it?”

Marcus indrawn breath seemed rather loud in the small room, and for a moment he could not speak. “Of love,” he finally said rawly. “It would be a token of love.” He felt the same desperate helplessness that had gripped him earlier in his father’s study rise inside him once more. He spread his hands. “In all honor, I cannot accept the armring, mother. I don’t know whether I will ever win her. I…” His throat worked.

His mother eyed him shrewdly. “Does she not love you then?”

He gave a bitter laugh. If only it was as easy as that!

Writer’s Desk ~ 9 October

A picture of Sandra Schwab's deskThe past few weeks were rather ghastly as I scrambled to catch up with work, but since the weekend I’ve finally had time to return to my Roman novel. As you can see I’ve taken to write by hand – at the moment the story seems to flow easier this way. I just need to make sure to keep track of all the scenes because – as always – I’m writing the story out of order.

I can already that much: three and a half sweet Victorian novellas make for one very hot Roman novel. 😀

Rather dark & angsty, too. But to make up for all the angst, the ending will be very sweet. I promise!

Here’s a snippet from today’s session (raw & unedited, straight from the notebook #5):

She shuddered a little – from the way he was looking at her, from the urgency with which her body clamored for release, but most of all because she had exposed herself to him like this.

All at once, she felt vulnerable and inexplicably close to tears.

She raised her chin. “You may call me Lia,” she informed him haughtily as if she were the Queen of Egypt rather than a slave, his to do with as he wished.

Writer’s Desk, 1 September 2014

Dictionary, Survival Guides, & the AlphaSmart

Dictionary, Survival Guides, & the AlphaSmart

Very short writing session (just a teeny-tiny hour) in the morning, followed by grading. Here’s a snippet of the scene I was working on today. Marcus & his optio clash, and Marcus loses his temper. 🙂

For a moment Marcus was seriously tempted to club the big oaf to death right then and there. “Are you mad? Why would I risk my own life if I wanted you dead?”

The other man just shrugged, wincing as he did so.

“I assume that with me being Roman and all that, I must take great enjoyment in perverted pleasures, is that it?” Marcus asked sarcastically. “By Mithras, just for that I will let you do guard duty with your damned tunic unbelted for the rest of your damned service! — Gods!” he added, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I will kill Titus! F*cking kill the bloody bastard!”

From the corner of his eye, he saw the optio’s lips twitch.

“What?” Marcus snapped.

The other man’s mouth stretched into a broad grin. “Why, centurion, I didn’t think you had it in you to lose your cool like this.”