Category Archives: Promotion

The Muse tempts, but speeds off in her Ferrari

I have a vision of my Muse (Calliope) as Christie Brinkley in National Lampoon’s Vacation. She drives by saying, “You should write, honey!” I pull out a fresh notebook and write maybe two pages of introduction, and then…she’s gone. I tried using the computer, too, and that didn’t work–I got a scene out before she took off.

I tried editing my huge epic fantasy opus that I wrote in college (or was it right after college at my first receptionist job?) but got disgusted with how much work I was going to have to do to fix the wreck that it was. After three months, I finally put it aside this week and decided to try new things.

See paragraph above.

NanoWrimo went to hell after I got in the hospital on the first day of November, and was in for five days. Then Rhode Island Comic Con the weekend after I got out of the hospital, where I sold a few copies of my book, but I was concentrating on selling everyone else’s. I did a good job with that. I met John Barrowman! At the autograph table, I had a script prepared to tell him all about Grimaulkin. What did we talk about?

Pain meds.

See, he had thrown out his back and I had just gotten out of the hospital after going in with chest pain. So I knew about pain meds–all hail MORPHINE. He said that he had “hospital grade” meds but they made him loopy. His handler suggested he use them for the panel or the cosplay photo op he had coming up. I did have him sign the picture I brought (Torchwood) and he called me “lovely.” I blushed a million shades and said I’d see him tomorrow for a photo op.

My son, John Barrowman, and me.

After the ComicCon, I tried to write. Again, Calliope took off after tossing me a bone or two. I tried a Tamerlane story and got as far as Tamerlane meeting his next patron, and but no reason for her to meet him.

I looked up stuff in Submission Grinder, just to see if there was anything I could contribute to. I saw an entry for “Lost Atlantis” by Flame Tree Press. They were looking for stories of lost civilizations. I had read Four Lost Cities and Forgotten Civilizations of the Ancient World this year. Heck, Brothers of the Zodiac is set in Mesopotamia.

I started a new Word doc, thinking that might force the story out. Nope. I got an introductory scene with the main character out and that was it.

I need to stop reading non-fiction and watching murder mystery shows (Longmire, Columbo) because that’s all I’ve got in mind. Reading fiction is harder work. I have to hold the story in my head after I put it down for the night. If I put it down for the night. I can hold three, maybe four, storylines in my head at once.

I have decided that on December 1 I’m going to try and coerce, bribe, or beg Calliope to give me more than bones. I will prepare a place for her to come by and visit, and tell me a story.

Takin’ my own sweet time

If you don’t give me a deadline, I assume “anytime you want”. Teen Guardians, the newest Grimaulkin story, is at 11K words because of a few reasons.

Lack of attention.

I do two podcasts: commercially, Small Publishing in a Big Universe; and always Dark Mystic Quill once a month on the last Friday of the month.

I have pain in my left hand due to arthritis. Forty years of typing hasn’t helped because this is not the hand that does the typing–I have to raise my thumb to keep it out of the way. All you touch-typists know what I’m talking about.

Still on dialysis. Still dealing with the heart attack (myocardial infarction). I am double vaxxed and boosted and waiting to get Covid so I can get it over with.

When I sit down to write, I only pretty much know what the scene is going to be. After that, I have no idea what’s going on with the rest of the story. And whenever I try to plot it out, I get mad at myself because I don’t want to write it out. There’s no fun in that. I have an ending in mind for the main plot, but no idea for the sub plots. I don’t want my writing to turn into a bunch of words with no story. That’s what I was afraid of with Carnival Farm–that it had no story. But it’s doing really well (I might have a double-digit royalty check this month!) despite my thinking there’s no story involved in it. It’s a book club book.

Lastly, I look around and see things I need to do. Clean the cat litter box. Read for my 2022 Reading Challenges. Finish reading this humongous book on the Middle Ages. Research, learn, and perform ceremonial magic. Do divination/spiritual explorations. Not to mention prep for podcasting and watch movies/read books at dialysis.

Coming out between February and April 1 (tentatively) is War Mage, the Extended Edition. It’s War Mage the way I wanted it done. An editor wanted me to rewrite it, which I did, and it came out as the tiny book that’s on sale now. But this one is much better. It’s only got my name, L.A. Jacob, so Jake is gone.

And one more thing: We’re doing Rhode Island Comicon November 4-6 at the Convention Center and Dunkin Center in Providence this year. There will be TONS of books (trust me, I have to carry them) from Water Dragon Publishing. Myself and a really good author from Boston, Steven D. Brewer, will be there with his short story collection. My son will be cosplaying somewhere around there, too. More information forthcoming!

My life, in three words

Dialysis: My life revolves around the needle and the machine. Three days a week, first thing the morning, I get stuck with two needles. One has my blood going in, one has my blood coming out. And for four hours I sit, sometimes napping, most times staring out into space, sometimes reading, sometimes listening to music or podcasts. Four hours I wait, watching the clock like Fred Flintstone, while the machine filters the toxins out of my blood. Then a half an hour both to stick me and to disconnect me. Half an hour to and from the place. Six hours, three days a week.

Work: Three other days a week, I work for ten hour days. Luckily, it’s not a totally stressful job, where I have to take it home on the days I don’t work. I moved my office to the third floor because the cellar was freezing in the winter (50 degrees, and no heat). Good thing about it, I now have heat. The bad thing? (Or maybe it’s a good thing,) I can’t snack as much as I used to because the kitchen is in the basement/cellar, and my office had been right off the kitchen, in a refurbished “pantry”. After last year’s Purge cleared out the pantry, I had more room for the computer and papers and a chair. But it was cold, even with a space heater.

Sleep: The final day of the week, Sunday, is a day of rest. And I mean rest. I’ve timed that I can sleep for 12 hours. If I sleep after seven a.m. on Sunday, I’m up until at least nine p.m. Sunday night, when my usual bed time is around six or seven p.m. Then I’m up at 4:30 Monday morning to start it all over again.

This week is a little different, in that I have dialysis on Monday and Tuesday. Last Saturday I couldn’t have it because my access, the port where they plug in the needles, was clotted with blood. I have to go to a special out patient procedure to get the clot cleared out. Supposedly, according to the nurses at the dialysis center, they put a balloon in my graft to expand the area and get the clot to flow. But where does the clot go?

I have been worried sick about this. My OCD has kicked into overdrive when I’m wondering whether or not I’ll have a stroke or a blood clot to the brain. My blood clots well, sometimes too well; which I don’t understand since I have anemia.

Writing: I’m trying to write daily, but it’s been such a chore that I’m lucky if I can get a hundred words a day out. The story I’m writing is one that I’m interested in, but it’s testing my memory. It takes place in 1974 Providence, RI, during the height of the organized crime gangs in the area.

I’m wracking my brain about whether things existed in 1974. Remote controls? No. Lids on paper cups? They didn’t have that, or hot paper cups, either. Styrofoam. Aluminum can Budweiser? Nope, bottles. Recyclables? Are you kidding me? Smoking in bars? Yep. Drinking on the job? Yep. Weed, meth, heroin? Yep, yep, yep (though meth wasn’t what it is now–it was speed, then).

My goal is to get it done by the end of the summer, so that it’s available for RI Comicon (Yes, we’re going this year, November 6-8.). There will be no magic involved in the story, which means I have to make my protagonist very crafty. He will be. He has a lot of secrets to hide.

Butt in gear

I have lots of things to obsess about. The dialysis (which has given me four hours of reading time three times a week), the next book which already has a writer’s block on the first chapter, and what’s going to happen for the rest of my life.

As soon as I move the computer upstairs to my third office (I live in a 10-room house) I will be doing a podcast.

I’m having trouble with the new novel, tentatively titled Ova. I want to introduce the main character, but I can’t seem to catch her voice. I don’t hear her very clearly–though I know what she ends up doing, at the beginning here I can’t seem to get her down right. I need to ask myself some questions and do a little “interview” of her to get where she’s coming from. I’ve plopped her down on the page and have no backstory, only what happens in the future.

I tried to write her home life, but it was boring. Eat, watch TV, go to sleep. Wake up. Do chores. Go to work.

It’s really hard for me to describe something or someone without making it seem like a description. I have to use active words, have characters do something other than stand there while we take a picture. Describe and action at the same time.


I participated as a vendor in our local Pride festival yesterday. I had to leave early because the wind was just insane, and the tent next to mine blew away. I took that as a sign.

I sold two books, though there were tons of people there. I really expected to sell more. I think I know what happened.

I didn’t advertise as an LBGTQ author or book. I advertised like I usually do, “I write magical fantasy, military fantasy, and erotica.” I was selling for a general audience, like I usually do, because there are a lot of conservative readers in this area. This event I needed to be much more progressive.

I would probably try again next year if we do it, but bring more weights for my tent.

It didn’t help that my right eye started bleeding behind the eye, causing floaters and a pink film over everything. I couldn’t see people clearly. As it is, I can’t see what I’m writing here so I hope I don’t misspell too much.

I don’t know if I’m going to do anymore outdoor events. I have one sceduled: The Loof in Riverside on August 10. I have to do that one alone because my son refuses to do any more outside events. Seeing the tent next to us get ripped away freaked him out.

August is a long way off, so we’ll just have to see.

BayCon – go there!

Road trip!

No, not really. BayCon is going on in sunny SoCal, and my publisher and two of the authors in Paper Angel Press are going to be there. Go visit!

Writing non-fiction is a little harder than I thought. Some of the items that I’m writing about, I got from other sources but put my own spin on them. I plan on having a bibliography, but do I cite the sources as I go along? I don’t want this to be a research paper – I’ve seen other non-fiction books just mention everything at the end.

I’m writing about summoning your muse. It’s not really “summoning”, more of a “calling to”. I’m running into trouble, again, with source material. I’m getting it from three different sources.

Research is in order.

Tempt the school librarians

Yesterday I attended the first (possibly annual) Providence Book Festival. In terms of sales, I didn’t do too well, but in terms of networking and finding out information (and helping other authors) I did really well.

One nugget I learned was that librarians go to these things. It’s not a bad thing to try to cater to a school library. Because Grimaulkin is young adult, and that market is hot (not hot-hot like middle grade) I can get the book into the hands of high schoolers. I also offered myself up as a speaker to school librarians in case they ever wanted to put together a panel of authors.

Meanwhile, I am now doing the rewrite for Blood From a Stone. I did all the background work, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, what characters to keep, what scenes to redo and add in. I hope to have it done in the next two weeks and ready to send out to the editor by then. My self-imposed deadline is June 1.

May 1 is when Grimaulkin Tales comes out. We titled each of the stories like Canterbury Tales, which is kinda neat. I’ve sold one copy already, and I may have someone ready to get it in June.

My next appearance will be June 1, at the Woonsocket Meet & Greet in the Woonsocket library.

Next Saturday, I will be appearing at the Providence Book Festival in the Renaissance Hotel. It’s a fancy joint, so I might have to dress up. and I have to pay an insane amount to park. Oh well; at least I’ll be with other Pulitzer Prize winning local authors (though I never heard of them). It should be interesting.

I might have one appearance in May, but on June 1 I’ll be in Woonsocket for their second annual Meet and Greet. I hope to participate in Pridefest on June 15 – it depends on when I get my tax ID. It’s the little things.

In the meantime, healthwise, I don’t feel like I’m getting better, and some days are better than others. Today is already rough; I can imagine what next week will bring. I have some tests the following week to decide whether or not I’ll need oxygen. If that happens, I might as well give up doing the outdoor events. Nevermind how the heck I’m going to get around.

Progress on Blood From a Stone is excellent. I’ve plowed through my manuscript, fluffed up some scenes, taken out some worthless characters, and told a story. It’s the how that is going to be the problem. I know what I want to say now, what I meant to say in the first draft; now I need to figure out how.

It’s going to take some significant rewriting on my part to get it to be the story I wanted. But it has some hope, unlike Yellowtree which has the only hope of a good title.

Speaking of good titles:

Review: Clean
I didn’t finish it. Maybe I’ll go back to it. Why?
The main character (A Level 8 telepath, whatever the hell that means) is a recovering junkie. I thought, okay, that’s interesting. But he brings it up in every chapter. In every other chapter, he keeps asking his superiors for help from “The Guild” and the superiors keep saying no. By the fifth time of all this happening, I’d had it. (Remember the rule of three, people. Reject it three times and then do something about it, or your reader will think you’re dragging it along like a dead horse.)

Review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron
I’m still reading it, though I’m getting really close to not finishing it.
The main character, Mick Oberon (probably that Oberon, I wouldn’t be surprised) is a 1930’s noir PI fae. I thought that was a great idea, too, except the narrator’s voice keeps switching from period voice to a more modern voice. It’s like hearing a high Victorian lady spout the f-word like a soldier. We’ll see if I finish it.


In the Lenormand card deck, the tree is the card of health. When it comes up in a reading, you have to look at the cards around it to see whether health is good or bad.

The Tree came up on one of my readings, but I don’t remember the cards around it. I think Mountain was one. Mountain means “an obstacle to climb.”

If it’s what I remember, it came true with a vengeance. Somehow I got pneumonia about 2 weeks ago, and it hit me as just shortness of breath. No coughing, sneezing, fevers (though yes, to chills). I learned alot about hospitals and protocols and rules and how they handle blood transfusions (yes, I got one of those), so these things will probably make it into one of my books or stories someday.

That’s the funny thing about how things happen in your or a close person’s life–it ends up as fodder for a story. As a patient who is a writer, you’re part patient, part anthropologist, documenting everything later for use in a scene or something.

And all that endless television watching. I watched NCIS: Los Angeles all day Sunday with the sound off predicting, “Oh, they’re gonna do this, and this is what’ll happen.” And most of the time I was right. I suspect I got the police procedural story formula right!

So although I’m feeling a little better, I’m not 100%. That may take some time. Air will be out next Wednesday (Valentine’s Day!) though it is available for pre-order for only $2.99 on Amazon right now. I had a lot of fun with this book, and I think it’s got one of the best stories of the lot in there. I worked really hard on the history, so I hope people notice.

While in the hospital I wrote a scene for Grimaulkin Collected, not realizing I had already written it. But the second scene was better. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a rewrite, not a revision. I usually do revisions. I hardly ever do rewrites.

My next event will be next week (fingers crossed I don’t end up in the hospital…again…) at the Cumberland Monestary. It’s the same place mentioned in the Grimaulkin series. Come down and see the place! The stage is gone but the buildings are still there. I’ll be there from 1-3.

Also, I’ll be there looking for writers for my publisher’s new anthology, Corporate Catharsis. Go take a look if you’re interested in participating. I will be entering with a working title “The Hex Office.”

What I’m Reading:
Blackbird in the Reeds
Dustin comes home to find some weird stuff taking over his childhood town. Getting a little slow to start up, but I’m hoping things pick up pretty soon or I’ll be moving on.

OH NO! Not enough story!

I finished Yellowtree this morning, this first draft clocking in at 40,314 words. There are a few spots that I could repeat, and a few threads that I totally dropped.  One book I’m reading now has repeated the main character’s main feelings four times within a hundred pages, so I know what not to do. 

The threads I dropped, I’ll pick up again right now, to try and fill the 10K words. However, because I dropped them, they must be unnecessary so I’ll take them out on the second pass. Watch me end up with a 30K word book by the end.

I discovered that my main character also has feelings, unlike Mike. This is so hard for me to write. Not because I have no feelings, but because I love anti-heroes and most of my stories consist of anti-heroes. To have a main character feel bad about killing another person, even in self-defense, is something that I’m not used to. (I’m not a sociopath, at least according to my last psych eval…:-)

I may just end up doing a secondary story running parallel to this one, something to do with Claudette. I want to explore her more, make her more than the crazy old lady in the falling-down mansion a’la Charles Dickens. And I definitely wanted to bring in Nash more, but I couldn’t find a place for him due to time constraints. Owen is a dropped thread, a Chekov’s gun that was never used. And all of a sudden, at the beginning of the end, the main character Kevin starts to burn bridges. What the hell was that all about?

Today I have to make notes on the time period, days that things are taking place. I also have to pack for the RI Author Expo for next Saturday. I’m not expecting to do a lot of sales there because it’s going to be so overwhelming. I will probably not do it next year, depending on how this year ends up. Last year a thousand people came through. This year, we’ll see.