07

04/19

Death card

The Death card in Tarot means endings and new beginnings. I’ve just finished Grimaulkin Tales (not Grimaulkin Collected – that’s the omnibus edition) and it will be available May 1.

Now I’m working on Blood From a Stone, doing the long and detailed rewrite of the story. It’s not as wrecked as Yellowtree. Yellowtree needs a total rewrite, I think. I might end up parking it in the drawer and starting something entirely new, but I love the title and I can’t let it go.

My next event, hopefully, will be the Providence Book Festival on April 27. I may have copies of Grimaulkin Tales there – no promises. Regardless, they will be available at PrideFest (if the Association of RI Authors has a presence).

Brother of the Zodiac omnibus should be available soon as well. Here’s the first draft of the cover..

The second draft has some Easter eggs and this will be available soon. Blood From a Stone will be under Maxwell’s name because of the subject matter.

I am trying to think of a different story to do. I liked the character of Turbo that I developed in Champions. His brother was a superhero and got injured, so Turbo took up the mantle himself without his brother knowing. I’m not sure if the superhero market is any good when it comes to stories–I know that the urban fantasy series is still going strong. I want to write to market a little bit, because otherwise the book will end up in the remainder pile somewhere. But I don’t want to sell out. It’s a fine line.

I want to write something that I can enjoy writing because after all, I’ll be with it for months. And you, Gentle Reader, will be with it for hours. I don’t want to waste your time on it, either.

Well, first thing’s first – finish Blood From a Stone and then take a look at the landscape to see what’s next. As with the Death card, every ending is a new beginning.

10

03/19

Editing

12:53 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Grimaulkin,Inspiration,Life Sucks,Writing,Yellowtree

I will admit, I did some writing when I was in the hospital. When I got home, I typed it up and sent it to my editor.

Not my best work.

The stories that I had done before the hospital were pretty good. And one of the stories I wrote in the hospital, I thought, was going to be a hit. Not quite.

I totally missed characterization of one of the main characters, having him be a cardboard cut out, and I didn’t realize it. This is what happens when you’re on drugs in the hospital. (lol)

I’m so glad I have an editor who is honest enough to tell me where I went wrong and what I need to do to improve the story. Because that’s what the point of an editor is: to tell you what’s good and what might need improvement. Line editing is something almost anyone can do. But editing both the story and silly things like punctuation and the overuse of words (mine is “just”) takes a special kind of person.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been editing. I have to rewrite my last story that I sent him, and I have three stories to go for Grimaulkin Collected. For some reason, though, these three stories seem to be the hardest to generate. I have them at top of mind, but I can’t seem to get started. I don’t understand why.

The other thing is what am I going to write next? I’ve been writing shorts for about a year now that I’ve almost forgotten how to write novels. I tried with Yellowtree, and it came out like crap. That is causing a writer’s block: What next? There has to be a What Next…

I’m so jealous of people who can writer 100K novels, when I have to struggle to write 30K books. I used to be able to write 50-60K without breaking a sweat. I feel like I need to get something out there, something fast. I also write like a journalist, not a novelist, so description is extra-far down the list of things I need to write.

I have three stories to get done by the end of the month. Provided I don’t get sick again.

06

01/19

A week of nuthin’

This week, I finished the final edits of Air, so that’s on track to be published in February. I also printed out Blood From a Stone, looked at it, and realized that editing it was too daunting, considering the editing I was doing for Yellowtree.

Oh, by the way,. I quit editing Yellowtree because I kept getting so disgusted about what I had written. I kept thinking the whole thing is a piece of crap, so I might as well just rewrite the whole thing, and go back to my original story line of fairies and unseelie and seelie fights, instead of throwing in mermaids and sea tales.

I decided this week I’d take a rest from editing. Instead I started writing up character descriptions and histories from the game I play. I want to write something, anything, daily, so this is a good idea to start. I have three pages of characters to plow through.

I’m also trying to write the Grimaulkin Collected stories, at least part of one a day. I have eight stories that have to be at least 5,500 words each. I have a total, right now, of 3,000 words for two stories. Needless to say I need to add more. Not padding, but subplots.

Oh,, cover reveal!

Pretty, huh? That means it’s real…

23

12/18

Air completed (V1)

Due to surprise complications at work (basically, IT decided my department wasn’t a priority), I had some free time to finish writing Air. The editor said that I seemed to have more fun writing these. I wouldn’t say it was fun – it was very experimental for me. I wove real history into my stories, using actual historical figures.

But the good thing is, the first editorial pass is complete, with the first corrections in the can. It’s on course to be released for February of next year.

Next is Grimaulkin Collected, an anthology of Grimaulkin stories. I’m going to start doing what I did with Air’s stories–plot them out with enough wiggle room to “discover” the story. Even though my plot cards may not survive contact with the page, at least I have a bit of a guide of where I want the story to end up. Before, I would keep it in my head. Now, setting it down on paper solidifies the ending for me. Also, I can decide whether or not the ending is actually any good.

Switching between Grim’s stories will be Yellowtree. Although I have a story on the page, I can’t seem to answer basic questions. What’s the theme? Who is the antagonist? Why did the protagonist do what he did? Why is the antagonist (if there is one) doing what they’re doing? And most of all, what’s the plot? Until I can answer questions like that, I don’t have a story–I have a protagonist acting and reacting.

So between that and double XP on Champions Online, that’s what my holidays will consist of: writing and gaming. Oh, and reading:

What I read this week:

A new feature of this blog, I think, should be what I read or am reading over the past week. That’s right, I got so much copious free time. Actually my reading time is an hour in bed before my sleep meds kick in.

Be Counted – D.R Perry.
This is a local RI author. She’s really very good, very funny, and, as we say in RI, wicket smaht. This is the second book I’ve read of hers, the first being A Change In Crime. I liked this one, with a couple of exceptions.
1) Errors in name and age. The main character’s sidekick is either named Scott or Patrick. His ex-partner’s partner is named Weintraub or Tierney. The main character himself is, I think, 25 or so, which is way too young to make detective; and his best friend, who is the same age, acts much, much older.
2) Snarky goes so far At first, the snarky comments were amusing. Then they just got irritating. I’m impressed that the author kept up that level of snark, because I couldn’t.
3) Personal preferences. No chapter titles/numbers. Formatting on the Kindle created no indentation of paragraphs. And most of all, the entire novel is in present tense. That is something I can’t do at all and, again, I am impressed by it.
I gave it four stars because I liked the premise, the writing was good, and something I might want to emulate. But, mind you, I didn’t finish the book. Why? The snark level had gotten to me.

Deadly Lover–Jocelyn Drake (in progress)
Okay, so i have a type for romance–enemies that become lovers. I just love to see how other authors can make that twist because I can’t seem to do it. This one is about two mercenaries, alpha males, who are gay, hide it, hide everything from each other even while they circle around trying to pierce each one’s armor. I’m learning a lot about how mercenaries work, how some special ops can quickly go sideways, and how to recover. I don’t think I could write a book on special ops using this book–need to read a lot more Tom Clancy, I’d guess. But this author keeps things tight and tense, and has kept my interest for 35% of the book.

Leaves of Grass–Walt Whitman (up to poem 45)
Whew, fan yourself after reading this! So much masculine love. I needed to read the poems for “Aquarius” (you’ll see why when it comes out). I didn’t read him in college. I remember a long time ago, finding this book in the wild in downtown Providence. I picked it up, leaved through it, didn’t get it, and left it there. Now that I’m older and coming at it from a gay perspective, I can see what he was trying to do. Hot stuff for the 1850’s!

25

11/18

OH NO! Not enough story!

11:41 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Promotion,Yellowtree

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.

18

11/18

NaNo Update

11:16 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Yellowtree

Yellowtree may not be called Yellowtree anymore, but The Walker, not sure yet. I don’t like The Walker because it makes it sound like much darker fantasy. 

I’m up to 29K words as of this writing, thinking, “It’s all downhill from here.” Problem is, I’ve gotten to a plot point and I’m afraid of plowing through it too fast and ending the story that quickly. I know what I have to do. The scenes are in my head. It’s just that I need to  slow down and get the other bits and pieces put in.

I can’t keep bringing up Lady Air’s abilities as needed. I need to foreshadow, but that looks like I’ll be doing it on the rewrite.

Well, back to work.

05

11/18

Welcome!

2:10 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Grimaulkin,NaNoWriMo,Promotion,War Mage,Writing,Yellowtree

Hello! Welcome new people that I may have met at RI ComiCon; or if not, just welcome anyway.

I am L.A. Jacob, and I’ve been writing for about 30 (mumble-mumble) years. Homecoming was my first published novel, in June 2015. I’ve since published the Grimaulkin series and a quick sequel to Homecoming, War Mage.

My plans next year is for an anthology for Grimaulkin which will be the backstory of some of the characters in the novel, including how Grimalkin appeared, who Ritter is, what Chevalier is, and how the man in the gray suit ended up at the Atheneum Library.

Also, I hope the new book I’m writing for this month’s National Novel Writing Month, Yellowtree, will be good enough for publishing some time next year. It was going to take place in Florida, but I noticed there was a real interest in local areas, so I’m going to set it in Jamestown, RI and go from there.

Speaking of RI ComiCon, I’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who purchased books and stopped by my booth in the Dunk. I went over and above my target; in fact, I ran out of stock on Saturday! Thank you, thank you, for stopping by. Next year, we may do it again – with more and bigger and better stories available for your consumption!

28

10/18

3 days until exhaustion

10:23 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Yellowtree

November 1 is special to me this year. It not only is the starting gun of NaNoWriMo, but it is also check-in for RI ComicCon. RI ComicCon, although smaller in scope than WorldCon, feels to me like a make or break atmosphere. I don’t have a quota – any sale puts me over the moon – and I did surprisingly well at Autumnfest. But here, I have other books than my own to sell, and this crowd may be more open and receptive to new works of art.

My location is better than last time, which was down in the cellar, but this time I’m in the upper concourse I’ll get more people. I’m not sure of the protocol – do I hawk my wares like a carnival barker, or do I sit and hope they come to me? Do I play up the LBGTQ aspect or do I point to the fact that it’s local? I’ll hopefully find out during the course of the Con; but needless to say, this puts me behind the 8-ball with NaNo.

I’m really excited about this book, and think it will be pretty good coming out of the gate. Whether I can make it long enough is another story, because for the past few novels, I’ve been writing novelettes or even short stories. It’s almost as if I forgot how to write a novel. NaNo will put me back into that mindset I hope, and I’ll just keep writing. I have my “Plots Unlimited” book next to me in case I lose steam.

This book will be more personal. It will have scenes in it that come directly from my life. But I hope that it will be fun regardless.

Oh, and episode 24 is up of DMQ (or is should be very soon).

So November 1 is the start of too many things…

21

10/18

At the risk of repeating myself…

10:58 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Brothers of the Zodiac - Air,NaNoWriMo,Yellowtree

Hello!

This week there’s nothing really new. I’m writing Gemini for Air and multi-tasking about contemplating what to write for National Novel Writing Month. I have some scenes ready to do, but I’m not going to be able to start until the 4th due to ComicCon. Thursday I have to load in, Friday I have to set up and be ready for the VIP, Saturday and Sunday I’m there all day, break down Sunday, and collapse.

I’ve written out some things in my notebook of what to do  once the 4th hits. I’ll be 6000-ish words short at the start, but hopefully will be able to make it up the week after having Veteran’s Day off. I was thinking about dictating it again, but I feel weird with my son in the next room. Or he randomly comes and sits in the same room I’m in and then suddenly, I can’t write. He’s sitting on the opposite end of the room, and can’t see what I’m writing, but I feel weird, like he can see what I’m doing. I have this weird feeling that the stuff coming out is too raw to read, and that he’s judging what I’m writing. From the other side of the room! I wonder if any other authors feel this, too.

I need either silence or just the right music to do my writing, and no one in the room. No one in the house would be perfect. No one in a 10 mile radius is even better. Go figure.

I am all packed for ComicCon. Two suitcases, two retractable banners, and I’m ready. I’m at booth 1637 which, if I can read the map correctly, is either near the bridge to Artist’s Alley  or the loading dock. At least I’m not downstairs, where the internet is nearly non-existent.

After ComicCon comes the Expo, and then after that, a breather. I think I’ll work on writing for the spring months, and then pick up the selling later. I’ll try to get in to the Cumberland author expo, and then maybe something else, but winter and spring is going to be dedicated to writing and editing.

14

10/18

Research and twisting history

I am doing research right now for a story for Air.  I’m taking history and twisting it around. Two men worked together as Washington’s spies. What if they had relations between each other? I won’t go into the whole thing, but I am taking liberties with history.

There’s nothing wrong with taking history and putting a spin on it for fictional purposes. But it has to be believable. In my case, the story is inspired by Washington’s Spies by Alexander Rose. The book itself is interesting, but I’m making assumptions about the two men in the Culler ring, assumptions that probably never happened. But it’s an inspiration, not fact. It’s not narrative non-fiction; it’s fiction, with some history thrown in.

Personally, I love little history nuggets. Although Air is an erotica series, I want to make the settings just as important. Air will have the spies, a vigilante marshal in the American West, and an abolitionist teacher of freed black slaves. All of these require some research. I can get away with some things, I’m sure, but if I put in that the marshal is using a 9 millimeter gun, I’m doing a disservice to my readers. It’s like a clunky stop that throws the reader out of the story. So I try to be as accurate as possible.

Fire is coming out on Tuesday. I already have the preview for it on my L.A. Jacob FB page. My favorite in that book is Leo (for some reason, I really like the first-person narratives). I’m thinking of putting Blood From a Stone – which needs some heavy-handed editing – be Max’s next novel.

Meanwhile, I am going to do NaNoWriMo this coming November. As usual, it’s based on a character from Champions Online. The character’s name is Vegas Fey, and his story in Champions is going to be different than the story I’m developing. I want it to take place in Jamestown, RI, because I’m familiar with it and a trip to Boston is required, but I also want to broaden my reach and horizons. Maybe it takes place in Florida, at Fort Pierce (which I am familiar with, also). A drive to Tampa might be in order there…I have almost three weeks to decide.

I hope to have Marc Ducrow, who did the covers for Homecoming and War Mage, do the cover for this upcoming novel. I really want this story to be told, and I think with some editing, it my be out next year.

And then the first weekend in November, I will be at RI ComicCon. So that kills 24 hours of writing time. But if it means I sell books or gets my name out there, then it’s worth it.

A new Dark Mystic Quill podcast is out as well. It’s about magic, not writing this time around, being that it is October and the time of year for weird and magical things.