29

04/22

Max is back!

1:55 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Writing

My WIP is Aries II, and I’ve been writing a little bit in it every day. Look for bits of it on Twitter. I’m up to 7,500 words–ten percent done!

Been taking care of my overly dependent geriatric cat, who has to take meds every day now.

Tom “helping”

New stories are out!

An ancient form of revenge.

“Hippolyta’s Dagger” takes place at The Truck Stop in the Center of the Galaxy. It’s a fun place to be. Read some of the other stories.

If it’s precious, they can steal it.

“Seven of Swords” is part of The Storyteller’s Tarot series. I kind of copied a scene from Grim’s last book, Grimaulkin Redeemed, rewrote it, introduced a new (old) character named Tamerlane who is a bit of a jerk. Just a little bit.

Coming soon: War Mage: The Extended Edition.

10

01/22

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.

Podcasting.
Pain.
Health.
Boredom.
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!

24

12/21

Success! Ummm…

3:56 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Reading,Writing

H/T to Steven D. Brewer in his blog, what does success mean to me.

Now this entry isn’t going to sound as scholarly as his, but humor me.

Was I rich this year? Nope. But I’m not complaining at what I have made. Any cup o’ tea helps.

Was I famous this year? I touched more people with Carnival Farm than I had with Grimaulkin. General fiction is a winner. Who’da thunk?

I did like something noted in Steven’s blog:

Jane McGonigal, in her book Reality is Broken, identified four qualities that make for a happy life: (1) Satisfying work to do, (2) The experience of being good at something, (3) Time spent with people we like, and (4) The chance to be a part of something bigger.

  1. Check.
  2. Check
  3. Cheaaaaaakkkk? (Two toxic people in my life I’m working on distancing myself from)
  4. Don’t care. At least, I don’t think so.

DBT talks about “Mastery”, and I will admit, I think that I have achieved the mastery of writing. (Wait! No more writing books? Oh, hella no–I’m addicted to collecting those like I’m addicted to collecting tarot cards.) So what do I do when I feel like I’m worthless–i.e., those two toxic people tell me I am worthless?

I write. Or I read something that I know I can write better. Or I outline. I plan the next scene. And I try to work hard on it to get it published.

Writing equals success. Publishing equals success. Money and fame are icing.

05

12/21

A Grimaulkin Return?

2:25 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Characters,Grimaulkin,Inspiration

I have the itch to write. I put aside the NaNoWriMo project after its epic fail last month. I want to write something, but I have no idea what.

So I sat down with my writing journal, and what came to me was a scene I had done years and years ago on another blog. I had Grim create a spell call the Cornucopia Spell that he put on a fridge. Anything you wanted would appear in the fridge. Cooked or uncooked, but just the way you wanted it.

Well, one of the characters in the hostel that the fridge was located in liked to “stump the fridge”. He created bacon ice cream. A long and very funny role-playing session happened (but not as memorable as Penis Coat in the D). I could do a short story with that character and the Cornucopia scene. It could be part of the Storyteller’s Tarot as the ten of cups (wish-fulfilment).

As I kept writing in my journal, I realized that there were a few other characters I wanted to bring out. Jules, the naive wanna-be hero; Eule, the prankster; Masonry, the anti-hero; and more from way back in City of Heroes and Champions Online. I have to go back to all the stories I’ve written (skipping Bomber because he’s quite dead) to get what I was trying to do with them. Do I want to bring them all out, along with Grim, who owns this hostel for “wayward boys” because he’s forced to do years of community service for a crime he committed?

The thing is, I don’t want to mine old stuff. But it seems to be the fastest way to get at anything.

I’ll play with the idea. Let it stew and pull out old characters, read/write them up.

Maybe another Grimaulkin story might find its way out.

01

10/21

NaNoWriMo Planning

4:26 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Inspiration,NaNoWriMo,Prince of Providence

All of a sudden, I have a hankering for LARPing. Ah, the nostalgia of my college years, when Vampire: The Masquerade was all the rage and Mind’s Eye Theatre had a foothold in Brown University. Instead of doing it, I collected the books and stayed on the fringes. Far be it for me to be of the same ilk as Brown kids.

I still have all of my White Wolf books, the V:TM core rule book. The Player’s Guide. Mage: The Ascension first edition. Vampire: Dark Ages. Changeling: The Dreaming, first edition. Werewolf: The Apocalypse, first edition. Somewhere is Wraith: The I Forget, but I can’t put my hands on it right now. I pulled down all these books and paged through them, remembering the good old days when I would create a character and…nothing.

I had in my head at the time a story which I now know would be considered fanfiction. The Giovanni vampires took over Rhode Island. An old Gangrel who had been Prince of Providence comes back to see how things are going. Providence is a mess, with Sabbat packs roaming the streets, crime up, everyone in the Giovanni’s back pocket, and all the Camarilla scattered “in hiding” around the state. (Now, RI is as big as some counties, so it’s not like they’re far away from each other.)

In 2005, I was on a tear for anything V:TM or Mage-related. I know this because there is a digital RPG site called DriveThruRPG that I downloaded a ton of source books and novels at that time. They’re still in my library, all the .pdf’s. So I downloaded them all and read most of them.

What if I wrote the story that was in my head from the 2000’s? Scenes and bits are still there in the recesses of the corkboard of my brain, ready to be used. Thus, Prince of Providence is in gestation.

I pulled out a 2-subject notebook (on clearance at BJ’s Warehouse, doncha know). The first section is characters. The second section is plot or brainstorm. No scenes yet, because if I write them out, I might as well start the darn book. And I can’t until November 1. Then I printed out sheets for each character.

Boy, was that a mistake.

I now have a pile of RPG character sheets, which, although good for keeping my characters in line, created a huge cast of characters that I probably won’t use half of them. There’s Camarilla and Sabbat and Mages and Lupines. For a week, I’ve been filling out RPG sheets, getting inklings of characters, sitting with each and every one, making notes on their idiosyncrasies. I didn’t bother doing “Merits and Flaws” because that’s shoehorning them into something more strict. But it’s like D&D: Charisma and Intelligence and Strength.

There is “Nature” and “Demeanor” that I find indispensable. Nature is what the character is on the inside; Demeanor is how the character presents themselves to the world. This is how I plan on keeping the characters straight. “Concept” helps too. That’s what the character is supposed to emulate. For instance, the main character, Ragest, has a concept of “Adventurer”. Then there’s details: skills, abilities, and knowledge.

My plan is to “play the game” while writing. If I get stuck, I’ll roll the 10-sided dice. Example: Ragest has to figure out how to get into a laptop. He has one “Computer” related die, and four “Intelligence” die. I roll them versus a difficulty of 8 (6 is average, but because he’s not a computer guy, I increased the difficulty). If he gets three out of five successes, he wins. If not, it’s a loss, and he’s got to hand the laptop to someone else with better computer skills. If they all fail, it’s a “botch” and he broke the computer.

What this will do is cause me to do twists and turns that I normally wouldn’t do. It’s totally random and unpredictable.

This is gonna be fun.

15

09/21

Pantser, Plotter, Plantser

I’m not a pantser anymore. I have a poster up on my corkboard that has “My Contract With My Reader”. The first thing is: “I will not waste your time.” Ergo, “I will not waste my time.”

As a pantser, that’s what I did. I would write myself into boxes, toss half of it away, and start over. Frustrating as all hell. So I tried plotting, and you know how that goes (read some past posts).

I plot with a lot of wiggle room. I have a point where I start, and usually a point where I finish, and how I get there is…open. Most of the time. There are a few times that I there are certain things that need to happen, and I make room for that.

However, with this newest WIP, I’m creating a “bible” that has all the background information. The story is told in the main character’s POV, and she hasn’t got a clue really what’s going on. In an attempt not to infodump (which is what my first draft was) I’m trying to spread the information out a little bit at a time. But I have to put the background somewhere.

I have a 3 subject notebook. The first subject is characters. The second subject is scenes behind the scenes, that the main character doesn’t know about but that I have to clarify for the other characters to move on. The third subject is for the live plots in the story.

I’m still working on the character page. Right now I have:
Age:
Relationship to MC:
Titles:
Family:
Personality and Skills (Thank you GURPS and Vampire: The Masquerade)
Physical Description (Which is the name of an actor/actress from IMDB)
What chapters they are in and what they do.

So yes, Jason Momoa and a “Raiders” Harrison Ford are in this book. I’ll let you figure out who they are.

I haven’t written down any background scenes and I’m still organizing the plots.

Oh, and what is the WIP about, you ask?

Imagine that the northern part of Maine, north of Route 95, are all feudal societies. Some live with technology and no magic; the rest live with magic and little technology. What if a person is able to use magic in the technological world, and technology in the magic world? That’s the Taurin. Among other things.

I’ll give you a few more snippets of the story another time. My editing is going slow now because I’m doing podcasts for Small Publishing in a Big Universe and my own Dark Mystic Quill. SPBU is a showcase for my publisher’s wares. DMQ is the same thing it’s always been: Writing, Witchcraft and Woe. Maybe not so much woe anymore.

So I am off to get my hand looked at. Carpal Tunnel, here we are!

20

07/21

Oh, to the Shredder with it (for now).

1:48 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Grimaulkin,Inspiration,Methods of Writing,Writing

I picked up A Rook Given and decided to establish the POV as Rook’s only. This meant I had to change Edwin as “Master Edwin” or “his master”, and Mebahel didn’t exist any more. The scene that sparked the story had to be taken out (Mebahel heals a little crippled girl and the parents are upset because they can’t get insurance or money from her disability anymore). After rewriting the few chapters I did, the story got cut in half from 22K to 11K, six chapters to four.

This morning I sat down with my outline and plan, and went right off the rails when writing. This means that the Muse is just as sick of being forced into the square peg of this story, that She wants something else. I pulled out my trusty box of StoryMatic, and pulled something random. I sat with a blank page for about ten minutes, then wrote ideas. None worth anything.

But there’s two ideas that are noodling around in my head. One is from The Truck Stop at the Center of the Galaxy world, where an archeologist who is on the station for SCIENCE! hits a wrong button and…oops. The other is Mike (Grimaulkin) goes to a local Comicon. Both would be fun, for my own…edification, not meant for public consumption. Maybe I need to write those before the Muse will either go back to A Rook Given, the Werewolf story, or something else new. Time to clear things out for new stuff.

11

07/21

“A Rook Given” continues…

5:58 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Inspiration

I’m on Chapter 6 of A Rook Given and have finally introduced one of the catalysts for the story. Maybe it’s kind of late by now.

In a way, I don’t like switching the third-person-limited between three main characters: Rook, Edwin, and Mebahel. What one does, the other doesn’t know the reasons for. Example: Rook’s friend saw everything that happened to Rook and feels the need to tell Edwin. But the reader doesn’t know why. Or how she feels afterward. How do I tie up that loose end?

I’m up to 19K words, a quarter of the way through. Seventy-five K is my goal, but because my writing style is sparse, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get that far. I meant for Chapter 2 to introduce the “call to adventure” but maybe it’s now Chapter 6, and everything else before it is going to get tossed out. I hope not.

The werewolf story… this is where it gets weird. Or magical.

In my writing group, there’s a woman who writes fantasy, and somehow the conversation got on werewolves. “I’d want to write a story where each phase of the moon, the wolf changes.” Well, the funny thing is a couple of weeks ago, the publisher and I started talking about that. I didn’t go with it because it’s been done by White Wolf Games and their Werewolf: The Apocalypse series and didn’t want it to be fan fiction. Coincidence?

In Big Magic, by Elisabeth Gilbert, she goes into a section where writers will suddenly have the same idea. It’s not that she stole the idea from the publisher and me, but it’s that the Universe has this idea, and someone is going to write it, by God. If not me, then maybe this other woman.

It hurts my heart to feel that the Universe doesn’t bless me with the story idea, Even though I rejected it. It’s like not being invited to a party so you could tell them “Oh, sorry, I can’t.” Doesn’t that hurt?

05

07/21

What to write…

8:00 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Bitten or Born,Carnival Farm,War Mage

In the hopper are War Mage, Carnival Farm, and “Death”, a short story for October.

I wrote a little bit in A Rook Given, but I stalled really quickly. In the middle of the month, I started writing a story called Bitten or Born. Not sure if it’s a novel, novella, short story, or what.

It’s a spin-off of a character in War Mage, Director’s Cut. Kurt is a werewolf, and has been in the Army for six years. Now that his tour is finished, he’s moved to New Hampshire where there are way too many werewolves. I’ve plotted most of the story, but the problem is, the plot is too short. Of course, this plot is the main plot, no sub-plots inserted yet.

Once I got that plotted out, suddenly A Rook Given seemed clear. It was like I had this other bit I needed to push out in order to continue with Rook. Bitten has male and female characters that have no romance. It took me days of thinking and five minutes with my Muse to figure out how to do that.

In the meantime, I’ve been watching too much Marvel. Bad influences.

06

06/21

War Mage

3:40 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: A Rook Given,Iron Butterfly,Methods of Writing,War Mage

I finished editing the printed-out version of War Mage. What I usually do when I finish a book or when I start to edit is print it out in 12 point Times or Book Antigua font. I grab my red gel-pen and start marking it up. I know some proofreader’s marks, like # is put in a space, and three underlines under a letter is to capitalize it.

I like it a lot better now than what got published the first time. There were a few things that I pretty obviously screwed up on, like not finishing a scene. I did enough foreshadowing that it confused me, so I had to tone that down. No wonder the first editor wanted me to trash it.

Taking that editor’s word as gospel. I rewrote it from the beginning and published a piece of crap. I should have just read a couple of months later what I had sent her, to see where the problems were. It is a good idea to let the story rest your eyes before editing.

The ending was a lot better than the one published. I’m proud of myself for it. Now, for it to see the light of day.

I also edited A Rook Given. I gave myself a target of 75,000 words for this story. I don’t think it’ll get that far. I’m on Chapter 5, scene one (according to my plotting outline) and I’m at 15,000 words. I caught myself repeating names or using wrong names and had to clear that up. I am glad that I plotted most of it out, because the writing comes easier.

Max’s reboot is going well. I sold two copies and have a SFW introduction going on the blog. Part of me wants to start something brand new, with vampires or shifters or fae for market value. Another part wants to shove Iron Butterfly out there into the world, because it’s a damn cool pair of main romantic leads I want to write, and I want to immortalize The Domina forever (yes, that’s what she called herself IRL). Interesting? Let me know.

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