Read Harder 2022 Challenge (part 1)

January 21, 2022
  1. read a biography of an author you adore:

Read a history about a period you know little about:

Read an entire poetry collection

Top Ten 2021

January 12, 2022

10. “Reduction in Force” – Steve Soult (fiction, short story) You think you got it bad…

9. The Sorcerer’s Secrets – Jason Miller. (non-fiction, magic) Although he’s a little full of himself (what real practicing magician isn’t?), this is a really good introduction to magic without fear.

8. Three-Story Method – J. Thorn. (non-fiction, writing) I read a lot of books on writing. I liked this book so much that I bought the corresponding workbook which was worthless. And I liked this book so much that if you ask me now what was so great about it…I don’t know.

7. Being Indie – Eeva Lancaster (non-fiction, writing) Marketing as an indie. Useful tricks and tips.

6 “Best Served Cold” – Bob Schnoover. (fiction, short story) It’s so unfortunate that we lost this author last year. I would have loved to read what he planned to do in our Truck Stop series, and wish I could read the other stories that Analog rejected.

5. The Viking Spirit – Daniel McCoy (non-fiction, Norse magic) The warriors of the north. My kid got me interested in Loki – Marvel’s Loki. Who I think is cool, but not someone I want dating my kid. Reading this reinforced that idea.

4. The Conflict Thesaurus – Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi. (non-fiction, writing). I have to pick this up in paperback. It’s wasted on Kindle.

3. High Magick – Damien Echols. (non-fiction, ceremonial magic) The first book that got me on the Qaballic Kick. I didn’t need to read the other books on ceremonial magic – this one was fine.

2. Mastering Your Mystery – Cheryl Bradshaw. (non-fiction, writing) Excellent, excellent book on writing mysteries, even if they are formulaic. She goes from planning to writing to publishing to marketing.

  1. Seeker – Morgan Chalut (fiction, fantasy). Well-written, easy to read, plotted well, twists, realistic, and excellent world-building.

Takin’ my own sweet time

January 10, 2022

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!

Success! Ummm…

December 24, 2021

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.

A Grimaulkin Return?

December 5, 2021

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.