Category Archives: Brothers of the Zodiac – Water

I apologize

It’s been two or three weeks since I’ve updated this blog. I sincerely apologize because my head has been in City of Heroes nearly constantly.

It’s good to see it back, to play the old missions. Arachnos, Warriors, Council, Sky Raiders, the maps, the missions and contacts – it brought back old memories. Fighting in caves, warehouses, offices…different than Champions Online. I found out some ways to get different perks.

This is OCD in full-bloom. I need to ease up.

  1. I plan on stepping away from the game, attempting to just get on during the weekends.
  2. I need to write again. Something upbeat and fluffy, as something different. It’ll probably never see the light of day, though.
  3. I can grab a couple of characters and write stories about them from CoX. Personally I like Maximillian (Leader of “The Maximum Ride Gang”)–he’s a villain.
  4. I have other characters that I can work on. My writing depends on characters, not settings or plots.

This week, Maxwell Thomas has a book coming out, the omnibus of Brothers of the Zodiac. It’s eBook only, so available on Amazon, Smashwords, Nook, etc.

Autumnfest next weekend

War Mage is finished, and books are on their way to me. I’ll be at the Autumnfest next week in Woonsocket, RI for the whole weekend, selling my books and books from Paper Angel Press. They will include Books 1 and 2 of the Glass Bottle series, Building Baby Brother and Children of the Wrong Time.

My books are Homecoming, War Mage, Grimaulkin, Grimaulkin Tempted, Grimaulkin Redeemed, and the erotica series, Water and Earth. (Fire is later this month.)  In addition, my free short stories “Self-Defense”, “The Joint”, and “Family Bonds” will be available FOR FREE. FREE, FREE, FREE!

Lastly, I’ll offer Tarot readings for any purchase.

I’m working on research for Air’s first story: a Revolutionary War spy. Guess what sign that is?

I’m writing on my lunch hour. I get about a hand-written 8×10 page finished every day. I can’t seem to write the sex scenes, though. It’s like the environment isn’t conductive to that kind of thing.

When the muse speaks, listen!

I decided this weekend to tackle Earth, to try and get it finished. As I talked with my publisher, he said, “How about you work on War Mage?”

Okay, for a different way of looking at things, sure. It’s been cooking for about a few months, so I should be able to get right back into the swing of it. A new story, a new character, new setting. I have an idea of where the story was going to go (after all, I’ve written eight drafts of the damn thing) so it should be easy. Right? Right?

I sat down, reread what I wrote up to the point I stopped and thought, “My God. This just sucks.”

I’m tempted to say, “To hell with the whole War Mage idea, let’s just not continue it.”

This made me reach for the comfort food to console my depression. After eating a few Belgian waffles, I went upstairs to my Windows computer (the computer that has Scrivener, Internet, and game on it) and did some mindless button-mashing in game.  Then I said to myself, “What happens if I start Grimaulkin Redeemed?”

I left the game, started a new project in Scrivener, and started writing. An hour later, I had done a thousand words (would have been more if I didn’t self-edit) and it flowed! This, this is what I like to feel when I write. The instant flow of words, the story just comes out, and it’s not work. It’s enjoyable. It’s play.

This is what every writer’s “zone” is. When the work takes over your life, and you enjoy it. It’s not a job. It’s not something you keep wanting to procrastinate. It’s a flow, a river.

I had a dream last night, and now that I think about it, I know what it means. There was a metal pipe that fed to a creek in the back of the house, and it was clogged, with water backing up against the foundation of the house. I had just grabbed a stick and planned on poking the end of the pipe to try and dislodge what was blocking it.

That’s Grimaulkin Redeemed. It’s unblocking the pipe of creativity. Maybe Grim will be my go-to for stories when I’m stuck. I still role-play him in the game (Champions Online–I’m @maulkin if you want to hit me up), so he may be around for a long time.

Further updates: Water will be an audiobook very soon. Grimaulkin is in production for an audiobook (yay!). I’ll be at the Cumberland Library Meet and Greet from 10-2 on February 17. Come down for some exclusive swag! And buy a book, even!0

Podcast is on hold for this week. I think I’ll try and get it together for next week.

Non-fiction is hard

I’m in the midst of writing my memoir, and it’s been really hard. Going back ten years, and gathering bits and pieces of conversations, moments of getting together, things said, people spoken to, quotes and how things went…feelings of other people, and, really hard: my own feelings.

I was numb then. All I knew was I have to take care of things.  It reads like a newspaper article. There’s no feelings here and there. Maybe I didn’t have any. I don’t know. I don’t remember that.

I told my son that he can read this after I’m dead. If he wanted to publish it then, that’s fine. But I can’t see myself publishing it when I’m alive because it makes me look like I was cold and uncaring. After I’m dead, he can do whatever he wants with it.

I don’t even know if I can drag it out for 50K words. Right now it’s almost 9K. I suppose half of it will be “how to handle grief and loss” or something like that. Something I need to research and regurgitate.

On a more happy note, Grimaulkin Tempted is complete and ready for printing. Hopefully I’ll have some copies for sale at the Expo on December 2 (though I don’t expect to do a booming business there due to 124 other authors being there as well). Maybe I’ll do a “2 for $25” deal–books 1 and 2 for $25. Or even $20. I’d prefer $20. That would be a good sale, and being that we’re all a bunch of cheap Yankees…

I’ve also written a story of Mike’s prison time called “The Joint” which is also complete though we only need a cover.  That won’t be ready by December 2 unfortunately. I don’t know when my next appearance will be, but I’m going to strive next year to go to the RI Comicon. Yes, I know, it’s expensive, but I think I can sell more stuff there. So instead of the Narragansett thing, I’ll save my money for Comicon. I need a banner for that.

After NaNo, I’ll tackle Earth.

Oh, and next week I’ll be on WADK at 10:30 on November 8. Only about 15 minutes though. A two-hour drive and $8 toll for a fifteen minute spot. Not worth it, but what the heck, right?

My interview on WNRI was great. I plugged the Press, and Zarra, plugged all my books, and we talked about writing and publishing. It was excellent. I didn’t get to plug my podcast, but that’s okay.

So onward. If I can squeeze out 2K words today, I’ll be happy. I tried to get 3K words yesterday, but the muse was reluctant. And I kept getting interrupted by a bored kid. If I do 2K a day, I’ll succeed.

Music to Write To

I have a playlist for Grimaulkin. But I’ve found a radio station on Sirius XM called Turbo that has a lot of the music for the mood of Grimaulkin. It’s hard rock from the 1990’s and early 2000’s, just around the time period that Grimaulkin takes place. (Trust me, I’d rather listen to that than Y2K Pop.) So when you read Grimaulkin Tempted, know that I listened to this radio station which caused a lot of the action scenes–especially during Rage Against the Machine songs.

Water was written over three years. Cancer was written first and set aside; Pisces written earlier this year. Scorpio was initially the prologue, but I didn’t like it because there was no sex, and it didn’t espouse the, er, talents of Scorpio. When I changed my initial Scorpio into the prologue, that set me free to write Scorpio as you see him, which I’m very proud of.

So good news, I was able to put my book in a store! Bewitched of Scituate is a little witchy store in Scituate, RI, where I got a card reading. Afterward we talked about putting Grimaulkin in her store. She said that she would be happy to put my book on her shelf if I would donate one to her library. So I provided three copies to sell (because three is a magic number) and donated one.

Next is getting it in the library. My next day off is September 8, and I’ll get down to the Pawtucket library to beg them to take Grimaulkin. Maybe head up to Worcester to donate Homecoming, too.

Meanwhile, my plan is to hit the 45K mark with Grimaulkin Tempted this weekend (I’m at 44,783 right now, so it won’t be difficult) and start tying up loose ends. I was thinking of continuing a plotline into the next book, but decided against it. I want this to be tidy, because the next book is going to be really deep and conflicted. Maybe I’ll finish it by Labor Day. If so, I’ll put it aside to rest and rise, then work on Earth. After I write one of the novellas in that series, I’ll go back to Grimaulkin Tempted and do the first edit. It will definitely be on its way to the editor in October.

Things are going well!

Plugging along

Grimaulkin Tempted is at 40,000 words! That was my goal for this weekend. Only about 20K more to go, and then I’ll let it rest. I will give it a week off, maybe start writing Earth.

Water is out and available under the name Maxwell Thomas and Zarra Knightley publishing.

Grimaulkin will be in the Rhode Island Authors’ Catalog coming out around Labor Day. It will also be at the New England Book Fair and another book conference in Boston sometime (I just signed up for it; I didn’t pay attention to the details because I don’t have to request a day off). Association of Rhode Island Authors will be doing the selling for me.

My next door neighbor, who bought my book last weekend, stopped me while I was heading out to work and told me he “absolutely loved” Grimaulkin! He told me I made one little mistake, and I did a facepalm when he told me. It went right past me and the editor. Oh, well; that’s what second editions are for.


I read On Writing by Stephen King, supposedly THE BEST WRITING BOOK OF ALL TIME. I was like, “Meh.” I felt like I had read it before because so many people pull out quotes from it.  He’s absolutely right about writing with the door closed and editing with the door open. I’ve found I can’t write with my son in the room. And he comes in a lot because he’s bored.

Anyway, I left it on my Keeper shelf because I suppose in order to be a writer, you have to have it there. Along with Bird by Bird (another book everyone quotes from). Kind of like if you’re going to be a tortured writer, you need to have Hemingway along with your bottle of Jack.


So I didn’t get to sell at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. It was very windy, and my books were flying off the table, literally. And then my canopy tent flew off and snapped in four places. It was wrecked.

I have to wait until Friday to get a new canopy, because for the Loof Festival on August 12, I promised to have a canopy tent. We have a local seconds store and they’re cheap there. But it’s an unexpected expense.

I spoke to the publisher and told him I really wanted to do Grim 2 instead of War Mage. War Mage is just not happening. I don’t feel it. (It might be that one-star review that’s biting at the edges of my imagination.) So we switched it up–Grimaulkin Tempted is going to be December.

Set free from the bonds of War Mage, the muse is having a field day. I already had 19K words going into Grimaulkin Tempted, and I had an idea of where it was headed. So now we’re in sync. What a great feeling. I did 2K words yesterday.

Podcast to come out tomorrow. I promise. That’s what I’ll work on in between writing.

And Water is set for August 15. Maybe I’ll do Earth for NaNo.




So. Since I missed last week’s podcast, I’m just going to do one podcast on the 30th. Maybe it’ll be longer than the usual 5 minute blurbs.

War Mage is up to 7K words. I’ve been lax at writing during the week, so I do most of my writing on the weekend. In addition, I can’t see what I’m writing because my reading glasses aren’t strong enough, and my prescription glasses are messed up. It’s terribly frustrating to read.

I am going to come at War Mage from a different angle. Instead of worrying about the military details, I’m going to worry about the mystery plot. Most of the story takes place at Camp Blessing. A couple of scenes take place in the field. I think what I will do in this “first” draft is get down the mystery elements, and then fill in the military details, nor not even bother with the military details. I’ve got a few side “mysteries” going on so far already.

I received two readings for the Grimaulkin audio book. He’s got Scott down. Mike isn’t bad–I hear him in my head with a gruff, slightly Maine/New England accent. Frank is pretty good; sounds like he has smoked way too many cigarettes and is jaded and slightly angry. Frank does not suffer fools gladly, so it fits.

Water is expected out August 15. I will start Earth next.

And lastly, I will be at the Richmond Farmers’ Market on July 29, rain or shine!

What a relief!

My publisher and I had a bit of a talk, and War Mage has been pushed to December. It seems to have taken a big weight off my shoulders, and I did do a little bit of writing on it yesterday.  I think I’m going to write out the first draft, see how long it is, and if it’s not long enough, then combine it with the The Dark Prison, so War Mage will end up being a stand-alone.

I have a calendar for my appearances on my website, both the Grimaulkin and Dark Mystic Quill sites.

My podcast is going to be late. I’ve been feeling under the weather this past week, and can’t seem to write out what I want to discuss. I’m not good enough to wing it yet, so I have to write down what I’m going to say.

Water is expected to come out on August 15. There will be an omnibus called Water, and then novellas of the different water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. The prologue is a freebie (there’s no sex in that). What’s next, I think, is going to be Earth. That will be next year…maybe May (around Taurus). Grimaulkin Tempted is in stasis while I concentrate on War Mage, though the muse really wants to write Grimaulkin Tempted.



Chugging along

I have to come up with a topic for next week’s podcast. It’s a choice between “What kind of magic do I do?” and “How Journaling is Word Vomit.”

War Mage is up to a stupendous 4K words. No way am I going to get it done for September. Unless I dictate, and even then, I need an outline, and the outline I have sucks. So I’m pantsing the thing and hoping the muse blesses me with more than 1200 words a day. I may end up combining what I was considering books 1 (War Mage)  and 2 (The Dark Prison) into it, like I did with Grimaulkin–I thought Grimaulkin had two separate storylines that were combined into one. Nobody else seems to have noticed. If I combine the Brent stories, it will definitely take care of the word count, and it will be a good stand-alone. Because right now, at 4K, I’ve given up a reveal.

And Brent is no detective, so I’m trying to let the readers kind of scream at him saying, “Can’t you see that so-and-so is lying????” Will that piss off readers and make them put down the book, or let them think that they’re smarter than the protagonist? It’s a fine line I’m walking here.

Water is being final-proofed, and should be out in August.

I don’t know how Grim’s selling…and I don’t want to know until I get the royalties (If any).