Lúnasa Days, Writing

Why Won’t There Be a Sequel to Lúnasa Days?

Yesterday I detailed my writing plans for 2014, including announcing a new fiction project (with demons!). Several people have asked me if there will ever be a sequel to Lúnasa Days.

There will not be.

There are a number of reasons for this. The biggest is that Lúnasa Days was always planned as a stand-alone piece. I really don’t believe in taking a one-shot story and tacking on a sequel, even if the story is popular; I think too many bad sequels have been made that way. The finished novella would have looked very different if it was building up to a longer story arc. Instead, it ends on a purposefully open note with no implied next step for any of the characters. That was on purpose.

Another reason why I won’t create  a sequel is the nature of Lúnasa Days itself. I knew I was picking a difficult tale to tell. The main character is a polytheist on a bicycle, so I accepted that readers and critics would assume it was autobiographical no matter what. (It’s really not.) And since it’s a fairly humane, literary work I knew it would be painful to write and require many revisions. That also came true.

The result is that finishing that novella was very much a case of “art from adversity.” The book became personal and difficult to finish. I’d like to think that’s the sign of a good book, but it also means it reflects a moment in time which is now passed. Like all lost relationships, it’s best to move on.

Of course, I realize that this is little comfort to anyone who wanted more with the same characters. The only complaint I’ve heard about the book is that it leaves you wanting more. As a reader myself I can understand that pain, although for a literary work I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.

So, as much as I like Bailey and eventually learned to like Emily, any future adventures of theirs—which would surely be separate and not together—must go unchronicled.

L Days cover_front only_half size

If you haven’t read it yet, Lúnasa Days is available in paperback and on Kindle. Get your copy here.

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Lúnasa Days

Last chance to get Lúnasa Days for free

LAST DAY

Today is the last day you can get my book Lúnasa Days for free. Grab it here.

Lúnasa Days has spent two of the last three days in the #1 spot in Fantasy on the Kindle free store, and it also took #2 in Literary. It remains high on the Top 10 in both those categories. (For the record, it’s that “Literary” slot that means the most to me personally; I was touched to see it climb that list).

Here’s an excerpt from a reader review:

With short sentences that take you to the point immediately and keep the story interesting at every page, Drew Jacob takes us on a personal journey via the character of Bailey: his discovery of spiritual work and magic, his trials at an ordinary life (9 to 5 job anyone?) that he quickly leaves behind in pursuit of his extraordinary (because intimate) voyage into the ordinary lives of ordinary people who do not believe in magic yet are touched by it in their times of need.

Drew’s writing style is a masterpiece of using the right words at the right time that convey thoughts and emotions despite an almost complete lack of description. His protagonists come to life with a humanity that is refreshingly familiar (you will recognize some of your neighbors in these people) and makes for a cast of characters that are thoroughly enjoyable.

I enjoyed reading this book and cannot wait for the rest of the journey…

Lúnasa Days is free on Kindle right now, but that ends around midnight tonight and then it will go back to its normal price. Of course, I don’t mind if you’d rather spend cash on it, but why not grab it while it’s free?

(There is also a paperback version, if you prefer physical books.)

Last, if you really want to make my day please consider putting the link on your Facebook wall and tell your friends. Thank you for your help.

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Lúnasa Days, Writing

How does one begin casting spells?

My novella Lúnasa Days is FREE through Thursday only!

It’s currently the #1 book (!) in Fantasy on the Kindle free store, and #2 in Literary. If enough people download it could make the Top 100 overall and maybe even leap to being a bestseller. Please tell your friends to grab Lúnasa Days today… for free. 

This is an excerpt.

How does one begin casting spells? It’s different for every magician. Some find it in a book. Some learn from a teacher. Some seek it out, others have it shoved upon them.

Bailey tripped into it.

He’d wanted a book on the Greek gods. He didn’t know the one he grabbed was meant for practitioners. The woman at the counter appraised him. She sold him the book but said, in a kindly way: don’t use the dark stuff.

He read it all that night.

Reading does not make you a magician. It requires practice. Half of Bailey strained to try it; half of him sneered. It can’t work.

Can it?

He set about building a shrine. He hid this from his parents. Trinkets from junk shops. It looked baroque, ceremonial.

One night he cut a wand of willow under moonlight. He followed all the prescriptions, approached his shrine, chanted.

He felt foolish.

But he continued. He said the words and made the motions. At every step he expected that nothing would happen. Nothing, and he was stupid for trying.

Then something happened.

The world opened. Something was with him. His eyes went wide. He told himself it was his imagination. Then he bowed.

If there are gods, this was a god. He had called to Apollo, and Apollo answered.

There was no shower of sparks, no glowing fog or shaking earth. Bailey didn’t see anything. But it grabbed him. On his knees Bailey could hear his own pulse, galloping.

Why did Bailey chant that night? So he could make offerings and ask for something. Instead he held communion.

The thoughts in his head came from somewhere else. He received answers faster than he could form questions. The voice was neither kind nor cruel. It was direct.

His moment with Apollo was short. He came away knowing: if you’re going to do this, do it right. Otherwise quit.

Bailey did not quit.

In that moment, Bailey discovered both magic and religion. He still had his doubts—imagination?—but he couldn’t forget what he felt. As his deity ordered, he studied before he tried again. It was a long time before he did. But at his next ritual, he was prepared.

FREE BOOK

The Kindle version of Lúnasa Days is FREE right now. But only till Thursday! Grab your copy and tell your friends: get it now.

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Lúnasa Days, Spotlight, Writing

My book Lúnasa Days is FREE today

FREE BOOK

My book Lúnasa Days is now FREE today through Thursday!

This is the story of a man who casts spells—and doubts them. A reader explains:

Lunasa Days is a story about magic. But it’s a different kind of fantasy story. I love how the question of magic is treated. Actually it is more about the effect that magic and faith have on us.

The short, crisp, descriptive style makes the whole town come to life. We can feel the wind, the heat, the sweat. Even if the environment is far from perfect it feels strangely comfortable. The characters are not right or wrong but deeply human. It’s refreshing. Like you or me, they have doubts, they’re flawed, they have dreams.

Even if it is book of fiction I suspect some autobiographic themes infiltrated the book. And this is probably what makes it more realistic.

Who Loves This Book?

Will you like it? History tells me that:

  • If you are a Pagan or polytheist you will like it.
  • If you work magic, you will like it.
  • If you’re sick of troped fantasy and want something with more nutrition, you will like it a lot.
  • If you don’t like shorter books you will be left cursing my name and wishing for more.
  • The writing is direct and minimal, which my Mom hates and everyone else likes.
  • If you’re a lesbian, you will not like it. (Seriously, 3/3 so far! What!) I would love someone to prove me wrong.

Edit: Reader Kali J. Veach says she is a lesbian, and also says she liked my book. I have no reason to doubt either claim.

Lúnasa Days is professionally edited and formatted, and the reviews are stellar. So grab a copy for free while you can and see for yourself.

(You can also read an excerpt or another excerpt or this final excerpt if you like.) The free promotion only lasts through Thursday 2/6.

Please share and tell your friends. They like books too!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this book possible.

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Lúnasa Days, Writing

The Devil’s Balls

This is an excerpt from my book Lúnasa Days . It will be FREE for four days starting Monday. 

Emily had problems of her own.

It was a fine morning. Sunny. Dry.

She knew she had to go but she stared out the window. There were clouds—actual clouds. Clouds can bring rain. She had no hope for these clouds. They didn’t smell like rain.

They all heard the pitter-patter last night. Unlike anyone, she didn’t get up. She didn’t run outside. She didn’t sit nervous to know how much fell. She just listened to the sound, the comforting sound, and went back to sleep.

But the earth did not look dark and damp like coffee grounds. The grass was not matted nor dewed. It could have been a photograph of yesterday, or any day before.

And she really didn’t care anymore.

She did know, however, that something was going to break. And it would break hard.

She looked back at the cards in front of her. Every Sunday she drew her card. She read for the week ahead. Once it was daily, with a full spread. Then she fell in love, and it changed everything.

Love is not good for little girls. It is poison and intoxicant.

When Kore ate the seed she died for half a year. Real girls don’t die for half a year. Real girls die.

But this card had cock and balls on full display. And a grin. Red skin, princely horns, a lazy erection.

She looked out the window again. The face on the card kept smiling.

The Devil.

FREE BOOK

The Kindle version of Lúnasa Days will be FREE for four days: Monday, Feb. 3 — Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. I encourage you to grab a copy while you can! If you can’t wait or would rather have paperback, buy it now.

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Lúnasa Days, Writing

My Book Will Be Free For a Short Time

FREE BOOK

Starting Monday my novella Lúnasa Days will be free for four days only.

I wanted to announce that in advance here on the blog, because many of you loyal readers have already paid actual money to buy it, or even signed up as a patron to help fund it before it existed. Every sale has mattered to me a great deal, and I’m thankful to everyone who bought or funded a copy. I want to explain why I’ve chosen to do a free promotion.

Most indie books don’t sell a lot of copies, even in this fabled age of self publishing. At this point, the initial rush of sales is over. Quite a few of my regular readers (that’s you guys!) have already bought your copy (thank you), so sales have slowed to a trickle. This is normal.

However Amazon gives limited visibility to any individual book, and the exact amount of visibility you get depends entirely on your sales figures. If more copies have sold, the book is recommended to more people or shows up higher in search results. Without the marketing budget of a large publisher, most indie books quickly fall into obscurity.

To combat this Amazon allows an author to hold a “free book promotion.” For several days, the book is offered on Kindle for free—which means hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of readers download it. This has several helpful effects:

  • Amazon counts each free download as a “sale.” The downloads massively boost your sales figures, leading to greater visibility on Amazon.
  • These freebie readers are people who wouldn’t otherwise buy your book. Either they never would’ve found it or they only want free books. So you don’t actually lose any profit, but if your book is good you gain new fans.
  • After the promotion is over, the increased visibility and the sudden buzz mean you get a spike of actual sales—meaning the author finally makes some money.

I wanted to be transparent about this, because I don’t want anyone to feel cheated if you bought a copy of Lúnasa Days and now you see it offered for free. The book (and my writing career) would not exist if it weren’t for those of you who support good writing with real dollars. The free promotion can only exist because of all the support, encouragement and sales that come from my dedicated readers. Meanwhile the free copies make thousands of people happy and help me get my book in front of more readers. I’d like to think it’s a good deal for everyone involved.

Anyway, the book will be free only this coming Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday ONLY! (February 3-6, 2014) and I encourage you to tweet it, share it and tell your friends so they can read the same awesome book that you just read. Or that you’ve been meaning to read, so if you didn’t buy it before please grab a free copy!

I’m very proud of Lúnasa Days, including the work of my two professional editors and the beautiful, evocative cover. It has very good reviews so far (21 and counting!). I’ll post two excerpts over the coming days, or check out this excerpt that’s already available.

Don’t like free things? You can also just buy it:

L Days cover_front only_half size

Buy now!

Note: only the Kindle version will be free. If you want the paperback, you’ll have to buy it.

Thank you again for everything you do. From the helpful comments, to sharing my work, to just being there for me when I’m alone on the road. You guys are the best readers an author could ask for.

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Lúnasa Days

They Called Her a Witch

An excerpt from my novella Lúnasa Days:

Emily had always seen things.

In the beginning it was pretend, it was normal. Mom and Dad were proud of their creative little girl.

But creative little girls scare serious adults.

The things she spoke of were Not Okay. It was one thing when it was Grandma, a year after she died. It was another when it was Jesus, saying he didn’t like church.

Or the neighbor’s dead dad.

And it was all mixed together. Not just these ominous, confident declarations. Imaginary lands and make-believe critters. The talking frog! She always did love her talking frog.

Emily had not seen a frog talk in over five years.

The tarot cards didn’t bother them. Actually it was a relief—she was quiet for a week. Lost in a dream world, contained to a single bedroom table.

Neighbors are not as understanding. In good times people are all Christian. Faith is easy, and judgment a hobby. She was no longer the troubled child—she was the trouble.

Her parents came to her. Initially it was: don’t talk about the cards. Then: the cards stay in the house. Finally: give us the cards. That was a fight to end all fights. She lost, of course. She learned to hate.

Hate is a precursor to love, in teenagers. The chemical capacity for love is there long before there’s anyone to hold. Everything is Shakespeare for a few stormy years.

Deprived of tarot cards, Emily tried pot instead. It helped, actually; the visions were much gentler with pot. She wished she could cut them out of her head.

Until she got her wish.

“Salience,” the doctor told them. “It’s a matter of salience.”

What a grand word. Father, mother, daughter waited for more.

“Our brain has to determine how salient something is, how much meaning to attach to it. For example, seeing an apple reminds you of William Tell. Do you dismiss that? Or do you suddenly worry you’ll be shot with an arrow?”

Emily rolled her eyes. That was nothing like the frog.

“Or does William step out and start talking to you?”

Hmm.

“This is how schizophrenia works. Everything you see seems very real, because your brain treats every thought, every hunch as equal. It doesn’t distinguish between the things that are actually there, and the things it wonders about.”

Her dad shook his head. “Can you fix it?”

The doctor said he could.

He was mistaken.

The early treatments made it worse.

She still saw everything, but now it was confused. She couldn’t get the meaning. From Caterpillar she was reduced to wandering Alice.

It didn’t really matter. She was already the outcast, the devil kid. They called her Wicked Witch at school. Or Crazy.

“Hey Crazy.”

She was given her part and, dedicated artist that she was, she played it exactly as scripted. There is nothing to prove you are damaged goods like dressing as damaged goods.

Of course, what is designed to deter serves also as an advertisement, to a certain kind of man.

Joel wasn’t a trouble kid. He was neither a bright student nor a washout. Athlete nor weakling. He got by, he took things easy. He seemed very safe.

Which he was, six days a week. Once in a while he snapped. That would drive off most people. Not Emily. She had the black shirt, the metal bits, the proactive sneer. She broadcast: “If you love me, you may hurt me.” This was an acceptable offer.

He never hit her. He was not so easy to hate. But when he struck, he struck hard. And he struck often.

There were two ways Joel proved that he loved Emily. One was tearful, passionate apologies. The other was fucking her with long, fast strokes.

He was a broken creature, like her. But he was her broken creature. He, at least, would never leave her.

And she wouldn’t leave him, either.

She got pregnant one year after their first time.

They were high school seniors. She denied it: first to herself, then to Joel, then to her parents. She looked up how to use herbs to abort a baby. But she didn’t.

She had to stop her medication during the pregnancy. Things became very turbulent, very violent. Emily tried never to think of that year.

She was happy with her son, her beautiful son. He was the only thing she ever did right.

After becoming a mother she had one last fit of self-determination. She tried to start a business of her own. College was out, after all. And Joel stayed—of course he stayed—but how much did he earn? Not much.

Tarot cards scare good Christians, but not dowsers. She taught herself how in one day. She printed flyers and her dad put out the word. Old farmers respect dowsers.

There aren’t many old farmers left.

Wells just aren’t so hard anymore. You don’t have to hand-dig anything. The well companies use maps, and they’re not going to refer you to a lady with a rod. Wrong place? Oh well. The deeper they have to dig, the more they get to charge.

It took her another year to accept that she just wasn’t going to make good as the Midwest’s new water witch.

And so, unmarried, impecunious, imbalanced and unfulfilled, she began to raise a son. She lived with her parents, delighted in the boy, and slowly, slowly, learned to regard Joel not as her creature, but as a thorny and volatile necessity.

Lúnasa Days is available on Kindle and in paperback. Get your copy here.

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