Tag Archives: book

Ellen Jacobson, Author Interview

Today, I’m interviewing one of my co-authors from our fantasy anthology Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, hosted from The Insecure Writers Support Group and graciously published via Dancing Lemur Press in May of this year. The theme for this year’s anthology was a lost hero, and it’s been fascinating to discover how twelve different writers approached all the many things those two words invoked.

Welcome, Ellen Jacobson, author of The Silvering.


Hi, Ellen! What sparked your idea of a lost hero?

I woke up in the middle of the night after having a really vivid dream about a strange world where mysterious things happen to my main character, Caestu. At first, I didn’t necessarily envision Caestu as a lost hero, but as the story unfolded, it became clear that he had a tough choice to make – conform to what society expects of him or rebel against its control and oppression of others.


What was the hardest part to write?

The ending. I couldn’t find a satisfactory way to wrap things up, and I’m still not satisfied with the ending. I think I have a lot more of the story to tell and having to cap it at 5,000 words forced me to end it prematurely. Perhaps I’ll turn it into a novella or novel one day and give it a proper ending.


What is your preferred genre to write in? Why?

I started out writing a cozy mystery (which I’ve been working on for ages), but I’ve always had a ton of ideas for science fiction/fantasy stories. The Silvering was my first attempt to write in that genre and I really enjoyed it. I love the idea of not being constrained by how things are supposed to work in the real world and the freedom to imagine new worlds, cultures and peoples.


Is there a theme to your writing as a whole/What is your writing strong point? 

Because I’m a novice writer, I can’t say that there is a theme or strong point. I’ve only completed one thing so far – my story in the anthology. Ask me again in a few years. Hopefully, I’ll have typed “The End” on another manuscript and can maybe identify a theme or strong point.


What is your favorite book? Why?

I can never answer questions like this. It’s way too hard to narrow things down to just one book. What I can tell you is that there are some books that I’ve re-read, which I guess makes them favorites in a way, such as anything by Octavia Butler or Iain Banks, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers’ books are also fun to re-read.


Was there something about the prompt ‘Lost Hero’ that grabbed you?

I had actually started writing my story before the anthology theme was announced, so it didn’t really grab me in that sense. I do think it’s a great theme and I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s take on it.


If your lost hero had a theme song, what would it be?

They’re not allowed to sing in Caestu’s society, so he wouldn’t have a theme song. Actually, I don’t know if they’re allowed to sing or not, but I can see that being prohibited. This may be something I explore if I turn The Silvering into a novella or novel at some point.


Thanks, Ellen!

Connect with Ellen via Facebook, her blog, or Google+.



Want to know more about Hero Lost?

Click on over to our Hero Lost homepage to get a taste of the other stories and writers.

You can then purchase via Amazon at this link.




Curious about the Insecure Writers Support group?

Check out our website, Facebook Group, and Twitter.





Please be sure to visit Dancing Lemur Press!


I’m in a reading rut. I bought a couple books, dowloaded samples of others, and have a library waiting on my subscription service with Scribd. I tried a sci-fy one. Couldn’t. Tried a Japanese fantasy one. No. Skimmed through my waiting list. No, no no. Ug. WTH.

I’ve been slipping into my new MC lately, too. Which is amusing. Never felt so compelled before. I’m wearing my tall black most-like-a-female-Captain-of-an-airship boots whenever I can to get a better sense of her. Wrong color, though. Hers aren’t black.

I’m playing with some darker eyeliner, too. I googled Steampunk books to find something of the genre to read, to get familiar with. Yea, didn’t get me out of my rut. None have the aspects I’m looking for. I want the ships, and the lingo, and the atmosphere. But NO romance. Strong female lead, and male if possible. I don’t know what I’m looking for. Well, something similar to my plans with this one.

They say you should write the book you want to read. Point for me!

I want Steampunk-ish. The women are not going to be walking around in bustles and corsets and victorian dresses. No googles. Sorry, but, no. And no polution, no smog. And I’ve thought of a way other than steam. So, I might be voiding the whole Steampunk thing.

I also want no magic, no creatures. Only these people, some funky technology, a futuristic world that’s also a little behind, and their story. So, what book has captured my attention? Steampunk Magic.

It says ‘Steampunk’. And ‘Airship’. And no romance.

I’ve only gotten into the first explanatary chapter so far, but she uses a term that I’m in love with: historically futuristic. That is amazing. Exactly what I’m looking for. Just those two words.

My MC needs some theme music, and I’m striking out with my own library. The above author mentioned Steampunk music, so I googled that yesterday. Not finding the sound I’m looking for so far. Though, MC has had a craving for Alt-J. Strange.

I’m following Steampunk Facebook Groups, started a board on Pinterest, and discovered a Steampunk thing in Chicago. Think I might attend some fairs, even if this is just Steampunk-ish.

The other day, I wrote a couple paragraphs of a future chapter that was way more upsetting than I had thought it would be. Nothing violent happened, but it felt like it had. I pushed my chair away from the computer, stared down with my arms crossed, and then turned to my embodiment of RMOS’s Nightmare. I don’t know if I can write this, I told him. But you are definitely going in there. She needs you. Steampunkified Nightmare. Remember to look for him. (and read RMOS to understand his significance!). He was always meant to leap through every book I write.

I think I’m also going to transfer all of it and attempt to write in Scrivener. EEK! Bought it awhile ago, but have yet to sum up the guts to make the switch. But I’ve way too many files of current manuscript, character notes, maps, and future chapters scattered around in different folders. One of the plusses of Scrivener is that it’s set-up for just that thing, all within easy reach and sight. It also formats everything for you for publication, which Word does NOT, contrary to how it appears to look.

Wish me luck!

The Snow, Like a Spell

I woke up to snow. Big, fluffy white flakes cascading down and covering the yard like a spell. Falling straight down, content and calm. My son ran outside and came back in declaring that it was nice and warm (20 degrees is currently considered warm, compared to the single digits this week).

But the snow, the snow made me smile. White is a color that scares me the majority of the time. I just don’t like it. It’s death to me. Except when it’s snowing. I got caught in a blizzard a few years ago. My car couldn’t make it out of a small incline in my work’s parking lot. Everyone was gone, there’s no busses. So I decided to walk home. Takes me 10 minutes to drive. Shouldn’t be so hard to walk. Found some mismatched extra gloves in the back, along with a summer hat. I left my car and headed out, wearing only my thin hospital scrubs and trudging through three feet of snow, rising fast.

At first, it took my breath away. There was no one out on the long frontage road. It was so silent, so still, I felt like the only one alive. The snow clung to everything and made the world look crystalline. The images of the snow- and ice- encased trees is seared into my memory. Just amazing, and I am a summer child and hate cold things.

Three hours later, I just wanted to sit down and rest. Mid-way, I thought that something on the busy road up ahead would be open: grocery store, any of the fast food places, car shops, anything. But everyone had left work early and closed up. I was smart enough to know that I could not stop for any reason, so I pushed through and kept going. Hardest thing ever.

Learned that you can’t walk six miles in a blizzard.

Even so, I see snow like this and I remember the beginnings of that adventure: the beauty, the magic. And today, the day my book released in ebook format, I see the snow and smile, recognizing my own symbolism. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

Wait! I Have (a) Proof!

“This book I wish to open and close….”


That wall in the picture is my storyboard with a few of my sketches.  The two secondary-characters I am showing off to are exclaiming expletives relative to ‘Good-God, it’s about damn time!’

Rushing out to work this morning and there it was, my box from CreateSpace, one day early (shopping yesterday, so never saw). I sat on the train holding it and people are probably staring at me thinking: ‘It’s a book. You’re supposed to open it up and read it.’

“This book I wish to open and close.”  That line kept floating through my head over and over all day, making me smile, giving me the greatest amount of peace I’ve had in a really long time.

I took advantage of my pride and forced myself to show my co-workers before my courage failed me. Had to keep my finger on my name before they understood and exclaimed, “You wrote a book!”

So nice to hold it in my hands, even though there’s things to fix: while in the picture it looks normal, somehow, in actuality my moon looks more like an egg. The colors are all wrong. More purple than blue, making the back text almost unreadable. Grey border is all wonky. I chose the matte finish, but do not like it at all. The pictures are crooked, and don’t line up with the bleed measurements they gave. I used 12 point font on the interior, but it’s overhuge, so I need to reset that. Good part about that is that a smaller font will bring down the page count! Which may bring Lulu back into possibilities if their minimum retail price can be brought down enough.

I’m not sure how to fix the coloring issue, and looking at my files, my moon looks like a moon and not an egg, and my colors are EXACTLY how I want them to look, so I don’t know where the distortions happened.

Not sure how to proceed with fixing these, but at the moment, I’m not worrying. I’m holding my book in my hands 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to me.


I have absolutely no idea what to do now.

It’s really very funny. Got my EIN number today. Uploaded my covers to CreateSpace and Kindle Wednesday. Um…..both print and ebook files are done.

Holy F’n crap…….did I say done?

Yea. No idea what to do now.

I wandered the house aimlessly. Watched Scandal- I watched TV! While it was on TV! I dragged my feet back to my room, turned on the computer, sat down. And stared. What now?

And then the light bulb sang out.



Oh my god, I have been holding off on diving back into that book for so longggggg, it’s been torture. It’s mostly all written. 290 pages. Ohhhhh, I so love this one! It is payback time for my protagonist- good payback, after all the crap I put her through in RMOS. I promised her the world has good it owes her, and it does.

Did I read it to get re-oriented?

No. I learned something from getting RMOS ready:


I formatted my margins.

I inserted page breaks.

I prettied my chapter starts, and made them all ‘1’ for now.

I set my page size, changed the font, set small cap beginnings.

I skimmed through and got to the end……

Wait, where’s the end?!

Seems I chopped this one in half, too! That’s how my one-book story became a series. It keeps growing! I scanned through all my millions of files, panicking as I clearly remember writing the real ending. Where did I put it? What did I name it?!

Found it!

And, well, crap. After a quick reformat of that, it’s over 300 pages. I don’t think I’ll be able to stick it back together with book two.

I have so much work to do! 🙂