So I'm working on a new series--after two years spent mainly on The Resonant Saga, with four novels and two novellas published plus a spinoff series started, I realized artistically it was time for a break. New magic, new world, new character. And while there's not too much I can say about it yet (if all goes well, it'll be available for sale January 2021!), I thought you might find the way it started interesting--a glimpse into the strange paths creativity can take.
It starts with a confession: the first novel I wrote, which shall never see the light of day (without some serious rewrites, at least) was fan fiction--Conan the Barbarian, to be precise, though I'd given him a different name and filed some of the serial numbers off. I finished it, gave it a quick revision, and swallowed the hard truth that this was the best I could do, but it still wasn't good enough. Then a few years later, as I was finishing up the still-unpublished Cursed and thinking about what to work on next, I came up with the idea of a prequel to that not-very-good Conan book, thinking if I could lure people in with a solid first book they might tolerate the not-very-good second book (because really, aren’t middle books always the worst?) before a rousing third.
It was called All The King’s Bastards, and it was never meant to be .
That is to say, in the middle of planning it I fell in love with one of the side characters, a one-eyed girl of noble blood with the power to read thoughts through water. And the more I wrote her backstory, the more I started to think it was better than the one I was currently working on.
So All The King’s Bastards went into the ‘trunk novel’ folder on my hard drive, and I jumped into something I was provisionally calling Water Temple Girl. And though I never wrote any actual words in the All The King’s Bastards book, a lot of its background became the basis for Daughter of Flood and Fury: the rich merchant city of fountains and temples, the violet-eyed nobility (though they became theocrats of a water-based religion, rather than kings), the story of a rebellion against a rightful ruler (only told from the other side of that rebellion)… even the islands the original book were set to happen on appear in the actual book’s map, though (as far as I know) there are no rebels living on them.
And thus did a minor character usurp an entire story (and trilogy) and force me to write hers instead (a sequence projected to be much longer than a trilogy!). Aletheia was just so much more engaging than my bland street-urchin guy, and the deeper I dove into the magic and the larger story of the world, the more I fell in love with it.
I haven’t ever regretted the decision. This is the only book I can say ‘wrote itself,’ the only ending where I’ve made myself cry, and the only release I can call ‘award-winning’ before it’s even published, as the first two chapters won me rounds of both the Colorado Gold and Zebulon Writer’s Contest awards. Can't wait to get it into your hands.
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 And though this prequel was a bad idea, I will admit to having another prequel in mind… but don’t worry. I’ve got too much on my plate to trying writing this too.
 Here’s the pitch: violet-eyed street urchin wakes up on strange prison island with other violet-eyed people, and learns of his royal blood from rebels ruling the island, who seek to depose the violet-eyed king and replace him with a figurehead of somewhat noble blood. They put all these royal bastards through a brutal training regime to choose who will be their figurehead, but as the bastards’s skills and power (because they’re magical, obviously) increase, a rebellion begins to brew on the island, fomented by love and backhanded politics…
You've reached the electronic home of author Levi Jacobs. Cleverly hidden in this site are stories I've written, news about things I've published, excerpts from my novels, and dark secrets about my other life as an itinerant fruit salesman. Enjoy!
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