What If an Evil Witch Was Controlling Your Thoughts Without You Knowing?
The Broom Closet Stories, 3
Soon after being whisked away to Seattle to live with an aunt and uncle he barely knew, Charlie Creevey learned that he hailed from a family of witches. After settling into this unfamiliar life, his feelings toward his new friend Diego Ramirez began to grow into something more serious. And if that wasn’t enough, he failed to stop the nefarious witch Grace and her cohort from using the dreaded deathcraft and killing his mentor Malcolm.
In Book 3 of this riveting series, Charlie discovers that Grace has gone into hiding and is acting behind the scenes. Able to influence minds in ways that were previously unheard of in the witching world, Grace compels Charlie to unwittingly do things like taking on the bullies at Puget Academy and lying to his family. The more Charlie believes he is acting of his own accord, the more Grace secretly rebuilds her strength and plots her comeback.
Will Charlie ever be able to overcome Grace and her coven? Or is Charlie destined to live life as a gay teen witch, shrouded by the evil veil of the deathcraft? And can he ever share his secret with Diego—or will he have to keep his identity as a witch hidden in the broom closet forever? Find out in The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow.
Release Date: Monday, December 7 2020
Cover Artist: Sergey Velikoluzhskiy
Genres: Paranormal, urban fantasy, young adult, LGBTQ, queer romance, gay romance, witchcraft, teen adventure, teen romance, LGBT
Pairings: Two teen boys
LGBTQ+ Identities: gay, lesbian, bi, trans
Tropes: closeted teen boy, self-discovery of supernatural identity, nerd overpowering bullies, coming of age, hiding supernatural identity, evil witch killing for power
Keywords/Categories: paranormal, urban fantasy, gay, teen, teenager, witch, witches, YA, young adult, queer, lesbian, bi, bisexual, trans, transgender. queer romance, gay romance, MM romance, gay teen coming of age, gay witch, witchcraft, LGBTQ paranormal romance, LGBT paranormal romance, young adult paranormal teen horror, gay paranormal adventure, gay teen love, YA paranormal romance. Teen romance, teen adventure, new release, announcement, giveaway
Warnings: Violence (murder, kidnapping, fights); same-sex kissing
If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
It would be three writers, two of whom are still alive: Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Gloria Steinem. Even though they are very different writers, with vastly different backgrounds, I fell in love with all three of them at the same time when I lived in Taiwan in the mid 90s. In my mind’s eye all three of them hang out together. I love the idea of sitting down and having a cup of tea with them.
Walker’s poetic prose, and the way her characters pray and love, opened something in my heart that I didn’t know had been locked away. I would ask her what opened her heart to write that way, and how she kept the sweetness, and the steel, in her paragraphs. Morrison has a way of tossing a few breadcrumbs here and there, almost unnoticed, until they become a trail leading to the climax of her stories. This blows my mind. I would ask her how she tracked her stories, because at first glance the narrative can seem unrelated, almost scattered, until the divine structure of it all sneaks up on you, when it’s too late to put the book down. Steinem writes in a way that makes justice and equality seem like such obvious, needed things, kind of a no-duh. She rattled me out of some of my complacency. I would ask her how she was able to envision such vast gender equality, in a world so chockablock full of sexist hierarchy that it can appear entrenched.
What’s the funniest or creepiest thing you’ve come across while researching for one of your stories?
I have been enchanted with the idea of broom flight ever since I was a wee one. But when I sat down to write the first fight scene in book number one of my series, I wasn’t sure how it should work on a broomstick: How does a witch stay on a broom while punching and throwing spells at someone? How does a male witch avoid squishing his balls while flying on a broom, especially if one hand has to be free to fight? I set up two chairs in my living room. I rested the tip of my broom on one chair, and the bristle end on the other, then stood astride it. I practiced tucking my feet behind me (a method I figured would help to protect the family jewels). In the exact moment I was trying to see if I could balance on the broom with both of my hands free, I saw my neighbor staring at me through my picture window with a look of shock on his face. The front of the broom fell off the chair, and me with it. It was a bit odd to have to explain to him what I was doing, and why.
What is the most heartfelt thing a reader has said to you?
Two years ago, a trans woman contacted me and told me how much Charlie’s own inner torment, and coming-out process, meant to her. I was embarrassed because she’d only read books one and two of my series. I didn’t even introduce a trans character until this third book. Nor did I have any fantasy that I knew how to represent a realistic trans person. But she said that to her, it didn’t matter. She had been beaten up and left for dead in an alley, and her road to recovery was a long and lonely one. I guess somewhere during that time she stumbled upon the first book in the Broom Closet Stories, and told me that the way I wrote about Charlie’s own process reflected some of the things she had gone through. Furthermore, she said that my book, among other things, was like a beacon of hope for her. She was incredibly generous in her praise, even telling me what specific attributes each of my characters inspired in her – from my protagonist Charlie and his boyfriend Diego, to Charlie’s loving aunt and uncle, all the way to the evil witch Grace.
I just reread our email thread. I am so moved by her courage, and deeply touched that she took the time to reach out to me.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I originally wrote this book as part of a much larger piece, then divided it up into three parts. The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow is the first third. About thirty chapters into the original book, I realized that killing off a major character didn’t work, and I had to start all over again. This past summer, after compiling feedback from early readers, I had to face the fact that both the beginning and the end needed to be completely rewritten. Those realizations – that a major part of the story has to be tossed out – are bitter pills for me to swallow. If I’d known the stamina it takes to write a novel, let alone an entire series, before I started writing Charlie’s story, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have started. Ignorance is definitely bliss in a case like this.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why?
My favorite new character in this book is Charlie’s cousin Emerald Green. I love her. She’s salty, worldly, a soldier, and an officer. She’s goofy and tough. She definitely doesn’t bake the prettiest cakes for the witch gatherings. She puts up with the name her hippy parents gave her because she’s a loyal daughter, not because she likes it. I’m glad she showed up and wanted to be part of the series.
With a shrug, Diego set the tray down on the coffee table and sat down next to Charlie, who leaned into the taller boy’s warmth.
“That,” said Diego, looking about in wonder as he draped his arm over Charlie’s shoulder, “was epic. That was the most epic party I’ve ever been to.”
Amos came walking into the living room and pushed on Randall’s arm, indicating that he was ready to be petted.
“Are you glad they’re all gone, boy?” asked Charlie’s uncle. In reply, Amos’s tail thumped the floor, and the groan of pleasure that escaped his throat seemed answer enough as he leaned into Randall’s hand.
“I’m glad you liked it, Diego,” said Beverly. She held a mug of tea in her hand. The expression on her face seemed to be a mix of wistfulness and pleasure—or maybe something else. Charlie often couldn’t tell with Beverly.
“I thought that the trick-or-treaters would never end,” said Randall, shaking his head. “I worried we’d run out of candy. Just when you thought it was over—”
Amos barked once, sharp, then ran over to the north-facing wall, looking up at the small picture window high up near the ceiling, wagging his tail.
A yellow cat sat on a bare tree branch, peering down at the people in the living room as if holding court.
“Holy feline, that scared the crap out of me!” shouted Diego, clutching his chest.
Charlie snuck a glance at his aunt and raised his eyebrows. Was that a cat from the network? Or just some stray prowling around on the trees out front?
The slight shrug of her shoulders and the way she narrowed her eyes told Charlie she didn’t know.
The doorbell rang.
Amos barked again, then ran over to the front door. Randall and Diego jumped.
“I’m gonna have a heart attack!” Diego declared.
Charlie and Beverly looked first at the front door, then back at each other.
“Who the hell could that be?” asked Randall, starting to stand up. “Even the older kids should be done for the night.”
“Let me get it,” said Beverly, placing her hand on her husband’s knee before coming to her feet. Charlie knew it was a command, not a suggestion. Upon her secretive glance to him, he shrugged off Diego’s arm and followed his aunt to the foyer.
Two small figures stood on the front stoop, bathed in the yellow cone of light from the lamp above the door. They were dressed as ghosts, with pure white sheets stretched over their small bodies, ghoulish eye and mouth holes drawn in overly large ovals. Red droplets of paint, to mimic blood spatter, speckled their heads and upper bodies. As an added touch of the grotesque, twin ropes with frayed ends encircled their tiny necks.
Charlie’s skin prickled.
“Trick or treat!” cried the figure on the right, a boy’s voice. He couldn’t be older than five or six. The figure next to him, only an inch or two taller, stayed silent but held out an empty, plastic jack-o’-lantern. There was something demanding and greedy in its gesture.
“Oh,” said Beverly. “Hello. Isn’t it a little late for you to be out?” She craned her neck, and Charlie guessed she was looking for an adult standing beyond the front gate. The sidewalk appeared empty. “By yourselves?”
“No,” stomped the figure on the left. A girl. “We don’t have a curfew.”
Charlie watched as his aunt’s eyes widened before softening. “Well, I see. Charlie, do you think we have any leftover candy?”
“We won’t eat it. We just—” said the smaller boy.
The girl elbowed him so sharply that the boy teetered backwards. “Ow!” he shouted.
Charlie reached out and grabbed the bony shoulders of the ghost boy before he could topple off the porch, releasing his grip only when he was steady on his feet again.
“You’re not going to eat it?” asked Beverly.
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Anyway, about that candy,” demanded the girl.
Something isn’t right about this, Charlie thought. But it was Halloween, right? You were supposed to give out candy to anyone who came by. Wasn’t that the unwritten rule?
He glanced up at the upper branches of the trees but could see no yellow cat.
“Charlie, wait here while I check to see if we have anything left,” said his aunt, turning around and walking back into the house.
Charlie, guessing that his aunt was up to something besides looking for leftover candy, did as he was told.
“Are you having a good time?” he asked the small figures.
The two ghosts stood still and remained silent, their black, oval eyes staring up at him—more chills over his skin. There was something downright frightening about these two little kids, standing side by side in their macabre costumes, saying nothing.
A strong gust of wind blew overhead, and the massive trees surrounding the house bowed and straightened, bowed and straightened. A car door slammed somewhere down the street, and he heard what sounded like a group of teenagers laughing and shouting.
“We just had a really big party,” he said. “Lots of people. Lots of kids.”
More awkward silence.
Charlie summoned a Word and cast it outward, double-checking that the extra-strong wards his aunt set to run the perimeter of their property were still intact.
His Word bounced back to him, healthy and intact. Nothing breached.
Now that he thought about it, that was silly. Charlie could tell that these two little kids were neither witches nor Echoes. Plus, if they had broken through the wards, Beverly wouldn’t have left him alone with them on the porch.
Then why were the hairs on the back of his neck static with electricity?
“Here we are!” said his aunt, stepping next to him on the porch. She held a small, clay bowl in her hand. In the bowl sat three ridiculously fat chocolate bars, wrapped in shiny black paper and tied with ornate orange ribbon. They definitely did not come from the trick-or-treaters’ stash they’d been using; he’d never seen them before.
“Only take one each, now,” said his aunt, leaning over and holding the bowl down at eye level with the children.
The Broom Closet Stories
High school life as a gay teenage witch is never easy. Ask Charlie Creevey, the boy who’s busy developing his witchcraft abilities while navigating romance with Diego Ramirez. Forget about focusing on schoolwork, too, thanks to an evil witch and her ilk who will stop at nothing to destroy everyone around them, including Charlie and his family, for power. All he wants is some normalcy... but will Charlie ever be able to share who he really is? Or must everything remain a secret?
From paranormal adventures and a whirlwind romance, to battling evil witches and a gripping conclusion, enjoy all the thrills and excitement, in the supernatural world of the Broom Closet Stories.
The Boy Who Couldn’t Fly Straight, The Boy Who Couldn’t Fly Home, The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow
Jeff is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner
Jeff Jacobson was born and raised in Seattle and graduated in 1991 from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., with a degree in Asian studies and a minor in Chinese language (Mandarin). He works both as a coach and a trainer of coaches, and is passionate about how evolved leadership can help transform organizations, their clients, and even the world.
The Broom Closet Series emerged from a challenge/dare after Jeff Jacobson criticized other books for how they depicted witches ("Windswept hair… spells, always in Latin…" no, no, no). The friend he made these comments to called him out on his critique, noting that the authors wrote their books, not Jacobson's. Could he write his own witchy books? In 2008, Jacobson decided to find out.
Already top sellers on Amazon, The Boy Who Couldn't Fly Straight and The Boy Who Couldn't Fly Home chart teenager Charlie Creevey's double coming out – as a young gay man, and as a witch. He lands in the hamlet of West Seattle and becomes part of the local coven, which he needs in order to fight off Grace, a murderous villain who's killing teens to fuel her power and control. Jacobson picks up the thread yet again in The Boy Who Chased After His Shadow as Charlie's feelings for classmate Diego Ramirez deepen, and Grace's pitiless murders terrify and threaten the community.
Author Website: http://www.jeffjacobsonworld.com
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