Table of Contents

Book Info


The Broom Closet Stories by Jeff Jacobson

Series Type:
Same group of characters and story world
Number In Series:
Cover Artist:
New Freedom Press
1 February 2021
Book Type




What If an Evil Witch Was Controlling Your Thoughts Without You Knowing?

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.



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.

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Guest Post By Jeff Jacobson

What is a ficlet (an extra little story bit) that you’d like to explain?

When I began to lay out the magical system for my book, I wasn’t sure if my witches inherited their abilities, or simply learned them. Nature versus nurture. Both ideas have their pros and cons. I decided to go for a hybrid. My witches inherit their witchcraft, but must go through a process where another witch known as a Guide awakens the legacy in them. After this “popping” process, new witches have to devote a good deal of time to learn how to use their abilities.

The idea of an Echo sprang from this. What if someone has the legacy in them, but isn’t popped? I imagined their latent potential drying up and fading away to nothing. But perhaps for a small percentage of these people a vestige, or an echo, of the craft remains. It might manifest itself in the form of a unique ability, like influencing the weather, or seeing events taking place miles away.


Additionally, I’ve always been drawn to stories of families who pass a certain magical ability from generation to generation. Attracting fortune. Having an affinity with animals. Possessing a knack for telling the future. Perhaps there was a witch in the family’s ancestry, but due to time, and intermarrying, the legacy of the witchcraft became diluted, so that only an echo of the witchcraft remained.


Thus, the idea of Echoes was born. In my series, my witches tend to look down on Echoes as being “witch lite,” or stunted. Imagine the disdain a Michelin-starred chef feels toward a home cook.


However, this can sometimes come back to haunt a witch. They might only consider another witch as a worthy opponent, while an Echo with a unique skill could fly under the radar.


I depict a few of these instances in books two and three, where Echoes are used to gain information about other witches without detection.


I want to write more about Echoes when I finish this series. How about Echoes who have access to a unique ability, but don’t know it? Or don’t know where it comes from? Their skills could fall into the wrong hands. Other witches might pursue them. For those Echoes who are fully aware of their ability, some of them might be dodgy psychics. Others, grifters who are always out to make a buck. And others? Talented surgeons, heads of state, corrupt CEOs.


Talk about the evolution of your character

When I began the initial sketch of my main character and his life, I pictured him living with his mother in a small, fictitious town in the Sierra Nevada foothills on the California-Nevada border, just like where my aunt and uncle used to live. When I moved to Monterey for grad school, I spent several Thanksgivings with them. I loved their small house, the creaky old outbuildings on their property, the several acres they owned, and how it felt like being on a small farm. They were busy year-round, picking fruit in the orchards, tilling and planting, mowing and mulching, canning and preserving. Around Thanksgiving time, most of that work was done, but I sometimes helped them prepare for the winter snows: laying tarp, putting equipment away in the big garage, cooking vegetables that would go into their huge larder.


This is the life I imagined Charlie and his mother Elizabeth living. But unbeknownst to Charlie, Elizabeth hailed from a family of witches she wanted nothing to do with, and chose to raise her son in the foothills as a way to hide out. In order to make this believable, I initially made Elizabeth a meth addict, using drugs to escape from her past and shut herself off from any vestiges of her witchcraft. They lived hand-to-mouth, and Charlie learned to borrow from Peter to pay Paul to keep everything afloat and stay in school. One day, Child Protective Services dropped by, and after a quick assessment, removed Charlie from his home and sent him to live with an aunt in Seattle, whom he soon learns is a witch.


Except, it didn’t work. I don’t have experience with drug addiction, or that level of poverty. I realized that the mother-son relationship I had created felt cliched and cheesy, probably based on one too many ABC Afterschool Specials. I didn’t have the chops to handle the complexity of something like that, and make it read authentically. I knew I would need to do a bucketload of research to pull it off, and I still might not get it right.


One day, after working on it for months, a different idea of a mother came to mind: someone who looked like a young Sissy Spacek, with a quiet strength and a hearty connection to the land, just like my own aunt. A great cook, farmer, mechanic, and an all-around good soul. Unlike my aunt, she would also be cautious of outsiders, always on low-grade alert, owing to her need to spare her son from having contact with her past. This caution transferred over to a shyness and lack of confidence in her son. This new angle felt much more authentic to me, and after that the writing flowed much more easily.


Songs that inspire me when I write:

Years ago I heard Marie Lu, author of the Legend series, mention in an interview that the album Invincible by Two Steps from Hell was her go-to writing music. I listened to it once and became obsessed. I play it on repeat whenever writing first drafts for this series. The only other thing I listen to on repeat is Adagio for Strings, Op. 11, by Samuel Barber, if I need to write something heart-wrenching. I can’t listen to any music when rewriting or editing, however. It distracts me.



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.

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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.

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