What I’m working on now

July 13th, 2014

Ye gods it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Things have happened. Let’s catch up!

1. SHATTERED hit the NY Times bestseller list! Thank you all for your pre-orders and picking it up in stores and coming to see me on tour and the many nice things you have said to me in person and online. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story!

2. For various reasons I had to cancel appearances at San Diego Comic Con, Dragon*Con, and Salt Lake Comic Con. Apologies to all; I was looking forward to seeing you. Feeling especially guilty about missing Dragon*Con because I know lots of people wanted to say hi, so I am going to see if circumstances will allow me to visit Atlanta sometime in September or October. Check back on my Events & Appearances page every so often for updates and of course if something comes together I will announce it here and on Twitter & Facebook.

3. I started a Twitter account for Owen Kennedy under @ArchdruidOwen. Like @IrishOberon, he tweets in character. He’s a bit ornery about modern language and the way we live. :) Here’s a sample:

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 8.09.58 AM

And, of course, Oberon usually tweets about food and pop culture:

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 5.28.34 AM

So if you’re on Twitter and you’d like some occasional entertainment to fill the void between books, you might have fun following Oberon and Owen. You might find other IDC accounts out there but those aren’t run by me, just random peeps. I figure that since Atticus & Granuaile are trying to keep a low profile they wouldn’t spend much time on social media.

4. I’m getting lots of questions about when the next book is coming out. Well, my next book is STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI, coming out February 17, 2015. It’s a first-person Luke Skywalker novel set in between Episodes IV and V, and it’ll be available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. And it’ll be canon, if that matters. :)

5. I don’t have a publication date for the next Iron Druid book. I haven’t even started writing it yet because I’m working on another project. The next IDC thing is a short story called “A Prelude to War” that picks up right after the events of SHATTERED. I don’t have a publication date for that yet either, but rest assured I will let you know when I do! This will be a story integral to the series plot in the same way that TWO RAVENS AND ONE CROW was; you won’t want to miss it.

6. The project I’m working on now is an epic fantasy called A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Once I finish that I’ll get back to the Iron Druid stuff. Of course I hope you’ll give my epic a try and dig the hell out of it. SPOILER ALERT: It contains giants. And also people who are not giants, for otherwise how would the giants know how freakin’ giant they really are?

7. Book 8 of IDC, when I get to it, will be called STAKED. I’ve done some preliminary setting research already and have some more ahead of me.

8. If you haven’t checked out the Holy Taco Church yet, I promise it’s worth a look. Very good recipes in the Taco Files already and new content posted M-Th. And of course, if you decide to become a Tacolyte (or a Tacoist?) and sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get more foodie goodness along with a chance to win signed copies of books written by the church authors. (And by the way, if you’re looking for someone new to read, I highly recommend any of the church authors. They all know how to tell a damn fine story.)

I’ll be throwing myself into writing my epic for a while and might be a bit scarce on Facebook as a result, and though I won’t be completely absent from Twitter I might scale back quite a bit just because I need to immerse myself in the world.

Thank you always for reading and spreading the word. You’re the bestest!

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


Atticus’s necklace

May 29th, 2014

This has been in the works for a while and I’m so happy to finally be able to share it with you! Badali Jewelry has been working with me to create an officially licensed version of Atticus’s necklace, and I love it!

FullShot

Bit of background on it: The necklace you see on the covers of my books was a complete (and pleasant!) surprise to me. It was commissioned from a jeweler by the cover artist for the photo shoot and I was blown away that he would go to the trouble. And it looks great! However, it was based on a sketch I’d made for charm placement and I wasn’t consulted on the design of the individual charms, and the jeweler also decided to connect everything with twine rather than use the silver chain that I specifically state Atticus uses in the book. These are quibbles, to be sure, but important ones if you’re making an official version. And Badali wanted to make an official version.

On our left side of Atticus’s cold iron amulet we have the shapeshifting charms and the bear charm that Atticus uses for energy storage. From l-r it goes bear, stag, hound, owl, and otter. Here’s a closer look at them:

RightSideCharms

The stag charm was modeled after the design on the Gundestrup cauldron and the others are fairly straightforward. The charms on the other side might require some explanation.

Here’s a close-up shot of them. From l-r we have camouflage, night vision, magical sight, healing, and the soulcatcher.

LeftSideCharms

Camouflage blends him in with his surroundings but is not true invisibility, so Atticus represented it with a hammered silhouette. The night vision charm employs a Celtic sun. Magical sight is represented by the third eye—which Atticus uses for the name of his shop and says is a reference to Vedic beliefs. Several deities in the Hindu pantheon have a third eye. When Durga, for example, opens hers, it triggers a transformation into Kali the Destroyer. That’s not what happens for Atticus, obviously, but he does see the world from a different perspective when he casts that particular binding and it seemed to him an apt metaphor to use. The healing charm is a representation of the many healing wells throughout the UK. In legends of the Tuatha Dé Danann they would heal warriors or other wounded in such a well, the waters gifted with magical healing powers. Dian Cecht was said to have an especially powerful one. Atticus & Granuaile visit and use such wells in TRAPPED when they go to Mag Mell. Christian churches were often built near the sites of pagan holy wells and their nature assimilated into Christian tradition. Many of them were called St. Brighid’s well, which gave rise to names like Bridewell, and so on.  So to Atticus these wells would be more symbolic of healing in his mind that a Greek caduceus with a snake twined around it or whatever. Lastly is the soulcatcher, a nine-pointed star in a circle and also containing a circle with a shiny soul in there. When reading the stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the importance of nine becomes clear rather quickly—it comes up often. It’s one of the reasons I’m writing nine books instead of fewer or less: Atticus would associate anything important with the number nine.

Badali Jewelry does great work. They sell officially licensed jewelry for Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Butcher as well and some spiffy Lord of the Rings stuff too. They’re offering two different versions of this necklace regarding materials: Sterling silver and white bronze. The amulet is iron! They did their best to keep the price down but it’s a labor-intensive piece; it’s like doing 11 items instead of one. They will be on sale for the first time at Phoenix Comicon June 5-8, and online as well at that time. Regular retail for silver is $205 but will be on sale for $139 at shows and online; regular price for white bronze is $135 but will be on sale for $89 at shows and online. And, of course, they have Granuaile’s iron amulet for sale as well. (Or the Morrigan’s, if you prefer.)

If you’re headed to Phoenix Comicon, I hope to see you there (my schedule was in the previous blog post), and please stop by the Badali Jewelry booth to check out the Iron Druid stuff!

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


Phoenix Comicon

May 22nd, 2014

The lineup of authors that will be at Phoenix Comicon this year is the best, period. Have you SEEN the full list? It’s insane. Plenty of chances to see your favorites and get them to SIGN ALL THE THINGS and TAKE ALL THE SELFIES. Can’t wait to see everyone!

Here’s where to find me:

Signing at my table thingie: Friday 10:30-11:30

I have a table in author’s alley that I’m sharing with Jaye Wells. If we’re all lucky Jaye will be there at the same time. I need her to sign my copy of DIRTY MAGIC. I won’t have any stuff with me, so please bring whatever you want to have signed, or just come by for a selfie and a chat, whatever. :)

Signing at the Del Rey Booth: Friday 1:30-2:30
My publisher is giving away free copies of HOUNDED and I’ll also sign whatever you bring! And yes, I’m doing this Saturday and Sunday too!

The Taco Council : Friday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Half silly and half serious and a whole ‘nother half amazing, where you shall receive news from the Tacopope and be introduced to the Holy Taco Church (yes, this is a thing). With Delilah S. Dawson, Jason Hough, Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, Brian McClellan, and Leanna Renee Hieber! Maybe MOARRR authors in the audience!

Beyond Thor and His Hammer : Saturday 10:30am – 11:30am
This panel is mythology centered, focusing on the Norse but not so much on Thor. We’ll talk more about the lesser-known members of the pantheon. And by we I mean authors who have all used Norse myth in their books besides me: Greg van Eekhout, Janni Lee Simner, and Elizabeth Bear!

Signing at the Del Rey Booth: Saturday 1:30-2:30
My publisher is giving away free copies of HOUNDED and I’ll also sign whatever you bring! And yes, I’m doing this Friday and Sunday too!

Creating Your Fantasy World : Saturday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Fantasy worldbuildin’! With Brian McClellan and Zachary Jernigan.

Drinks With Authors : Saturday 8:00pm – 11:00pm
Not really a panel. It’s just what it says. Informal. Boozy. Fun. Kind of a party. It’s in the Renaissance hotel Salon 5-8. Come on by and raise a glass with us. There are door prizes and things!

Supernatural Elements in Contemporary Fantasy : Sunday 10:30am – 11:30am
Kind of a magic-system/worldbuilding thingie devoted particularly to urban/contemporary fantasy. With OMG LOOKIT Charlaine Harris, Amber Benson, Chuck Wendig, Seanan McGuire, and Weston Ochse!

Keeping a Long Running Series Fresh : Sunday 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Gotta do more than save the world every book. There’s, uh, other stuff that we will totally talk about. With luminaries Jim Butcher, L.E. Modesitt Jr. and Gini Koch.

Signing at the Del Rey Booth: Sunday 1:30-2:30
My publisher is giving away free copies of HOUNDED and I’ll also sign whatever you bring! And yes, I’m doing this Friday and Sunday too!

Writing Rogues : Sunday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
I can’t believe who’s all on this panel. I will spend the entire time smiling, just happy to be there. With Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Sam Sykes, Scott Lynch, and Pierce Brown.

And here’s where to find an OFFICIALLY LICENSED REPLICA of Atticus’s Iron Amulet & Necklace: The Badali Jewelry table! This has been in the works for a while and it looks spectacular! More on this in another post, but just wanted you to know that these are going to debut at Phoenix Comicon!

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


Primary Colors

May 4th, 2014

I have just discovered that I am not too old to be motivated by primary colors.

Or maybe I’m already old enough to where I’m going through my second childhood. Either way: YAY COLORS.

What I’m talking about is this progress bar thingie I found in Scrivener for Mac. If you haven’t heard of it, Scrivener is a writing app that lots of folks use these days. It has a learning curve and I’m still trying to get ahead of it, but there are definitely benefits here. One is that it’s much more stable than Word is. Once you get into the 60K-range and up on a Word document, it starts having trouble with the word count and taking forever to paginate on opening and so on. Scrivener, though, is like BRING ME YON EPIC TOME AND I WILL CUDDLE WITH IT. Since I’m trying to write an epic now that’s precisely the attitude I want in a writing app. It also has lots of neato organizational tools that I’m finding helpful, but right now I want to focus on the primary colors.

In Scrivener for Mac, under the Project menu, there’s a Show Project Targets window. Looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 12.26.14 PM

You get to set your goal word count for the entire manuscript and then you can also set a goal for your daily work, and it’ll give you handy-dandy progress bars and a running word count for both. It starts out in red and then it CHANGES TO GREEN AS YOU GO OMG.

(By the way, I just put in 150K for my manuscript target because it sounded cool. I actually have no idea how long this thing is gonna be.)

So I’ve tried some other stuff like WRITE OR DIE which some of my author friends swear by and I am super glad it works for them. It just doesn’t work for me. An app that screams at me if I don’t write fast enough will put me on the path to the Dark Side and forever will it dominate my destiny. But wow, this shiny silent bar that changes color as I make progress? THAT’S RAD. And honestly maybe a little embarrassing that I can be manipulated so easily. But I have words to write and I need help getting ‘em done sometimes, so I’m not going to overanalyze what works.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 1.47.18 PM

I was gushing about it on Twitter and Harry Connolly told me that I could open up the options of that Project Target window, type in my deadline date, and then the app would just calculate how many words I have to write each day to make it. So I did  that and WHOA HOW COOL.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 6.41.47 PM

It changed my goal of 2,000 to 1,567. Do that every day and blam, I’ll be finished in 87 days! I mean, I would be if I was going to write exactly 150K words. Well, I hit that target of 1,567 and kept on going. I really liked that green bar of progress there. It made me feel turbo productive. So if you blow past your target, that’s awesome, at midnight the app recalculates and the next day you have a few less words to write each day to finish your book on time.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 8.04.02 PM

Don’t make your target? Same thing—it recalculates at midnight and gives you new numbers. I dig how it keeps you on track.

I know lots of you probably already knew about this and it’s old news; I’m just sharing for people who haven’t heard about it yet and might want to look into it. I hear tell (but have not personally checked) that Scrivener for Mac is currently 50% off. It honestly has more to it than spiffy progress bars. Worth investigating if Microsoft Word has ever curdled your guts with rage. :) Happy writing!

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


Lots o’ News

April 30th, 2014

Well! It’s been quite the weekend & stuff. A project that I’ve been working on for a while finally got announced and it was awesome to see people as excited about it as I am. It’s this little thing from the Star Wars universe called HEIR TO THE JEDI.

HeirToTheJedi

It’ll be released in January of 2015. Set between Episodes IV and V, it’ll be the first time we have a Luke Skywalker novel told from a first-person POV. Sorry that I can’t share any more than that right now!

Other writing goodies:

1. Book 7 of the Iron Druid Chronicles, SHATTERED, is now available for pre-order on audio wherever you get your audiobooks, and yes, it’ll be narrated by Luke Daniels! (And it’s available for pre-order in print and ebook too!)

2. Booklist is giving SHATTERED a starred review in their May 15 issue, so that’s pretty spiffy!

3. Interesting development: One of my Iron Druid short stories, previously only available in the CARNIEPUNK anthology, will be for sale separately for .99 beginning October 27. It’s called “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street,” and it’s set just a few days after the events of TWO RAVENS AND ONE CROW, during Granuaile’s training period. From what I understand it’s already available for pre-order online wherever you get your ebooks.

4. What am I working on now? The first volume of an epic fantasy trilogy. It’s called A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. After I finish that I’ll start work on book 8 of the Iron Druid Chronicles.

5. I will be in New Orleans in a couple of weeks for the RT Booklovers Convention! I think the big open-to-the-public signing shindig is from 10-2 on Saturday, May 17! You can get autographs not only from me but from a ridiculous number of other authors—I think there will be hundreds of them, all wearing pants! Looking forward to this very much. Many of my writer friends will be there and they are such fabulous human beings.

6. WOO!

7. Sorry about number 6. That happens sometimes. Two things that I’m learning more about and enjoying are the online writing game called Storium and how to use the Scrivener writing app. Storium is currently a Kickstarter and if you get in on it for $20 you get access to the beta right now and then you get a full year’s access when they launch for reals in a few months. Check it out!

Hope you are well and happy and reading something awesome!

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


How you help authors the most

April 21st, 2014

shatteredEvery so often a kind reader will ask what helps me the most—paper, ebook, or audio—because they want to make sure they’re helping me out to the max. They dig the stories, want to read more, and so they ask, which is super nice of them. And usually I say do as you please—and I still say that! Because 1) I am delighted whenever anyone chooses to read or listen my stories and 2) as long as you pay for it from a reputable retailer I am getting paid for it too. Seriously, friends: Whenever and wherever you buy, in whatever format, thank you so much, you’re the best. The difference in what I make in audio or paper or ebook is literally pennies, so no worries, you do your thing, enjoy the story, and I’ll be grateful.

But there is an answer to that question—”What helps the most?” Again, it all helps and it’s all good, but the thing that helps the most? Pre-ordering the hardcover edition. And it doesn’t matter where you pre-order it from—online or in a chain store or through your local indie.

Why does it help more? For a list o’ reasons, mostly having to do with writing the next book:

1. Pre-orders count toward the first week of sales, and it’s that first week that’s most likely to put an author on the NYT bestseller list. The list is important because it opens doors and gets your future proposals considered quickly; it’s proof that you have an audience. And if you hit it once, the publisher might put some extra marketing mojo behind the next release. It can help an author not only sustain a career but build it up.

2. Since I’m genre fiction and there are a ton of titles coming out every  month, bookstores with limited shelf space have to pick and choose what to order. Some might order only a single copy of my book, or (eek!) none at all. That makes it difficult for people to discover my work (or the work of any other author). Pre-orders therefore help tremendously in this area. Bookstores obviously want to order titles that will sell well, and if my publisher can point to my pre-orders and say LOOKIT THIS IS ALREADY SELLING they are more likely to order some copies. Having more copies on the shelf means it’s more likely someone will discover me by accident; if I’m not on the shelf they can’t discover me at all. So your pre-order helps me reach more readers, and more readers means I will probably get to write more books.

3. Good pre-order numbers can push small or moderate orders from bookstores into larger orders. And again, this is a discoverability thing. Say Bookstore X was planning on ordering two copies of SHATTERED and hiding them in the SF/F section. But then they get ten pre-orders and realize that this title might be worth stocking a bit more densely. So they put in an order for twenty—ten to cover their pre-orders and ten for the shelf. They display it face-out, maybe put a few copies on an end cap with high traffic, and now browsers are more likely to get caught up in Atticus and go HEY WHAT’S THAT and pick up my book. And then they’ll figure out that this is book seven of a series they’ve never heard of before and now they have a delightful binge-read of Atticus and Oberon ahead of them. And that all happened because of pre-orders.

Discoverability is kind of a big deal these days. Shelf space is shrinking—fewer total bookstores out there and some are selling lots of toys and stuff instead of books. Add to that the fact that online discoverability is, shall we say, less than optimal, and that means publishers are really jockeying for space now. Pre-orders are vital to making sure my book gets in front of potential readers.

I didn’t know any of this until I got published myself. Now that I do know it, I tend to pre-order books I want to read quite often, because I was going to buy it anyway, and pre-ordering is quite honestly the best thing I can do to make sure I get to read more books by my favorite writers. Books I’ve pre-ordered: CIBOLA BURN by James S.A. Corey, CURSED MOON by Jaye Wells, THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN by Brian McClellan, THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER by Beth Cato, HELLSBLOOD BRIDE by Chuck Wendig, and, you know, anything Cherie Priest writes forever because CHERIE PRIEST. Her next one is called MAPLECROFT: THE BORDEN DISPATCHES and I have pre-ordered the hell out of it.

So yeah. Pre-ordering the paper copy helps the most. Telling your friends and family about the books you love is simply spectacular. But I’m grateful to quiet readers who keep their joys a secret too. All reading is good reading, whenever it happens and in whatever format you enjoy. Thanks for that.

Just FYI, Brian McClellan also wrote a post about this same topic, which you can find here, and Scott Sigler wrote about it as well.

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


Chicago, Baby!

April 19th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 10.18.39 AMI drove through Chicago once in 1996 but never got to see much of the city. I’ve also enjoyed several flight delays at O’Hare which is a fine American tradition at this point. But I’ve never visited as an author or had any real opportunity to enjoy the city. Now I finally get my chance.

I’m going to be at C2E2 at McCormick Place this coming weekend, with opportunities to say hi on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My complete schedule is below. Sorry I won’t have the new book with me, but lookit, I will happily sign everything you bring. Whole series, one book, your forehead, whatever. Looking forward to seeing you if you can make it there!

FRIDAY, APRIL 25

4-5 pm: Del Rey Books Spotlight on SF/Fantasy, S402

Basically this is a panel with me and my über-editor, Tricia Narwani, talkin’ about stuff that’s releasing soon. So you’ll hear about SHATTERED, of course, but also all the other goodies under the Ballantine/Del Rey/Spectra umbrella (like this guy you might have heard of named George R.R. Martin and this wee franchise called Star Wars). And I’m sure you’ll have a chance to ask questions if you wanna.

5:30-6:30 pm: Signing at the Del Rey booth

I don’t know precisely where the booth is. I assume they will give you a map thingie when you go. I’m counting on my editor to know where it is so I don’t get lost. :)

SATURDAY, APRIL 26

1:30-2:30 pm: Geek Geek Revolution, S403

GEEK GEEK REVOLUTION is a no-holds-barred geek culture game show featuring five science fiction/fantasy authors competing for the chance to be TOP GEEK. In addition the audience member will be asked to write in questions in hopes of stumping the authors and winning a prize pack of books. Hold onto your hats, nerfherders, this might get ugly! Featuring authors Patrick Rothfuss, Kevin Hearne, Seth Fishman and Lydia Kang, moderated by John Scalzi.

3-4 pm: Supernatural City, S402

Join authors Jacqueline Carey, Kevin Hearne, Chloe Neill, Lauren Roy, and Kerrelyn Sparks on a guided tour of cityscapes populated by supernatural creatures, both friend and foe.

4:30-5:30 pm: Signing at the Del Rey booth

SUNDAY, APRIL 27

11 am-12 pm: Signing at the Del Rey booth

And there you have it! Looking forward to seeing you, Chicago!

 

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


The Taco Guild

April 15th, 2014

Tacos have recently become very important in my life. Through a bizarre chain of events that could only happen on Twitter, for example, I was elected Tacopope in less than 140 characters. Somebody on the Internet(s) made me a Tacopope hat in Photoshop after that so I guess it’s ironclad now and there’s no escape.

tacopopespoken

I have a taco-related thing I’m planning with some other authors happening soon, and there will be a panel called the Taco Council at Phoenix Comic Con. So you can imagine my joy when I learned of a place in Phoenix nearish the convention center called the Taco Guild, and that this particular gastropub resides in the bones of an old church, giving their tacos a somewhat holy sheen. A chorus of angels—faint but discernible—holds a beautiful major fifth for ten seconds when your order arrives. Everything about the place is turbo spiffy, so I’m going to geek out on it now.

First: The building. I wasn’t kidding—it’s really an old church. Behold:

IMG_1805

And yeah, inside? Gorgeous vaulted ceiling, a fresco, a chandelier in an iron sphere, and the original stained glass is still there from the church.

IMG_1809

Go into the dude’s restroom and you get painted portraits of hounds in uniform, which I thought Oberon may or may not have appreciated but which I certainly did:

IMG_1815

They have all local brews on tap. Stuff from Four Peaks (a brewery which is mentioned in HAMMERED), some brews from SanTan, and even three beers crafted by Cartel Coffee Lab, which is now the real-life location of Third Eye Books & Herbs (see this post for details on that).

IMG_1807

Oh, you know what else is cool? The people who work there. I am pretty tired of safe corporate restaurants where employees aren’t allowed to have anything pierced or dyed or tattooed. At the Taco Guild they love all that beautiful shit. Our server, Julia, was proof. She had awesome ink on her arms and neck, loud pink hair—all the cool things, basically. Other servers were a bit more conservative in their dress or hair or whatever, but I appreciated that it wasn’t all uniform and they were allowed to be themselves. One dude was super clean-cut and next to him was a guy who must sing I AM BEARD, HEAR ME ROAR every morning. All of it good. The Taco Guild is sticking it to the Man and his rigid code of conformity. Hallelujah.

Maybe I should start talking about the tacos. No, wait! First, the holy guacamole. THE JALAPEÑO BACON GUACAMOLE.

IMG_1825

Okay, now let’s talk tacos. It’s all a la carte but if you order three you get a free side. The tacos are street-sized…you know, the small ones. But the fillings, my friends! The fillings! Take a gander at this menu. DUCK. LAMB. ALL THE MEATSES, PRECIOUS, MARINATED IN LOVE.

IMG_1823

Here’s the three I got: from left-right, you have the cherry chipotle steak, the urban bean coffee braised beef, and the al pastor. So freakin’ nom nom. I was told the duck was good enough to inspire glossolalia and the lamb was ermahgherd-good. Oh, and that side dish is the Borracho Red Beans. :)

IMG_1826

They have an extensive tequila menu as well, of course, and colorful drinks that aren’t the usual thing. My wife and I were there with Hillary Jacques and her family (Hillary wrote a story in the CARNIEPUNK anthology and she’s five kinds of rad), and Hillary enjoyed a drink called a Salty Chihuahua:

IMG_1828

One thing they didn’t have that I wish they did? Churros. Glorious gourmet churros like they have at Barrio Cafe in Phoenix. They did have an interesting dessert called the Tres Leches Cake—three different milks in the batter, I guess, basically a super-moist spice cake. But it wasn’t churros with strawberries and cream or churros drizzled with chocolate and caramel or dang it churros with ANYTHING.

IMG_1829

Even without churros, the Taco Guild is one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever enjoyed. If you find yourself hankering for a lovely night out, I highly recommend it. Almost a religious experience. So sayeth the Tacopope.

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS


Something extra

April 2nd, 2014

Though it’s not perfect, an undeniable feature of the modern market is that you now have so many convenient ways to snag the books you want to read. You can even do it without pants (which to my mind is the true test of whether something is convenient or not) by ordering online from one of the big retailers. Usually they offer a discount too, so you’re getting a cool book, saving money and not wearing pants—is this not the best of all possible worlds? And if you want to save even more money—maybe some trees—and increase the convenience, then it’s hard to beat an ebook that downloads to your electric doodad right away. And heck, say you want a signed paper copy—you can do that from home too now! Both Barnes & Noble in the US and indie store The Poisoned Pen (which ships internationally) are offering signed editions of SHATTERED. Mouse click, boom. And to be super—thorough, my publisher has this giant list of vendors for ebooks and audio on their site. Convenience abounds!

Given all that, going to see an author on tour is probably the opposite of convenient. For one thing, both you and, thank goodness, the author, are required to wear pants. The event might be held at an inconvenient time or place for you. Such events are often (but not always) held at indie book stores, and since indies are small businesses they can’t afford the discount-till-you-drop thing. That means anyone who comes to see me on tour has gone out of their way quite a bit; they are spending far more time than they need and a few bucks more to get a book that they could easily get by other means. It’s the highest compliment that anybody would bother at all and I’m so grateful to everyone who shows up to say howdy.

Every so often I will meet somebody who drove a very long way to see me. This cool family from Kansas City drove to see me in Dallas one time. A  dude in Tennessee drove out to see me in Charlotte. A spiffy police officer drove from Houston once to catch me in Phoenix, and so on. I’m always humbled by that and wish I could do more than sign their book for them—like maybe if I had some sausage or a six-pack on hand for just such an occasion I would totally hand it over and say “YOU WIN!” Because they went to an awful lot of trouble to say hi in person and I don’t feel like a bookmark evens the scales. They deserve something special.

It’s tough to tour with sausage and beer, though. The TSA looks at you funny, and then you’re like “Hey, it’s not for me,” and they go, “Yeah, right.”

So I came up with something extra to give to everyone taking extra trouble and expense to see me—something that I can haul around with me pretty easily and yet is better than a bookmark.

I commissioned Galen Dara, the artist who painted the cover for “The Chapel Perilous,” to paint Oberon. And next to Oberon will be a quote of his from SHATTERED—don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil that for anyone now! Let’s just say it’s one of my favorite things. If you come to see me at one of my nine tour stops and buy a book, you will get an 8×10 signed print of that painting for free. Here’s a peekie:

Oberon by Galen Dara

Oberon by Galen Dara

Didn’t Galen do an amazing job? I love that doggie smile! Anyway, I’ll give away one print per book and I won’t be able to sell extra copies, sorry; I need to make sure I will have enough for everyone at the next stop. Here’s where and when I’m touring, in case you missed it:

June 17, 6:30: The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ
June 18, 7:00: Murder By the Book in Houston, TX.
June 19, 7:00: Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY.
June 20, 7:00: Barnes & Noble at HarMar Mall, Roseville (near Minneapolis) MN.
June 21, 6:00: University Bookstore in Seattle, WA.
June 22, 4:00: Powell’s Books in Beaverton (near Portland), OR.
June 23, 7:00: Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge (near Boston), MA.
June 24, 6:30 or 7: Bakka Phoenix in Toronto, Ontario, Canada!
I’m spending a few days in Toronto and then squeezing in one last stop…in Colorado!
June 29, 3:00: Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch (a bit south of Denver), CO.

Huge apologies if I’m not coming to your town or even your state. It’s not because I don’t love you; it’s because travel is expensive, my budget is limited, and I start missing my family and doggies too much if I’m on the road for long.

I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con in July and there’s this cool bookstore/café called Upstart Crow where I’ll organize an informal coffee hootenanny on either Friday or Saturday morning (July 25 or 26). That way if you’re not going to the con you can still come on down and hang out. If I have any prints left over from tour I’ll give ‘em away there. Updates on that once I get the details figured out.

If you really want an Oberon print but can’t see me on tour and get a free one (and that’s fine, I totally understand!), the artist, Galen Dara, will be selling them online beginning July 1. However you read the Iron Druid Chronicles—or if you listen the audiobooks—thank you so much! I hope you dig SHATTERED! It has more Druids! More gods! And more doggies!

Peace, love, and sausage, friends.

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS

Tags:


Fiction worth supporting

March 30th, 2014
fireside

“Brighid” by Galen Dara for Fireside Fiction © 2014

Hey Spiffy Peeps,

There’s a world I wanna live in. Usually it’s the world I’m currently reading about created by the brilliant mind of another human being. I lose myself in fictional worlds sometimes, and when the story ends I come back to this one, a bit sad the trip is over but enriched and better off for the journey.

Short fiction is perfect for wee trips when you don’t have a weekend for a novel. But short fiction markets are often, uh…what’s the word? PROBLEMATIC.

With most genre magazines you get an overdose of the same kind of world. Like ALL THE MYSTERY or ALL THE SCIENCE FICTION or ALL THE HOT WOMBAT SHOWER SCENES. Awesome places to visit, completely delicious, but not poster children for Moderation in All Things. There are only so many hot wombat shower scenes you can handle at a time.

Last year I heard about and backed a Kickstarter called Fireside Fiction, Year Two. I got 12 issues of awesome trips, friends. They offer a little bit of everything from varying genres in each issue: a short story, serial fiction, flash fiction, poetry, and an illustration by one of my favorite creative humans, Galen Dara.

[/COMMENCE PARENTHETICAL GEEKOUT]
Galen paints such varied and lush works of art. So evocative and gorgeous and WAUUGH! I love everything she does. It’s because of Fireside that I hired Galen to paint the cover for “The Chapel Perilous” and why I hired her to paint Oberon (revealing that soon) and why I will hire her again. [/END GEEKOUT]

So lookit, here’s the first issue of Fireside Fiction, Year Two, which I backed. Check it out. Click on “Love Song of the Lizard Boy” by Delilah S. Dawson. See Galen’s art. Read Delilah’s story. And then realize that both Galen and Delilah, along with everyone else in that issue, were paid fairly by Fireside, thanks to their subscribers who funded it through Kickstarter.

Most professional magazines pay 5-10 cents per word, skewing heavily toward the 5-cent range, which is the rate it’s been since Jimmy Carter. Fireside pays 12.5 cents per word. That’s $500 for a 4K-word story. Fair.

Fireside asks you for $24 for 12 issues. High quality writing and illustration for $2 an issue. I’m mightily entertained and the artists aren’t exploited. YES PLEASE.

Fireside Fiction Year 3 is trying to get funded right now; it’s in the final hours. They could really use your help. I backed it hard because it’s a beautiful collaboration of people and gives me so many worlds I want to live in.

And, by the way—these aren’t all worlds created by straight white dudes. I’m already a straight white dude and I want to see the world through different lenses because that helps me grow as a person. Fireside offers me (and you) a diverse platter of experiences, for which I’m grateful. Quite honestly it’s the kind of literary magazine I’d like to run myself if I had the time for that sort of thing.

It’s the best Kickstarter I’ve backed. Most Kickstarters I’ve backed have turned out to be disappointing, but this one exceeded expectations. If you have a hankerin’ for beautiful work and the means, please back it!

 

CLICK HERE TO ADD/VIEW COMMENTS