Writer's Grove

Dahlonega Lit Fest

March 23, 2015

THE KEVIN WENT DOWN TO GEORGIA. (Again.)

The last time I ventured out of the house was in October. I went to Woodstock, Georgia, to make up for missing Dragon*Con. Now I’m going back to Georgia in advance of Dragon*Con (I won’t be there this year either) and if you’re in the south at all, I hope you can make it, because it might (??) be my only trip in that direction for a while. I’ll be at the Dahlonega Literary Festival this weekend, March 28-29. It’s FREE! Check the schedule, show up, say hi, have a good time!

There are going to be other splendiferous authors there too! People who make me squee and write genius books, in fact, like Cherie Priest and Delilah S. Dawson.  Plus the delightful Molly Harper and Frances Mayes and many others—the list is on the site!

oct3BONUS: On Saturday there is this doodad called Lunch with the Authors. The authors split up like a Scooby-Doo episode and go to different restaurants in town and you can join ’em! Delilah and I are going to be at Pueblos on Main Street. I have heard the margaritas there are ehhhhhhhhxcellent. So: Wouldja like to have a margarita with Delilah, the Monsignor of Margaritas, and a taco with the Tacopope? Make your reservation! Give Pueblos a call! (706) 867-7155

You’re welcome to bring your own books to sign at the festival or buy some on site from FoxTale Book Shoppe. Couple o’ things to note: FoxTale will have paperback copies of SHATTERED available for the first time—they won’t go on sale until the 31st nationwide but you can get ’em early there! Also? You can get Delilah’s new book, HIT, a bit early as well—it’s not supposed to be out until April! (GREAT book btw, I read an advance copy!) Also also: If you can’t make it, call FoxTale now and place an order with them for signed books from me or any other author. We’ll sign them while we’re there and they will ship them to you! FoxTale’s number is (770) 516-9989.

Huge thanks to the Dahlonega Lit Fest for inviting me. It’s gonna be fun!

 

IDC Wallpaper Contest

March 19, 2015

Back in 2011 when the first three books came out, I did a few Iron Druid wallpapers for fun, featuring a quote and an image of some sort along with the IDC logo. But I’ve had four books, two novellas, and a few short stories come out since then, and I need a fun contest because the US paperback edition of SHATTERED comes out March 31 and I wanna give some away. I have five signed copies for super-spiffy entries and my publisher is throwing in a few extra for random winners so we have some pretty decent odds here for people who’d like to participate. This contest is US only, though you can enter overseas if you want as long as we have a US address to mail the book to—your friend Archie or Veronica or whatever.

Whatcha gotta do? Design an IDC wallpaper and email me a jpeg of it by Wednesday, March 25. It’s not that tough! You need:
1) An IDC quote from any of the novels, novellas, or short stories. Exchanges/conversations are OK.
2) Attribution for the quote including the character(s) and work it’s from (e.g. —Oberon, in Hexed)
3) The IDC logo.
4) Image should be 2560 x 1440 so that people can use it on their desktops if they wanna. EVERYBODY WINS A BUNCH OF SPIFFY WALLPAPERS WHEN WE’RE THROUGH. :)
5) Using pictures with the quote is optional. You can just design the type if you want. Oh, and my email is kevin (at thingie) kevinhearne dot com.

I realize that this is a tiny bit tougher than snapping a photo, but there is a method to my madness here: There are people in the world who enter contests just because they like free stuff and not because they’re genuinely interested in what they might win. I prefer to give my books to people who will dig them, so my contests always require a wee bit more effort than a mouse click on a Rafflecopter. But hopefully they’re fun too.

Here are a few examples of the wallpapers I did way back when—note that they include a quote, attribution, image, and the IDC logo:

vainamoinenI made these in Photoshop. Cut out the logo from the covers (which you can find on Amazon or B&N). Slap in whatever other art you want (or not), type your text and attribution, and boom.

flidaisI love this one because it amuses me to think those cows were shat there by a distressed Aenghus Óg.

widow Heh heh.

perun

 

Fun fact: I used a picture of the lead singer from Iron & Wine as the Slavic thunder god. :)

So have fun! Make something you would enjoy for yourself—you win no matter what! Looking forward to seeing your entries, and thank you as always for reading!

Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles

March 16, 2015

kaibabunbound_coverartWhen you need stories in fun-sized snack packaging, I got you covered!

I’m so very excited to announce the release of Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles! These two stories were previously available only as bonus material and attached to ebook editions in North America, which meant a lot of people have been missing out for four years. I wanted everyone to have access to ’em for cheap, plus make an audio edition for the audiophiles out there, so here we are. Two Tales will be out May 18 worldwide, available for preorder now on Amazon for 0.99, but will also be available on iTunes/iBooks and Nook! Audible will have the audio narrated by the legendary Luke Daniels.

I love, love, love the cover art by Galen Dara! (So much that I’m gonna post a bigger version of it down below for ya.) She did the cover for “The Chapel Perilous” too. I think she captured the first story, “Kaibab Unbound” perfectly. You have the squirrel! The witches!  Atticus in his owl form! And the sense that THERE WILL BE BLOOD!

The second story is “A Test of Mettle,” set concurrently with the events of book 3, Hammered, in which Granuaile discovers that Atticus doesn’t have final say on who gets to be a Druid’s apprentice.

Both stories have been somewhat revised from their original editions and contain some shiny new words. There won’t be print versions of these, very sorry—there’s no way to do that for cheap, so they’ll be ebook and audio only. I hope you enjoy them, either as an introduction to the series or as delicious fun for a longtime fan, and thank you so much for reading!

The embiggened version of the cover:

kaibabunbound_coverartGalen is simply the best. Visit her site to see more gorgeous things.

 

Paperback is a-comin’

March 9, 2015

Shattered coverJust so thou shalt know, in case ye may have wondered: The paperback edition of Shattered is coming March 31. There are completists in the world who appreciate having their series all in the same format, which I totally understand, and many peeps who’d rather not pay hardcover prices, which I also understand! Or maybe you’re a new reader and just catching up—whatever the case may be, the wait is almost over!

Two places you can get signed copies if you happen to be in the area when I’m slinging ink:

Dahlonega Lit Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia, March 28-29. Yep, you can get it early! Foxtale Book Shoppe will be selling them there and if you call/email them ahead of time, they will totally have me sign one for you while I’m there and then ship it to you!

Denver Public Library, Park Hill Branch, April 4, 2 pm: I’ll be chatting with peeps, taking selfies, and signing whatever you’d like. You’re welcome to bring your own copies with you or there will also be an indie store there selling shiny new copies.

You can pre-order the Shattered paperback here:

Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million

…or from your favorite indie store! If you don’t have one near you there are many of them out there willing to ship!  Many thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy!

Peace & tacos—
Kevin

I wrote a Star Wars book

March 3, 2015

HeirToTheJediI was nine years old when THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK came out. When Luke Skywalker was hangin’ upside down in the wampa cave and summoned his lightsaber to his hand using the Force, I thought, “Whoa! How’d he learn how to do that?” My nine-year old self who played with action figures, TIE fighters, and X-Wings never thought that someday I would get to write the answer and have it be canon, but that’s exactly what happened, and you can snag it today wherever you like to score books (or audiobooks)!

HEIR TO THE JEDI is standalone adventure, which means you don’t have to read any other Star Wars books to dive right in—a knowledge of the movies is all you need. It’s set in the period after the Battle of Yavin but before the events of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and it addresses at least some of those “How did we get here?” questions. (For those who might wonder, it’s also set chronologically before the Marvel Star Wars comics that just began last month.)

It’s also a story told for the first time from Luke Skywalker’s first-person point of view. If you check this out you’ll get a summary plus a bunch of handy links to various retailers if you’re an online shopper. There have been quite a few very kind reviews, but here are just a couple from Roqoo Depot and The Wookiee Gunner.

I’m not touring for this particular book but there are a couple different ways to get signed copies if you’d like one:
1) I’ll be at the Park Hill Branch of the Denver Public Library at 2 pm on April 4. You can bring in your copy or buy one there—a local indie bookstore will have copies. They’ll also have copies of the paperback release of SHATTERED, the 7th book in my Iron Druid series.
2) You can order one directly from me (US only) in Oberon’s Treat Shop. I ship them via US Media Mail.

Hope you dig it, and thanks very much for reading!


Bonus Silly Trivia!

My working titles for HEIR TO THE JEDI:
1. NERFHERDER APOCALYPSE
2. DAMN THE CANTINAS
3. NOODLE SCOOTER LUKE

Heir to the Jedi Winners!

February 24, 2015

Wow, what a great contest! Over a hundred entries of Star Wars geekery! Thank you all so much for making me smile & sharing your love of Star Wars!

It was a truly difficult decision—there were some car entries in particular that I thought were amazing—but I have picked three winners and then a couple more random winners via the ol’ Random.org.

If you’re one of the winners below, please email me your US shipping address (use kevin at thingie kevinhearne dot com) so that I can send you your signed copy of HEIR TO THE JEDI!

First up, Nancie in Ohio with her Weimaraner Leia and Wolfhound Wookiee! A WOLFHOUND WOOKIEE

HEIR19NancieOH

Next we have Penny/Noah in Illinois! There were quite a few awesome displays of action figures and such but I really appreciated that these are out of the box and played with! PEW! PEW! PEW!

HEIR86PennyIL

Jeff in California cracked me up with this! Vader at tea time!

HEIR88JeffCA

Random winners:
Jose in California sharing a little family time! Jose is the Mandalorian. :)

HEIR30JoseCA

Heather in North Carolina made a Battle of Hoth birthday cake for her son!

HEIR69HeatherNCCongratulations again! And thank you all for playing (and reading)! Hope you dig HEIR TO THE JEDI when it’s out next week!

 

Star Wars Nerdscape Contest!

February 8, 2015

I wrote a Star Wars book from Luke Skywalker’s 1st-person POV called HEIR TO THE JEDI. It’s out March 3 in ebook, hardcover, and audio, and you can preorder now (please do!) from wherever it is you like to score books. This page here is full of convenient linky-poos to buy it.

BUT I HAVE FIVE COPIES TO GIVE AWAY. Hardcovers, that is. Signed ones. Pew! Pew! Pew!

IMG_3432

And I think photo contests are fun. So if you’d like to enter to win a signed copy of HEIR TO THE JEDI (U.S. only), bust out your Star Wars stuff and create a Nerdscape for me. It can be Legos, action figures, books, comics, maybe a meta cosplay thing where you’re Boba Fett playing with Boba Fett action figures, whatever you like. Just create a Star Wars fan tableaux that demonstrates your love for that galaxy far, far away. Send your .jpg photo to me at kevin (at) kevinhearne dot com, subject line HEIR TO THE JEDI CONTEST, and please include your first name and state with your entry. I will post all entries to a FB photo album for everyone to enjoy, and the caption will include your name and state to identify entries. (For example: By Jedediah in Rhode Island). I will pick three winners that impress the hell out of me and then there will also be two random winners so everyone has a chance to get lucky.

Quick Handy Rules:

1. US only. If you’re out-o-the-country and want to enter that’s fine, but if you win I will only ship to a US address and then your friend/relative/minion will have to ship it wherever you are.
2. One entry per person.
3. Email jpegs to me at kevin (at thingy) kevinhearne dot com by Sunday, February 22. Include your first name and state and use the subject line HEIR TO THE JEDI CONTEST.
4. Follow my author page on FB if you aren’t already and you can see a daily update of the entries BECAUSE YAY FUN STAR WARS GEEKERY
5. Winners announced on Tuesday, February 24. I’ll ship as soon as you give me your address and then you ought to receive your copy during release week. :)

May the Force be with you. Hope you enjoy HEIR TO THE JEDI!

Shrimp Tacos with Cheat Codes

January 11, 2015

Always good to have a taste of summer in the dead white space of winter, isn’t it? You’re finished with your Solstice sacrifices and your sheep have frost on their wool and it’s just no damn fun churning your own butter anymore. You need chili lime cilantro shrimp tacos and you need ’em now!

So let’s do this! But do it easy because you’re cold and tired and you don’t want to miss that show you like.

You can of course make these the slow way starting with raw everything and making stuff from scratch, firing up the grill and putting shrimp on skewers, etc. Sometimes you can do that and you wanna do that. And sometimes you wanna let someone else do most of the work so you can have tasty stuff fast.

SO: Begin with a package of cooked, ready-to-eat shrimp from your meat case. (That’s your first cheat code—you don’t have to worry about peeling and deveining and all that.) Smaller ones work well for tacos. I found a 3/4 lb. package at my store. It was 100% guaranteed though I’m not sure what they were guaranteeing.

shrimp1

Dump those guaranteed shrimp in a bowl. Then, in a second wee mixing bowl, make a flash marinade:

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper (I just grind a bunch from my mill)
A buttload of lime juice

That last ingredient might be a little vague, huh? Let’s get to the rest of the cheat codes. You’ll notice one of them is a little 4-oz. thingie of concentrated lime juice because fresh limes can be dodgy in the winter.  I started out with six teaspoons for the marinade and then added more once I started to heat up the shrimp.

shrimp2

Other stuff you see: A bag o’ shredded cabbage and a low-cal cilantro avocado dressing. YAY FOR EASY TOPPINGS.

Stir up the marinade, pour on top of your shrimp and toss ’em around. Oughtta look like this:

shrimp3

Let ’em sit for a few minutes then dump into a skillet you have set on the low side of medium. Remember that unless you’re starting with raw shrimp, these suckers are already cooked and all you need to do is heat these. The trick is not to overcook—shrimp get chewy and nasty if you overcook ’em. You want ’em tender. So watch carefully, sneak a shrimp here and there to test heat, and start making tacos when they’re hot! As mentioned earlier, I squirted a whole bunch of extra lime juice on the shrimp while they were heating up, and I ground some more fresh pepper on top.

shrimp4

Nuke some corn tortillas. Spread some shrimp on ’em. And now, like any other taco, it’s up to you. I put on some cabbage on there. Then some fresh avocado and chopped cilantro.

shrimp5

Finish up with some salsa for heat and the cilantro avocado dressing for coolness. Or julienne/dice some cucumbers? Mandarin oranges? You can get freaky and maybe even deaky if you want.  Regardless, it’s fast and fresh and  beats the hell out of Taco Bell. Serve with beer or your favorite margarita. Cheers!

shrimp6

 

 

 

Oberon’s Treat Shop Now Open!

January 6, 2015

The Quick Version With Exclamation Points: It’s open! It’s secure!  Media Mail to US addresses only! And get 10% off your order by using the coupon code GRAVY through the end of January!

The longer version with calmer punctuation: I had to open this store for reasons. I got spoiled, frankly, by having a spiffy indie bookstore near me in The Poisoned Pen with an efficient shipping operation. I’d drop by there every couple o’ months and sign a bunch of books and they’d do the rest. But alas! I’m no longer in Phoenix and now the nearest indie bookstore to me is an hour away, and since they get hella rad foot traffic they don’t ship very much. Not ideal for my readers or for me.

I’ll still visit Phoenix every so often and sign a bunch of books at the Poisoned Pen so they’ll have them in stock and that will be perfect for most cases. But sometimes people also want their books personalized (“To Marty McFly” or whatever) and I can’t fly down to Phoenix to take care of that or expect The Poisoned Pen to ship them up to me every time an order comes in. So if I want readers to be able to get signed, personalized copies whenever they want—and I do—I have to offer that service myself. Hence Oberon’s Treat Shop. Most everyone will get their books elsewhere and that’s perfect! But for the tiny percentage of peeps who want a signed special something, it’s now available.

The Treat Shop will eventually offer other treats besides signed books, but I’m starting out with books only because it’s probably the easiest thing I can do. Unlike T-shirts and pint glasses, they’re one-size-fits-all and they don’t break. And my shipping option—singular, not plural—is Media Mail to US addresses only for the same reason: I need to keep it simple while I learn the ropes. Or rather, while my Shipping Pug learns the ropes. Like all pugs, he has performance anxiety and he’s worried about this gig. I mean just lookit this picture of Aloysius the Shipping Pug:

shippingpug

I’m sure Aloysius will be fine. He’ll get delicious snacks and I’ll get to keep writing books. We have an excellent arrangement.

If you’re in Canada or the UK or elsewhere, you can still snag signed copies from The Poisoned Pen—they ship anywhere! And of course if you are in the US and just want a signed copy vs. a signed, personalized copy, I recommend the The Poisoned Pen as well. They offer more titles than I do anyway! They have signed copies by Diana Gabaldon and many others under their Autographed Editions section.

Eventually I’ll offer other goodies and when I do the shipping options will necessarily progress beyond Media Mail. In the meantime, the details:

1) Oberon’s Treat Shop uses Stripe for checkout. It’s simple and secure, you don’t have to log in or create an account, and none of your information is saved.
2) Through Jan 31 you can get 10% off your order by using the coupon code GRAVY.
3) I won’t offer new books in the Treat Shop until they’ve been out for a month or so because I’d much rather you buy from a bookstore and say hi to me on tour if at all possible. My intent here is not to compete with bookstores but rather offer a niche service to those readers who want signed, personalized copies for birthdays or holidays or top secret libraries and can’t get them elsewhere. During the first few weeks of a new book’s release it’s easy to get signed & personalized copies from any of the bookstores I visit on tour. You call ‘em up, say hey, set aside a copy of Kevin’s latest for me and have him sign it to Mildred & Frodo or Optimus Prime or whatever, and everyone will be delighted. You’ll get your book faster, the bookstore will be happy, and I’ll be happy. And if I am visiting your town (or close enough for you to make it) and we take a selfie together and you take your book home right then, well, all the better!

Thanks for supporting your local bookstores whenever you can! But when you need a signed, personalized copy of my books for gifts and such, Oberon’s Treat Shop is here for you.

 

I invite you to tsu

December 27, 2014

A rambly social media post! Beware! YOUR LOINS! GIRD THEM.

Fairly amused/hopeful once more that we might have an alternative to Facebook. It’s called tsū and it’s kind of a Facebook/Twitter combo which you can connect to those platforms, along with Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The interface is easy and familiar. But no requests for games! Yay! And there’s a Friend/Follower distinction that I like. More details below but here’s a link to get you started if you’re the type that just likes to jump in and get going.  Oh, and here’s what the top of my profile page looks like…you’ll see the similarity to Twitter/FB right away.

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.24.29 AM

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried other social media. I tried Google + but dang, nobody’s there when you post except for like three crickets. Got a tumblr but I don’t see much interaction there either (I’m probably doing it wrong). Signed up for ello and that’s also kind of dead for the moment; it might pick up and catch on but I don’t think their interface is ideal and lots of their functionality isn’t there yet. Tsū still has some functionality to add (see below) but it’s much more ready to go I think—they have a mobile app at least.

Why am I so looking forward to some viable alternative? Facebook’s privacy concerns and monetization strategy have long been a turn-off for me and many other authors but I’ve basically had no choice but to remain there since that’s where the readers are. I use my author page to stay in touch with peeps but don’t do anything at all on my personal page because damn if I’m going to let Facebook monetize my life. I talk to my friends via other means than Facebook. Meanwhile, on my author page, even though I have 18K followers, they don’t all see my posts. Facebook purposely throttles my posts to make me pay to reach people who are already following me. *wet fart noise*

Twitter’s pretty fun though—I socialize with people there quite a bit. I also get news there fairly often. However, its effectiveness as a marketing tool is limited; there’s a lot of noise there and your tweets get lost easily. To make it work you have to be clever so you’ll get lots of retweets or you have to repeat yourself often and get kind of spammy and GAH, that’s work. I’ll do a little bit of business there but mostly I’m on Twitter to be a nerd with other nerds.  It keeps the lonely writing business from being so lonely.

So: Tsū. (An aside: I wish it was Tsü because umlauts are cool.)

They’re making money by selling ads. Yep. But so far it’s not the super creepy kind that Facebook or Google does where they mine your emails or searches and then tailor ads to you. You’ve had that happen, right? You search for a knife because you’re researching something for a story and then all you get are ads for knives everywhere you go. Nope, the ads I see in tsū have nothing to do with my interests and that’s great.

I also do not see yet (though of course it may change or I’m simply wrong) that they’re curating your feed. If you follow someone then you see their stuff in your feed—that’s it. How refreshing of them to assume that if you follow someone you’d like to see their posts!

The interface is easy. You have likes which display as heart doodads and you have comments and you can reply to them. You can have private messages. There’s no learning curve here like with ello. Behold, a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.25.14 AM

So that post has 56 likes, 61 comments from people saying howdy, and I guess that 2 represents shares? Anyway, it displays the first couple of comments and then you can click to view the others if you wanna. I clicked “like” on the comments there and you see it gives ‘em a little heart to the right.

I dig it so far. It’s easy to use, unlike ello, where you spend a bunch of time in the white space looking around like Neo in the loading program and have to wait for Morpheus to explain the Matrix. Get on tsū now and you might be able to snag your actual name before the other people with the same one! :)

The Friend/Follower distinction—well, you can use that as you wish. For me, a friend is someone I have met and know personally and have had beers with. And, as I mentioned earlier, my friends and I tend to communicate via other methods than social media. Mostly I’m around to say howdy to readers and be silly about tacos.

Is it perfect? Nope. Tsū has work to do.
1. They really need a clear harassment policy and a way to deal with trolls. Because there are a lot of people on the Internet who do not follow Wheaton’s Law (“Don’t Be A Dick!”) and you have to be able to deal with them. People need a safe space. Twitter has absolutely sucked at this. First social media to find a way to make people feel safe wins! Right now tsū is a bit confusing on the issue. Under FAQs, first you see this:

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.29.51 AM

And then, a bit further down the FAQs, you see this:

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.30.01 AM

So I guess they rolled it out, maybe, but didn’t update their FAQs? Or is there a distinction between “member” in the first screencap and “user” in the second one that I’m missing? Hmm. I checked it out. I went to someone’s profile page, found the three dots, and clicked on it.

Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 11.28.17 AM

That’s a start! They have a way to report or block people. But what exactly they do when you report someone isn’t clear. That policy needs to be worked out and we’ll have to see how they handle it.
2. Adding more servers might be good; it’s a bit slow at times. Growing pains, easily fixed.
3. They have this thing where you’re supposed to earn money somehow. The idea being that if you’re going to monetize a social network by selling ads then the people in that network should be getting the money. Their algorithm thingie looks like a pyramid scheme to me but WHATEVS. That’s not why I’m there. I’m there because it’s Not Facebook and they’re not holding my followers hostage with a “Boost Post” button. And if I do happen to make money somehow then I’m donating every penny to charity. What I do know is that tsū didn’t ask me for any money or a credit card number or anything. So if they wind up giving me money that I can then give away, that’s cool; I’m not doing anything for it but goofing around online. What would be really cool is if they let you donate that money directly to a charity of your choice in your name. Don’t know if tax people will let that happen, but there it is: The Dream.

Anyway—give it a shot if you wanna. Totally understandable if you’d rather not. Regardless, thanks for saying hi to me wherever you do it!

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