Besieged cover reveal
Woohoo! It’s a scared, shaven Atticus with his archdruid, Owen Kennedy! Lookit Owen’s fist! The brass knuckles. The brass knuckles! I love it so much. That’s the cover of Besieged, out July 11!
This particular tableau comes to you courtesy of the story “Haunted Devils,” narrated by Owen.
I should mention here (in case you missed it on the cover) that this is not the next Iron Druid novel. It’s a novel-length collection of short stories you can think of as book 8.5, since five of the nine stories take place after Staked and lead directly into book 9. Of those five stories, two are narrated by Owen and one each by Atticus, Granuaile, and Perun. The other four stories are all narrated by Atticus and take place earlier in series chronology. They’re presented to you in chronological order, though. Want a brief rundown?
“The Eye of Horus” details how Atticus originally ran afoul of the Egyptian pantheon.
“The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” is a reprint, though this version has been revised & expanded somewhat.
“Goddess at the Crossroads” shares how Atticus met William Shakespeare back in the day. Also reprinted from a small press run, also revised.
“Gold Dust Druid” has Atticus in San Francisco in 1850. Oberon’s commentary made me laugh quite a bit in this one.
“Cuddle Dungeon” is narrated by Perun, set in Edinburgh.
“The Bogeyman of Boora Bog” has Owen sharing how he came to be Siodhachan’s archdruid waaay back in the day.
“Blood Pudding” follows Granuaile’s encounter with a nest of vampires in Poland, guest starring Leif Helgarson and the Sisters of the Three Auroras.
“Haunted Devils” is an Owen story in which we learn much more about his grove of apprentices.
“The End of Idylls” takes place directly before the events of book 9, wherein Atticus shares the long-promised story of Faolan with Oberon.
Audio preorders will be available later. Luke Daniels will record for North America and Christopher Ragland for the UK/Aus/NZ peeps.
The brass knuckles, y’all!
Peace & tacos—
It’s a new year! Yay!
I have lots of words coming out this year for y’all and a buttload of projects in the works. Stayin’ busy over here!
On July 11, you’ll get BESIEGED, stories of the Iron Druid Chronicles. It’s essentially book 8.5. It has four stories set in the past—adventures in Egypt, Jacobean England, and California during the Gold Rush—and five that are all set after the events of STAKED. Most of the stories are Atticus & Oberon, but you’ll also get two from Owen, one from Granuaile, and one from Perun! Hope to have cover art for you soon. Since y’all can preorder in ebook & hardcover now (audio preorders will be available later) I’m gonna put up links and thank you in advance—preorders mean a lot! Amazon B&N iTunes
Less than a month later, on Aug. 1, I have another short story appearing in URBAN ENEMIES, an anthology of urban fantasy stories told from the point of view of villains. Mine’s told from Loki’s point of view. Besides me, the full anthology features stories by Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (the Cainsville and Otherworld series), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), C.E. Murphy (Walker Papers), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (the Hellhound Chronicles and the Black London series), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches). Preorder links: Amazon B&N iTunes
On Oct. 3, I shall release A PLAGUE OF GIANTS unto the world, the first volume of my epic fantasy trilogy. Obviously I hope y’all will follow me to another world—one I’ve been working on for many years! Cover art and more info coming soonish.
In terms of what’s in the hopper, I’m working on four or five different projects this year:
1) Another of Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries! This one is called The Squirrel on the Train
2) Scourged, book 9 of the Iron Druid Chronicles
3) A novella from Owen’s point of view
4) The second book of my epic fantasy trilogy, A Blight of Blackwings
5) Another project that’s super sekrit right now
Thanks so much for reading! Peace & tacos, y’all.
Boora Bog and cake
It’s my birthday! I’ll probably have cake later! SO YAY!
Broadly speaking, I think many of us would agree it was a miserable trip around the sun, but for me, anyway, there was this bright spot: I got to write something with a bit of novelty to it. After first asking my editor, Tricia, if she’d be cool doing this old-school, I wrote one of the short stories to be published in BESIEGED entirely on a 1956 Olympia SM3 typewriter, and she agreed to edit it by hand too. We were going to do just this one story up to the “Acceptance” stage as if computers didn’t exist. Once I got her notes back—a handwritten editorial letter, plus stuff she wrote in the margins of the manuscript—I retyped the whole thing. First draft was seventeen pages; second draft was twenty-one. She accepted the second draft, but it came back with an editorial letter too and some marks for the next stage—copy editing. And now you (yes, you!) can snag this one-of-a-kind fantasy artifact in an auction on eBay, to benefit Worldbuilders (which benefits Heifer International). You’ll get my marked-up first and second drafts, plus Tricia’s editorial letters and the letter I wrote to her after the first draft, explaining how I’d addressed her comments and asking a couple of questions. This is a rare look at the writing process, much of which is so often deleted by our word processing software these days. (You may find my process marvelous or more likely may find it kinda funny, but regardless, you will probably agree I’m not an A+ typist.) And should you wind up winning this, every penny you spend helps hungry people eat through sustainable agriculture. The kind of thing a Druid would appreciate, in fact. So, if that sounds like your cup o’ tea, and you have the means: Please consider it? This is a link to the auction.
Backstory: I hauled my typewriter out to the kitchen and began writing “The Bogeyman of Boora Bog” on the afternoon of Saturday, July 30, and celebrated the occasion with a finger of fine Irish whiskey:
Because writer brains are weird, I got inspired by another story idea in the first week of August and worked on it until the muse let me rest; then I finished “Boora Bog” after DragonCon and sent it off to Tricia in New York. To the poor FedEx employee who had to deal with me giving it to her care, oh my gods, I’m so sorry: “THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT,” I said in all caps. “YOU CANNOT LOSE THIS OR I WILL DIE.” Because I didn’t make a copy. I not only wanted to do this as if computers didn’t exist, I wanted to do it as if copiers didn’t exist. It’s one-of-a-kind, as I said. And I was feeling so smug about living dangerously right until the point I had to hand it over. “We’ll be very careful,” the nice FedEx lady assured me, and pried the envelope from my clutching, white-knuckled fingers. I did not actually poop myself at that point, but it was a close thing.
This story is narrated from the point of view of Archdruid Owen Kennedy, who taught Atticus everything he knew. It tells the story of how Owen came to meet Atticus for the first time and take him on as an apprentice, so we’re talking sixty or seventy years before Jesus got squeezed out into a manger. But the story doesn’t just describe the meeting: It reveals why Owen chose to train Atticus the way he did, and how that ultimately allowed his apprentice to make the kinds of choices that would one day turn him into the Iron Druid.
An important story, in other words.
When Tricia’s letter came back with the manuscript in October, I cannot even tell you how happy I was. First, the manuscript wasn’t lost! But also, Tricia’s really good at her job. I got excited about the story all over again after reading her letter and notes, because I knew what I had to do to make the story better.
I think it took me five days to revise. Working on an old-school typewriter really is much slower than working on the computer. But I sent it back, worked on finishing the rest of the stories in BESIEGED, and waited to hear back. And just yesterday, I heard.
Tricia accepted Version Deux! But I have learned after working with her for six years that she never says that she “accepts” things. Nope. That’s the language of agents and contracts. When Tricia is satisfied with a story, she tells you to have a drink. Do a shot, make a cocktail with an umbrella in it, get yourself a really fancy bottled water, whatever works for you. Just celebrate, because the Metal Editor is pleased! Behold, I have proof:
So yeah: This is one of my happy things in an otherwise heinous 2016. I got to have a bit of a time-machine experience, composing and editing in a way very few writers do anymore. I loved it. But, I admit, I wouldn’t want to do a whole novel that way. A single story was perfect. And should you wind up owning this manuscript, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it months ahead of everyone else: BESIEGED doesn’t come out until July 11.
Anyway: Thanks for reading this & for reading my stories. If I could give y’all cake I totally would. I hope you do get to have some cake today. Just because you’re spiffy.
Peace and gravy and no Nazis,
All the signed books!
Hoo boy, do I have deals for y’all!
Signed books are spiffy gifts, so you can get 20% off all my titles until Dec. 15 by using the coupon code SHENANIGANS during checkout: CLICK HERE to get signed IDC for cheap!
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE. A bunch of other awesome sf/f authors are also running awesome deals for their signed books through Dec. 15! You could totally get all your holiday stuff done right now! Just click on the author’s name below to head to their sale.
- Brad Beaulieu – The Lays of Anuskaya novels | 12 Kings in Sharakhai
- Wesley Chu – The Tao Trilogy | Time Salvager
- Jason Hough – The Dire Earth Trilogy | Zero World
- Brian McClellan – The Powder Mage novels and novellas
- Michael J Sullivan – Age of Myth | Riyria Revelations & Chronicles | Hollow World
- Brent Weeks – Night Angel Trilogy and Lightbringer novels
critique and tuckerization
Worldbuilders, run by Patrick Rothfuss to benefit Heifer International, is pretty much my favorite charity. The way it works is, authors and other creative folks donate goodies, you bid on ’em and snag ’em, and then hungry people get to eat through sustainable agriculture. It’s great for everyone.
Wanted to draw your attention to four auctions on eBay right now that benefit Worldbuilders. Should you win, you not only get the spiffy doodad, but every penny will help hungry folks & it’s a charitable donation. So here are the four current auctions (another one will pop up later) you can bid on, should you wish:
- If you’re a writer, I’ll critique the first 15K words of your manuscript. I’ll mark up the heck out of it, letting you know what works and what could stand some revision.
- I’ll Tuckerize you—I mean, use your name—for a character in my upcoming book, BESIEGED, out July 11. Your namesake (which will not be like you in any way except for the name) may or may not die a spectacularly gory death. And I will give you a shout-out in the Acknowledgments too.
- A signed, limited edition of THE PURLOINED POODLE. Leather cover, special insert. Purrrr. Very nice.
- A signed copy of THE PURLOINED POODLE along with an officially licensed replica of Atticus’ necklace from Badali Jewelry!
Check back for more next week—I’ll have a one-of-a-kind item up! As always, thanks for reading and for being spiffy peeps. Peace & tacos~
I’ve never “won” NaNoWriMo—that is, write 50K words in the 30 days of National Novel Writing Month—but I dig participating anyway because of the camaraderie. Lots of people telling stories and encouraging one another—what’s not to like?
Thought I’d share an app that has been working well for me recently and may (or may not) work for you. It’s called OmmWriter and I found it in the App Store.
What OmmWriter does is provide you a distraction-free desktop to write. Your dock disappears so you’re not tempted by all the many ways you can multitask. This is all about focusing on the task of writing. I know that other apps will lock down your social media or whatever, but then you’re still stuck looking at a desktop of distractions, or at the oppressive white nihilism of Word’s blank page. OmmWriter’s a bit different. Here’s what the default background looks like as I typed on my laptop:
Nice, eh? Snowy trees. The lack of bold or italics might be a nonstarter for some writers, and hey, that’s fair enough. That’s an easy fix for me; I will have to import into Word and do an editing pass anyway, so I can add that formatting later in exchange for focused writing now.
Move the cursor in OmmWriter and the bounding box appears with the minimalist controls:
The music is Zenlike ambient stuff, no lyrics, just soothing. You can turn that off and listen to whatever on your headphones or whatever, but I’ve been enjoying it. And you can also choose from fun little keyboard noises for extra clickity-clack, or turn that off.
Here’s a look at how you can customize the look a bit:
This has been great for me recently in terms of productivity and of course your mileage may vary. Just thought I’d share in case it looks like the sort of thing that might work for you too.
Hope you have a turbo-successful NaNoWriMo if you’ll be participating! TELL US A STORY!
The case put forth by Kace
I’ve been taking a break from Twitter partially to concentrate on finishing BESIEGED and partially to save myself a whole lot of stress and anxiety—lately, that’s all I’ve been feeling when I go there. And yes, a large part of that is the election stuff. But there’s more to it: I see continual abuse and threats against pretty much anyone who isn’t a cis het white male, and Twitter’s refusal to do anything except provide a block button, which does nothing when trolls can just make an egg account and keep coming. I don’t get any of that abuse (because of the cis het white male thing) but whoa dang, I see it happening to others and I feel angry and helpless—and of course it’s nothing compared to what the targets of that abuse must feel.
My unease with it clarified, however, with two excellent, detailed posts by author K.C. Alexander, who prefers to be called Kace. If I can encourage you to do anything besides vote, maybe take the time to read them?
The first post lays out the moral case for leaving Twitter.
The second post provides a valid alternative: A new social media platform called Imzy that’s built from scratch on the idea that harassment and abuse, like the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad Dum, shall not pass. They have already banished some Gamergaters that tried to establish a beachhead there, and trolls are easily banished from communities by the leaders of those communities. (And they can’t make an egg account and come back, either.)
Imzy is still in beta as of this moment, but is going into public beta in a couple weeks. Should you wish to jump in now, you can easily gain access by asking for an invitation from me here, or from a community of writers and readers called Fineapple Writers.
After my hiatus from Twitter and FB (meaning after Election Day), my activity in both places will continue to be very limited—I might simply push my Imzy posts there, if I do anything at all. These days I post happy pics on Instagram (@kevin_hearne) and various goodies on Imzy and I’m happier and more productive because of it—which tells me I’m doing the right thing.
I wish you much happiness always.
Peace & tacos~
Where I’m At
Spiffy people of the world! (That’s you.)
I am currently hiding from the icky people of the world. Many of them are on Twitter, so I’ve taken a Twitter break until after the election. Quite a few are also on Facebook so I’ve stopped hanging around there too: It’s like people are just waiting for you to show up so they can poot in your face. I’ve noticed that if I spend any time on either platform my mood turns sour like milk from four months ago, and I’d rather not let that negativity poison my days.
I am, however, still posting happy pictures on Instagram, if you’d like to follow me there: I’m @kevin_hearne. And I’m on imzy as well. If you’d like to follow me there & become part of that community, click on this link, ask for an invitation, and I’ll approve it quick as I can.
Both Instagram and imzy, I have found, are poot-free.
I’m working on nine Iron Druid short stories for the collection called BESIEGED that will be out next year. Owen will be on the cover with Atticus. :) Six of the nine are finished and I’m starting ol’ number seven today.
DO vote, my friends. The only poll that matters is the actual election.
Oh! One more thing: If you’re thinking a spiffy signed book or five would be perfect for peeps on your holiday gift-giving list, I’m running a huge but exclusive sale for those who subscribe to my newsletter—and there will be special deals on signed books from Wesley Chu and Brian McClellan in there too. That’ll be out on Monday, and you can subscribe by clicking here if you’re not already a subscriber. Many thanks!
Peace & tacos,
Hominy is nixtamalized corn, also known as BIGASS MAIZE KERNELS, and you can find cans of the stuff at most groceries where you find your salsas and such. Warning: Grab the 15-oz. can. They also have cans large enough to feed a baseball team—I think they’re closer to drums or barrels than cans—but for this recipe grab the manageable size.
Have you ever had ramen—I mean the real stuff, not that Top Ramen shit you lived on in college? Real ramen always has some kind o’ noodles but different broths and meats and toppings. Posole can be thought of in the same way—it always has hominy, but you can make it with pork or beef or shrimp or, in this case, chicken. With green chile sauce. Endless varieties are possible, so feel free to experiment and explore.
You can make posole from scratch if you want brownie points and have hours to spare. Or, if you’re limited on time, you can take some shortcuts like me.
Disclaimer: Yours probably won’t look like that top image unless you use a buttload of tomatillos. Mine didn’t look that way either. The above picture is the posole at a restaurant in Colorado called Comida (“FOOD!”) and once I tried it, I said, damn, I’m making this at home. But quicker! And without fancy square bowls!
Prep time: Depending on how many margaritas you have in you, anywhere from a half hour to fuggit-I’m-ordering-a-pizza. Some of this stuff you’ll probably have in your pantry and some of it you’ll want fresh. I’ve marked some ingredients with an asterisk, which in this case stands for I JUST SAVED YOU A BUNCHA TIME. Here’s a picture of some o’ them, looking coy:
HERE WE GO, STUFF FOR THE POSOLE:
1 jar or can of salsa verde, 7 oz or 16 oz, depending on how green you want it*
1 can of hominy, the 15 oz. size*
1 rotisserie chicken they always have ready at the store*
1 quart of chicken stock, low-sodium would be good*
1 small yellow onion or half a bigass sweet onion, minced
2-3 cloves of minced garlic, or do that kick-it-up-a-notch routine and add ten more for no reason, along with a whole stick of butter and a shark fin from a shark you personally punched in the face and whatever the hell else Emeril does on that show
1 teaspoon of chili powder (though you can add more if you hate people)
1 teaspoon of oregano
1-2 teaspoons of ground cumin
Some olive oil to sauté the onions, but who measures that?
Salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t add any and it was awesome.)
STUFF FOR TOPPINGS:
This is entirely up to you and a large part of the fun & beauty of posole—suit yourself for sure!—but here’s what I used:
1 red onion, chopped into wee bits. Or minced. You can pick your favorite descriptor. I didn’t use it all; you can save half probably.
1 lime, which you slice into wedges and squeeze onto your posole
1 avocado, cut up into chunklets
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced. Normally I don’t do radishes but soups are the exception. It’s because they soak up the broth and cease to taste like ass. In posole they’re like colorful crunchy water chestnuts but without the water chestnuts.
1 sprig or bunch or pinch of cilantro. I know some people don’t dig cilantro and that’s cool, whatever works for you.
Other possible toppings: Cheese! Mushrooms! Pickled red onions! Cabbage! Chopped romaine lettuce! A shark fin! Yeti dandruff! Whatever!
ALL RIGHT. GET YOUR MARGARITA AND YOUR KNIFE. TOTALLY SAFE.
Start chopping and drinking. Nothing can go wrong, right? Get a sauté pan and put your yellow onion and garlic in there, heated with the olive oil on medium. Just a few minutes to make the onions transparent, mind—don’t scorch ‘em. Add in the oregano, chili powder, and cumin, mix it up, and let it go for another minute or so. Should look like this:
Remove from heat and get your bigass stock pot or cauldron or industrial vat and put it on the same burner you were just using to sauté. Dump in your salsa verde or green enchilada sauce (or your diced tomatillos and green chiles, which is what salsa verde is). More you add, greener it’ll be. I just used a 7-oz can, but more wouldn’t hurt.
Also dump in your quart of chicken stock and the can of hominy (just wash and drain it first, you only want the kernels in there, not the liquid). Then shred up the breast meat of that rotisserie chicken and throw it in. Or hell, the thigh meat, leg meat, whatever. It’s your posole. Whatever you feel like using, you’ll need about 2 cups of meaty meat. Now scrape your spicy garlic n’ onion sauté in there, mix it all up, and turn the heat up to high. BOIL IT. Soon as it’s a-boilin’, it should look a little something like this:
Mine’s not so green as that picture up top because I went easy on the green sauce. You can add more (use another small can or buy a whole pint of salsa verde) or keep it low- key like this—either way is yum-yum. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat and let it simmer for ten minutes.
While it’s simmering, you should do a tiny dance and then get your toppings ready. I highly recommend the lime squeeze right before you dig in, but remember, everything’s optional. Here’s my posole naked but with a wardrobe of goodies waiting to be draped upon it:
And now you get to make your posole look sexy. Top it with the nom-noms of your choice and enjoy! Goes great with tortilla chips and beer or margaritas, and this recipe should make enough for four people:
Regarding that time-saving stuff: You can make your salsa verde from scratch and some people really prefer it, so yay if you want to mess with tomatillos and green chiles of various kinds. (I’ve seen people do poblanos, jalapeños, serranos, and of course Hatch green chiles, but damn, it’s all in the can ready to go.) You can also buy some chicken breasts or thighs and boil them forever to make your own chicken stock, then use the meat for your posole. And yeah, some people actually buy dry hominy and boil that too… I seriously don’t have time for all of that, but you can go there if the spirit moves you. Hope you enjoy this super-tasty quick version!
Peace and love and tacos,
New Orleans and Phoenix!
I get to hang out with all the cool kids in New Orleans next weekend from Sep. 30-Oct. 2 at Nola StoryCon—but if you’re not attending the con you can still see me!
I’m jazzed because I’ll be there during the release of my novella, THE PURLOINED POODLE. Murder By The Book is doing the book sales there and they are one of only two places left where you can score a print copy (the print run was limited and they’re sold out online). So here’s the deal: On Saturday, Oct. 1, at 2 pm, both people attending StoryCon and the general public can attend the huge signing at the Wyndham Garden Baronne Plaza ballroom in New Orleans. I’ll be there signing whatever—THE PURLOINED POODLE, the Iron Druid series, your forehead, a pack of sausages, whatever you like. They ask that you bring no more than 10 books from home—please buy something from Murder By The Book!
Who else will be there signing at the same time? OMG LOOKIT: Ilona Andrews, Jeanine Frost, Kelley Armstrong, Jennifer Armentrout, Melissa Marr, Lara Adrian, Jeanette Battista, Jenna Black, Kresley Cole, Zoraida Cordova, Cora Carmack, Jay Crownover, Kimberly Derting, Sonali Dev, Kami Garcia, Molly Harper, Wendy Higgins, Beverly Jenkins, Sophie Jordan, Katie McGarry, Chloe Neill, Jana Oliver, Pamela Palmer, Aprilynne Pike, Kristen Proby, Gena Showalter, Rachel Vincent, Jaye Wells, Sarah Wendell, and Samantha Young!
That is one heck of an event. Y’all should come.
Can’t make it to New Orleans? Well, maybe you can come to the Phoenix area on Monday, Oct. 3, at 7pm, at The Poisoned Pen! I’ll be there signing THE PURLOINED POODLE and whatever else you’d like. It’ll just be me, alas, not all those other authors in New Orleans. But on the upside, I’ll tell folks there about the new stories I’m working on for BESIEGED, the Iron Druid collection coming out next summer.
Can’t make it to either New Orleans or Phoenix? Well, you can score THE PURLOINED POODLE on ebook from Amazon, B&N, and iTunes, and in audiobook form, narrated by Luke Daniels, on Audible! (Reminder: Preorders are spiffy!) I hope y’all enjoy the story. It was plenty o’ fun to write and I hope I’ll get to write more like it. Peace & sausage~