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~
Folks, I shall be at DragonCon in Atlanta this weekend! I have never been before so I’m looking forward to it. Hope to see you there! Here’s where and when you can find me:
Friday, 4 pm: Protect and Defend, Non-Humans Saving Humans. The role of many Urban Fantasy protagonists is protecting the human world from supernatural or magical threats, and sometimes those protectors are not human themselves. Our panel of authors discusses the difficulties this situation may present for the protagonist, their community, and humans. Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, Jim Butcher, Faith Hunter, Kevin Hearne, Jeanne C. Stein, Patricia Briggs (Peachtree Ballroom, Westin) OMG SQUEE
Saturday, 4 pm: Origins: Gods and Monsters in Myth & Folklore. Many of the supernatural beings and magical creatures appearing in Urban Fantasy have their roots in myth and folklore. Our panelists discuss those they feel most influenced by and others they have discovered in their research. Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Kevin Hearne, James R. Tuck, Samantha Sommersby, Valerie Hampton, Kathryn Hinds (Chastain DE, Westin)
Saturday 5:30-6:30 pm: Signing at The Missing Volume! This is in the Americasmart building 2, Booth #1301, 1303, 1400 & 1402
Saturday 7:00 p.m. How High the Price? Magic Systems in UF. Our panel explores the magical systems of the worlds of their stories, and the cost of that magic on both those who use it and those around them. Panelists: Kevin Hearne, David B. Coe, Linda Robertson, Myke Cole, Patricia Briggs, Melissa F Olson (Regency VI-VII, Hyatt)
Sunday 1-2 pm: Signing at the Badali Jewelry Booth. Free ticket required (you can pick one up anytime beforehand; they just do this because they can’t have a line in front of their booth, so they assign you a time to come say hi.)
Sunday 4:00 p.m. An Hour with Kevin Hearne. Lots of stuff to talk about—The Purloined Poodle, the Iron Druid comic book, the TWO BOOKS next year…and there will be time for questions too! (Regency VI-VII, Hyatt)
Sunday 10:00 p.m. Darkness & Light: Humor in UF. Our panel shares how they employ humor to ensure their narratives do not become overwhelmed by the dire circumstances in which their characters often find themselves. Panelists:Kevin Hearne, Richard Kadrey, Mario Acevedo, Julie Kenner, Jeanne C. Stein, J.F. Lewis, Kevin J. Anderson. (Chastain DE, Westin)
Monday 10:00 a.m. Hiding in Plain Sight: Closed Worlds in UF. Our panelists discuss the intriguing approach to Urban Fantasy worldbuilding in which the supernatural remains under the radar to all but a select few even while existing side-by-side with the human world. Panelists: Kevin Hearne, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Christopher Golden, Gail Z. Martin, Jeanne C. Stein, J.F. Lewis, Melissa F Olson. (Chastain DE, Westin)
I have long wished for social platforms that encouraged people to be social rather than, you know…antisocial. And I think maybe we have a couple of winners to share with y’all: Litsy and Imzy. It’s the y on the end that makes them so spiffy.
Both are in limited release right now & working hard at expanding. I hope they’ll make it and stick around. Let’s take one at a time.
This is in beta but it’s not terribly hard to get in. You already know a guy: Me. I have two different “communities” through which you can request an invitation—pick one! Fineapple Writers is intended to be a general interest collection of authors and readers, though at this point it’s mostly sf/f folks. All are welcome though! I also have my own page, Writer’s Grove, named the same as this blog, and which functions like a FB page in that people can follow it and comment on your posts but cannot post there themselves. Once you’re in, explore. Have fun. No obligation to stick around my haunts! Here’s why I dig it:
- Think of it as a cross between Reddit and Twitter, but without all the trolls. The way it’s built discourages them to begin with, and it’s easy to banish the inevitable few who are determined to violate Wheaton’s Law. HOW IS THIS MAGIC POSSIBLE? (a) You join communities grouped by interest (Doggies! Books & Writing! Armored Cepahalopods!) or form your own. In the formation process, you have the ability to disallow anonymous comments. (b) If you do not allow anonymous comments, people must comment using a name. And they may only have one name in that community forever. Which means if they get banned from that community, they can’t simply create a new identity and continue to pester you/everyone. (c) It’s not Imzy who bans people; it’s Community Leaders, who set the rules for that community. People don’t have to wait for an unresponsive megacorporation to act. Trolls who roll up with their racism or misogyny or whatever can be shown the door.
- No ads. Imzy is funded in the short term by some investors, but their revenue model will be based on taking a slice of transactions conducted on their site. You can, at present, “tip” people, though I don’t have that feature enabled on my two communities because buying a book is quite frankly tip enough. Eventually you’ll be able to sell stuff there. But hey: NO ADS.
- They have the ability to include podcasts in your posts. Whoa.
- I turned off comments a long time ago on this blog. Constant fight with spammers & such. On FB the comments have been a mess for a long time—you have to constantly switch to Most Recent to see new stuff. Imzy gives you a little green highlight next to new comments so you can catch up quickly if you’re returning to a conversation. And you know what? I’m enjoying the comments on Imzy so far. They’re longer and thoughtful and cool and I didn’t know comments could be like this and then I remembered, oh yeah. No trolls. Hee!
- They’re actively seeking feedback from beta users and implementing changes.
- For authors, I think there are benefits. You set up a personal community like a FB page (without ads or suggestions that you BOOST!) and post there, then link those posts to other platforms. And you can also post and/or comment in larger communities on Imzy. You get to serve current readers and have a way to reach new ones. But best of all? No algorithms smooshing your posts like tricksy FB. If someone is following you, then by golly, your stuff shows up in their feed, not just some of the time. And if they’re following other communities you post in, same thing: They’re going to see your post and maybe decide to try your book someday. So author homies—please give it a try, see what you think? Those of you who are more into tech would probably have excellent suggestions to forward to their programmers.
- For readers and writers working on that first novel or whatever, I also think there are benefits. Discussions can actually happen here. I’m seeing lively prompt communities and beta reading and geeky word-of-the-day stuff and so on.
- This is just beta. It’s going to keep getting better.
This app is not in beta but is limited at present to iOS, a free download in the App Store. They are working on Android and Desktop versions.
Think of Litsy as Instagram for books—not just #bookstagram, but seriously for book geeks. Compared to Instagram, I love that I’m going to see a ton of fantastic books in my feed and…yeah, that’s it.
To post on Litsy, you first have to pick a book to associate with it. That always goes right up at the top so people can check it out, read the promo copy if they want, and maybe add it to their “Stack,” which is essentially a TBR file. (I love this idea because now I have a list of books I wanna snag every time I go to the bookstore/library, all handy on my phone. I can show the picture to a librarian or spiffy bookseller and not have to remember how to spell the author’s name.)
Next you pick whether you want this post to be a Blurb, Quote, or Review. Each of these give you the option for a picture. And dang, the pictures are often turbo cool. If you get in on this, do yourself a favor and follow BookBento. They stage beautiful bento-style photos like this (all of these are screenshots from my phone):
Cool, right? A blurb, by the way, in Litsy terms, is most anything—like you getting excited about a book you haven’t read yet but you’re about to, with hot chocolate and a blanket and a puppy. Or whatever! It’s a feature I love. So many other sites/apps want a review and that’s it. But Litsy allows you to be excited about any part of reading. Want to do a quote? Well, do it how you wish. Make a photo in an app like WordSwag featuring the quote you like. Or, as below, take a photo of a page and then comment on it. Notice that quotes are color-coded navy blue while the blurbs are red, but each gives you the book link at the top.
Then, of course, you may do reviews. Those are color-coded green. I’ve been doing quick Bookshelf Reviews of books I loved and will re-read. But they’re going to be new to somebody! Here’s my review for UPROOTED. You can see at the bottom where people have the option to like, comment, add the book you reviewed to their stack, or share your post. Yep, you can share your stuff to Twitter and Ello and Tumblr (so far).
Apart from what I’ve already said, I really enjoy the fact that there’s no self-promo here. Litsy does one thing really well: It lets book geeks share their love for reading. I love sharing what I’m reading and taking fun little pictures, and I love seeing what other people are reading and I’m getting some fantastic suggestions. So yeah. Check it out & have some bookish fun with your iPhone (and I’m easily found as KevinHearne on there if you want to follow).
There you have it, folks. Imzy and Litsy. They’re my new happy places on the Internet.
I’ve had a handful of short stories in mind for quite some while now but never really had the time to get them done—there was always the next book to write and that had to take precedence. Happily, the next book I have to write is Besieged, a collection of almost all-new Iron Druid stories that I’m working on right now, and which should be out in July 2017 from Del Rey (and yes, there will be audio too). You can head over here to Omnivoracious where I did a bit of an interview about that and some other goodies.
Most involve Atticus sharing wee adventures of his very long past, but there will also be a story from Granuaile’s point of view, a story narrated by Perun called “Cuddle Dungeon,” and a couple of stories narrated by Owen Kennedy, the archdruid. One of these, “The Bogeyman of Boora Bog,” I’m especially excited about, since I’m not composing it on the computer. I’m going to write it entirely on a manual typewriter, and then Tricia, the Metal Editor, will bust out her antique red pencil, and we’ll go through the whole process the old-fashioned way. When it’s finished, we’re donating the manuscript complete with editorial notes and all revisions to Worldbuilders, where y’all can bid on it and snag a one-of-a-kind look at the writing process while helping people eat. I’m six pages into it now and it’s been fascinating because I wind up hating some first attempts at figurative language and having to simply start over on the next line. The awful first idea is still there, staring at me, and I can’t get rid of it, but sometimes you can’t see how awful it is until you type it out. With software you can delete and it’s gone forever, and you can pretend you never wrote that terrible thing. But it’s also encouraging since you have proof that you can improve anything.
So it begins: A 1956 Olympia typewriter and a bit of 15-year Redbreast. Writing without wifi, whiskey without ice: This is the old school.
There will be two reprints in Besieged. One of them, “Goddess at the Crossroads,” appeared in print only in a limited press run of A Fantasy Medley 3; appearing in Besieged will make it available in ebook and audio for the first time. (That story’s about Atticus meeting William Shakespeare.) The other reprint, “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street,” is primarily being included because it really needs to be narrated by Luke Daniels in audio. I mean, really. I may also tinker with the story a wee bit for this edition; we’ll see what the Metal Editor thinks.
After I finish writing Besieged I’ll begin work on Scourged, book 9 of the Iron Druid Chronicles! Peace & tacos, friends~!
Woohoo! Good news! The audio edition of The Purloined Poodle, narrated by Luke Daniels, is now available for pre-order on Audible! (It should also show up on Amazon and iTunes soon.) It will release on the same day as the ebook and hardcover, Sep. 30, and it’s only $6.95 for three hours o’ joy with Oberon (and Atticus).
Ebook pre-orders should be available soon, but you can still pre-order trade hardcover editions directly from Subterranean Press and check out the first chapter for free there!