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Chupacabra’s Stats

Writing numbers and business-type neepery ahead.

I announced the publication of a story in the Magic ex Libris universe called “Chupacabra’s Song” a week ago, and was curious to take a look at sales channels and such. The short story is available for $.99 at the following outlets:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

I haven’t done any channel-specific advertising or anything like that. After a week, the sales break down like so:

  • Amazon: 250
  • B&N: 19
  • Smashwords: 9
  • iBooks: 8
  • Kobo: 6
  • Google Play: 3

Here are the percentages, if you prefer to look at it that way:

Pie chart graph of sales for Chupacabra"s Song

That’s a total of 295 sales in a week, which isn’t bad at all. Given the different royalty rates, which range from roughly 35% to 50%, I’m guesstimating the story has earned a little over $100 in royalties. Not bad for a reprint, especially considering there will probably be some additional sales trickling in over the coming months and years. I’ve more than earned back the money I invested to prepare and publish the story.

Has it covered the time I invested? That’s a harder question, and depends on how I assign an hourly worth to my time. I’m leaning toward no, because I spent a fair amount of time prepping things, getting the files uploaded to various sites, and so on. But I’m okay with that. I’m happy about getting the story out there for more readers, and as a proof-of-concept, it certainly shows there’s a bit of demand.

Remember, this story was a reprint, so some folks had already seen it. A longer, original piece will likely do significantly better.

My thanks once again to everyone who picked up a copy. Especially those of you who posted a review at Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere. Very much appreciated.

Tune in next week for even more charts and data, as I pull together the 2015 writing income report.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday wishes you all a happy and healthy 2016!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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2015 Writing Stats and Publications

Looking back at the past year of my life as a writer, the biggest event was leaving my full-time job with the State of Michigan at the end of August, and trying to make a go of it as a full-time writer. So far, I think it’s been going pretty well, though it doesn’t necessarily show in my wordcount spreadsheet and charts. But more about that a little later.

Unbound Lg2015 saw the publication of my third Magic ex Libris book, as well as my very first tie-in novel.

I also edited a second collection of essays about diversity and representation in SF/F. There were a few bumpy spots in the process, but I’m quite proud with how it turned out.

In shorter works, I had a fairy tale retelling and an essay about politics and story. I also self-published a tie-in story for my Magic ex Libris universe.

As for what I actually wrote over the past year, I tried something a little new, making a spreadsheet with daily word counts and other notes so I could try to get a better sense of my productivity. The graph isn’t perfect, but it gives me a vague idea what I was able to do from month to month.

2015 Wordcount

The first eight months were spent working on Revisionary. (With a one-day break to write an essay about the Hugo awards, some time in April/May to do Invisible 2, and a week or so in early March to write a short story for the Shadowed Souls anthology, which comes out next year.) I turned the manuscript for Revisionary in on August 9, and then started outlining and working on a YA novel.

I spent the first half of September doing final revisions for Revisionary, which isn’t included in the wordcount graph, and then went back to the YA novel, before giving up on that at the end of September. Neither the tone nor the plot were working for me, and I decided I needed some time away before trying to write that book.

October was the first time I felt like being a full-time writer was really making a difference. In addition to finishing three short stories, I spent the last week or so outlining and planning a middle grade novel to work on during NaNoWriMo. I finished the first draft of the novel in November, and as of today, I’m more than 90% through the first rewrite. I’ve still got some work to do, but if all goes well, I might be able to send this thing out in January.

Finally, I wrote up a couple of pitches, and we ended up sending a three-book proposal to my publisher. I’ll announce more once everything’s official, but things are looking very positive on that front.

When I wasn’t writing, I had the privilege of being guest of honor at RadCon, DemiCon, and ApolloCon,  and toastmaster at ICON in Iowa.

All in all, I’d say 2015 was a most excellent year from a writing perspective. I’ve got no idea if any of this will be interesting to anyone else, but I know it’s helpful for me to look back and see what I did (or didn’t) accomplish over the past year. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day and lose sight of the larger progress.

I hope you’ve had a good year, and I wish us all the best for 2016.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Top Eleven Blog Posts for 2015

I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that about half of my most-visited blog posts for 2015 were related to the Sad/Rabid Puppies and the Hugo Awards mess. Mostly, I’d just like to see 2016 not be a repeat.

  1. Puppies in Their Own Words. The most popular post I did this year was a long write-up of the evolution and goals of the Sad Puppies, sourced to their own blog posts and comments. I pretty much expected this one to end up in the top spot.
  2. In Which John C. Wright Completely Loses his Shit over Legend of Korra. Mr. Wright was Very Unhappy that a cartoon that depicted war and murder and torture and suicide dared to betray its audience by suggesting two women were romantically interested in one another. Also, apparently “political correctness” really means “hating everything good and bright and decent and sane in life.” Wow.
  3. The Tor Mess. Basically, Theo Beale pounced on something the Tor art director said on Facebook, tried to turn it into a crusade and organized boycott of Tor Books, and ultimately failed to have any impact.
  4. Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers). Yes, the original cover pose blog post from January of 2012 is still making the top ten.
  5. Rape, Abuse, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. A mid-2014 post about the revelations/discussions of Bradley shielding a child molester and molesting her own daughter and others, and the importance of acknowledging and talking about these things instead of sweeping them under the rug.
  6. 10 Hugo Thoughts. More Hugo stuff. This post came out right after the final nominees were announced.
  7. 2014 Writing Income. The annual writing income post. Yes, I’ll be doing one for 2015 in the next week or so.
  8. Publishing 101. During 2015, John Scalzi signed a multi-book, multi-million dollar book deal. Certain pups tried very hard to paint this as proof of Scalzi’s failure as an author and human being. Rarely has the world seen such desperately twisted logic.
  9. Choosing “Sides”. More puppies. This time, I was looking at the Sad Puppies’ efforts to invent an Us vs. Them war in the genre. With the puppies as the heroes, naturally. Sadly, the world isn’t as simplistic as certain folks were trying to make it out to be.
  10. One-Star Wars. Apparently, some people were unhappy about Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars novel Aftermath because of a) the writing style, b) the decision that Expanded Universe works were non-canon, and c) Chuck included gay people in Star Wars. I mean, come on. Giant crime-boss slugs with fetishes for barely-clad humanoid females is one thing, but homosexuality? That’s a step too far, sir!
  11. Depression. A collection of thoughts about depression.

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. I hope you’ve had a great year, and I wish you all an even happier 2016.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Chupacabra’s Song

My thanks to everyone who commented on my post about self-publishing some shorter pieces in the universes of my various series. I’ve gone ahead and posted “Chupacabra’s Song” as a standalone short story for $.99. It’s about 5000 words, and tells the story of Nicola Pallas as a teenager just starting to discover her magic.

Chupacabra"s Song - Cover

In the U.S., you should be able to pick up a copy at Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play.

It should also be available in other countries for the equivalent price, though there may be VAT and other tax/fee issues.

Not everyone said they’d be interested in a $.99 short story, and that’s fine. I may eventually do more short collections like I did with Goblin Tales. For now though, I think I’m going to try some novella/novelette length works. In between books and other contracted work, of course…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday hopes you’re having a wonderful day, and wishes you all the best for 2016.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Crimson Frost: A Holiday Tradition

In 2013, I wrote a rather twisted piece of holiday fanfiction called “Crimson Frost,” based primarily on the Rankin Bass Christmas specials. Earlier this week, someone on Facebook posted that they were spending a day watching Christmas movies, and then doing a fireside reading of the story. Which is both awesome and a little twisted, considering how messed up this story is. But mostly awesome!

So here it is again for your reading pleasure, a messed-up tale that originated with a random remark about “Rudolph vs. Frosty.”

Happy holidays, all! Enjoy :-)

Crimson Frost - Cover

Click to download: Frosty.pdf | Frosty.epub | Frosty.mobi

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Polling Libriomancer Fans

In 2014, I wrote a short story called “Chupacabra’s Song” for the Kaleidoscope anthology. (An excellent anthology of diverse YA science fiction and fantasy, by the way.)

The story is about Nicola Pallas when she was a teenager and just discovering her power.

If I were to self-publish this and put it out there as a 99-cent ebook, would you:

  • Buy it and be happy
  • Buy it but feel like you were getting ripped off
  • Not buy it, because 99 cents is too much for a short story
  • Not buy it, because of other reasons

ETA – Cover art would possibly look something like this (only, you know, without the iStock watermark):

Chupacabra"s Song - Cover Art Rough Mockup

I’m also thinking about doing some original stories, probably between 15K and 25K words, that would connect to my existing universes. I’d probably start with libriomancer stuff, but could branch out into goblins and princesses, depending on time and inspiration and such. What do you think is a reasonable price for stories in that range?

  • 99 cents
  • $1.99
  • $2.99
  • Other

I’m not making any promises here. A lot will also depend on contracted deadlines and how much else I’m able to get done without breaking my brain. But it’s something I’d like to try…

Thanks!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

We saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the weekend. I won’t put spoilers in this blog post, but will be talking about and spoiling things in the comments at http://www.jimchines.com/2015/12/the-force-awakens-spoilers/

Finn, Rey, Chewie, and Han

Nonspoilery thoughts? We enjoyed it. Definitely better than the prequels. Finn & Rey are great — both the characters and the actors. My son loved it and immediately wanted to watch it again when it was over

If you’ve seen the film, or if you don’t care about spoilers, feel free to jump into the discussion. I’ve got much more to say…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday means there’s one day left until we go to see Star Wars. And yes, I know it’s marketing and hype and a way for Disney to earn a gazillion dollars. But it’s also a huge number of people–fans–coming together to geek out and be passionate about something together. It reminds me a bit of the lead-up to the release of the later Harry Potter books, and the feeling of connection they created when so many people were looking forward to the same thing. So, yeah. One day left for me.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Never Enough

One of the annoying things I’ve found about the full-time writer gig is a much stronger feeling of not getting enough done in any given day.

Working for the state, I knew I had an hour to write during lunch, and maybe a little time later that evening, depending on what was going on. So if I got 1000 words done, I was doing great.

Now, I get up and do my two hours of telecommuting, and then at 10:30 the rest of the day is all mine. Since I have more hours to write, I should be doing 5000+ words a day, right? Because that’s what the math says.

Of course, the math doesn’t care about calls from the school, grocery shopping, holiday preparation, vacuuming the house, picking my son up from school because he’s not feeling well, and all the rest. Nor does it recognize that sometimes I need to get up and stretch, or walk away from the story so I can think a bit and figure out where to go from here.

My math doesn’t care about any of that.

At the same time, I’ve been thinking about more projects I want to do, things I’m really excited about. There’s the middle grade book, the trilogy I pitched to DAW, and a list of other things that not only would my fans (hopefully) really like, but that would also help me continue to grow my career, and as a writer.

Basically, I want to WRITE ALL THE THINGS! And I somehow expect myself to do it all RIGHT NOW!

Realistically, the past few months have been incredibly productive. I did three and a half short stories in October. I wrote the first draft of a book in November. It’s halfway through December, and I’m halfway through the rewrite of that same book. I also did page proofs for Revisionary somewhere in there.

And it doesn’t feel like enough. I knew being the stay-at-home parent would eat up a fair amount of time and energy, but it’s hard to find that balance. There’s always been the voice whispering, “Shouldn’t you be writing?”, but now that voice expects it to be all writing, all the time.

That’s not healthy.

I’m thinking I need to do more long-term planning. List out these various projects, come up with a realistic estimate of how long each of them will take, plug in the ones that have deadlines, and see how it all looks. NaNoWriMo was helpful because not only did I have a concrete goal, I also had a daily goal, and if I reached that, it was easier to give myself permission to stop.

This has been your periodic glimpse of writerbrain.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Cool Stuff Friday

Friday is looking forward to Saturday, when Jim will be out at Kazoo Books (Parkway) from noon – 1:30. Anyone else going to be there?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Peter Beagle Sues Conlan Press

Earlier this week, it came out that Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and many other works, was suing his long-time business partner Connor Cochran for elder abuse, defamation, and fraud, among other charges. The papers were filed in Alameda, California, and are available online.

Yesterday, Conlan Press released a statement signed by Cochran, as well as Beagle’s children, describing the lawsuit as frivolous. The statement claims Beagle’s medical condition was deteriorating, and he was being taken advantage of and manipulated. The statement also asked that people respect the family’s privacy.

In the meantime, Connor Cochran, president of Conlan Press, has been very active on Reddit Fantasy, defending himself and his history with Beagle, and claiming that others simply don’t have all the facts.

He’s right in that respect. Very few people can claim to have all the facts about this particular case and the allegations in question. In that regard, there’s not much we can do but wait.

Inigo Montoya - I hate waiting

So what are the facts we do know?

  1. Peter S. Beagle is beloved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone say a bad word about this guy. The Last Unicorn is a classic. The idea of anyone taking advantage of Beagle has some fans and authors in literal tears. This is a man who deserves financial stability and security.
  2. This isn’t the first time Beagle has had to fight for his due. There was an ongoing conflict with Granada Media over royalties and payments for the Last Unicorn movie. A settlement was reached in 2011, apparently through the work of Connor Cochran.
  3. This is not the first time Cochran has been sued in the publishing world.
  4. Conlan Press has received money for products that were never delivered, going back at least ten years. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) You can also read about the seven Better Business Bureau complaints filed against Conlan Press.
  5. Connor Cochran claims to have saved Peter Beagle’s career. “When I met him in 2001 he was a quarter million dollars in debt, his house was in foreclosure and about to be auctioned off, and his annual royalties from everything he had ever written all put together came to less than $10,000. Ten years later, because of the business I did for him, his annual earnings were in the 96th percentile of all US incomes.”
    • I can’t say whether or not this claim is true. It might be. However…
    • It’s possible for this claim to be true, and for the allegations of fraud and abuse against Cochran to also be true.
  6. In all likelihood, the situation is more complicated than is publicly known. I’m hesitant to include this as a fact … why don’t we call it a truism that snuck in to hang out with facts. But given that this involves family, long-term business relationships, Hollywood, and a great deal of money, I can pretty much guarantee it’s complicated and ugly.
  7. This sucks. I’ve only met and spoken with Mr. Beagle once, but he came across as a wonderful human being who’d run into some major business problems over the course of his career. Whatever the truth, whatever the facts about the current lawsuit, Peter Beagle deserves better.

Based on these facts? I worry. I worry about a wonderful and beloved author who doesn’t deserve this kind of stress and conflict in his life. I worry when I look at the history of Cochran and his business. I worry that on one side of this mess or the other — or possibly both — are people trying to manipulate and take advantage of Peter Beagle.

I cordially invite those people to go to hell.

One of the most difficult things about watching this unfold is not being able to do anything to help an author so many of us care about. Right now, I’m not aware of anything that can be done, except to wait. That may change as things move forward.

For now, the only thing I can do is tell Mr. Beagle that of all the fans and authors I’ve spoken to about this, of all the blog posts and commentary I’ve read, one thing is very clear: your friends, fans, and colleagues love and support you, and we wish you all the best.

ETA: Another relevant link.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Advance Revisionary Copy Giveaway

My wonderful publicist was kind enough to send me a few Advance Revisionary Copies (ARCs). The problem is that they’re sitting on the desk right now, and Sophie the cat thinks the desk is her space, so I’ve got to get rid of them to keep the cat happy. You know how it goes. A few of the ARCs already have homes, but I figured I’d give one away here on the blog.

I asked for contest suggestions on Facebook and got a lot of entertaining ideas, including cover pose tryouts, flash fanfic of the books, and worst thing to create with libriomancy. But then as I was browsing through the news and getting bummed about the state of the world, I decided to go a different route.

The Contest Rules:

Revisionary - Cover Art by Gene MollicaFor a chance to win an autographed copy of Revisionary, leave a comment with something positive you’ve seen, read, or done lately. It could be:

  • An accomplishment by you or a friend/family member that you’re particularly proud of
  • Something that made you laugh
  • Something that made you feel hopeful
  • Or pretty much anything else that made you say, even for a moment, “Hey, sometimes the universe is pretty awesome.”

One entry per person, please. Anyone can enter, regardless of where you live. I’ll pick one winner at random this weekend, and get in touch with you about where to send your book.

What if I Don’t Win?

No problem! The book comes out in less than two months, and you can pre-order your copy through my handy little bookstore at http://www.jimchines.com/bookstore#Revisionary, or at your local bookstore. Alternately, you could put in a request at your local library.

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Never Let Me Die - CoverEditor and author Jennifer Brozek has a new book out today! Never Let Me Die is the third book in her Melissa Allen series. She’s also edited more than fifteen anthologies, written for numerous role-playing companies, won a number of awards including the Origins, Scribe, ENnie, and Australian Shadows. In her free time, she’s a Director at Large for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And she’s just a generally nice person. You can find her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.

She’s talking today about the things authors reveal in our writing — both unintentionally and deliberately…

#

Writing is a private, intimate affair. It’s the writer and their work. It’s easy to see why we pull from personal experiences to enhance the story on the page. For me, this is a terrifying fact in retrospect. Sometimes, many times, we authors reveal more about ourselves and our experiences in our writing than we intended. Then again, sometimes, we do it on purpose.

The Melissa Allen series (Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die) is the first novel series that I wrote based on things in my own life. Things that I wanted to see on the page for others to experience.

I wrote a mentally ill heroine because I never had the opportunity to read about one growing up… and neither did the young woman I wrote the book for. I knew from the get-go that I would be questioned on this aspect of my protagonist. I knew that I would need to reveal my own autism (high functioning aspergers), my dyslexia, my stutter, my bouts of anxiety.

I knew I would be opening the door to that mostly hidden part of my life. However, it is this hidden aspect that needed to be shown, because I have many coping mechanisms. Enough that most people are surprised to find out I suffer from any of it. This is something I wanted to point out. Many people suffer from mental illness, and you never know because we don’t advertise. We cope. We medicate. We hide. We try to get through the day.

In Never Let Me Leave, I introduce a secondary protagonist, Carrie, who has a congenital defect. She is missing the top two sections of her fingers on her left hand. Why did I do this? Because this is something my mom has. I was sixteen before someone was brave enough to ask, “What happened to your mom’s hand?”

I was surprised at the question. At first, I thought she had hurt herself and I hadn’t noticed. But, no, they wanted to know what happened to her fingers.

Nothing “happened.” There was no story there. She was born that way.

I talked to my mom about adding this detail to one of my characters. I wanted to make sure it would be okay to do so. I knew I would be asked about it. Why would I want to “limit” and “deform” one of my characters like that? Because… tens of thousands of people deal with the same thing every day.

I wanted to show that even with such a facet to her character, Carrie is strong, smart, fast, and resourceful. Like my mom, she is a fast one-handed typist. Like my mom, she is good with computers. Like my mom… she exists. I wanted to include a heroine like my mom for her and every other person like her out there. They deserve to read about characters like them

Both of these facets (my autism, my mom’s hand) are big details that I meant to reveal. There are others that just sort of happened while I was writing because they were details I remembered and used — like an intellectual magpie. Little things: the experience of wearing pink in a military hospital, phrases told to me over and over as I was growing up, Also big things: like personal thoughts on social issues happening today.

I didn’t want to write about Ferguson, but one of the characters in Never Let Me Die is a black teenager, Adam. He grew up sheltered, but he still had access to the internet. He is very aware how many people view black teenagers. He knows the words and images the news gives to young black men. It influences him as a character.

In specific, he distrusts the police in the small town they moved to because he doesn’t know they won’t mistake a bag of skittles in his pocket for a gun. This means he is reluctant to deal with firearms in a public setting. This informs the reader that I’ve been thinking about the difficulties and the crap many young men and women, who aren’t white, face. This wasn’t something I had specifically set out to reveal. It was something I realized after the fact.

I could go on. There are so many things writers reveal through their writing. I think it’s because of the adage “write what you know” and the corollary “write what you can extrapolate from what you’ve experienced.” The more I write, the more I learn about why I write and what I want to write about.

I started out writing because I had stories to tell. I continue to write because I have messages to give: intentional and otherwise.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Revisionary Review Copies

Revisionary - Cover Art by Gene MollicaAs you might have noticed, advance review copies of Revisionary [Amazon | B&N | Indiebound] have begun showing up in the wild!

If you’re a reviewer and haven’t yet gotten your hands on this, the fourth and final Magic ex Libris book, now is the time. Just email my publicist at DAW/Penguin Random House: anixon -at- penguinrandomhouse.com.

For everyone else, the wait is almost over. The paperback of Unbound will be out the first week in January, and then Revisionary hits the shelves on February 2, 2016.

Other links of interest:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Dragon Tomb - CoverNormally, I try not to gloat too much about the perks of being an author, but I’m gonna make an exception in this case. Because not only do I have an advance review copy of Patrick Samphire‘s first novel, Secrets of the Dragon Tomb [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound], I have the very first copy the author ever autographed. So I’m really hoping Samphire becomes the next J. K. Rowling, because when he does, I can auction this book on eBay and buy myself a nice mansion.

And you know, also because Samphire is a nice guy, and it’s a good book, and all that.

The official publisher’s description is:

Mars in 1816 is a world of high society, deadly danger, and strange clockwork machines. Pterodactyls glide through the sky, automatic servants hand out sandwiches at elegant garden parties, and in the north, the great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology.

Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan has always dreamed of becoming a spy like the ones he reads of in his favorite sci-fi magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales. Instead, he spends his days keeping his eccentric family from complete disaster … that is, until the villainous archaeologist Sir Titus Dane kidnaps Edward’s parents as part of a scheme to loot an undiscovered dragon tomb. Edward sets out on a perilous journey to save his parents and protect the dragon tombs in the process. Turns out spywork is a bit more challenging than he had imagined….

I read this one to my 10-year-old son, who goes by Jackson on the internet. So I invited him to help me review it. My questions are in bold, followed by his responses.

In your words, what is this book about?

The book is about the family, and the father is an inventor. At the beginning of the book, they run into their cousin Freddie who stole a map to a secret dragon tomb which is a tomb of the ancient Martian emperors. By the way, this is all on Mars, and it’s set in an alternate past, not an alternate future. He stole it from Sir Titus Dane, who had discovered multiple dragon tombs before, but it was proven that he stole the locations, and he actually didn’t find them. Sir Titus Dane wants to use their father’s invention, the water abacus, to decode the dragon map and find the tomb and get rich. He kidnaps their father, mother, and sister Jane. So the brother, sister, and other sister, and cousin Freddie, have to find Sir Titus and stop him. Also, Freddie is [SPOILER], and that’s pretty cool!

What did you like best about it?

I liked the funny bits, and a lot of stuff in it, like the adventure.

Who was your favorite character, and why?

Either Edward or Freddie. They’re both really cool. And Putty is pretty cool too, because she just knows absolutely everything about technology and she’s just a little kid.

What do you think about a twelve-year-old (Edward) setting out to save his family?

It was kind of like Harry Potter, but with robots instead of magic. [Note from Jim: Jackson just finished reading the Harry Potter books, so they’re on his mind a lot these days.]

Were there any parts you didn’t like?

Not really, except for the ancient Martian empire killing dragons when their owners died. I didn’t really like that, because that’s mean to the dragons.

What would be the coolest thing about visiting this Mars?

Seeing the dragons in the museums.

Who should read this book?

I think anyone who likes science fiction books should read it. Probably a lot of my friends would like it.

Do you want to read the next book in the series?

Yes!

The book is aimed at younger readers like Jackson, but I enjoyed it too. Like Jackson said, there’s plenty of action, and a cast of young, smart, determined protagonists. It’s not a book that takes itself too seriously — one of the characters is named Doctor Blood. It’s more of an old-fashioned pulp-style adventure, but without the old-fashioned sexism and racism that often went with them.

Everything wraps up rather well at the end, but with plenty of possibility for the next books. I have a few guesses about what might happen next, but we’ll wait and see when book two comes out.

Secrets of the Dragon Tomb hits bookshelves, both real and virtual, on January 12, 2016. You can read an excerpt on the publisher’s website.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Post-Convention Insecurities

Me and my princesses :-)I got back from being guest of honor at LosCon late Monday night. It was a busy weekend, but a lot of fun. I did a ton of panels, met some wonderful people, caught up with friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while, signed some books, and ate way too much food. I even got to see a group cosplay of Danielle, Snow, and Talia from my Princess series, which was a definite highlight. (Pics from the weekend are up on Flickr.)

And then on Sunday, after closing ceremonies wrapped up and the convention came to a close, my brain started to pore over every potentially questionable or stupid or not-as-clever-as-I-thought-at-the-time thing I’d said or done for the entire weekend.

This is far from the first time, though it used to be much worse back when I was a) newer to the con scene, b) less successful or secure as an author, and c) not on antidepressants yet. I remember driving home from ConFusion years ago, beating myself up for the whole hour-long drive about a joke I’d bungled during a panel with John Scalzi.

I understand the phenomenon a bit better these days, but it still sucks. Partly, it’s exhaustion. You’re wiped out after the convention, and being tired magnifies all those insecurities. And the fact is, I know I stick my foot in it from time to time. We all do. It’s part of being human.

But I spend conventions trying to be “on.” Trying to be friendly and entertaining and hopefully sound like I know what the heck I’m talking about. Basically, trying to be clever. And I trust most of you are familiar with the failure state of clever?

Sometimes a joke falls flat. Sometimes I say something I thought was smart and insightful, realizing only after the words have left my mouth that it was neither. Sometimes an interaction feels off, like I’ve failed at Human Socializing 101. Or I get argumentative about something. Or I fail to confront something I should have gotten argumentative about. I could go on and on about the possibilities. That’s part of the problem.

The majority of the conversations and panels and interactions were unquestionably positive. But there’s a span when my brain insists on wallowing through the questionable ones, and I keep peeking at Twitter to double-check if anyone has posted that Jim C. Hines was the WORST guest of honor EVER, and should be fired from SF/F immediately.

Then I get home. I see my wife and kids and the beasts. I get some sleep. I shift back into the day-to-day work. After a day or two, my brain mostly settles back to its usual equilibrium. Maybe I follow up with someone about a particular interaction if I’m still worried about it. Maybe I try to just let things go and focus on the positive. (Note: I said try.)

If this all sounds familiar, my sympathies. You’re not alone.

I had a good time at LosCon, and I’m very thankful to the convention for inviting me. To those of you who share my post-convention insecurities, I hope you’re catching up on some sleep and getting past them to be able to focus on all of the awesome and amazing conversations and interactions.

And I’ll wrap this up with a link to a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic, which was shared by Randy McCall over on Facebook.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending PosterI’d seen a bit of buzz about Jupiter Ascending, both positive and negative. I didn’t get around to watching it until this week.

The science is absurd, the plot is completely over the top, and about 3/4 of the way through, I figured out why it was working for me.

Spoilers Beyond This Point

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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