Slush I Read (Rerun)

Snoopy

Between sick kids, writing-related work, and a few other things, I haven’t gotten the chance to do much original blog content this week. So it’s rerun time! This is something I wrote back in 2009, to the beat of Green Eggs and Ham. It’s dedicated to all of my long-suffering editor friends…

#

Slush I Read
by Jim C. Hines

(Apologies to Seuss)

I read slush.
Slush I read.

That slush I read.
That slush I read!
I do not like that slush I read.

Do you like fanfic with vamps?

I do not like them Mary Sue.
Why do these vamps all worship you?

Here’s a tale from D & D!

I do not want your D & D.
I do not like your elf PC.
I cannot stand your purple prose.
I want to punch you in the nose!

Would you like a hot sex scene?
I published it in my own zine!

I do not like your pervy tale.
Your metaphors make readers pale.
Your paragraphs are pages long.
Your bad sex scene is oh so wrong!
Can people do that with their lips???
I do not like your manuscripts.

This one is in Comic Sans!
My parents are my biggest fans.

That evil font we do not want!
My aching eyes, my weary sighs.
Why can’t you get the format right?
We post our guidelines in plain sight!
I will not read your 8-point type.
I want to bash you with a pipe!

Would you read this in the loo?
Let me slide it right to you!

I would not, could not, while I poo!

You just hate me ’cause I’m new!
I’m too original for you!

Too original you say?
This book is one absurd cliché!
It should not see the light of day.

I do not like your Marty Stus.
I do not like your crackhead muse.
Eve and Adam, Star Trek slash,
Tolkien ripoffs, pointless trash,
Prologues forty pages long,
Spelling every third word wrong.
I do not want to read this slush.
It’s all too much, my brain is mush!

Just one more story for today.
Soon I’ll clear this slush away.
No more vampires, I pray.

Wait–
This cover letter’s brief.
The format’s clean.  What a relief!

Say!
This story from the slush.
This story gives me such a rush.
These pages have a brilliant hook.
I want to read it in a book!
The wordcraft makes me start to swoon.
Is that the end? It came too soon!
I read it one time, two times, three!
It is so good, so good you see!

So I will read the slush again.
And wade through drafts by Twilight fen.
And I will read the pointless plots,
And tales of busty blonde sexbots.
And I will read your pissed off mail.
And I will read it without fail.
Yes I will read slush by the bale
So I can find that next great tale.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Retitling My Books

Snoopy

I’m thinking I should take a lesson from the Internet and promote my books under different titles to try to attract more attention. What do you think? Would you buy any of the following?

The Goblin Series:

  • Goblin Quest This Goblin Went Face-to-Face with a Dragon. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!
  • Goblin Hero 13 Amazing Facts About Goblin Magic
  • Goblin War What the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know About Talking Trees

The Princess Series:

  • The Stepsister Scheme Why Your Stepsisters Should Scare Your More Than Terrorists
  • The Mermaid’s Madness 8 Lies About Mermaids That Everyone Believes Are True
  • Red Hood’s Revenge Wolf Hunt Goes Horribly Wrong
  • The Snow Queen’s Shadow The Top 10 Ways Snow Can Kill You

Magic ex Libris

  • Libriomancer One Librarian’s Secret Trick for Destroying Sparkling Vampires
  • Codex Born Nature-Loving Bodyguard Shares Six Ways to Kill a Man with a Toothpick
  • Unbound This Tale of a 500-Year Love Affair Will Make You Weep

The sad thing is that it was slightly easier to come up with the joke titles than it’s been thinking of the real ones :-/

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Buy My Book

Snoopy

Buy My Book
by Jim C. Hines
(To the tune of “Be Our Guest,” with apologies to Disney)

Congratulations to you, brand new author,
on the publication of your masterpiece.
And now I invite you to stop, step back, and listen
as readers throughout the world beg you: Please don’t be…
That Guy.

Buy my book!
Buy my book!
Just a dollar on your Nook!
Click the banner large and flashing please.
Oh, won’t you take a look?
It has twists!
It has turns!
(True, my prose makes eyeballs burn…)
Try one chapter.
You’ll be hooked!
(Though my plot is undercooked.)
Wait don’t leave, please don’t go,
It has wizards, don’t you know?
Sparkling wizards fighting in the Famine Games!
Won’t you just read the prologue?
Or the praise on my blog?
Buy my book,
Buy my book,
Buy my book!

When I go
to a con,
don’t care what the panel’s on.
I digress and push my book until
the topic’s long foregone.
Afterward,
off I zoom!
I’ll be in the dealer’s room.
Stalking everyone who passes,
selling my book to the masses!
“Don’t read her. Don’t buy that.
This book here is where it’s at!”
And I’ll follow you all day
to wear you down.
Come on and grab your cash
I’m better than that trash,
so buy my book.
You look shook.
Just relax and take a look.
Buy my book!
Buy my book!
Buy my book!

Life is oh so stressful,
When I’m feeling unsuccessful,
As I wait for fame and glory. It’s my due!
Where are my movie deals and fawning groupies?
When will all my writing dreams come true?
Five years I’ve been shilling,
pushing books at the unwilling.
I won’t stop until I’ve sold this book to you.
Every night I dream about the future.
I’ll be rich and famous.
Buy my book, you ignoramus!

Buy my book!
Buy my book!
I wrote such a thrilling hook.
Just peruse all these reviews.
You can’t refuse to take a look.
One from Mom.
Twelve from me.
(From my sock puppets, you see.)
Just ignore the one-star haters.
Jealous writers. My book’s greater!
Copy, paste, and repost.
Normally I hate to boast,
but I’ll spread the word across the Internet!
And when you shout “No spam!”
I’ll just repost again,
So buy my book!
Buy my book!
Buy my book!

Buy my book!
Buy my book!
Would you please just take a look?
I can’t sleep until my sales rankings go up
by hook or crook.
I’m obsessed,
yes it’s true,
with selling my book to you.
And you know I’ll just keep trying
’til you break down and start buying.
I won’t leave,
I won’t stop,
’til you call the nearest cop.
Then I’ll thrust at you my homemade business card.
So if you enjoy reading,
then to you I’m pleading,
Buy my book!
Buy my book!
Buy my book!
Please, buy my book!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Baby Got Books

Snoopy

Baby Got Books
by Jim C. Hines
(with apologies to Sir Mixalot)

(Intro)
Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her book.
It is
so big. You could, like,
Fend off a rabid jaguar.
But, you know, who even reads those genres?
She only wants dragons and swords.
It’s not like that’s real literature, right?
I mean, her book, is just so big.
I can’t believe it’s just so thick, it’s like
Swollen, I mean - wow. Look!
It’s just so … fat.

I like big books and I cannot lie.
You other readers can’t deny
That when a kid walks in with The Name of the Wind
Like a hardbound brick of win.
Story bling.
Wanna swipe that thing
Cause you see that boy is speeding
Right through the book he’s reading.
I’m hooked and I can’t stop pleading.
Wanna curl up with that for ages,
All thousand pages.
Reviewers tried to warn me.
But with that plot you hooked
Me like Bradley.
Ooh, crack that fat spine.
You know I wanna make you mine.
This book is stella ’cause it ain’t some quick novella.

No time for writers
Whose work is much slighter.
One-shot plot, over quicker than a nickel slot.

I’m tired of magazines,
Tellin’ stories with just three scenes.
Take a fantasy fan and ask ’em if
They’d rather read Tolkien, so…

Readers (yeah), readers (yeah)
Go get Martin’s brand new book (hell yeah).
Well read it, read it, read it, read it, read that hefty book.
Fantasies fat.

(Bulging shelves with the epic plotlines)

I like ’em thick and dense.
Good stories should be immense.
I just can’t stop myself.
I’m readin’ all of Wheel of Time,
Now where’s my Goodkind?

I wanna read Durham,
Scott Lynch and Pete Hamilton,
I don’t like my tales too quick.
Save flimsy old plots for SyFy flicks.
I want a twenty page prologue.
To write up on my blog.
Books with mad sequels.
Readers know they ain’t got no equals.
So I’m walking through my bookstore.
Searching the shelves for books I adore.
You can keep those slim things.
I want my novels like Rowling’s.
A word to the hard core writers.
Go pull an all-nighter.
I want that book wider.
But I gotta be straight when I say I’m gonna read
’Til the break of dawn.
Zelazny’s got it goin’ on.
A lot of folks don’t like ’em long.
’Cause them punks even skim the Brothers Grimm.
But I’d rather read it slow
’Cause I’ll savor the flavor
And I’m down to get the fiction on.

So bookstores (yeah), bookstores (yeah),
If you want me comin’ in through your doors (yeah),
Then turn ’em out,
Face ’em out,
Let me browse until I shout.
Fantasies fat.

(Bulging shelves with the epic plotlines.)

Yeah baby
When it’s my library,
Kirkus ain’t got nothing to do with my selection.
Anathem, Way of Kings, and Cyteen,
Sweetest sight I’ve ever seen.

So you only read the Cliff Notes,
Frightened off by the slightest bloat,
Well your mind is gettin’ swindled, ’cause the stories just dwindle.
My brand new Kindle is obese with books ten megs apiece.
You can do e-books or paper, but please don’t trim that book.
Some editors’ll say to cut that,
And tell you trim twelve chapters of fat.
So you slash and delete it.
But I’m sayin’ I want to read it.
Now some folks want ’em thin.
Well I say that’s a sin.
Gimme font that’s small, that’s a true temptation,
Something big like Foundation.
It’s the doorstop books that’ll make me grin.
Want to steal that thing.
Give me that tome I’m taking it home.
’Cause reading is in my genome.
Some critic she tried to dis
The books that were on my list.
She said Williams was dull and dreary.
McCaffrey just made her weary.
But writers if your book is fat,
And you’re sick of those one-star prats,
Click my contact link and e-mail me, ’cause this is where it’s at.
Fantasies fat.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Kittenmaster

Snoopy

The internet is for cat pics, right? Well, this is for everyone who misread the title of my next e-book collection…

This was made from the final artwork, so I’ll be working in Photoshop to get the real cover put together and ready to go. I’ll probably post it here to get one last round of feedback, ’cause y’all are just too darn helpful.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Apostrophe Ninja

Apostrophe Ninja

Normally, I’d run a First Book Friday post here.  Alas, I didn’t have one ready.  I’ve got several invitations out, but since I’m not paying for these posts, I don’t feel right setting deadlines or pressuring people who are already taking the time to write something for us.

So then I was going to do a First Book Friday roundup with links back to all the posts.  (The clip show of blogging.)

But then I had another idea.  Since the Writing Reality Check comic was the most popular post I’ve done in months, why not do another comic?  And I knew just the message I wanted to get across.

(Yeah, I don’t think Randall Munroe has anything to fear from me.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Writing: A Reality Check

Snoopy

THE DREAM:


THE REALITY:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Snoopy

Yes, I’m totally laughing at myself here.  But I take comfort from the fact that I’m laughing at all the rest of us, too.

If this were xkcd, there would be some awesome funny alt text here.... Obviously, this ain't xkcd.

(Official copyright notice: feel free to do whatever the heck you want with this one.  Credit would be nice if you decide to repost, but I’m not about to go all DMCA on your ass over a cartoon that took me a half hour to throw together.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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I Write Like...

Snoopy
My contribution to the "I Write Like" meme going around.

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Why Read Red Hood?

Snoopy

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Fun fact: Monday’s blog post was written three days in the past.  But this one was written seven days in the past!  That’s right, Jim is moving backward in time!!!  He promises to bring you back a dinosaur.

#

So Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] has been out for most of a week now.  It’s a bit strange to think back to … I think it was 2004 or 2005, when I started playing around with the idea of turning these fairy tale princesses into action heroines.  I remember the excitement as I realized Sleeping Beauty’s fairy gifts made her the ideal ninja, or that Snow White could be a master of mirror magic.

Then here we are, half a decade later.  The third book is out, and readers everywhere are rushing to read it.  (At least, that’s the vision I’m choosing to hold on to!)

So today’s blog question is:

Hey Jim, why should I join the dozens millions billions of people reading Red Hood’s Revenge?

Good question, made-up reader!  Here are my completely objective and unbiased answers, many of which are actually true.

1. Talia’s fairy curse.  I’m not going to spoil this, but the writers out there know the feeling you get when you come up with a twist that just feels right, something that blows you away.  The “truth” behind Sleeping Beauty’s curse did that for me, and I’m hopeful readers will feel the same way.

2. There will be smooching!  (No, it’s not a kissing book.  It has plenty of fencing and fighting, too.)

3. Hey, what ever happened to _______?  I answer this question, for a certain value of ______.

4. All of the cool kids are reading it.

5. If you rearrange the words in the right order, you get a secret message from the president of Zenbox VII.

6. Two words: sewer goblins.

7. Certain elements in this book are guaranteed to offend twice as many people as previous books.

8. The pages are pine scented, so you can use the book as an air freshener for your car after you finish reading.

9. Gazebo.

10. Because kick-ass princesses are awesome, that’s why!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Yes, No, or Gazebo

Snoopy

In addition to me doing more around the house while my wife recovers, we’re also getting ready for vacation next week, and of course I’m prepping some things for the release of Red Hood.  (Yes, when my book comes out, I will be up north where I’ll have little Internet access, and where there’s only one tiny microbookstore within 50 miles.  Yes, this will make me approximately 73% crazier than usual.)

Anyway, this is my long-winded way of saying life has doled out an extra dose of busy lately, so rather than a long, thoughtful blog post, I’m just gonna play today.

Your role, should you choose to accept it, is to ask a yes/no question.  Any question.

I shall answer it.  I will do my best to answer all questions, but if it’s something I consider too personal or too spoilery (or if I just don’t know), then your answer may be a bit more random…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Mad Libs Reviewing

Sith Plotbunny

It surprises me sometimes how many people are uncomfortable reviewing books.  I don’t mean a professional, paid review for the New York Times, but just a note on the blog or Amazon or wherever.  A lot of people have told me they just don’t know what to say, or they don’t believe they can write a good review.

Fear not good people, for I have the solution.  Mad Libs Reviews take the stress from reviewing, and make for a much more entertaining read.  (In some cases, probably more entertaining than the actual book.)

If I were a programmer, I’d set up an app to do this automatically.  But I’m not, so we do it the old fashioned way.  Choose your words, then read your review of a hypothetical goblin book.  Feel free to share any particularly fun lines in the comments.  (But remember, this is a family-friendly blog.)

Have fun, and tune in next week when I use Mad Libs to write the promo piece for THE SNOW QUEEN’S SHADOW!

1. Noun: ________________
2. Noun: ________________
3. Adverb: ________________
4. Animal: ________________
5. Verb: ________________
6. Noun: ________________
7. Name: ________________
8. Verb: ________________
9. Adjective: ________________
10. Noun: ________________
11. Adjective: ________________
12. Noun: ________________
13. Emotion: ________________

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Taking a Breather

Snoopy

I’ve seen a lot of Internet “discussions” go down in flaming, twisted wrecks over the years.  I want to thank everyone who commented on the blog this week.  I love that people are able to disagree, but are still willing to listen to what others are saying.  I love that while these are things people feel passionately about, I never once had to bring out the Moderator Hammer of Doom.  I love that I came away from the discussions with a lot more to think about.  Thank you all for that.

I had planned to write more today, but I’ve got nothing.  I haven’t even caught up on all the comments from yesterday (and I doubt I’m going to be able to respond to everything).  So instead, I figured I’d post something fun.  Something with ten times the recommended daily allowance of awesomeness.

Something like a ninja, who also happens to be a doctor, riding a raptor into battle.

(This is from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, a silly and thoroughly entertaining web comic which, as far as I can tell, was created mostly for the excuse to draw scenes of ridiculous awesomeness.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Responding to a Review

Snow

General rule: don’t respond to reviews.  But then, every rule has an exception…

Joshua Palmatier recently posted a review of Mermaid’s Madness that pointed out what he felt was an error.  “…at one point, Snow knocks someone down, but without any sign of recovery, the person is back up a few pages later.”

I haven’t gone back to double-check this in my book, and I don’t intend to.  The book is in print, and it’s not like I can recall and change the copies even if he’s right.

Instead, I’ve written a note for my own future reference:

When Snow knocks you down, you stay the @#$% down!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

New Author Look?

Snoopy

Already 90 100+ responses to the first novel poll — thanks to everyone for participating and passing the link along.

Today, I have a very different but equally vital survey.  Vital to me, I mean.  See, I’ve been doing the author jacket thing for a few years now, and it works pretty well.  But lately I’ve been thinking it needs something more.  Lots of authors have leather jackets.  Sure, theirs don’t have 41 different pockets, but still … I need something to stand out from the authorly crowd.

So I figured I’d add something more, a combination that would be uniquely Jim.

What do you think?  Yes?  No?  Needs more plumage?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Stop — Drama Time

Snoopy

I’m reminded once again that conflict and drama make popular blog topics.  Therefore, I feel it’s time for me to announce my newest project, an unauthorized anthology of Twilight fiction titled Fuschia Eclipse.1

The project will be published by Penguin Droppings, a revolutionary new self-publishing branch of Penguin.2  Publishing is changing, and it’s time to do away with the gatekeepers of traditional publishing and make way for the new millennium!

I had originally hoped to be able to pay contributors a token rate of 1/20th of a cent per word3, but after reviewing the Penguin Droppings contract, it turns out contributors will end up owing me $500 per story.  However, they will all receive one contributor copy and Valuable Exposure!

I’ll only be inviting white male authors for this volume.4 5  But I want to assure everyone I’m neither sexist nor racist.  I don’t see race or gender; all I care about is the story!  It’s not my fault the only truly great literature comes from white penises!

I’m already working on the cover art.  I’m thinking something tabloid-style, maybe Jacob Black fighting some vampire raccoons and zombie bunnies?6  All I know is that, for marketing purposes, Jacob will be portrayed by a pale blond kid.7

  1. Russet Moon Summary - http://blog.fanhistory.com/?p=532
  2. See Jackie Kessler’s posts on the Harlequin self-publishing fiasco - http://www.jackiekessler.com/blog/
  3. Short fiction pay rate conversation - http://jimhines.livejournal.com/479488.html
  4. Mammoth Anthology of Mindblowing SF - http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2009/08/toc-the-mammoth-book-of-mindblowing-sf-edited-by-mike-ashley/
  5. Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Books of 2009 - http://jimhines.livejournal.com/475502.html
  6. Zombie Rabbit Cover of Doom - http://jimhines.livejournal.com/469403.html
  7. White-washed cover of Justine Larbalestier’s Liar - http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2009/07/23/aint-that-a-shame/

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Mock Cover Contest

Snoopy

Windycon was a great deal of fun, as always.  Got to meet some new folks and catch up with friends … I didn’t have much programming, so in a lot of ways this one turned into a social con for me.  Many hugs, lots of hanging out chatting in the lobby and elsewhere.  Met some new fans, but managed to keep the ego from getting too swollen (despite certain people’s best efforts). All in all, a good way to spend a weekend.

I learned that the steampunk theme brings out a lot of costumers, which was fun to see.  Got to hear Tom Smith in concert, ate way too much food, and made it to one and a quarter of my two panels.  (DAW vs. Baen was cross-scheduled with the Writing Workshop, so sadly I only caught the last 10 minutes of the panel.)

One of the most entertaining moments was when author Kelly Swails donned a Jig the goblin tattoo and decided to pose urban fantasy style, complete with a knife she swiped from the restaurant.  Naturally, this called for the full cover art treatment.  I’m obviously  not a professional graphic designer, but I’m pretty amused by what I was able to put together last night*.

Every good goblin-themed urban fantasy requires an equally good title, right?  “Goblin Killer Blues” was suggested by archivist Lynne Thomas.  Think you can do better?  Suggest a title in the comments, and I’ll put the best ideas up for a vote.  The winner gets an autographed copy of The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].

Have fun!


*Because this is the Internet and I know someone will ask, the answer is no, I am not writing a goblin-themed urban fantasy book.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Slush Reading, Seuss Style

Snoopy

Slush I Read
by Jim C. Hines

(Apologies to Seuss)

I read slush.
Slush I read.

That slush I read.
That slush I read!
I do not like that slush I read.

Do you like fanfic with vamps?

I do not like them Mary Sue.
Why do these vamps all worship you?

Here’s a tale from D & D!

I do not want your D & D.
I do not like your elf PC.
I can not stand your purple prose.
I want to punch you in the nose!

Would you like a hot sex scene?
I wrote it for my online ‘zine!

I do not like your pervy tale.
Your metaphors make readers pale.
Your paragraphs are pages long.
Your bad sex scene is oh so wrong!
Can people do that with their lips???
I do not like your manuscripts.

This one is in Comic Sans!
My parents are my biggest fans.

That evil font we do not want!
My aching eyes, my weary sighs.
Why can’t you get the format right?
We post our guidelines in plain sight!
I will not read your 8-point type.
I want to bash you with a pipe!

Would you read this in the loo?
Let me slide it right to you!

I would not, could not, while I poo!

You just hate me ’cause I’m new!
I’m too original for you!

Too original you say?
This book is one absurd cliché!
It should not see the light of day.

I do not like your Mary Sues.
I do not like your crackhead muse.
Eve and Adam, Star Trek slash,
Tolkien ripoffs, pointless trash,
Prologues forty pages long,
Spelling every third word wrong.
I do not want to read this slush.
It’s all too much, my brain is mush!

Just one more story for today.
Soon I’ll clear this slush away.
No more vampires, I pray.

Wait–
This cover letter’s brief.
The format’s clean.  What a relief!

Say!
This story from the slush.
This story gives me such a rush.
These pages have a brilliant hook.
I want to read it in a book!
The wordcraft makes me start to swoon.
Is that the end? It came too soon!
I read it one time, two times, three!
It is so good, so good you see!

So I will read the slush again.
And wade through drafts by Twilight fen.
And I will read the pointless plots,
And tales of busty blonde sexbots.
And I will read your pissed off mail.
And I will read it without fail.
Yes I will read slush by the bale
So I can find that next great tale.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Vacation and LOLPrime

LOL Snoopy

Tomorrow morning we head off on vacation.  I’ll be away from cellphone signals, wireless … not even reliable land lines to dial out and connect.

I’m sure I’ll be sneaking out with the laptop to hunt the Wild Wireless Signal of Northern Michigan from time to time, but there will be little blogging for the next week and a half, and if you e-mail me, don’t expect an instant response.

In the meantime, negative reviews or other complaints should be directed to my friend Optimus.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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