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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jim C. Hines Stories of Magic and Vice Versa



My author pal Jim C. Hines and I were tickled to find out that we both had books out on the same day, February 2nd. So we decided to swap guest blog posts. I can tell you that I love everything of Jim's that I have read (which is all but a couple of the first series he did, which I own but haven't caught up on yet), and can genuinely recommend both the writing and the man. (If you're not following his blog, you should be. Just sayin'.)

Stories of Magic, and Vice Versa
Jim C. Hines

Deb and I are new book twins this week. For her, it’s Wickedly Powerful, which I’m guessing you might have heard of? In my case, it’s a book called Revisionary. I’m going to talk mostly about the latter, but if you haven’t checked out Deb’s Baba Yaga stuff yet, you totally should. What I’ve read of it so far has been lots of fun.

Revisionary is my twelfth published fantasy novel. It’s also the fourth and final book in the Magic ex Libris series. Without getting too spoilery, this is a series about:

  • A magic-using librarian from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who can pull things out of books.
  • A motorcycle-riding hamadryad with shapeshifting wooden swords.
  • A spider who sets things on fire when he’s scared or angry.
  • A secret magical organization run by Johannes Gutenberg, who’s in an on-again, off-again relationship with Juan Ponce de Leon.
 Note from Deborah: YES, this is as cool as it sounds!!!

The basic idea behind libriomancy is that people like my librarian Isaac Vainio can open a book and tap into the belief of the readers, using their passion and imagination to help create things from the pages. There are limits, of course. Whatever the libriomancer creates has to fit through the pages. No making an X-Wing and flying off to a galaxy far, far away. Pulling intelligent creatures from books tends to end badly (as exemplified in the bloody massacre known as “The Smurf Incident”). And Gutenberg has locked some books whose potential power is simply too dangerous for the world.

Part of the fun in writing these books was getting to indulge my inner fanboy and play with toys from other worlds. Isaac is a shamelessly enthusiastic geek, and he loves this stuff—books and magic and possibilities. Even when he’s running away from enchanted clockwork insects that really, really want to kill him, a part of his mind is marveling at the artistry and wonder of those murderous little automatons.

Most of us understand that books are magical. But the series title “Magic ex Libris” isn’t quite right. It means “magic from books,” which works…Isaac is constantly pulling everything from healing potions to light sabers to pixie dust from various books about his person. But books are simply the medium. At its heart, the series is about the magic of story. It’s about imagination and asking “what if?”

I’m a big believer in the power of story. Story can change the world, for good or for ill. Look at the number of sharks hunted and slaughtered in the wake of Jaws. Or consider Abraham Lincoln’s alleged comment to Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” Think of stories that have opened your mind or changed the way you think about things.

I remember receiving an email from a reader early in my career. She’d read my goblin books while in the hospital for a nasty procedure, and said the humor and fun of the story helped her get through the days. Understand, my goblin books aren’t exactly Deep, Life-Changing Literature, but they provided comfort and escape during a very difficult time. I’ve seen people sneer at “escapist” literature, but if that kind of escape isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.

One of my favorite examples of the power of story comes from Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in the original Star Trek. Nichols originally intended to quit the show after the first season. Then she met a man who introduced himself as her biggest fan—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In Nichols’ words:

“[H]is face got very, very serious. And he said, what are you talking about? And I said, well, I told Gene just yesterday that I'm going to leave the show after the first year because I've been offered - and he stopped me and said: You cannot do that. And I was stunned. He said, don't you understand what this man has achieved? For the first time, we are being seen the world over as we should be seen. He says, do you understand that this is the only show that my wife Coretta and I will allow our little children to stay up and watch. I was speechless.”

Stories can show us the world, and they can show us ourselves. They can create love and hate and despair and hope. They can change lives. They’re powerful. They’re magical.

I wanted to write a series that celebrated that magic.

Sure, I also wanted to write about a librarian who pulls out a lightsaber to fight a vampire in the steam tunnels of Michigan State University. And undermining various urban fantasy tropes was a lot of fun too. But ultimately, Revisionary and the rest of the series is all about the power of imagination and passion and story.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Deb for lending me the blog. You can check out excerpts from the books over at my website if you’d like. Or leave a comment here, and I’ll pick one person at random to win an autographed copy of Libriomancer, the first book in the series. (If you’ve already read Libriomancer, I’m happy to send you a later book in its place.)




Purchase links: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound



Thanks for dropping by, Jim!

Jim C. Hines is best known as a fantasy novelist and the guy who did those gender-flipped SF/F cover poses. His first novel was Goblin Quest, the tale of a nearsighted goblin runt and his pet fire-spider. Actor and author Wil Wheaton described the book as “too f***ing cool for words,” which is pretty much the Best Blurb Ever. After completing the goblin trilogy, Jim went on to write the princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. He’s currently working on the Magic ex Libris books, which follow the adventures of a magic-wielding librarian from northern Michigan.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

IT'S RELEASE DAY! Wickedly Powerful is Out at Last


Is it just me, or have we been waiting a looonnnnggg time for book three in the Baba Yaga series to come out?

Well, it's here now! Happy Release Day to Me! (And to everyone else who has been waiting for it.)


Well, what are you hanging around here for? Go buy it/read it/spread the word/other activity of your choice.

Yay! Release Day!

(And happy release day to Jim C. Hines, who also has a book out today. And will be here tomorrow with a guest blog, while I guest blog over at his place.)


Monday, February 1, 2016

COVER REVEAL: Dangerously Charming!


As if this week wasn't going to be exciting enough, with WICKEDLY POWERFUL coming out on Tuesday, I got the new cover for DANGEROUSLY CHARMING, the first of the Riders books. It's being marketed as a new trilogy, but don't worry, they are a continuation of the Baba Yaga series, and the Babas will appear in the stories. It is just that each of the Riders will get his own book. Mikhail Day is up first.

Dangerously Charming won't be out until October 4th (although believe it or not, it is already up for preorder, at least on Amazon) but I figured you'd like to see the cover now anyway. Am I right?

As an author, you always have to worry that the art department, wonderful folks that they are, won't get the character on the cover looking like your own personal image of him or her. I'm happy to say that the lovely folks at Berkley did a great job. I love this cover. What do you think?


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Holy Crap It's Finally Done!



The manuscript for the first Riders novel, Dangerously Charming, is DONE! Finally. And I really mean finally. (I'll put up a longer blog about this later, but I'll just say that this book Did Not Want to Be Written.)

To say that I am happy and relieved would be a huge understatement. Of course, now that Mikhail Day's story is done, I have to jump right into writing Gregori Sun's novel.

You know, after the third Baba Yaga book comes out next Tuesday and I leave for Coastal Magic Convention on Wednesday.

In the meanwhile, though, this is me, twirling around shouting DONE! DONE! DONE!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wickedly Powerful Kindle Giveaway Celebration


A week! WICKEDLY POWERFUL is out in a week!

*insert author happy dance here*

Obviously, we have to celebrate. Right? So how about one more giveaway to keep us occupied while we wait for release day?

You know what would be the perfect giveaway? One of those new Kindle Fires that Amazon just came out with. Plus a $10 gift card so that the winner can buy both Wickedly Powerful and Wickedly Ever After, the novella that came out on the 19th. (I'm assuming that one or two of you haven't actually bought it yet, as shocking as that concept might be.)

I think Magic approves.

Everyone who thinks that's a great idea, raise your hand. Or, you know, just enter the contest.

Don't forget to spread the word (pretty please) and to review any of the books once you've read them (pretty, pretty please--you have no idea how helpful this is to an author...you know, unless you hate the book, in which case, you don't have to bother).

And I will probably be doing flash giveaways here and on Facebook, and maybe even on Twitter, so be sure to keep checking back. Don't worry, once this novel is out, it is going to be ages before the next one comes out, so we'll go back to boring blog posts about my life and cute pictures of cats. Just in case you were getting tired of giveaways...

a Rafflecopter giveaway


So tell me, are you excited that release day is almost upon us?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wickedly Ever After Release Day & Giveaway!


The long wait is finally over! All you lovely folks who have been waiting patiently since last December (2014, not 2015) when Wickedly Wonderful came out now have not just one but two new installments in the Baba Yaga series!

The third novel, Wickedly Powerful, will be out in two weeks, on February 2nd. But in the meanwhile, look what's out TODAY!

It's here!
Wickedly Ever After is a novella that picks up after the end of Wickedly Powerful and shows us what happened to the first Baba Yaga, Barbara, after the ending of her own book, Wickedly Dangerous. Did I mention it is only $1.99?! That's cheaper than a cup of coffee.

Blurb:

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one…
 Having triumphed over a powerful enemy and ended up with both a wonderful guy—Sheriff Liam McClellan—and an adorable adopted daughter to raise as a Baba Yaga, Barbara Yager is ready to welcome her happily ever after. But first she must bring Liam to the Otherworld and get the Queen’s permission to marry him. The Queen, however, is not so easily persuaded. She gives them three impossible tasks to complete in two weeks’ time—and if they fail Barbara will have to watch Liam slowly age and die like all humans, and kiss her happily ever after good-bye forever.

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble |Amazon |Penguin


Naturally, we have to celebrate with a giveaway, right? Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. As always, no purchase is necessary, although you get extra points for buying a book (or leaving a review, which is a huge help). Don't forget to leave a comment, too.

This one is open to everyone, everywhere! Check out this cool prize pack!

Cute little fire dragon, a huge tote with Wickedly Powerful on one side and the other two novels on the reverse, a Wickedly Powerful notebook, a cool "Be Wicked" broom all the way from France, and some nifty swag!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


There will be plenty of other giveaways coming up, too, both here and on blogs where I am guesting to promote the book, so be sure to check back often. Happy novella release day! Tell me, have you read any of the previous books? If so, which book (or which Baba Yaga) is your favorite?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Minerva

You might have noticed that I haven't put up a new post since last Monday's celebration of Magic the Cat and her brother Mystic's birthday, even though I have a novella coming out Tuesday 19th and a novel February 2nd. Normally I would have been doing all sorts of promo and giveaways, as anyone who is here on a regular basis knows.

Instead, my week pretty much got swallowed up by an unexpected cat crisis.

Last Sunday, Magic and Mystic's mom, Minerva, stopped eating. If you have cats, you know this is a Bad Sign. She nibbled on breakfast, threw up a couple of times, and refused dinner altogether. At around 15 (we don't know her exact age because her previous owners dumped her at the shelter when she got pregnant, but since the kittens just turned 14, we can guess she is either 14 or 15 herself, depending on how old she was when she got knocked up), she is the oldest of my cats, and while 15 isn't elderly for an indoor cat, it ain't young either.

Minerva curled up with her kittens in happier times. She's on the right.
So Monday we went to the vet's and hung around until her vet, the lovely Doctor Baker, could see her. Blood tests and temp were fine, but an X-ray showed a severe constipation blockage. They gave her fluids and some stool softener and we went home. But the next day she still wasn't eating, so we went back and she had to have a kitty enema, fluids, and other fun stuff. (Ugh. Sorry. TMI) Plus more tests, of course. I picked her up after work and we went home again. But by Wednesday morning, she still wasn't eating or drinking, so we had to go back, and this time she was hospitalized so they could put her on an IV and give her appetite stimulants and run MORE tests. Older kitties just don't bounce back from things as well as young ones do, and her system was shutting down. It was pretty scary.

I don't feel well. Lemme alone.
 I stopped by after work on Thursday and they unhooked her from the IV so we could visit. She'd eaten a little in the morning, and then ate more for me. She also purred a lot (I'm pretty sure she was happy to see me).


By Friday afternoon, she was finally well enough to come home, with even more medicine (and a bill the size of the national debt). She spent most of the rest of the day following me around and sitting on my lap. Definitely happy to be home. Thankfully, she's been eating well ever since. Whew.


So that's what happened to MY week. I'm just happy she's home and doing okay, and I promise I'll be back to yelling about the new books as of tomorrow. (And I'm already doing it on Facebook and Twitter, at least a little bit.) I've got all sorts of fun stuff planned, so be sure to pop in and see. There are going to be giveaways here and on other blogs, and all sorts of good stuff.

In the meanwhile I'm going to do a quickie cat calendar themed giveaway to celebrate starting a new year, and throw in a copy of the new Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook (which I have some fun contributions in) just for the heck of it. Hopefully the rest of the year will be a LOT better than the last week was. Nothing but good times ahead.



To be entered, leave a comment here and I will pick a random winner Monday at midnight.

And a big thanks to all who sent their good wishes and healing energy on Facebook during this difficult time. It meant a lot to me.

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