Libriomancer Opening Paragraphs

English was one of my worst subjects as a student. I remember bracing myself when I’d get a paper back, hoping it wasn’t marked up too badly. This was especially true in college, at least as an undergraduate.

After spending this weekend marking up the third draft of Libriomancer, I’ve come to the conclusion that those teachers and professors with their Red Pens of Doom had nothing on me. Not a single page of my manuscript escaped unscathed.

Hopefully this is a good thing, because the fourth draft is the one I’ll be turning in to my beta readers and, with a little more tweaking, to my editor.

Yes, I’m nervous.

Seven books in print, and I’m still nervous. I have a pretty good idea how to write a goblin book or a princess book, but the Magic ex Libris series is something new. It feels bigger — my publisher is more excited about this one, readers have been more excited about the idea, and the overall storyline I’m looking at is more ambitious than the things I’ve played with before.

I’ve been working on this thing for close to a year, and these next two months or so will be the home stretch. I’m shifting a bit more of my time and energy toward the book, which may impact things like blogging and e-mail. I’ll do my best to keep up with everything, but there are only so many hours in the day, ya know?

(Short Version: Welcome to Jim’s traditional freak-out over the final draft of his book.)

Freak-out aside, I’m excited about this one. I think there are a lot of fun ideas, some nifty characters, and scenes that are simply awesome. And even as my mind runs in panicked circles, I’m really looking forward to being able to share this story with readers.

For those who want a peek, I’ve posted the first two paragraphs behind the cut.


Some people would say it’s a bad idea to bring a fire-spider into a public library. They would probably be right, but it was better than leaving him alone in the house for nine hours straight. Smudge was a neurotic little arachnid, but as long as he had company, he usually refrained from setting everything alight.

The four-inch spider was a memento of what I had left behind, one last piece of that other life. If magic were alcohol, Smudge would be both sobriety medallion and the one whiskey bottle I kept around as a reminder…