Read for Pixels: Operation Cover Pose

Yes, it is exactly what you think it is.

The Read for Pixels campaign is working to end violence against women. They’ve raised more than $5000 already, and now they’re shooting for $10K. If we can reach that goal, I will come out of cover pose retirement to do one of three covers. And if you donate between now and October 19, you get to help vote for which one!

I’ve seen all three potential poses: one is from a book cover, and the other two are from comics. The idea of trying to imitate any of them frightens me.

—This Space Reserved for the $20K bonus announcement, just as soon as it’s officially confirmed.—

Read for Pixels Hangout Video

Writing Update: I think I may need to put Project Bob on hold for a little bit. It’s a pretty serious (for me) book, and I feel like I need to do something goofy. I need to go full goblin. The book pitch I sent to my agent would be goblin-level humor (while at the same time being significantly different from any books I’ve written before.) So while I wait to hear back on that, I think I’m going to set Bob aside for now, and work on a few shorter, sillier things I’ve had on my list.

They won’t be goblins, though. So for the sake of clarity, let’s call this batch of fiction Project Orc.

Project Orc should be interesting. It’s both very similar and entirely different from what I’ve written before, and I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to publish or talk about it.

Read for Pixels: I’ve been part of the Read for Pixels campaign to end violence against women. I’ve given away two autographed books, and have additional goodies coming up soon.

I also took part in a Google Hangout, talking about women and girls in pop culture, sexism and harassment, and answering questions about whether or not I’m going to keep the shaved-head look going.

For those who might be interested, I also read a snippet from Revisionary

I should warn folks that said snippet does spoil a few changes that happen in book three. I also thought it gave a nice peek at Isaac and Nidhi in action.

We had a few technical glitches where the connection died. I don’t know if that was on my end, theirs, or if it was simply a bunch of internet goblins making mischief.

Direct link is if for some reason the embedding doesn’t work.

Day One, Part III

First came my very first day as a full-time writer.

Then came the first day of school for the kids, meaning I actually had my first day to myself as a full-time writer.

Today, just over four weeks since I left the day job, was the first day of my 10 hours/week job. I’d been hoping to pick this up both to provide a bit of structure to my week, and to supplement the erratic writing income.

What have I accomplished thus far? Well, I was able to turn around the revisions on Revisionary. I wrote up and submitted a pitch to DAW. And I’m up to 15,000 words on Project Bob.

There has also been a boy who was home sick for a week, followed by me getting sick. Not cool, germs. Not cool!

I remember chatting with folks about the transition. Harry Connolly wrote a guest post about apps for shutting out the internet and helping you focus on writing. A number of other writers mentioned doing the same sort of thing. And I read those posts and listened to those stories and nodded my appreciation, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I sat back all content and smug, knowing I would never need such tools. I’ve spent 15 years disciplining myself to shut out distractions and write during my lunch break…

I assume you know where this is going?

A few days ago, I was sitting down to work on Bob again. I’ve been struggling a lot with this one, and my word count reflects that. I finally forced myself to physically shut all those windows — email, social media, the works.

And damn if over the course of a single hour I didn’t double my wordcount from the previous day.

Lesson learned, thank you.

I’m also rediscovering yet again the importance of momentum. It’s so much easier to keep writing than it is to start writing. And the longer it’s been since you wrote, the harder it is to start up again.

Unfortunately, being at home during the day has led to a number of interruptions. Some are minor. Getting up to let the dogs out and back in is probably a good thing, since it periodically makes me get out of the chair and walk around a little. Constantly answering the phone last week when the entire freaking world decided it was a good time to call Casa Hines? Yeah, I’m letting at least some of those calls go to the answering machine now.

With all that said, it’s only been a month. Every week has been different. I’m hoping that as I start the part-time job, I’ll finally get closer to a stable schedule, and will be able to start strengthening some good habits and routines.

In the meantime, I’m still better-rested and generally happier than I was a month ago. Go me! :-)

Eclipse Pics

I spent much of last week checking the weather forecast to see if we’d be able to watch the lunar eclipse. Michigan has a habit of spewing clouds when there’s interesting space stuff going on, and last night was no exception. For the first hour or so, it was completely overcast.

…and then gaps started to show up between the clouds. I got about an hour where I was able to see the eclipse and try to get some pictures.

It took me a while to start to figure out the best settings. I had thought about dragging the telescope out and trying to shoot some pics through that, but I decided the camera should be enough. Next time, I’m getting the telescope.

Here are five of the shots that turned out the best.

Lunar eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Our cat Taz snuck out of the house. I’m assuming he just wanted to watch the eclipse with me. Here he is hanging out under the light of the street lamp across the road.


Larger versions of all pics are over on Flickr.

Google Hangout Tonight

Tonight at 8:30 EST, I’ll be doing a Google Hangout where I’ll read a bit from Revisionary, do some Q&A, and talk about the Read for Pixels campaign, part of the Pixel Project to end violence against women.

I’ve got a cold, so this should be interesting. I’m hoping the raspy throat ends up giving me sexy voice, but we’ll see what happens.

Google Hangout Link

You can RSVP if you’d like, or just come by at 8:30 to listen and ask questions.

In the meantime, you can also donate to the Read for Pixels campaign and claim any number of cool goodies. I’ve given away two books so far, and there will be more Hines prizes coming up soon. Plenty of other authors have donated cool stuff as well.

I hope you’ll be able to click over and say hi!


I’ve come across several references to the “overrepresentation” of minority characters lately, including remarks about my own work. (In my case, it’s been about LGBT+ characters.)

In theory, I assume overrepresentation means portraying a larger proportion of a particular type of character in your fiction than you’d expect to see from a sampling in the real world. For example…

Overrepresentation of white men:

Star Trek Crew

Overrepresentation of straight white men:

Avengers 2

Overrepresentation of straight little blue men:


Overrepresentation of male … whatevers:

The Muppets

And so on, and so forth.

Focusing on my own work — the remark was about the Magic ex Libris series — let’s take a look, shall we? I’m adding a cut-tag here, because we’re about to get into minor spoiler territory.


Ending the Magic ex Libris Series

I noted on Facebook that Revisionary was the final book in the Magic ex Libris series. (Unless something drastic changes, like Hollywood paying me ridiculous money and making a movie, or the books suddenly hitting the NYT list.)

This note was met with a number of very disappointed comments, which is awesome. I mean, not awesome that people are sad or disappointed. But the fact that they loved the characters and the stories and wanted them to continue. That means an awful lot.

Libriomancer Codex Born Unbound Lg Revisionary - Art by Gene Mollica

This will be the third series I’ve brought to a close, and it’s bittersweet each time. In each case, I have ideas or notes or little scraps tucked away on the hard drive for potential continuations. A fourth goblin book, a fifth princess book … and in this case, there’s definite spinoff possibilities with Revisionary.

So why end the series? Several reasons.

  1. It gives me the chance to write something new. After all, if I’d never ended the princess series, we wouldn’t have the Libriomancer books. I know some authors can jump back and forth and juggle multiple series at once, but I have a much harder time with that.
  2. The series reached a natural stopping point, one that brings closure to a lot of the things I’ve been doing throughout the books. In truth, Unbound could have been a good end point as well, but I’m happy to have been able to take that next step with Revisionary.
  3. Economics. Libriomancer was my best-selling book to date, which is awesome. Thank you to everyone who bought, read, reviewed, or otherwise helped make that book so successful. Sales of subsequent books in a series almost always drop off. The question is how much they drop off, how much new books drive sales of the earlier books in the series, and so on. And while I consider this a successful series, it wasn’t successful enough to make Magic ex Libris #5 a better bet than writing something new.

I sent a pitch to my agent over the weekend, and revised it based on his feedback earlier today. I’m hopeful DAW will like the idea. I’m also working on Project Bob, an on spec manuscript (meaning it’s not under contract) that would let me branch out in a slightly new direction. There’s at least one more idea waiting in the queue as well.

My son gets very sad and upset when a show he likes comes to an end, and I understand where he’s coming from. He’s young enough he doesn’t understand the danger of a series stretching out too long and jumping the shark, or simply losing its magic. What he does know is that he likes the show and the characters and the stories, and it sucks that there won’t be any more.

I get that. And I hope that eventually, I’ll be able to come back and play more in these worlds. Maybe via self-publishing as things go out of print. Or maybe there will be a surge of renewed interest someday, and publishers will throw obscenely large bags of money at me.

But for now, Revisionary will be the final book in the series when it comes out in February of next year. As always, my thanks to everyone who’s followed along on this journey, and I hope you’ll join me for the next one.