Goblin War

Flashback: June 5, 2006

Ah, June 5, 2006. I remember it like it was exactly eight years ago.

This was the day I wrote the very first line of Goblin War [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. A historic day, one which should be remembered and celebrated for centuries to come!


At this point, I’m waiting on a few story critiques, as well as comments on Goblin Hero from my editor. So I figured, what better way to hurry things along than to start something else? That way I’m sure to get an interruption soon ūüėČ

So today, I wrote the first line of Goblin War. Then I wrote some other lines, but that didn’t feel as significant. Something about putting down those first few words … I’m really doing it. I’m really starting another novel. There it is, with Jig’s name and everything.

I also did a bit more brainstorming about a problem. See, in Goblin Quest, the goal is a big powerful toy with enough magic to make a man (or a goblin) pretty dang powerful. But once such a toy exists, it’s a part of your world, and you have to consider it when you’re writing further stories. Big, scary bad guy? Use the toy and blip them out of existence. Suddenly your big, challenging novel becomes a one-page short-short.

In book two, there’s a logical reason why this toy can’t be used. It’s a slight stretch, but it works. I may have to make it more clear, I don’t know … we’ll see what the editor says.

Not so for book three. My whole plot outline was set up by ignoring that magical toy, and that’s cheating. Star Trek used to do that … Kirk and Spock steal a cloaking device, but never bother to use it. They build a nifty new engineering toy, then forget about it in the next episode. That’s just dumb.

But then today I figured out how to take it out of the equation. It’s not cheating, and in fact it’s perfectly consistent with the various characters and their motivations. Plus it’ll be funny. So that’s a bit of a relief.

And to celebrate, I give you the first line of Goblin War. (Which may change when I come back and rewrite, but that’s okay.)

Goblin war drums wouldn’t be so bad, Jig decided, if the drummers could only stick to a consistent beat.

My Son Reviews Goblin War

My wife has been reading the goblin books to my eight-year-old son. Earlier this week, they finished the final book in the trilogy, Goblin War [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. I admit, I’m a little sad. This has been an amazing thing to watch. Toward the end, I found myself sneaking over to the couch to listen to my wife read and watch Jackson’s reactions. When I tucked him in at night, we’d talk about the latest chapter and what he thought might happen next.

But then I realized it’s not quite over! I’ve got five goblin short stories they can read, too! We started in on “Goblin Lullaby,” which has already led to some diaper-related laughter ūüôā

In the meantime, here are Jackson’s thoughts on Goblin War, as transcribed by me.

What is Goblin War about?

It’s about Jig and how he and Shadowstar have to defeat Billa and her god Issa. Relka, who was stabbed in the belly by Jig in Goblin Hero, became obsessed with Jig and Shadowstar. And Darnak comes back, because Theodore got the Rod of Creation. He used it to [SPOILER]!

Who are your favorite characters, and why?

Jig, because he’s the main character. And Tymalous Shadowstar, the other main character. I like them.

What about the other characters?

Yeah, I liked them too. I really liked how you made Noc and Issa.

What was the best part of the story?

I can’t decide. It’s too good!

Okay, what were some of the best parts?

I liked when it showed about Jig as a baby.

Let’s see… Don’t type that. Daddy!

I liked when Jig, Relka, and Trok had to clean the wolf pen. Smelly (one of the wolves) rolled around in the poop!

Were there any parts you didn’t like?


What’s the best book, Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero, or Goblin War?

Goblin War.

Who should read this book?


I always say that, because I really like them.

What do you think will happen to Jig and the goblins next?

I think that more characters will come back, either Veka or Riana.

Goblin Wedding

Fan mail is always nice. I love hearing from people who have enjoyed the goblins or the princesses, or even just a short story I wrote.  But this week, I received an e-mail that took it to a whole new level of writerly awesomeness.

Bartosz Walczyk from Poland e-mailed to thank me, explaining that Wojna Goblina (Goblin War) was directly responsible for him meeting his fiancee Ann.¬† Today’s post was late because I was waiting on permission to share the story.¬† In his own words:

I’m a teacher at school and I have been assigned a substitution to one of the schools – as I had some free time then, I took up the challenge. You have to imagine that at school there is always much work that needs to be done, so time is really short. And shy as I am, I don’t like going to people, greeting and meeting them. Especially when I know that I will be working with them for very little time.¬† But when I saw someone sitting in a corner of the teacher room reading Goblin War, I had no choice but to approach that woman. And this is how it started. Believe me, without the book, I would never have done it.

Bartosz and Ann are engaged to be married in 2011, and I’m told one of the first things they did together was to finish reading Goblin War.

Coolest.  Reader.  E-mail.  Ever!

My heartfelt congratulations to them both.  And for the rest of you, forget match.com and e-harmony and the rest.  If you really want to meet your soul mate, pick up a copy of Goblin War [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy]!


So I’m (obviously) back from ConFusion.¬† Had a wonderful and crazy time.¬† Saw many excellent people, and did not get to spend near enough time with most of them.¬† (I did get to play with the Buckell twins though.¬† Twins = exponentially increased cuteness!!!)

Brain and body are a bit fried.¬† I’m planning to write something a bit more coherent, but in the meantime, have a picture of me and Chewie from the con.¬† This photo was taken mere minutes before Chewbacca turned and ripped the arms off of that stormtrooper behind us.¬† Click the thumbnail for the larger shot.


I’m still taking interview questions.¬† I’ve got a dozen or so good ones, but nothing silly yet.¬† Knowing y’all, this surprises me.¬† If you’re interested, e-mail a question at mermaid@jimchines.com and I’ll add you to the drawing to win a copy of Strip Mauled.¬† All I ask is that you post the Q&A on 10/6 when Mermaid officially comes out.

This was what I saw Sunday afternoon¬†in¬†the SF/F section at Schuler Books in the Meridian Mall.¬† Isn’t it a beautiful sight?*¬† That little hand belongs to my son, who lit up at the sight of Daddy’s books on the shelf.¬† He was almost as excited as I was.

Of course, he got bored fast when he had to wait for Daddy to sign everything.¬† But then I took him back and showed him the dedication page for Goblin War.¬† He read the letters one by one, and all the energy came rushing back.¬† “That’s me!”¬† Then he looked up at me and asked, “Why is my name in your book?”

It’s a good question, and got me thinking about the dedications I’ve done, and why.¬† In part, dedicating a book is a gift I can give that feels special.¬† But there’s more.

Goblin War: To My Son

  • Because you embody everything I love about my goblins–the cleverness, the humor, the berserker attacks against your Daddy…
  • Because even if you betray me and ascend to the rank of Death God, I’ll still¬†watch over you and protect you.
  • Because of Shadowstar’s “He’s my son” scene on pages 300-302.

Stepsister Scheme: To My Daughter

  • Because my wishes for you include Snow’s joy, Talia’s strength, and Danielle’s heart.
  • Because you’re as beautiful as any princess.
  • Because you don’t need to be rescued.
  • Because without you,¬†this series¬†wouldn’t exist.

Mermaid’s Madness: To My Wife

  • Because this was the worst deadline pressure I’d ever experienced, and you still loved me when it was all over.
  • Because in so many ways, you are the Beatrice of this family.¬† (Even though your Dad’s pontoon boat isn’t quite as cool as the Phillipa.)
  • Because part of this series is about family and teamwork, and you’ve taught me so much about both.

I didn’t know how to explain all of this to a four-year-old.¬† So I just told him it was because I loved him, and that I’d explain it more when he was older.¬† He seemed content with this.¬† But the whole thing left me feeling unusually sappy, so I thought I’d share with you all.

*Most bookstores won’t have it in stock yet … though it might be worth a phone call to check ūüėČ

Jim C. Hines