Mermaid’s Madness

Friday Wrapup, with LOL Book

Seanan McGuire (of Rosemary and Rue fame) has drawn a nifty promo piece for The Mermaid’s MadnessClick here to see her pretty little dead ghoul mermaid in all her glory.

• Tomorrow (9/26) from 11 am – 7 pm I’ll be at the Durand Fantasy Expo.  Details available on the Facebook page or on MySpace.  Lots of nifty guests lined up.

• I’ve heard from three separate sources now that Mermaid is on the shelves at some Borders stores.  Woo!  (I’d still call ahead though, just to make sure.)

• Finally, Elizabeth Bear unveiled the cover of her forthcoming book Bone and Jewel Creatures.  I like this cover an awful lot, and decided to express my appreciation in LOL form.  (For newcomers, the entire LOL Book series is available in my LJ archives, if you’re interested.)  Enjoy!

Dedications

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 😉

Three Weeks to Mermaid!

• I don’t link to many reviews of my work, but I’m going to make an exception for this one.  sigelphoenix has posted one of the most thoughtful reviews of The Stepsister Scheme [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] that I’ve come across.  Some spoilers, but worth reading: http://sigelphoenix.insanejournal.com/168038.html

• Balancing this out, Andrew Wheeler glanced at a copy of Mermaid and warns readers to “Expect a lot of singing Motown into shampoo bottles, or whatever the fantasy-novel equivalent of the ‘girls bonding montage’ is, when The Mermaid’s Madness hits stores.”  Hmph.  I’ll have you know my book contains absolutely no shampoo, minimal singing, and only a few bondage scenes.

• Hey reviewers!  The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] has gone to press, which means physical copies of the book exist, even if they aren’t showing up in stores quite yet.  If you would like a review copy of the book, please contact me, and I’ll try to hook you up with my publicist.

Finally, I wanted to present some SHOCKING REVELATIONS FROM THE MERMAID’S MADNESS!*

  1. Snow White becomes a Sparkly Vampire®.  (She is awfully pale…)
  2. Meet Queen Beatrice’s newest agent: Dragonslayer.  Jig Dragonslayer.  007, License to Cower.
  3. Magical power is revealed to come from tiny magichlorians in the blood.
  4. Snow White gropes Neil Gaiman.
  5. Danielle, Talia, Snow White, and the Little Mermaid transform and merge into SuperMegaPrincessZoid.
  6. Prince Armand comes back in time, blows up Lorindar, and reboots the whole series using mysterious “Puce Matter.”
  7. Montage of all three princesses singing Motown into shampoo bottles.
  8. Fairy Tale Princesses vs. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!
  9. In a shameless attempt to build Internet buzz, Talia tapes bacon to a mermaid.

Feel free to suggest your own 🙂


*It’s possible that some or all of these shocking revelations might have been cut from the final manuscript…

Welcome New Readers, and Mermaid gets Klausnered

I wanted to say hello and welcome to all of the new readers who’ve found this blog over the past month or so.  Please make yourselves comfortable, and feel free to say hello or to just hang out and lurk if you prefer.

It’s interesting to see the pattern play itself out.  I’ll post a rant or weigh in on a current controversy in the genre, and the readership grows.  A few days later I’ll post a day-to-day update on the writing, and the friends list starts shrinking back down.  C’est la vie.

To be clear, this is not an all-rants, all-the-time blog, and I hope people will feel free to friend or defriend, and read or not as the mood strikes.  The only real theme here is “Stuff Jim Felt Like Writing About.”  That might be sexism in the Hugo Awards or it might be a kick-ass LEGO wheelchair.  With my next book coming out in a month, I’ll probably be talking about that too, because even though it’s my fifth book with DAW, I still get excited and freaked out about this stuff.  I hope to keep things interesting and entertaining most of the time, but if you don’t think so, that’s okay too.

So hey, speaking of The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy], I’ve seen my first public review of the book, courtesy of reviewer savant Harriet Klausner.  It’s a pretty standard Klausner review, which means spoilers, strange details that don’t completely match the book, and one or two spots where she tries too hard to be clever.  (A “regal coma”?  Really?)  Review is here if you’re interested.

On the other hand, it’s the first review of the book.  Klausner is kind of like the first robin of spring.  Her song might be a little off-key after the long winter, but that doesn’t matter because you know there will soon be an entire flock chirping up a storm outside your window.  (Or, to extend the metaphor, leaving their droppings all over your beautiful book.  But I’m not going to think about that today.)

One Question Interviews

Yesterday was my day to blog at SF Novelists.  This time I talk about the ups and downs of starting a new novel: That New Manuscript Smell.

Some of you might have seen this already, but Nnedi Okorafor’s My Response to District 419 — I mean District 9 is very much worth reading.  Go.  I’ll wait.

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Five weeks until The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] comes out.  Anxious?  Me?  Not at all.  I always spend this much time Googling for pre-release reviews.

I’ve also been trying to figure out how best to promote the release online.  I’ve talked about writers and promotion a fair amount over the years.  It’s always a balancing act between wanting to sell the book and getting so obnoxious you just turn people away.  Some lines are pretty clear cut.  Others less so.

For a while, some of the SF Novelists group were doing interviews to be posted when one of us had a new book out.  I did this with Stepsister, and looking back, I don’t think that worked too well.  Authors interviewing other authors can be effective, if it’s a good interview.  But in this case you still ended up with the same interview being posted multiple times all over the place, and I suspect that got old quick.

I wonder how many people even read these lengthy interviews.  Maybe if it’s a big name like Terry Pratchett, but how many of you actually read author interviews from random midlisters?

So here’s the deal.  I’m going to try the interview thing again, but we’re doing it differently this time.  You’re all invited to play along, but you only get one question.  You can ask anything you’d like, serious or silly.  Just make that question count.

What I ask is that you post your question and my answer on October 6 when Mermaid comes out.  If you want to say a little about Mermaid or Stepsister, that’s wonderful, but not required.  The only requirement is that you link back to the index of questions.  (I’ll provide that URL.)

Questions should be sent to mermaid@jimchines.com any time between now and 10/2/09.  I’ll answer every question I receive.  (Please note that I’m not guaranteeing a serious answer to every question.)

What do you think?  I’m hoping this will lead to a lot of fun and interesting posts without being overwhelming or repetitive.  I could always toss in a free book for a random participant, or let people vote on the best question?  Maybe a copy of Strip Mauled, which should be coming out the week before?

Random Updatery

Memo to self: insulin is a wonderful drug, one which is much more effective when you remember to take it.  Sigh.  It’s been ages since I’ve seen a number that high on my glucose meter.  (402 if you’re curious, with normal being around 80-120.  I am not pleased with myself.)

Marriott update: The Stamford Marriott has responded to the outcry over their victim-blaming defense in a rape case.  They are stating that the legal case has been handled by their insurance company, and they are asking that this defense be withdrawn.  Details here.  I did not expect this, and I’m pleased to see them trying to get that defense stricken, even if the article makes it seem like they’re mostly worried about saving their reputation.

Mermaid countdown: 42 days until The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] comes out.  Gosh, getting Red Hood turned in means I can stop worrying about my deadline and start freaking out about Mermaid’s release.  Yay!  If you need me, I’ll be scouring the ‘net for advance reviews and watching the Amazon pre-order ranking 🙂

Since I’ve got nothing else to blather about this morning, I’ll leave you with this pic from 2 Much Caffeine.  Click for a larger view.  (He’s also got some other fun pics, including steampunk LEGO and an Indiana Jones scene, but this was my favorite.)

 

Talking About Mermaid

IBARW link: nojojojo talking about the cost of anger, and addressing the idea that people are just looking for something to be angry about, like it’s some sort of hobby or something.  This one stayed with me.

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It was pointed out that while I’ve been freaking out over Red Hood’s Revenge, the rest of the world (I wish!) has been anxiously awaiting the release of The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy], which got me thinking maybe I should actually talk about the forthcoming book a little 🙂

1.  First a quick request – DAW has generously provided me a big box of Mermaid bookmarks.  If you’re going to be at a convention in the next 3-4 months and wouldn’t mind dropping bookmarks on the freebies table, please let me know.

2.  I posted on Facebook that my wife had read Mermaid, and after thinking about it a while, has declared it my best book yet.  Any positive review makes me smile, but this one means more than most 🙂  I’m particularly pleased, since this one’s dedicated to her.

3.  I added a new bit to the Goodies page for Mermaid.  Check it out if you want to see the inspiration for Stub, the ship’s cat on the Phillipa (or if you just want to see pics of my three-legged cat Pod).

4.  Finally, one of the turning points for this book–the whole series, actually–came as I was thinking about … well, I’ll put the rest under a cut for spoiler reasons.

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Roundup & Potentially Obnoxious Publicity

1. In less than 24 hours, the Mermaid’s Madness auction for NCADV is up to $65.  Y’all are awesome.  That is all.

2. My friend Pearl North has a new YA novel out from Tor Teen called Libyrinth [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].  I think I want to live in this world:

For as long as she can remember, Haly has heard the voices of the books.  Growing up in the Libyrinth, a library so large that people sometimes get lost in it and never come out, she has been surrounded by words and stories her entire life.

3. I’m not happy, but I’ve asked for and received a two-week extension on Red Hood’s Revenge.  In the larger scheme of things, this shouldn’t make much of a difference.  Sometimes it’s more than two weeks before the editor has a chance to read the manuscript anyway.  And given how lousy the writing is going this week, I think it’s better to have the cushion.  It still makes me grumpy, though.

Potentially Obnoxious Publicity Questions:Yesterday I posted a graphic for the Mermaid auction, along with the code for folks to copy and repost.  Partly I did this just because it amused me to stick purple ribbons onto my characters, but the real goal was obviously to get some links back to the auction and spread the word.  (Huge thanks to those of you who did so, by the way!)

At what point does this sort of thing become annoying to you personally?  Reading through my own friends list, I saw where several entries in a row with my own graphic.  When does “effective word of mouth” become too much and turn into “if I see this crap one more time I’m gonna drive to Michigan and crotchpunch this guy!”

It’s tricky.  Someone with a large blogroll will tend to see the same promo a lot, whereas less obsessive blog readers might only come across it once.  From my standpoint, I want to reach as many people as I can, but I don’t want to piss them off in the process.

Ideally, when Mermaid comes out, I think the ENTIRE INTERNET should be talking about it.  Realistically, I’m working on ideas that would hopefully generate some buzz and links, but would also provide unique content as opposed to simply repeating the same graphic, interview, or link 100+ times.  Even so, there’s still an oversaturation risk, and I want to be aware of that.

What do you think?  What works, what doesn’t, and where is the line?

Mermaid’s Madness Auction to Benefit NCADV

Last year, I auctioned off an autographed Advance Review Copy of The Stepsister Scheme to raise money for National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  With ARCs in hand for The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy], I’m doing the same thing.  The themes of the series in general and this book in particular make NCADV a perfect recipient for this fundraiser.

Rather than using eBay again (and letting them take a portion of the funds), I’m going to try hosting the auction on my own site.  Please post your bid in the comments at http://www.jimchines.com/2009/07/mermaid-auction/ no later than midnight EST on July 23. 

The rules:

  1. Starting bid is $5.
  2. Bids need to be in at least $1 increments (though you’re welcome to go higher).  No penny ante $5.01 bidding wars, please.
  3. Make sure you include a valid e-mail address (which won’t be published).
  4. Bids must be placed at the jimchines.com address.  Bids at LJ, Facebook, Dreamwidth, or anywhere else the blog is syndicated won’t count, ’cause that gets way too confusing.
  5. I’ll mail the ARC to the winner within 2 business days of receiving payment.

I’ll mail the winner an autographed ARC of the book.  If bidding exceeds $100, I’ll throw in an autographed copy of another of my books (your choice) to go with it.

If you don’t want to bid but still feel like donating, the NCADV donations page is at http://www.ncadv.org/donate.php

Please feel free to spread the word, either by copying and pasting the code below, or simply mentioning the auction on your blog.  Thanks in advance, everyone!

SF Novelists & Electronic Goblins

Today is my day at SF Novelists, where I wax not-so-eloquently on what makes a story. I also offer another free book, ’cause I like giving away books 🙂

http://www.sfnovelists.com/2009/06/24/whats-a-story/

Oh, and before I forget, it looks like Goblin Quest is going to be released in Kindle and other e-book formats on July 7.  I’m excited, since this means the entire goblin trilogy will finally be available in electronic format.

Finally, I’m told I should be getting page proofs for The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] very soon now.  Between this and the rewrite on Red Hood, blogging and e-mail might be a little light for the next few weeks.

Jim C. Hines