Red Hood’s Revenge

The Princess Series Comes to UK Territories

Hey, check out these e-books that just came out in the UK and its territories!

The Stepsister Scheme - UK Cover The Mermaid's Madness - UK Cover
Red Hood's Revenge - UK Cover
The Snow Queen's Shadow - UK Cover

All four books are still available in print and e-book from DAW in the United States, but there’s never been a UK edition. Until now!

::Dramatic music plays::

Book one, The Stepsister Scheme, is £2.80, and the rest are £3.50. (That includes VAT.)

I’ll be updating with additional sales links as the books go live at various vendors.

  • The Stepsister Scheme: Amazon
  • The Mermaid’s Madness: Amazon
  • Red Hood’s Revenge: Amazon
  • The Snow Queen’s Shadow: Amazon

Here’s the all-new cover copy for book one:

The epic, action-packed story of what happened after the fairy tales.

Once upon a time, a girl named Danielle (better known as Cinderella) escaped her evil stepmother, married a prince, and according to the stories, lived happily ever after.

The stories lie.

Danielle Whiteshore has no sooner moved into the palace when her stepsisters show up to kidnap her prince and steal him away to the realm of fairies. To save Prince Armand, Danielle needs more than the enchanted glass sword her mother left her. She needs the Queen’s secret protectors: the deadly warrior and assassin Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and the fun-loving, flirtatious witch known as Snow White.

Plunged into a world of adventure and intrigue, Danielle must forge the trio into a team if they’re to rescue her prince and survive the machinations of a foe far deadlier than her stepsisters.

I love that these books are finally available to a wider audience. (Even if it meant going back and adding all those extra U’s to the words.)

And as always, I really hope people enjoy them!

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Notes From a Booksigning

Thanks to everyone who came out to Schulers last night!  I hope you all enjoyed yourself.  Thanks also to the staff at the store, particularly Emily, who did the planning and prep work.

I’m told they ordered 50 copies of Red Hood’s Revenge.  By the end of the night, I believe there were two left.  Booksignings can be hit or miss, but I’m counting this one as a solid win.  As always, it was a bit of a blur, but here are some of the things I remember:

1. Jim C. Hines, demonstrating his professional writing skills, attempts to spell Linda’s name with a “Th”.  Sigh.

2. Seeing my parents pick up the book for the first time, and their reactions when they discovered I had dedicated it to them.  (Followed by Emily’s comment, “And you’re making them buy their own copy???”)

3. The following exchange:

“Can you sign these for charity?”
Jim: “Sure!  So you just want an autograph, then?  No dedication?”
“Um … I was kind of hoping you could sign them to me, Charity.”
Jim: “D’oh!”

4. My son coming up to sit on my lap at the end of the night and announcing “I want to sign a book!”

5. Seeing everyone — friends, coworkers, family, and strangers — who came out to hear me read and get a book signed.  (Or maybe just to eat pizza.)

Someday I’ll learn how to balance wanting to talk to everyone with the need to keep the line moving.  Still working on that…

The downside to the evening was coming home and banning someone from my LiveJournal.  Much as I enjoyed the booksigning, I’m still an introvert.  I can be “on” for an event, but leaves me drained afterward, and I just didn’t have the sporks to deal with this person.

I suppose I should be grateful that the False Reporting post was ban-free for the first 200 comments, but I still hate doing it.

But enough of that.  The signing was a blast, and we sold the heck out of my books, so I’m gonna hold on to that feeling.  Dr. Phil, who braved thunderstorms to drive out from Kalamazoo, posted a few pictures of the event.  I like the “reading faces” one 🙂

And because I haven’t done one in a little while, here’s a LEGO pic for the Futurama fans.  Behold the World of Tomorrow, by Pepa Quin.  Click here or on the photo for the full collection.

Applying the Bechdel Test

Many of you are probably familiar with the Bechdel Test, named after Alison Bechdel, and originally posited by Liz Wallace.  The test simply asks whether a movie meets the following criteria:

(1) It has at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.

The rule works with written fiction too, and can be applied to more than just gender.  For example, The Stepsister Scheme passes the test with flying colors, but if you ask whether there are at least two nonwhite characters who talk to each other … well, no.  Likewise, it fails if you apply it to visibly lesbian/gay characters.

Red Hood’s Revenge, on the other hand, passes all three of those permutations of the test.  Yay, I win at Bechdel, right?

Now let’s time how long it takes someone to point out that the series fails the test miserably when applied to men.  There are more than two male characters, but I don’t know that they ever talk to one another, and if so, I doubt it’s about anything except our heroines.

BECHDELFAIL!

So does this mean I should add a pair of male sidekicks?  Maybe goblin males, who can chat about the finer points of barbequeued knight?  The armor holds in the juices … okay, actually that sounds like fun.  But I’m gonna say no.

The point isn’t that a “good” story must be like Noah’s ark, having at least two of every character variant.  To me, the test is a way to illustrate how few stories actually have multiple female characters, and if so, they’re often present simply as “accessories” to our male heroes.

I don’t worry that my books fail the test when applied to men, mostly because I can’t remember the last book I read that didn’t pass the “Male Bechdel Test” … but I could give you a long list of books that fail when applied to women, to LGBT characters, to nonwhite characters…

It’s an awareness thing.  It’s something I think we need to be more conscious of, both as readers and as writers.  Stepsister Scheme has only a single non-white human character.  Was that a deliberate choice, or did I simply use white as the (lazy) default?

Or take the zombie story I just sold, for example — those characters were white because I had a week to write the story, and I didn’t bother to think about it.  I just defaulted to white.  (Okay, more of a grayish tinge actually, but still.)

Was I wrong to make them white?  Should I have made them black or Native American or Inuit or something else?  Not necessarily … there might be valid reasons why most of the zombies in that situation and location would be white.  But as the writer, that should have been a conscious decision on my part, not a default.

Discussion is welcome, as always.

Red Hood Discussion Post

This is your official discussion post for Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  It probably goes without saying that there will be spoilers in the comments.

I figure this is your discussion space, so while I’m happy to answer questions, I’m also more than happy to stay out of it and let people chat.  Hm … to clarify, I’m happy to answer questions about anything except what happens in book four 🙂

Have fun!

I’m Back!

For anyone who’s had the chance to read Red Hood yet, if you felt like posting a review at Amazon and helping to knock that Harriet Klausner review off the front page, I’d be much obliged.  “Little Lady of the Red Hood” indeed…

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I’m back!  Had a lovely vacation up north.  Kids spent most of the week swimming and working on their sunburns.  Everyone stayed up way too late, and most days I got to sleep in until 9 or even 10 in the morning.

Stopped by the local bookstore, which didn’t have Red Hood, but did have Crosscurrent [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] by my friend Paul Kemp.  It took me a few chapters to really get into it, mostly because I haven’t been reading the expanded universe Star Wars stuff, so I didn’t know the characters or recent events.  But it was a fun story (Star Wars + time travel!), albeit a bit dark at times, and an excellent vacation read.  Finished the book in about a day.

Ah, vacation…

I also hopped online a few times to check e-mail, Amazon ranking, Bookscan numbers, and so on.  Vacation or no, my book was coming out, and I had to be there!  I had to be doing something.  I had to … well … I don’t know.  It’s kind of strange, actually.  Turns out my book was released just fine without me.

Could it be that I didn’t need to be online 24/7 when the book came out?  Crazy talk, I know.  I mean, I did have some blog posts prewritten and scheduled, and I had warned my wife that we’d need to drive into town so I could post a Twitter update or two on release day … but we didn’t get into town until later that afternoon, and as far as I could tell, books continued to sell even when I wasn’t watching.  Heck, it’s too early to say for certain, but this one might even be selling better than the previous books.

Weird.

None of this comes as a real surprise.  Intellectually, I know my control and influence over the book is pretty much done the day I turn in the final manuscript.  Emotionally though, I still like to pretend I’m involved, and to cling to the illusion that I continue to have more control over the fate of the book.

Time to let go, I suppose.  Fly, little book.  Be free.  Enjoy your time on the New Releases shelf.  August will be here all too soon, and then far too many of you will be stripped and returned.  But until then, get out there and make your author proud.

Tomorrow I’ll probably be putting up a discussion post for the book.  And apropos of nothing, here’s a shot from when I was playing with the panorama setting on our digital camera last week.  Click for full size.

Why Read Red Hood?

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Fun fact: Monday’s blog post was written three days in the past.  But this one was written seven days in the past!  That’s right, Jim is moving backward in time!!!  He promises to bring you back a dinosaur.

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So Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] has been out for most of a week now.  It’s a bit strange to think back to … I think it was 2004 or 2005, when I started playing around with the idea of turning these fairy tale princesses into action heroines.  I remember the excitement as I realized Sleeping Beauty’s fairy gifts made her the ideal ninja, or that Snow White could be a master of mirror magic.

Then here we are, half a decade later.  The third book is out, and readers everywhere are rushing to read it.  (At least, that’s the vision I’m choosing to hold on to!)

So today’s blog question is:

Hey Jim, why should I join the dozens millions billions of people reading Red Hood’s Revenge?

Good question, made-up reader!  Here are my completely objective and unbiased answers, many of which are actually true.

1. Talia’s fairy curse.  I’m not going to spoil this, but the writers out there know the feeling you get when you come up with a twist that just feels right, something that blows you away.  The “truth” behind Sleeping Beauty’s curse did that for me, and I’m hopeful readers will feel the same way.

2. There will be smooching!  (No, it’s not a kissing book.  It has plenty of fencing and fighting, too.)

3. Hey, what ever happened to _______?  I answer this question, for a certain value of ______.

4. All of the cool kids are reading it.

5. If you rearrange the words in the right order, you get a secret message from the president of Zenbox VII.

6. Two words: sewer goblins.

7. Certain elements in this book are guaranteed to offend twice as many people as previous books.

8. The pages are pine scented, so you can use the book as an air freshener for your car after you finish reading.

9. Gazebo.

10. Because kick-ass princesses are awesome, that’s why!

Readers Promoting Writers

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Please feel free to comment and let him know whether you people of the future are zipping around in flying cars and personal jet packs yet!

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] came out yesterday.  One question that comes up a lot with book releases is how readers can help to promote the writer.  Either the writer wants to get the readers to help spread the word, or else the readers actively ask what they can do to support the writer’s new book.  So here are Jim’s thoughts on:

What readers can do to support their favorite books!

It’s simple enough, really.

Step 1: Get yourself hired as the head buyer for a major bookstore chain.
Step 2: Stock up on the works of Jim C. Hines.
Step 3: Profit!

For those of us not in a position to take over as a buyer, I refer you to the blog post I did asking where you learn about new books.  (On LJ here.)  Reading through the answers confirmed a lot of what I already suspected: word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful factors in getting people to pick up a book.

I’ve seen and tried a lot of different things to publicize books.  I’ve done author interviews.  I’ve provided HTML code people could copy and repaste with the book’s cover and info.  But … and perhaps this is a “Duh!” moment … what seems to work best is simply people talking about the books they love, and why.

So if you want to help support the princess books, or any books for that matter, just talk about them.  Write a blog post describing what you love about the stories or the characters or the world.  It doesn’t have to be a formal review or anything like that (though reviews are always appreciated).  Your excitement about a book you loved will sell that book far more effectively than the author ever could.

And if you’re really not comfortable with that, there’s always cosplaying your favorite character 😉

Other suggestions and ideas on what to do (and also what not to do) are more than welcome!

Red Hood’s Revenge: Out Today!!!

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Please feel free to comment and tell him what the future looks like.

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Happy book day to me!!!  Today marks the official release of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], the third book in my princess series.  Pass it on!

Preview the first two chapters
Learn about the series

Normally I try not to go overboard with my own book promotion here.  From reading other people’s blogs, I know a little goes a long way, and it’s easy to get carried away.  But when a new book comes out, I give myself permission to celebrate and promote for a few days.

This week, I’m going to try to answer a few questions that come up with each new book release, starting with this one:

Where and when should people buy my books?

Different authors will give you different answers to this question.  Mine is pretty straightforward: if you want to buy my books, do so wherever it’s convenient for you.

I get the same royalty whether you buy from Amazon, B&N, or your local independent bookstore.  Technically speaking, for things like making the Locus Bestseller list, there are certain stores where sales are weighted more heavily than others … but you know what?  That’s not your problem.  I’d love to make the list again, but I’m not going to try to force it by sending everyone out to a specific list of stores.

I do have a soft spot for independent bookstores, since many of them have been very supportive of my career from day one.  But if you don’t have a good independent store, or you’re just not up for one more errand, I have no problem at all with people hopping onto Amazon to order there.  (Plus then I get to watch my Amazon rank drop!)

As to when people should buy?  Again, I’m going to say you should buy it whenever you like.  Early sales are important, don’t get me wrong.  The more the books sell in these first weeks, the more likely the stores are to restock.  Not to mention it makes my publisher, my agent, and me happy to see those big early sales numbers.

But it’s up to you.  I know not everyone who reads my blog buys my books, and that’s fine.  And I’m not going to insist you all run out today to pick up your copy.

On the other hand, I’m planning to do a discussion post for Red Hood’s Revenge next week.  So if you do buy and read the book this week, you’ll be able to get in on all of the spoilery conversation and speculation 😉

Vacation

So tomorrow my family heads north for vacation.  We’ll be gone for a week … the same week that Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out.  This is going to be interesting.

Since I won’t be around on Tuesday, I went ahead and drew a winner for the 8th and final book giveaway.  Congratulations to lavvyan, who wrote the following:

Han Solo: Good book? You’ve never heard of Red Hood’s Revenge?

Obi-Wan: Should I have?

Han Solo: It’s the book that made the Barnes & Noble Top 10 in less than twelve parsecs. It’s outclassed Imperial bestsellers. Not the lauded self-help junk, mind you, I’m talking about the big NY Times hits now. It’s good enough for you, old man.

I hope people enjoyed these giveaways.  I had a great time reading all of your entries.

It’s strange to think I’ll be away, with little Internet access, on my release day.  How will I obsess over my Amazon ranking?  How will I scour the net for reviews?  (Okay, so I’ll probably make my family drive into town on Tuesday so I can get online at least once via the wireless at Subway, but still.)  It’s going to be hard.

On the other hand, here’s a “self portrait” I took last year when we went up north.  So you know what?  I think I’ll manage 🙂

One Week Left (and Another Book Giveaway)

Only one week until the official launch of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], though the book is already showing up in a fair number of bookstores.  I’ve been counting down to the release by giving away a free book each week.

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Katherine O’Kelly.

I’ve seen a few reports pop up from readers who have picked up a copy of Red Hood.  Early reactions seem to be pretty positive, and so far I haven’t had the anxiety dream where Darth Vader shows up, waving a copy of the book at me and saying in that raspy voice, “I find your lack of plot disturbing.”

Anyway, for the eighth and final book giveaway–

No, wait.  I just had a better idea.  I’m far too amused by the idea of Darth Vader as a reviewer or critiquer.  So for this giveaway, leave a comment with another Vader-style critique of my book.  (You may also use other Star Wars characters if you like … except for Jar-Jar!)

Post your answer, and I’ll pick one winner at random next week.  (Please note that I’ll be up north next week, and Internet access will be spotty, so I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to choose and announce the winner.)  The winner receives her/his choice of one of the following:

Have fun!

ETA: Heh … everyone’s being so nice!  My ego appreciates this, but it’s certainly not required.  “What a piece of junk!” is an equally acceptable critique 🙂

Jim C. Hines