Stepsister Scheme

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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Goblins on a Hugo

First off, a quick announcement. The Stepsister Scheme is now available from Audible.com as an audio book. The rest of the princess series will be getting the audio treatment as well, but I don’t have the release dates for the other books.

Earlier this year, I said that if I actually won a Hugo, I’d have to pose my goblins with it. I also did a back-and-forth dialogue in which the goblins talked about taking their shiny rocket to the moon and dropping moon rocks on the humans from their lunar goblin colony.

Tonight I finally found our digital camera, and voila! I give you: Goblins on a Hugo.

I had a plan if I lost, too. You see, all of the nominees get a Hugo pin…

Dream Casting

Interviewers often ask me who I’d cast if there were to be a movie of The Stepsister Scheme [Amazon | B&NMysterious Galaxy] and the subsequent books.  I don’t get out to see many movies, so I usually try to brush that question off.  But then on Twitter, I came across a reference to a new project from Felicia Day, and it occurred to me that she could do a very nice job of playing Danielle.

A few Tweets later, and we have:

Danielle: Felicia Day
Snow: Emma Stone or Kristen Bell?[1. I’m not familiar with their work. These were suggestions from two of my Twitter friends.] Talia: Zoe Saldana

And maybe Wil Wheaton for Diglet the goblin?  I know it’s a smaller part, but I could see him having lots of fun with that.

Dear Hollywood – please make it so.

What do you think?  Any ideas for the rest of the cast?  Queen Bea, Prince Armand, Hephyra (from books two and four, because of course we’re going to do all four films), Roudette, Trittibar, etc?

—-

Story Sale and Book Giveaway

Contracts are signed, and the announcement has been made: I’ve sold my story “The Blue Corpse Corps” to the Dragon Moon Press anthology When the Hero Comes Home, edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.  The book should be out in August, and includes stories by Jay Lake, Erik Scott de Bie, Todd McCaffrey, Julie Kagawa, Marie Bilodeau, Eric Buchanan, and more.

I’m amused and flattered to note that I’ve become a selling point.  The press release mentions that the book includes, “an all-new Jig the Goblin story by Jim C. Hines.”  That’s pretty darn cool.

To celebrate, I’m giving away one copy each (autographed, of course) of Goblin Quest [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]  and Stepsister Scheme [Amazon | B&NMysterious Galaxy].

 

“The Blue Corpse Corps” started with a comment on the blog about how fun it could be to do a goblins vs. zombies story.  To enter the giveaway, just comment and suggest who the goblins should take on next.  For example:

Goblins vs. My Little Ponies
Goblins vs. Doctor Who
Smudge vs. The Chipmunks

Make sure to specify which book you’re interested in: Stepsister or Goblin Quest.  One entry per person, and anyone can enter (this is not a U.S. only contest).  I’ll randomly select two winners next week.

Have fun!

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.

Hey — Free Books!

As people may or may not know, every time someone clicks on one of my Amazon links to buy a book (or anything else from Amazon), I get a small percentage back as Amazon gift credit.  This is why I usually list book titles like so: The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].

For a while now, I’ve used that credit to buy and give away books.  Thanks to everyone who’s clicked on those links over the past month or two, it’s time to hand out some more.

This time, I’m going to offer three signed copies of either Goblin Quest and The Stepsister Scheme.  If you’ve been thinking about trying one of my series but haven’t felt like shelling out $8, here’s your chance.  Or, if you already own the books but want an autographed copy, that’s okay too!  (But if you win a book you already own, I’d ask that you give your old copy to someone else who might appreciate it.)

To enter, just comment on this entry stating which of the two books you’d prefer and why.  Are you Team Goblin or Team Princess?  One entry per person, and anonymous commenters, please make sure I have some way to reach you.

I’ll pick three winners either over the weekend or early next week.

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 😉

Book Winners

First off, thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for The Stepsister Scheme [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].  Usually when I do these contests, I end up frustrated that I can’t give out more books.  I was hoping that by giving away four books this time, that might help.  But no.  There were still far too many fun entries, and I’m sorry I can’t just go on a book-giving spree and hand ’em out to everyone.

So with entries on LiveJournal, Facebook, and the Web site, I put together a big old list and used a random number generator to pick two winners: cebuscapucinus and Zachary A. Sheldon.

Actually choosing the other winners took a long time.  I finally settled on:

Adam English, who writes:

I will use my nefarious Microsoft connections to ensure that Windows 7 and/or Bing incorporates subtle subliminal messag…er…a desktop regarding The Stepsister Scheme! And if for some strange reason that doesn’t suffice (or uh, work out), here’s more:

1) After I win the free book, I’ll pass the copy to others with one catch: after reading, they must post a review of the book on Amazon by Oct 6th. Thus you’ll get more than just *my* review!

2) You want your books circulating through the pacific northwest. The caffeinated folks up here are passionate about discussing books and spreading the good word!

S. N. Arly, who writes:

1 – I adore fractured fairy tales and fairy tale re-tellings and really want to read this.
2 – Books that I like, by authors whose readership I want to help expand, get purchased for all gifting occasions.
3 – I’m buying fewer things for myself right now because I’m saving money for my 6 year old dog’s upcoming amputation.

And also jonxarn, who writes:

I should get a copy because your book resonates with me so deeply. You see, I too was the victim of a Stepsister Scheme. It’s difficult to talk about, but for you, Jim, I will tear open the scars.

My stepsister waylaid my true love and secreted her in a giant wicker hamster ball suspended from a golden rope spun from straw*. As soon as I found out, I knew what I had to do. To rescue her, I had to learn valuable lessons about love, life and others as well as the meaning of cheese**. On the way, I met new friends, learned new recipes and found a renewed interest in origami. It was magical***.

*(Though it turns out she had kicked her way free almost immediately****, slapped my stepsister, called my Mom to pick her up and arranged for my stepsister to get counseling. She was, in fact, Maid of Honor at my stepsister’s wedding. True story.)
**Deliciousness. The meaning of cheese is deliciousness.
***I did have to work 10 hour days for a couple of weeks to make up for the time I took off. But at least now I remember how to make an origami bull.
****Turns out wicker is not really known for its ability to resist kicking.

Yes, that’s five winners, not four.  It’s my contest, so I’m allowed.

Would the five winners please contact me with your mailing addresses, and letting me know how you’d like your books signed?  I’ll get those out in the mail next week.  And thanks in advance for the reviews 🙂  They don’t have to be positive, just honest.  (Though I obviously hope you’ll all enjoy it!)

Free Books Friday

I have another IBARW post planned, but haven’t had a chance to write it all out yet.  So instead, I figured I’d just give away some books.

Specifically, I’m giving away four autographed copies of The Stepsister Scheme [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy]. All I ask in return is that you post a review of the book between now and October 6.

Yes, it’s a blatant attempt to get a few more reviews out there before the next book hits the shelves.  But it’s also free books for you, so I figure it’s a win-win.

If you’re interested, post a comment telling me why you should be one of the chosen.  Serious reasons are welcome, as are the not-so-serious.  (Ex: I have my own blimp, and will use this to advertise my review over the Super Bowl.  I invented Google, and will make sure the Google logo incorporates the cover art for Mermaid on 10/6/09.  I’m Chuck Norris!  And so on…)

Two of the books will go to my favorite comments, and the other two winners will be drawn completely at random.  I’ll pick the winners after 1:00 p.m. EST tomorrow , 8/1/09, so you’ve got 24 hours.

As always, thanks to everyone who’s shopped at Amazon through my affiliate links.  You’re the ones making it possible for me to keep giving away free books.

Jim C. Hines