Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hand Drawn Maps ROCK!

I recently Tweeted about this, but it's too cool to confine to 140 characters. I found the Hand Drawn Map Association! Check this one out, the Blue Plate Map!

It's a great site to explore. Some of the maps suck a little bit, but every single one of them has more character than anything generated by a machine. You can have your cold, calculated, stunningly accurate GPS maps; I'll take maps generated by someone else's set of spatial relationships any day! The possibility that you might not reach your intended destination by following them is a large part of their beauty! Every hand-drawn map represents a paradigm shift and the opportunity to visit someone else's head space for a while.

I'm going to submit my own map soon, and rather than populate the dangerous, unknown areas with illustrations of sea monsters, I will sketch caricatures of social conservatives.

E-readers? Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Haven't got myself an e-book reader yet. Don't know that I will in the future, either; while I've embraced blogs and Twitter and all kinds of other Information Age goodies, I might be an old-fashioned curmudgeon about this particular invention. As this article suggests, there's something sacred about a book. There's a smell of paper, glue and ink that you'll never get from an e-book reader, though that's more of an olfactory delight than a sense of the sacred.

A good book will last you a lifetime if you take care of it. You'll never have to throw it away for a newer model, update its operating system, charge its battery, or worry about what naughty chemicals inside it might be toxic. And with old school books, you also get to buy build-it-yourself bookshelves from Ikea and find out one little doodad is missing when you put it together, and no one should walk the earth without going through that at least once.

Leaping to this new technology will also mean leaving all the older books behind, something akin to shrugging at the burning of the Library at Alexandria and saying, "Oh well, that was all old stuff, anyway." If it's out of print, you won't be able to get it on your e-book. I have an old copy of The I Inside by Alan Dean Foster. I read it again every couple of years, always enjoying the tale of Eric discovering he's an alien construct. Won't be able to geek out over gems like that on an e-book, unless publishers wish to go to the expense of paying for electronic rights for their back catalogs. (Methinks legal wars are a'brewin' over that already.)

I think e-readers are an excellent idea for many, many people. My agent loves his; he uses his Kindle to read electronically submitted manuscripts, as many agents do, saving on paper, and I have to applaud that. But that's work. I can't see going to the beach with an e-reader and feeling relaxed. (Not that I regularly visit beaches in Arizona, but you know what I mean.) I imagine the risk of it getting damaged with either sand or water would be fairly high. And you'd probably have to worry about someone stealing it while you went for a swim—how is that relaxing? Nobody's going to steal your $8 paperback.

Amazon CEO dude Jeff Bezos thinks books are going to go Permian and everyone will be buying electronic readers instead. I'm going to hope he's wrong. I don't want to be 70 and telling my grandkids in a cracked, wheezy voice, "I walked 10 miles in the snow uphill both ways, and I remember when books were made of trees!" —"Wow, grandpa, did you get high off the ink?" —"Eh? What?"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You can now follow me on Twitter!

My publisher told me I should have a Twitter account, so now I can follow me, if you wish (my username is KevinHearne) and smile in awe and wonder at my (very brief) flashes of profundity.

I also started up a Goodreads account because it looked kinda neato. Check it out, sign up, it's fun.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Words my dad made up

boopers n. slippers that one wears about the house, often lined with lamb's wool.

coolbox n. what everyone else calls an icebox.

breeze n. what everyone else calls a blizzard.

Miss Murphy n. the toilet

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Manuscript sent back, all marked up

Today I sent my copy edited manuscript back to Del Rey. I think they're going to start the whole typesetting process soon, and once they get that bound up, I'll finally know how to answer the question my students keep asking me: "How many pages?"

Some of the copy edits I completely agreed with—most, actually! But there were some here and there that I asked them to leave alone, so we'll see what shakes out down the road.

I'm at 4K on HAMMERED. Only 76K to go!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Copy Editing

I'm copy editing HOUNDED now and it's a hoot. I haven't been critiqued on my writing in this manner in a long time. The editor has found several verbal tics of mine and I find it fascinating. I'm about 70 pages into it or so, and I'm hoping to get most of it finished this weekend.

I have other things to do, after all.

There's a squirrel named Ratatosk that needs sorting out in HAMMERED.

There's a map of Asgard to create, and research to conduct.

Plus, playoffs! Yeah!

Monday, January 11, 2010


I once convinced one of my students that marshmallows grow on bushes like cotton, and that I used to spend my summers harvesting them in Louisiana.

Marshmallows are fun like that: they have the potential to make you smile. Dump a few in your hot cocoa and it's instantly happier. Roast a giant one over a fire, slap it on top of a slab o' chocolate and grab some graham crackers, and you're so close to bliss that you can rub Buddha's belly.

I recently sent a package to New York with a gift inside, and instead of using packing peanuts I used marshmallows. They'll probably be rock hard by the time they get to New York, but I found it highly amusing in any case.

Progress report: 3200 words on HAMMERED. I have chapter 1 finished, a wee bit of chapter 2 down and a really good start on chapter 3. Working on fleshing out chapter 2 now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Now that I'm starting my third book, I'm beginning to notice a pattern. Beginnings are really, really tough for me compared to other parts of the book. I'm talking about the amount of revision and fiddling I do with it—not the raw creation.

I've revised the first paragraph of HAMMERED at least ten times already. I know what I want to say; finding the most elegant way to say it is the tough part. The first sentence, especially, has endured major reconstructive surgery. When the book is finally published, people will never know (unless they read this) that I spent a couple of hours on it, trying and discarding much more complex sentences before settling on a relatively simple one.

Once I get the plot firmly rolling, however, I rarely revise much; just a sentence here or there, usually. No single part of the book gets the attention that my opening chapter does.

HOUNDED's first few pages went through 24 different versions before I finally left it alone—and that's only because my editor told me to. I'd still probably still be hacking away at it if she hadn't told me to leave it.

Speaking of which, I'm supposed to get my Copy Edits on January 14. Can't wait!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I received super cool news today: my super cool agent, Evan, loved HEXED and told me to deliver it without any changes! I'm fairly well gobsmacked because I just assumed I'd be changing something, if not quite a few somethings, before it was ready to send...but I guess I must have learned something after writing that first book, eh?

I know I said I probably wouldn't write again for a while, but I confess that I've already cheated. I've begun HAMMERED with Chapter 3, where Atticus and Jesus have a beer in Rula Bula. And the fish and chips, of course.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'll Settle You...

I've learned some spiffy things about language in the past few weeks. Number one is that while the Internet is a wonderful tool for learning a few words of another language here and there, there's really no substitute for a native speaker. Actually I knew that was true before—I just got reminded why it is true.

For example, you can't finish someone in German. "Finish him!" in English is the sort of thing a spectator says to a victorious fighter when he wants the fighter to kill the other guy, but doesn't want to seem rude and say, "KILLLLLLL him!" In German you can't finish people. Instead, you would "settle" them, as in settling your differences by KILLING THEM! 

I'm also beginning to suspect that some of Oberon's jokes aren't going to survive translation. I often have him confuse words and say something just slightly different that won't necessarily make sense in anything but English. One that comes to mind is his problem with inhuman and non-human. Many languages don't have prefixes like that, so Oberon's confusion (and the mild joke) are going to get lost.

I now have a native Polish speaker and a native German speaker to help me out...I still need a native Russian speaker. If anybody knows one, give me a shout.