Codex BornToday is the official release date for the U.S. mass market paperback of Codex Born, book two in the Magic ex Libris series. Which is a bit strange to me. The third book is done and turned in, and I’m finishing up another (unrelated) book, so it’s weird thinking of Codex as the “new” book.



Codex Born

What can I say. After nine books, I’m taking the direct route. Here, have a guilt tripping kitten!

Guilt Kitten

THIS KITTEN IS SAD BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT THE BOOK YET! Either that, or it’s thinking about that one scene from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Okay, seriously, it’s new book day, so if you haven’t guessed, I’m doing the traditional author freak-out. I’m excited to see this one out in paperback, both because I like my books being available in the cheaper mass market format, and because this means the ebook price is dropping as well.

Thanks for putting up with me through another release day. Now let’s give away a book! To enter, just leave a comment with a made-up book blurb by a fictional character. For example:

“I find your lack of Goblin Quest disturbing.”
-Darth Vader

“I am Groot.”

I’ll send an autographed copy of one of my mass-market titles (your choice) to a random winner. There are no regional restrictions on who can enter, but only one entry per person, please.

Have fun, and in all seriousness, thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement over the years.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


My theme for 2014 seems to be a year-long scramble to keep up on everything. As evidenced by the fact that I HAVE A BOOK COMING OUT IN SIX DAYS!

Codex Born CoverOkay, it’s not a brand new book, but it is the mass market release of Codex Born, coming on August 5. And with that release, the ebook price should also be dropping very soon.

If you’ve been waiting for this, here’s a convenient set of links:

Amazon | B&N | BAMM | Mysterious Galaxy | Schuler Books | Indiebound

The paperback also includes the first few pages of Unbound, which comes out in January of next year.


Other stuff I’ve been meaning to talk about, or at least link to:

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Feb. 3rd, 2014 09:30 am)

The mass market paperback edition of Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] comes out on August 5, 2014. I’m going through the page proofs now, which means I have the chance to fix any errors that might have slipped through in the hardcover release.

If you are one of those wonderful people who have already picked up a copy of the book (thank you!), and if you’ve stumbled across a typo or mistake, could you please let me know? As a way to say thank you, everyone who emails me about a typo they’ve found will be entered to win an autographed copy of Heroes in Training, the anthology I edited for DAW a while back.

DAW adjusted the cover a little bit for the paperback. And looking at the page proofs, if you add in the excerpt from Unbound in the back, the book comes to almost 400 pages.

And that reminds me, I need to email my editor about cover art ideas for Unbound. I’m thinking Isaac and Smudge riding a cyborg T. Rex over the Mackinac Bridge to battle an axe-wielding kaiju rising out of Lake Michigan. What do you think?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


This is the official discussion post for Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] for anyone who wants to chat about the book or ask questions. I may or may not answer all questions, depending on whether or not it would spoil things for future books (or, you know, if I just don’t know the answer yet).

Obviously, there will probably be spoilers in the comments.

My thanks once again to everyone who picked up the book, and especially to those of you who’ve posted reviews or shared the series with others.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( Aug. 7th, 2013 10:00 am)

Yesterday was exciting, overwhelming, draining, marvelous, exhausting, and gratifying. Thank you so much to everyone for your support, support that came across in so many ways. There were several times yesterday I actually got choked up reading some of the things people were saying and doing.

Like Mindy Klasky‘s comment that, “The final chapter of CODEX (no, I’m not going to spoil it for you) actually left me with a real, physical chill.” Or everyone who came out to Schuler Books last night for the launch. Or friends who loaned me their blog platforms to talk about the book.

I’m happy and a little dazed today, but there are some things I needed to share.


Two wonderful friends are hosting contests to win an autographed, personalized copy of Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

  1. Seanan McGuire – Leave a comment naming the first book that changed your life, and you’re entered to win.
  2. Elizabeth Bear – Create a humorous book macro about either my books or hers. (I really want to see what people come up with for this one!)


Some people noted that the e-books weren’t available outside the U.S. Unfortunately, this is not something I have control over. It’s a territorial issue, meaning the e-books are only available to U.S. mailing addresses.

The U.K. edition of Libriomancer will be coming out in two weeks, so that e-book should be available then.

As much as I’d love for everyone, everywhere to be able to give me money buy the books, I’m afraid this one is out of my hands.

That said, the U.S. e-book of Libriomancer has dropped to $7.99 to match the mass market paperback price.


Over on Facebook, DAW has posted two videos I did when I was in New  York earlier this year.

  • Video One: In which I chat about Codex Born.
  • Video Two: Talking about cover poses.
  • Video Three: I don’t know, but I’m told it will be very silly, and may include random comments about Anton Strout. This one will be posted once Video Two gets 200 likes on Facebook.
  • Romantic Times also did a video interview with me at BEA, which was a lot of fun.

I’m sure there’s more I should be mentioning, but this is all my brain had room for.

And don’t worry. As I get through this week, the blog will shift back to its normal routine of randomly yelling at clouds.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Today marks the official release date for Codex Born and the mass market paperback of Libriomancer!

Codex is my ninth fantasy novel with DAW, so being an experienced, even jaded author, I am naturally not going to be spending the entire day freaking out and checking Amazon rankings and bouncing uncontrollably and flailing about like a muppet in a paint-mixing machine. (And if you believe that…)

My thanks to everyone who read and reviewed the first book, who pre-ordered this one, who offered support and encouragement, spread the word about the books, and just generally made my world a better place.

I’ve got two events scheduled for this week if you’re interested.

  • Tonight (August 6), I’m at Schuler Books in Eastwood from 7 – 8:30.
  • Saturday (August 10), I’ll be at Kazoo Books (Parkview Location) in Kalamazoo starting at 2 p.m.

BLURB OF AWESOMENESS: You know, a number of people have gotten blurbs from bestselling author and former SFWA president John Scalzi. But how many authors can boast something like THIS?

“This is the perfect follow up to Libriomancer. It has more magic, more action and more backstory.  And I love love love the Lena diaries!!!”

-Kristine Scalzi

VIDEO JIM: When I was in New York earlier this year, we filmed a promotional video at the Penguin/DAW offices. They’ve posted the first video over on the DAW Books Facebook page, along with a note that if it gets 100 likes, they’ll move on to videos 2 and 3, which get a bit … sillier.


  • The Big Idea – A guest post at John Scalzi’s place, talking about the character of Lena Greenwood.
  • My Favorite Bit – In which Mary Robinette Kowal lets me share a bit more about Lena, including one of my favorite pieces from Lena’s backstory snippets.
  • Tell Me – A guest post at Jennifer Brozek’s blog, talking about Isaac’s love of books and magic.
  • Literary Escapism has an exclusive excerpt from the book, showcasing one of the odder fight scenes :-)

BUY STUFF (If you’re so inclined…)


Codex Born


Carrie S. at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has a lovely new review of Codex Born.


Stay tuned for more, including a few book giveaways!


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Three days until Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. I thought today I’d share the first page or two of the very first draft of the book from January of 2012. There are no spoilers here, because things changed an awful lot between this and the final version. I’ve got nine different drafts of this sucker, though not all of them are complete and some required more major revisions than others.

Originally, I intended to tell this story from Lena’s point of view. To my tremendous frustration, it wasn’t working. There are elements of these opening pages I really like, and Lena absolutely deserves her own books, but as I progressed, it simply didn’t feel right. The tone, the voice … so eventually I flipped back to Isaac’s PoV, but inserted snippets of flashback and backstory from Lena’s at the start of each chapter.

Also, my first drafts tend to be very rough indeed, so please be gentle.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


With five days left until Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] comes out, this is the time when I’m supposed to be doing frantic self-promotion. The trick is to do it without looking like I’m self-promoting. Which is harder than it sounds. So I asked for advice on Twitter.

Kate K. F. suggested pictures of Michigan looking pretty, which sounded like a good way to go. Especially if those pictures tied into the Magic ex Libris series, which is primarily set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula :-)   (Spoiler: Not all of the pics connect to the series…)

Larger versions of the pics are posted on Flickr, for anyone who’s interested.

Luna Moth. Because they’re cool-looking, and they hang out up north. Also, I believe there’s a reference to Smudge the fire-spider trying to eat one at some point. (If that reference isn’t in the books, it’s only because it got edited out in revisions. Which just means I’ll have to put it back in a future book!)

The Mackinac Bridge. Isaac hates driving over this thing. He’s uncomfortable with heights, and the center lanes are metal grating instead of pavement, meaning the air comes up through the center, and the feel of the tires on the road is very different. When I was driving home last week, it kept feeling like the car was trying to pull off to one side or the other.

Also, there used to be a colony of lake trolls living at the base of the bridge, but the Porters relocated them back in 1971.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


Exactly seven days from now, I’ll be at Schuler Books in Lansing, celebrating the release of Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. And also the mass market paperback of Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

Normally, this would be a good time to do some sort of contest, and maybe give away the one copy of Codex Born I managed to snag at ALA this year. The problem is that as soon as I got home, my wife snatched it away from me. After grumbling at me for costing her a few nights’ sleep (and telling me it was even better than the first one – yay!), she passed it along to her mother. While we were up north. Which means, as far as I know, the book may still be at the tip of the Upper Peninsula.

But have no fear! I have alternate plans for free bookses next week.

To be honest, things have been so busy lately that I haven’t had time for my full pre-book freak-out ritual, which is probably a good thing…


In the meantime, how about an alternate announcement? Coinciding with my Guest of Honor gig at Windycon this November, ISFiC Press will be releasing The Goblin Master’s Grimoire, a hardcover collection of my short fiction.

More details as they appear. I’m particularly geeked about the cover art concept we talked about, but we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens there.

In the meantime though, I’ll be doing a weary-but-excited happy dance :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

There are 26 days until the official release of Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], not to mention the mass market paperback of Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], which means it’s time for me to start the Official Author Fidget-Dance of Anxiety!

The Cool Stuff Summary: Book-based magic, kick-ass dryad, flaming spider, wendigos, septuagenarian werewolves, a magical organization thought to have been wiped out more than five hundred years ago, and one random Spider-Man quote.

Review Copies: If you are a reviewer who hasn’t received a copy (and, you know, would like to have one), please contact my publicist at BerkleyNALpublicity -at- Please include your mailing address and where you do your book reviews. Unfortunately, due to the cost of books and shipping and such, reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and personal blogs without a good-sized readership don’t generally qualify.

Upcoming Events:

  • July 26 at 6 p.m. Reading and booksigning with Mary Robinette Kowal at Schuler Books, Eastwood Location. Lansing, Michigan. (This is part of the conference kickoff for the MSU Young Authors Conference, and they will have copies of Codex Born for sale.)
  • August 6 at 7 p.m. Booksigning at Schuler Books, Eastwood Location. Lansing, Michigan.
  • August 10 at 2 p.m. Booksigning at Kazoo Books, Parkview Location. Kalamazoo, Michigan.
  • August 15-18. Gencon. Indianapolis, Indiana. (I will have books for sale.)

Giveaways: I’m hoping to give away a few free books between now and August 6. I haven’t worked out the details yet, but I’ll let folks know as soon as I come up with a suitably entertaining way to do it.

Advance Reviews: Publishers Weekly and Romantic Times have both said nice things about the book. I hear rumors that Library Journal and Locus will both be reviewing it as well. But I think my favorite and most reassuring review so far comes from Kate over on Goodreads, who picked up a copy at ALA and says, “…this was an even stronger read than the first book.”

Also, Seanan McGuire read it and started sending me rude emails about having to wait for book three, so that’s a good thing, right?

Preview: The first chapter is available in both .pdf and .epub format.

State of the Author: Nervous, impatient, grateful, and excited. The Magic ex Libris series is the most ambitious story I’ve written so far. The first few reviews have helped me — somewhat — to get past the initial bout of imposter syndrome, and mostly now I’m just really looking forward to being able to finally share this one with everybody!


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


I added one last link to the roundup (from Laura Resnick), but at this point I think that post has made its point pretty well.


In totally unrelated but very happy news, the first review of Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] has been spotted in the wild!

Publishers Weekly says:

Nonstop action and laughter power Hines’s riveting second journey into the “peculiar life” of Isaac Vainio … Hines supplies everything a reader needs—werewolves, ghosts, robot insects, a fire spider that eats candy, and homages to classic SF—for a very good time.

Like many authors, I tend to be rather neurotic about how people will respond to a new book or story. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done this before, I’m always afraid that this will be the time I crash and burn. This will be the book where everyone discovers I’m a total fraud.

(I’m now waiting for someone to respond, “Don’t worry, Jim! We figured that out four books ago!”)

Anyway, given the strong response to Libriomancer, I’ve been even more worried about whether or not the sequel would live up to expectations. And while I’m sure there will be disagreement and a range of reactions among readers — which is both normal and healthy — seeing that first positive review has been a tremendous relief.

Two months and counting!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
( May. 9th, 2013 10:00 am)

Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] comes out in three months. To mark the occasion, I’ve posted the first chapter in .pdf and .epub formats.

For those of you who’ve asked how e-books work in a world of libriomancy, this chapter talks about that question. Or if you just want to read about Smudge eating a poetic raisin…

Download links:

If you notice any problems with either file, please let me know.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Mar. 15th, 2013 01:20 pm)
At 12:59 p.m. today, I turned in the final (I hope), revised manuscript for Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

Some random stats about the book:

  • It came in at 104,527 words.
  • There are 39 books in the bibliography.
  • In addition to English, there are snippets from at least six other languages. (I apologize in advance to whoever will be reading the audio book...)
  • Smudge once again gets a pretty cool scene.
  • While I doubt I'll ever write professional erotica, this book has what's probably the "spiciest" scene I've ever done.
  • Yes, this book will address--at least to some extent--the question of e-books and libriomancy.

The release is still scheduled for August 6 of this year. I'll be posting the first chapter online as we get a bit closer to that date, once the book has been officially accepted.

This was a challenging one, but I'm proud of how it turned out, and I can't wait to share it with you all.


Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] is due to my editor in nine days. I finished draft 4 on the 13th, and have been working through draft 4.1 to fit the final plot pieces into place, flesh out missing descriptions and transitions, and add a Firefly reference.

Most of my free time and energy is going into this last revision, which means blogging will be lighter than usual.

I’m happy with how this book has turned out. I’m amazed at how much it’s changed from the very first draft. I think it does a nice job of continuing the themes and ideas of the first book, and I’m hopeful that readers will get the same sense of excitement and wonder and fun.


Several people asked if there was a way to see all of the cover poses I’d done in a single spot. Well, there is now! I’ll be adding more to that page eventually, but for now, it has links to all of the blog posts as well as a link to the Flickr gallery containing all of the poses.


Oh, and I’m almost finished reading The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. This is a beautifully told story, and has cost me much-needed sleep these past few nights. And I’m not just saying that because GOBLINS!

I believe this one comes out in 2014. I’ll be putting a review together to go up closer to the release date.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


I wanted to run this by folks before I send it in to my editor on Monday. This would be either on the back of the dust jacket or, more likely, in the cover flap for Codex Born [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy]. Any and all feedback is welcome.

And thanks!

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Oct. 1st, 2012 10:00 am)

I originally wrote this piece on Saturday, planning to post it on October 1. Then we took a trip to the emergency room for some non-life-threatening but painful troubles my wife was having. That’s eaten up most of the past 48 hours. So I’m just going to post this today and pretend that October starts now and runs through November 2. That’s fair, right?


For more than a decade now, I’ve done the majority of my writing during my lunch break at work. My coworkers have been generally understanding and supportive, which has been great. And looking back at the books and stories I’ve been able to put out, I’d say it’s worked.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been working quite as well with Codex Born. I’m not entirely sure why, though I have a number of theories…

  • In general, each new book is more ambitious than the last, meaning in some ways, they get progressively harder to write, or require more time and energy to pull together.
  • Part of my therapy process with depression has been trying to learn to take time for myself, to just relax or have fun. Which is a good and healthy thing, but I wonder if deliberately concentrating on those issues has whittled away from some of the time I used to use to concentrate on the fiction.
  • Libriomancer is doing amazingly well, which is awesome, but it also means I’m feeling a lot more pressure to make book two as good or better. It’s a great problem to have, but it still means I’m putting additional pressure on myself, which might paradoxically be slowing me down.

I’m thinking about trying something I haven’t done in a long time. Back when I started writing books, we didn’t have National Novel Writing Month. We did have novel dares, though. Back in our day, we didn’t settle for just 50,000 words in a month. We wrote the entire novel. And we wrote uphill! Both ways!

I’ve started on the third draft of Codex Born. I’ve discarded several half-finished drafts, but I’m feeling more confident about this one, and I think I’ve worked through most of the problems that killed the earlier versions. So I’m setting myself a goal to finish this draft in October.

I expect to fail at this goal. Realistically, I think the odds of me completing a full, finished draft this month are pretty slim.

I know it’s not impossible. Heck, I wrote, revised, and started submitting Goblin Quest in about six weeks. But I was unemployed and living in my parents’ house at the time. Realistically, it will be a lot more difficult to do 80-90K words in the next 31 days. But I’m going to try.

And while I expect to fail, I also expect that the goal will help me mentally, and that it will be a more productive month. I’m also going to go back to posting word counts, which I haven’t done in ages, as another mind trick to keep me motivated and on track.

Wish me luck!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


CODEX BORN has a cover! This is 99% final, but I’ve been given permission to share. Click on the pic for a larger view, if you like.

There are many things I like about this image. I’m happy that the artist, Gene Mollica, found an Indian model for Lena Greenwood. I love seeing her teamed up with Smudge.1 And I think this fits well with the look of the first book.

I’m particularly pleased that when I tried Lena’s pose, I was able to do it without pain. I love the expression on her face, and the fact that she’s actually got some muscle on her. And while the outfit she’s wearing is rather revealing, it’s also completely in character. Lena might be dressed sexy, but she’s not posing as a sexual object. There’s no unnecessary thrusting of hips or chest. She’s dressed the way she likes, and she’s stepping out of her oak to kick someone’s ass.

Now, those of you who’ve read Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] have probably noticed where this version of Lena doesn’t match the text. When we first meet Lena in chapter one, she’s described thusly:

Lena Greenwood was the least imposing heroine you’d ever see. She was several inches shorter than me, heavyset but graceful as a dancer. I didn’t know her actual age, but she appeared to be in her early twenties, and was about as intimidating as a stuffed bear. A damned sexy bear, but not someone you’d expect to go toe-to-toe with your average monster.

Which raises the question: Why has Lena been “thinwashed,” for lack of a better word?

When my editor was talking to the artist, she asked me to provide description for Lena, which I did. Like I said, Gene Mollica does photo shoots with a model in his studio, then manipulates the best pictures into the cover art. He looked for models who matched my description of Lena.

This was the largest Indian model he could find.2

I have the portfolio shots of the rest, and this truly was the best option for Lena.

This is just one piece of the problem. If we had found a heavier model, I wonder if marketing would have nixed it because they didn’t think people would buy a book with a fat woman on the cover. It’s a moot point, since Gene couldn’t even find a fat model … is that because the modelling profession in particular is hostile to anyone larger than a size six? Or is it because we’ve mocked and shamed people for being fat until they wouldn’t even consider trying to model as a career?

What it comes down to is that our disdain and disgust for anyone overweight, particularly women, permeates our whole culture, and it pisses me off. You don’t want to know how young my daughter was the first time she came to us worrying about her weight. I do think we’re finally starting to figure out that maybe it’s not okay to mock people for their race or gender or sexual orientation, but fat people are still fair game, both in real life and on every movie and sitcom you see.


The Lena Greenwood on the CODEX BORN cover is a sexy, attractive woman. 3 But you know what? The Lena Greenwood in my book is damned sexy and attractive too. And while I’m happy with this cover, and I think Gene did a nice job, I’m also disappointed that we don’t get to see that Lena Greenwood.

Because she’s awesome.

  1. Cover Trivia: Smudge has now appeared on more of my U.S. book covers than any other character.
  2. While I’m certain there are larger models out there, I’m not sure what other constraints Gene was working with in terms of location, budget, and time. I do know there was a rush to get this cover done for the catalog.
  3. As much or more because of her confidence and humor and strength than because of her body or the amount of skin she’s showing.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


First off, a few more things from yesterday…

The Libriomancer sequel has a title! Book two of the Magic ex Libris series will be Codex Born.

My Parents’ Cat is on SF Signal! - I wrote a guest post for SF Signal, talking about some of the behind-the-scenes stuff from Libriomancer. Including the true identity of the bookstore cat from the book.

Interview at The Editing Essentials - An interview I did with my friend Brittiany Koren, who edited several anthologies that included short fiction from me.


On to the critique. Alex Cranz wrote a piece in FEMPOP about the treatment of women characters. Warning: While Cranz avoids specifics, this will probably spoil the ending of Snow Queen’s Shadow for you.

I know why I made the choices I did in that book. That doesn’t in any way change the fact that Cranz raises very good, valid points. Whether or not I had valid reasons for those choices doesn’t change the fact that those choices do fall into a larger pattern.

While I’m sad that my book bummed Cranz out right before a wedding, I’m glad she cared about the books enough for them to have that impact, and I’m even more pleased that she chose to write this essay and start up a conversation about these tropes.

I recommend checking out her piece. Not to defend my book. (Please don’t.) But because it’s thoughtful and important and a conversation we should be having.

Also, according to her bio, Cranz trained her dog to do fistbumps, which is just awesome.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



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