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California Bones release date

Just got clearance to share release dates of my next books, which are ostensibly for an adult audience and are about wizards in a fantastical version of Los Angeles who gain their powers by consuming the remains of extinct magical creatures from the La Brea Tar Pits and other places, and also eat one another. These books are basically heist/caper novels with  magic and griffin skeletons and cannibals. I hope you like that sort of thing.

(Note that these dates are subject to change, just because the world in general is mutable.)

California Bones – May 14, 2014

Book 2 – Jan. 15, 2015

Book 3 – Sept. 15, 2015

These are hardcover releases, presumably with simultaneous ebook release, with softcovers to follow.



Update on future projects

Hello, people who would like to know about things. I believe there are a few of you, because you’ve tweeted @ me and/or emailed me, and the things you would like to know are this:

1. When is California Bones coming out? That is your question. My answer is, like, Spring 2014. The book is written and edited and is currently with my publisher, Tor Books, who are transforming it from a story and a manuscript to an actual book with an awesome cover and a sales/marketing plan and all that good stuff.

2. What’s next after California Bones? That is your question. My answer is, Book 2 of the California Bones trilogy. There’s been some discussion of a fast-release schedule, so rather than the fairly customary year between books, it might be less. Maybe six months? I’m not sure, things could change, but that would be cool, wouldn’t it? And then, after Book 2, Book 3 will follow.

3. Any plans for a Boy at the End of the World sequel? This is actually the question I get most often from readers. The only thing I can say to this is that, yes, in some form, at some time, the story of Fisher and Protein the mammoth and the weaponized prairie dogs will continue, along with new characters, such as Hunter and Guide. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

4. What else are you working on? There’s another middle-grade thing that I’m working on, when I’m not working on other things. I’m adding just a few paragraphs to it every day, but if I keep doing that with consistency, I could possibly have a first draft by the end of summer. I will tell you that it involves robots.

Thanks sincerely for your interest. Readers who are actually interested in my future projects are very much appreciated, and not something I’ll never take for granted. Anything else you want to know?




Comic-Con International San Diego’s harassment policy

Just as an FYI, here’s Comic-Con International San Diego’s harassment policy, as of 2012. I wish it were on their website, but since it’s not, here you go:

“Attendees must respect commonsense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and pass of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner.”

(Thanks to Lea Hernandez for providing a photo of the page from last year’s Comic-Con events guide, located by David Seidman, where this text appears.)

It’s my stuff, too.

A little background: Diverse Energies is a young-adult anthology of dystopian stories featuring racially, ethnically, and internationally diverse heroes. My story, “Gods of the Dimming Light,” is about an American kid of Indonesian descent caught up in the apocalyptic events of Ragnarok. Ragnarok is an account from Norse mythology of how the world ends. Right?

In the course of ceaselessly scouring the internet for the tiniest crumb of a mention of my name, I came across a review of Diverse Energies. The reviewer didn’t like my story much at all, which is perfectly fine. Okay, well, it’s not perfectly fine, because I want every single human on Earth to love every single thing that I do, but it’s okay if they don’t, honestly.

What I am not okay with is this part of the review:

“…  if we’re going to use mythology in a story featuring a non-white protagonist, does it need to default to a Western one?”

I didn’t “default” to anything. Instead, I made a deliberate choice to play with Norse mythology. Why? Because I wanted to. Because I dig Norse mythology. Because I think the ideas and characters and stories and aesthetics of Norse mythology contain a whole big box of fun and interesting stuff, and I enjoy playing with that stuff.

My protagonist in “Gods of the Dimming Light” is an American kid, born and raised in San Diego, California. His parents are from Indonesia. By unlikely coincidence, I’m an American guy, born and raised in Los Angeles, California. My parents are from Indonesia. I’m quite proud of my Indonesian heritage. I’m a little indifferent toward my Dutch heritage. I am critical of America in many ways, but I’m also extremely happy to be an American and very grateful to the country that gave my family a home. None of these feelings contradicts the others.

My skin is brown and my parents weren’t born here and I love a good nasi kuning, but why shouldn’t I play with Western culture? I’m a product of it. I grew up watching American television, reading American books, going to American schools, dropping tokens in American video games in American arcades in American malls. If Norse gods and myths can find a place in American stories, then those are my stories, too. To insist otherwise is to make me a mere spectator to my own culture. It means an Indonesian-American kid can’t pretend to be the cowboy. It means she can’t imagine herself as an elf in a Tolkien-ish fantasy. It means Idris Elba can’t play Heimdall in Thor. The push for diversity should not preclude an Indonesian-American kid from playing in the Western sandbox that he grew up in.

Not for a second do I believe that this is what the reviewer was trying to do. Based on the whole of their review, I do think they want more diverse characters and settings. As do I. And, as a guy whose parents are from Indonesia, I think imagining myself in the stories of Western culture is one of many ways to embrace diversity.



A note on a sequel to The Boy at the End of the World

I absolutely love getting mail from readers. Sincerely, I do. If something I wrote moved a reader enough that they want to share something about their reading experience with me, I’m happier than the proverbial gull in an eel barrel.

Lately, most of the mail I get is in regard to my most recent published novel, The Boy at the End of the World. And the one question I get asked almost every time is if there’s going to be a sequel. While I truly believe the novel tells a complete tale with a proper conclusion, I did intentionally end the book by tossing a narrative thread out there in case I wanted to continue the story. But since my writing schedule is kind of booked for the next couple of years with the osteomancy series,  a sequel novel to The Boy at the End of the World not in the cards for the foreseeable future.

But maybe a novella? Maybe a short story? Something in an ebook-only format that I could control and publish myself and sell for cheap online? I think such a thing might be a good opportunity to start easing myself into being a hybrid author (an author whose DNA is part human and part ocelot, no, not really, I kid and josh, an author whose work is sold and distributed both by traditional publishers and through self-publishing).

Anyway,  if you’re one of those readers who wants more about Fisher and Protein and the other character I’m not naming in case you haven’t read The Boy at the End of the World, watch this space. Something might happen this year.

Also, I actually don’t know any proverb concerning a gull and an eel barrel. I totally made that up. It’s what I do.

California Bones on the Tor/Forge blog

Hey, it’s the first official mention of my next book, California Bones, over at the Tor/Forge blog.

“A heist novel set in a grisly and fantastic alternate Los Angeles in which magical power is derived from what — or who — you eat … “

That’s a pretty good squib. The idea is that large parts of the world are controlled by osteomancers, sorcerers who gain abilities by consuming the remains of magical creatures. Los Angeles osteomancers benefit in particular from the La Brea Tar Pits, a rich source of fossils from mammoths, saber tooth tigers, griffins, dragons, and suchlike. But what happens when these magical resources start to dwindle? I’LL TELL YOU WHAT, CANNIBALISM, THAT’S WHAT.

California Bones isn’t one of my middle-grade novels. Ostensibly, it’s for adults. Not that kids won’t like it. But their parents might not.

No official release date yet, but I’ll be sure to scream it out when I have one.

Gardening update

Life! I put seeds in dirt and made life! I AM A GOD!

I started my summer container planting at the beginning of April (because San Diego), and this is what my royal burgundy beans looked like then.

Here’s what they look like now.

And it’s not just a plant. It’s actual food!

I really dig the deep purple color. But on the inside they’re bright green. They’re like green beans in stealth mode! And so delicious raw, right off the plant. Because I want to eat many of these stealthy beans, I went ahead and planted more, along with some snap peas, because I have a desire for those as well.

Other things I’m hoping result from my seed-dirt-resurrection rituals are New Mexico Big Jim peppers, patio tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and some random radishes, since I had some seeds and a spare pot and dirt.

And just this morning I was planning to toss out the serrano pepper plant because it looked sad and dead, but right before I did I spotted a couple of little peppers coming up, so glad I didn’t.

My micro lettuce greens continue to be easy and tasty, the red onion is starting to form blossoms, and the blueberry plant is still a stupid piece of BS.

I hope your gardens are obnoxiously bountiful.

Nice Phoenix Comicon

Back from a really fun long weekend as a guest at Phoenix Comicon. I heard there were 44,000 attendees this year, which would be hellish if there were 44,000 jerks, but I met not a single one, so it was all good. From my perspective, it’s a really well run con. The staff and volunteers take great care of their guests, and things ran smoothly and efficiently. If you’re thinking of adding a big show to your travel itinerary or you’re looking for an alternative to San Diego Comic-Con, I can’t recommend Phoenix Comicon enough.

This year I shared a table with Adam Rex. I’d met Adam before and sat on a few panels with him, but despite this familiarity and his chill vibe and friendliness, I can’t quite withhold my fanboy squee when I’m around him. He was drawing for Red Cross donations, so I got to watch him create incredible piece after incredible piece. And these weren’t just pencil sketches, but fully inked drawings with, like, shading and everything. He could have easily charged five times what he was asking and it would have still been a bargain. Lookie at what he drew me!

Isn’t that 48 different kinds of spectacular?

Timothy Zahn was doing a brisk and near-constant business at the neighboring table, but I did find a moment to introduce myself. Lisa told him that I once gave her one of his novels as a make-up gift after an argument.

Other highlights included watching John Barrowman walk past my table to sign a replica TARDIS. You know one thing about John Barrowman? He is a VERY HANDSOME man. And I kind of gawked at Nichelle Nichols from a distance. She. Is. Beautiful.

Another nice thing was finding out at the con that CALIFORNIA BONES is getting a blurb from a terrific and terrifically popular writer, which is nice for the regular reasons blurbs are nice, but also because this person doesn’t blurb a whole great many books, and this person certainly doesn’t owe me any favors. So, yeah. Nice.

Also nice was going out for drinks with people I either didn’t know very well or had never met prior to the con. Although I’m sad that I didn’t get away from the con to see my old Phoenix friends, it is nice to make new friends. Guess I’ll have to come back next year.