RT Review of Books reviews California Bones

RT Review of Books (the publication formerly known as Romantic Times) gives California Bones 4.5 stars of love. How nice!

4 1/2 stars, RT Review of Books
From the La Brea tar pits to the Santa Monica pier, (van) Eekhout creates a mischievous version of Los Angeles where magic and alchemy reign. Daniel Blackland is like Sandman Slim’s friendlier younger cousin, tasked with finding a family heirloom, perfecting his magic and figuring out just exactly who he is. The first in a trilogy that also stands well on its own, California Bones is hilarious, touching and will leave readers craving an L.A. burrito, or five.”

Appropriate Audience Age For My Books

I am in the happy position of getting to write books for kids and books for adults under my own name. This is a wonderful position to be in, and it’s a position I hope to remain in until I’m dead and have no more books in me.

It does sometimes lead to confusion about the audience my books are written for. Of course I would like adults to enjoy my kids books in the same way I enjoy kids books, and I also hope some kids, with the participation of adults positioned to help determine what’s appropriate for said particular kids, will enjoy my adult books, just as I enjoyed a lot of adult books when I was a kid.

But without further blabbery, here’re some comments from the author (me) about the targeted age group for my various books.

Norse Code: Adult. Contains graphic violence and dirty words.

Kid vs. Squid: Middle grade, listed by the publisher for grades 3 and up, or ages 8-12, based on vocabulary and complexity of language rather than subject or content.

The Boy at the End of the World: Middle grade, listed by the publisher for grades 5-8, or ages 10-14, based on vocabulary and complexity of language rather than subject or content.

California Bones: Adult. Contains graphic violence and dirty words. Because most of the characters in this book are barely out of their teens, young adult readers might be interested in having a look.

Hope this is useful.

Playing in the Pleistocene

On Friday I made a surgical strike upon Los Angeles, specifically, the La Brea Tar Pits, where I did a little book promotion thing for California Bones. I don’t know whether I’m supposed to talk about it or not, but it’ll be out in June. I owe a huge bundle of thanks to John Scalzi for participating. He was incredibly generous with his time and enthusiasm. Buy all his books.

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California Bones Book Tour

Yes, I am going on tour to celebrate/promote/beg you to buy California Bones. Five days, five cities. Maybe more than five showers. Hopefully more than five meals.

June 10, Tuesday, 7pm, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego (Includes free pizza! Let me say that again: FREE PIZZA!!!)
June 11, Wednesday, 7pm, Borderlands, San Francisco
June 12, Thursday, 7pm, Copperfield’s, Petaluma, CA
June 13, Friday, 7:30pm, Mysterious Galaxy, Los Angeles
June 14, Saturday, 3pm, University Bookstore, Seattle

Please show up. Please show up to all these appearances. Or, okay, just one will be fine.

California Bones Update – Book & Tour News

Goodness, it’s been a while. I’ve been splattering my presence all over Twitter, but have largely neglected my website and blog. But I’ve got a book coming out soon, so the sphere of my noise will be expanding over the next few months.

So, what’s new?

Well, there’s this book: California Bones, out from Tor Books on June 10, 2014.


And the big news is I’ll be going on tour. You will find me at Phoenix Comicon (June 5 – June 8) and San Diego Comic-Con in July. In addition, Tor, my publisher, is sending me to independent bookstores up the West Coast. Dates are not yet finalized, but so far I’ll be visiting Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Mysterious Galaxy in Redondo Beach, as well as bookstores in San FranciscoPetaluma, and Seattle. I will of course update when details are concretized. (As a general note, if you want an author to visit the bookstore near you, the best thing you can do is contact the bookstore.)

California Bones is available for pre-order right now:
Mysterious Galaxy | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

(Pre-ordering, by the way, is a terrific way to support books and authors. It tells stores that the book they’re expecting on their shelves soon is one their customers might actually want, impelling them to order more copies. It indicates to publishers that the book they’re releasing is worthy of support and promotion. Sometimes it even causes them to print more copies. And you almost never have to actually pay for the book until it’s out. It’s a win for everyone!)

On the other hand, it is also perfectly, wonderfully fine just to buy the book when it’s released.

And if you go the listing at Mysterious Galaxy (my favorite bookstore), you’ll see a brief review written by Patrick, the manger.

I never like a blog to be all about product and self-promotion, so as I update this place, there’ll probably also be stuff about my dog and gardening. So if you like cute terriers and lettuce, you won’t want to miss it.


My 2013 in review

2013 has been a pretty good year to me. No major crises and a great many good days. I had the privilege of continuing to write full time, largely due to Lisa’s insistently generous support.

The most notable event was finally getting married to the aforementioned Lisa after 23 years of being together. The reason we did it, honestly, was so I could keep my health insurance and legally establish that we are each other’s next of kin. So, not very romantic, but I’ve discovered that being married actually does feel awfully nice, and I like it.

We had a lovely honeymoon, driving down the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. I also traveled to three (three!!) writing retreats this year: Blue Heaven, in an amazeballs house on the North Carolina coast; Dragon’s Lair, along the Russian River in Northern California; and Goat Heaven, at Sarah Prineas’s house in Iowa, where her Nubian goat, Cinnamon, hoofed me in the nuts. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to be friends with such brilliant, talented writers who are also terrific, generous people who keep me from wanting to hide in a bunker.

I turned partially vegetarian in August, in that I stopped eating birds and mammals. It started as a one-week experiment, but with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’ve kept it up and will continue to do so. My reasons for choosing to abstain from what are some of my favorite things to put in my mouth aren’t deeply thought out. I see a lot of cute animal pics and vids on the Internet. It started to make me feel bad to eat them. That’s pretty much it.

I enjoyed a family reunion when my brother, sister-in-law, and niece made a rare visit to Los Angeles. Sitting around a dinner table with them and my parents felt good and right.

On the career front, I completed Book 2 of the Osteomancer trilogy and am working on Book 3 and have seen ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of Book 1, CALIFORNIA BONES. My editor and publisher are making me feel that the company’s really getting behind this series, and I’m excited and hopeful for a good release in June.  I’m also very much looking forward to working on a new novel or a new series next year.

Short stories? Well, I wrote one. Only one. Which is pathetic. But it’ll be in Flytrap sometime next year, so that’s cool.

In sum, a good year. To my friends, correspondents on Facebook and Twitter, and anyone reading this, I hope your 2013 had good in it, and I wish you success, satisfaction, comfort, and happiness in 2014. There is so much bad suck in this world — illness, environmental omg-we’re-all-effed, all kinds of horribleness and suffering. But in the words of The Doctor:

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

May your good pile soar tall.



Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we always end up making several loaves of Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread. Here’s the recipe, and the story behind it, which I first blogged back in 2006.

Mrs. Murray’s pumpkin bread

On my visit home, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jane Murray, my second and third grade teacher at Linwood E. Howe Elementary School in Culver City, CA.

I remember being very happy in her class. She was solid on the three R’s, and she gave me the kind of encouragement on creative writing and drawing projects that impacted me in ways I’m probably not even conscious of. She didn’t yell a lot. She had control. She was the first model of adult competence I can remember. For two years, she was a big part of my life, as she no doubt was for hundreds of kids over her career.

Around this time of year, I always think of Mrs. Murray and her pumpkin bread. She had us all bring ingredients from home and directed us through a recipe that was simple enough that a class of 30 kids could handle it, and that yielded the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. The batter looks so good it’s difficult to resist gobbling it up with a measuring cup. I’ve often baked it during the holiday season, and I’ll be making it for sure this year.

Mrs. Murray’s Pumpkin Bread

Yields two loaves

3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp soda
3 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup water
2 cup pumpkin
4 eggs

1. Mix ingredients
2. Bake in greased and floured loaf pan at 350 for 50-70 minutes until done. Check by poking with a wooden skewer. When there’s no bread clinging to the skewer, it’s done.

California Bones – Cover and Copy and Quotes and Things

Oh, hey, now, California Bones, the first in my urban fantasy trilogy slated for a June 10, 2014 release, is listed in my publisher’s catalog, which means now I can slather things like the cover and the flap copy and quotes from fabulous authors all over the social media. I will start here!

First, a link to the relevant catalog page!

Next, the publisher’s summary/description:

A novel of magic, a heist, and the unexpected things that change your life.

When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian. Then, when Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones.

Now thirty, Daniel is a petty thief with a forged identity. Hiding amid the crowds in Los Angeles—the capital of the Kingdom of Southern California—he is trying to go straight. But his crime-boss uncle has a heist for Daniel to undertake: break into the the Hierarch’s storehouse of magical artifacts and retrieve Sebastian’s sword, an object of untold power.

Daniel assembles a trustworthy team of his closest friends from the criminal world. Moth, who can take a bullet and heal in mere minutes. Jo Morales, illusionist. The multitalented Cassandra, Daniel’s ex. And, new to them all, the enigmatic, knowledgeable Emma, with her British accent and her own grudge against the powers-that-be. The stakes are high, and the stage is set for a showdown that might just break the magic that protects a long-corrupt regime.

Extravagant, inventive, and shot through with moments of intensity as bright as the California sun, Daniel’s story is an epic adventure set in a city of canals and secrets and casual brutality—different from the world we know, and yet also familiar and true.

I think they make my book sound even more better than it actually is, only I’d never say that in public!

And now, some of the nice things other authors have said about California Bones:

“I both love and am terrified by Greg Van Eekhout’s vision of Los Angeles. I already want to go back.” —John Scalzi

“Great story, great characters, and a truly cool/creepy alternate Los Angeles built on magic, blood, and bone. This took me to places I didn’t expect. I like books that do that, and you will too.”
—Steven Brust, New York Times bestselling author of the Dragaera series

And, the one featured on the cover, by the amazing Steven Gould:

“L.A. noir as dark as La Brea tar meets magic drawn from ancient bones.”
—Steven Gould, author of Jumper

I saw another quote that’s not in the catalog, but if I can reveal it, I will, because it’s an awfully nice quote by one of my literary heroes.

And, finally, take a look at my cover (and as soon as I learn the name of the obviously very talented artist, I will add it here).


I am excite!!!