California Bones West Coast Book Tour

I got back from my West Coast tour for California Bones late Saturday night, and I would like to tell you about it, because I am all about the sharing. I didn’t take many pictures myself, but I stole some from Todd Young, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, Sunil Patel, and Jason Hough.

I started off at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, the store I consider home base because they are always so awesome to me. This was my launch and I brought pizza.

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From there I headed up to Borderlands Books in San Francisco, where I jabbered and read and signed.

Here I am, doing some jabbering.

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I got to meet people I knew only from the internets, like Sunil Patel. I think we look like brothers.

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And in one of the highlights of the whole tour, I got to hang out with my dear friend, Heather Shaw.

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The next day, I drove up the 101, stopping at a few bookstores along the way to sign stock, and ended up in Petaluma, California. I took time for a sandwich and a pint at Lagunitas Brewpub, which was just what the beer doctor ordered. Touring can be a bit tiring, and it’s important to feed and nourish oneself to maintain tiptop author shape.

The bookstore was the wonderful Copperfield’s, and within minutes of walking through the door they one of my favorite shops in the world. If you can get to Copperfield’s in Petaluma or one of their other locations, go. It’ll be worth it. This signing was particularly nice because a big contingent of my wife’s side of the family showed up. They bought an embarrassing number of books to support me. I think they made up relatives to buy books for.

From there, southward to the Los Angeles area for Mysterious Galaxy‘s Redondo Beach store. A bunch of my LA friends came out for the signing, which I really appreciated.

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Finally, I headed up to University Book Store in Seattle. Again, I got support from friends and family. Touring is a weird thing, hoping people show up, hoping seats are filled, and seeing friendly and familiar faces just can’t be beat.

Here I am saying something or other.

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I’m grateful to my publisher, Tor Books, for arranging the tour and sending me out. I’m grateful to friends and family and even readers who didn’t know me who came out. And I’m super-grateful to the great bookstores who hosted me. Big shout outs to the brilliant and dedicated booksellers who welcomed me. I feel lucky that I got to step into their shops, let alone speak and sign there. Thanks to Patrick at Mysterious Galaxy, Jude at Borderlands, Amber at Copperfield’s, and Duane at University Bookstore. You folks are among the best at what you do, and what you do is important.

My hopes for the California Bones book tour

So, tomorrow I start my book tour. I mean, my first stop is only 20 minutes from my home, but that’s just because I was smart when I chose where to live. But after the first stop there’ll be airplanes and things. I’ll be reading and signing at bookstores in San Diego, San Francisco, Petaluma, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Here’s the schedule.

I’m a realistic person, and though this is my first tour, this book is not my first rodeo, and I’ve done enough bookstore signings and gone to enough authors’ bookstore signings to have realistic expectations for what it’s going to be like. At the same time, I am an optimistic person, so I do have some hopes for how things go. Here are some of my hopes.

I hope people show up.
I hope the people who show up have fun.
I hope people buy the book.
I hope the bookstores hosting me are happy with the number of books they sell.
I hope people like me.
I hope my pants do not smell unless it is a pleasant smell.
I hope I am not descended upon by a flock of parakeets whose claws have been replaced by razor sharp surgical steel.
I hope I get to eat lunch.
I hope my travels are smooth and that I get to my destinations with time to spare.
I hope I do not get a urethral infection.
I hope I have fun.
And, of course, I hope to see some of you this week.

Remember, the San Diego stop at Mysterious Galaxy features free pizza. No purchase necessary.

Definitive California Bones Tour Schedule (including Phoenix Comicon)

 

Here’s my final California Bones tour schedule, including Phoenix Comicon. I hope to see some of you!

Phoenix Comicon – June 5 – June 8
California Bones‘ official release date is June 10, but copies for purchase will be available early at the Mysterious Galaxy booth. In addition to the scheduled signing at the Tor booth (see below) I’ll also be hanging out quite a bit at my table in the author’s alley.

And then, my official tour. It’s my first ever!

Jay Lake

We all lost Jay Lake this morning, and I am so sad for his daughter and partner and family and close friends, and for all of us who were friends with Jay or knew him or were touched by his life and words. There are an awful lot of us.

Several years back Jay told me he had a short story that was giving him trouble and he wondered if I might take a crack at it. Sounded like an adventure, so I agreed to it, and he sent me the story. It was a full, complete draft with a strange setting and colorful characters and a complex backstory and redolent with Jay’s rich prose. I said, “This story is done, Jay. All I can do is mess it up.” And Jay said he wanted me to mess it up. That’s what he felt the story needed. So I messed it up. I think his draft was better, but I was honored he chose to collaborate with me.

The last time I saw Jay was at San Diego Comic-Con last year. We had lunch, and on the way back to the convention center Jay submitted himself to the ministrations of a street hypnotist. The guy looked a little seedy, but Jay said he was terminally ill, so what’s the worst that could happen? The hypnotist did his thing, and he made Jay feel as if he were being tickled. Jay giggled uncontrollably, and his face was a delight to behold. Then we made our way back to the convention center, and we shared a big hug. I wish it hadn’t been the last time I saw him. I wish he’d gotten better and was still alive. But I’m grateful that he left me with a memory of smiles and laughter.

Thanks for everything, Jay. You were a very good man.

Phoenix Comicon Schedule

I’m gonna be at Phoenix Comicon (June 5 – June 8)! I’m gonna be on panels! I’m gonna sign at my publisher’s booth! Copies of California Bones will be available! I’ll also have a table where I will hang out much of the time, just smiling and waving at people, whether they’re looking in my direction or not! Last year John Barrowman walked by my table on his way to sign a replica TARDIS! He was dazzling and magnetic! I’m excited! Hey!

Here’s my schedule:

 

Starred Reviews

My new book isn’t universally loathed! In fact, California Bones has received two starred reviews (that’s not to say it’s received reviews with two stars, but rather two reviews with one star, which, in this case, is a better thing, it’s confusing, I know). I’m just making this difficult. Here are the reviews, one from Library Journal, the other from Booklist.

LIBRARY JOURNAL – Starred Review
“In the Southern Kingdom of California, Daniel Blackland is a thief and an osteomancer, able to use the magic imbued in certain bones to give himself power. As a child he witnessed the killing of his father by the mysterious ruler known as the Hierarch and then went underground. The local crime lord wants to hire him for a job, but Daniel isn’t interested until he hears that it might finally be a chance for him to steal back a weapon made by his father that contains Daniel’s own bones. He puts together a crew to break into the Hierarch’s compound, but even the best thieves in Los Angeles are going to have a hard time stealing from the most powerful man in California. VERDICT In van Eekhout’s (Norse Code) first hardcover for adult readers, a combination of caper novel and urban fantasy packs a wallop. Daniel and his team banter even while up to their necks in danger, and the magic system in which eating the bones and flesh of creatures can grant you their power is unique and fascinating (if a little icky). Highly recommended.”

BOOKLIST – Starred Review
“Daniel Blackland, a professional (if fairly small-time) thief, is hired by his uncle, a crime lord, to break into a supposedly impenetrable stronghold and steal something so rare, so important, that others will kill to get it back. Sound like a typical caper novel? Let’s add in some details. Daniel is the son of a powerful magician who was killed many years ago by the Hierarch, the ruler of the Kingdom of Southern California, and the object he’s trying to steal is a sword, made by Daniel’s father, that possesses the magical essence of Daniel himself. This wonderfully imaginative story is set in an alternate-reality Los Angeles that will seem both familiar (the author mentions Topanga Canyon and Rhino Records) and weirdly unusual (the city has an elaborate canal system, like that in Venice, for example). In this world, the bones of magical creatures contain remnants of their powers; if you consume these ancient bones, or the bones of magical people living today, you acquire their magical properties (when the Hierarch killed Daniel’s father, he, um, ate him). The story is structured like a caper novel, and fans of stories about heists will enjoy it, but its fantastical elements make it an absolute must for urban-fantasy readers, too.”

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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