Greg Van Eekhout discusses California Bones and organizing a heist

July 18, 2014 Author Feature, Guest Post 15

by Greg Van Eekhout

Bones, Bones, Osteomancers are all about eating bones. Ancient mythical creatures and hey throw in some human bones too why don’t you? Not only is CALIFORNIA BONES an amazing new urban fantasy but it is also a heist story.

California Bones Character Designs


California Bones



Let’s say your uncle comes to you with a job. Since he’s a crime boss and you’re a thief, you know what kind of job this is: a heist. You’re to break into the underground complex of the Hierarch, Southern California kingdom’s ruling wizard, and a steal sword of bone. That’s the scenario posed to Daniel Blackland, the protagonist of CALIFORNIA BONES, the first volume in my new contemporary fantasy trilogy from Tor Books. Daniel has a lot of reasons for wanting the sword. For one thing, it was crafted by his father, who was one of LA’s most powerful wizards until the Hierarch killed him and ate his bones to steal his power. That sort of thing can motivate a thief.
So, let’s say you’re Daniel. Who’s on your crew?

First, you need a mastermind, someone to plan the job and call the shots. That’s you. You’re responsible for figuring out how to get in, grab the loot, and, most importantly, how to get out. And when things go wrong and your friends get hurt, it’s on your head. Fortunately, you’re a pretty powerful wizard in your own right, so in addition to a knack for crime, you have the power to ingest the remains of extinct magical creatures and use their abilities. Hopefully a little kraken lightning and dragon fire will be enough to help you and your crew pull this job off and escape with your lives.

You’ll want a shape-changer to impersonate guards and cops. That’s Josephine Alverado, a would-be actress whose parents bought her acting classes and voice lessons and a dance coach, as well as shape-shifting magic to enable her to play any role.

One of the most important members of your crew is the yegg, the peterman, boxman, can-opener, safecracker. In CALIFORNIA BONES, that’s Cassandra Morales. She can foil alarms, pick mechanical locks, bypass magical wards, and solve sphinx riddles. She’s also a pretty keen shot with a poison dart gun.

An all-round bruiser is a nice addition. That would be Moth, your utility muscle. He’s big and strong, but ever since you found him beat up and bleeding to death and fed him a bucketful of hydra regenerative magic, he’s had the very useful ability to heal from almost any amount of punishment. He also gives great hugs.

Finally, there’s the one member of your crew you don’t know very well, the necessary evil. That’s your inside man, Emma Walker, who works for the Hierarch down in his Ossuary. She can give you maps of the facility, guard schedules, identification, and uniforms. She can give you almost everything you’ll need to break into the stronghold of the man who devoured your father. The only thing she can’t give you is a reason to trust her.

That’s your crew, and together you’ll be going up against gates and walls, locks and alarms, passages filled with eyes that never blink, security patrols, the Tireless Guard, a conscientious bureaucrat and his magic-sniffing human hound, and the most powerful wizards in the land, including the Hierarch himself.

You’re probably screwed.

If you’d like to see some wonderful artist’s impressions of what your crew looks like, head over to the CALIFORNIA BONES website.


To learn more about this book, check out the author’s website which has a video of the author hanging out with John Scalzi at the Le Brea Tar Pits, five character designs, and an excerpt!



Greg Van Eekhout author photo
Greg van Eekhout is the author of NORSE CODE and two middle-grade novels, KID VS. SQUID and THE BOY AT THE END OF THE WORLD (a finalist for the Andre Norton Award). The CALIFORNIA BONES trilogy continues with PACIFIC FIRE and a third book, both out in 2015. For more information about the author, visit or @gregvaneekhout on Twitter.


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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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