Happy Birthday To Me!

birthday cake

Dear Readers,

Welcome to my birthday celebration. Thank you for coming! I hope you are wearing your best detachable party hoods. Or hats. Indeed, Gandalf wore a hat!

Although this is only my 62nd birthday, rather than my eleventy-first, I have decided to follow the fine example of Bilbo Baggins and celebrate a hobbitish birthday. As many of you are no doubt aware, on their birthdays hobbits do not receive gifts, they give them. So, with the help of a number of friends all over the world, I have hidden birthday gifts for lucky readers to find. In another hobbitish tradition, you will have to solve the riddles to find the gifts.

We have given you a good start, by telling you the city and state and country where each gift is hidden. We have depended on the generosity of friends to receive and hide the gifts, and we wish to extend our deepest thanks to all of them.

If you are fortunate enough to solve the riddle and find the gift, please do send an email back to us to let us know. Send it to Robinhobb@robinhobb.com As each gift is found, we will mark it so on the website. And we do hope you will attach a photo of yourself finding the gift. Please do extend our thanks as well as your own to the fine merchants (in some cases) who have let us hide gifts in their establishments. And if it it’s discovered on a beach or in a forest, well, thank the hider for us!

One caveat! Having a book hidden somewhere depended on the generosity of volunteers that I secretly contacted over a month ago. So, not all countries will have books hidden, nor all cities. If you wish to complain about this, feel free. BUT— your email will be harvested and we will believe you have volunteered to be part of our next game (if there is one!) So, no whinging, or there will be consequences! (Drumroll of doom!)

Game On!

1. JOHN HOWE Wellington, New Zealand FOUND!!!!!  And the lucky winner has taken home a book autographed by me and by the cover artist, as well as other prizes, such as a bookmark, a dragon brooch and a gift book from the Weta Cave, a Hobbit Chronicle!  Most of all, the lucky winner got to meet John Howe. A pleasure I hope to have myself, one day!
(The hider of this one has asked to remain anonymous. At first! He will definitely reveal himself soon. And you will be astonished, dazzled and amazed! This is the first clue. Solve it to find the second one that will lead to the prize.)

It all begins with letters three,
The first for Robert, thus an “R” to find,
The second’s T, the last has slipp’d my mind,
But it reminds me of a tree
(I hope you don’t resent bad verse.
More fun to write and not so terse.)

Craft an acronym from these,
Two words onomatopoeically,
That speak first of virtuosity,
And also of much-valued knees.

(Best not tarry, the more you wait,
Another’s nibbled at the bait.)

Inside and up four steps you’ll see
But one whose name you can’t descry.
Don’t be spineless, don’t be shy.
Bear right, it’s through a glass (darkly).

(Best get it right, or you’ll be done.
You’ve but the right to ask for one.)


2. From Kay Lawson, Ohau, New Zealand

This one is hidden by my own dear sister Kay. And she has extended a lovely opportunity for you to meet her for a cup of tea. But only AFTER you have discovered the prize! Here is her clue:

Look for the book all wrapped in blue paper,
Held by a beech tree at the start of Parson’s Creek steps.
Hope you are the first, else another person’s the taker.

Ah well, it should be a beautiful trip.
Ohau, lovely is the lake
Over twenty kilometres from State Highway 8.
If you are driving the highway
Just turn at the OHAU sign (the one filled with birds’ nests.)
(Well the O, the A, and the U are; Why not the H? )

The A2O cycle trail and the Te Araroa trail trek
also pass by the spot where I’ll set out the book.
Turn to your left before the second one lane bridge
if you are hoping to find it.

If you ring oh three four three eight nine six double seven,
you might catch me home and get an invite for a cuppa.

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to a wonderful lady!

I’m not a poet, and I just proved it.


3. Terie Garrison (Manchester, UK)  Found!!!! Congratulations Shauli, and thank you Terie!  It was discovered by a fellow knitter!  At Purl City Yarns  http://www.purlcityyarns.com/

And now we travel across an ocean to lovely England. The hider of this gift is Terie Garrison (http://teriegarrison.com/), my longtime friend from sff.net and a fellow writer. Author of the YA series, The DragonSpawn Cycle, her most recent book is Changing Gears (http://www.amazon.com/Changing-Gears-Terie-Garrison-ebook/dp/B008N78CO8)
And here is Terie’s clue:

“Our birthday girl sits, staring at a blank page with knitted brow. Ideas spin through her imagination and wind themselves into a coherent thread. She weaves words into yet another thrilling yarn, as sentence by sentence the plot unravels. Hooked on Hobb, we here in Manchester City Centre await her next tome on pins and needles.”

4. Laura Lam, Aberdeen, Scotland  FOUND!  congratulations to Louise! In a flower pot in Victoria Park! And thank you Laura, for putting in a copy of Pantomime!   What a prize!
Laura is another writer friend of mine. She is the author of Pantomime, and Shadowplay. Like many YA novels, they are excellent tales for readers of any age. A bit of Gothic, a dash of steampunk and a whiff of magic! Good recipe. To learn more about Laura and her works, visit her website at http://www.lauralam.co.uk or share some of her thoughts at her Tumblr: http://lauraroselam.tumblr.com She also twitters @LR_Lam
Below is her poem clue. Good luck, Aberdeen!

I’m going to lead you down the rabbit hole.
The place you are meant to go is named after a queen.
She perhaps didn’t scream “Off with their heads!” but she
led an empire. That’s clear enough, isn’t it?
It’s a place of greenery and trees. Perhaps you played there as a child.
Got it? Start at the entrance.
On your right there will be a gatehouse, looking like something out of a fairy tale.
Perhaps smoke curls from the chimney. Perhaps you wonder who lives in it.
Continue down the promenade, under the trees, bare in the winter chill.
There may be people there, walking dogs, urging bundled children to run about.
Stop at the fountain. It is made of fourteen different types of granite.
No water runs from it. It stands tall and imposing.
Look to your left. There’s a little brick gate. Go through it.
A little further along, there will be the remnants of a chess board on the asphalt,
nearly erased by time, its pieces long missing.
Around you are slumbering rose bushes.
When they bloom, no one paints the white blooms red.
They’re already crimson.
You’re almost there.
There are two pillars of greenery right in front of you.
Between them is a black flower box.
Dig carefully.
The treasure is against the wall closest to you, just hidden beneath the new soil.
There it is.
Take it home. Unwrap it. Read the letters.
Open the cover, run your fingertips along the pages.
Fall down the rabbit hole.

5. Myke Cole Brooklyn, New York  FOUND!!!!!  Althea figured it out! It was at Kensington Stables. Congratulations!
I first met Myke Cole (www.mykecole.com) at a convention. We ended up standing outside the bathroom in the con suite (the only uncrowded space!), having a long conversation about everything in the world. I knew that if he wrote like he talked, he could tell me a great story. After the con, I immediately acquired a copy of his book Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier. Since then, I’ve read Control Point and Breach Zone, also in the Shadow Ops series. I’ve found all of them to offer excellent characterization and a solid plot. You can learn more about Myke by following his twitter at @MykeCole and facebook www.facebook.com/mykecole.
Myke’s clue is in the form of a recovered email from a futuristic war-torn Brooklyn. Put yourself in Sharp’s place. Where would you go?


Encrypted’s dead, so I’m sending this in the clear on my phone. It’s about to die, so don’t bother replying. We’re pinned down at Ocean and Caton, over the Prospect Expressway. Armored managed to get one of the M1s blocking Caton from the West, and we’re dug in and fighting on the other side. But the bastards are all over the expressway and we’re sitting ducks on the overpass.

I need you to scramble the QRF and get us out of here. Tell them to run a VS from the air and try to pick me up on BFT. I’ll leave my beacon on. Its got four hours of juice.

But I’m not going to sit here and wait for them. I’ve got to get off the X.

Small problem with that. They got us enfiladed, and one of them got off a lucky round. Hit me from above the knee and passed through both legs. I’m hamstrung, Nanc. I can’t walk. I can’t operate any vehicle that requires feet. No cars, bikes, motorcycles, not even a scooter.

I’ve got elbow pads and a will to fight, so I’m going to do this snake style. I figure I can crawl a block or two from here. I’m going to go looking for some kind of transportation that will carry me. Whatever it is, it has to be able to carry me over uneven ground. The roads are all chewed up for at least a square mile.

Give this to the QRF, tell them to find me.

Hold on Nanc. Make them pay for every inch of ground. God willing, I’ll see you back at the drop zone and we’ll figure out a way to make this right.



6. FOUND!  Congratulations, Lasse! James Bacon London, England And many thanks to our wonderful hider James, and his collaborator https://www.facebook.com/wordonthewater  Thank you Paddy!

Ah, James! If you’ve ever met James Bacon, you remember him ever after! I think my first encounter with him was at a World SF con in 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland where he was helping run the teen area. My favorite part of any convention is talking to young writers. James had arranged a panel for me there, but he had a dozen other activities going as well. His track was doing as well as talking! I was smitten. This is what encouraging the readers and writers of tomorrow is all about! I knew I had found a friend for life! I’m looking forward to seeing James at LonCon3 and spending time with the Rangernauts! Oh, and James is also part of this: http://dublin2019.com/ Wouldn’t a worldcon in Ireland be sweet!

Here is James’ clue:

Where Londoners named a Train Station after a bear,
People and freight have travelled for many a year
It wasn’t always about the station, at one time it was about a Basin.
Steel Tracks replaced the watery routes of gentler pace

Many entrances and exits lead to places east and west
But to the north as you leave the Hammer and Circle
It is quiet and calm and barges lay at rest
here on the water known as a Branch

Our quarry lays silent till the middle of day
Opening its gangway to all who walk past this way
A hot cuppa steams from next door
The cargo cats keeping the spines warm.

Birds of a feather will flock together
and amongst other leaves and shelves our prize will be
no pennies need be passed no purchase to be made
a quiet word with Paddy and all will be revealed.

51°31’07.1″N 0°10’40.4″W


7. Elizabeth Ann Scarborough Port Townsend, Washington

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (fondly known as Annie) writes and sings and designs and creates beautiful beadwork and has cats. Not necessarily in that order. I think my first experience of her writing was Bronwyn’s Bane, a wonderful tale with many humorous touches about a princess who cannot tell the truth. Years later, Annie’s experiences as a Vietnam era army nurse made their way into a tale called The Healer’s War. It deservedly won a Nebula, and I continue to recommend it to all and sundry readers. Find more information about her here:
http://www.eascarborough.com/ And find the hidden gift by studying this clue.

Here’s the scoop,
Try this group
Of food
To elevate your mood
When you want to celebrate
With candles and with birthday cake

8. Robin Hobb Seattle, WA  FOUND!  Thank you, Duane (not small and dark) Wilkins! At University Book Store, Seattle  Congratulations  Chris!
Talk about lazy!  This fellow, when I approached him about hiding a hobbit gift, told me that he would do it, but that he would not write the clue. So, like my idol The Little Red Hen, I have had to do it myself! Deduce both where and who he is to claim the prize.

In a district that lies between T and V
(You might go there to seek a degree!)
In a place where galaxies of books abound
The gift wrapped parcel can be found.
You will not find it on any shelf;
Just ask for it from the man himself.
Head and shoulders above the rest
Of authors’ friends, one of the best!
And readers, too, delight to share
His expertise on every ware.
His first name means both ‘dark’ and ‘small’,
But he is neither. Not at all!
One last clue is all I have:
NEar 45th and on the Ave!

9. From Barbara from Bloodmemories.it Bologna, Italy  FOUND!! Outside the de’Bovi House by Gloaria! Congratulations!
And here is one for my European readers. Barbara is a member of the Robin Hobb fansite Blood Memories. (www.bloodmemories.it) This lively group extended a very warm welcome to me when I did a book tour of Italy. As I moved from city to city, I met more of them, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with them before my departure! So when I wanted at least one book hidden in Italy, Barbara came to mind immediately. Study her clue, in Italian or English! (The book is in Italian.)

Anche a Bologna, un altro Nasuto
ha atteso a lungo il fratello perduto.
Su quel cortile non più lui si affaccia, cercate i giornali e vincete la caccia!

Also in Bologna, another Nosy
waited long for his lost brother
He looks out no more on that courtyard,
Search for newspapers and win the hunt!

10. Arnaud Mousnier-Lompre Monspellier, France FOUND
In the Sauramps Library, by Salamenta!

I enjoy a tremendous amount of success in France. I have visited there often, and intend to go again for Imaginales http://www.imaginales.fr/blog/imaginales-2014 in Epinal in 2015. One of the major reasons for my success in France is the quality of the translations I have received. Arnaud is a jewel among translators. He not only renders my words into French, he puts them into beautiful French! A rather shy fellow, he still graciously agreed to hide a gift, and has sent me these lines as a clue:

En la bonne ville de Monspellier estoit une place qui possédoit trois costés ; sur l’un d’iceux s’érigeoit un bastiment vaste au toit si merveilleusement pentu qu’oncques ne vit-on pigeon s’y poser sans qu’il se cassât la goule, au grand esbaudissement des aultres volatiles. En cette demeure résidoit force manuscrits, parchemins et bels vélins que les chalands compulsoient puis emportoient, non sans avoir donné quelques deniers à la belle hostesse de crainte que les gens d’armes, vigoureux et munis de gourdins fort durs, n’intervinssent. C’est là que gisoit le trésor que tant convoitoient ; il suffisoit qu’ils se rendissent à la partie de la bastide consacrée aux ouvrages d’imagination et de folle invention et s’enquissent de la présence de l’œuvre de leur escrivain préféré.

11. Joe Nutter Olympia, WA FOUND at Traditions by Taylor! Hurray!
I first encountered Joe as Hopnut Jester, on my newsgroup over at SFF.net. (Odd, how many of my friendships have sprouted from there. If you’ve never explored www.sff.net, I encourage you to do so!) Joe is a connoisseur of the brewing arts and has introduced me to beers I would never have encountered on my own. He is also a musician, and collaborates with a friend on the Automata Project at www.soundcloud.com/mind2grooveratio.
And here is his clue:

Go ye forth
and further one more
to the place of Tradition

Between the Water
and the circle of dancing streams

There you must sing
the song that celebrates birth.

Only then will you be given
what you seek.

(Do you actually have to sing to get the prize? Why, yes. Yes, you do!)

12. Tedrick Snider Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tedrick is yet another friend that I met via my newsgroup on www.SFF.net Alternatively known as The Mangod and Jerk of All Trades, Tedrick is also a master of the pun and the pie in the face. Literally, not figuratively. Well, actually, both! Tedrick has been a stage actor, a circus clown, and strikes me as a song and dance man from the heart out. So, for his clue, follow this link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSozwHw5ATY

13. Stephanie Noverraz Lausanne, Switzerland!   (Not France!  Who tried to move Lausanne to France? There will be repercussion for that!) FOUND By Kaktus at place de la Riponne! Hurray!
Stephanie, also known as Crooty, is an artist who has created some remarkable Farseer art for me. Her maps of the Six Duchies and the chart of the Rain Wild River is featured on my website. To see more of her visions of my world, please visit www.crooty.deviantart.com
Her clue is offered in French and then an English translation.

Dans le Duché de Rippon,
L’Art passe entre le sphinx et le griffon.
Monte jusqu’au poisson,
Cherche les marches du dragon,
Grimpe vers le plafond!
Le trésor est sous le colimaçon.

Here’s the English translation (which doesn’t rhyme though):

In the Duchy of Rippon,
Skill (Art) passes between the sphinx and the griffin.
Go up to the fish,
Look for the dragon’s steps,
Climb to the ceiling.
The treasure in under the spiral.

14. Kaylene Brendal Tacoma, WA   FOUND by Carol at University Book Store, Tacoma
Well, I dare not tell you too much about Kaylene, for fear of making the hiding place too plain. Perhaps after the clue has been studied and the treasure found, I will share a bit more about her. This one is here in Tacoma, in my own hometown!

A place where you go to relax and read

Or shop for the gear of your favorite team
Now once in the store, head towards the back
In the direction of a multi-colored reading mat
And locate a friendly hobbit-like spot
For kids to doodle and connect the dots
Then search around or above or below
And you’ll find the present you’ve been looking for!

15. Monica Bovee Fairbanks, Alaska  FOUND by Cassie at McCafferty’s Coffee
I am very proud to say that Monica is my niece! And I am so pleased to have a book hidden in the city that I still regard as my true hometown. Fairbanks is, I am certain, a vastly different place from what it was in 1970 when I last lived there. Monica has furnished not only some haikus to guide you, but several visual clues as well!

Where is it I sleep?
No surprise, I plead the fifth.
The man of cush, mute.

Exhibits archived
stand near by the by of me
home of sacred grounds.

Bee lady looks on
afire with blueberry lights.
I, under her palm.

Here are three places where additional visual clues will be posted.


15. Karen and Tamara Sylte Minneapolis, Minnesota  FOUND and claimed by Katriel! At the Blue Moon Coffee Café! Congratulations!
Minnesota just seems to be a wonderful place for me to acquire friends! Clear across the country, but I always seem to meet congenial people there and feel right at home. Karen and Tamara have supplied a series of clues, but today we are going to start with just one. And we will add more clues as time passes if the first doesn’t spark a winner! Karen and I share this birthday, so her hiding the gift and supplying the clues is her hobbitish gift to you!

Hint #1

The third lunation in a quarter
When a fourth full moon is seen
This is where the gift is hidden.
Tucked beside a magic bean.

16. Steve Drew (Clues will lead you to city and state. My hint: it’s in the US)
FOUND by Jamie of AUSTRALIA! At Big Truck Taco Shop

I first met ElQuesoGrande when he extended an invitation to me to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the subreddit Fantasy. http://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/ I had a wonderful time there and was astonished by the response. Later, I was able to meet Steve in person when he had the inspired idea of having an ‘off site’ party at the Worldcon in San Antonio, Texas. The party enabled people who couldn’t get a membership to Worldcon to still meet authors and get books signed and chat. So. Awesome. Below is Steve’s first clue. If it’s not enough for you, you might want to keep an eye on /r/fantasy and ElQuesoGrande to watch for more . . .

In the Birthday Gift of chances
Choctaw language named the land
Ukla humá still stands today
Where the treasure lies at hand

#17 Clara Rolls Nashville, Tennessee

An extra  hint, as we seem to have you stumped:  He was certified by Chet!   Oh, I hope that’s not too obvious now!

I first met Clara via my newsgroup on www.sff.net And we were able to meet again in person when her work brought her to Seattle and she graciously made it possible for me to . . . oh, dear! Well, telling that story would be giving far too much helpful information about where this one is hidden! Suffice it to say that we shared a meal at the Space Needle and toured the EMP with a very knowledgeable guest! Please, if you are seeking for this one, do it during normal business hours. And an extra tiny hint: if you have figured it out correctly, one detail of the address will be that there are three digits in numerical order. Here is Clara’s clue in a limerick:

The city he calls home is Nashville,
And part of his full name could be Bill.
Some pay for the sight,
Of his six-stringed delight,
This guy ain’t quite over the hill!

#18 Jack Oakman Edinburgh, Scotland   FOUND~~~  And thank you Jack for being a hider! In the marina there. I need to put up a photo of the cute ferret that claimed the treasure box and the book!
Jack Oakman! How to describe our friendship? Mostly Internet, mostly hyphenated! As in we may sometimes go literally years between notes to one another, and then send off a ‘nudge’. As in, “Did you get any writing done today?” The ironic part is that when you nudge someone like that, you immediately realize that you, too, need to settle down and get your own writing done. So it’s very inspiring! Jack is also a video game designer. To see some of that part of his life, peek at www.jackoakman.com. Jack sends the following poem, and some photos, which we may post if the riddle proves too hard. Note that for this one, you are not looking for a gift wrapped package. Instead, keep your eyes open for a small treasure box! With treasures in it. And some instructions to follow if you wish to claim the rest of the prize!

In the North, three great beasts — though one not yet born
ford the Firth of Forth to Fife,
south, the monarch — she crosses, too
and here the treasure lies.
At her heart, only stones for foot or for wheel,
and Ravenous Beasties gaze upon this path.
Look then, for the head of the stag…
walk down its back…
if you find blood, you are on the right track.

The enclave beyond rises and falls,
though not so its four surrounding walls.
The farthest, brightest point is your goal,
beyond Blueberry Hills and Pennine Star,
Look out upon the elder of the three…
between its legs where prayers were once said…
Think only, then, of saving a life, and there you’ll find reward instead.

Inside the treasure box… a telephone number.
Ring it and say:
“I have found the treasure and demand my prize!”
Do so in a boisterous voice and you shall have it.
If I detect weakness rather than conviction I shall burn it…


#19 Peter Orullian Seattle, WA

FOUND!!!!! Thank you Peter for being the hider! At University Book Store, Seattle
This one is really making me smile, for reasons that will become clear later. I think I first encountered Peter ( http://orullian.com/) in the pages of an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of his book The Unremembered. It’s a nuanced tale that includes culture clashes, unique magic and characters who grow and change. (You know those are things I personally love in a fantasy) His next one is not due until 2015, so you still have time to enter the universe of The Vault of Heaven and be ready for it when it rolls out! Peter is also an award winning musician. Take a listen at http://orullian.com/music/default.html And here is his clue:

It’s not too hard, look for a school
A great big school. Where Huskies rule
And near that school, there is a store
A great big store. Where books mean more
And in that store, you’ll climb some stairs
A great big stairs. To writers’ wares
And from those stairs, you’ll find a desk
A great big desk. It’s on the west.
And at that desk, the people look
A great big look, to find you books
For kids and geeks and reading slobs
And wild tales by Robin Hobb.

20. Mervi Mäkelä Tampere, Finland
FOUND by Elisa! Hurray!

Mervi is a long time Finnish friend, both on the Internet and in person. She founded and runs a Robin Hobb fansite called The Plenty. http://www.theplenty.net/ And she has a Robin Hobb wiki there, which I am not ashamed to admit, I have consulted more than once! At my age, my memory needs all the help I can muster for it! So Mervi has been an excellent friend to me through the years. She also twitters at @theplentynet And here is her clue:

Punnitse vihjeitä mielessäsi tarkkaan.
Jotta kaukaisten saarten mausteet
ja muut eksoottiset tavarat vieraista maista
voitiin siirtää elolaivoista Kasalan toreille,
piti ne toimittaa tämänkaltaisen paikan kautta.
Etsit Peuran kuninkaallista sinistä
punaisesta tuvasta maan alta.
Suuntaa siis askeleesi sinne välittämättä säästä.

#21 K. B. Faulconbridge. NSW Australia
K.B. is yet another sff.net newsgroup friend of long standing. She has asked me to keep her identity under wraps until after the game is over, as her name might be a big clue as to where the prize is hidden. So. Here is her clue. Give it some thought!

“What is a Cat?

Gentle eyes
that see so much,
paws that have the quiet touch.

Purrs to signal
‘all is well’
and show more love
than words can tell.

Graceful movements
touched with pride,
a calming presence
by our side.

A friendship
that will last and grow –
small wonder
why we love them so……..Author Unknown

For some authors with a feline fascination there is artful magic in a cat’s every mood.”

22. Wesley Chu Chicago, Illinois  FOUND!!!!!  And the winner has staggered off with the prize.  Not only the gift book from me, but a generous helping of Angry Robot books. Congratulations Steven!Thank you Wes!

Wesley Chu and I had a marvelous time at the Worldcon in San Antonio, LoneStarcon. ElQuesoGrande of /r/ fantasy had arranged a party off site so that readers who could not attend the worldcon could still meet writers and get their books signed. A boisterous and lovely time was had by all as giant dice were rolled for door prizes! Wesley Chu is a fellow author, with his launch book The Lives of Tao now followed by The Deaths of Tao and a work in progress, The Rebirths of Tao. Discover more about him at http://www.chuforthought.com/ and a book that Myke Cole calls ‘pulse pounding and laugh out loud funny’. Wesley’s first clue is below. Go onto Twitter and follow him at @wes_chu for more clues posted every hour until the prize is found. We have heard rumors that Angry Robot has sweetened the pot on this prize!

Joe and Michael live in this urban and diverse city. Joe loves fried chicken while Michael is all about the BBQ. Stop by next door to find the Robin Hobb’s Birthday Gift! To find out more, @wes_chu will be tweeting more clues every hour on the hour under #robinhobb

22. Rhonda Munzinger Olympia WA  FOUND by Erik At Barnes and Noble Book, Olympia, on Black Lake Boulevard! Thank you Rhonda!

I first met Rhonda a number of years ago when I . . . oh, dear. Well, that would be a complete giveaway of the book’s hiding place. So let me just say that sometimes when I’m seeing Rhonda, Hopnut Jester will show up and bring me an exotic beer. And then we sit in the establishment, and have a cup of coffee as well. And that’s really all I can say! After the prize is found, we’ll put up some thank-you links to the location. For now, this is your clue:

Robin Hobb left a present for you in a world of imagination where dragons
and Hobbits co-exist and you can get 2nd breakfast, 11sies, afternoon tea,
dinner and supper too!

23. Jackie Morris Devon, England FOUND! At Torquay Museum, by Carrie. On a step ladder with links to Agatha Christie! I loved this hiding place!
Serendipity brought Jackie into my life and her art onto the covers of my books. For the full story of how that happened, look here: http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog/cover-story/ Over the course of a number of years, Jackie has created covers for all my books, and is currently at work on art for The Fool’s Assassin. Jackie Morris is also an author (Latest work: The Golden Hare) and dedicated friend to a number of spotted cats. Read more about her at http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog/ or on her Facebook .
Her clue to find a hobbit birthday gift is below:

Beside the sea, on a rise of oak.

Dragons wended and twisted their slow way to the sea’s edge and rested around the tor, to sleep a while and dream of the hidden key to the mystery.
Years ago she had walked across boards, pacing, searching, hunting for words as a cat hunts for mice, murdering on a whim, leaving a trail of bodies across pages.
Somewhere, here, the answer to the secret can be found


24. William Sean Glenn Tacoma, WA FOUND!  Thank you William Sean Glenn and Culpepper Books of Tacoma, WA. Congratulations to Jordan Tjoelker!
Here is another one hidden in Tacoma. Sean, as I call him, is a Boeing machinist and a bibliophile. Over the years he has gifted me with some amazing books from his collection. It is thanks to Sean that I first read Hrolf Kraki’s Saga by Poul Anderson. And the books he has given me on costume, heraldry and The Vulgar Tongue (a dictionary, that is!) have made me a better writer.
Follow the clue to see where Sean has hidden his book: (It baffled me, so don’t feel bad if it takes you a time!)

crossword for Birthday Game

25. Lou Kramer Aspley, QLD Australia  FOUND!   Thank you Lou! Congratulations Sandy! http://www.tailsandwhiskers.com.au/friends.html
My goodness, here is another sff.net newsgroup friend! I should send www.sff.net flowers and candy to thank them for all the friendships they have created for me. Lou is an animal lover, and uses her fondness for them in a very pragmatic way. She drives around the area, and the service she provides keeps cats purring and dogs frisking. Try the clue below to see if you can find where Lou has hidden the book.

My suburb starts with A and ends in Y,
the street that you need also makes you crave pie.
It’s a fence and it’s white and you’ll see number 2,
and Tails and Whiskers will be waiting for you.
Up the stairs, count them 1, 2, 3, 4,
and the prize that you seek is beside the front door!!

26. Amber Tomblin Walter San Marcos, Texas  FOUND!!!  Congratulations Arun!  Very clever indeed, to phone The Root Cellar and claim the prize!

And here is one from the Office Kat’s friend!

Amber Tomblin Walter is a world traveling Mama Blogger and expert cook based in San Marcos, Texas. She is also a professional actress, expert producer, and if she felt inlined, could take over the world.

You can find her online at http://livinginmunchkinland.blogspot.com. She is also one of my best and dearest friends. When we met, I was a new mother whose cooking skill set included an expert use of the toaster and the electric tea kettle. Over the years and through several long stays at her family ranch in Texas, I have advanced to the level of not only being able to cook, but to experiment. When I miss her, which is often, I pull out one of her recipes and make it for my sons. I have food allergies and but I love trying new food, so when I travel she lets me know the best restaurants to dine at, and she has never sent me astray. She’s also my go-to person for adapting recipes so that I can eat safely and for any kind of travel to anyplace. It’s rare you have that kind of intersection of knowledge in one person.


From Amber:
Here’s my hint. Ponder it as you try my recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits. At the end of it, you will have the most delicious biscuits, fresh from the oven and if you follow the hint, a birthday surprise. (And if you make the biscuits, post a picture! I love sharing my recipes.)

Last time I saw Office Kat (who I call Katie) we were in my hometown, San Marcos. She was down for just one day. I told her to meet me at my favorite breakfast place there. She was late. For someone whose job depends on details and being on time, she has a talent for being late and wildly disorganized in her personal life. But she made it anyway. And you will too. If you follow my clue it will lead you to where we had breakfast. And as Katie will tell you, my restaurant recommendations are always, always good.

For years, I had a small dog I doted on. Her name was Ceillie and she was very special to me. I was a working actress in New York (musical theatre) and she was my very special roommate and companion. I still miss her. There’s a moment in The Wizard of Oz, a perilous moment, when Dorothy almost loses Toto. The house has been ripped up by the storm and they are being carried along. Toto falls through the open cellar door, and Dorothy is certain he is lost. But he is held up by the air of the storm. Dorothy recues him by pulling him up by his ears and slams the door shut. Had Dorothy made it into the cellar, she’d never have made it to Oz. But as a cook, I know, sometimes the cellars, like pantries, have all the things I need to make my magic: jars of fascinating things, ingredients and spices that turn my kitchen into my magical place.

Go to the place you’d start to make kitchen magic.

Now, my recipe.

When I was last in New Orleans, my mother and I had the most amazing lunch at the Green Goddess. The best part of this lunch was the appetizer: huge, fluffy sweet potato biscuits. They were served with molasses in one small bowl and sweet pepper jelly in another. We were in heaven.

When we got home, my mom and I set forth to re-create this delicious biscuit. We searched the internet for similar recipe and in an afternoon, transformed my mother’s kitchen into a full scale test kitchen. We boiled and mashed sweet potatoes and got to work.

After a few failures, we had to regroup. My mom suggested returning to the old fashioned basics. She pulled out a box of Pioneer Biscuit Mix (but you can use Bisquick.) We added one and a half cups of mashed sweet potatoes. We rolled the out the biscuits, rolled them in butter melted in a pan and popped them in the oven. They came out perfect! We were thrilled. The recipe couldn’t be simpler. I bet you could even use baby food sweet potatoes if you were too lazy (er, I mean too busy) to mash and boil your own.

My family is vegan so to make this recipe vegan, I would suggest using a milk substitute, such as Almond Milk, and Earth Balance Butter. Recipe is as follows:

3 cups Pioneer Biscuit mix (or Bisquick)
1.5 cups mashed sweet potatoes (skins removed) or 2 large sweet potatoes
add some milk or milk substitute if you need any extra moisture
3 tablespoons of butter or butter substitute

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees
2. Stir Pioneer biscuit mix and sweet potato mash until soft dough forms. Add milk if necessary for moisture. (I didn’t need any.)
3. Melt butter in coffee cup and pour onto cookie sheet.
4. Turn dough onto surface dusted with Pioneer biscuit mix. Pinch off a small amount, roll into a ball and roll ball in melted butter on cookie sheet.
5. Repeat until all dough is turned into biscuit balls.
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown
Serve with pepper jelly and molasses.

For more recipes, please feel free to stop by my site, http://livinginmunchkinland.blogspot.com.

Much love (and still wearing her Ruby Slippers)

Amber Tomblin Walter



27.    Molly Templeton   Brooklyn, NY


I met Molly Templeton the first day of college in Rubin Hall.  She turned to me, and gave a smile and that was it.  Sometimes you just know.  Sometimes you just know that you’re destined to know someone your entire life. 


So across oceans and time zones, years and years, and countless strange blogs and experiments and random meetings in cities we have been forever-friends. She makes sense to me and I make sense to her.  


Officially she’s an editor, freelance critic and bookseller.  But if I had to explain Molly at a cocktail party, I’d say she’s a bellwether, a finder.  She always finds the best book, the movie that is about to break, the musician you should be listening to months ahead of time.  On my shelf is a collection of books, before they hit any best seller list, with her beautiful script on a note inside.  “I hope you enjoy this!”  Her mix CDs (they were tapes in the last century) always treasures.  From nail polish to bpal scents, she always find the right thing.  She’s exactly the person I’d want on my quest.  



There are many books in Greenpoint,

but only one is a gift.

You must pluck it from above

like one of Freya’s golden apples.



28.   Yannick   France FOUND! AT Trollune books store, by Nadia! Congratulations!  And thank you so much, Yannick!

This is a wonderful birthday gift to me from Yannick. He has offered to give a gift (and it’s a very nice one) to the person who comes in and asks for it.  The other prizes in the game are ones that I wrapped and sent to people to hide.  Yannick is giving this gift to us!  And I am so grateful.  So, here are the clues, in English and French:


“In the city funded by Lucius Munatius Plancus, not all is about food or drinks, not all is about the two rivers, not all is about silk.

There is a place where you can find things of imagination. There is a place where even the one that in old times was a raging monster in getting under the light of the night. There is a place where those that the sun turn to stone have the head in the clouds.

If you come to that place and ask about the birthday of the famous lady here, then you will receive a gift.”


And in French :


“Dans la ville fondée par Lucius Munatius Plancus, tout n’est pas consacré à la nourriture ou la boisson, tout n’est pas consacré aux deux rivières, tout n’est pas consacré à la soie.

Il y a un lieu consacré à l’imaginaire. Un lieu où celui qui dans les temps ancien était un monstre enragé se retrouve sous la lumière de la dame de la nuit. Il y a un lieu où ceux qui se transforment en pierre au soleil se retrouvent sous la lumière de la dame de la nuit.

Si vous venez à cet endroit et que vous demandez à propos de l’anniversaire de la gente dame, vous recevrez un présent.”






36 Responses to Happy Birthday To Me!

  1. My book of yours is hidden a long way away from where I live. Have a lovely birthday Robin. Look forward to the books being found.

  2. Happy birthday Robin!
    I’m here armed with heaps of Moomin shaped biscuits and tea, there’s definitely enough to share. 🙂

    Thank you Robin and Kat for organising this game, it’s so much fun! And everyone has clearly put so much effort into their clues, wow. 🙂

    I think I’ve solved the location of the Welly one and now I’m itching to hop on a plane…

  3. Robin,

    Your imagination really has no limits. This very cool game is obvious proof, as if your wonderful books weren’t proof enough.

    Maybe it would be fun to mark all the hidden treasures (once found) on the newsgroup map.

    Anyway, happy birthday!


  4. Thanks so much for being part of the fun, Mervi! All my hiders were amazingly creative with their clues. We are having such fun here at the Party Tent!


  5. Oh, no! My request to you to be a hider for my game must have gone astray! I thought you were just being your usual very busy self!

    Next time! Next time!


  6. Ew ew, I know where no 19 is!!!!!!!!! Ew……. not telling anyone though! Excited!
    And no, that’s kind of ok. The Agatha thing. I saw so many things today and yesterday that were amazing, including the mummy of a child, a penguin, a Lamyrgyr that reminded me of you ( though I think should have been a harpy eagle?), Noah’s arc, and a draw full of beetles. Amazing. 
    Pass the wine please!

  7. […] The post has gone live here. The shorter version here is that Robin Hobb and OfficeKat have been very sneaky the last few months, finding minions around the world to help plant gifts for readers all around the world, spanning from the UK, the US, New Zealand, Italy, and France. I hid my prize this morning, and I also added a little something of my own – a signed copy of Pantomime! I liked the idea of a book of mine and a book of Robin’s hiding out together. I’m not sure which book I have (it’s wrapped up), but if it’s a Fitz and Fool book, I can imagine Drystan and the Fool whispering ribald jokes to each other, with Micah and Fitz rolling their eyes at their antics. […]

  8. Way cool.  My wife collected #19, and we sent a friend after the other Seattle one. What a fabulous idea for the party, So much fun.
    Happy Birthday

  9. 16 – I know the city, where in that city?? I am following ElQuesoGrande  in reddit, but but…

  10. I suppose it’s a little early for some good ale – so you’ll just have to keep this party going for a while! Thanks for letting me take part in the birthday festivities.

    Happy 62!



  11. We are having a wonderful party here. Laptops open everywhere and shouts from different rooms as prizes are reported found! Hope someone finds the one you hid soon!

  12. Happy Birthday.

    And if you want to contact us for another game it will be with great joy.

    In fact the first to come to see us and ask about you birthday will get a present, it may not be the like you already send, but i really like the idea. And since i like you and what you write i will do it.

    So i am trying a small riddle in english,

    In the city funded by Lucius Munatius Plancus, not all is about food or drinks, not all is about the two rivers, not all is about silk. 
    There is a place where you can find things off imagination. There is a place where even the one that in old times was a raging monster in getting under the light of the night. There is a place where those that the sun turn to stone have the head in the clouds.
    If you come to that place and ask about the birthday of the famous lady here, then you will receive a gift.

    I hope my english don’t make the riddle uncomprehensible.

    In great of seeing you next year in Epinal,
    Best Regards,

  13. Yannick, I am so happy! Thank you! Can you please email your clue, in French also, to Robinhobb@robinhobb.com and I will add it right away to The Birthday Game. This is so kind of you!

    And I will hope to meet you when I am again in Epinal for Imaginales in 2015!

  14. Aww! Nothing where I live… but as hiding presents is just as much fun as finding them: If you repeat this, will you let me hide one in Germany somewhere?
    Lots of love and a Happy Birthday, Shira

  15. I think I’ve narrowed Jackie’s down to two general locations but can’t get to them before the weekend! We’ll see if someone else in the area guesses faster.

  16. A (late) happy birthday to you Robin !
    Oh, Hell ! Why are the two in France too far away from where I live ? Anyway, such a nice idea… I love it !

  17. I wonder, what was the hiding place in Tampere, Finland. Some one already found the treasure, but the hiding spot is not mentioned. Could you reveal that hiding place, before my curiosity grows too big and hungry and gets large nasty teeth. It’s already gnawing me. 🙂