*string quartet begins a very famous theme song* "There is something odd in the old East End... Who shall you call upon? The Guard!"
Monday, May 31, 2010
*string quartet begins a very famous theme song* "There is something odd in the old East End... Who shall you call upon? The Guard!"
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I'm about ready to begin my adventures at Phoenix Comicon!
Attendees: Be sure to come to my Author Spotlight where there will be chance to win free books courtesy of Dorchester Publishing!
Here's my schedule:
Friday 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM 153
Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Mashups, and more! A look at the hottest subgenres in fantastic fiction and how they are different from classic science fiction and fantasy. What's worth reading and why have they gotten so popular? Leanna Renee Hieber, Aprilynne Pike, Kris Neri, J.S. Lewis, Sam Sykes
Friday 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM 152
Spotlight on Leanna Renee Hieber: Join writer Leanna Renee Hieber for a talk on her Strangely Beautiful saga including her new book The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. The actress and award winning author will read brief scenes from her books and participate in a Q and A. (Plus book giveaway!)
Saturday 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM 152
Writing for the Young Adult Market: What makes a story Young Adult? Our panelists discuss writing for the young adult market, how they got started, and their work in that field. James A. Owen, Leanna Renee Hieber, Aprilynne Pike, J.S. Lewis, Dean Lorey
Saturday 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM 152
Beyond The Vampire and Werewolf: Tired of nothing but vampires or werewolves in your fantasy fiction? Our panelists discuss how they make use of other supernatural beings and mythological creatures in their work. Leanna Renee Hieber, Kris Neri, Sam Sykes
Saturday 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM 151
Doctor Who & Torchwood: We've got a new Doctor, the return of Torchwood in the works (including a possible FOX series) and Who knows what else. Our panelists discuss the current state of the Whoniverse and speculate on what's to come. Aprilynne Pike, Leanna Renee Hieber, John Wheeler, Casey Shultz
Sunday 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM 152
Sci-Fi Social Media: Is your favorite author a Facebook friend? We look at how Sci-Fi notables are using social media tools - Twitter, podcasting, blogging, Facebook, Myspace, etc. - to build fan connections and communities around themselves and their works. " Jack Mangan, Michael Stackpole, John Scalzi, Aprilynne Pike, Leanna Renee Hieber, Sam Sykes
Sunday 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM 155
You've sold your first novel, now what? Join Jeff Mariotte, writer of 46 novels, and newcomers Aprilynne Pike, Leanna Renee Hieber, and Sam Sykes, for a discussion of what it takes to get your first novel ready for the market. Jeff Mariotte, Aprilynne Pike, Leanna Renee Hieber, Sam Sykes
Be sure to check out the convention online and follow them on Twitter!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Darkly Luminous love across the interwebs!
Monday, May 17, 2010
My dear friend and fellow author Mary Rogers and I set off on the wilds of NJ Transit for Piscataway. You know its time to get the party started when about half an hour after we sat down in the cafe to await our room, steampunk Bobofet arrives. Mary took over the Pendragon suite by looking fabulous in an aviator jacket - none of us were letting her walk away without the entire outfit.
Huge thanks to the inimitable Stephen Segal who contacted me to be a part of the Library of Lost Literature sponsored by Quirk Books and Weird Tales, and held, beautifully enough, in a little library. I read from The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, second in the Strangely Beautiful series, prime-time on Friday night, attended by a most fabulously dressed contigency. (Thank you to my dear Lady Cordelia for this photo!) Stephen brought in amazing talent and Mary and I had the pleasure of attending many readings, throughout the weekend, all of which fascinated me. And after Ben Winters' read, I truly cannot wait for Android Karenina. Clever, fun and intriguing. Digression: Stephen also impressively guessed my favourite Doctor Who episode. (I am a legacy fan, the Baker years as shown on PBS were formative, thus Doctor Who counts as my longest running obsession.) But then again... I'm never as mysterious as I'd like to think I am. Is it obvious my favourite Doctor Who epsiode would be the one with vampires where Romana gets mesmerized, kidnapped, bitten by a bat while laid on a bier dressed in a long white Gothic-novel-esque robe as food for the big bad vampire? Okay, so maybe that's obvious. Still, I was very impressed that without missing a beat Stephen declared "State of Decay!" (File that one away for Obscure Leanna Trivia). And I went Squee. Come see me as Romana along with Stephen in mid-regeneration, The Princess Alethea as a yet-unnamed-companion-of-her-choice, and even The Master himself at DragonCon this year. I just found a little straw hat today at Target. So Romana's schoolgirl costume with the red tie it is. End of Digression: Back to the fair.
There was a Queen of Steam drag show, and there was what was purported to be and what I believe started out as a Penny-Dreadful poker game to raise money for the out-flooded Outlanders but devolved into eating raw potatoes and other such amusements. I somehow returned home with a potato amidst my belongings.
There was even homemade absinthe in a transformed hotel suite (Oh-mi-goodness amazing) prepared by the fabulous Von Hedwigs of The Steampunk Family, who are without a doubt the most consummate and charming hosts ever in the history of host-dom. See here the Von Hedwigs and the stunning acoutrements of their lovingly crafted absinthe.
Emilie P. Bush kindly asked me to be on a panel dealing with women and women's roles in our respective work. Her Chenda and the Airship Brofman is a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award! Huzzah!
And one of my favourite aspects of the Fair? The panels on multiculturalism and "Beyond Victoriana" run by bloggers Ay-Leen of Beyond Victoriana and Jha of Silver Goggles. These panels, while only allowed time to scratch the surface of issues one really needs a lifetime degree of digesting, were laid out with beautiful ground-work, simple rules of respect and profound intellectual fodder. It made me so very excited to be a part of the "Retro-Futurist" community - a word I've taken from the wonderful TempleCon I attended earlier this year, a community that not only values cosplay and fantastic invention, but in making the world a place where everyone has a voice and can be valued, provided there is respect, sharing and understanding. If historical fiction, fabulous costuming, art, culture and the past and present crossroads of the world interests you, be sure to follow Beyond Victoriana and Silver Goggles. Amazing resources, fabulous women, who, like Steampunk, are happening now. The weekend afforded me the opportunity to show my enthusiasm for clothing, issues, literature, irrepressible ideas, new and diverse voices, the aesthetic of Steampunk and the chance to reaffirm why I write historical novels with my own paranormal twist; my Gaslight Gothic Fantasies. I was reminded by those I met this weekend that these are my people. People who are not afraid to wear fabulous hats and reinvent the world.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I couldn’t be so close to Salem and not visit Salem. Truly, it would be criminal. Welcome to Salem, MA, land of the Puritans. Where this cheery guy here, Roger Conant, The First Settler of Salem in 1626 said: "Nope, I'm not going any further, screw you. Y'all can go elsewhere, I'm staying put." And Salem was born. Okay. Here's what he actually said (quoth the fancy plaque): “I was a means through grace assisting me to stop the flight of those few that then were here with me and that by my utter denial to go away with them who would have gone either for England or mostly for Virginia.” Them's plaque-makin' words right there, I tell ya. The sculpture makes him seem far more dynamic than his quotes.
So after the Literary events my beloved and I were dropped at the gorgeous Hawthorne Hotel - named for that beloved Salem son and famous author who I'll speak more of later, and set off exploring. To be very clear, I’m not interested in the sensationalism or the marketing of/obsession with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, or identifying Salem only with that unfortunate few months in our nation's history, despite the fact that everywhere you look in Salem they've had to embrace it, from witches on broomstick icons on hair salons, police cars, schools, to even a bronze Bewitched statue. What I am interested in is not a false and material iconography of witches but I'm interested in the history itself. Because those trials had nothing to do with witchcraft and everything about politics, land, money, gender, power and the exercising of it. And, of course, what I am interested in is the ghosts. What’s as important to me as the knowledge of the history of a place is the energy I feel in it walking the land, streets and the buildings and meeting the people. After admiring our lodging for a bit, we of course, booked a Ghost Tour.
We looked for a ghost tour that focused on the historical aspects, not the hype. I believe in ghosts. I don’t need to be convinced, spooked, titillated or given a big production. What I appreciated about our awesome guide Tahra is how knowledgeable she was while knowing how to engage her audience and to make a tour fun as well as informative, without over-blowing the stories. A good ghost story needs no embellishment, its just a tale well told. The picture here is of the admittedly, totally creepy former Salem jail. (Now, of course, this is being turned into Condos. Have fun with those ghosts of the executed, folks!) If you go to Salem, find Tahra, she was great. Visit Salem Historical Tours. As a former tour guide myself, I’m telling you, take her tour. (And then, of course, tip her, she earns it and tour guides work hard). And let me tell you, Salem has some good ghost stories. So good I even have one of my own to tell. Seriously. Yes, for real. But more of that in a minute. Let me tell you about our lovely, sunny-if-not-quite-cold Sunday about Salem.
A primary mission in Salem was to pay homage to a wonderful writer, a pioneer of the Gothic novel and an influence of mine: Nathaniel Hawthorne. I was particularly charmed by our ghost tour guide Tahra showing us the “Grimshawe House” beside the town cemetery where he took down names for characters and where he began courting his future wife who lived in that house that would be immortalized, Sophia. (Seriously, how much do I love the graveyard courtship?) I visited the home where Hawthorne was born, learned about the room where he did much of his early writing, a place he called “the castle dismal” on Herbert Street, saw and explored the House of the Seven Gables (a side of which is pictured here) which he immortalized in his novel of that name, and generally soaked up as much as I could, gaining a new appreciation of a man I’d admired since high school when I read (and loved) The Scarlet Letter.
I did want to visit the Salem Witch Memorial that commemorates that time of horror and hysteria, politics, fabrications, human rights violations and all manner of wrongs against the innocent. Each name of the hanged victims (with the exception of Giles Corey who was pressed to his death beneath stones) are marked chronologically from Bridget Bishop in June of 1692 into September of that year, each victim marked on a separate bench. I was touched that on Mother's Day, many of the memorials had these little flowers bestowed upon them. The memorial is a sobering sight. The stone plaza is next to that town cemetery where Hawthorne courted Sophia and brainstormed ideas for his novels, and where I too took down some amazing, historic names for possible use in my fiction. I am nothing if not influenced by the actions of my predecessors. *s*
All right. So I suppose I owe you, dear reader, my ghost story. Now again, to be clear, I’m not interested in sensationalizing, especially since I write ghost stories and incorporate very famous ones into my Strangely Beautiful series - I take them seriously, but don't go overboard about them. I love hearing and telling ghost stories, I don’t necessarily need to see the ghosts to enjoy their tales and know they're out there somewhere. I’ve seen enough inexplicable things to be a believer, and so frankly I don’t find myself looking for paranormal experiences because I think that can be courting trouble if you encounter the wrong type of energy. I am of the opinion that if I’m meant to encounter something, I’m meant to. Looking too hard for things will only create falsehoods, tricks of the eye and wishful thinking. However Scandalous Women expert, award-winning blogger, author and dear friend Elizabeth K. Mahon did warn me the beautiful Hawthorne Hotel, built in 1925, was haunted, and my response, of course, was: “Cool!”
The haunting: 3am. Awoken in silence, groggy. Why I woke, I don’t know save that perhaps a shift in energy did so. I’ve always been a very light sleeper. The light within the room was pale and hazy from exterior street-lamps. I began to hear a noise. Faint, tinkling, a sparkling sound even. No footsteps, just the soft jingling, and it seemed to be in the hall. Like keys, I remember thinking. But there aren’t keys used for the rooms in the Hotel - there would have been when it was opened in the early 20th century - but now there are cards for the doors. And there was no room adjacent to us, should someone be jingling their keys, next door to us was the stairwell. As I was hearing this noise becoming more clear, there came a close and present scratch very near to me, a soft but distinct scrape directly above me, as if on the headboard, and the jingling stopped. I admit at that at that moment adrenaline kicked in, and my blood ran cold due to the proximity. Generally when I have seen or heard things, I’d prefer them to be a bit further away from me, to put a bit of distance between. These subtle goings on did not wake my beloved, and neither did I once silence again descended. I lay and contemplated it a bit, and wondered if I’d tell anyone. Then I thought; are you crazy, you write ghost stories, of course you should tell it!
As my darling Mulder would say, The Truth is Out There. And perhaps it might come and say hello. Perhaps some housekeeper or butler in the 1920s or 30s that likes to make his/her 3am rounds, passing through the doors those phantom keys seek to open. I totally recommend the Hawthorne, by the way, affordable and the staff were charming, the facilities lovely and its very conveniently located in the heart of Salem. The ghost (at least this friendly one, do be careful what you wish for as you cannot count on ghosts to all be benign) was just an extra perk.
T’was a lovely journey. Now on to the next: Next weekend? The Steampunk World’s Fair! If you’re in New Jersey, come visit my author Salon on Friday evening!
Don't forget to buy your copy of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker and enter my contest! The more Shakespeare references you list, the more entries you get!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
If I were to list the entirety of everything that's happened in the past two weeks, I'd stare at the list, all my adrenaline would wear off and I'd collapse. But no rest for the wicked. Whee! I've Michael and Rebecca's edits to do, a musical to storyboard and Strangely Beautiful #3 to write! *sips strong tea* *rallies* *dances*
But before I disappear into deadline - I must discuss all the amazing things, people, costumes and events that happened in my busy time away back in the motherland of Ohio. I always love talking to schools, and doing so for my various alma maters in addition to local Lebanon school was a particuar highlight. I just love telling whoever will listen that if you want to write, keep writing. I met so many talented young people, everywhere I went, I was filled with joy and hope for all the awesome books and poems and work that they will produce in years to come.
Panels, events, dances, booksignings... And plenty of chances for me to do my favourite thing... Dress up. This year I was on a paranormal panel talking about writing creatures and worlds other than Vamps and Weres (nothing against them, but gotta give the ghosts some love too), another about Fantasy, Romance and blending the genres. And yes, I did get to squee about the musical option rights and the possibility of Strangely Beautiful the musical, so that was pretty awesome. My fellow authors were very excited for me and that was a real blessing. I'm thrilled that the news has generated a lot of buzz and excitement in the community.
Then... Right back to Lady Jane's Salon back in NYC that very Monday - for The DARKLY LUMINOUS release party! I was very proud of my outfit - alas, the pictures on my camera didn't come out. (Thankfully author Kwana Minatee-Jackson had this I could plunder, I hope to find more). I was also very proud of reading with Christina Britton Conroy and Jeri Smith-Ready. (Jeri and I won Prism Awards the same year, and I'm a huge fan of her so this was a real treat and I'm in love with her new YA novel Shade). I read one of my favourite scenes from Darkly Luminous and our specialty cocktail was a pomegranate martini we called a Persephone. :) They were delicious, and now I am bound to the underworld.
Taking over the interwebz...
Check out my interview for the International Thriller Writers!
Darkly Luminous raves!
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is a Night Owl Romance Top Pick!
The Book Girl
Strangely Beautiful the musical:
- Smart Bitches Trashy Books gave a shout-out to the musical option rights! - Thanks Sarah!
- So did Dread Central! - Thanks Horror fans!
- Read the fabulous press release Dorchester sent out about the option sale...
Backstory: Want to know why Persephone's maiden name is Parker?
Light the Darkness!