Tags: rob thurman

Doings

I'm over talking with Cate Peace today on her blog "Going from Nobody to Somebody" about the voices in my head.  Won't you come talk to me and drown them out?

Speaking of Vicky Dreiling (see yesterday's blog), she's answering questions today over at the Forever Romance Facebook page.

Rosemary Clement-Moore is talking to Get Lost in a Story today and giving away a copy of her latest, Texas Gothic!  Check her out.

New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman's got information on new contests, signings and releases over on her blog.  If you haven't read Chimera yet, you're going to want to run out and grab it in preparation for the sequel, Basilisk, which releases August 2nd.  Really, seriously awesome series.  (For you Cal Leandros fans out there...just as awesome, I swear!)

August 2nd will, in fact, be an AWESOME day, because it will also see the publication of the first book in a brand new series by Rachel Caine (Working Stiff), Book One of the Revivalist series), a debut mystery by Tammy Kaehler (Dead Man's Switch) and the omnibus edition of Chloe Neill's first two Firespell novels (Firespell and Hexbound).




 
Can't wait!

Myth: How Far is Too Far?

An interesting question arose in the comments section of Rob Thurman’s guest blog a few weeks ago about how far a writer can take something from mythology away from its roots and still call it by its name of origin.  In other words, are vampires still vampires if they can walk about in the sunshine and don’t need to drink blood to survive.

I gave this a lot of thought, and I realized that there are certain things that readers identify with various mythical beings that will lead to certain expectations no matter what you call them.  In other words, a rose by any other name would still bear thorns.  The flipside of that brings immediately to mind Lynn Flewelling’s Aurenfaie—the beautiful, long-lived magical race that claims her hero Seregil—think a fusion of the Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes—from the Nightrunner series.  (Okay, they don’t so much claim him as send into exile, but you get the picture.)  Something about the Aurenfaie leads readers to identify them with elves or The Fair Folk, liley the second half of the name.)  And that leads them to the impression that the Aurenfaie have pointy ears, even though they don’t.  In other words, faie=fairy, fairy= elf, elf=pointy ears.

Interesting that.

I wondered what other preconceived notions writers might be confronted with when they create new worlds.  Do fangs without fur automatically mean vampires?  Do fangs with fur equal shifter (mammalian, of course)?  Are there other expectations, like with vampires and blood that without which are non-starters for the reader?  I’ve seen books with vegetarian vampires and energy vampires which would lead me to think that this is not necessarily the case.  Sure, as you get away from the source material, you may lose some readers, but you may pick up others intrigued by the novelty.

As I mentioned in my Myth is Bendy blog, even source materials can’t seem to agree on definitive versions of any myth or creature.  For example, in Chinese mythology, vampires are more comical than frightening and can only move by jumping up and down and with arms outstretched.   Even within the same culture, attributes of gods and other beings may vary.  Myths largely developed before written language, and thus were often recorded after centuries of oral tradition had played telephone with them.  Not to mention, contact with other cultures through invasions, interbreeding or proselytizing changed various stories as history marched along its petty pace.

I’m not sure it’s possible to go too far with something when nothing about that thing is or ever was set in stone.  No matter what you do, some will love it.  Some will hate it.  Worse, some will be completely indifferent.

But that’s my two cents.  I want to hear yours.  How far is too far?

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal week continues with Rob Thurman

Continuing Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal week, I'm pleased to present New York Times-bestselling author Rob Thurman, who likes to take mythology and turn it completely on its flea-bitten ear.  I offered her Cal Leandros series up in the webinar as an example of how you can take something established and completely make it your own.


Myth-information by Rob Thurman

I’m often asked where I get my particular take on mythology. The majority of my readers recognize that I’m intentionally twisting existing myths and a few enjoy pointing out my ‘errors.’

Yeahhh, they’re not errors.

While I do love shoving myths into a wood-chipper to see what comes out the other side, enjoy putting my own stamp on tradition, what I’m actually doing is bringing mythology up-to-date.  If you’re old enough to remember the trash rag, the National Enquirer, then you remember if two celebrities passed in the street, they were instantly emblazoned on the front page as having a torrid (hey, that is the only time I’ve used the word torrid) affair, cheating on their spouses, and destroying their children’s lives. It wasn’t true of course, but that’s what gossip is all about and if your ‘prey’ won’t talk to you, gossip is all you have to go on. Now we have TV trash shows for that, but the practice is the same.

Mythology is the gossip of the ancient world.

Think of the mermaid. One day a horny sailor saw his first manatee. And you’d have to be an extremely horny sailor to envision a gorgeous mermaid out of a wallowing sea cow. But apparently he was and that was the seed of the mermaid legend.

And it wouldn’t stop with mermaids. Every myth, mythological creature, mythological god would be far different than the humans of those times managed to put down on paper or pass along. If your world is inhabited by vamps, weres, fey, and a thousand monsters, do you think that, say, a lycanthrope sat down about 25,000 BC to tell their furry story to any human who came along? That’s not in their best interest to survive. If your vampires existed (as mine did), before the time of Christ, why would they fear a cross, be burned by holy water, sleep in coffins before there were coffins? They probably sat around at the weekly vamp meeting and concocted all sorts of crazy fake legendary weapons to pretend to cower from right before they ate you. Good joke for them, eh? No doubt they’d swill blood from their cups and snort blood out of their nose when the Italian vamp added garlic to the list. Hell, he probably drank his blood with ground garlic around the edge of his chalice of blood—like salt on a margarita glass.

In my universe of the Cal Leandros Novels and Trickster Novels, Puck, Pan, Robin Goodfellow is now a used car salesman (what better job for a charismatic, arrogant, slick and slippery con artist of a trickster?)  And he never had goat legs. They were fur chaps long before they came into fashion. Goodfellow didn't follow the trends, he set them.

 

Elves are worse monsters than demons from the deepest depths of Hell. They are the bogeymen even to other monsters. Their ‘seed’ to elven legend is long white hair and pointed ears—history left out the hundreds of metallic teeth, lava-red eyes, and the insatiable desire to kill. They were the first predators—the first murderers to walk the earth.


Werewolves aren’t werewolves at all. They were once in the same evolutionary line of prehistoric wolf and split off into a species that could turn human if they wished—all the better to infiltrate their prey and gobble them up with those great big teeth, Grandma. They didn’t start out as people who can turn into wolves, they started out as wolves that can turn into people—they are were-people.

 

And it goes on and on. It’s your world, your universe, your rules….different, strange, mythology turned upside down is good. No, hell, it’s great. Your only limits are the ones you set on yourself.

Me? I never liked rules. 

___________________

Wanna hear more?  You can visit Rob Thurman on her blog or listen to her at Binwalla Radio right here (her portion starts at about 33.45).

You can also check out her very cool book videos and get her Cal Leandros widget here.

Around the Blogosphere

You can probably tell just how busy this month has been by the scarcity of my blog posts, so today's is a wrap up of various news from around the blogosphere that maybe I've tweeted or retweeted (you can find me here on Twitter), but not posted on the blog.

First, the new Knight Agency newsletter is out!  It's complete with an interview with the wonderful RITA-Award winning Rosemary Clement-Moore whose latest young adult novel,
Texas Gothic, releases July 12th from Delacorte.  You're also all cordially invited to chat with Rosemary on Thursday, June 23rd at 9 pm ET. We promise you pub talk, book giveaways and good times!

Details:
WHAT:
Chat with Rosemary Clement-Moore
WHEN: Thursday, June 23rd at 9pm ET
WHERE:
The Knight Agency Chat Room
HOW TO CHAT: Enter any combination of username and password. Login. Your computer must be Java enabled to chat.


You don't have to wait until next week to hear Rob Thurman in her Binwalla ("Epic Geeks Epic Radio) webinterview.  It's up now (at about 33 minutes and 45 seconds).  She talks on her blog about what to expect.

In other news, Diana Orgain has been over at Romantic Times Book Reviews recently about "Finding Time to Write."  She's the author of the Maternal Instincts mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime and mother of three, so she knows whereof she speaks!

Diana Pharaoh Francis, meanwhile, was interviewing over at Deviant Divas, taking about her Horngate Witches urban fantasy series.

I was over at Deborah Blake's blog talking about novel writing.  I'm also terribly excited to post a link here to the very first review I've seen my my urban fantasy novel Bad Blood, forthcoming in just eleven days from Samhain Publishing.  Fresh Fiction says,
BAD BLOOD is a wonderful read. The mystery keeps the reader engaged, the action makes the reader want to roll with the punches, and the romance makes the senses tingle. This is a great book to coil up with on a lazy Sunday afternoon.”

Last, but certainly not least, Janet Mullany gets a one-two punch of promotion for Jane and the Damned (as a Fresh Pick from Fresh Fiction) and for Mr. Bishop and the Actress from Unabridged Chick with a wonderful review ("A perfect summertime read for anyone who wants to giggle a great deal and sigh happily and escape the humdrum for a few hours.")

New releases

I'm very pleased to present this week's new releases!

                                               

THE VAMPIRE FILES
, Volume 3 by P.N. Elrod
"I love getting into bed with Jack Fleming.  Vampires, Chicago, jazz, and mystery - nobody does it better than P.N. Elrod." - Lilith Saintcrow, author of the Dante Valentine series

Chicago is a rough town, even for the undead. But someone has to clean up the dirty burg, and Jack Flemming is just the vampire for the job. The Vampire Files, Volume Three includes two adventures featuring Chicago's very own vampire P.I. as he cleans up the streets, one crook at a time (A CHILL IN THE BLOOD and THE DARK SLEEP). 


FORMULA FOR MURDER (third Maternal Instincts Mystery) by Diana Orgain
"Anyone who’s been a mother or had one will welcome the arrival of this entertaining new sleuth.” — Gillian Roberts, author of the Amanda Pepper series


Sleuth and first-time mom Kate Connolly and her baby are the victims of a hit-and-run, but escape unharmed. A witness identifies the car's French diplomatic license plates, yet when Kate and her hubby try to get some answers, they get le cold shoulder. But there's something going on at the French consulate that's dirtier-and far deadlier-than any diaper.

BLACKOUT (sixth Cal Leandros novel) by Rob Thurman
“Supernatural highs and lows, and a hell of a lean over at the corners. Sharp and sardonic, mischievous and mysterious…The truth is Out There, and it’s not very pretty.”—Simon Green, New York Times Bestselling Author of Paths Not Taken

“Cal’s a sarcastic, sardonic narrator who pulls the reader into his world, both the good and the bad. Tightly plotted and fast paced…full of twists and turns.”—Romantic Times

Blurb:
When half-human Cal Leandros wakes up on a beach littered with the slaughtered remains if a variety of hideous creatures, he's not that concerned. In fact, he can't remember anything-including who he is.
             And that's just the way his deadly enemies like it...

Wanna know more?  Check out this rockin' series trailer.



Coming later this month: WRITING THE PARANORMAL NOVEL by Steven Harper and the reissue of EYE OF HEAVEN by Marjorie M. Liu!

Congrats and writers resources

First, I want to say a huge congratulations to Rob Thurman, Shannon Aviles and the fine folks at More than Publicity, who've just won a Pixie Award for Outstanding Creativity in Motion Graphics, Effects and Animation for the music video "Paint it Red" for her Trickster series of novels.  Rob has also just launched a fabulous new website.  You can check out the video below and the website by clicking here.


On to business....
So many things going on in the industry right now - Borders trouble, e-books and other issues - that it's really vitally important to keep track, so I'm offering up links to some of the sites that will put you in the know.

Mediabistro - So many good blogs here to keep you up-to-date on the industry that it's a very good idea to subscribe to their newsfeed.  Depending on what area of the industry you're in, some of their blogs will be more relevant to you than others.  For my part, I find myself tuning in to GalleyCat almost religiously.

Shelf Awareness - Their tagline "Daily enlightenment for the book trade" really says it all.

Publishers Marketplace/Publishers Lunch - I've been a paying member for so long that I'm not sure how much information you can get for free, but this is a very valuable resource for industry news and word about who's selling what to whom.


There are a number of other wonderful resources out there.  If you write within a genre and join an organization like the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Mystery Writers of America (MWA), the Horror Writers of America (HWA) or The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), you'll have access, depending on your level of membership, to directories, website resources, newsletters or magazines.  Often, these organizations will also vet agents and publishers to let you know who's reputable and who's not.

Trade magazines like Publishers Weekly, Locus, Romantic Times and others also provide a lot of useful information.

In addition, there are numerous group blogs out there that talk about the writers' life, craft, business and other issues, like the Magical Words blog that I contribute to once a month.  Some of the other contributors: David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, Faith Hunter, Stuart Jaffe, Misty Massey and C.E. Murphy have just come out with their first compendium, HOW TO WRITE MAGICAL WORDS.

Wherein I have so much to share I hardly know where to start

Wow, so much new and exciting, I hardly know where to start (and may be back to add during the day). 

Who doesn't like a good film, right?  More than Publicity has come up with another winning trailer, this one for Rob Thurman's hot new release, The Grimrose Path, sequel to Trick of the Light.  Check it out!



The fabulous Michele Lang is having a virtual launch party today over at Bitten by Books, talking about her incredible fantasy novel, Lady Lazarus, and giving away a $50 Amazon Gift card, an artisan-made "witchy" shell necklace and other goodies.  You can check it out here.  If you want to hear a bit about Lady Lazarus, click over to her feature on John Scalzi's Big Idea blog or...I've got Michele right here talking about it in a clip from our September 1st launch party in NYC at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art.  (More about that can be seen on Michele's site, in a slideshow on my character blog and write-ups from Romantic Times Book Reviews, SF Scope and the Long Island Romance Writers.)



I'm going to be at Bitten By Books myself tomorrow with my own virtual launch party (back to back with Michele, just like our releases Lady Lazarus and Revamped), giving away an 8G iPod Nano with a special fashion skin.  Gina (my fanged fashionista) would so approve!  If you RSVP today in advance of the event, you get an extra 25 entries...better chance to win the grand prize!.  In the meantime, I have a short silent film of my own, a recreation of "The Call" over at Diana Rodriguez Wallach's blog, which I had a lot of fun making and hope you enjoy.

Happy release day to Rob Thurman!

                                                     

In honor of Rob Thurman's new release, THE GRIMROSE PATH (out today!) I've asked her here today to do a guest blog, and she's chosen a fascinating subject:

Diversity in Urban Fantasy
(Equal Rights for Humans!) 

When I was a punk-ass kid growing up in the country, we had one library and not one new book there. All the books were donated from at least twenty years before I was born. In those books, with rare exceptions, the characters were pasty white people (like me.) But being a pasty white kid didn’t stop me from being outraged. I wanted people of color, I wanted people of different religious backgrounds, different sexualities, different capabilities.

Publishing made that all more a determination for me. The diversity was coming, but it was slow and often considered a different genre all its own--apparently a lot of people in the bookstores weren’t listening to the Supreme Court. I wrote novels where diversity was the norm, as it is in everyday life. It wasn’t focused on, but it wasn’t ignored either. It simply reflected life. I have two characters who are Rom, an Asian werewolf, two Hispanic vampires, one werewolf who had albinism, one werewolf that was a set of conjoined twins. I had a little person, a bisexual Greek myth come to life (who doesn’t love puck/Pan and all his incarnations?), a biracial female protagonist, an American Indian, and that’s probably not the end of it. They were integrated into the stories so well that many readers didn’t even realize until they were told. They were far more interested in the inside of the character, which, in a way, is a triumph. Diversity is beautiful and it should be the norm. And what do you actually not notice that often? The norm.

We are one.

Except…

I thought about it the other day and of my ten main characters in my two urban fantasy series, only one is human. Now I find myself on the other side…the side I’d scorned. I’m a bigot—I promote prejudice against humans.

Sure, they can’t suck blood or fly (without proper ID) on feathered wings. They can’t tear holes in reality to step through. They don’t live to be over a hundred thousand years old. They can’t go to hell to escape the NYC winter and warm up (well…maybe they can, but it might be more permanent than they planned.) They can’t slip into the wolf fur (once you go furry, you never have to worry), piss on a fire hydrant or hump a leg and have it passed off as the fun-loving antics of a really, really big dog. They aren’t demi-gods who can try to destroy the entire planet on a bad day and have it brushed off—forgive and forget because ‘gods will be gods.’

This trend has to stop. We need more humans. Ordinary humans without any paranormal powers, personal demons, Satan on speed-dial, magical this, cursed that. We need simple and plain Slushie operators out there fighting the good fight as well.

Remember: humans are people too.  

_____________

For more on Rob's books, including excerpts and extras, you can follow along here:
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