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Latest KMM tease: Barrons a beast but did he kill Mac’s sister? July 30, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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Here’s the latest tease that Karen Marie Moning has sent out and it’s a doozy! Now, what would make Mac cry? Is she just relieved because she thinks she knows the killer or is she crying because of the identity of the killer? Is it Barrons? Or is that way too obvious? V’lane? Whatever. It sounds like Barrons is a beast. Maybe not THE Beast. But you read it and let me know.


“You killed my sister!” The dark lake in my head begins to boil. I hear rustles behind me, leathery wet sounds and I whirl. The freaks that killed my sister are taking advantage of the distraction and trying to leave.

Not a chance in hell. This is what I’ve been living for. This moment. My revenge. First the ones that killed her. Then the one who delivered her to them.

I lunge for them, screaming my sister’s name.

I slice and rip and tear.

I begin with my spear and end with my bare hands.

I fall on them like the beast-form of Barrons. My sister died in an alley with these monsters working on her and now I know it wasn’t fast.  I can see her, white-lipped with pain, knowing she’s going to die, scratching a clue into the pavement. Hoping I’ll come, afraid I’ll come. Believing I could succeed where she failed. God, I miss her! Hatred consumes me. I devolve into vengeance, I embrace it, I become it.

When I finish there are no pieces larger than my fist.

I’m shaking, gasping, covered with bits of flesh and gray matter from smashing their skulls.

I double over and hit the pavement, puking.  I puke until I dry-heave then I dry-heave until my ears ring and my eyes are stinging.

I don’t have to look behind me to know the street is empty. My sister’s murderer is gone.

I finally got what I came to Dublin for.

I know who killed my sister.

I curl in a tight ball on the cold pavement and cry.

Did you miss these posts?

KMM releases new Darkfever cover … but which is your fave?
Karen Marie Moning finishes last ‘Fever’ book!

KMM’s Shadowfever delayed until Jan. 18 & what’s with Darroc?
Shadowfever cover released plus new synopsis of Mac’s story

KMM releases new Darkfever cover … but which is your fave? (The ones w/ Barrons?) July 27, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Since I’m not in the book publishing biz, I don’t understand this book cover stuff. Why some covers are changed and others are not. For example, I love the original Sookie Stackhouse covers. So cool, but now they all look like the HBO series. Makes since because publisher probably trying to pull in TV viewers who haven’t read the series.

But why are other covers changed? Here’s the original cover for the first book in the  Karen Marie Moning Fever series. I love this series and guess I will always like the original cover for DARKFEVER. But now there’s a new cover. What do you think? I’ve also included a few other variations.

Original Darkfever cover.

Latest Darkfever cover -- just released.

Darkfever cover released in UK.

German cover for Darkfever.

French cover for Darkfever

Spanish cover for Darkfever.

‘Vampire Academy’ coming out as graphic novel July 25, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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Image from Richelle Mead's blog.

Richelle Mead — who I saw on a vampire lit panel over the weekend at Comic-Con — showed the cover for her VAMPIRE ACADEMY graphic novel, which is coming out next summer.

She also reiterated that the  books — about 17-year-old Rose who is half-human/half-vampire — have been optioned for a film but that’s about it, noting that an option doesn’t mean anything will happen. Mead said she’s leaving the development stuff up to the film folks because that’s what they do best. “I don’t think about films. I just focus on writing the best book right now,” she said.

Up next: She’s working on a six-series spin-off series to VAMPIRE ACADEMY. And book No. 6 in the Georgina Kincaid SUCCUBUS series is due out next year!

Richelle Mead with Charlaine Harris and Jeanne Stein.

For more info, check out Richelle’s website HERE. And visit her blog HERE. You can also follow her on Twitter @richellemead.

Click on the headlines below to read my other posts from Comic-Con:

Attack of the zombie authors
Charlaine Harris was everywhere!
Who influenced these vamp authors?
My Comic-Con slide show

My Comic-Con slideshow July 24, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, News.
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A few photos from my first Comic-Con! (Experimenting with a new slide show program so let’s see how it works with captions and all.)

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Attack of the zombie authors July 24, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Max Brooks and Seth Grahame-Smith.

I’m not a connoisseur of the walking dead, but the folks who write these novels are priceless on a panel.  The “Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction” panel  made me think of high school when the straightforward nerds took on the complicated nerds.

On one end of the panel: Max Brooks (THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE) and Seth Grahame-Smith (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES) were dead on (no pun intended) with their simple idea that zombies are scary creatures, and they’re just that – – zombies. “You could still make all of the right decisions but (zombies) still come after you,” Brooks says. Grahame-Smith says: “Zombies are literally dead things for hot chicks to kill.” And both — as did several other panel members — said they were inspired by George Romero and “Night of the Living Dead.”

Now add into the mix Walter Greatshell (XOMBIES: APOCALYPTICON) who makes a slight dig at folks who borrow heavily from Romero. And of course Greatshell doesn’t borrow because — implied — he doesn’t have to, right? That’s because his novels are based on zombies — oops Xombies — that are smurf blue and chase a bunch of people, including the 17-year-old female heroine — onto a submarine.

Equally amusing is Mira Grant (FEED) — whose real name is Seanan McGuire — who sounds like she knows how to start a pandemic based on all of her detailed research and calls to the CDC for her zombie books. I wouldn’t have been all that scared but I’d never heard her speak before. She’s really glib and those big medical words roll effortlessly out of her mouth. She’s all about survival and very intense.

Joan Frances Turner is about to have her debut novel (DUST) published. She started writing about zombies after a death in her family and started to think about all of the things that happen to the body once it ceases to function. She also subscribes to the theory — in her book — that a zombie can have a memory. What happens? How does the zombie cope? And then it got  way too analytical for me when she started to talk about zombie metaphors — physical decay vs social decay etc. Just too much deep thinking for me on a Saturday!

Ryan Mecum (ZOMBIE HAIKU) tried to answer as much as possible in haiku:

I like slow zombies
fast zombies are less creepy
George Romero, yay.

(Mecum has also written VAMPIRE HAIKU.)

Amelia Beamer (THE LOVING DEAD) and John Skipp (ZOMBIES: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE HUNGRY DEAD) rounded out the panel. Beamer is a newbie to zombie publishing and Skipp is often described as a master with at least 18 titles to his credit.

The newsiest part? When Max Brooks confirmed WORLD WAR Z— the follow-up to his ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE — was in development for a movie and that he heard Brad Pitt was interested in a role. (And if I’d made it to the Dark Shadows panel, I would’ve been interested to hear about that movie, being directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.  Grahame-Smith is writing.)

I haven’t read that many zombie books. Some of them are very campy (Grahame-Smith’s P&P) and most are downright spooky because — well — zombies and disease = no human race/chaos. And — where’s the romance? (Although Beamer’s THE LOVING DEAD is supposed to have lots of ghoulish love!) Anyway, after  listening to the spirited, funny and sometimes sarcastic discussion at this Comic-Con panel, I just might have to tackle a few more.

And let me know if you’ve read any of these books or others in the zombie zone. Curious what folks think!

Charlaine Harris about to finish book 11 of Sookie series July 24, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Charlaine Harris at Comic-Con 2010

And I thought my only glimpse of  Charlaine Harris at Comic-Con would be on an afternoon panel about vamps. But the author of the popular Sookie Stackhouse series popped up as a regular audience member Saturday at the “Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction.” She smiled and waved from a fourth row seat on the side of room 7AB in the convention center as fans and zombie authors craned their necks to see where she was sitting after the panel moderator announced she was in the room.

Nope. She didn’t make any comments about zombies later during her panel discussion on vampire literature. But during the hour-long discussion and following Q&A she did talk about:

Book 11: She says she’s kind of looking forward to finishing Sookie’s story. Still no name for book No. 11, but she’s just about to finish it. “Maybe even tomorrow (Sunday),” she said.

Sookie’s name: For fans who don’t know where she got the name for Sookie, she reiterated that it was the name of her grandmother’s best friend. “It’s a common name in the South.”

–Why she developed her vampire world: She wanted to anchor her vampire stories in a blue-collar culture. She knew she wanted the story to be told through the eyes of someone in the working class. And she wanted the vampires’ struggle to join society to be told through that human’s eyes.

–On sticking to vamp lore: With creatures as strong as vampires, you have to stick to some vampire lore. So her vampires — for example — can’t go out during the day and silver is deadly. You need some rules so they don’t overtake human society, she says. “You’ve got to keep them in their place — which is the coffin.”

–On vampires/metaphors: In Rome, the journalists told her they thought her vampires symbolized capitalists, Harris said. But not for her, she says. “Vampires can be symbols for everything. Sometimes a vampire is just a vampire.”

On how she writes: She does not like to do research. “I hate prep work. … I’d rather just make it up as I go along.” But she admits that’s gotten her into some continuity problems with the Sookie books so she has an editor just to double-check her consistency now. She doesn’t listen to any special music — although when she mentioned bagpipes the other panelists thought that was a bit unusual — but she prefers to simply write in solitude in her room. OK — she does say she plays the soundtracks from the True Blood series when they send them to her.

On why vamps are popular: In economic hard times people want to think about super creatures, she said. Maybe it has to do with living forever when things are uncertain. “I do not want to live forever,” she says.

Charlaine Harris at Comic-Con 2010

Who influenced these vamp authors? July 24, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Fun stuff, News.
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Panel: Chris Farnsworth, Chris Marie Green, Charlaine Harris, Richelle Mead and Jeanne Stein discuss vampire lit at Comic-Con 2010 on Saturday.

At Comic-Con’s “Fang Girls and Fang Boys: The Popularity of Vampire Lit” — which probably should have been renamed “Fang Girls and Fang Boy,” since author Christopher Farnsworth (BLOOD OATH) was the only dude on the panel — we found out what works influenced these vamp authors when they were kids:

Rachael Caine (The Morganville Vampire series): SALEM’S LOT

Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod): CARRIE

Chris Farnsworth (Blood Oath): CARRIE

Chris Marie Green (The Vampire Babylon series): FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC

Charlaine Harris (The Sookie Stackhouse series): Anything by Edgar Allan Poe or Jane Austen.

Richelle Mead (The Vampire Academy series): Dungeons and Dragons (because that’s what her brothers played)

Jeanne C. Stein (The Anna Strong series): ROSEMARY’S BABY

Q&A: Author of ‘The Body Finder’ on echoes and serial killers July 20, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors.
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Sixteen-year-old Violet Ambrose hears dead people. She’s inherited the ability to sense the “echoes” the dead leave behind — the dead who have been murdered — from her grandmother. When a serial killer comes to town and starts murdering teen-age girls, Violet steps in to track the killer, who retains the imprints of these echoes. That’ the premise behind THE BODY FINDER, the debut novel by Kimberly Derting. I wondered why she decided to tell this story and what is up next in the series:

Q. You’re a new author, so what inspired you to write a YA paranormal vs another genre (or even an adult paranormal because Violet’s story could’ve been told through the eyes on an adult)?

A. My first attempt at writing a novel (using that word loosely) was a full-on adult horror novel called ONE OF THEM, because I wanted to write like Stephen King (HA!).  Fortunately, it was never published but it did make for really good practice.  Only when I finally gave up on that manuscript did I discover (and fall in love with) YA!

Q. You mentioned at a book signing that your husband gave you the idea for THE BODY FINDER. Tell us a bit more about this.

A. Here we go … his favorite question!  Yes, the original idea actually came from my husband, who said (one day while we were driving): “What if there was a kid who could find dead bodies?”  Of course, in his head it was a middle-school-boy adventure book.   But I loved the basic idea … as long as it was a girl in high school and she had a love interest.  It took some time to hammer out the rules of her creepy ability (how she would find the dead bodies), but once I did, I was obsessed with getting her story on paper. To this day though, my husband will still refer to himself as my co-author!

Q. The concept of an echo is intriguing. Do all of the dead have an echo or just those who meet a violent end? (In the book, even animals have echoes!)

A. Violet doesn’t understand all of the parameters of her “gift” yet, and that’s something that she considers/explores a bit more in DESIRES OF THE DEAD, but there are definitely some bodies that she senses more strongly than others. Also, one doesn’t have to necessarily die violently to have an echo.

Q. We know Vi gets her gift from her grandmother. Does the “gift” skip a generation because neither of her parents have the ability? Will we learn more about how Vi’s grandmother handled her gift? (Did Vi ever meet her? Curious about this part of the story!)

A. This is another thing that Violet delves into a little more in book two, so I won’t say too much.  I will say that it’s a gift that only the women in her family tend to inherit (her maternal grandmother was the last one to have it), and while it doesn’t necessarily skip generations as a rule, her mother most definitely doesn’t have it!

Q. In one part of the book, Vi visits a cemetery and the dead call out to her. It’s intriguing because you mention very specifically about the echoes she hears. How did you write that scene? Did you visit a cemetery?

A. Yes, there’s a specific cemetery (not too far from my house) that I envisioned when I wrote the scene. I really loved writing that scene because I wanted to give the readers a sense of how beautiful the call of the dead can be for Violet.

Q. Do all “killers” leave an imprint that Vi can sense?

A. Violet believes so, although some deaths have much stronger echoes than others.  And “killers” is a fairly loose term, since it includes hunters, those who’ve killed in the line of duty … and her cat.  Violet will learn more as the books progress, but some of the laws of her ability (like with psychics) will be elusive and hard to put a finite rule on.

Q. Was it hard to balance Vi’s romantic yearnings as a teen with the serial killer story?

A. It’s funny actually, because initially, there weren’t as many scenes from the killer’s point of view.  I thought they were maybe too dark for a YA novel.  So when my editor came back and asked for more of them, I was thrilled!  I know, I know, this makes me sound sick and twisted!

Q. Is there more to Jay than meets the eye? He seems so protective of Vi — almost like an Alpha Teen Dude!

A. I think Jay just worries about her the way anyone would worry about someone if…you know … they were hunting for a serial killer!  But despite all of that, Jay still loves Violet unconditionally.  By the way, we should totally go into business together selling Alpha Teen Dude shirts.  Love that phrase!

Q. Those nasty high school upper classmen! Are those characters based on your own high school memories? If not — where?

A. No, I actually had a good high school experience, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have the chance to witness plenty of bitchy girls along the way.  And for some reason, girls seem to be so much nastier than the guys.  If the guys don’t like each other, they just stay out of each other’s way for the most part … girls will go out of their way to be hateful.

Q. You almost end THE BODY FINDER with a cliffhanger but then you give us an epilogue. Why did you choose this format vs just a straight out narration?

A. I wanted the shock value, it’s as simple as that.  I’m afraid if I explain more, it’ll be too spoilery!  😉

Q. Tell us how you went from idea to writing to getting published.

A. As I mentioned before, I had written another novel before that never got published (and I spent years trying!).  So with THE BODY FINDER, I was surprised when everything happened very quickly.  I finished the manuscript in about six months, attended a writer’s conference where I met my agent, and within a month of submission we were already fielding offers from publishers.  It was pretty amazing!

Q. I know you have kids, but are any of them old enough to read your stories? (If so — do you ever talk to them as you write to get ideas or feedback?)

A. My oldest daughter was my first beta-reader (besides my husband—the “co-author”—of course).  She was the perfect age for it (unlike my husband) and I only asked if she would read the first 50 pages to let me know what she thought.  That was at around lunchtime.  By the time I was going to bed, she’d printed out the entire manuscript and was just finishing up!  That was pretty high praise, considering she wasn’t much of a reader then.

Q. Do you have a title for your series and do you know how many books you’ll write?

A. It’s the Body Finder series, and at this point I’m hoping there will be at least two (maybe even three) more beyond Desires of the Dead (since I already have them plotted out).  Now it’s just a matter of the stars aligning to see if it works out that way!!!

Q. I know DESIRES OF THE DEAD is next in the series. What can you tell us about it? Any sneak previews coming?

A. I can give you a peek at the jacket copy from the ARC:

When Violet Ambrose’s morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who’ve been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret…but her relationship and possibly her life as well.

Q. What are you reading now?

A. Right now I’m reading an ARC of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (and LOVING it!).

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. Thanks so much for having me today …this was so much fun!!!

Check out Kim’s Website HERE. And you can follow her on Twitter @kimberlyderting. You can also follow her on Facebook under her name.


Miss these? A few other author interviews on the blog.

Chris Farnsworth — ‘Blood Oath’ author on his vampire, movie and what part of the novel is true!

Teresa D’Amario

Lucy Monroe — On her medieval Scottish werewolves

Alexandra Ivy On her vampires and werewolves

Enid WilsonWhat ‘Really Angelic’ author says when people don’t like her books

Gena Showalter — On her fave characters, books and Kresley Cole

Keri Arthur — On her Riley Jenson series and why it must end!

Christine Feehan — Drake Sisters and Dark Slayer

Alyson Noel — Her Immortals Series

Charlaine Harris — Her latest Sookie book and HBO’s TRUE BLOOD

Jennifer Lyon: BLOOD MAGIC



Linda O Johnston: ALPHA WOLF

Book pick: If you’re into dreams, stay up to read ‘Wake’ trilogy July 18, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Reviews/summaries.
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Janie Hannagan is a dream catcher. She gets sucked into other people’s dreams — some of them funny, sexy, boring — just by being close to someone who falls asleep. (Study hall for this Michigan teen is anything but dull because most of her classmates take a snooze.) But not all of the dreams are pleasant. The nightmares where she cannot escape or feels helpless to do anything but watch tragedy unfold leave her shaking with convulsions, temporarily blindness and paralysis.  Janie’s gift — or curse — is the basis for the interesting WAKE trilogy by Lisa McMann.

I started to read Lisa McMann’s WAKE trilogy because I couldn’t sleep. And then I didn’t get much rest because I quickly read WAKE, FADE and GONE in quick succession. McMann tells Janie’s stories in rapid snippets of chapters based on time, an interesting story-telling technique. Her life is not an easy one. Her mother is an alcoholic. She doesn’t know who her dad is. She scrimps by on meager funds and shoulders all of the duties a parent should really undertake. But Janie is smart and resourceful and has dreams. Dreams to get out of her town. To go to school. To be happy.

As a teen she deals with some the requisite snobby crowd of rich kids at school. But McMann doesn’t dwell on the kid stuff you might typically see in YA books. A lot of it is about how the adults react to Janie, how Janie reacts to the dreams of others and deals with the day-to-day weirdness of it all. In WAKE, she’s driving down the road and gets pulled into a nightmare that’s so horrific that she runs off the road. I won’t give away the details because I don’t want to ruin the story, but it’s clear by the end of WAKE that this dream catcher stuff might take a nasty toll on Janie.

Suffice to say, there is a nice undercurrent of romance in the series that is introduced in the first book with a kind of messed up but cool guy named Cable (Cabe for short). That romance intensifies in FADE, which takes readers further into Janie’s dream-catching abilities and gives more background on how she might be able to control her gift. The plot is actually rather predictable in FADE — and I wasn’t at all really into it — but the details about Janie’s dream-catching — potential consequences — made the story. The final book in the trilogy — GONE — was the fastest read of them all. I know some fans were disappointed with this last book because they didn’t find it super dramatic, but I found it fascinating because it pulled together some loose ends about Janie’s life and the decision she needs to make about dream catching.

I like it when an author begins and starts a series with a definite story in mind — and an ending that doesn’t take a dozen books to find it. McMann is a straight-forward writer. Her sentences are often short and abrupt. And I loved that style. Maybe that’s what made it easy for me — an adult — to read. And I’d recommend this series to YAs and adults if you’re looking for a fast and intriguing series to read. And you always wondered what your dreams really meant …

On her blog, McMann said last month that “Paramount and MTV Films have picked up the film rights to the WAKE trilogy, with Christopher Landon (Disturbia) writing/directing. Miley Cyrus is considering the lead role.” She notes that this type of deal takes a while — if it goes anywhere. But after sitting through Leonardo Dicaprio’s INCEPTION — a highly ambiguous film that is not based on any novel (sigh) — I only hope if  WAKE does  come to the big screen they maintain the simplicity and clarity that McMann used in her story telling.

Sweet dreams (couldn’t help myself!)

Follow Lisa McMann on Facebook and Twitter @Lisa_McMann. She’s also got a great website, including a blog HERE.

Finally, here’s a book trailer for WAKE:

I’ll see if I can snag in interview with her. She sounds a tad bit busy but we’ll see. Meanwhile. Kimberly Derting, author of THE BODY FINDER, is due up next with a Q&A for us. And I’ll see if I can make any of the Comic-Con panels. (Kind of tough to ditch my day job!)

Outlander song? Is a stage production in Diana Gabaldon’s future? July 14, 2010

Posted by Diana McCabe in Fun stuff, News.
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OUTLANDER author Diana Gabaldon — who is recuperating after knee surgery — shares this snippet of a song from Mike Gibb, a lyricist and playwright who is a huge OUTLANDER fan. He and his friend, Kevin Walsh, want to do a musical telling of the Jamie and Claire story. On her blog, Diana says “There’s a possibility that this song-cycle might eventually be the bones of a stage production, but for now, it’s just songs.” She notes that the copyright to the song is hers and it’s OK to download and share the song for free. CLICK HERE to play it. Or, go to her blog HERE to play it and leave her a comment! (I’ve also downloaded it below so hopefully one of these links will work!) What do you think?!

Outlander song

The song is called “Blood of my Blood.”  Diana says she likes it.

Will the musical come before a movie? Diana  says she’s extended the option agreement with Essential Entertainment, including a new clause allowing them to explore the possibility of making a mini-series, in addition to or instead of a feature film.

Meanwhile, Gibb says that he’ll launch “Outlander the Musical” in Aberdeen on July 31. He’ll showcase eight songs from the score: “Falling,” “I Am Ready,” “Could I Surrender My Heart?,”  “Is Tu Fuil ‘o Mo Chuislean,” “Such A Fool,” “Farewell,” “Safe,”and “The Right Road.” The songs will be performed by Scottish actor/singers Allan Scott-Douglas (a 6’2” red headed Scot!) and Sue Robertson.

A CD of 14 songs from the score will be released on that same day. For more info on the CD, email him at info@hamepages.com. The CD is available mail order starting Aug. 1, but you can pre-order. (US $15 plus $4 postage).

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