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Did we really need that point-of-view sex scene from KMM’s Jericho Barrons? July 31, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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First — I’ve been recovering from Comic-Con and my regular day job (all I need to say is debt ceiling), so I’ve been a little too tuckered out to do much of anything. But back to the world of the fae, weres, vampires and other things that go bump in the dark …

Second — this post probably isn’t going to go over well with Jericho Barrons fans but so be it. Some of you might have already read Karen Marie Moning’s JZB’s point-of-view sex scene with Mac. I’m not going to publish it here — mainly because I don’t publish full text from an author or any other source without permission anyway (copyright!) — because it’s rather explicit. There’s not even an excerpt I would post without blushing! But I am curious what you think about it. (Everyone who has read it so far seems to love it.)

I will say that it was interesting, but I didn’t really need it and was disappointed she chose to write this particular scene. Sometimes less is more. But mostly, I feel like it destroyed the fabric of the characters and tension she spent so much time building up in the novels. OK — so an extra sex scene with Barrons is what the fans wanted I guess. But if she were going to do a POV, why this scene? Why not one later in the book? And there are plenty of interesting scenes that would have been very intriguing from JZB’s point of view. In the end, I thought it was simply gratuitous.

So take a read and let me know what you think. The link (complete with her intro to it and all ….) is HERE.  And you can check out the comments on her Facebook page if you simply search under her name and join the page.

A side note: My friends over at sookiestackhouse.com put together some really nice footage from Comic-Con. We had a little bit of a discussion about GAME OF THRONES actor Jason Momoa, who plays Khal Drogo. Wouldn’t he make a pretty cool JZB?

Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) > Photo by Michelle Moreland

Photos: ‘Game of Thrones’ panel at Comic-Con July 22, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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Cast and writers of HBO's "Game of Thrones" (George R.R. Martin is at end) > Photo by Michelle Moreland

Wow — I actually got into this panel for a blog post for my news media company, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Almost didn’t make it in — had to sneak in through an exit at the last minute. The news media has to wait in line like everyone else at The Con — as it should be! (Read about how long the line was for this HERE.) And check out the coverage at my company’s website HERE! Also, check out the slideshow at the end. Thanks to Michelle Moreland of Georgia for the photos!

To get a seat at the HBO “Game of Thrones” panel you had to wait in what fans were dubbing “the epic line.” For those lucky enough to make it in, here’s what we heard from the cast and writers, which included author George R.R. Martin, who moderated the one-hour discussion. (And yes — they talked about Season No. 2 …)

Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo): He kind of stole the show. Momoa walked onto the stage with dark shades but when he whipped them off, his eyes were made up with that deeply charcoaled makeup of the Khal. (The audience went nuts.) When asked who would win a battle between Conan (who he once played) and Drogo, he quickly said “Drogo would kick Conan’s ass.” He loved learning the language of the Dokthraki, which he said at first sounded like a cross between “Jabba the Hutt and Foozie Bear.” (If fans are lucky, on the DVD release of the show, they’ll get to see the “dance” he performed in his audition that the producers said got him the part of Drogo.)

Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) on playing the rather evil Queen: “It’s fine playing a character who isn’t trying to be morally good. But people do come up to me and say ‘I hate you!'”

Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister): Dinklage was rather sedate. Someone in the audience says that’s just how he is. His favorite part of the first season? “I loved the White Walker stuff.” (OK — he did say he had the most fun filming the scene when he was on trial because they used a lot of extras and he felt like he got to be master of ceremonies for the cast and crew during the lulls between shooting.)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister): His favorite scene is at the end of Season No. 1 with Ned Stark’s widow, Catelyn (where he sort of propositions her in a nasty way and she whacks him on the head with a rock). He says he was horrified when he read his part in the story when he pushes little Bran out the tower window. “You’re going to a very deep dark place and all” with a scene like that, he said.

Kit Harington (Jon Snow): He describes his character as a “bad ass with a sword. He’s a mysterious guy. I loved him the minute I saw him on paper.” Harington says that people kind of recognize him now in public, most recently at Costa Coffee. “They get a kind of puzzled look” at first before they realize he is Jon Snow in the series, he says.

Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen): Says she hadn’t read “A Game of Thrones” until after her first audition and then she tore through it, falling in love with the character of Dany. She says she has notes and dogged-eared pages in that book. She wants to keep in character and is reading the books as the HBO series progresses, so she’s just reading the next book — “A Clash of Kings” Her favorite scene so far? “The final scene (in season No. 1) where I see my (dragon) babies.” When she first saw it on the screen, “just the sound of them” made her shiver.

Author George R.R. Martin: Says he is concerned about how the entire series will end. He’s juggling a lot of balls and he hopes he “can bring it all together as magnificently as I can see it in my head.” He added that “he’s a fan of bittersweet endings,” which brought a little bit of a good-natured groan from the audience. He will write the Battle of the Blackwater, a huge army/navy clash that takes up several chapters in the second book, “A Clash of Kings.” (He hinted it could be expensive and was taking donations.) Read our previous interview with GRRM HERE.

Producers and writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: They plan to stick closely to “A Clash of Kings” in season No. 2 of the HBO series, so anyone who has read the books shouldn’t be surprised, they said. Viewers will get to meet the red priestess and will see more of the dragons and dire wolves. They hope they can snag a season No. 3, and that’s where they aren’t sure how things will play out, said Benioff. Book No. 3 in the series — “A Storm of Swords” is very long, so they aren’t sure how they will break things up. Benioff says they just want to get to the “RW” scene, which Martin says was the toughest he’s had to write. (For those who have read the books, we know what the “RW” scene is, but if you haven’t, the panel didn’t want to spoil it for you so we won’t either.)

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It’s 1st Comic-Con for author of Mercy Thompson series July 19, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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Here is another interview I did for my news company, The San Diego Union-Tribune. You can check out our coverage of Comic-Con HERE. I’ll also be at Comic-Con on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so look for my posts here and at the U-T. I’ll also be on Twitter under @mcdiana.
Patricia Briggs, author of the Mercy Thompson series, is coming to the Con! Here’s  what she said about her upcoming visit.

This is your first Comic-Con! What took you so long?: “Like a lot of authors I know, I tend to be most comfortable tucked in my office away from people. Don’t get me wrong, I love conventions and meeting readers, but it is a stretch for me. With that in mind, I mostly attended small – medium sized conventions. Anything the size of Comic-Con is pretty intimidating. But this year the convention asked me to come and I decided it would be a good time to try it. If you find me gibbering in a corner, just turn me around and push me back into the crowd, I’ll be fine.”

On her panel discussion “I’m on a panel about how to make your relationship work when your other half is not human (Vampires and Others) which should be a lot of fun. For the spotlight panel, I am finishing up “Fair Game,” the next Alpha and Omega novel, and I do have a pretty good idea where the next Mercy Thompson novel is going. I imagine that I’ll talk a little about those as well as the comics and film possibilities — and anything else people want to ask about.”

Her “can’t miss” at the Con: “I’m going to take it as it comes, I think. I love everything that comprises the awesome geekiness that is the world of conventions, whether they be focused on comics, books, movies or games. I’m prepared to have the time of my life. (Brief pause) OK, I admit it. The dealers room and the art show are my “can’t miss” things. Just the thought of all the beautiful and odd whatchamacallits awaiting those of us lucky enough to attend causes me to salivate and my pocketbook to shiver.”

On visiting San Diego “Oh, I love San Diego. What’s not to love? Of course we’re planning on taking a little time out to go hang out at the zoo and Balboa Park.”

Going to the Con? Patricia Briggs’ key speaking engagements:

  • Thursday: Noon to 1 p.m. Spotlight on Patricia Briggs in Room 5AB
  • Saturday: 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. Vampires and Others in Room 6A

Author of “The Dresden Files” has special treat for readers at Comic-Con July 19, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News.
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Here is another interview I did for my news company, The San Diego Union-Tribune. You can check out our coverage of Comic-Con HERE. I’ll also be at Comic-Con on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so look for my posts here and at the U-T. I’ll also be on Twitter under @mcdiana.

Jim Butcher has a special treat for his readers. The next book in The Dresden Files series — “Ghost Story” — hits bookstores on July 26, but it will be for sale a few days early for Comic-Con attendees, exclusively at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore’s booth. We caught up with the author of The Dresden Files, which chronicle the adventures of Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator in Chicago. Here’s what he told the U-T about his Comic-Con experiences.

On his first impression of Comic-Con: “I first went to SDCC 2007, and my first impression was the same as everyone else’s. ‘Perhaps that guy should not be wearing tights,’ followed closely by, ‘Good grief, this is HUGE,’ and ‘I think I have found my spiritual homeland.’ I’ve been to most of the SDCCs and several NYCCs since.”

On his favorite Comic-Con memory: “One year I was doing a panel in one of the very large rooms — just me, that time. They’d decided to limit the actual celebrities’ exposure to me, I think. Anyway, I was almost late and I forgot my badge and security wouldn’t let me in. They were making calls to fix it, but if I waited for it I was going to be late to my own panel, which seemed sort of rude. So I made an excuse and slipped aside and asked some folks in line to smuggle me through when they went. In retrospect, I was really fortunate they were fans of my work. There was a “Battlestar Galactica” panel after mine and you know you have to show up early to things like that.”

On what he’ll talk about: “Whenever I’m there solo, I mostly just like to take questions and have a conversation with my readers. Otherwise, there will be some kind of topic I’ll attempt to commit humor about. Occasionally I may even succeed!”

On a “can’t miss” for him at the Con: “The best part about Comic-Con are the things you DON’T know you’re going to see. You never know when you’re going to find yourself sharing an elevator with cast members from “Smallville” or breaking bread at a table next to multiple Power Rangers or washing your hands next to the original TV Incredible Hulk. I’ve done all that and seen Ash from Housewares strolling by eating ice cream, and stood in a snack bar line with comedian Patton Oswalt. When you go to SDCC, keep your eyes open. There’s always something cool to see.”

On San Diego: “I like seeing the ships in the harbor, but honestly I enjoy Comic-Con more. Doing panels and autographs is fun, but I like cruising the Con as much as anyone else, seeing the vendors, displays, my own favorite writers and so on. By the time I’m done with that I mostly need food and sleep. I’ve never really been a vacation kinda guy — but I’ve been going to Cons since I was about 16.”

Going to the Con? Jim Butcher’s key appearances:

Thursday: 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Books vs. Graphic Novels and Comics in Room 6A

Charlaine Harris wishes she could be in “True Blood” audience at Comic-Con July 16, 2011

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

This is another one of the interviews I did for my news company, The San Diego Union-Tribune. Check out their Comic-Con website HERE!

When does Charlaine Harris have time to write?

She’s jammed. Harris has been on a national tour for “Dead Reckoning,” book No. 11 in her Southern Vampire series about telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. She was recently in Los Angeles for the kickoff of season four of the HBO hit “True Blood,” based on her Sookie books, and she’s doing seemingly endless interviews.

Harris said recently that her life “has changed for the better (I have more money) and it’s more complicated, since the books and the television show have become more successful. My time just gets eaten up by extra stuff that has nothing to do with the writing. These are great problems to have! But problems, nonetheless.”

To carve out more time to write, she’ll have to bow out of this summer’s Comic-Con. Harris, who is scheduled back in San Diego in October for the World Fantasy Convention, did take a few moments to share some of her insights into Comic-Con.

On her first appearance: “I first went to Comic-Con to appear with the “True Blood” cast in 2008. I was absolutely petrified because I hadn’t met many of the cast members, I’d heard Comic-Con was overwhelming, and I didn’t have anyone with me. The Mysterious Galaxy staff (in San Diego) took pity on me and let me come in with them early, so I could walk the floor without impediment. Bless them! Later that day, I had a signing at their booth and then made my way to the two-story booth where I met the cast for our group poster signing and then the panel. While we waited in the green room, I noticed that Samuel L. Jackson was waiting, too, and I felt supremely cool.”

Her favorite Comic-Con moment: “I got a kick out of the helmeted “vikings” who came to the “True Blood” panel.”

A “can’t miss” for this year’s Con? “It would be fun to go to the “True Blood” panel as a spectator! I’d like to attend lots of the panels. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for me to sit in the audience very often; I really regret that. (Last year, she popped up as a regular audience member at a panel titled “Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction.”)

From past Comic-Cons — who were some folks you were excited to meet? “I got to chat briefly with Neil Gaiman (“Coraline,” “The Sandman,” “American Gods,”) who I knew very slightly. I loved meeting Michael Hall (“Dexter”). I also got to talk to Naomi Novik (“His Majesty’s Dragon” from the Temeraire series), and several other writers.”

On the crowds: “Don’t be afraid. The crowd is really not going to turn suddenly and surge in your direction. Probably.”

‘Game of Thrones’ author on fans, killing characters, Comic-Con July 8, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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OK — here’s the first in my series of Comic-Con author interviews that I did for my news company — The San Diego Union-Tribune. I am posting them after they appear on the U-T Comic-Con site, which you should check out HERE!

"A Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin with actor Peter Dinklage on the HBO set. > Photo by Nick Briggs

Last month, “A Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin drew a crowd of 2,000 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, for a book signing that lasted six hours. “That was about 1,800 more than I expected,” Martin says, a bit incredulous.

The turnout left him wondering, “If 2,000 showed up in Slovenia, what’s it going to be like at Comic-Con?”

It’s likely to be a madhouse. The veteran author has lots of hard-core fans. He’s especially well-known for “A Game of Thrones,” the first novel in his best-selling epic series “A Song of Ice and Fire” about noble families battling to claim the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. “Thrones” was turned into an HBO series that just completed a highly successful first season.

The fifth book in the series.

And Martin’s long-awaited fifth novel, “A Dance With Dragons” will be released July 12. The timing couldn’t be better. On July 21 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Comic-Con, he’ll moderate the HBO “Game of Thrones” panel with some of the cast, including Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Jason Momoa and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Martin, 62, is no stranger to fame. He’s been a panelist at Comic-Con before, and in 1988 he received the convention’s coveted Inkpot Award. He’s worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter on TV shows like “The Twilight Zone” and “Beauty and the Beast.” He’s won Hugo and Nebula awards — the most prestigious for science-fiction and fantasy writers. And he was listed by Time magazine earlier this year as one of the 100  “most influential people in the world.” (Read what Time had to say about him here.) And that was before the HBO version of  “Thrones” turned Martin into something akin to a literary rock star, bringing him a legion of new fans.

Through it all, the New Jersey native has remained a humble guy. He admits to being “fairly apprehensive” about the potential crowds he will face at Comic-Con. In 1996, when “A Game of Thrones” was released, crowds for his book signings were small. He recalls pulling into the parking lot of a bookstore in Denton, Texas, for a signing. There was no place to park. “I thought, this is gonna be a huge signing,” Martin says. “But there were two signings that day. I was in the front of the store, where about a dozen people showed up. And in the back, there was an event for Clifford (The Big Red Dog) and hundreds showed up for that.”

But as the popularity of his books increased, so did his crowds, and now he’s used to getting a couple of hundred fans at events. But thousands? The idea is flattering, but it’s still a bit mind-boggling. “How many people do those ballrooms (at Comic-Con) hold?” he asks.

His fave Comic-Con moment: “I’ve been a comic fan since the 1960s. I haven’t been every year, but I’ve been to six or seven and was there for the first one back in the 1980s. I like the old Comic-Cons in the 1980s, when it was much smaller and it was more intimate. I could eye the old comic books in cardboard boxes. I’m a Marvel guy mostly.It’s obviously a whole different animal now. They still call it Comic-Con, but it’s more of a multi-media extravaganza. TV, film and games — all of these things have huge roles now.”

Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess in the HBO series. > Photo by Helen Sloan

What’s a can’t miss for him? “Walking the floor. If crowds start gathering, I’m not sure what I will do! I’ve never had security before and I won’t this time, but I will have people from HBO with me.”

On the HBO series: “It’s quite a faithful adaptation of the books. The deal calls for me to write one episode per season. (He wrote episode No. 8 — “The Pointy End” — in season one.) I can’t be there day in and day out because I have other writing to do. But (HBO) does call me to consult about the characters, weigh in on the casting and what will happen with the characters later in the (book) series.”

On the HBO actors: “Yes, they come pretty close to how I pictured them, especially Peter Dinklage. Years ago, David and Dan (HBO producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) met with me for lunch at the Palm Restaurant in L.A. We talked so long that we ran into dinner time. But we talked how we would approach the series and at a certain point we talked about casting and who we would put in our dream cast. For the role of Tyrion, it had to be Dinklage. There were no auditions or readings for that role. We never considered anyone else for it.”

On why he kills off popular characters, especially Ned Stark: “This is like déjà vu because in 1996 (when “A Game of Thrones” came out) book readers asked me the same thing. So now it’s happening again (with the HBO crowd). I will kill them. It increases the tension. It keeps people on edge because they wonder who will get out of it? I also think it’s a little more realistic. The TV hero might escape from the dungeon easily but in real life, most people didn’t escape from the dungeon. They either stayed in the dungeon for a very long time or died there.”

Isaac Hempstead-Wright plays young Bran Stark and Kit Harington plays Jon Snow. > Photo by Helen Sloan

Are you still planning seven books? “Yes. Seven kingdoms, seven gods, seven books. Seven seems fitting, but until I get out of book six, I’m not sure. I won’t have a chance to start working on book six until next year.” (And yes, Martin has always known how the series will end and who among his major characters would live or die.)

On meeting his fans: Meeting fans is always great, but their reaction has changed in the last few years. This is really hard to explain but in the 1980s, fans would come up to me and say ‘Oh Martin, I like your stuff. Will you sign my book? I really like your novel.’ But now I get these Hollywood reactions where people squeal and are tongue-tied — like they can’t speak to me anymore. I think of myself as the same guy I was 20 years ago though.”

On success:
“It’s great and it means a lot. You want readers as an author, and not just for the financial reasons. But it’s nice to know you’ve struck a chord with such a large readership and know you’ve created a story that will perhaps outlive you.”

Author George R.R. Martin says the HBO series is "quite a faithful adaptation of the books. The deal calls for me to write one episode per season." > Photo by Nick Briggs

Comic-Con: Interviews with ‘Game of Thrones’ author & others coming! July 4, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, News.
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Happy July 4. I’ve been busy with a few author interviews I’m doing for my news company’s  (The San Diego Union-Tribune) special Comic-Con website and print section. But I will be posting them here soon.

Today I finished up a phone call with GAME OF THRONES author George R.R. Martin, who was kind and generous with his time. Not too many authors just take your phone call after you email them directly. GRRM is a special one. He actually prefers to talk on the phone because email means he has to write more — and he already does a lot of writing! But he is funny and kind and — well — a nice person to interview. It was also great that I didn’t have to jump through a lot of hoops to get in touch with him. I don’t know if I will be able to snag an interview with him so easily a year from now, because I think he will be simply booked. He had six interviews on his schedule for tomorrow. But look for my interview with him here soon.

Other Comic-Con inteviews I’ve done and simply need to post to the U-T site first: Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs.

Yes — I will covering the Con as much as I can and will post what I get here.

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