Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Arisia: Paranormal Romance Panel

I went to Arisia to meet my favorite author: Kelley Armstrong. She writes the Women of the Otherworld series, including Bitten (werewolf series), Dime Store Magic (witch series), Living with the Dead (necromancer), and more. Her books portray a main female character speaking in the first person. There are always a few things going on at once, which makes Armstrong a great mystery writer: there's the little plots, the relationship issues, the timing problems, and then the gaping end-plot, where everything comes together in whatever way. The characters in each of her books know the characters in her other books too, so a reader never has to miss anyone for long. I'm hoping she comes out with a fifth book in her Bitten series, to see who the new alpha werewolf is, but I'll try not to give too much away.

This year, Kelley Armstrong was the Writer Guest of Honor.

The first time I saw my writing-idol was at the Paranormal Romance Panel. Also there were Vikki Ciaffone, Nancy Holzner, Victoria Janssen, Gail Martin, and Seanan McGuire. I will write briefly about them at the end of this entry. Kelley Armstrong explained how she started writing Bitten after years of reading Anne Rice, when she realized that it was possible to write a story about the monster. The women explained that urban fantasy used to be horror, and then Science Fiction started getting into mystery, and the genres finally started to come apart in the last 10 or 20 years or so. The big thing to remember is that all rules in modern horror and paranormal romance have been suspended. The rules don't really exist anymore.

Paranormal Romance is primarily focused on a couple; and one girl is never alone on the cover, she's always with her significant other. This means that Kelley Armstrong doesn't write in that genre specifically, because, although romance exists in her stories, there is always more of a plot, with really well-developed characters that make a reader feel like it's just about the characters. So she writes urban fantasy. Sometimes it is a lot like horror, but for me, reading horror is a lot different from watching it. Gore is the one thing I can't stand, unless I'm reading it--then it's not so bad. My mind can lessen the extremity a little.

Seanan McGuire suggested that any book with porn in it should have a rating. She made up a plot-to-porn chart. Kelley's books are 20-50% porn, she said. This would be a wonderful disclaimer. I just know that if I'm ever going to read anything published by Circlet it's going to have an amazing sex scene every 10 or 20 pages, but with all the other publishing companies and genres, you never really know. I take McGuire's suggestion seriously, it would be incredibly helpful. Especially if one decided to lend said book to one's mother or younger sister... I'm still waiting to hand Bitten to my 15-year-old step sister, although I think she's more than prepared at this point to handle one or two sex scenes, especially with all the drama and things on TV she sees every day anyway.

The women left a suggested reading list, which I will list at the very end of this post.

Victoria Janssen writes erotica, and her latest novel is The Duke and the Pirate Queen and she used to write stories using the pen name Elspeth Potter. She is kind and a little quiet, from what I could tell.

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts. She eventually became a medievalist and got her master's degree and a phD in English. She is now a full-time author and has written the books Deadtown, Hellforged, and Peace, Love and Murder (A Bo Forrester mystery).

Gail Martin loves ghost stories and other supernatural tales. She is the author of The summoner and The Chronicles of the Necromancer.

Seanan McGuire was born in California. She is the author of the October daye series, the InCryptid series, and the Newsflesh series, all urban fantasy. She also writes and records her own music.

Suggested Reading List:

• Linda Robertson Vicious Circle
• Lucy A. Snyder Spellbent
• Cecilia Denally Wicked Game
• Gail Carriger The Parasol Protectorate Books
• Lori Devoti
• Jeri Smith-Ready
• Carole Nelson Douglas
• Eileen Wilks
• Jennifer Estep
• Adrian Pheonix
• Kim harrison
• Katie MacAlister
• Smart Bitches, Trashy Books Blog

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Club Dead" simple to put down

*Extreme Spoilers!*

I've been reading this book that I found for free at Arisia this weekend- "Club Dead," by Charlaine Harris. I've heard that it's funny, so I'm reading it. I think sara used to read it too. The vampires have come out to the world and have agreed to stop sucking blood and killing humans, so now there's their favorite drink--"True Blood"--and on the cover it says "Now on HBO, True Blood, the original series based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels." Oh no, I'm thinking, I'm reading the True Blood books, that popular TV show. How annoying. It's not all that interesting, either.

Nothing exciting has happened, I've seen nothing unique or different, other than the idea that regular humans know about the vampires and this one human is dating one... maybe if they showed a little sex in that first scene? Or somewhere within the first 40 pages of the book? I realize now that I don't even really care about the character--she likes a vampire, okay, she's a telepath, okay, but there's no detail in there. What's it like being a telepath? How come we don't get to hear any surface thoughts that she must be picking up while she's working? Why does she like the vampire--other than his silent thoughts? I can't care about her boyfriend because I know nothing about him other than he's vamp and she likes him and lost her virginity with him.

Okay... so he's been kidnapped or something, there's a Queen of Louisiana... wow, it's really hard to keep reading. Not sure I can do it. She's lonely, she's pathetic, her only friend is a ditz, and we don't see them acting like friends, and she isn't very tough or confident. She likes summer and tans, her parents and grandmother are all dead, and why should we care about her?