2009 Preview: In Their Own Words

Urban Fantasy Land has the scoop. Here’s what some of your favourite authors have coming out in 2009– and in their own words.

frost_gravesendJeaniene Frost: Well, my third book in the Night Huntress series, AT GRAVE’S END, comes out December 30th, so that’s *almost* 2009. Then AN EARLY GRAVE, book four in the series, comes out July 28th, 2009. I also have three short stories in anthologies coming out in 2009: Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance April 13th, Four Dukes and a Devil June 30th, and Unbound, August 25th. So, a busy release year for me!

Okay, I normally hate spoilers, but I’ll give a small spoiler/teaser for AT GRAVE”S END:

Out of the regular cast of characters readers met in Halfway to the Grave and/or One Foot in the Grave, two previously-human people will turn into vampires. A third person will die the permanent, never-coming-back way. And no, I’m not saying who’s who. You’ll have to read to find out ;-).

henry_roadtrip2Mark Henry: Road Trip of the Living Dead will start hitting the shelves on February 24th, so prepare for some more zombie nastiness.

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Faith Hunter: Rapid Descent (thriller set in the paddling world) Feb. 09, by my AKA Gwen Hunter
Skinwalker (urban fantasy) July 09 by Faith Hunter
A SS in Magic Brew in July 09

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kaneStacia Kane: DEMON INSIDE, the sequel to PERSONAL DEMONS, was supposed to be out in January but that’s not happening now. I can’t discuss the reasons why but I can assure everyone the book will be out in 2009, and the delay has nothing to do with the book itself; it’s ready to go, and there’s nothing to worry about. I will of course keep everyone posted through my blog and reader loop, and I’ll make sure UFL has the info too!

I’m also very excited about my new series, the Chess Putnam books. I don’t yet have a release date for those but I know Del Rey is planning to do back-to-back releases, so it’s entirely possible we’ll have two or even all three of them out before the end of 2009. The series starts with UNHOLY GHOSTS, and I just cannot wait to see everyone’s reactions to the characters, the world, and the story. I’m really proud of it.

lewis1J.F. Lewis: ReVamped comes out March 10th from Pocket Books. It’s book two in the Void City Series and involves a soul-stealing demon that has a soul Eric wants back very badly (*cough* Marilyn’s *cough*). Folks who read the first book will be pleased to see lots more Talbot (Eric’s mysterious mouser) as well as some “Scary Greta” moments. There will be a new character or two that I think folks will enjoy.

The mass-market version of Staked (the first Void City Series book) is due out in June, complete with great new cover art.

I’ve also got two short stories that will hopefully find a home over the next year. One of them is a humorous sci-fi tale that addresses the deplorable lack of short stories in which nine year old girls from South Korea save the world. The other is set in the Void City universe and involves a newly turned vampire standing outside a Godiva store. It was inspired by the discussion over at the League of Reluctant Adults a few months back about which food people would miss the most if they couldn’t eat. Obviously, chocolate was the winner.

pettersson_touchVicki Pettersson: I have two releases that I’m excited about in ’09. July will see the release of the fourth book in my ‘Signs of the Zodiac’ series: CITY OF SOULS. It’s a bit of a departure from the first three in that it has a bigger look (I just saw the cover and it’s amazing) and a bigger feel as my protagonist, Joanna, had to go places she (and we) never knew existed. It was a bear to write because I had to worldbuild as if it were the first of the series, but I think I’ve come up with something unique that my readers will enjoy.

Then August will see a Zodiac-related story, Dark Matters, in the UNBOUND anthology, along with Kim Harrison, Melissa Marr, Jeaniene Frost and Jocelynn Drake. Being a part of this anthology was like having someone witness a dream of mine and then bringing it to life. I have serious literary crushes on all these writers, and I can’t wait to see this book on the shelves!

rowen_stakesstilettosMichelle Rowen: I have a bunch out in ’09! It’s going to be a great year!! The fourth book in my Immortality Bites vampire series, STAKES & STILETTOS, is out in April. The fifth and final to wrap up the series, TALL, DARK & FANGSOME follows in September. My first young adult fantasy novel in a new series, DEMON PRINCESS: REIGN OR SHINE is out in October. And I have a short vampire store in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE in April. It’s possible that my Harlequin Blaze, HOT SPELL, which is also a paranormal, will be out in late ’09, but I haven’t gotten a definite release date on that one yet!

steifvater_lamentMaggie Stiefvater: SHIVER (Scholastic), about a girl who falls in love with a boy who must become a wolf each winter, and BALLAD (Flux), the sequel to LAMENT, where an obscenely talented bagpiping teen must choose between saving a snarky and dangerous vampiric faerie muse or his best friend and long-term crush.

Anton Strout: Deader Still, book two in the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series, is due out on 2/24/09 and I have a possibly related tie-in story to it in the August anthology City Fantastic.  Most of the next year is dedicated to books three and four in the main series, each of which I suspect will be coming out in late February 2010 and 2011.

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Interview with J.F. Lewis: Excommunicated author on what happened

There seems to be some discussion about Jeremy F. Lewis’s “excommunication*” being a publicity stunt. It’s not, folks. Here’s more to the story: (And thank you to J. F. Lewis for agreeing to answer my questions.)

1) Is it true? Or is it a publicity stunt?

Yes, it’s true.  While it certainly wouldn’t hurt my feelings if some good came of it, I’d rather the elders had taken the time to read the book, evaluate it in whole rather than part, and given me the benefit of the doubt.  I also wish that I’d brought an audio recorder with me to the various meetings we had so that when they denied (in later meetings) having said some of the things they said (in earlier meetings), I’d have had some sort of documentation, so that I could go…  No, let me play it back for you.  This is when you made the stoning comment.  This is when you called me a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  This is when you accused me of committing adultery because I wrote a sex scene.  Etc.

2) Who is your target audience, and what did you have in mind when you wrote Staked? Clearly not anything like excommunication, but what did attract you to urban fantasy and vampires?

My basic goal for writing anything is to entertain people.  That’s it.  Sure there are things that I was addressing in the book, but entertainment is my end goal.

As far as target audience, I intended Staked to be the perfect vampire book for people who hate vampire books while still appealing to the urban fantasy lovers out there.  When people ask me if Staked is appropriate for their children to read, I tell them that, in movie terms, it’s a very strong R and leave it up to them to decide.

I’ve always been intrigued by vampires, whether in the form of Dracula… in the book or the Hammer films, other films like Fright Night, or even roleplaying games.  Before trying to write about vampires, though, I tried to write family friendly fiction.  Very light.  Very fluffy.  Very unsold.  I’d had the character of Eric in my head for a long time and I’d tried various ways to write his story, but I kept watering him down.  Eric is the guy who is not afraid to express himself in whatever terms he feels appropriate, so trying to censor him never worked.

With that caveat, the first draft of Staked was written in  direct response to a vampire novel I was reading.  It was a book I’d enjoyed before, but for some reason, in that particular read through, the main character’s whining irritated me.  He was drowning in his own ennui.  I kept thinking there is no way Eric would be whining like that.

So I thought… if that character thinks he has it rough, I want to write a book about a vampire that really has it rough, set in a world where being a vampire truly *is* unpleasant.  Vampires would have cool powers, but the price they paid for those powers would be more than staying out of the sun and having to drink blood.  My main character also needed to be someone that could endure it all without whining and still find the time to crack-wise… a sort of vampire John McClane, if you will.  Which suited Eric just fine and when I wrote him in Staked, if he would have said it or thought it or done it… I wrote it.

With that in mind, when people ask me if Staked is appropriate for their children to read, I tell them that, in movie terms, it’s a very strong R.

3) Some would argue that this isn’t much of a loss, since the church clearly isn’t such a welcoming place. Kind of in the same way that a friend who stabbed you in the back couldn’t have been much of a friend. What does this loss mean to you? Were you active in the church community?

My attendance certainly wasn’t the best.  We participated in the work groups (folks who help out members in need or send cards to visitors, provide rides to the elderly, that sort of thing.  We went and helped one of the elderly members of the congregation move).  When it was my turn to serve on the Lord’s table, or give the invitation, I gladly did so.  I will say that our participation in the group meetings were somewhat curtailed when we discovered the extent to which our two boys are allergic to nuts.  Not everyone really reads the packages on everything reliably enough and since my eldest is off the chart allergic… well, if the meeting was at the church building and didn’t involve food, we tried to stay, but otherwise, we stopped going to them.

That’s the easy part to answer.  The harder part is talking about how it affected me.  I think I’ll hold that for one of the other questions though.

4) Did you have any idea the church would hold your fictional work as truth? That is, to your knowledge, has the church shunned any other works of fiction? (Some readers out of spite have speculated the church may have been part of the Harry Potter backlash.)

I wouldn’t say they held my fictional work as truth.  I’d say that have a very unfortunate failure to understand the process of writing fiction.  To my knowledge the Elders haven’t singled out any books and said don’t read these (not even mine except by example).  I’d previously felt very welcome there, because I’d never before attended anywhere where the preacher might use the Lord of the Rings as a positive example in a sermon.  They aren’t bad people, by any stretch of the imagination.  Everybody makes mistakes.

5) What will you do now? Will you seek another church?

We’re stilling thinking it over.  My wife is still a member there, so she and the boys still go and the times I’ve gone since they withdrew fellowship, I get some weird looks, but no one says anything or refuses to pass me the plate during the Lord’s Supper.  They aren’t mean people.  And scripturally, they aren’t supposed to do anything worse than refuse to participate in social situations with me… and so far, they are doing their best to hold to that.

6) How has this ordeal affected your faith? And your family?

Not to sound overly dramatic, but it felt like God was personally turning his back on me.  And since the Elders didn’t just hold me responsible, they held my wife responsible, too… I really can’t describe the turmoil it unleashed in my home.  Things have calmed down considerably, but it’s still an issue we deal with every day.  It’s silly of me to hold God responsible for what are essentially the actions of a few men, but for awhile I was very angry with Him.

7) How has this ordeal affected you as a person? As a writer? Will this affect your desire to write about vampires or other paranormal stuff in the future?

It still messes with my head, but I’m in a better place now, which is why I let the announcement run in Locus.  I wanted to stop worrying that people would find out about my getting kicked out of church somehow and hold it against me.  I thought, “Fine.  Let people know.  So what.”

It was very hard to write while I was going through the process and afterwards, I could revise what I’d already written, but writing vampire stories in Void City made me feel guilty… like I was doing something wrong even though deep down I knew that I wasn’t.  Fortunately, I’m a very bull-headed person about things like that.  I just needed time to let that part of my nature kick in.  After all, I decided to write genre fiction when a creative writing professor told me that he wished I’d stop wasting my time at something that was “a masturbatory effort.”  In short, I guess what I’m trying to say is – as long as I have good ideas for paranormal stories and as long as people want to publish them and read them, I’ll keep writing them.

8) What bothers you most about this whole thing? Is there anything you’d like tell readers?

They went after my wife, too…. tried to hold her partially responsible for what I wrote because she did my website.  They used my dedication against me, tried to make her ashamed of being named in it.  I’m still mad about that.

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* Although the church in question is refusing to use the word “excommunicated”, Merriam-Webster defines the word as “an ecclesiastical censure depriving a person of the rights of church membership” and “exclusion from fellowship in a group or community”. Both definitions seem to fit this case to me.

UF Author Kicked Out of Church for writing about vampires

author-photo-high-res1Author of Staked, J.F. Lewis was recently kicked out of his non-denomiational church for writing about vampires, “committing the sins contained within it”, aiming the book at children, and teaching and encouraging the use of vulgarities.

Say what? Never heard of fiction?

Staked, Lewis’s writing debut released by Pocket in March 2008, is about a vampire who just can’t catch a break.

lewis1[From Amazon] Eric’s got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can’t remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It’s almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.

Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades — and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas — which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.

All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice — not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness.

Because being undead isn’t easy, but it sure beats the alternative.

More on this bizarre story at Asimovs.com forum.
Show the author some support and visit his website.
Lewis can also be found at A League of Reluctant Adults.

Thursday Tidbits

Fantasy Magazine interviews Chris Howard, author of Seaborn.  Take a peek:

Where do you get your ideas?

Dreaming and traveling; and I couldn’t write without my journal to record ideas. I’d forget it all if I didn’t write every idea down and sort out the good ideas from the crappy ones later. I do more plotting at four in the morning, half awake, with a scene and characters tumbling around my head. But I have to get up, sort it out and write it down, or I’ll lose it.

Fangs, Fur, & Fey interviews Yasmine Galenorn.  Here’s a taste:

Rachel: Why do you write urban fantasy/paranormal romance? What drew you to the genre?

Yasmine: I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was three and have been making up odd little stories from the day I could string sentences together. I learned to read early and my loves ran to volcanoes, dinosaurs, and…would you believe it? Yes, fantasy and science fiction. The Space Cat series by Ruthven Todd was one of my first discoveries in that genre-I just loved that adventuresome astronaut cat. And thanks to a non-restrictive policy allowing children to check out books from any section of the library and an extremely advanced reading capability, I sped through the fantasy and science fiction section at an early age. I ploughed through Asimov, Clarke, Pohl, and my favorite to this day-Ray Bradbury. I cut my teeth on The City and the Stars, I fell in love with Something Wicked This Way Comes and The October Country. By the time I was ten I knew that I didn’t care all that much for Heinlein, but I was nuts over Clifford D. Simak.

J.F. Lewis, author of Staked, is guest blogging over at Patricia’s Vampire Notes on July 17th.

Vampires are the genre for July over at Genre of the Month blog.

From Dear Author:  Fictionwise’s eReader Available as an iPhone App for the New Iphones

Looking for Some Hot Stuff?

Publishing News
Gawker wants your vote in the poll for “The Hottest Guy in Publishing“. The poll includes 10 usually anonymous faces from inside the publishing industry.

Weird News
Are you wondering what to feed those druids you invited over for brunch? Or maybe you need a creative way to celebrate the summer solstice? Wonder no more! Carin Huber has created the perfect dish: Baconhenge, consisting of bacon-wrapped sticks of french toast, potatoes, eggs, onions and mushrooms. You’ll find yourself inventing an occasion to serve this dish.

Author News

Jackie Kessler, author of the Hell on Earth series, is celebrating an excellent review of Hotter Than Hell from Publisher’s Weekly. (Hotter Than Hell should be available for purchase in August.)

J.F. Lewis, author of Staked is guest blogging at the League of Reluctant Adults. He’s also giving away a signed copy of his book.