Sep 24, 2009 general
Mary Borsellino is one of my awesome writing buddies. Unlike me, she has actual books to show for her literary efforts. You can check out and purchase her Punk Rock Vampire e-books (is that the word? ‘e-books’?) at http://www.thewolfhouse.net
Now, I read and loved the first in the Wolf House series – Origins and Overtures – but confessed to Mary that I wasn’t really a big fan of vampires. Or of punk for that matter. This led to discussions on music/monster mash-ups and my decision to one day write the folk-rock bigfoot story the world never knew it needed.
Until that day we must make do with this picture of a hip hop werewolf.
Looking on in shock and disbelief are snarky emo teen Bette and erudite vampire Blake from Mary’s books.
Do check those books out, eh. I hear the second one is due out soon! Get on the bandwagon now so you can be all “Tch! I read them back in 09. Where have YOU been?”later on.
A huge thank-you to Todd for making me laugh incredibly hard with his most excellent picture. I love it muchly.
I have some recent artwork by Audrey which I will post sometime early next week. My time is largely being eaten by editing and re-writing book four, as its deadline approacheth. Whee!
Sep 17, 2009 books
“Mary Borsellino’s The Wolf House introduces readers to a group of smart, hip, snarky young friends who like to eat pizza, gossip, watch horror movies and, oh yeah, hang out with vampires. Just your typical high school students.”
–Nancy A. Collins, author of The Vamps series
Sep 17, 2009 general
As with my other posts about my favourite fabulous vampires, this is going to be heavily spoilerish territory here. If you’re yet to read the book or see the film of ‘Let The Right One In’ (’Låt den rätte komma in’ in its original Swedish) then you should turn back now! And don’t wait for the remake; that’s tacky.
Not that I think the remake itself is a tacky idea! I am pro-remake! I just think waiting for it before you enjoy this story is stupid. Like, I love Gore Verbinski’s remake of ‘The Ring’ far more than any sane person should love a film about a dead little girl stuck down a well who controls videotapes with her mind. I loooooove it. But that doesn’t mean I skipped seeing the Japanese ‘Ringu’ before the remake was out, you know?
Anyway! Let The Right One In features a vampire named Eli — I understand that her name is changed to Abby in the upcoming remake — and Eli is one of the most badass wonderful, vulnerable, tragic and fabulous vampires ever to exist in fiction.
This post also explains a lot of my feelings and emotions and feelings (I have a lot of feelings!) about vampirism as a metaphor and the limitations thereof, and how truly good fiction respects those limits and works with them, so if you’re into that kind of thing you should keep reading.
Sep 14, 2009 general
I’m twenty-seven years old, and since I was fourteen I have worn the same ring on the third finger of my right hand. I’ve taken it off twice, for MRI scans when I was eighteen and nineteen, but apart from that it has never been off my finger since I first put it on.
It’s a silver and lapis lazuli ring. In LJ Smith’s series of young adult vampire novels, The Vampire Diaries, the vampires wear lapis lazuli to protect themselves from the sun. It’s just after five in the morning right now — hi, chronic insomnia, you suck — and I’m partway through watching the pilot of the Vampire Diaries TV show. They’ve changed a lot of plot elements in the process of adaptation (baby sisters have become Pete-Wentz-hating teenage brothers, brunettes have become blondes, blondes have become brunettes, characters have been merged, eliminated, or added, place names are changed, and all that sort of stuff) but the second I saw a lapis lazuli ring on the finger of one of the vampire characters, I knew me and this show would get along okay.
As I just posted on my twitter, “it’s like the novels and Twilight and Buffy had a really awkward baby! Aww!”… the influence of Twilight in the way Stefan and Elena look is obvious — they’re much closer to Edward and Bella than they are to the Stefan and Elena of the novels. Back when Buffy was first on TV (I’m showing my age again) I used to compare it to the Vampire Diaries novels — Elena was Buffy, Stefan was Angel, Bonnie was Willow, Caroline was Cordelia, and so on — and it’s actually pretty fascinating to me that this show has eliminated many of those parallels. Caroline isn’t the bitch princess who rules the school anymore, as her book-self and Cordelia both were. It’s a whole new world.
As the story of the ring I wear demonstrates, these are books that were hugely important to me when I was fourteen. I learned a lot about what I found particularly compelling about vampire fiction from reading this series. The way time and distance and relationships can be utilised in vampire fiction, particularly young adult vampire fiction, in ways unique to the that situation. I’m pretty self-aware about a lot of stuff in my writing, but can’t say for certain just how deep the impact of these books goes on The Wolf House — Jay’s inscrutable iciness probably owes a huge amount to book-Elena’s style and coolness. Gretchen’s cycles of love and loss may have their seed in Stefan’s obsessions with Katherine and then Elena. Michelle and Meredith would almost without doubt get along very well.
The show is awkward and full of exposition dumps and it’s hard for me to forget about the ways it differs from the books, because a lot of the changes seem like they’re just there to simplify — by which I really mean blandify — some of the more complex aspects of the books. I get that it’s much easier to have the Salvatores come from the town, rather than from Italy, but the story loses a lot of richness for the change. The dynamic between Elena and Stefan gets turned into two kids in a small town, one of whom is dead, rather than a girl from a small town and a boy from a rich, old time in a land far, far away. I learned about history from these books, and it’s sad to see that aspect gone.
Elena getting assaulted by Tyler gave me a fictional mirror I could find comfort in when I had a similar experience myself a few months after first reading the books. Stories, even just YA vampire stories, can be friends to us when we need friends most. That’s what stories do that’s so important.
So even if the show is awkward and kind of silly and shallow and dull, I’ll keep watching, because it’s a new version of an old story that I will always care a lot about. And because Stefan wears a lapis lazuli ring.
Plus, oh my god, Damon is just as fucking hilarious and amazing and wonderful as he should be. LESS ANGSTING, MORE BITING AND SWAGGERING AND BEING A DICK. That’s what makes vampires fun. He shows up and the show perks up considerably. He has no time for your wet-eyed teenage looks and sighing, Stefan! He’s here to fuck shit up, and it’s glorious.
Sep 13, 2009 general
A large and friendly hello to anyone that I met this afternoon at Dymocks on Collins street. Dymocks is a bookstore chain in Australia, and as today is the 13th of September the store on Collins street in Melbourne decided to hold a birthday party for one Miss Bella Swan of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.
As I have mentioned before, I have mad love for the character Rosalie Hale, so it’s likely I would have rocked up just for the fun of it anyway. But I had particular reason to go, as my friend Narrelle M Harris was a special guest at the festivities.
Narrelle is the author of a truly marvelous series of vampire books set in Melbourne, and you should all check out her site here in order to discover more about her excellent work. One of these days I’ll do a proper post about her character Gary, who is one of my favourite fictional vampires ever ever ever.
There were party games, and cake, and prizes, and general mayhem (I have a deep appreciation for teenage girls in large groups. They are so delightful and enthusiastic and sincere and unjaded. That’s part of what makes going to concerts so fun for me, I think) and Narrelle did a reading from her book ‘The Opposite of Life’, which was fabulous.
Narrelle also had little excerpt booklets with a short part of her second vampire novel, ‘Walking Shadows’, in them available for anyone interested. The booklets included illustrations by The Wolf House cover artist Audrey Fox, so — as you can see in the image with this post — I got both of them to sign one of the booklets for me. Because they’re my friends, and I love them as friends, but they’re also creators whose work I admire hugely. You can be a fan and a friend at once!
Narrelle also included a small advert for this website in the booklet, for which I am deeply touched and thankful. Thanks, Relle, and hi to anyone here as a result of that link. Audrey, myself, and our friend Erinna also gave out little Wolf House cards to a bunch of the party-goers, so hello to those people we accosted also.
Now I am sitting at a computer terminal at Melbourne Central, listening to the ludicrous clock here chime 6pm, and am about to go down to the train station on the lower level and head home. I had a great time today, and hope that at least a couple of the charming sparkly souls I met give the Wolf House books a try. Number two comes out in a couple of weeks, so you pretty much came in at the perfect moment.
Sep 1, 2009 general
Audrey Fox now has an art blog, at http://afoxart.blogspot.com, and so everyone should go look at it and appreciate her.
Here are some of her pictures related to The Wolf House — some from the blog, some that I’ve had at my house and haven’t scanned before because I am the worst person ever when it comes to being organised and prompt. Anyway, here they are:
Blake and Jay! Audrey did this one for me the evening before book one came out, because I was practically bouncing off the walls in anxious impatience. It makes me laugh; Blake looks mean and Jay looks unimpressed. They are the least romantic romance ever.
Sketch which became the cover to book number two. As the layout of this site indicates, this is in a lot of ways the iconic image of the series for me — a young woman, drawn in a pose that isn’t sexualised but is a little dangerous, a little powerful, fangs bared. Audrey has a very clever brain.
Line-art for the comic which appears in Pretty Good for a Girl #2. Kylie, who makes the zine, has said I can use this comic for other promotional stuff as well, so I’ll have it up here for download soon so people can wallpaper their cities with it.
An amazing shot of Bette from book #2. At this point we’re getting into spoilericious territory, so if you haven’t read book #1 yet, GO DO THAT. This picture was framed at my house before I remembered that I hadn’t scanned it yet.
I’d have to say, this picture is not the picture of someone you want to piss off. Lookit her dandy lil cravat! AW!
A lost girl with a broken bird to guide her. Audrey did this picture in a nightclub, and then a guy who’d been watching her asked for her number. Score one of compulsive public artistry!
Audrey’s covers are so surprising and cool. Seeing what she’s done with them is one of my favourite parts of writing these books.
AHAHA. Uh. This one isn’t Wolf House related, it just goes up here because it was in the scanning pile. I like Adam Lambert, and I like vampires, so Audrey drew me Adam Lambert as a vampire. I like Audrey.