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The Wolf House: Punk is dead and it has fangs » 2009 » November

The perfect gift for your internet friends!

Christmas! You might be having one soon. You might not be. You might be like me and be having a quasi-Christmas which involves the presenting of presents but no actual religious beliefs. You might be having another cultural or faith-based celebration around this same time of year which also includes the exchange of gifts, such as Chanukah or Kwanzaa, and be feeling justifiably cranky that your observance is often tacked on as an afterthought to Christmas, a kind of cultural equivalent to the “and with him, as always, is Garth” from Wayne’s World.

I always feel a bit wretched wishing people a “Happy Holidays”, because it’s like I’m saying “I wish you a Merry Christmas even though you don’t celebrate Christmas at all, Merry or otherwise”, and that’s pretty shitty of me, even if it’s a well-intentioned shittiness. There needs to be a way of saying “man, I hope this time of year doesn’t suck for you, and that good stuff happens to you and the people you care about” without it being tangled up with potential awkwardness. Get on that, society!

Still, however your Decembers might look, you probably know at least a couple of people that you’re supposed to give delightful gifts to for one reason or another, right? And since you’re on the internet, it’s likely that some of the people you know are also on the internet. In fact, that might be where you know them from! They might be living on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD, in fact! It’s crazy! What an age we live in, huh?

If you’re anything like me, this situation is complicated by the fact that being on the internet and being lazy go hand in hand rather neatly. There are people on the other side of the world who need to be given nice things by you, but the post box is all the way outside, and maybe even down the street! That’s a long way to go! Shit! What are we going to do?

Fear not! For here is the perfect solution to your terrible situation. You should buy your internet friends some e-books. You don’t have to go anywhere! There are no shipping delays (did I ever tell you about the time I sent a friend a photo of LeVar Burton I took for her? I sent it October 19th, and she still doesn’t have it. The mail service is not the reliable bastion of reliability that it should be!) or wrapping-related traumas, or snooty salespeople, or pungent noisy crowds.

Plus, these particular e-books are totally excellent and your internet friends will love them, I swear. Think how excellently cool you’ll feel when you get emails saying “wow, those books you sent me over the internet were totally great, friend! I have had an amazingly happy holidays and/or a fantastically merry christmas, and I owe it all to your astounding long-distance gift-giving skills! Hurrah for you!”

Getting an email like that would feel pretty good, right? Yep, it sure would. So your course of action is clear: this December, choose life. Give your internet friends their very own copies of The Wolf House books one and two, and then settle back and enjoy the gratitude they heap upon you for it.

Artwork from Audrey

Will and Lily Wallpaper

Will and Lily Wallpaper

Look at the AMAZING wallpaper Audrey emailed me tonight. It’s Will and Lily from Book two and it RULES SO HARD. She’s made other wallpapers too, which I’ll put up when people have had more of a chance to actually buy the book and read it. SO GO DO THAT, YEP.

Fabulous vampires: Kindred: the Embraced

Caityn and Julian from Kindred: the Embraced

Caityn and Julian from Kindred: the Embraced

I’ve been holding off writing about this show because I haven’t been able to decide which of the characters from it I should write about. It has an entertaining, if totally inept, vampire hunter character in it, who has the particular virtue of being played by C Thomas Howell, who played Ponyboy in the movie of The Outsiders. The Outsiders is a book I learned a lot from as a teen, and I had a huge crush on the character Dally — I think there’s more than a little of him in Sofie, whom you’ll meet in book #2 of The Wolf House (which is coming out in a couple of days, provided nothing else dire befalls it before then — there’ve been delays on delays on this puppy, bah).

Anyway, I was talking Kindred. In addition to C Thomas Howell the inept vampire hunter, this show also features the late Mark Frankel as Julian Luna, who rules over the vampire gangs of San Francisco as their Prince. There’s Brigid Walsh as Sasha, the teenaged human wild-child who doesn’t have any family left except her Julian “the Uncle who never looks any older”, and Channon Roe as Cash, the scruffy biker kid who works as Julian’s bodyguard and catches Sasha’s eye, and Stacey Haiduk as Lillie, the slick, clever owner of the vampire-friendly nightclub Haven, and Kelly Rutherford as Caitlyn, the human journalist who’s falling in love with Julian despite her misgivings about him, and Jeff Kober as Daedalus, the bald and monstrous Nosferatu who likes to paint but then destroys his art for being hideous, and Erik King as Sonny, the cop who has a good reason to work the night shift, and Brian Thompson as Eddie, the thuggish vampire mobster who wants to take Julian’s place, and Patrick Bauchau as Archon, Julian’s mentor.

Stacey Haiduk as Lillie

Stacey Haiduk as Lillie

If it seems weird that I can rattle off the entire cast like that, it’s because every single time I’ve seen any of them in anything in the years since — be it Buffy, Angel, Carnivale, Jurassic Park, Scream, Dexter, whatever — I’ve always, always gone ‘oh, there’s [whoever] from Kindred’. I’m sure the actors themselves have all long, long forgotten this very shortlived and, frankly, pretty anemic show, but I never have. It’s stuck with me, got under my skin, into the marrow.

It’s a major element of how I view, and consequently write, vampire fiction.

Sometimes I make offhand jokes like “The Wolf House is basically just an extended love-letter about how much I loved Kindred”. It rankles a little bit when people say things which suggest that they think The Wolf House is only the sum of its influences — yeah, I’ve seen “Life on the Murder Scene”, the documentary about My Chemical Romance’s early years, way more often than anyone probably should, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t bring my own brain and creativity to the LotMS-inspired beats of these books.

Brigid Walsh as Sasha

Brigid Walsh as Sasha

Without getting ridiculously defensive about my craft and originality or whatever I’m being precious about there, my point is that I really am joking when I say “The Wolf House is basically just an extended love-letter about how much I loved Kindred”, but at the same time I’m being serious as well. Because the almost-28-year-old who’s writing these books is doing so largely because she remembers how exciting, how exotic and erotic and dangerous and dark and sexy this show seemed when she was fifteen.

Julian and Sasha

Julian and Sasha

I watch it now and I can see the cheap production values, the awkward performances, the lazy scripts, the missed opportunities. But I can also still see it with a fifteen-year-old’s eyes, bewitched at the idea of these sophisticated, ageless people with money and power to spare, trying to keep their petty wars with one another secret from the human society all around. I can still see the teenagers caught up in these vendettas, in love with dangerous and compelling creatures because they never fitted into the ordinary world in the first place. I can still see the anger and the beauty and the tension in the story of a young woman turned into a vampire against her will, trying to exist in that society because there isn’t anywhere else left for her. I can still see how weirdly intimate letting someone taste your blood seemed to be, the first time I saw it onscreen.

Julian and Lillie

Julian and Lillie

Kindred: the Embraced was never very good television, but to teenaged me it was the most important, exciting thing that had ever been created for the small screen. It’s what I think of when I see people bitching about Twilight, because though I’ve got my own problems with that series, I also know that successful vampire fiction, especially for teen audiences, isn’t about the head. It’s about the heart, about the rush of blush that flushes the cheeks and races fast, the thrill of that dark allure that’s so strange and powerful.

Kindred was that for me, and so I’ll love it forever. And The Wolf  House is, among other things, an extended letter about how much I loved it, and all that it taught me.

Another Vampire Diaries post

Look at these ridiculously pretty people.

Look at these ridiculously pretty people.

This show was watchable in a trainwrecky way when it began, largely due to nostalgia factor — I really cannot stress how hugely the books influenced me when I was growing up, or how much I adored them.

But then — gasp! — something weird happened. The show started being actually good and enjoyable in its own right.

If you’ve avoided this show, or saw the first episode and didn’t stick around, I recommend you take a look at episodes six (’Lost Girls’) and seven (’Haunted’), because they’re both creepy, compelling, striking pieces of vampire media that I really enjoyed.

Plus, the next episode is apparently called ‘162 Candles’, and as my favourite piece of vampire media ever (no, really, I run an entire website about it) is Fall Out Boy’s music video for ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”‘. And one of these days I will make a post detailing just how much that video has shaped the Wolf House books. That will be a long post indeed.

This counts because he is the MOST FABULOUS VAMPIRE EVER

Adam Lambert the glampire

Adam Lambert the glampire

I’ve mentioned before that I am rather fond of Adam Lambert, sparkly popstar extraordinaire.  At first, I tried not to pay attention: I knew a lot of people I was friends with online had been lured into the American Idol fandom due to his presence as a contestant, but I resisted! I even resisted when Mikey Way referred to him as “Gerard’s stunt double” on Twitter (and I have three My Chemical Romance-related tattoos at last count, with plans for more, so for me to resist something like that shows a dedicated disinterest). And then the singer Darren Hayes, who was the Crush Of My Soul when I was fourteen-fifteen-sixteen, said on his twitter that Adam Lambert reminded him of who he used to be back in the nineties. In other words, back when he was the Crush Of My Soul. I wavered in my dedicated disinterest.

But the deal-breaker came during the hardest week of my life, in June 2009, immediately after my beloved grandfather died. I flew to my hometown as soon as I was told of his passing, to help with the funeral arrangements and to write the eulogy. I have written a lot of things in my life, fiction and non-fiction and autobiography and poetry and essays and articles and novels, but nothing has ever come close to being as hard to write as that eulogy was. Since writing involved being on the computer, I distracted myself with the net a lot. Twitter was abuzz with the Iranian election protests, and it felt to my sore grief-stricken heart like the whole world was falling apart.

And then someone on my livejournal flist posted this picture:

Adam Lambert with former boyfriend Brad/Cheeks.

Adam Lambert with former boyfriend Brad/Cheeks.

And my brain fizzed and popped and snapped with an audible “TWANG!!” noise. I mean, look at that, from the purple hair to the perfect makeup to the facial hair to the burlesque-ringmaster-on-acid outfit to the serious-business expression…

I needed something in my life that was beautiful and ridiculous, and Adam Lambert is exactly those things in spades.

And all this is tenuously relevant to this blog, because Adam Lambert enjoys dressing up as a vampire from time to time, a fact for which my hormones are sincerely grateful.

Adam the vampire, as a child and as an adult.

Adam the vampire, as a child and as an adult.

Old photo of Adam as a vampire.

Old photo of Adam as a vampire.

Adam for Halloween 2009.

Adam for Halloween 2009.

Adam at a Halloween concert 2009.

Adam at a Halloween concert 2009.

Edit: As Audrey put it, “it’s like he loves you and wants you to be happy”. Another two lovely photos of Mr Lambert:

Adam Lambert is the best rock star ever.

Adam Lambert is the best rock star ever.

Seriously this dude rules so hard.

Seriously this dude rules so hard.