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

Tumblr and fan art

I really am going to try to be better at updating this blog. Here are the main news items!

1. Books one and two are going to be released in a combined hard copy in about four months’ time. More on that closer to the launch date.

2. Book five is ticking along. Everyone’s so far from where they started.

3. I now have a tumblr, where I throw all the random images, poems, quotes etc which I draw inspiration from in some way. Check out its random image function here (may be a not-work-safe image; some of them have breasts and stuff in ‘em), because that’s basically how I use it — I hit ‘random’ and then try to write on the image which comes up.  Oh! And if you’re into the twitter thang, I’m over here.

4. The best way to keep up with my regular whining about how hard it is writing trashy vampire novels about punk teenagers and how tortured and miserable I am is still through the Wolf House tag in my livejournal.

5.

Jay by SeveredScythe

Jay by SeveredScythe

FAN ART IS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER, I LOVE IT. THE OTHER MOST AWESOME THING EVER IS FANFICTION, SO YOU SHOULD GO LOOK AT THIS STORY BY THEONLYTWIN

OH MY GOSH MY FACE LOOKS LIKE THIS RIGHT NOW: *____*

Various and sundry

Hullo hullo. I am utterly dreadful at updating here, and I don’t have any real excuse except procrastination. I’m currently re-reading that old grand master of trashy vampire novels, Dracula, for background info I need for book five — for reasons which will make sense after book two comes out.

I keep getting new art from Audrey or finding things in books and going ‘ooh, I have to scan that for the Wolf House site!’, and then not being able to because it’s a massive spoiler in one way or another for a later book. I feel like I’m half a season ahead of everyone else in watching a TV show.

Jay fanart by Mrs Frankenstein

Jay fanart by Mrs Frankenstein

Here is a piece of art I CAN share, by the gorgeously-named Mrs Frankenstein. I suspect Jay only reads the Batman titles he finds on Tommy or Bette’s floors.

Tommy’s current favourite Batman title is Batman and Robin by Grant Morrison. Bette loves Batgirl by Bryan Q Miller, though her favourite Batman title of all time was Detective Comics when it was written by Andersen Gabrych. Tommy likes the Halloween specials, because they’ve always got the craziest villains going on and have more storytelling freedom than the regular monthlies. Jay thinks they are both irredeemable nerds, but the comics are pretty cool occasionally and so when he found an ancient tee at some thrift store he went to with Michelle he ended up buying it.

Hrm, what else can I say… book two is coming out within the next week or so. I can’t believe we’re not even up to book two yet in the release schedule. This whole thing is crazy. Crazy! While you’re waiting for it to come out you can go vote for me (’Mary’) in this contest because trust me, as occasionally enjoyable as writing about trashy vampires might be, it pays very few of my bills, and I could really do with the prize money. Plus, you know, PRETTY SHINYSILLY GAWTHIC ACCESSORIES are always good fun, and who needs more flowery crap turning up in stores, honestly? Strike a blow for frilly romantic dark nonsense, I say!

Fabulous vampires: Eli from ‘Let The Right One In’

Eli from Let The Right One In

Eli from Let The Right One In

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries

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 Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries

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.

Fabulous vampires: Claudia

Claudia from Interview with the Vampire

Claudia from Interview with the Vampire

When I started making this site, everyone kept saying ‘you have to have a blog! Networking! NETWORKING!’. And, while I’ve had a completely obnoxious livejournal for the last eight years, all the networking I’ve done through it has been completely accidental; a side-effect of my tendency to post any- and everything which pops into my brain.

Trying to put content in a blog that’s supposed to be specifically designed to connect me to potential book-readin’ types out there has completely stumped me, probably because I feel like I should be more worthy and profound here than is my natural inclination. Why I feel that way, I’m not sure, since The Wolf House basically an excuse for me to spend a lot of time daydreaming about fabulous vampires.

So until somebody cleverer than me at this stuff takes me aside and says ‘no, Mary, you’re supposed to do this and that and whatever to network properly’, I am going to make posts about fabulous vampires.

First fabulous creature of the night to be featured: Claudia, from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.

Claudia is a character who taught me a lot about characters. About anti-heroines and villains, adults and children, personalities and one-note gimmicks. About how it’s possible to love a character even if you don’t like them.

Even if you haven’t read Interview with the Vampire or any of the sequels, you’re probably at least a little aware of Claudia as a character. Turned into a vampire at age five (or twelve, or three, or ten, depending on your source material), she’s stuck that way forever.

To think that that’s all there is to her, however, is a mistake. That’s just the core of the Claudia legend, the part that stays constant even when the rest evolves and changes to fit new versions of the tale.

Read the rest of this entry »

I never met a blog I couldn’t spam

The boy with the thorn in his side

The boy with the thorn in his side

Because I haven’t made this especially clear anywhere else on the site, I should mention: Origins and Overtures, the first book, isn’t available yet, it’s still that utterly vexing thing known as “coming soon”. This is the reason that I haven’t got ‘buy it! buy it now! Buy itttt!!!’ buttons all over the place.

Which makes this site all sorts of redundant for the time being, alas.

For now, I’ll talk about another book that influenced me, this one while I was writing Roads and Crosses (book 2) — The Boy With The Thorn In His Side by Pete Wentz and Joe Tesauro, which is a borderline-incoherent, self-indulgent, frightening fairytale picture book about love, medication and loneliness. Here’s an excerpt from it:

The Boy had been bursting to share this world with someone and he was finally getting his chance.

“He-ll-o” he stuttered. His voice was hoarse from not being used. It felt rusty. Suddenly the darkness consumed everything. The fireworks stopped.

Desperate, The Boy ran down the stairs waking the wolves in the wall on the way. He ran 40 or 50 feet until he hit the shadows of two people. He could barely make them out. One of them lit a match glowing and revealing two pale faces. The stars crossed and The Boy wished he could have hung himself on them. He stuttered again, tripping on his tongue. This caused the girls to giggle more.

“What’s your name?” The Boy asked.

The girl with the darker hair replied “Rattail” and lifted her arm jiggling a dead rat she had tied on her wrist like some morbid form of jewelry: the rodent gold standard, the retching and unraveling of style (have you ever seen someone and known that they owned you before they even spoke). It would almost be seductive if it wasn’t so dreadful. The girl was pale with jet black hair. Strange. But The Boy was in love.

First update

The Bride of Frankenstein

The Bride of Frankenstein

It seems silly for me to scrabble around in search of something to say when the first book hasn’t come out yet. Welcome! Hopefully this site will eventually have a veritable plethora of interesting content to amuse the senses and delight the soul and all that stuff.

I’m about five thousand words away from finishing Fair Game, the third book of the series. I tend to read voraciously when I’m writing, and two of the books I’ve read while working on book three have been Factory Girls by Leslie T Chang and Frankenstein: A Cultural History by Susan Tyler Hitchcock, both of which I enjoyed very much. It’s possible I maybe even learned a thing or two, but that’s up for debate.