Book Events, Books, Events, Video Games

What Are We Giving Away This Week? Check it Out! (Week of May 13th)

Hey all! Here’s the list of the lovely prizes we’re giving away this week. Remember you can enter on both Facebook and Twitter. DO NOT enter here, it won’t count. Click here for a list of all the entry rules. 

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Monday:

With the final book in Michael Scott’s Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, The Enchantress, coming out next tuesday, here’s your chance to start off the series with book one. Bonus: It’s autographed!

 

Wednesday:

World of Warcraft fan? Here’s your chance to win a free expansion pack for Burning Crusade!

 

 

Friday:

Your Christopher Paolini goodness for the week is an awesome autograph pack, which includes the following:

  • One autographed Inheritance Cycle folder
  • One autographed Brom’s ring print
  • One autographed small photo of Christopher Paolini
  • Two autographed Brisingr book plates
  • Shur’tugal stickers
Book Events, Books, Events

Guest Post: ‘Immortal’ Author Gene Doucette Talks Vampires and Being Immortal

Last week we featured Gene Doucette, author of Immortal and the newly released Hellenic Immortal. He was kind enough to stop by lytherus for a guest post, and tackles vampires, talking about how they make atrocious immortals!

Enjoy!

****

“I ran through the possibilities again. Vampire was one that was most likely, as they are hypothetically just as immortal as me. Except I’d seen her in the daytime on more than one occasion. And, every vampire I ever met had black eyes. Possibly she was a vampire that didn’t need to hide from sunlight and had blue eyes, but that’s a bit like saying something is a cat except it walks on hind legs and has no fur or whiskers.”

–Adam the Immortal, from IMMORTAL 

I’d like to talk today about vampires.  As this is a subject that has been done to death (ha) in all forms of popular entertainment and in all subsequent forms of analysis and meta-analysis of the same popular entertainment, I recognize that I am taking a risk here in bringing them up yet again.  But bear with me for a second.

Let us begin with a simple, obvious point: vampires aren’t real.

I mention this because the one complaint I have heard most often regarding a specific rendition of modern vampires is, “vampires don’t sparkle.”  Well, all right.  Vampires don’t sparkle.  Except again: vampires aren’t real.  And that means we can all do whatever we want with them.  Anybody that wants to can create their own permutations of vampire rules any time they want to, and were I Stephanie Meyers I don’t doubt that my response might be along the lines of, “maybe your vampires don’t sparkle, but mine do.”

(Incidentally, this is a response I actually have given on more than one occasion to disagreements about how I depicted my immortal man: when you create your own immortal you can do whatever you want, but this is mine and he’s an alcoholic, and so there.)

Of course, nobody who complains about sparkling vampires thinks they’re real and require some kind of taxonomic course-correction.  (Well, some of you might.)  What this complaint really means is that the speaker considers aversion to sunlight a primary defining characteristic of the creature we call vampire, and that any creature which does not need to avoid sunlight should therefore not be considered a vampire at all.  And this is fair, except that vampires have already gone through several alterations in the past thirty years that have fundamentally changed what might once have been considered canonical identifiers.  Never mind the sparkling, kids.  In your father’s day vampires used to be evil.

So it doesn’t bother me that vampires sparkle now, any more than it did when vampires stopped being evil and started forming underground societies and having souls and falling in love.  Vampirism was always a metaphorical stand-in for sex anyway, so have at it.

Here’s what does bother me: the modern vampire is the absolute worst immortal.

I’m not talking about a disagreement with vampire canon here, I’m talking about an assault on basic logic.  Simply put, if you’re not emotionally mature enough after your first fifty years to behave like an adult, you’re not stable enough to last another fifty, never mind two hundred or three hundred years.  We don’t let teenagers drink or vote, and we don’t let anyone younger than 35 to run for president, and there are good reasons for this: with age comes wisdom and maturity, and precocity is no substitute for it.

So when see vampires acting moody, lusting after high school girls, squabbling like drunken children or otherwise acting like blood-sucking uber versions of archetypes from a back-to-school special, all I can think of is that nobody so emotionally unstable would survive long enough to appreciate their own immortality.  Someone would have staked them, or they would have done themselves in long before that.

But sparkle?  Sure, they can sparkle all they want.

****

Thanks Gene! Interested in learning more about Gene and his books? Check him out at http://genedoucette.me/

Book Events, Book News, Books, Comic/Graphic Novel Events, Comic/Graphic Novel News, Comics/Graphic Novels, Events, News

2011 Bram Stoker award-winners announced!

Yesterday at this year’s World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, the winners of the 2011 Bram Stoker Awards were announced. This is the 25th year these awards for quality horror writing have been given, and some new categories were added.

The winners are:

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL Isis Unbound by Allyson Bird (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a YOUNG ADULT NOVEL (tie) The Screaming Season by Nancy Holder (Razorbill) Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a GRAPHIC NOVEL Neonomicon by Alan Moore (Avatar Press)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION “The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine” by Peter Straub (Conjunctions: 56)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” by Stephen King (The Atlantic Magazine, May 2011)

Superior Achievement in a SCREENPLAY American Horror Story, episode #12: “Afterbirth” by Jessica Sharzer (20th Century Fox Television)

Superior Achievement in a FICTION COLLECTION The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed edited by John Skipp (Black Dog and Leventhal)

Superior Achievement in NON-FICTION Stephen King: A Literary Companion by Rocky Wood (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY COLLECTION How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison (Necon Ebooks)

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney (Pinnacle Books)

Vampire Novel of the Century Award

HWA, in conjunction with the Bram Stoker Family Estate and the Rosenbach Museum & Library, also presented the special one-time only Vampire Novel of the Century Award to:

Richard Matheson for his modern classic I Am Legend

Lifetime Achievement and Specialty Press Awards

In addition, HWA presented its annual Lifetime Achievement Awards and its Specialty Press Awards. Rick Hautala and Joe R. Lansdale were both on hand to accept their Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The Specialty Press Awards went to Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press and Roy Robbins of Bad Moon Books.

Silver Hammer and President’s Richard Laymon Service Awards

The Silver Hammer Award, for outstanding service to HWA, was voted by the organization’s board of trustees to Guy Anthony DeMarco.

The President’s Richard Laymon Service Award was given to HWA co-founder Karen Lansdale.

Book Events, Books, Events

Here’s Your Chance to Win a Copy of Maria V. Snyder’s Newest Book, TOUCH OF POWER!

Maria V. Snyder was recently featured on Lytherus during her blog tour for her newest book release, Touch of Power. To go along with that and keep the celebration going, we are giving away one copy of this fantastic book!

The contest starts today and runs until 3pm EST on Friday, January 20th. How do you enter to win this wonderful prize? All the instructions are on our giveaways page, so head over there to check it out!

Like Maria’s work, but unfamiliar with Touch of Power? Here’s a little bit about the book:

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life….

Here’s the Lytherus review, in case you want to know what we loved about this story (here’s a hint, pretty much all of it!).

Good luck!

Book Events, Books, Web, Web Events

Touch of Power Blog Tour: Maria V. Snyder Talks Life as Fodder

We are honored and excited to be a part of Maria V. Snyder’s blog tour coinciding with the release of her newest book, Touch of Power. In this post she talks about how so much in her life has inspired her writing.

****

The question I’m asked the most is, “How do you get your ideas?”  And my standard reply is from everything—TV, movies, books, magazines, newspapers, people I meet, classes I take…basically life.  And that’s not just for the big idea, but for all the little details that find their way into my novels.

I’ll use TOUCH OF POWER as an example.  The big idea of Avry being a healer came from a variety of sources.  I dabbled with healing powers in my Study series and I wanted to explore it further.  The ability to heal with magic is very appealing to me.  As a mother, I hate to see my children sick or injured and always wish I could make it all go away.  I also have to give credit to an old Star Trek episode titled The Empath about a race of healers/empaths who would can take on the injury or illness of another.  She gives her life to heal Dr. McCoy.  I watched all the Star Trek episodes, but this one always stayed with me. 

Now for the little details.  There is a character named Flea in TOUCH OF POWER. He’s a young man—16 years old, which is the same age as my son.  The name comes from a boy who played on my son’s soccer team.  The other boys on the team gave Ben the nickname Flea because he was shorter than them, and younger by two years, but he was also fast and determined.  In the book, Flea is interested in learning how to juggle. I taught both my kids how to juggle and the summer that I was writing the book, my son practiced a lot so he could impress his friends at camp.  Those two “things” came together when I was working on the book.

Another example is the forest magic.  While hiking with my family through a dense forest, I let my imagination run wild and it felt as if there was a presence in the forest.  As if the living green had a collective consciousness and it viewed me as an intruder.

And I can’t forget to mention the whole swine flu panic.  While I couldn’t use how the media blew it all out of proportion, I could use that panic.  Plus it gave me an interest in plagues and led me to some fascinating research about the Black Death and what happened after it was over.

Another character, Belen is a familiar type of character—the gentle giant.  A big, muscular, powerful man who is the sweetest soul.  I’ll admit, that’s Cogon from my Insider books, and Ari from the Study books, and Nix from the Glass books.  I can’t help it.  I never had an older brother, and when the kids at school would tease and pick on me, I’d imagined my older brother would tell them to get lost.  And they’d run away because they were all afraid of him because he was six feet tall and powerful.  But to me, he was all sweet and protective.  I’d hope my son would be like that, but he’d rather bug/annoy his younger sister than protect her.  And that played into the whole Yelena/Leif dynamic in the Study books.

So you see?  Life is fodder!

Does anyone else find inspiration in unusual places?

****

Thanks Maria! Want to learn more about this amazing author? You can visit her website at www.mariavsnyder.com or “like” her on facebook at mvsfans.

We will also be giving away a copy of Touch of Power to one lucky winner in the next day or two. Stay tuned for more info!

Book Events, Book News, Books, Events, News

Cherie Priest Tours for the Newest Clockwork Century Book

Cherie Priest, the author of the amazing Boneshaker, is touring at the end of the month to promote the fourth book in this series, Ganymede. 

Here’s the touring schedule:

Tuesday, September 27th – 7:00 PM
University Books, Seattle, WA

Thursday, October 13th – 7:00 PM
Powell’s Books, Beaverton, OR

Tuesday, October 18th – 7:00 PM
Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Saturday, November 5th – 2:00 PM
Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA

Thursday, November 10th – 7:30 PM
Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island, WA

Saturday, November 12th – 1:00 PM
Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

Tuesday, November 15th – 7:00 PM
Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Wednesday, November 16th – 7:00 PM
Broadway Book Mall, Denver, CO

Thursday, November 17th – 7:00 PM
Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Curious about her books? Click here to check out the Lytherus review of Boneshaker. 

[via tor.com]

Book Events, Books, Events, Web

Author Insight – Guest Blog: Jennifer Knight Digs In To Book-Based Movies & TV vs. The Books Themselves

Since I was a kid, movies and books have both been a huge part of my life. I’m not all that social, so reading and watching others’ stories were my way of experiencing the world when I wasn’t up to being the “ditsy blonde” of the classroom. So when my favorite novels, such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and True Blood began showing up on the big screen, I was thrilled. What could be better than a book made into a movie? It’s the best of both worlds!

Except not.

At least, not necessarily. We’ve all experienced it. We find out our favorite book is turning into a T.V. series or movie and excitedly sit down to witness the utter awesomeness of seeing the characters we’d pictured oh-so clearly in our heads portrayed on screen. It simply couldn’t get better than this! Until you realize…it pretty much sucks.

Come on. Anyone who’s read the Harry Potter series will tell you that the movies pale in comparison to the complete and total epic-ness of the books. And if you’ve ever seen the Twilight movies…just the thought of them induces a shudder. Not that I don’t enjoy the eye-candy. I do. But it’s not just the people playing the roles that messes these movies up. Nor is it the setting—it looks just like we imagined it, right? And the lines are the same, if not similar. Nobody can fault the director, since he or she clearly did a fine job with what they were given…so what the heck?

Why do movies and T.V. shows oftentimes suck compared to the books?

Before I go there, I have to give credit where credit is due. Not all movies adaptations are stinkers. Look at True Blood. Okay, granted it’s a T.V. show and not a movie, but go with me. I started reading the True Blood series before the show debuted and I loved the books. Sookie and Bill’s sexy romance made for some excellent late-night reading, and the plot felt rich and intriguing. The writing was excellent. What more could I ask for?

And then the show premiered. At first, it was basically the book put to screen…and then a few episodes passed and—I stopped reading the books. The show was so amazing I didn’t want to ruin it by reading the books first. This was unprecedented. I’d never been so enthralled by a movie or T.V. show that I actually put down the books in order to preserve the mystery of the show. As a lifelong lover of books (and, hello, an author) I couldn’t help but wonder why? What made this show – and a handful of movies – so much better than the books?

In the case of True Blood, I have to go with all of the side stories. In the books, there is none of that. Tara is a tier three character at best, Lafayette gets killed off in book one, and Jason is practically a nonexistent character until around book four. As much as I loved the books (and I so do) I couldn’t help but feel cheated after seeing the show. Where was Tara’s role? Why couldn’t she be BFFs with Sookie? I missed the storyline of Jason doing V, and Sam shooting his brother in the leg.

The richness of these side characters’ stories and the emotional depth that’s played out in the show is just lacking in the books. And I get that it’s supposed to be a crime mystery/vampire romance novel and that you can’t include all of the side stories in a 60,000-ish word book, but it really made me understand the importance of well-developed side characters. They may not be as important as our heroes, but they matter to the reader, and as evidenced by True Blood, they make the story so much more real.

But let’s face it: True Blood is a welcome exception to the movies v. books battle. More often than not, the movie is trash when held up to the book, and as a writer, I have to wonder why? What about these books is so amazing, and why doesn’t it translate to the big screen?

My explanation? It’s a culmination of two things: time and inner narrative.

It’s just a fact of life that you cannot squeeze in every single scene from a book into a two-and-a-half hour movie. Even the super long movies like the epic three-hour Lord of the Rings sagas can’t fit it all in. So we have to accept that some things will be left out. Which, yeah, sucks. We don’t want scenes to be erased! We love those scenes! Those scenes are what made us fall in love with the books, and what made us spend $15 to come see the movie adaptation. I found myself thinking after the Harry Potter movies, that I would have sat around and watched thirty more minutes it they’d only included another Quidditch match.

But maybe I’m just a HP nerd.

Okay, I’m definitely a nerd. But that’s beside the point.

The point? Us writers have the upper-hand when it comes to the timing issue. We can include so much more in books. The trick is to make sure that this extra wiggle room is used to our advantage. Useless scenes that fail to move the plot forward are well, useless. Just because a book is long (and holy crap the sci-fi books my husband reads sometimes cross the thousand-page marker, so I know these suckers are long) doesn’t mean it’s good. Each scene has to mean something. And in great books, they do. So stop taking them out, movie people!

Second issue: inner narrative. Now, this is an element a writer can really take advantage of. In books, the author is blessed with the ability to get inside his characters’ heads. He can analyze their every thought and choose to either hide it from the reader or exploit it to serve his story. In movies, it’s more difficult to portray the complex, and sometimes conflicting emotions roiling around in our hero’s mind. They usually end up saying their feeling aloud or acting them out, which, while effective at times, just doesn’t measure up to actually feeling these things with the characters the way you do in a book.

In a book, it’s almost as if you are the character and everything they go through, you go through right along with them. And while it is possible to empathize with an on-screen character, well, it’s just not the same. You don’t get that closeness you get when reading a book. In other words, it’s not a personal experience. And that’s ultimately what you take away from a great book, right? Something that affected you in a personal way. It’s possible to do in a movie, but I think it’s almost always more impactful in a book.

Movies v. books will battle forever in pop culture, warred between those who live for books and those who’d rather see the “speedy version.” I’m still not sure which side I’m on, since I’m crazy about both forms – all I can say is that no matter how many horrible movie adaptations I see, I’m still going to go see the final Twilight movie. And the Hunger Games. And The Mortal Instruments. And The Hobbit. And whatever comes next.

***

Thanks Jen! If you’re curious about Jen and her books, check her out at her goodreads account! And see her on Lytherus, with the review of her book Blood on the Moon, and her author interview!

 

 

 

Book Events, Books, Events

BEA, Day Three: We’re Tired, but it was Worth it!

(Jackie Krah) BEA wrapped up today. I couldn’t be too sad as we walked away with an absurd amount of great ARCs and professional contacts. (I believe Lauren wants to tell you about our shipping fiasco. The post office hated us.) The highlight moment of day three barely had competition for me. We decided to swing by the IDW Comics booth before we said goodbye to the coolest experience ever. Mike wanted to check out some info about the Dr. Who comic series, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to their publicity reps yet.

Wow, am I glad that we did. After talking to a spectacularly nice and helpful IDW representative I scored several volumes worth of reviewable comics. Look forward to upcoming reviews on True Blood vol. 1, a G.I Joe series by Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) and graphic novel additions to James Patterson’s Witch and Wizard books. Lauren also got some spectacular booty – but I believe she’s eager to tell you about that herself.

Mike began to talk about other things as we turned the corner away from the IDW booth (where they could no longer see me therefore I could switch from the professional to the fan-girl side of my personality). Lauren held up her hand to tell him to hold on for just one second. Then she looked at me, knowing exactly what to expect. I, predictably, burst into a happy dance. I’m a big fan of IDW in general, and am extraordinarily excited to discover new series to delve into and share with you.

Don’t be too jealous. We were absolutely thinking of our viewers the entire time. Many of the book ARCs that we procured we were also able to get a copy (usually signed) to give away on the site at the time of the review/ interview. We couldn’t do this with all the books, but whenever the opportunity presented itself, we grabbed a copy to share. (As I said. The post office HATES us.) More on these giveaways to come!

A stack of our books after only the first two days!

(Lauren Zurchin) I am tired. Dead on my feet (actually, I’m sitting in bed, watching a movie in our hotel room, but I digress). Because I just had one of the most rewarding, wonderful weeks of my life, which was capped off by today.

There was only one official thing on the agenda this morning: Christopher Paolini was receiving an award from the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest author to ever have a best-selling series. How cool is that? I don’t know how he wasn’t giddy; I know I would be (though he did mention that he was talking about it so much at home that eventually his sister told him to shut up!). We got some nice pics, and then went off to visit the remainder of the convention.

Considering we already had more books than we knew what to do with, we were thinking we wouldn’t end up picking any up today. Wrong! There were some being given away, including Lauren Oliver’s new Middle Grade book Liesl & Po. We also visited the blogger convention which was happening a level below. It wasn’t as well-developed as we expected, but it was still nice to get cards for potential future connections.

Something extraordinary that happened to me, the book girl. I got given a breathtakingly beautiful hard-back graphic novel of The Last Unicorn. Anyone ever seen that movie? I loved it as a child, the beauty and the hauntingly dark parts. Even back then it drew me in. So to see there was a gorgeous version of the story, drawn to look pretty much the same, was amazing. And the guy at IDW gave it to me! Needless to say, I was over the moon, and I’ll be sure to review it soon.

So, as you can see from the above photo, we had a TON of books. That photo doesn’t even include the ones we got today. So imagine trying to take all of those home on the bus. Granted, they were split between three people, but I had almost as many as Jackie and Mike combined. So after we left the convention center, we headed over to the post office to mail one of my suitcases home. It turned into a disaster. At first it was too heavy, and then it needed to be wrapped in bubble wrap and taped, and one person said one thing and another said another. So at the end we had a box filled to the brim with books, and a lighter suitcase wrapped and taped to be sent on its way. Over an hour later, we finally finished, to come back to the hotel and relax on our beds, where we haven’t left.

There is so much I want to say about this event, but overall, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I cannot wait to share all of the wonderful things we got and learned with you, our lovely readers.

Book Events, Books, Events

The Cornelia Funke Pittsburgh Library Event, a Prequel to the Lytherus Exclusive Interview!

Cornelia Funke Autographing books at the end of her event on Sunday, April 10th, 2011

 

New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke was in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this past Sunday for an event through our city library. I had the pleasure of interviewing her before this occasion (the transcript of which will be posted in parts beginning later this week), and also got to experience her in her element during the event, answering audience questions and autographing books.

Cornelia reading from Reckless

The event took place in the city library’s theater, which was filled with fans young and old, desperate to get a chance to interact with one of their favorite authors. Funke (pronounced FOON-kah), having done this many times before, knew that there would be a lot of questions from the curious readers of her books, so this set the shape of the event, having most of it be a Q & A with the audience.

Corneila getting into the illustrating.

But first, to get everyone warmed up, she started off by reading the beginning pages of her newest book, Reckless (click here to see the Lytherus review). She also took a break from reading to draw some illustrations on a nearby art board—she began her professional career as an illustrator, something she still continues to do to this day in her own books, and it was nice to see a live demonstration of her abilities.

Q & A with audience memebers.

There was a good 45 minutes of a question and answer session, but sadly the sound system in the theater wasn’t great, so I can’t decipher the audio recording I made. However, the questions were common ones, so I have included both a video interview and a few transcripts from Scholastic, her Inkheart publisher, for you to enjoy.

 

The first of a two-part Lytherus Cornelia Funke interview will be posted later this week, but to hold you over until then, here are links to those past interviews .

Scholastic 8-part video interview

Scholastic Q & A Transcript

I’d encourage you to check out these interviews before reading the Lytherus interview, as many of the questions I asked her build off of basic knowledge of her life and work that is revealed in these previous Q & A sessions. We’ll be bringing you the detailed transcript beginning later this week, so stay tuned as Cornelia talks about the Reckless world, the process of writing, why she chooses the magic elements in her stories, and much more!

 

A close-up of Cornelia's illustrations. Can you see which books they relate to?