February 16, 2014
There is a convention for everything. I primarily travel and vend the Horror, Sci-Fi, and Comic Book Convention Circuit. But you could find a convention, somewhere, that is tailored to your particular interests whether it is gardening or dressing up as your favorite woodland creature for kinky sex. There is a convention for everything, and every convention had, at one point or time, been a first year Con. In my travels through the spectacular three kings of fantasy I have attended my fair share of first year Cons. Some have been better than others, but all of them end up being a gigantic lesson for the event promoter.
As a vendor you get to see a lot of the behind the scenes antics that conventions go through that the attending public does not get to see. Vending first year conventions is a lot like playing Russian Roulette. You never know what you’re going to get or if the event promoter knew what they were doing when they set out. It is literally hit or miss. Mostly, it’s miss. But I have had a few first year Cons that have surprised me and been among some of my best shows. All in all, vending at different events across the country has afforded me with a unique experience that I think first year Con event promoters might find useful. So, here are my Do’s and Don’ts of putting on your event. N’Joy!
DON’T just decide to throw a Con and do it. Put some elbow grease behind your idea and see what other events, like it, happen in and around your area. Learn if your community is supportive of the type of convention that you want to throw. Go to other conventions like the one you want to do and see how other people are doing it.
Back in 2012, there was a first year Con put on by a young man who had traveled around the country for a few years attending events, doing interviews, writing blogs about the circuit, picking up business cards, and talking with attendees, event promoters, and vendors. He become a bit of a name among the horror convention circuit, so when he decided to sponsor his event in the Southwest he had a fair amount of research under his belt and knew people with whom he could network. Now, he is about to launch his third, and each one has been a monumental success.
DO pick a date that does not conflict with another event!
DON’T pick a date that conflicts with other long-standing conventions that are similar to yours or where your home town, that is sponsoring the event, has other long-standing events planned.
I can not begin to tell you how this little charmer of the stars, the date in which you plan on having your event, has screwed over the event promoter and all the vendors that were suckered into it. Technically, this category still falls under research which basically means to do your research and then do even more. If you’re hoping to pull people away from events that have become a part of their lives for your first time event, check your head. People are not that daring or trust worthy, even if they tell you in person that they’ll be there. History has proven that they wont. They will go with what they know, and if your new event just so happens to fall at a time when there is nothing else going on, and its not too close to something that they regularly attend then you will snag their curiosity and pull them in under the guise of, “yeah, we’ll go and support the upstart” banner.
DO secure a venue that will support your event.
DON’T choose a venue that will limit your event options, that is too pricey, too big, or snooty assholes, because if you are not happy your vendor’s wont be happy and your attendees wont be happy, and you’ll probably never get to your sophomoric try at another location.
I have attended two first year Cons that had promoted properly about their event taking place at one hotel only to find out, once I was in transit, that they had to switch at the last minute because the hotel screwed them over. This happens! Though, I have only attended two events where this has happened I have heard of it happening quite often. So, it makes me a bit leery and cautious. One of the events that I attended that had the event shuffle at the last minute did very well with it and found a new location that was very supportive, gave them more space than they could fill, and helped to promote the change. The event promoter sectioned off his area of use to fit his venue needs and weathered through the storm of change, coming out ahead of the game with a secure location for their second year.
The other event was not so lucky. They were able to find another hotel, but the management of the hotel was not too happy that they were there, and made many attempts during the event to shut out the event attendees from regular hotel activities and areas. By the last day the hotel management had relaxed a little, but it was too late. The damage had been done. People were already Twitting about it.
DON’T just sacrifice a chicken with the wish that people will attend your event or make a flyer and post it up at the grocery store.
Use the Internet, and all its social media devices, like a battered whore. Spank the ass of radio DJs and your street team. Make great art to put on posters, t-shirts, stickers, and postcards that promote your event and distribute them like a wonton, contagious virus. Trumpet your event like the devil of invention, because it is better than sliced bread, baked ham, and World of Warcraft – COMBINED! Pay for advertising in magazines, and other cool resources, that cater to YOUR clientele. Make a Press Kit and pimp it out like Huggy Bear, secure interviews and talk about how coming to your event is the cure for cancer, as each attendee who passes under the invisible sonic healthalizer will be cured for life! Butter your tongue with the most lyrical bullshit you can think of and start spreading the news.
Because I can not even begin to tell you just how many first year Cons forget about having an advertising budget, forgot to promote their event, and did not understand the importance of letting others know about it. In the real world, the world where you are trying to make your event a success, “Build it and they will Come” is not the field of dreams that you think it is. It is the blueprint for epic failure!
DO connect with your vendors.
DON’T just rest on your laurels. If vendors, like myself, have the wherewithal to believe in your first time event then connect with them when they sign up for it. Reach out to them, start a dialogue, get to know them, because vendors are the bread and butter of the convention circuit. They are the ones that will pull your sorry ass out of debt.
I recently attended a first year Con and when I was booking it, through the online booking site they were using, it looked as if the main vending rooms were all sold out. But come the event, there were only 3 vendors in the entire main vending room. That’s right, I said 3. Not much for attendees to gawk at is it?
What happened was that the booking site that the event promoter was using, which to give him credit, was a reputable site for this function and audience, had listed all reserved tables as sold and paid for, when in fact, not a single penny was collected. Ouch! Still pains me to think about it, and it wasn’t even my event. Had this event promoter reached out to his vendors, sent a welcoming email, offered directions and load in and load out instructions, or just generally gave a crap that people were paying him to come to his event this little snafu might never have happened.
But as with most conventions, the vendors are the last thing to get afforded any sort of contact or additional information outside of the receipt your get from PayPal for buying your table or booth space. I’m serious. There are the exceptions to this rule, but by and large Vendors are treated like mushrooms and expected to know exactly how, when, and what you are doing at your event without receiving any communications. I literally have dozens of unanswered emails that I’ve sent to event promoters asking about their parking, the load in and load times and instructions, hours of operations, or inquiring about their expected audience attendance. It is truly sad to see such a lack of communication toward a group of people that are “Paying” large amounts of money to support your event. It is criminal and rude.
So, reach out to your vendors. Start a communication with them that could last a lifetime. Gain their loyal support of your event. Win them over to your side. Vendors interact with nearly ever single attendee at some point and time. These are your ambassadors to your customers. The events that know and understand this reap the rewards of making their vendors feel like they are apart of the event, or better yet, make them feel like they are family, and that each event is merely a reunion.
DO offer your customers and vendors a fair price.
DON’T kill ‘em at the door. Sure, you’ve spent thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, to get your event up and running, but keep in mind that you are a first year Con. Don’t charge and arm or a leg at the door for each of your attendees to pay just to get inside. Be reasonable. Also, don’t think that you can charge vendors the same rate that long-standing conventions can charge. They’ve proven that they can draw a crowd and have a good history. Your event is new and could potentially be a bust. Vendors are taking a chance at bank or broke with you, so don’t think you can run with the big dawgs from jump. Show some respect and forethought.
Offer your attendees a lower price at the door and you will get more of them coming through it. You will also leave them with more money to spend in the vending room and/or with your celebrities. This will make everyone happy. It is a win-win scenario.
Offer your vendors a decent rate for your tables and booth spaces. Too many times first year Cons think they can charge premium rates and I’ll tell ya what happens: Vendors talk. They stand around all day at their booths that are connected to other vendors who are standing around all day at their booths and talk to one another. The main topic of conversation amongst vendors at conventions are about the events, the whose-its and whatnots and did-ya-knows. I wouldn’t call us a gossipy bunch, but when your life is packing and unpacking totes, setting up mini-stores, and clocking miles behind a windshield you tend to talk about what you know. And seasoned vendors know a lot about events. So to be honest with you about what seasoned vendors do about high dollar first year Cons, we laugh at the arrogant event promoters that think they can charge premium rates for their first year and we wait to see if you’re still around in your second year before we decide to pull the trigger. Sure you’ll attract some unseasoned vendors and maybe one or two seasoned folks will give you a try if they’ve had a great year, but on the whole, we are waiting for life to kick your arrogant ass a little bit and wise you up.
DO book interesting celebrities.
DON’T just book obscure celebrities or fourth tier folk and think it’s going to fly. If you are worth your salt, you would have done your research and learned what celebrities are making the rounds on the convention circuit. These tried and true masters of the glory days can get spread pretty thin and if you aren’t too careful you could overbook them and wear out their public interest.
Think outside of the box and take the time to ask your potential attendees who they would most like to see at your event. Making the choice interactive starts that wonderful co-creative spirit that all great Cons have. Celebrities are also the focus of your promotions, so look at the demographics of your potential audience base and choose wisely. Booking a celebrity that is going to be at three other events in and around your area is not going to work out well.
DO offer exciting extracurricular events!
DON’T just think that a room full of vendors and a few celebrities sitting behind a table is going to weather your event into the next year. It wont!
Offer your attendees a spectacularly packed schedule of events. Movie premiers, film shorts, author panels and readings, art gallery and contests, private celebrity meet and greets, dedicated photo times, costume contests, parties, and tons of panels on just about anything and everything that would interest your client base. In short, give them reasons to attend that go far and beyond the vendors and the celebrities. The extracurricular events that you choose for your event will be the singular stand out moments that your attendees will take away, and define you in the minds of your customers and separate you from other Cons.
DO meet and greet with vendors on the vending room floor before and during the show.
DON’T conduct private business with your vendors on the vending room floor in front of other vendors and/or attendees. This makes you look unprofessional. It’s sloppy, and it provides ammunition for the rumor mill.
If you have something that needs to be said to a vendor, or that there is something that needs to be worked out, then do it privately. At a recent first Con, I and several other vendors overheard a conversation between the event promoter and another vendor about their use of space. What had happened was that a secondary event promoter had given this vendor’s assigned space to someone else and had placed this vendor into a new space that was larger than the one he had bought. Prior to the show opening, the main event promoter came to the vendor and was trying to get him to pay for the larger space, plus an additional late fee, and they haggled about this for over an hour, creating a really uncomfortable air.
Had the event promoter not decided to share all of this dirty laundry I wouldn’t be able to write to you about it. Nor would I have been able to offer thoughts and opinions to the vendor as he strolled over to my booth to vent about it during the gig. It should also be noted that giving a space to a vendor and then trying to charge him extra for it, after the fact, could be its very own Do and Don’t, as that is some whacked out way of conducting business.
DO be prepared!
DON’T make it your vendors’ fault or your attendees’ fault if you do not have your shit together.
If you have to allow your vendors onto the vending room floor to set up without badges because you and your people do not have them when they started to arrive, don’t make it a point of contention between you and your vendors to then come to you once the show is has opened. It was your fault in the first place so deal with it like a professional. Go to each one of them and distribute them, because not every vendor can step away from their booth once the show has opened. Trying to penalize them and/or give them attitude about it does not reflect well on you.
Not having programs, printed tickets/badges, or a schedule of events for your attendees is not good. Posting a schedule of events in the registering office is not a decent way to inform your attendees about the events at your convention. Nor is leaving the information in an only-online capacity! Make a handbill, event program, or brochure that each and every attendee can take with them. This is great marketing too. And list your vendors in this handbill!!! Having an event program show’s that you care about your own event and about your attendees being able to navigate the labyrinth of timeframes that they will ultimately have to deal with.
Also provide these event programs to your vendors, because people interact with them on a regular basis and ask them about the events at the Con, thinking that the wide-eyed vendor will be able to provide answers to their questions. Sadly, vendors are treated like mushrooms – “thanks for your money and set up over here and shut up until its over”. This happens at almost every convention, whether first year or not. There are those events that are the exceptions, but generally speaking, the above is the norm. So when attendees come up to me or my surrounding vendors and ask about when a particular movie is playing or when a celebrity guest is at a particular panel they wont get the standard answer of “I don’t know”.
I usually have to hunt down a schedule once I set up, just so that I know when the showroom floor is opening to figure out when I need to be there. But once I have hunted down a program, which typically seems to be low in stock or in availability, I have been able to assist a few attendees with directions and times, simply because I hate not being informed. I loathe the answer “I don’t know”. I feel that it makes me look unprofessional, so I’m gonna pass that buck right on to you, Mr./Mrs. Event Promoter. Be prepared, it makes everything flow better.
Flow at your events is truly important. As much as it sucks to get snagged into a thick mass of Cosplayers inching their way up and down an isle as you struggle to make it to the bathroom, that is ultimately the kind of “flow” everyone wants at their show. It is good for the vendors, good for the promoters, and good for the community at large. I hope this list has been enjoyable, if not helpful, and I look forward to seeing you at your next event. Until then….Fang On!
January 16, 2014
Based on the Women of Otherworld series by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong’s young adult novel of the same name, Bitten, premiered Sunday night on the Syfy Channel. I’d like to say that I enjoyed it. But honestly, if I had not been on Facebook having a conversation with a friend I probably would have turned it off and gone to bed.
Over the years, there has been a steady influx of creature and paranormal oriented shows, and I don’t see this slowing anytime soon, so the ramp up to the pilot of Bitten last night was one that was met with much fanfare and enthusiasm among the blogverse. The premise of the show, taken from the plot of the YA novel, centers around Elena Michaels, the only known female werewolf, who returns to Toronto and to her land of Stonehaven, the lush country estate of her alpha wolf pack. But upon her arrival a woman is found brutally killed on the property by what local authorities are calling a dog attack. Pack Alpha, along with Elena, determine that the woman was killed by a “Mutt”, ak:a a lone, rogue werewolf, and begin hunting it down.
Sounds intriguing enough right? Even the werewolf mythology seems like an exciting addition to the television wolf pack of Teen Wolf, Being Human (both BBC & USA versions), True Blood, where an occasional shape-shifter would appear, and Netflix’s spectacular Hemlock Grove. Infected humans transform into full wolves, which is not my favorite form of creature, by a painful transmogrification, while maintaining their hair color and body mass. They are not swayed by the pull of the moon and can transform at will, and with practice, some Lycans can learn to transform just parts of themselves into their hairy alterego.
Again, sounds pretty awesome, right? Well…for me, and I have to draw the line there because I instantly recognize that I am not among the average viewing demographics, the reality of the show fell incredibly short of its preemptive fanfare and expectations. It wasn’t as bad as watching the first episode of True Blood, back in 2008, which still happens to be the longest hour of my entire life, but it was pretty bad. I’d go so far to say that I was bored about 2 minutes into it and I never recovered.
Going into a full wolf form for the Werewolf is not my favorite animal. The show opened with this normal, average looking monster and all I could see was CGI work that never hit the mark. The animated wolf characters did not fit well into their environments, the lighting was only partially finished, and the hair was clumpy. I know I don’t have to drill home this point too much as the Internet is filled with more Techno-Geeks than you could shake off a Light Saber, so they’ll bitch about the graphics until someone in the show’s production team bumps it up. But opening the show with shotty CGI and a very weak-ass way to portray a werewolf just isn’t a good start.
Then we were introduced to the cast of characters and the painful minutia of their lives. Frankly, these actors look just like every other hard body on the WB, even though it was the Syfy Channel. I swear there must be about two body types in Hollywood that could be cast in all paranormal shows, and they rotate different heads between them. So, needless to say, my immediate opportunity to relate to any one of them was done and over with; and for a show based on a young adult series it was overly sexualized. Not necessarily a bad trait. But even the passion you’d expect from Lycans fell short and was about as steamy as a cold cup of tea.
Sitting here attempting to recall lines of dialogue or what the point of the characters were about, besides the fact that they believed a mutt was on the loose, fails me. It did not capture my interests and frankly the two episodes of Family Guy that I watched after Bitten were way more exciting and memorable. So, if I really want to watch a hot blonde transform into a werewolf I’d watch Nora from the USA version of Being Human, played by the sultry Kristen Hager, at least she does not move like a mannequin or has the facial expressions of Kristen Stewart from Twilight. So my rating for Syfy’s Bitten is…..Toothless!
January 1, 2014
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For many people, 2013 was the impossible year, the year that wasn’t supposed to happen, the year that proved them wrong. Twenty-twelve wound down with its portents and profits of doom. The Mayan calendar was the last sigil of life on planet Earth, but 2013 kept coming and showed up on time, proving once again that the human race are mostly scared hairless monkeys that believe in superstition. So congratulations 2013 for arriving at the precise moment it was meant to, just like a Middle-Earth wizard, and saving millions of upwardly mobile bipeds the awkward embarrassment of not buying millions of dollars worth of billboard advertisements to promote their wild ideas of the end of the world!
To kick off this glorious year, I released my fifth book, Vampire News: The (not so) End Times Edition, which was the second outing in the annual nonfiction series that I had started with my cohort in literary crime, the Vampire Professor, Bertena Varney. Vampire News 2 continued the tradition of wrapping up all the fangtastic vampire related events, books, movies, and life from the preceding year. As 2013 comes to its wintry end, Bertena and I are once again plotting and planning the release of our third edition to the ongoing annual anthology. So, look for that in the coming, new year!
Though, there are those that will not be able to look for the release of the next Vampire News because 2013 was the last year of breathe and body. On the literary front we lost incredible storytellers like Tom Clancy, Elmore Leonard, Gary David Goldberg, and Richard Matheson, who changed vampires forever with his book, I Am Legend. Glee star, Cory Monteith, proved to us all, once again, that youth, fame, money, and being surrounded by beautiful women will drive you to a drug overdose. Special FX pioneer and legend, Ray Harryhausen, checked out, but his incredible works in the (original) films 7thVoyage of Sinbad, Mysterious Island, Mighty Joe Young, It Came From Beneath the Sea, Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Clash of the Titans, and many, many more will live on forever.
Unfortunately, for the Soprano’s don, James Gandolfini, he had a better and more dramatic ending than the traumatic cinematic character he is best known for. I did though, see the film Violet and Daisy this year, were James played a man who wanted to die and had put a hit out on himself. It was a surprisingly good flick, and the last film that James shot, Animal Rescue, is slated for release in 2014. TV dad, Conrad Bain, kicked the bucket along with the great Lou Reed, actor Ed Lauter, journalist David Frost, Our Gang starlet Patsy May, East of Eden star , songbird Eydie Grome’, Trilogy of Terror queen Karen Black, the incomparable Eileen Brennan, Snatch and Get Shorty actor Dennis Farina, and Archie Bunker’s ditzy wife, Edith, who was played by Jean Stapleton, also walked off the Earth.
For the uber-Star-Wars-nerds in all of us, we lost two original alums, Richard LeParmentier and Stuart Freeborn. Country crooner, George Jones, left his pick up truck running and comedy legend Jonathan Winters bid us all a fond farewell. He-that-can-not-be-killed, Jason Voorhees, finally succumbed to the grave when actor Richard Brooker, III, passed away. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard at Crypticon Kansas City in 2013 when I was there for Kaos Kustom Fangs and Crazy Duck Press, pimpin’ novels, art, and making fangs. He did not, at the time, appear to be applying for his angel wings. So, his death came as a surprise to me.
Another death that came as a surprise was Nelson Mandela’s. Not so much that he died. He was old and his health was failing, it was inevitable, but it was how incredibly fast Hollywood turned around and started advertising their bio-pic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. It was like they had it completely made and it was waiting on the self for him to die. I love Idris Elba, I don’t mind admitting that. He was awesome in Pacific Rim and his character Luther in the BBC crime drama is incredible. So I am sure he’ll do a bang up job of portraying the turbulent and important life of Nelson Mandela, but damn yo! The entire country of Africa was not even done with their ten day morning period and the executives of the film were like BLAM! Here it is!!!
Winding up the dead pile is mouseketeer and beach babe, Annette Funicello, Maggie Thatcher, film critic Roger Ebert (which means that the other guy wins all film arguments!), Jane Henson from Sesame Street, Harry Potter’s stepdad, Richard Griffiths, TV mom Bonnie Franklin, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, and the director of Death Wish, Michael Winner. To get a more comprehensive understanding of those that left us in 2013 check out this day by day, month by month, tally on Wikipedia.
IMDB boasts 9,100 film titles released by major studios and independents in 2013. But for all of those films subjected to the viewing public only one truly stands out of the crowd for me, and it was The Purge. The Purge was smart, refreshing, poignant, and well executed. It revived horror and science fiction in my eyes and gave us an interesting look at the American mind. The Wolverine was probably the best super hero film out of the lot, but it was still lacking. Though, I am truly glad that Marvel Studios is making and releasing comic book films regularly, it makes my inner fanboy smile, even if the films are only good for a quick bit of fun with a bucket of popcorn. So, nothing really peaked my filmic interest except World War Z, and after seeing it I was like “ewh”, with a shrug of my shoulders. Honestly, I didn’t watch a lot of 2013 film releases. Instead, I got involved in the incredible History Channel show,Vikings, American Horror Story Coven, The Sing Off, Haven, Face Off, and let my inner nerd run free with Syfy’s Robot Combat League. Honestly, watching robots fight in a Rock ‘em Sock ‘em kind of way was the ultimate achievement of 2013 and I can not wait to see mankind create robots like the ones in Real Steel and duke it out! Sorry, but that’s where it’s at with me for our standard prescribed media.
Though, I have to say that this year’s Walking Dead episodes did break my funk of my usual diatribe that the “comic book is way better.” And 2013 wouldn’t be what it was if it wasn’t the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. And oh, what a wonderful year long celebration it has been, featuring some of the best and worst moments in the Whovian universe! My favorite moments were the online Doctor Who minisodes, like Night of the Doctor, where Paul McGann was once again back in the saddle of the Tardis since his single outing in the 1996 American movie. Clara and the Tardis was a remarkably fun romp that helped to introduce us to the Impossible Girl, and Peter Davison’s wickedly funny and poignant, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot was, without a doubt, the best online video of 2013! In some ways, Peter Davison’s tribute was a more honest and true celebration of Doctor Who than the incredible The Day of the Doctor episode which aired on the anniversary. Peter played the fifth incarnation of the time traveling timelord and the cheekiness, the brazen plot and adventure that mixed more Whovian actors, writers, and producers was at the heart of the entire fifty year run of the show.
The worst moment in the Whovian universe was Matt Smith’s goodbye Christmas episode, The Time of the Doctor. My god that was incredibly awful and painful to watch. Yeah, I was sad to see him go and all, but he should have waited to leave in 2014, instead of cramming it into the fifty year celebration. At least then, if he had done that, he would have made his departure a stand out event, and it might have made a whole lot more sense. But sadly, he did not, and he checked out on an episode that was just badly written and poorly conceived. In the entire run of the new series of Doctor Who, since 2005, the 2013 Christmas episode will go down in the annuals of history as its biggest turd! So long Matt Smith and thanks for all the bow ties!
And while I’m thinking about it, 2012 might have actually been Earth’s last calendar cycle and the Mayan’s might have been right all along, but it was the Doctor that saved us from imminent destruction so we could revel in the glory of his long running TV show. The Doctor’s ego is big enough for something like that to have happened, and besides, he does that, you know. He saves planet Earth from doom and gloom, time and time again. So, as Peter Capaldi takes the Tardis’s helm in season eight in 2014, we can only hope that it is the beginning of another glorious fifty years of Doctor Who. I, for one, will be watching.
My greatest joy of 2013 happened this past summer when my kids came out for a visit and traveled with me to several conventions. My daughter, One, mostly hung out in the booth with me helping to sell books, tees, stickers, and buttons while I crafted fangs. My son mostly ran around the events playing with other kids and having the best time that an eight-year-old could possibly have on the road. Being with them and sharing my work as a vagabond gypsy author, artist, and fangsmith was the epoch of the year, and I will cherish the memories of traveling with them forever.
So, as I gear up for 2014, I am already deep into the works of booking more events at horror and comic book conventions. I’m working on new photo art designs, which basically means that I am waiting on models to write me back and book a date, because for some unknown reason in the cosmos, to make photographic images involves a lot of waiting on models for jobs that I’m willing to pay them for. So that’s brewing. <Mewh!>
I’m also working on label designs for Vampyre Tea Company teas that I will be releasing in 2014. I’ve been mixing and concocting these tea flavors for a few years now and am very close to launching them. So look out all you tea drinkers out there, I’m gonna make it rain like the Boston harbor! But the thing that I am most excited about for the new year are the two webisode pilots that I’m producing for Cryptic TV. One is the online version of Vampire News, which takes horror news reporting to the next level of wicked fun and gory adventure. The other pilot is my long-waiting vampire epic, Firefly’s Kiss, which takes my beloved vampire world from the pages of the One Blood seriesto film, making it real and raw for everyone to see and feel what it is truly like to be a vampire. So I’m very excited about this upcoming new year and the new projects I’m working on.
I miss all my friends and fans out there on the road and can’t wait to see everyone again and make new friends, and fang more people, and release new books in 2014 by such wonderful authors as Denise Verrico, Bertena Varney, and Robert Kiser.
What do you have in the works for 2014? What are you looking forward to unveiling or continuing? What film or television show has captured your breath? What would you like to see in the New Year? Drop me a line and let me know. In the meantime…Fang On!
December 26, 2013
Being the youngest Doctor of any incarnation one could have figured that he might have stayed with the character a little bit longer, but NO, things to be, people to do, Matt Smith is off like a flash just when he was settling in nicely as the Eleventh Doctor. Or is it Twelth? Or Thirteenth? Who’s to say really, given half a biscuit and some cheap wine, Steven Moffat, the current head of the show, could reveal that there have been no regenerations at all, that it’s all been poppycock or a dream, that bow ties aren’t cool, and that both of the ponds were alien plastic all along. Who knows! They (the writers of the show) seem to whip up any ole excuse to write and shoot anything they want these days, and fans, like myself, seem to gobble it up as devout lore. But I’m here to tell you that last night’s rendition of The Time of the Doctor failed to even meet up with the usual slop they’ve been dishing out in the last season, and in my humblest opion, the show was complete and utter shit.
I am not going to wax poetic or go through the poorly written moments of the show because it was crap. It was craptastic. It was the B-O-R-I-N-G!!! It was stuck together like a three year-old’s collage. It had everything, including the kitchen sink in a town called “Christmas”, but it never went down the drain. A rogue’s gallery of the nasty death dealers and a “war” that was not supposed to be a “war” that lasted for just over 300 years with none of these nasties able to kill the Doctor or wreck havoc on the town. In a montage of the weekest fight scenes ever filmed, the Doctor was twirling a cane like Charlie Chaplin at advancing Daleks. I’m sorry….that made me root for the dustbins of the universe to finally nail the bastard. All in all, in every fight scene in the Time of the Doctor there was never a threat, never an emergency, never a care from him that by being on the planet was causing pain and anguish to the citizens of Christmas. The Doctor was more content to post children’s drawings of himself, fix wooden toys like F*ing Santa Clause, and sit around and wait. Talk about lame! And he had the gall to point out David Tennant’s Doctor’s vanity issues? Bah Humbug! There should have been running from the enemy that hung around for 300 years – like they had nothing else to do except hang around this simple planet that only had the technology of string lights, wool caps, and wooden toys. There was no fearful elements, no fear of….well….anything. The rogue’s gallery were just there to say bye-bye to ole Matty.
Finally, the Doctor is on the planet of his death, Trenzalore. ( But they changed that because Clara asked the Crack in the Universe nicely!) And as I just said, the Crack in the Universe is still hanging around, but wait…Clara needs to cook her trukey in the Tardis. (Which still took entirely too long for a time machine) With all these tidbits of drama and comedy gnawing at the edges of the show, Moffet and company could have delivered a memorial episode instead of a sad excuse as Matt Smith’s departure. Nothing made any sense. I read reviews this morning that talked about how all the loose stroy-ends were tied up, but they didn’t tie up anything – they changed the story-ends. The Crack in the Universe is now hiding the hidden planet of Gallifrey and they were sending a message through all Time and Space asking the Doctor to say his name so they would know it was safe to come out of hiding. WTF? Again…lame. Pompous even! Self Grandiose Schlock! We just learned in the fabulous Day of the Doctor that Gallifrey had been “saved” all this while and stuck in a pocket universe. Did anyone think to check Hermione’s purse? No? Well, that would have made more sense then the tripe they were feeding us last night.
The fact is the writer’s had written themselves into a gigantic hole with the whole twelve regenerations and needed to have the Time Lord’s bequoth a new regenreative cycle on the aging Doctor so the show could continue for another fifty years. That was the crux of the overcooked story biscuit. Say it like Spock: “The needs of the show outweighs the needs of the characters.” This is Bad….BAD writing logic. It never works. In all the history of written-anything being self serving to your vehicle’s devises creates the worst drama known to man. So, the saddest part of The Time of The Doctor is that it’s over and done with and fans will forgive the schlock because it was the last episode of a beloved Doctor and the introduction of the new guy.
The Christmas Specials have become the norm for the Doctor’s regeneration, so no one was surprised that it was going to happen again during another Xmas Special. But I think the producers of the show should take note that they have flogged that horse more than enough times now and avoid it when Peter Capaldi’s “time” comes-a-callin’.
And the regenration itself? Blimey! Now the Doctor has the power of Greyskull to blast the Dalek’s from the sky with his biological light show. It’s so powerful that its energy is felt like an atomic blast, BUT…..what does all that noise and special effects manage to produce as the new Doctor? Matt Smith, back in his regular youthful face so he can bore us with more self-grandiosing monologues and flashes of Amy Pond running around the Tardis that only he can see. Then wham bam, the next instant he’s Capaldi and he’s forgotten how to fly the Tradis.
I say, I want a real show that keeps the characters in check and working within the confines of their storyworld and leaves all of the lame devises aside and tells us the best galatic adventures of all time. That is the Doctor Who that I know and love. It’s not the individual villians or even the actors that play the companions or the Doctor himself. It is the stories of a man who is usually outnumbered with no options or hope, but through his own creative genius saves the day with minimal violence while keeping a moral and ethical center. That did not happen last night. That Doctor Who was not on screen at all. The producers of the show are aware of the show’s power and magnitude. The audience is aware of its power and magnitude. So, in last night’s show the show itself was self aware of its power and magnitude. And that, more than anything else, for me, made it the worst episode ever filmed and released. A show should just tell us a story instead of standing on its own laurels. It should give us an adventure instead of patting itself on the back for being awesome. Because you know what’s awesome about that?
December 17, 2013
At any given time, on any given day, you can turn on the TV, flip through the channels at random, and you will find a paranormal or supernatural oriented show. The mysterious, the strange, the odd, the crazies, the undead, ghost hunters, psychics, restless spirits, witches, mad mediums, serial killers, and alien encounters have all become commonplace and normal. Normal…as in the basic stuff of everyday fare.
What used to get people burned alive at the stake, hung in the village square, drawn and quartered, imprisoned, beheaded, exorcised, or banished is now the rule of thumb. How ironic is that? How strange? What if our ancestors could have peered into the future and seen what the world became? Do you think they would have stopped killing the strange and familiar odd? Or, would they have worked double time, hoping to eradic all traces of the scourge?
On the one hand, it is good that people have become more accepting to a wider world view and are imbibing more and more fantasy and inexplicable adventures. But on the other, we have a long history of ignorance and bigotry, wholesale slaughter, and paranoia at what is now the everyday and there does not seem to be a reckoning, or social dialogue that is capable of connecting our social consciousness with our present reality. The global shift may have arrived, but are we any more awakened?
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June 24, 2013
Mary Shelley’s horrific tale is more apropos today than it has ever been. A tragedy depicting the causality of unbridled ambition, Frankenstein, has been, since its publication in 1818, synonymous with the evil that men wrought. But it is in its social contract, between monster and creator, where Shelley grabs new found strength in today’s society.
Since the 1764 Pontiac’s Rebellion School Massacre, where four Lenape American Indians shot and killed their school master and most of the student body, school shootings have continued to develop throughout the industrial rise of the United States. From varying reasons such as jilted love affairs to land disputes, arguments over discipline, gangs, quelling arsonist attacks, public displays of suicide, and even mental illness have all played parts. But the growing trend of abused students seeking hard retribution on their fellow students and teachers that has emerged from our illustrious history of violence draws directly from Mary Shelley’s harrowing tale.
In the book, the experiment, having been a success, sends the awakened cadaver stumbling through the laboratory in search of its creator, in search of its surroundings, in search of itself. Dr. Frankenstein exhausted to the point of ill health, and rife with feelings of failure, thinking that all his hard work was for naught, is awakened by the mute, innocent cadaver. The sight of the experiment leaning over him, beckoning him, fills Victor Frankenstein with such fear, dread, and shock that he spurns it and drives it from the lab into the cold harsh night. This initial abuse to the innocent mind of the monster-to-be is unfortunately the beginning of just how cruel and callous people in the world can be as the awakened cadaver struggles to find a place from himself and meaning to his life. Each instance that he is spurned by the townsfolk only deepens his rage and fuels his vengeful lust to make Victor pay for birthing him into a world of pain.
In each of these instances the awakened cadaver is the victim, we, the reader, feel for him and understand his plight. It is not until he kills William does he become The Monster, not until he takes it into his own hands that all is lost. Up until that moment, he is still the victim and can be saved. But the moment he squeezes the life out of poor, little William Frankenstein’s body the awakened cadaver is transformed from victim to victimizer. He has becomes like those that have tormented him. He has become The Monster! The only difference between him and his previous attackers is the amount of rage levied against his choice of victims. The Monster destroys everything in Victor’s life that Victor loves, tearing him down piece by piece in a most vicious and heartfelt way, and we, the reader, soon begin to feel for the earnest doctor, and his plight into madness at the instrument of his own doom.
Shelley crafts an intricate portrayal of how innocence turns to damnation. She outlines a classic construct of our modern dilemma, which is more evident than any place else in the horrifying news reports that ignite the nightly news after another abused teen takes a gun to school and goes on a rampage. Here, in these catastrophic stories is innocence and the hope that each child brings into the world twisted into perversion. The kids that commit these atrocities are not physically deformed like Shelley’s Monster, yet they are as monstrous in their vile acts of murder and revenge just like the stitched together corpse of Victor Frankenstein. Shelley’s base emotional mechanic is a work within the fabric of our society, weaving terrible causality in a bounty of flesh and unnecessary bloodshed because we have not learned, much like Victor, to embrace our creations.
School has become an obstacle course of social abuses. Hazing, peer pressure, standardize test strain, and social status and clicks have become the instruments of the experiment that modern education has become. The bloody lessons of Columbine, Westside Middle, Lindhurst, Red Lake, Virginia Tech, and so many others still clutter about our social-consciousness demanding answers that politicians, lawmakers, and educators have yet to be able to give. Perhaps through the thin lined pages of one of our most telling tales can we begin to glimpse the promise of tomorrows by simply learning how easily it is that we create our own monsters? Though, wouldn’t it be better to extract such vital data from our consummate literature and begin to unstitch the decay from our Frankenstein society? Could we not learn from the correlations herein so that others need not suffer? In other words, could we not travel to a place where there is no more killing and healing can begin?
In the book, Victor leads the monster on a chase to the North pole, and the final confrontation between creator and the creation unfolds. It is a lesson for the ship’s captian and his crew, but it is also where forgiveness blosoms. In this desolute and cold place, the clear, crystal vision of healing begins when The Monster learns just how frail and frightened his creator truly is. For him, the playing field is leveled, and his hurt is awashed in guilt and love lost. It is so much easier in lterature to conclude a story and provide morality and ethics. Life is hard and twisted by so much individual perception. But through that, could we not glimpse a hope that within the dynmic that we have created there is a solution? Not one of force or fear, but of emotional and spiritual growth by honestly confronting every aspect of ourselves and how we have acted in the limelight while foolishly playing God? Or, are we still too arrogant in the belief that the paragons of education that we’ve built are the nesting dolls of a rich and right society?
June 13, 2013
Kaye is a photographer and an English as a Second Language teacher. Her first book was a non-fiction title called, Travels with Ms Kaye: Book One , and is based on her first assignment in China. She is currently developing book two of her travel logs, which chronicles her excursions as an international teacher. The book is set to feature her own photos from her world-wind experiences. You can learn more about Kaye, here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile
Friend and business associate, Carol Anne Watts, has an exciting Kickstarter campaign for a short film called Eat and Run . Eat & Run is a short horror/thriller that tells the story of a young woman seeking companionship as her dangerously obsessed admirer finally decides to act on his desires. Its got a great paranormal twist and looks to be a wonderful production with the success of their Kickstarter campaign . So…drop by and give them all the support you can muster!
Escape Into a Book shines a spotlight on Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge today, offering an exciting review. So, check it out! Also, don’t miss what the dead girl, Jamie Lund, has to say for herself in her very first “exlusive” paranormal interview, available only at Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts & Reviews! And while you’re at it, make sure to visit Love Knows No Bounds for a continuing spotlight on Dead Girl, and drop by Fang-tastic Books to catch a visceral in-depth interview with author, artist, and fangsmith Stavros on the critically-acclaimed One Blood series and the annual anthology, Vampire News!
And don’t forget to sign up for the INCREDIBLE Bewitching Book Tour Grand Prize Give-a-Away at each of these wonderful cyber locations! You have to Enter to Win and time is ticking down!
Pick Up a Book Today for your summer fun exertion as Crazy Duck Press continues its first virtual book tour. To help celebrate the summer and we are offering a gaggle (that’s right, I said “gaggle”. I like the word) of coupon codes, which are available at each book’s Facebook page, as well as the Kaos Kustom Fangs Facebook page. Dead Girl on Facebook, Blood Junky on Facebook, Love in Vein on Facebook, Vampire News on Facebook, Kaos Kustom Fangs on Facebook
Check Out Kaye’s Book Trailer:
June 5, 2013
Well, once again summer washes upon our skins with cookouts, camping, trips to the beach, mosquitoes, blockbuster films, vacations, new loves, cool breezes, and sunny days. No matter what your summer kink may be, it is going to involve a book, or book related event, at some point and time. You are going to wander into a bookstore, or pull that dust-covered collectible off the pile you bought last year, or upload a library to your iPad – and I want to be a part of your summer reading experience.
I have fond memories of reading Remo Williams adventures, in The Destroyer Series, devouring each small novel as easily as popping candy one summer at Rehoboth beach. I also recall reading several Piers Anthony Xanth novels one summer while growing up in Calvert County, hanging out in the woods, relaxing by the creek that ran between my house and the cow pastures. Like these great memories filled with high adventure, fun, and magic, I am sure you have your own collection of recollections that you adore . And yes, I said the “M” word. Because reading is magical. Our imaginations are fueled by the luxury of words and the glint of summer sunshine. It is a wonderful thing. As a writer, I can not stress any other activity more necessary for our mental and spiritual health. It is as important as breathing. So, naturally, I want to be a part of your summer.
I have just completed a new edit on Blood Junky. This new spit-n-polish is for its debut as an eBook and its upcoming distribution through Ingram Sparks. As a way of saying thanks for all of the amazing and wonderful reviews and quotes that I have gotten over the past three years, I am giving away 14 copies of the First Print Editions of Blood Junky. Sign Up Today, as this book becomes a rare collectors’ item. Blood Junky has a special place in the bookshelf of my soul. It is my first novel, and the beginning of the One Blood series. So, I am stoked about this new edit.
Blood Junky has been called “one of the best vampire novels ever written.” So, when it came to being edited last year for its re-release, I was aware that I had “something” and that whatever “it” was had to be protected and preserved. So, this new edit was acute toward the book’s tone and voice, primarily focusing on getting rid of those pesky little grammatical misses that hide between the lines, plaguing almost every book. So…for all you eBook pioneers out there, the NEW digital edit of Blood Junky is available now for purchase and download at Crazy Duck Press for only $4.99. Amazon Kindle will be available within a week, and will be slightly higher in cost ($5.99) . Print copies of the new volume of Blood Junky will be available in July, through Ingram Sparks, as well as through our outlets at The Arti(s)fact Store, Alibris, or directly through CDP. So, get the print copy while you can. Because there is only one month left before it becomes rare and collectible.
So, spread the Vampire gospel… and pick up your copy at one of these amazing events happening throughout June. In the meantime, I’ll be reading new Crazy Duck Press author, Bob Kiser’s, Havoc: Infection. The first book of his upcoming Havoc Series – an awesome post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic – as we get it prepared for release later this year. See you along the road and on the cyber shelves!
2013 JUNE EVENTS & APPEARANCES
June 7 – 9 Appearing Live
June 10 Interview
Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews - Interview
Love Knows No Bounds - Spotlight & Review
June 12 Spotlight
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
June 13 Spotlight and Review
Escape Into A Book
June 15 – 16 Appearing Live
Knoxville Comics & Anime Show
June 19 Live Radio Interview
The Wacky World of Sal Lizard
9pm – 11pm EST
June 20 Interview
Coffee & a Book Anytime – Spotlight
The Zombie Survival Crew - Interview
Pembroke Sinclair – Interview
June 24 Spotlight
June 26 Spotlight and Review
Bewitching Book Tours Radio
12 midnight EST, Friday night CST11 pm,
MST 10pm, PST 9pm, Alaska time 8pm
Fae Books - Guest blog
June 29 Live Interview
Bewitching Book Tours Radio
12 midnight EST, Friday night CST 11 pm,
MST 10pm, PST 9pm, Alaska time 8pm