emerian rich

EmzChat with Mike Bennett

With a voice that can chill your bones and a personality that draws in his listeners, Mike Bennett is on his way to becoming the finest horror storyteller our generation has known. Mike has oodles of creepy short stories included in his podcast Hall of Mirrors and reads other classic horror tales on his podcast called Sometimes. Mike grew up as a Science Fiction fan in England. He currently resides in Ireland where he is a teacher, but when the lights go out – or sometimes even during daylight – Mike becomes the macabre voice behind the mic bringing us such gems as Hair and Skin and his newest vampire novel, Underwood and Flinch. I was fortunate to be able to ask Mike some questions recently about fandom, his life, and what scared him as a child. EM: What were you a fan of as a kid? MB: Spiderman, The New X-Men (well, they were 'new' then, now they're just The X-Men), Batman, James Herbert's Rats Trilogy, especially the last one, "Domain". I also loved Man from UNCLE paperbacks. I still have a complete set. Doctor Who (70s), Marine Boy, The Persuaders, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Starsky and Hutch.

EM: Who might you turn fanboy for today? MB: I met Tom (Dr. Who) Baker once. I nearly fainted. I was working in a bookshop and he came in to see if we were selling his book, The Boy Who Kicked Pigs. Fortunately, we had it in stock. I showed him around and got him to sign a copy.

EM: What was the first real life experience that freaked you the hell out? MB: Being relentlessly pursued - and finally bitten - by a horsefly.

EM: Which of your works is your favorite? MB: Underwood and Flinch.

EM: When you were researching for Underwood and Flinch, what kinds of tools did you use? MB: I lived in a small Andalucian town for six months. That gave me the insight into how a place like Almacena and its inhabitants worked. For vampire background, I watched all the Hammer Dracula movies (not exactly research, I know, but I enjoyed myself) and read Christopher Fraying's book, Vampyres: Lord Byron to Count Dracula. I also re-read Dracula.

EM: Is there any project that caused you more work than you were expecting? What would you do differently? MB: Underwood and Flinch is a write-to-podcast affair. I began podcasting it as soon as I'd completed a rough first draft. In hindsight, I'd prefer to have completely finished the book first and had an editor look it over and then I'd have implemented the edits and done another draft and so on and so on. But then again, the probability is, I wouldn't have done the whole editor thing and later re-writes. If I hadn't started podcasting it when I did, I mightn't have ever taken the project any further. I would have more likely started work on something else and come back to U&F later - maybe. Maybe not. I don't know.

EM: How did you get involved in The Parent Vac project and what possessed you to become a vacuum salesman and an undead dad on film? MB: My wife and I went down to Wexford to visit some friends, and someone said, 'Let's make a movie'. I was given the task of making up the story, so I looked around to see what props we had. We had a vacuum cleaner and a hat. I threw the story together and we improvised the lines over one or two takes.

EM: Where can readers find out more about you? MB: www.MikeBennettPodcast.Com or www.UnderwoodAndFlinch.Com

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UFO in China Airport

An unidentified flying object (UFO) forced Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou, China to cease operations on July 7.

This is an interesting looking video.  It's nice to have more context for the size with the inclusion of the buildings on the ground.  At first I thought the light could have been projected up onto the clouds but latter in the video it appears that the light is being projected down.

I think they said it best:

Truth be told, there's not much left to be said. Something weird happened. Nobody knows what it was. And if they do, they aren't saying.

Thanks very much to Emerian Rich for sharing this

(via ABC News)

Exploring: Twilight

Review

I finally rented Twilight.  It is a horrible move.  It can be summed up as awkward, boring, and the worst portrayal of vampires I have ever watched.

If only the project didn't take it's self seriously then Twilight might have made a mildly entertaining vampire spoof movie but unfortunately that was not the intent.

By Emerian Rich

  • Read Emerian Rich's full review here:
    • Sadly, seeing Twilight was NOT the thrill of a lifetime.  In fact, if I didn’t love the books so much, I doubt if I would have stayed.
    • The screen writing, or the way the high school students were directed (I can’t tell which) was very Disney sit-com style.  I can’t blame the whole cast for this, I just think the styling and direction were lacking somehow.  It was almost like they focused only on Bella and Edward and the rest of the cast was an afterthought.  Even the scenes where Bella wasn’t with Edward seemed phoned in.
    • Overall, this flick will be a must see for all teen girls in love with Edward.  It finally gives them a face to fall in love with.  As for fans not in love with Robert Pattinson, we’ll have to hope the wolves help pull the second film out of the High School Musical demographic.

The DVD is out March 17, 2009

More Twilight Fun

Early Look

Twilight will hit theaters Friday November 21, 2008 and unlike many out there I’m not eager to see it.

I started out with mixed emotions over this movie the initial trailer was not that exciting.  After watching the Twilight Final Trailer I got a little more excited about this project but mainly because of the vampire element in it.  After all I'm a sucker for vampires.  The official site looks nice and loads quickly for a movie site.

Then I learned about all of the emo mentality that infused the characters and their perspective and was totally turned off.  Sparkeling vampires in the light... wtf.

Twilight is based on the book Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1).  I tried to read the book and could not even make it past the beginning part it was horrible.  Not very promising for the movie.

This is not even a renter for me.

Let me know what you think.  Will you go to see Twilight in the theater or rent it?  If you have seen it in the theater should I go see it and why?

Twilight Final Trailer


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Baycon: The Bay Area Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention

I will be at Baycon 2010, handing out freebies, speaking on panels and generally having a good time. Please come join me! If you see me, don't be afraid to approach for goodies!  Let me know you were referred by dashpunk.com to get an extra goodie!

The Bay Area Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention May 28-31, 2010 The Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA

Guests of Honor

Writer: Peter S. Beagle Fan: Colleen and Steve Savitzky Toastmaster: Tadao Tomomatsu Artist: Lee Moyer Special Guests: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

Manga Review: Muhyo and Roji’s BSI by Yoshiyuki Nishi

Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation

The BSI is an agency consisting of two boys named Muhyo and Roji who at first I found childish and annoying, but they grew on me. Made for the pre-teen shonen-jump market, this manga has it’s scary moments. The boys battle all sorts of creatures from the underworld. There are monsters that look like langoliers, a scary chair that eats your shirt - and then you, and some ghosts that look like giant sorting hats from Harry Potter.

Muhyo and Roji help a host of ghost or demon afflicted clients. If you can get past Muhyo’s pint-sized Napoleon complex, you will enjoy it. Armed with his official magic book of law, Muhyo casts beings into the underworld by yelling out a law such as:

“The laws of magic, article 741- For the crime of unlawful object parasitization, I sentence you to the Night Train.”

After which a whole bunch of chugga, chugga zap happens and the ghosty with the mosty gets sucked into the Night Train to hell.

I was more impressed with volume two where they travel to the school of magic to try to see if Muhyo’s assistant can pass the magic law test. Once there, they find the school is taken over by evil and some of the people are infected. The infection makes mouths break out all over their bodies. The artwork of the mouths all over their bodies is done really well. The fact that it starts infecting everyone there, including the main characters makes it an exciting read.

Something annoying to me was the unusual break in words. I know sometimes when the words are translated, the boxes are not sufficient and for this reason they may have to break words unnaturally, but in this case there seemed to be enough room. Words like should-ers, na-gano, prefec-ture were confusing and made me pause in the story to figure them out.

Overall, this is an interesting series and might perhaps be a little scarier for the pre-teens than I found it. Good news is, if you enjoy this series, there are 17 volumes to gobble up with one more to come in August 2010.

Get your copy here from amazon: Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation

Emerald Fest - Meet Emerian Rich

Emerian Rich will be signing books and selling art prints

10a-12:30pm Saturday, May 15th, 2010 At the 8th Annual Emerald Fest Community Benefit Gala

10:00am- 5:00pm at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center 611 Village Dr., Suisun City, CA

Exciting outing for the whole family! Vendors, poets, authors, dancers, singers, and other performers!

Admission: A donation of a canned food, new clothing (especially bras), or toiletries and/ or $5.00. Proceeds will go to Feed the Children and the local homeless Mission Outreach.

Tour Of San Francisco Holiday Windows

P1010153It’s that time again! Time for my annual tour of the San Francisco shop windows.This year we have much more in store for us than empty windows with boring, unemotional, uncreative, nothing. Most of the stores actually seemed to put some thought into it this year.

Top Pick

Anthropologie who used recyclables to create their winter scene.

They created two large animals using plastics that we all either used or thrown away in our daily lives.  I believe these bears are made from the leftovers of plastic bag packs used in stores.

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You can also see box straps, soda can holders, and other plastic trash hanging from the ceiling to simulate snow. Great job guys! Not only is your window expressing your interest in the environment, but it’s creative and innovative.

Second Pick P1010193

Tiffany’s

After years of same old same old windows at this monster retailer, we finally get something interesting to look at.

These intricate paper works are so different from their previous windows and beautiful to look at. Whether it’s because of cutting costs, going green, or an new visual manager, I applaud this change and hope it continues in the future.

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Other Notable Decorations

Barney’s on the left and Nordstrom’s on the right.

barneystree

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Barney’s tree (which was so big, I couldn’t get it in one shot thus the two-shot collage) sits in the lobby of Barneys. It is made of what appears to be cardboard and other toss-ables arranged in a very interesting way. They have some other visual elements on their walls in several different vignettes.

Nordstrom’s windows are rather pretty this year showing a pretty winter scene.

P1010205Don’t miss The Sugar Castle displayed in the lobby of St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. They also have an awesome Sci-Fi like tree. You have to see the laser lights on the tree.

Unfortunately, Saks disappointed us again with no drama, music, or imagination that we’ve been used to in the past. I have no idea why they discontinued this special holiday event, but it does a big disservice to the community.

Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised with the windows this year. Thank you to all the creators and imaginative persons involved. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next year. Do you have a store in the San Francisco Bay Area that is dressed to the nines? Contact me and I'd be happy to drop by.

SPCA Holiday Windows

How can you say no to these faces?

P1010181 SPCA volunteers Abby, Karson, Julia, and Cameron (not pictured) want you to donate to help animals this holiday season.

P1010173Every year, Macy’s San Francisco gives precious retail advertising space to the orphan animals of the SPCA. Not only do they ask passersby to donate for these poor little guys, they can actually adopt a pet right on the spot! Every animal has been medically screened, vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered. Each animal will come with a 30-day medical assistance plan at the SF/SPCA infirmary, plus a gift bag filled with samples, treats and valuable certificates from sponsor partners of The SF/SPCA and Macy's.

The window theme this year goes along with Macy’s “Believe” campaign. With the main window showing our favorite guy in red, the other pet windows show letters from children and pets to Santa. These pictures allow you to see some of the cute pets napping their day away in the cozy surroundings as passersby admire their holiday home. Shoppers in the Bay Area can check out the windows from now until January 3rd, 2010.

P1010172At www.sfspca.org, you can watch the animal webcam and donate from your pc.  If monetary support is not your cup of tea, they are also asking for volunteers to assist in the event’s success like the girls above .

Macy’s has been a holiday staple in San Francisco’s season for what seems like forever. The buildings spanning two city blocks on Union Square have long been the hub of December activity. Although the SPCA windows seem to be their main focus, their other displays do not disappoint.

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Manga Review: Rozen Maiden by Peach-Pit

rozen2 Calling all goth-loli girls and Alice enthusiasts! Rozen Maiden is going to make you want to buy every single one of these volumes.

A boy named Jun, who has decided to no longer attend school, becomes addicted to mail ordering. He accidentally orders a doll who takes over his life. The doll then involves him in a game with her other doll sisters where the playfulness can lead to injury, missed bedtimes, and death.

In the first volume, the package arrives and the doll, Shinku, awakes. She starts ordering Jun around and commands that he swear to protect her. When he refuses, Shinku sends a butcher knife wielding, foaming-at-the-mouth teddy bear after him. Jun reluctantly agrees to her demands and she brings all of his action figures to life to kill the teddy bear. This opening scene tells you, you aren't reading any old manga... this one is going to be good!

Just when Jun gets used to having the irritating doll around, others start showing up. Jun’s sister, Nori, is no help as she adores the dolls and makes them all the little sweets and tea they want.

Even though they do tackle deeper issues such as depression and human frailty, there remains an element of little girl silliness to the story line. In volume three, a standoff ensues between the youngest doll and the other dolls. Their threat is cutting her off from the sweets!

“Listen up. We’ve secured the kitchen and fridge. If you ever want sweets again, you will give yourself up!”

This manga is more than a chaotic romp in a doll’s fantasy “Alice” game. It is a comment on teens who sequester themselves away from others in hopes to hide from ridicule from mean classmates. The message in these volumes is that if you go too far, your spirit and all your talents that make you special will be lost. While the authors seem to agree that there are some social situations that make us all want to cower in the attic, they also show us that we can’t let those haters keep our creative spirit down.

For you horror lolita’s, there are several freaky aspects I think you’ll enjoy. The first being Suihuintoh, the spooky doll sister who has black wings and tries to destroy the other dolls by terrorizing them in a mirror world called LaPlace.  In LaPlace resides a freaky rabbit in a tux and top hat. He is what they call the Demon of LaPlace and seems to be there more to confuse them than attack them.

Although Jun thinks the dolls have ruined his life, they really save it by making him face his fears and come out of hibernation. By the end of volume three, the story has changed to a serious nature when Suihuintoh kills one doll and takes a part of Shinku.  Jun risks his life to retrieve the part of Shinku and in the process learns more about his depression.

By the end of volume four, the creator has added another doll for comic relief. She speaks to a kitty cat about how she is going to infiltrate the house and begin killing dolls. It’s a throw back for me to those comics of Snoopy when he pretended to be in combat and snuck through the bushes to the enemy camp.  I think perhaps she was brought in for volume five in which Jun goes into a massive depression and the book is rather dismal if you don’t count the breaks they take to bring in the silly doll on a quest.

Spookiness (and Jun) return in volume six when an new doll is discovered. She has to be the scariest doll yet, wearing all white with a rose and thorny vines growing out of her right eye.

Over all this manga is very entertaining, but perhaps has a more dismal storyline than others I’ve read. The ups and downs in this plot might make you more emotional that you would think. The art is detailed and beautiful. As for extras, there aren't many.  Volume three has a few interesting collaboration comics with the mangas Zombie Loan and DearS. Volume four contains a cute comic on how the manga is made.

If you'd like to check these manga's out, they are available at: Amazon.com

Book Review: Ballad of a Shinigami by K-She Hasegawa

balladCome with me into a tale about Momo, the girl god of death. She is a shinigami who wears all white and has a demon servant cat named Daniel. Daniel has bat wings and wears a bell on his collar that rings every time they approach one of their unfortunates. There are several mini stories in this book about people who are dying or will die. The subject matter is deep, but handled from a teenage or child point of view which I think is pretty unique. It might even be a good gift for a preteen who has recently experienced the death of a close friend. It may help them deal with the incident. For the horror seekers out there, this doesn’t have much to offer you. The scariest part happens in the last thirty pages of the book, centering around Momo facing off against another shinigami in true grim reaper form. Ballad of a Shinigami is the first manga turned novel I have ever read. It was an experience I might try again, but not one I would suggest for the everyday novel reader. The stories in the book were meaningful and ended well. The size and weight makes it ideal for carrying with you on a trip or lugging around town as it can easily fit in a pocket. It is rated older teen 16+, though I’m not sure why unless it’s simply the subject of death.

The main problem novel readers will have is that this book reads very choppy. I couldn’t tell if it was because it is translated directly from Japanese or if it is because they tried to stick to the manga style?

[reus name="Ballad of a Shinigami iFrame"]An example of this is from page 24.

“She could only stare at it. She could do nothing. She hardly even breathed. She felt pain in her chest. Her heart hurt.”

It’s almost as if they are using one sentence to describe each from of the manga.

Other breaks from the story are passages like,

“…..” Clank. Boom. “……?!”

In a world of other more eloquently crafted novels, I don’t think the general American novel reading public would give this book a chance. However, if you are a manga lover and trying to get into novels, or a manga reader that can overlook the choppiness, you should give it a try.

I was mildly irritated by the cat talking, but at least he kind of had some interesting things to say and I have to admit I laughed at the revelation that he does all the paperwork for Momo. I can just see a little disgruntled kitty typing on the computer and filling out forms. Makes me laugh and then shake my head.

For those of you who like talking animals, here’s another one for your list.

If you're interested in checking it out get your copy here from Amazon.

Night's Knights in PRINT!

144x212NKThat’s right, the vampires you know and love are now in a non-electronic, easy to carry, can be read in the doctor’s office, hurled at villains, and possibly might save the world… PRINT VERSION! [reus id="51"]If you happen to be in Northern California, Emerian’s release party will be held at Bay Books in Concord. Bay Books is one of the last independently owned bookstores with a large stock of new and used books. Come on over on October 30th to meet Emerian, trick or treat, and get a lot of free goodies including a companion book with artist sketches, floor plans, insider information, and fan works.

If you can’t make it to the signing, support Emerian when you buy Night's Knights: A Vampire Tale from Amazon here. Let’s show those publishers what vampire enthusiasts REALLY want.

For more information, visit http://www.emzbox.com

How To Choose A Manga

There are so many manga out, you may be asking, “How can I choose the manga that is right for me?” First you need to know what part of the manga you enjoy most. Do you love goth-loli art? A good story? Something with horror in it? It’s rare to find all these things in one manga series. Believe me, I’ve tried!

Some of you may rely on reviews such as this one to lead your way, but for those of you who are trying to create your own manga hunting style, here are some tips.

Know what you like

I look for good art first, story second.

Seems kind of weird for someone to say that about a book, but  unlike fiction books, mangas need to capture your eyes as well as your mind.

Good manga authors are a skilled, rare breed that can somehow create a tale and put it down in art in such a delicate fashion, you hardly realize you are reading what is basically a cartoon.  What good is a tale in a manga book without interesting art? They might as well have written a novel, let the publisher worry about the cover art, and stick to word writin’!

Know what you don't like

I am emphatically against talking animals in manga. I hate them. Bats and spiders are sometimes ok, but bunnies and doggies and 300-year-old kitties reincarnated from a once great vampire god? Don’t get me started! However, my best friend adores animals talking and absolutely loves the manga (that shall remain nameless) with the vampire kitty. My point?

Know your tastes and just because your best friend urges you to buy her favorite manga because it has vampires in it, don’t automatically assume you will in enjoy it.  There may be a wisecrackin' bunny hidden in the pages, and we all know what that leads to!

Hone your skills

Here are some tips on how to narrow the competition down.

  1. Go to a store with a large manga selection.  This shouldn’t be too hard as it seems manga is the only hot selling item in bookstores these days.
  2. Stand back from the manga shelves and scan.  If any cover draws your notice from a few yards back, it’s worth a look.
  3. Check out the front cover in full. Are you a chibi lover, or do you enjoy killer cyborgs with little chibi interference? Make sure the cover speaks to your taste. If you see one character you don’t like, put it in the maybe pile. There is a good chance that character is going to be throughout the book and will irritate you every time you turn the page and see them.
  4. Once you have narrowed down a few of the great covers, glance over the description on the back. Don’t put too much stock in the description because they don’t usually relate very closely to the tale. I’ve found that often manga covers seem to be written about the whole series and not about the one volume you are purchasing. As long as there are no talking vampire kitties, you are safe to go on.
  5. Flip through the book and check out the art. Is the detail inside as good as the cover art? Is it appealing to you? Is the printing bad, or is it crisp and clean? Do you stop every so often to let a “wow” or a “ooooohhhh” slip from your lips? If you realize it’s a steampunk fantasy once you get inside and you don’t like that sort of tale, please don’t buy it just because you like the cover. You will be disappointed.
  6. Finally, the tale. Read at least the first four pages to make sure you like the story. Does the character cuss like a twelve-year-old boy trying to show off to his mates? Does the dialog not flow? Is there some sort of back story you just don’t like? Don’t buy it. It will not get better. Unfortunately, in some stores (especially in Japantown) they seal the books. In this case, you either take your chances, or get smart and browse them online first. Sites like Amazon and Toykopop allow you to read the first couple of pages before you buy.

I tell you all these things because, like you, I once was a manga investigator trainee. I still get caught buying a stinker once in awhile. It’s all about:

  • Knowing what you want
  • Believing in your first instinct and
  • Sticking to it, no matter how much the commerce bug has got you itching!

For those of you who still can’t decide, I’ve made a list of my top five series. Check out the reviews, see if you might like them, and then put on your manga p.i. hat and get shopping!

  1. God Child by Kaori Yuki
  2. The Tarot Café by Sang Sung Park
  3. Princess Ai by Courtney Love and DJ Milky
  4. Death Note by Tsugumi Oba
  5. Millennium Snow by Bisco Hatori

Meet Author Emerian Rich

Night's Knights Book Release Party

AuthorPicFriday, October 30th 7:00 p.m. Bay Books Concord

  • Dress as your favorite vampire.
  • Meet author and hostess of HorrorAddicts.net, Emerian Rich.
  • Enjoy vampire-inspired snacks.
  • Hear a live reading.
  • Trick or Treat.
  • Be one of the first 24 people to buy her book and get free dogtags to commemorate the event.
  • With your Night’s Knights purchase, receive a free companion booklet with author notes, sketches, and fan works.

http://www.baybooks.us

Bay Books Concord 1669 Willow Pass Road Concord, CA 94520

(925) 671-2245

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Review: Crescent Moon by Haruko Iida

cmCrescent Moon is a manga began in 2000 with the name, Mikan no Tsuki (An Incomplete Moon). Plot: A young girl is a good luck charm to all those around her, but she herself is the most unlucky person alive. A group from the lunar race ask for her help to find a power source called Teardrops of the Moon that has been stolen from them. The lunar race representatives are a vampire, a werewolf, a kitsune (fox), and a tengu (heavenly dog). The girl enrages the tengu at every turn and though he hates her, you get the feeling they will fall in love.

Likes:

  • Beautiful underwater art.
  • Filled with poetry.
  • They study a cool book, which shows research pages from an ancient text.

Dislikes:

  • The beginning is confusing. The author used a character entrance format that was hard to understand.
  • I didn’t know what was going on until half way through the book.
  • Sometimes the characters had freaky long limbs that did not have anything to do with the supernatural, it was how they were drawn.

Where to get it: You can buy Crescent Moon Vol. 1 at Amazon.com.

Upcoming: There are 6 volumes in the series, but it did not interest me enough to continue. This was not a bad manga, just not my cup of tea. You can find out all about this manga at the Tokyopop Cresent Moon page.

Gothic Sports by Anike Hage

250px-Gothic_SportsDon’t get too excited. This manga is not filled with cool new athletic-like activities that goths around the country will start signing up for during their next school semester. No, this manga just happens to have one goth-lolita in it that decides to join a soccer team and make all their outfits. For those of you who are into sports, especially soccer, you will enjoy this book. For the rest of us looking for goth, horror, high school tales, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

The Vampire Diaries Television Show

Most of us pre-Twilight YA vampire fans were in love with L.J. Smith's vampires before we even knew who the heck Stephanie Meyer was. The Vampire Diaries are written better than the Twilight series and will appeal to a larger audience. I am not sure the romantic pull in the novels is as great as the Twilight series and therefore may not infect teen girls with “Sparkle Fever” as Twilight did. With the emergence of vampire fandom with shows like Moonlight, Blood Ties, and True Blood, I think this series will be given more than a fair chance at winning over teenage hearts all over the world.

The books themselves are well written with intricate plot twists and a yummy lead man who has to fight his very own vampire brother (instead of a hottie werewolf) for the love of the lead girl. This lead man is a more sympathetic character who does not attempt to control the girl as Twilight’s hero does. The stories are similar, but by no means the same. Vampire Diaries has cool horror elements like haunted woods and ghost-filled crypts.

The real question is: Can The CW accomplish what the Disney-like production of Twilight did not, which is produce a show for all of us real YA horror fans?

Per Wikipedia, the show is scheduled to premiere on The CW on Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 8 p.m., filling the network's previous Smallville slot, and on CTV at 7 p.m.  The show will premiere in early 2010 on ITV2 in the UK. It will be paired with Supernatural as part of a horror-themed night. In Italy, it will premiere on Mediaset Premium in early 2010.

It does make me a little nervous when they start taking a short book series and try to make it into several seasons of television. Are we looking at the production value of Sweet Valley High and the Clueless TV series? Or is this going to be up to caliber? In my opinion, the biggest mistake film and TV producers make is talking down to their fans or "dumbing-down" excellent literature to fit into what they think YA fans want to see. Not all teens want to watch TV filtered through High School Musical lenses!  I for one hope The CW know that.

Here is a little info from Wikipedia about the changes to the plot:

  • CHANGES FROM THE BOOK SERIES The television series has changed many things in adapting the novels to screen. Some minor changes include characters' last names being changed and their relationships to each other somewhat altered. Some major changes include renaming the town the story is set in to Mystic Falls from Fell's Church, as producers were unable to get legal clearance for the name. Also, Jeremy Gilbert, Elena's younger brother, is not a character in the novels (Elena instead has a little sister named Margaret). Similarly, the character of Jenna Moyer, Elena's aunt, was originally named Judith Gilbert in the novels. Both Damon's and Stefan's backstories have also been changed. Instead of hailing from Renaissance Italy, Stefan and Damon appear to be from Civil War-era Mystic Falls. Another addition is Zach, Stefan and Damon's human relative, as this character never appeared in the novels. Also, in the novels, Elena is described as a blonde, blue-eyed, "ice princess", whereas in the show she is a brown-eyed brunette. In the books, Caroline is also depicted as an "Egyptian Princess", where in the show she has blonde hair and blue eyes.[6] Also, in this version of the story Elena's friend Bonnie is descended from the witches of Salem. Elena's other best friend Meredith from the novel is not in the TV series. However, it has been hinted that she will eventually appear.[7]

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A First Look At Night's Knights by Emerian Rich

knight's-knight-cover

I love getting things like this in the mail!  This is my 1st proof of my print novel Night's Knights.

There are some adjustments I will be making, but for the most part I am thrilled beyond all common uses of the word. All the fonts and pictures I used came out beautifully.  I really like the size and weight of the finished product and although I wanted to keep the price under ten dollars, the fact that it will be $13.00 does not bother me after seeing it.

It is quality paperback which major booksellers charge $15-$20 for and I am confident the finished product will be something vampire fans across the globe will have a hard time passing by.

One bit of news I have is, although the cover was locked in, I suddenly met someone who has the most beautiful picture that I would like to use for the cover. We are in talks about the details, but when I know for sure, I will give you links to her portfolio. Excellent stuff.  I am so excited to have met her and to have seen her artwork just in time.

1stproof

Gunslinger Girl by Yu Aida

Gunslinger_Girl_Volume_OneIf Jack from 24 had a cyborg decoy assistant, Gunslinger Girl would be it. Looking for some high-action fun? You will love this manga. Although there is no horror or fantasy in this book, it is enjoyable. What’s cuter than a little girl in a school uniform sporting an uzi and shooting up terrorists? Maybe that same little girl collecting teddy bears and attempting to play the violin.

This manga raises an ethical question. The premise is that the social welfare agency has rounded up all the physically challenged girls and modified them into cyborg assassins. On the one side, these once disabled kids now have full happy lives where they can walk, go to school, and play with teddy bears. However, the government sees them as cybernetic toys -mechanical- and completely disposable. The kicker is that they also use some sort of drug to “condition” the girls to obey their handlers and risk their lives for them.

What would you do? If you could make a disabled girl walk again, but the trade up was to have them lose part of themselves mentally, would you do it? What if that girl could help track down terrorists and aid homeland security? How high of a price are you willing to put on our safety? If the quality of life is increased, must the life-expectancy be decreased?

All these questions and more will go through your head as you read this. You will also find out what happens when one of the girls starts falling for her handler.

The art in this manga is well done and has a sort of police show feel. There is one glossy color page in the front and no extras in the back.

Get your copy here from amazon:  Gunslinger Girl

Rosario + Vampire by Akihisa Ikeda

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Poor Tsuknune. He’s a C student whose sent off to a monster school in the boondocks by his ignorant parents.

Rosario+Vampire starts out great, with a spooky bus ride complete with freaky bus driver spouting out inside jokes and warnings. Tsukune is let off in a desolate area where the leave-less trees are full of crows. As he follows the bone lined path towards the spooky looking haunted castle, a girl on a bike slams into him. Moka is a vampire girl who happens to feed on him five minutes after they meet. Once Tsukune makes it to school grounds, he learns Moka is not the only vampire.

Yokai academy is a school for monsters, but there’s not a goth in sight. These monsters are all pretty preps with hidden powers and vicious tempers. Tsukune must hide the fact that he is a mortal if he wants to stay alive.230px-Cover_of_Rosario1

There are werewolves, succubus, and different types of vampires in this tale, but the most terrifying monsters at the school are the mermaids. Yes, you heard me right. Normally beautiful buxom blonds and redheads with alluring eyes and undeniable beauty, the mermaids in this manga are devils in disguise. The seemingly innocent girls sprout fins from their ears and their months expand to cover almost their entire face with two rows of shark teeth intent on sucking the life force from whatever they latch onto in the water.

Vampire lore in this manga states that water (even swimming pool water) makes vampires weak because of its purifying quality. To take a bath, vampires must add an herb mix to neutralize the purifying effects. The vampire Moka also wears a “Rosario” necklace which when removed, unlocks her vampire powers and she turns into a mega hot super bitch.

Favorite moments:

  • Tsukune: “Where did you get this (school) flyer?” Mom: “Well, there was this scary looking monk and…” Tsukune: “I don’t want to go to some bizarre monk school!” (But a school with hot vamp girls is alright?)
  • A kid in class pipes up and asks his cat woman teacher a smart alack question. She in turn, scratches his eyes out, giggles, and then continues with her class.

True horror fans will adore this manga for its artistic detail in the haunted house-like school, raven filled trees, and elaborate monsters. There is an awful lot of chibi content. Luckily most of it makes you laugh, not groan. Rosario + Vampire is rated older teen, I suppose because of its panty shots and big chests rather than for violence.

Get your copy from Amazon here:  Rosario+Vampire