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Monday, March 9, 2015

Free Art For Profit

Vincent Van Gogh: Starving Artist
On a seemingly innocuous Website called resides an ad titled, Artist Needed for Graphic Novel, asking for an illustrator to help develop a 90-page graphic novel for free. The average illustrator can produce one to two comic pages per day, so at minimum, this is a 45-day, full-time commitment. To non-creative types, this internship looks innocent enough--the ground floor of something potentially career enhancing. But those in the creative fields know better, and ads like this in American business are a dime a dozen. 

To paraphrase my old friend Kevin, a working illustrator with a family: "It's infuriating enough that this guy is asking to get a 90-page graphic novel developed and drawn and is calling it an 'internship'--but the real jewel comes near the end of the pitch, when he casually drops the suggestion that the book will get shown to a *gasp* Hollywood producer, but fails to stipulate whether the artist will have any profit participation in a film deal, which of course guarantees none."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy Pages: Annual #4

In 1994, I was a freelance artist working mostly for Marvel Comics.  Craig Anderson hired me to draw six pages in the Guardians of The Galaxy Annual that year. To be honest, until the movie came out this summer, I had completely forgotten I had drawn for Guardians of The Galaxy. When the trailer started appearing in theaters earlier this spring, I kept thinking, "Gee, that title sounds awfully familiar."

Fortunately, I kept all my artwork from that era. I still have three of the six original pages (we split them with the inkers; in this case my friend Rodney Ramos). More importantly, I found xeroxes of my breakdowns.

I'll always be grateful to Craig Anderson and Lynaire Brust for thinking of me whenever there was work to be assigned as well as many other great editors (like Terry Kavanaugh, Don Daley, Renee Witterstaeter, and Mike Lackey) who I still consider friends to this day. The pages are presented in chronological order below with the breakdowns to the right of the published versions.

Friday, July 25, 2014

High Praise for Awakenings and The Lost Prince

Most of the great quotes and good reviews for my books won't fit in a twitter feed, so I put them here.

Library Journal (2011; Awakenings)

"Combines crossover fantasy in the style of Charles de Lint and Mercedes Lackey with urban fantasy reminiscent of Jim Butcher in a hard-knocks action tale."

Library Journal (August 2013; The Lost Prince)
“This blend of urban and cross-world fantasy combines the excitement of the Harry Potter series with the dark grittiness of the Dresden Files books and should appeal to mature young adults as well as to adult lovers of the genre.” 

Publishers Weekly (2011; Awakenings)
"This solid debut will appeal to fantasy fans looking for familiar bones under a modern skin." 

Ben Bova 
"AWAKENINGS is a weird, wild adventure that heralds the arrival of a new voice in the field of science fantasy. Edward Lazellari is a talent to watch with high expectations." 

Glen Cook 
"Lazellari's debut fantasy foretells a promising career. Read Awakenings and get in on the ground floor with a great new writer." 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Date

Playboy College Fiction Contest Winner 1999

The Date

Edward Lazellari

In 1999, I was a senior majoring in English literature at Rutgers University, with a concentration in creative writing. The Date was my second submission to Playboy; I had tried the previous year with a story about a NASA shuttle mission and astronauts getting it on in zero gravity. (It was not as good.) Somehow, under the onslaught of plodding through melancholy emo stories of student life generated by my classmates, I managed to find my way to this dark comedy. The inspiration was a Dateline NBC story about conjoined 10-year-old twins living in the Midwest, and thriving despite their condition. I was a big fan of the girls, cheering them on for making lemonade out of life's lemons. I remember being grateful that my problems did not come that big and that I should be more of a doer and less of a complainer.  I also remember thinking, "things would get a lot harder once those girls hit puberty, though." Duh! And of course, it clicked. I hit the computer like a force of nature for the next three days--and here we are.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Big Numbers And Easy Steps: Buying Granny A Cell Phone

Don't consign Granny to telegrams. Buy her a cell phone.
If your 84-year old mother is anything like mine, then she's not texting a whole lot. She's probably not surfing the Web, playing video games, tweeting, or updating her Facebook page either. So why does she need a smart phone or an expensive plan that locks her in until she's 87? Fact is, she doesn't. However, we need our senior loved ones to be able to reach us, especially in times of emergency. Some form of mobile communication is a must, and it's often the children that pay for it.

In researching this subject, I was not surprised to find that modern phones confuse the elderly. After all, this is the generation that could not figure out how to program their VCRs when they were still in their 40s. What an Octogenarian needs in a mobile device is simplicity, large numbers, and good volume. They need a Contacts menu with few steps; two clicks away from the loved one they want to reach.  And, they don't need a plan at all because they still use their house phones for everything (i.e. they need a prepaid plan).

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Ogre Hunt (A Tale of Aandor)

I wrote The Ogre Hunt between Awakenings and The Lost Prince. Although it features a character from my novels, which are adult urban fantasy, this one beckoned to be a young adult (YA) story. The illustration is an oldie from 1995, when I still made a living as an artist for Marvel. I only had an inkling of my fantasy series at the time and was still fleshing out the back story.  (Lelani in The Ogre Hunt is much younger than she appears in this illustration and has a full head of hair instead of a Mohawk.) I had fun writing this short and present it here for old fans and new. A PDF version is also available by clicking on this Link.


Everything was black.

The ogre had taken them all in seconds. It was implausibly swift for such a large, brutish creature—twenty-five feet tall, with the rancid odor of a garbage pit. So this is death, thought Lelani. Her cheek stung fiercely but she couldn't move, as though she were made of lead. She had always imagined death to be more comfortable then this. A tiny hand slapped her face—again.

"Wake up!" came a tense whisper.

That high, squeaky voice did not belong to any centaur. Lelani opened her eyes just as her diminutive friend Mytah was about to administer another smack of impromptu medicine. For an unabashed pacifist, Mytah packed a good wallop. She wore her hair in a pixie cut with matching big brown eyes. Her short-sleeved forest-green smock denoted the Fhlee preference for forest colors and materials, as did her hemp-rope belt and sandals woven from leaves of the water lotus. Her eyes were red and puffy, the tracks of her tears clearly marked upon her cheek.

"Thank the gods...I thought you..."

"What happened?" asked Lelani.

"It carried them off!" Mytah whispered.

"But not me?" Lelani asked.

"Don't you remember?"

Lelani could not remember—recent events were hazy. She recalled the previous two days quite clearly, however—the moment everything started to go wrong—the moment Kreeg ruined her first hunt.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Goodreads Giveaway Of Awakenings And The Lost Prince

In association with, I am giving away signed copies of the first two novels in my Guardians of Aandor series from Tor Books.

To win a paperback copy of Book 1, Awakenings click here
To win a hardcover copy of book 2, The Lost Prince, click here.
The signing period ends Dec. 18, 2014, so don't wait!

“Combines crossover fantasy in the style of Charles de Lint and Mercedes Lackey with urban fantasy reminiscent of Jim Butcher in a hard knocks action tale.”—Library Journal on Awakenings

Cal MacDonnell is a happily married New York City cop with a loving family. Seth Raincrest is a washed-up photographer who has alienated even his closest friends. The two have nothing in common—except that they both suffer from retrograde amnesia. It’s as if they just appeared out of thin air thirteen years ago, and nothing has been able to restore their memories. Now their forgotten past has caught up to them with a vengeance.

The Lost Prince
In Lazellari’s debut fantasy, Awakenings, New York City cop Cal MacDonnell and photographer Seth Raincrest found themselves stalked by otherworldly beings intent on killing them. The two had to accept the aid of a mysterious woman to unlock their hidden pasts, and what they discovered changed their lives.
Everything they knew about their lives was an illusion. They had in fact travelled to our dimension from the medieval reality of Aandor to hide their infant prince from assassins, but upon arriving, a freak mishap wiped their memories. Cal, Seth, and the rest of their party were incapacitated, and the infant prince was lost.
Thirteen years later, that prince, Daniel Hauer, is unaware of his origins--or that he has become the prize in a race between two powerful opposing factions. Cal and Seth’s group want to keep Daniel safe. The other wants Daniel dead—by any means necessary.
From the streets of New York City to the back roads of rural North Carolina, the search for the prince sets powerful forces against each other in a do-or-die battle for the rule of the kingdom of Aandor.
Against a backdrop of murder, magic, and mayhem on the streets of New York City, victory goes to the swiftest and the truest of hearts.

For those who do not win, you may also find the books anywhere novels are sold.

Awakenings Amazon
Awakenings Barnes & Noble
Awakenings KOBO

The Lost Prince Amazon
The Lost Prince Barnes & Noble
The Lost Prince KOBO

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Paths Not Taken: A Fan Fiction Star Trek Short

Ten years ago, I wrote a Star Trek short story in the hopes of being published in Pocket Books' Strange New Worlds, an anthology series featuring the best of submitted fan fiction. The story was never selected. (Maybe because I was already a published author with stories in Playboy and Marvel Comics, but I'll never really know for sure ;-)) Nevertheless, I'm really proud of the piece and have dusted it off and revised it, and am offering it as a Christmas (or Hanukkah) gift to my fans.The story takes place shortly after the third Next Gen movie, Insurrection. (For a downloadable Pdf version, click link at end of story.)

Star Date 51500.0

Jean-Luc Picard glared at the glass plaque on his ready room desk as though it carried a deadly disease. The gold inscription read: For service, above and beyond the call of duty in upholding the Prime Directive. The irony was not lost on him; Jean-Luc had earned it for an act of mutiny, defending the Ba'ku race from the schemes of an overzealous Starfleet Admiral named Dougherty. He had hoped his insurrection would trigger a dialogue over slack Federation ethics, but the discourse never materialized, and the matter had been neatly swept under the rug. Dougherty had friends in high places, it would seem, and perhaps a few silent collaborators as well. Why else would the fleet's flagship be on a "cooling off" mission cataloguing gas densities in the Mutara Nebula. Picard wanted to hurl the glass block and its polished marble base right into space.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Lost Prince Brings Home The Dessert

 “This blend of urban and cross-world fantasy combines the excitement of the Harry Potter series with the dark grittiness of the Dresden Files books and should appeal to mature young adults as well as to adult lovers of the genre.”--Library Journal (The Lost Prince)

The Lost Prince (book 2 of the Guardians of Aandor series) made its debut on August 20th, and the reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive. I want to point out one important change I've made regarding the ending of this book compared with its predecessor; although Awakenings also received much praise, many reviewers (and readers) were put out by the cliffhanger ending, and didn't realize they were starting a series. I'd actually read reviews where readers admitted I'd lost a star on their rating for this very reason. With book 2, I decided to go with a more definitive ending. What does this mean exactly? It's the difference between the ending of a Harry Potter book, where that book's story is relatively wrapped up, and that in A Game of Thrones book, when the story stops just as a protagonist dies, his family is scattered to the winds, and the bad guys are victorious. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

In truth, the ending I had always envisioned for The Lost Prince already lent itself to this more definitive conclusion. (Unlike the writers of the TV show, Lost, I actually do have an idea of where my story is going.) And boy, what an ending it is! The fact is, books one and two roll together like an epic self-contained 900-page story. If you didn't want to continue reading this universe, you could stop at the end of The Lost Prince, completely satisfied. If I had to create a metaphor for comparison I'd go with this: Awakenings was a delicious home-cooked three-course meal with a modest, though tasty dessert. (Think a scoop of gelato.) The Lost Prince is a scrumptious, seven-course gourmet dinner with a three-tiered dessert tray bearing tiramisu, Black Forest chocolate cake, flan, crème brûlée, pie, and of course, gelato. (For my non-culinary readers--think deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Snickers, and deep-fried Twinkies.) Yes, folks, it's that good!

I'm really proud of this second novel. Some will live, some will die, and Daniel... (heh, heh).  The Lost Prince Hardcover from Tor Books is out in stores now. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How Harry Dresden Saved Me $45

Harry Dresden saved me $45 today. I was reading White Night and was toward the end of the story (around 95% on my Kindle) when I needed to mail some things at the post office. Thing is, here in Jersey City, we have copious amounts of street cleaning (i.e. nuisance and added tax on the citizenry), and just when a street seems safe, bang, they come out of the wood works to ticket you.   

I found a parking spot near the post office at 2:00 p.m. that appeared to have already been cleaned; cleaning was from 1:00 to 3:00 according to the sign. I parked, but being so close to the end of a really great Jim Butcher story, I couldn't wait to finish reading the big battle scene, so I turned off the engine and just read in my car. Ten minutes later, I hear the honking of the ticket car letting people know the sweeper is coming. Had I been in the post office, I would have gotten a $45 ticket. But I was reading White Night that day. That one decision paid for five Harry Dresden novels. I love Jim Butcher's writing. It's smooth, effortless and a joy to come back to between chapters. I hope I am also writing stuff that people just can't can't put down and will one day save them money.

White Night by Jim Butcher
Awakenings and The Lost Prince by Edward Lazellari are available in stores and online now.  

Edward Lazellari is the author of the Guardians of Aandor Series from Tor Books and various short stories and plays. He resides in New Jersey.