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Friday, December 30, 2011

Local Boy Does Good With First Novel: Bronx Times Article

Everyone likes to see the hometown kid succeed in the world at large -- and the Bronx is no different. Yeah, there's two million people living there, making the borough larger than most states by population, but really, it's just a big small town. We've all sprawled at Orchard Beach, eaten at City Island, rooted for the Yankees, bought the best Italian food at Arthur Avenue, and are proud to be the home of the country's best botanical garden and city zoo. Though I currently live in NJ, my roots are still in Da Bronx.  Bronx Times, does a bang up job of promoting our home town, and this month, I was fortunate enough to have a piece written on my novel Awakenings, which takes place partly in the Bronx.
I am blessed to share an origin with many of America's most creative people. Stanley Kubrick grew up in  the Bronx, as did Al Pacino, Alan Alda, Mary Higgins Clark, Jennifer Lopez, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and many others. (Scarlett Johansson's mother hailed from the Bronx, which is why Scarlett turned out so talented and beautiful.)
The article, written by Patrick Roccio,  is titled, "Co-op City Native Features Borough In Novel."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Time Is Money

I initially avoided In Time because of lackluster reviews. I’m glad I eventually relented because it is one of the smartest dystopian films to come out in a long while and one of the most underrated movies of the year. Though Harlan Ellison claims it's based on one of his short stories, the film’s "system-is-out-to-get-you" narrative feels more like a Philip K. Dick progeny (the originator of such paranoid fare as Blade Runner and Minority Report).  Excellently directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca), the film debuts Justin Timberlake as an action hero, playing Will Salas, a down on his luck factory grunt who is big on heart but short on time. His love interest is the heiress Sylvia Weiss, played with preternatural conviction by Amanda Syfried. A bevy of hot Hollywood A-listers (Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Vincent Kartheiser) round out the cast, bringing sexy back to science fiction.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Royalty Calculator For Writers

As writers, we all hope to earn enough from our craft to live. Nothing promotes the completion of a next book as much as income from the last book (and the time needed to write it). Leaving that day job to write full time can be a big, scary step. For those of us not in the graces of a wealthy sugar-momma, the Book Royalties Calculator by Shawntelle Madison is a valuable tool in helping determine how much your royalties might be.
A round of applause to Shawntelle for creating this.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

No Good Deed…

(This short story was originally published in August 2011 for the Fantastic Fables book giveaway contest at  
©2011 Edward Lazellari

Lelani did not think the street looked right. The houses were too small and the blue sky looked like a matt painting used in stage plays; everything felt claustrophobic. She consulted her teacher’s notes and things were just off -- really off. There was no mention of any yellow brick road in his texts.
“Lost?” asked a woman’s voice behind her.
Lelani spun around and laid eyes on the strangest women she’d ever seen. She looked as though she stepped out of a children's storybook, plump with a greenish hue -- too tall for any of the houses in this town -- in a black and blue robe. She wore white socks with black circular stripes and ruby-colored shoes, a red cone-shaped hat with a large brim, and held a long gnarled walking stick. Her eyes were a deep black. Lelani sensed great power in this woman.
“Actually, yes,” said Lelani, cautiously. "How can you tell?"
“You are too tall and swarthy to be from this village,” said the woman. “And far too beautiful. Nineteen?” the woman guessed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recent AWAKENINGS Reviews

Blog Critics posted a new review on Awakenings today.

"...the writing itself is excellent. Early in the book the author describes the lack of sensation as a character gets her head chopped off:
"She heard a creak behind her. Before she could turn, there was a swish, like the sound of a switch whipped through the air. Then silence. Not a drop of rain, not a squeak; someone had pulled the plug on the whole world..."
Check out Awakenings on bookstore shelves today!"

Also, New Jersey's largest paper The Star-Ledger had its review (I'm a Jersey resident)

Sorry that I haven't been posting these more regularly. Things have been busy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My 2011 New York Comic Con Experience

Signing books at the Tor booth.

I and many fellow comic book and sci-fi/fantasy fans, made our yearly pilgrimage to the Javitz Center on October 14th to partake in New York Comic Con’s 2011 opening. What made this year different for me is that this year I was there as a published author promoting my first fantasy novel Awakenings.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Says Awakenings Is Meaty, Delicious, And Wonderful

 "Interesting start to a new series, I can’t wait to read more!" --Shannon

Awakenings has received a "4-Steak and Potatoes" rating from Books Devoured; This is one of my favorite reviews because of the following observation:

"It has been a while since I have read a fantasy book and it may be the first time I have read one that is set up in the way this one is. We learn about the fantasy elements but we are not really taken there.  Everything we learn is told in memories and stories.  The action of the book takes place on Earth in the current time.  I actually liked this because it kept so many elements relatable.  At the same time, I feel like I understand enough about the other world to be able to follow the story."

Yes! (Huzzah!)

Every author hopes readers will "get" the nuances of his or her story. With Awakenings, I purposely set out to write a fantasy novel that would also appeal to popular fiction readers while staying true enough to the tenants of fantasy for long-time sci-fi/fantasy fans to enjoy. My choice of words in this story was very exact -- I was aiming for almost neutral description of fantastic ideas.  I also wanted readers of mystery, adventure, young adult, and romance to feel that they had some skin in this game.

When I was in art school, one of my favorite teachers, Ben, would discuss art, politics, business, and everything else under the sun while we took life drawing. One day, he brought up the classic movie "The Fly" because there had been a recent remake, and the consensus was that it was not as good as the original. The question of the day was "why?" Using classic Socratic method, Ben would press us for our opinion about why the classic was the superior movie, and of course, a bunch of 20-something know-it-all art students were getting it all wrong. The answer, according to Ben, was that the original movie was not about the scientist who had turned into the Fly. It was about a wife dealing with a misfortune that had befallen her husband, and her efforts to save the man she loved. Though this was marketed as a horror movie, and had wonderful elements of horror in it, it was the romantic connection in the movie that gave it its humanity. Yes, the special effect in David Cronenberg's remake was better, but the story lacked that human elements that amplified the horror. Ultimately, the classic was a story of the wife's and best friend's loss, even as Vincent Price smashes a rock on the last vestiges of his mutilated friend's head in the last scene. This was one of the most important lessons I'd ever learned about story telling-- that any story in any genre needs to pull elements from other genres to give it dimension. 

Every once in a while, a reviewer will pick up on the things I like about my own story. And that puts a smile on my face. And this review from Books Devoured gave me a very pleasant start to my Monday.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Friday October 14, 2011, 8:45-9:45 p.m., Room #1A15

I'm sharing a panel with best selling authors Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Anton Strout, Rachel Caine, Christina Henry, Duane Swierczynski, and Richard Kadrey. 

In this, the tenth anniversary year of Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS, the ultimate urban fantasy road trip, we’ve seen a rash of infernal plagues infect some of America’s greatest cities. Witchcraft and demonic activity infect Kim Harrison’s Cincinnati, while Patricia Briggs’ novels wreak havoc on the shapeshifter, vampire and demonic tribes of the Tri Cities region of Washington State.  Anton Strout and Edward Lazellari see New York as the ultimate urban fantasy battleground. Rachel Caine has created an apocalyptic outpost in the Lone Star State vampire-controlled city of Morganville, terror has taken a bite out of Christina Henry’s Chicagoland, and Duane Swierczynski’s newest novels take us straight to Hell. These authors will argue that there truly is a continental divide between the forces of East and West; North and South; Good and Evil.  Grab a bag of Cheetos, a six pack of Red Bull, and some holy water and join us as we explore the road to perdition….
Moderator: Diana Gill, Harper Voyager

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fictional Frontiers Interview Is Up

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of doing my first-ever interview, with Sohaib Awan of Fictional Frontiers, regarding my new book AWAKENINGS. This discussion series is one of the more innovative and thought-provoking of its kind on the InterWeb, and after you listen to my conversation with Sohaib, I encourage you to mine the archives for other fascinating dialogues with the most interesting creators of our time.

Hope you enjoy it.

P.S. God bless Maria Sharapova. (Inside joke.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Awakenings Is A Terrific Debut"-- Fantasy Book Critic

I'm thrilled by this review by Mihir Wanchoo at Fantasy Book Critic
I'm curious as to why people have been calling this series "Warriors of Aandor." We didn't put a series name on the book. If we did, my preference would have been "Guardians of Aandor, " followed by "Heroes of Aandor."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BookwormBlues Says Awakenings is "A Surprisingly Absorbing Adventure"

"The writing is solid and fluid. The book itself has a raw quality to it that will appeal to many readers. Though Awakenings does read more like a prologue to a series, the series itself has huge potential to be a multi-dimensional epic fantasy. Awakenings crosses multiple genres from noir to contemporary and even has hints of traditional fantasy" -- Sarah, at Bookworm Blues

Thursday, September 8, 2011 Says "Awakenings" Is Worth Your Attention

"There's a lot of good things going for Awakenings. Cool cover art. Fun magic (and by fun, I mean the sort that involves supernatural violence, majorly destructive energies being flung about, and lots of people running for their lives). It's also got intriguing characterization, both of the major and minor players" -- Josh Vogt,


"Fantasy Lovers And Mystery Lovers Both Will Enjoy Awakenings" --

"Fantasy lovers and mystery lovers both will enjoy Awakenings. It is a great first novel and I will be looking for the other books to come out so I can see what these guys are up to!" --

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Qwillery Gives Awakenings 4.5 Out Of 5 Qwills

"Awakenings is a thrilling debut with great pacing, characters you care about, and a riveting story. I found it hard to put down. I've become a fan of this series and can't wait to read the next book."                                                                         -- The Qwillery                 Also The Qwillery interviews Edward Lazellari.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Fantastic Fables Short Story, "No Good Deed" Is Up (DarkFaerieTales)

My short story for DarkFaerieTales' Fantastic Fables series is up.
Win a chance at a free copy of my book.

Outlander Is A Fun Marvel Of A Book

Okay, I know I'm 20 years late with this, but my friend Dessi just gave me book one of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and it sort of blew me away. Halfway through the first book, I was grateful this was part of a series because I didn't want to let these characters go. Sure, it's chock filled with archetypes (the cliched rugged hero Scotsman who can fight like Erol Flynn; the crunchy salt of the earth highlanders; and the ideal woman, smart, beautiful, English prim, but able to kill and heal with equal proficiency), but damned if Gabaldon's writing doesn't bring a refreshing breath of air into some stale tropes.

Claire is an English nurse who's survived WWII and takes a holiday in Scotland with her estranged husband who worked for British Intelligence during the war. By way of a druid ritual, she finds herself suddenly 200 years back in time, when being English north of England was about the worst thing you could do.  Jamie is a Scottish outlaw, wanted by the English, most notably a Dragoon captain that turns out to be Claire's husband's ancestor. This twisty-turnie love story is filled with adventure, death, and a whole lot of love.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Star Spangled Hit

Holy Cow! Holy Cow! Holy Cow! Leave it to Marvel to have two of the best movies this summer. I didn't think any movie would soon match X-Men First Class, much less in the same season, but along comes Captain America to complete the salt and pepper set. I finally got around to seeing it after being stuck on a gorgeous Italian vineyard opening weekend, and I can't praise this movie enough. It has heart, it has action, it has a brilliant script, and the acting was superb to the point of being sublime.

At first I was apprehensive about Chris Evans starring in the title role, having been underwhelmed by his Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four films, but he fits into the skin of Steve Rogers effortlessly. The entire cast from Hugo Weaving to Tommy Lee Jones hits it out of the park in classic Babe Ruth fashion. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter is as endearing and stunning as women come, and the chemistry between her and Chris had a classic vibe like that of the films from the 1930s and '40s.

The sets were a good cross between true period pieces and updated versions of an old '40s serial, which as some of you might not know included a run of Captain America movies during World War Two. The mini bomber planes alone were reminiscent of the era, having been in stories of the day including the animated Superman Shorts from Fleischer Studios.

One of the most entertaining movies of the summer. There's something in it for everyone, even your date guys. Do yourself a favor and see it on the big screen. I rate this movie $13 out of the $13.50 I paid to see it. 

Edward Lazellari is the winner of Playboy's 1999 Short Fiction Contest and the author of fantasy novels Awakenings and The Lost Prince, from Tor Books.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bookgasm's Mark Rose Gives Awakenings A Solid Review

 "I’m definitely looking forward to the next book to find out what becomes of these characters."

                                                                        -- Mark Rose,

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Like Its Protagonist, All Men of Genius Gets An 'A'

The last steam punk novel I read was The Difference Engine, and that was over 10 years ago. I liked it well enough, but the genre didn't catch on with me. I think had I read All Men Of Genius by Lev AC Rosen, though, steam punk would have been more consistent fare in my literary diet. This sideways retelling of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is a fun, witty tale, with characters you wish you could befriend and drink with at a dingy London pub. 

Rosen's devotion to character does not detract from the main tenant of steam punk, the revisualization of a more scientifically advanced Victorian world. His England is wondrously detailed, original, and still maintains an element of mystery. If I have one criticism, it's that I want to know even more about the parts of this world that were not mentioned in the story. The school of science where the lion's share of the action takes place is architecturally well thought out. (I've never been to London, but feel as though the place as described must exist in some form or another.) The comradery and competition within the school is spiritually reminiscent of Harry Potter's Hogwarts, only with the eccentric students pursuing scientific discovery instead of magic spells. Alliances are made early on between the students, with Violet and her friend Jack falling in with a noble crowd suggestive of Gryffindor. 

I don't want to go into much detail about the story itself because this is really a journey best discovered by letting it unfold. The short of it is that the protagonist, a young woman who's been denied the opportunity to study science due to her sex, is actually one of the great scientific minds of her age. Sufficed to say, she doesn't take "no" from the school's admission board very well and concocts a scheme to get her education anyway, at the risk of massive reprisal. Violet is a heroine you can't help but root for. Despite her unorthodox methods of getting into the school, and the doubts and tribulation that come along with her plan, Rosen never loses the beauty of Violet's innocence despite her intellect, and keeps her true to herself. You just want to jump into the pages and help Violet and the gang in their adventure. 

I would love to see this book as a movie or television series. Violet, as a character that uses her mind and promotes the benefits of study and education, would make an excellent and entertaining heroine for girls (and boys) to aspire to be like. Maybe Spielberg or J.J. Abrams will pick up All Men of Genius and be inspired to make it happen.

Edward Lazellari is the winner of Playboy's 1999 Short Fiction Contest and the author of fantasy novels Awakenings and The Lost Prince, from Tor Books.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peter David Reflects On Transformers 3, DC's Reboot, The Ailing Comic Industry, And How To Turn Things Around In Fictional Frontiers Interview

Having worked in the industry, I can tell you that many of writer  Peter David's ideas in his Fictional Frontiers interview on how to improve comic book sales and accessibility to new fans are right on the mark.

In addition to his views, I would add that they've gotten ridiculously expensive relative to their costs in previous generations, and that, that may be a factor in alienating new readers. From a kid's perspective, who wants to pay $4.00 for a periodical that will be read in 15 minutes when you can save up for a new video game? Comics were the publishing industry’s way of turning a cheap profit. It started by using up newsprint left over from pulp books back in the 1930s, and were a huge source of income because the margins were good. The price of a comic book remained 10 cents from the 1930s until 1962, when it escalated to 12 cents, and then 15 cents in 1969 For the next 10 years until 1980, it increased in increments of only 5 cents every few years.  Industry dynamics changed when they introduced more expensive Mando stock--a white, high-quality newsprint and the glossy Baxter stock paper in the 1980s.  Although good sales supported the change to better paper and printing when they had artists of Brian Bolland's (Camelot 3000) or Frank Miller's (Dark Knight) caliber, it simply wasn't worth the money for the other mediocre fare they put out. (Typical of the marketing mentality, they thought the quality of the paper would sell the books.) From 2000 to 2010, the average book saw a 100% increase in price with no real new inovation to justify the added cost. The last time I entered a comic shop, prices on monthly issues were north of $3.99, and I wondered how this business model could possibly succeed. I wondered if they had hit a wall on cost cutting. In the 1990s they got rid of colorists and in the aughts they got rid of letterers. If you go up the food chain that means inkers are next and eventually they will have computer programs that will draw the stories as well. But will any of it matter if they don't get books into new hands? Virtually gone is the return market (paper stands, convenience stores), where kids were first exposed to comic books, in favor of direct sales where you have to make an effort to find the stores.

Beyond gimmicks and reboots, in the end, the editor is key. If you hire good editors--like Ralph Macchio at Marvel (Miller's Daredevil, Simonson's THOR)--you end up with books people want to buy regardless of the gimmick (and sometimes in spite of it.) Based on his views in the interview, Peter David would also be a great comics editor. He's a successful writer, and unlike many creative types, he thinks like a businessman. Peter quoted Neil Gaiman in saying that comics blend other art forms to create a new one. Words by themselves are novels and pictures by themselves are art, but put them together and you have comic books. Similarly, a comic book editor needs to wear two or three hats to be a successful creator of books. In addition to recognizing good ideas and good writing they also have to know good sequential storytelling and draftsmanship, and they have to have some business instinct.

Speaking of good editors, Bob Greenberger was mentioned in the interview, and I had the pleasure of meeting Bob when he was at DC in the 1980s. He gave me excellent and practical advice about my work and what I needed to do to get into the field. At the time, I was a Joe Kubert school student with delusions of grandeur who thought he knew it all. (I just described most art-school students.) Bob was a class act who knew enough to humor the young and gave them advice they needed without ever discouraging them. Bob, if you read this, I'm saying thanks and letting you know it is never a wasted effort. Eventually we grow up and it all clicks.

Listen to the Peter David interview by Sohaib Awan at Fictional Frontiers and get the 311 on life the universe and everything else.

Graeme's Fantasy "Thoroughly Enjoys" AWAKENINGS

Graeme Flory says of AWAKENINGS: "A thoroughly entertaining read with a cast that you can really get behind and root for."
Read the entire review on his blog at Graeme's Fantasy Book Review.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Damage Done

(Author: Hilary Davidson; Mystery; Forge books; Hardcover $24.99)
I usually read for a short while before starting on my own writings because I find that it knocks loose the vocabulary in my brain. In that regard, The Damage Done, by first-time novelist Hilary Davidson, presented me with a slight problem... I kept blowing off my schedule to read just one more chapter of this gripping mystery.

After living in Spain for several months, Lily Moore, a travel writer and atypical Manhattanite, comes home to the lower east side to manage the burial of her recently deceased sister Claudia. The only problem is, the woman in the morgue is not her sister. Lily is a refreshing mix of Carrie Bradshaw (sans the puns) and Olivia Benson, set upon a path of intrigue and danger by the actions of her heroin-addicted younger sister. An old fiancé reminiscent of Mr. Big and trying to rekindle their flame, Lily's gay best friend Jessie, the colorful tenants of her lower east-side tenement, a pair of wizened NYPD detectives, and the players surrounding her sister's debauched life round out the playbill on this snappy mystery.

Because this is a mystery, and since I hate it when reviewers reveal elements in my own stories that I had wished the reader to discover on their own, I'll refrain from going into details about the plot. But I will say that Davidson's attention to detail and character are impressive. Her NYPD detectives do not come off as incompetent or buffoonish in order to make the heroine look smarter, and even characters that appear archetypal at first prove to have deeper dimensions as the author scratches at their surface one chapter at a time. Davidson's plot moves along at an eight-minute-mile pace with crisp dialogue and efficient prose. I can see this as a movie and found myself even casting parts as I read. A strong debut by a freshman novelist.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Emerald Lacks Luster

I love Green Lantern, but did not love this movie. The problem was the mediocre story. The best thing I can say about this film is that it was not as bad as most of the reviews I’ve read. That may be because I went in with low expectations and was pleased to find the story coherent and the special effects nondistracting. This movie should do well in rentals and on cable.

It’s a testament to Ryan Reynolds’ (Hal Jordan) ability and charisma that he brought some humanity to this woodenly written role. Though I was never happy about his casting, I have to admit after seeing the film, he made a decent GL and probably kept the movie from getting boring. Blake Lively was pleasantly perfect as Carol Ferris, GL’s boss and love interest. I think she struck a good cord between the character as written in the comics, and a realistic modern business woman. Based on her turn in this film, I hope she gets more movie roles.

Of Special note is Mark Strong as Sinestro. He's clearly been set up to be the baddie in the sequel, but his excellent stage presence and strong performance made it abundantly clear that this film lacked a good villain. It would be great if Warner realized what they did wrong in this movie and tried again with a better story. It was not lack of interest in this character that was the problem with Green Lantern. I'd like to make a comparison with Star Trek The Motion Picture. That film had similar problems to GL in that it too lacked a cohesive villain and had a mediocre story. But, although panned by the critics and fans, it was followed up by an amazingly good movie (The Wrath of Kahn) with a kick-ass baddie. Sinsetro can be Hal Jordan's Kahn Nonnian Singh if a sequel were to happen.

There’s really not that much more to say. The story had a ho-hum effect on its audience. Much like Super 8, this movie brought nothing new to its genre. What makes it especially tragic is that Iron-man showed how to take a second-tier character and turn it into a first-rate movie. DC used to be known as the company that could make successful movie and TV properties out of its characters. It seems to be stumbling while Marvel’s running away with the ball. Let’s see how Zach Snyder’s Superman fares in 2012.
I rate this film $7.50 out of the $13.50 I paid to see it. If you can catch a matinee for half price, it’s worth the time.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

X-Men: First Rate

I went into the theater with low expectations for this movie and was blown out of my seat. X-men: First Class ranks among the best of the superhero genre movies, in the company of Dark Knight, Spiderman 2, and Superman.  It also distinguishes itself as the textbook example of what a prequel should be. I rate it at 120% entertainment value relative to other films in this series.
The story is set in the 1960s, and emulates perfectly the look and tone of the Sean Connery Bond films of that era. Kevin Bacon, as Sebastian Shaw, is surprisingly brilliant as the villain, and could hold company with Goldfinger and Blofeld and probably come out on top. No self-respecting world-dominating megalomaniac would be caught dead without a loyal familiar to stroke his ego, and this part is played beautifully by January Jones as Emma Frost (the White Queen) who is the cinematic mashing of Pussy Galore and Blofeld's Persian white kitty. In truth, this movie is very much a spy thriller in the 007 vein with super humans added in to optimum effect.
The story was expertly written, and Matthew Vaughn's direction was perfect; there was not a moment when the film lost momentum or pulled you out of the narrative. James McAvoy as Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Michael Fassbender as Magneto portrayed an effortless friendship between the two men reminiscent of the chemistry between Kirk and Spock. By the end of the movie, you believed their relationship would span decades. More importantly, you believed why, despite being on opposite sides with regards to their methods, Magneto would never kill Charles Xavier. Watch this film and afterwards put on the first X-Men movie... it's a perfect fit. "First Class" sets up the earlier films in the series in a way we all wished "Revenge of The Sith" would have set up Episode IV: "A New Hope."
The only sad part to having seen X-Men: First Class is that it came so early in the summer, nothing else is likely to match it for entertainment value and quality. This is a well-made, entertaining movie, so run, don't walk, to the theater. I rate this film $13.50 out of the the $13.50 to paid to see it. There isn't a better deal in town.

Edward Lazellari is the winner of Playboy's 1999 Short Fiction Contest and the author of fantasy novels Awakenings and The Lost Prince, from Tor Books.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Expo America 2011: A First Look

Me and Lev sign books
As I entered the Jacob Javits center in New York, I was amazed at how much BEA reminded me of the NY Comic Con. The layout of the aisles, the artfully designed booths, the frenetic buzz of conversations in the air, and the excitement of acquiring good swag and a free bag to put it in. Fans flowed into the hall, hopeful to get an autograph or two from their favorite writers. On closer inspection, the differences between the two events are obvious; this is a calmer, more cerebral crowd. Teachers, librarians, and book sellers have replaced the gamers, fan boys, Hollywood pitchmen, costumed teens, and just plain bizarre attention getters that I had normally come to associate with conventions at this center.
Lev (left), Edward (right)

The walk to Javits from Eighth Ave. was long and hot. There are no subways near the center. I was there to promote my first novel, AWAKENINGS. Alexis, my Tor Books publicist, met me in the lobby with a big smile and ushered me to the air-conditioned green room where I could rehydrate and crash on a couch before meeting the faithful throngs. My first thought was, would there even be throngs? Throngs had to be earned through blood sweat and tears. Why would anybody want my autograph? The book hasn’t come out yet -- no one has read it, no one’s reviewed it. Fellow author, Lev AC Rosen, who was promoting the steam punk thriller All Men of Genius, at least had a well formulated plan to start singing “Ain’t There Anyone Here for Lev” (A play on words of an old Jane Russell scene in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”) if our line was empty. I, on the other hand, had no plan action – no song from an old musical to while away my lonely blues. I was woefully unprepared.
Photos courtesy of Lev AC Rosen

Stocked up on sharpie pens, Alexis and Cassie ushered us behind the curtain to row 12 of the autograph line. Boxes of our novels were stacked and ready to distribute. Much to Lev’s and my surprise, there was indeed a long row of teachers and librarians (and a few plain-ole-vanilla fantasy fans) excited to get signed copies of our books. One woman said she had been waiting to get my book and it was the highlight of her trip. I asked her “why” since the book hadn’t even been reviewed yet -- she said it was strictly based on the description of the story. (I’m glad Paul and I came up with a stylish, but accurate, description of what was going on in the book.) Some were bloggers, who introduced themselves to us: Angela Leonard from Dark Faerie Tales, Tania from Literary Cravings and a few others (who did not hand me their business cards).

I only recently learned how important it was to interact with the fan-based community. In ye olden days (anytime before 1995) an author could just sit in his or her cave writing stories. Today, you need to be on Twitter collecting followers. You need a Website and a Facebook presence. You need a blog. You need to follow blogs and join fan communities and other groups. This is all great stuff, and no doubt, I could have a lot of fun with it, except, I have a day job in addition to trying to make my deadline on book two. Where was the time going to come from for a whole third job?

But I digress. The day was a huge success for both Lev and myself. We went through three boxes of Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) and finished the signing 20 minutes early (because we ran out of books). I had some time before meeting my editor for lunch. I walked around and soaked in the energy and excitement of the expo. New stories were being shilled at every booth. Which would be the next Harry Potter, the next DaVinci Code?

My editor and I had lunch at a very pleasant Greek restaurant called Periyali on 20th Street, with mystery writer extraordinaire Hilary Davidson, author of The Damage Done, It's hard to describe Hilary because of the sheer shortage of words in the English vocabulary that mean superfantasticawesomealicious. She's a generous cornucopia of knowledge about how to promote your novel.

It was a trans-formative experience for me, but I was not the only one in transition that day. After lunch, I continued libations at two New York watering holes to bid fond farewell to two friends who were leaving New York to pursue new opportunities out west. They were happy for me as I was for them. My first BEA, an unqualified success, had come to an end. Can't wait for 2012.
Oh Yeah... and buy AWAKENINGS, available September 2011.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Great Book On The Craft Of Writing

To anyone that wants write stories , I highly recommend Stephen King's book "On Writing." One of the finest tomes written on the craft.