Cover Painter Bob Larkin at Doc Con 2014

SWC_Larkin_SketchbookThis past weekend, Saga of Pandora Zwieback cover painter Bob Larkin was the guest of honor at Doc Con XVII, the latest gathering of fans of pulp action hero Doc Savage. Interested in finding out what happened? Then head on over to the StarWarp Concepts blog and read the convention report.

By the way, Panatics, have you purchased a copy of The Bob Larkin Sketchbook yet? If not, you’re missing out on spectacular pencil drawings of Doc Savage, Spider-Man, Batman, the X-Men, and other subjects, and features a special, full-color cover drawing of a certain Goth adventuress. It’s 24 pages of artistic goodness, available exclusively from the StarWarp Concepts webstore. Visit the Bob Larkin Sketchbook product page for all the ordering information, as well as sample pages.

That Time Dracula and Dr. Who Fought a Killer Monkey (Sort Of)

horror-express-movie-poster-1973Here’s something you Panatics might enjoy. Over at the StarWarp Concepts blog, I occasionally post “Tales of Development Hell”: stories of projects I was hired to write, only to see them wind up being canceled for various reasons (a deal fell through, the publisher went out of business, etc.). One of those projects involved contributing to a collection of horror-movie reviews that ultimately never saw print.

The movie I covered was 1973’s Horror Express, which starred Christopher Lee (old-time fans know him as Dracula; younger fans would know him as Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episodes 2–3, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and the voice of Pastor Galswells in Corpse Bride) and Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: Episode 4, Dr. Who in Doctor Who and the Daleks, and Van Helsing in Christopher Lee’s Dracula films), who team up to fight an ancient monkeyman that’s killing passengers on a train. And that’s not even the weirdest part of the movie!

Sounds interesting? Great! To get the whole behind-the-scenes story on the project, read this post at the SWC blog. Then, to check out the actual review, go here.

Happy Teen Read Week!

TeensReadWeek14Teen Read Week 2014 is happening right now, October 12–18. What is it? Well, to quote the event’s Web site:

Teen Read Week is a national literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. It’s aimed at teens, their parents, librarians, educators, booksellers and other concerned adults.

Teen Read Week’s theme is Read For The Fun Of It. Each year, YALSA offers a new sub-theme to serve as a basis for developing programs in schools, public libraries, and bookstores. The 2014 sub-theme is Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library, which encourages teens to read for the fun of it. The event offers librarians and educators a chance to encourage teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials.

For more information on this annual event, visit the Teen Read Week site.

Welcome, Collingswood Book Festival Attendees!

Thanks for stopping by the StarWarp Concepts booth today, and for your interest in my Goth adventuress, Pandora Zwieback. If you’re here because you spoke with me, then click on the cover in the right-hand sidebar and download the Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0 digital comic that I showed you. Not only is it an introduction to Pan and her world, hosted by Pan herself, but it contains two sample chapters from her first novel, Blood Feud. Give it a read.

blood_feud

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback is the young adult, dark-urban-fantasy novel series that I write. It’s the story of a 16-year-old Goth girl who’s spent the last decade being treated for mental health problems because she can see monsters. It’s only after she meets a shape-shifting monster hunter named Sebastienne “Annie” Mazarin, in the first critically acclaimed novel, Blood Feud, that Pan discovers she’s never been ill—her so-called “monstervision” is actually a supernatural gift that allows her to see into Gothopolis, the not-so-mythical shadow world that exists right alongside the human world. But before Pan can learn more about what she can do, she and her parents are drawn into a conflict between warring vampire clans that are searching for the key to an ultimate weapon (or so the legend goes)—a key that just so happens to have been delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father.

Blood Feud is far and away one of the best young adult supernatural fantasy novels released in the last few years. Pan is exactly the kind of teen heroine that readers should be standing up and cheering for.”—Melissa Voelker, HorrorNews.net

“One of those fabulous books that manages to straddle the young adult/adult fiction divide, catering equally for teens and more, ahem, ‘mature’ readers alike with a light touch that makes it a joy to read.”—Kell Smurthwaite, BCF Book Reviews

Pan’s debut adventure continues in the second novel, Blood Reign (on sale before year’s end), in which she and Annie face challenges from not just vampires but legions of monsters led by a fallen angel—who happens to be one of Annie’s ex-lovers! Blood Feud ended on such a shocking cliffhanger that Pan fans (I call them “Panatics”) have eagerly been looking forward to see how it gets resolved. Feel free to join their growing ranks—we love adding new members to Zwieback Nation.

pan_annual_lgAlong with Blood Feud, on sale right now is The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1, which features two brand-new adventures (written by me) of Pan and her friends that are separate from the novels: a full-color comic story drawn by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0), in which Pan and her boyfriend, Javier, run into one of his ex-girlfriends…whom Pan can see is really a mythological siren that can enrapture men with her voice; and a short story that pits Pan, Annie, and Javier against a trio of Elegant Gothic Lolita vampires—in a shopping mall! An additional backup tale, “After Hours,” is provided by DC Comics writer Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo! Team-Up, Action Comics, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and drawn by comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld).

Give the site a look-over, and don’t forget to check out the gallery called “The 13 Days of Pan-demonium,” featuring 13 unique drawings of Pan and Annie by a host of talented artists. And when you’re done, give Pan’s Facebook page a Like, so you can keep up-to-date with all the latest news.

(A special shout-out to teen readers and Pandora Zwieback fans who are budding authors, but who may think their work isn’t all that good and worth continuing: Check out this post from May 27, where I talk about my first published work—a science-fiction story I wrote when I was 16. Take a look at that and tell me you can’t do better! :D )

And please keep in mind that Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, is not just a YA fiction house. It also publishes illustrated classics (including J. Sheridan’s Le Fanu’s vampire romance Carmilla and Edgar Rice Burroughs’s A Princess of Mars); graphic novels for superhero fans and adult horror aficionados; digital and print comic books; and artist sketchbooks. Give them a visit and check out all they have to offer.

Hopefully I’ll see you again next year!

Collingswood Book Festival 2014 Is Tomorrow!

Sorry, Dark Shadows fans, Collingswood isn’t the fictional mansion where vampire Barnabas Collins hung his cloak in the classic TV series (and that terrible Tim Burton movie)—that would be Collinwood—but rather a town in southern New Jersey, close to the Pennsylvania border. It’s also the location of one of the northeast’s most popular, and continually growing, book festivals—so of course The ’Warp has to be on hand for it. But don’t worry—we’ll have enough vampire fiction on sale to sate the reading appetites of any Barnabas fans who stop by.

Collingswood-2014-Map

The 2014 Collingswood Book Festival is being held tomorrow, Saturday, October 11, and StarWarp Concepts will be making its debut appearance at Booth #18; as always, just look for the Pandora Zwieback banner. On sale will be the Pandora Zwieback novel Blood Feud; the comic The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1; the illustrated classics A Princess of Mars and Carmilla; the graphic novels Lorelei: Sects and the City and Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings; and the Official Pandora Zwieback T-shirt. I’ll even be selling copies of my non-SWC projects—the X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy novels, the Untold Tales of Spider-Man anthology, and the young adult superhero graphic novel, Sunn—so get ’em while supplies last.

The Collingswood Book Festival is open on Saturday, October 11, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The event is free, but for more information—including the festival’s alternate setting of Collingswood High School, in case rain forces it indoors—head over to the festival website.

Bob Larkin at New York Comic Con 2014

SWC_Larkin_SketchbookNew York Comic Con 2014 starts today, October 9th, and runs through Sunday, October 12th. And although the StarWarp Concepts crew won’t be attending (we’ll be at the Collingswood Book Festival on Saturday), Bob Larkin—cover painter of my Saga of Pandora Zwieback novel Blood Feud, and featured artist of his own Bob Larkin Sketchbook—will be tucked behind Table C4 in Artists Alley, signing autographs, taking commissions, and selling prints of his well-known cover paintings for Marvel Comics, Bantam Books, and other publishers. If you can’t remember the number, you’ll probably have to look no farther than the growing line of Doc Savage and Dazzler fans at his table.

New York Comic Con is being held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, on Manhattan’s West Side. For more information, head over to the NYCC site.

By the way, have you purchased a copy of The Bob Larkin Sketchbook yet? If not, you’re missing out on spectacular pencil drawings of Doc Savage, Spider-Man, Batman, the X-Men, and other subjects, and features a special, full-color cover drawing of a certain Goth adventuress. It’s 24 pages of artistic goodness, available exclusively from the StarWarp Concepts webstore. Visit the Bob Larkin Sketchbook product page at StarWarp Concepts for all the ordering information, as well as sample pages.

Collingswood Book Festival 2014 is This Saturday!

Collingswood-2014-logoThe 2014 Collingswood Book Festival is being held on Saturday, October 11, and StarWarp Concepts (and me, of course) will be making its debut appearance! Never heard of CBF? Well, to quote the festival’s site:

The 12th Annual Collingswood Book Festival makes a triumphant return as bibliophiles converge in this historic South Jersey town to celebrate everything about the written word. The Collingswood Book Festival is a big literary event that exudes small-town, friendly ambience. A week of activities will culminate on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 10am to 4pm. Festival-goers will have an opportunity to stroll more than six blocks of Haddon Avenue filled with nationally recognized authors/speakers for adults and children, as well as booksellers, storytellers, poetry readings, workshops, exhibitors and performance stages. All events are free.

Booth #18 is where you’ll find me hawking The ’Warp’s goods; as always, just look for the Pandora Zwieback banner. For more information, including travel directions, head over to the festival website.

StarWarp Concepts to Attend NY Horror Show 2015

NY-Horror-Show

The first-ever NY Horror Show hits Long Island, NY, on January 16–18, 2015, and StarWarp Concepts will be there! A collaboration between the folks behind Eternal Con—Long Island’s acclaimed pop-culture show—and TwitchTwitch Productions, the NY Horror Show kicks off with a red-carpet opening of the Macabre Faire Film Festival on Friday night, January 16th, and then expands into a full-blown horror convention for the next two days. Hope you ’Warp fans will turn out for it—given the fact that no one holds horror cons in NYC anymore, this show can use all the support it can get!

The NY Horror Show is being held at the Upsky Long Island Hotel, located at 110 Motor Parkway, in Happauge. Show-floor hours are 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Saturday, and 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Sunday. For more information, including how to order tickets, head over to the NY Horror Show website.

Happy Banned Books Week!

Banned_Books_2014

Yes, it’s that time of year again when a spotlight is shone on the problem of censorship in United States libraries and bookstores. (In other words, books banned by prudes who are out to “protect the children.”) To quote the Banned Books Week Web site:

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. According to the American Library Association, there were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported.

The ten most challenged books of 2013 include Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy (sex and violence), Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants (the new #1 banned book!), and Jeff Smith’s fantasy graphic novel series Bone (violence and…racism? Are you kidding me?!) For more information on this annual event, just click on Captain Underpants up there.

Banned Books Week 2014 is happening right now, September 21–27. How are you celebrating it?

Brooklyn Book Festival Cancellation

Bad news, Pandora Zwieback fans, but I have to announce that StarWarp Concepts won’t be attending this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival. And yes, that means I won’t be there, either.

Long story short, from the Department of Too Much Information: On Friday, I got hit with one of my very rare eczema flare-ups (they usually pop up once or twice during the winter). To control the maddening itching, I slathered on hydrocortisone cream, as one typically does in this situation.

Guess what I’ve become allergic to, at this stage of my life?

Marv from Sin City...or allergic me? You be the judge!

Marv from Sin City…or allergic me? You be the judge!

The results have been…disturbing, to say the least. Swollen face, puffy eyes—I’ve been told I resemble Mickey Rourke’s character, Marv, from the Sin City movies. My doctor says it could take a week or two to completely get back to where I was before the flare-up, since the allergic reaction made things worse.

And so, to not frighten children or cause book lovers to run screaming in horror, I’ve pulled The ’Warp from the list of BBF exhibitors. But don’t worry, folks, I have every intention of returning for next year’s show…now that I know to stay away from the itching creams.

Sorry for the inconvenience!