Ya Gotta Be Reading!

mets-ya-gotta-readWell, here’s the sort of literacy program Pan can totally get behind—especially since it involves her favorite baseball team!

A partnership between the New York Mets and Delta Air Lines, Ya Gotta Read (a playful twist on the old Mets saying, “Ya Gotta Believe!”) is, according to the press release:

…a program to help foster a love of reading in students. More than 5,000 students at nine elementary schools in Queens are participating in the program. The goal is for students to read one book a week for a total of six books. Students will write a book review for each book and hand it in to their teachers. The more books students read, the more prizes they will earn!

The student from each school that reads the most books will be awarded four field level tickets a Mets game at Citi Field and be invited participate in an on-field pregame ceremony. The student who reads the most books in the overall program will win four Delta Club tickets behind home plate.

The class that reads the most books will win a visit by a Mets player and Mr. Met and memberships to Mr. Met’s Kids Club. The top class from each school will receive additional Mets premium merchandise.

Ya Gotta Read runs from February 12 (the start of Mets spring training) to March 23. For more information, and to follow the schools’ progress, visit the Ya Gotta Read page at the Mets website.

Quality SWC E-books for the Discerning Librarian

ghostbusters-library

With this past Saturday having been the seventh annual celebration of Take Your Child to the Library Day, I was reminded of a conversation I once had with Richard C. White, author of StarWarp Concept’s supernatural graphic novel Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings, pirate-fantasy digital comic The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special, the fantasy-adventure titles For a Few Gold Pieces More and Harbinger of Darkness, and the popular how-to book for writers, Terra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination.

Rich had been a guest at a science fiction convention and had spoken with some school librarians who were interested in adding Terra Incognito to their lists of e-book titles. But how, they asked, would they be able to obtain it? As librarians, they’re required to order books from distributors, not from publishers; that applies to e-books as well.

Well, it just so happens that one of The ’Warp’s digital distributors, Smashwords, makes our titles available to libraries through Baker & Taylor’s Axis360 and OverDrive e-book programs. To quote from Smashword’s arrangement with the programs:

“Library patrons are able to check out only one copy at a time. The books are wrapped in DRM so they time out after a specific period of time. The library can purchase multiple copies if they decide demand warrants multiple simultaneous checkouts. Otherwise, the library purchases a single copy and allows only one copy at a time to be lent out. If a library patron wishes to obtain a book that’s already checked out, the patron is sometimes given the option to purchase a copy through a retailer.”

In the case of OverDrive, If a library patron wishes to obtain a book that’s already checked out, the patron is sometimes given the option to purchase a copy direct through OverDrive (for libraries that utilize OverDrive’s ‘Buy it Now’ feature).”

Via Smashwords, the following titles can be ordered through Axis360 and OverDrive:

terraTerra Incognito: A Guide to Building the Worlds of Your Imagination is our popular how-to book for writers and gamers in which bestselling fantasy author Richard C. White (Gauntlet: Dark Legacy: Paths of Evil, The Chronicles of the Sea Dragon Special, Troubleshooters, Incorporated: Night Stalkings) takes you through the step-by-step process of constructing a world for your characters, from societies and governments to currency and religion. Included is an interview with New York Times bestselling author Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance) that discusses his methods of world building, as well as his creative experiences during his time as a designer for gaming company TSR, the original home of Dungeons & Dragons.

Gold-Pieces-CvrFor a Few Gold Pieces More collects Richard C. White’s fantasy short stories about a Rogue With No Name who travels a world of epic-fantasy adventure, looking for treasure—and revenge against the woman who sent him to prison for a crime he didn’t commit (but she did). Think Lord of the Rings meets the “spaghetti Westerns” of director Sergio Leone (A Fistful of Dollars; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). It’s “entertaining, old-school sword and sorcery, in the tradition of [Fritz Lieber’s] Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser,” according to author Jim C. Hines of the Magic ex Libris book series, and we at SWC couldn’t agree more!

Harbinger of Darkness is Rich’s third title, and his first original novel for SWC. In it, a thief named Perrin steals an extremely valuable—and magical—gem from the evil king ruling her home country. With thugs and fellow thieves and the king’s assassins hot on her trail, Perrin finds just staying alive is becoming a full-time occupation, which directly conflict with her secret life—and identity—as a humble bookseller’s daughter. It’s sword-swinging adventure at its finest!

You can also obtain the Saga of Pandora Zwieback young adult novels, Blood Feud and Blood Reign—written by yours truly, Steven A. Roman. You know how popular young adult books are these days, don’t you? Well, here’s another series your patrons might be interested in!

blood_feudPan is 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 an immortal monster hunter named Annie 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. You’ll find Pan battling her own brand of evil dead in the following titles:

Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 1: This critically acclaimed novel is the beginning of Pan’s story, explaining how she, her parents and friends, and Annie are drawn into a conflict among warring vampire clans 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. It’s a character-driven action-fest that leads immediately into the second novel:

Blood-Reign-FinalCvrBlood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2: Pan and Annie face even greater challenges as the vampire clans draw up plans to go to war with humanity. Leading the charge is a fallen angel named Zaqiel, whose previous attempt at subjugating the world was stopped by Annie—who, back in the day, was Zaqiel’s lover!

So if you’re a librarian interested in adding those titles to your digital bookshelves, head over to Axis360 or OverDrive and place your order today!

It’s Take Your Child to the Library Day 2018!

ColorTYCLDLogoToday is the seventh annual celebration of Take Your Child to the Library Day. Founded in 2011 by children’s librarian Nadine Lipman, the event is held the first Saturday in February and encourages librarians to reach out to their communities and show folks just how wonderful reading can be.

Before the Internet, libraries were the source for information and reading, and these days they can use our support. So head out now, introduce your children to that big brick building with all the free books to borrow, update the library card that’s been stuck in the back of your wallet for all these years, and renew your acquaintance with a vital partner in the ongoing literacy campaign.

For more information, including the list of participating libraries, visit the TYCLD website.

Happy Women in Horror Month 2018!

whitefell-werewolf-cvrIt’s February, and that means it’s time again for Women in Horror Month, the annual celebration that shines the spotlight on the contributions of all the female creators—writers, artists, movie directors, producers, special makeup artists, special effects experts, etc.—who’ve brought thrills and chills to generations of fans around the world. And the Women in Horror Month website is the place to go to find out all about the events scheduled for this year. To quote the organization’s website:

Women in Horror Month (WiHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre.

This inclusive and positive movement is open to everyone, just as we believe the horror genre should be.

CarmillaFor more information, visit the WiHM site.

If you’re looking for a good book to read as part of this celebration, Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, has White Fell—The Werewolf, a late-19th-century tale by author and suffragette Clemence Annie Housman that’s considered possibly the first feminist werewolf story. There’s also J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic vampire love story, Carmilla, the Illustrated Classic that’s available in print and digital formats from SWC, and features great black-and-white illustrations by Eliseu Gouveia, the artist from The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0 and The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1. If you enjoy tales of horror and empowered women, be sure to give them a read!

Monster Hunter Carl Kolchak Celebrates Another Anniversary

McGavin-PflugPanatics who are fans of classic television horror (and really, aren’t we all in some way?) should head over at the StarWarp Concepts blog for today’s special post. That’s where I talk about the 45th anniversary of the 1973 TV movie The Night Strangler, in which downtrodden yet intrepid journalist Carl Kolchak (played by actor Darren McGavin)—the frumpy newspaper reporter who became a reluctant vampire hunter in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the 1972 telefilm The Night Stalker (which I celebrated last year)—finds himself investigating a new series of murders by yet another monster, this time in Seattle, Washington. Accompanied by plucky belly dancer Louise Harper (Jo Ann Pflug, seen pictured here), Kolchak works hard to put an end to the killing and get an exclusive on the story.

The Night Strangler debuted on ABC-TV on January 16, 1973, and remains popular with Kolchak fans to this very day. Not only that, but this creation of author Jeff Rice has influenced legions of fans over the decades, including The X-Files’ Chris Carter, who often stated in interviews about how Kolchak was foremost in his mind when he developed the characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Go over to SWC now and give it a read!

Happy 25th Anniversary, StarWarp Concepts!

Two days in and 2018 is already turning out to be a special year for anniversaries. Yesterday was the 200th “birthday” of the first-edition publication of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel, Frankenstein, and today Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, kicks off its 25th anniversary celebration as an independent publisher!

They’ve got some exciting things lined up this year, so be sure to visit the SWC blog during 2018 to find out the latest news!

Happy 200th Anniversary, Frankenstein!

frankenstein-birthdayCan you believe it? It was 200 years ago this very day in 1818 that a small-press publishing company in London, Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, unleashed a literary monsterpiece upon the world: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus!

Despite a limited first-edition print run (only 500 copies) and no author byline (saying the book was written by a woman would have been a scandal), Frankenstein took the world by storm—so much so that when a second edition was published it was finally “okay” to give Shelley the cover credit she was due. And from that point on, Victor Frankenstein, his monster, and their creator would all achieve immortality, in a way, especially Frankenstein’s Monster, who became a cultural icon still recognized by people around the world—even the ones who’ve never read the book!

So, happy anniversary, Mary Shelley and Dr. Frankenstein, and thanks for the two centuries of monsterish thrills!

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer!

pan_annual_coverHey, horror fans! Looking for a gift that would make a great addition to the small holiday haul you’re placing in a loved one’s Christmas stocking? Then allow me to suggest a full-color comic book starring our resident monster hunter!

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is a spinoff from the novel series, and this 56-page, full-color comic special finds the teenaged Goth adventuress battling vampires and a jealous, man-stealing siren. Behind that striking cover by award-winning artist Henar Torinos (Mala Estrella), it features:

* “Song of the Siren,” written by me, with art and color by Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, Stargate Universe), in which Pan and her boyfriend Javier attend one of his family’s picnics in Central Park, and run into Javi’s ex-girlfriend, Sophia—who turns out to be a mythological siren!

* “After Hours,” written by Sholly Fisch (Scooby-Doo Team-Up) and illustrated by comic-art legend Ernie Colon (Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld). It tells the tale of a most unusual New York City bar—and the demon who walks into it after a hard day on the job.

* And “Shopping Maul,” a short story by me, with title page art and color by Elizabeth Watasin (Charm School), in which Pan and her friends run afoul of a group of Elegant & Gothic Lolita vampires in a shopping maul.

The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1 is available in print and digital formats, so visit its product page over at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.