Thursday, January 1, 2009

Review – “Unusual Suspects” Edited by Dana Stabenow

Great review of the 'Unusual Suspect' Anthology by SciFiGuy

Unusual Suspects is a delightful collection of stories, some traditional fantasy, some urban fantasy and even a science fiction tale, all with a central mystery needing to be solved. Needless to say the central characters are not your traditional detectives. Having read many mysteries over the years, I always try to decipher who the villain is before the author reveals him/her/it. And darn it if I wasn’t 0 for 12 in this collection. Not much of a detective I guess. Many of the authors are new to me and many are familiar from their urban fantasy/fantasy appearances. Here is a quick take on the stories presented.

  1. Lucky by Charlaine Harris
    A Sookie Stackhouse story where Sookie and Amelia investigate a mysterious break-in at Sookie’s insurance agents office. This one is all about luck. For those keeping track, it occurs about a month after the events of Definitely Dead (Book 6). Charming as always but not a standout.
Read it all here

New from Charlaine's blog....

Charlaine posted a blog entry today..

This year will see the publication of DEAD AND GONE, an occasionally grim, but very exciting, entry in the Sookie Stackhouse chronicles. The next Sookie will be lighter -- at least, that’s my plan.

My publisher is hoping to get the Sookie Companion book off the ground this year, though the publication date has yet to be finalized, and the collection of novellas called MUST LOVE HELLHOUNDS will be released in the summer.. ...In “True Blood” news, we’re all hoping that the Golden Globe nominations pay off in wins. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks. Maybe those will pave the way for Emmy nominations for the fantastic cast, crew, and production staff. The DVD of Season One will be out in May, and Season Two will begin in June on HBO. I’m waiting with as much anticipation as any of you, and I know a lot of surprises are in store.

Read it all here

The author of Living Dead in Dallas comes to Houston, where the living ain’t dead (at least not that we know of)

By Olivia Flores Alvarez- Houston press

Charlaine Harris, the woman behind HBO’s True Blood, the megahit vampire series, is making just one appearance for the reissue of Living Dead in Dallas, and it’s here in Houston. The author of the Sookie Stackhouse books has, along with a few cohorts like Stephenie Meyer and Houston’s own Dean James, made fangers both cool and funny. She’ll discuss her popular 2002 title, now released in hardback for the first time, at today’s edition of the An Evening with… author series.

Living Dead in Dallas features everyone’s favorite telepathic cocktail waitress, Sookie, and her vampire boyfriend Bill, who are living (well, technically only Sookie is) in a backwater Louisiana town. Sookie’s hit a bit of a rough patch. Her friend has been killed, but nobody seems too interested in solving the murder. Sookie and Bill owe the local vampire sheriff a few favors, so she agrees to be their psychic snitch and go to Dallas to help them find a lost member of their crew (yes, vampires roll like that). But before Sookie and Bill can get out of town, she has a much too close encounter with a monstrous creature that poisons her. Vampires come to her rescue — kinda. They suck the poison out of her (though we’re pretty sure they take a few extra licks while they do). Finally, the unlikely lovers set off to Big D, with Bill riding in a coffin in the cargo compartment. Once they land, well, things just get worse.

If you usually aren’t into fangers and the undead, check Harris out. What sets her apart from the gazillion other vampire novelists out there is her humor. She’s created a world where vampires are trying to mainstream and pretty girls fall in love with dead men, to no one’s real surprise. At its essence, that’s a horror story, yes, but it’s horror with a sense of down-home humor. (When her friends think Bill has gotten Sookie pregnant, they wonder how she’s going to breastfeed a baby with fangs.)

After 25 years in the writing business, Harris knows her stuff, and she’s got The New York Times best-seller numbers to prove it. She’ll talk about Living Dead in Dallas, the launch of True Blood and how she created Sookie. Just don’t expect her to give away any secrets. You’ll have to buy Sookie novel No. 9, Dead and Gone, in May to find out what happens next. 7 p.m. Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney. For information, call 832-393-1313 or visit Free.
Tue., Jan. 6, 7 p.m., 2009

Trueblood: Internet Marketing Story of the Year

vote vote results

Our readers have spoken, and they declared Marketingshift's top story of 2008: HBO's extreme marketing of Trueblood.

Jason Dowdell wrote the first Trueblood plost after he received an unusual package containing a vile full of red liquid along with a small card with Japanese writing on it and a url. Eventually, Jason realized it was HBO's creative media pack to promote the new series, Trueblood.

Before we knew it, readers were hooked on the HBO hit series about modern vampires. Four months after the post, we still receive comments on a daily basis, which is why it comes as no surprise that Trueblood received 41% of the total votes out of 10 stories. It was followed by Amazon's holiday sales record, which received 25% of the vote. In third place, there was a tie between the controversy and our post about slower traffic for eBay and Best Buy during holiday sales. They each received 16.7% of the vote.

We're glad you voted and enjoyed the crazy ride known as 2008 with us. We can't wait to see the amazing developments in 2009


Quiz: New Year's Day True Blood Quiz from Loving True Blood in Dallas

send me your hardest question and ill make another one soon

Happy True Blood New Year

To everyone from my good friend Darkbeauty73.

Best Fantasy Book : Dead Until Dark

Thanks to Best Fantasy for this

Because the HBO series, True Blood, was so incredibly popular with my readers and since the first season is based on Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris’ first fantasy book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, I think it makes sense to review that book so you can compare it to the series.
In Dead Until Dark we’re first introduced to Sookie Stackhouse, the plucky, sometimes outspoken waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana. We learn early on that Sookie has a gift: she can read the minds of others. Although this might sound like a cool thing to do we discover that it’s sometimes more of a curse than a blessing. Imagine being able to hear the thoughts of several people at once. It’s a gift that could turn someone mad if not properly controlled. Thus, Sookie works hard to block out the thoughts of others and only occasionally looks into someone’s mind.

Enter Bill Compton.
A few years prior, vampires came out of the closet to the world and announced their existence. Since then they’ve worked hard to convince humans that they can exist without resorting to violence. A Japanese company even developed a synthetic blood product called True Blood which “mainstreaming” vampires (those that choose to co-exist with humans) consume in order to maintain their strength. Being a small town, Bon Temps had never experienced vampires. Until now. You see, Bill Compton is a vampire.

What draws Sookie to Bill is that she can’t read his mind. Yup, when she’s around him she hears nothing but silence. To someone like Sookie this is fantastic. She can let down her mental guard and just be herself. The attraction soon leads to a more serious relationship which allows Charlaine Harris to provide social commentary on prejudice, racism, and intolerance for cultural differences.

The supporting characters in the book help flesh out the story and provide insight into the Bon Temps community: First up is Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s boss and the owner of Merlotte’s, the bar where Sookie works. Sam is a great guy who happens to have a crush on Sookie. Sam has a secret that, during the course of the book, Sookie discovers. I won’t reveal it here for those that haven’t read the book or watched True Blood. Suffice it to say, it illustrates to Sookie that her world is inhabited by more supernatural creatures than just vampires.
Sookie’s brother, Jason Stackhouse, is a fun-loving womanizer who doesn’t really spend much time with his sister. Jason’s conquests are primarily spoken of, not shown, unlike what we see in the True Blood series.

Eric Northman is Bill’s boss and the vampire owner of a bar called Fangtasis, located in Shreveport. Here’s Charlaine Harris’ description of Eric from the book:
“the vampire was handsome, in fact he was radiant. Blond and blue-eyed, tall and broad shouldered.”

In Dead Until Dark, Eric asks Sookie to use her mind reading talent to determine the identity of the person that’s stealing from him at Fangtasia.
Sookie agrees and is successful in identifying the thief, but is almost killed in the process. Note: Eric is my favorite character in the series.

Other characters with more minor roles are Lafayette Reynolds, the gay, wise-cracking African American cook at Merlotte’s; Arlene Fowler, a waitress at Merlotte’s who makes unwise choices when it comes to men; Rene Lenier, Arlene’s latest boyfriend and fiance; Terry Bellefluer, another cook at Merlotte’s who’s been mentally damaged by the war; Andy Bellefluer, Terry’s cousin who’s also the local detective; and Pam, a female vampire who helps Eric run Fangtasia.
This urban fantasy book primarily focuses on Sookie and Bill’s developing relationship but the backdrop to their story involves a recent string of murders in which several local women are being brutally killed. These women have two things in common: they’re former “fangbangers” who had intimate relations with vampires and they’re former girlfriends of Jason. Because of the latter, Jason eventually moves from being a “person of interest” status to being the prime suspect. When he gets arrested Sookie takes it upon herself to prove his innocence by reading the minds of the people that frequent Merlotte’s.

During the course of the book we learn that Bill is a kind and caring individual who, unlike many other vampires, hasn’t totally lost his humanity. He and Sookie make a great couple because both of them have strong southern manners and treat one another with respect. Charlaine Harris does a great job developing the central characters in this book and therefore, Sookie and Bill’s relationship is entirely believable.

This book is well written and highly recommended by me. The dialogue has a natural flow to it, the story moves along at a steady pace, the suspense leading up to the climax (which reveals the identity of the killer) After reading a book there are several questions I ask myself when determining whether a fantasy book is worth recommending:

Character Development: are the characters and their relationships believable? Do I care about the outcome of the main characters?
World Building: can I envision the environment in which the story takes place? Even though this is a fantasy book, is the setting believable?
Pacing: are there arcs within the story that keep the book interesting?
Climax: was I surprised at the solution to the main mystery in the book? Was it suspenseful?
Overall: do I want to read more about the characters in future books?
If most of my answers are Yes the book is usually worth reading. I’m happy to report that I answered Yes to all of the questions above. Folks, I read a LOT of vampire and fantasy books; most of them never get a written review from me because their execution of many of the elements outlined above is poor. However this fantasy book excels in all areas. When I first read this book I immediately purchased the next book in the series. I’ve since purchased all of Charlaine Harris’ fantasy books and eagerly await the 9th book, Dead and Gone, which will be released in May 2009. Dead Until Dark gets two thumbs up from me.
Note: the entire first season of True Blood (based on Dead Until Dark) will be released on DVD on May 12, 2009.

read more here :

True Blood New Year's Resolutions

I will listen to Terry Bellefleur more closely and often.

I will not leave Jason a copy of the Joy of Sex because he may never leave his house again.

I will not sneak into Sam Merlotte's trailer and wrap a flea collar around his neck while he sleeps.

I will not toilet paper the trees in front of Bill Compton’s house on Halloween.

I will not send Eric Northman a Minnesota Vikings jersey.

I will not leave an article on Arlene's doorstep about the dangers of using Red Dye #2.

I will not sign Pam up for Glamour Shots portfolio.

I will stop swearing in front of Sookie.

I will stop blaming the ‘demon’ inside of me for all my mistakes.

I will try something new for lunch besides cheeseburger and coke.

I will run in the woods naked more often.

I will not send Bill a note from Eric that says "Tell Sookie thanks for last night"

When You Become Vampire (sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne")

When You Become Vampire (sung to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne")

Should human memories be forgot
And human loves retire?
Should human values be forgot
When you become Vampire?

You leave your family and your friends
You leave your old life too
Your need to breathe and eat food ends
The sun will char broil you

When you become Vampire, my friend
When you become Vampire
Let's raise a glass of True Blood when
You have become Vampire.

Sing along here is the music

TV's Top Music Moments of 2008

7. The Half of You We Wanted to See
True Blood - Episode 1.06 / "Half of You" - Cat Power
Anna Paquin shows her goodies for the first time, going topless as Sookie while getting some from vampire boyfriend Bill, all to the sounds of Cat Power's "Half of You." The consummation of their relationship (which also involves some double-penetration via fangs) reminds us once again that this HBO vampire series is no Twilight.