Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day!

Absolute best moment in "Back to the Future" is when George McFly opens up his box of books. I remember thinking as I watched it in 1985, "I want that." To this day, whenever that box of first copies arrives, I always call it my Back-to-the-Future box.

Except that one time I forgot and accidentally named it after some other 80s movie, and my husband had to tell me, "There's no such thing as a Breakfast-Club box."

Happy Back to the Future Day, everyone!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New York Comic Con 2015 (Part 2)

I had SO MUCH FUN on my panel at New York Comic Con last Thursday!  Best panel topic ever.  It was called "Fantasy Draft League," and we were asked to create an all-star fantasy team that included a wizard, a warrior, a cleric, a thief, and a wildcard, drawn from our favorite books.

The authors drafting teams were Bradley Beaulieu, Zac Brewer, Sarah Beth Durst (me!), and Eleanor Herman; the judges (to decide who created the best team) were Naomi Novik and Sam Sykes; and the moderator was David Pomerico from Harper Voyager.

Here's who I picked:

1. Cleric

So when I first started to think about this panel, I sat down and whipped out a list of the best wizard, warrior, thief, etc... and then I looked at what I'd written and realized that every character was from a David Eddings novel.

There are two reasons for this: one is that I adore all those books.  Between the ages of ten and twenty, my mom and I reread the Belgariad so many times that we wore out three sets of paperbacks.  After that, the Elenium and the Tamuli have become my comfort food reading.

But the second and more important reason is that David Eddings's characters are the best of the best.  The best warrior in the world.  The best thief of his generation.  The best wizard ever.  He doesn't tell the story of the unlikely hero.  His heroes are VERY likely.  He picks the most competent people as his protagonists... and pits them against the biggest bads imaginable.

So for my cleric, I chose one of the strongest Eddings characters out there: Sephrenia, the High Priestess of Aphrael.

Sephrenia is the most powerful sorceress ever.  There's no spell she can't do, and she will do it better than anyone else around.  She is also accompanied by Aphrael, the childlike goddess who can manipulate time and persuade anyone, including other gods, to assist her.  In short, with her, I pretty much don't even need anyone else.

2. Wizard

I toyed with choosing a classical wizard: Gandalf, Merlin, Allanon...  But I've already got the spell-casting kind of magic covered with Sephrenia, plus Gandalf and Allanon are overbooked.  They'd probably flit off mid-quest to go defeat an evil demon-possessed druid or something.  And Merlin has way too much emotional baggage, with all that happened in Camelot.

So for my wizard, I picked someone with an entirely different magic: wild magic.  Daine, from the Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce.

Daine has animal magic.  She can talk to any animal, transform into any animal, and adopt any animal attribute (like bat hearing).  I know that doesn't sound all that impressive when you say it like that, but hear me out...  Daine isn't limited by distance or quantity.  She can summon any number of animals over any distance.  Imagine you're in a city and every rat, every pigeon, every pampered pup decided to attack you at once.  You won't be having a very good day.  Now imagine you're out on a quest in the woods...  Yeah, Daine is awesome.

She also has the bow skills of Katniss Everdeen.

3. Thief

I wanted to choose Silk from the Belgariad by David Eddings, but I'd already chosen Sephrenia and the rules said no repeat authors.  (True story: in sixth grade, I had to write an essay on "the person I admire the most," and I picked Silk.  I have no idea what my teacher thought of this choice.)

Anyway, I next thought about choosing Locke Lamora from the Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.  Locke Lamora is the quintessential thief.  But he also gets beat up a lot, so I thought that maybe he's not actually that good at his job...

So I decided to go with Kelsier, from Mistborn the Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.  Kelsier is an excellent thief, plus he's also a kind of sorcerer called an Allomancer, which means he uses metal to perform magic.  Kind of like Magneto with a few extra bells and whistles.

He is also an excellent crew leader with great vision and the ability to unite a team.  Very useful when dealing with a set of strong characters from different backgrounds.

4. Warrior

For my warrior, I looked to urban fantasy.  I love urban fantasy, and it is full of lots of powerful warriors.  UF warriors typically start out at a high level of competence -- they're already a mercenary or a detective or something -- and the structure of their plot takes them from not-so-powerful to powerful over the course of each novel... which means if their series lasts long enough, they become VERY powerful.

One of my favorites is Kate Daniels, from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.  She's awesome.  She lives in a version of Atlanta where sometimes magic works (and technology doesn't) and sometimes technology works (and magic doesn't).  She's an incredible fighter, especially with a sword, plus she has the ability to use power words (very effective magic spells) and can turn her blood into impenetrable armor.

She also rides a donkey named Cuddles and is engaged to a were-lion.

5. Wildcard

I was torn about who to pick for my wildcard.  I was tempted to go with a dragon, like Temeraine from Naomi Novik's Temeraine series or Ramoth from Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey or Falcor the Luck Dragon from the Neverending Story by Michael Ende, because I've always wanted a dragon.  But instead I picked:


The lion.

He roared the universe into existence.

You really can't beat Aslan.

So that's my team!  What do you think?  Who would you pick?

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Monday, October 12, 2015

New York Comic Con 2015 (Part 1)

I was one of the guest authors at NY Comic Con this year.  If you've never been to Comic Con, here's what you need to know:

They have battle pigs.

And lots of Lego minifigures.

And Ghostbusters, to keep you safe on the off chance that the battle pigs and the Lego minifigures become possessed by angry ghosts and attack.

The best part about the above photo was that as I was passing, the Ghostbuster was explaining to the cops how all his ghost busting equipment worked, presumably trying to recruit them.  The cops looked interested.

I also took this shot of a man dressed as every character every played by Johnny Depp all at once:

And here is Voldemort, hailing a taxi:

I don't know whether a taxi stopped for him, but when I looked back, he was gone.

I had such a fantastic time at Comic Con!  Saw and met so many great people, plus I was on one of the best panels I've ever been on.  It was called Fantasy Draft League, and in it, each panelist had to choose a warrior, wizard, thief, cleric, and wildcard character to make up the most awesome fantasy quest team ever.  So much fun.  I'll write about it more in my next blog post. 

Here are photos of me and my fellow panelists (from left to right in the top photo: Naomi Novik, Sam Sykes,
Bradley Beaulieu, Zac Brewer, Sarah Beth Durst, Eleanor Herman, and David Pomerico) at the panel and at our autographing:

And lastly, here's the Empire State Building, looking lovely in pink:

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

NYCC 2015 Schedule

New York Comic Con is just two days away!!!  Woohoo!!!  I'm going, so if you're going, please stop by to see me -- I'd love to say hi! 

I will be on a panel at NYCC on Thursday (Oct 8th), followed by an autographing.  Here are the details, including the official description:

Fantasy Draft League
Thursday, October 8
4:15 pm - 5:15 pm
Room 1B03

It's like Fantasy Football but for SFF lit Fans! Four Authors (Eleanor Herman, Zac Brewer, Sarah Beth Durst and Bradley Beaulieu) draft an "all-star" fantasy team choosing characters from their favorite books: one wizard; one warrior; one cleric; one thief/rogue; one wildcard. They battle it out to see who can create the ultimate fantasy line-up! Draftmaster David Pomerico will set the ground rules and two judges (Sam Sykes and Naomi Novik) will offer commentary after each round and vote on which fantasy fiction league will take the crown. Before they announce their deliberations, the audience will weigh in as well. Let's get ready to rumble!

The autographing will be from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm at WORD Bookstore 1-B (in Javits Convention Center).  I'll be giving away and signing ARCs of my upcoming book THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM.

I'm so excited for this panel!  Isn't it such an awesome topic?  I think it's my favorite panel topic ever.  I've been completely obsessing over it.  Made at least five different teams already...

Hope to see you there!

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