THE DEMON WITHIN is out in the world!

12440582_1142019295828403_6884585387248212538_o

One happy customer. Photo courtesy of Bernie Goltermann.

 

The Demon Within is seriously, for reals, out in the world now.

The official release date is April 6, but Amazon has “soft released” the book–meaning, basically, that they have started shipping the books early. I don’t know whether Barnes and Noble or any other book retailers have done the same, but Amazon is, for sure, shipping.

12920414_10208961824543971_325353008529523798_n

This copy is on its way to Florida for vacation. My book is barely out, and it already gets to take a vacation! Photo courtesy of Allie Berg.

 

The e-book version is not out yet, nor is it available for preorder. The preorder links should be up any day now–but I suspect you won’t be able to download it until April 6.

Nonetheless, the book seems to be doing quite well on Amazon so far…

Screenshot 2016-03-26 19.31.23

Just for context: there are, according to this Quora post, over 1.8 million books for sale on Amazon. And that sounds about right, because I’ve definitely seen those ranking numbers, in the months that Demon Within has been available for pre-order, over the 1 million mark. So for a book that is not yet “officially” released and still doesn’t have an e-book version…I am pleased.

Some friends, family members, and even acquaintances have asked what they can do to help out. The big things are:

  1. Buy the book.
  2. Leave reviews on sites like Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc., or your own personal blog.
  3. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can certainly chat the book up with your local bookstore or donate a copy to your local library. (I say “really ambitious” because I am a huge introvert and this is the thing on the list I’d have the hardest time doing. It’s even worse because it’s my own book.)
  4. If you have any friends who might like the book, talk to them about it, too–or even buy them a copy.

And of course, don’t feel obligated to do any of these things.

So yes…I am a really for real author now! And now I’m going to go eat pizza and watch some Netflix to celebrate, because I’m living the good life!

(No sarcasm there. With my fiancé out of town for Easter, a night of pizza and Netflix does sound just about perfect. Yes, I’m a recluse. But I’m okay with that.)

Wizard World Wrap-Up

I had an amazing time at Wizard World Comic Con in Las Vegas this past weekend.

I spend most of the convention at the California Coldblood Books booth, where I was signing copies of The Demon Within.

12795052_10207632807191163_4813128790918041458_o (1)

Yes, this is really me. And yes, I am really signing my book.

Yes, you heard that right.

It’s been nearly six years since I started my first draft of The Demon Within, and now it’s out in the wild—unofficially. Although official release won’t be until April 6, attendees of the conference were able to get some early, signed copies. I also have confirmation that Amazon started shipping copies earlier this week, some of which have already arrived. (Not sure about Barnes and Noble or other online sites.)

But the first copies went out into the world at Wizard World last weekend. For those of you who bought copies—thank you, and I hope you enjoy!

I was able to sign most of them, I think, but I know a few of you came to the booth while I wasn’t there. If you’d like, e-mail me (my contact info is available here) and we’ll figure out the best way to get the book signed and personalized for you.

While I was there, I got to spend time with Robert Peterson, editor extraordinaire and the author of The Odds. He had preview copies of Omegaball, a young adult futuristic sci-fi about a disabled young woman who is a superstar in the vicious sport Omegaball on the Darknet (a virtual reality), and has to decide whether she wants to live in the real world or spend the rest of her life inside the Darknet. I haven’t had a chance to read it since Bob’s latest round of revisions, but I can tell you from seeing the preview copies this weekend that it looks and sounds amazing.

I also got a chance to meet Adam Korenman for the first time, the author of When the Stars Fade, a military sci-fi novel set in outer space. He was just amazingly cool, and we got to commiserate about our respective revision processes (and troubles thereabouts). I got a signed copy of his book before I left for the weekend, which my fiancé—who was practically salivating when he heard the book description—now has stashed in the TBR pile on his nightstand.

1493362_10207633098998458_3034795754885792943_o (1)

Bob, Adam, and me during a rush at the CCB booth.

I also participated in two panels. The first, the “Spoilerific Force Awakens” panel on Saturday, was moderated by Bob; Adam, Jessica Tseang, and I were the panelists. Jessica is a comic book historian and the founder of Little Geek Girl, which targets young girls under the age of 12 and helps them pursue their “geeky” interests. This was the first time I’d met Jessica, and she was an incredibly knowledgeable, articulate panelist—not to mention incredibly friendly. It was my first panel, ever, but she immediately put me at ease.

…And then we spent 45 minutes talking about The Force Awakens. The main thing that we learned is that 45 minutes is not enough time to talk about The Force Awakens.

On Sunday, I moderated a panel called “The Women of ‘Doctor Who.’” Yes, indeed, I did go from losing my “panel virginity” one day, to moderating the next. It was…pretty friggin’ terrifying, actually. I’m good in front of an audience. I did theater and public speaking competitions, including impromptu speaking, growing up, and my day job now requires me to stand in front of an audience all the time. But I still get butterflies in my stomach at the thought of going up in front of people and not knowing what I’m going to say. I get through it. But the anticipatory jitters are still a bitch.

But I got through it, and it was an amazing experience. Adam and Jessica were panelists again. The panel also included Dr. Travis Langley, the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight and the editor of the upcoming Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman With a Box; and Dr. Janina Scarlet, a psychologist who runs Superhero Therapy, which is devoted to incorporating characters from pop culture into evidence-based therapy. Janina is also a contributor to Doctor Who Psychology.

980780_10207642588595692_3944047688920456789_o

The “Women of ‘Doctor Who'” panel (L to R): Jessica Tseang, me, Travis Langley, Janina Scarlet, Adam Korenman.

 

I was moderating a “Doctor Who” panel with the people who literally wrote the book on “Doctor Who.” I was seriously outclassed.

All in all, it was a great panel. I could talk about “Doctor Who” forever, and the audience was enthusiastic and had some great questions. I was surprised, and pleased, to get such a great turnout on a Sunday, which is usually the sleepiest day of conventions. Once again, 45 minutes wasn’t nearly enough time, and I feel bad that I had to rush both the panelists and the audience during the Q&A portion. Several audience members came back to speak to me at the CCB booth afterwards, which was great. (I also may have lost track of time late Sunday afternoon at Travis and Janina’s booth, with several of the attendees, having a conversations about the merits—or lack thereof—of Clara Oswald as a character. This is what happens when you put too many “Who” fans into a room together.)

It was a great conference, and I’m only sorry it’s over.

Release Date News & Wizard World Vegas

DemonWithin Cover

A couple of big things to report tonight.

The release date of The Demon Within has been moved up one week. The book will now come out on April 5, 2016. That means that those of you that preordered the book should now be getting a package in your mailbox one week sooner than expected, and that I will officially be a published book author one week sooner than expected. I should be excited, but mostly I’m too busy being terrified right now.

But hey, you might not even have to wait until April 5 to get your book, because I will be appearing at Wizard World Comic-Con in Las Vegas this weekend, and I’ll be signing copies of the book there. I will also be appearing on two panels. This is what my schedule looks like:

Saturday, March 19

12:00-12:45: Spoilerific Star Wars Panel (with my fellow California Coldblood author Adam Korenman and author/editor extraordinaire Robert J. Peterson), room N114

Sunday, March 20

12:00-12:45: The Women of ‘Doctor Who’ Panel (with Jessica Tseang), room N112

1:00-3:00: The Demon Within book signing, not sure of location yet.

I won’t be the only California Coldblood author doing signings during the weekend. Adam Korenman will be signing his novel, When the Stars Fade, on Saturday from 1:00-3:00, and Robert Peterson will be signing his novel The Odds all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

All of us will likely also be spending a lot of time in the California Coldblood Books booth, #539, throughout the weekend.

So please show up and say hello! I would love to meet you.

 

“Lucifer” Needs to Embrace the Supernatural

lucifer

Given that I am the author of an urban fantasy series that casts a demon as its heroine, and the angels as the bad guys, it makes sense that I was crazy excited about the new Fox series “Lucifer.”

Note: I’ve heard the Neil Gaiman/Sandman comics referenced a lot when talking about this show–specifically how much the show has digressed from the source material. I’m not familiar with the comics–oversight on my part, I know–so I’m going to focus exclusively on the show, and how I think it could improve.

The premise is simple: Lucifer Moringstar (Tom Ellis), the devil himself, has gotten burned-out (no pun intended…okay, maybe a little pun intended) on the whole Hell thing. So he quits, moves to Los Angeles, and becomes a club owner. He ends up, through unbelievably contrived circumstances that I won’t bother to get into here, working as a civilian consultant for the LAPD, partnering with Chloe Decker (Lauren German), a former actress turned outcast detective.

The show’s got a charismatic leading man, oodles of sexual tension, plenty of humor, and a murder of the week. Problem is, I’ve seen this show before. It’s called “Castle.”

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love “Castle.” It’s one of my go-to comfort food shows, when I want to sit back and relax and not think about anything. But the “Castle”-like aspects of “Lucifer” are the show’s weakest. For some reason, the powers-that-be have decided to take a supernatural fantasy and try to shove it into a cop procedural. And, not surprisingly, it’s not working.

My thought is this: “Lucifer” needs to move away from the cop show device and embrace its supernatural side.

Last week’s episode was the best of the series, so far, because the murder of the week was more of an afterthought. A security guard at a self-storage company is killed, and a container is stolen–a container belonging to none other than Lucifer himself.

Lucifer won’t reveal the contents of the container to Chloe–who doesn’t believe Lucifer is who he says he is–and she struggles with her attraction, her urge to trust him, and her rational mind telling her she shouldn’t. Lauren German has always felt like the weakest link in the cast to me. As Chloe, her range of emotions seems limited to “mildly irritated” and “I just smelled a fart.” But after last week, I’m wondering if she just hasn’t been given good enough material to work with, because Chloe’s struggle between belief and disbelief added some nuances to the character that I hadn’t seen before. She’s still my least favorite part of the cast, but hopefully we’ll be seeing some development of the character soon.

We also got to see Amenadiel flirt with  Lucifer’s therapist, Linda (Rachel Harris, making the best of a thankless role), trying to covertly worm his way into Lucifer’s head to get him to return to Hell. In the last couple of episodes, Amenadiel has gone from being a one-note character to someone I want to see more of, and I give most of the credit here to D.B. Woodside, who you may remember as Principal Wood in season 7 of “Buffy,” among other things. We know his flirtation with Linda is fake and calculated. But as Amenadiel has acted more human, he’s felt more human to me. And I want more of this. Is it all an act, or is Earth beginning to wear down the self-righteous angel, too.

But Lucifer is at its best when its squarely on the shoulders of its star, Tom Ellis. And in last week’s episode, we got to see him pivot from apathy to rage to joy to despair. And he was brilliant. The more the show focuses on Lucifer’s struggle between his King of Hell side and his emerging mortal conscience, the better it is. We’re also starting to get some hints about Lucifer’s backstory, about how God’s favorite son was exhiled to Hell.

And I love to see Lucifer’s conflict about his own role in the heavenly saga. He continually affirms that humans make their own choices to do good or evil, that he doesn’t influence them as often believed. He says he left Hell because he was tired of punishing people all the time, yet he seems to enjoy punishing the guilty. At the same time, he’s capable of showing mercy and restraint. It’s an interesting conflict, and I want to delve much, much deeper into this character than we have so far. Ellis is great when he’s playing arrogant, cocksure Lucifer, but I think he’s better when he’s playing enraged, despairing Lucifer.

And this is the interesting stuff, what I’m really tuning in to see. I don’t care about the murder of the week. If I wanted that, there are sixteen versions of “Law and Order” running in perpetuity on TNT. (Plus the aforementioned “Castle.”) But supernatural intrigue? An angel who may be playacting human a little too well? The burned-out King of Hell developing a conscience? That’s what I want to see!

(Not to mention that Amenadiel keeps warning Lucifer that bad things will happen if he doesn’t return to Hell. Lucifer has apparently been in Los Angeles long enough to be a fixture there. And so far…no bad things. No wonder Lucifer is having trouble taking Amenadiel seriously–so am I! If there genuinely are consequences to Lucifer’s abandonment of his post, we need to see them. Maybe this is the long game the writers are playing? Maybe this is end-of-season stuff? Either way, we need something that make Amenadiel’s warnings seem less like empty threats–not to mention that it will add higher stakes to the drama.)

“Lucifer” still seems to be coming into its own–like I said, last week’s episode was great, and this week looks like a continuation of that–but I hope, in doing so, it’ll jettison the cop show premise altogether. It’s just not necessary. Instead, “Lucifer” needs to embrace its supernatural side and let Lucifer really delve into his inner conflict: to reign in Hell or run a trendy nightclub on Earth. And it also needs to up the stakes, big time.

“Lucifer” is still a show worth watching…but it could be so much better.