Comicpalooza is a comic convention in Houston. It was held over Memorial Day weekend and I decided to go this year. It was my first con like this and it was a bit overwhelming. The program is 64 pages! I blogged about the non-bookish stuff I saw at the con on my personal blog, so I’m only going to post the bookish related stuff. Feel free to read the rest on my personal blog’s post. 🙂
I went to a lot of bookish panels and met a bunch of authors. These authors were also signing during the day, but there were other cool panels going on and I just didn’t have time to go see everyone and do everything! But I guess its a good thing so I didn’t end up spending money on tons of books.
The first panel I went to was YA Paranormal Panel, with Joy Preble, C.C. Hunter, Mary Lindsey, Sophie Jordan, Krissi Dallas, and J.D. Faver. All are Texan authors, most are Houston area, so yay! They talked a lot about why they write in this genre and some of their answers were pretty funny and some rang true about why I love to read this genre. C.C. Hunter said her agent got her started writing YA paranormal, but told her not to write about witches. She likes the genre because “any crap can happen” and it gives her the freedom in writing anything to do with magic. Krissi Dallas enjoys getting lost in the fantasy worlds and says “world building is definitely fun” because the magic still has to have a set of rules. Sophie Jordan told us an interesting story that she actually started out in paranormal trying to write a zombie novel, but her agent didn’t know how to market it. She was apparently ahead of the curve on that. J.D. Faver told us her characters tell her what to do. She said “the book writes you” and the books that wanted to be written have been paranormal. Joy Prebble started out writing fan fiction for Star Trek and has always loved genre fiction. She also said everything she learned about storytelling was from Buffy 🙂 She’s right, Joss Whedon is an amazing storyteller. She also loves the idea of “least likely heroes”. She also mentioned that many YA paranormal books have “characters whose limits are going to be stretched and moral compasses challenged”. Mary Lindsey said she never wanted to be a writer, in fact it was the last thing on her list of possible occupations. But her daughter was complaining about the books she read so she said “why don’t I write one for you” and was held to that promise.
The coolest thing happened at this panel. I met Mary Lindsey at the Teen Book Con last month, and it was so crowded when the signing first started that I didn’t get a photo with her. Well, I went up to her before the panel started and she not only remembered me, she GAVE ME A HUG! OMG! Way too exciting. And took a photo with me 🙂 Her next book is releasing at the end of June so I hope to make it to the signing at a local indie bookstore.
The next book panel I went to was called Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies, Oh My! with Benjamin Percy, Joe Landsale, Rachel Caine, and Dicey Grenor. They talked a lot about the horror genre and had some interesting things to say about it. Rachel Caine said her readers trust her to take them to a scary place and bring them back. She said the timing was right when she started her Morganville vampires series and that was when everyone was starting to get into the genre. Benjamin Percy, who by the way has this super awesome deep voice and is the narrator on his audiobook for Red Moon, said that “the extraordinary must be normalized by the establishment of believable stage and characters”. He writes about lycans and said that werewolves are a “battle between the ego and id” and that horror tends to channel cultural unease. He brought up the classic Frankenstein as an example. He also said that people enjoy reading horror because “the end of the world has never been more popular because the end of the world has never been more possible”. He writes about what scares us – in his book he deals with topics of infection and terrorism. Joe Landsale says he only picks “stuff that makes me g-d miserable” and writes as if everyone he knows is dead, so basically, for himself. He also said that if you don’t read you can’t be a writer, so see kids, reading is important. They all said that research is important because the story has to sound real and the characters need to have credibility. Dicey Grenor is an indie author who led the panel and had the other three do most of the talking, but she did say that she writes her vampires in situations that are not usually done in other novels. For example, one of her vamps has narcolepsy.
The next panel I attended was called Writing the Apocalypse: Why We Hate the World. Benjamin Percy was on this panel as well, and so were Jason Kristopher and Shannon Winton. Jason Kristopher said the reason apocalyptic books are scary is “because it is possible” and “the biggest question is what if”. Benjamin Percy added that you need to balance hope and despair in any narrative. Jason Kristopher said that really good stories have an identifiable monster, for example “we can relate to zombies because they used to be us”. I asked a question (omg!) about how the dystopia genre plays into this and Benjamin Percy said dystopia deals with people, the “haves and the have-nots”. Shannon Winton mentioned it shows “what humans will do to each other”. The authors also mentioned that apocalypse stories have moved away from mythology and religion and are now more science-based.
I also attended a panel called Vampires and Shifters: Why Do We love Them? with Nina Bangs, Gerry Bartlett, Lynn Lorenz, Z.A. Maxfield, Heather Long, Missy Jane, and Sophie Jordan. I mentioned in one of my first posts on this blog about meeting 4 of these authors in one of my book clubs – they attended our meetings! The Creatures of Nyght book club had Nina Bangs, Gerry Bartlett, and Missy Jane attend our meetings. The Northwest Houston book club had a special meet and greet with Sophie Jordan. Yay for local Houston authors. Sophie Jordan loves her dragon shifters because she fell in love with creating the world. Nina Bangs said that “vampires are the ultimate bad boys”, they are the alpha hero, are sensual and secretive. She said the right heroine “sees the beauty and goodness” in the were-beast. Gerry Bartlett enjoys that these stories have a different set of rules. For example her vamps long for the days when they could be out in the sun, which gives them emotional baggage but also their age gives them wisdom and wealth. Z.A. Maxfield doesn’t write shifters because she “can’t imagine wet dog fur being sexy” and that she gets to write her own rules for her vampires, for example they have physiological problems with the lack of blood flow in their (un)dead bodies. Lynn Lorenz loves putting supernatural creatures in our normal world and dealing with the struggles of them staying hidden while still being part of society. Heather Long said that shifters are the “dichotomy of man against himself” and talked about psychology. She also said that “if you can think it up and make it work, you can write it” and that is why paranormal and fantasy is great. Missy Jane mentioned that she writes these creatures because she reads them.
I really enjoyed the Comicpalooza con, and I hope to attend more cons like this in the future. I didn’t write about absolutely everything because this post would be super long, so I tried to give the highlights of the bookish parts of my day. I hope you enjoyed my summary 🙂