Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

The Week of a Thousand Blogs continues

Thursday, October 21st, 2010 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Yeah, I know “three” is a long way from “a thousand’, but with the house in chaos from drywall repairs and painters (who used the WRONG PAINT, so we had industrial fans running in front of open windows all night-grrrrrrr), it sure feels like it. This time it’s my Samhain blog offering a few of my choicer real life tales of the weird. Think of it as a companion piece to the Samhellion freebie scheduled for later in the month. Creeeeeepy. Mwahahahaha!

Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 11:34 am.

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New Year blogging at Samhain Publishing

Friday, January 1st, 2010 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

For reasons beyond human ken, the good folks at Samhain Publishing thought I’d be the perfect person to open the next decade of the company blog. You can read the damage here. One thing you can be sure of, it fits right in with the Cartoon Network’s New Year Looney Tunes marathon. Enjoy!
Wishing everyone the best of the New Year!
Cheers and cyber-confetti,

Posted 7 years, 2 months ago at 5:15 pm.

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DragonCon 2009: First Notes

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Back from DragonCon. I had such a fabulous time I’m way to tired to write coherently about it, but I thought I’d post a few (a very few!) of the highlights as a teaser of things to come–as soon as I finish sorting the 570 photos I took. Until then, this will have to do:

- FINALLY getting to see a panel with James Marsters (with green hair, no less) and Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones in Torchwood).

- Running into an old friend I hadn’t seen in years directly afterwards.

- Hanging with friends like artist/writer Marianne Plumridge and her husband, artist Bob Eggleton, Jana Oliver, Teresa Patterson and my roomie Dorie. Also ran into the old Press Room gang–Star, Leigh, Kelly, Dave & Phyl. (Randi couldn’t make it, but I did talk to her and the new bambino.)

- Dinner with Crissy Brashear (owner and publisher of Samhain Publishing), Jacob Hammer (Samhain’s office manager), Alex Ross (Jacob’s girlfriend) and writers Ally Blue and Rosemary Laurey/Georgia Evans and her husband George at Nikolai’s on the Roof, the extraordinary restaurant on the top of the Hilton. The company was fabulous and the dinner… Well, let me put it this way, the meal started on plates with gilded images of Faberge eggs and ended with the presentation of a single red rose to all the ladies.

- The amazing historical and Steampunk costumes, and dressing up in my own less amazing Steampunk outfit (see Marianne’s great picture of her husband, artist Bob Eggleton). At least the hat, the rose from Nikolai’s, and all of Marianne’s DragonCon pics were splendid. ;-)

- Sitting back-to-back with William Shatner, Kate Mulgrew and Leonard Nimoy at the DragonCon Awards Banquet. (BTW, they’re actually serving meat now–the banquet, I mean, not the stars.)

- The Cruxshadows concert. (Duh!)

- Surviving a four-panel Sunday running from 10 a.m. (after the Cruxshadows concert–ow!) to 11 p.m., after the “sex panel”: “Sex in SF/Fantasy–Too Much or Not Enough?”

- The Lost Boys concert at the Pirate Ball followed by costume watching at the Marriott Starbucks, which has replaced The Perk as the ultimate people-watching destination since the Hyatt has gotten pissy about photos in the lobby.

- Sitting next to Rogue on my last panel, “Under Raven’s Wings: 200 Years of Poe”, listening to three of his dramatic readings, including the awesome “Annabel Lee”, and having him autograph this year’s Cruxshadows single for Bree and me when the panel was done. And day-um, he smelled good. White musk, I think. (Made me wish I’d packed my favorite Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents, but I’ve been afraid ever since my hand lotion triggered Barbara Hambly’s allergies at World Fantasy Con.)

- Drinking 12-year-old Glenlivet single malt in the Green Room at the Hair of the Dog Party (i.e., the clearing of the Green Room after the Dead Dog Party). I didn’t even know they had Glenlivet in the Green Room.

- Getting back home to Greg and the Duz. Gotta recover in time for next year, after all. ;-)

Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 11:42 pm.

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Back in the ER Again

Friday, June 8th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Not me or Mom (fortunately), but

.
It ain’t fair, Just a few days after his first novel, Cyberius III, was published in December 2005, he landed in the hospital. Fast forward eighteen months, his new novel, Poseidon VII, has been released by Samhain with a beautiful cover by Vanessa Hawthorne, (the thumbnail above doesn’t do it justice) and guess what… (sigh) He’s back in the hospital.  Fortunately, it’s a lot less serious than it was last time. Unfortunately, hundakleptisis will probably remain in captivity–er, a patient for at least a week. Which makes it kind of hard to share the book video and excerpts.  Or it would, but I figure there’s no reason why somebody else can’t do the honors on his behalf.  

First, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a link to Poseidon VII‘s very first video (drumroll, please).

Second is a link to the book itself.  The blurb is actually too modest.  This is one of those SF romances that scorches the pixels.  I should know.  I was one of the first beta readers.  And more important (to us genre geeks, anyway) the science and worldbuilding are really cool.  You can get a taste of the worldbuilding in the Samhain excerpt.  I’ll see if I can’t find something a little more combustible for the romance junkies too, but it may take me a while.  You know I’ll get distracted reading.  :-)

Posted 9 years, 9 months ago at 10:12 pm.

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Post RavenCon Hello

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

RavenCon was a wonderful, wonderful con.  Big thanks to Jana Oliver and Tee Morris for letting me play in their sandbox.  Ditto for the con organizers who did such a superb job.  RavenCon is turning into the little con that could, growing from 450 to over 700 attendees in just two years.  Can’t wait to see what they do next year.
It was such a great con I came home with the dreaded Con Crud, so a detailed report–complete with the infamous Strawberry Pic from the equally infamous “Shaken, Not Stirred–Sex in SF & Fantasy Films” panel will have to wait.  But there’s a teaser to be found on the Samhain Blog (it’s my turn today), and as always there are some great articles on the Fantasy & Enchantment Blog.  With regards to the F&E blog, though, start with the second one from the top.  The April 25 writer is just showing off.  ;)

Posted 9 years, 11 months ago at 12:35 am.

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Buttons & Happy Dances

Saturday, March 10th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Isn’t it pretty?  It’s all pink and shiny and it’s mine, Mine, MINE!
Well, actually, it’s Teri’s and mine–for this year, at any rate.  With Nine You Get Vanyr scored an Honorable Mention (#2) in the sf/fantasy book category of Love Romances Ebook Cafe’s 2006 reader’s poll.  I’ve been grinning ever since I heard.
Samhain did well too.  The Cafe’s readers rated it as the year’s best publisher, and Samhain author Bianca D’Arc scored two top prizes: Best ShapeShifter Book and Best Paranormal Author of 2006.  WTG, Bianca!
I will now return you to your regularly scheduled Saturday programming.  I need to go pet my precious.  While I’m at it, I should probably pet my Preditor and Editor button before it starts feeling neglected.  With Nine You Get Vanyr placed second in the sf/fantasy category there too.  I guess the novel has become the Avis of 2006.
Well, I do plan on trying harder.  ;-)

Posted 10 years ago at 12:56 am.

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New Vanyr (sort of)

Sunday, February 25th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

In a fit of temporary insanity, Samhain decided to unlock my cage and let me blog again.  The ostensible purpose was to allow the print authors an opportunity to flog their new paper releases.  I think the boadroom chatter went something like this:
“I hate to say it, but she’s got a point.  We let the ebook authors promo their books with excerpts and stuff on their release date, why not the print authors?”
“Yeah, but that means turning Jean Marie loose again.  Remember what she did the last time.”
(Collective shudder.)
“C’mon, she can’t pull something like that out of her ass every time.  We’ll give her a date a little back in the schedule.  Lead off with folks who know the drill.  They’ll post excerpts and flog their contests.  She’ll be stuck.”
I think they forgot I’ve got 165,000 words to choose excerpts from, not just the 120K that made it to the book.  Mwahahahahaha!
So if you decide to follow the Promo Brick Road to today’s Samhain blog you’ll find some of the scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor.  There’s a little bit of Michael Ryan (the actor who plays Deryk and one of the biggest spears on the Vanyr wall), more on the inspiration for Jagger (Ruth Thompson has a lot to answer for, LOL) and even more of the madness that is Dragon*Con.  And it closes with my favorite never-before seen morning-after scene.  
Enjoy!

Posted 10 years, 1 month ago at 12:21 pm.

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Highlander/Harry Potter/Monty Python Crossover, Anyone?

Friday, January 5th, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

That got your attention.  Mwahahahaha!  
As I mentined a few posts ago, Samhain Publishing has established a blog for its writers.  Through no fault of the editor in charge, I snagged the Twelfth Night slot.  I was thrilled.  Twelfth Night was one of the first of the Bard’s comedies I read as a wee lass.  To escape doing the dishes, I used to hide out in the bathroom of our quarters, my dad’s Army manual on Shakespeare across my knees.  (Yes, Virginia, the Army used to have a manual containing the complete text of Shakespeare’s greatest hits.  It was a kinder, gentler, hell of a lot more erudite time.)  I planned to explore how Shakespeare fed my love of fantasy, how his tropes and heroes remain my models to this day…
Nah, way too soppy.  Besides, who cares?  Well, maybe somebody does, but not enough to justify reading 500-1000 words.
Then I got enchanted by “The Annotated Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” blog that made the rounds on LJ earlier this week.  Laughed so hard I spewed iced tea out of my nose.  Agreed with every one of Chris’s words and howled at his selected pics.  As an opening salvo on a possible blog on good writers gone sloppy, I shared the link with a couple of lists.  The subject looked like a real winner until a couple writers on one of the Samhain lists took extreme umbrage at the comments (not the blog, mind you, the comments!) posted after the blog.  Found the “author bashing” offensive.  Okay…unless I wanted to get into a rant on the difference between libel, slander and making free speech hay with the personal details LKH herself posts on her blog, that was out.
Fortunately, just as Rick and Ilsa always have Paris, I always have fan fiction.  And that crossover I mentioned?  It’s in there.
Now that we’ve got the pimpage out of the way, am I the only person who thinks a Highlander anime movie signals the End of Days?
Hugs and shudders,
Jean Marie

There can be only one–and he has to be Methos, because Methos has the best Kronos flashbacks.

Posted 10 years, 2 months ago at 2:49 am.

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Happy 2007!

Monday, January 1st, 2007 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Wishing everyone, myself included, a much better year than 2006.  May you and your loved ones stay healthy, happy and read lots and lots of good books.
And blogs.  *g*  Don’t forget to check out the Samhain blog, live every day except Sunday…and New Year’s.  LOL  The schedule starts again on Tuesday.  And on Friday, Twelfth Night (trumpet fanfare, please), yours truly will try to come up with something amusing.  
While you’re waiting, you can rev up with some of those good books I was talking about.  Kate Johnson’s “The Twelve Lies of Christmas” is already available for download at My Bookstore and More.  On January 2, yaoi fans can revel in Soul of the Night by Ann Cain and Barbara Sheridan, and on January 16, Ann Vremont’s luscious erotic historical novel Sacred Heart Diaries hits the electronic stands.  Enjoy!

Posted 10 years, 3 months ago at 2:06 am.

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Post DragonCon Posting — With Pics!

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006 | Author: jmward14 | Blog | Comments Off

Finally flopping around on dry land after a total immersion weekend at DragonCon, my favorite summer camp for wayward adults.  And there were a lot of us this year.  *g*

Got to meet LJ friends <quietselkie> (aka Nina Merrill) and <lilithsaintcrow>, and their friend Christina, a super photojournalist.  Roomed with <qnotku>, <hundakleptsis> and Bree (their granddaughter unit).  Hung a little with another wonderful photographer, Milow, whose photos will be form the bulk of Crescent Blues’ 2006 DragonCon feature.  Shared one of my panels with FF&P’s Sue Kearney and another with Samhain author Rosemary Laurey.  Also chatted briefly with FF&P list mates Mary and Marcia.  Didn’t see any other FF&P listies or Samhellions.  Of course, in a stew of around 35,000 wildly partying people, we could’ve just missed each other.
I’ll cover the con in more detail for Crescent Blues <crescentblues.com> in a month or so.  For now, suffice it to say the con was big.  As big as I’ve ever seen it.  Registration lines were around the block in front of the Hyatt mid-day Saturday and Sunday.  People reported four-hour waits for tickets.  Crissy Brashear, Samhain’s publisher managed to get into the back door of the con hotel Saturday afternoon, saw the lines and headed out again.
Although Crissy didn’t make it, the pens, business cards and flyers she sent did–and were much appreciated.  Qnotku spent four of her five Writing Track panels in her Samhain acquisitions editor persona, and interest was high.  Especially after Tor editor <claireeddy> described the Hell of Unsolicited Manuscripts on towering, industrial strength shelving she and her staff have to sift through on a regular basis.  Qnotku ran through all the Samhain business cards and wound up writing her contact info on every one.
In addition to my usual running around and taking pics for the upcoming Crescent Blues feature, I managed to sit on four panels in almost as many personas.  In my Writing Track panels, I either played fledgling Samhain author or crusty Crescent Blues editor. 
The odd panel out was Web Comics, where I was waaaaay out of my depth.  My dh runs his own political cartoon web site <haildubyus.com>, but what do I know from web comics?  So I did what any good little journalist would do.  I appointed myself moderator and asked other people questions.  Seemed to work too.  J.P. (aka Xsarthis), editor of the subculture web site All Zombies Must Die <azmd.net>, didn’t ream me a new one.  Of course, it helped that I’m almost as snarky as he is.  Almost. 
Speaking of the panels though, big thank yous need to go out to Ray Rappaport of the Comics Track and Nancy Knight of the Writing Track.  It’s always a privilege working with the programming tracks at DragonCon.  They frequently surprise you, but they never screw you.  And they’re all volunteers–like everyone else working the con.  Much appreciated, folks!
Since one good turn deserves another, I’m going to interrupt your regularly scheduled con report for a brief plug.  Nancy and photographer David Horton have a new book out, Exposing America: Photographs from August 1, 1864 through July 31, 1866.  During those two years, the U.S. imposed a revenue tax on all photos.  As a result, they now have a philatelic interest as well as historical and photographic.  Beautiful book and an amazing resource.  Check it out at <soundholepublishing.com>.
Back from the break and you’re wondering who the heck I saw and what I did that was INTERESTING.  Geez, Lili and qnotku, hundakleptsis and Xsarthis aren’t enough for you?  Oh, all right.
The Brobdignagian Bards provided random filking in the Press Room Thursday night.  Queen of Comic Fantasy Esther Friesner told fortunes by Hamster-mancy in the Green Room Saturday night.  (Yes, you will have to read Crescent Blues to find out more.  I am that evil.  There will be visuals too.)
The Press Gang invited me to share in their group costuming event Saturday and Sunday, so “Madame Esther” wound up telling the fortune of “Miss Jeannie”, saloon girl.  Of course telling “Miss Jeannie’s” fortune wasn’t nearly as bad as lacing her into the requisite corset.  That dubious honor went to qnotku.  I expect to hear about it for years.  (No jpgs yet.  I’m hoping Milow will send a couple.  Alternately, I may scan one of the Press Room pics.  Bree did a great job with the make-up.)
No, I didn’t get lost in the corset…this time.
Sunday night’s harem girl group was uber popular.  Don’t think I’ve ever been stopped for so many photos–even when I wore The Dress in 2000.  The true fangirl moment of the con happened while I was wearing that outfit too.  I was at the table–with Shannon Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Roc editor Anne Sowards and friends–when Jim Butcher caught his first glimpse of the raw dub of the SciFi Channel show based on his Harry Dresden series.
You never saw anyone so happy in your life.  For Jim, it was Christmas, Fourth of July and Halloween all rolled into one.  I think Ed, one of the other writers at the table whose last name, alas, I never caught, said it best: “January is too long to wait.”

Kevin Sorbo at his solo panel on Friday.  Because qnotku promised to beat me if I didn’t post a photo, bad though it might be.

(From left to right) Derek Ruthven, Lili, vampire expert Michelle Bellanger and bestselling author Susan Sizemore used the Goth Track panel “Vampire: the Eternal Archetype” to discuss the different roles vampires play in fiction–from “Other” to metaphor. 

Tomak Baksik of NetherCraft Statuary created a life-sized Jabba the Hut for the Motor Lobby of the Hyatt.  It quickly became a con landmark–and THE spot to find the con’s many lovely “Slave Leias”.

Qnotku’s granddaughter Bree as a saloon girl.  Believe it or not, she’s only 14 and so pretty qnotku and hundakleptsis have to beat guys away with a stick.    

The panel title was “I Am Woman–Hear Me Roar”, and they did.  Panelists (from left to right): FF&P member Sue Kearney, Susan Goggins, Samhain author Rosemary Laurey, Writers Track chair Nancy Knight, Deb Dixon, Ace & Roc editor Anne Sowards, and Eric Griffin.

Milow (left) and Peggy Mitchell pause for a moment’s reflection in a Saturday evening Writers Track panel.

The old saloon never looked so good: Press Gang bud Dorie and her friend Scott before Saturday night’s Cruxshadows concert.

For the finale of Saturday night’s Cruxshadows concert, the band invited everyone in the standing-room only crowd onto the stage.  A lot of them made it too.  You can barely glimpse lead singer Rogue, in the white-splashed band shirt front and center on the stage.

Jim Butcher (left), Sherrilyn Kenyon and Ed at the Sunday night Goth Track panel “Down and Out with Harry Dresden”.

For those of you with an interest in blackmail, here’s the harem shot.  Everyone but yours truly works media liaison–and more–in the DragonCon Press Room.  Left to right: Randi, Dorie, Andrew, Leigh and (sigh) me.

Monday at the hotel room–This was the first and only time I could get the group to hold still.  And they only gave in because they couldn’t fight me any more.  Lili and Bree are the ones doing the sprawl on the bed. More or less upright (left to right): qnotku, hundakleptsis, quietselkie and Christina.

Posted 10 years, 6 months ago at 2:58 pm.

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