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MDP On MusicVids: “This is What it Feels Like” by Armin van Buuren feat.Trevor Guthrie

MDP On MusicVids: This is What it Feels Like by Armin van Buuren feat.Trevor Guthrie

I really like this song. A lot. It has that D.J. dance beat that characterises club music of the last five years; Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, blah, blah... But I don't think I've been irritated by a video clip so much in a long while. Two men boysing ...

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Peacemaker Blog Tour

Peacemaker Blog Tour

My blog tour has begun. I'll be adding each link into this post and pinning the post to the front page so you can check back and keep track of where I've been. Day 1: An interview with Donna Maree Hanson - how is Peacemaker different from Parrish Plessis? Day 2: Over ...

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Because Rock of Ages

Because Rock of Ages

I just felt the need to revisit one of the best nights of my life: Rock of Ages on Broadway! So below here are videos of some of the best songs. Catherine Zeta-Jones rocks the twinset and pearls like no one else can. And soooooo many mullets. Russell Brand looks right at ...

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MDP On TV: Longmire

MDP On TV: Longmire

Having recently feasted upon modern day cowboy series Justified (I'm up to season 4), I was interested to see whether Longmire could steal my affections. However, Walt Longmire is definitely not Ralen Givens. He's older, (occasionally) wiser, even more set in his ways, and twice as prickly. Walt is Ralen in ...

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Review: Heaven is a Place on Earth by Graham Storrs

Review: Heaven is a Place on Earth by Graham Storrs

reviewed by Jamie Marriage What is reality when all people see is artificial? What is control when all people have is submission? What is truth when all people know is a lie? Graham Storrs doesn’t answer these questions, but he touches on them and attempts to reveal the morality of all-encompassing change. Heaven ...

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MDP ON TV: The Bridge

MDP ON TV: The Bridge

First thing I have to say is, that The Bridge has the most exceptional theme song. Hollow Talk by The Choir of Young Believers is a moody, delicate, depressing song. Perfect for a series, which is all of the above. The Bridge snuck up on me. I had it in the ...

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MDP ON TV: Being Human

MDP ON TV: Being Human

The UK series premiered in 2009 and I heard a lot about it back then. As often happens with me, I watched a half an episode on TV and got distracted and never got back to it. Then I bought series one, but that languished on my shelves for a ...

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The PEACEMAKER Soundtrack

The PEACEMAKER Soundtrack

Quite a few people have asked me if I had a soundtrack for PEACEMAKER. So thanks to Spotify, you can now hear it. Be prepared to surprised! Big Iron - Marty Robins Wild, Wild West - The Escape Club Riders on the Storm - The Doors Timber - Pitbull/Kesha Rawhide - Frankie Laine Prairie Fire - ...

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Freedom Fall Launch

Freedom Fall Launch

by Kim McMinn Kim McMinn is a fantasy writer who masquerades as a librarian by day while she completes her first novel. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Arts from Murdoch University and lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband and three world-domination-plotting cats.  On a rooftop ...

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MDP On MusicVids: Dark Horse by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J.

MDP On MusicVids: Dark Horse by Katy Perry ft. Juicy J.

Though I'm not strictly a Katy Perry fan, it's hard not to admire how hard she works and what a marketing genius she is. I loved the ROAR video clip but this one is even better. With SUPER high production values, as you would expect, and colourful sets, Perry lets ...

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Well Team Apollo are so busy that we haven’t had a chance to get our conversation done, so I’m pre-empting what was going to be an interview with them and give you the exciting news and a link to a detailed article at SciFi Talk. Two of my peeps, Melanie Teychenne-King and Peter Budd (aka Missy and Pete) have launched the Apollo Awards.

“101010 Productions have partnered with Australia’s award winning production and web entertainment companies TPD Media and Zone4 to introduce a worldwide Film and Television award ceremony unique to the internet…

Peter Budd, Director of 101010 Productions said, “What makes The Apollo Awards unique is that the choice is truly and firmly in the hands of the worldwide audience. From the Americas and Europe to Africa, Asia and Oceania, both nominations and votes are in the hands of the people”.

For this global alliance of fans, The Apollo Awards will be delivered online, live and worldwide, rather than through broadcast or cable TV.

Co-creator of the Apollo Awards, Melanie Teychenne-King says, “The internet is the future of television, of breaking down the barriers between regions and time zones. By streaming the award ceremony live across the globe we’re giving everyone the chance to participate on an even level, to know they have ownership of the show.”

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Thinking About Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy is dying. Everybody seems to be saying so. Yanno, except for the people reading it, the people publishing it and the bookstores selling gobs of it.

It’s almost too good to be true. This genre of fantasy just keeps growing and expanding, with no end in sight.

The death stuff is true on one level. It’s not so easy to sell vampire fiction anymore and you definitely have to be creative and fresh with the stuff you’re writing. A lot of ground has already been covered, but so you need an original take. Shapshifters and werewolves and faeries are also looking down the same barrel. Zombies are on the rise, as are angels and demons. Soon they’ll be superseded by something else. Maybe new vampires. Maybe it will be something else entirely. But something will come.

The thing with urban fantasy—which is not so urban anymore, but I’ll get to that in a minute—is that it’s incredibly fertile ground. The possibilities seem endless. The idea that your neighbor could be a witch, or a gremlin, or a fairy is seductive. The idea that the real world can be full of magic and mystery if only you look at it just so, or turn the right corner, or pick up the right key, is equally alluring.

At the same time, you can mix in mystery, thriller, romance, the old west, political intrigue, police procedure . . .  You can stir in just about any ingredient you want that makes for a good story and there are readers out there for you. It’s a lot harder to do that in most other fantasy or sf genres. I think part of that is that the everyday life, language, and settings lend themselves to all these elements and don’t seem strange or out of place. I think also, the various flavors mean that readers don’t get bored. They have lots of choices and they dine heartily on whatever appeals at the moment. Don’t want Italian food today? Have some sushi. Not in the mood for soup and bread for dinner? Have some southern BBQ. Tomorrow or next week, you’ll be in the mood for something else and the nice thing is, it will be there.

The thing about this kind of fantasy—which is called Urban Fantasy by some, paranormal romance by others, and various other monikers—is that it has a lot to offer a wide audience. Characters are rich and emotional, the magic is interesting, there is complex and interesting worldbuilding, and you have a lot of choices and a lot of surprises in store.

I don’t think Urban Fantasy works as a category name though. That’s partly because it’s no longer limited to urban settings. For instance, my Horngate Witches books are set partly in an urban landscape, and partly in the very wild landscape of Montana. I can’t call it paranormal romance, either, because while there is romance, it doesn’t focus on romance. And while set in an existing landscape, I’m also bringing on a magical war and so soon it will be more in an apocalyptical world.  At the same time, Nalini Singh is called paranormal romance, but wow, her books contain complex worlds that are amazing and makes reader want to wallow around in them. None of those names seem to be a big enough container for all the flavors of this is this kind of fantasy.

If you read the Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels books (and you should), then you know that her books are set in an alternate Atlanta where magic and technology have changed the landscape considerably. If you’ve read Robin Mckinley’s Sunshine (and again, go do it if you haven’t), then you know that this is no ordinary United States and her vampires are not the usual variety.  Neither fit well into the urban fantasy or paranormal romance categories.

I used to think Contemporary Fantasy was a good group designation—better at least than urban fantasy or paranormal romance. But really, it doesn’t capture enough under its umbrella either. I’m thinking possibly Modern Fantasy might do it, though “modern” carries a lot of its own baggage.

You might ask why it matters what it’s called. There are a few reasons. One, it helps publishers figure out how to market it, and bookstores figure out where to put it, which therefore determines who is likely to read it, and even how long it might stay on the shelves. For instance, if it’s paranormal romance, then it will be in the romance aisle, and there are a lot of people who will sniff and turn up their noses and never even walk down that aisle. But also, romance rotates frequently and the shelf life there can be much shorter than in the sf/fantasy aisle.

On the other hand, people who read romance might never wander into the sf/f, because they believe that all that they want will be shelved in the romance aisle. But for instance, Ilona Andrews, Patty Briggs and Laura Anne Gilman are typically shelved in fantasy, but they all have strong romantic elements. On the other hand, Jeaniene Frost, Karen Moon Moning and Meljean Brook are typically shelved in romance, and they have very strong fantastical elements beyond the romance elements. But they can only be in one section. And that doesn’t cover young adult writers like Melissa Marr or Lisa Mantchev. I remember going into a bookstore and I couldn’t find Richelle Mead. She was in literary fiction, where I never would have looked. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were all together?

If you are shopping electronically, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to click a category and see all the kinds of books that you love? (though in electronic indexing, you could put books in multiple categories, which doesn’t happen in bookstores—there is only so much shelf space).

Regardless of the name, however, this genre is not dying. Not by a long shot. Thank goodness. It looks like I’ll never run out of my favorite stuff to read. And hopefully I’ll keep being able to write what I love as well.

So let me ask you two questions. Do you think the genre is dying? Or maybe you might think it should die. And where do you find books to read? Do you cross out of your normal aisles and look more widely?

Bio:

A professor of English at the University of Montana Western, Diana Pharaoh Francis is also a writer of fantasy. Her novels include the Path series and the Crosspointe Chronicles by Roc books, and the Horngate Witches books from Pocket. She likes to write flawed characters struggling with making good choices (and frequently failing). She believes evil should be punished and good should triumph. Eventually. But figuring out which is which is sometimes very difficult. Her next book, Crimson Wind, will be hitting shelves in December. For more on Diana Pharaoh Francis and her books, go to www.dianapfrancis.com

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