Sean Cummings – Guest Blog & Giveaway
Today I have a fellow Canadian guest blogger who’s the author of Shade Fright, (March 1st, 2010). A huge welcome to Sean Cummings as he takes the reigns here at SVR to celebrate the release of his new Urban Fantasy series! Giveaway info will be at the bottom of the post.
I think we all want to believe in the things that go bump in the night.
Then we want someone to blow them all to kingdom come.
That’s sort of how I view the fantastic growth in urban fantasy novels over the past few years. With so many different authors introducing their own take on the genre, you have to wonder if urban fantasy can continue to grow at all – have we reached the limits of what you can do, for example with vampires? (There’s books where you kill ’em, work for a government branch and kill ’em, have sex with them and kill ’em, become swept away in a world of romance, sex and intrigue … I could go on.) I doubt it. This is the golden era for vampires, were-things and the living dead. It’s mainstream and this can only be a good thing because there are so many talented authors with a wide range of successful book series and new ones debuting seemingly on a monthly basis. Some might argue the market can’t support it, but I’m a believer in one simple fact: if you write a good story people will want to read it.
Right now, I think there are two classes of urban fantasy novels – ones where vamps, shape-shifters and so forth live among us (Sookie Stackhouse) and one where we have no knowledge of their existence or we aren’t psychologically prepared to accept that what we just saw was real. (Harry Dresden). We’ve got zombie novels aplenty (YAY!) and we’ve even got zombie romance becoming quite popular. Very simply, we are at a point in our literary history where readers can’t get enough of it. That said, urban fantasy, indeed most genre fiction won’t wind up on Canada Reads even though in the vast majority of the cases, that’s what Canada is actually reading so the name is rather a misnomer, isn’t it? You won’t see Kelley Armstrong winning a Man Booker Prize though she should – she’s an exceptional author and probably one of the most commercially successful authors out there.
Stigma blows. Period.
I could go on a bit of a rant here about how it is basically impossible to get genre fiction published in Canada (this has to do with our government bankrolling a great deal of the publishing industry and a perception that taxpayers wouldn’t want to have their tax dollars going to publishers who pump out books about chicks having sex with vampires or a zombie infestation in Moose Jaw.) but I won’t. What I will say is that genre fiction still faces a stigma among the traditional opinion shapers (Newspapers – oh, and they’re declaring bankruptcy all over the place, by the way. Magazines. Radio. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and probably the BBC.) out there and it is for this reason that I am so very thankful for book bloggers. In a nutshell, you have be passionate about genre fiction to amass a virtual library showing the world everything that you’ve read and reviewed. Without your love of what people like me write, well – nobody would ever hear about us – end of story.
Judi’s blog is one of the last stops on my blog tour. Every author who writes genre fiction absolutely must do a blog tour and rightly so. Bloggers are the barometer of everything from “what’s hot and what’s not” to upcoming trends in urban fantasy. All are rampant bibliophiles who are an authority – hell, the definitive authority, really, on where urban fantasy is going. Everyone on my blog tour are daily reads for me – through bloggers I can learn about what works and what doesn’t. I can get honest feedback on a story idea and most important – bloggers are connected with other bloggers through social networking – something that doesn’t exist among traditional opinion shapers. It is because of bloggers, I think, that urban fantasy is experiencing its golden age. I cannot express in enough words how I am so very thankful for blogs like Judi’s and for the opportunity to have a book reviewed or to do a giveaway. Without bloggers, nobody would ever hear about the stuff I write.
So .. my publisher has just released the first book in an urban fantasy series with a uniquely Canadian flavor. Shade Fright is different -from the cover art right down to the characters. Yeah there’s romance, but the object of my protagonist’s affection drives a dump truck and has a fairly generic name – Dave, as opposed to, you know, Steel or Wraith or Caine. (Nothing wrong with those names – but being a dude, I just can’t call the romantic interest of my female protagonist anything other than Dave. Most women in the real world are married to a Dave, Rick, Steve or possibly a Dennis, so it’s pretty accurate.) We’ve got a world where Canada sort of opened Pandora’s box by mucking about with the supernatural in the 1930’s and now the government is up to its ears in bad juju. There are bad guys, of course – The Conclave. They’re an affiliation of everyone from Vamps to Necromancers and they have their own agendas that deal with terrorism and upsetting the power balance in a world where the supernatural is common knowledge among governments. Valerie Stevens is just starting her journey – there’s something special about her. She bears the mark of clarity – something unique among those who are magical practitioners and she’s an apprentice mage as the series begins. Her best friend is a zombie and her side kick is the ghost of a dead politician. There’s giant statues that come to life, dead birds falling from the skies, a missing grain bin and a climactic battle in a park that is the highest point in the city – a battle where if Valerie loses, over a million people are going to die. (There’s even a bonus – half of the first chapter to the sequel is at the end of the book… shhhh .. tell everyone!!)
It’s a bit of a crap shoot, writing a book. Actually, scratch that. It’s insanely hard work to get a book published and you want so much for people to really enjoy what you’ve written. It’s a leap of faith, too. You have to get a thick skin because your book might actually suck and because of social networking, news of a crummy book travels at light speed. So yeah, big time leap of faith.
Still … I’m pretty damned lucky to have a great publisher. I’ve beaten the odds by getting a book published not to mention having a publisher wanting an entire series. I do hope everyone enjoys Shade Fright and I just want to thank all you readers out there. Like me, you’re in love with those things that go bump in the night and I’ll keep writing about characters who blow them straight back to hell as long as you keep reading.
Thank you Sean! I really enjoyed this post and hope that my readers will as well. I have a copy of Shade Fright that I’m dying to get to, (because I snuck in a few pages while reading another book for review ;)), and it was great so far, so look for my review soon. You can find out more about Sean and the books he’s written at http://sean-cummings.ca/
Sean Cummings has generously offered one reader a signed copy of Shade Fright! Giveaway is open to USA & Canada only. Sean will also be popping by to respond to questions or comments.
Question: What’s your favourite type of urban fantasy, do you prefer the kind where the whole world knows about all the supernatural creatures, the kind where only the supes and a select few know about their existance, or are you a fan of both kinds?
For one entry: Please leave a comment with the answer to the question. (+1 entry)
For extra entries:
- Subscribe to my blog, Sidhe Vicious Reviews, through the links at the top right hand side of the blog, and let me know in your comment. Be sure you verify your subscription through the email you’ll receive or it won’t count. (+1 entry)
- If you’re already subscribed, you’ll receive two extra entries, but be sure to let me know in the comments if you’re an old follower. (+2 entries)
- Post a link to this contest on your Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, GoodReads, LibraryThing, or on your blog and send me the link either in the comments or by email and you’ll get an extra entry for each place you add a link to. ( add 1 entry each for however many links you’ve done)
- Follow me on Twitter, Add me as a friend on FaceBook, GoodReads, MySpace, Chapters Community or LibraryThing. (add 1 entry each for however many places you followed/friended me)
- Contest is open to USA & Canada and will run through March 24th until 11:59pm. The winners will be posted here on March 25th. Please leave your email addy in your comment for me to contact you if you’ve won. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 7 days, a new winner will be drawn from the eligible comments. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Good Luck everyone!
(I should also mention that if you’re leaving me a bunch of links in your comment, do not panic if it doesn’t show up right away. It just automatically gets held for me to moderate, which I will as soon as I’m online. )