New GT domain! GraveTells on WordPress retired…

Check out the brand new GraveTells.com domain!

This week marks the official launch of our new expanded blog site, with lots of great goodies still to come.  Now that we’re all fancy schmancy, we will no longer be posting any updates to the old wordpress domain site (yes, this one).  Gravetells.wordpress.com is officially retired.  Go ahead and finish this article then head over to the new site, because all the fun is now over THERE, on gravetells.com!

We have a lot of exciting things planned for this inaugural celebration month, so if you aren’t yet a subscriber (or if you are a current subscriber to this wordpress.com domain), go here to get all our updates in your email or RSS reader.  And don’t forget FaceBook and Twitter!  As for the blog, not only do we have two fantastic new Contributors, we have over a dozen book reviews for you, many of them ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), so you can get the scoop before the book even hits the stands.  Still craving more?  We’ve also got author interviews, Q&As, guest blogger appearances, and exciting new contests in the works.

That said, GT is still being polished, so some of the review pages may not look as pretty as they did on the old site.  Don’t worry – we’re working as fast as we can to get everything cleaned up to fit the new theme.  We’re also posting all our reviews on the major bookseller and review sites, so all this is going to take a few months, but shouldn’t detract from the overall experience.  Just so you know what’s going in in case you see anything funky.  =)  Feel free to contact me if you come across any links that no longer work or that lead back to the old site instead of this one.

Take a look around the new site and let us know what you think!  <3

Don’t forget to remove this old site from your RSS and Email subscriptions, and add in the new GraveTells.com feed!  GO HERE to subscribe to the new site, if you haven’t already.


Fangtastic Friday: The Revenge of Barrons…

… yes, THAT Barrons.  The shove you against the wall and kiss (and …other things…) your socks off Barrons.  The beast who takes what he wants and f*ck anyone who gets in his way Barrons.  The irreverant, cocky, smart, strong, sexy man who can make a woman want to run away and beg for more at the same time Barrons.  Yeah, him.

If you haven’t heard, Badass Barrons competed in the Vampire Book Club’s Alpha Showdown earlier this summer (just what we needed – a Barrons with an even further-inflated ego) and in return for a win, Fever series author Karen Marie Moning promised the fans a little sexy time from Barrons’s point of view.  That was a pretty exciting prospect for fans of the series and the votes poured in, ultimately crowning our broodingly reluctant hero as champion.  Just one hitch in this happily-ever-after… Barrons apparently did not consent to this deal and fought Ms. Moning at every opportunity.  When she finally posted the scene on her site, it was obvious that he’d put her through the ringer and then some, so she wrote a revealing intro to the scene and shared a (until recently) private piece of her creative process: the Barrons APOE, or Attitude Point of Entry.  Apparently she won the battle for the scene but ultimately lost the war; we won’t be seeing any other Barrons POV scenes unless he grants us the very highly unlikely privilege.  A shame, because this scene is really something, and I was surprised to see that it actually occurs in Darkfever, the first book of the series, and yet still manages to fit seamlessly into the storyline.

Already read the scene and still can’t get enough of Barrons?  Dreamworks recently acquired the film rights to the Fever series and after much animated discussion on her Facebook page, Ms. Moning reassured fans that she wouldn’t have sold the rights if she didn’t believe Dreamworks could do it justice.  Will the Fever series movies be able to compete against fan favorites like The Hunger Games and Marvel Superheroes?  We can only hope, because this series has the potential to be EPIC!  Intense, emotional, full of action & violence, as well as sex and drugs… well, the rhino-boy version anyway.  *wink*  Keep your fingers crossed for Darkfever The Movie!

Read the Barrons POV scene here

Other fun links…


Q&A with Lisa Kessler, author of Night Walker!


Earlier this month, Lisa Kessler released her debut paranormal romance novel Night Walker, the first in the new Night series from Entangled Publishing.  GT was fortunate enough to get our hands on an advance copy and thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewing it.  Night Walker was awarded a rating of 4 Hearts and our Bronze Heart Award for excellence in PNR fiction.  (note: “hearts” and “awards” are our new rating system, to be launched in September with the new GT site – stay tuned for more info!).  Ms. Kessler has been busy promoting her new book this month with a full schedule of blog guest appearances and interviews, and was gracious enough to allow GT to pepper her with questions about Night Walker, her work as an author, and even a few nosy personal ones!  Here’s what she had to say…

GT: Congratulations on publishing your new Night Walker series! Can you share a little of your journey and what kept you going?

Thank you!  Getting my first book published was definitely the toughest goal I have ever achieved.

There were lots of rejections. Night Walker is a unique novel that mixes time periods and it’s pretty dark too, so while I got lots of full reads from publishing houses in New York, they weren’t sure what to do with it.

At one point I gave up on Night Walker and set it aside to write a new series. (The Moon Series) But while those were tied up in a contest, Entangled invited me to submit. All I had left was Night Walker, so I held my breath and sent it off.

I really believe it was all meant to be. Night Walker found the perfect home with Entangled and I’m really excited about the rest of the series…

GT: How did you celebrate your first big release day?

I didn’t have a copy of my book to hold in my hands yet, but my hubby took me out to dinner… :)

GT: Where did you get your inspiration for creating the Night series?

It all started with wanting to write a novel with immortals, but set it on the west coast. Since the Mission de Alcala is the oldest building in San Diego, it seemed like the perfect place to start.

While researching, I discovered the peaceful Kumeyaay tribes actually attacked the Mission in the 1700’s, burned it to the ground and beat the head priest so badly he could only be identified by the rings on his hand.

All we have are theories as to what could have provoked such a vicious attack from a peaceful group. I made up my own theory that a young native girl was murdered. Once I had that worked out, I knew she had to be reincarnated in order for me to tell the story in contemporary times.

GT: Calisto doesn’t see himself as a “vampire”. Will we see more of this dichotomy between the two and get a better understanding of what the difference between “night walker” and “vampire” is?

Yes in the novella, Night Thief, you’ll actually see a Night Walker go up against a vampire villain…  Also in Night Demon (Book #2) you’ll meet the original 4 Night Walker brothers so you’ll get even more background on what makes a Night Walker different from a vampire…

GT: Will Calisto and Kate be the central characters for the rest of the series or will upcoming books focus on other characters?

Calisto and Kate are in Night Demon (Book 2) but as supporting cast.  Night Demon is a chance for Lukas and Gretchen to step into the spotlight.  You got a glimpse of Lukas in Night Walker, and Gretchen is a new human character.

GT: How many books do you expect to publish in the series?

At this point there will be 3 books and a novella.

GT: You got an early start as a writer (6th grade!). What other jobs have you held between writing assignments since then?

Let’s see, I’ve given horseback riding lessons, girl scout leader, singer, and a sales person in our family window covering business…  Glamorous, right? LOL

GT: What is your typical schedule when writing a new book?

When I’m writing a new book I write 20 pages, then edit those, then write the next 20 pages, etc. By the end I usually have a pretty clean first draft.

GT: When you find yourself in a plot hole or with writers block, how do you work out of it?

I’ve never had writer’s block, and plot holes aren’t usually an issue.  However when I get to the middle of the book and the pacing starts to feel a little slow it’s usually time to “up the body count”.  Nothing like a dead character to bring up the tension! :)

GT: What do you think inspires a good story?

Good characters.  If I can relate to the characters and enjoy spending time with them, it makes all the difference.

GT: Being married to a fellow writer, do you find you’re able to feed off each other’s creativity or do you need definite “me” time?

I feel blessed for being married to another writer.  He’s always my first reader, and he really understands the process and respects me for it.  I haven’t always had that kind of support, so I recognize it for the gift it is! LOL

GT: You’ve been in quite a few musical theater productions (check out Lisa’s music here). Do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to?

Sadly with my full writing schedule, I don’t have time for all the rehearsals for stage productions.  These days I’ve cut back to one church job and singing for weddings and memorials…

The Gauntlet (rapid-fire Q’s with top-o-the-brain A’s)

GT: All-time favorite movie?

Rocky & Camelot

GTTop 5 most played songs on your ipod/music list?

I don’t have an iPod! LOL  I’m so old school…  Right now based on the books I’m editing and blogs I’m writing my playlist Top 5 is probably…
Come What May – Moulin Rouge
If I Can’t Love Her – Beauty and the Beast
Bad Things – Jace Everett
Broken – Seether
My Immortal – Evanescence

GTWhat book are you reading right now?

Spell Bound – Kelley Armstrong and I’m LOVING it!  Great urban fantasy…

GTFavorite non-romance book?

The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley

GTFavorite couple, hero, or heroine in a PNR/UF series (that is not your own)?

Zack and Aura in Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade trilogy

GTTeam Bill or Team Eric? (because we know you’re a Truebie!)

I’m still Team Bill…  Even though they’re doing different things with the show I think it’s still obvious that Bill is sacrificing his own happiness to keep Sookie’s secret safe from the vampires…

GTStar Trek, Star Wars, or Star Gate?

Star Wars

GTBoxers or briefs?

Boxers

GTBiggest pet peeve?

Mean People… Ugh!

GTIf I could live anywhere in the world, it would be…

San Diego…  What can I say I’m super spoiled by the weather here! LOL

To check Ms. Kessler’s other Blog Tour stops, see her schedule here.

Here are some online purchase links for Night Walker

Hope you had as much fun reading this interview as we did chatting with Ms. Kessler and writing it!

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Caught in the Smex Beam

I think it is fair to say that in PNR/UF novels, there are a few things that are expected and accepted:

  1. The hero will be gorgeous and well hung.
  2. The heroine will be attractive, smart, perhaps funny, but most of all likeable and relatable to the reader.
  3. The story will have elements that drag us in, besides the two pretty people it centers on, and transport us to another reality.
  4. The hero and heroine will be irrevocably caught in the Smex Beam.

“What exactly is a Smex Beam, Captain?” you ask.  Ha ha, fear not reader.  Your Captain is here to offer guidance and instruction.

The Smex Beam is the magic that exists the first time our fated lovers meet and never lets go.  They may be engaged in a fight to the death (perhaps with each other), they may be walking down the street contemplating quantum physics, they could even be falling out of a dressing room while trying on too tight jeans.  The point, young paduan, is that when it hits, the Smex Beam obliterates everything else.

Suddenly, there is no one else on the planet that holds any interest for our couple. No matter how much they may fight it, no matter the obstacles, which can include and are not limited to: zombies, vampires, werewolves, assorted fey creatures, car accidents, gun battles, psychic attack, old lovers, fear of commitment, fear of her mother, fear of his mother, paralysis, demons, magic spells gone wrong, angry gods/goddesses, being sucked into another dimension, differences in species, ancient prophecies…….

It. just.doesn’t. matter.  The Smex Beam conquers all.

When you are in its sights, there is no escape. Cupid wishes his arrows worked this well.   Star Trek’s tractor beam? Heh! Old news, old tech.  Captain Kirk wishes he could have had this on the Enterprise. (As if the guy wasn’t already busy enough with all those hot alien chicks.  Just sayin’.)

We readers love it. Every tension-filled scintillating moment, every hungry look and heat-filled glance at our hero’s amazing pack – ahem- pecs,  every time one or the other tries to escape its clutches, we come screaming back for more.  It helps drive the story and plot arc, keeps us turning pages at a break neck pace, reading until our eyes burn and our chin is resting on our chests.  We have to know, will they make it out together?  Will our couple realize their amazing gift of love and unending lust as bestowed by the Smex Beam?

But of course!  This is romance, silly!  The Smex Beam doesn’t make mistakes, and while occasionally we may think someone has managed to slip its sticky tentacles and go running down the side of a ravine, they are always dragged back, lamenting their own stupidity.

What, you want evidence?  Examples, you say, of these lusty lovers caught in the inescapable clutches of true love and exceedingly good sex?  No problem, here’s a little list of my favorites:

1) Edward and Bella, the Twilight Saga.   Sure, he’s a hundred something year old vampire who reads minds, eats mountain lions, and is condemned to high school hell for eternity.  She’s the clumsy, too perfect daughter of the town sheriff with blood that smells so delectable Edward can’t stop obsessing over how he’s NOT going to eat her.  He runs off to Italy to try to save her soul, she jumps off a cliff and hangs with his sworn enemies, a bunch of stinky dog smelling  shape shifters.  His skin may be freezing cold, but that doesn’t stop them from gettin’ down and dirty in the ocean off a little island named after Edward’s pseudo-mom.  With marriage comes a baby who doesn’t need a carriage but an iron crib and a newly transformed wife who won’t ever die and doesn’t need sleep.  What do they do with all that free time at night?  Hmm, let me think…..

2) Cat and Bones, the Night Huntress Series.  Cat’s an uber hot red head born to a mom convinced her half breed daughter is mostly evil.  Bones is a two hundred plus year old vamp that spent his human years earning his keep on top of, under, next to, well, just inside a bunch of aristocratic British bitches before he got shipped to a penal colony for putting his hands where they didn’t belong.  Add some silver knives, sexual tension you can’t cut with a Sawz-All, a smokin’ hot hero who is incredibly open with his feelings, a sexually repressed heroine you just love to root for, witty banter and action sequences so slick and tight your heart beats almost as hard as during the sex scenes, and it just can’t be denied that these two are definitely in the direct path of the S.B.

3) Clay and Elena, Women of the Otherworld.  Clay is the Enforcer of the North American Pack, Elena is his lady love, mate and wife.  These two had such a strange and rocky start to their story with Elena taking off and Clayton quietly stalking her from afar (the issues are heavy and myriad, both had difficult childhoods – actually that may underplay it, but you’ll have to read the books if you want to know) that the angst was almost unbearable.  Clay is no angel, and a reader can’t help but understand his lady love’s anger and bad attitude, but his single minded determination and focus are in the end some of his best qualities. Well, that and his unswerving devotion to tough as nails Elena.  Clay is so physically attractive as to be almost unbelievable, but he has eyes only for Elena, no slouch in the looks department herself.  Last I checked in with these two, they were living the PNR/UF dream with minimal death threats, a healthy pack and great sex life.

4) Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman, Mercy Thompson Series.  This series is more urban fantasy that paranormal romance, but I beg you to give it a look-see.  There is sex, yes, but it is not graphic and the romance is not the main arc of the plot, but it is so well written and paced that you’re rooting for these two from book one.  Mercy is a shape shifting coyote, Adam is the super powerful and incredibly sexy alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack.  These two engage is some really funny contests of wills that involve, among other things, a cat named Medea, a broken down Volkswagen Rabbit, and pancakes.  Mercy tries to consciously run from Adam while her subconscious is just pulling her in closer all the time courtesy of the Smex Beam.  She may be dodging rogue spells cast by angry Fey, trying not be a vampire snack and confused (at first) by her feelings for her first love Sam, but she is inevitably and quite happily conquered by the unstoppable force of the Beam and the drowning chocolate brown of a certain alpha werewolf’s eyes. (The bod attached to those eyes is certainly a bonus….)

5) The hellren and shellans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  A series that is running strong nine (or is it ten?) books in, a girl can’t stop rooting for these couples.  The danger, the sex, the passion of a mated male, the sex, the unswerving devotion in the face of danger, the sex, the shit kicker boots and leather, the sex……

These guys and gals overcome bodily injury and constant peril to be together.  They battle their sworn enemies the lessers, train endlessly, fight personal demons, and fight obstacles that seem insurmountable to be together.  What other explanation could there be than the Smex Beam?  Who would go through the nonsense that the universe throws at these people for nothing but a good lay?  No, there is more at work here to cause the levels of love, devotion, respect, and downright horniness these people feel for each other.

“But Captain”, you ask, “just where did the Smex Beam come from? Who, in all their infinite wisdom and intelligence invented the Smex Beam?”

That, dear reader is a topic for another post.  I will however, give you her initials.

G.O.E.


Shame On You!

Are you ashamed of what you read?

One day in a bookstore, I overheard a man berating his wife for browsing through the Paranormal Romances. She apologized and promised not to read such “filth”, and of course she knew vampires weren’t real. I started to wonder how many readers of Paranormal Romance novels faced the same sort of criticism from family and friends.

By paying closer attention to what people said when discussing books, I learned that many regard PNR as either “Fluff” or “Trash”. Fluff apparently refers to books that show only idealized events and characters. The unbelievably romantic vampire with the tortured soul who hates what he is but suddenly his existence is given meaning when he meets the innocent and perfect heroine. The Trash label seems to be assigned to the grittier PNRs with their truly evil villains, heroes that don’t mind getting a little blood on their hands, and heroines who are perfectly capable of, and willing to, kick ass – and the hero and heroine enjoy an active and inventive sex life.

I found few people willing to admit to reading PNR, and those who did sort of laughed it off, giving the impression they were either embarrassed about it, or didn’t read it seriously. The covers often seem to cause discomfort in readers, too, even though many are gorgeous. But people have a certain expectation from a book with a man’s beautifully sculpted pecs and washboard abs enhanced by a mysterious tattoo – good literature isn’t it.

Almost all Romance, including all the sub-genres, takes more than its fair share of belittlement. But Paranormal seems to receive an extra helping of negativity. I’ve talked with many readers who hide what they read – a cover to conceal the cover, an e-reader, reading only when there’s no chance of anyone seeing what their book is, and on and on. Many authors, myself included, use pen names – you wouldn’t want your teen-age son taking flak from everyone at school because his mother writes about vampires having sex either.

It took me a long time to get past being ashamed of some of my choices in reading material. I only recently admitted to extended family and friends what I write. I don’t care what strangers think, and if my friends and family can’t accept the work I love doing, then they might not care for me as much as I thought.

The truth is, I have nothing to be ashamed of – at least in relation to my reading and writing.<G> And neither do you.

Of course we know vampires and werewolves, and those other creatures aren’t real. Neither are space aliens or elves or zombies, and on and on. They’re fiction, meant to entertain, no matter the genre. Good Paranormal Romance is as well written as any other genre. Good writing is good writing, no matter the subject matter. As for the accusation of having no plot, much to the contrary, Paranormal Romance plots are often intricate, full of twists and turns, and many are more complex than those from any other genre. That’s what happens when you combine two or more genres into one book, and do it well.

Those sex scenes – nothing to be ashamed of. Mainstream fiction, literary, and other genres have sex scenes as well. Granted, not as many, or as well written, but they’re there. And maybe that’s the problem. Romance writers in general have made an art and a science of writing sex scenes, but the sex in Paranormal Romance is often… more. The very nature of our paranormal beings turns ordinary sex into something exceptional. Perhaps the detractors are jealous, either of the ability to have that incredible sex all the time, or of the ability to write it in such a way that the reader almost experiences it.

Because I have immediate family members who could be negatively impacted by the public perception of the genre I choose to write, I will continue to use my pen name. I wouldn’t want them to be hurt by the comments of those who consider Paranormal Romance to be porn with vampires. But hell will freeze over before I hide what I read again.

Do other peoples’ opinions about your choice of reading material cause you discomfort or shame? What do you do about it? Is there a way for you to “take back your books”, even in a small way?


GT Preview: New GraveTells writers and Q&A with author Lisa Kessler

This week will be a ground-breaking week for GraveTells, so hang on to your hats, because we’re debuting two new GT team members and have a Q&A with Night Walker author Lisa Kessler!

New team members, you say?  Why does GT need a “team”?  I’ve been developing a new, dedicated site for GraveTells, with a community forum for PNR/UF fans.  It’s nearly finished and I hope to launch it in September!  With all that yummy new content, wouldn’t it be great if you had more than just me to listen to?  *grin*  You’re in for a definite treat with this week’s debut posts by Kenra Daniels and The Captain.  Both are Paranormal Romance authors with appealing style, modern and edgy.  Kenra brings compelling perspective and thought-provoking dissertation, while The Captain treats us to her provocative signature blend of wit and irreverence.  Here’s a sneak peek of this week’s treats!

From Kenra’s Shame On You!, scheduled for tomorrow’s feed…

Are you ashamed of what you read?

One day in a bookstore, I overheard a man berating his wife for browsing through the Paranormal Romances. She apologized and promised not to read such “filth”, and of course she knew vampires weren’t real. I started to wonder how many readers of Paranormal Romance novels faced the same sort of criticism from family and friends.

From The Captain’s Caught in the Smex Beam, scheduled for Wednesday’s feed…

I think it is fair to say that in PNR/UF novels, there are a few things that are expected and accepted:

  1. The hero will be gorgeous and well hung.
  2. The heroine will be attractive, smart, perhaps funny, but most of all likeable and relatable to the reader.
  3. The story will have elements that drag us in, besides the two pretty people it centers on, and transport us to another reality.
  4. The hero and heroine will be irrevocably caught in the Smex Beam.

“What exactly is a Smex Beam, Captain?” you ask.  Ha ha, fear not reader.  Your Captain is here to offer guidance and instruction.

Finally, to end the week in grand style, Night Walker author Lisa Kessler has graciously agreed to get up close and personal with GT, answering some of our burning questions about her new book and series.  Ms. Kessler’s interview is a GraveTells first and we’re proud to be able to post a Q&A with such a great new up-and-coming PNR author!  Here’s a sneak peek…

GT: Where did you get your inspiration for creating the Night series?
LK: It all started with wanting to write a novel with immortals, but set it on the west coast. Since the Mission de Alcala is the oldest building in San Diego, it seemed like the perfect place to start.  While researching, I discovered the peaceful Kumeyaay tribes actually attacked the Mission in the 1700’s, burned it to the ground and beat the head priest so badly he could only be identified by the rings on his hand.  All we have are theories as to what could have provoked such a vicious attack from a peaceful group. I made up my own theory that a young native girl was murdered. Once I had that worked out, I knew she had to be reincarnated in order for me to tell the story in contemporary times.
.
GT: When you find yourself in a plot hole or with writers block, how do you work out of it?
LK: I’ve never had writer’s block, and plot holes aren’t usually an issue.  However when I get to the middle of the book and the pacing starts to feel a little slow it’s usually time to “up the body count”.  Nothing like a dead character to bring up the tension! :)

A huge thanks to Kenra Daniels & The Captain for lending their time and pen to GT, and to Lisa Kessler for sharing her thoughts and time in the middle of her very busy post-release schedule!

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Fangtastic Friday: Twilight-inspired artwork & comic by Mangled Stare

This month, Austin comic artist Will Rodriguez celebrates the 10-year anniversary of his quirky web comic Mangled Stare, a dedicated accomplishment in today’s fickle entertainment market.  The Mighty Mangler may be the brain and brush behind MS, but he’s quick to give credit to his family for the handy supply of situational humor and for the occasional coloring assistance of his junior-graphic-artists-in-training.  When asked about awards and honors earned by Mangled Stare, Will said…

Aside from the praise and admiration of my family, no other awards really carry the same priority or worth. ^_^ (Though, I don’t mind mentioning that I have held the Chipotle Chowdown Champion title at each convention I’ve attended in the last 6 years.)

Aww.  And, congratulations… I think?  *wink*  Earlier this month, MS published a comic that Twilight fans everywhere, especially the significant others of TwiFans, will appreciate…

Psst – click to make it bigger and open in a new window!

Q&A with the Mighty Mangler!

From the comic, it’s clear that your honey is staunchly Team Jacob.  How do you feel about all the Twilight hype?

You’d never know if not for  her “Team Jacob” tshirt, keychain, posters, or bumper stickers, huh? Yes, my wife is extremely Team Jacob. I think Stephanie Meyers took a genre and turned it on its ear. She spun a story that built a very strong and dedicated fan-base and I applaud her for that.

So you visited Forks on your Spring Break… how exactly did she talk you into that? (hopeful TwiFans everywhere are holding their breath…)

She smiled and asked me in her sweetest girlie voice. >_< We were planning a road-trip and since I’d never seen the Pacific Ocean, I agreed that a drive to the west coast would be fun for the whole family. Besides, my wife supports my artistic endeavors and other geeky obsessions so it’s only fair that I support hers.

Did you enjoy the trip?  What did you like best about it?

Well, we all had a fantastic time. The drive from Texas to Washington is a beautiful one. Utah was just breath-taking and the Quileute Reservation was humbling to visit. The best part of the trip, though, was when we surprised my wife by telling her that we were staying in the “Jacob Cabin” right on the treaty line, from the books. The entire cabin was Twilight-themed and each of the rooms was named after a member of the Black clan. We had the entire cabin to ourselves and made use of that fact with all of our children.

Do you have any advice for fellow TwiFan significant others?

Unless you have a significant other who enjoys a battle, fake it! Even if you think vampires should be fanged, stone-cold murderers, pretend to like it or, if nothing else, don’t bad-mouth a Twihard or their stories. Play your cards right and you’ll reap all the benefits of his or her Twilight addiction. ^_-

Can we look forward to any other Twilight-inspired comics in the near future?  (Breaking Dawn is coming!  *nudge nudge*)

My wife is counting down the minutes until the first part of Breaking Dawn releases! If she has any say in the matter (and she nearly always does), I can guarantee plenty more Twilight humor from Mangled Stare.

How did you get started in comics and what have you done to keep yourself motivated all these years?

When my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child, I knew that my childhood dream of becoming a cartoonist had no better springboard than the milestone of parenthood. I wanted to be able to leave a legacy for my children and show them that any of their dreams were achievable. Their praise and the continued support of my wife and readers, in addition to my love of cartooning and making folks laugh, make motivation easy. Ten years-easy, as a matter of fact!

Do you have any goals or plans (besides world domination, of course) for Mangled Stare that you’re excited about?

World domination comes with WAY too much responsibility! Keeping my three kiddos in line is enough for me, thanks. I am working on a graphic novel with a great friend of mine which will serve as a sort of precursor to Mangled Stare. I’m also working on some other stories I’ve been dying to tell since high school through animated cartoons as well as future graphic novels.

What advice would you give to young artists just starting out in the industry?

Be true to your craft. Never “settle” or compromise your passions for creativity in the attempt to “succeed.” Hone your craft and never stop learning. Art is organic and dynamic, so you should never stagnate your style. Draw something every day; anything! Just keep drawing. Accept constructive critisism and avoid being defensive; art is subjective.

And finally (no, you can’t skip this one!), declare your Twilight “Team”!

Well, if I have to choose, I guess I’m team Alice, though I’ve always had an affinity for werewolves over vampires, just because shapeshifting is cooler than drinking blood…

Pfft, blasphemy (from the GT Team Edward corner)!  Thanks to Will Rodriguez from Mangled Stare for allowing GT to pepper him with Twilight fangirl-type questions and feature his work.  =)  Best of luck and we hope to see many future Twilight-inspired MS comic strips!

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