Thursday, July 29, 2010

My star-studded journey to Comic Con

My journey to Comic Con 2010 began and ended with a star-studded bang. On my first night, I attended an awesome cocktail party hosted by my Eos/HarperCollins editor, Diana Gill. Set in the plush, ultra-modern Se San Diego Hotel, luminaries included Jocelynn Drake, Mario Acevedo, Richard Kadrey, Guillermo del Toro, and John Picacio.

Friday morning, we headed downtown on the train, where we merged with the other 150,000 attendees. Our trek to the Mecca of all things sci-fi and fantasy led us to the steps of the San Diego Convention Center. Here, the train signs were suddenly written in Klingon.

The whole experience felt like entering Dr. Who’s tardis. That convention center looks one size from the outside, but I swear the inside is really an unending, ever-expanding universe. There is no way you can see it all, although you want to. Row after row of stunning artwork and T-shirts and books.

At times I didn’t know whether to look at the booths or the attendees—their costumes were so awesome. Below, artist, Justin C. Orr's sister poses as one of his cartoon characters.

And then there were the panels. I waited in line for more than an hour to attend the following panels: V, Fringe, and Vampire Diaries. Part of the wait was out in the hot, Southern California sun. Was it worth it? You bet. Each of those panels rocked! I’ll be posting more about the panels in another blog.

Then there was the Eos Bite Me panel. I had the opportunity to speak along with authors Tanya Huff (the Victoria Nelson novels), Mario Acevedo (the Felix Gomez detective-vampire series), Jocelynn Drake (Pray for Dawn), Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim), Lauren Kate (Fallen series), and Marjorie M. Liu (In the Dark of Dreams).

The crowd was fabulous. They waited patiently for the panel to begin.

And they asked awesome questions.

Afterward, we all signed books and got a chance to personally meet those who attended our panel. That was one of my favorite parts of the conference. I love meeting new people, and especially those who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy. One reason the book signing event went so smoothly was because the staff from Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego was fabulous!

And just when you’d think that my experience at Comic Con 2010 couldn’t get any better, it did. Saturday evening, my editor, Diana Gill, took me out to dinner to the Jsix restaurant. I honestly don’t have words to describe how incredible the food and service were. From the salad to the bread to the scallops, and how about that pasta? Yes, followed by crème brulee.

Neither one of us wanted to leave. Because right about when we were digging into our fabulous spread of delicacies, Diana spotted another scrumptious delicacy just outside our window. Spike (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) otherwise known as James Marsters.

But it didn’t stop with one Hollywood star. We just happened to get seated right in front of the annual Comic Con red carpet party, hosted by SyFy and Entertainment Weekly. Cameras flashing (okay, most of those flashes were me, attempting to get a good shot), TV cameras rolling, interviewers going over their questions, and fans everywhere, sometimes screaming.

Who did we see? Honestly, who didn’t we see? I took notes for awhile, then couldn’t keep up.

Here is who we saw, close enough to touch—if only we had the technology to reach through a glass window: Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic (Castle); Eric Bana (Star Trek); Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement); Julie Benz (Dexter); the cast from Vampire Diaries (SQUEE!); the cast from V (again, SQUEEEE); Cedric Daniels (The Wire); Kevin Sorbo (Hercules); Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory); James Callis (Battlestar Galactica)—again SQUEEE!; Zachary Quinto (Star Trek); Zachary Levi (Chuck); Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side); Sasha Roiz (Caprica); and Pauley Perrette (NCIS).

I’ve lived in the L.A. area for 20 years and I’ve never seen such a line-up of stars before. And the best part for me was the fact that they were all stars in genres that I love.

So, Comic Con 2010 truly was a star-studded festival that exceeded my expectations.

I’m hoping that CC 2011 will be even better.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Comic Con Costumes

Comic Con is all about the costumes. I didn't always know what or who these disguised conference attendees were supposed to be, but I definitely knew which costumes I liked best.

Below is my favorite. Believe it or not, I saw this one while walking to the convention center on the first day.

Likewise, the group of costumes below all win the Best Costume Award in my book.

This black creature and his charming girlfriend posed for us while we were in line for the V and Vampire Diaries panels.

Here we see my favorite group of super heroes, in color this time.

This sweet little red-eyed vampiress attended my book signing.

And yes, there were monsters everywhere. Saw this menace while we were--guess where--yup, in line for V and Vampire Diaries.

Saw this group of super heroes while trolling the convention center floor.

This adorable creature walked by when we were in line--still waiting for V and Vampire Diaries. When asked what he was, he replied in a sweet, soft voice, "A demon."

And last but not least, these two little furry super heroes were on duty protecting the crowd. Who were these masked marvels? Chemical sniffing dogs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sometimes you just need a hug

I survived Comic Con 2010. There should be badges or buttons or firework displays for this. From riding the train to standing in hour long lines to shouldering your way through crowds, the experience was sometimes overwhelming.

But it was always fun. And I honestly never heard one person complain. It didn't matter how long we had to wait to get in to a panel--whether we had to stand in the hot sun or whether the restroom was on the other end of a fathomless hallway--everyone was patient, everyone was courteous, everyone was super-human awesome.

Even the super heroes, themselves. And you know, they had crimes to stop, bad guys to catch. Still, everyone swathed in fur and polyester and latex remained calm. All it took was a polite, "May I take your photo?" and they would stop what they were doing and pose.

Although they did always remain in character.

Like these guys from The Event. Couldn't get them to crack a smile, no matter how hard we tried.

Even on the train.

We were crammed in like sardines, animals and humans and creatures from other planets, elbow to elbow. Still, we all kept our cool. Even when my 11:00 p.m. train stalled three times, making the ride back to Fashion Valley take an hour instead of ten minutes. Even when the train signs were written in Klingon.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a time when the nerds of the universe (and, yes, I AM one of them) were the coolest guys on the planet.

I can't wait to go again next year.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Afterlife review picked up by USA Today blog

So sorry. I have been dashing around, getting ready for Comic Con (still not finished packing--Yikes!) Anyway, I almost forgot to share a cool thing. That review of Afterlife that I mentioned yesterday (the one by Fresh Fiction) got picked up by the USA Today blog.

Insert SQUEEEEE here.

Now, back to packing...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fresh Fiction review of Afterlife

Just saw a new review of Afterlife on the Fresh Fiction for Today's Reader blog. Here's a snippet:

"Destefano takes the power of life and death away from the master himself. Characters question if technology and life should be mixed and altered when they remember a shorter lifespan was originally given to them.

Defying death is portrayed well in AFTERLIFE, the first of the Resurrection Chronicles, but can Destefano continue to give us more within her gothic city of New Orleans? Her unique imagination gives us a great first story and readers something to look forward to in the rest of the series."

Needless to say, this is all still very surreal to me. For more than a year, I sat in a room by myself and just made stuff up. I got let out occasionally--for good behavior and to take a bath--but mostly I just hung out with my imaginary friends, the characters in Afterlife. Now they're all grown up and playing with other people. They don't even call anymore.

Seriously, I'm blessed to be getting awesome reviews like this one and I'm extremely thankful for each and every reader. Thanks so much for the review and for taking the time to read my book!

Confessions of a fan girl

I must confess, the more I look at the schedule at Comic Con, the more my fangirl tendencies come out. Pardon me while I squee! I just found out about the following panels:

* The Vampire Diaries Screening and Q&A [yes, Ian Somerhalder will be there]

* Warehouse 13 and Eureka [I LOVE Eureka]

* V Screening and Q&A [Can't wait for the new season to start!]

* Little Lulu Fan Group [Okay, here I'm really a nerd, but I just adored Little Lulu comics when I was a kid. That and Superman. Quite a mix, huh?]

* Reading with Brains: The Rise and Unrelenting Stamina of Zombie Fiction [My only question here is: why isn't Robin Becker on this panel? That girl wrote a stunning zombie book: Brains: A Zombie Memoir.]

* Spotlight on Ray Bradbury [I cut my sci-fi teeth on this guy's books. He rules.]

* Panel of the Living Dead: Surviving the Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Onslaught on Xbox 360

* Falling Skies [The new TV series by Stephen Spielberg]

* The Big Bang Theory [absolutely, the coolest nerds on the planet! Included in the panel will be uber-sci-fi-star Wil Wheaton]

* USA Network's White Collar [Unfortunately, I'll have to miss this one. I'm crying already.]

* Welcome to The Future: Are You Sure You Want to Stay? [Do I like dystopian fiction? Yes!]

And of course:

* Bite Me: Evolving Urban Fantasy Beyond the Vampire Phenomenon [The panel I'll be on]

* What's Hot @ Harper: A Special Sneak Preview of Upcoming SF, Fantasy, Urban Noir, Horror & More [Hosted by my editor, Diana Gill]

I know I won't be able to make it to all of these panels, but a fangirl can dream right?

Awesome free stuff at ComicCon: HarperCollins panel

I just saw this over at the Eos blog and had to share it. (It was just too cool to keep a secret!)

HarperCollins will be having a special sneak preview of all the upcoming science fiction, fantasy, urban noir, horror and more: In other words, all those books we love! AND they will be giving away some fabulous stuff to EVERY person who attends the panel--hosted by none other than my super-human editor, Diana Gill.

All the lovely details are below:


Saturday, 7/24, 6:30-7:30pm:

What's Hot @ Harper: A Special Sneak Preview of Upcoming SF, Fantasy, Urban Noir, Horror & More— Want to hear about The Fall by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan? Get a sneak preview of the next Kim Harrison? Meet some of the Eos and Avon authors and hear about their upcoming books? Plus get free stuff (including a chance to win a new e-Reader, so you can enjoy all of Harper's 'e' offerings)? Then don't miss this panel on HarperCollins's upcoming sci-fi/fantasy/horror titles and more! Moderated by Diana Gill, executive editor, HarperCollins Publishers, with authors . Room 26AB

YEP--We're giving stuff away at this panel! Every attendee will receive the Eos 2010 sampler, which has excerpts from 25 current and upcoming books ranging from science fiction all the way to paranormal romance. PLUS we'll be giving away galleys of upcoming books, some special editions,and your chance to win an E-reader! So before you head out to dinner, come to the Hot at Harper panel!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our little menace to society

Just got back from an urgent trip to the vet. Imagine having an ear infection with ears this big. Poor baby.

Meanwhile, Caleb the Wonder Dog is doing well. Two hundred dollars later, we returned from the vet with a bag full of meds for our little menace to society. He's currently sulking in the living room, probably dreaming of how nice it would be to have different owners--people who never take him to the vet or make him take medicine.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blade-Runner Beauty

Yesterday I dashed over to South Coast Plaza to pick up some mascara. Surprisingly, I discovered my local Sephora had been transformed into a high-tech stage for Blade-Runner beauty. Anybody besides me remember how Darryl Hannah put her eye make-up on in that movie? Well, here a team of experts were using an air-brush to apply make-up on volunteers. During one portion of the demonstration, a spokesman even said it was like having your own personal Photoshop.

For a long time, I've wished that I had my own personal sci-fi Photoshop geek to follow me around in real time, adjusting my clothes to make me look thinner. Just like they do for models on magazine covers. As if those girls really need to be thinner.

Anyway, the company that makes this super cool, space-age, high tech, sci-fi make-up is Temptu.

Since they also had some killer temporary body tattoos, I did some online research and found the following photo. According to the text that accompanied the image, Temptu developed a "resin-based temporary tattoo paint," a product used by actors in films. I love it! But then I've loved tattoos for a long time, so no surprise here.

I guess the real question here is: how long before I buy all this stuff?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Afterlife giveaway

Today I'm giving away another advance reader copy of Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles over at the Supernatural Underground. Yay and double yay! So stop over there and check it out! Be sure to bring your imaginary friends with you.

Here's a clue about my post:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Afterlife book reviews

The advance reader copies for Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles have only been out for a short while, but there are already two great reviews up online.

By Angela over at

Here's a short blurb from her awesome review:
"The plot is complex and inspired. The mood is dark and suspenseful. It’s rare when I’m so impressed by a debut. And this science fiction novel definitely took me by surprise. The narrative is fast-paced, jumping around among several key characters’ point of view. So readers see what’s coming a bit before Chaz, building suspense and excitement. The mystery builds to a climactic ending, offering several surprises. And I finished the book with a smile, loving every bit of Destefano’s thought-provoking tale."

By Tez Miller over at Tez Says.

Here's a snippet from her fab review:
"Merrie Destefano has crafted a premise that’s powerful in its simplicity. The perfect blend of urban fantasy and science fiction, there are characters to cheer for and settings that spook. From the City of the Dead to the Underground Circus, from gen-spikes to liquid light, from dogs to their human counterparts, Afterlife has so much to love, and the second Resurrection Chronicle can’t come soon enough! (No cliff-hanger ending, though – it’s a gorgeous standalone.)"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some fun stuff

Since I haven't written anything here in awhile, I thought I would post some fun stuff.

BOOK BLOGGERS: Want to review a HarperCollins book? Check out this list of contact info.

SUPERNATURAL UNDERGROUND: Check out the latest post over at the Supernatural Underground. Terri Garey spills the beans on how fun the latest RomCon 2010 was. Plus she's giving away some cool books if you enter her contest today.

COMIC CON: There's a cool post over at the Eos Books blog. Lots of info about the upcoming Comic Con author panels in San Diego. And there will be some awesome give-aways! Check out the full article here. A snippet is below:

PANEL: 3:00-4:00 Bite Me: Evolving Urban Fantasy Beyond the Vampire Phenomenon— Some of the top names in urban fantasy gather to discuss how to evolve the urban fantasy genre beyond the vampire phenom, spurred by the mass commercial appeal of The Twilight Saga and True Blood. Authors include Tanya Huff (the Victoria Nelson novels), Mario Acevedo (the Felix Gomez detective-vampire series), Merrie Destefano (Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles), Jocelynn Drake (Pray for Dawn), Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim), Lauren Kate (Fallen series), and Marjorie M. Liu (In the Dark of Dreams). Moderator: Diana Gill, executive editor at HarperCollins Publishers. Room 8

AFTERLIFE GIVE-AWAY: And, last but not least, stay tuned. I will be giving away another advance reader copy of Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles this Friday over at the Supernatural Underground.

TWO DAYS LEFT: Quick reminder: Only two days left in @TheSciFiChick's Twitter-only Afterlife ARC giveaway. Details here.

Meanwhile, have fun and stay safe. Recent rumors say that the schedule for the zombie apocalypse has been moved up. It's now on for next Tuesday.